The Deep End

I am not feeling very loquacious today, but I have spent a lot of internal time mulling over the importance our society places on appearances often to the detriment of actuality. We always strive to maintain that public mask of financial wealth, physical health & beauty, and high libidity, especially when we feel these is not the case. Often when the maintenance of this social mask becomes impossible we are driven to extreme acts which we would never consider otherwise: acts to distract, acts to desperately maintain, acts to end the pain of maintaining. The thing about obsessing over the appearance of things is we rarely have time to enjoy what actually is, in fact often we are so caught up in the web of what we wish it was, think it should be, or think we deserve that we no longer have a clue as to how things actually are. I am not immune to this constant push and pull, but I have grown increasingly tired of missing my life for the illusion of a life dictated by what others think and feel is important. It is the difference between swimming in the shallow end of my neighbor’s pool instead of the deep end of my own ocean.

Eric in a Word: grok

Book of the Day: Nonzero- Robert Wright

Song of the Day: Skellig- Loreena McKennitt

Sketch Medium: graphite on paper (actual size 5.6" x 4.9")


Requisite Holiday Blog- Rebirth and Renewal

First, I apologize for the excessive length of this entry, but I beg you to bear with me and read through.

I feel the need to put my 2-cents in about the holidays- seems like every other blogger in the US is. I personally don’t like the way we, in the US, deal with this holiday season. I view through the lens of ritualistic activity and feel that in an effort to be inclusive, to pander to our consumer driven ways, and simplify we have diluted the meaning out of this season full of so many great rituals- we’ve got Hanukkah, the winter solstice, Christmas, Kwansaa, New Years, and sometimes even Ramadan.

All of these rituals have a very similar objective (by objectives I mean how participants are affected by these events, how they are different on the other side of the ritual than before, etc…): renewal and rebirth. This includes renewing one’s bonds with family and community, renewing your spiritual relationship, renewing oneself and the world. In each tradition this is done through specific mechanisms- fasting, lighting of symbolic candles, gift giving, noise to frighten evil spirits and welcome the reborn year, etc…. In the US, we have developed the season into a more inclusive entity in the only way we seem to know how- we have secularized it. And our most powerful tool for secularization is through the highlighting of consumer compliant aspects of the experience- we have separated, or emphasized the giving of gifts (in memory of the Christmas story, in honor of the rebirth of the world, to reinforce community bonds) to such an extent that it has become the dominant trait of this time of year.

Now, before I get nailed with comments, I don’t mean to say that people cannot or do not have powerful ritual experiences during this time of year. Nor that people do not emerge feeling reborn, reattached to themselves and their community. I just want to point out, or more directly ask that we all dig a little deeper than presents during this special time when we have been given the space to do so- renew your community and family bonds through more than just cards or gifts, allow yourself to be reborn, say thank you to your friends and family and tell them you love them. With this in mind, I’ll take the first step:

Laura (my wife): You are incredible, I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you (fewer cats maybe, but not without you). Thank you so much for loving me and sticking with me through all the travails and tough times over the last few years.

Mom & Dad: Couldn’t have made it where I am without you. You and your relationship has served as a high standard that I am constantly struggling to uphold. Love you both.

Ken (my brother): You are a butthead, but I love you. You don’t give yourself enough credit, but someday you are going to actually see how smart, capable, and cool you are. By the way ladies, he is still single….

Grandma: There is no way you are going to read this, I know for a fact you don’t have time for this foolishness and I respect that. Either way, for everyone else out there, I love my grandma and respect her immensely.

Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, etc…: There are too many of you to list here, and I am sorry for that, but I love you all. If you want more details feel free to call me or email and I’ll tell you in detail.

Friends: I have been blessed with a lot of great friends. Again too many to list, but I want to give a quick “shout-out” to my closest 8 (by city so as not to embarrass anyone):

Arlington- you sir are a fucking goofball. You are the soul of being comfortable with one’s uniqueness and thriving in it. Thanks for being my friend, we love you down here in SoMD.

