One of the little projects that I began recently is a kind of musical drama called Flight of the Sparrow about a man who is dying. I don’t quite know how to describe it except to say that I have long wanted to do a vocal piece in which I can play with the human voice, create new music and add sound effects. I suppose it’s part musical, part opera, part experiment, but something wholly different. I don’t know if other people have done anything like this (Anthony Gatto’s wonderful work is closest in a way) but I think it’s one direction that musical experimentation has ahead of it.
I’m playing around with narrative and exploring about 30 different ways that we write narrative. In other words, different ways that we communicate with text. The reason I mention this whole thing, is that as I am writing the lyrics for the piece (which will be about 2-3 hours long), is that as I write it I am acutely aware of how much of what we say is reactionary. Reactivity is the root cause of so much suffering but it is also the source of so much that is beautiful. Below for example is a small extract that I won’t be using but it comes from a source that I have used. I made this incomplete piece in this way :
- I pulled out random pages from books that had been damaged in a flood.
- I then tore the pages in half and mixed them up like a deck of cards.
- I stapled random halves together.
- I then read lines from different halves and filled in lines that didn’t make sense or were incomplete with associations that came to mind.
- I then wrote the extracts out.
- I fed the complete extracts into an AI text regenerator, that re-ordered the text.
- I then created random text with a random text generator.
- That text was then spliced with the regenerated text.
- The hybrid text was then fed back through the AI text regenerator.
- The very large final text (now some 10 + times the original text) was then split into 10 line paragraphs.
- Finally the paragraphs were split into paragraphs of 3 lines each.
The end result is something seemingly random but in a way very interesting. As poetry it’s complete garbage but as source material, anything is possible.
So here is where I would then do the real work of writing by weaving in text to make a real poem. In this case I am going to hand that task to you. Turn the following text into a poem and see if you can create something beautiful.
fingers of In if hammered
from tick eleven body everything
I wide sombre a are imagine am I
rock things I self beholds I stupor a
Remapping perfect the valleys species
to its of you stupor solid Your clock I
enigma dreams a I it that their from tick
eleven body everything I alien watches
turns sway held nothing This I nails the
wonder turns ant across the Probability
That towering reaches dreams Hands
through creation a I through melody
empty eyed human in can endless
and Where forgotten that work
Reinventing am monks a is own a
human my own love shark I am things
Is my white tornado the be same to its turns
ant into you stupor a human that to I be eyes
turbulent Echoing red silence a I joyful mind
endless calm side be eyes lascivious brown alder
divine will am song human a Remapping the thirst
sun violet Opening a daunting the a I meaning
my tongue sky as joyful his mind watches turns
savoured say am My of her creature And find In hovers savoured say men as
The point of this exercise is to demonstrate that beautiful things can come from reactivity. And just as it is true with a literary experiment like this, so too is it true with life.
Be brave and react! Copy the unfinished poem and turn it into something beautiful! 😉
Australia has a history of producing very unusual comedians. Heath Franklins Chopper is one of the funniest of our recent comedians. I think he’s very amusing! The real Chopper was, well how shall I say, nuh best I don’t say. See him below. This version of Chopper is funnier and has found a healthy way to help people cope with the current pandemic! Don’t watch if you’re a sensitive soul!
Man’s search for God is an intensely personal experience with no guaranteed result. But for those of us beyond searching, an awareness of a creator (and destroyer) is the greatest liberation. Nothing I can experience can extinguish the knowledge and awareness I have of the existence of God. For me God fills everything. I see God in a child’s smile, I see God in the wrinkled frown of a loved one, I hear God in the melodious song of our Magpies, I smell God in the stinking pollution of city traffic and the dusty air after summer rain, I taste God in my morning cereal and evening meal, I drink God in a glass of Tawny Port, I feel God’s touch with the wind and the hug of my son, I see God flying up to nest above my window in a swallows body, I sense the unfathomable its presence all around me and within my body, each and every moment. I cannot be separated from the creators presence anywhere for a moment. I can forget that it exists but that is my error, not an actuality in its presence. But this is my experience and not yours. And every human being has their own path to God. It is not for anyone else to tell another how we shall find God and yet many religions impose such rules, using fear to create the perception that we will be separated from God if we do not do x, y or z. Projection a human only face on the divine. To respect the possibility of the existence of a creator, is to respect that every living being must find their own way to God.
