Sunday, February 26, 2012

the rarest of gifts...

     Over the last few days I have been encountering over and over again the rare gift of creatively living into calling and life. So many of us walk like zombies through our daily lives seeking to get through them instead of living them, myself included.

            Standing on the sidewalk in front of the Frolic Room in Hollywood this last Friday afternoon with my friend iAN, we encountered over the span of five minutes, at least five or six people passing by who were barely living their lives. The majority, and the ones my friend noticed with his tender heart, were those who had been sculpted by the brokenness of life. The old man slowly shuffling down the street, the homeless punk kid riddled with scars and markers of rejection before the ripe age of 22, and the forty something man with the backpack and construction boots. Yet I also saw the surgically crafted woman, the couple that was dressed to the nines in super hipster couture and insecure, and the guy trying his best to be cool. In all these people lay lives that were missing something...Thoreau's lives of quiet desperation. In large and small ways we miss the beautiful gift of life, instead we choosing anesthetization and the slow suffocation of our desperate souls. We all easily misplace and lock away the truths we know, the ones of simplicity from our childhood or passing moments of clarity... the truth that we are intrinsically creative (even those who don't perceive themselves to be in possession of even an atom of creativity) it is our nature, our breath, our ruach (Hebrew for spirit, breath, wind, Spirit of God) we are people birthed and formed in creativity. The second truth that we misplace is our perception that we are able to do this alone.
         What I mean by this is that we are unable to break out of our warped and misaligned translations of our lives and experiences with out the help of others. I cannot break out of my fractured perception with out others to walk with me to offer new mirrors and helping hands. Personally I have been telling myself the wrong whys for the brokenness and pain in my life for so long that it takes almost daily reminders to break though that bullshit.  For the utterly broken, be that brokenness spiritual, mental, physical or a wild cocktail of all three and more, and even for those not so broken communal engagement is needed. When community fails to hold light and truth then individuals are less whole.
The statement "God helps those who help themselves" (Benjamin Franklin said this, not the Bible...this is actually counter to biblical teachings where restoration and help is a vital part of the community and community and individuals suffer when there is a "I can do it on my own" attitude) while holding a kernel of truth in that we must be co-participants in healing and restoration misses the point. Without the interaction and help of others one cannot find help. How often has someone tried their best seeking everything in them to quit drinking or eating or to start exercising or introducing a new habit, only to be over come with the impossibility of the task. The transformation that is being sought usually comes when others come and walk with that person through the hard journey of transformation. The caveat to this would be that the person seeking to change their life in some way must already want that for the support of others to be affective.
         Ok so going back to the idea of creativity...later on that same afternoon I had the chance to sit with two kind and funny men who are lucky enough to get paid to do creative things. What struck me in the brief conversation is how lightly they treated that great gift. Both Robert and Ben are blessed to play and write music (Robert) and create and execute beautiful lighting designs and manage band tours (Ben, the latter of which requires incredible amounts of creativity...I mean think about it dealing with band and crew has got to take some pretty massive amounts of creativity). Everyday they each enter into a space of good hard work that, if they have eyes to see it is rot and saturated with the beauty of creativity. I have often heard Robert and the other members of his band say that when playing and creating music becomes work more than it is creative and fun then it is time to end. This is one of the reasons that have been given for why their former band mate left, was because it was more work than enjoyment. Yet I also wonder how does one cultivate that freshness, that wonder of the early time when you are still in love with the gift. And going back to the idea of community when that love starts to wane, to fall away and passion becomes monotony, I think what is needed is others to hold up the mirror. They must come around and say here is where passion and the needs of the world come together in the unique and beautiful way that only you can offer.  Or in more harsh terms "Listen do you know how many people would kill for the chance to create music as a living? You GET to do that, but not only do you get to do that but you and your band have the potential to become one of those world changing and influential bands musically and socially. So why aren't you doing that...get off your ass and go live into that calling."  And that is what community does it come and holds the mirror offering you a different perspective on your reality. Community comes to shake out the flawed voices and turning your head to see more broadly that you were able to.
           In what I know of Robert's father Michael, he offered light in darkness and perspective shifts. Michael seems to offer both an understanding of the gift life; especially a life that is created in lived passion as well as the responsibility and weight of that gift. As a musician it was not enough just for him to play music but that creativity needed to pour out and offer something to the community. But the gift of Michael went beyond that he was someone who encouraged and inspired those around him. Every story I have ever hear told about the man speaks to a person who loved others well and delighted in them. I love reading and watching interviews with him because I see someone who cares for others offering grace and compassion and time. This image, for that is all it can be in this present reality, is a man whom I long to know, who shines as an example of humble Christ-like presence. To me he is an example of community and care at it's best...encouraging those around you to rise up from the ashes of your interpretation and see something differently in a way that will change your life. Creativity and community found a place in Michael as I have been told.

