The Necessity of Grace

I have less than a week to come up with rent. I called a place called “Beyond Shelter” here in L.A. for potential emergency assistance (all State of California programs have been suspended due to our budget ‘shortfall’ while Los Angeles has become the ‘capital of homelessness’ in the country).

The extremely cold, uncaring and unhelpful ‘worker’ on the other end of the phone at “Beyond Shelter” told me that I’d have to wait until I got my ‘three day or quit’ notice to apply for help and then, maybe they could help, maybe not.

That was what set me off. The blase manner with which a person who is supposed to be ‘helping’ people in crisis basically told me, I’d have to wait until a crisis point and then tough luck.

She had NO COMPASSION, didn’t care and even hung up on me after telling me ‘we’re not a shelter’ — which was not what I asked; I never even implied that they were a shelter — but that caused me to tell her maybe they should change the organization’s name — take any mention of ‘shelter’ out of their title because by the way she was talking to me, they clearly had no concern for one of the basic human needs (food, water, shelter) AT ALL.

Compassion, humanity, helping people in need. Where has that gone? People seem to care only about how much they can get for themselves and have become increasingly callous at a time when, really, if we wanted to evolve into our ultimate potential, we would be helping each other out, just a little more.

All I would want is an emergency grant to try to survive until I can find work again. I clearly have ‘made mistakes,’ as people love to point out when you need help of any kind, but I have paid and continue to pay for them dearly.

My dream would be a place where people can get that ‘one-time’ help, then, if interested, make a commitment to get their lives back, however that needs to take form — classes, monitoring, some form of accountability — to be ‘eligible’ for ongoing mini-grants, micro-lending to fellow Americans (a crazy concept apparently since all these programs serve other countries not the poor or economically ‘vulnerable’ here in the U.S. which I find unfathomable).

But all I have been referred to is a giant bureaucracy that, once engaged, seems to be a vortex of wasted time and whatever precious resources I have left.

Let’s find a way to help people get their lives back, now, before more of us fall away into obscurity, or worse.

The Bottoms

“…that there was no bottom to life
you could always fall lower
into a bestial groveling
and when you reached that point
nobody cared or would ever
and then, with no feelings left, that was the strangest
feeling of them

‘the x-burn’
-Charles Bukowski

How do you know when you’ve hit the bottom? Oh, you know. There is no mistaking the physicality alone. The sense of not knowing when it’s going to stop. The only thing you can really do is hope, and that involves action of some kind, like keeping going, putting one foot in front of the other and just going, for no particular reason at all.

And, like Bukowski says, there is absolutely no guarantee that it won’t happen again, just because you reached it once. So you just have to try to hold onto the little blips of progress and make them stick, hoping you won’t end up like Van Gogh whose paintings sell for more money than he ever saw in his lifetime.

“Vincent left Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in 1890 and began contacting his brother Theo. van Gogh continued working and created a number of pieces; nearly one painting day. Vincent viewed his life as horribly wasted, personally failed and impossible. On July 27, 1890 Van Gogh attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest. He survived, but died two days later from the wound.”

How does one live an authentic life, create work with integrity and an original vision that conveys what you want to say or show about the times you live in, for some future reference, like a Philip K. Dick novel or Baudelaire’s decent into the streets of Paris, Charles Dickens and Dostoyevsky capturing their environments, exactly and so vividly you can see, feel and taste the story.

That is the fear of “the bottom,’ yet that is the same place that informs the truth conveyed, by Henry Miller “…who made / failure / glorious / and finally / lucrative…” – More Bukowski, from “the end of an era”

Yet success requires more than pure effort or even talent, skill and perfection of craft. There is the unfortunate turn of events called luck and sucking up, the being ‘discovered,’ taking the hand out, or as the band Tool so perfectly puts it in response to a ‘fan’ wearing the latest trendsetting uniform:

“All you know about me is what I’ve sold you,
Dumb fuck.
I sold out long before you ever heard my name.

I sold my soul to make a record,
Dip shit,
And you bought one.”

That may sound harsh, but ‘selling out’ is no slight accusation to anyone consumed by the action of making the intangible take form, creating something we as humans don’t necessarily need but want to remind us of our humanity, our common link to each other, for without that, we become robots, makers of infrastructure, builders of buildings, manufacturers of commodities, assemblers of products the consumer just takes apart, and eventually discards.

When you attempt to make that thing called ‘art’ in whatever genre suits the right side of your brain, you try for that indelible mark, that expression that won’t be forgotten, or, at the very least, that piece of work that reaches someone for a mere moment in their preciously short lives.

