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November 4th, 2010

03:11 am - sometime in 2001 (does this post make any sense to anyone?)
I imagined calling his dad and his dad telling me that he was dead. I cried and cried in my bed as if it had actually happened. What kind of a mid-life crisis is this? Perhaps it is a mourning for the beginning of the end of idealism. So long white knight, a damsel who is not in distress does not need a person like you. The white knight has to come from inside of me from now on. So, it seems, if I understand anything about how life works, since I am the recovering damsel in distress, I will be attracting the recovering white knight. That would be four personalities interacting.
White Knight, meet Damsel in Distress: "Hellooo," --click, violins--
White Knight, meet Damsel Who Does Not Need to be Rescued: "Hello, um, hark do I hear a distress call in the distance, excuse me for eternity."
White Knight Who is Saving Himself meet Damsel in Distress: "Oh no, not again" --sign of the cross-- "How can I save myself with all these temptations. I need someone who is together so I can save some energy for myself."
Damsel in Distress meet White Knight: "Ah my hero, my saviour, at last someone worthy of me, someone larger than life."
Damsel in Distress meet White Knight Who Refuses to Save You Because He is Saving Himself: "Selfish man, not worthy of a hero. If he has problems of his own, then he is not larger than life."
Damsel Who Does Not Need to Be Rescued meet White Knight Who Needs to Save You: "How insulting. I can take care of myself. Don't make me feel like a baby."
Damsel Who Does Not Need to Be Saved, meet White Knight Who Is Saving Himself: "Yes, let us ride our steeds out of the muck and charge towards the battlegrounds together, strength in numbers. All for one and one for all."
Stay tuned for Part II, when the four are joined in holy quatrimony (This did happen in 2006). Will they survive? Will two divorce? Will four? Will two die? Will all? Will they somehow all become influenced by each other, growing into one personality? Eeee. ugly? Hmmm. Still all very ideal. "All for one and one for all." The four musketeers who are always remembered as only three. Aha. In marriage there is the husband, the wife, and the union. I see. Meet halfway. Save yourself and help save the other. Allow self to be helped in saving onself and do best to save oneself.

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02:52 am - sometime in 2004, that terrible time
What thoughts did you keep from me and share only with others until I withdrew so far away that you had to cast your thoughts out like a fishing line to reel me in, but by that time, my armour was too strong to let the hook sink in far enough to stay. It would dislodge itself and tear slowly down my sides, so slowly, too slowly to notice the damage it was doing. Not all your fault, but not all my fault. NOT ALL MY FAULT. Fault. (That word looks weird now, as if it is not english). I need to keep my own space, friends, life, ideals, opinions so that I don't create this heirarchy of relationship power from the start and then punish these men for staring down at me as if I were some small worshipping peon. I have to stop creating god-monsters. They are people. No better than I. What makes them seem better - the lack of faults, insecurities, doubts that can be seen because they hide them well and I don't? I can't hide from them and I certainly can't hide from myself. Once I have created this god-monster, I cannot expect to feel uplifted by them, or if so, it would feel like a charity. I need my peers. I wish I could have a peer, not a god-monster. How do I do that without completely withdrawing and turning the god-monster into a wimpering lackey (um that word looks weird too).

sometime on the Nov 2nd-3rd evening morning transition of 2010:
Hmm, mirrors reflecting my shadow self back at me - my own god-monsterness and my wimpering lackeyness? My peonitude and my deitude? That leads to the next post, which is all backwards because it is an older bit of writing.

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02:37 am - sometime in 2004 after death and before marriage
Falling down this hill, a shadow across my memory, where light flickers in and out, illuminating playgrounds and cemeteries, a graveyard of tears and poetry, sidewalks of skipping songs, drum a rhythm, beat a dance, think that the chair will support you, come round in this circle and show yourself beyond all poetry. I am more than these skipping songs, these duets on the sidewalk. I am the grass that sways on the hill, glowing with the light of many suns. I am the crushed grass, the dew-sparkled blades, the soft, yielding bed of green, the many and the one. I have died, been reaped and still I have grown, still I sway and offer my face to the sun, inviting death yet again.

