Sunday, January 14, 2007


One thing Palm Springs houses don't have much of is insulation. The studio, once a separate garage building, is connected now by a breezeway enclosed years ago, which must be closed like an airlock or it will suck every bit of warmth from both structures. I think it might actually be colder inside it than out.

From DavidK:
Jeff VanderMeer has included 'Strange Birds' in his list

I went there to read it and saw John Shirley's review of Pan's Labyrinth, which is probably more thorough than I wanted pre-viewing, but then it's John Shirley's blog so I got sucked right in.

Then I started following links and reading and getting that same sinking feeling I get every time I watch the news. At one point, during a particularly disturbing article, Orion came to give me a kiss on the cheek. I looked at his trusting face and wondered if I'd ever feel truly warm again, inside.

I read way too much. I think too much. I feel mostly I've learned just enough to convince myself I'm powerless. I went on to read an interview of John by Stephane Von Stephane that contained this bit:

Stephane: Do you feel the artist has a responsibility to enlighten the audience, or is
just being entertaining enough?

John: It varies, from person to person. If you have the call, you sing that song. It's in your inner nature. I feel I'm supposed to help wake people up. We walk about in sleep and we do atrocious, selfish, destructive things as a matter of policy in our sleep—especially our group sleep, our consensual sleep. I'm not so very awakened, but it's a matter of degree—I'm struggling to wake up and wake others around me. We're like people in a coal mine succumbing to gas. I get up and stagger around and shake the other miners. "Wake up!" That's in my nature. BUT I always want to entertain. Why be tedious when you write?

What else can we do, really, but do our bits the best we can? Still, I worry, because I'm of this generation, living in this present. Are not each of us responsible in some way for shaping things to come?

I'll keep working. It's what I've got. It's what I do. But damn, it's cold in here.



Anonymous said...

Know that Your work creates Joy which gives an inner warmth---all that really matters is whom you touch.

Derek Ash said...

Are you suggesting that Lisa is in some way contributing to global warming?

Now there's an inconvenient truth.

It does feel like the only job of the media in many cases is to strip us of our self of empowerment. Everything is too big. Too dire. Too overwhelming to change the course we're hurtling down. It makes it easier for people to sleep. After all, if things weren't so dire.. if we were to change things... what would they report?

jestersdna said...

We all experience the end of all things in our own ways, and there's only one thing you can do. You can't keep the dike from breaking, but you can raise children who can weather the flood.

Lord Daecabhir said...

I recently [!] discovered audiobooks, something I had kind of avoided because I didn't think I would be able to give proper attention to them while in the car driving back and forth to work. I started with some recordings of a meditation instructor's teachings, and then decided to take the plunge into a more traditional audio "book".

What I ended up choosing was Bradbury's "Farenheight 451", read by Ray Bradbury himself. What I found so profoundly disturbing about this story thus far (I am not finished, Montag is on the run from the electronic hound after just leaving the old professor's home) is the all too plausible premise that people would give up free thought for the illusion of happiness. An illusion, it would appear, that is incredibly fragile once exposed to the harsh light of day. Unfortunately this premise seems all too plausible if one simply watches the day to day behaviors of the masses... they don't seem to want to think for themselves or do for themselves, and are willing to trade much of their personal freedom for the illusion of safety, comfort and happiness.

"Waking up" is a recurring theme I have been encountering in many aspects of my life of late. It can become downright depressing once you wake up even the slightest bit, and you realize that we're all doing it to ourselves. The key seems to be to maintain a "light touch", by not getting wrapped up in the cycle of self-delusion, and by taking away some joy from the simple fact that even if we are unhappy, fearful or uncomfortable we are still blessed with being alive.

When we first come to this realization, there is an almost implaccable urge to evangelize, to whack people up side the head, to grab their shoulders and shake them all the the while shouting "wake up!" Alas, this is not a very effective approach... the deflector shields go up, the fingers go in ears and the eyes are squeezed tightly shut so that nothing can get through to disturb our perception of who we are. And yet, if these ideas are communicated in an entertaining, perhaps not so threatening manner, something might just get through... perhaps the vague discomfort they cause when presented in such a fashion isn't enough to elicit an immediate response, but they might take root just the same.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I think we are finally going to be able to see Pan's Labyrinth this next week. I cannot wait! I'll be back to read that review afterwards.

I liked the quote on awakening vs. entertaining. I like what I read, view, etc. to do both on occasion. I also do not underestimate the value of entertaining. Something that could be viewed as 'simply' entertainment can have an intentional or unintentional impact that will stay with us throughout our lives. I look at all the 'entertaining' books and movies I partook of as a child that still have such a strong influence over me today as an example of that. I think person who creates should do what they like, pour themselves into the process, and let the message be received however it will by the person partaking of their creation.

I wish you many more timely kisses!

K said...


(Yes, original response... but it's late and I'm tired and I had a job interview today, so that's the best I can do!)

I'm getting increasingly tired of the people who say "But the things we're doing won't make a difference; the problem is someone else's fault." Maybe it is someone else's fault (blaming China for global warming is increasingly popular). Does that mean we should fold our arms and watch the water rise? No.

Although we do have insulation, global warming is definitely not happening in this room. Possibly because the heating is not on. So I shall go to bed. And be warmed.

jordan's mom said...

"This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine..."

...something we all knew as children and get "beaten" out of us by the tidal wave of life. OK, it may not generate a lot of heat on its own, but with enough shining on together both the heat and the light improve. Sometimes I think the Big Powers That Manipulate count on our feelings of overwhelming helpless/hopelessness to keep the "control".

What if the only real Sin is apathy? Nobody has to (or can) change the world, but maybe we are responsible for doing what we can, where we are, with what we're given. Some of us help our children become better adults. Some of us help other people lead healthier, happier lives. Some of us make Good Art. Do what you can do, to the best of your ability, and despite the odds, work to stay hopeful - send positive karma out into the world. It's got more than enough negative now.

Shine on, Lisa!!!