“The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.”
“The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.”
“My Favorite Bunnies” ©2018
“You are only as strong as the alcohol you drink, the tables you dance on, and the friends that hold you together”
I had lunch with a friend of mine some months ago in Calistoga California at the only Chinese restaurant in town. In typical, commercial, Chinese restaurant fashion, two cellophane wrapped fortune cookies appeared along with the check.
I will admit, when the fortune cookies arrive, something comes over me, (some of you do this too, just differently, and it is OK). I become over the top superstitious, count to 6, three times…tap my left foot a few times, blink twice, wave my hand over each cookie, hoping to feel the magic and juju I so associate with fortune cookies. I mean for God’s sake, they are, “FORTUNE”, cookies…I make major decisions based on what’s wrapped up in that tiny stale, sometimes spongy treasure chest…part of my superstition is being the last to take the remaining little pillow of fate…at least that way I know destiny has clearly chosen me by the process of elimination and what awaits, I follow like the Boy Scout motto…
I do have an out though if the fortune really sucks, I don’t eat any of the cookie, that way the fortune is null and void…whew!! The most memorable fortune I’ve ever had in my life created this null and void ritual… here goes:
“You will have a very unusual operation”
So with great anticipation, my friend made his choice, cracked it open and read his fortune…it was something about straight lines and life, had no relevance what so ever, so he said…I’ve yet to check with him though…I quivered with anticipation as I cracked open the vault of whatever fortune cookies are made of, and there on a slender piece of paper my fate awaited me…
In all seriousness, it was the most profound fortunes I’ve received, I look at it every day, and see how it works for me…not to mention, I’ve memorized the Chinese word on the back of the fortune, “Busy”, Mang or Fan, depending of course….
Here’s what I’m listening to as I write this, I hope you enjoy it….
Hope your fortune comes true…
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth’, and so it goes away”
Limited Time, 2017
“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.”
I used to camp on a picnic table at Bean Hollow Beach, long after they would lock the gates, check the bathrooms and say goodnight to whatever needed saying goodnight to….I’d walk around the heavy yellow pipe barricade, with my sleeping bag, a flashlight, a small styrofoam cooler and my journal…I always had plans…didn’t always initiate the plans but had them nevertheless…Often I’d start a small fire under the concrete picnic table that was my bed to warm it up…I’d lie there, drink some beers and watch the star filled sky…watch for anomalies and satellites…strange events, anything that wanted to come forward…it was an experience I often think of today and how it was, simple and easy….a pleasure to be a part of a few times each month….I owned the beach, and everything on it…it was mine for about 8 hours…sometimes I’d count the stars like the minutes…because I could…
Star gazing music:
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
“Hajime ni” © 2017 Robert Redus
“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
In the movie, Full Metal Jacket, when private Pyle has finally lost the last drop of sanity and is confronted by private Joker in the head. the end result is expected, and not a surprise. Private joker says to private Pyle, “If Hartman comes in here and catches us, we will both be in a world of shit.”, Private Pyle replies, “I am in a world of shit”….then Pyle’s greatest moment is not far away…nevertheless,…a seemingly cohesive collective is seconds from taking on enough water to capsize the entire vessel….
I really used to believe that the power of a collective was an unstoppable power that when directed and adjusted could accomplish incredible things…yet now…I don’t believe that so much, why? you ask…well because every collective has at least one private Pyle, 1 person who is in a world of shit, for what ever reason creating a compromise in the integrity of the collective…I mean think about, we all are in a world of shit…who knows, could be a few days a month…once a quarter…maybe twice a year…
The word collective means: “a cooperative enterprise”. Herds,( my favorite is a quiver of cobras)… flocks, packs, gangs, parties, anything with people sharing a common idea/goal is considered a collective, creating something called, “Collectivism” which is defined as:
“Collectivism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the group and its interests. Collectivism is the opposite of individualism.
or better put…”the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.”…
And that to me is where the notion of the collective fails completely, and not because of the group priority…but because of the diametric opposition of those within the group on the really small micro scale….in other words, everybody in the group is on a different part of the group’s bell curve…let’s simplify…remember this part, OK?….in a collective, individuality is in the back seat, while the collective itself drives….right? yet if everybody in the back seat has a different way of driving, directional skills, methods of getting from point A to point X….and exactly what they define point A and X to be, somebody or some group of bodies is going to decide the driving habits of the collective….now a box within a box within a box….yabitty…yabitty…yabitty… So, the collective now is no longer about the collective, rather about the individuals guiding and directing the collective…sort of individualism directing collectivism….sound vaguely familiar…
Here’s my solution and I’ll start with a 2 questions first…here they are…
If tomorrow you woke and you were doing exactly what you wanted to be doing, you know that ikegai, that passion that we all have for something and long to live, (here it is) what would you be doing?…..and what are you currently doing to get there?….if you can’t answer the first question….you can’t answer the 2nd question either….So before you join a collective, you think you kind of believe in most of the time, answer these 2 questions….then start the process of living that life….
