what is reading?

What is reading? Why do we do it? Does it matter what we read? Is reading a different experience if it involves reading fiction, poetry, science, history, theology, math or the ‘news’?

Do we read in order to get smarter? to improve our vocabulary? to acquire knowledge and learn new things of all sorts? Are we just human computer data collection systems or is there something else in play when we engage in the act of reading? And are ‘words’ the only things that can be read? I think not. We read body language. Hunters read tracks. The weather can be read–no, I do not mean by meterologists or weatherpeople–but by ‘people’ who pay attention to their environment.  All sorts of ‘things’ can be read and deciphered for meaning.

 What are we really doing when we read? Are we searching for meaning? Are we engaging in the same pursuit as Viktor Frankl?

Are we not engaging in the creative process and energy of the universe by immersing ourselves in the words/thoughts/images/understandings of another person or thing? What happens to our consciousness when we ‘read’?  Is that all biology? Electricity between neurons firing with intense rapidity?

What is the role of ‘intention’? Is a writer’s intention the same as what’s meant by Buddhist intention? Is it? Perhaps so when all is said and done. Or not–depending upon contexts?

 Even after the writer does their best to express themselves once the words are sent off into the world, cyberspace, publishers, mailboxes snail and email, well they rather take on a life of their own as they travel and reach their targets–intended and unintended. Does the reader ‘accept’ the words with the same mindframe as the writer? Does it matter?

Why do we strive so hard to communicate with others? Why do some forces do their best to curb communication?

Is reading not an art in itself?

New addition to ‘the menu’–no fear, those pieorgies are here to stay!

Oh yeah, potato and onion pierogies boiled, then sauteed in real, and I do mean REAL , butter with chunks of white onions gently warmed is the stuff kitchen gods dream about.  Ahh…what could possibly improve upon the  accompanying spread of  Italian tuna, penne with red peppers, and chocolate ice cream? Polish Hamm, of course!!! Oh yes, momma! Dish up some thinly sliced Krakus Polish Ham on wheat bread with some whipped butter, red leaf lettuce, extra sharp cheddar cheese with sweet sweet gerkins on the side and there is my current answer to Yi-Ching Lin’s photos of cakes and dripping sandwhich dressings and hot dog vender carts at night and … oh just surf her blog and you’ll get hungry too!

She’s even got a red table ready and waiting! I kid not–http://ylphoto.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/sidewalk-performance/

Ahhh the clear decadance of Chopin Vodka straight up and neat, on the side please. ( Oh yeah that temptress passing herself off as a photographer has a bar scene too.) Speaking of Chopin, hmm is Rubenstein the best with those Nocturnes? Care to cast your vote for who piano-s Chopin best? You vote while I eat!!!

Oh while we’re talking food, let’s break out The Ravenous Muse, A Table of Dark and Comic Contents, a Bacchanal of Books— by Karen Elizabeth Gordon–delicious! Now the menu is set–for the moment at least. All that’s lacking is hungry company–all writers/bloggers are invited!

Quest: Distribution update for The Only Good Indian–anyone got some clues?


Okay several films that were offered at the KC Film Fest have aleady made appearances on the national  movie screen scene or soon will–eg, The Brothers Bloom and blah, blah, and blah…

But I’ve yet to catch wind of what’s cooking with the film produced by Wes Studi–The Only Good Indian–which I posted about long ago. So I’m sending this out in hopes that some blogger with feet in the film world will blow in with some information about when THIS film might start moving at large across the movie screens of these United States. Anybody out there care to send an update this way????

Come on, someone enlighten moi!

In case you’re wondering what  a ‘bad indian’ is check out the link to Wyld’s place  and Ryan Red Corn and company will fill in the blank– 


Joan Osborne’s early recordings ROCK!

