October 5, 2006
Niente di rischiato, niente di guadagnato.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
A READER OF MINE
advised that in matters of love, hold your cards close to your chest and proceed with caution, until he makes his move. Archaic perhaps but safe and effective, she says. And so not my style. Safety is not my priority. My cards are always right there on the table. It may be offputting to some men, others may find themselves unable to rise to the occasion, but the one man amongst many who does—he is worth waiting for. As are you.
I AM GENETICALLY WIRED
to venture, to adventure, to wander and sniff things out. That’s why I am so utterly feline a personality. Cats combine two traits that might seem diametrically opposed—curiosity and the need to explore, with the love of comfort and domestic bliss. I like to treasure hunt, to look under rocks, to travel the world, but equally do I love to come home, to nestle and snuggle, to lie luxuriously abed swaddled in the loving arms of my Embraceable-U body pillow. As I’ve often sighed to my friend Larry, I love bed. My idea of a hot date is lying in the arms of a man I love, watching a movie. A movie I’ve already seen, so I can close my eyes and listen to his heart beat.
SEE THE USA, THE AMTRAK WAY
I love riding trains because I get to travel and be still at the same time. The entire country presents itself to you, and all you had to do was sit down. That’s one way to get the lay of the land but it offers little interaction with the topography you are crossing, enveloped as you are in the air-controlled cocoon of the train. Whatever the weather, be it blizzard or hail, you are safe and comfortable having dinner in the diner. I remember stepping outside during a station stop in Iowa and being absolutely struck in the face by the heat. It was a pressure cooker out there. I couldn’t believe any one had ever arrived in that place and stayed to settle the land.
LET’S GO FOR A SUNDAY DÉRIVE
The incomprehensible French Situationists of the 1950’s and 60’s had the concept of the “dérive,” (drift, in French) described by Guy Dubord as the “technique of locomotion without a goal, in which one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.” Henri Lefebvre described it as a narrative where “one goes along in any direction and recounts what one sees.” I may not know what they’re talking about, but for my purposes I consider it to be hypersensitive wandering, free of expectations, open to whatever may cross my path, while writing in my head. (You see Mickey Rourke as “Motorcycle Boy” doing this in “Rumble Fish,” after they cross the river, walking down the street taking it in, with Rusty James and Steve trailing behind him). Leaving my house on the way to nowhere, I might take some unfamiliar bus to the end of the line, or get lost searching for some new venue, or follow someone into the next shop they enter.
BE CAREFUL, IT’S MY HEART
One of life’s greatest adventures is the venture into someone else’s soul—conducting a dérive on the unpredictable terrain of love. It may be a pasture of even grazing, a city street with many distractions, a rocky precipice, a canyon of mystery and wonder. I’m not talking about some guy you met that you go to the clubs with, I’m talking sexual soul bonding. It’s not for the faint of heart. Let’s say you have some venture capital to invest, called your heart. You wouldn’t invest it if you didn’t expect a return, but you also know it’s risky business. You could lose your shirt. The greater the investment, the greater the loss—or the return. The important thing is to venture.
THE STEPPENWOLF HOWLED TO ME
A while ago, in my discussion of what is real and not real, I had been drawn to Steppenwolf for some tub reading. Though I hadn’t read the book since 1979, I believe it “called me in” as some of us put it. It wanted to tell me something about something I was already thinking. The Steppenwolf wanted to lead me toward the golden track—the track of the divine, where you are living what is most real to you, in the here and now. I believe that my own journey in life is a continual dérive on the path of the golden track. But wait, let the Wolf explain it to you:
THE GOLDEN TRACK—
I call it “the zone”—is the realm in which you are fully present in the now, where all is glowing with holiness, even the death and disaster. You can feel and even see the auras and vibrations of energy pulsing through the air at every moment. A while back I spent three miraculous days in this zone; I felt transformed, I felt like the top of my head had been blown off…then it receded, yet lies dormant in me like the hard kernel in the brittle husk. That kernel, however, has sprouted, and the husk will crack open and give birth to a seedling. Once the tree has sprung, the husk will lie discarded, and all will be adventure and discovery.
put me in the zone, certain vibrations…the bells and bowls of Karma Moffett…if I catch a beam of light in a crystal and fix on it…really good pot…sometimes the chimes of my grandfather clock. If I need to summon the zone, I mentally lift the grid and am back in the now, the present moment, where there is no past and no future. You are hypersensitive to what is in front of you. Think of it this way: right now, as you read this, you are in the past of the future, and the future of the past, so to say, the past and the future converge in that moment called Now. Now is all there is; it contains the past and the future.