I guess “the bottoms” are there to keep you from forgetting yourself, where you came from, who you belong to (the human race), to remind you of things forgotten when recognition and success come too easily for too little effort. It is also some kind of adhesive to that ever-elusive ‘truth’ we hope to convey, that one of you, out there in the stratosphere, may feel the same way, gain some relief from that shared perspective or even see in a new way those things you never understood before. A guide to living life, in a way. An ode to beauty, the glory of our experience, here, together, as we rise up, once again, from the bottoms.

journal entry 2

I have been in a highly productive albeit extremely self-destructive, like some Bukowski-Baudelaire-Faulkner binge all wrapped up in hiding out because I am usually outside myself–or completely shut in and trying to ‘catch up,’ why is that? I’m quite sick of it. I do not want to keep doing what I’m doing on a metaphorical, metaphysical and categorical level.

I don’t know how to stop, but I am trying to transition. The issue of making of a living continues to be difficult. I don’t know exactly what to do (and, a long time ago, it seemed like I used to always know exactly what to do, I was known for it in certain circles, but that kind of pressure cannot be withstood forever) about any of it. I don’t want to keep doing what I’ve been doing for much longer. I would like to diversify. It is difficult. Hard to know what exactly to focus on as, say, three job openings, positions or things people would pay me to do.

What is my expertise? I suppose the more clearly I can define that, the better I will be able to attract the kind of partner I need to help get me onto the next plateau, because right now, saving hundreds of dollars just to survive, not get ahead, seems to be a trend here in L.A. right now, just barely ‘hanging on,’ and I am sick of it, would gladly step off the treadmill for a more consistent mediocrity, if need be.

I want to figure out how to be successful at the things I like to do and am good at, which happen to do with entertainment in various forms, media, business concepts (applied, is the problem, that is why I seek a business partner to help me sort it out, strategically).

Now, I have to recover, once again from a binge-ing on the adoption search, a trying to write something cohesive while avoiding and procrastinating, and not coping too well, sort of lost in this weird creative trance that has been exacerbated by bad habits, neglect of health, extreme authorship behaviors–there is something to it. Now I almost feel like I need to go on retreat, somewhere where someone takes care of me for one week, I don’t need much, just not to have to worry about money or my next job or rent, bills, etc. due in a few weeks. Just can’t relax. What you sign up for when you ‘go freelance.’

It does no good to rehash. I could use a bigger space to spread out. What’s next? The life of an acetic if I know what’s good for me, except I live with an addict so my addictions come out, like that dream last night that keeps popping up. Who says being creative in stretches of 36+ hours isn’t a possible option for production behavior — then sleep 17 hours. I don’t know anymore. I know I am doing some wrong things as I achieve right things. I tend to get very self-abusive as if fuels this creative focus, which is strange, because it’s at the distress of my body and I have to get a handle on that.

It’s a daily effort, a mind game, something more to keep track of. And now, it’s just what can I do now. Well, I am slowly coming down from too much excitement and yearning, and now I must face reality. That is all I feel like I do, as I am always ‘networking,’ looking for work, trying to hustle. Ignore what’s going on around me that means nothing.

Survival mode. Again and again. but progress being made, a tv for god’s sake and being able to write this online.

okay, that is enough.

give thanks, for real this time.

haiku 2:33

the more you approach your destination

the more you disappear

re-encroach upon a past

you just can’t slip

no matter

how many

re-invent yourself seminars put you on

a rebate mailing list

Because, let’s face it, you somehow became more of an artist than a commodity, along the way, and it’s a slippery slope defining where the field lies ahead

like brother fighting brother over

taxes, cotton, ports, warehouses, stevedore’s leaving bastards behind who hid in their workshops

while a long-suffering woman

bends over a hot stove

for so many years

she ends up disappearing

into the smoke

from sugar cookies

right before the sugar burns

and it gets too crisp

Just like that, that’s how I’d like to see my Mimi, infusing sugar cookies, that scent that spreads

through a loving kitchen

where the food always heals

and the wood stove in the winter or screen doors in the summer

bring in the thankfulness to have some years

away from the grind that was

The Nickel Company

and his protege

just adopted the sense of disappointment

and failure

I never want to embrace

much less go near

just not an option

don’t know where I got that from, but it is all mine, I know that

must be genetic, like blood type still not sure RH neg or B pos

brown eyes, brown hair, golden tan, ivory tone, rose good on cheeks, charcoal smokey eyes, no 80s blue or purple

But I don’t necessarily want to attract attention

that was a thing

long ago adapted to as a coping mechanism

deconstruct that, would like to just turn it into art, and touch a nerve where someone else

is able to relate

Looking for the next book to sink into

Thoughts on choosing the right book for your state of mind

I am browsing through a few ‘soft’ reads like ‘Getting the Job You want” and ‘Start Late, Get Respectably well if not rich than at least better than it looked like it was gonna be closing in on 40, and knitting books, the poetry of Bukowski, but I’d love to sink myself into a novel like Bridge of Sighs which just captured my attention and communicated the way I do, which is rare and amazes and inspires me to get away from a purely subconscious cesspool of images, impressions, partial analyses of date because no resolution can ever be reached in a vacuum, no matter how many self-help servings you can consume in one setting.

