Common Voice Project

If you love words like I do. Check out this cool project… Common Voice

I was researching how to get the Like button back in WordPress.com so I could like some posts without having to receive them via email. Bah! No luck. Ended up surfing (do people even do that anymore?) then about 100 of these. Listening and speaking.

Jack sneaks back to Oakland and falls asleep watching “The Wolf Man”.

As far as I am concerned, they contain the best random writing prompts around today. Fresh and surprising, hehehe

It is similar to “Anno Mundi”.

Seriously, I love the project concept. Voice recognition software still has exceptional challenges to overcome before it is accessible to everyone and getting this database together will likely make it possible for many more developers to start working on those challenges. Perhaps even me.

They kiss once more, and Daren makes Picard promise not to give up music.

If you are feeling a bit community-service-y and have a few spare minutes, you could always come and help.

Constructive Thinking

“It’s a dreadful case of misapplication!”

At first, I concentrated on the big emotional swings and the ideas that arise during those instances: the way that similar pain from the past gets brought into the present and exacerbates the situation. From then it’s always a race for control because emotionally intense experiences are physically exhausting and to break the pattern/habit requires a certain amount of physical energy. If I am not quick enough to identify where I am in the pattern, it will generally play out until the end of the cycle. If I am quick, it stops immediately. Again being quick requires enough available physical energy.

Now I also notice a more subtle version of the same thing happens at every opportunity and without the emotional intensity – it appeared to me as a rather innocuous habit. Constructive thinking. I was just wondering about things and trying to create better responses…

In fact, every thought is lived through the body, no matter how real the idea is. The nervous system is still receiving signals: danger, problem, do I need to fight or run? How far can I really follow these thoughts before hormones start being released into the bloodstream, before my entire system is responding to an emergency that is totally made up of words in my mind? And where are the thoughts that trigger the physical response that cleans up when the imaginary problem is over, getting rid of the toxic buildup even if it’s just a little?

All in all, it’s a pretty inefficient cycle compared to those times when I find the majority of my thoughts both informative and amusing, instances where I can accept my feelings as true responses and don’t need to add the running commentary from a million different perspectives… which heralds a connections to past similar feelings and a likely exponential increase in intensity…

Constructive thinking and working too hard are linked in this way. I can’t seem to do one without the other arising. So I wait patiently for weak spots or opportunities to allow chaos to interact with the smooth order of that particular set of bindings. A good belly laugh always works.

There is a valid reason for it all, nothing we do is pointless. Yet there is always an easier path, a more sustainable road to walk when this path, the one you have dedicated your life to treading, is wearing you out.

I still think… but I laugh if I notice I have subsequently created a physically detectable response in my body that isn’t joyful. On a good day, I then go dance or eat or do something that puts my body in a different configuration and give the thinking a rest because it’s not helping me. Lately, after what seems an interminable period of waiting, the good days are in abundance.

“Oh silly, you don’t need an emergency to get my help!”

*******************************
Note: This is the wordy version of what I was writing about with Frilly. The connections I have between things surprises me. Lizard (as in, medicine from First Nations, USA) except an Australian lizard, with a spectacular show of defence and great at hiding is my internal representation of this pattern. I don’t know why.

I write the poems before I know really what message I have for myself. Then some time later, a day, a week, 2 years sometimes, it becomes backlit, highlighted, centre stage with a bang! Then I am so grateful that I jotted down a few words that came to me and my trust grows…

Lizard laughed to himself. “Snake,” he said, “You are looking for shade and I am looking for shadow. Shadow is where the dreams live.”  – Jamie Sams/David Carson

Bip

A special memory I would like to share with you…

He was truly delightful and made me giggle a lot, but mostly I was awestruck by his performance, watching from the wings. His old mate Rudolf was there too and I met him, but I did not understand the significance of that until this whole event was a distant memory.

