Monday, November 2, 2009
All Soul's Day Night Tidbits
I'm drinking a coffee float at nearly ten at night and listening to Dead Moon's Dead Moon Night-Thirteen Off My Hook. In a little bit, we're gonna go climb the hill with its hidden garden staircases, its parched lunar landscape and admire the All Soul's Day full moon. What we did on All Soul's Day was active, sun-lit, muscular.
We went down to Alemany Farm and spent part of the afternoon constructing a road of mulch, an activity that required lots of pitchforking, wheelbarrowing and raking. Seemingly simple, seemingly tedious but then we got to harvest the last tomatoes of the season -- orange-red bombs of tart sweetness -- while our muscles thrummed in the dying light.
Update: we didn't climb the hill, we went to Alamo Square Park and stared at the moon and heard bats in heat surrounding our heads and talked about communes until 3 a.m.
I woke up with a bad taste in my mouth from October, so I ran in the dry, November heat -- an odd phrase to say -- until I coughed up party gunk. Gunk from Chicago, from Halloween, from pre-Halloween, from the compulsion to only live in festival-time. How to break habits in favor of adventure? Constantly asking myself that, constantly asking myself the same questions and wondering whether they are worth asking or better worth shelving.
I've been slipping in and out of fevered note taking but cannot confine myself to one river of thought. The novel I'm etching out is slightly halted after my excited reading of Erick's Lyle's punk-pastiche-history-memoir of S.F. pre and post dot-com bust: On The Lower Frequencies.
Really it's about a time when people still wanted San Francisco to be for the working class, the artists, the punks, the squatters, the poor, etc.
I'm remembering thanks to him, that most of what I want to do in my novel is to tie in personal history with the larger mystique of Bay Area history, and not that I need to drown in research but just discuss simple things, like the history of Cayuga Gardens, or the high crime rate in McClaren Park or the fact that underneath 6th street there are tunnels, or the fact that if you look at old footage from the '89 earthquake you can see, despite the surrounding wreckage, the dirty windows of my old Oakland warehouse still intact and gleaming in their sepia-wash glory.
When you come to live in a city, how many ghosts do you inhale without even knowing it? That's the question of October.
If nothing else read Lyle's book for a completely raw look at what cities are like when you extract all the suburban pretensions, when they become places where people just want to live, where ruins are habitable and where, when it comes down to it, what matters is not having to spend your life paying off for basic necessities like coffee and friendship and music.
I don't like talking about dreams but lately my subconscious has been in upheaval. Today I woke up with sickly dreams of guilt, not just your usual guilt, but something I prefer to call "wisdom-guilt": guilt about not trying to be wise enough.
This philosopher I've been reading compulsively, Cornelius Castoriadis enjoys contrasting in many of his works how the Ancient Athenians viewed the world compared to the Modern West. One of the distinctions he makes is how the purpose of life by Athenian conceptions was for wisdom and beauty and today the purpose is happiness, both collective and individual and usually based on prosperity, excess and financial surplus.
Perhaps, an over-simplification but he backs it up with compelling scholarship.
For instance, I admitted in last night's dream that I was stealing money from the store I'm working at. Why? To fund a trip by camel to a magical lagoon that has pearls at the bottom of it that are worth more than most human souls.
Who was to join me on the trip? Many of the guys I spent cavorting with a little over a week ago at Al Capone's old nightclub, The Chevy Chase, in the Chicago English countryside region. At least to me, it resembled the English countryside. But inside it was like a German dance hall with a polka band in the balcony and rumors of smuggling tunnels that burrowed all the way to the Chicago River.
And then even before that dream: some volatile, vinegar concoction that you pore into aquariums in order to change the colors of the fish, merely for fleeting entertainment.
I remember a phrase from that dream: "Look my love, blue and white are the colors of control, always remember that."
I woke up with the urge to run. In the odd November heat.