Overview of Stray Shot

I like three ball juggling to music, and when I was younger I worked on it and danced with asymmetric patterns. You learn to juggle by learning to make a pattern which repeats close enough so that balls and your hands mesh, like gears. It's mechanical and there is a joy in it when one day you aren't counting how many times you did it, you're just doing it as long as your attention stays on it.

So the second level is how to keep your attention tuned. This is the beginning of asymmetric juggling. You have to pay attention if you keep moving out of the pattern and grab a ball from the air at an unexpected point or release it into the air out of the underlying rhythm.

I recently saw a performance video that was going around the internet, an amazing guy juggling to Beatles' music. What a beautiful art form it is when it's perfected! I've started doing it again once in awhile.

When I began writing Stray Shot I didn't know why I was doing it the way I was doing it. But I have found it is often the case, or maybe it is always the case, that I don't really see the meaning in what I do at the time I do it, I can only see it later, when it is like one of those pictures where if you stare into it you get a deeper, hidden picture.

I am not the one who puts in the deeper picture. That part has much better time integration than I have. I only see it in retrospect. But if I don't have a record of dreams, I can't see the larger patterns. Any spontaneous writing works like dream material, even if you think you're "just making it up." A man who was in analysis with Carl Jung was supposed to be sharing dreams, and one day he said, "I fooled you. I made all those up."

Jung said, "Yes. You made them up." The man didn't realized it made no difference at all, the material would show the same underlying patterns.

One of my major influences was Castaneda. I admired him because he was so good at storytelling as a way of bringing consciousness. I love the people who are in this tradition, from Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash to John Steinbeck and Tennessee Williams and Alfred Hitchcock. I think that the storytellers are the only source of democratic society, because the story works among the people, while the law works from above them.

This has been reflecting in my mediation, as I write every day, and then look at it over a period of time for how it wants to change. It gives me a point of reflection, a feedback mechanism. At first I was writing long winded opinion pieces which were characterized by my infallibility. After awhile I began to see my shadow, which was very vain. So I began to prune some of the most aggressive tendrils. Now I am putting almost all of the political and opinion pieces into archives.

The ones which I'm leaving are mostly about the people around me. Over time I began to learn that what reads well is what reads true, and that there really isn't any love in most political argument. It is a form of warfare. The way it works is that we can be ruthless, decimate the enemy, and take the spoils, all in the guise of a political debate. I don't want to hang out with those people anymore.

So the personal writing will be separated into a Personals section.

The section that I am most focused on now is the Ash Fork series.

If you read the Ash Fork series don't expect it to be finished work that was transferred to the internet. It is done on the internet, with no significant editing, just a once over for clarity and mistakes and then it's gone. I am on the fourth "line" of Ash Fork stories.

When I would get to a place where I was bored I would end one "line" and begin another "line." There were no rules in the beginning, and new characters came in every day and went away as quickly. Then I began to experiment with point of view, and now I am experimenting with trying to build in logic as I go, to come up with more consistency.

Essentially, what I am working with is using the writing as a feedback system, and through changes in the writing, effect changes in myself. I think it's working. I'm starting to feel ... lighter, you know? ...

When I was about twenty-one I was writing feature stories for a newspaper, and I interviewed a guy who billed himself as a world famous handwriting analyst. His name was Abraham Kaminsky. He was credited with helping capture New York's "mad bomber" back in the early part of the last century. He told me something that I thought was amazing information: "The handwriting reflects the inner patterns of the nervous system. If you change the handwriting, you can change your personality."

So it was a two way street. Your handwriting is going to give away who you are inside, but by being conscious about it, you can use it to shape who you are inside.

I thought, "It's not just handwriting. It's anything that is connected into the musculature." I began experimenting with changing my voice to make myself less high strung, and it worked. And writing, also, is working with a feedback loop.

"Ash Fork" is a form of feedback. It has no strict rules of linearity, so sometimes it strays off into abstract territory.

In Castaneda, Don Juan and Don Genaro laughed at Carlos for taking notes all the time, and told him to write with his finger.

I understood that. I don't know if I can explain it but I understood it. Ash Fork is what comes through my fingers when I sit down to my writing meditation. It is a series of dreams that have conscious collaboration.

Posted: Sat - May 6, 2006 at 02:20 PM