Unconditional love is the goal- giving, not receiving. If I knew the secret to being lovable, I would be more than happy to share it with you. I do have a few tips for loving. You can get all the rest off of bumper stickers, t-shirts and coffee mugs.
First of all, imagine everyone as a little kid. We are, in fact, those same scared tykes who romped, laughed, cried and loved through those first sets of teeth. We're just bigger, and often, meaner. Bald heads and high heels be damned.
Don't keep score. Seems to me that too many of us hold ourselves up as some kind of minimum standard. If I expect everyone to be as loyal, honest, sentimental, bright and fair as I imagine myself to be- what about all the folks out there who happen to be more loyal, more honest, more fair, brighter and more sentimental than I am? Am I unworthy of their love?
If it seems that I'm dealing in trite gibberish, I apologize. I probably should have just suggested don't judge, love.
Oh, I suppose everybody needs somebody to look down on. Me, I've always looked down on snobs. The more I think about it, the more I worry that this kind of thinking might just make me the worst kind of snob.
You try not to judge. You find yourself disapproving of the ones that you perceive to be judging. Dang!
As much as I would love to tell you that I don't care what anyone thinks of me, I know that's not true. I'm desperate for approval.
When the magic kicks in, all the dialogue is poetry. Everybody just wants to be loved and the ones who claim they don't are lying to you. I've spent the better part of my life worrying about some future. Now, the better part of that future has come and gone.
Most of my worrying has centered on loss.
Sure enough, everything happened. Everything I worried about. Oh, the worrying didn't cause the loss. It surely didn't prevent it, either. Maybe I should have used my time and energy more efficiently and painted my masterpiece or learned the cha-cha.
This is no time to start worrying about the past. Love is for the here and now.
Change is in the air. Do you feel it? It has taken all my life to get here. Oh, I'm not done. At least I hope I'm not done. Once you've seen the radiance, or the truth, or whatever you choose to call it, you're home.
Read Dr. King's last speech. Martin Luther King was an eloquent man. I'm not. He was tested. My life has been easy. His experience is universal in scope, though. We've all been to the mountaintop. The hard part is looking over the edge. I've peeked many times.
Now my faith is in faith. If I backslide, don't say I didn't warn you. There is no going back, though, once you have looked over. Follow the love.
It doesn't take much to make me happy and it takes less to break my heart. Just how beautiful is this old world? Depends on how much beauty you can imagine. I cry and I laugh and sometimes I cry and laugh at the same time. If music doesn't bring you to tears, maybe you're listening to the wrong music.
These holidays are gonna be quiet. Really quiet. I hope ghosts visit. Jamaica's gone and Angel's been gone for awhile. I talk to them. I sing to them.
Plans for thanksgiving dinner center around a banana slathered with peanut butter. Later I plan to dance by myself. Of course I dance like nobody's watching. Nobody's watching.
Some folks can wear hats and some can't. My pal, Harry, wears 'em like they're meant to be worn. He was born wearing a hat. Me? Just can't pull it off. I'm just no good at it. I'm a fraud in whatever chapeau I put on my head. I love hats, too. I buy them with every intention of changing my life.
One of the reasons I keep up this dumb blog is to put hats on my head. Sometimes I put 'em on other people's heads, too.
Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.
The artist takes in life, breathes reality and gives us beauty. It's a massive responsibility but it's all automatic pilot for the ones called. Very few make a conscious decision to "be" an artist. Gauguin didn't quit his day job to go into art. He just quit wasting time at the bank.
The fact that Beethoven lost his hearing and composed some of the most magnificent music ever created compounds the mystery.
My neighbor, growing up, William Pachner, painted masterpieces as he gradually lost his sight.
In this culture, we sometimes reward the artist by paying them as though they were NFL stars or Wall Street thieves. Mostly, though, they live lives that we describe as bohemian or "starving" artists. Of course there is always the prospect of marrying well.
Artists, in my opinion, feel more. In most cases, they're driven to show the world all that they feel. They're wired heart to brain, direct. No governor. No insulation.
In a world of karaoke, paint & sip, cover bands and sampling, the role of the artist slides. The proprietor of an exclusive photographic gallery in San Francisco told me, "See all those Rolls Royces parked out there? I sell those people autographs."
For me, there is no intersection of art and commerce. Curmudgeon? Sour grapes?
Once again I have been called to task for a tasteless illustration on my blog. Let's start here with my sincere apologies for everything that I do that offends decent folks. I hesitate to call my graphics "art." Of course, my music seldom brings the term to mind, come to think of it.
You may have noticed that I don't know a thing about art. That's alright- I don't know much about music, either. I might tinker around with brain surgery but I'm squeamish around blood.*
Songs? I have songs about war, South America, murder, politics, jail and true love among other things. I don't know anything at all about any of that, either. By the way, I don't know where to stick a bridge or anything about a quarter note triplet, while I'm confessing.
As I have admitted here, previously, the blog exists merely because the page asked, "Do you want a blog of your own?"
Sure. Free stuff!
