I have come to the conclusion that writing means pulling yourself up out of the rubble of your dreams of being a writer and just getting on with it, sometimes one painful word at a time. Hell, it’s just learning to push through fear and expectation on bad days, and on good days closing the door gently on them saying, “go on, I’ll join you later, I just have to finish this page…”
I am in that weird place in life when I have lots of time to just observe things. I see when the wheel on the wagon is wobbling but it’s not my wagon.
Not any of it is my wagon.
I just try to appreciate every moment and applaud every success. “Yay!”
Crazy people, cruelty and all the other painful things humans can perpetuate on each other, hatred, confusion, obscuring the way forward; It is a crazy time. Maybe it is always a crazy time.
I find zazen, sitting staring at a blank wall excruciating, but preferable to action often because I don’t know what I can do in the face of so much suffering. I know I am probably getting my practice completely wrong. I imagine Bodhisattva cringing. I remember teachers telling me not to talk about my practice outside the Dokusan room…
The other day the bus was so full the driver told us to try to get on at the back door. It looked impossible and I was the last in line. All these backs towards me, every shade of skin a human can possess represented before me, me, covered in liver spots and freckles. For the doors to close, fat, thin, male, female, shy, brazen, tall, short, young, old, we had to smoosh together.
“Well, we are all good friends now!” Laughter and smiles, people looking over their shoulders at me in the crush, somehow making room for me where there was none.
That was enough.
It is never a personal Titanic on which we arrange the deck chairs.
Comedians in Cars
Sometimes I think the genius of the old Jerry Seinfeld show was how his character might think he gets the point better than his other co-characters but the actual point is usually completely missed by all of them. For me, often the whole point of the show was that awesome bass rift. Literally the cherry on the top of the situational sundae.
But I don’t know how much of any of that was actually Jerry Seinfeld. But supposedly on Comedians in Cars the guy really is actually Jerry Seinfeld. He likes to complain and he likes to talk about how he and the people he admires did it better than anyone else, namely comedy but occasionally there is a moment in Comedians with cars when the awesome bass rift should be present, when on some level your brain shifts and you go, “that is actually brilliant, I think my brain is developing.”
When I am tired but can’t go to bed because it is only 9pm I sometimes let The Netflix roll out one Comedian in a Car After Another ’till it asks me “Are you still there?”. Which seems nice, but The Netflix doesn’t leave room for any response other than “click” which is annoying because I think it is a question that requires a longer answer. AM I, am I really?
On this occasion the comedian was Mario-Joyner and it seems he and Jerry Seinfeld are good friends. Its like the going for coffee with friends who completely ignore you and never acknowledge you or apologize at the end for being rude, which is sort of every episode and the big joke might be that The Netflix is passing the cheque to us. But then it comes to this bit:
(First skip the crap about watermelon and black people pleeeeeease.) Around ten minutes in Mario talks about Sammy Davis Jr. and how he could do everything Jerry hits his usual note about specializing in comedy and comedy alone and why that is how a comedian gets better, or at least a seat in the car.
“That’s your focus theory. (However) You can get good at anything you can get good at, it’s not one or the other…When you are focused on something you are focused, there is no other thing.”
And he, Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian he is says, “I’ll try to agree on that.”
It is funny because, whether it is just shtick or not we laugh because Jerry, being smart, has still missed the only point in the whole seventeen minutes that was worth hearing and we are sad, so existentially sad that we let out that ‘POP’ of laughter.
Awesome bass rift.
All these thoughts came into focus while watching this video, which was part of Sigrun’s post called, The world as a process of unfolding.
I know I am running the danger of becoming another boring senior who uses a blog to go on about her grandchildren BUT I am actually going on about painting my granddaughter!
I can’t afford to buy a lot of gifts but I have oodles of art supplies so I make a card instead of buying one whenever there is an important birthday. I think a 1st birthday is significant so here it is, complete with sparkles and sequins.
I have a hard time getting started on a painting and yet once i get going I really enjoy it.
It’s always nice when things work out.
But About Complaining About Stuff:
What I want, and how things are do not always agree. But there are so many things contributing to everyone’s inability to do “their absolute best” all the time, not the least of which is how they are treated by others. Paying attention includes sometimes just calming down, and appreciating that “when all is said and done” isn’t it great that we are alive, and at the same place, at the same time?
I guess that’s why I like babies. They’re like (the best) tourists, happy to be here even if they are occasionally confused or uncomfortable, just enjoying the ride.
I mean, air conditioned buses? Whenever they show up, they are wonderful! I can ride one to a library and use the WiFi, watch a movie or show or do research, even have a nap and escape the heat, with my grandchildren!
See how I did that?
*this is not referring to actually speaking out where to not do so would mean doing harm.
I once saw a cartoon with a very chest fallen man getting a tattoo. You can see that it is just being finished and there is the common mistake, “looser” instead of “loser” and the tattoo artist is saying, “Oh, geez, sorry man!” and the sad is saying, “Naw, doesn’t matter…”
I used to write long and what I considered heart-felt and thoughtful letters by hand to a friend who moved far away. When I finally got a letter back he said, “it is really annoying how you always write ‘really’ with only one ‘l'”. In my defense, it was before personal computers and GOOGLE.
So now I have no excuse.
I just re-read my last blog post.
I apologize to everyone who’s eyes bleed when they see such glaring mistakes!
The Creative process is:
• Like an ear worm but it plays a song in your head no one else has heard.
• Like the best story you ever heard that you wish someone would write so you could read it again.
• Madness, insanity.
• Devotion, inspiration.
• Why many people live in basements, though there are other reasons too and you may never know for sure which ones are the most compelling.
• The Muse. She will kill you if you follow her and she tells you this repeatedly, and if you want to live well and happy into old age, you’ll spend your life trying to ignore her. Because following her, you will forget to eat, pay bills, have friends; you will cry alone, you will laugh alone. If you share your madness, you risk seeing her dissolve like a dream upon waking. And when she leaves (and she will leave you often) you’ll wander around looking for losers to hang out with only to drop them when she returns.
• The smallest part of writing anything.
I just finished “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande and now I am reading, “The Man Who Wasn’t There, Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self” by Anil Ananthaswarmy. The first made me feel a lot better about my mother’s death, which was a “good death” all in all. He makes reference to several other books which put me on another path of reading, hence “The Man Who…”
“Thinking Fast and Slow” is the next one I hope to get from the library although I am 369th on a waiting list.
I have had a few experiences and I possess a few patterns, at times frightening and other times wonderful . But I have never enjoyed being “odd” or “weird” except perhaps when I finally gave up trying and just practiced Zazen and Tai Chi a lot. It is exciting for me to learn that neurology is coming up with some very neat connections; New ideas that sometime sound like Buddhist psychology, Zen, Shinjin. 🙂