Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Armadillo’s are nocturnal creatures, the only ones I’ve seen have been laying dead by the side of the road . I am  a crepuscular creature, preferring  the twilight and  dawn hours when it’s cool. I like to head out early and come home late, before the sun explodes and showers it’s violent burning radiation onto the world . It’s the singular intensity of  radiation that really turns me on. I love the incredible color separation at high noon when every blade of grass, tree and golden hay bale in the field is glowing  and redefined as if by HDR Photoshop effect. I come from a place where the sun rarely shines…and when it does it’s weak and apologetic.

I have developed a special appreciation for the sun after growing up in sun starved Vancouver BC Canada where people walk with their hidden heads bowed submissively and that element of their miserable existence has become an aspect of their societies wider personality. It’s not called ‘No-fun Vancouver’ for no good reason. Events are contrived and politically managed….there is no spontaneity there…people are never free to be …outside. Its the sunshine and being able to live out of doors that makes places like Texas so cool.

When we drive down the Texas highways and the clouds pop out glowing white against an intensely cerulean sky as if we’re sitting in a moving IMAX 3-D theater….it’s otherworldly. I can imagine coming to an understanding why people see the face of God more often in places where nature is such an intense experience. This weekend we visited historic Jefferson in Johnson County on the Louisiana border and Greenville…further north towards Oklahoma. The higher elevation of Johnson County produced a surprise… tall pines forests as opposed to the dry deserts of southern plains. Jefferson is where the bayou’s begin and steam boat travel was once possible from Baton Rouge on the Gulf Coast.

On the way we stopped in McKinney for lunch…. a sweet and well preserved old west  town north of Plano on the 75 Hwy North of Dallas.  We stop as much as we can in whatever local phenomena happens along the way….this time it was the Dairy Queen in Farmersville, maybe one of the last whitest places in America. We caught the lunch crowd as the Baptist church across the road was getting out.

Strangers are obviously unusual in rural Texas, we turned the conversation down to a whisper when walking through the door. I wanted to apologize for Canada burning down the White House in the War of 1812….but  a mixed couple with strange accents and glowing sun tans was as much as  this crowd could handle.  I learned something….I now know you can order biscuits and peppery sausage gravy at the Farmersville Dairy Queen.

Road trips through small town America have to taken in convertibles. Its true….you can drive for days and still wake up in Texas. The open roof adds intensity to the tactile experience… like taking communion with the world around you. The scenery and sounds blast by in motion and audible parallax while wind buffets and slaps your face and  sunshine burns your skin raw so that you glow…and exhibit raccoon eyes in the rear view mirror… it’s exhilarating. Before settling on  Camaros we drove many different vehicles. I find the Camaro Convertible to be the best road trip car I have ever driven.

Having the top down eliminates the bubble effect of an enclosed vehicle with a favorite radio station keeping you anchored in the past. The open road is life being lived…most times without conversation, you sit in awe as the planet spins by beneath you….you’re tied to a strip of fading asphalt so you don’t lift off and fly. After every road trip we return home to see ourselves in the mirror…sunshine silly and smiling like delighted children….before plunging into our pool….. knowing we’ve done something important with our lives by living for today.

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A coming film… The Worlds End….just happens to be written around my favorite pub which happens to be situated in my favorite neighborhood in the world… and coincidentally The Worlds End pub on Camden High Street, London appears in two of my novels…The Bloody Oath,,, and The Enablers. Now is that weird or what? Great travelers find great places wherever they may be. I remember traveling in the days before guide books and backpackers when there were only a few travelers, the world was still relatively pristine and unsullied,  and we’d meet in the oddest places simply because there were no other foreigners to be seen.

