They will be shutting down parts of the 105 and the 5 for the new Die Hard movie. This doesn't really affect me. My show is done and most of my days have been busy with a) either dreaming in mounds of lush covers and pillows or b) reading through every book that catches my attention.
Right now I am reading T. (complicated middle name) Boyle. It is a good book of short stories - not an "I'm going to recommend it to my kin," but enough to garner a nod of sorts, most especially for his run-on sentences that he disguises with the Kerouac dash, as in - to make things go forever. Of course, he uses his dashes in multiple ways, and a bit more grammatically correct than my last flourish. It's more like an aside - 9 times out of 12 - or a disclaimer that will give you a humorous nugget - in some cases - not given in the description of a character.
Boyle's style can be easily mimicked if you have a propensity to describe food like a four star chef; an over dramatic flair that borders on fantasy; and a balance between absurdity and reality that leans more on the latter for comfort and moralistic A-Ha's!
I like it. I can see why he is a popular writer in this age. I have even considered doing a PhD with him and his compadres at USC. At least, considered it among my 1001 other possibilities. My God! I don't even want to think about it yet. A couple more days on my I-land. Maybe even a margarita.
me. I also like butter. Not a lot of it. Just enough and usually on bread. I don't really like butter on anything else except for my mom's rice. Oooh, that's good. Shish kabob, rice, and butter. Mmmm.
That's one of the things I've enjoyed since I got Enlightenment. The other is all the questions people keep asking me, like: "What's it like?" and "How does it feel?" Those are some funny questions, because I don't feel any different. I'm just Enlightened and I like butter. That's about it.
There are times when I have kooky dreams. I don't know if that has to do with Enlightenment or not, but I do get them sometimes. It usually happens after I have a lot of butter. I'll be sitting there thinking about going to sleep. I'll be like, "Hey, I'm about to go to sleep," when all of a sudden there'll be this big, red plate coming towards me. Usually, I try to duck, because it looks like it'll take off my head, but after a while, I'll realize it's just spinning there and I'm dreaming, so I'll just sit and watch it.
The Secret talks about the possibility of manifestation. It came at just the right time for me. I would suggest it to anyone who is looking to make their dreams a reality.
I am grateful for palm trees, the Moon, secrets, breasts, nipples, Burt Kristbaum, noodles, McDonald's, my parents, my family, my friends, art, Basquiat, Keith Haring, Tomatoes, Whole Milk, Pudgy Pigeon, Dentyne Ice, Brandon Jackson, the woods, trampolines, Kate Mitchell, Vikram Bhagat, Neel Dhingra, Maghan Stat, John Forester, Swigsets, football, pencil cracking, Tommy Welling, Basketball, sewers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Drama Club, Governor's School, cotillions, Violent Femmes, Soul Coughing, Sublime, Jane's Addiction, The Doors, Nirvana, The Beatles, John Lennon, Cat Stevens, U2, Foo Fighters, Nicole Norton, the number 19, soccr, Mr. Strobel, Mrs. McVaugh, Mr. Zippe, East End Cafe, Richie, Kevin, Sonny, Mark, Cecil's Water, drugs, heroin, cocaine, acid, mushrooms, crack, fliers, self-promotion, palm trees (again), University of Delaware, Michael Cotsell, Mr. Rewa, Ann Waldman, Bobbie, Bhanu, Steven, Teresa, Sean, Marlowe, Nikki, Dave, Maura, Shane, Santie, Dylan, Boxing, Habibe, Jesse, Garages, Ping Pong, Snow, Mountains, Buddy, walking, Whole Foods, Movies, Target, cigarettes, ashes, dust, Christmas, Buddha, Shamans, Tim, Dariusz, Sonny, envelopes, agents, Gary, books, writing, S.E. Hinton, J. D. Salinger, Nabakov, Kafka, heart, painting, water colors, gas fireplaces, Ramaya, Susan, teenagers, body odor, plays, musicals, soccer, The Shins, shinguards, competition, Los Angeles, homelessness, Trevor, Mars, Golden Ashtray, the New Moon, coyotes, skunks, cats, bears, fish, salmon, eggs, muli-grain oat bread, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, cinnamon anything, waffles especially, Hollywood Boulevard, Mickey, Fitzy, BOB, DTH, WG, Lindsay, Kelsey, Brian, Screen Door, producers, television, money, unemployment, libraries, Gabriel, running, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Birthdays, cupcakes, felatio, cunnilingus, sexual intercourse, fliring, eyebrows, arms, legs, toes, fingers, eyes, felings, coughs, sniffles, sickness, Big League Chew, softball game, tennis, Andre, Nike, Master Tsang Tsao, Sufis, Byron Katie, Milk, cookies, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Sesame Street, Bill Cosby, Michael J. Fox, Back to the Future, Luke Skywalker, Iran, Havah, ob gusht, spoons, forks, knives, plates, kitchen, room, bed, sleep...
