January 2001

Wednesday 31

New York City. Wednesday and Thursday. Updates for week on Friday.

Monday 29

On Sunday: I start my new job today. I'll be working out of my home in Northampton, Massachusetts, commuting to New York City for two days a week, Boston one day, and today and Tuesday I'll be in Concord, New Hampshire where the company I have joined is located. More to follow:

Sunday 28

Super Skiing Sunday. I should have known better. I should have remembered what happened last year at Sunday River. I should have remembered how Daryl waved for me to follow him down this meandering trail (I thought at the time; "Oh, My GOD! What has he gotten me into.") a sheer drop of moguls, a double black diamond--and there was no way to turn back. I should have known better today when once again he waved for me to follow him down another meandering trail--only this time he led me into the woods, "Blizzard's Island," an island of moguls in the woods. It wasn't quite as difficult as the mountain face of moguls in Maine, but as I was about to enter the woods his friend said, "Bruce, how well can you stop and turn?" And I thought to myself; not very. All I could think of was that I must have looked like Bugs Bunny skiing or Homer Simpson. I didn't hit any trees or break any bones but my ankles sure were tired from all that turning away from all those trees. I headed for the base lodge for a well-deserved rest while the two of them continued to snowboard.

Friday 26

Updating (all day/night) and Preparing. This morning I'm listening to EQX, the slope-side alternative rock station for the upcoming Winter-X Games, where I'll be for a few days next weekend with my son. Updating all entries (16--26) below for past week and then preparing for start of new job.

Thursday 25

Calories in = Calories out. Information In = Information Out. I went skiing today for the first time this year. Wow! How quickly did I realize I'm simply not in the shape I thought I was; not enough calories burned out for those coming in. Running on the treadmill twice a week is not a good for me as running everyday; lifting weights twice a month is not as good for me as lifting twice a week. Maybe this time of change for me (new job) is a time to start to put in place actions (more exercise, better food, less food--and drink, consistent writing) that will make me a healthier and happier person. As Stephen Covey says:

Habits are patterns of behavior that involve three overlapping components: knowledge, desire, and skill. Because these three components are learned rather than inherited, our habits are our second nature, not our first. Thus, we are not our current habits. We can make or break our habits......Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective. But this is not the case. We see the world not as it is, but as we are--or as we are conditioned to see it. The more we are aware of our basic paradigms, maps, or assumptions, and the extent to which we have been influenced by our experiences, the more we can take responsibility for those paradigms, examine them, test them against reality, change them if necessary, and listen to others and be open to their perceptions. It becomes obvious that if we want to make relatively minor changes in our lives, we can focus on our attitudes and behavior. But if we want to make significant, quantum changes, we need to work on our basic paradigms--the way we view ourselves and the world around us.

According to Covey, The Seven Habits provide a sequential approach to move us progressively on a Maturity Continuum from dependence to independence to interdependence. As you become truly independent, you have the foundation for effective interdependence. Private Victories precede Public Victories. They are:

Be Proactive
Begin with the End in Mind
Put First Things First
Think Win-Win
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Sharpen the Saw

I am thinking about my habits: what I eat, what I drink, the extent to which I exercize, the time I set aside for mediation, the time I set aside for writing, the time I set aside for my family, the effort I put into my job---all these call for change.

Wednesday 24

My Poetic Resume. A Call from Susan.

Newspaper Boy
House Painter
Warehouse worker
Tobacco farm laborer
Antique Refinisher
Department Store Clerk
Art Gallery Assistant
Picture Framer
Insurance Salesperson
Newspaper copywriter
Magazine Promotion Director
Magazine Marketing Director
Marketing Specialist
Marketing Director
Pizza Delivery Man
Marketing Director
Printing Salesperson
Printing Account Executive

Susan called this evening. I first met Susan 15 or 16 years ago one night at a poetry reading at Tin Pan Alley in New York City.

Tuesday 23

Resignation = Liberation and Rejuvenation. I woke early and wrote my letter of resignation.

Monday 22 (add copy)

New Job. This is a great opportunity and I have my friend and old customer from Reader's Digest, and now at Grey Advertising, to thank.

Sunday 21

Turning Point.

After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force......The movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results.