A small village in Bali for example….it was simple enough to ask a headman..”Is there any other foreigners here?” And they would send a child to find them. In Bangkok, the Malaysia hotel was the place to run into your friends and the odd CIA or KGB agent. Now of course such places are overrun with tourists looking for coincidental fame and we travelers do our best to avoid them. Strange as it may seem. in the late sixties and early seventies there were under a dozen hardcore travelers, all traders and traffickers of the exotic of the world, and we would meet constantly in airport bars, woodworking villages, gem mines, clothing districts….. And now the movie industry has ‘outed’ The Worlds End…and I’m sure the ancient dive will be awash in backpackers hoping some ‘cool’ will rub off on them…..argghhhh:(

The Worlds End has hosted Charles Dickens who set many of his novels in Camden…..Percy Shelly lived around the corner. The heavy oak floors are bowed from being stepped on since the seventeenth century, The ancient stone tred on the door step is swaybacked with use. I liked to sit looking out the imperfect panes of glass into the street and watch the world go by along the high street. The interior walls are black with five hundred years of pipe smoke. There are few places in London like The Worlds End…..I’m conflicted that they’d made my old haunt a movie set. Of course I say that about all the places that should have rested instead of being commercialized…..oh well…..sometimes it’s true…you can’t go back.

Enablers

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Bloody Oath

I’m not sure how many people understand the process that goes into designing cover art of any kind. In this world of instant media  people are confronted with millions of images every day. The grill of your car is contrived to enunciate a primordial urge… your streets are lined with hungry spendthrift logo’s. Do we block them out….not even close. Are we in control of our thought processes in response to imagery …..not for millions of years. Where does that leave the lonely writers…who don’t have billions to research archetypes and trawl through focus groups? I know my process.. I work with my family.  We do what we think is cool…viva la revolution. All my books are available as eBooks on Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo, Sony…be kind to a starving artist and leave a comment…..thx.

13 Angels cover

Last night I dreamt that I was flying through the air, high above the world, tangled and bound  in a wrapping of shredded sheet music. Black chords, long stave’s and striped bars tripped off the pages left behind me like a ladder to nowhere;  folded flying melodies unsung  in  the wake of my passing.

The Earth below always looks the same to me when I fly my nocturnal flights,   bold greens, a yellow palette knifes edge of perfect fields and round rolling hills topped with tousle headed trees that stand alone on each hillock like solitary sentries. I  see a  a tapestry demarcated with sinewy black serpentine rivers  like sparkling eels  slithering over the meandering landscape where gravity has no reign. I have seen this same landscape since I accidentally discovered astral travel as a child. Something about it has called me ever since.

I have a feeling that it may be a vision of an ancestral land  my body yearns to return to,  the creation place where I will  plant my bones. I wonder sometimes if it is an image of Valhalla, the Nordic spirit land of my sky-fathers hovering above my lost tribe of Viking warriors,  appearing only in the minds of those who have been chosen. My spirit world manifests as uninhabited by those of the original flesh, I am alone among the spirits. Wherever it may be, it is an unwavering  archetype  from deep within in my genetic configuration that rests fixed and unchanging inside my ancient amygdala, my lizard brain .

When I fly this way the sun is neither risen nor setting against an endless cloudless sky. I  inhabit a world of perpetual twilight. The Earth is always the focus of my flight-sight when  astral -traveling takes me  to this alternate plane. Perhaps my unconscious soul seeks something not found among the stars and why they hold no interest. In my heart and mind I am temporal, earth bound and restless. In this ethereal world I am  martial and fit, in my dreams I am fearless. In my dreams I cast no shadow as I pass overhead, my energy originates on the surface of the sun, forming only as falling rain and primary colours against a featureless sky.

I heard a regular trilling. I  imagined  fingers stretching along the wide mouth of a concert piano in perfect scale. The two halves of myself passing into one another created a moment of temporary flux, where I paused between  worlds, and I rested. My eyes fluttered open , first one, then the other, the dream world disappeared and re-emerged as something more familiar, except for the tactile residue of fleeting impressions left behind by the night-travel.