Just as there are countless ways to imagine and conceive of God, their are countless ways to find God. Your way is your way is the right way for you.
When we accept that every human being has their own way to find God, religious intolerance fades away and the wars of the past – both the individual wars within each person and the wars between nations and regions disappear. That then is the true hallmark of a mature civilization. How far do you think humanity has to go and how far do you have to go?
Here is one suggestion for finding God, begin with where you are. Ask yourself : What is my conception and experience of God and does finding God matter to me? Here is another suggestion. Do nothing at all and just keep living. To live is also to experience God. Whether you find God or not by following this path is irrelevant.
Hey folks, I thought I might ask for some of your creative help with one of my novels. I’m working actively on two novels and have 4 in the pipeline which have been with me for decades. I can’t tell you what the main novel I am working on right now, suffice to say that the main character has a lot of public attention – at least as much as Donald Trump. My character is a lot like myself but perhaps more provocative (no doubt a shadow aspect playing out). My character undertakes certain activities to provoke mass responses (for a reason). So here’s where I need your input. First my character will be playing with his facial hair over a long period of time and during one period he decides to sport a HITLER MOW (and hair) for a week (he’ll also sport a Klingon mow for a week). Can you please give me your thoughts on the kinds of reactions this might stir up among the masses and how far it could possibly go? I’ve mapped this out as best as I can but there maybe some extreme possibilities that I have overlooked. I should also mention he has a personal assistant who has a Jewish mother; so you can throw her in the mix if need be. Second he is filmed having some rather raunchy sex with a woman that he does not know well in a very public place, although the person who films him is breaking his trust and or confidentiality. What might be the reactions to this very public video and how far could the reactions go? Third, he will be cosplaying some simple and some complex characters from pop culture. Any recommendations and if so why these? And how could he upset people with his behaviours whilst cosplaying? And fourth, he will be reclaiming certain things back – such as the ROYGBIV of gender politics back on behalf of the visible light spectrum, among other things whose original meaning has been bastardized. Any thoughts on things he might claim back and how that could upset the plebes? If I use your suggestion I’ll happily acknowledge your input in the acknowledgement section of the novel.
Human reactivity is endless entertaining and pathologically dangerous for individual and collective peace. This particular novel is all about holding a mirror up to the human race and evoking reactivity to demonstrate exactly who we are as a species. In much the same spirit as I would like to have done in this unposted video from 2015. the other version that I didn’t upload involved looking at the camera silently for an hour. My character is likely to do such things and to take that idea much further. Feel free to share your ideas on what he might do in front of the camera!
Thanks in anticipation of your very valuable creative help!
PS. Nobody seems to have gave Charlie Chapman a hard time later in life for his look?
Anyone who reads this blog will know that I often advocate that people plant seeds – both metaphorically and literally. I have been planting native seeds since 1999 and have been inspired by many people that I have met during my “conservation journey”. I am also inspired by the many people I discover on the internet who have renewed and protected and regrown forests because they felt it was an important thing to do.
Conserving old growth forests (or grasslands or jungles or tundra etc) is the best thing we can do for nature. The second best thing is to grow a forest. But a forest is a community and communities take time to rebuild and love and commitment to ensure that nothing gets in the way of rebuilding the community. Sometimes all that is needed is that an area is protected and to get out of the way and let nature do what it does best without intervening at all.
One day humans will look at what we have done to our world and be deeply ashamed. Slowly we will begin to revegetate our world and to rebuild some of what we once had. But it will take generations of commitment to fully renew what was taken away. But slowly as plants regain what was lost, other species will recover, so that eventually all those that survived the great extinction will flourish once again.
