May 30, 2011
‘Now you don’t talk so loud. Now you don’t act so proud.’
May 29, 2011
I was at my friend Victor’s house. He and his bride had invited my girlfriend and I for dinner. We were sitting in the backyard when he pointed out the snails crawling up the tree of knowledge that grew out of the middle of Victor’s patio. I saw snails as the land version of shrimp. Where were they headed? Did they know that they were climbing up a tree or did they think it was just a steep hill on a routine stroll? Victor wanted to talk about viagra. But I was intriqued by the snails. Didn’t they know that there were birds up there? Didn’t birds eat snails? I couldn’t help thinking that our lives were not much different than the snail’s. We have no idea what awaits us. And yet we plod on. I wondered if the snails in their snail fashion had the same thoughts as I. I looked up the tree. There were two birds on the top branch. I imagined the birds looking down at the snails climbing toward them. One bird turned to his buddy and said, “I’m allergic to fish.”
May 28, 2011
Many young people are accused of being lazy. Of course this isn’t true. They’re doing things but just not OUR things. Many of those things are passive which is one of the attributes of being lazy. Listening to their ipads, or surfing the net, or texting. But these are activities that involve… involvement. They are interrelating. To be really lazy requires years of training. Many older people have mastered laziness. Except they resent it. The last thing they want to do is sit in a chair. And look. Most older people are still chained to a desire to be useful. The perfectly lazy person must be useless. He must not be engaged. (Which the Sunday couch potato football spectator is not. He is engaged.) To be honest, there are very few lazy people. It is just too difficult. I suppose God is lazy. What has he done lately? But outside heaven, the only truly lazy person is the man fishing. (Not fly fishing). Dropping your hook in the water. (No worm on it. Maybe a piece of corn for appearances sake.) Sitting by a pond where no one has seen fish for generations. Letting your mind empty out. And waiting. It is almost zen like.
May 26, 2011
“My father said that we’d all end up in a box. Buried in memories. Death is no mistake. Life was an explosion that we live in. Everyone was headed in different directions with a common goal. Nothing makes sense in the unexamined life. What counts are the lies you get away with. Father was one of those young men called the baby boomers who never had to prove their metal in war or desperation, and thus remained eternally angry. And their anger ate them up inside, made them hungry and dissatisfied. I hated my father. He never thought I existed.”
May 26, 2011
I was reading an article some time ago which puzzled me. It stated that all the mathematics that works for our 3 dimensional world plus time also works for a 2 dimensional world. Our world is an animation. (This is also called the halographic principle.) Many years ago I was a teaching assistant in philosophy. And I suggested to a bunch of undergraduates that the people walking away from us outside our window weren’t actually moving away. They were just getting smaller. Of course this idea is very ego centric. If it applied to everyone then each of our experiences would cancel out our neighbours. Still it was fun. And I think that’s what is intriguing about a lot of ideas that are speculative. They are fun. We play with ideas. Not because we necessarily believe that they will lead anywhere but because they are fun. And fun defines consciousness. I’ve never heard a rock laugh. (But I am not totally dismissing the possibility.)
May 25, 2011
May 25, 2011
He woke me up this afternoon. Banging at the back door. Drags me outside. So he could drag on a cigarette. Having trouble with his subway. Smoke down a long dark tunnel. I told him. Quit eating red meats. My invisible friend laughs. Then looks at my cat. Salivating. They eat them in China, he says. They eat squirrels in Rosedale, I respond. What does that prove?… I wake up from the dream. Banging. It is Victor at the door. He wants to chat.
May 23, 2011
At 17 Modigliani wrote that artists had ‘different rights, different values than do normal, ordinary people because we have different needs which put us – it has to be said and you must believe it – above their moral standards.’ [This was quoted in a review, of MODIGLIANI A life by Meryle Secrest, in the NYT Review of Books] All through my young life as an artist I seemed to have fought against two stereotypes. One was the artist as an aristocrat whose position allowed him to do what he pleased. The second was as the artist as a victim, a Christ like figure who suffered for the rest of us. Ironically enough it appears that the first stereotype often evolved into the second. These alpha humans are interesting. For a while. At workshops, in bars, at meetings of the staff of literary magazines there always seemed to be this emphasis on the ‘ego’. Everyone has one but after one is in the company of the egocentrics for long their company becomes as distasteful as too much sugar in your diet. And I knew people like Modigliani. Sometimes they weren’t artists, but priests or lawyers. I always felt that it was not necessary to be abnormal to be an artist. And yet… I love Modigliani’s work.
May 22, 2011
Many of my friends had roots in the old country. But as we grew older, we became more Islington (a suburt of Toronto) boys than Italians, Irish, or Slovaks. We thought that our roots lay in the future, in a world we would help create, not in the past. But that future did not happen. Reality plays tricks on you. And the idealism that we espoused has turned into romanticism, a yearning to return to some golden past. It would be easy to say that this is because of a lack of leadership (at least in Canada). But Harperism is more a reflection of the general sentiment of people. A people who have become accustomed to a spoiled and comfortable life. A kind of second hand American dream. Because I have been involved in the arts, I believe that the artists have a great deal of responsibility to share. Too often they have been satisfied with book launches, art showings, professorships, and celebrity status. The arts have been too busy patting themselves on the back. Most people in this country (Canada) could not name an artist, author, poet, composer who is Canadian. And this is not because those names have not been publicized. It is because their work is not read, listened to, or looked upon.
May 22, 2011
I was watching a film the other night called The Black Death. It reminded me of the small town I lived in for four years. Called Hamme. There was a path, with high walls on either side that went through the town. This was created at the time of the plague so that those who were passing by could go through the town without coming into contact with anyone in the town. A very odd memento.