- 4 feb 2003 -

When I was a lad I came upon the East.  I suspect this is pretty common among curious youngsters longing for understanding of the Nature of Things.  I looked into the Zen of it all, the Rinzai and the Soto both, settled into the Mahayana, and acquired, buffet style, my own plate of understanding which has served over the years to provide the calm I've needed during times of great stress.

Fused to this outlook (inlook?), or perhaps enrobed in it, is a theatrical point of view toward the universe, a belief that self amusement is what the cosmos is involved in and, all things being equal, it's a Really Big Shoe wherein forgetting that the play is a play is the best way to get to the pith of the thing.  If the sound and the fury are signifying nothing then perhaps the best attitude, since you're stuck here, is to enjoy the ride and make the whole shmear a really good, engrossing story.

When life gets very frightening, when loss is on the doorstep, when the mask of individuation gets stuck on one's face, the mantra of "it's only a movie" can act as a kind of ejection seat from it all.  In a sense it's denial.  But so is aspirin.  Religion is essentially self-medication, but then all medication is self-medication when you get right down to it.

So when we find ourselves hurtling toward disaster, entering a hostile atmosphere with friction creating an unbearable heat, we pray Please God don't let us suffer.  Acknowledging powerlessness or, at least, the relinquishing of control can unburden one's soul if one is inclined to believe in such things.

Luckily, in middle age, I've forgotten all this and life is a daily torpedo ride of fear and love.

Since you last heard from me Amy's had a few more seizures, prompting a restart of the game of musical meds.  I can feel my own body decay with stress manifesting itself in a parade of nightmares and explosive jolts into wakefulness in the wee hours.  Sometimes I wake up yelling.  Twitching and aching are my latest hobbies.  Viv's car died.  Our furnace went on the fritz.  The lawn is browning nicely.  The darkroom's like a morgue.  The compressed disc in my neck has set my left wing on fire.  Viv spent a week in Hawaii on business thereby booking me on a one-week run of "Woe Is Me," a maudlin one-man show based on ancient cave dweller paintings which depict a tiny hunter being trampled by mammoths and nibbled to death by cats.  It's a triumph of self-pity.  Magnificent! says the Times.

My calendar is a scratch pad of trips rescheduled and plans undone, so I'm finding solace in a rich fantasy life where I'm married to Diana Krall, Marisa Tomei, and Helen Hunt and oh yeah Viv (I knew she'd see how sensible it was), and we all get along fabulously.  The world's best photographers are driven to their knees by my New York and San Francisco exhibitions.  Random House says yes, okay, add another zero.  Architectural Digest won't leave me alone about my house in Montecito and wow was I lucky to find this au pair.  Where did she learn to cook like that?!  Boy my hair looks great.

So there it is.  I had to get this out.  Good to post again.  I'm told sanity will return eventually if I relax or receive a sharp blow to the head.  Sorry if I've disappointed but hey, reality may not be a tourist attraction.


  today's music:

"Miles Away" -- Basia -- TIME AND TIDE


today's wisdom:

"Ordinarily he is insane, but he has lucid moments when he is only stupid."

- Heinrich Heine (on an ambassador) 1848.

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