fallen leaf | zen, photography, & life in the... →
Daishin Stephenson reviewed A Trip to the Moon. For what I wrote about it a couple years ago, click here. daishinstephenson: A Trip to the Moon, Georges Méliès’s masterpiece. a bit of history. prior to turning his life over to film making, Méliès was a renowned stage magician. Méliès was inspired to make films after seeing Auguste and Louis Lumière’s invention, the Cinématographe, in...
Alice Walker on Assata Shakur: This Is What... →
fuckyeahmarxismleninism: I don’t know why, given where we are with dronefare, but I didn’t expect the man making the announcement about Assata Shakur being the first woman “terrorist” to appear on the FBI’s most wanted list to be black. That was a blow. I was reminded of the world of “trackers” we sometimes get glimpses of in history books and old movies on TV. In Australia the tracker...
(from Traffic and Murder) yes, life is suffering, and yet - the moon over the woods
Back in print: "Common Criminals" by Larry... →
“Larry Fondation’s second book reads like a collaboration between Elmore Leonard, Dennis Cooper and Eminem.” - Metro Times (Detroit) Larry Fondation writes about what he knows best, the inner city with a twist. Raised in Dorchester, MA, where street fights and criminal acts were common occurrences, Fondation studied at Harvard University where the disparity between his history...
The Lethality of Loneliness →
For the first time in history, we understand how isolation can ravage the body and brain. Now, what should we do about it? This research is of urgent importance, but it surprises me not at all. I’m certain that every fear - with the possible exception of the fear of physical pain - is really a fear of loneliness, and that companionship is essential medicine. I wrote more about it here.
Poem for Mother's Day
(from Traffic and Murder) I think I was three years old when my mother punched me in the face so hard I rolled across the floor and under a chair, and knocked the chair over. I don’t know if that was the first time she did it, or only the first time my memory held on to it. She hated me, always. She told me with her words, her fists and her feet. She was fat, had a mouth full of brown...
They were words that came out of nothing, but they seemed to him somehow...– Kawabata, The Sound of the Mountain
Poem: The Dead Outside My Window
The dead outside my window dance in the breeze. The web that enshrouds them catches the sunlight. The spider is small, thick and brown. I look at it from the other side of the glass, my own web, my kitchen, where a fresh kill roasts in the oven.
My essay "Noir: The Marxist Art Form" is in the... →
There are also stories by Tony Mason and Joe Clifford and an (online only) essay by Tom Piccirilli, who’s recovering from brain cancer. Go get it, and, better yet, subscribe. It’s one of the best magazines out there.
As Americans, we have this naïve assumption that people all over the world are...– 10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America http://bananenplanet.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/10-things-most-americans-dont-know-about-america/ (via curlycherie) There are two areas where the USA is way out in front of the rest of the world: war and prison. The technology of killing is the main...
A Story of Rape or Something Else
It was the summer of 2004. I was living in East Tennessee, in a house on the edge of woods, at a halfway point between a mental hospital and a sewage plant. Someone knocked on my door, and I knew it had to be trouble.[[MORE]] I wasn’t expecting anyone. It was after midnight, and I’m not a person you’d pay an unexpected visit to even during the day. And not many people knew where I lived. The...
Anonymous asked: I think you are extremely insensitive about the subject of Gabrielle Giffords. She is so much more than just a survivor of a bullet. She is dedicated, hard-working, and a fighter in every way. You do not know her.
Hard to develop the silence and humility necessary for creating good art if you...– Jim Harrison, the Dalva notebooks
nextg4mes asked: Hello ! I'm actually doing some work on John Cage, Zen, and D.T Suzuki but I can't find what were the teachings of D.T Suzuki actually. If you could help me maybe ? That'd be nice of you ! Thank you.
I think the problem is that many people in America think that racism is an...– Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) answering a question about racism, sexism, and capitalism. Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tug8RJyLoz0 (via disciplesofmalcolm)
Why parents should leave their kids alone →
What if the best thing we could do for our children is just to leave them alone? Jay Griffiths on why modern parenting is making our children miserable The reason I write so much about childhood in my novels and stories is that kids are one of the most oppressed groups, people who can openly be treated as objects, as possessions. This article by Jay Griffiths suggests something that will be...
WHO HAS YOUR BACK? →
criminalwisdom: Which companies protect your data from the government?
From the Statement of Responsibility of Andrew... →
Editor’s note: Andrew Auernheimer, also known by his pseudonym weev, is an American grey hat hacker and self-described Internet troll. Follow him on Twitter @rabite. In June of 2010 there was an AT&T webserver on the open Internet. There was an API on this server, a URL with a numbe.. “Ivy league educated and wealthy, Aaron [Swartz] dealt with his indictment so badly because he...
A Worker Reads History by Bertold Brecht
Who built the seven gates of Thebes? The books are filled with names of kings. Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone? And Babylon, so many times destroyed. Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses, That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it? In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome Is full of arcs of...
Anonymous asked: Have you read SEX AND THE SPIRITUAL TEACHER by Scott Edelstein, and if so what did you think about it?
