Monday, January 21, 2008

The Taoist Year of One More Year

I write lots of fragmentary things.

 I make lists of books that I want to read. I write lists of songs that I like; lists that only make it to two or three songs. I have ideas that sound like they would make really good longer ones (like books or even just a poem) but then I only make it through a paragraph or so before I lose interest or somebody calls me for a pint of beer or a round of disc golf and that's that.

 This could be one of those fragments, too.

 What was it about, again? Oh yeah.

 What I want.

 I want a record player. Actually, I want a really cool and extensive record collection. I've gotta admit, though, that I don't have even one record. Or a record player. So let's start with that. A record player. And one record. A really good one.

 Like the White Album.

 I want a lot of tea cups. Really big ones.

 I want an apartment where I'm going to live for a while; let's say even a year. It's going to be in a City With Soul.

 Let's talk about that for a second.

 San Diego has a soul. Its' soul crashes with waves and smells clean and salty. It turns every normal street into a Palm Tree lined laughable sunset postcard. It makes people treat each other well, and laugh and ask complete strangers if the surf is good today. It smokes pot while the sun disappears into an ocean that most of the world wants to live near but only San Diegans do. It's an easy breezy sort of soul; not great for art or suffering but feeling gentle and meandering.

 I'm not sure it's the right soul for me now. At first glance it seemed like it was, as something gentle and meandering. I'm had a lot of turmoil over this last year, and it seemed like I needed to meander, but it's not quite there. While it meanders, I stew and mull and fret, so I don't think it's the right soul for me.

 San Francisco has a soul. It's wispy and melancholy but bleeds art and rusted out Jazz that's become hipster rock flooding former Mexican neighborhoods. It's an artistic ideal that's being forced out into other parts of the Bay by the same group of rich wannabies that raised the rent in New York's Village. Nobody's quite willing to leave the cold surround-sound fog and hilly streets and parking nightmares just yet, though, and work desperate hours and jobs so that they can talk late into the night in living rooms with fantastic round corners and windows that overlook other peoples living rooms and step outside for a cigarette wearing pea coats and skinny jeans and wonder why they work so hard just to be here but then they take a foggy breath filled with nighttime youth and they know.

 I think that's the soul for me.

 But not quite yet. Almost.

 My soul waits.

 More on that in a second, I forgot that I was making a list.

 Hmmmm…What was on it?

 Oh yeah. Things I want.

 A record player.

I want at least two large bookshelves filled with books, mainly pretentious ones. I'll have read around half of them. Gravity's Rainbow, The Stories of Ernest Hemmingway. The Great Gatsby, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.

 The other half will be ones that I'd love to read someday, and will probably work up the courage about twice a year. The Brothers Karamov, Ulysses, The Robert Fagels translation of the Iliad.

 And yes, there will be Harry Potter.

 There will be old versions of many of these books that I will pick up at fantastic used book stores. When it rains I will sit in an old, ugly, but comfortable lime couch and read these books. I will only play Jazz that I never really cared about before while I do this.

 I will drink tea. I will have a large tea collection, at least twenty to thirty teas. I will still drink coffee in the mornings, but anytime in the afternoon or evening it will be tea.

 I will write for one hour a day. It doesn't matter what, but I will write for one hour. I will probably drink tea while do this. I will ignore the wisdom of legions of previous writers and listen to music while I write. It will be Kind of Blue until I can't stand it anymore. It will briefly be LCD Soundsystems' 45:33. Eventually it will be Fela Kuti. This will inevitably produce a novel that will be discarded by potential critics as lacking a consistent voice.

 The following book I will probably write without music.

 I might have a cat (It depends on the cat).

 I want to take Spanish classes.

 I want to learn to play the guitar.

 I want to sing in a band.

 I want to play the drums.

 I want to continue my rampant travels, but I don't want them to be rampant anymore.

 I want to travel for a month or two, then come home to my couch and slump in it and be Glad to Be Home and take a shower and write a bit about my trip. To be on a trip perpetually is exciting but is hard on the Soul.

 This being said, I dedicate this year to be the Year of One More Year.

 More on this in a second.

 I've been reading about Taoism. There's a lot about Taoism that's sort of annoying and inapplicable, but there's a metaphor involved that happened to be just what I needed to hear right now.

 They talk a lot about Pegs. And Holes. Square Pegs and Round Holes and Round Pegs and Square well you get the idea.

 Anyways, a lot of times in life you might have a square peg. You really, really want it to fit into the round hole, but it just doesn't.

 It's realizing that you have to find a square hole for your square peg that makes somebody happy.

 Yeah, I have problems with Taoism. It seems to encourage a really, really lazy life; sort of a "just go with the flow" mentality that could make you avoid any decisions that require a lot of work (which are a lot of the good ones).

 But I think that I'm not going to find a crazy social scene, my rainy nook and lime green couch and cat and book and Miles Soundsystem, in this month, or the next one. I'd kind of like to find it NOW, but that's sort of a square hole.

 And all I've got is a round peg.

 I think it can be square this Fall, and that's when I'll do those things.

 For now, I'm going to recoup.

 This is the Year of One More Year.

 For now I'm going to go and hang out with my mom a bit and meditate and do some writing in

Nevada City. That's the round hole. I know that now. I'm also going to travel all over California, because I've realized that shit, I'm on vacation.

 I'm going back to Thrilling Adventures, probably in April, and probably first to Tuscany.

 I'll hop on a flight and ride my bike and wear more spandex and explore a few more countries. I'll stay in hostels and take long trips and scuba dive and run through beach towns and look somberly at snow capped mountains from the back of moving trucks. When Thrilling Adventures ends this Fall, I'm taking a break from my travels for a little bit.

 I've got a Green Couch waiting.