Monday, November 13, 2017

Meanwhile, during the unraveling...

What did we do? What are we doing? What are we creating?

Because create we must.

Yesterday I saw an intimate version of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" at an invitation-only performance at the Actors Studio in Manhattan. The great Estelle Parsons directed, welcomed us, spoke after and invited her actors' input in a post-performance talk-back. I mean, if you love theater...

I had read the play during a semester course on 19th century Russian literature back in my university days in Boulder CO, but had never seen it performed. I have long been attracted to the darkness and despair in a lot of Russian lit, though I cannot tell you why. I'm neither dark nor despairing. But I think I always picked up something that feels a deeply rooted part of the human angst - the struggle with meaninglessness, the psycho-spiritual version of entropy, the darkness that lies at the heart of Christianity with its body-loathing, belief in the power of some outside Devil always ready to draw us into the filth of the world, judgment and a wrathful God.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Writing in the 'End Times' - a comprehensive mission statement for this writer

No, not those end times, not the biblical apocalypse, not the extinction of humans that so many environmentalists predict is imminent, not the death of the planet (it will live on long after we're gone). No, the end of these times, the end of the US American era, the end of U.S. dominance in the world, the end, more than likely, of our political and governing institutions as we have known them.

Only for most U.S. Americans do we not notice that this is happening, so comfortable are we in perceiving ourselves within a certain way of being that we cannot imagine it could ever end.

But it's ending. As I have written elsewhere and repeatedly, Trumpism is not cause but effect. The collapses underway opened a huge vacuum in the culture into which these people could storm in. The destructive force of this rightist movement, ideologically rigid, uncompromising, and fully bent on destroying government as a service to its people (who merely pay for it after all), has been paving the way for this takeover for a long time. The vacuum was created when the 2-party system ended up fully bought by different factions of global corporate power, when more and more people realized that their lives had become irrelevant to the powers-that-be.

Okay, this is not a political blog. It's a blog about writing and why I write. But why I write, and what I write about, the things that most concern me and make it worth my time to sit with my journal or laptop, has a lot to do with how I perceive the times in which we live.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Losing focus - then trying to get it back

I imagine this is the plague of many a writer whose work addresses the times in which we live. I imagine it is also impact of the rapidity of change in our world right now, the intensity of events, and the intense connectivity and exchange of information with which most of us engage on a daily basis now as we try to understand our human predicament.

I've struggled as a writer this year - not because of who is in the White House (though that adds a measure to it) - but because of how clear it has become that we are facing a mixture of crises that are unfolding rapidly and which we humans do not seem to have the capacity to address, at least not in a way commensurate with the scale of the crises.

I've been working around themes of ecology, spirituality, and culture for some years now. But clearly they are not differentiated "themes" anymore. They are a nexus, a point of connection at which the true nature of the crisis is revealed -

Friday, April 7, 2017

Threshold or Precipice

A bit of a thrill ride, isn't it - the circumstances that lead to that headline?

Because we don't know which one it is. We don't know if we are on the verge of a major breakthrough or a complete collapse. I don't know if we have lived in such an unpredictable time, at least not since World War II.

I feel the uncertainty. Many, many do. Many feel it without knowing what it is they feel, and that, too is scary, makes the times even more unpredictable, because people don't always act rationally when they are both afraid and not clear about what it is they fear exactly. Easy to project onto "the other," then. Easy for the moment to sink into chaos and more violence.

Also to seek simple solutions and a savior, a strongman, to make their world coherent again.

We are sinking into a period of incoherence.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Distraction, suppression, repression - curses of our times

I don't mean that kind where you have a tough time concentrating, lots of little things to do, restlessness, email and social media, oil changes, paying bills, daily life that becomes excuse for avoiding the blank page.

No, this is a deeper plague, a stress on the psyche, near daily trauma. For me, to sit down to write, to look at that page and get set to begin the words - I am almost afraid at times of the volcano of emotion within, of what might pour out - grief, rage, fear, profound disappointment and disillusionment - I fear the truth within me.

Also the danger of penetrating, life-altering insight, the kind that disturbs, that something huge is about to shift. And this is not your own singular volcano. It is bigger than you, a force in the field, something trying to break through. And the fear it could therefore shatter.