Saturday, August 16, 2014


In San Francisco with Natasha Dennerstein at the Art Museum, a fernery, 2014.
Art galleries are castles now, fortresses protecting our fine productions.

Amy Tucker's piano told us all we needed to know, in Seattle.

If You Leave Me can I Come Too? That's a somewhat amusing, old song from Mental as Anything - they're an Australian band. Fun song, and also with a measure of sadness, like so much comic work has, just beneath the surface, the obvious. Tension creates laughter as much as other elements, then. Good spirits, in any case, can appear as an atmosphere, they may arise from familiarity, truth, and surprise, the pleasant feeling takes us over, or not - perhaps we struggle with feeling happy for some reason. 

I know I miss pretty well wherever I have been, and wish I could access those places again far more easily. I have to then thank goodness for photos, notebooks, and memories, o and nowadays, social media, I guess. Nothing like being there, however, and I'd like to travel by ship, train, and hot air balloon every month to far off places where friends live. How do I sign up for that?

I'd travel by a hokey Remlinger Farm horse and cart by jiminey.

On the 4th of July on Indian land near Georgetown, Ron filmed people setting off fireworks - they sell them, and keep a ton for this celebration. Sparks and bangs all day and night, o the irony.

Walking through Georgetown in Seattle; although once it was its own place; seeing amrkn thaangs.

O the peculiarities, and o the assumptions deflating, the cliches shattering to smithereens, uh, atomic dust, travel's full of surprises. But it's not vital that I have a great time, or even that I'm always comfortable away somewhere, either, generally, even if I do fiercely complain when things aren't fabulous. The newness, the strangeness simply attracts me, (which luckily these days does not also include the dangerous, but hey, sometimes we don't realise we're headed for trouble either). My hurried or gradual adjustments feel welcome, a novelty, in any case, provoking bemused observations. 

A test of creative abilities, any trip may offer that, but also it's an adventure inside myself. We go to unknown and previously unrealised places in our own inner world when we travel, into those mysterious interior territories rarely noted in an everyday routine at home. Somehow we can become more than what we think we are, or more like we wish we were, or someone we never realised we could be, startling in various scary, odd, and wondrous ways. An entertaining activity then, while also, arguably, it's a kind of self-development, with no easy escape from the learning experience, (yes, say that last phrase in a silly voice if you wish, sometimes it's fun).

No escaping the Mississippi flooding Bettendorf, either. Streets lay below this walkway before.

But crockery punctuation helps to erase thoughts of global warming, fast food calms panic.

The Winborn's BnB a cosy, colourful place, with Sandy's artwork all through the house.
No matter where we go, also, when friendships appear abroad then we may obviously miss those fine people after leaving. A journey has poignant moments and sadness, built-in, when we possess any kind of empathy, surely. Sometimes it feels like I'm being tugged from many directions, thinking about people everywhere whom I'm attached to.

The inevitability of this attachment also serves to help understand what may and may not be controlled, with awareness, and valuing such insights; a multitude of friendships in many places also help us perhaps to let go of more difficult, troubling aspects, as well, at times unconsciously. Knowing there's more than our own little world can keep things in a reasonable perspective. Travel's humbling. 

The delightful sense of refreshment in a temporary move to anywhere, could also be partly due to more or less having to forget what we left behind. In order to work with the unknown appearing before us, daily, on holiday, people tend to stay in the moment. I don't mean that growing close to others is only diverting, and entertaining, however, human relationships have far more to them than that. In many ways we can though weave a more dense, thorough picture for and of ourselves, in strange places. That happens the more we allow ourselves to relate to others too, perhaps. Any image or impression that we create is not just a view, but also a kind of protection like a blanket, and a matrix of meanings, language, stories, memories, and support.

Lovely magical experiences everywhere

Implicit in the definition of holiday is also the fact that the experience really will not last, none of it. Anything we do, touch, or see or taste or hear, or think about, or feel, or imagine, because of where we are visiting, has a time limit. Sometimes this may make the break feel a little desperate. It could be why I try to go see and smell and taste and listen to, and touch as much as possible in the time allowed. Forced to forget my neuroses, my tiredness, my fears, having to get on out there and see what happens.

This voyage, in amrka for the second time to visit wonderful writers I'd met online fourteen years ago, (we also met in 2012 for the first time), I felt painfully aware before leaving en zed that I only had three weeks. I recall hoping it'd be enough, just over 21 days, and feeling like it could never be. But eventually I felt glad to return home, and happy I'd seen so much in around three weeks. My joy also due to developing my relationships with writer friends, more than before, even if some of the revelations were strange, troubling, or puzzling. It was more like we knew each other better, in an everyday kind of way. 

No idea what's going to happen any day, in any case, but that seems more evident on a trip like this.

Travel's a kind of twist in time, a trick, a hop, step and a jump elsewhere, which may seem like the middle of nowhere. Also, somewhere strange can confront us. We may go into shock, faced with oddities, not knowing what on Earth the rules are wherever we may land. In the south of north amrka for instance I was not prepared for how different it looked, how strange I felt, and at times, the dangers I sensed there overwhelmed me. The turn-off we took for gas where the petrol station kiosks were behind heavy bars, still bothers me when I think about the area, (now close to where riots are going on, in Missouri, due to a man there being shot).

