Call to the Annual Meeting

As Chair of the Lichtenbergian Society, I hereby enjoin our membership to attend the Annual Meeting, set according to the Charter for Saturday, December 21, being on or before the Hibernal Solstice, to begin at or around 7:00 p.m.

Herewith is the Order of Business:

  1. Roll Call, including confirmation of new members
  2. Toast to GCL
  3. Acclamation of the Officers
  4. Corroboration of the Validity of our Claims
  5. Consignment of the Corroborative Evidence to the Flames
  6. Engrossment of the Year‘s Efforts
  7. Meditation on the Year‘s Efforts, followed by a Silent Toast
  8. Engrossment of the Proposed Efforts for the Next Year
  9. Toast to the Proposed Efforts
  10. Agenda: “Drunk, Naked, and Sweaty?”

The floor is now open for discussion of the Order of Business.

Assignment L.12.2: The buttocks thing

All right, with less than a week to go before our Annual Meeting, here’s an assignment:

Jeff Bishop’s “buttocks thing.” It’s time.  The assignment is simple: gather material à la Lacuna-style.  Dump it here in comments.  Perhaps it will be our Agenda on Friday night.

Here’s what inspired me: http://lifeand6months.com/2012/05/22/from-the-storage-archives-the-unseen-sailors-tattoo/

The West Coast Retreat

On Thursday, October 18, Marc, Dale, and Jeff B. flew from Atlanta to San Francisco, where they were met by Mike, who flew up from L.A.  They rented a Town & Country van (with a handicapped gear shift, which was actually kind of nice) and headed over towards Berkeley to pick up the key to The Cetusaurus.  Mike had lived in SF, so he was able to play tour guide as we headed across the bridges.

After we picked up the key, we drove a couple of blocks over to Phillip”s studio, a converted loft space crammed full of artists, Phillip included.  Phillip claimed to be a true Lichtenbergian in that he could not attend the very Retreat designed to include the West Coast members because he had work to do, but it was clear that the man is very productive.

Finally we hit the road and made our way over to the coast, where we drove up Highway 1. It is everything you”ve seen in the movies and commercials: a twisty, two-lane highway that hugs the mountains on the right and drops precipitously to the sea on the left.  It is absolutely gorgeous.

It”s also slow going.  The speed limit may be 55 mph, but only people in car ads drive that way.  It took us a good four hours to make it up to the house.  We started in midafternoon, and it was after dark when we got there.  (Great sunset, for which we stopped at one of the dozens of overlooks.)

There were also road signs warning of cows.  Cows.  And then, there were cows.  In the road, utterly unconcerned that they”d be struck by luxury vehicles careening around curves while filming commercials.

The house is exactly as you see it in the photos on the website.  Not as close to the beach as the photos implied, but that was OK.   We unpacked, sorted out sleeping arrangements, and opened the first bottle of wine.  As usual, the Thursday night discussion was over what we hoped to accomplish during the Retreat.

Jeff made no bones about the fact that he had been so productive that he had no intention of working on anything but grad school stuff.  Marc had brought reading to do.  Mike had a script he needed to finish, a song to work on, and juggling to practice.  Dale wanted to get back to re-orchestrating William Blake”s Inn, or failing that, to start on the “Five Easier Pieces,” and to work on The Book of the Labyrinth, a quasi-liturgical resource for meditation sessions in in the labyrinth.

Members will report on their progress in comments.

There had been no grocery store of note on the way up, and so there was no coffee for Friday morning.  Dale awoke early and drove back down to Manchester, where we were assured there was a well-stocked store.  (It was closed by the time we pulled through on Thursday night.)  It was well-stocked, being both a grocery store and an Ace Hardware.  Dale loaded up on essentials and made it back to the house as others were getting prepped for the day.

First, though, we had to go to the beach.  It was walkable, but it”s better to drive.  The beach was a giant boneyard of bleached tree trunk driftwood, driven there by Pacific storms.  Large outcroppings of basalt littered the terrain.

We drank it all in.  Jeff took a zillion photos.  Mike juggled.  Marc communed.   Dale drew labyrinths in the sand and meditated.   We climbed the outcroppings.

Finally we headed back to the house to work.  (See comments.)

The evening was given over to communion and meditation. (There was no hot tub, but a there was a sizable Jacuzzi which we used for solo soakings.)

Saturday.  We worked until lunchtime, and then at Marc”s suggestion drove back down the coast to Gualala for lunch and to play tourist at least a little bit.  Our main objective was the lighthouse at Point Arena, the tallest lighthouse in California, now renovated as an item of  historical interest.  More shipwrecks occurred there than anywhere else on the coast.

The view from the top of the lighthouse—they have removed the  to the museum—was stunning.

We headed back to the house for a little more work.  We wanted to drive down to the beach and watch the sunset from there—perhaps sacrifice a casino online goat or something— and there was some discussion about when we needed to make the trip.  Without internet, we were bereft of much information all weekend.  As Dale was debating starting supper—shrimp and grits—we were startled to realize that the sun, which had appeared to be safely above the horizon, was falling without let into the ocean eternal.

We leapt into the car and  rushed down the hill to the highway, watching with increasing hysteria as the planet revolved faster and faster, destroying our chances at this entirely meaningful experience.  At the end, all we could do was to pull in to an overlook and lamely get out to watch the afterglow.

Back at the house, we settled in to a quiet evening of discussion.  The main topic: “What do you fear the most?”  Loved ones were excluded.  We were honest.  You had to be there.

