Tuesday, August 24, 2004

So i've just spent the morning sitting outside Los Primos again, drnking cappucinos, working and talking to a ten-year old boy (the son of the owner of Los Primos). Sometimes i feel really old, but i guess i mustn't be that old, if the kid thinks he should come over and hang out with me because i have a computer. He then proceeds to go about finding the games on the computer and changing the controls on them so it would be more ergonomic for my personal use (of course i still suck at them).

There is also an Asian woman (i'm going to assume Chinese) because she walks around the neighborhood every morning in traditional Mandarin (i think) dress, handing out blessings quoted from the bible to random passers-by and admonishing us all to pay tithes. She doesn't say to whom or to what church or anything. She just asks folks to pay tithes. But for this whole drama, she appears perfectly sane; simply to be on a mission. I wonder what drives us some days. In one of the listserves i'm on, Marty asks about Dorothy Baresi's assertion (sic) 'that what we do to stay alive is not who we are', and i posited that often that is true in terms of employment etc etc, but that once you find out the thing you really are that then you have to do that thing to stay alive and you balance doing that 'staying alive' with what you have to do to live 'eat, buy clothes, pay rent', and thereby maintain some sort of sanity.

What then is this 'thing' that this woman is doing. What drives her? She might just be completely out of her gourd, but her mission seems more complex than that. There is a joy and and simultaneous urgency that leads me to think that this is what she does to stay alive, that this is who she is. It is an evangelism that stops short of an attempt at conversion to a specific religion per se, but she still seems certain that her information, that her daily blessings and admonitions toward tithing save at least her life (i don't think she's convinced she's necessarily saving others - don't ask me how i've come up with all that. i'm well into presumption now).

Still, i think it is very often what we're doing with art, with poetry. Those of us who know that we can't NOT do this, feel some days that we're touching other lives, but largely we're in the business of saving our own lives/souls/sanity by scurrying inches. In the awareness that we generate, hopefully we make our invaluable contribution to the universe at large, but we're never absolutely sure, and the day we become sure of it, i think we stop growing, as artists and as human beings. The day we becomes absolutely sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that we're saving lives, then the effort to get better at it, has to wane (at least it seems that way to me), because how much better then do we need to get. When with a wave of our pens we feel we change anything, then we have become as gods (or as God, whichever you like), and what next then?

i'm not sure what follows from all this but this is what is going on in my head this morning that might be of interest (at least philosphically). Y'all tell me your thoughts on the matter.


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