I think of the “real” world of appointments and regulations and tests and humiliations and mortgage payments and traffic jams as a giant grid of artificial constructs that is placed over time and space as in a stranglehold. We’re stuck in this grid, enmeshed in it. This spot on the grid is called “2:00,” over here is “next Tuesday,” or “March 2012,” and the world has actually bought the idea that the interstices between these intersections of the grid last a “second,” a “minute,” an “hour,” a “year.”
there’s no such thing as an hour! It’s just an idea the world has enslaved itself to. You may say that without it, there would be anarchy and chaos, no one would be on the same page. But it is only because we are so used to being in the cage that we don’t know life outside the cage. But you can get there, you can get there. It takes a lot of concentration and will, until it becomes easy, and finally effortless.
LET’S TRY IT.
First of all, turn off the TV. TV is one of the worst perpetrators of the lie of clock time. It segments everything up into blocks of scheduled events that chop up life into little boxes of comedy, drama, commercials, news, “reality” shows—as if!!—and mish-mashes your whole evening right into the garbage disposal.
I’ve done this before, I’ve mostly got the hang of it, and it’s hard at first, real hard, because we are so addicted. But let’s say you are alone and have the evening free to spend as you wish. Come home from work, and set your alarm for the next day. You know it will wake you up at that point on the grid the world has agreed to call 7:00 a.m. Thursday. OK so that’s taken care of, you don’t have to think of that again. Say you usually have dinner for an hour, do chores for an hour, watch Brain Waste Theater at 9:00, accomplish some task you need to complete, watch the news and go to sleep at 11:30. Forget all that. Brain Waste Theater isn’t on tonight.
HERE’S THE HARD PART.
Pour yourself a glass of wine–and turn all your clocks to the wall. Put black electrical tape over all the LED displays in the house. You will not look at any of them for the rest of the night.
because you’re hungry, you’ll have dinner. It’ll take as long as it takes to make it, and you’ll sit down and enjoy it, lingering as you please over your wine and what the hell, pour another glass if you feel like it. When you’re through enjoying your meal, you’ll attend to the dishes, iron a skirt, change the litter box, and set about to balance your checkbook. You don’t have to hurry and get it done by 9:00 because Brain Waste Theater isn’t on tonight, and “9:00″ is irrelevant, nonexistent. It will take exactly, no more and no less, as long as it takes you to balance your checkbook. Then you’ll feel like reading for a while, and you’ll read for as long as you care to, then stop. Maybe you’ll listen to some music and think about things. When you feel sleepy enough to sleep, you’ll go to bed. It won’t be “only 10:00″ or “already 12:00″ because your body tells you when it’s bedtime.
YOU WON’T BELIEVE
at first how often you’ll wonder, what time is it? Oh my God what time is it already, I have to know! You’ll have to hold yourself back from looking. But really, what difference does it make? There is no need to look at a clock because time is yours. You needn’t finish something by a certain time because you have as much time as you need, it’s all around you, there’s no need to squeeze it into that box labeled 9:00 – 10:00. What if it doesn’t fit? Then break down the box. Tear down the walls. Lift the damn grid. You’re in time and it is now. There is no past or future.
YOUR NEXT TASK
is to spend the entire weekend like this. But I have to meet John at 4:00! Ask John to call you and tell you where he is, and where he’s heading. Then go there and meet him. You get the idea.
you will break down the grid. But first, you have to venture out of your comfort zone. When in doubt, leave the house. Leave the security of your self-made world and indoctrinated habits. In love and in life, venture out into the unknown, because as we all know, niente di rischiato, niente di guadagnato.
The author, on the prowl
I wonder as I wander
I wrote this tonight because Brain Waste Theater wasn't on.
copyright Alexandra Jones 2006