The bridge at the top took us out of Iowa, into Illinois, and also to an ubiquitous store you'd know of, if I wrote the name. The kind of place that sells low price items, everywhere there. A building the size of a small housing development, full of goods for sale, and workers barely paid. 

We travel to see what lies beyond the view, we leave home then to return and perhaps to love where we live even more, refreshed. We go to get, we take off to get away, we disappear to reappear, reinvented.... 

I returned to amrka because I love it there and wanted to see how I could live somewhere in that country at some time in future, hopefully with paid work to do. Applying for writer's residencies seems to be one solution. I simply need to research, then apply, and hope - except that usually I send away applications and forget them in all the other things I do, to keep various wolves and other predators well away from all my doors and windows. 

Reflections on the car window created ghosts and effects. This reflected my camera case, a two dollar shop purse with embroidered heart. I was also, for a time, in love with the trucks, or semis, along the freeways, they look so grand. Seems like the God of Photography noticed.
Our rental car, an SUV, the kind of vehicle I abhor. Irony appeared everywhere this trip. Blessings be upon it for air-con, however, and providing a sturdy ride for the most part until it broke down. Luckily we could exchange it in Houston for another, even bigger SUV.

Dreams appearing still as free as time and health allow, I guess another solution to my need to visit amrka again, (for my mental and spiritual health), is to become a star performer. I could, at the various conferences where I speak to people re story-telling, and communication, somehow grow to appear spectacular, then see myself invited to speak overseas too. I've addressed celebrants, artists, educators, (and soon communication and story-telling lectures to others; why not real estate agents, architects, shop keepers, travel agents, doctors, librarians, teachers, plumbers).... Anyone who wants to know how to tell a better story to their clients or customers, and how to communicate with more skill, ask me to show you how. Excellent rates, most entertaining and educational. (I'm determined you see, I'll try until something works). 

My celebrant story-telling workshop at their conference in Auckland was such a success, word-of-mouth kudos gained me another booking with their Hamilton branch, soon. My hope springs forth like a kind of intoxicant. No wonder it was an evil in Pandora's box. Nietzsche said that hope prolongs the misery of man, but I have to trust it does not do that for me, for I seem to be unable to stop wishing for this outcome, to go and live in amrka. That even though I now realise it is not a perfect place for me, nor as easy to understand as I first believed.

My new novel could also sell millions of copies. Then I'd sail again on the lovely Oriana to promote my novel, and future books. Ahhh yes, floating on to live in amrka for a while - say every summer. A successful writer with income flowing in from stories, poems and essays. This watery imagery feels so relaxing, I can almost believe it now.

Immune to scoffing these days, anyway, after escaping for so many years the fearful scythes of the tall poppy harvesters here, I can believe any of the above may happen. Belief is at the core of our being, I tell myself. Belief helps us to make real what we wish for, what we imagine, and need. I'm happy to consider my financial success as an author as a possibility, and if I repeat that often enough it could drive me to take further action, ensuring it happens. Nietzsche meant it when he explained that hope alone is not enough. 

Happiness has finally found me, nevertheless and quite often, after much hard work to improve. The attendant calm and peace also proven to feel like an extreme pleasure, probably until the novelty wears off. Not knowing this feeling before, I feel like someone gave me a wondrous prize.

Also, if anyone reading my blog, out of the thousands who do so, has any suggestions about how I could live and work in amrka, please do let me know. 

With any dream we may ask others for assistance. Why not?

Giving to others, by the way, is the peak of the pinnacle of happiness. Yes, so, if you find it within your kind heart to give me some assistance, purely because you feel generous, you'll grow to feel happier. Highly recommended, and one of the ways I maintain a generally delighted persona at least some of the time, is from generous acts. 

Joy in my everyday life is a true success story too, having suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome since before I could talk. The work done to turn that around, to change myself, has meant that now calm, peace, happiness, and contentment are finally realities to me. Nothing can explain the genuine pleasure of finally finding what many others take for granted, a decent, kind life, most of the time, able to react reasonably in most situations. I thank years of professional guidance, and also, realising it is normal to get such assistance. 

Natasha Dennerstein has a whole pad of these in San Fran, a poet shrink in situ.

From the train San Fran to Seattle, the landscape hurtling by, colours and sky.

Once it was quite normal, and widely practised, to seek assistance with our inner balance, to go and see a wise man or woman of the village, or a minister or doctor, to discuss our feelings and ideas, to understand ourselves better and to live more happily. Only within the last hundred or so years, this went out of fashion. The industrial revolution needed more easy to move family units without concerns for their mental and emotional health. 

I say take up that habit again, seek solace and guidance, develop your inner self, enjoy your life with more understanding and pleasure. How can this harm anyone?