I was the first person to begin revegetating this arid landscape for about the nearest 20 * 20 km in this region but since then several other large land owners have come on board and embarked upon massive revegetation projects. And whilst our immediate area is still a farming desert, Dude has reassured me that in the next 50 years all that is about to change and that within 150 years this entire region will be mostly forest. That pleases me immensely, to know that I played a small role in changing the landscape and bringing back species who are on the brink of extinction. It is too late for many creatures that once lived here, like the Emu and the Mallee Fowl and the Koala and the Banksia and the Velvet Bush but it’s worth continuing what I am doing because there is so much worth saving. Whilst everyone else who has started revegetating the land in this region has had the practical and financial help of the Landcare movement, I have done it all myself without a cent from anyone, not because I’m an egomaniac or I like to suffer but because I needed to do it so that I could live with myself when I got up every morning and looked at the landscape. I plant trees out of love, not for Carbon Credits or any other gain but because I love doing this. This is a project that will last until I die.
Planting trees is one of the greatest and most satisfying things I have ever known and I urge everyone to plant trees as often as they can and if you own land to see if you can regenerate it!
I’ve talked before about what it was like as a kid to walk around Hong Kong and to spend time at the Walled City in Kowloon and how having seen the most populated concrete covered places on Earth helped me to understand what really matters. And what matters is that we give other species a chance to live and to thrive! Here’s to the fools and dreamers who believe in the same dream that I believe in!
Related posts here : https://etandi.wordpress.com/?s=Biodiversity.
It is promising to see that in the last two days Australia and China have raised the issue of peaceful negotiations and finding “common ground” between China and the US. I thought the timing of this was rather interesting given my post 2 days ago https://etandi.wordpress.com/2020/08/05/inflection-point-an-et-warning-about-a-potential-global-war/. Of course this could be purely coincidental, especially given foreign minister Wang Yi’s skills as a diplomat and diffuser of anything that would get in the way of China’s economic development. That said, he is saying all the right things and this is very important in avoiding the potential future that I described in my audio. All that remains is to hear much more peaceful rhetoric from the US. The dialogues between the US-China-Australia may seem irrelevant to most of you but they are of vital importance to the peace and prosperity of all of us!
Well done to the leadership of Australia and China for taking the first step in a healthy direction which may yet avoid the certainty of global war!
I am not a fan of how China has conducted itself with it’s Belt and Road Initiative or how it has corned different nations with debt or its claims to sovereignty over the South China Sea or how it has gained control over vital assets in Australia or elsewhere in the world but nor am I a fan of the all out militarization of the world by the US and the covert interventionism of the UK and the US, who together have completely fucked up the world for the last 250 years! There is only one way for the human race to survive and that is by building bridges and finding common ground. We must accept our differences and build on what we have in common. We are after all, all human beings who seek the same fundamental things from life – such as freedom, love, joy, pleasure and freedom from suffering. Diplomacy must be used in preference to aggression or countless human beings and other life forms will suffer!
1600 years until we become space faring seems like a long long time but we lay the seeds to our future as a space faring race now, here in this time period. Therefor we ought to think of the future we wish to create for our descendants. Will it be one of endless conflict and war or one of tolerance and peace? I urge the diplomats in all the world’s embassy’s to renew your efforts to find common ground with your traditional enemies while you still can. Yes to diplomacy.
Many of you will know that I love trees and forests and that I have been growing a forest since about 1999 here on this land in central Victoria. I have long had a great love of plants and ever since I was a little boy have enjoyed solitary walks in the Australian bush and enjoyed connecting with plants and animals. Today I tend my own forest and grasslands in a semi reparian floodplain landscape and spend several hours a day walking among the trees, the shrubs and the grasses. My time among trees invigorates me and makes me feel a great hunger and zest for life!
