david's autobiography

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THE UNPOLISHED MANUSCRIPT
 

Autobiography

Of A Diamond In The Rough…

Portrait of the Artist as a Human Being…

The Care & Feeding Of A Good Idea…

The Uncut Block…

The Architecture Of Smoke…

Time is Art is Life…

“…Memoir of a Space Puppy…”

Adventures Of The Lusty Traveler…

Life of the Artist…

 

David Alexander English

THE UNPOLISHED MANUSCRIPT

Of A Diamond In The Rough…

Portrait Of The Artist As A Human Being…

The Care & Feeding Of A Good Idea…

etc.

Copyright 2008 David Alexander English

davidalexanderenglish.com

almightypublishing.com

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

ISBN 978-1-891313-99-8

daenglish @ gmail.com

davidalexanderenglish @ yahoo.com

(310) 869-2454

welcome home…

thank you for coming…right now…if you can, just take a moment…& a long…deep…breath…& if it pleases you…just relax…& get real comfortable…because if you like stories…you now hold within your hands a magical, true life story…of stories…told entirely from memory…about a universe…one soul’s universe…within the greater universe…a bubble of bubbles within the greater bubble…& like a rainbow, plumed, cosmic serpent eating it’s tale…it overlaps & weaves, loops & circles back on itself…may you enjoy good luck, good light, in finding your own chosen path through the labyrinth…knowing that each time you enter, something new, a new path to the center is created…unique to only you & your footfalls…your choices & experience…recognize that what you see, what you realize is what you bring to the party…while this work is casting a spell of inspiration through you…to both be the change we all seek…& empower the dreamer to dream the great, sacred dream…& the visionary to envision & create the highest future we all hope for & know we are all capable of bringing to life…as the children play…& the lovers within us, love on…reach…reaching…higher…deeper…wider…soar…

“…who the heck do I think I am…”

?

out of the blue, a woman that helped us scout for the World Rainbow Gathering in Brazil in 2003 sent me a message…in catching up I’d mentioned working on this book & she wrote back: “… Autobiography? Humm…isn't it another kind of ego trip?”…& my response went something like:

“…of course it’s an ego trip…that is kind of the point…to leave a record of the journey…& in the process of learning from the process of writing it…hopefully provide something of value…to everyone inspired to open & taste of a human life…”

for years when I would encounter people that got a glimpse of what it must have been like to walk a mile in my shoes…I would hear them say that danged, inimitable phrase: “…you should write a book…” & I would roll my eyes & say a vague, noncommittal, “…sure…”… because I knew what it took to write a book…after it took 7 years writing SOMEWHERE…600 pages long, every page beginning with the word “somewhere”…I had thought this would have been the first book I would publish…back in the mid 1980’s when the prospects for publishing involved an elaborate begging & prostrating ritual on the alter of blind sacrifice to the fickle attentions of the gatekeepers of culture & affluence…the idea of another undertaking…another ordeal…trial…campaign…nope…wasn’t really that interested in girding myself for battle again…& to tell it right, the idea of exposing myself to the world in this way seemed daunting, overwhelming, & alluring all at once…enter the internet & the roll of self publishing on demand in democratizing the publishing process…enabling the long dreamt of end run around the wall of the gatekeepers to be able to bring works like these to you…

since finishing SOMEWHERE in 1987…& submitting it around in various forms & abbreviations to both traditional publishers & poetry award competitions…& paying the proverbial dues through the cliché of the collection of rejection letters from prestigious publishers…which for the aspiring writer is a step up from no response at all…but all that just resulted in the manuscript remaining unpublished & “in storage”…but for the series of paintings that ended up with pages of the SOMEWHERE text painted across them…that somehow found a certain popularity among those that were lucky enough to have caught me during my hand painted t-shirt phase: 1987 to 1994…or when I graduated to framed prints as the reproduction technology permitted: 2000 to 2007…so the good news is that from 1987 to 2007 I had taught myself how to paint & completed over 1,400 canvases…published a 90 minute DVD of all the sacred geometry paintings I created since 1995…& in the fall of 2007 I had self-published 5 books in 3 months…I was finally realizing my potential as a prolific creator of content…what the licensing people like to call IP: Intellectual Property…& I was out of excuses for not writing “the danged book”…

Richard Bach author of JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL…& ILLUSIONS…& one of my personal heroes wrote in the intro to one of his books something about an idea bursting through your walls & refusing to leave until you give it your full attention…he talked about how reluctant he was to write at all…& when I read that back in the 70’s I didn’t understand what he meant until this year…having authored & self published 7 books over the past 8 months I’ve been granted a unique insight into what it takes to write a book…if done right it is one of the most physically demanding things one can ever undertake…the best description I’ve come up with so far is:

