Blog

Boring Old People

It was the first run of the day, a yellow 2 out of lower Lynwood, right off the freeway, starting at 4am. The first stop was a nice couple, probably early 70’s, we’ll call them Henry and Mabel. The other was a single, “Lauren”, several blocks away, maybe a bit past 60. Being locals, they …

Posted in Notes From the Van | Leave a comment

The Chirping War of 1776

The fourth of July is not my favorite holiday. I grew up with fireworks, I’ve been to public displays, and no one has ever talked about the ideals of the country, or read from the founding documents. The Fourth of July, as celebrated, seems pornographic: explosion for its own sake, disconnected from the idea or …

Posted in Articles | 2 Comments

Whale Shark

Call him Whale Shark. But first, let’s talk about her. She was nerdy-stunning, early 30’s, with dark pinned-up hair and black glasses, clear pale complexion, and a low musical voice from ye faire isle of Britian. First stop of a yellow 2 out of Ballard, about 7:30 in the morning, yet she was as sleepy-eyed …

Posted in Notes From the Van | 2 Comments

If You’re Not Obsessed, You’re Not Alive

We have a dog in our lives now, Harvey, our housemate’s pet. He’s a tall black mix of bird dog, probably Irish setter, and border collie. (Happily, he got the border collie smarts and the setter’s graceful athleticism. One is reminded of the [apocryphal] story of G. B. Shaw’s reply when a beautiful woman said, …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jacqui Naylor at Frankie’s, Vancouver BC 6.17.17

Tess and I are both fans of jazz singer Jacqui Naylor, so when we were planning a trip to Vancouver, we picked the weekend she was playing there. To say she’s a jazz singer doesn’t capture everything she does, though: she also writes original tunes that are sort of folk-rock, and with her musical and …

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Living Under the Sword

Living Under the Sword I picked him up at airport around 4 a.m. A Hispanic man, middle height, barrel-chested, could have been either side of 50. A big duffel for luggage. He was an itinerant construction worker—cement was his field—headed for a job up in Everett. It was just him and me, so there would …

Posted in Notes From the Van | Leave a comment

How to Pray

This poem was inspired by a story I heard on KUOW about a young woman who was doing well climbing the corporate ladder. She had a presentation in front of the board, and killed it. But it nearly killed her: she kept hanging around the room, waiting for everyone to leave, so she could throw …

Posted in Poems | Leave a comment

Securing a Deck Post with Big Ass Bolt

“Howdy folks,” part of me wants to say. “Today we’re gonna talk deck posts, so giddyup lil’ saw horse, yuppie-mai-tai-o-kay.” Something about Home Improvement begs for a grizzled, gruff-but-kind, suspender-wearing sage. And something in me rebels. Maybe I’ll use an upper-class British voice: “In addressing issues with veranda fenders, it is critical that one first …

Posted in About the House | 6 Comments

Bumbershoot

The last time I went to Bumbershoot was back in the early 90’s with my musician friend Dave. I’ve always been a bit crowdophobic—even back then it was like wading through chunky peanut butter, and I hear it’s even worse now. But still, there were some memorable highlights. It started out early at Memorial Stadium–so …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pee Bitch

I picked her up at a low-rent apartment warren in Kent: she was in her 50’s, Hispanic, short, round features; the years had marked and weathered her, but she had an impish vivacity that made age moot. She sat in the first row of the van, the first passenger on a Yellow 2. (“Yellow 2” …

Posted in Notes From the Van | 2 Comments

Boring Old People

It was the first run of the day, a yellow 2 out of lower Lynwood, right off the freeway, starting at 4am. The first stop was a nice couple, probably early 70’s, we’ll call them Henry and Mabel. The other was a single, “Lauren”, several blocks away, maybe a bit past 60. Being locals, they …

Posted in Notes From the Van | Leave a comment

The Chirping War of 1776

The fourth of July is not my favorite holiday. I grew up with fireworks, I’ve been to public displays, and no one has ever talked about the ideals of the country, or read from the founding documents. The Fourth of July, as celebrated, seems pornographic: explosion for its own sake, disconnected from the idea or …

Posted in Articles | 2 Comments

Whale Shark

Call him Whale Shark. But first, let’s talk about her. She was nerdy-stunning, early 30’s, with dark pinned-up hair and black glasses, clear pale complexion, and a low musical voice from ye faire isle of Britian. First stop of a yellow 2 out of Ballard, about 7:30 in the morning, yet she was as sleepy-eyed …