--I Ching

And from the book, The Turning Point (Science, Society, and the Rising Culture) by Fritjof Capra:

To understand our multifaceted cultural crisis we need to adopt an extremely broad view and see our situation in the context of human cultural evolution. We have to shift our perspective from the end of the twentieth century to a time span encompassing thousands of years; from the notion of static social structures to the perception of dynamic patterns of change. Seen from this perspective, crisis appears as an aspect of transformation. The Chinese, who have always had a thoroughly dynamic world view and a keen sense of history, seem to have been well aware of this profound connection between crisis and change. The term they use for "crisis -- wei-ji -- is composed of the character for "danger" and "opportunity."

Saturday 20

The Darkroom. There was time when I carried a camera everywhere I went and took photographs everywhere I went---walking along Eighth Avenue on my way to work at Hearst Magazines, in the offices at work, at lunch in the depths of my favorite bar/tavern, Tin Pan Alley, (add copy). And now I carry it once again. It's all Heather's fault (and God Bless her, this very special person), of course, what with her Friends of Jezebel's Mirror---what was I to do; not participate.

Friday 19

Snow on Birch Lane.

Thursday 18

"We're mature 12-year-olds." I'm talking to Daryl about, well, I guess "THE Facts of Life." I'm not prepared to talk very intelligently right this very second but I figure it needs to be done--now. And I say, "Daryl (add copy)

Wednesday 17

Art for Armani's Sake. The first thing I thought was how great my wife would look in any of these designs/outfits/costumes/fashions. Here is a photo of her on our wedding day:

(add copy)

Tuesday 16

Perplexed by ART. Moved by Turrell and Richter. I arrive in New York City hungry. Before going to MOMA, I stop at one of my favorite midtown restaurants, Michael's on 55th Street, for lunch. There I stop a woman on her way out and say "Excuse me. Is your name Pamela?" "Yes, it is," she says. "How do you know me?" I explain to her that we sat together at a Random House Authors Breakfast a few years ago, how she told me she had a story in Self Magazine about her twin sister (I can't find it on-line; e-mail me if you'd like a copy) , how I went and bought the issue, how moved I was by the story. "Yes, now I remember," she says. "I have a new book coming out this Spring. I'll sent you an invitation to the party. It's on Jackie. Here, look." And then she leaves. And soon, I leave, too. Walking through the MOMA I feel oddly perplexed, depressed. I'm not sure why? The exhibition, Open Ends, is wonderful, presenting the most extensive display ever mounted of the museum's holdings of contemporary art in all mediums. I think it's the posters from the 1960s. One in particular; a photo from the Vitenam War, MyLai, and super-impossed over it the words: "And babies too? Yes, babies, too." And the stark events; cops turning dogs on blacks in Birmingham, or fighting in Ireland. And then I am very moved by

15 paintings know as October 18, 1977 by Gerhard Richter, one of the 20th century's most famous works on a political theme. It commemorates the day on which three young German radicals (Gudrun Ensslin, Andreas Baader, and Jan Carl Raspe), members of the militant Baader-Meinhoff group, were found dead in a Stuttgart prison; they were pronounced suicides, but many people suspected that they had been murdered. The hauntingly powerful images derived from newspaper and police photography. Also included in the series is Ulrike Meinhof, who was found hanged in her cell on 5/9/76 and Holger Meins, who died from the consequences of a hunger-strike on 11/9/74.

I leave MOMA inspired and mournful and make my way to Forum Gallery where there is an exhibit of paintings and drawings by Robert Bauer.

Bauer's paintings have been compared to those of Northern Renaissance masters. His oil on panel technique, tonal range, and isolated, nearly melancholy portraits evoke responses similar to Flemish devotional paintings or momentos. They are painstakingly detailed and psychologically intimate, sometimes somber in feel, yet somehow life-affirming.

Writing in the catalogue, poet John Yau states:

Philosophically speaking, Bauer is a realist artist who understands that reality, and the specific form with in, can never be seen the same way twice. He doesn't develop motifs; he investigates particular subjects. Thus, in his portraits he repeatedly returns to a small group of individuals (family and friends), but sees them very different in each painting......the reticence of Bauer's paintings mixed with his sensitivity to tonality and light suggests that he slows time down in order to register its passing......(he) is determined to see all that can be gleaned in a moment of sustained looking. Thus, the deeper tension that runs through these portraits...hints at a wellspring of melancholy, an unrelenting awareness that time not only strecthes towards infinity, but that the now one inhabits is equally vast and infinite......In Bauer's paintings and drawings, seeing, thinking, and feeling become one.

