Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A writer confronting these tumultuous times

As you can see from the date of my last post, I've had a little trouble finding the inner space to write about writing as I, like so many culture workers these days, grapple with the tumult of our cultural moment. I am not surprised by it. I've been writing and speaking of "The Great Unraveling," as some call it, for quite a while now. But to see it actually unfold...and so fast...

The great Buddhist scholar and deep ecologist, Joanna Macy, speaks of this decisive moment when how we humans choose to proceed has existential consequences unlike any we have faced before as a species. That is not a comfortable place to find ourselves. And this decisive moment comes just as the culture of this nation in which I live has gone into steep decline. Even if our former paradigm of constitutional order based on capitalist western democracy was still dominant, we would have (and have had) grave cultural challenges in addressing this time of crisis, but even that paradigm itself is now unraveling.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Just a bit of sun's glitter on the surfaces of what it means to be alive

That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. There is not any part of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surfaces of the water.   ~ D. H. Lawrence

Last night I was out with my brother driving in the Wisconsin countryside on a crisp, clear October night - deep night, about 1:30 in the morning. The half moon - so bright and orange, its roundness palpable, and so near it felt like I could reach out and touch it - was setting in the western sky freeing up the light of the Milky Way. We stopped on a dark rural road and got out of the car to get a little dose of awe and wonder.

Home. My home galaxy. These days I find this so comforting, to gaze up into the swirl of billions upon billions of stars and who-knows-what-is-out-there and recognize it as my "place" in the universe.

Sometimes it feels crucial to enlarge

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

" actual shock of experience..."

Came upon this quote today from a Facebook page devoted to the great Joseph Campbell.

Creative artists ... are mankind's wakeners to recollection: summoners of our outward mind to conscious contact with ourselves, not as participants in this or that morsel of history, but as spirit, in the consciousness of being. Their task, therefore, is to communicate directly from one inward world to another, in such a way that an actual shock of experience will have been rendered: not a mere statement for the information or persuasion of a brain, but an effective communication across the void of space and time from one center of consciousness to another.

Joseph Campbell, "The Masks of God, Volume IV: Creative Mythology" (Copyright © 1968 Joseph Campbell Foundation)
And I thought - what a great way to think about my vocation as a writer. To be a "wakener to recollection." To reach from one inward world to another, the linking of creative consciousness. Poets may do this best because poetry breaks with the rational mind that is so often our stumbling box.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

We have some things to talk about, yes?

February - my last post on this blog was in February.

A writers blog means a writer is writing about writing. So, where did it go?

Being a writer means there are times when you back off, get some distance, when you feel changes to which you need to pay attention. It's not that I'm not writing, it's that something about the writing, about being a writer, is changing.

The unraveling of the culture is having an impact. The outcome of years of this nation's glaring incapacity to SEE, much less ponder, discuss, reflect on the massive changes underway in our world is now clearly visible in this stunning political year. We see it now, this clinging to an old way of, of what? of feeling what it is to be a U.S. American, clinging to cultural identities that largely don't exist anymore.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

And then emerging from the darkness...

Yeah, remember me? I last posted in October on the theme of "Writing in Darkness," and then I went dark - like the winter sun over our cold northern Great Lakes.
Steam rises off open water of Lake Michigan

I've been writing in the darkness - of early morning, of frigid cloudy days, of the late afternoon darkness that is so tough for a lot of us who live in the North. It's part of what makes us who we are, living through these cycles. It gives way to tremendous creative ferment, if one is not afraid of it, not afraid of the darkness - both without and within.

I again commit to keeping up with this blog. We'll try again.

It's not that I have stopped writing. Stoneboat, a literary journal based in Sheboygan, published one of my poems in their fall edition, "2070." It's one of my ecological poems, one of my apocalyptic poems. A lot of art these days is full of this foreboding, poetry included, or even especially. Also Hollywood films. We know what's coming. Whether conscious, deliberately unconscious, pushed back from our attention because it is too terrifying and the changes in our lives required to keep the worst from happening too unwanted - we all know...