I am in a little bit of a quandary as to knowing what I want, but I don’t know how to get there, just like Jimi Hendrix sand, that about summed it up.

So my goals have become part and parcel with breathing and just being mindful induces anxiety that’s not there when day-to-day survival consumes your every thought, bled into automatic action, one foot in front of the other up that one half block to Hollywood Boulevard where the bands practiced above the Thai restaurant; you’d hear a cacaphony of drums and lead guitar riffs competing for synergy never arrived out until the leavening action of the bass and hopefully some other percussionary aspect, a powerful vocal harmony and synthesizing zone, the chance to move your body, without falling, sing the chorus coz it means something, brings back some part of your life you remember or understand and can find some peace in sharing the experience, however metaphorically, it’s the beauty of being mindful, pulling together human emotion, flinging it off, flinchingly, to be singular, authentic but sinking into the soil and growing with the crop, harvesting your contributions to re-sow, water, feed, sing to, help grow and encourage to thrive.

goal # 1: Encourage others to thrive

goat # 2: positive vibration in intention, reaction should adjust more quickly not hold onto anger but allow to wash over like a little rogue wave, feeling the power reminds us we are alive, not perfect little dalai lama deepak chopra oprah bono red gap conglomerate of well-meaning messages on the t-shirt of false prophets, coming soon to a theater near you.

goat # 3: to hone my creative skills and abilities, more focus, more training, more alignment

goal # 4, not goat, this time: more spiritual commitment to practice; actually believing it; looking for an anchor, church maybe, bible study online, recontact radical jesus maverick minister

goat # 4: practice less ecess, already doing a little better on that, day by day, some backsliding, but it’s being mindful of my tendencies, denial being the driving force, trying to reign in, especially when linked to some kind emotional turmoil, kept at a pretty steady 4.7 – 5.8 range, with peaks up at 7 occasionally, very rarely is the urge to erase myself coming up, but I must say it is always in this confined space, which I would like to migrate away from within 60 days, to a bigger, more open space where I can do my work, keep an extra room for out-of-towners to crash and work on projects, so space for screening room, edit bay, sweeting session booth, sound proof recording room.

a kitchen with a middle island, space to cook with others, 2 ovens, old school fire pit, slow cook option, weekend retreats like we used to have those Sundays at Ben Lomand where the world changed and big ideas floated about amidst antique cabinets and the most beautifully crafted tables at every turn, a practical yet elegant wardrobe, mirrors surrounded in rich textured wood, red or brown, carved spectacularly, the endless turns and twists through floors of one aged someone’s-beloved object, with stories to tell but they cannot speak, I swear that’s why the whole clairvoyent to touch thing could be kinda cool as one of my superhero psychic friends’ powers.

he’s got psychic in training girl leaving high school for community college but needs to go to Harvard; she saves him on designated points throughout the series; finally agrees to go to college, but not Harvard, chooses St. John’s Great books instead, masters in cultural anthropology and psycho-social mental predilections, developing psychic abilities [the ones you want, minimizing the ones  you don’t care for as much but have to deal with anyway, how they can support one another, mentally and with different ‘sensitivities’ — he is a BLOCKED SORCERER MOLD, model 974, an ancient brand that came our nearly perfect on the first try, 2 little tweaks over a 2-year period and viola! The catch: you don’t want too many of them walking around, they will start to over-modulate their specially-tuned frequency and start, literally, banging their heads against the wall — the idea is to put them in BORDERLINE positions, in areas that deal with society at large — healers, teachers, wisdom-keepers, changers, interpreters, people who help progress, the making better of life on earth for humans so we can share what is good about humanity with the universe, and perpetuate positive traits of mankind.

More on that later.