Here are 10 readily accepted scenarios in the world we live in…we should think hard about changing these…..
I think we each have to work on changing ourselves first…plant tomatoes, raise some bees…take longer walks…have less stuff…write more…talk less…read more…teach more….learn more…maybe your neighbor might see that and do the same…and their neighbors might see them doing than and their neighbors, neighbors might see….and then that world of shit just might not be that bad….if its compost….
“You are only as strong as the liquor you drink, the tables you dance on and the of friends that hold you together”
“Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”
I can’t say…and really neither can you…what exactly the, “right”, way might be…some call it Jesus…others, Makers Mark…porn…a spoonful of heroin…all you can eat buffets… adrenalin…a box of Little Debbie snack cakes…sleeping…and it doesn’t really matter because there is absolutely no difference…from one to the another…it all still fills some hole that we think needs filling…just like we need to find what’s right…right??…seems all of the above mentioned might border on the questionable way…given moderation is not an element in the process…
I mean, just watch Jesus Camp, drink a quart of Makers Mark, shoot a spoonful of herion after a trip to an all you can eat buffet, before a base jumping lesson, and to add to the adenine rush eat as many Little Debbie snack cakes before you deploy the chute, then go home and take a 23 hour nap…get back with me on this, would you..let me know how the dy went…
The most important thing is “Way”…which fucking direction are you heading…and even if it is not the right direction what is revealed along the way will be right for a while…or forever…who knows….
I sat the other day in the best spot possible at a farmers market…and inside my ever ticking brain, I asked myself…”How can I make the best space possible, even better?”…and you know, if I’d have had a third hand…I’d have slapped the shit out of myself repeatedly…or at least pinched me a couple of times…you know…sometimes….
“Good enough is just good enough”
And it’s really easy to always want to make something better…even if it is really, really good enough and would be hard to make better…and you know that’s a very messed up way of thinking, I think…oh, and believe me I think like this far more than I’d like to admit…So, why in the world do we do this…do we want more, better, greater something from a better situation, all the stuff we can possibly carry…to add to all of the other stuff we have carried around for a few years, decades….does a better situation make everything else better…how’s a 500k a year job sound?…what about 3 and one half hour commute twice a day that goes with that great paying job…..still better???….is it like a fantastic marmalade on a basically bland piece of toast?…I mean you can only eat so many spoonfuls of marmalade directly from the jar before a piece of toast, even toasted wonder bread, starts looking pretty good!
So I’m starting to write in my sketchbook every morning, the things that are are really good just as they are….without any thought of the blah…blah…blah that somehow floats there in the ether and says…”On the other hand”, in those quiet whispers….
I sharpened a very dull thrift store knife I purchased yesterday….and not only was the sharpening process really, really good and truly could not have been any better…but cutting the paper to see how sharp the knife was a religious experience….now could it be sharper…who cares….I don’t…..
So my entire rant today isn’t really about what you have, don’t have, the holes we fill with shit that is just another addiction to something equally as addictive to what we’ve tried to shed, it’s about satisfaction…and if you don’t own it already, you should probably make that the quest until it’s at least in view, and you know what it looks like, until it is in hand, encompassing and visceral….sorry to say, you can’t buy it, rent it, stumble upon it, find it in someone else, pray to it, inject it, eat it, tax your adrenaline glands, and Little Debbie….sure as hell doesn’t have yours….
Have a great day!!
“I’d rather be dead than singing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m forty-five.”
“What delights us in visible beauty is the invisible.”
“Spacious Skies” ©Robert Redus 2016
I remember singing, “America the Beautiful”, in parochial school, it was right up there with Onward Christian Soldiers…and for the most part, I thought the song ended with the first, “From sea to shining sea”….well, I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but it doesn’t and there are 3, that’s right, count them, three more verses…my vivd imagination kept me afloat, thinking that somewhere in 1974 I was going to find out what and where the amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties, and the fruited plain, were and how I was going to get there…sort of a personalized, “Easy Rider“, moment where instead, I just dreamed of riding the Panhead that Dennis Hopper was riding in the movie.