All of this to stay I have been kicked in the ass by Ruah with reminders, reminders to stop sleepwalking through life awaking only for the rare moments. Instead I need to learn to live and breathe and see each moment as a space for creative engagement. With that creative engagement I will also embrace community and what it has to offer me...especially in the ways in which community helps me to better see how to "read" my life so that in new translations I can see how to engage with creativity more and more.

a little thought on love

i love you she said

how do you know responded he

because said she

because how said he

because i would break myself of all i ever want just for the chance to keep loving you

really spoke he

yes she whispered i'd loose myself in you...

travel me to surrender

I want you to explore me like a uncharted land. Treating it like you are the first one to ever ventured into this new topography. Play me again and again like that song on the album we both love that you played so many times we came close to enlightenment until the needle cracked the vinyl clean to the other side. Let your hands slowly discover all I have to offer, inches at a time like a man who blindly can only see the world through the touch of finger tips to flesh and bone. Let my heart be to you like a vast and uncharted ocean that you could never hope to cross all of but you'll be damned to hell if you don't try over and over and over again. I want you to love me this well so that I can find rest in your arms, to finally feel what it is like to surrender melting into the being of another even if it is ever just a series of moments. To find the place where us and them fades into ich und du, connection happens and we see clearly if only for a brief bit of time. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

High Fidelity and Marriage

This is a paper I wrote several years ago and came across's an image of my emerging engagement with film.

Rob: I'm tired of the fantasy, because it doesn't really exist. And there are never really any surprises, and it never really...
Laura: Delivers?
Rob: Delivers. And I'm tired of it. And I'm tired of everything else for that matter. But I don't ever seem to get tired of you, so...(Frears, 2000)

Marriage has to be based on something more than a fantasy it takes work and commitment. I think this is the whole premise of the film High Fidelity, based on the book of the same name by Nick Hornby. High Fidelity speaks about marriage, the essence of marriage the coming together of two people.  Rob Gordon is a thirty something man who is finally learning how to truly be in a committed relationship. It only takes him losing his great girlfriend, encountering ex-girlfriends, winning his girlfriend back and then doing something that could cost him everything he has just gotten back and learned. At this point Rob realized that he has spent his life chasing after fantasies, instead of committing to Laura his girlfriend.  He realizes that he has something good someone worth making a commitment to. Commitment and fantasy are two elements that cannot live together in a marriage.  To be committed is to give up fantasy and live in reality of the day to day with one person.
The focus of the film is Rob’s journey towards commitment. First we see that Rob hasn’t left behind any of his past relationships. He is still clinging to the illusion of what he remembers them to be. “Some people never got over Vietnam or the night their band opened for Nirvana. I guess I never got over Charlie.”(Frears, 2000) Charlie along with three other exes’ have been fantasies where Rob can live out the past as a way to not live in the present. He is more tied to these past relationships than to his real relationship with Laura. When she leaves him he decides, with a bit of help from Bruce Springsteen, to revisit the past as a way to make him feel better. So Rob goes to back to his “top five break-ups” to find out why he is doomed to be left. What he finds is that he has been living in the illusion of what these relationships were. Charlie Ncklson being the most devastating of those relationships. This woman, he once thought to be so deep, wise, and above him, Rob now finds to be arrogant, self-centered, and lacking a sense of humor.  This relationship with Charlie is where Rob stopped growing, he stagnated his life.  In facing the reality of the fantasy he is able to look forward and outward. When he is faced with Laura’s need, after the death of her father, Rob is actually able to see her. In the face of her sorrow he sees how selfish and self-centered he has been in their relationship. “I can see now I never really committed to Laura. I always had one foot out the door, and that prevented me from doing a lot of things, like thinking about my future and... I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that's suicide. By tiny, tiny increments.”(Frears, 2000)  Laura and Rob come back together and all is well, for a while. Rob is thinking about Laura and trying to commit to her, yet he hasn’t given up all fantasy. He is still tempted by the fantasy of a new person, having given up the fantasy of past relationships. This is when the reality of relationship (and marriage) enters into his lesson. After finding himself happy with Laura and yet tempted by another woman Rob realizes the fundamental problem with fantasy that it doesn’t deliver in the way it promises to. Through encountering this truth he is faced with the reality, that while his relationship with Laura is hard and messy, he never tires of her. This is the woman he has chosen to create a life with and commit to, while that may not look as good as the fantasies he creates it is what he most needs and wants.
I love the picture this film presents of relationships, one that I think really emphasizes what it means to be committed and married to another. There is such a beauty in watching this man discover what true intimacy and relationship is. Laura and Rob know each other’s heart and in the end are able to call each other up to something greater. When Laura leaves the relationship at the beginning of the film she leaves Rob for another man. Rob pursues her in spite of this, knowing that this other man isn’t for Laura. In turn Laura knows Rob’s heart when it comes to his passions and desires for a future. She lovingly calls him to become the man that he has been made. This film not only shows the importance of leaving other relationships and commitments behind when entering into marriage but also the beauty of two people coming together.

