Searching for Peace (Through the eye of a needle)

Needle

“So, Biff,” said the fox. “Why do you keep sewing that shirt? I think it’s, like, mostly thread now.”

“I love this shirt, fox” I said. “It’s the most comfortable piece of clothing I’ve ever had. And I’m going to keep sewing it until it turns into a ball of thread.”

“How long have you had it, Biff?” said the fox.

“Remember when dinosaurs walked the earth?” I said.

“Vaguely,” said the fox.

“Not that long,” I said.

“You one funny guy,” said the fox. “But I think you must have had that shirt for almost fifteen years. It’s turning yellow. Don’t you think it’s time to give it a decent burial? You could even tie die it.”

“The grin, fox,” I said. “It gives away your sarcasm. And it gives me nightmares. While I’m still awake.”

“Watch it, Biff,” said the fox. “Or I’ll smile at you.”

“Just joking, fox,” I said, as I finished the sewing and started looking through the eye of the sewing needle.

“Whatcha doin’, Biff?” said the fox.

“Looking through the eye of this needle, fox,” I said. “Maybe that’s the way.”

“The way to what, Biff?” said the fox.

“The way to get closer in my search for peace,” I said.

“Don’t get it, Biff.” said the fox.

“I’m going to take a look at things through the eye of this needle,” I said.

“Careful you don’t poke your eye out with that needle, Biff,” said the fox. “You know how accident prone you are.”

“I’m not accident prone, fox,” I said.

“Big dent in your chin there from meeting a sidewalk when gravity wasn’t on your side,” said the fox. “Two false teeth from falling off the top of a building into a heap of scrap metal. Big scar on your right arm from crashing through a glass door. Three broken ribs from…”

“OK, fox,” I said. “That’s enough. I’ve had a few unfortunate accidents that anyone else could have had.”

“’Cept they weren’t anyone else,” said the fox.

“You know, fox,” I said. “You could be the first fox in history to hibernate. You could get yourself in Wikipedia for that.”

“Biff, how many times do I have to…” the fox tried to say.

“Time to see things through the eye of a needle,” I said.

And there I was, needle in hand (and not making pinholes in my head or eyes), sitting at Read’s Coffee and Magazine Shop holding a needle up to my eye, looking at what I’m writing on my laptop and people are looking at me strangely.

“They’re waiting for you to poke yourself in the eye with the needle, Biff,” said the fox.

Ignoring the fox and the people waiting for me to stab my eyes out, I focused through the eye of the needle at the word needle. All I could see were the two ‘e’s.

And this made me think.

What if we all had to walk around for a whole day looking at the world through the eye of a needle? What would we see? How would this make us think?

“Biff,” said the fox. “You’re starting to sound a little crazy. And you’re looking a little wide-eyed.”

“I’ve been crazy all my life, fox,” I said. “And tomorrow I’m going to be just a little crazier. I’m going to spend a day looking through the eye of this needle.”

“And you get this from looking at the word needle through a needle?” said the fox.

“You got it, fox,” I said.

(To be continued. Through the eye of a needle encore.)

“So what did you see in those two e’s in the word, Biff?” said the fox.

“Two e’s, fox…two e’s.”

Searching for Peace (a closer look at acceptance)

Mirrors

A thousand feet.

I used to work in sales and marketing. It really sucked. You never really had a chance to just be yourself…with all your strong points…and weak points. You weren’t supposed to have any weak points, at least, none that you could ever let anyone know about. Weak points could be exploited and used against you. Weak points could lose a contract or a client. Weak points could get you laid off or fired. So they weren’t allowed. You had to be perfect in every way.

It was bullshit.

And probably why there’re so few great sales and marketing people around. Maybe if we could all accept that nobody’s perfect and that our faults may even work towards making each of us distinct from each other, then just maybe we could accept that it’s OK to be human.

A thousand feet.

We used to have sales and marketing meetings in which some bozo would always say, “Let’s take the thousand foot view on this.” Sometimes it was 800 hundred feet. 400 feet. I think it depended on how much you didn’t want to see that didn’t fit in with what you wanted to see. You know, obscure everything with too much noise so that you could bore into those places that promised a whole new approach without having to essentially change anything.

I mean, what can you really see from a thousand feet up? Oceans of motion. The confusion of the moment multiplied a thousand times. It only worked for people who wanted it to work, but few did.

I always wondered what would happen if, like in Bruce Lee’s movie Enter the Dragon, those long and boring sales and marketing meetings were held in a room full of mirrors with all the meeting participants shuffling around trying to find a new idea and seeing only reflections of themselves and the other participants.

Talk about your thousand foot view…trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Some ancient cultures believed that mirrors reflected the true nature, or shadow soul, of the viewer. Can you imagine all those sales and marketing people wandering around seeing themselves and the others with all their strengths…and all their weaknesses? They’d all be out of jobs.

Unless they just accepted what they saw and said, “Hey, Arnie, you’re a human being. And that’s OK with me.”

“Thanks, Sabrina…you’re OK too.”

And they might even find that bright new idea.

But then…

“Arnie. Sabrina. I see your weaknesses. You’re both fired.”

There’s always that asshole to fuck up the best of things and scare everyone away from just being themselves.

