My friend Cyndi O’Leary wrote this bit after reading letterfounder #120-
So every year on my birthday I make my own sort of new years resolutions.. What I want to get from the new year ahead of me. Not so much the lose weight (again) save money (again) stuff but more who I want to become.. Always changing always the same .. I don’t know what happened to that copy I had of Desiderata.. It got lost somewhere when I moved.. But for a couple years I read it every morning. I read it when I was going through my first depressive episode.. When I was 15? So my goal is to be gentle with myself.. And to recognize that “whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should” .. I am focusing on just doing what is best for me.. I think overall in my life I’ve taken too much crap .. I try to be nice to my own detriment. I don’t care if people like me.. anymore. I have to live in this body and mind.. Mostly the mind..
I’m working on coming to peace with god/s.. hard to make up with someone/thing you don’t believe in fully or at all.. And I’m definitely not cut from the same cloth as anyone in my family. I don’t believe Jesus will fix anything.. Or that my thoughts will manifest a basket of stuff on my doorstep. Though I do believe there is evidence that thoughts create energies. I’ve seen the experiments with plants, water…. I don’t need to know.. Surely the universe is unfolding as it should.. Or not.. I have no control either way.. And tomorrow I may die.. And I don’t think there’s leaving anything behind.. Not for long anyway.. I walk through the cemetery often.. Maybe it’s morose.. But it’s calming to me? weird. I’ve researched some of the people there.. And found some cool stuff about their stories.. But I really believe we’re here and then it’s over.. Or not. I dunno.. So I think this now is our battleground. This is the time to do and say and feel and just be.. Live… Be bored. This now is now, and it’s enough..
I don’t want to be a social worker either.. I don’t think I ever really did.. I needed to prove something to myself then.. That I don’t need now.. That I was capable, competent.. Good enough. I liked the charge of taking on a challenge and I needed I think to prove that I could be resilient after being abused. I survived it and I made my life whole again.. In some way I think I’ve been apologizing .. I know that doesn’t make sense. But I don’t owe the world anything.
I love these paragraphs b/c of how much insight is simply poured into them, how she does not shy away from recognizing that there may be no higher field, no god or goddess to go home to. But mebbe there is. Lodged in the not knowing with openness, still.
Bugged out scruffy psychonauts being more brave than I ever could be- teens aching for a solid hit of death to just know it- DMT and pills and pot and mixing three substances at once just for the respiratory failure.. Adults in their learned neutrality have utterly failed them in 2014. The end of god is happening harder than body impacts, longer than 2,000 years, shorter than 20,000,000 results in .47 seconds. I run away by standing where I am. I have less stress when I am strenuous. This modern culture falls to pieces as fast as our spires get thin. We sit more together than ever just to watch it and feel slowly, strikingly splintered.
Youtube brokers a deal with Existence and shunts us out to ourselves via the ‘net. See? We’re obviously laughing in unison but the hooded argument is still there in the comment section; we are just scraps of fear and pulsing muscles longing to bounce about any environment.
We do not form our environments as much as we simply choose from an array of options.
The world sends us a supposedly perfect body ideal I think through our self-generated interest in one. We say fuck you to it and live our own lives, but where does that renunciation become unhealthy? I think we all want to be fit and healthy and have that be ‘our selves.’ I am not fit or healthy yet still (secretly) desire to be. Fat is still Ok to make fun of within our mass social commentary and it smacks of our true intention with mass social commentary- to simply watch ourselves rise and fall in extreme sensitivity, ugly and real and faltering and split open. To witness ourselves living out this thing of a life / lives / generations, witnessing someone rising in the glare of split-second camera flashes and falling famous to their semi-satisfying deaths. We need to see it again and again just to begin to get a handle on what is eventually going to become of us. The scruffy street psychonauts know it is the only equation that matters ultimately- how to be Ok with it. The screens pump out entertainment, yes, but it’s more than that. Stories evidently need to be filled with human passion and designs just to see what it is we all do with this impending ending. Flip through the channels quick and it is like mice on wheels, a running cacophony of talking heads and posed bodies all strung out like prayer flags for salvation. It’s all Stuart saying
Today I am in it. I love movies b/c I am lazy AND creative. but today there’s an excuse. I am sick with cold in the middle of august. So I watch The Untouchables and The Wild Bunch. But there was no excuse yesterday when I watched Visions of Light (about cinematography) and The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Film Editing. I felt fine, and enjoyed them. I quickly forget that I should hate movies because of their extreme popularity. Here’s a quote I found on the ‘net.
“The ‘simpler code’ devised for the masses used to be organized religions. It is now becoming the Temple of the Mass Media and it preaches on a daily basis extreme materialism, spiritual vacuousness and a self-centered existence… The merger of media companies in the last decades generated a small oligarchy of media conglomerates. The TV shows we follow, the music we listen to, the movies we watch and the newspapers we read are all produced by FIVE corporations. The owners of those conglomerates have close ties with the world’s elite and, in many ways, they ARE the elite. By owning all of the possible outlets having the potential to reach the masses, these conglomerates have the power to create in the minds of the people a single and cohesive world view, engendering a “standardization of human thought.”
It seems like every media arm: the major movie houses, book and newspaper publishers, internet, record companies- are owned by the same five mega-companies. I don’t know if this is news to you but I’ve known that for years. Yes, there are exceptions, but the broad point being made here is the marketing dollar, the marketing power these corporations have. Has it made a difference in the way I consume them? No. I don’t go shopping crazy. But it has made a difference in my critical thinking regarding it all.