Monday 15

Something Helena said: I'm thinking of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his historic speech (a short excerpt below) but I'm also thinking about something Helena said: "Is there a federal holiday in honor of a woman?"

Around the time I took this photo of my daughter, Danielle, she said something I have never forgotten, and Helena made me think of it this morning. She said, "Dad, is it safe for a woman to walk downtown?" And "Can a woman be president?"

Even though we must face difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed---we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal.

I remember wondering why a girl of this age would be frightened of walking downtown; there must have been an incident but it was a sad day to feel her loss of innocence---innocence in the sense that a child greets the world each day with such awe, discovery, joy; rarely, if ever, fear. And now, tonight, I wonder if I have done a good job in helping her to be strong, smart, confident; in helping her to believe she can be anything she wants to be--yes, even the president.

Sunday 14

The Age of Interdependence. I started to read a book last night that I bought ten or eleven years ago: "The Politics of the Solar Age: Alternatives to Economics" by Hazel Henderson. In the first few pages she writes:

The Solar Age signifies much more than a shift to solar and renewable resource-based societies operated with more sophisticated ecological sciences and biologically-compatible technologies. It entails a paradigm shift from fragmented "objective" reductionist knowledge and the mechanistic, industrial worldview to a comprehensive awareness of the interdependence of all life on earth--what is now well-known as the Gaia hypothesis: that our planet is a living organism and we humans are participants (not just observers) in its evolutionary unfolding. Thus, the Solar Age is also a new Age of Light with our human technologies learning ever more from Gaia's own genius in capturing and utilizing the daily flow of photons from the sun; from Gaia's mighty cycling of all elements, water, atmosphere, soils, plants and animals; and the myriad ways of cooperating with each other and joining the overall symbiosis of these planetary processes in a new age of enlightenment. This new Age of Interdependence is one of mutual development--far beyond the narrow concepts of economic growth or development, which are proving disastrous in Africa and elsewhere and leading to hunger and desertification.

My stratgeic goal in this book was to explore in further depth the reasons why economics had colonized public policy making to the exclusion of so many other, more appropriately-equipped disciplines, including general system theory, cybernectis, ecology, game theory, anthropology, engineering, biology and others. I wanted to offer a guide to help citizens demystify economic policy analyses and daily announcements of Gross National Product growth, inflation, trade balances, deficits, interest rates, etc., which obscure vital debates about new priorities and creating positive futures for the human family.

We now must help create greater understanding of the fact that today's "leaders" and "decision-makers" are no longer in charge of events, even though they still imagine themselves the "rational actors" of their decisions models...

The task for all of us committed to these social-change movements is to see that we are one coalition in the larger politics of reconceptualization.

Saturday 13

Girlfriends. Shaving. "Dad," says my son on the drive home from his indoor soccer game in response to me questioning him about all the girlfriends he has had in the past year (Alysa, Alissa, Katie, Lauren, Jori), "it's normal to have a lot of girlfriends at my age (12) until you find the right one." "Oh, and Dad, when Jori comes over after her basketball game, could you please not come down into the basement?" And minutes later; "Dad, do you think I should start shaving?" And I almost veer off the side of Route 66 into a snowbank when I turn to look at his "moustache." WHOA! SCREECH! HOLD ON DARYL! (and Bruce). And just then, I really can't explain why, I start singing (in my mind) these words to a Grateful Dead song:

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it's been.

Friday 12

Simply Light. And Shades of Green. Interesting story in yesterday's New York Times entitled "Quaker Simple, Simply Beautiful." It is a story about the pristine and plain-chambered Live Oak Friends Meeting House in Houston, Texas which was designed by the artist (and Quaker) James Turrell (in collaboration with Leslie K Elkins Architecture). At the center of the meetinghouse is a piece of his art: a finely cut, 12-foot-square hole in the roof, with a retractable shelter, that looks up from the Friends' assembly to the sky. Meetings like Live Oak have no programmed service. They gather largely in silence. And the individual seeks greater awareness by looking inward.George Fox, who founded the Society of Friends in the 17th century, called revelations that came to members during meetings "openings," and shared inspirations a "leading" to a "way that will open." Turrell has spoken of how Quakers go inside to greet the light of revelation: "This is going into meditation and waiting for the light to come. That is something that I worked with from a very young age, and this has many connotations too, It has to do with spirit, spirituality, thought..."

