Friday, November 5, 2010

Empty Voids or Open Space


It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.
Frank Zappa

...after much excitement, there’s little on the calendar...major holidays, of course...solid letters, in printer’s ink...lacking the passion of my barely-legible scrawl....weekly, bi-weekly, and semi-weekly commitments, of course, though they’re hardly necessary to write down, and some weeks, I don’t bother....what there are are days, lots of them...frightening or inviting...empty voids or open space...depending on how I choose to look at blankness...

The soul is a verb, not a noun.
David Mitchell

...was teaching...or trying to teach the men at the homeless shelter...who were having none of it....how do you give a well-meaning white liberal a hard time?...let me count the ways...

...at one point, my frustration reaching its ebb, a guy I’ll call Derek...(who, I was happy to find, had, since I’d last seen him, managed to get through a court date that might have sent him to prison)...turned to me with a smile, said: you can tell this is a house of pain, right?....I smiled back, grateful, said: yup...

To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.
Stephen Covey

11 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

i love this post Dr. Jay.

Sara said...

Love it. And I love the Covey quote too. I might have to *borrow* it...

the half-life of linoleum said...

Fabulous posting - I loved the tone, the pace, the story, the truth, the smiles.

I had a theory - that this is the first time in the history of history as my son likes to say - that Frank Zappa, David Mitchell and Stephen Covey were mentioned in the same article. . . and if you 'goo'gle search for exactly that' zappa mitchell, covey' you'll be lead right back to YfC - very cool.

Bob Weisenberg said...

I so admire this work you are doing at the homeless shelter. Like I've said before, I'd like to see you write a lot more about your experiences there.

Bob W.

LauraX said...

Beautiful post Dr Jay. House of pain...yeah, I can only begin to imagine. I used to volunteer at a community run space for homeless families...sometimes a child or a mom might be up to chatting...usually, well...they were just doing their thing and not wanting interaction at ALL with the volunteers.

The Zappa quote is PRICELESS!

Brooks Hall said...

Hey, Dr. Jay! What’ll serve your life the best right now: empty voids, open spaces, or perhaps something else?

It sounds awesome and noble to help the homeless men to write, but I think that if it is putting you in a position where you regularly receive abuse it might not actually be the best use of your time. I know it sounds all advice-y (and I don’t like that) but just sayin’ it, like I’m thinkin’ it, knowing that you’ll know what to do with it: you’ll be takin’ it or leavin’ it depending on how you feel about it!

Best to you from your Internet and real life friend!

Yoga Mat said...

I guess the problem here is that "the homeless" first, and foremost are wanting a builder not a writer. Or am I assuming too much?

sacredfolly said...

Great post. I've done some work like this in NYC.

Having been homeless for about a year, I attribute writing to one of the things that saved my life. The worst thing about being homeless for me was the distinct feeling of being invisible, voiceless, subhuman.

Not an easy road to walk. Sending you good vibes!

sacredfolly said...

(I think I lost my comment - sorry if this comes up twice)

Excellent work.

Having been homeless in NYC for about a year, I attribute writing to being one of the things that helped me stay alive - gave my life some humanity. One of the worst things about being homeless was feeling invisible, voiceless, and subhuman. It takes time to trust that other people might actually care.

It's a tough path . . . sending good thoughts to you.

peace ~

earthtoholly said...

Silly me, always making comparisons...but here you remind a bit of the character Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption. I'm sure you've seen it. The intelligent, kind, determined Andy, helping the other less-fortunate prisoners (as he fulfills his agenda)...I imagine that you're somewhat like him with your own students.

Here's hoping that every day for you is an inviting open space. :o)

Mandy said...

As I was getting legally high in the dentist's chair yesterday, I was thinking of the way that life works and how intentions that are so honorable and good most always come up against some huge rock in the road. But, hey, doesn't everything? And all it does is teach us how to climb higher and makes our heads (intentions) stronger?

We already know that, but keep hitting ourselves over the heads because we have to be constantly remninded.

Good work. Love that Einstein quote. "If at first an idea isn't absurd, There's no hope for it."

Oh, and I am always so confused by the time change, why can't we get it??