Please place answers before me so that I may see them with the utmost clarity.
1. I will sell The Whopper Strategies. 2. I am writing Mars or Bust. 3. I will finish writing this novel and sell it by Christmas. 3. I am grateful. 4. I am beautiful.
6. I am open, honest, and real. 8. I am in love with myself. 9. I will write THINGS I SAY TO THE MOON by June. 10. I will form a band to play out by April.
11. I will apply for grants to create income. 12. I tutor children and teach writing to create money. 13. I am a professor. 14. I read my work all over the world. 15. I love and honor my family and friends. 16. I love and honor myself. 17. I let go of old stories. 18. I enlightened. 19. I healthy. 20. I cool. 21. I ready.
Byron Katie's work is so powerful. I use it all the time. When I deal with anyone. Most of all myself. And it's so simple. Just 4 questions.
1. Is that true? 2. Can I absolutely know that's true? 3. Who would I be without that thought? 4. Turn it around.
When people ask why I'm so Zen and chill, one of the major things I cite is Byron Katie's 4 questions. They are very grounding.
Here is Byron Katie doing the work in a prison.
Byron Katie on jealousy.
In her latest newsletter, she describes a moment with one of her friends who was diagnosed with cancer. It meant a lot to me. Maybe, it's something that will make sense to you. Here is an excerpt from her newsletter:
A doctor once took a sample of my blood and came back to me with a long face. He said he was bringing bad news; he was very sorry, but I had cancer. Bad news? I couldn't help laughing. When I looked at him, I saw that he was quite taken aback. Not everyone understands this kind of laughter. Later, it turned out that I didn't have cancer, and that was good news too.
The truth is that until we love cancer, we can't love God. It doesn't matter what symbols we use - poverty, loneliness, loss - it's the concepts of good and bad that we attach to them that make us suffer. I was sitting once with a friend who had a huge tumor, and the doctors had given her just a few weeks to live. As I was leaving her bedside, she said, "I love you," and I said, "No, you don't. You can't love me until you love your tumor. Every concept that you put onto that tumor you'll eventually put onto me. The first time I don't give you what you want or threaten what you believe, you'll put that concept onto me." This might sound harsh, but my friend had asked me to always tell her the truth. The tears in her eyes were tears of gratitude, she said.
No one knows what's good and what's bad. No one knows what death is. Maybe it's not a something; maybe it's not even a nothing. It's the pure unknown, and I love that. We imagine that death is a state of being or a state of nothingness, and we frighten ourselves with our own concepts. I'm a lover of what is: I love sickness and health, coming and going, life and death. I see life and death as equal. Reality is good; so death must be good, whatever it is, if it's anything at all.
If anyone is interested, I'll be going to see Katie at her free event on October 28th. I've got 3 open spots in my car. We can always tailgate too.
Date: Saturday, October 28, 2006 Time: 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel Int'l Airport, Los Angeles, CA Contact: Byron Katie International Phone: 1-800-98-KATIE, Email: email@example.com
This is a free public event and everyone is welcome. Bring a friend!
Byron Katie, bestselling author of Loving What Is and I Need Your Love - Is That True?, will introduce you to The Work, a revolutionary way to question the thoughts that keep you from living in peace and joy. With characteristic humor and lovingly incisive clarity, Katie will show you how self-inquiry can bring you a happier life. You will experience The Work directly, witness others in the process, and take home the ability to apply what you've learned to everything you do.
It's strange how life works. I have absolutely no idea why I'm in Los Angeles of all places, or why I keep getting jobs in telelvision, but it's happened for the past year.
JOHNNY FINGER: Does this mean you'll do another television show? P: No, Johnny. Now I'm ready to get back to writing novels.
Applause sign FLASHES.
JOHNNY FINGER: And how exactly are you going to do that? P: Unemployment, Johnny.
I also need to clean my room. That's quite an undertaking. I don't have that messy of a room, but when you're getting ready to write a novel, certain things have to be cleared out. I have not ever been keen on this, but I'm going to have to, as there are piles of things that have simply accumalted while I have been working from 7AM to 10PM every night. Mostly, it's knick-knacks not unlike the day after Halloween, when the wrappers are piled with edibles, and you can't make heads or tails of what happened to all your Three Musketeers. That's about where I lie now, as I root through dozens of books and typewritten pages to see where I left of, and whether I can salvage, scrap, or begin again.
JOHNNY FINGER: Do you like being you? P: Yeah, it's nice.