"Light is a powerful substance. We have a primal connection to it.

But, for something so powerful, situations for its felt presence are

fragile ... I like to work with it so that you feel it physically, so

you feel the presence of light inhabiting a space... I wanted to

employ sunlight, moonlight and starlight

to empower a work of art."

In David Park's words, as noted in his book "The Fire Within the Eye: A Historical Essay on the Nature and Meaning of Light:"

This is the light that shone beside the prisoners in Plato's cave and which they could not see--the light of the ideal world. It is what the eye of the soul seeks as it looks upward toward the truth. In our world truth is impossible, and what we experience as light is something different, the transitory and imperfect copy of the light that never goes out. In the ideal world, God, truth and light are the same.

And in today's Times I learn about 10 Shades of Green, an exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Buildings account for nearly half the energy consumption of developed countries and are a major contributing factor to global warming, one of the world's most urgent environmental problems. This exhibition explores how implementing "green" design principles can create buildings that are less taxing on resources. Through examples that include low-cost public housing and an art museum, the exhibition demonstrates how green architecture influences the entire form of a building when it is a vital consideration from the beginning of the design process. Organized by the Architectural League of New York, the buildings presented make several crucial points, which can be found at their fascinating website. One of the buildings featured in the exhibition is the Beyeler Foundation Museum (pictured here and below), designed by Renzo Piano. Constructed at Riechen, near Basel, Switzerland, at which the concept of light is further developed.

Thursday 11

Just Sand. And Best Guys. An old friend sends me this, which I've heard before, but it is worth repeating:

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about 2 inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. "Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things -- your family, your partner, your health, and your children -- anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles & the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your wife out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

Another friend writes to say: "Hope you guys can come to an agreement. You are two of the best guys in the industry." Just when I was starting to feel less than best a simple thought to remind of who I am. Thanks, Susan.

Wednesday 10

Lunch with Vibe/Spin. Trip to Central Islip.

Tuesday 09

Seek First to Understand. Then to be understood. I have an interview tomorrow; I consider this a conversation--this is who I am. Who are you?

Monday 08

Before Appearances:

"Fine. Blue foliage. That's all for today about today's weather--that necessary region between the world and me.

"The mask of appearances, the veneer of appearances, the illusion of appearances, and so on, -- all in all, everything that matters lies behind appearances, in that refuge for dreamers, that homeland of displaced persons, that kingdom of priests. But what when we are bombarded by appearances? Dazzled by appearances? What of the famished sweetness that comes with appearances? The season that stretches between appearances and me? The region of the echoing air in which appearances resound? That intermediary battlefield with invisible lanes and crystal, stridences, glissades, lustre? That lustre region staring me in the face? It has been said for you and better than you: every time the dawn appears, mystery is there in its entirety. There. Before appearances."

"Into the Light." Pierre Bonnard. By Ludovic Janvier

Sunday 07

The Key to Being Emotionally Healthy. And "Stasis and Agitation; Ursula von Rydingsvard's Large Scale Sculptures." Today, in church, my minister, The Rev, Dr. Peter Kakos, talks about how he believes you cannot be emotionally healthy unless you live for a cause greater than yourself. He says that cause is being a servant of god. He says we need to surrender (Arabic=submit=surrender) ourselves to god. Three things, he says, will come to us if we live in the palace of love: we will be fed with the bread of life, we will be protected, we will be loved. I am a servant of god as a writer/artist. I am a servant of God as a (_________); you fill in the blank.

In the January 2001 issue of Art in America there is a short article about Ursula von Rydingsvard (pictured above: "Three Bowls"). Born in Germany in 1942 to Polish/Ukranian parents in a German work camp, the artist spent most of her early childhood in refuge camps until her parents and their seven children were able to imigrate to the United States in1950.......:/Psychological turmoil. Natural erosion. Somber. Stoic. Comforting.