Les Edgerton on Writing: A warrior has fallen. →
Novelist Les Edgerton wrote a beautiful, angry tribute to his friend the novelist and editor Cort McNeel, who has taken his own life. I was particularly saddened and outraged by this part: A week and a half ago, Cort called me and he was clearly not himself. Les, he said, I’ve got a huge, huge favor to ask of you and if you refuse, I totally understand. What was going on was he felt pretty sure...
I'm Keeping Tom Piccirilli's Seat Warm at The Big...
Novelist Tom Piccirilli is also a columnist for The Big Click magazine. He has had to take a break while he recovers from treatment for brain cancer (which he wrote about powerfully here), so I’m going to be filling in for him until he’s ready to return. I’m both honored to be invited to do this and hopeful that he’ll make me redundant soon. My first column, an essay on...
My Rules for Writing
As I finish another novel, I find myself thinking about the seven rules for writing (for my writing, that is) I came up with a few years ago: Never resort to the use of irony; if sincerity isn’t enough, be silent. Forget the self. Artists are boring; it’s the art that matters. If you just want attention, go out in the street and pull your pants down. Don’t write anything you...
Nick Hentoff: There Is No "Public Safety...
In an article yesterday about Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, C.N.N. had this quote from an anonymous Justice Department official: “The government has invoked the public safety exception, a designation that allows investigators to question the teen without reading him his Miranda rights and without a lawyer present.” This morning my friend Nick...
Francois Truffaut's 400 Blows: Too Painful to...
This past week, I’ve been reading a collection of interviews with Francois Truffaut. I have a strange relationship with his film The 400 Blows. I think it’s one of the most perfect films ever made, and an important record of how hopeless life can be for children - but I find it almost unbearable to watch, for exactly the reasons that I admire it. A friend once asked me if I would...
Towards a Fifth Foundation of Mindfulness: Dhamma... →
Foucault, Marx and Fanon are as essential to my understanding of compassion in action as any Buddhist scripture, so I’m glad to read this by Kenji Liu in Turning Wheel: As I would sit for long periods of meditation during silent retreats, I could sense the effects of capitalist discipline on my body. I recalled how my body and mind had been reluctantly trained to accept the nine to five...
No One Is Born, So No One Is Born Again
Author and Zen teacher Lin Jensen (whose books I recommend) recently posted an essay called “A Growing Circle of Heresy” challenging superstitious ideas of past lives. I wasn’t surprised by his note that no Buddhist publisher wanted it; the sad reality is that the Buddhist world (especially Zen) is as mired in orthodoxy, and as mean-spirited, as the worst of the...
In 1988, shortly before I began writing Of Darkness and Light, I read this from Kenneth Patchen: “Come now, my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we’d be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest?”
Five Easy Fixes: Guest Post by Larry Fondation
We don’t have an economic crisis. We have a political crisis. The poor are not the problem; gays are not the problem; immigrants are not the problem; rich people are the problem. We don’t have a spending problem; we have a revenue problem. We don’t have a social security problem; again, we have a revenue problem. The list goes on. So here are “five easy fixes” — were we either to...
Some Notes on Activism and Agitation
A friend who is becoming interested in social justice asked me for suggestions, from my own experience, of how to approach elected officials. I advised her to read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, and she told me she was already in the process of reading it. I wrote to her: Alinsky is a genius when it comes to organizing and activism. I only disagree with him on two points: I think he...
Bad, Or Good, Or This?
Robert Bresson wrote: “Laugh at a bad reputation. Fear a good one that you could not sustain.” I used to want a bad reputation… or a good one. The difference didn’t seem to matter. The first fictional character I ever identified with was Frankenstein’s Monster. Growing up, or trying to, in Maryhill, Glasgow, doing good or doing evil seemed equally valid to me, but...
Note to self re: the novel I'm finishing writing
Keep words to a minimum, story to a maximum. If the page is blank, there is no story; keep the page as close to being blank as possible, with only enough words to provide the story.
One of Many Reasons to Love Portland
Walking on a busy Portland street in the mid-evening, I pass a same-gender couple standing on the sidewalk, kissing. No one seems to notice this behavior that would certainly bring stares, probably jeers, and possibly violence in most other cities. Perhaps if I live here long enough I will stop noticing it too, but now it gives me a rush of happiness.
Remembering Glasgow's Garbage Mountains and Hordes...
In The Book of Man I wrote: The middens were infested with rats. They’d appeared in force during the months when the Cleansing Department went on strike and rubbish filled the back courts in stinking piles. When the strike was over and the rubbish was gone, the rats were still with us. They got so big that the tabloids began printing stories about “super-rats.” For once they weren’t...
Poem: Against Hypothermia (first published in...
I. Worst winter in quite a while: the guy who delivered our calor gas was frantic, rushed off his feet. “Never been so busy. And the other boy I work with’s went and got himself arrested - driving without a licence.” We sympathised while he put the gas in our heater and then he ran down the stairs to his van, too busy to be cold. II. The living room warmed by the oven, door open, grumbling of...