A cool breeze wafted through my bedroom window, the air slipping under the gauze drapery like a sultry intruder who lifted her skirt to tantalize me as it passed beneath the folds.  Piano music floated out into the air from the apartment of the concert pianist  living next door. She had begun practicing, stretching , reminding her hands that they were skilled beyond blessing. It was her time.

It was  ten o’clock on a Monday morning. I had overslept and languished in bed. I  gathered myself, letting the spirit of the day enter and fill me until I was satisfied. My lower body was loosely wrapped in  silky soft  maroon sheets which after their last use had been tightly packed  in Bangkok.  Trisha had only laid them on the bed the night before. They had released their exotic essence into the night and into my heart.

The cloth smelled of the jasmine and dust of our old apartment, of everything so familiar.  I lay there and drifted in and out of sweet memories, the kind that set your mind and body on disonant courses. For a time I remained in a floating world, relishing that state of living on both sides of a dream, and listened to the music.

Trisha and I are a Harlequin set. We match perfectly, in spite of our many obvious differences. I am tall, she is short, she is Asian, I am Caucasoid, she is very smart, me not so much…. we’re both golden blond and that shocks people who first encounter us.  What our hearts hold in common is too numerous to list. Despite our disparities we have managed to stay together for 24 years to accomplish all the things that people are supposed to do until they realize that  most of these things  have essentially been an unnecessary drag.

If I could turn back the clock to pick and choose what I would do over I would start by doing more of the happy things and far fewer of the other instances of nameless drudgery that people do when they think they are  ‘trying to do the right thing’. However, it hasn’t all been for nothing. We managed to retrieve our lives out of the fire-pits of ‘normalcy’ and  create an interesting and fulfilling lifestyle for ourselves and those we love dearly. The learning curve between our practical heaven and the past potentiality for sinking into the earth and sleepwalking until death has been steep.

Before meeting Trisha I had been an unrepentant traveler. I have written in the past that travel had saved my life. In time I had turned my love of travel into a very small business using Adam Smith’s model as expressed in his 1726 book ‘The Wealth of Nations’. I read this work when I was a young boy hiding in the city library  to stay warm during office hours as a respite to my life on the cold streets.I read prodigiously and survived the years that preceded my ability to obtain a passport.

Smith wrote “Take what is abundant and cheap and transport it to where it is considered rare and dear’. I took this sentence to heart and began to import the things I was discovering as I traveled, first to South America and then around the world back to Canada. By the time I met Trisha I was known as a guy who traveled the world full time to supply my boutique customers with exotic merchandise and was in fact a minor local celebrity among those who envied my lifestyle. Don’t forget that these were the days before guide books and backpacker travel hostels, international travel was still considered as ‘out there’.

Mixed race couples at the time were almost unheard of, but we fell hard for each other anyway. What she expected of me at first  I didn’t exactly know. I was wild and free and she was and is incredibly beautiful. We only knew that from the first moment we met that we had been together for thousands of years in previous lives past and worlds apart. We have been inseparable ever since. She had never left the country since her parents had brought her to Canada from Hong Kong as a child and I had a great deep seated fear of ever living on the streets again and couldn’t settle down.

A Hawaiian spirit that I had met as a teenager convinced me to take my bride  to Hawaii and get married on a cliff above the crashing waves on the Maui shore of the Ka’a na pali highland. In a Polynesian ceremony sung above the pounding surf, and with fragrant flowers strung through her hair, Trisha agreed to take another journey with me.

 

 

The muse of the media is powerful, educational, biased, destructive and informative. Every country has it’s message of nationalistic intent, a tribal psychology. Individuals fall prey to false messaging and the words of false prophets when the media is either limited by political voice or the intentional malice of a cabal or leadership clique. Good intentions can be muddied by the avarice of sabotage by those whose self- interests are at risk should the population move away from the status quo.