Seems I'm drawn to time consuming endeavors that don't pay well.
Once I had complained about war, whined over loneliness and grumbled about politics, I had to start over. I've preached to you about kindness, begged your forgiveness and revealed secrets, mostly mine. Again, same pattern as with the music. I started over there decades ago. War, kindness, loneliness- repeat. Sometimes lust, murder and electric chairs just for rhyme's sake.
All I have managed to learn about Photoshop is how to move my head from one snapshot to another. As I waste time on the internet, I have gotten into the habit of keeping any image that I run across that seems dumb enough. In some cases the image isn't really dumb until I put my head on it.
That's it. My only criteria- dumb.
Now, pulp fiction, which is a big favorite, frequently pictures sexist, tacky situations that were used, I'm pretty sure, to make the Don Knotts of the world feel like Charlton Heston. Oh, sure, occasionally you find Amazon women cooking the man in the kettle or a fierce cowgirl using her bullwhip on a city slicker she dragged from the stagecoach.
My point, if I have a point, is that no thought goes into the subject of the stolen art. I'm merely searching for dumb and a place to put my head.
That does not affect the sincerity of my apology. I mean no harm. My only message is peace and love.
*I know the first verse begins, "Don't know much geography." Funny thing is I have a degree in geography. If only they would quit changing the globe!
Sometimes it's a struggle to get comfortable with yourself. Lately I seem to be on cruise control. Kindness from the periphery keeps me awake at the wheel. Just barely.
Who on earth came up with the idea that you make your own luck? I'm guessing some white guy. Me? I grew up surrounded by opulence. Snobbery, too. Oh, we weren't rich. We struggled to keep from being poor. I had no clue. To this day I find the concept of wealth and power a ludicrous idea.What the heck is a bootstrap?
Everything I've ever wished for has come to me, almost literally. To be honest, none of the important things like world peace or an end to hunger and suffering have been available. Every crush, guitar, house, car and toy, however, have been mine. Not through hard work or prayer, I should say.
It would be just like me to explain the one thing, finally, that I have wanted for some time. I can't. Other people are involved. Do you suppose that if I had what I wanted, I wouldn't have anything to want?
Ol' Orson Welles made a whole darned movie out of such a flimsy idea.
If diamonds are a girl's best friend and dog is a man's best friend, who am I supposed to dance with? I came here to save the world and I seem to be struggling. You know my biggest problem- no mystique.
Nobody ever described me as "hard to get."
Ask the wisest one you know why there is suffering on earth. If she answers you, you need smarter friends.
Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.
Regrets don't slow me down much. I'm pretty easy on me. Life is just a slow march over a cliff and I want to enjoy the trek.
It's funny, the few things that I remember from school. One is that too many ants in the ant farm leads to chaos and the end of the colony. This random idea crosses my mind every afternoon around the time that network news comes on.
After this long a wait, I seem to have proven myself a more patient man than I had figured. It's okay. I have the rest of my life.
There was a time, once, when I was aware that I didn't quite fit in. Anywhere. I was always a phony, too young to comprehend what was going on around me. With no transition, I was suddenly too old to fit in.
It dawns on me, finally, that I'm never going to please those young women in junior high school who sent me the letter, listing my shortcomings. By the reading of the critical list from a wife, preparing to leave, it was beginning to sink in. Certainly, I was never going to make her very happy, either.
We, the women in my life and I, can agree. I'm not like the rest.
Blah, blah, blah- how long have I whined about the demise of rock'n'roll? Of course it is a major issue for me. It's been at the center of my life. It was born when I was born. When it got old, I got old.
Lately I've tried to avoid the subject. Even I'm bored with it.
Now I'm re-thinking it. The world looks at everything in a different light because of rock'n'roll. War and peace. Democracy. Sexual mores. Integration. Freedom. Rock'n'roll has been at the center of every revolution in my lifetime. If you want to argue with me, you might want to bring up Mao's Cultural Revolution. I would, of course, smugly remind you that it failed.
Mao wasn't rock'n'roll. Mao was Shrimp Boats Are A-Comin'.
We've got a world to fix and there's no revolution without rock'n'roll! I don't really care what you call it. Do you believe in magic? I do. All you need is love. Turns out I've been a revolutionary all my life.
A different drummer? Boys, I've marched to a whole different rhythm section. Oh, I'm not bragging. At this point in life I realize that I've always compromised who I am in order to please someone else. I thought it was romance.
To be honest, it's a wonder that anybody ever put up with me at all. I'm not a bad guy, I'm just a bad match. With what, you ask. Whatta' ya got?
If you're at all like me, you have to work hard to stay outta' your own way. Happiness is not a goal. It really comes down to mindfulness. Joy is just a by-product of living. Of course sorrow is, too.
We're all pretty sure that we're not judgmental, aren't we? Far be it from me to accuse you, but I've got my opinion. Sometimes I worry about what all of the folks who are smarter than I am are thinking about me.
Then I realize that if they're all that bright, they're not thinking about me at all.