These days the incredible voice  of Joan Osborne seems repressed and supressed by gentle pop tones in sad contrast to her intense versitility on  Relish–which apparently was was too diverse both musically and content-wise for some easy marketing audiences.   But I still hold out hope that one day Joan’s pipes will once again bellow with the beautiful unrestrained passions that rip through the songs on Joan Osborne: early recordings.  Oh yeah, what power! What depth! What guts! With a voice like that she ought to take over the music world at large.  “If God Were One of Us” was the palest shadow on Relish and holds no candle to any track on ‘early recordings’ .  “Fingertips” ain’t no wishy washy lovey dovey song, but one hot no holds barred yell from a  headlong fall in to an abyss of passion. “Match Burn Twice” shows there are no flukes when it comes to expressing physical love’s glories. She makes “Son of a Preacher Man” all her own.  If “What You Gonna  Do” doesn’t chill you to your core, then you ain’t listening.  “Flyaway” –what can I say about the lead song? She got my attention immediately the very first time I heard this album and held it for whatever was coming next.  I don’t think a singer can lose such distinctive qualities forever so I hold out for the album when Joan’s voice again goes full blast no matter what the lyrics—a sort of ode to the true power of song. Quit ‘hiding’ Joan—SING SING SING like your life depends on it again! Like on “His Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles.”

poetry’s powers or Tsundue’s trespasses

While collecting my thoughts for a little glib yapping about favorite poems a certain slight volume of poetry came to mind, Kora, a story and eleven poems by Tenzin Tsundue and I decided glib could wait a while. 

The Olympic games and this last infamous torch run have come and gone like birds’ nests in harsh winter winds.  One highlight was the attention on the plight of Tibet.

Tenzin’s poetry speaks for itself–and him–better than I can prattle–so, without further ado here are two:

Desperate Age

Kill my Dalai Lama

that I can believe no more.

Bury my head

beat  it

disrobe me

chain it.

But don’t let me free.


Within the prison

this body is yours

But within the body

my belief is only mine.


You want to do it?

Kill me here–silently.

Make sure no breath remains.

But don’t let me free.


If you want,

do it again.

Right from the beginning:

Discipline me

Re-educate me

Indoctrinate me

show me your communist gimmicks.

But don’t let me free.


Kill my Dalai Lama

and I will

believe no more.


Prattling:  Odd how the lines “Discipline me/Re-educate me/Indoctrinate me” recall the subject of the new Wes Studi film, The Only Good Indian, as it portrays the infamous boarding school experience of a multitiude of Native Americans from tribes across the United States. Winter Fox Frank could have delievered these lines of poetry written by a Tibetan on the other side of the world. Okay, okay, I promised another poem instead of yapping (these are reproduced with persmission according to note in book).

A Personal Reconnaissance

From Ladakh

Tibet is just a gaze away.

They said:

from that black knoll

at Dumise, it’s Tibet.

For the first time I saw

my country Tibet.


In a hurried trip,

I was there, at the mound.


I sniffed the soil,

scratched the ground

listened to the dry wind

and the wild old cranes.


I didn’t see the border,

I swear there wasn’t anything

different, there.


I didn’t know,

if I was there or here.

I didn’t know,

If I was here or there.


They say the kyangs

come here every winter.

They say the Kyangs

go there every summer.


A kyang is a wild Tibetan ass.

Click the link below for photos of the poetry nite featuring Tenzin Tsundue’s poems:


the book of secrets

Some things just never grow old no matter how many times you listen to or read them or view them.  Camille Pissaro’s landscapes, Gerard de Nerval’s poems, and Loreena McKennitt’s music.  We all have our favorites–and sometimes we shuffle these from time to time, adding and subtracting, changing rankings as we discover new creations. Yet some things never get too far from our reach.  Now of all the lovely music McKennitt has tossed upon the ears of the world, my remaing favorite is the album “the book of secrrets”. Its exotic silk road discovery flavor is what brings me back again and again.  Mummers, priests and lovers ride the music from the past into our present again and again with their stories.  It was strange hearing The HighwayMan for the first time since reading the Noyes’ poem a lifetime ago in the fourth grade.  The ultimate poem of lovers willing to die for each  other? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But Mckennitt sings fresh life into the story of black eyed Bess and her ever loving  handsome theif. Other songs based on inspiration from her own travels to distant lands physically and intellectually reveal some taste of what an ‘ungobalized’, un-uniform world has to offer from culture to culture.  In its own way “the book of secrets” is a paean to the virtues of multiculturalism with all its artistic riches.  Like Marco Polo and the Irish priests of Bobbio, McKennitt searches out the exquistic arts of ‘new’ lands with ancient histories–and makes it all her own while retaining essences that entice the ears again and again.

Let’s Play with Plays Now–Are You Game?

There is a genre that is faster to read than a novel and longer than a Shakespearian Sonnet–The Play Is the Thing.  Often overlooked and underappreciated as a reading text outside the theater, still, plays offer some of the most engaging dialouge and delightful language around. And if you’ve got a game companion, they’re ideal for sharing. 

Not for the faint of heart:

John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi–the duchess has a secret lover–or is it a secret hubby?

Ben Johnson’s Volpone or the Fox–con men, lust, and law and order!

Thomas Middleton’s The Roaring Girl—and A Chaste Maide in Cheapside is also delightful for the coffin scene especially. The Girl—quite the equal opportunity desirer. Chaste Maide—more FUN than Romeo and Juliet–the lovers die—or do they?

Shakespeare’s King Lear—ah, all the dysfunctional family values one could wish for..

Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good—and lest I be remiss–For the Love of the Nightingale.  First, how Australia was populated by so called criminals. Second, what a man in lust will do…

Sam Sheppard’s True West—more family values–sort of–

Aristophane’s Lysistrata—Sex or War–chose your adventure.

Synge’s Playboy of the Western World–It’s a damn fine Irish play. What more need I say?

Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children–More War, anyone?

Goethe’s Faust—selling souls—ooohh see Michael Clayton’s cohorts..

Christopher Marlowe’s Edward the Second—all for love–truly.