Monday, February 13, 2012

motorcycle enkidu

he drive me wild with the roar of a motorcycle that awaits like a phantom outside my door. like the music it can't quite be contained or held tight. i try as we wind in and out of emotional canyons of the los angeles hills but i never seem to hold tight enough to quell the fear of falling off. with motorcycle boots, tattoos, cigarette fused dreams, late night stolen kisses and the spiritual connected music of our favorite band, this man wild as enkidu captured my locked heart when i wasn't looking. in my mind his presence, my lover, is seared and fused with motorcycles, music, and lyrical rants. they mediate his transcendent love to my empty bed. i want to be his baby like the music and the motorcycles. capture and turn his head like the roar of triumphs and "half-state's" opening chords, to run across his tired mind as it slips down the well of long lost sleep. he is my wild man of the midwestern shores. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thoughts on two films from Sundance- "California Solo" & "I Am Not a Hipster"

California Solo
                       Sitting next to a successful musician a few days ago a question formed in my mind “If you weren’t able to do this, play music as a living, what would you be doing?” In many ways this is one of the fundamental questions being asked in the film “California Solo” which premiered at the Sundance film festival a few weeks ago. Yet the answer to this question is the darker side of what happens to many artists who can’t let go of the past to live fully into the present and therefore create a future.
 California Solo is the story of Lachlan a former Britpop rocker, in the vein of bands like The Verve/Stone Roses/T-Rex, who is now managing an organic farm outside of Los Angeles and living out the pain of his former existence via massive bottles of alcohol and a podcast called “Flame-Outs” which covers the tragic deaths of great musicians.  Lachlan is a man caught between the haunting past and an empty future, where his greatest hope is to get the chance to show Beau, a beautiful and young customer at the farm’s stand in the Silver Lake farmer’s market, the farm and maybe have a night of connection. He is a man who needs something to change his trajectory and path; this needed catalyst comes in the form of a DUI. Which in and of it’s self should be a wake up call but there is more in store for Lachlan with the DUI comes up a past drug offense which leads to the threat of deportation. The only way Lachlan will be able to stay in the United States is to prove that his absence will cause a US citizen, like child or spouse, “extreme hardship”. Thinking it will be as easy as pie this clause leads to Lachlan contacting his ex wife and daughter, neither of whom he has seen for years. Intertwined with his seeking contact with his lost family Lachlan keeps making choices based in forms of numbing and forgetting leading him deeper down the rabbit-hole. In the end Lachlan’s daughter reaches out to him and in that action Lachlan a man who could never come to meet his past is able to for the first time in years accept responsibility for his life and in doing so move forward.  Restoration comes in relationship and not always getting what you want. 

