Kinisi 12

Peerless / Fearless

Tearless / Cheerless

Ten things I don’t like about December

  1. Too dark. It’s not just waking up and going to bed in the dark. Where I live, it also means going to work in the dark and coming home in the same. And that’s coming from someone who’s officially retired.
  2. Too cold. Where I live, we’re just not used to it yet.
  3. Too many shoppers. That means long lines at the cash register everywhere.
  4. And all that shopper traffic. Parking lots are full. Traffic lights are backed up.
  5. Everybody’s snarly. Can’t blame them. So am I.
  6. Santa Claus ditties. They’re coming out of ceilings everywhere. They have nothing to do with the birth of the Christ Child.
  7. Lying to innocent children. These presents don’t come from a fat man in a red suit, for starters. He doesn’t come down a chimney anywhere in the world. And telling them all this blarmy undermines their trust in anything else we tell them, especially about Jesus.
  8. Guilt, paralysis, and panic. For guys, especially, this hits hard about three days before the big event, when we still haven’t figured out what to get anyone.
  9. Everything else stops. Do I really need to explain this?
  10. It’s all about the Holiday Season. Or more accurately, holiday shopping. Let’s be honest and admit that what’s happening has very little to do with what should be happening.

Oh, there’s power in those dreams

The fantasy of power, of course, invokes control. The freedom to boss others, for one thing – something so alien in my own reality.

What’s the ultimate dream of power? Setting sexuality apart from everyday activity? Especially secret?

(Oh, secrecy! Now there’s a dimension of power.)

As is the appearance of knowing what to say, how to move. The willing response.

The great secret hunger you, alone, can fill. (More to the point: I alone can fill.)

In reality, I have no imagination here, and no language.

I think I’m finally getting the attraction of action-adventure movies for many males. That, along with Triple-X.

Making a home for alternative arts

Passages in early drafts of my novel What’s Left ran the risk of becoming manifestos for certain strands of the fine arts. Here’s one Cassia ponders as she considers her father’s work:

In the period he spent between college and moving here, he falls into a rhythm of settling down into his own humble life and looking sharply at what’s right in front of him, no matter how chaotic and confusing his quest for amorous companionship is going. He’s still ambitious, mind you, with lofty goals. But he’s also deeply wounded and trying to recover, however furtive the pathway appears, but I’d say that he’s been opened and becoming more sensitive to discovery. In that way, everything is new, seen for the first time. High on his priorities is a knowledge that a true artist has to discover a voice – and that means focusing on some smaller scale, no matter how bad that pun is for a photographer. Well, Manoula would share that need to focus – as a violinist, she stays classical rather than veering off into jazz or folk, and even there she has the pieces she works on repeatedly. As for a signature, some say it’s a Gypsy fire.

So just what is his signature?

In that period right after college, he’s baffled. Everything’s changing. He just has to keep doing whatever he’s doing and hope a message comes clear.

In fairness, few newspaper photographers push that hard. They just want to get good shots in crisp focus and deposit their skimpy paychecks. For Baba, though, something else is percolating. It’s not just another baseball game he’s shooting – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime contest.

Look close and you can see a signature touch in his work all along – something crystalline, abetted by impeccable work in the darkroom, as he investigates whatever’s in front of him. Maybe it’s basic chemistry taken in a fresh direction.

Every true artist – and I have no doubt Baba is one – is drawn to individuals to admire and perhaps emulate. For American photographers, Ansel Adams would be a given. Edward Steichen, well, you can fill in the rest. Looking through his papers, though, I’m surprised to find Francesca Woodman and Sarah Moon among those who capture his imagination. If anything, I’d say their work is the antithesis of his. Theirs are filled with fantasy, even ghosts, decay – so much appears out of focus or fragmentary, even merely suggestive. They evoke history, while he celebrates a present moment.


Cassia’s a smart kid, but you can bet she never would have spoken like that. Strike one! Even in her 20s, she wouldn’t have. Strike two! It really is too much of a curveball for the story. Strike three, and it’s out!

The tone, especially, is way off.

Elsewhere, though, she does observe that her father had his own signature style.

Tell me of a visual artist you greatly enjoy. What do you find most inspiring? If you’re a visual artist yourself, what are your own goals? What do you want to stand out in your work? What are your favorite subjects?

Ten basic yoga terms

As yoga spread as a form of physical fitness across America, some of its terms have become widely used by the general population. These arise in Sanskrit, one of three recorded languages that are believed to be close to a proto-Indo-European root of many of today’s languages that stretch across much of Asia and Europe.

Here are ten you may hear.

  1. Namaste. Often translated as “that of God in me greets that of God in you.”
  2. Karma. Action or doing, leading each individual to reap the consequences of his own actions, good and bad.
  3. Mantra. A word or phrase that is sounded repeatedly to aid concentration in meditation.
  4. Om. Also spelled Aum. The greatest of the mantras. Repeated properly, it produces great harmony in the body and the mind.
  5. Ahimsa. Non-injury.
  6. Chakra. One of seven points of subtle energy threaded along the spine, each one opening like a lotus and unleashing related awareness.
  7. Asana. Sitting or posture. Each of the physical exercises is known as an asana.
  8. Shanti. Peace.
  9. Ashram. A hermitage or dwelling place of a teacher and students.
  10. Jnana. Discernment or spiritual knowing.