Saturday 06

"Adult-Friendly" Drinks and Late Night Basketball. Actually, no longer basketball ("Dad, I miss playing basketball in the basement with you," says my son, Daryl.) but pool; Nine-Ball and Rotation. Betsy and I bought the pool table last year for each other as "our" Christmas Present which meant we had to take down the basketball backboard and net at which Daryl and I had played almost nightly games of one-on-one for the past three or four years; which after 20 or so points would explode into court-like fights: "Dad, you're not playing fair; you can't dribble down court leading with your butt" or "What do ya mean, Daryl, Mr. Basketball, that wasn't a three-pointer." But now it's pool and Daryl has become the pool shark. Waiting to take on Betsy's student intern from Smith College, January, who, I understand has been practicing her game between political science readings and exams. The drinks? Well, the invitation to Daryl read: "You're invited...13th B-day Party...Parents also invited!!! Come and enjoy the company of other parents of teens...We're combining our adult party with this special birthday. We have our own room and promise adult-friendly drinks..." At the party, my neighbor turned to me and said, "Bruce, you should write a short story about this." This being the adult-friendly drinks which were being served at the cash-bar. Of course, I brought no cash and had to ask my neighbor (husband of neighbor mentioned) to buy Betsy and me a few glasses of wine; I knew I should have had a drink before leaving for the party with the adult-friendly drinks.

Friday 05

Balancing Life By The Rule: and my Wife/Life: (left; Kuan-Yin, Buddhist Goddess of Compassion)When I was running yesterday morning I was thinking about my wife, how I loved her, how she makes me better, how she inspires me, completes me, how beautiful she is, smart, and, of course, late last night we had a fight, arguing about whether or not we should consider selling our house. I heard what she was saying but I did not really hear her. I seek peace and harmony but find sometimes it is what I am without. From time to time, I experience agitation, irritation, disharmony, suffering; and when I suffer from agitation, I do not keep this misery to myself. I distribute it to otehrs and it permeates the atmosphere around me. Certainly, this is not the right and proper way to live. And today, I ask myself, how can I be a more loving person and I find an article, "Opening the Heart, The Practice of Loving Kindness," that talks about how if we cannot love and accept ourselves exactly as we are, how can we expect to love others. The author, Madeline Ko-i Bastis, founder and director of Peacefull Dwelling Project, is a Zen priest and the first Buddhist to be board-certified as a hospital champlain. She has worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NYU Medical Center, and in the AIDS Unit at Nassau County Medical Center. She writes in the Winter 200 issue of "Spirituality & Health:

The Buddha taught that the twin fruits of meditation are wisdom and compassion. They are like the wings of a bird: lacking one, the bird cannot fly. Mindfulness meditation focuses on arousing wisdom; Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, helps us to uncover and nurture the qualities of compassion and to bring balance into out lives......In working with Metta, we begin with ourselves, then radiate the loving-kindness...

Which brings me back to: India--where meditation is defined as "the end of sorrow" and "mastery of the art of living." Jesus said "By their fruits ye shall know them." And the Buddha explains, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought." According to Eknath Easwaran, who came from India to the United States in 1959 on a Fulbright, and in 1961 founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Berkeley, California an eight-step program for leading a more spiritual life (from his book Meditation, A Simple 8-point program for translating spiritual ideals into daily life) would include:

1. Meditation
2.Repetition of the mantram
3. Slowing down
4. Giving one-pointed attention
5. Training the senses
6. Putting the welfare of others first
7. Spiritual companionship
8. Reading from the scriptures and mystics of all religions

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It is taught nearby (and at centers around the world) at no cost. The dad of a friend of my son's took the ten-day course and as he explained the more one practices this technique of self-observation, training the mind to be able to remain fixed on the breath, and learning to remain balanced in the face of everything one experiences inside, the more quickly one will come out of negativity. Gradually the mind becomes free of negativity--it becomes pure. And a pure mind is always full of love--selfless love for all others, full of compassion for the failings and sufferings of others, full of joy at their success and happiness, full of equanimity in the face of any situation. When one reaches this stage, the entire pattern of one's life starts changing. The balanced mind not only becomes peaceful in itself, but it helps others also to become peaceful.

In a related story, today's New York Times, in an article entitled "You've Got Mail: Mega-Fitness for New Age Jocks (Life Force Attached)", reports on the power of meditation. Here are the first four paragraphs:

During a 1983 winter ascent of the east face of Longs Peak, a 14,251-foot mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Steve Ilg, one of the top young climbers in Boulder, was muscling his way up an overhanging section of rock. The first rays of light were peeking above a panorama of snowy mountains when the slab he clung to broke loose. Mr. Ilg struck the cliff 50 feet below so hard the two large plastic water bottles strapped to his back exploded like grenades.