I Am Not a Hipster
                             As much as I love film very rarely does one capture my heart and creativity from the opening shot. Yet Destin Cretton's film did just that. Walking into the theatre from the freezing cold of Utah in the winter I knew next to nothing about this film except that it was about a hipster musician. What I had entered was a beautiful story about the way grief throws the world off kilter and how it might be possible to move forward. Brooke the main character is a musician of some fame who moved to San Diego, two years previously after his mother's death. When we first encounter him he is doing his best just to keep his head above water. Brooke is just barely keeping a boiling pot of anger, contempt, and meaningless hidden under an air of apathy. The only thing that is offering him any sort of connection are images and stories of the Japanese Tsunami of last year, something in his experience of this horror has shook him into a need for meaning. Enter his three sisters and father with whom he has a strained relationship with. They have come for a final sending of their mother into the waves of the Pacific ocean.    In his sisters Brooke is offered the space to remember, grieve, and be. He is no longer running away from the loss of his mother, which is how he ended up in San Diego, and with that processing he is able to release the anger, contempt, and meaninglessness which has been plaguing him. Cretton leaves the audience with possibility and that is a beautiful thing. 

When/If you get the chance please see both of these beautiful movies.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


the crumbs that you throw out those little tidbits meant to keep me at your beck and call but never satisfied not longer work. i feel used and abused way more than i ever would have when sex is involved. everything in me on every plane of existence wants to take it all just be removed from the whole fucking equation. this game this thing this being this living sucks! i feel to much that each mounting emotion or clarity or what-have-you is nothing more than a new form of torture. desire, love, hope, dreams, faith they were never meant to be tools of destruction and yet here they are piercing my heart five ways to sunday.

everything good and true feels like a lie, i can't find faith but i can't find my way out. limbo i am always here on the fence...if i could just remove myself my mind my heart something i could be happy right....if i could stop seeing the falseness or just let go of the need for experience then i could find balance. but i can't i want to explore and i see all the traps. the tears are like a bottomless wellspring and i want so badly for something anything that feels alive and more real. in the flood of it all i dared God, i asked for a miracle instead of tangible crumbs...i need a burning bush, a parting of the red sea, a vision and manna all at once. i screamed can't you see me dying here....if this is all it is then end it, remove me, just complete the damned shattering and call it good. my arms, heart and mind can't hold any more unrealized hope or untethered dreams. i am so solidly locked into a fun house mirror view that anything short of Christ's presence or a impossible dreams manifestation is ineffective.

forget it i say it's just the tired the crazy and here i go to bed..

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


tears run down my cheek in a baptism of sorts. i relive losses and gains in the flickering of cinema or the hum of a guitar. these truths strike like flint to stone shooting across my night sky illuminating everything for a few minor seconds. the demons rage on sticking their grubby and gnarled fingers in the holes of my framing. for a few hours they have the power to make me eat dark and wormy things before light breaks through the bullshit and darkness. the words of a man whom i will never know on this sphere of life offer much needed encouragement, bringing hope the wellspring of life. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Class Notes- Artist, Cinema, & Theology in dialogue

Just wanted to share some rough thoughts from my class response journal for this week....

I was struck in our conversation this week about how art is looked at shifts and changes depending on the time period and way we see. I was intrigued by Barry’s statement that in contemporary art we don’t know where or how to look. I would agree with this statement, and would ask/add to it that I think we might lost in part our ability to allude and create multi-layer pieces like Vermeer or other artists of the past who were more restricted in what was acceptable. What I mean is that many, not all, but many artists today (this is across all art-forms not just limited to a specific) just use the most direct means of expression. I find that often it is more about how much can I shock my audience and out do the other people around me that how can I create something artistically solid and thought provoking. Often I find myself board with much of the art I encounter because it doesn’t challenge me or cause me to mull over it, often if lucky it is entertainment that offers a moment of distraction.  I say this being one who consumes music, film, and books on a regular basis. There are artists and pieces of art that hold my attention but much of it feels like open mic nights where out of the whole evening it’s a good night if one poet or musician offers a piece that sticks with me and is something that I can’t hold, impresses me or blows me out of the water because of it’s depth. One of my dear friends who is a writer/poet has a poem with a simple premise about the need for more love, every time I hear her read it I am mesmerized by the fun and creative way she has constructed and played with words and images to express this. Her piece is art that is powerful and engaging…but often at least one of the other poets or musicians who read with her at an open mic night are just speaking to hear their own voice…it’s like they took a bunch of images that they thought were cool and moved them around on the page until they looked like something of weight and important not realizing the vapidness of their construction.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