I sometimes tell people I grew up on the stage, but they can’t picture what I mean until I share with them the odd memory such as this. It is possible to be both very open with people and deeply secretive. I am.

marcel-bipObviously he inspired my blog photo. More importantly this memory represents something about me that I have never let anyone mess with. It is elusive, it is not “on-call” nor greatly on display, but it points to my very essence, to what has proved consistent throughout the years. It lives at the wellspring of my joy.

As a small child, I discovered one of the best ways to guard something intangible is to never let it descend into the realm of language, whether it be spoken, written or thoughts/mental dialogue. I can mention this now because, like a tree that has already grown, I have already taken form.

Everything about me that deviates from this natural course is merely a performance in some way related to survival. Do not judge your inconsistencies. After a couple of years of investigating “the shadow” and allowing it to come into the light, as it were, I can honestly say that it was/is chock full of really good stuff. After the initial shock and displeasure, I find it is the place where so many wonderful, unique and heartfelt aspects of me are born, live and die, only to be reborn again.

If, even for one minute, you’ve ever thought you have spare parts to who you are, things that could be improved about your basic nature, I beg to differ. You only have things that could be discovered and embraced about your basic nature. Everything else is just a performance.

Obviously I am not composing a Dummies Guide to Being A Conformist in this life.

marcel-autograph

Metaphorical Mountain Climbing

It was only when I finally accepted the reality of my situation within the dominant paradigm that things started to really shift and rearrange themselves in my internal landscape. It occurred once I gave voice to the understanding that I would never be fully acceptable regardless of whether I followed every rule laid out before me or I ignored them, whether I shut up or spoke up, whether I was naughty or nice, whether I loved or hated. Sure, the language and particular brand of oppression and punishment varied, but the established and reinforced image of “unacceptability of everything associated with Robyn because she must make amends for the terrible misfortune of not being born white” was overwhelmingly persistent.

This is not an idea I picked up via fanciful and naive notions combined with a misunderstanding about society, rather it’s a perspective that was deliberately drummed (or beaten) into me by various people and circumstances throughout my life, such as the White Australia policy intended. The actuality of my being in this society, in this time, in this body, with this mind and animated by this spirit is considered to be some kind of offense to creation, or likened as such, by many a supreme white god during a brief moment of you’ve-got-a-chip-on-your-shoulder righteous indignation and hold-the-liniment-while-I-deliver a tongue-lashing clarity. And I’m talking about the non-racist supreme white gods, don’t get them confused with those other types(!).

but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive
—Audrey Lorde, A litany for survival

I’m not going to gloss this…it hurt. To fully accept the level of oppression you have been living under when you are not literally running for your life every day, will likely plunge a person into some kind of temporary depression or anger, grief, whatever. It hurt like I didn’t think I would survive it, and to be honest I am not so sure I did. Eventually, it did stop hurting so acutely, as anyone who’s been through anything can tell you. Once the shock and devastation subsided, after the tears and rage exhausted themselves, beyond all that pain and self-pity and many miles past the “why can’t it be different?” phase – I began to understand simple things.

If everything I do is already tainted because it is done by me, it follows that I am free to be and do as I please. Let that taint be my insignia.

It surprises me that there is no more worrying about avoiding potential consequences and no more wasting my energy on frivolous attempts to be understood, welcomed or appreciated. There are no more external masters to please as they have already proven that they cannot be pleased by the likes of me. My days are no longer populated with “Yessirs” unless I totally accept that behaviour in the moment as my choice and my honour. More importantly, I am now in a position to set my own standards and to judge, to draw boundaries and define borders, to erase and replace them at will, but never to be judged. No, I absolutely do not confer upon my oppressors the right to judge me.

It is inevitable in a divide and conquer approach to discrimination, that I would have no peers, so who would be left to judge me in any meaningful way? Of course, I am not oblivious, all manner of people will have a crack at passing judgement on their fellow humans, but these judgements are well below the standard and level of humanity to which I aspire, thus rendering them entirely irrelevant within the context of my life. Similarly, my judgements are irrelevant to rural families, sporting heroes and every single one of the political candidates in the recent election, to point out a few. We are each operating in entirely different reality frameworks.

