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Sunday
Jul162017

Take Amazing Risks

“To do amazing things you have to take amazing risks and suffer greatly,” said Zeynep, his five-year old genius friend in Bursa, Turkey.

 “Here,” she said, “many a-dolts stay with their mothers forever and a day because they are afraid of freedom and accepting responsibility for their lives.

“They eat fear morning noon and night. They are afraid to speak their honest feelings, to express their innate desire for independence.

“Learned helplessness. They are willing victims of traditional conservative attitudes and values. Free will is a foreign language. They are scared of taking risks, letting go and growing. I may grow old but I’ll never grow up. If I grow up I die.”

“I feel the same way.”

One day while sharing lunch and drawing in notebooks, Lucky said, “When I was nine I was going on 50. Now I am 50 going on nine. I exist outside adult time.”

“We are passing through,” Zeynep said lighting a candle in darkness.

After Ankara he’d accepted a new adventure in Bursa. This shocked everyone in the capital lower case. They assumed he’d stay with them forever. Students and teachers celebrated his transition with a sparkling cake. Women cried sadness and joy.

“We are not here for a long time, we are here for a good time,” said Sappho the poetess.

One adult student who’d articulated her desire to move to Constantinople during the Ottoman Empire seeking an educational engineering job in a quality control factory school producing obedient robotic idiot children and live with her boyfriend cowered behind her futile quest for independence from over-protective parents. “My father won’t let me.”

Oh the shame.

“Take control of your life. Get a grip. Let go. Jump. Discover courage and your wings on the way down.”

The Language Company

 

Saturday
Jul082017

We Had An Encounter

(Post coup, July 2016 - Turkey's government solidifies control over military, judiciary, medias, education. Over 120,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants suspended or dismissed, together with about 40,000 formally arrested.)

On a 5th floor balcony in Ankara, Turkey, Lucky fed wild birds, nurtured roses and played in good dirt.

He collected poetic and photographic evidence.

The rise and decline of Byzantine civilizations heard historians standing on street corners, lost highways or walking arduous mountain paths amid sweet smelling manure with tattered hats in hands pleading, “Give me your wasted hours. Give me your wasted hours.”

Besides helping students discover the courage to speak another tongue with an active voice at The Language Company he got a part-time job driving a taxi-bus.

At 9:11 p.m. he drove a 15-seater minivan to a Soviet-style apartment in a middle class neighborhood. A swarthy man named Pida Pie apple of his mother’s eye opened a sliding door.

A symphony of high heels announced a parade of skintight blond Russians. They purred into the taxi-bus. He smelled cosmetics, lip-gloss and sex. The night was young.

Sly Pide Pie got in.

“Go man go.”

Lucky delivered the ladies to The Kitty Cat Night Club and returned to the apartment for another load. By 10:10 p.m. he’d transported thirty.

“Pick them up at 5:15,” said Pide.

Lucky went home for a catnap with his estranged wife from an arranged marriage. She’d traded her sex for security and knew how to rub a ruble together.

After collecting women smelling of dancing, drinks and cold-blooded sex with diplomats and Turkish tycoons he took them home. High heels and acrylic language laughter faded. Dawn broke bread.

He stopped at a cafe for muddy coffee and aired out the taxi-bus.

Beginning at 7:00 a.m. he picked up kids for their daily dose of force fed feedlot education. They stumbled out of apartments piled in and fell asleep. Weeping mothers on balconies waving soiled red/yellow hammer and sickle cleaning rags sang good-bye to despondent sons and daughters.

A Chinese waif dreaming of autonomy had her eyes wide open. “Patience is my teacher,” she said.

“I remember you from the Fujian university. How did you get here?”

“I graduated with an M.A. in Languages, Humor and Courage. I stowed away on a ship leaving Shanghai. It sailed through the Straits of Malacca, the Suez Canal and into Izmir. I hitched here and got lucky. I discovered a nanny position with a family. I tutor their kids and teach Chinese calligraphy at the school.”

“Great wild future. What happened to your dream about being a waif?”

“No fear. It’s in The Dream Sweeper Machine. The day after tomorrow belongs to me. I am Curious.”

“Nice to meet you. I'm Lucky.”

“Sure you are. May I drive?”

“Why not,” giving her the tantric wheel of life.

“Wow,” she said, shifting gears, “this is fun. Let’s see how slow we can go.”

At 8:15 a.m. he returned home for a shower, good eats and dreams.

At 2 p.m. he walked to The Language Company. Students were doctors, lawyers, health care workers, engineers and university students. He was a guide from the side through etymology, phonology and morphology. The majority had passive verbs down.

“How are you,” he asked.

“So-so,” sang the chorus. “Tired. We need Xanax.”

Finished at 9:00 p.m. he started the Russian roulette acquisition cycle. “Put one in my chamber,” whispered a leggy blond. “My safety is off and I am well lubricated.”

Every morning, working with Omar, a blind Touareg amanuensis from the Sahara, whom Lucky befriended by fate in Morocco two days before 9/11 while on a six-month hiatus from the united states of consumption, they finished polishing a gonzo memoir. A Century Is Nothing. Omar sent it out.

