Sunday, August 28, 2005

Loving the Same Face

Across twenty years. Loving the same smell. What are the roots.

Face after face after face, and year after year, role after role - the same face reflects across photographs. Affection isn't multiplied, it is fragmented, confused, lost.

Does liking something reflect on a quality inherent in it, or on the nature of the need present in me? Is it necessarily frightening to love someone because she resembles someone I used to love years back?

Reflecting on these things, today sitting alone in Delhi. When I feel like talking all my phone numbers seem to be wrong, false.

Being sad isn't easier than being easy. Pure sadness is as rare as pure joy. As enriching. Can I take it?

Delhi at pre-dawn, Delhi at mid-night, from here to Nagpur, from there to Ahmedabad. Each going-back-home feels like something to look forward to.

Making more proposals, completing my script (still!!!).

Looking forward to taking a short break in October, when Rachel comes over. Feeling clever and looking at my history as a strange story - how will I live completely, amnesia is a state of mind.

Monday, August 22, 2005


To Push Down. To Keep Under.

There is Nothing Wrong with You, I Keep Telling Myself.

It gets harder the more meta my mind gets. I am squirrelly - meditation is getting harder, and my relationships seem to be declining. I am seeing the results of long-term overwork and under play. I feel, when I feel at all, sadness and disconnection, from my body and heart. Today I realized part of it is hormonal cycle, and there was a tremendous relief - I could remove from list of things potentially Really Wrong With Me the idea that I am now totally nuts. Instead I can just be pretty sad, partially angry but also premenstrual.

Been back to reading Buddhist books on depression, which mostly help. Again and Again, I face my Attachment to sadness, my need to stay on the back of myself for the long rides that justify my feelings, so often deprived from me in childhood, and now mine to revisit again and again. Only the sorts of things that appear on videotape - repeats - are what push everything else down. In favor of reliving old trauma, I overlook new chances in every moment, mostly, most importantly, curiousity. Watch what this person does. Don't expect you know. Because
you don't. Especially if it is me I am watching.

Writing about it helps. So long as I stay out of nitty details which turn into lists and further justification. Certainly exercise helps. Ironically, so does lots of sleep. A very dear and old friend is suffering currently from some really seriously relived trauma, much more acute than my current experience, and a doctor told her something she had never heard: "Maybe you *need* to be sleeping 12 hours a day. You are wearing yourself out. You are tired.".
There are limits, of course, but sometimes we just need rest.

So hard to stay in the unsettled. I am apt to guess and pretend curiousity when instead I am persecuting myself rabidly. Every possible thing I could be compassionate about becomes either a cure, a cause or a disposable emotional refuse. Slowing down helps, of course. I feel as if I am underwater, watching everyone and myself. Luckily I was cried out by the time I had to go to work this morning.

I have gotten through this before. I will do it this time. That is the only part of the video worth watching again - the success story bit. No pressure, of course, lest I get stuck here longer competing with myself over the last time I got myself out. Just a quiet, silent viewing when I need a little booster.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Pin-hole Camera

Look at everything through a pin-hole camera and suddenly things will make sense. Colours will merge into one another, sound will dim out.

I was talking to ma yesterday, on the phone and something I said made her cry. She felt I was misunderstanding her. She said she is not as strong as she was, once.

Who all have done things, which have weakened her? Who all have betrayed her trust, shattered her dreams?

I usually go on long walks with her a few times a week, there has been a dryness between us for the last few years. Once, I feared she would never relate to me again - when I had run away, and then come back sat across her on the sofa. But she did, giving me bits of love again - filtered through her shattered heart. All of wondered why her health has detoirated. I always blamed my father. Never gave her time, never understood her, other things always being more important. But I feel all of us - who broke her heart, are equally responsible.

What does one do with remorse?

Allow it to make you soft and dejected, blunt, directionless? Allow it to dull the electricity of your eyes?

Remorse seems to inspire a feeling of completeness, lets you accet yourself more completely.

Today morning I dreamt tht Manju and I had finally gone to Meerut, our home-town in UttarPradesh.

My maternal uncles stay there. They have called us so many times, when their daughters married... and now they don't call us anymore.

We were sitting in their house and they weren't very excited that we were there. Thing seemed to be very much past-the-moment. I do believe, somethings need to be dne on time - bonding, befriending. We were sitting in their house and everything was dry, slow, strange. Not warm.

What in me renders relationships dry within 2-3 years? There must be somthing. That will be another interrogation.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I went to your site!

