"I started acting funny. I started doing research."
David Levine, son of Morton Levine, a friend of Mark Rothko’s, explains the pervasive mess (crappy) dads can leave in a life. He also details what happens when a hot artists dies. Horrible, beautiful, pervasive, poetic.
There is always an interior, personal theme for Burning Man. And thanks to today, mine is emerging: use what I have, avoid as many purchases as possible, go for anything that makes my personal playa life more civilized.
For example, all my porch furniture will be going with me this year. Downright elegant.
In the spirit of which our camp is named: More Fun. Less Suck.
Crisp, excellent writing from the Times’ Paul Ford as he ponders story telling, social media and old-school journalism. I agree, it’s a must-read. Special thanks to the charming Mark Donovan for pointing this piece out.
Polyamory’s lexicon is just miserable. Awful, clinical terms. “Secondary” is disrespectful. I hate them all. He hates them too. They don’t really work. Not that he gives a fuck about polyamory. Amusingly, he calls himself “differently monogamous,” which I love.
I don’t know what I am. I just know that I’ve always been this way. At 46, I’m finally becoming comfortable with the fact that it doesn’t need defining to be functional.
He calls me his girlfriend, his lover. He asked permission to call me those names. I gave it. Never once has he uttered “secondary,” except in disdain over the term.
So then I’m tongue-tied. Out of respect and love for him, his wife, his marriage. Out of frustration over terms.
I’m frustrated that something so real and important to me has no words.
I find myself refreshing different views of each of my social networks, waiting for one of them to tell me something I want to hear. A kind of waiting-for-entertainment white noise takes over.
It’s like that blank stare into the fridge where you check again, unwilling to accept that there’s just broccoli and mustard, and hoping a fully-cooked meal will somehow spring forth from behind the milk.
Because really when it gets right down to it, I don’t trust someone who doesn’t have a vice. Vice is as important to anyone’s personal story as Judas is to the story of Jesus Christ’s death. Without Judas, without vice, there simply is no story.
Interpret “vice” any way you like. Sex, drugs, rock and roll. Food. Comic books, heroin. Chocolate chip cookies. Movies. Shoes. Steroids. Dom, sub, or switch. Reality shows. Mom’s clam chowder. Whatever. Just note its narrowness: there’s no work in there.
And I sit around and stare at these shiny hyper-disciplined (straight edge, vegetarian, vegan, ultra-runner, gluten-free, triathlete, whatever freaks you out) types and frankly they terrify me. Where is the non-work? Where is the pleasure? I wonder if they are soulless robots who can’t smell jasmine when it blooms.
Really? I have concern for their inner hedonist. Is that all it is?
After I get over my fear, I think their discipline is talking about something else. Then I gape at what their discipline brings them: a kind of beauty I never knew possible. I watch them climb a wall, or swim on a hot day.
Then I’m locked in a fairly uncomfortable, inquisitive staring contest. With someone who could probably lift me up and throw me across a room and doesn’t understand why I won’t give up drinking in the interest of leaner muscle mass.
Okay. When I sweep away as much of my personal bullshit as I can, it’s all about what gets me off. If I don’t follow that urge, that sense of oh-my-god-yes, that umf-yeah, I face a joyless, laughless, non-juicy future alone in a room somewhere.
The uncomfortable truth: my own disciplines allow me to be a better hedonist. That’s why I have them. That is their use in my life. So far. Better sex, better eating, better Burning Man, daring to think about dancing. Daring to think about jumping out of planes.
Better lifts. Heavier lifts. Weirder lifts. That’s part of it too. Thus enters fitness to pleasure.
Getting off. Sounds craven, doesn’t it? It’s just that uncomfortable for me too. You’re not alone.
Some of this is about shared shame. Secrets. What we show and what we wait for people to find out.
That’s my belief too. It’s life’s dirty, gorgeous little secret that every artist has been screaming about since the beginning of time: it’s not good unless it gets you off. Dress it up any way you want: desire, creativity, kundalini, fire in the belly, chemistry, tantra. It’s about what gets you off.
When someone takes a risk and shows me that thing? I’m at ease. It’s a kind of compassion that makes sense to me.
So when I look at these smooth, seamless disciplines, these iron people who are this close to taking flight under their own power, I don’t know what to think.
Is their discipline the getting off? The reward in itself?
I have trouble believing their disciplines are the root of their real pleasure, and tend to assume all this hard work is for something else.
And I’m pretty sure the something else is as beautiful as it is hidden.
A colleague of mine, Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness, wrote a blog on his website titled “This is Silly.” That blog inspired this article, which basically encompasses everything silly in the confines of nutrition and the many different opinions out there.
An outlook on training concerning family
My dad recently came to visit me and my sister from our hometown. One way or another, as is usual when relatives or friends are around me, the topic of nutrition and training comes up. He said to me, “Your old man has been working out lately a couple days a week. I’ve been doing a step class that has resistance training intertwined in it and the other days are bodybuilding type splits.”
The article discusses how we should handle talking fitness and training with people who may not live to train like we do. As one studying to become a personal trainer and physical educator, sometimes I have to remember that not everyone I work with whether client or student is going to have the same mindset as I do. Sometimes you just need to listen to what they have to say, take from it what you will, and do what you can.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. This should be an outlook on training concerning everybody. This is that polarization.
The further into fitness you get, the further away from your clients (friends, family) you can become. You risk becoming that gorgeous fit asshole trainer no one wants to get near.
Keep it messy. Keep it imperfectly perfect.
My meditation teacher used to remind me, over and over, that what I didn’t know was in fact my secret to success: it allowed me to make a bridge to someone else by asking them a question.
"Compassion" as a term got beaten up in the new-age 90s, but its power remains.
“The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you’ve gotten the fish, you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit; once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning; once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?”—Chuang Tzu (Burton Watson, translation)
I’m afraid to see fireworks tonight because of where I was to see fireworks last year. I’ve been trying to wrap myself in all my friends so tight, holding my breath, drinking more, afraid of when the meltdown would come. I believe in my friends so much, and believed their powers of love and affection and humor alone might stave it all off.
So I came home and it felt like my house caved in (like it does) and I cried. Loud. The loud kind of mortifying, embarrassing, small child wailing crying.
Probably the first big cry I’ve had about my father’s death, though.
I want a kind of connection in the world I know exists but have only a fleeting sense of. The connection I can smell in the wind and along the closeness of my friends.
At worst, I believe my father withheld that connection from me on purpose. At best, I assume my father wouldn’t know that kind of connection if it jumped up and bit him.
And yet the connection prevails. I am my father’s child, I am a reflection of him and his DNA. His eyes, his hands, his temperament. I am accused by family members of being so much like him.
He’s all over me like a shadow right now. I can only hate and respect that.