Posted in Notes From the Van | 2 Comments

If You’re Not Obsessed, You’re Not Alive

We have a dog in our lives now, Harvey, our housemate’s pet. He’s a tall black mix of bird dog, probably Irish setter, and border collie. (Happily, he got the border collie smarts and the setter’s graceful athleticism. One is reminded of the [apocryphal] story of G. B. Shaw’s reply when a beautiful woman said, …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jacqui Naylor at Frankie’s, Vancouver BC 6.17.17

Tess and I are both fans of jazz singer Jacqui Naylor, so when we were planning a trip to Vancouver, we picked the weekend she was playing there. To say she’s a jazz singer doesn’t capture everything she does, though: she also writes original tunes that are sort of folk-rock, and with her musical and …

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Living Under the Sword

Living Under the Sword I picked him up at airport around 4 a.m. A Hispanic man, middle height, barrel-chested, could have been either side of 50. A big duffel for luggage. He was an itinerant construction worker—cement was his field—headed for a job up in Everett. It was just him and me, so there would …

Posted in Notes From the Van | Leave a comment

How to Pray

This poem was inspired by a story I heard on KUOW about a young woman who was doing well climbing the corporate ladder. She had a presentation in front of the board, and killed it. But it nearly killed her: she kept hanging around the room, waiting for everyone to leave, so she could throw …

Posted in Poems | Leave a comment

Securing a Deck Post with Big Ass Bolt

“Howdy folks,” part of me wants to say. “Today we’re gonna talk deck posts, so giddyup lil’ saw horse, yuppie-mai-tai-o-kay.” Something about Home Improvement begs for a grizzled, gruff-but-kind, suspender-wearing sage. And something in me rebels. Maybe I’ll use an upper-class British voice: “In addressing issues with veranda fenders, it is critical that one first …

Posted in About the House | 6 Comments

Bumbershoot

The last time I went to Bumbershoot was back in the early 90’s with my musician friend Dave. I’ve always been a bit crowdophobic—even back then it was like wading through chunky peanut butter, and I hear it’s even worse now. But still, there were some memorable highlights. It started out early at Memorial Stadium–so …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pee Bitch

I picked her up at a low-rent apartment warren in Kent: she was in her 50’s, Hispanic, short, round features; the years had marked and weathered her, but she had an impish vivacity that made age moot. She sat in the first row of the van, the first passenger on a Yellow 2. (“Yellow 2” …

Posted in Notes From the Van | 2 Comments

About


My favorite galaxy: NGC 4013

I. Why Outpost 4013

As you look at the galaxy above, let your eyes drift down the dark groove below the starburst, and notice the intense spots of blue-white light. This is a “stellar nursery,” literally where stars are born. All of the complex atoms that make life possible are formed inside stars. As the physicist Lawrence M. Krauss said,

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand.”

For me, it’s an image of deep creativity, and divine feminine energy. (My friend Jeanie said, “It looks like a vagina.” Well, yes.) It’s inside us too, and to whatever extent I can, I hope to refract a glimmer of that ferociously generous energy. To be an outpost of 4013, however small.

II. The Dream, or How This Blog Was Almost Called, “SallyFieldIsGod.com”

I was in my thirties, going around to my housecleaning jobs on my bike. Life certainly hadn’t turned out as advertised, or fantasized, but it had its compensations. Listening to music, thinking about things. I had been wondering about how it all began. In one popular story, it seemed like God was a superb Swiss watchmaker, meticulously crafting and populating the world, then setting it in the shop window to admire while tucking into a plate of bundnerfleisch and a glass of kirsch.

But, I wondered, what if it was more like a birth than a project; what if it was passionate, bloody, dangerous, with a chance of disaster. However I might feel about my small life, I had the miracle of a consistent reality: I had thoughts that logically followed each other, an identity and a body and the beauty of nature around me. Not a paradise by any stretch, but I had a sense that it could have all gone terribly wrong; chaos could have reigned, and any shred of possible identity would be torn apart in that mad cosmic gale before it could find its feet.

This led to a period of about three days where I was filled with appreciation for our elegant and reliable reality. The green alphabet of plants, the wind pushing it into song. I was filled with gratitude and love for She who had managed to birth this coherent world. At the end of the third day, I had a dream:

I became aware I was dreaming, and decided to fly, because that’s what I like to do. It went unusually well: I found myself outside earth’s atmosphere, in space. As I was looking around, a voice told me that if I wanted, I could try to visit God. It said I probably couldn’t do it, but the conditions were just right, if I wanted to try. So I took off.

I flew through the galaxy, and beyond; a sense of immense distances. And every now and then, I’d hit some kind of shortcut, and cut across entire universes. This went on for a while, and then I seemed to be on a planet again.

An unusual one, though. There’s the loose beauty of nature, like trees in a forest, and then there’s the formal beauty of humans, like the columns of the Parthenon. This world seemed to be both, the natural and formal joined: as I flew past a giant stone mountain, the cracks in the cliff were just regular enough to seem like letters, if only I knew how to read them, yet they still that fresh, random quality.