DC- you are my newest friend. That being said our thought patterns are soon in tune it is hard to imagine when you were not my friend. You are indeed a sister to me, thank you.

Monterey- You guys are hard core and it looks like you are raising a hard core kid. Laura and I both know you are going to make great parents, because everything you do is just like that. We miss you here, but know we always think of you.

Philadelphia- you guys are family to me. Although we only get to see each other once or twice a year, they are always some of my best memories when year end rolls around. Thanks for staying friends despite everything. Hopefully we can see you both soon, cause we love ya.

New Haven- Hey you big lug. I’d give you a hug everyday if I could, despite the resulting feeling of violation and unseemliness. You probably don’t know how much you mean to me, but I’d take a bullet, or a pair of sneakers, for you without hesitation. Love ya man.

New York- What can I say? Buffalo lives! You were my best man and still are. We don’t see or talk to each other enough, but that is probably in the best interests of the universe- repairing space-time tears is a bitch. Laura and I both love you and your lovely wife.

For the rest of you out there who didn't make the top 8, don't worry I love you all to.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Eric in a Word:skimble-skamble

Book of the Day:Artillery Through the Ages- Abert Manucy

Song of the Day:Missing Otha Turner a bit today so here's his successor: Sharde Thomas

Sketch Medium: graphite and ink on paper (actual size 2.25" x 1.5")


Musical Languages

Well today I had two trains of thought going through my brain, one emotional and one more intellectual. So I have chosen to tackle the more intellectual this morning as I am just not up to writing about the other on a Monday.

This weekend, I began building a musical instrument for myself. Now this sounds much more impressive than it actually is, as I was constructing a diddley bow. For those who don’t know, a diddley bow is basically two screws, a metal wire, a plank of wood, a glass jar and a wood block. You play it with a bottle neck while plucking the wire. Anyway, while making the diddley bow I began thinking about music history and the general loss of traditional forms/ of musical language. Before I begin, forgive me if I use inappropriate terms, I am definitely no expert in this, merely a casual observer.

We have lost a lot of these languages mainly due to the dominance of the European developed variation forms (think particularly classical music – Bach, Handel, etc…). This particular means of composing/ playing allows a wide range of key changes and harmony combinations absent from earlier forms of music. It has actually become so dominant that many folk music styles have been subsumed or irrevocably changed by it- Romani music for instance was mutated dramatically by the introduction of the accordion, so much so it is hard to conceive of it without it. The only system that seems to retain some of the “purity” of its ancestry is traditional Chinese and Japanese music which operates on an entirely different system from more Western musics- more in line with Greek music of Pythagoras -based off natural sounds, i.e. individual notes/ keys set in square root of 2 proportions- than anything now prevalent in Europe.

Anyway, our auditory landscape has been simultaneously enriched by this historic trend as well as limited. We are able to pull off my complexity and harmonics, but at the same time we tend to not “hear” the atonal, alternative forms of music as music. I have become increasingly fascinated lately with the making of music with a limited sound palate- like the diddley bow and other instruments (ektara, musical saw, shakuhachi, etc…) provide. There is a purity there that sometimes is missing from more complex instruments.

Eric in a Word: attercop
Book of the Day: Heidegger- Jonathan Ree
Song of the Day:Please Don't Forget Me- Witchcraft
Sketch Medium: graphite on paper (actual size: 5.5" x 4.5")


Aesthetics on my mind

In my opinion, all human work is founded upon philosophical (or religious) principles. Without, nothing can be accomplished, nothing created. We would be tether less and nobody would know what to make or what to do – all that would be created or done would be empty of meaning. Without basic principles of aesthetics we could not determine what is beautiful and what is not. Without an understanding of categories we cannot transcend the categories.

To an artist the subject and materials inform each other; tools and material inform the idea and shape the realized form, the idea helps choose the materials and tools. Yet underneath is this principle of the aesthetic, that of the artist informed by the culture in which they live and shaped by their experiences in their environment. But this begs the question of whether aesthetic properties are subjective, objective, etc….

