Thursday, January 19, 2006

Flowers in the Cracks

The Flowers in the Cracks
Express the joy of renewal of our spirits
With beauty, truth, and love

"The Flowers in the Cracks"
Is a cultural arts program
Celebrating the renewal of our spirits and communities

At the wake of my grandmother I ran into my childhood friend, my sister's friend Ilona Lieberman. She is a professional photographer in New York City. She's photographed emerging musician Martha Wainwright, who sings "When the Day is Short."
Love me tonight
and I'll be alright
I'll be alright
I'll be alright
Until tomorrow night
She also photographed Lasse Hallström, who reminds me of my Life as a Dog. Tonight I took myself for a walk around the park. My life tonight was a dog. I was sniffing out all the sidewalks and flowers.

Tonight Ilona and I conspired to create a project called "The Flowers in the Cracks." It will be a project that looks at the world in a new way and yet a very old profound way. A celebration of the present. And a hint of a future way forward. It will focus on the emergence and triumph of beauty, love, and truth, producing joy. Platonic love. Creative love. Ideal and real values.

Pythagoras, Aristotle, Plato, we hope to do you all honor and homage!

Mnemosyne and your daughters, the Muses, we pray they will be pleased!

Yet it should also go beyond these to Abelard, von Eschenbach, and St. Catherine of Sienna. It should have the levity and wit of George Carlin, the gentleness of Bill Cosby, the wry chutzpah of Bugs Bunny, the satire of Al Franken.

Apollo! Aset! Buddha! Jesus! Sophia! Guan-Yin! Wonkatonka! All celebrations of the divine shall be upheld. We are not the first and we shall not be the last to proclaim this. Obviously this goes back to ideals of Pythagoras' universal harmony, Platonic ideals, Aristotelian logic, and hopefully beyond these too. Many people speak about the growth of Faith in Our Present and Future. We are all together in the boat.

On the day commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we celebrated the Dream. He proclaimed he had a Dream. The Saturday before I created a flower arrangement, inspired by both Zen Buddhism and Christian heritage, celebrating also in hidden ways the Arthurian and Romantic traditions, naming it "The Passion of the Dream."

We now all have a Dream. It is a collective dream. It is all of ours, and it is truly the property of none of us. For the Dream is Free. The Dream is Free, and it lives and breathes as surely, or more surely, than any mortal form. It is ideal. It is perfect. It is eternal.

Our so-called waking lives are where we damage the Dream. Where we enslave the Dream. Where we hurt each other and are hurt in return. And so we let the Dream die.

Once I was told each blow upon our hearts is to shatter our illusions of love. Not to damage the heart, but, if the blow is correctly interpreted, to chip away the hardness that builds up around our hearts over our lives. To whittle it down so it can beat, and circulate our blood, and even bleed if need be. So it can express tears and blood, like the water and the blood coming from the side of Christ. So it can be pure and clean, in touch with the heaven above and the earth below.

From the cracks in our cold and hardened hearts, a flower can grow. Only by the hammer blows of an Invisible Hand can we be forged into the swords of logical insight, into the plowshares of natural growth, into the rings of gladly-bonded love, into the needles of right livelihood and industry, into the jewelry of pure beauty. We are forged in pain to become pure, and polished, like metal. Gold and silver. Spiritual Alchemy.

Yet we are growing things. We are creatures that need to have the sun removed from us. We need a balance of fire, water, earth and air. Wood and stone. Meat and bone. Plants and animals all around us.

So Ilona and I have pledged to begin this project. She from New York City, New York. Me from Mountain View, California.

We will each bring our artistic spirits to the project. Our hope is to highlight different, already-existing truths and loves and beauties at first. For there is so much good work around us already that can be celebrated. So often we overlook the good deeds around us. So often we miss an opportunity to join in ourselves into existing works.

In our initial phase of the project, we are going to see what people, what communities, already are out there. Like Santa and Mrs. Claus, we are going to look for those who have been nice, and reward them with attention. We will be witness to their good deeds, and we will celebrate how they have been able to bring the Flowers from the Cracks. We will also look for those who are in serious need, and who have quite somber, solemn, grieving moments. For not all is well in the world, and this cannot be overlooked.

Tonight I spoke to Ilona for hours. We talked and talked and talked and talked. It all had great meaning, and it was all having to do with this project, our lives, our love of life, and our future. It was a conversation like the double-helix of DNA, yet it was an ideological dance. It was a dance of IMA — Interpersonal Memetic Art.

IMA is when two people collaborate on an artistic idea, and the different contributions come together like chemical pairs. Ideas that fit together. Some are rejected. Some are stubbed out. Others fit perfectly, and the chain builds and builds in mutual collaboration.

We did a lot of collaboration tonight. We have a very strong IMA strand.

We agreed that it should not just be "win-win" thinking. It should be "Win^∞+1" — Win raised to the power of the infinite plus one more for show! Now, that's a tall order, yet one's ideals should ever be raised as high as possible. We might indeed burst into fusion reactions and lasers and forge order and energy from pure void. We'll also have realistic and modest goals. Step by step we'll climb Jacob's Ladder. Just as they sang at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Spiritual.
Oooo.... Oooo... Oooo.... Ooo-hoo... Ooo-hoo...
We are climbing Jacob's ladder
Children of the Lord
We are climbing higher and higher
We are climbing up
We are climbing up
I looked up at Orion and I can close my eyes and see Orion. Maybe he's not wielding a club. Maybe that starry man is climbing his own ladder. Maybe he's on his own Faith Walk in the heavens. Questing.

