11 October 2011

Where I Find Myself

I spent 3 hours creating a blog post earlier today and managed to lose the whole thing.  It was an ambitious post:  a good amount of strong, clear writing and lots of hyperlinks and images.

I was upset. I just could not believe it was gone. 

A cigarette craving sat up and screamed inside me.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  My hands went from clenched fists to helpless wringing and back again.

The "pain body" writhing and roaring and flailing.

Five hours have passed since I wrote the last sentence and here's some of what happened between then and now:

Suddenly, my attention went to my breath 
[why?  how?  Spiritual practice.]

In breath
Out breath
Time disappeared
"I" was standing somewhere else;
somewhere outside the eye of the storm of my frustration.

I looked at my hands

I felt fear
and anger
coursing through my body, into my fingers.
Into my eyes, my tear ducts.
Fear and anger and shame rolling through me like a fast river.
My throat was tight.  My mouth was dry.

There was also some other pain not clearly or primarily expressed in the body. Something more like cognitive barbed wire. Some conclusion or question my mind kept returning to....and resisting. 

I didn't want to accept that the writing was gone. 

The cigarette craving was a distinct pang but it was weak and went quickly out of existence.

I prepared and consumed two quesadilla and stood in the sun for a few minutes and played a computer game for half an hour.

Then I got my keys, retrieved the piano music bag from the truck and walked down to the Abbey Cafe to check out piano possibilities.

The sun felt very very good on my skin 

It felt very very good to be walking
to be outdoors
to have sun on my skin

I stopped in front of a house where I heard live piano music and a young woman stepped out onto the porch.  We talked for a bit:  she is the young mother of a 5 year old girl and a 7 or 8 month old boy. She is looking for a piano teacher for the little girl.  It was a sweet exchange and I hope I get to meet the little girl. (I will house-sit here for one more week.)

The Abbey Cafe is a large open room. It's part of a church so, perhaps, it's a converted fellowship hall.  There's a piano in this room but I would never play casually in a public room this large at this time of day. The clerk suggested 6 to 8 p.m. or 7 to 9 am would be good times if I wanted fewer people but I was welcome to play at whatever time I preferred as long as another artist had not reserved the room or piano.

There's a grand in the sanctuary. Some very friendly young men ushered me there but a meeting was in progress so I could not play. 

The young men offered to abandon the room where I found them in conversation to allow me to use the old upright against the wall. It was extremely warm in the room; a single oscillating table fan provided not-much cool. 

The sustain pedal was dead but I figured I could do an hour of Bach WTC.  

A young man in a wheelchair came in and asked if he could listen to me play.  His name is Tim and he sat with me for awhile -- sometime talking when I wished he were silent.

To my surprise, the sostenuto pedal actually had some functionality. Depressing it in synch with the sustain pedal sorta worked...  I was sufficiently encouraged to actually attempt the Faschingswank and two Chopin nocturnes.

I'll go back tomorrow around 6 and hope to play either the grand or the spinet in the cafe.


I created a blog post and lost a blog post and created a blog post....   The first item on my Facebook wall today was a poem that now seems a very nice way to end the day and this post:

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop

08 October 2011

Theater of the Oppressed, Part 1

“Theater” was the people singing freely in the open air; the theatrical performance was created by and for the people. It was a celebration in which all could participate freely. Then came the aristocracy….some persons will go to the stage and only they will be able to act; the rest will remain seated, receptive, passive…
…the barrier between actors and spectators is destroyed: all must act, all must be protagonists in the necessary transformations of society.
--Augusto Boal, in the Foreword to Theater of the Oppressed