Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I'm having a problem working. I suppose that's part of the process. You can't ask a question, a real question, without the universe, so to speak, providing both polarities. Or at least, so it is for me.
"Hello", my demons leer at me, gathering at the door. "Before you get 0n this Unity idea again, allow me to point out the dragon guarding the treasure at the heart of the mountain." By the age of 57, you can have a lot of dragons, a lot of unravelling of heartache and disillusionment to.
I'm going to get a glass of whine, and write. I suppose I need to vent. From this Saturnine point of view, I might as well take a look at the down side of the Web. The Information Highway, the Internet, all this electronic and media connectivity. Are we better off, now that we can "connect" so quickly? (as I write, a tiny spider drops onto my laptop. There She is, reminding me that it's all very relative. And there are bridges over every abyss.)
Well, of course. The internet is the greatest library ever made, and best of all, it's available to everyone. Yet how has it also redefined communication? Is it possible that we are also becoming so over stimulated, so "busy", that we can no longer tell the difference between real intimacy, conversation, communion - and superficial or even just imagined "connections" with others?
I don't hate email, but I try not to take it seriously. Once upon a time, I lived in a world where people wrote letters. It was personal. You had pen pals. When I put up my website more than 10 years ago, I had this perspective - it was about making friends, having my own cyberspace gallery, not so much about business. I used to receive notes from people. I even had a guest book, and met a few real friends this way.
Then the guestbook began filling up with spam, even pornographic spam. And notes between friends became group emails, then increasingly impersonal things, like political information, or, of course, announcements of openings, books, shows, etc. for me to circulate. And those little chain mail prayers and uplifting stories you have to pass on to "10 more people" in order to benefit from whatever kind of grace so doing so would accrue, all the while being information gathering devices for spam companies.
They depress me sometimes.
Realizing that people receive hundreds of emails to read and process, I share less and less via the internet. Sometimes, on my not reasonable days (like today), I feel the whole world has ADD (and not just me) and can't tell the difference between a poignant moment of real human contact and a sitcom. Between, as my favorite author Ursula Leguin wrote, "blue mud and the true azure".
Everyone is so very, very busy.
Or maybe the "pace" of our "lifestyles" has continually become more intense, and I'm just one of those who falling through the crevices of modernity.
Could it be possible there are other people like me, fraying, unraveling, beginning to say strange things to electronic answering machine menus that get longer and longer and more labyrintine........lingering for meaningful conversations at checkout counters........mumbling Rilke or Lessing while ordering coffee at Starbucks drive thru......are they quietly wondering if they really are becoming invisible, and they do these things just to test the waters?
If that's so, maybe we can find each other, start a secret society maybe.
We'll become people who have fallen outside of the loop. Loopy people. We'll have a drink and some of those long, long soul satisfying conversations that went out with the '90's and the invention of laptops and cellphones.
Our membership will include people who were geeks but they reinvented ourselves to become something else, and are now regressing back to our earlier geek template because we're in various stages of breakdown, confusion, exhaustion, overweight, or just waiting for rebirth while still inhabiting a body - all ages, sexes, races and economic backgrounds welcome.
We can have comfortable campouts (in places like the Berkshires in July, when there are fireflies, and with hot showers and barbeques).......or go to Sumatra economy class and stay in a home stay for $3.50 a night, and drink rice wine and bat at mosquitoes and talk about art, or crumbling temples, or Hindu mythology, or lost loves, or spiritual ecology, or petroglyphs, and live in ways that are frugal.
We will talk at length. Leisurely, encircled conversations that wind and spiral around themselves, with memories that are really stories with no particular beginning, and no particular end, and all the lovelier for a little embellishment.
We might burn little oil lamps to read cheap paperback books by, and fall asleep without clocks or cell phones or bras. We would allow each other our delights, and our melancholies. Exhaultations and Maudlins are welcome as well.
I won't apologize for "creating my own reality" in ways that leave me sad or discouraged sometimes. If any other aging geek in the bunch has a rough time of it, I won't promise I can make things better, or even that I'll always be able to listen. But I won't expect them to apologize either. And we'll never, ever talk about "money" or our various bodily complaints, unless it's absolutely necessary.
We might, however, remember people we've loved, loved in all of its forms and fashions, agape, eros, hot or cool, and how privileged we were to have loved them, more so, if they loved us back, for whatever moment or place or time. We might contemplate the real value of things, sweet things, hard things, natural things, vivid things, sad things, but all valuable things because they opened our hearts, and made us not only feel alive, but be alive. The threads in the tapestry that you notice, that stand out in the warp.
We might write poems no one else will ever hear, and it doesn't matter. If we're feeling risqué, we might talk about Dionysus and the mysterious Eros of nature. We might remember more personal examples worth sharing. We might talk about books. We might talk about Georgia O'Keefe and Stieglitz. We might talk about jazz, we might listen to jazz. We might ask what god a gamelan is speaking about, or is it a river, or is the god or the river, or both, speaking through the musicians?
We might come up with reasons why Beethoven wrote the "Ode to Joy", we might toast to every beach and river and forest we had the privilege and pleasure of walking in and talking to. We might.