i can not begin to say the things that are sitting on my heart...words fail to convey the depth and impact of these emotions. nothing feels quite right in the ability to relay the swirling cocktail that has drenched my mind. an alcohol soaked brain would be better than what i seem to have to work with tonight.

the tears sit just at the back of the room waiting for the slight crack that will allow for their escape. i clamp the mouth shut so afraid to speak lest i say something that has no foundation in truth instead just the emotional excess of this bout with hormones. how did i go from movement to crazy town in a manner of weeks. where did jealousy and anger and desire come from when i clearly locked them out of the room.

i need a wild drunken night, a pot filled haze something to erase what is too close to my heart. but no that will not do so i paste the smile on, shove the contempt deeper down in my heart, make jokes about the fact that only losers and married men find anything about me compelling and run away under my books and work and stress.

and in soft and fleeting midnight breaths i accept that i have fallen in love again with a man who is incapable of loving me back. down the wrong rabbit hole i have fallen unable to see the fun one from the one filled with spikes and old wounds revisited.

so comes the crazy because falling in love sucks and falling in love with someone who can't love you really sucks but what sucks most is realizing that you should have been able to avoid this particular fall and yet you didn't and don't and will fall again and again until something changes.

missed chances...

sometimes you just need the touch of naked skin against yours. kisses from one who understand intuitively the perfect way in which you desire to be kissed. there are nights when alone just won't cut it at all, the hands are not as strong as the desire to be had...chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol are illusionary stays that have long lost their power. and the need is so great that it terrorizes you with a ever present onslaught of the most vivid and erotic dreams. you play scene of past lovers over again just to fix the out come because somewhere back there you got lost while playing it safe. on couches and hotel beds you held back because of that damned fear of repercussions not realizing that the repercussions of not were way worst than those of action. if could i would take back that night where i sat passively waiting like the maiden for that lover to woo me, instead like the vixen i would instead have stripped and boldly walked filling his frame of view like guinevere. and that other who i taunted so i would and should have shown him my treasure of gold. all those stories may still have ended the same but at least i would not hold regret like a cold flame. 

lost again

Where did she go the fearless child that I used to be? The one who with all boldness would go up to strangers and woo them with her sparkling charm. Questions and curiosities poured out of her mouth in a unstoppable torrent. Along the way she got lost and in her place a timid girl who walks on egg shells and has bound the wildness and fire in a deeply hidden box. This new girl she bends and bows to all who steal her heart. Affection and love are so lacking in her daily intake that she feel she must "earn" the crumbs thrown off the table in disregard. Around her women, girls, they are well fed there is no need for them to seek, these needed nourishments appear consistently and when needed.

Did the wild child shrivel up and die which lead to the lack of care or did the neglect lead to her closing inward to save the tiny bit of her that burns still brightly? I can't figure this damned riddle out...the proximity is too close and my vision to myopic to understand. I understand in ache and need and unmet desire. That ghost of this is what should be and why didn't you do this. I wish for the rewind to go back to moments when I would have stood boldly in all my scars and beauty completely naked, I would say take me take this I don't care what the repercussions are just please don't ignore me any longer. 