Finally, I landed at the foot of a small dusty hill. There was a wall at the top. This was it–where God was. I climbed the hill.

The wall was circular, maybe seven feet high, something like adobe, with a wooden gate. I pushed it open and went inside. In the center was a fountain. I started walking around it.
A quick detour here. In 1985, Sally Field won the Oscar for Best Actress, and in a widely mocked acceptance speech, said, “You like me—right now, you like me!”

In the dream, I was about a quarter of the way around the fountain, when a female voice from the fountain said, “You love me—you really do love me!” I thought, “God, that’s so corny.” And of course I immediately felt terrible about thinking that. But I kept walking and sensed that She was amused. I was about halfway around the fountain when everything, myself included, started dissolving into a blissful white light. I was maybe three-quarters of the way around when the light was all there was.


III. Really, Now

One thing about my god, you have to admit She has a sense of humor. One thing that struck me: that god is pleased when we appreciate what she’s done (I can never make up my mind about deity capitalization). I sometimes think we live in a jazz, rather than classical, universe. Maybe the score isn’t written to the last note; we have our part to contribute, too. And what if god isn’t perfect; what if She (He, It) needs us to do our best as well?

Anyway, I don’t think I met the Total Essence, or however we might try to title it. For one thing, it’s a question of scale: how much can a cell in a hair on your arm appreciate Shakespeare? I took my cup to the ocean, and filled it up. There weren’t any whales swimming around in it, I checked. It was a personal journey, and I’m content with that.

I don’t plan to swing for the cosmic fences in this blog; I’ll just write pieces as they come to me, and who knows, maybe now and then a mysterious wind will lift one over the fence, and into the sky. Until then, I hope now and then you’ll look at your hands. And see different stars.


NGC 4013 is also known as the Diamond Ring Galaxy

IV. Postscript

I had some friends look at this About section before I published it. It’s funny and humbling, what you think, and what other people think. The image on the home page that Jeanie said looked like a vagina? Marta, a nurse, said it looked like a gashed shin to her. (Ouch.) Michelle liked the piece, but said that she gets a bit tired of feminine energy always being described as “giving.”

M, the image above is for you. That beautiful purplish ring of dust? It’s actually the remains of a dwarf galaxy that got in the way of 4013, and got ripped to shreds by tidal forces of her immense gravity.

Blog

Boring Old People

It was the first run of the day, a yellow 2 out of lower Lynwood, right off the freeway, starting at 4am. The first stop was a nice couple, probably early 70’s, we’ll call them Henry and Mabel. The other was a single, “Lauren”, several blocks away, maybe a bit past 60. Being locals, they …

Posted in Notes From the Van | Leave a comment

The Chirping War of 1776

The fourth of July is not my favorite holiday. I grew up with fireworks, I’ve been to public displays, and no one has ever talked about the ideals of the country, or read from the founding documents. The Fourth of July, as celebrated, seems pornographic: explosion for its own sake, disconnected from the idea or …

Posted in Articles | 2 Comments

Whale Shark

Call him Whale Shark. But first, let’s talk about her. She was nerdy-stunning, early 30’s, with dark pinned-up hair and black glasses, clear pale complexion, and a low musical voice from ye faire isle of Britian. First stop of a yellow 2 out of Ballard, about 7:30 in the morning, yet she was as sleepy-eyed …

Posted in Notes From the Van | 2 Comments

If You’re Not Obsessed, You’re Not Alive

We have a dog in our lives now, Harvey, our housemate’s pet. He’s a tall black mix of bird dog, probably Irish setter, and border collie. (Happily, he got the border collie smarts and the setter’s graceful athleticism. One is reminded of the [apocryphal] story of G. B. Shaw’s reply when a beautiful woman said, …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jacqui Naylor at Frankie’s, Vancouver BC 6.17.17

Tess and I are both fans of jazz singer Jacqui Naylor, so when we were planning a trip to Vancouver, we picked the weekend she was playing there. To say she’s a jazz singer doesn’t capture everything she does, though: she also writes original tunes that are sort of folk-rock, and with her musical and …

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Living Under the Sword

Living Under the Sword I picked him up at airport around 4 a.m. A Hispanic man, middle height, barrel-chested, could have been either side of 50. A big duffel for luggage. He was an itinerant construction worker—cement was his field—headed for a job up in Everett. It was just him and me, so there would …

Posted in Notes From the Van | Leave a comment

How to Pray

This poem was inspired by a story I heard on KUOW about a young woman who was doing well climbing the corporate ladder. She had a presentation in front of the board, and killed it. But it nearly killed her: she kept hanging around the room, waiting for everyone to leave, so she could throw …