So my brother Kenneth…an avid adventurer and I began a few treks, jumping a freight train to end up eventually in Santa Fe New Mexico, with just the clothes on our backs, toothbrushes, water, and of course a can of, Sterno…where I have to say, I attended the most incredible News Years celebration in a bar called the El Toro Lounge…I wore a handmade paper hat with a picture of Katherine Ross glued to it…we did some great hitchhiking and exploring…and never once did I see on the map or hear from other travelers of these legendary….waves of grain, purple mountains or fruited plains…hmmm…and we traveled a great deal over the years…..and
So…I’ve always believed that I have a choice of being right…or being happy…and yes I can be both…but more often than not, happiness and rightness do not share the same space…one way streets, I will always forgo happiness for the sake of being right…the book, “Napkin Notes, On the Art of Living” speaks a great deal about this and how it’s entirely about you…check it out…
Here are my thoughts this morning translated into photographs…hope it make sense….have a swell day!
©Robert Redus 2016
©Robert Redus 2016
©Robert Redus 2016
©Robert Redus 2016
©Robert Redus 2017
“I have always felt a little homeless. It’s a strange thing.”
“Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility”
To say enough is enough in this day and age is like screaming into the wind, expecting results that are going to be life changing…everyday our world is dominated by political disarray…instability and the growing threat of a world we’ve never known becoming normalized…and its not just that…everything we encounter is dramatically opposite of what we as human are really designed to live in…I thought it was kind of like harmony…we were supposed to get along…sort of move forward at our pace and help when we can and get help when we need it…
In my 60 years…most of which were fog living…cliff standing and juggling while driving at high rates of speed…I was a rambler…a mover from place to place a “Serial Stroller”, if you will…and in that time, I’ve encountered a great number of people who just want things to stand out as…well…simple…small…easy and relatively light weight…kind of like a great down sleeping bag…functional…kick as warm and equally as valuable…light weight…
I went to buy cream last night…just plain old organic half and half, (I prefer Straus) …and I realized how screwed up we live…nowhere to be found was organic half and half…there was almond creamer, soy creamer, every flavor you could imagine creamer, non-dairy creamer, organic hazelnut creamer, store brand creamer, big plastic bottles of creamer, small glass jars of creamer, creamer I could not figure out how to open creamer, creamer in different languages creamer, creamers with warning labels, pretty generic creamers and finally tucked away on one tiny isle amidst the sea of creamers was…organic half and half…I was more than mesmerized…sort of felt I’d survived an inquisition during the Spanish Inquisition…My curiosity got the better of me…led me to the other isle of the store…34 brands of coconut oil…acres of cereal…bread to feed everyone on a super busy headliner gladiator Saturday at the Colosseum…soft drinks enough to give a small country diabetes…enough spices to season every dish everyone with my last name will cook for the rest of their lives and the lives of their grandchildren…my point was easy…WHY?
Why do stores offer so many choices that it causes us to be unable to make a choice…5 items, maybe eight…and maybe put in a working organic garden for seriously fresh produce…a small micro brewery…maybe a meat eaters and vegan taqueria…a magician and a community meet up every week…stores would be smaller…but far more exciting, employees, I’m sure would be happier…and paint the walls with murals, hang local artists work on the walls…have debates…and campfires in winter…and for god’s sake change the names…use only names that sort of define the kind of grocery store it is and the extras….”Bob’s Rock and Roll Thursday Night, Free Organic Pancake Grocery”…we’d all get it right… Bob serves organic pancakes for free on Thursday nights and chances are you’ll hear some rock and roll music…ah simpatico!!!
It’s the choices…a few are good…too many change us…make us spend what valuable time we have wasting it on the green bottle or the red one that rests upside down, or maybe the white one that can be made into a candle holder when it is all used up…
Time is really very precious…more valuable than anything we can create…think about or build, and granted time is this weird made up construct but even if we didn’t call it time…it would do the same thing… and in the midst of all of this time…we wander…wander wondering what it is has to happen for “That” to happen…whatever that might be…
Jimson Weed, Datura, Flower, Teachings of Don Juan
We all need to get it wired up really tight if we plan on seeing this through…want to change things…change you first…once that happens change leaks all over the place like kiddy pool with a big hole in it…who are you…what do you want and want to be…as John Prine said, “Move to the country, plant a little garden, grown a lot of peaches, try and find jesus on your own”…or whatever the words to your song might be…
Here’s where I was yesterday:
Whitewater Preserve, just outside of Palm Springs, and it was spectacular….
Enjoy your week, stay out of the bad places and if you have some really great ideas…please share them with me….let’s make some great stuff happen!!
“When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it”