My being a HSP, Highly Sensitive Person, also affected how I reacted to various upsetting incidents in younger days. No one knew I was one of these rare, but normal, human beings. We make up about 15% of the world's population. HSPs feel things more deeply, we notice things others may not, and are often highly creative. Also, for groups to survive well, we're vital, because we see early warning signs, find faster solutions, and are adept with managing some difficult, human circumstances. We HSP may also create the most divine art, in every genre.

I believe a few of my online writer friends, and other sensitive souls whom I know may also be gifted in this way. I hope they read that link in the paragraph above, it saved my life.

SF to Seattle train, over a bridge, heading north like a song says.

Seattle evening ripped with a dancing shouting street man's noise, and our fright making for the train station. My luggage had gone missing, we needed to check it had finally arrived.

Travel also excites, even if it's also as worrying as feeling like at any moment someone is going to take everything you own, and you haven't memorised anyone's phone number or address, nor your own passwords to things, like the internet. 

Ah yes, catastrophising, I can still at times panic, unduly.

Travel's changed human life, altered the way homo sapiens lives, and our cultures for countless years. Homo sapiens, human beings, we can observe how our movements hunting game, finding a new resource, or just exploring have changed us, through archeology, and imagination, stories, and other records. When homo sapiens discovered boat building, and water travel became easier, we spread across the world with extraordinary rapidity. It's believed we only started building watercraft capable of sea travel around seven thousand years ago. Now we can sail off into outer space.

The Lapita people, for instance, were the first to populate the Pacific Ocean. They travelled across the lower parts of Asia, making pots from clay. Movements were traced through discoveries of clay fragments with the same distinctive markings, in locales along a trail. Then they also travelled into Oceanania, becoming Polynesians on those islands. Traditional markings were then transferred to wooden carvings, and other artifacts. Later, those people we call Polynesians travelled against the wind and tides to populate what we think of as Aotearoa, later called New Zealand. In time, after they'd called themselves Tangata, (people), they became Maori, (which Pakeha named them, after the name of their language, Te Reo Maori, or ordinary/everyday speech). The name Pakeha was born at the same time. Thousands of years of history in those few sentences, and hundreds of thousands of miles of travelling.

Now we can fly. Think of Leonardo da Vinci sometimes when looking out of a plane window. Imagine him standing near one of the people holding glowing orange sticks, and a high-vis jacket, directing planes. Imagine the renaissance artist watching these machines take off into the air, and how delighted he'd appear. The machines he invented long ago would have flown, they are aerodynamic, but he lacked the knowledge to get them airborne.

Now, if da Vinci could see what happened only a few hundred years later, imagine his excitement. If he'd been an engineer and known how to make the engines work finely, and the fuel too of course, people would've been in the air then. Queen Elizabeth the First could've flown to challenge the Spanish, the French, if she'd captured this fine artist's expertise, with some science to match his engineering imagination.

Great inventors are needed now too, and as much as ever. Human beings are creating far too much carbon in the atmosphere, with resulting disasters all over the world. There is no escape from climate change which already affects so many. No amount of money, no special shelter, no grand barrier can absolutely protect anyone immediately, we do need to change our ways to alleviate the effects. It is far better to change what we are doing in some ways, and therefore stop affecting the climate adversely. 

Being more responsible with recycling and so on also saves money.

Buying trees for travel is one way to take responsibility for your own mess. A return flight to Europe from Aotearoa NZ costs 200 $ in trees, to absorb the carbon one person has produced by being on that return flight.

Aware that some readers dislike the idea of paying for something like trees (often in another country), to avert a disaster they cannot imagine, or do not care about, I hopefully, (there's that word again), do not labour the point. This blog is partly to promote trees for travel, however, which could turn our fortunes around, beautifully.

Travel, a new view, a different shade of blue, light changes, fresh sights appear everywhere. Invaluable, learning, yearning, at times just wondering where we are now. Some travel across oceans to meet with lovers only ever known online, and create our own disasters, too, of course. Although we may reveal more to each other online than we ever do in real life, particular personalities are better known at a distance. 

The internet, another kind of travel, a different style of unravelling too, we could say. Sending ourselves by satellite in words and pictures and recordings. A magical process and some of us seem bewitching, while others grow entranced. I'm about to tell the story of this last trip as if it is a magical tale, an invention, a fantasy.... The longer I wait the more my memory changes what happened, the more pliable the facts grow.

Amy and Ron in his garden, with the ukelele we found on the street, in a pile of hard rubbish. Such a lovely day in Georgetown, Seattle. Summer in amrka, sunny times, much talk, delicious food....

Southern landscape, near Memphis.
Dollshouse in Bettendorf
Plastic, fantastic, energising, imagination needs to serve some fine story to live on, and take with me. Carefully cut and stitched, tailored tales make a wardrobe for reputation, after all - a dancey prancey rep in a fine array, takin' th' good steps for you. A way to entertain ourselves when the night's cold and dark, with only thoughts to play with, and laugh about, sigh over, shed a few tears or years for.... 

Do we lose or gain time when we're manufacturing stardust between the lines? 

How may I make what happened sing for me?

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