I hear from a lot of people who have regionally, nationally and geographically developed points of view. This was the way the world used to be, the way the leadership of dictators and the greedy fear might change with the oncoming world of free information over the internet and the medium of mass communication and social media. When I hear people speaking  the diatribe of a a particular leadership of religion or political ideology I know that theirs is a small world where spirit, worship, freedom and knowledge has been tightly regulated. I do not really like speaking to conformists, in this I am fortunate to live as a citizen of a civilization that worships freedom above all other ideologies.

When I travel I meet people of every race, colour and creed…of every ideology and religion. What I found extremely interesting when I first began to travel was how simple aspects of the geography had such an effect on the mindsets, cultures and principles of those people who lived there. A religion, race or creed could change by the simple act of trespassing over a mountain range or crossing a river valley. I was amazed that many of these people would harbor such deep traditional resentments against the people who lived ‘on the other side’.

I have lived for a short time with a tribe of Dyak who would hunt other tribes heads but had never seen a white man before. They knew all the power, witchcraft and evil of the tribe five miles downriver but showed an intense interest in my distant culture. On my first evening in the longhouse, they danced for me and sang their songs, the songs of their history and the forest life. They asked me to show them my dances, of course I had none to offer, they were amazed that white men don’t dance with the spirits.

But this is the modern age, the age of the internet and air travel. The world has gotten smaller. No thanks to guide books and easy credit.  I have been particularily sensitive to the messages bandied about by governments that are designed to separate people, as opposed to bringing us closer together. There are political movements and religious doctrines specifically designed to create hatred and animosity. I abhor nationalism, I have seen the results of fanaticism produced by national leaders.

I have a dear friend who is convinced that America and American’s are evil. I have heard the same stereotyping of races and nationals by people around the world, ‘what nonsense’. In some religions it is mandatory to hate the ‘outsider’, they have names for those who are not of their sect. Two of the world’s largest religions have at the heart of their ideology the specter of an end time where everyone currently living  has to die before any lasting peace can be achieved. I just don’t see how mutual mass destruction can be the solution to anything. A person would have to harbor a deep hatred for life in order to believe that.

Isolation, whether geographic, religious, social, fundamental, cultural, ideological, familial or tribal has bred ignorance and intolerance. In the past these evils were isolated by distance and geography. In the modern era these sects have escaped from their isolation to wreak havoc on the world, but this access cuts both ways. The message of freedoms enjoyed by the outside world will eventually have the effect of enlightening those ignorant and impoverished villagers and tribesmen who have been brainwashed by their tribal elders and religious leaders to think that the outside world is evil and profane . The violence of an ugly leadership and the tyranny of a sick and ignorant ideology has historically never been perpetuated when the isolation is exposed by the modern world. What we in the west think of as sending a ray of sunshine into the dark corners of isolation and ignorance, the religious and social leaders of those same centers of intellectual deprivation view as a rifle shot through the heart of the dominion over the hearts and minds of their populations and as such they fear and fight against any change that would supplant their self centered influence.

I want to think that the advent of tourism has been a positive outcome for the world at large. As we get to know each other personally we realize that people everywhere have similar wants, needs and desires. I am very hopeful for the people of ‘The Islamic Middle East’ as they have incrementally shed decades of spiritual isolation and dictatorship and that those countries open their doors wider to people from other parts of the world so that they may learn that great progress has taken place while they were suffering under the delusions of their leaders. It is my desire that those countries, so oppressed by a variety of dictatorships of the mind , spirit and body, will now develop into places where people no longer have to flee from in order to  live a decent peaceful life.

Someone said to me once, “When you’re as lazy as I am, you have to be very organized”. This came from a man who lived moment to moment, without a thought for tomorrow. In fact, as my life progressed along the same track, I realized that the actions taken to achieve simplicity were in fact quite complicated and multifaceted by nature and circumstance.

I have taken great care and attention in building a  superstructure which stands against the weather without walls so that the storms and tempests of life blow through without leaving behind any permanent damage and myself the  better person for the observation. My colloquial term for what I have done is to call what I have designed as a life plan a ‘fuck you resume’. It is the ability to walk away from any bother no matter what the origin.

