Distribution Automatique

Saturday, August 28

This just in from Toni Simon:

"Last night, after seeing the overrated Brancusi exhibit we went down to the Cafe Orlin for dinner. The new poll numbers had put me in a bad mood. So we're sitting outside eating dinner when suddenly hundreds and hundreds of bicyclists ride by yelling fuck Bush. It went by for half an hour- like a dream. I'm thinking this is freedom-we still live in a democracy and there's still hope. Soon the riot police and helicopters arrived however at 9th and 2nd ave. and arrested 250, confiscating their bicycles. The sidewalks were jammed with people yelling let them go. Second ave was blocked off with police buses, vans and cars-bicycle riders being handcuffed in the middle of the street-your tax dollars at work. By the time we got home the phony AP news report blaming the protesters was in place."
::fait accompli:: summer reruns
Thursday, August 28, 2003

:: Thursday, August 28 ::

Thanks to Mikarrhea...Michaela Cooper for mentioning -fait accompli- and welcome to Blogland! It appears she has the requisite sense of humor to survive in this strange new world.
Here are a few more of my favorite aphorisms:

"There is hardly any grief that an
hour's reading will not dissipate."
Montesquieu, -Mes Pensees- 1722-55

"To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others."
Albert Camus, -The Fall-, 1956

"There is a certain distance at which
each person we know is naturally
placed from us. It varies with each,
and we must not attempt to alter
it. We may clasp him who is close,
and we are not to pull closer to him who
is more remote."
Mark Rutherford, -More Pages from a Journal-, 1910

"What a fine comedy this world would
be if one did not play a part in it."
Diderot, -Letters to Sophie Vollard-

"if only we could treat ourselves
as we treat other men, looking at their
withdrawn faces and crediting them with
some mysterious, irresistable power. Instead,
we know all our own thoughts, our misgivings,
and we are reduced to hoping for some
unconscious force to surge up from our
inmost being and act with a subtlety all its own."
Cesare Pavese-This Business of Living: Diaries-1935-1950

:: Nick Piombino 9:26 AM [+] ::
. . . . . .

8/1/99 Amsterdam
Homo Sapiens Non Urinat In Ventum

foresight foretaste forethought forewarning
preconception premonition prescience

Almost immediately, "The
Music Lesson" transposed itself
from a narrative into a series
of brief episodes in the
form of a series of aphorisms.
The first of which is: don't
expect the student to be in
any hurry for the lesson.
Perhaps if he or she rushed to
it we might expect them to be
too eager, too accomodating.
The teacher wants good students, not
necessarily compliant ones.

What makes change so
difficult? I've a mind to
smooth out some rough edges,
but there is always this
resistance. My behavior- or
the connection between how I
take action and how I am
feeling, it's this equation I
would like to adjust. Part of
this, I see is related to the
unpredictability of the external
conditions at any given moment.
I overreact, or rigidly react
to these external conditions as
if they were human, that is,
purposeful. This is, of course, the
theme of "Zen In The Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance" as I
remember. I ought to rereread
this book.
As I understand, and develop, what
I enjoy reading, I better understand
what I want to write. I remember
Fielding once suggesting that
the difficulty I have is not so
much with how I react to people
but how I respond to how
they respond to me. So
this is where neutrality
to outcomes comes in.
The automatic reaction
to disappointment, for
example, is to feel
frustrated. My reaction frequently
contains the need to reveal,
and often even to
sustain this frustration.
Maybe part of this urge is
to examine the feelings- and,
if it's a wound, to sort
of pick at the scab, or
press the bruise. But another
side of this is to take
offence- to be displeased and
to express the displeasure.
Getting better is feeling
better, feeling better is having
more, having more is having
more to give.
Wincing- why so much?
Asking for something, asking for
support; "something hurt me- help me."
Memories imply a break
with what took place in
the past. But there was no
break. Day after day, every day
since the first you have been
who you are. To remember you
need only look at what you
are doing at any given moment.
Probably you were doing something
very similar to what you are
doing right now back then.
Maybe a few details have changed,
something you used to do into
a different version of what you
were doing back then.
Misunderstandings can only
come from unmet needs.
Each understanding is like a
rung on the ladder. Yet
every day you have to find
the impetus to climb the
ladder again. First the
ladder- and then the
climbing. Then seeing
something-then more ladders,
more climbing.
So- how to manage this
annoyance- disappointment
thing better. This is what I was
studying with stoicism and
Seneca. These annoyance-
disappointment spells have
actually wasted an awful lot
of time in my life.

I just understood that sometimes
I interpret some unfortunate
experience as if it were a reflection of my
destiny and therefore- somehow- as
a reflection on my self-worth or value.
An example. this year, in the
school I work in there was a
considerable amount of construction
work. This bothered my hearing because
of a hearing condition I have
called tinnitus. Once I speculated
that a very loud construction
project which took place
right next to another school
I worked in over 10 years ago
caused my problem. When they drove
in the foundation it sounded like
explosions. A year later
the ear noises started. So
these misfortunes get grouped
under bad luck surrounding
construction nearby me. Then,
when there is a much quieter
construction project right
acorss from me in Amsterdam,
it all gets clustered
under "bad luck I get
around construction projects."
And somehow this bad luck
is deserved. The fact
that it feels deserved depresses
me. But, in actuality, the
amount of focus I give
something is chosen by me,
not the external environment.
This is Seneca's message.
Yesterday I tried to push through
this. I am very interested in
mastering this and it seems like
an extremely valuable project.
I realized, listening to
Debussy the last few days-
but it also applies to the
Beethoven I've been listening
to: to create according to
very basic kinds of
steps, and gradually to allow
the feelings to overtake me,
and then watch what happens
next. This often involves
considerable waiting. All through
the years I've noticed there are
times I do not write. Many
years ago I might have
gotten upset about these
periods. At times I
can even shed the mantle
of "writer." Why wear
this interest so loudly like a
uniform? It is more interesting
to change identities sometimes,
like costumes. We all do
this naturally, to some
extent, in everyday life.
At a job or professional
activity we have to don this
mantle or we
will not be able to accomplish
very much. Often this
question is one of setting limits
with other people. If we
fail to set these limits,
we will be unable to
manage our activities vis-a
vis other people.
Even the Beethoven- simple steps,
one progressing naturally from
the previous one and the next one.
But, compared with Debussy,
Beethoven is very forceably
moving forward with each step
and sequence of steps. These
middle quartets glide easily
between moods- but there
are rarely the "complete
silences" I hear in Debussy.
The more smoothly one can
change the masks, the quicker
can things move forward. The
times of waiting are clothes-
changing periods. Or sometimes,
with me, it is a stubborn
refusal to don any mask at
In a mirage, I can
don any costume at will.
It may seem so, but I
am not dressing hurriedly.
No, because I am thinking
about what I want to wear.
I knew where my hatred of
uniforms comes from. It
comes from my father.
Since he was a soldier,
an officer, he wore a
uniform every day. I
think he loved them so
much, that when he retired
the only activity he could
enjoy was managing the
uniforms for students
in an army training
program [ROTC, at City College of New York,
in the early 60's].
What is the impatience ever
about? It is about equating
procedures with rigid uniforms,
unconsciously. But certainly
because I've dwelled so long
in a horror of uniforms, that
I can certainly detect the
rigid aspects of "uniform"
behavior- particularly of
importance to me in writing,
but I also detect it frequently
in other areas of being.

:: Nick Piombino 1:45 AM [+] ::