I thought back to the spoken words that the Glide singers professed. Some words stuck in me like pure shafts of light.
God is in this place.
This is God's house.
This is the Gates of Heaven.
And there I was under Orion. Under the Orion Nebula. And like the formation of the stars in a distant crucible of pure energy, Ilona Lieberman and I created a new light between us. And it was good.

IMA is a form of levity and gravity both. It is hypothesis, arsis and thesis and synthesis. It is science and art and engineering and craft and philosophy and religion all conjoined. It is the purest form of communications possible between people as creative principles (doings) and creative principals (beings). It is a praxis of perfect harmonious ideals and real progress.

In the darkness and the light I walked around and around and around the paths and grasses at Rengstorff Park talking with Ilona. If people saw me out there, like the jogger with the two big dogs who barked at whoever it was out in the darkness in the middle of the field, they probably wondered why I was talking to myself.

I had an open mind to the voice of God and to Ilona and to so many things tonight. I had an earbud that allowed me to hear Ilona's voice 3,006 miles away in Rockaway Beach, New York. We indeed spoke of cabbages and Kings, literally, since I had used a cabbage blossom in my flower arrangement for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Passion of the Dream." And I was living it.

It was a Wonderland conversation, and we did indeed peek after Alice to see how deep the rabbit hole went.

The baseball field was squishy from the rain. The sky was clear and brilliant. Orion gazed down at me. A bat flew around chirping in the darkness. There was light from all around but I was in the middle as far from the light as possible, yet able to see the clear light of the stars above me. Betelgeuse. Bellatrix. Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka. The Orion Nebula. Rigel and Saiph. I didn't know the name of Meissa until I just looked at the chart again. I suppose his club had never hit me between the eyes until now.

Tomorrow, because of Ilona's photographic work on a NYC civic project, she has the opportunity to pitch "The Flowers in the Cracks" with no one less than Hizzoner Himself, Mr. Michael Bloomberg. At a prior opportunity she had a photograph taken with her sister's young baby. Any Mayor that stops to have a photo with a baby is a smart man. That's as old school politics as you can get! He also sounded like he genuinely enjoys kids. According to his official biography, he clearly supports the children of homeless families, as well as widows and orphans.

For our project, I gave her the "elevator pitch."
"It is great to see you again, Mr. Bloomberg. What you have done with this city is remarkable. What all New Yorkers have done to revitalize this city over and over again is tremendous. My new project will be a celebration of the enduring spirit and constant renewal of this city, and the world which it touches and transforms daily. It's called 'Flowers in the Cracks.' I'm working with Peter Corless, an author from California, on the first stages of the project. With your support, we can celebrate the great work unfolding all around us."
He could probably speak about any of his twenty favorite charities. And there are so many more in NYC alone that could use praise and recognition.

My own self? I wish to take the same story, and put the case before Mr. Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, who is looking to revitalize the Tenderloin and other challenged neighborhoods, and Mayor Galiotto of Mountain View. Not all at once. Step by step.

I even began to think about the fund raising opportunities for some non-profits. Use the project to frame their work, and donate of proceeds from artworks to support these programs further. A sort of "ad council" work.

We're going to start for now with some conceptualizations of how the project will actually pan out. I want to leave some creative surprises for you all to experience. I also cognitively give a nod to my own mortality. I will only get to experience, record and celebrate so much during my life and times. The rest will come from those who wish to be part of this all. To carry on the work to the next higher level.

Tonight, a dream was born in the darkness and limnal light. It was not even ours, really. Others have spoken about the Flowers in the Cracks before us. The trope and visual imagery have been around since the first time a natural flower poked its petals out from between two rocks, even long before humans laid down the first sidewalk or stone pavers. Our ideas and thoughts came to life under the stars, in a park, as dogs ran by happily baying, friends spoke deep truths and made each other laugh, and as bats whistled a cheery tune. Also, in our minds, there was a park bench, the sunshine, a seagull calling, the sounds of the sea crashing gently in the distance, and a dandelion pushing up from between the cracks in the sidewalk. It was all true, and it was all good.

The waning gibbous moon was swinging back earthwards from its apogee. The first call began at 7:15 pm. It lasted over two hours. The next call began at 9:31 pm Pacific Time. For me, the waning moon was just rising above the horizon at 9:32 pm in the east. For Ilona, it was half-past midnight. We spoke on and on until it was just after 3:00 am her time.

Our project began as a possibility of dreams, and Ilona went straight to bed. Straight to dreaming. I wonder what sort of dreams she'll have tonight. Good ones, for sure!

Meanwhile, it's 2:34 am for me. I still have some good work ahead of me for the web site I'm working on. Scheduling, project plans, and getting alignment on priorities.

My experiments on Joomla and Apache continue. I did indeed get the Xcode Tools, and even WebObjects, installed on my Macintosh. Another green dot on my checklist of things accomplished.

In the winter, the days are short and the nights are long.

1 comment:

  1. thou hast a touch of hypergraphia, me thinks