I have also had a great love of rocks (I am apparently an Earth earth sign in Chinese astrology?) and have been collecting what to others would appear as uninteresting rocks since I was very young. My favourite rocks are often twisted and look like hardened rock mutants. There is something about the abstract uniqueness of these rocks that I love. I have rocks from all the places that I have traveled in this country and a few rocks that my kind friends have sent to me from other countries. I treasure these as a connection to my friends and the places that they traveled.
Some time ago I discovered that my love of forests closely resembles what the Japanese have referred to since 1982 as Forest Bathing and my love of abstract twisted rocks resembles rock reverence. Perhaps you too have a similar love of forests and rocks?
I dedicate this post to my fellow Forest Bathers and rock lovers Derek, Marcus, Sandor, Frédéric, Nick and FalkeS.
Dr Qing Li (from China) one of the founders of Forest Bathing wrote The Forest Medicine book here and Forest Bathing book here. The Japanese website is here and here , The International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine is here, the website of an American version is here. We ought to have science investigating this phenomenon on every continent in every kind of ecosystem!
And here’s some weirdo I came across talking about sharing memories with trees : https://etandi.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/the-something-monologues-no-3-communing-with-trees-sharing-memories-with-trees/. 😉
Hey folks, please find my latest audio here : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dlJqUzFOHYOPvb-7BBK2SfOWWD_IPqu_/view?usp=sharing. This is information from my friend Dude that I have been very reluctant to share up until now. This information is based on one of four conversations I have had with Dude about potential future conflicts on Earth. If you don’t like what I have to share or you think it’s rubbish, that’s fine with me, just put it out of mind. But if it does interest you, pay attention to what is happening in the world right now because the Covid-19 pandemic may soon be the least of our concerns. Hopefully the events discussed will not come to pass and please take note of what I have to say about Conjoined Space so that you understand why they may not happen. Either way please continue to go about your normal life and don’t let what I have to say deter you from enjoying your life fully!
Back to normal non war related proceedings after this!
Wishing you all a wonderful day of human life!
PS. Americans if you vote Trump out of office and put a decent “normal functioning” person behind the wheel, diplomacy can then find a way back into China-US relations before it’s too late!
Life may not be turning out the way that you envisioned it right to now but that is because mind has expectations about how things should be and expectations are not reality. Life is inherently uncertain and impermanent and we must all ultimately accept this when we die. I gave up planning my life long ago after planning and planning and being constantly disappointment. Plans are OK but only if we build flexibility into them and are willing to make changes.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of “golden joinery” – repairing broken ceramics with powdered precious metals or other materials. The philosophy behind Kintsugi is really about integrartion and acceptance of what is rather than what we prefer. The broken pieces of life are just as beautiful when integrated back into a complete image of life than the life that we have projected for ourselves. All kinds of things can be integrated back into a newly fashioned image of life, including shadow aspects and traumatic experiences. Integration is about acceptance rather than rejection, wholeness rather than fragmentation.
So right now the Covid-19 pandemic presents you with an opportunity to practice Kintsugi and to re-assemble your life into something beautiful. Kintsugi is in a way the way of the broken and the re-assembled. Not one but both. Your life right now maybe broken and continues to be broken but it is also being remade and will continue to be remade until the day that you die. The choice is yours as to how you consciously wish to feel about your life.
Today I spent two hours crawling and walking around with our resident Echidna troupe – 2 males and 2 females who make up a kind of family. Here’s a couple of videos of a fellow I discovered after I left the family, taking a drink, a paddle a run and a swim. You can watch my cheap David Attenborough inspired recordings I made of the troupe on my Instagram page on the RHS. More videos to follow tomorrow. During the hour I wasn’t recording I had a few very intimate encounters with our spiky friends. For anyone who has ever wondered if Platypuses and Echidnas had a common ancestor, your answer is here! For those who don’t know, most Echidnas dig them selves in and hide when they see a person. It’s hard to get near them. I had a little of that but mostly they just went about doing their own thing and seemed to get used to my presence. One was so curious it kept nudging me and visiting me to see what I was up to! Echidnas are one of my favourite animals. They are highly intelligent and simply adorable!