Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Extraordinary Work

Our Extraordinary Work
Elizabeth O'Connor

"Without a protected time of daily silence we have no possibility of doing the extraordinary inward work that each of us needs to do. More, we will not make any substantial or sustained commitment to the solitary life unless we ask and seek for ourselves a structure of accountability."

I was always a big fan of Elizabeth O'Connor's spiritual writing and was fortunate enough to share a couple of actual snail mail letters with her a year or two before her passing. . .She spent much of her life exploring the inward work we all need to do in our contemplation, meditation, examining our lives and then how that relates to our outward journey. . .

We are not penned up in a zoo. . .scenery the same, day after day.  .fenced in, moated in. . .

But, don't we do that to ourselves?  Is performing the same old drudgery every day and falling into the same rut of coming home and firing up the idiot box any different than being caged up in a zoo?  It's like the old knowing how to read and not reading--the same as really being illiterate if you don't take advantage of reading and learning new things. . .this is not to rail against TV. . .I have my guilty pleasures. . .

It's more about what we are doing with our lives. . .it goes by quickly folks. . .you get to a certain age. . .and I'm there. . .when you start calculating forward. . .you look at how old your dad or your mom was and when their journey ended.  .and you start making bargains. .. well, I've got to have at least another twenty-five years left, eh?  And I'm in better shape than my dad was, aren't I?  

Hogwash to it all.  

We all need to go back and be a little inventive. . .rediscover the magic and discovery of our youth. . 

I like that phrase from above. . .a structure of accountability. . .none of us knows what happens after death. .. NONE OF US. . .it's all rumor, really. . .and faith. . .either faith in something or faith in nothing. . .faith, nonetheless. . .but, I'm always thinking, just in case.  .in case you're right--that there IS something after we're done with the mortal coil. . .and we're asked "Just what is it you did with the time allotted to you?" . . .or, if you don't believe in an afterlife and your wrong--the same question will be asked. . .well. . .

There's no repairing the past really. . .oh, we can make amends. . .we can atone.  .but, we're only given the next few footsteps in front of us really. . .as we plan out in folly our New Year's Resolutions coming up right around the corner (for those that do). . .

So. . .we need to take some time to reflect. . .

. . .because, regardless of where we end up or what happens after we're gone. . .you will only be someone's memory. . .and people will talk about you. . .some reverently, some not so much. . .

Worse. . .they may not talk about you at all. . .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This has got to make you proud to be an American. . .

How about we do this.  Boycott all stores that are open on Thanksgiving and have any kind of special hours rather than their regular operating hours on "Black Friday."   Enough consumerism and idiocy is enough.  When are people going to wake up.  No setting up of any tents.  Merchants HAVE to give rainchecks on all items.

And, oh yes.  .  .the family of the woman in the blue shirt with the butt crack.  .  .I'm sure one of many proud moments in that family's history. . .

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This is what it's come to. . .

This is what it's come to. . .

But, there's this:

Because there is this:

. . .and maybe this is the solution:

. . or maybe this. . .I'm no scientist. . .but, maybe this is what a lot of it's about. . .

all I know is. . .maybe we need this:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On This Day My Life Was Perfect

On This Day My Life Was Perfect 

For me, there is nothing better than catching the promise of youth. . .they have their whole life before them. . .it is right there to do with what they want. . .if they only knew what a small window most people make that in their lives. . .

In fact, those windows open and close all the time. . .but, most people jump through that first window and call it a life. . .somehow. . .most people lose the ability to have this expression of joy caught in bloom. . .when all things are possible. . .

. . .I'd much rather document joy than defeat. . .promise rather than acceptance. . .glistening hope rather than resignation. . .

These are the things dreams are made of. . .these are dreamers on the rise. . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dreamers on the Rise

I picked up the note on the kitchen table. 