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02:30 am - March 23, 2010
Miles away from me, he lies. I sit. But the clock cannot wait. It ticks faster than my breath which still refuses to stop. He is lying there, miles away in the other room but not as far as my own self which I cannot even see anymore. Can I find myself in time? I ask the clock. And if I do, will he like what he sees? And if I do will I still want him to like it? Miles away or is he? Can I go to him though my heart is cracking quietly open like a grape that has been handled too roughly until it is good for nothing but wine. He doesn't even like wine.

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January 1st, 2007

10:44 pm - My translation of the elusive Ne Me Quitte Pas
... is all about maintaining the same style of language, rawness of feeling and musical timing as the original while at the same time being as true as possible to the words and images he used, instead of a Hallmark card version of it. So here is the original and below it is my translation... You will find that if you tried to sing my translation in the same way that Brel sang his song, it will work. You can evoke his pauses and intonations, his syllable stressings and moments of emphasis with my words and it will work because that is what I was going for.

Ne Me Quitte Pas
-Jacques Brel

Ne me quitte pas
Il faut oublier
Tout peut s'oublier
Qui s'enfuit déjà
Oublier le temps
Des malentendus
Et le temps perdu
A savoir comment
Oublier ces heures
Qui tuaient parfois
A coups de pourquoi
Le coeur du bonheur
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Moi je t'offrirai
Des perles de pluie
Venues de pays
Où il ne pleut pas
Je creuserai la terre
Jusqu'après ma mort
Pour couvrir ton corps
D'or et de lumière
Je ferai un domaine
Où l'amour sera roi
Où l'amour sera loi
Où tu seras reine
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas
Je t'inventerai
Des mots insensés
Que tu comprendras
Je te parlerai
De ces amants là
Qui ont vu deux fois
Leurs coeurs s'embraser
Je te racont'rai
L'histoire de ce roi
Mort de n'avoir pas
Pu te rencontrer
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

On a vu souvent
Rejaillir le feu
De l'ancien volcan
Qu'on croyait trop vieux
Il est paraît-il
Des terres brûlées
Donnant plus de blé
Qu'un meilleur avril
Et quand vient le soir
Pour qu'un ciel flamboie
Le rouge et le noir
Ne s'épousent-ils pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas
Je ne vais plus pleurer
Je ne vais plus parler
Je me cacherai là
À te regarder
Danser et sourire
Et à t'écouter
Chanter et puis rire
Laisse-moi devenir
L'ombre de ton ombre
L'ombre de ta main
L'ombre de ton chien
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Don't Leave Me Now
-Jacques Brel

Don't leave me now
We must forget
All can be forgotten
It escapes already
Forget the time
The misunderstandings
And the moments lost
We must know how
Forget those hours
Which killed at times
With each thrust of why
The heart of happiness
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

Me, I'll offer you
Pearls of rain
That come from a place
Where rain never falls
I would mine the earth
'Til after my death
To cover your body
With light and with gold
I'll make a kingdom
Where love shall be king
Where love shall be law
Where you shall be queen
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

Don't leave me now
I'll invent for you
Such nonsense words
That you'll understand
I'll speak to you
Of those lovers there
Who have seen two times
their hearts all ablaze
I'll recount for you
The story of that king
Dead for not having
the chance to meet you
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

We have often seen
Fire gush out
From an ancient volcano
We thought was too old
There are, it seems
Some scorched fields
That yield more wheat
Than the best of April
And when evening comes
So that the sky is ablaze
The black and the red
Do they not wed
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

Don't leave me now
I'll no longer cry
I'll no longer speak
I'll hide right there
Just to look at you
Watch you dance and smile
And listen to you
As you sing and laugh
Let me become
The shadow of your shadow
The shadow of your hand
The shadow of your hound
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

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December 16th, 2006

01:35 am - so many grand things waiting to be furthered
I started translating a book of french short stories (I never remember when the language name should be capitalized but I think if it is used as an adjective, it shouldn't). I'm not normally into short stories because just when I get drawn in and actually start caring about the characters, they end, or otherwise, they aren't long enough to develop sufficiently round characters to engage my sympathy-except for Martian Chronicles which really reads more like a book than a series of short stories because it is all in the same world about the same races, Martians and humans - but I am really into this one Québecois book of short stories because it does have a very clear unifying theme which is also an inspiring one about how "The arts uphold our souls against stupidity ... they transform life. Seek the artist in yourself and the art in everything". Yes, that's the kind of thing I love to translate....but I have only gotten two pages or so into my translation, ahem.. and other things like dance have gotten in the way. That's one reason I don't blog much either.. too many things.. especially languages and dance that I MUST do in order to feel SANE. But I don't just like translating inspiring books I also like to translate for peace organizations like the Nonviolent Peaceforce (sounds a bit redundant to me but to some it is a surprisingly novel concept) although lately I have missed the opportunity to help them because of the time zone difference. They are situated in London, so it is hard to do anything last minute for them.
What in the near future?.. more partner dance choreographies including fire partner dancing, learning to fire hoop, learning to dance on aerial silks (yes, I will likes the new buff Diane, yes my preciousss), and maybe some aikido...

