Friday, August 27, 2010

Whisper Tree

In the Philippines, my cousin told me that it is customary when you have a very bad dream that you would never want to come true, you have to whisper the dream to a tree. You can’t tell another person because it might come true, but you can whisper it to a tree who will keep your secret. Then once you’ve told the tree, you can walk away content that the dream has been released to the tree and will never come true.

But what do you do when you aren’t dreaming but you are actually living your nightmares? Where can you go when you are on the verge of being diminished, disdained and discarded?  When all that you hold precious and beloved is kept from you?

Professionally and personally, my life seems to be on the verge of imploding. Now my laptop, my big Huey is on the verge of dying on me again, this time permanently. Even my electronic devices are on the verge of abandoning me.

The Florida Keys

I have to find my whisper tree.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pain Interrupted

Does anyone else feel that in the depths of our despair there is this keen, thin, strand of hope that pierces the darkness like a stiletto? It’s a thin, fine line that can get through the tightest spot. It’s a keen high C in a roomful of dull hums.

When I’m in physical pain, I imagine I’m surrounded by a raging storm. Where should you go when you are caught in a storm? Search for the calm at the center of the storm.  I have been in the center of a storm; there is a preternatural silence that stops your eardrums from thrumming, that you wonder if you’ve lost your hearing.

So when I’m caught in a pain storm, I dig straight into the pain and seek out the center. It’s a strange exercise that I used to do as a child. I ran into the pain, I fought it with a fearlessness that we are instinctively born with. I created a mantra:

“This does not touch me, I cannot feel the rain. I cannot feel the poison coursing through my veins.”

I’m reminded of it as I struggle with psychic pain, a far more difficult fight and not so easy to transmute.  By psychic pain I mean an emotional toll that shakes our confidence, our ego and creates a dark struggle of self-doubt. 

But even there, there is that thin line of hope. I may not be able to fight this storm, but perhaps I don’t have to, some storms just have to be endured. Like the proverbial sword, it’s strength, it’s sharpness, it’s endurance comes from its tempering in the fire and in the hammer blows.

I am a sword being tempered.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Connecting the Dots

Monday night I had a dark dream.

I walked into a bank lobby. It was one of those old style banks, all marble and sharp echoes. The lobby was crowded with suits and high heels. I moved toward the line but I was blocked by two men, one of whom shouldered me aside. Then my sleeve got hooked on one of the men and I was caught up in their struggle over a black valise.

The man holding it was adamant about not letting go. Then he shouted “BOMB!”

I disentangled myself and walked away calmly as more men converged on the two struggling men. I didn’t panic, I didn’t run, I walked calmly. I was hoping to go unnoticed, not attract attention. It’s that walk all kids know, it’s the I’M-NOT-HERE-YOU-DON’T-SEE-ME walk. Trying to fly under the radar.

Then I heard a voice, in the dream I knew this voice was the boss.

Boss: Kill the witnesses.
Henchmen: How do we know who saw what?
Boss: Then kill them all. Calmly, coldly, the boss ordered our executions.

I was at the door, pushing the large brass doors and walking out into the sidewalk, my heart pounding as I heard the sound of more footsteps. Then the screams began, I didn’t hear gunshots, just the screams.
Then I turned into the next door’s alcove, hesitated before I pushed through that door and found myself at a train station. I pulled my transit card and burst past the turnstile. As I ran down the stairs to the train platform, a thought quickly ran through my head.

“If need be, I can go hide in Special Section, that’s beneath the train platform and requires a pass.”

As I started to wake from the dream another thought floated up with me through the dream.

“What if I can’t get out?”

Then I realized that my fear drove me underground, where I would be stuck if they found me. I  had painted myself into a corner.

I woke from the dream at 445am. Not a good feeling.

Last night I caught up with last week’s “Royal Pains” and suddenly one of the characters tells another character, “…hating your job is no way to living your life…” I half-heartedly wondered if the universe was sending me messages through my TV. After all, what gets the most of my attention? The universe knows.

Then tonight, I caught up with “Rubicon” a strange little series about CIA analyst and their quirky job. It’s part Conspiracy Theory and as exciting as a chess game. But I watch it anyways. I was multi-tasking when suddenly a scene caught my ears and I was jolted.