     To my roomie, aka Ben “The Stud-Man of Wilsonville” Shaw:

          I’m guessing today, Sunday, for you, is a day of rest (not because you are particularly religious, but I’m sure thirty-six hours of hedonistic sex with a luscious girl in her early twenties, with melons, ripe and delicious,  has left your plums withered, you being almost twice her age and all).  But, I digress (in a fruity sort of way).  Tomorrow, here is your schedule.  I will remind you that your roommate (you know, the other good looking young girl, also with some pretty good looking apples I might add–but as far as you’re concerned, they’re on a branch fifty feet up with nary a ladder in sight–but, again, I digress) has tomorrow off (bogus teachers workshop–notice how they’re always on a Friday or a Monday).

5:00 (yes, A.M.! Atom splitter)–Get your sorry, lard-ass out of bed.  Five-mile run.  Come home, very quick shower (no fooling around in there–reference page 118 of girl talk manual–or first three minutes of American Beauty)–free, unless you count the soap and water used.
6:00 Take your roommate to The Criminal Café for breakfast.  You’re back on the program, by the way.  Awaiting you, an egg white omelet with tofu and wheat germ.  Maybe $10.

7:00 We go to the West Side Market and stock up on veggies and fruit for the week.  While over that way, we go to the Book Store on West 25th to see if they have a used copy of Endless Love by Scott Spencer because David stole the copy we had at the store and when he finally brought it back all the good pages were ripped out.  Count on at least $50. $55 if they have the book.

10:00 Call in sick.  Excuse?  Just tell David your car was sunk by a U-boat.  See how long it takes for him to realize it’s a fraudulent alibi.
10:05 Stop at Shoptalk Lingerie and pick up mesh stockings, garter belt,  French maid outfit, and that butterfly toy with the remote control all my girlfriends are talking about (!) for your roommate (yeah! Right!  In your dreams Humbert!)–just seeing if you’re paying attention!  And just to keep you current on the all-important cutting edge lingo, they are no longer referred to as vibrators.  They are now called BOBs.  Battery operated Boyfriends.  But, again, I digress.  Such a state of arousal you get yourself into!

10:10 Stop at Thee Diamond’s Mens’ Club to see if I passed my audition (Humbert!  Humbert!  Wake up!–instead, we’ll go to Fourbucks Coffee and see if we can get two coffees for under $20).  Talk for 50 minutes and plan out the next ten years.   Also, discuss in detail supposed innocent childhood game rumored to be called Bang the Buddy. Roughly $9.

11:00 I’m hungry!  No hake for me, thank you.  I’m thinking the Mexican Village.  Veracruzanos.  Because I’m only 16, and have 5% body fat, I’ll have three.  Because you’re hovering on the four oh, and will soon find out you are some exercise guru’s fat, bastard brother, I recommend a Spinach salad and a bran muffin.  Take copy of current Maxim magazine (it’s at the bottom of your magazine pile, beneath the Atlantic Monthly, Smithsonian,  and National Geographic–nice try) and hope we see Monica Potter there so we can get her autograph–she’s on the cover (not sure if you looked above the neck).$20.

1:00 PM–It’s afternoon!  We go see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the fifth time!  I’ll have the large buttered popcorn.  If you’re nice to me, I’ll let you lick my fingers.  Afterwards, we have a fake sword fight with wrapping paper tubes and see if we can run up the side of buildings.   If you win the fight, I’ve arranged for you to have a threesome with Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi.  If you lose the sword fight, you have to wear your hair and talk through your teeth like Chow Yun Fat for the rest of your life.   Figure $15, unless you hurt yourself during the sword fight and I have to take you to the EmergiCare.

3:30 John Dufresne is going to be at Joseph-Beth Booksellers for a book signing, on Shaker Square,  and my roommate insists on treating me to a signed copy of Love Warps the Mind a Little.  A subject he has cornered the market on (my roommate, not John–it would be pure speculation on my part regarding John; with you, Buttfly, factoid for sure).  While there, we ride the rapid downtown and back so we can identify with the downtrodden urban poor who have to take the transit and also the rich people from Shaker Heights who think it’s fashionable.  $25 (+ another $10 on trashy magazines so I can learn about sex and find new positions for when I play Bang the Buddy game with my roommate–Ha! Ha! Ha!  You’re so incredibly weak and easy!  Some would say, pathetic!).