“…it’s like performing abdominal surgery on oneself without benefit of any anesthesia…your hands all up in there covered in you…as you feel around in there…groping around deep inside yourself…trying to put your bloody finger on it…grasp at it…& finally grasp it…pull it all out into the light of day…for the whole world…to take a good long look at…(at it’s leisure, of course)…& repeat…until you get it all out…all…of…it…the heck…out…not done ‘til you do…”

that’s how it felt every day for the first month & a half…but then I came to realize the singular pleasure…as later on this journey of self discovery becomes a feast of emotional & personal revelation…as the satisfaction of just getting it said…getting it all down…& out…finally…is enough…the gratification from this has few parallels…

at that point I wrote to my friend Fluxblossom,“…I am so way far into this now… that the only way out is through…”…because giving my focus to anything else but finishing the chronicle & taking care of myself physically…seemed dark or deadening…the only light was to finish the journey…finish telling the story…complete the journey…& all would be reveled…all would take care of itself…

over the past few years I've often found myself being interviewed about the course of my career as an artist…& was in the middle of such an interview, that went on for some 90 minutes in November 2007…when I realized I should probably write it all down…in the process of doing so I had to give some background…& context…& that was the genesis of THE UNPOLISHED MANUSCRIPT…

“…some ego trips may actually be worth the journey...”

?

painting my brains out in the Anza Borrego desert in 1993 I began to experience a state of bliss & euphoria that went on 24/7 for 3 months…this I later came to call “my spiritual acceleration”…3 days into this experience I started reading Yogananda’s AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI…a footnote around page 300 explained about the nature & metaphysics of the ambient sound I was hearing in the desert & everywhere else in the universe…this had a most profound impact on the direction my life would take thereafter…

Errol Flynn’s autobiography MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS…was one of the inspiring book I thought about on the road...in part because it took him off the star pedestal & showed me a person like myself…struggling like the rest of us just to live…what impressed me was that his life before the movies was so full of real adventure & risk out of necessity… that when the movies came along, it was all a cushy parody of all the real living he’d already done…in fact by the time he got cast in his first film roll as Fletcher Christian in an early silent version of Mutiny on the Bounty he had already done more hard scrapple living than most people would ever do in several lifetimes…the movies were a vacation from the struggle he’d known before…when I found myself in similar bazaar & absurd adventures & circumstances all over the world that I never dreamed of for myself…it helped to know there were people like him that achieved higher goals than the struggles & dark places we find ourselves consumed by sometimes…

reading George Orwell’s autobiographical work DOWN & OUT IN PARIS & LONDON gave me a similar appreciation for my circumstances versus achieving my higher goals…as I found myself down & out in Paris & London…when I landed in Europe with $30…in August 1999 to see the Total Solar Eclipse at the European Rainbow Gathering in Hungary…trying to get to the Pyramids for the Millennium…

Jack Kerouac’s autobiographical sketch of the Beat Generation in ON THE ROAD inspired me to start hitch hiking & jumping trains around the country in 1979…I read the first half before I started hitch hiking…& a year of hitching & jumping trains around the country later… I finally came back to read the second half…which by then seemed anticlimactic…because by then I had my own stories to tell that were equally as intense & nostalgic & empty & lonely & frenzied & desperate & unforgettably, indescribably describable…

Chuck Yeager’s been one of my heroes since I first discovered reading for fun in 6th grade…& then over the next 3 years proceeded to entirely devour the WWII book sections of 3 libraries…so when his book YEAGER came out I couldn’t get enough…he’d been the fighter pilot I’d always wanted to be…

reading Tom Wolfe’s THE RIGHT STUFF & seeing the movie by the same name…so put it’s finger on what it was like being in a military family, living in the orbit of an airbase in the early 60’s during the Kennedy Era & the beginning of the space race…it was all about the jets…& the people that flew them where the top of the heap…there was this tension that suffused everything at that time…& the pressure of this directly effected everyone right down to us little kids on the playground…it determined the pecking order…& as a child of color I was the one on the bottom…looking up at those jets…screaming across the sky with all that confidence…& I was in love…

