“Publishing a volume of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo,” said author Don Marquis, speaking from experience. Something you’re considering, Leo, may seem to fit that description, too. It’s a project or action or gift that you’d feel good about offering, but you also wonder whether it will generate the same buzz as that rose petal floating down into the Grand Canyon. Here’s what I think: To the degree that you shed your attachment to making an impact, you will make the exact impact that matters most. Give yourself without any expectations.” - Rob Brezsny
I'm not a Leo per se, yet that truly spoke to me. And poetry is more than lyrics and lines, more fathomless in category as W.B. Yeats says, “What can be explained is not poetry.”
My last post here was back in October. Once I was locked out from updating (I hadn't paid my monthly fees), it didn't take long to see that I could appreciate a respite.
Recently, I picked up the Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon series on DVD at the local library (no spoilers, I'm only 2/3 through). It begins in an alternate world with its own cosmology. This world is divided into four elements, with their attendant lands and kings. They are in the midst of a hundred-year war instigated by the Fire Nation wiping out many of the people and cultures in their world, including the Air Nomads and their temple.
A small tribe of Water people are deciding whether or not to banish a new-comer: a twelve-year-old named Aang whom might just be the Avatar (by balancing the four elements within himself, the Avatar can restore balance outside, ending the war). The debate ensues around whether he is too reckless to be among their serious warriors.
This is the dialogue that spoke to me, and I might just make it my mantra (internally) going forward:
Kitara: Don't you see? Aang's brought us something we haven't had in a long time. Fun.
Sokka: Fun? We can't fight Firebenders with fun!
Aang, the Avatar (smiling earnestly): You should try it sometime.
I can see some of you rolling your eyes at this point. Does it seem like fun = frivolous, or is it fun = harmonizing the imbalances in the world while having fun in the process? Fun = inventing and inspiring joyous ways of living?
This is where the line in the opening of the post: "It’s a project or action or gift that you’d feel good about offering, but you also wonder whether it will generate the same buzz as that rose petal floating down into the Grand Canyon" resounds. This blog, Crossroads Dispatches, celebrates it's 8th anniversary on February 6th. It's time for a shift that's closer to my gift: Less explaining, more exploring. To that end, I'm focusing on experiments in imagination and improvisation and fun; starting off easy and going into the more far-fetched and revolutionary as we go. That doesn't mean explaining shall never occur, but yeah, I'm aiming for exploratory, adventurous, experiential.
A glimpse of EXPLAINING:
"Today, the sci-fi novels of the sixties feel like artifacts from a distant age. "One way you can describe the collapse of the idea of the future is the collapse of science fiction," Thiel said. "Now it's either about technology that doesn't work or about technology that's used in bad ways. The anthology of the top twenty-five sci-fi stories of 1970 was, like, "Me and my friend the robot went for a walk on the moon,' and in 2008 it was, like, 'The galaxy is run by a fundamentalist Islamic confedereracy, and there are people who are hunting planets and killing them for fun."
[Peter] Thiel's venture-capital firm, Founders Fund, has an online manifesto about the future that begins with a complaint: "We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters." He believes that this failure of imagination explains many of the country's problems--from the collapse in manufacturing to wage stagnation to the swelling of the financial sector. As he puts it, "You have dizzying change where there's no progress."" - "No Death, No Taxes," The New Yorker, November 28, 2011
I don't relegate the dynamic of unfolding change to technology alone. I am more interested in questioning and stretching the horizons of the possible. Sometimes that is a simple shift of perception that affects identity, culture, and society.
Here's a glimpse of EXPLORING:
imagine you are host to a 101-course meal (I believe Senia gave me this seed idea originally in NYC 2006 after an adventure in the Whitney Museum).
What might you serve?
Spring roll, raisin, red pepper, Mung bean, tomato preserve,
pancake and mini pancake, maple syrup, kombucha, polenta rounds with basil and tomato, red Russian kale, thistle flower coffee, guava juice, blackberry, jalapeno, red currant, Morbier cheese, fennel seed were among the 100 bites of art offered.
Now imagine like the boys in Peter Pan that you too can be fed by the energy of envisioned food.
Or as Robert Irwin puts it, “It’s strange. With food, for instance, people seem able to understand what’s involved: you savor the taste rather than just feed the body. But people have a hard time understanding that it should be the same way with visual experience.” Actually, I'd omit visual and broaden to "the same way with experience."
So now what might you serve that nourishes the senses, spirit and soul as well?
I'd have sugared rose petals.
And pinecone, an hourglass, peanut butter on a sterling silver spoon, a jar of royal blue moist tempura paint, match tea powder (unsteeped), a haiku printed on cloth, confetti, a pincushion stuck with pins with colorful threads through them, cottonball, typewriter ribbon, swim goggles, leaf, lit tealight candle, shower curtain ring, Pocky (Japanese snack), an ice cube... and on and on.
What would you serve?
p.s. Essence of exploration: The venue above, the West Bank Social Center’s tagline is 'UNPREDICTABLE THINGS ARE HAPPENING.'
p.p.s. Although I was not active on this blog, I have been on Tumblr. I have a free Tumblr blog on public space, public art, placemaking, reuse of empty spaces by the community, cities as software, urban interventions and improvisations. Also, it is very inspiring to follow certain search terms if you have an account on Tumblr, in particular "installation" is consistently amazing.