5:30 We pick up Patty and Jennifer (as you so coyly call them, the Yum Yum, Double D. Pleasure Twins–your dreams must be so tortured)  from tennis practice (somebody, maybe your roommate,  has mysteriously called off sick).  You do not, I repeat, you do not, look at Patty’s legs and Jennifer’s breasts like you always do.  Hear me?  I don’t want to hear them complain to me again!  (As in, “ewwwwww the pervert was looking at my legs!  Again!”)  We drop them off at home.  Free (although for only $20, Patty said she will let you take pictures of her in her old Catholic school-girl uniform!)–What am I going to do with you?!!! (And it was the unanimous opinion of the three of us that $20 was much too low considering the fact you’d probably gladly pay $50 and provide lifetime taxi privileges).

6:00 I’m famished!  Because you love me unconditionally, as you would a daughter, you take me to Gavi’s where we feast on an appetizer of Portobello alla Gorgonzola (yum!) followed by Filetti di Vitello con Sugo di Prosciutto e Pancetta for the lady (me!), and Tasmanian Salmon for the gentleman (with reluctance, I dub thee)–be very grateful, it is a fatty fish and will go right to your thighs and immediately convert to cottage cheese (well, technically, that only happens to women.  In your case, it lands on that vast expanse called the Great Plain of Goo which resides above your belt). $80 (includes the $5 tip you’ll give Brad, the guy who’s in charge of valet parking tonight–he’s a hot boy!) 

All in all–About $225 on your Master Card.  A day with your loving, sex goddess roommate: priceless!

          Oh, I forgot.

8:00 An after-hours appointment at the bookstore with David and Pervis Stahl for you to appraise used books he’s selling.  Is it me, or do you also think Pervis’s address is somewhat south of Erebus?  (Ah, yes. All this sex you’ve been getting has turned your mind into balata. At your advanced age, you’ve probably lost all knowledge of Greek mythology.  Erebus being that dark place just north of Hades).

10:00 Wallow in self-pity because you’ve gone 24 hours without sex, no fruit even in analogies, and are developing scurvy.  Think about how you could have spent the last two hours at the mall buying me clothes instead of with that vile, nasty Pervis Stahl, and then sneak into my bedroom while I’m sleeping and steal the magazines I bought today.  Memorize them (Please!  This time, don’t cut out the pictures of the girls in their underwear!  Leave me some shred of dignity for when the Yum Yums come over and we’re looking through magazines and then I have to explain how all the holes in my poor periodicals got there.  It’s just so unfashionable to be living with a true pervert.  They both feel so sorry for me). 

          11:00 Lights out!  Wasn’t it a lovely day!?

              Most affectionately, I remain, your true Erato,

                        Amber McClain, aka, your loving roommate

Erato--Call Your Girlfriend

I am indebted to my buddy Kate Snow for making me aware of this wonderful video. . .absolutely lovely and insane!

Another version by them here:

The original:

Stronger than the dark, the light

Stronger than the dark, the light 

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
 Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
 Stronger than the dark, the light;
 Stronger than the wrong, the right...
 ~Phillips Brooks, "An Easter Carol"

I was out early on Easter Sunday in April of 2009. . .colder than hell out there around six in the morning. . .

No matter any kind of spiritual beliefs, I wanted this picture to represent some kind of "power beyond us." Something mighty, something of wonder, something frightening, something inspiring, something that makes us want to explore. . .I rarely saturate like this, but this was just the atmosphere I wanted to create for this picture. . .

The picture was taken at Penitentiary Glen, part of the Lake Metroparks system in Kirtland, Ohio