Although the study of aesthetics goes back to at least ancient Greece, I don’t have the energy or time to start there, so I’m going to start with Kant. Kant’s theory of “pure beauty” laid out four primary characteristics: objectivity, spectator disinterest, freedom from concepts (purpose), the mandatory nature of its beauty. When no definite purpose, or concept, is involved- like in the random interplay of fall leaves- our cognitive powers are freed from restraint and it is when this interplay is harmonious that there is an experience of pure beauty.

There is a lot to be said for Kant’s ideas. To take it to the most basic of human interaction with beauty, sexual arousal, there have been many objective studies about how we perceive beauty in our fellow humans. Studies in the 19th century by a psychologist named Wilhelm Wundt showed that arousal follows a distinct bell curve based on the complexity of the stimulus involved. Too simple and we get bored, too complex and we get confused, but right in the center that is where beauty tends to lie. Also, we now know that facial beauty across cultures can usually be boiled down to two areas, uniqueness and symmetry.

Hume wrote about beauty not being so much a matter of something being good of its kind and so involving perfection of a concept but rather something having “good making” or “bad making” qualities. In this way, a work of art of art could be praised for having a good quality, like clarity of light, but this could be outbalanced by other qualities that would out balance it, creating a work that was overall not beautiful despite its one good quality.

More recently, Professor Joseph Margolis at Temple (check out What, After All is a Work of Art?) talked about “aptness,” “partiality,” and “non-cognitivism” characterizing art appreciation, rather than “truth,” “universality,” and “knowledge.” For him, works of art are “culturally emergent entities” and thus not directly available via the senses alone. On the other hand, Arnold Hauser prefers a non-relativistic point of view and even went so far as to provide a ranking of “taste”. So-called “high art” would outrank “low art” because of the greater creativity of its formal structure and the weight of its content. Another more modern view point is that of Robert Taylor, who set forth the idea of a level point of view based off the level of the viewer. In other words, Thomas Kinkaide and Michelangelo have equal value for their respective audiences.

Once again, I have gone off the deep end in my philosophical ramblings. In the end, I find it difficult to separate my own subjective sense of beauty from that of my own cultural milieu, whether it is in opposition to what is there or acceptance. I fill in my own gaps in beauty through access to other cultures, other environments. I personally tend to lean towards a more post –modern interpretation of beauty as resulting as much from context- viewer, space, moment in time, etc…. I think this may unnecessarily complexify (yeah, I made that up) the conversation, but then again, I have never been one for definitive answers….

Eric in a Word:apricate

Book of the Day: Egon Schiele- Jeanette Zwingenberger

Song of the Day: Ubuhle bakho- Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Sketch Medium: red chalk & vine charcoal on page from Abigail Adams biography (actual size: 6" x 9")


Fear and the Art of Truth

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear today. Fear of embarrassment, fear of pain, fear of saying what you really mean, fear of death. We tend to let fear rule our actions and interactions with others. Most of the time this boils down to protecting oneself from pain (of rejection, etc…), or protecting others from pain. I don’t really have a point here, other than fear often only begets more fear, which in the long run is infinitely more painful than any discomfort that a shared truth can cause.

Related to this is the expression of truth in an effort to alleviate your own pain and feelings of guilt. Often this is just more beneficial to the expresser rather than the receiver. It is a transfer of pain, not a tackling of fear and a shared truth. I think the key to wisdom and a shared trust in relationships is being able to identify the differences and communicate openly about the truths that can be shared without merely transferring pain or fear. This is when you raise truth-telling from the expression of truth to the sharing of trust- from selfish interaction to true relationship.

Eric in a Word: portolan

Book of the Day: The Elegant Universe- Brian Greene (cont...)