He fractured a vertebra in his lower back and damaged his pelvis. Doctors said he would need surgery to ever run again. "No way," said Mr. Ilg, an ultra-distance runner, cyclist and extreme back-country skier. Instead of following the conventional medical route, this 5-foot-7, 150- pound personal trainer applied what he knew about physiology and Eastern philosophy to the ultimate test: to heal himself.

He meditated. He honed his diet and twisted himself into tortuous yoga poses. He lifted weights and studied martial arts under a Taoist master. He ran, cycled, skied and snowshoed up and down mountains in Colorado and New Mexico. For Mr. Ilg, it marked the birth of a training program he calls Wholistic Fitness.

"The essence of my work," he said from his home in Tarzana, Calif., "is that improved sport performance is a byproduct of personal growth."

And now back to the beginning; Balancing Life By The Rule. Debra Farrington shows us the difference between self-help and spiritual growth in her article on creating a "rule" to guide everyday life, based on Christian monastic rules. Contrasting a rule with a New Year's resolution, she says that the latter is based on what we think is wrong with us (too fat, too poor, too tired, etc), while a spiritual rule grows from a desire to become more fully what we were created to be.

Thursday 04

Links; Fixed. More updating below and in December, including photo of moi. But still need to tell Christmas Eve story of my sister's lost wallet and finding nearly dead women in car when looking for wallet in parking lot. Also--then helping my minister read at Christmas Eve service: Festival of Lessons and Carols.

Wednesday 03

Flash Back/My Back Pages. Driving to work this morning I was listening to WRSI (voted by many as one of the BEST alternative radion stations in the United States) and heard this Bob Dylan song sung by The Byrds:

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fires on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
"Well meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much younger then,
I'm older than that now.
Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
"Rip down all the hate," I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull, I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm older than that night
(The next two verses were left out by The Byrds)
Girls' faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
"Equality," I sopke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm older than that now.
In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led (sisters fled) by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much younger then,
I'm older than that now.

What does it all mean, I asked. Was there some pattern forming ("Ideas as my maps"), bringing together this song, these ideas with what I wrote a few days ago about You're Not A Kid Anymore, a cosmic connection if you will, or was this just a simple, forgettable coincidence. And was it another coincidence that not only did I quote Robert Smithson yesterday but so did I learn today Paul of Alamut. And was it a coincidence that a girlfriend from 30 years ago should suddenly re-appear in my life this past year asking me questions I needed to be asked: Do you believe in prayer? I am praying for you. Do you believe the Internet is bringing people closer together? Why is it my daughters, when they met you, felt like you were their Uncle? I felt it really didn't matter and I travelled to find an answer/answers: And I found that quite possibly My Back Pages could be describing the existence of me, Bruce Barone, who has found over time that my faith becomes younger, more restless, more concerned with questions than answers;

The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

I find this Tikkun article in which the author writes:

"My Back Pages": Somewhere in the United States, a cascade of disjointed images and broken grammar poured into a smoky dorm room on a winter afternoon in 1964. To some who listened carefully, the song might have meant that the loss of youth's idealism is not a mark of growing up, but of growing down, not of maturity, but of regression. "Ah, but I was so much older then,/I'm younger than that now." To those with more interest in irony and ambiguity, the lyrics might have suggested something quite different: that the idealist's first angry response to injustice is mistaken. That by trying to "rip down all hate" I may be promulgating another "half-racked prejudice," and that by simplistically seeing "life as black and white" I may be turning into my "enemy." Perhaps only by moving beyond conventional stories and clear oppositions ("Good and bad, I define these terms/Quite clear, no doubt, somehow") does one become truly oppositional, that is "younger" rather than "older." And, looking back from the postmodern cool of the 1990s, one hears an adumbration of Rorty's "liberal irony," a skepticism toward all claims that any truth can give us grounds and foundations for our beliefs:

I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

But if, as is more likely, one simply let the words and images flow through one's consciousness--"crimson flames," "corpse evangelists," "mongrel dogs," "confusion boats"--one might have heard the refrain as an enigma, like a Zen koan, to be absorbed and contemplated inwardly. If one dwelt within this paradox of becoming younger rather than older, and did not seek to decode or make sense of this riddle, one might have dwelt within a vision of time so confounding as to make memory itself untenable.

