this morning, with the entire world not listening except a few friends of doug, i got to call in and pretend to be a radio talk show guest, and it was quite surreal. i suddenly found myself TRYING to fit in to the stereotype of a radio show guest, without any any conscious decision on my part. it was like i was desperate to be a character in that story.
i love listening to doug and almost always learn something from listening to him process things, and so i am actually looking forward to tuning in from time to time to hear him do his thing.
i still can't get over how it felt like i was 6 years old using the playskool plastic stove pretending to be cooking the plastic food. it was fun to pretend, or to use a more generous word, to "play". actually i like the word play a lot. ok, it is all redeemed now. i played with doug. i look forward to hearing more playful times on doug's radio show.
i am reading some books of poetry, gradually learning how to read poems
as part of my quest to learn to write them. here's a fragment from a
poem by a chinese writer, probably from around 1200 years ago
So Han-Shan writes you these words,
Those words which no one will believe.
Honey is sweet; Men love the taste.
Medicine is bitter and hard to swallow.
What soothes the feelings brings contentment,
What opposes the will calls forth anger.
Yet I ask you to look at the wooden puppets,
Worn out by their moment of play on stage!
stumbling across this which struck me somehow, i googled the author and
discovered that this Han-Shan fellow was beloved by the beat poets. i
re read the poem-fragment and i could suddenly easily see someone
putting the book down and deciding to burn in rage and spew bitter
medicine rather than end up a discarded worn puppet. it seems to
unmask the quest for contentment as the quest for a gentle death.
but the immediately preceeding stanza the same Han-Shan says
As for me, I delight in the everyday Way,
Among mist-wrapped vines and rocky caves.
Here in the wilderness I am completely free,
With my friends, the white clouds, idling forever.
There are roads, but they do not reach the world;
Since I am mindless, who can rouse my thoughts?
On a bed of stone I sit, alone in the night,
While the round moon climbs up Cold Mountain.
i don't know enough about the beat poets to say anything about them,
but i am totally struck at this point at how this illuminates my way of
reading. i am mining the text. as i read the stanza (and the 6 before
it) about mindless bed of stone cold mountain my brain is reading "yada
yada yada yada", and then i hit the stanza about puppets and suddenly i
wake up. and because i just woke up i miss all the context.
this is also exactly how i tend to read the bible. i sort of yada yada
over the parts which don't seem to reflect beauty or reality, and then
jump up in amazement at a line, or a word. i've always thought this
was a good thing, but today i am wondering if maybe i should listen to
Han Shan as he critiques my way of reading, my way of looking for
honey, looking for contentment, flying over the difficult parts, looking for
the easy path to Cold Mountain.
Climbing up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain
The pine sings, but there's no wind.
Who can leap the world's ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?
i don't like a scheduled life. i like being free when surprises chances manifest. usually that means that when i shout out "hey look at this cool thing happening tomorrow", all my friends say, "sorry, if we had more notice we'd have been there". last night, one of those amazing chances appeared and i was free so i got to hear gareth higgins shyly read from a book he has finished and is working on getting published.
this morning, two things have happened.
one, i am analyzing every thing i said or did, and shaming myself. it is really weird to sit as an observer inside my head and watch me do this to myself. as a grown up, i can hardly believe that this sort of childish dialog is still running in my head. having enough distance to watch this process it becomes clear why i like to hide upstairs in my house, or behind a computer screen.
two i am somehow more peaceful having heard some stories of faith and doubt and fear and hope that were transparent and murky and wonderful. i award today's blossoming bougainvillea of beauty to gareth and his baby book to be.