as an amateur historian I enjoy reading the form of the autobiography…yet biography has shaped & inspired me also…like the biographies of the Wright brothers WILBUR & ORVILLE… Nicola Tesla…& EDISON…have all been profoundly influential in my life & are great reads as well…these 3 works I read in the early 90’s helped me understand unique traits I inherited from both my Father & Mother…the intuitive traits of the tinkerer…my friend Carrie liked to kid me about being a little MacGyver…but what these 4 famous successful inventors had in common was the same thing I saw in my Father’s pursuit of his passion for Ham radio…& my mothers success at fixing the TV using kitchen utensils…

something about being able to learn from another’s mistakes & successes…film biographies in general & of any artist in particular are among my favorite things to find…to see how another faces what I face…how to be a human being…how to create something of genuine benefit to the rest of the world…how to live a life of integrity…& remain true…& enjoy the journey…how to inspire & share inspiration…how to reach goals in a healthy way…how to achieve & enjoy lasting success …& remain a good person inside & out…how to pass it all on in a good way…how to have a lasting positive impact on the world…& the universe…

I’ve been very inspired by the famous autobiography of the renaissance sculptor & artist Benvenuto Cellini…who is more famous for his book than for his sculpture…in part because it gives us a snapshot of what it was like to be an artist in the 1500’s in Italy & France on all levels of society…I read it while camping on a nude beach on Maui in 2002…it occurred to me that it might be helpful for people to get a clearer view of the life of the artist as it is today…not so much as a famous person…or even as a so called would-be emerging artist…but as a human being…another person with dreams & aspirations that they do their best to live up to…& have come true…

in December 1999 I was camped under an almond tree growing out of a wall on the roof of an abandon Palestinian village on the edge of Jerusalem…& then in the Jerusalem Forest on top of Mount Herzl for a week…reading Mark Twains “pseudo” autobiography of Huck Finn…strange place to read it…couldn’t put it down…even after having worked as a stage tech at Harvard’s American Repertory Theater on the original production of the musical version BIG RIVER before it went to Broadway…& won all the Tonys…

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X was a book I avoided reading all through school & college…it seemed to be everywhere…but one day in a snowstorm in Buffalo, NY in 1980…I finally picked up a copy & read the first 100 pages in one sitting…it was so well written & engaging…honest, frank, & direct…it was really like meeting a person & hearing him tell you his story beyond the fact of his roll as a cultural icon…& then I found out he was writing about my grandmothers neighborhood where my mother grew up & I spent a good part of my childhood on family holidays…& even started kindergarten there…it was then that I asked Mom about this & found out that she knew him…it took me a few years to get back to read the rest of the story…but I found in it a window into another dark chapter of my own family story…the story of my mother’s only biological brother Richard, who was Malcolm’s contemporary…& who ran away to New York for the first time at 13…after committing an unspeakable act…

those first two years out of college while I was hitching & jumping trains all over the US…I traveled with a paperback copy of THE PORTABLE NIETZSCHE…which included a translation of his monumental work THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA & a plethora of his aphorisms…his work championed the idea of the one who is forever engaged in self overcoming…I took this in as sort of a form of secular Zen…which became a kind of guiding principle of my journeys…

later on I picked up a copy of THE PORTABLE KAFKA…to fill my other pants pocket for those moments on the side of the road between rides…that he was able to communicate absurdity & the bazaar with such economy…& so effectively used the aphorism form as a means of expression… I found so appealing that this has inspired all of my work since both written & visual…

in the winter of my sophomore year at UMass I was introduced to Zen Buddhism by my friend & head-of-residence Vinny Washington of Pittsburgh, PA…we also enjoyed the mental challenge of smoking pot, watching television, playing chess, & having an intellectual/spiritual conversation all at the same time…this was our sacrilegious form of engaging in dharma combat…for how can you win the argument & lose the game…& losing focus on the game or your place in the argument could lose you both…the object of the exercise was to share moments of pure consciousness…he let me borrow his dog-eared copy of ZEN BONES, ZEN FLESH, a collection of Zen koans & early writings…the idea of a bunch of words designed to trick the mind into enlightenment…has had a lasting effect on the focus & goal of all my work & life since…

I later borrowed, then got my own copy of Philip Kapleau’s THE THREE PILLARS OF ZEN…what I would call a definitive work on Zen practice…I took it home with me that summer & devoured the book…then went into retreat in my house…didn’t come out of my room for 3 days except to use the toilet…meditating on enlightenment 24 hours a day…praying on enlightenment…focusing on enlightenment…& in the end realized there was nothing to realize…the effort was the purpose of the exercise…to impress the self to the worthiness of accepting what is already given…one of the koans I was meditating on is the classic:

what is the sound of one hand clapping ?’

