Justin's Links

about - RSS - donate - search:

Wednesday, 22 October - link

stopped in flight

I have a choice right now, as always - how to spend my time. There's a folder full of pictures to sort through; when I look at them I think of words and stories surrounding them, how they might be thumbnailed and laid out for the web. People seem to like my travel stories, more when there are pictures. I could do that, and people might be happy. I like looking back on my pictures as well - it reminds me that I've been places, seen things, participated in things.

There's a number of photos of me in this batch - other people grabbed the camera, or I set it up that way. Jane noticed that I'm often aware of a camera. She noted that in a sort of disdainful way, and perhaps I can see that in these faces - that abnormally young visage grasping machines and extending tongues and poking fun. How much fun can you have on screen?

The movie ended and I crept across my asile-seatmate to the bathroom. In the mirror I saw my reddened eyes. I laughed at myself, the site of my bespectacled self still teary. I had been choking up for the last forty minutes, and just as I shook out the last of my clear piss, I fell against the wall of the bathroom for another sob.

Acceptance of a father, I thought, that's what she wanted. Manifesting her own power and being proud. And he? He wanted to understand things, in context.

I feel so trapped. Perhaps slightly less so when I manage to cry at a well-crafted film. Whale Rider sews up its plot with some mysticism and comforting resolution. I used to dream about whales; long tales extending beyond my vision, dark amidst the deep blue, pushing forward as I followed behind. Even that memory holds some chest jerking power now if I remember it properly - linger with the picture in my mind. This film put that picture onscreen, with an estranged young woman reaching into it.

I don't have much adversity in my life - death, absence and ignorance. I have time to worry about customer service and upgrades. I'm just trying to get along, to comfort myself amidst auto-generated chaos and trevail. It's not exactly guilt that challenges me today. I don't linger and I think I do it on purpose.

There's a lot of smoking in Korea. I sense the outer edge of a thin cloud and I quickly inhale, holding all the air I can. It pushes up at the top of my ribs, arching sensation through my shoulders. I feel completely constrained, I realize how shallow my breathing is. I'm on edge, you could say, or ready I propose, breathing sallow to stay awake.

Maybe someday I'll tired of being awake. I don't want to miss things. But I'm looking at this boy around me and I've been slowly studying what it means to be an adult. Money was easy - there's media about money all around me. I have good advice to follow from my step-father George and my brother Colin spends his days watching dollar signs. I'm just beginning to understand how to increase money in my life, how to play with it, how to restrain it and watch it grow.

That's a ready challenge; my world demands it. Can't be a steady roaming freelancer without some idea of where your next meal comes from. And for my leisure days I must provide - some security when I no longer wish to pound pavement and keyboard to craft the spun truth of the day.

I've turned more professional over time, you know? Still I have comments on my web site now, a few more voices in my head as I'm crafting stories. Here's an emerging belief of mine - if I want to write personally on the web, but still maintain the composed exterior of a strategic visionary's web site, I can bury my thoughts and feelings deep in extended pieces of text. I watch myself as a guide in this regard - I would seldom if ever read something this long online.

All this adulthood is fine and good, I'm wondering what longer-term challenge I might face. Howard is my teacher, I'm proud to say. I tell people who dig into my story in person, people who don't know me - I found a writing mentor and boss and he's now my best friend. Howard surrounds himself with images drawn from the psychic recesses of disparate traditions. Extra-geometric eagles stare down somnulent leaf-faced wood spirits. Last year, before he began sculpting in earnest, he was gazing into misty landscapes drawn in staggered dimensions. Peering into old souls - he quoted Han Shan. Howard has handed me books before; the last one I picked up spoke simply of elemental systems.

Eating with two pescatarians, I ordered the live octopus. I had heard some tales of food tentacles moving on a plate; struggling against eaten. And there they came, nerve-ending's life, to be quenched between my teeth. Should I write shorter? Condense these thoughts into line and verse - mercifully loaded with images, the work to be carried out later in mind and on tongue, saving eyeball time to scan all these lines. I think of little poems penned by Ikkyu that inspire me now - he laments his desire to consume eight-legged ocean dwellers as he remembers his calling to enlightenment. In far less space than I consume!

Ikkyu's calling could have been place and time specific. There are many Ikkyus, perhaps - energetic buddhist priests then and now - some animated on television, some told by a Daitokuji tour guide in Kyoto - Ikkyu remade the temple after the wars, remade it and remade the faith. Perhaps this woman sensed my auto-generated sense of comraderie with a corpse now absorbed into the earth - he brought abstraction to faith. Abstraction grounded in desire, understanding! He wore a red thread.

On a plane arching over the internet buried deep in the ocean, Whale Rider seems to be a film made to charge tradition with new current. How to combat a sense of drift and social ills with modern Maori? With the art and ritual that girded the loins that built and shoveled for this civilization. Wherever it is. My recent tradition is professionalism. And good conduct -

My mother is a lawyer, tell her that. Kim leans over towards his girlfriend and translates, inflecting some small surprise in his voice. She took one week off from work to have me. One week? he asks, eyes wide, incredulous. Yes, one week to make me and then back to work. He translates again, and before he can finish I am speaking again, "and now she's helped make a school to teach young women math and science and technology." He is kind to continue translating my admiration, though my mother's kind deeds hold slightly less sensation in Seoul than the story of a working woman with little leave for maternity.

I travel the developed world - countries where you're likely to find wireless connections (and I'm likely to write about them). Even there they have problems - problems that confound me as the basic needs being met amplify social imbalances. I found Korea very chauvenist. Is that something I should write about on my web page? For whom? For Christine, who might add a story, a rebuttal or confirmation? For Jane, so she might see that I'm attuned to gender oppression in her absence? For myself, to understand what I care about?

If we measure my cares by my words, the only unpaid writing I've done in the last few days before this screed was to pen ideas for an internship. I want some company is all of this.

Write a new bible. Run for office. Speak a prayer. Be the first to dance. Visit a friend. My love is large, my needs as well. I can push myself to so much; I lack the means to measure the proper use of my remaining moments. I can learn a million things - watch me. I'll share my notes here, those I make time to transcribe.

Reaching for the door bolt in the bathroom, next month I might go to Europe. Another plane ride like this. Would I work my way up to business class again? Those thoughts were gone fast - replaced by memorized desire - other challenges. New challenges! Like a vow of silence and long days spend out of the running for anything. I could be a spiritual person, I thought, a technology journalist who stopped buying things.

Posted on 22 October 2003 : 17:19 (TrackBack)
Read Comments

February 2005 - comments are closed on Links.net. Thanks.

email a link to this page

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.