The mental image I hold for this set of experiences is akin to climbing a mountain through all kinds of weather, until the moment you break through the cloud barrier into pure sunlight and clear air. At this point, we become invisible to those who remain at the base of the mountain.

I posit that there is no greater gift for freedom than to be considered utterly inconsequential and therefore to be consistently overlooked.

I ask you in all sincerity, is there a greater advantage to the cause for freedom than spectacularly failing to inspire people to want to use me or enslave me to serve their own agendas?

My measures and markers for success are no longer dependent on the persistence of white supremacy as a social norm, and in this manner the race war within has ended and the human journey has begun.

*

Cue: the wind

The wild weather
And the wild woman
Have boarded the same train

I am spirit
I am here, deal with it
I’ve kept things gentle for too long now

Everything rests
Everything is supported
Everything continues, each to it’s own nature

The whispering sounds
The roar and rhythm
The drawing of breath, embodiment of truth

I know, it can be a bit too much
A bit too powerful
A bit too chunky, bless their hearts

The forgivers
The aligners
The deniers. Let them flounder.

The sun shines
Water is wet
I am here, be with it.

 

Story #1: Accidental Empathy

I wrote this story 22nd July 1995 with the title Story No. 1 (pretty original huh?) It was inspired by images from the media at the time.

This man comments on the sanity of the woman who drowned her children. He would be the best person to ask in this situation, given the tense, victim-like dishevelment he portrays. He is wearing glasses and he appears to struggle with the load he carries on his shoulders.

“I try not to see,” he thinks. “I became a psychiatrist to find the truth! How can I declare the rationale for one woman’s actions, when she personifies my pain and I hers? I wear her anguish, her misunderstanding and her guilt. She commits the crime in such a real and tangible way that I envy her. I envy her freedom of expression. We cannot harm the children, the innocents, the newborn and as yet unformed ideas, dreams and goals. Just as I murder my own self and every truly creative thought, dream or ideal__”

He blinks. “Too much analysis has gone into this life of mine. She represents that one true desire that was born of pain and sublimated beyond all recognition. I question my life at this point, when I, once again, determine someone’s sanity based on their decision to act.”

The American media are very interested in this case. The people have an opportunity to voice their objection to breaking the rules. The media seem to be very attracted to the public demise of individuals who are driven to express their disharmony without the benefit of acceptable options.

“The news is rarely ever good these days. The news doesn’t rejuvenate and uplift us, give us hope for our lives. I am a man who has studied intensely, the reality of the mind and human behaviour; yet I am not left with any more tools or particular human advantage than this woman, and pure chance separates our destinies.”

“I have children, two sons, beautiful boys and I would never contemplate their death by my hand. I don’t see my sons often enough. I work hard. Their mother is wonderful, I love and need her in such a way that I can’t even begin to communicate with her. We don’t get much time to talk. I work hard for my family.”

“There is no room for changes in this life – not for me, for my colleagues, my squash buddies, my patients or my family. There is a delicate balance, an unstable equilibrium to maintain. To upset this balance with nothing more than a desire for change, a desire to act, is futile and merely causes chaos and crises such as these. I cannot act upon, merely accept and live with this runny nose, this aching back, my crippled toes and immobile sternum – for that is my lot and who am I to question – to judge?”

The thoughts that run through this man’s head flicker across his face momentarily and though he has already submitted his written report to the court, for a brief instant, he is not quite sure what he is going to say. He is not quite sure what his pronouncement will be.

The end.

Smashing beliefs

finger-limes

Crack! glass is shattering all over the place;
the mask splits and I’m dancing around
in my underwear.

Pop! vesicles of finger lime explode on my tongue;
a festival of juicy outbursts and a diversion
for our attention.

Shock! thunder roils those calm seas of of the righteous;
from under the bones, the low rumblings of nature hold a
sense of foreboding.

Click! knowing and awe have become artists-in-residence;
a flowing arrangement of clear vision and virtuous men returning
to simple truths.

*