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November 4th, 2006

01:17 pm - Is this how meditation starts?
Inside this tangled mind, I am silent. Thoughts fly past but catch hold of nothing. Distractions litter the path before me and obscure the path behind me.

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01:29 am
it comes in cycles:

...I try to slip from you back into myself. In order not to be ripped apart, I must maintain an image of my ego intact. Here you cannot participate, and yet, I keep you with me like a prolonged torture. Why do I relive the breakup of two blind soulmates everyday? But it is not everyday. The lies that are committed in the name of drama. I have lost the ability to live separately from you. Poor you - how little space that leaves you. No wonder you run - but you don't see it and you don't say it. When will I hear the words, "No Diane. Go away." Words that shatter a glass home. 'Til then, I watch the cracks, scarcely able to breathe (like the interminable moment between the fall and the actual shatter). So I must gather my chains and offer them up to the sea. It will be a long slow journey, past the outstretched arms of near strangers. Out of this loneliness I will be reborn into someone you might recognize again at last. So many men on my path and when I look at them, all I see is the myth of Sisyphus - I want no part - I want you.

.... I am doomed to feel obscured by those I love and to feel illuminated by those I don't. The few fleeting moments of intimacy I manage to steal fails to keep me grounded. I drift in and out of people's lives like a thief trying to discover what it means to know a person, trying to discover what people reveal to each other in the quiet hours when the test of years is everything that separates them from me. That is why Lisa and I have clung to each other. We perform the necessary rituals but when the time comes for the masks to be shed and a true exchange of raw emotion to take place - we are left desolate and empty, like satellites, forever circling at a distance the relationships of others. What is it that keeps us on the outside? Perhaps there was a test we had to pass when we were younger and we failed. Perhaps at some point in my childhood, I passed my would-be anchor in the hallway and now I can do nothing but float over these exchanges of intimacy among friends, screaming away that my heart should dare to live on without a familiar shore. Does anyone know? Does anyone really know that I have no one? NO ONE. Not even LIsa. How could we. We circle each other. We know no other way to be - but we try, like children. But the homes have already been made and the doors have all been shut. We can do nothing but stare like madmen in through the windows, hoping for a key, or the secret of human interactions to be revealed.

....A thousand tiny nerves in me are burning and I cannot think to think except see. see you. eyes but not eyes. passion. that is your soul you're showing me. there is no kind of feeling except waves rushing back and forth through me- slowly, quickly eating me up. I cannot think. just feel. eyes so soft and warm. warming into me. knowing me. there you waited. hair i run into and stop shaking.

.... You sleep, quiet like a child, arms folded around the world you lost. In the cradle of the moonlight, your dreams cannot be touched.

.... Your shadow - it is not behind you like those of others. It surrounds you. You call to it like a lover. You believe it is death but it holds not the same stillness. It is not a relief; it moves with you - holding everything else back. People drift in and out of your life and it is your shadow that tells you they are not real. Only it is real.

....So many troubles stem from the need to possess a moment. The few times in which I manage to realize this, I awaken as a baby in a world full of wonder.

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12:20 am - once upon an idealistic and floofy time
...when I used to call people kindred spirits...
I wrote this in response to a friend's fictitious letter to his fictitious girlfriend. He was at first disappointed to find that I had written a letter in response because he had planned (though not written) for his character to die in his quest, though once he had read the contents of my letter, he was quite pleased. At home on a sick day, somewhat like yesterday, it was a fun and rather nerdy excercise in 19th century wordiness and in some historically accurate names and dates:

Inferno Heights
November 1886

Dearest Hunter,

It pains me to think that I had spent the better part of five years in cloaked despair, searching the globe for some sign of you, yet all this time part of the answer lay in your journal which had only now been passed on to me by Baron John E.E. Dalberg-Acton. I am not certain how or whether this message shall get to you but the Baron has assured me that he would do his utmost to ascertain your whereabouts and thus deliver it to you.
Do not fret for I feel instinctively that the Baron is a kindred spirit and fully merits our trust. Many unfortunate events have served to cross his path with mine. These I now relate to you.
When first you disappeared, I attempted to contact the only member of your family I thought to be still alive. Your brother, who at the time had taken up residence in the United States. Unfortunately, he was unattainable as he was part of an international cooperative for the containment of a deadly disease which was wreaking havoc upon many a country.
This disease was the bubonic plague which had struck the Americas, and parts of Europe and Asia. It became so serious that on October 31, 1885, the few countries which had managed to escape its deathly grip entirely enforced a strict travelling code. Not a single person or thing (alas not even a letter) was allowed to leave or enter these countries until it could be agreed by general consensus that the plague was no longer a threat.
I thought perhaps your research had brought you to one of these coutries and that you might have been detained there. I shuddered to think of the other possibility.
Refuge at my family's estate was not an option since Navarre lay just along the border of one of the restricted countries. I did, however, flee to the estate of one Miss E. Dickenson, an acquaintance of mine whom you met briefly ten years ago and who, although residing in a plague beset country, had for the most part lived a rather isolated life and hence, I assumed, was fairly safe from the plague.
Sadly, she died early the next year. In the summer of 1886, shortly after former president Chester Alan Arthur died (his presidency ended around the same time you disappeared) I travelled from Miss Dickenson's estate to that of her colleague, Miss Rossetti in England, where the plague was nothing but a faint shadow deemed merciful in comparison to its 14th century antecedent.
It was there that I happened to hear of one Baron Dalburg-Acton, an English historian who had become somewhat of a celebrity because of his closed-door discussions with the arch-bishop of Canterbury concerning the Black Death which had ravaged Asia and Europe during the 14th Century. I discovered that he was also interested in Akkadian literature and the rammifications of having a Babylonian obsession with hedonistic pursuits.
Remembering that Babylonia was alluded to in your latest research, I contacted the Baron and spoke to him of you. He had not heard of you but did know of a Frazer in Scotland with whom he corresponded regularly, Sir James George Frazer, the noted anthropologist.
The Baron wrote to him forthwith and received news that Sir James was a distant cousin of yours thrice removed. He did not know of your whereabouts but had some inkling of your latest project and discussed the matter at length with the Baron. Three years later, they managed to find your cave at the mouth of which lay your much-battered journal.
This brings us to the present in which I am now hastily and clumsily writing you. I have learned scant few about your "Sh'oggoth" but nonetheless feel that you have acted rashly. At night I can almost hear this creature's hungry call and wonder - nay hope bitterly that it is the cry of a lost and lonely soul and not that of one damned seeking vengeance.
I have patiently searched these past few years for you and shall continue to do so for I refuse to let time be the force that shall spoil our love.

yours forever and always,


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August 14th, 2006

11:20 pm - perspectives on culture
wanted this old email bit as ... a reminder of the extent to which I probe the inner workings of a culture in order to gain a better perspective on my own... and an appreciation for the person who had the time and interest to answer me:

>I'm really interested in different daily rituals between cultures, different
>mores and customs. I'm assisting a choreographer in a dance workshop that is
>building towards a performance in July and the theme is I AM HERE, about
>different cultures finding home and sharing their differences and
Me too... but I'm always aware of how much I alter the situation just by
my presence. I'll try though.

>What differences have you noticed between Laos, Ghana and Canada (especially
>movements) in these areas and others:
>getting someone's attention - do they wave at the person, call out to the
>person, go up to them and tap them on the shoulder
>people greeting and saying goodbye
Canadians are very minimalist -> you see somebody you know across the
street, you wave. Then you walk towards them. Especially if it's a long
distance, you break contact a bit as you bridge the space, and then talk
when you're in personal range.

Or if you meet, you tend to be quieter about it.

In Ghana, they're boisterous about it. If you don't say hi or good
morning to somebody that you know, they'll either be slighted, or think
that something's wrong. People yell at eachother across the streets.
It's also very common to greet people that you don't know on the street,
just randomly -> or at least they do me, the "white man". Note on this
one -> I've come to understand that, when people say "Hey, White Man",
to me, it's not a threat or an insult... it was a little disconcerting
at first though. Goodbyes, at least as in see you later, are relatively
quick by contrast.