“Hey, Biff,” said the fox. “Remember what you said about just looking into a mirror and accepting yourself?”

“Yes, fox,” I said. “I do.”

“Well…” the fox tried to say.

“I’m not looking at my naked body again while standing at the edge of a thousand foot cliff,” I said.

“Maybe more assholes should do that,” said the fox.

“If only,” I said.

(To be continued. Somewhere else. Again.)

“So you were one of those sales and marketing assholes, Biff?” said the fox.

“Please don’t grin when you say that.”

Who Is Will’s Father?

Went to a bring-your-own-food-and-share-it party at Lloyd Salomine’s place on Saturday. It was a small crowd of artists, writers and film makers. Mostly artists. Lloyd’s place is so perfect for these get-togethers. I’ll take pictures of the place next time so that you can see what I mean. Like, low lights, art, a hallway that should be a bowling alley. Art on the walls, records…vinyl records…mood. His place permeates art.

“Sounds like a perfect place to discuss art, ” said the fox.

“Nope…we talk about just about everything else, fox,” said I. “Like the condition of the world and what we can do about it through our art.”

Biff reflects on what he’s just said.

“OK, fox…we talk art. The practical application of it.”

“Told ya,” said the fox.

“Fuck off , fox.”

So, at one point, Caine (with whom I share a studio) and Tara (with whom Caine and I share a studio) are at the far end of the bowling alley, and for some reason, wondering who William Forrestall’s father’s name is. They’re both consummate artists, but what’s his father’s name? We went through the alphabet. We tried situational remembrance positioning. We prayed to the gods for the answer. We counted sheep. We scoured phone books. Searched the web. Sacrificed three sheep. But we couldn’t find the answer.

It was hopeless. Alcohol could have had something to do with this, but we weren’t in a judgmental frame of thought. We were just caught up in an existential moment of not-remembering. And I’m sure the two of you can understand this.

So…we slapped each other on the heads…Zen style or maybe more like Three Stooges style…and waited for the Porridge of All to contact us.

That happened around the time that Tara saw a poster on the wall that was there the whole time we pondered and killed sheep. This is the poster beside us as we Three-Stooge-slapped madly….

1

Go figure.

And here are the people…

Caine (artist)

Party-2

Dawn (artist)

Party-5

Michael (artist)

Party-6

Marilyn (artist…with a passion at the moment)

Party-7

Josephine (writer)

Party-8

Dawn (again because she’s so much prettier than Michael)

Party-9

Tara (artist)

Party-10

Llyod (film maker and writer)

Party-11

And no pictures of me. (Writer and photographer)

Lesson learned: If the mind fails you, look around outside the mind.

A Mission From Trees

Have I mentioned yet how much I hate winter?

“Biff…we get it,” said the fox. “You’ve told us over and over…you hate winter more than Windows 8.”

“Whoa now, fox,” I said. “The only thing in the world that’s as hateable as that is Windows 8.”

So, I guess I’ve mentioned how much I hate winter. I mean, It’s cold, dark, slippery, wet, icy, odourless…you have to wear 50 pounds of clothing, none of which includes sandals…oh…and get this…my friend Gary Stairs just came in and added one more thing about winter…it’s colorless. How could I have forgotten that one? I’ve shot winter pictures that have provoked people to ask what process I used to convert them to black and white…and they didn’t believe me when I told them they were in color. At least, until I hit them over the head with my camera several times, yelling, “It’s color! It’s color!” I’m really sensitive about these things. And my camera is heavy.

So…winter. It’s here. And I’m still waiting for summer. But you can’t always get what you want…but by jeezus…I’m going to get what I need. I need to get outside with my camera. I love the candid people portraits, but I dearly love nature. And trees.

Trees.

“What about trees, Biff?” said the fox.

They’re beautiful. They never stop being beautiful. They’re beautiful all year round…when they’re in full leafage in summer, green and glowing in the sun. When they’re erupting color in the fall and when that matrix of buds coats the branches with spots of green in the spring. They’re…

“Hey, Biff, aren’t you forgetting something?” said the fox.

“You’re really messing with my train of thought here, fox.”

“Uh…winter? Trees in the winter?”

Anyone have a good recipe for fox stew?

OK…trees in the winter. I really hate to say this, but trees in the winter take my breath away. Especially with a white coating of snow. I love the contrast, the delineation, the emphasis on structure that you don’t get with full foliage. In the summer you get form, shape, texture and color. All of which is pretty damn cool, but not as mesmerizing as when you can you can see right into the physical essence of something that predates even me.

I just stood outside Reads, under a tree with light snow packed gorgeously on its branches, and closed my eyes, listening, feeling, smelling…opening myself to the tree. After a couple minutes the tree spoke to me in the form of a large patch of snow plopping onto my head. But hey, if bird shit is supposed to be lucky…

My head is wet, but I’m not going to wipe it off. It’s a sign. I’m going to treat it like a christening and a calling and write holy things about trees. But not with words.

With my camera. This is what I need…to get outside with my camera every chance I get this winter and pay homage to the trees.

I inadvertently started this morning…before I knew that I was on a mission from the trees…

winter-5 winter-6 winter-8 winter-9 winter-7