one day about a year ago it just came to me…& I started laughing…the sound of one hand clapping is the sound that you hear when there is no sound…the divine vibration…the vibration by which all is manifest…the omnipresent high-pitched hum-hiss sound that you can hear right this moment…& have been hearing & tuning out all of your life…the sound that I heard & communed with in the desert during “my spiritual acceleration”…the sound of divine consciousness…

I love the koan as a literary form…primarily because it attempts to inspire enlightenment through the use of the fewest number of words…to pose an eternal question that is a pathway to the infinite divine…everything I’ve done creatively has been an attempt to create a better Zen koan of sorts…&/or to create the perfect aphorism…the short, concise, bazaar, uplifting story through the posing of a question that cuts to the chase &/or short circuits the mind through the smallest collection of words…or through a sparse few strokes of a drawing…or the choice of moment & light in the composition of a photograph…or a use of color & absence to make a painting…even the video work is inspired by this economy of expression…saying the most with the least to inspire the highest…

a paperback copy of Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES…came to me towards the end of my first two years of hitchhiking around the country…in this work Campbell charts the course of the hero’s journey…stage by stage, chapter by chapter using examples from all the cultural traditions of the world throughout all history…after traveling so far out on the edge…the fringe of the world…as a hitch hiker/vagabond it gave me a context &/or overview to understand the course of my own journey…to re-contextualize & make sense of my own experience…which really helped as my literal foundation crumbled when we lost our house to foreclosure in the fall of 1980…& I found myself carting all our family’s stuff, accumulated over the previous 22 years of life…to the dump…what is the hero left with then…where does the hero return to then…when he can never go home again…

in the 3 decades since then I have dreamed of going back there to that house…94 Old Meetinghouse Road East Falmouth, Massachusetts, 02536…617 548-6545…I lived the first 22 years of my life thinking this was HOME…in these dreams there is always someone else living in the house & I am not really allowed to go inside or remain for long…very unsettling…it has taken years for me to get over the fact that the man who took our house did so for the sake of greed…he was a predatory lender that took advantage of my mother who was trying her best to dig her way out from under the financial burden she assumed from her divorce…one of the things that has come to me is that the universe uses everyone…everyone is a tool of the universe…one has the choice of being a conscious tool…or not…in this case the universe used this man & the sheriff to evict us from our past…& somehow this was important for our greater soul development…Campbell’s book helped me see these earthshaking & life-changing events as part of my own journey of the hero…& to see beyond the particular circumstances of the events to recognize the truth of my journey…not to remain attached to the setting or even the players but to recognize there is a greater journey unfolding…& to witness that is really the purpose of it all…because as I’ve come to realize in witnessing the unfolding, we also witness the source of the unfolding…which brings us back to the truth of our existence as infinite children of the divine…it is the only thing that makes sense…it is the only context in which everything makes sense…

for the first 20 years after we lost the house I dreamed of becoming wealthy enough to buy back our house…at first it was for my Mom…& then it was as a personal statement…of eventual triumph…I even thought about buying the whole block & turning it into a healing center…but as time wore on I realized it was unnecessary…it would have been like ‘trying to put new wine into old bottles’…we had each grown beyond that neighborhood…our lives were bigger…& wider now…it would have been nothing more than a nostalgic home to be stopped through on occasion…& when I realized the truth of this & let this desire go I stopped having the dreams recur so much…now when I have a dream about the old house I know it’s usually a message about holding onto the past…

one summer when I was in high school I was browsing in The Paperback Booksmith in the Cape Cod Mall…& from the $1 table I picked up a book…& opened it’s pages…& after 15 minutes of reading…finally spent the $1 for the book…I was very cheap & frugal back then…which has taken a lifetime to overcome…it was THE PROPHET by Khalil Gibran…I took it home & devoured this book…it was the combination of the poetic style used to express deep, philosophical, spiritual ideas that inspired me…I hoped one day in my own life to create something as profound as this work…it inspired me to write poetry…to aspire to the profound expression of truth…through the poetic form…

first semester freshman year at UMass I took my first of two required Rhetoric classes…the teacher was a writer from Springfield, Ma who was most likely just doing the teaching to finance his writing habit…but he delivered the goodies…the existentialists…he had us read Samuel Beckett’s WAITING FOR GODOT…Sartre’s NO EXIT…Camus’s THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS…but the most important event was my introduction to Jorge Luis Borges…the brilliant, blind, Argentine author stimulated me in ways that had never been satisfied before…it came through a copy of his work LABYRINTHS…which I carried around through my travels, read & reread for 2 decades & probably still have somewhere in storage…this writer more than any other inspired me…his work is labyrinthine…it is aphorism & koan & poetry & the twilight zone on a page… surreality…he is a literary version of Dali…& all of my work written & visual has been strongly influenced by the effect his work has had on me…