Analyst: “Are you setting me up to fail?”
Boss: “There are two types of fear. There’s the type that makes us work harder, that drives us: we dig deeper. There’s the kind that makes my heart come up in my throat and make me – at the cost of my sanity, look for answers… That’s the good fear. The bad fear is the kind that makes us stop working, paralyzes us; makes us stay in bed all day and hide. Bad fear doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means you shouldn’t be working here”

 Then the lightning struck me; the title of the episode was “Connect The Dots”

I connected the dots. I have to climb out of hiding - climb out of the dark tunnel I ran into and face my fears.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I want to run away

I want to run away to a distant island in the sun. I want to hide in the idea that was once alive in Lakawon. I would swing leisurely in my hammock, let the breeze brush my hair and listen to the sound of the surf. My eyes blinded by the sun, the hot sand curling about my feet and the gentle whispers of the coconut trees swaying. I want to savor my solitude.

There, I would cease to hear the soft sobbing of my broken heart. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Millenium Ramblings


Friday was a sultry night of slow sweat, a window fan that sounded like a plane on approach and my tinnitus that decided it was going to practice its scales. So rather than toss and turn, I sat up and reached for the final book in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy, “The Girl Who Kicked A Hornet’s Nest”.

When I first read “The Girl With The Dragon” I knew; that as Hollywood is trying to cast the American version of this movie, I wanted to see Natalie Portman play Lisbeth Salanger. After all, isn’t Lisbeth just the grown up version of Mathilde from her movie “The Professional”? I don’t know about Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomquist, simply because Craig is too lean, too …James Bond. Blomquist is an “everyman” I can’t see Craig in that role, unless he packs some pounds on so he looks more like a middle-aged man.

Then I immediately thought how PERFECT Lauren Holly would be as Erika Berger, the Editor in Chief of the Millenium magazine, friend and some time lover of Mikael Blomquist. She plays smart, sexy and classy very well. Berger’s story is integral to who Blomquist is and I was disappointed that the Swedish version chose to cut most of Berger’s story. But the final book has a very juicy side story for Berger and I would love to see Lauren Holly sink her teeth into that role.

Today, I saw the Swedish movie version of the “Dragon”, the movie like the book was slow to start and over 2hrs long. Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch the movie w/o referencing the book, which obscures any thought of being objective on the merits of the movie alone.

But if anyone gets the chance, I would definitely recommend reading all 3 books. The 1st book was slow & despite having a murder mystery, to me a purely expository novel to introduce us to Mikael, Lisbeth(the ‘Girl’) and Erika, the three main characters that appear in all the books. It is slow and bears the atmospheric ambiance of an Ingmar Bergman movie.

The 2nd book is more of an action thriller. I couldn’t read this book fast enough. This starts with a murder and ends with attempted murders. This movie would be a more of a Christopher Dolan action movie, Jason Bourne, except with a girl kicking some ass!
The 3rd book is almost like two books. The 1st half of the book is an exposition of Swedish law and political history, but it sets the stage for ending of the story.  The last half is straight out of a courtroom drama, a Joel Schumacher touch, similar to how he directed “The Client”.

I know this isn’t much of a book review, but I spent all night reading “Hornet’s” and didn’t sleep until 9am this morning. Then I woke up and watched the ‘Dragon’ movie. Books, movies, reality and distorted dreams have made me a bit of a confused mess today, so excuse my ramblings. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Canadian Countryside Farm

I took this back in Oct 2003. I still had a Nikon SLR camera. I was on the 401. I was driving in from Montreal, heading to Toronto when I saw this sign for a cheese factory. I can't remember the name of the town/village nor the cheese factory. I've researched the internet but none of the listings look right. I've been back there since, in the spring of 2006. I took a picture with the trees full of leaves. It looked the same. But oddly, I've misplaced that photograph.

I'd like to take a picture of this same place but during each season. So I need to see it in summer, fall and spring again.

It was a strange photograph, it was at the beginning of my roll, so it took me a while to finish it, so it wasn't until after the new year 2004 that I had the roll developed. When I pulled the photo from the stack, I was stunned.

I couldn't remember taking this picture. I stood stock still, scanning my memory until I reminded myself that I did take this picture. To handle the photograph was surreal because to me it looks like a Monet painting. But it's a real farm.

Perhaps the cheese factory is closed. It was a very small clustering of buildings. Both times I arrived late in the afternoon, just barely in time to pick up some cheese curds before hitting the road and heading to Toronto.

As I recall, I was heading west on the 401. I exited northbound, and kept heading north for a bit before I turn back east on a small country road. Then a few minutes later there was a cluster of houses, buildings, a very small concrete bridge and the cheese factory was on the north side of the road.

This farm is on the south side of the road and I took the photo from the bridge.  Anyone know where this is or even just the exit number?