Sunday, January 8, 2023

It Came Like an Ice Cream Truck with Its Weird Tinkling Music

I *am* writing, it just reads like this at this moment

New never before place, my head, at least for now, for reasons I could but do not want to explain to myself in typed and/or scribbled English, it makes me happy and scares the fuck out of me, on breaks I paint while last three days listening to Big Blood's holyfuck new EP:

Do you have bandcamp? Let me buy it for you. My never before head? (Yes, they are all self-portraits, headshots.) Reading Fosse's *Septology* a major factor, first first-read novel since Murnane's *Million Windows* to crack my self-absorption and slice me open like a melon with a novel that teaches me more about me than I'd ever be willing to teach myself even *if* I knew it. The previous sentence is not Fosse-like, I'm not worried about catching a Fosse-tic, but the first clause of this sentence and this last clause of the sentence *is* Murnane and me. My breaks: read, paint, read, paint, read

Music must be on when paint, wet a canvas, pour more wetness, pore over it, watch it drying, I pore over it and watch the washes drying, thinking about *Septology* (and, still, Diane Seuss' *Frank*) and when still canvas is still wet, not even tamped to damp, and I know I should wait and I promise myself I'll wait, I pour more wetness over it. Also too

I'm fine, thanks for asking, the five of you. Whatever besides Fosse and Seuss and the jeffhead I'm making I'm thinking about when listening to good music and watching gouache dry isn't daily dumbfuckery, hot out of the shitlords' dumbfuckery factory, and I'd have volunteered for this if I'd seen it coming, all to say, I'm not dark, am happy, cat-alert, laughing, no agenda to do X, no agenda to not do Y beyond no grid of dumbfuckery (and yumduckery) today and none planned soon and none not planned soon


Diane Seuss

Intimacy unhinged, unpaddocked me. I didn’t want it.
Believe me, I didn’t want it anymore. Who in their
right mind? And then it came like an ice cream truck
with its weird tinkling music, its sweet frost. I fled
to the shore and saw how death-strewn, all the body
parts washed up and sucked clean like that floor mosaic
by Sosus of Pergamon, Unswept House. Seabirds
flocked and dematerialized like they do. Bees raged
at their own dethroning. Love came close anyway,
found me out, its warped music all the rage. It had
a way, just by being in proximity, of opening
the shells of the bivalves. Disclosing their secret
meat. One doesn’t really suck on frozen sugar water.
One allows it to melt in the oven of the mouth.


  1. from Jon Kabat-Zinn's The Healing Power of Mindfulness:

    [about a broad definition of healing]

    In my vocabulary, the word healing is best described as coming to terms with
    things as they are. It doesn’t mean fixing, and it doesn’t mean curing, as in fully
    restoring an original condition, or making whatever it is that is problematic
    simply go away....

    Healing is a process; one that involves the recognition of our wholeness, and
    a steadfast refusal to allow ourselves to be fragmented, even when we are
    terrified or broken apart by life. Ultimately, healing is a coming to terms with
    things as they are, rather than struggling to force them to be as they once were,
    or as we would like them to be to feel secure, or to have what we sometimes
    think of as our own way. As my colleague and friend Saki Santorelli puts it,
    healing is a matter of knowing that we can be shattered and yet still whole.


    kabat zinn was a grad student at the same time i was an undergraduate, at the same university, although we didn't meet at that time and place - he got a ph.d. in molecular biology, whereas my s.b. was in political science

    he did not pursue a career in biology, but went on to develop mindfulness based stress reduction - i took a week-long workshop on MBSR with him and santorelli in 1991 at the omega institute in rhinebeck, new york - i still have the copy of Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness which they signed, although i also have the 2013 revised edition

    similarly, i have both the original hardcover of Coming to Our Senses [2005], and the four paperbacks it was broken into and republished with new introductions and updating [2018-19]

    1. here's an intriguing example of an updating kabat-zinn did in a later edition - the autobiographical essay about his dissertation defense in the healing power of mindfulness has an extra sentence, italicized added

      Dying Before You Die - Jon Kabat-Zinn

      When I was writing my Ph.D. thesis, I wanted to give at least a nod to the
      existential struggle it had been for me, and to my discovery of meditation and
      yoga and how liberating and life-saving they had been. So I put, on a page by
      itself right after the title page, the cryptic phrase:

      “He who dies before he dies does not die when he dies.”

      I don’t even remember where I got it.

      My defense committee consisted of six men and one woman, all in their late-
      forties to late-fifties, all remarkably creative and successful. They were
      luminaries at the cutting edges of molecular biology...

      What amazed me was that the first part of my thesis defense that day centered
      not around the content of the thesis and the experimental work I had done but on
      that opening aphorism. Someone started off with a question about it, maybe just
      to put me at my ease before diving into the defense proper. But one question led
      to another, and their questions displayed genuine curiosity. They clearly wanted
      to know what dying before you die meant and why I had put it in my thesis. At
      their urging, I explained that to me, it was referring to the death of one’s
      attachment to a narrow view of life centered on one’s own ego, that self-
      preoccupied, self-constructed story-lens of at best dubious accuracy through
      which we see everything within the inflated context of our own self-cherishing
      habit that features us, although we would be reluctant to admit it, as the
      undisputed center of the universe.

      Dying before you die meant waking up to a larger reality beyond the
      narrowly constrained view one gets through one’s own ego and self-centered
      preoccupations—a reality that is not knowable merely through one’s limited
      ideas and opinions and highly conditioned preferences and aversions, especially
      those that remain unexamined. It meant becoming conscious, not in the sense of
      intellectually knowledgeable but more in the sense of directly feeling and
      keeping in mind the fleeting nature of life and of all our relationships, and of
      life’s ultimately impersonal nature. Within such a coordinate system, one could
      then choose purposefully, to whatever degree one could manage it, to live
      outside the routinized automaticity that frequently seduces us through small-
      minded ambitions and fears and thereby numbs us to the beauty and the mystery
      of life (even as biologists) and prevents us from looking more creatively into the
      deep nature of things, including ourselves (even as scientists) as living
      organisms with unknown and fleeting lifespans, behind all the surface
      appearances and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.

      Of course, I can’t remember verbatim what I said, but the gist went
      something like that....

      I am guessing that they must have already decided that the thesis work was good
      enough to pass, as long as I could talk intelligently about it in detail, so they
      were maybe a little more relaxed than they might have been if the circumstances
      had been otherwise, about taking time to talk about something so extraneous to
      the matter at hand. I am also guessing that the only woman in the room,
      Professor Annamaria Torriani-Gorini, was more than a little amused.

      I don’t recall the full extent of our conversation. No doubt there was a sense
      of amused tolerance, perhaps some politely raised eyebrows at my responses, but
      it was their ongoing questioning that prolonged our discussion, so it was clear to
      me that they actually wanted to talk about dying before you die. After a while,
      we launched into the defense proper.