You've Got Mail

Today the coffee is filtered spring water soaking through freshly ground ... Glockenspiel? Yep, but it isn't from Vienna, it's coffee from Sweden. I detect the presence of middlemen. "Everybody has an effect on everybody else," I told my teenager. She said, "I don't buy all that hippie shit." What could make a father more proud than to see his shadow, Wily Coyote, turning the world on its head?

She is on a cross country drive with her mom, going to see her grandparents for Thanksgiving. It feels like an important crossing for her, and it leaves me with time on my hands, all of a sudden, as she was living with me for about six months. I learned a lot about myself, because when you try to correct a child, you first have to figure out that you are trying to correct that part of yourself of which you are not conscious. You are not conscious of it because you have rejected it as yourself.

As I deal with the understanding part of everyday life, it comes from some realization I had that the things I forgot about, the things that went unconscious, did so because they had no framework in which they could connect. They are lost souls, and I think we all have them. Like a songbird, which, in youth, has a lot of neural pathways supporting many potential songs, we each had that garden of potential in our own youth. Education was supposed to be a continuation of that potential, and the installation of a tool kit, so that we could access information in the system.

There are patterns in the psyche which capture my interest at certain times, and that is what guides my writing and my style of living. What has been driving the songs I've done since Stray Shot is the idea of the unlived lives, these songs that were begun but never got a lead role because the strongest song never shuts up. On the other hand a case can be made that it's counterproductive from a survival viewpoint to strangle your strongest voice with a garrote of silence.

Ideas need to slip into something comfortable -- like a song -- before they resolve contradictions. "Lives they run like stray dogs in these ancient palms, so many faded brown and empty dusty streets." When I began this song, I could see those old photographs in albums, of men in overalls with mules and tractors and family, and I could see the little towns I used to visit on the Arizona desert, with deserted streets in the mid-afternoon.

Writing, years ago, reached a point where it got tiresome because I did it for a living, and always to somebody else's requirements. At times like that I am susceptible to something new, to adventure, and to unlived lives. I had an experience with a healer who used deep bodywork and hypnosis. I visited a different reality. I can't talk about it. It would just sound like hippie shit ...

My daughter gives me no quarter. Once when I was going through a bad patch, we were driving in the car and she thought a bit, then told me a story from "Wayside School," in which the students conspire to get the scissors away from the teacher before she hurts herself. This summer we watched a lot of South Park, including the one where Kyle locks the hippies in his basement, throwing them a guitar and a joint so they'll be pacified and not take over the town.

She's got some Kyle in her.

Bodywork taught me things that nobody could ever tell me, but, like writing, it became a tool and not an end in itself.

What began as a study of hypnosis included a four year study of dreams and stories with the late Dr. Joseph Henderson, one of Jung's major proteges. I studied this in parallel to body therapies, and combined them. One of my most prized compliments came from a street wise, self-educated (and extremely successful) businesswoman, who said, "I used to think of this as massage, but when I look back now I see you have been guiding me."

Now I am feeling the need to explore a new direction for my work. I'm spending 2006 studying with a group of people under the direction of Dr. Brugh Joy.

While I am exploring new directions, I am trying to keep my blog moving along as part of the process. I don't plan what I am going to write next except when it just comes to mind of its own volition. But in some ways it is like dreaming. The images arise from a combination of remembered events, snatches of conversation, personal history, and the various patterns of the collective unconscious interpreted through an overlay of cultural consciousness.

For example, the connection to the phrase, "A love story for our time," came from watching "Something About Mary" over and over this summer with my teen. We were in San Francisco where I have only an old portable television with a built in VCR player. I got it so I could get movies at Le Video, which used to be one of my favorite places until they charged me a one day late fee that was more than the movies were worth. So now we have a few movies on tape we watch over and over, and "Something About Mary" is one of them.

After awhile we watch it as a series of scenes we know by heart. "It's the hitch-hiker scene," she might call out, when I am working in the other room on the computer or practicing guitar. I have to come in to watch Ben Stiller be a nice, normal guy who realizes the hitch-hiker he's picked up is crazier than a shithouse rat. "Seven little chipmunks twirling on a branch, eatin' lots of sunflowers on my uncle's ranch. You remember that old children's tale from the sea?"

Mary's favorite movie, she said, was "Harold and Maude," which she called a love story for our time. I watched Harold and Maude again, and gave my daughter the movie. It wasn't as good as I thought it would be, because it didn't age that well. What didn't age well was Maude. The youthfulness of the old woman seemed to be a kind of trumped up excuse for Harold's falling in love with her. "She's a teenager in an old woman's body." This was unnecessary and pulled the entire movie down to a trite level when it was so overdone. The real story was about the unique way in which the unconscious solves problems without regard to the social conventions.

What Harold finds is the sunflower, and he finds a way to escape from his mother without moving into an intellectual construction where she can't follow him, and never returning to earth. The relationship he has with Maude isn't supposed to be just a perversion of the mating drive, like a duck that falls in love with a garbage can lid because it was used as a food dish and evolved into a love object. It's more like the relationship between Geppetto and Pinocchio.

These thoughts combine with memories of an Italian woman I lived with in North Beach, once up on a time. One day when Frank Sinatra was being dined in the basement of the restaurant where she worked, one of the other women was fussing with her makeup in preparation for his arrival. "Jesus Christ, Marla," she snapped, "the man is just old, he's not blind."

Somewhere there's what actually took place, seen by an objective observer. And behind it there is a world of open possibilities that never made it to materialization. They exist in what Burroughs calls "The Western Lands." The Western Lands is composed of stories that never become solid, but whose existence is referential. "If you make spirit solid, it isn't spirit anymore."

Of course, it might just be some hippie shit ... never hurts to use the black needle on an inflated idea ...

... she has left two cats with me. They are still hiding under the bed. The dog lays under the bed watching them. The black one is the most adventurous. He comes out sometimes. The white one is still timid ... the dog, Sammy, wants them to play with him ...

... another cup of Glockenspiel is brewing in the kitchen.

Posted: Tue - November 22, 2005 at 01:57 PM