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Half state hide

"It's a fool alone that carries gold
He'll find his own when he finds alone
Now it's miles away and cast in stone
Now he's miles away and casting stones"

"Half State" stalks me when I am unaware. A profound and deep message that I just can't seem to decipher. Played live it's all over, my rabbit brain turns to mush and the spiritual-metaphysical connection takes over. Lost, searching for meaning in a swirling sea of base and guitar chords, rhythmic drum beats and the battle between dark and light. My heart prays the unattainable words that seep out of me like salt tears in a vivid dream. Echos and whispers crying I just want to know to understand to fathom the truths that even these artists can't see. I sound like a crazy person, like the Kubrick fans who see hidden meaning in telephone books half hidden on the celluloid screen. Yet I have seen God and the Devil battling out of the corner of my eyes. In a guzzle of absinthe I've seen lovers and friends change sides. I know clearly those moments when I become the conduit of the unknown truth, falling off my tongue in well formed thought and words I could never have constructed of my own accord. On a late spring night in a dream like state I talked a friend of friends off a ledge of some kind, while a dead man came to offer gifts to a friend. Events that are out of my sphere of knowledge and comprehension and yet and true as the repaired shattered front tooth or the scar on my leg from when I was six. God is bigger and broader than one can understand, lightnings of transformation and redirection happen in an instant or over a slow incline. And deep inside this hypnotic song lies a truth that I have yet to discover.


my body is in revolt mode often switched places with my mind like children it's so hard to get everyone on the same page. nothing wants to stay in side and offer nourishment and stability, nope it's just in and out. waves of nausea flood me from head to toe as i try with all my strength to stand and stay up right. but alas it's not a day for movement. i am confined to couches and beds and the trip in the car will be a bitch tonight. fighting i contemplate the cause of it food that i should not have chosen to imbibe? or spiritual forces and energies (being earthy i feel everything physically in my body) attempting to block my forward movements? embittered and locked emotional stress? or just running myself ragged until the body finally tells the mind and the will and the spirit..."STOP" and they still don't listen so it says "I said stop and since you aren't taking my advice I'm gonna make you stop! Take that suckers!" and here i am laid out on a day when I wanted so much to be active and vibrant.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

waves and things

in a late night hour, in this moment my mind wants to yell "fuuuuuck" ( as i did this morning while stuck in traffic) and then run to get lost in a beautiful ocean. but the ocean closest is my bed and my dreams are a much more dangerous sea on which to spend this half used night...before being caught in the bright light streaming of the dawn.

damn duped again

dating and sex and attracting all sound so good on paper, don't they?
and then i find myself in the wormy little closet of desire wrestling with wants and knowledge.
it smells funny here and there is something unnatural dripping off the walls.
the various "partners" amble in and stand against the viewing spot that is not unlike a police mug shot line up.
they list their positive and negative skill sets and offerings, yet that is just the beginning. if they get past the undefinable list or i am having an exceptionally generous day then we talk and maybe just maybe meet up in some real world space.
it is here via telephone wires, emails, or silverlake bars that inevitable something shows up. it's ambiguous nature keeps definition far away but like the ticking bomb it's always on time. for in the spectral presence the attractive energies shift and all hope of future mornings in bed or walking in the rain are erased from the  candidate's brain processing.
at this given point all charm, beauty and muse-like quality hides or falls away out of my form and once again the conquest for love is aborted way to soon.

chaotic musings on fence riding

My words fail and emotional responses kick in maybe I am overly tired from the week behind and ahead of me...who knows. What I do know is this my guts are wrenched and my heart cried out to the Creator in anguish. I was once told that my empathy was like a pot left on to boil covered for way to long. So when it finally comes it's like flash floods and tsunamis washing away all below. But that is me. I feel deeply, I connect with my heart and ache on behalf of others.

How can I tell you that the readings and concrete truths with which I was raised no longer make sense to me? That if I saw the way out I might just be what some would call a heretic...but I keep holding on to the robes and attempt to break away all at the same time. Moving into contemplation I realize that I trust God, in spite of all the years I believed in God's infinite capacity to love all except me, and God's love but I do not always trust those who act as messengers of God. I sit on this fence and think about all the various ropes that are pulling across me. Even my wants seem to be polar opposites of themselves and I want so badly for someone to come along and play the hand for me. Yet ironically when one tries to I pull the cards out of their hand screaming "NO you're playing it wrong...give them to me".  So here I sit caught between desires and wants and truths and needs unable to see the forrest from the trees...I guess I'll take a seat and look at the stars for a while beseeching the universe or God for something like clarity.