Sometimes I wonder about dashing off poems instead of novels. It's an easier return, as you get to make your work appear a helluva a lot faster and easier than a whole novel, but I'm just too attracted to the form. There is so much I want to discover about myself and my characters. It really beats every art form. Well, almost. Painting is still so easy and so much fun.
The great thing about writing novels is that I can usually do a painting while I write one too. It sort of breaks the monotony of all that hard core dance that has gotten to be a little bit out of control...
I wonder what I will write this time. It will be interesting.
JOHNNY FINGER: What else? P: Oh, nothing. There is no news in my life. Most of my friends are in other places or simply too busy with the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles life for me to have contacted them to give you the ditty.
I have also been horribly sick for the past couple days. I could barely walk.
Now I feel moderately better. I can still wheeze disgusting sounds, but I'm happier then I was in my cough medicine haze.
Screen wipes George Lucas style to an overgrown lizard who eyes a scrap of vintage music paper. On its right side is a small list that makes up for its stature with the large amount of hope attached to it.
We see this hope as we would a ball of yarn rolling up a fire escape; the video in reverse and our fingers crossed.
DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS for 2006-7
1. Write another novel. 2. Sell one of the 4 books I've written. 3. Fall in love with myself all over again. 4. Become a better writer. 5. Live somewhere else for a while or find a new place to live. 6. Find a community that welcomes me as much as I welcome them. 7. Be kinder to myself and others. 8. Figure out everything. 9. Laugh a lot. 10. Travel. 11. Dance and write, dance and write...
I switch between the different couches in my house. I figure that will give me different dreams. I'm right.
Dream 1. Couch 1. Part 1.
A girl. Like a girl from highschool. She wants me to kiss her. I am hesitant as if someone's watching...Denzel Washington shows up. He is showing us all how to put on a condom properly. He flings it at me.
MATCH CUT with CONDOM
Dream 2. Couch 1. Switched to North Side. Part 2.
The object of the game is to keep an object away from a team. It is very similar to football, but in our case, we use hats like frisbees. I hook up with a monster runner. I run beside him, stuff the hat in his chest, and tell him to make it down the hill and then up the other.
The other team is hard on the chase. They've all got bicycles. I can keep up with them though. I am running backwards, but I can. I even make jokes about how awful they are. I turn their handlebars and make jokes like, "You guys are as bad as Monty Python," at which point, each cyclist turns into someone from The Flying Circus, and they all simultaneously fall from their bikes.
The dream did end with a morale. I am trying to remember it now. It was written on paper and floated to my dream screen. A tasty close-up, or as we say in the land of glitz, a CU.
Something about trusting oneself.
It was very eloquent. So much so that I woke up and thought, "how eloquent" before I fell back asleep on a different couch. I will tell that one another day.
I am at the Sabor Y Cultura cafe. I draw a comic strip. I make three panels.
I stop after the Oscar panel. Trevor interrupts me. He's a homeless guy. I've talked about him in Golden Ashtray. He usually sits next to me when I come to the coffee shop. He likes to watch me draw. He also wants me to meet Michael.
"He's real sweet," he nods. "See him in the trashcan?"
"I was going to Church. Then Jesus told me to go back. It was raining. I had to take care of little Mikey. I didn't want him to catch a cold."
"Oh, so you're still drawing your little cartoons?"
"You could sell those and make some money. Maybe, 5 bucks."
I nod. I hand Trev my smoke.
"Thanks," he says, then yells over at Mike. "Mikey!" he shouts. "Come meet my friend!"
Mikey comes over. He pulls out a plastic Subway bag.
"See what I got?"
"What's that?" Trevor asks.
"Cookies. Mmmm. Cookies."
Little Mikey starts dancing a little. Then he sits back down. He is very happy about his cookies.
I give him my coffee.
"You got sugar?"
"I'll get it for you."
I go into the Sabor to get them sugar. That's when I run into Gabe. He's this sweetheart writer that is just so amazing. I tell him I'm going to give Trevor some sugar and that I'll be back.
Then I rock it with Gabe for a while. He's talking about postmodernism, post-postmodernism, and then stuckism.
"So stuckism means you're basically stuck?"
"Yeah," he smiles.
I like talking to Gabe. I have no doubt that he will be one of our world's greatest writers. He is an awesome talent and I am glad we met.
(I really love it when Gabe, Dacheux, and I can get together. They are very fun days.)
Gabe and I shot the shit for a while. We talked about process, a new generation that was apathetic to success, and the ability for some artists to work inebriated, and whether they were able to capture "high mindedness" in such a state.
"What do you mean by high-minded? Do you mean pompous or intellectual?"
"No," Gabe smiled. "That's postmodern thought. I am talking about high-minded as in true to the core of one's capabilities. That space where one is past a sense of mastery to a transcendent space."
