The Old Man always taught me: when the going gets tough or farcical, find your creative mind and go into it. Right then! Don’t wait to get home and put your feet up. If you don’t, you could lose it, in the voluminous self-defeating ways people lose it. Often the loss is noisy and messy, but more often than not, it is silent and inconspicuous.
Good advice Dad; entering the creative mind sustained me more than once the past year. It did a lot more than that. My creativity resurrected me. I found a new person through it.
He was referring to school faculty meetings. I refer to the extraordinary Kafkaesque moments connected to my case where I nearly lost it and saw other lose it and lose it badly.
Time to go into the creative mind right now and find new things: Here I sit on a slab of gray rock in a crumbling section of the South Jetty, pen and notebook in hand, surrounded by rotting pilings and rusted iron, remains of the mighty railroad into the ocean. I survey and document. Extreme low tide. Two German shepherds gimp in the surf. A fort I built beckons weary travelers. Tillamook Head calls out: there is something incredible here! Climb me brother! No Kafka in my trees! On the horizon, a freighter can’t seem to make up its mind whether to cross the bar. Contrails overhead bring to mind an Apache proverb: the earth will perish with spiderwebs in the sky.
Perish is such a beautiful-sounding verb to describe the act of dying. There is poetry in it. There is something transcendent there.
At one point, I lost everything and did die (see my hospice post) but I didn’t perish from the earth as the saying goes about government of, for and by the People from President Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address, the greatest 272 words in the history of everything decent American. He wrote it himself and read it to the people on deadly ground. Now our country revolves around a President’s 123 characters he writes himself in private paranoia. Is write the right word?
No one made money from Lincoln’s words and we were inspired. A media corporation profits from Trump’s words and we are degraded. Think of that colossal difference. Perhaps we are dying as a nation. Perish the thought! Or relish. Perish and relish can rhyme in a poem! Sweet, sweet assonance.
I have a suggestion for people in crisis: occasionally, try going into the creative mind to alleviate the terror. Or go there all the time. It doesn’t have to cost a cent and can dramatically lower stress. It can lead to results or nothing at all. It can occupy or empty the mind. A creative addiction can help lick another type of addiction. Knitting or crystal meth? Needles or syringes? You think I’m kidding? You haven’t seen what I’ve seen. I only write this because I believe I am onto something that could help people. I am well into my creative mind right now writing about it. I feel instantly better when this occurs.
Try it sometime in a moment of crisis.
In this past year, I have seen men perish in part and full because they didn’t cultivate the creative mind. Such creativity might have never have hitherto existed within them or it was murdered by this or that nefarious agent, but it was absent when I sat next to them. The absence of a face gave the absence all away.
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a faceless human being perish right in front of you after his perishable goods-expiration date arrived like so much a bell buzzing to announce the end of a classroom period.
I’ve seen it, but I’ll never be able to accurately describe what I saw of faceless perishing. I felt part of me as an American disintegrate during the observation. Luckily, I think, most of the men were loaded to the gills on prescription opioids and pyschotropics to ease their passing. There is something in that, prescription drugs employed as a hazy (and lucrative) method to carry out a totalitarianism that is far from benign. What is that something?
As I said, I’ve seen this perishing. When it happens, my creative mind kicks in hard. My eyes start blinking, photographing the secret living documents of the American human underworld. I hear the camera’s shutter clicking fast, the sound vaguely reminiscent of the opening of that one Duran Duran video from the 80s…what song was that?
“Rio.” That’s it! Is it?
In the interest of personal accounting, I have listed the results of going into my creative mind during the last catastrophic year of my life. Most of these would have have never resulted had I not experienced the catastrophe. Believe me, I have thought long and hard about that.
I took directions from a bald eagle.
I wrote poetry, some of it along a river, some of it sitting on driftlogs. I may have a chapbook in me.
I started a blog.
I recorded dreams.
I made up dozens of band names (even in jail!).
I built 100 driftwood forts and started a Fort Message Board.
I wrote letters to friends that were never read.
I wrote letters to my friends in jail expounding my faith in going into the creative mind while in jail and asked them to mail me their creativity.
I willed creative freedom to a friend incarcerated in a church.
I wrote a proposal to the county jail commander offering my services in overhauling the jail library to no avail.
I thatched the yard.
I imagined a new life in Gold Beach.
I sowed wild flowers in a drainage ditch of the probation office.
I went through an early Bob Dylan phase 30 years after the first one, and began to better understand his ideas. Yes, don’t look back.
I applied creativity to strengthen friendships.
I concocted fantasy scenarios of reunions with lost friends and collaborators.
I conceived, co-produced and co-marketed a line of limpet necklaces (buy one for the summer!).
I gathered beaverwood and appointed my writing studio with it.
I wrote the first novella of a projected three-part erotica series—one set on the contemporary Oregon Coast, one set in Oregon City in the 1970s, one set in Turkey in the 1990s.
I put some of my writing curriculum on website that pays teachers for their materials and made $2.46.
I taught five writing workshops in a wonderful private home.
I wrote two dope articles for the cannabis trade press that were entirely made up.
I meditated on the word “blackballed” and manifested positive energy from the effort.
I whipped up several new recipes with turmeric and purple cabbage.
I conceived of a detective novel/TV show concept called The Watershed, set in the accursed Columbia River Watershed.
I invented a board game.
I read 300 books.
I cast the verb “cast” into the ocean, like fishing for surf perch, and reeled in some ideas.
I wrote 8000 words about growing up in Oregon City that will never be published in a book.
I wrote 47 cover letters to no avail.
I embraced a radical and successful approach to healing my body.
I took the high road over and over and found good creative ground there. There is no entering the creative mind when taking the low road. There is nothing there but loss and those doing the losing.
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