Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kinetic Knack 6/25/09

Kinetic Knack

Being a writer is like having homework

every night for the rest of your life.

Lawrence Kasdan


Good day friends

I write every day. I spent my working life as a performing artist. Due to physical problems I can't work at that trade anymore, so now I write. I am amused to see that Google in its profile section under "industry" has no category marked "theatre," "film" "entertainment" or "show business." So I had to go with "arts." I guess that's okay. Artists have always been considered sub-citizens by the big corporate world, especially actors (except rich and promiscuous movie stars, some of whom are not "actors" in the strictest sense of the word). I'll settle for "arts."

Somerset Maugham said that if you want to be a writer you have to write everyday. In my case I write everyday whether I want to be a writer or not. I write because somehow I feel obligated to. I don't have a publisher or an agent tapping his impatient foot, nor a teacher gleefully giving me impossible assignments. I just think that if I didn't write something and put it in my journal every night I would be letting myself down and also possibly a few readers. So I write whether I feel like it or not.

I often sit at this keyboard and know I have nothing to say. So I check the mail, go for a walk, do a little reading, ponder, take a nap (old folks do that), wake up and have another cup of coffee, while I try to put a sentence or two together. Soon I give up, hopelessly admit a blank mind and an uncreative day. It's pure drudgery. I heave a sigh over my lumpish nature and decide that I'll just leave a quote and forget about it.


Silently and suddenly, like a squirrel showing up on the porch outside the window, a thought comes to me. And then another, and soon there are a few that line themselves up in a good order, Some words pop up, a phrase or two, an example, some language that appeals to me, colors and sounds, pictures, a new way of saying something and a feeling. The squirrel becomes a deer. And then everything begins to circle around a main idea like planets around the sun, each sending out its own energy and beauty and light. The marvelous English language starts caressing my mind. I can't type fast enough. I'm in love again.

DB Vagabond Journeys

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Inimical Instructions 6/21/09

Inimical Instructions 6/05/09
Don't let anyone tell you that it doesn't matter what you think. Of course it matters. Above all else thinking matters the most.

DB - The Vagabond
Things that must be written, must be written.

I made an appointment and went to see a very wise man, a well known provider of good advice and positive, practical solutions to life's problems and difficulties, My problem was that I felt I had no purpose and direction in my life, that I was aimlessly working as an actor with no reason nor objective, that I really didn't have any value in the world. In response to his questions I told him about growing up.

My father died when I was 4 years old. They never told me that he died. All they said was that he wasn't coming back. My mother, my grandmother, my sister and my brother; none of them told me. They say that I cried for many days afterward. For the next 8 years I expected him to return. The phone would ring, there was a knock on the door, it might be my father. I would look out the windows of cars and buses to see if he was walking down the street. Why did he abandon me? It must be my fault. I wanted to find him, to apologize and bring him back home. Finally, at the age of about 12 years, I accepted that he was in truth never coming back. Why didn't they tell me? Why wasn't I valuable or important enough to be told the truth?

The relationship with my mother was adversarial, My brother and sister left shortly after that, but when they were around they either ignored me or were critical of me. There was no love. I was not liked at home.

I grew up without my father's wisdom, advice, judgment, encouragement or approval.
I missed him. Ironically, it was at my mother's funeral, 40 years later, that I could grieve for him. At the cemetary I was placed in a chair directly over my father's grave and for the first time I read his tombstone. He was a young man when he went, only 53. He was a Lieutenant/Colonel in the U.S. Army. I wanted,with all my heart, to know the guy and wanted him to know me, his son. I wept.

"There is a sacredness in tears" Washington Irving said

As I spoke on with that wise man, I told him about the influences on my life after my father's death. How I had been criticized and minimized and disapproved of by everyone around me. How I had fought to reject other people's opinions of me and how I was trying to establish in my own thinking a positive structure of self-respect and self-approval but that I was having trouble doing it and needed help. Then this wise man, the purveyor of positive advice and well being said to me "Well, fortunately it makes no difference what you think."

How, after listening to my tale of deprivation and woe, could this wise man, this guru of positive thinking, this friend of mankind, this generous and compassionate dispenser of good, sound advice tell me that it makes no difference what I think?

I left his office believing him, and his words sank down into the very bottom of my being. After losing my father and not told why, after the scorn and resentment from members of my family and to be told it doesn't matter what I think, I realized what I was: a useless thumb on the hand of the world, a worthless appendage that needed to be amputated, something taking up space for no reason. As someone once said to me "I don't understand why you're still alive."

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange,
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.


In my mid 50s, when I had outlived my father, I began to understand some things. I began to put some pieces together and throw out some others. I may be a worthless and annoying hunk of junk as far as the world is concerned, I thought, but I was still alive, I was working, supporting myself and entertaining people. And if there was only one thing I knew it was that it did matter what I thought. My thinking was just as valid and important to the world as anyone else's. Thinking matters the most. And one who thinks is not a useless appendage, taking up space. That's something my father might have taught me when I was just a boy.

Shakespeare also wrote "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."

Even today, at 70, I miss my father. I miss what we might have meant to each other. I want the love only a father can give. I want the advice of someone who cares about me. I want the companionship of the man I can look up to and admire. I want the words of encouragement and approval from the man who is grateful I was born and is glad I'm alive. I want my Dad.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Victorious Voices 1/01/09

Everything has its own song.

Josef von Eichendorff


I hear the music of creation.

I hear the sounds of nature.

I hear the songs of life.

I hear the vigorously loud and the beautifully silent.

I hear the rolling tympani of thunder, the cymbal crash of lightening, the snare drum of rain on the window and the sweet celesta of falling snow upon my cheek.

I hear the adagio of the drifting clouds, the harp notes of sunshine and the oboe song of the moon.

I hear the trumpet calls from the mountain tops, the trombones in the forest and the gentle horn upon the surface of the lake.

I hear the flute tones of the humble pebbles on the beach, the whisper of the sand and the parade of marching bands as the tides come in.

I hear the choir of autumn colors, the sopranos in their nests in spring,

I hear the largo of the growing flowers and the presto of the squirrels.

I hear the siren song of stars and the humming along the garden path.

I hear the bubbling madrigal of children on their way to school.

I hear the opera of the busy city streets.

I hear the strings that sing of love and friendship, of hope and faith.

I hear the sounds of nature.

I hear the music of creation.

I hear the symphony of life,

"And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12