Posted in Poems | Leave a comment

Securing a Deck Post with Big Ass Bolt

“Howdy folks,” part of me wants to say. “Today we’re gonna talk deck posts, so giddyup lil’ saw horse, yuppie-mai-tai-o-kay.” Something about Home Improvement begs for a grizzled, gruff-but-kind, suspender-wearing sage. And something in me rebels. Maybe I’ll use an upper-class British voice: “In addressing issues with veranda fenders, it is critical that one first …

Posted in About the House | 6 Comments

Bumbershoot

The last time I went to Bumbershoot was back in the early 90’s with my musician friend Dave. I’ve always been a bit crowdophobic—even back then it was like wading through chunky peanut butter, and I hear it’s even worse now. But still, there were some memorable highlights. It started out early at Memorial Stadium–so …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pee Bitch

I picked her up at a low-rent apartment warren in Kent: she was in her 50’s, Hispanic, short, round features; the years had marked and weathered her, but she had an impish vivacity that made age moot. She sat in the first row of the van, the first passenger on a Yellow 2. (“Yellow 2” …

Posted in Notes From the Van | 2 Comments

Boring Old People

It was the first run of the day, a yellow 2 out of lower Lynwood, right off the freeway, starting at 4am. The first stop was a nice couple, probably early 70’s, we’ll call them Henry and Mabel. The other was a single, “Lauren”, several blocks away, maybe a bit past 60. Being locals, they …

Posted in Notes From the Van | Leave a comment

The Chirping War of 1776

The fourth of July is not my favorite holiday. I grew up with fireworks, I’ve been to public displays, and no one has ever talked about the ideals of the country, or read from the founding documents. The Fourth of July, as celebrated, seems pornographic: explosion for its own sake, disconnected from the idea or …

Posted in Articles | 2 Comments

Whale Shark

Call him Whale Shark. But first, let’s talk about her. She was nerdy-stunning, early 30’s, with dark pinned-up hair and black glasses, clear pale complexion, and a low musical voice from ye faire isle of Britian. First stop of a yellow 2 out of Ballard, about 7:30 in the morning, yet she was as sleepy-eyed …

Posted in Notes From the Van | 2 Comments

If You’re Not Obsessed, You’re Not Alive

We have a dog in our lives now, Harvey, our housemate’s pet. He’s a tall black mix of bird dog, probably Irish setter, and border collie. (Happily, he got the border collie smarts and the setter’s graceful athleticism. One is reminded of the [apocryphal] story of G. B. Shaw’s reply when a beautiful woman said, …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jacqui Naylor at Frankie’s, Vancouver BC 6.17.17

Tess and I are both fans of jazz singer Jacqui Naylor, so when we were planning a trip to Vancouver, we picked the weekend she was playing there. To say she’s a jazz singer doesn’t capture everything she does, though: she also writes original tunes that are sort of folk-rock, and with her musical and …

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Living Under the Sword

Living Under the Sword I picked him up at airport around 4 a.m. A Hispanic man, middle height, barrel-chested, could have been either side of 50. A big duffel for luggage. He was an itinerant construction worker—cement was his field—headed for a job up in Everett. It was just him and me, so there would …

Posted in Notes From the Van | Leave a comment

How to Pray

This poem was inspired by a story I heard on KUOW about a young woman who was doing well climbing the corporate ladder. She had a presentation in front of the board, and killed it. But it nearly killed her: she kept hanging around the room, waiting for everyone to leave, so she could throw …

Posted in Poems | Leave a comment

Securing a Deck Post with Big Ass Bolt

“Howdy folks,” part of me wants to say. “Today we’re gonna talk deck posts, so giddyup lil’ saw horse, yuppie-mai-tai-o-kay.” Something about Home Improvement begs for a grizzled, gruff-but-kind, suspender-wearing sage. And something in me rebels. Maybe I’ll use an upper-class British voice: “In addressing issues with veranda fenders, it is critical that one first …

Posted in About the House | 6 Comments

Bumbershoot

The last time I went to Bumbershoot was back in the early 90’s with my musician friend Dave. I’ve always been a bit crowdophobic—even back then it was like wading through chunky peanut butter, and I hear it’s even worse now. But still, there were some memorable highlights. It started out early at Memorial Stadium–so …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pee Bitch

I picked her up at a low-rent apartment warren in Kent: she was in her 50’s, Hispanic, short, round features; the years had marked and weathered her, but she had an impish vivacity that made age moot. She sat in the first row of the van, the first passenger on a Yellow 2. (“Yellow 2” …

Posted in Notes From the Van | 2 Comments