I’ve made lots of short videos using a small consumer grade camcorder. I put images I’ve recorded that interest me together in front of music I have collage’d and created (I am not owned by a giant organization, but I post them on the internet, utilizing corporations that are). I can create moods but not stories, really. I don’t have the tools or temperament for long editing room hours and attention to story lines. Storylines. I can barely follow them, much less write them. No symbol, no phrase meant enough to last forever to me. My philosophy in my high school yearbook was A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z. It was always everything, and more.
I’ve hit a wall with people who are super smart and converse like it was a test. Seeing two moves ahead just to see two moves ahead is obnoxious. My philosophy in expression is almost anti-story. This is why I like writing poems more than stories. A poem can be choppy, associative, abstract and it can still get a point or sublime feeling across.. Last issue I spoke on the feelings behind a creation as what is transmitted to the reader or audience, not the words themselves. There needs to be a Quality behind the actions that imbue the actions with numinous information. For example, if you are crying while writing your thoughts down, chances are the person reading it is going to be affected. You are feeling a true information. A feeling behind that is translatable not because of the work but because of how it was created. The decisions, the timing, the invitation to serendipity. Abstract paintings are almost anti-story, ambient music is anti-story, letterfounder used to be anti-story, before going in this perzine route. I just showcased things I liked. The things I like are not held together by story but more by themes and symbols. Being anti-story does not mean you don’t get a perspective out there- it just takes more time to see what it is. The reason I like this is b/c life itself is anti-story. I mean, every life has an arc– birth life death– but inside that i see no plot lines. Deeper. Inside that I see only the plot lines that our decisions and environments shape for us. Deeper. Inside that I see that free will could be a plot line in and of itself. But what matters more, story or Quality? It’s more than ‘just because you can does that mean you should?’ It’s the fear of having to live every moment critically in order to know life fully. It’s too much (maybe). I feel like robert pirsig. We seem almost desperate for story. Why? Why are movies and the movie industry as gigantic as they are? B/c we feel story-less inside? B/c we see what our fellow humans’ stories are in real life and become disgusted? Some are living good lives but most stories seem boring and tragic at the same time- rote lives lived in a rote way. No creation, no singular self-expression, no fire, no goals, no temper, no striving for any new territory after a certain age. Maybe that’s why people really let go and drop their lives in the shitter. B/c tragic is so much better than tragic-boring, as a storyline.
I don’t know if this matters a whit but I’ve noticed that media and books and movies do not reflect nature, do not have nature in them much at all anymore. If what is pumped through our screens is the memory of culture, the mirror of culture, then what we are seeing is our removal from the natural world. I can say it’s bad, it’s good- but it is happening nonetheless. I miss penciled windows framed by spring sprigs and branches, deep black and white summer fields strung up to the sun. As more of the world gets paved up the less we see of it. Most of our view at this point is of our own invention, even if the literal foundations are still encased in earth, even if looking up still reveals nothing but the truth of sky.. It doesn’t matter because we are mostly indoors anyway, looking up at ceiling fans. I feel like this affects me but i don’t know how. I was born in the late seventies and I have been in the middle of this nation in its consumer package prime, seeing the ribbon getting pulled tighter and tighter.
Sometimes I get a feeling when I am watching people younger than me react to the world and concepts they are learning and embodying with so much vigor and interest.. And get annoyed with their vitality. Is that a thing about getting older? Watching another generation rise up braced with new knowledge and unfolding expression and feeling disinterested in their journey? I know their journey is just as valid but I don’t really want to get wrapped up in their awe because i’ve already been through and out the other side of the same thing, and have seen all the new concepts that have utterly buried the old concept.. I just get a tiredness inside. But it may come as a reaction to thinking that I don’t explore the world as hard anymore. Am I disinterested in adventure and newness, am I simply picking at nostalgia and becoming completely conceptual within my life? Not that I am going to hate the younger generation. I have always thought a younger person could be wiser than an older person. I have seen too many older people who watch TV all day, who are angry and closed, even though they have lived a long life. And I have known too many young people who are patient and wise and deliberate. But the spaces between us do widen and as you age you simply aren’t a part of that ‘surge of the world’ anymore. Yes, the media sells you that line too, but it’s a real feeling. So when I am watching what could be called naiveté in some teen I am quick to remember that a kid intuits just as well as an adult about how limited their time is here. I don’t think they get it as literally as older folk or think about it as much but it is in their body intelligence- they are reacting against it constantly, through frustration and anger and relationships, through violence and desperation and anxiety and confusion. ‘Kids think they’ll live forever.’ Fuck that. I Never thought that as an adolescent and I heard it so many times. Who’s sublimating what? Why do stories get hammered out in the first place?
I never got Lenny Bruce. Maybe I was born too late. His form of standup comedy was genre defying though, and his court struggles paved the way for a more open mode of public discourse; making sure we didn’t forget that we are indeed just these scraps of fear and pulsing muscles. This quote about him by Albert Goldman summarizes quite eloquently what I try to strive for in the way of expression. “His ideal was to walk out there, take that mike in his hand and blow, blow, blow everything that came into his head just as it came into his head with nothing censored, nothing translated, nothing mediated, until he was pure mind, pure head sending out brainwaves like radio waves into the heads of every man and woman seated in that vast hall. Sending, sending, sending, he would finally reach a point of clairvoyance where he was no longer a performer but rather a medium transmitting messages that just came to him from out there — from recall, fantasy, prophecy. A point at which, like the practitioners of automatic writing, his tongue would outrun his mind and he would be saying things he didn’t plan to say, things that surprised, delighted him, cracked him up — as if he were a spectator at his own performance!”
Love it. An explosion of pure creative activity. Another stand-up comedian pushing against the increasingly committee-driven movie and media narrative.