An Inner Glow

 Posted by at 5:31 pm  Atelier, OVER and BEYOND  Comments Off
Nov 302009

What else has got 'smashed' in the last few years?

The Shiva-lingam at Amarnath is an ice stalagmite that forms in a cave at 3,500m in the north west Himalayas between the months of May and August each year. About 500,000 pilgrims make the 3 day treck each year hoping to catch a glimpse of the icy lingam and receive the blessing from Lord Shiva for their troubles.

However, in the last few years many of the the pilgrims have been missing out. Some say it is global warming, others that it is the body heat from all the pilgrims which is causing the Shiva-lingam to form for shorter and shorter periods each year, but nobody knows why for sure. See Saturday Guardian (28/11/09), Travel Section, for more on the Amarnathyatra.

However, nobody on the pilgrimage appears unduly worried, since, according to the smiling Sadhus on the route,the blessing from Lord Shiva is still assured, icy lingam in situ or not. 'It's a holy mystery' a pilgrim explains, which has to be about right, since Shiva is the Lord of Decreation as well as Creation.

Shiva the smasher.

On Wednesday I am making a different kind of journey to go to Becket's Endgame at the Duchess Theatre in London. Becket is a great smasher too, and in this play he resolutely smashes up everything in sight, the outside world is called 'zero', and those inside await their end with every delusional hope stripped away. Decreation…

… and the gift of space. It's a holy mystery.


A Sleepy Start

 Posted by at 11:09 am  Atelier  Comments Off
Nov 262009

A sleepy start to this morning after a night of deep sleep only interrupted by two or three brief risings to consciousness; a splatter of rain, dream murmurs. Even the alarm only woke me for seconds, enough time to turn it off, before I submerged once more, slipping back into sleep and dreaming of riding a motorbike on a circuitous journey of a version of South London; a place I should know but got lost in; a labyrinth. And who was the woman riding pillion?


The mortorbike was a small ride to work model which reminds me of the 150 MZ I bought after college for getting round (yes, South London). My work was freelance and in various parts of South and Central London. A time for me when the world seemed full of open doors; yes, yes, do come in.


Today feels like a day off, what I could call a Christmas Day feeling; as though I've woken up and been given the present of a day off, a glimpse (promise?) of freedom.


Worlds open, worlds close. In those days of the early/mid seventies when I was commuting on the East German motorcycle (presumably no longer in existence) my personal trajectory into psychotherapy and group work was aligned with the zeitgeist wave towards greater individualism (not only kings and toffs!) coupled to the market brought a diminishing of the collective, the unions, and what became Old Labour.


The effort of psychotherapy was the freeing of the individual from whatever might be holding her/him back. Women in particular were able to make good use of it as feminism charged the batteries and gave us a new way of seeing gender.


The way was opening for Mrs Thatcher to enter the stage with market led, low tax, down grading of the public sphere, small government. We were all going to become small business persons and those who wanted to stand in the way – the old industries, the unions. socialists of all persuasions, were smashed.

A sentence

 Posted by at 8:47 pm  Atelier  Comments Off
Nov 252009

A sentence flicks out, flows along, staggers, rushes; a line, a snake, a rope, open arms; to catch, to snare, to embrace; an image, a meaning, a form, a moment. And you.

Another little epiphany you’ve got me into

 Posted by at 2:59 pm  Atelier  Comments Off
Nov 212009

I didn't quite jump up and shout, yeah! when I read the following paragraph, but I could (and perhaps should) have done, especially if I had been on a crowded train: Heidegger from Basic Writings (page 262), "Thus thinking is a deed. But a deed that also surpasses praxis. Thinking towers above action and production, not through the grandeur of its achievement and not as a consequence of its effect, but through the humbleness of its inconsequential accomplishment. For thinking in its saying merely brings the unspoken word of Being to language."


In the rush of excitement at reading this I had associations with the paradoxical figure of Christ; the humiliated king, the shamed saviour. The apparent inconsequential accomplishment, bringing to light the utter strangeness of human being. And what about the humbleness of breath, the humbleness of simple awareness.


It's so good to find some thought which stands bold and clear and is a counter to the always prevailing orthodoxy of fame and fortune, over-reaching achievement.

Nov 082009

Ooorrrr, Location, Location, Location; Tell us, Oh 'city vagabonds', The time here is always now, but, tell us, Tell us do, what city is that then.

We (ak and mmj) vagabonds have never spelled out a city, one city, this one or that one before all others, ça, the one city to which we both belong. If you explore 'About' us here, you will find a picture of us standing in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul which we visited in 2005, Is that the one, No, we travelled there, stayed a week, and then we travelled on.