And this article, "The Role of the Critic in Hypertext," in which the author says reading becomes a form of mapping space and thus, maps offer an avenue for critical exploration building a map of connections; "Using Ideas as Maps" the airport as social and spatial text:

"lines of flight" become literal: the take-off and landing of the planes. The endless, expansive corridors between each terminal as an example of smooth space. The maze-like paths leading to the ticket counter and the tightly regulated entry points onto the plane as examples of striated space. There are a variety of signs--flashing displays which announce gate numbers, times for arrival and departure, and possible last minute changes and cancellations--all signs which must be interpreted properly if the traveler is ever to arrive at the hoped for, final destination.

Which leads me to the Winter 200 issue of Parabola in which there appears a reprint about Synchronicity by C.G. Jung:

The problem of synchronicity has puzzled me for a long time, ever since the middle twenties, when I was investigating the phenomena of the collective unconscious and kept coming across connections which I simply could not explain as chance groupings...what I found were "coincidences which were connected so meaningfully that thier "chance" concurrence would be incredible.........Synchronicity is no more baffling or mysterious than the discontinuities or physics. It is only the ingrained belief that creates intellectual difficulties and makes it appear unthinkable that causeless events exist or could ever occcur. But if they do, then we must regard them as creative acts, the continuing creation of a pattern that exists from all eternity, repeats itself sporadically, and is not derivable from any know antecedents.

Tuesday 02

Today: Reading: I read "Robert Smithson and the American Landscape" and "A Found Weekend, 1967: Public Sculpture and Anti-Movements" (Created just a day apart, two innovative works, by Claes Oldenburg and Robert Smithson, embodied an era) in the January issue of Art in America, but first I read this:"I don't wake up as a nonagenarian," says the ninety-year-old Stanley Kunitz, quoted in an editorial in today's Christian Sciene Monitor about how just maybe we all wake up as poets in the morning as we are all connected to the divine. "I wake up as a poet. I think that's a big difference. Kunitz describes his poetry as a "form of spiritual blessing" and the poet is someone who is ready "to convert the dailyness of life into something greater than that little life itself."

Consider, for example, the closing lines of title poem from his most recent book, which, its epigraph informs us, was composed on the poet's seventy-ninth birthday.

The way I look
at it, I'm passing through a phase:
gradually I'm changing to a word.
Whatever you choose to claim
of me is always yours;
nothing is truly mine
except my name. I only
borrowed this dust.

It should be noted that this poem, "Passing Through," is addressed to Kunitz's wife. And now Smithson speaks:

"Pavements, holes, trenches, mounds, heaps, paths, ditches, roads, terraces etc. all have an esthetic potential."

"My own experience is that the best sites for 'earth art' are sites that have been disrupted by industry, reckless urbanization, or nature's own devastation. For instance, the Spiral Jetty is built in a dead sea, and the Broken Circle and Spiral Hill in a working sand quarry. Such land is cultivated or recycled as art."

"The ecologists tends to see the landscape in terms of the past, while most industrialists don't see anything at all. The artist muct come out of the isolation of galleries and museums and provide a concrete consciousness for the present a it relly exists...The artist must accept and enter into all of the real problems that confront the ecologist and industrialist. There should be artist-consultants in every major industry in America."

And Oldenburg, writing about his inverted sculpture, Central Park Hole:

"By not burying a thing the dirt enters into the concept, and little enough separates the dirt inside from the excavation from that the whole park and its connections, in turn, enter into it. Which means that my event is merely the focus for me of what is sense, or in the corner of a larger field."

Monday 01

Remembering: was it nine years (!) ago--the photo album tells me so; 1992 New Year's Eve, my daughter, Danielle (fourth from left), has a sleep-over party: it was, I remember, one of the best New Year's of my life--the love, the innocence, the life, the laughter, the joy; the young girls ordered out for pizza, made ice cream sundaes, watched movies and MTV and at midnight out they rushed into the dark cold night to the snow covered yard and beat and banged their pots and pans--it was loud, it was beautiful--all these young girls in their nigthgowns outside giggling and playing a song to remember; the morning brought a fox to our house and all the young girls saw him and we felt blessed and they put on their snow-suits after pancakes and went sledding.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?
And days of auld lang syne, my dear,
And days of auld lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?

Robert Burns sent a copy of the original song to the British Museum with this comment: "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man's singing, is enough to recommend any air."