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Tuesday
Jan222019

Black Coffee & Vinyl

Ice is the theme.

Willona Sloan, Curator & Managing Editor of Black Coffee & Vinyl selected one of my ice images for the January edition. Cool.

They feature high quality Sound, Art, and Words.

Check it out. Share with friends.

Black Coffee & Vinyl

Thursday
Jan172019

Writing Is Adventure

“’I did that,’ says my memory. ‘I can’t have done that,’ says my pride, and remains adamant. Finally memory gives way.” - Nietzsche.

“The interpreter” in the left brain strings experiences into narratives. A novelist in our heads. A novelist called memory ceaselessly redrafting the short story we call “My Life.”

"Writing and telling a story is all about detail and realising the significance of the insignificant." 

"Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public." -Goethe

...In both Irish and Welsh myth and saga, the art of foretelling the future is an essential part of the story. More often then not, it is to escape their fate, prophesied by the Druid, that leads the protagonists into adventures which inevitably lead them to the fate they seek to avoid. 

...At one point, the narrator irreverently criticizes the author and the book, saying: "You've slapped together travel notes, moralistic ramblings, feelings, notes, jottings, untheoretical discussions, unfable-like fables, copied out some folk songs, added some legend- like nonsense of your own, and are calling it fiction!" -Soul Mountain by Gao

"I want to know one thing. What is color?" - Picasso

The Language Company 

Shoes For Sale

Friday
Jan112019

Walnut Meditation

A Zen monk related a story.

“Before becoming a monk I was an English teacher in 8th grade at an Experimental School south of Chengdu in Sichuan, China. One day I held up a walnut. What is this?”

They answered in Chinese.

I wrote “walnut” and “metaphor” on the board. “This walnut is like a person I know, very hard on the outside. They are very safe and secure inside their shell. Nothing can happen to them. What is inside this shell?”

“Some food,” said a boy.

“How do you know?”

“My mother told me.”

“Do you believe everything your mother tells you?”

“Yes, my mother always tells the truth.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Well, that’s good, but I wonder if mothers always tell their children the truth. Why? Mothers and fathers protect their children and keep them safe. Now you are developing as a more complete and mature human being. It’s good to question things and find out the truth for yourself. Do you understand?”

Some said “yes,” others nodded passively.

“This walnut is a metaphor for the self. A symbol. The self that is afraid to take risks because they are “protected” by their shell. Maybe the reality is that the shell is empty. How do we really know what is inside.”

“It’s a mystery,” said a boy.

“That’s right, life is a mystery. How will we find out what’s inside?”

“You have to break it open,” said a boy with poetic aspirations.

“Yes, you or I will have to break open the shell, our shell, break free from the shell to know what is inside. That can be a little scary when we are conditioned and comfortable carrying around the shell every day isn’t it?”

“It’s our self,” whispered a girl in the front row.

“Very good. It’s our self, this shell and the mystery. We have to take risks and know nothing terrible is going to happen, like trying to speak English in class.”

“If we don’t break the shell we’ll never feel anything,” said another boy.

A girl in the back of the room said, “it means it’s hard to open our heart. It’s hard to know another person and what they are thinking, how they are feeling.”

“You got it,” I said. “We’ll never experience all the feelings of joy, love, pain, sorrow, or friendship and miss out on life.”

This idea floated around the room as I juggled the shell in my hand.

“I know people who grow very tired every day from putting on their shell before they leave home. It gets heavier and heavier, day-by-day. Many carry their shell into adulthood. It’s like wearing a mask. They look alive but inside they are dead. But eventually, maybe, something important happens to them at the heart-mind level and they decide to break free from their shell and see what’s inside. They say to themselves, ‘This shell is getting really heavy and I’m so tired of putting it on and carrying it around. I’m going to risk it.’”

I smashed the shell on the table. It splintered into pieces. Students jumped with shock.

“There, I’ve done it! I smashed my shell. Can it be put back together?”

“No.”

“Right, it’s changed forever. The shell is gone.”

I fingered small pieces of shell, removing them from the nut.

“See, it’s ok. Wow. Now it’s just an old useless shell. It doesn’t exist anymore. It’s history. It will take time to remove pieces of my old shell. Maybe it’s fair and accurate to say the old parts represent my old habits, behaviors, and attitudes. It happened. From now on I will make choices using my free will accepting responsibility for my behavior. And, I know nothing terrible will happen to me. I feel lighter. Now I can be real. That’s the walnut story.”

“Well,” mused a sad serious poetic girl named Plath, “I believe every living object; seed, flower, tree, and animal has an anxious soul, a voice, sexual desires, a need for survival, and feels the terror at the prospect of annihilation.”

Language dreams.

Weaving A Life (V4) - paperback and/or Kindle

Cambodia

Sunday
Jan062019

Mekong Blue

Mekong Blue, the Stung Treng Women’s Development Center is in Northeast Cambodia.

Fifty women are trained in a six-month silk weaving course. They plant mulberry, harvest, dye and weave silk textiles. It is a UNESCO award winner known for superior quality, creativity and originality. 

Mulberry leaves everything behind. Worms eat the leaves. Their saliva makes yellow cocoons. Saliva becomes a protein and stronger than steel. They boil silkworm cocoons to extract raw yellow silk. One thread is 300 meters long.

It is separated into soft and fine threads. Women dye the threads using natural materials: banana (yellow), bougainvillea (yellow), almond leaves (black), lac insect nests (red and purple), prohut wood (yellow and green), lychee wood (black and gray), indigo (blue), and coconut (brown and pink).

Women also weave Ikat, a technique creating patterns on silk threads prior to dyeing and weaving. It is called HOL with 200 motifs.

The center improves the women’s quality of life. It breaks the cycle of poverty through vocational training and educational programs.

They have a primary school with thirty-five kids and two teachers. Everyone receives lunch. It is the single biggest employer in town after the government.

Mekong Blue


Thursday
Jan032019

Be Human

"Then we’d get to wondering about the billions of other minds at work just like ours, like the mind of a stockbroker in Tennessee and the mind of a toddler in Costa Rica and the mind of a mother in the Congo and the mind of a construction worker in Lebanon, and we’d imagine how all their thoughts are knit together in the same way ours are.

"And we’d think, “Isn’t this whole thing miraculous, the fact that we can share all this stuff and the only thing we’ve got to do is be human? Now this is one hell of an idea. This is something I can really get behind! What’s the point of hermiting yourself in your own brain if there’s a whole world out there full of love and fear and pity and compassion?” - David Foster Wallace