In Laos, they're more subtle about it. It's still good to say hi to
people as you go by, but strangers don't really talk to eachother as
much. Also, they're quieter about it. Goodbyes are long and drawn out ->
you don't want to leave to quickly, or somebody might think that they
insulted you or something.

>how people pass each other on the street - look you in the eye, push through
>the crowd, let people pass them and then go by, etc
People are more likely to look you in the eye in Ghana than in Laos,
partly because it's kinda threatening in the Asian cuture to do so to
strangers. That said, I was out dancing last night, and nobody really
made much eye contact... so, go figure.

>eating rituals - offering to a shrine first, wash hands, say prayer, utensils,
>hands, take food from a common plate to put on theirs, let elders eat first?
Ghana -> restaurants will give you water and soap at the table to wash
your hands. Hands are the norm for Ghanaian food.
Lao -> fork and spoon, except the fork shouldn't touch your mouth ->
that's uncouth. Use the fork to put stuff on the spoon, eat like that.
Chopsticks are used, but only for chinese/vietnamese noodles. Hands are
used for sticky rice: pick up a bit, pack it into a ball, and dip it
into a sauce or soup. They're also used for whole foods (like fish or
chicken). Soups are often communal -> everyone eats out of the same
bowl, carrying their spoon precariously across the table from bowl to
mouth. Funnily enough, they don't tend to make a big dea lout of washing
hands before eating... some do, some don't.

>finishing a plate - do they? in China if you finish your plate the host will
>refill it because she thinks you are still hungry, in Canada, if you don't
>finish your plate the host will think you didn't like the food or will think
>you are rude to waste it
I don't know about Ghana, although I think that people generally finish
all their food, as it's poor enough. In laos, you always leave some, or
they'll definitely give you more. And, if there's no more, they'll feel
like they didn't make enough -> rarely a problem.

>in Denmark people sing before and after meetings, even board meetings is there
>more of that sort of thing?
Not that I know of.

>how do they respond to a performance - ovation, clapping, yelling?
>in a group when they have a question do they raise their hand or just call out
>the question?
Call out, no hand raising in Ghana. They don't ask many questions in
Laos -> that would be an affront to the group leader's authority. When
they do, it's generally as subtle as possible.

>do they get in lines when they are waiting for something (a very Canadian
>to do) or do they stand around in an amorphous mob and push their way to the
In Ghana they line up -> probably the British influence. In Laos, the
sometimes do, and often don't -> it's a little more chaotic in that way.

>what are the bus rides like? crowded, people hanging from the outside, people
>on top of each other, people avoided each other's eyes, people staring, people
>talking loudly, singing, do they sit next to a stranger even though they are
>many other open seats (that is our unspoken rule: don't sit next to a stranger
>unless their are no other completely empty benches on the bus)
No big rules in Ghana -> lots of talking, poeople hanging out of
windows, etc. Not a whole lot of staring. Never heard singing on the
bus. Sitting with strangers is not a big deal.
Laos -> everyone's quite quiet. No worries about sitting next to people,
although people generally get their own seats first. You would,
occasionally, even talk to them.

>same question for elevators, and park benches ---do they have park benches?
>what public do they have that we don't and vice versa
>do they have lawns? probably not --so no mowing the lawn ritual
>swimming pools?
Don't know much about all of these things. -> not a lot of any of these
things in either country, so I don't have enough data for comparison.

>how do they behave at funerals, weddings, what do they wear? are they serious,
>celebratory, do they dance, throw rice, is it in church, do they party

I went to a wedding in Laos, and it was a huge affair -> all the
relatives were lined up at the door, standing there, while everyone came
in. Probably standing for an hour. Everybody dressed in their finest,
etc. There was about 500 people who came. Everybody brought a present,
and made a contribution to help pay for the costs of the wedding at the
door. There was Karaoke, biffet style food. I was with a group of
younger people, and we left after about 1/2 hour, out the back way,
without much of a fuss -> mostly we were just there to show our faces.
I saw a funeral -> they had traditional music playing all day and well
into the night (until 2 or 3, which is very late by Lao standards). They
had an outdoor party -> less people. though.

Ghana -> apparently, the Funerals here are big partys, more along the
lines of Finnegan's wake. I have yet to see it though.

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