Fifty unemployed suicidal literary agents huddled around a fire in a Benaojan cave south of Ronda, Spain read Omar’s epic.

26,000 year-old Paleolithic paintings and dancing shadows displayed bison, deer, archers, and crude time-comb slashes. Red and black fish were trapped in black cages. Fingerprints whorled hunting stories.

Agents concurred. It isn’t mainstream and too experimental. We can’t realize 15% from this. Thanks but no thanks. Let’s burn it to keep warm.

Omar published it independently in October 2007. He loved the do it yourself process: text, blurb, design, basic marketing and cover image of a Chinese girl.

“Yes,” Omar said, “it’s almost as true as if you can believe it.”

Few read it and fewer understood it.

Lucky shared it with friends and strangers. His best friend buried a copy in an Arizona time capsule.

Omar sent copies to nomadic Blue Men in the Sahara.

Through Constantinople publishing contacts it was available at D&R Books in Ankara, Bursa, Timbuktu and a big river in South America.

They selected the cover photograph. The girl’s image expressed emotional honesty with natural innocence.

 

She was trapped behind a hard steel grate-full educational reality in Maija, a poor village in Fujian, China.

Her eyes held world secrets and unlimited potential. She’d stared at Lucky, a professional stranger and an aberration in her universe. Her sisters and schoolmates pushed against her. She was trapped against a locked gate. He was on the other side.

He raised a small black machine to his eye. She heard a subtle click. A shutter opened and closed freezing time, capturing her soul on a memory-fiction card. He smiled, thanked her and disappeared. She didn’t know her child eyes would grace a book cover for everyone to see, breathing her immortality in alchemical manifestations.

He’d visited her primary school speaking strange unintelligible words, singing and dancing. His laughter and smiles were a relief from the autocratic, punishing manner of bored illiterate women teachers. They didn’t want to be prisoners any more than the kids.

No one had a choice here. You did what you were told to do in a harmonious society filled with social stability, fear, paranoia and shame ordered from Beijing well removed from a world where farmers struggled behind oxen in rice paddies. Green rice stalks revealed their essence below a blue sky in mud and meadows of reality.

Leo said, “Censorship not only chokes artistic talent but also weakens the Chinese populace who are forced to be less imaginative and less inventive. The crisis in education has been a hot topic for years. Why are so many students good at taking tests but poor at analytical thinking? Besides the commercialization of education, the absence of a free, tolerant environment has stunted the growth of students and teachers.”

Self-censorship, shame, insecurity and humiliation devoured steaming white rice and subversive dreams.

In Ankara with Omar’s blessing Lucky signed copies. It was a strange sensation spilling green racing ink from a Mont Blanc 149 piston driven fountain pen on parchment fibers.

The first copy was for Attila the Hungry, a large bald man with a spectacle business. He sold Omar BanSunRa-Ray glasses on spec-u-lay-shun.

“The future looks brighter than a total eclipse,” said Omar.

In 2012 while living in Cambodia, Lucky and Omar cut the original to shreds, polished it and published the 2nd edition with Create Space on Amazon. Omar selected a new cover image of a serene Nepalese grandmother and granddaughter.

The Language Company 

Weaving A Life (Volume 4)

Saturday
Jul012017

we gave them everything

Two pale female French tourist conspirators plotted their narrative near the Khmer gardener.

Colonizing this hell hole we gave them baguettes, war, illusions of freedom, top heavy dull administrative procrastination tools, fake NGO bureaucracies, wide boulevards, legal beagle systems, an eye for an eye, corruption potential, designs of egalitarian ideals, morals, ethics, principles, values, faded yellow paint and French architecture.

Yes, said her friend, this IS the old brave new world and I am lazy and passive and my stomach comes first. I am starving.

Let’s eat our sorrow and be grateful we don’t live in this depressing country filled with compassionate Buddhist people. I’ll never understand their intention to do nothing with mindfulness.

It’s the hardest thing a person can do.

She was a super thin model of anorexia boned with stellar constellations. Her grim hawk faced rotund lesbian lover had flabby upper arms. She scribbled serious fiction-memory and sense data entitlement in an unlined black notebook with one hand while massaging her forehead to increase creative blood flow.

They examined a microscopic map of Angkor Wat filled with unconscious alliterative jungles,

gold lame Apsara dancers,

232 species of black and red butterflies,

2 million anxious tourists in a big fat fucking hurry,

Chinese, Japanese and Korean robot tour groups,

crying elephants,

super tour buses,

125cc motorcycles,

tuk-tuks,

begging children speaking ten European languages hawking gimcracks

whining predatory adults with an 8th grade education accompanied by miles of flaming plastic garbage,

narrow boned white oxen pulling carts,

14 million attention deficit disordered citizens addicted to simple minded FACELOST entertainment diversionary cell phone adolescent sex text nonsense and 1,001 laterite cosmic Hindu temples stretching across Burma and Thailand into Laos and Vietnam in a circular boomerang dance evolving from the stillness,

letting go of outcomes as the French ladies whispered,

Where have we been,

Where did we go,

What did we see,

Where are we,

How do we feel,

Did we discover the intuitive third eye of enlightenment or any wisdom in this totality of mystery, devotion, and sublime splendor?