I enjoyed reading all of these works in part because I could pick a page at random & get something of spiritual value…this inspired the idea behind all the writing I’ve done…to try to compose things that offer just the crux or core of an idea…that expands ones world view without much preamble or fluff to get to the point…
 

these were just some of my literary heroes…people that I still carry within me through their words & ideas…there are so many more that I know I will wish I mentioned after publication…like all the science fiction I’ve consumed & been effected by…Robert Heinlein’s STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND…the title alone says everything about my journey on Earth…but this work had a profound effect on my early intellectual development…Ursula K. Le Guin’s THE DISPOSSESSED inspired my exploration into viable alternative social structures…Jean Auel’s CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR & the rest of her Earth’s Children Series of novels provided a realistic understanding of prehistory…how we lived life on earth before history…30,000 years ago…when Neanderthals & modern humans coexisted…just before the latter’s apparent extinction…& Zecharia Sitchin’s THE TWELTH PLANET & the rest of his Earth Chronicles Series…but all that we can get into at another time…

ok just one more…Ayn Rand…all of her works are all about integrity…I read ANTHEM in 8th grade just for fun…without giving away too much of the magic of this thin yet profound novel it is the autobiography of a person in a society that does not have the word “…I…”…the summer before we had to move out of our house I was reading her ATLAS SHRUGGED…what a page turner…which when it’s done you’re so glad that her other book of comparable length & profundity THE FOUNTAINHEAD is there to satisfy the separation anxiety that always come after reading a great book…but eventually it’s just you…back out there on the street… all alone…like after a short intense love affair having to go on but now with the memory of the love & it’s absence…trying to live your best of what you learned & felt during your time of being completely enthralled…when everything else in life is just something in the way or just to be gotten through ‘til you can bet back with your new love…a book…years went by…then one day I finally picked up her autobiographical novel WE THE LIVING…powerful…she is definitely one of my literary heroes…

in the last few days of my time working on the boardwalk at Venice Beach these two older women that were checking out my work asked me point blank: “…who do you think you are…what makes you so special…that you think people would want to read a whole book about you…why should I read a book about David Alexander English…?”

I answered their question by sharing the story of my name…to which they said, “WOOOOWW”…

so…who the heck do I think I am…I love this question…who the heck do I think I am…that is a very good question that I have spent 50 years working out…right up to typing this word…but so there will be no mistake...I love my life…it has been difficult & challenging but wondrous & magnificent & I feel so blessed this was really one of the reasons I wrote the book because I knew how blessed & magical even unbelievable it has been…so I figured what the heck…why not share the wealth…with you…my mostly invisible co-conspirator in the cosmic joke…

I am someone who has wanted my whole life to meet you…to enjoy & celebrate our amused agreement…our core understanding…our intuitive…spiritual connectedness…our instant, gut level recognition…so hard to put the finger on…but right here between us…I know you…& you know me…& we really like & respect one another…everything I’ve ever created…every word I’ve written or image I’ve created…I’ve done to communicate with you…to share with you…to affirm…to empower…the truth of our knowing of one another…to feed our connection…to affirm what we both in our bones & in our souls know to be the nature of all things…the nature of the universe…that the universe is awake…& alive…& conscious…that the universe is love…infinite love…that everyone matters…& everything counts…when I paint a painting I’m thinking of you…when I write a phase I’m thinking of the best way to put it so that it will explode in your being & spark that recognition of truth we all crave…& cherish…I’ve been thinking there is a dialogue between us…I’ve been thinking that at least you will understand…you will get the joke…I’ve been thinking, “oh you’ll get this…you’ll love this…this one’s for you…”

now I know it is likely that in my lifetime I may only meet so many people…but I still wanted to meet you…to reach you…to share with you all of my work & ideas…to leave it for you…as a gift…an affirmation that here is someone that gets you…the real you…who you really are in your soul…when I was a kid I used to think the whole world wanted to communicate on this level…wanted honesty & integrity to be the norm…I couldn’t understand how it could be any other way…that people might think anything but what is good would be good…or desirable…or worth pursuing…so I was disappointed a lot…I didn’t know about things like greed…or treachery but from movies, cartoons, comic books, & fairy tales…