Song of the Day: Prayer of Death- Entrance

Sketch Medium: ink on french dictionary page (actual size 5.25" x 4")


An Incident of Birth

I was originally going to write my blog today on manual deformation modeling and the geodetic measuring, since I have been indulging in a bit of extracurricular reading in Volcano Cowboys and found some interesting correlations between the reliance on field observation in volcanology and the skills needed by visual artists, particularly those who do installation work. However, in honor of my rebirth in a new job here at the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, I have decided to grace you with the true story of my birth (some of you may know it already):

Picture this, November 28, 1974 at 9am in Southern Virginia – Thanksgiving Day. Two men, scraggly and tired drive up a country road in a Maroon Buick Apollo, weaving slightly at 75 MPH, tires screeching around corners as they go hunting for wild turkey. They slam on the breaks outside of the country liquor store, a sign bringing them up short, “CLOSED”- Thanksgiving morning, no wild turkey to warm their bones with liquid fire.

Exasperation is evident on the passenger’s face, anger on the driver. He guns the engine, preparing to peel away from the blasphemy of a closed liquor store. Simultaneously, 20 feet behind the car, a giant bird - 5’ tall, black and gray striped, delicate red ring around her eyes- emerges from the forest: a real Wild Turkey!

The engine gunned, the tires squealed, the bird screamed leaning forward in its heightened panic. And from behind, with a pop like a cork from a bottle of shaken champagne, an egg flies forth at incredible speed. The air sizzles around it as friction tears apart air molecules and the fabric of space/time itself. In silence, the egg disappears.

November 17, mid afternoon, a pretty young woman and her husband sit upon a porch swing speaking quietly of the future and kids. All of a sudden there is a loud sound, as if the hands of a thousand gods clapped all at once. And from the other end of the porch, an egg- the color of Betelgeuse- appears, bounces once on the end of the porch, cracks, bounces again and separates into two large halves. Emerging from the shell, a small baby boy, who rolls once, hits the welcome mat, flips up and unto the lap of the woman, my mother.

Eric in a Word: tripudiate
Book of the Day: The Elegant Universe- Brian Greene
Song of the Day: Birds of Fire- Mahavishnu Orchestra
Sketch medium: graphite on paper (actual size 2" x 4.5")


Farewell But Not Goodbye

Today is my last day at the Nonprofit Roundtable and I find myself reflecting on the nature of transitions. I have grown to think of those I have been working with over the last two years as my work family and this transition to a new position at an organization that has only tenuous relations with those I have been working with has proved more emotional than I anticipated. In my more intellectual facet, the place to which I retreat when faced with situations like this, I have been reminded of my studies in ritual.

In a few hours, I will be participating in the time honored ritual of job transition- the going away party. I will be inundated with well-wishers and congratulations. My role in this ritual is to accept these compliments with grace and sincerity. We will all make promises to keep in touch and mean them with all our hearts, while also knowing that inevitably most of us will drift apart as our lives move in their respective directions. But that my friends, that is not what the ritual is about. The ritual is about expressing joy and sorry, about reinsuring ourselves that change is good and that things will continue to the benefit of all parties. It is about cushioning the blow of change. It is about reinforcing relationships against change in a hope to maintain against the centripetal force of divergence.

I sincerely hope to maintain all the friends I have made over the last two years, but know the glass is always full- ½ with present friends and ½ with those who absence is framed by the container of my memories.
Eric in a Word: Natiform
Book of the Day: Only Companion: Japanese Poems of Love and Longing - Sam Hamill (trans)
Song of the Day: Whorehoppin Shit Goddamn I'm a Man- Eagles of Death Metal
Sketch Medium: Computer generated drawing


A Vacation for a Day

I have been flexing my intellect a bit on this blog lately, but today I have no more intelligence to give. Instead, I shall let my images speak for themselves and finish packing up my desk here at the Roundtable as I prepare for my new job next week.

