Monday, November 28, 2011

Cloud of Unknowing

"So he dropped the web of the spider of heaven down through the clouds
All the way into the pool of blood at the bottom of hell
Far above in heaven a bird flies through the terrible cloud of unknowing

Trust can make a man into a wood, trust can make a man green
An everything that longs to be
Broken and small enough to see
To be held in his hands
To be a part and yet alone
Here he is, reaching for the speed of light
Here he is, reaching for the sound of forgiveness

Now wounding around the waterfront
She listens for a voice
A sign of Mother God, a sign of God the Lad

I long to enter you
With gentleness and compassion
But sorrow is always the open door

I know many days go by and I forget to look up at the stars
I forget there are stars, I forget there is the rest
Thin threads of light follow you around
Through the pale blue, down your skin
Down your skin"

-Rickie Lee Jones

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black, White and Gray.

This is something I wrote out for the magazine team I work with, Cabbages and Kings. The next issue we put out is likely to have a theme if we can get enough submissions to match it. I actually wrote this in order to bring the subject some clarity, as we each had different ideas of what it meant. But this is one case where vaguery might help our situation, since your average submitter generally has an idea of what they want their piece to look like well before we get to see it.

Every piece of visual art created within a black and white color scheme has a certain inherent appeal to it. Stripping all the color out of an image only seems to give it a new sense of clarity; as if the hidden underlying substance of the image has just been revealed. The artistic honesty found in that familiar monochrome palette will be this year’s theme for Cabbages and Kings magazine: Black, White, and Gray.

Now that’s not to say that color will be absent from this issue. Color is often just as honest a form of expression as grayscale, and to omit it would be to omit sincerity. What we’re looking for is a piece’s ability to take opposites and extremes (black and white) and use them to create a full, complete picture, with every new shade and contrast in between.

To truly understand what black, white, and gray represent, one must attempt to really understand his own way of seeing the world. Because essentially, that’s what the theme is: a person’s own beliefs, morals, perceptions, and where their world is clearly defined or left in a state of uncertainty. These are what make up the subjectivity of the human experience. This is what we mean by Black, White, and Gray.


So I guess the layman writer/artist might have some trouble with this one. No worries. I'll try to come up with something matching this concept, and probably post a draft here when it comes to be. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waking Life

I've been having this recurring dream lately. I want to say I've had it for the past week or so, but it may have been longer. It's hard for one to be the judge of his own mind sometimes....

We're in a coffee shop or something. I'm sitting there having an in-depth conversation with someone very specific. This person changes in different instances of the dream, but it usually tends to be the same 2-3 people in my life. These people are people I'm incredibly close to; I feel their pains and joys as much as my own sometimes. But I guess I've been unable to speak what I really want to say to them as of late.

In the dreams, the conversation between us ranges between the mundane to life-and-death consideration. Whatever the topic, the key unchanging variable of this dream is that this conversation is in some way a form of unrestrained expression; there is a no-holds-barred honesty between us. Whatever social restraints from this honesty there are in the real world are removed from these dreams, and the two of us converse in complete isolation and freedom.

The dream is not over when the conversation ends. The two of us stand up. We come towards each other slowly. And then we embrace like it's the first and last time we ever will. That's when I wake up.

I suppose I have been finding it hard to open myself up lately.
Not to get anyone confused, though. There are some reasons why I wouldn't want to. But with a new need for release seeping into my unconscious mind, I'm starting to wonder if these reasons are good enough.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Corner of My Eye

Yesterday I realized something about my world that I had always found it hard to focus on.

In the corner of my eye, there is a figure. It is an abstract; it has no coherent face. It has no discernible voice.
It has no singular shape. It's actually more of a plurality that an individual being. Because no matter where I go and what I see, he/she has never found his/herself out of my sight.

Maybe I never noticed this because I tend to take things for granted when they're out of focus. This background, this atmosphere, this very room can be easily seen as a temporary dwelling on my way to somewhere else. A new or familiar backdrop for every scene, perhaps. But the thing is, just because it's always moving and shifting and changing, that doesn't necessarily mean that it hasn't been the same background the whole time. Because I'm starting to open myself up to the idea that this is not simply the space I occupy for a while, but actually the palette with which I paint my life. These colors, these sounds; they are what defines me despite their kaleidoscopic inconsistancy. When I look into my own memories, there is a place for every color and sound and smell and breath of air and drop of rain and person I come across, and I am just a collective of all of it.

And so when I see in this way, the blurry sides of the world I see suddenly become just as important as the clearly defined road ahead. Because these present indescribable uncertainties are now certainly my inevitable future. Because when I tell these stories to myself or to others, it's not the story itself that brings memory back to reality. It's the unpolished edges that I experience, should I choose to relay them, that prove to the world I have lived a life.

And in this light, there is a new figure; an old figure. It is not something I fear in any way, because I think I have some recognition of who they are. If I was to turn my eye, if I was to see them up close and in the light of focus, they would appear as someone I know, having a conversation with someone else, texting, maybe just off in another room. But despite this appearance, I know that is not the sort of thing the abstract figure does with them in the same time, in the same silhouette. What it does when I can barely make out their shape, let alone their voice. Somehow, in the quiet places bordering my vision, I simply know that they are comforting, healing, rebuilding, bringing hope to the hopeless, finding the love inside to reach out and impact the lives around them. I can see this because I can see the results of this love, and I'm familiar with it's source and the people who have chosen to take it on as their veil.

Experiencing this in action is the ultimate form of peace for me. That there is something, whether I can see it or not, fundamentally going on all around me for the good of the world. And that maybe in the end, I will have been a part of it.