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Saturday, January 3, 2015


joel shapiro

Just now had a brief flash of a concern in childhood I've carried all the way along. I had a hard time talking like other kids. They seemed to flow freely when they talked. I didn't know what to talk about. Subjects that interested me were of no interest to anybody else. I wanted to talk about "deep" stuff, "heavy" stuff, which I took for life. I'm remembering a woman I've known awhile, at a cocktail party talking about every detail of what her children did that day. I had to walk away. I thought, Shit, is this what people talk about? I reminded self, this is why I stay at home. Two-thirds of a century of television. And now we have killer cops as a rule. I'm paranoid about driving on a public road anymore. I stay out of group scenes because I never know what to talk about, and when I do talk, I ask self, why are you talking? You're focusing all your attention on saying the least in the most words. Only way you can be acceptable at a group gathering where everybody stands around in small circles of four or five and talk as fast as they can go getting nothing at all said. I can't exist like that. Since childhood I've been speechless in a group of more than half a dozen people. I'd rather listen, then I get called out for judging everybody. What? Whatever. So I stay home where I belong. It's even tiresome in cocktail parties where everybody reads. It's even more difficult to be in a room of people where nobody reads. That's where I'm really lost. I've taught self how to be comfortable in a world of people that don't read. I'm as comfortable now with people who don't read as well as people who read. It's a major gulf, a grand canyon between the two. Totally different ways of thinking and interpreting. 

joel shapiro

In the city, I worked in a bookstore and my social world was all people who read. Also, nearly everybody I knew was a Democrat. I came to the mountains and know precious few people who read and almost everybody I know is a Republican. The other side of the coin. I meet somebody who reads and it's Tom Clancy. Last year I thought about reading a Clancy novel to see if it would pull me through it, feeling in need of a page-turner. I opened a copy and saw in the front "dedicated to Ronald Reagan." I put the book down like it spontaneously combusted. Somebody that much a Reaganista I don't need in my head. I don't mean to imply I believe readers are more intelligent than nonreaders. I've not found that to be so. I include people who read only the Bible among readers. I feel like when I'm reading somebody's writing, I'm tapping into another perspective of the world I live in as a human being. This can be done, too, just knowing somebody. Knowing somebody is much better than reading what somebody has to say. Knowing somebody, I'm in touch with another perspective, somebody with valuable insights, whoever it is. Reading what somebody has to say is another way of knowing somebody. Reading Henry Miller, I am in touch with someone who has become my friend through reading. It's something like a facebook friend I've never met, though have come to know over a few years that if we were to meet, we'd be friends in the way our minds resonate. I have several facebook friends I'd love a chance to meet, or even better have them in my community, in my immediate world. And people I already know who are facebook friends, the facebook interactions add to our friendship. 

joel shapiro

This blog has become my friend. It's my journal. This is the place where I can open up and flow freely as myself in self-exploration. It's something on the order of the psychotherapist's couch where I look for perspective. I don't concern myself with opening up publicly. It's not "the public" seeing it. I feel like anyone reading any of these journal entries is my friend. It's easy to open up with friends. This journal is also an exercise that started as a discipline and became so much fun that the word discipline has no relevance. I associate discipline with marching, standing at attention, doing something I don't want to do under duress. I wanted to write every day, make myself write every day, even when I don't want to. I allow missing a day or two a week for recharging the battery. To do it every day without a break would be punishment. I don't believe discipline equals punishment. Earlier, I was thinking about skipping today and having a good sleep. I've learned that when I'd rather not write is when I write my best. I like writing in the midnight hour. It's midnight now. A good time to start. I like best writing while most of the people in my time zone are sleeping. It is this journal I go to for meditation. These writings read like I wrote them out in the time it would take to copy one. Each one is a meditation. I approach first sentence with empty mind, no idea of where I want to go, put down a first sentence and see what follows. Something happens. Right away I'm in a groove, one sentence follows another. I go with the wind like a butterfly to see where it takes me. I like flying through the interior landscape. Some of it I like to look at, some of it I don't. Both have equal value. Balance is what I look for, a Taoist balance. 

joel shapiro

The writing is first person subjective experience. I've come to believe the subjective is is where "truth" is to be found better than in the objective. I take objective for scientific method. It works good for documentaries. I'm not writing a documentary. I am limited to my own point of view. I have access to no other, but in reading or knowing somebody. I observe and interpret by way of my own point of view. I look at the variety of comments that come up on various political issues and it makes me glad I don't know any of those people. What I'm getting at is the radical difference of perspective from one to the next. The comments are so adamant they make me distrust my own opinions. I distrust them anyway. I don't recall ever being comfortable having opinions. Of course I have them, even when I don't call them opinions. It boils down to point of view, each of us having our own. I'm writing here as one person in one place in one time. A subjective historical document, a collection of letters. Gore Vidal gave good reason why we have no history. History is written from diaries, journals, autobiography and letters, all of which are self-serving, and newspaper articles we all know are not accurate. He points out for me that what we have for history is subjective. We have access to no other way of seeing, but by data. Then we make sense of the data subjectively. Reason introduces some objective, a good balance for the subjective. I like to weave reason into my subjective point of view for balance. I know I can never be right about anything. I'm in the world of illusion where what I think is going on aint it, whatever it is. I float along the best I can like staying upright in a kayak through white water and calm.

joel shapiro himself


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