Volcanic ash is some of richest soil in the world. But absolutely nothing grows there while it is still smoldering. Long long ago I wrote about creativity rising out of the ashes. The embers were still warm until the beginning of September for me. (Food for thought via Google: "Why do people live on dangerous volcanoes? The main reason is the rich volcanic soil.")
The moment recognizing that no answer has ever satisfied this question [Who am I?] is crucial. It is often referred to as the moment of spiritual ripeness. - Gangaji, The Diamond in Your Pocket
Since reading Chapter Ten on Art in The Translucent Revolution I have been thinking. I've not been blogging from a not-knowing mode. (Sorry for the double negatives.) I have my agenda, my point of view to get across, the case sketched in beginning-middle-end neatly in my head - and voila! it's stripped of wonder and discovery.
Writing to expose a wrong or an evil may rise from the worthy urge to help other. But the avenging writer - who knows too much up front - has things backwards. Instead, we write to discover what we don't yet know about our experience. It's those discoveries - not our warning or blame - that may truly help readers. - "Healing Words", Meg Files, Personal Writing, November 2005
And so Norman Mailer reminds us innovative tykes: "No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader." (Hmmm: No surprise for the ethnographer, no innovation for the market?)
"We have this idea, especially in American society, that we know everything, and we're in control of everything. And we don't. There's so much we don't know, so much mystery and wonder in existence and being alive in the world."
This film is about the awakening of Lester Burnham, a middle-aged man who has lost his passion. "It's the weirdest thing," he says early in the film, "I feel like I've been in a coma for about twenty years, and I'm just now waking up." Says Ball: "He knows he needs to find his passion, and Angela (Lester's daughter's Lolita-like best friend) is the initial catalyst for that. But he thinks she is the goal, and she's really just the knock on the door. He needs to get back in touch with his spiritual connection to living."
The book touches on the blaze that seared through Ball's life: "Ball is the youngest of four children. He was closest to his sister Anne. When he was thirteen, she was killed in a car accident on her twenty-second birthday, while driving him to a music lesson. "That brought me face-to-face with tremendous loss, and the impermanence of things," Ball says.
There is scene in the movie where Ricky captures a plastic bag dancing in the wind on video that echoes a true life experience in Ball's life. Ricky describes the image:
It's a minute away from snowing, there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, and this bag was just dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it for fifteen minutes. That's the day I realized there was this entire life behind things and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever. Video is a poor excuse, I know, but it helps me remember. I need to remember, I need to remember. Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, and my heart is just going to cave in."