Eric in a Word: umquhile

Book of the Day:Being and Time - Martin Heidegger

Song of the Day:Pali Gap- Jimi Hendrix

Sketch medium: top- graphite on paper (actual size 6"x3")/ bottom- office pen, green, yellow, & pink highlighter (actual size 1" x 0.6")



A former professor (not related to the one below), now friend and brother in Red Sox Nation, brought up someone I had not thought of in at least five years - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

What I found most interesting about this random interaction was its alignment with my own thoughts today. I have spent this morning mulling over the idea of the internet as a sort of collective consciousness, a developing hive mind. Chardin, as well as a Russian dude named Vernadsky, helped develop the idea of a “noosphere” , kind of like an atmosphere made up of reflective human thought. In opposition to the Herbert Spencer survival of the fittest clan, and the descartes crew of mind/body splits, Chardin posited this idea of the Law of Complexity and Consciousness where matter has a natural drive to arrange itself in increasingly complex structures towards increasingly higher levels of consciousness. Humans dwell in the noosphere where matter has reached the state of complexity where consciousness turns back on itself. To put it another way, it is like evolution on a universal level, the noosphere is that point where Earth has reached a interlinked system of consciousness and information, self awareness and instantaneous interaction.

What struck me was how this idea really illustrates my own thoughts on the development of the internet. As more and more people world wide gain access, and as more and more information is uploaded, and as speed increases, we are quickly gathering a reference repository of much that it means to be human. More and more we Google things, or check out the Wiktionary, or communicate via IM as our sources of interaction and information gathering. We are using the internet more and more as a collective brain, and more and more it is beginning to resemble the collective glories and faults of collective human knowledge….

Perhaps the mice are close to getting their question after all.

Eric in a Word: Ataraxy
Book of the Day: is a magazine- Art in America (International Review)
Song of the Day: Hound Dog- Big Mama Thornton featuring Buddy Guy
Sketch medium: graphite on paper (actual size 2" x1.5")


Embodied Values

I began my “deathbed” conversations with someone who I have only recently met, but have developed a deep friendship with over that short period of time. When trying to shed the layers of socio-cultural baggage that prevents us from being totally open and honest with one another, I found that I was unable to do so (not that strange) in a very interesting way. I was physically unable to say certain things, my body would literally begin to shake and my faculty for speech deserted me until I rephrased the statement. The most unusual thing was that this occurred only on a semi-conscious level, almost instantaneous to the activity. It wasn’t until later, when a feeling of incompleteness came over me as I was reflecting on the interaction, did I realize what had happened and what I was trying to actual express. This has really got me thinking on a line of inquiry I haven’t tackled in a while, at least not systematically – the embodiment of cultural values.

A person’s internal motivations and understanding are reflection of both external values and socio-cultural ideas of what can and cannot be experienced. What we know is a process of reconciliation of our sensory experience of our environment – the initial input- and the process of interpretation by our conscious and unconscious mind. American culture is rooted in a dualistic philosophy of separation between the rational mind and the feeling body, the validity of a person’s unique experience is a socio-cultural construction of the physical body and the feelings associated with it supposedly expressed by the rational mind.

Our biological and experiential participation in social and cultural environments plays an active and intentional role of promoting the particular views of society and social relationships. Our American bodies reinforce the dichotomies that have historically defined existence – mind and body, individual and society, culture and biology. Within this definition of the body senses are taken as unique and individual experience of concrete external objects.
Through both passive and active engagement of the world, our senses are modified by experience, and a history of what is “really real” is internalized to align with our defined bodily relationship to conceptual reality. Since the senses interpret how these external realities are understood, the power structure of society are tied to morally permissible sensory experiences –perceptions both shape and define our reality.

The way in which knowledge about objects is obtained and processed is an internal understanding of what is and is not a culturally defined form of truth. Our visceral experience of recognition and interpretation is based on culturally defined assumptions of what is and is not significant. Our culture prioritizes certain bodily senses (visual and hearing) in the normal activity of everyday life and our bodies are thus conceived as regulated with respect to the external. Our bodies become agents of communication that perpetuate acceptable behaviors, are transformed by external influence and are also transforming authorities.

During the European Enlightenment, there was a prevailing pre-occupation with defining the rational, higher mind and the body’s animal nature (thanks Descartes). This dualistic divison was a direct expression of the social value placed upon rationality versus the body’s senses and emotive responses to them. Expressions of personal power and control revolved around a person’s ability to project a cultured persona in opposition to a savage persona. It was predominantly the moral values of religion, the more conservative Protestant ones in North America, that defined the first interactions with the non-Judeo-Christian body, and thus helped define a concept of the non-cultured “other”.