They’re trapped in Cambodia.

One described fragments of her short life history with an animist talking stick.

The other cut out brochure glossies, ticket stubs and bleeding hearts to paste in her book. A future visual memory of her ear and snow.

Her attention span was shorter than a tour at the Genocide Museum in Phony Baloney filled with 2,000,000 smiling skulls.

Here we are.

The Language Company 

Tuesday
Jun272017

Writers On Steroids

“Ok,” I said to the Senate Committee investigating Writers On Steroids in Room 2143 of the grand facade off Blue Jay Way.

They stared at me with jaundiced eyes. They shuffled paper. An old tottering fool of a Grand Inquisitor pounded his gavel. I remembered him from the McCarthy Era and feared the worst.

“You are accused of taking steroids to enhance your writing performance. We have evidence from editors, hacks and wan-ta-na-bees that you and perhaps thousands of your ilk slaving away like drones in the dungeons of mediocrity, dreams, illusions and journalistic heaven on word machines have boosted your word output through the use of banned, I repeat, banned substances. Say it isn’t so say its all a lie misconception hearsay. What say you?”

I took a drink of pure spring water from mysterious unfiltered Alaskan lakes. A naked trout started dancing on the table in front of me. I laughed. “Ha, you're joking aren't you?”

I stuttered, spitting water all over the microphone. It shorted out and I was forced to use my voice minus amplification.

“Of course I sue steroids, why, in fact, in truth of fact and fiction I sear the meat on your grill with my defamatory remarks. The pills are beautiful and come in a variety of colors, like rainbows. They open doors of perception with wonder shock and awe. I have irrefutable evidence that your committee grooved the approval of these pharmaceutical delights thanks to the huge financial contribution by multinational drug companies to keep you in office. It's well known this country, let alone sports heroes have been programmed to ingest chemicals.”

I jumped on the table with the naked trout and started yelling. “We are ALL filled with chemicals you idiots. It's the American way of life. It's the new mantra, Run, Read, Write with Greater Efficiency and Prose the Poem with diligence and fortitude using Elements of Style. It’s the style baby, the demolition charge under your hat, Jack.”

“Order, order,” yelled a bailiff approaching me with caution, mace and industrial strength handcuffs. “Down boy!”

They shackled me. The Grand Inquisitor handed down my sentence. It had a noun, verb and object.

“Take the prisoner to Cuba and give him an orange jump suit. Interrogate him and deprive him of his writes.”

I screamed in anguish as they dragged me past a pharmacy filled with promise hope and salvation.

“You haven’t heard the last word from me. Where’s my trout?”

Travel slow in Burma. You're on the ride once. 

Thursday
Jun222017

The Language Company

Creative non-fiction. Journalistic facts. Literary imagination.

Lucky Foot taught English at The Language Company in Turkey in 2008. He returned in 2012. Collecting data. Field notes.

A Vietnam veteran, journalist and facilitator of courage he gifted luck to people in China, Turkey, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos beginning in 2004.

He showed up to sit for a spell nurturing positive relationships in the long now.

Accompanied by Humor and Curiosity he helped students speak English minus their illusions of fear and phobia's relatives:

Fear of taking a risk.

Fear of being incorrect.

Fear of peer ridicule.

Fear of poverty.

Fear of starvation.

Fear of being ordinary.

Fear of success.

Fear of abandoning a manuscript by Zeynep entitled TLC.

Fear of accepting responsibility for their choices and accepting the consequences.

Fear of letting go of old conditioning. Shadows.

Fear of being alive and real. Growing.

Fear of_______. (Your free choice)

Lucky, Humor and Curiosity observed parents, schools, religions and states fostering passive acceptance, fear, indifference and rote learning teacher-centered systems. It was all about passing exams, not learning how to be more human and think for yourself.

Status quo. Sheep mentality. Blend in. Questions are forbidden. Authority washes your brain daily.

Zeynep, his young genius friend in Bursa, Turkey taught him about life in her totalitarian country.

"As a literary outlaw I say what others are afraid to say. Anxiety is a chronic national problem. Adults here are good at two things, eating and fighting. 'Dissent is terrorism,' say our corrupt manikin authoritarian figurines."

Leo revealed dystopian China. "I spent years carrying word shit in a Re-education through Reform Labor Camp for questioning Authority. Everyone here belongs to the Big Ears, No Mouth society."

Oh the shame.

Rita, the independent author of Ice Girl in Banlung shared stories about her Khmer culture and Cambodian history. "We've had twenty years of hopelessness. We breed. We work. We get slaughtered. Poor people see education as a waste of time and money. I dream I am a free person in a free country."

A seven year-old Vientiane kid explained Laos. "I develop my authentic character with critical thinking skills, humor, gratitude, abundance, and wonder as a free thinking individual. I have my junior philosopher's badge."

"If you want to do great things you must take great risks and suffer greatly," said Zeynep. "You either let go or get dragged along."

Awareness. Mindfulness. Compassion.

"It's not about people buying this book," Rita said. "It's about people reading it."