Then, in 2008/2009 ak went to Rome and spent the best part of a year there, while mmj was regularly in London over the same period doing his medical studies in Palliative Care, Are they the ones, Rome and/or London, No again. In between times, there have been other great cities in which we have walked, mmj in Berlin and Madurai for instance, and especially in London where for ak, if you go back a few years the city was home, but these days he lives out west on the edge of Dartmoor.

And there are great cities we are on our way to, I am heading for Buenos Aires for sure during the times I am singing tango, but it is not like 'Tango In Her Eyes', Joli, who has been offering a "Survival Guide to Buenos Aires and Other Random Thoughts" these last four years while she has actually been living in that great city.

Still, imminent and emergent, all of these cities as well as many other great cities not so far mentioned, are the ones which, one way or another, we are travelling to or from, or strolling in, walking, talking about, and writing:

- IN Conversation




It occurs to me, for the purposes of 'Field Note' accuracy and definition here, it might be very helpful to our readers, and the links it might help to create between us, if we name the city we are in when we write (or nearly so, or once were, or on our way to, or intend to be again):

This weekend I was in Barcelona, thanks to Dorchester Tango walkingtalking… , dancing a little, but mostly listening to los exilos, Sandra Rehder and elrevere.


Flushing out

 Posted by at 11:45 am  IN Conversation  Comments Off
Nov 072009

Aaand – Maxim, what about him.

Maxim heads off for two nearly back-to-back (creative) writing weeks on Monday. His fantasy had been that, having stepped off the Pall Care academic merry-go-round in September, with 'all that freedom' in the last two months he would have 20,000 words of his best seller book under his belt by now, and be up and roaring and ready to go for the next 20,000. The reality was he slipped into abjection [ref: J Kristeva. Powers of Horror, An essay in abjection, tr L Roudiez. 1982, Columbia U Press... essential reading,
 absolutely essential] having lost the ability to write one word. One thing was the need to stroll [ref: W Benjamin, tr H Eiland, K McLaughlin. Das Passagenwerk (the arcades project). 2002, Harvard U P - (almost at random) P555: ' Baudelaire in his review of Madame Bovary: "Realism-a repulsive insult flung in the face of every analytic writer, a vague and elastic word which for the ordinary man signifies not a new means of creation, but a minute description of trivial details." Baudelaire, L'Art Romantique, p413], another thing was a deep longing to hear the voices of other languages in his ears [ref: The Dialogic Imagination, four essays by M M Bakhtin, ed M Holquist, tr C Emerson, M Holquist. 1981, U of Texas P] and other reading (currently Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano, bueno, bueno, bueno).

In other words… grace for our needs, grace for our needs, while, my beloved began her fourth year of pschoanalytic training in London, ak was finding his feet again in the Dartmoor wilderness , and I began learning another tango song which I am due to perform (scary but so good) in two weeks, Chiquilin de Bachin (listen to the Roberto Goyeneche version
on U Tube, bueno, bueno, bueno) … grace for our needs, the gift of

Here is the working title for my book, Life Before. Life before death you might imagine it means, and I did and for quite some time, in a 'depressed dissident' sort of state of mind thinking of all the things I had learned about this year that need to change about End of Life care and so on, We know them all, don’t we, We do, We do. Then I recently began to see the meaning as being life before birth, an umbilical or ur-meaning, or both meanings in fact but, muchas importantes, in that order, decreation
before creation. So Life Before… it is, Es, ça, sa, one way or another, the
mix of friendship and aloneness, flushing out our conversations into the light of day.



Part of the work . . .

 Posted by at 5:00 pm  Atelier  Comments Off
Nov 052009

How easy it can be to pick up a book, to respond to the demand of read-me, except, of course, there are there are many which are not easy. They demand work and I have to work hard at them, and they can be not easy in as many ways as there are books to be read. Let's not mention the vast numbers of books piling up, calling to me to jump in, read me, such riches await you.

Currently there are half a dozen with varied bits of paper acting as bookmarks with which I am engaged:

Roberto Bolano 2666
Rainer Maria Rilke Duino Elegies
Gaston Bachelard The Poetics of Space
Slavoj Zizek How to Read Lacan
Jorie Graham Sea Change
Martin Heidegger Basic Writings

Ummm, one novel, two poetry, two philosophy, and Zizek . . . the overlap between psychoanalytic and philosophy, perhaps – but actually Bachelard operates in the same overlap though very differently.
Intelligence rests on the making of connections, capacity as to memory, capacity as to absorbtion, speed, a certain openness, an absence of sleepiness, recognition of shape, the organisation of data and brightness. Brightness is a beautiful quality.
In the yoga class this morning there was the intense concentration of moving into and out of the breath. The breath being the initiator, the guiding spirit (prana) of the movement. The mind ever present (some hope!) as awareness.
Yesterday in the art class playing (working hard) with space, shape and colour. How to make connections which look right and make sense.