This is the way I live. I make  no apologies. ‘Lose a job….no problem…go somewhere nice instead’……’market down……screw it…go somewhere nice until it picks up’……’life getting altogether too boring……take off and get some new perspective’. This is what I call the ‘fuck you resume’…I never let things get me down and always have a plan for the times when ‘shit happens’….it always does…..best deal with it in advance.

I’m reminded of a fellow traveler that I met at a desolate crossroads in high rural Peru , a place called the Alta Plano. I’d got off a ‘chicken bus’ after already having my bones shaken for 22 hours and decided to deplane while I could still walk. The man I met was already there, where he’d come from I had no idea, he was sitting on a crude bench outside the rough stone shack  serving as a way station and bus stop, sitting literally, in the middle of nowhere.

I got off the bus in this no mans land without a second thought because in my own estimation I was ready for anything. In my backpack I carried extra clothing for three climates, waterproof and otherwise, including footwear. I also carried cooking gear and a small gas stove, two sleeping bags, one sub zero rated and another tropical. In those days I never went anywhere without my US Army jungle surplus hammock with double bottom , mosquito netting and fourty feet of extra rope. BTW, it takes 45 minutes to boil water at 13,000 feet.

Leather jackets and boots would mildew at sea level and the arctic sleeping bags and cooking equipment were useless in the city, but I was ready…organized. The fact that I was weighed down by eighty pounds of gear and  a walking nightmare on the urban sidewalks,were not the things I  considered at the time.

So, as I stood there  considering the open landscape and getting my land legs back. I couldn’t help noticing that my fellow traveler was my antipodal opposite. He had on only a light cotton shirt and pants, sandals with socks and a single toothbrush jutting out of his breast pocket. I was impressed, I had planned for months to be where I was, he looked as if he had dropped out of the sky. The air was thin and the vagrant wind blew incessantly.

We spent the coming twilight talking about nothing in particular and sharing cigarettes to stay warm as the night shadows rose around us and the temperature fell like a stone. Inside the stone cottage our Andean hosts had built a central fire and offered a bland potato soup but otherwise left us entirely alone. Thick blankets were laid atop bundles of produce waiting to be be stowed on the next bus to the coast , the warm smoke kept the frost from forming. The several visiting Inca’s broke out a bundle of cocoa leaves and lime paste to share, the act of chewing kept my face from going numb.

My new friend told me that he had shed his possessions and had set out to wander wherever the daylight took him. I respected his philosophy and explained that I was long  lost to the world I had known and was comfortable with the careless path I had lain out for myself. He and I became kindred spirits and spent the night talking about life on the road. I concluded that we had arrived in the same place via different paths, both seeking freedom and simplicity.

In the morning my friend boarded the first bus bound for the lowlands while I waited until afternoon for my ride further into the interior. Later in life I reflected back to that chance meeting and wondered if I could go through my life without any encumbrance or possessions to tie me down or hold me back. I began to emulate that lonely traveler, his one tooth brush and single set of clothes.  I never did get a name or an address nor did I offer my own,  I slowly rid myself my the travelers ‘conveniences’ I had once found so necessary.  I travel today with only a single carry on bag of disposables.

I have begun to wonder if perhaps my friend was a spirit, a brujo of the Alta-Plano who came to meet a kindred wanderer and acolyte of the aimless world. It wouldn’t be the first time I had been visited by one of the other side. My Thai friends have fashioned an amulet for me, blessed by the powerful monk Luang Poh Too At,  to guard against the entrance of spirits into my world, because they say I am like an open door to the next world and that this openness I allow is not entirely safe. I don’t agree. I travel light as I pass through this world,  my spirit weighs nothing, nor does my tooth brush. And now that I think of it, my traveler friend did look a bit like Jesus. I can only wonder.