Aphra Behn’s The Rover–lady snares a true troller among men–

~~~and what plays do you enjoy playing???

Books? Are People Really Reading? Still?

Okay, I give in—everywhere I look on and off the web there are lists and lists of books for summer reading and so far nothing appeals to me at all. Been wondering about this for all of about one minute and have decided to make my  own ”Best Books” —so far–list and perhaps this will help to enlighten me about ‘me’.  So, here goes, take it or leave it.  As they come to mind, some favorite reading adventures:

Joan Slonczewski          Brain Plague    http://www.davidmswitzer.com/slonczewski/brain.html

Karen Michalson     Enemy Glory http://www.arularecords.com/karenmichalson/Articles/Wojcik-Obert_Reviews.htm

 Vivian Schilling    Quietus   http://www.vivianschilling.com/News/main.htm

 Staci Layne Wilson   Horrors of the Holy  http://www.amazon.com/Horrors-Holy-Staci-Layne-Wilson/dp/0967518512

Sherman Alexie’s The Business of Fancy Dancing—makes you want to laugh, scream, cry all at the same time–especially the post office story.

Craig Joseph Danner’s Himalayan Dhaba —a take on the interconnectedness of all things–especially people.

Louise Erdrich’s Tracks–ahhhh what WOMAN this tome’s heroine be.

Ella Cara Deloria’s Waterlily—and what  were the lives of Lakota women ‘like’ before the settlers invaded?

Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind—oh what can one find in the cemetery of lost books? history, love, tragedy, mystery and more.

Vivan Schilling’s Quietus—what’s a near death experience for?

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—love transcends manners–oh Jane!

Bryce Courteny’s The Power of One–damn those chickens and boxers and just what one person can accomplish.

Mikhail Bulgakuv’s The Master and Margarita–The BOOK to beat! Forget the great American Novel—I dare any writer of any country, anywhere on the globe to beat the pants off this baby for love, satire, and sheer imagination. The Devil has come to Moscow to prove he exists—and that involves tossing up Jesus’ existence too. Poor Pontious and the headache he gets from the man who won’t ‘save’ himself….And all the woe that can befall a writer in Russia–and elsewhere if you don’t beware!

William Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom!—sin and guilt deep Southern style.

Natsuo Kirino’s Out–Japanese women as you’ve never seen them before–the murder disposal crew….great stuff–not for the squeamish crowd.

Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose—oh the old country and its woes–and loves.

 Douglas Adams’  The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul—It’s  Dougie Adams playing with all sorts of good old Norse myths and such.

R. A.  MacAvoy’s  Tea With the Black Dragon–okay, this is for lovers of all ages–mystery and an romance not quite like any other.

Tim Powers’  Declare—all about The Dark Side of spying spies–and a few other things along the way. Move over James Bond 007 for adventure.

—for now….

now more

Heinrich Boll    the Clown    and     Never Said a Word

John Hersey    Hiroshima

John Wright    The Golden Age

Emma Bull    The War for the Oaks

Charles de Lint    Forests of the Heart

Dalai Lama    The Way to Freedom

Simon J. Ortiz     from Sand Creek

eds. Stryrk and Ikemoto    Zen Poetry, Let the Spring Breeze Enter

Gunter Grass    The Tin Drum

Timothy Zahn   Dragon and Thief

Elizabeth Hayden   Rhapsody

James Stephens    The Crock of Gold

William Faulkner   The Hamlet

Philip K. Dick    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Dalai Lama    Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart

Dalai Lama   The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace

Osip Mandelstam   Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam –translated by Clarence Brown and W. S. Merwin

Anna  Akhmatova    Complete Poems

Michael Dorris    Morning Girl

Juliet Marillier   Son of the Shadows and the rest of the Sevenwaters triology

ps. what are YOU reading that’s outstanding?

Art for Art’s Sake — Why do we write?

So do we create to serve our egos? Do we create to serve the abstract concept of ART? Do we create to satisfy the abyss of the appetite of the marketplace? Why do we create ART in all its strange and wonderful styles and forms? Why do we compose music? Why are poems written to lovers far away? Why are songs sent out across time and place to woe women—and men? What end is served by the creative process? Is this an indulgence in the fantasy of being ‘god-like’? Are we conveying the creative energy of the infinite universe? Why do we create?

Is it all Art for Art’s sake when all is said and done? Or is it just another way to go insane while  trying to survive in a world that simultaneously touts great art while telling emerging artists they’re quite mad for thinking of living for creating art because there’s no profit in it? 

If art has no real place or power  or worth in mainstream cultures then why have artists of all genres been imprisoned and executed around the world and throughout history? How terrifying can a poet like Osip Mandelstam possibly be? What is the threat embodied in the Russian masterpiece of social and political satire, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakow? What is the power of Picasso’s La Gurenica?  And what does the audience learn from Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play, “Our Country’s Good”? Many people read the diary of a young girl, a girl who probably gave not a fig for who might read her words in regard to ‘art’ or anything else. Yet, Anne Frank’s ‘words’ —written without intention of informing or influencing anyone–express a need to create as evidenced by their existence.

Why do we write?

Why do we blog?

Are there bloggers from Estes Park?

Anyone got the skinny on this trading post called Eagle Plume’s in Estes Park, Colorado?


Me is awondering because according to www.dawnhawk.org there’s supposed to be an artist at Eagle Plume’s July 11-12, but I have failed to find confirmation of this on the Eagle Plume site. So—is anyone out there in blog land who knows what’s really going on in Estes Park in the territory of Colorado?

Yeah I could call them but what’s the fun in that when you are all here?????

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