Sunday morning, we got up and departed around 5:30 am so that we could arrive early enough in San Francisco for Mike to show us some of the sights.  After negotiating the worst road in America over the mountains—we had to stop twice so we could calm our nausea—we emerged into the Sonoma valley.  Vineyards at dawn, quite lovely.   The landscape in general is amazingly beautiful.

When we arrived at the city, we stopped at the battery overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, which is pretty majestic.  In town, we almost resisted referring to the streets of San Francisco, including that section of Lombard Street which Mike took us down because, as he put it, “We haven”t had enough twisty roads today.”

We also went to Fisherman”s Wharf, where Mike took us to the Musée Mécanique, a “collection of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines in their original working condition.”  It was awesome!

Finally, it was time to head to the airport.  We dropped Mike off at the Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio, where his sister would pick him up.  (He was taking an Amtrak train back to LA.)  After lunch at the airport, Jeff split off to go work on a presentation and then board the plane for Norman, OK, where he was attending a Native American conference.  Dale and Marc flew back to Atlanta.

Summations, additions, and emendations in comments.

The Last Word

 

Indolent.  That”s the last word.

 

Offering up this word ends the pretense.  Ends the effort.  Ends the need for effort.  Maybe the effort was never worth it because it always seemed like a double effort or an effort folded over, already too daunting to think about.  I must make an effort in order to, then, consequently, make an effort.  I must make an effort in order to acquire the credible veneer of one who seems to spend his time making an effort.  Even the effort I afforded this paragraph, glibly relying as it does on the repeated use of a word, was folded over, was a cover-up, an attempt to indolently get through to the end without too much effort.

 

I take walks most days.  It”s boring and meditative.  I am a prisoner of the Other.  I grapple with what the Other might want.  Lacan 101.  I offer up my thoughts.  I gather up self-appraising notions.  I craft aphoristic codas.  I pretend I”m a wordsmith.  I get the jump on time by making phrases.  I stand there waiting for myself to catch up.  It”s all very tiring and obsessive.  So, on the walk today, I proposed to the Other to offer up a word that sums it all up, that accomplishes the perfect self-evaluation.  Once I proposed this, the word came fairly quickly.  Indolent.  I am indolent.  I have always been indolent.  I, baring unforeseen interventions, will always be indolent.  I further told the Other that once I offered the word, I would be free of a large number of its demands.  I would be off the hook.uk inflatable hello kitty

 

And so I am.  Yes, the Other will still pester me about other matters, but I now can be at peace over so many things connected with questions of energy and activity.  I consider this a very Lichtenbergian achievement, by the way, one the brethren will accept without too much condemnation.  I do question, however, whether or not I can still hold the office of “Aphorist.”  I can only continue to hold it if all accept that I bear the title ironically.  More ironically than when originally bestowed.  I was, I must confess, quite invested in the appearance of “accomplishment” and of my possessing certain “powers” that went along with the title.  I made a certain amount of effort to try and keep that all propped up.  But the truth is, it”s work.  And it”s the kind of expenditure that is akin to treading water while trying to wave and appearing to float effortlessly.  I am a treader trying to pass as a floater.  And for all I know people on the shore are discussing it among themselves:  he looks so contorted trying to hide the fact he”s treading; does he really think we think he”s floating?  Every floater knows floating doesn”t look like that.  And so on.

 

I expect there to be some condemnation, of course.  The full truth of the word indolent includes a certain amount of the ignoble.  In other words, indolent is mobile casino not a characterization tinged with irony.  It”s just true.  And its despicable dimension is also true.  I don”t celebrate it, but I don”t hide it.  I am indolent.  Don”t expect much.

 

And so I can conclude at a moment”s notice.  I will not fret over the fact that what I have rendered here in no way sounds like the symphony of summation I unfolded during my walk.  The word has freed me from that.  And freed me from worrying about crafting pithy final sentences.  I am now giving a last bit of effort to recalling any details from my walking meditation that I can include.  I stop typing to do that now.

 

I resume.  Why indolent and not lazy?  A touch of vanity, I think.  Also true to my nature.  Indolent implies that I did as a youth show some earnest effort, that I earnestly worked at my vocabulary lists.  But I don”t think I have ever included the word in my working vocabulary.  It was kind of an accidental recall.  Sure, I”ve read it in books.  The fact that I would assure you of that is also part of my character.  Indolent evokes for me a certain atmosphere, one in which the word lazy certainly has a place, but which also includes other paralyzing and paradoxical elements.  And I offer that previous  sentence rather than an autobiographical fantasia.  Nothing to hide, just intimidated by the effort it would require to weave all that into this.

 

One other thing.  Maybe two further things.  I have been in trance-like states of absorption in which something like creative expression has taken place.  Those moments seem, in retrospect, effortless, but they tend to be self-contained ends in themselves.  No way to turn back and recapture, no way to exploit for future glory.  So not part of the equation, I think.  Also, I find certain distancing conventions impossible to undertake.  It is very difficult to fictionalize, for instance, so that avenue is not really open to me.  And maybe not really that interesting to me.  Which, too, may be due to indolence.  Taking upon myself the burden of others, of sharing their worlds–no energy for that.  So no energy for making up lives and shouldering their cares.  Abstractions have always been more amenable. Perhaps because I can pick them up and set them down without burdening myself too much.  Abstractions lend themselves more easily to the trance-like improvisatory play I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.  But still, it”s a laborious seizing of elements.  Best to leave it to those who do it like breathing.

 

Anything further?  Nope.  That”s it.