The book that started this off was The Evolution of God, and any book that starts off with “The Primordial Faith” and then goes into the native people of Siberia, an immediate conjecture, a place in the mind, first succulent then barren when the myths of wishful thinking get subsumed by what you know to be true, over time, through personal and therefore subjective and unable to truly be trusted, verified and analyzed as reliable data for assessing any proof of evolutionary status [I’d like to think it exists in layers: THE PHYSICAL – bodybuilders, Olympic swimmers, US Open tennis players, running backs, dancers, yogi masters; THE MENTAL — the scientists, inventors, philosophers, rhetoric builders, soothsayers, librarians, historians, documentarians, wrtiers and poets-at-large; doctors, lawyers, developers of products, by-products, paths and concepts that come to fruition and shuck them shitloads of pay dirt, yeah, I’d say their brains are worth admiring: THE PSYCHO-SOCIAL PRE-AMBIENT PROPONENTS OF UNDERSTANDING, JOY AND MOVING ONWARD AND UPWARD, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE ENLIGHTENED ONES, WHO SOMETIMES MAKE MISTAKES BUT GAIN THIS STATUS THROUGH TESTS AND TRIUMPHS, INDUCTEES CAN BE SUSPENDED FOR BACKSLIDING BUT RE-ADMITTED EASILY ON THE SLIGHTEST NOTION OF REDEMPTION.

Those are the people we admire, they change society, somehow, by communicating to a wide range of people who need to be brought together.

They also work behind-the-scenes.

They sometimes do what needs to be done.

They always consider intent, bring forth three core values, whenever making a difficult decision that effects another’s life in some negative way.

The obligation to be kind and comforting as much as possible.

To try to make yourself better every day, to apologize when you are in the wrong, to forgive yourself, and try to stay on track.

There will be negative vibrations to keep you on your toes, there is temptation, bad habits always come around like a hungry dog, you can’t be perfect all the time, the pressure finally made you crack.

So this is my morning pages entry of 09.10.2009

I think I did good

someone wrote

‘you are a sinner’
of course I am
‘just go ahead and do it, without asking’
on the cartoon with lots of orange hue

and for those who encourage me with ‘great post,’ I just want to thank you! I will continue to strive to get better and improve my message, meaing and method, with an ultimate vibe to be mindful of and that is ‘hear the joke’
per god


because it was the first word that popped into my head before these lyrics

i won’t be broken again

i won’t fall apart,

a little known madonna tune

‘nothin equals nothin’ is one of my favorite pop song lines, ever.

…he likes to sing along and he likes to shoot his gun…

I just spent last week with an up-and-coming, in danger of being a wannabe turning into a has-been ‘indie rock band,’ and something the bass player said really resonated about what we consider music. He said the lead singer, pushing his mid-forties, happily married to an heiress after struggling in sweat-drenched clubs and dive bars from coast to coast, had broken down Nirvana’s songs and they were basically classic ‘pop’ songs with a new face, a schizophrenic, dark and twisted face — ‘I will eat your cancer until it turns black’ and “Rape me” are hardly candidates for Neil Diamond covers.

Which all got me thinking about the notion of a pop song and the incarnations needed to make it in the world today. It needs to make you want to dance, or at least move your feet; if not that, then play air guitar, bass or drums. Then there is the sycophantic matter of pop lyrics, usually sniveling the loss of a two-timing bush, or a bad boy who breaks hearts, after charming your parents and eating all the turkey dinner, while hitting on your younger sister. The inspiration for Hole and L7, borrowed from the feminist papers of Gloria Steinam.

Pop songs basically cover three topics: love, lost love and dance, dance, dance til you drop. Then came along this genre of indie pop rock, an anomaly at best—because indie and pop seem to be contradictory and pop seems like the temporary supermodel phase of rock.

So it’s back to the lyrics, they have to save the day.

“Sunday morning, praise the morning, just a restless feeling by my side.”

Just watched “Adventureland” which has a great soundtrack, lost of Velvet Underground. I haven’t slept since yesterday, a trend when I get home and see Billy for the first time. We stay up all night, then get productive the next day cleaning, taking care of business and listening to Sly and the Family Stone belt out “All Squares Go Home!”

The intention of this off-shoot of my blog is for me to do my ‘three’ pages here where I can free associate what goes on in this busy brain of mine.

I am trying to come up with the tv shows I want to be making. That  I will write about some other time when I am not about to fall asleep, Gregg Allman-style in his plate of spaghetti incident; I also want to write some new stories and my musings on how so many places don’t have trash cans. It’s a perplexing matter that I hope to deconstruct.

So I didn’t quite make my “3 pages” {from The Artist’s Way} today, September 6th, but I am annotating the need to get my discipline back, make myself vulnerable with my writing again. It’s been too long. So all of those potential readers, get ready for an opus.

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