That's how we talked. Or something like that. I don't really have all the language to make the conversation happen to a tee. Conversations about critical theory can get warped and break several times over. I was able to talk about Hemingway's process though:
"He would write up to a certain point. Let's say Chapter One and some pages. Then when he wanted to write again, he'd have a separate book and start writing from that, exactly what he wrote, plus another chapter. And he would continue like that, until he finished a book."
"That's an interesting process. It creates that perfect presentness."
"Mmmm," I say. "Yeah."
We talked for a while on Hollywood Boulevard. Up and down over the stars.
I love Gabe so much. I hope he finds exactly what he needs to be what he wants.
It's funny. I read Sufi texts with such innocence. I just plop a book open and I'm like, "What's my lesson for today?" I don't expect anything. I just read.
Then, I question. I draw parallels. I question again.
I comprehend a particular angle one day, and then something completely different the next.
When things get quiet, I put the book down.
Things are quiet now. I may eat a little something. I may sleep. I may even read what Mr. Shah has to say one more time.
Real teaching starts with the Guardians, Lords of Knowledge and Understanding. It does not start with Love, Effort, or Action, because real love, effort, and action are made possible through real action.
But when too many even slightly covetous people appear or remain in a community, they turn methods into beliefs, and believe what they should practice.
There are two conditions which can lead to the perishing of a group. In the first, there is too much insincerity in the people in charge. In the other a little insincerity spread among all the members constitues the equivalent of one or more wholly selfish people.
The insincerity-flaw retards the progress o the leaders and of the others alike. Only searching for self-examination can reveal it to them. If it were not for this flaw, they and the community would have arrived at their destination. It is well known, of course, that the worse the degree of self-esteem, the less able is the victim to detect it, or even contemplt it.
To revert to the behavious of the infected group:
These individuals and their followers choose thoughts and actions which themselves smother most of the hope of success in human fulfilment. They may try to form a permanent organization to aim for enlightenment. They probably subject everyone to the same exercises and observances. Forgetting the orginial intention, they turn practices and illustrative tales into a sort of history, which they try to teach. If they possess literature and contemporary memories of teachers ('masters'), they use them to bolster a belief in thei own rightness and the corrections of their procedures. They frequently use but a single method of interpretation of literature and tradition, training people and not enabling them to become illuminated.
The Centre by this stage has effectively disappeared. The work has instead bcome a kind of kingdom, intent upon conserving but not knowing what to conserve. The leaders and their adherents remain frozenly attached to its body, making it a place of imitation which conserves minor or irrelevant outward forms. They generally esteem, under other names, raw emotionality.
Concurrently, there comes into being over-veneration of men, of groups and legend, and hostility towards others, and sometimes impatience. What was originally a unity splits into groups of varying interpretation or concentration, generally useless, and observations which are inacurate. By this point almost all reality and potentiality have departed. The community has been effectively invaded and possessed without this development having been registered by its members. The truth may be obscured by the continued use, by the 'lame' community, of words words and outward aspects, biographical reminiscences, and other facets of the orginal knowledge. Certainly its members will believe that by these tokens they are continuing on the right path.
Their only hope of retrieval is in the excercise of concentrated efforts towards sincerity.
This pattern is one reason why from time to time the Guardians must emerge and announce to the possessors of ears the renewal of the high tradition by means of apposite working. By now, naturally, to the strayed ones, these words will sound strange or inimical, like the speech of reason seems to the demented - absurd.
One result of the condition is that without intending it the Guardinas incur, variously, both over-enhusiastic support and also opposition to themselves in different sections of their audience. Both reactions are unpromising, if expected, signs, just as objectionable as apathy.
Working together the parties must overcom these tendencies if success in reviving the teaching is to be achieved.
This is the story of every age upon earth. The only real variant is the time-span during which this behaviour takes place.
Those who have only little knowledge, and think that have more than that of ordinary folk, are no less open to reason and to teaching than those who have no knowledge at all of the Tradition. This irony is a further complication.
And yet they are better able to make progress in the Way once the outer husk of ageing has been softened. They sometimes retain potentialities whose presence involves us in a chance to offer rescue. It is in the furtherance of this duty, based upon our knowledge of the Tradition, the teaching and the conditions of parties (groups), that we can exercise skill, action, love, and effort.
When the husk of people or groupings is too hardened, such individuals and communities will remain like hard nuts which are being rapidly carried down a river, heedlessly.
The water of compassion and understanding will not be able to soften them enough to help them sprout into seedlings before they reach a dam where they will pile up, abandoned and, unfortunately, uncomprehending.
- Nawab Mohammed Ali Shah, "Nishan-i-Ghaib"
The quoted text is from Idries Shah's "Way of the Sufi." It was recently returned to me.