I am sad you are feeling glum lately, or were a week ago, but you are making some amazing stuff! I love the collaborations between pictures and poetry.

Yay for you!


I am preparing for my second "class". All I want to be is a facilitator, present only in that I provide a safe environment for everyone. Last week, it was fascinating to sit back and watch as people interconnected their work without even trying. For one, we discovered that the way folk remember childhood is through color. Really early childhood. Now I am not going to go out and read a bunch of early childhood blah blah about this. I am just amazed to see that, given the assignment "Tell us about your earliest memory ever" that folks responded with floods of color.
And, there was overlap. Of course parents overlapped. And holidays. But specific colors, too. And it gave so much to the exercise, to the writings. I can still recall phrases now.

Off to finish some photocopies. "Preparing" is a funny word. More just making accessible that which I may or may not want to share. Should it be this "easy"? I want to meet with my old mentor and see how it was for her. But I actually suspect it should be. Natural. Easy.

Imagine that.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I "taught" my first class this last week. I have given guest talks before (starting in college, when I would visit local high schools and report on the middle ages, because I had just travelled in Europe for three months and was really into a group called the SCA - Society for Creative Anachronism - which dresses folk up in "garb" of the middle (european) ages and parades peops around in weird personality configurations while people battle it out in "period" form) but never "taught". I had wanted to do a contemplative writing class since I started studying writing that way with my mentor, Paula Novotnak, over three years ago. But finally, it is together.

I was shocked at how natural it was. How, unlike my retail job, I didn't have a headache, or have to search myself to be straightforward with folk. It isn't always like that at the bookstore, but it sure can be. Three hours is no test - I will be "teaching" every Thursday this month as a pilot, then see if I can develop a regular course. But I sure did like it. Everyone had fun. People wrote amazingly astute things.

I introduced myself. Everyone else introduced themselves. I introduced the practice and the idea behind the class. Then, we meditated in silence for 10 minutes, and I guided them through a body relaxation meditation for five minutes. At the end of the five, I "gave them an exercise". I asked them to share their very first memory. I asked for a lot of details. People wrote furiously, and quite a few shared. I even wrote something pretty amazing.

It is very hot here, for here. Even now, after the sun has set, humidity skims my cheeks and shins. And I have yet to do what I sat down to do here over two hours ago: work on my own poetry. So I will go do that now. But more soon. From a new "teacher"...

Monday, August 01, 2005


You had talked yesterday about how you can deal tangibly with your ideas now. You don't rush at them, allow them to unfold gradually, take it on step by step.

I have slowly seen how I am slowing down. I work less, seek more re-assurance. The process of making this film, "Something to say" is going to be a test. Perfect the script, show it around, get the money, get the team, get the cast, direct it, edit it, try to distribute, send to festivals, do PR, think about next film...

That is the only way to do it.

I am very much off the internet's promise of immediate, quick and easy solutions. I have wasted a lot of time chasing those. I have a horde of domain names registered which I never developed in to online presences... waste, waste, waste.

More about the bookshop, Corner Book Shop is an effort to set up a network of neighbourhood bookshops. Each bookshop with a collection, which is customized to the local interests and needs. Intresting collection, a good representation of the small press too.

Am trying to mould some regular habits now - write regularly, read regularly, submit regularly. I have been haphazard for too long. Every day a different moralism dawns on me, I try to justify different things. Had a talk with my father yesterday after a long time, didn't feel too bad. I tried not to develop automatic arguments in my head for everything he said.

Have started a new series of photo-poems (I completed the one I was doing on the hoardings in Ahmedabad) will post you a link soon.

There are constant demands on my time and attention. This is the opposite of loneliness. This is overpopulation, attempt to develop a democracy in the flow of my energies? She will after the guests have gone away turn towards me and shower accusations. I question, Am I your mouthpiece? She says I do not understand broken families, I say she doesn't understand unbroken ones. And then a song develops out of the din and we have to open the doors and the windows. Let fresh air flow again. Why am I bringing this in in this space? Have no other space to take it to. I need to vent it out.

Today was a Monday, but I still have nowhere to go. My two-month assignment with Chetna is nearly over - I have completed two out of three tasks and am confused about the third. Maybe, will let it pass. Then again, search for work, search for work, search for work - work on my script...

Why do I think so far ahead. The far ahead gives meaning to the emptiness of today. Ideas are like balloons, selling cheap and waiting to be burst open, poof.