the day John Lennon was killed I was working as a cashier at the Harvard Coop in Cambridge, MA for the Christmas season because I thought I really needed the money…I had just returned from hitching completely around the country…coast to coast to coast in 3 months & I was penniless…I met a young African American woman on the street who was a writer as well & we sat down for some tea…in the course of the conversation she said something with such weight behind it, that I found so striking, I didn’t even try to debate her on it…but took it as her speaking from her experience…she said, “…& some people are just so treacherous…” I had never heard someone use that word before & mean it…I don’t even know what she said before or after those words…I remember asking her to repeat or explain & she just said it again, “…some people are just so treacherous… that all I want to do is live…” in the past couple years I have met & had to deal with some of those people…it’s been a very sobering & souring event…& now I’m almost sorry to have to say that I understand what she meant…it is difficult to watch people prosper through being treacherous…goes against how I thought the world was supposed to be…but the good don’t always win over the treacherous…just by being good…accept perhaps by declining to even play the game…using the experience as impetus to move on…to do more of what one is meant to be doing…& in that light of the universe using everyone…as an angel or divine messenger…then the treacherous people are used by the universe to inspire us to move on along our path…no dawdling… just be sure not to get any appendages caught in the door on the way out…funny universe…

could it be the hero doesn’t win every battle?…but some battles are not worth the effort…or the memory…could it be that some battles are purely for forgetting…practicing letting go…completely…especially of vilifying ones adversaries…letting go of the treacherous…letting go of the grudge…because it holds parts of you in the past…when letting go welcomes the opportunities of the present to step in…?

the mirror reflects…to love the treacherous & forgive them in ones heart is to forgive that part of oneself that may be engaged in treacherousness…a couple years ago I got an advanced lesson in turning the other cheek…I had to interact with someone that repeatedly identified themselves through their actions as someone to be watched out for…it was brought to my attention that they actually sought to do me harm…this was amazing to me…like when you catch a thief & get to look into their face & ask them about their crime…& they try to lie & turn it around on you…it’s just amazing…it’s like if we’ve experienced a certain measure of hurt in our lives…we become incapable of seeing ourselves as wrong or mistaken anymore…we simply have to see ourselves as right…even when we’re not…fear of being wrong or being seen as wrong makes us expert at hiding our weaknesses…?…we walk around in fear of being discovered to be a fraud…lots of armor…&/or costume & make-up to distract attention from our faults…

I went to the brother & confronted him with the knowledge of his actions & that I would rather have him as a friend than as an adversary…I offered the other cheek…he appeared at first to be affected by my gesture of friendship…but within a week he sought to take advantage of that…seeing it as weakness…it has been hard to watch those kinds of people prosper…& prey on others around them…I admit to being resentful of & impatient with having to deal with the lesson…waiting for the universe to step in & even the score…I’ve realized my attachment to fairness…so after you’ve offered the other cheek & they take another swipe at that…it is incumbent upon you to step back when the next swing comes…dark & distasteful as this stuff is…this too is the universe…giving us opportunities to practice compassion on ourselves…by practicing it on the mirrors surrounding us…?…but I’m getting way ahead of myself…here…

to fly was my first dream…

at 4 ½ years old I became continuously conscious…& aware of my self…being on Earth…the first thing I remember wanting to do most was to fly…any way I could…by all means possible…spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, & physically…I love flying dreams…it seems so natural there…just pushing off…bounding about…soaring higher & higher…the feeling of swooping down & just gently touching the ground…these I savor…but then in the first few waking seconds here…there’s always this disappointment at not yet being able to remember how to fly like in dreams…maybe we have these dreams just to remind ourselves of what’s truly possible…what’s really…real…

I recently had a memory of being 5, 6 years old…& so excitedly looking forward to being & becoming more & more conscious as I grew up…& being attracted to anything that seemed like it might promise a sharper, deeper, experience of real consciousness…things like walking in the woods or on the beach…or watching the fighter jets scream overhead to & from the airbase our world revolved around…couldn’t get enough of things like that…or watching THE TWILIGHT ZONE…& THE OUTER LIMITS…Science Fiction…anything that would expand my perception…

I remember that windy Saturday morning in the fall of 1963…that moment I realized the shadows I loved chasing across the backyard…were from the clouds…by 7 I was spending hours out in the woods after school exploring everything…in stillness…just go stand still out there…or sit or lay on the Earth so I could smell it’s wafting scents…witnessing for instance how the Sun’s light felt on my skin or how it filled the sky or illuminated a leaf…I always seemed to come home with grass stains on my pant knees & the smells of the woods in my clothes…I was enamored & enthralled with conscious awareness…it seemed the most important thing to me…I loved running as fast as I could through the woods dodging trees & bushes…simple pleasures…