These Judeo-Christian, and particularly Protestant, interpretations of the body include notions of blackness and underprivileged as signs of divine disfavor. Their perceived inferiority coupled with a physical - and correspondingly, cultural – differences to the socio- cultural elite justified their position of slavery and indentured servitude. This manner of thought generated a political philosophy of moralizing and fetishizing those that were non-European. The same basic structuring mechanisms also applied to the divisions between man and woman, although this has a longer historical footprint (thank you Eve, or at least the male promulgators of Eve’s supposed role). We still deal with this baggage, and all the underlying ramifications of danger and attraction, in all our “interracial” and “gender” interactions.

I guess my main point in this long diatribe is that how we understand each other is a reflection our cultural interpretative tools set and sensory inputs. In America, we find the language and the categories of expression contained in religion, medicine, science, law, media, as well as other political and social groups who exert intense control over our minds and bodies in order to produce and maintain a cohesive social order. To recognize and then self select from these influences in a conscious manner is highly difficult and often impossible task. But then again, you never know what you’ll find unless you look.
Eric in a Word: Oxter

Song of the Day: Moanin' - Charles Mingus


Ars Moriendi

This is a special week for me, in more than one way. It is not only my last week at my current job (The Nonprofit Roundtable) it is also the first full week after Pearl Harbor Day. What does that mean? Well, for the last few years, I have used this week as a sort of memorial to my grandfather (Frank Giles) who fought in the Pacific theater during World War II. He died when I was quite young, but I remember a lot about our interactions, especially with trains (he was a train engineer) and his crazy stories (he had me completely convinced that there was a helicopter in their basement).

The way I have chosen to remember him is to take a week and meditate on my own mortality, my own transience in this physical realm. At first glance, this may sound morbid, but it is really more about acknowledging my own impermanence and enjoying every moment. I try and keep the idea that each breath is my last, each moment is the last I will see, each thought the last I will think…the process brings a vividness to each second and an attention to each detail that can be astounding.

The second part of this exercise is more public. In the spirit of contemplating my own existence, I have small “deathbed conversations” with select people over the week (7 people I have chosen beforehand). I choose one person a day and ask them if they would be willing to have a very brief, very intense conversation. A conversation where we strip away all of the external trappings (the shouldn’t say, couldn’t say) and speak openly and honestly about things. It is a closed conversation and one that is often kept secret afterwards. It is a “if this is the last thing I ever say, the last time I will ever see you” interactions. They are very intense. In fact, it is rare that all 7 people I have chosen agree to participate. More often than not, I have 1 or 2 conversations a year.

It is with this in mind, this transition, this shedding of baggage, this rebirth, that I enter this week.

Eric in a Word: Storiated

Book of the Day: Emotion, Depth, and Flesh- Sue L. Cataldi

Song of the Day: Ars Moriendi- Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson


Letter of Transishun...


The Weather has grown Colder, yet the sun is high tho the shortness of days. I will inform you with Pleasure that I am Well at the Present & I hope that When this Reaches you that it may find you Well I Rec'd your letter of Feb. the 8th on the 2nd day of this month & I Have Delayed Answering it untill Which I Hope you will Excuse me for & I will Promise to do better in the future. I was verry glad to Hear from you & that you was Well.. We are Generaly Well I Believe at the Present I will Inform you that I leave on the 15th ofDec. & we Have Bin on the Boat Ever since. We was 6 days comeing miles through the a busy timefull ofTransishun, one of the Crookedest & narrest Channels that a Steam Boat Ever went Before But we Have got through with about most all together. We Have Some Work with us & we are now Penetrating into the verry Heart of it Since we Started we Have taken over one Hundred thousand Dollars worth of what Steps that we needed We Have See no Armed Rebels yet But we are Exspecting to be Fired at Every day By Media I know not where we are going for certain But think that we will Fight our way thru I Exspect that we will Have our Next fight after 15. Below the mouth of the River I Exspect Ere this Reaches you to be in a fight--But that you know is what we all come to nonprofits for We Have got to fight Before we Can come Home