I dreamed of being a fighter pilot & an astronaut…because I loved the sharp consciousness required, the camaraderie of integrity, shared excellence, physical prowess & teamwork…it was also the sense of belonging, acceptance, & mutual respect for one another’s mastery that these both required…it was…to be the best…recognized for being the best at something important for everyone…also the astronaut thing was about being able & willing to go to foreign places & interact with the natives with integrity as an ambassador of good will…setting a best example of who we are…& using ones skills to understand who they are…& bring back this information to the rest of humanity…

so when STAR TREK’s “to boldly go where no one has gone before ” came along it was refreshing & encouraging to see articulated what I was feeling in my very soul was important…it’s amusing to me now when I realize how close I’ve come to fulfilling this dream of being the astronaut…by all the travels & journeys among the natives chronicled herein…just without all the buttons & spacecraft I was so keen to play with back then…although if you consider all the humble VW’s I’ve owned as my spacecrafts, my pony…then I’ve had that too…in fact, one of the main reasons I loved the VW camper…is that it reminded me of the vehicle they had in the original LOST IN SPACE series…if you’re unfamiliar, it was a 60’s updated version of the classic kids book SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON…but where the family launches into space to explore the nearest star system to Earth, Alpha Centauri…& for some reason the producers decided to thwart their intentions with a foil of a lame excuse for a villain...so instead of a great show about exploration & adventure it became a show about the villain…although I felt that series was a tremendous waste of potential…I was fascinated by the “what if”…what if that family had just kept going once on the road…without being in lost & crisis mode with a psycho-dramatic caricature of the mad scientist along to create plot tension for commercial breaks…to sell cars, soap, cigarettes & beer…

 

“…who

needs

to…


 

won’t

listen…
 

who

understands

 

doesn’t

need

      to hear…”


?

 

a little heads up…

by now if you haven’t already surmised or suspected…it will soon become apparent that I don’t swim like the other fish, & I don’t fly like the other birds…& in this case I don’t even write my autobiography like other people either…that is to say in the way of a little heads up, those who have talked to me in person, or listened to me speak, or teach…will attest that I have a peculiar way of what some people call “beating around the bush”…but what I like to call the smorgasbord approach to teaching or sharing information or telling a story…(pronounced “smorgageborg” in my universe…more about this later) I tend to meander through the buffet of information but usually covering, eventually, everything on the menu…this will be obvious through the first hundred pages of this work as I jump around through the chronology to express the pertinent stream of consciousness I feel germane to the particular point…this is telling on myself here…kind of a quick glimpse backstage at the writing of the autobiography…but for those traditionalist in search of the comfort of convention…rest assured that the rest of the book follows a closer chronological line in part because there was no better way to tell it…the first part though skips around though for two main reasons…one: (& you might try this yourself): it just came out that way…so much of this process is just a matter of giving yourself permission to tell it…& making it easy for yourself to tell it…I’ve found it best to let it tell itself by starting with whatever comes to mind in whatever order…eventually leads back around to covering everything if I follow it to the end…& in this process of free association/stream of consciousness something else is revealed that a strait chronology might not show…it’s like painting a painting based on one inspiration & years go by & you look at the painting again & find that you painted something of a very revealing self portrait…that may even have been obvious to everyone else…this process it seems is really the self-conscious or un-conscious at play…the key is to let it play itself silly…let it be comfortable…& it begins to open up…& we all get to benefit from this keeper of wisdom who forgets nothing & knows everything & is just waiting for permission to share…the second reason IT, the narrative, skips around the buffet of my life in the first hundred pages or so is that I sensed there was a beauty in the literary sense to this course of, if you need a title, experimental writing…& my intuition as the writer said just leave it…don’t try to unravel it too much…leave the warts…so it may appear to repeat & overlap…trust the magic of the unfolding to deliver the goodies…so if you see the Narrative heading off in a direction away from more of what you want to know about…take a breath…re…lax…trust in the unfolding…hold that thought…& by the time you enjoy the whole story you may have your answer questioned…& then if you still have your question please do let me know directly…I would so love to hear it from you…I love answering questions…like where you left your keys or lost your other sock…though I should tell you to just get this out of the way that I subscribe to the school of thought that when you die you find out just exactly where you left everything…everything…

now the reason one beats around a bush is to see if there are any surprises in store…to make such a fuss that ones intentions to have purchase with said bush is most obvious…especially to any residents, usual or temporary, who might take issue with ones presence in the neighborhood…& give them ample warning to make an honorable, timely, & discrete exit as need be…as a courtesy…to avoid any unpleasant surprises…like a snake dropping into your lap…which though perhaps fun to watch from a distance, up close it’s another story…entirely…

another thing about the esthetic mechanics of this work…esthetics being the science of beauty…this work is written in such a way as to attempt to approximate a monologue…that is a conversation where only one of us gets to say anything out loud…I wanted to make it like we were standing face to face or ideally lounging naked & comfortably in a hot spring in the wilderness…as I just told you the story…that’s what’s up with all the dot dot dot’s…& the lame, lax, & just plain weird use of punctuation…hey, I’m trying to compensate for having nodded off during English class…& having made it through college without taking any English classes on purpose…& teaching myself how to write…I mean I learned all that stuff enough to get good grades on college papers but that style just doesn’t work for this as you’ll see…so I figured I’d experiment…rather than get all hung up in all the genuine, valid rules that all the English majors, English teachers, & New York editors are so needfully versed in…as I am woefully & glaringly ignorant of…hence the title…I figured I could get all caught up in the anal groove of the rules…or…I could branch out… “free up” as the Rasta’s say…& just tell the dang story…hoping that in the end, rules aside, what’s important is the answer to the question: “does it communicate ?…” & then “what does it communicate…?”…& then “…was that really worth knowing? is life better, richer…having spent the effort to get to know this naked man lounging in hot water in the wilderness…or should I just get up & go to another pool…or leave altogether…?”

now I realize it’s just plain ballsiness to say this…but in the interest of full disclosure…this work aspires to the lofty realm of LITERATURE…that is to say I envision one day people looking back on this work as a work of actual literature…required reading in schools & all that…one where kids might groan when they hear the assignment but when they finally get around to reading it, just can’t put it down…because they feel so engaged…& can identify something that speaks to their condition…something so quintessential within it that puts the finger on their own struggle for significance…by literature I mean as a work of such obvious singular quality that it stands alone as a benchmark…that it both reflects an era & as a work that transcends it’s era to the point of being just a good read…no matter when it’s read…now or hundreds of years in the future…not because it’s my story but because it is a good story…entertaining informative original & most importantly inspiring…so thems my aspirations…when the words “the unpolished manuscript” first came to me I experienced them as monolithic…I thought underground cult classic…then all the other titles came along & I found a way to include them too…but the unpolished manuscript was the perfect working title…then the computer shortened it in a heading once to THE UNPOLISHED MAN…I thought wow…ain’t it the truth…

...a certain practiced ignorance
a cultivated oblivion
he maintained
of all things frufru…

what is it
but that internal tension to want to look like Tom Sawyer
but play like Huck Finn...”
?

Woods Hole, late August 1989…my Daddy came to see my first one-man art show I called LIVE ARTIST SHOWING…on a big hand-painted banner on the building, & on all the posters all around town…as opposed to showing dead artist’s work…kind of a play on words because I was also painting live at the show as well…we spent the afternoon together, enjoying one another’s company, the achievement, & the moment…in the midst of the conversation he said, “son, you could talk the balls off a brass monkey…” now I have to say I was delighted to hear this from him because it pointed out an observation that he seemed to take as a given for most of my life…but no one told me…I didn’t know this about myself… I was just telling someone about this the other day & it occurred to me that it must have been quite a thing for him to have realized this when I was a toddler…he told me once that he used to talk to me when I was a baby…& the seriousness or gravity with which he expressed this has always made me wonder what he meant by this…thinking about it right now, I realized I had taken his statement as if he did all the talking…but perhaps I told him things of the other world…? that certainly would have made a lasting impression…

this book is kinda 3 books in one…there’s the first hundred or so pages that covers my life up to 1991-92 when I went to my first Rainbow Gatherings…then there’s the second book/part which covers the time from the fall/ winter of 1992/93 when I finally & irreversibly went on the Rainbow Trail…until 2000 just after the first World Rainbow Gathering in Australia …when we witnessed the alignment of the 7 visual planets in Taurus in early May of 2000…from Uluru in the center of Australia for 10 days & got the message from the universe that it was time…time to begin to share the work…the 3rd book or part of this telling of the tale is the time from returning to the States to share the work…& take Mom to the Gathering in Montana…then digitized the work…that summer of 2000…up until the winter spring of 2008 when I wrote & published this book…book 4 I guess will be whatever the heck comes next…

“…the end will come before we know it…

leaving us gasping for more…

more life please…

& can I have…

a cherry with that…?’”


 

“…my daddy once said,

it’s later that you think…’

he just kept repeating this in our conversation that day

visiting my one man show

until he was sure

that

      I heard him…”

 

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