We can not Exspect to help with out Fighting & I am in favor of Doing the Fighting as soon as Possible & then those of us that are Spared can Return to there Honnest Friends. Will is getting Pretty Stout again But I am told that comeing with this new Expedition might sadden me but concluded to stay though I Exspect that Period of Saddness to pass as Time.
If you see my Friends Please tell them where I am & that I know not How soon that I will see them Agin. I may not untill I see the End of our Transishun though tell them I will If Necessary at any time tell them that I await new Contact infomation. I Believe that I have written all of any Importance at the Present--I can't say how Soon they will Know

Please write Soon My love & Respects to all & Reserve a share for your self Please Excuse my Bad writting for I have little time.

Direct as before Verry Respectfully yours in Friend Ship love & truth

Eric in a Word: Humicubation

Book of the Day: The Body in the Text- Anne Cranny-Francis

Song of the Day: The Wind - Cat Stevens


Dec 4: Voices in My Head

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I think lately. So far I have determined that I have at five distinct thoughts, or thought patterns, simultaneously happening at all times. These are not “voices” per se, but rather distinct yet interactive ideas or streams of consciousness. To be honest, this balancing act can be a bit jarring – especially when there are two or more contradictory and emphatic thoughts at the same time. In an effort to better describe and understand my own thought processes, I’ve started naming the patterns. They are, in order of usual proximity to the external world:

1) The Actor – the Actor is the external voice, the one I project to the outside world. It is simultaneously the mask and the stage. Rather than being distinct in and of itself it is more often than not the combination of one or more of the other voices and the surrounding environment.

2) The Idea Guy- the Idea guy is where I spend a good chunk of my time. It is a constant torrent of possibilities, diverse interconnections and ideas. This pattern at first appears to be a relatively logical chain of thoughts, but is more like a maze that leads to dead ends and absurdities. The Idea Guy works with The Poet constantly and is the main well from which the Actor draws:
“We ritualize all our spaces, creating stages upon which we act. We where the appropriate mask for the stage we attempt to set-up, but we want to be the directors at the same time, trying to use our masks and role to influence the masks and roles of those who enter our consecrated space. The thing is that everyone is doing this and the spaces interact. We’re waiting for Godot, but when he shows up he’s not who we expected. He’s Hamlet in Singing in the rain, he’s Tartuffe confessing his sins to facilitate future ones…”

3) The Professor- this is the voice I attacked yesterday. The critic, the know-it-all, the self-limiting voice of fear and unnecessary limitations. It is the choke chain for my behaviors and thoughts. This pattern doesn’t play well with others and is constantly undermining:
“You really shouldn’t be putting this in writing. People will think you’re nuts. Why would you share this anyway? What would your mother think? You are such an idiot. You’re embarrassing yourself and everyone else as well….”

4) The Poet – the Poet is my favorite voice and the place I like to spend my time. It is hard to put the thoughts of the Poet in words. They are impressions, expressions, metaphors, and raw emotion. The Poet is by far the most powerful of my thought patterns but unfocused and flighty – often as much a distraction to human interaction as help, but the core of all my artistic and creative work. The Poet only interacts with the Idea Guy regularly, but has the power and occasional want to overpower everything else:
“Wow! Feel the way the light just hit the fold in her shirt, like caressing a satin mountain, miniscule landscape body informed heated by human core. Whoa – feel that smell like gold and black on butter….”

5) The Analyst- the Analyst is always on. It is the dispassionate observer. The Analyst never interacts with the Actor directly. In fact the Analyst rarely interacts directly with any of the other voices, but rather asks questions of the actions and thoughts of the others:
“Why did you think that? Where did that come from? What can we learn from that? “

* The Anarchist - the anarchist is the force of chaos who makes frequent and random cameos into the mix above. There is no way to explain the Anarchist in words- it is beautifully subversive, yet decisively counterproductive and creative at the same time.
Eric in a Word: Unobtainium
Book of the Day:The Cheiko Poems - Takamura Kotaro
Song of the Day: Svefn-g-englar- Sigur Ros