The Rise of Fall (copyright)

3 10 2009

Well, hello Dear World.Is busyness a disease? |The faster I move the less I experience everything and I have been busy this summer as never before. Time is rather like the candy-bar symptom where the package and the cost gets larger as the candy bar inside shrinks. So there appear to be the same number of hours per day but they don’t seem to contain as many minutes. AAh me! And now that I pause to talk with you again I notice yellow leaves here  and there and realize that soon the ‘Hard |Time’ will return, the green world change to white again, and everything will be more difficult to do even down to the micro world—like dropping a small object—screw, nut. Now it is possible to discover it in the grass, but once the snow is here, whatever it was, is gone.

I have been busy distributing my three books Mush and the Big Blue Flower ( a kids book for ages 7 to 70) and Child of the River( a memoir of growing up in wartime London and the Korean Conflict and ‘Shawandasse’ a romance and action novel set in the lovely Shushwap Area of British Columbia where I live.

Self publishing is not an easy road to take for I fear that a great deal of corruption has grown in the Kingdom of Gutenburg. Reading books seems to have become a dying habit and the computer is the new king. The love of literature has been trounced by the love of money and what is or is not high literature is now decided by Oprah and the newspaper industry. If you have  murdered your mother but found God in prison, or you are foreign, female, black or brown skinned there is some chance that the Big Publishers may find you suitable for printing a hundred thousand copies of a limited number of pages. The distributors take sixty percent of the retail price, the retailers want forty percent and the authors are promised royalties which may be five to six percent though they seldom receive it and there is no way of their having access to the economics of the business. Publishers have become so arrogant and princely that they publicly affirm at their websites that not only do they not accept unsolicited manuscripts, but that they refuse to state what they ARE looking for. Authors must chase around the net and amongst expensive writers manuals for agents and they want from ten to twenty percent of books that they manage to sell to  publishers, although they too won’t accept manuscripts from unpublished writers. Pretty encouraging , no? Catch 22? And no one seems to have discovered that to become an accomplished writer is usually the work of a lifetime whereas to become a publisher requires only enough capital to pay the office rent and an editor and the wages of a few of the other Masonry of Mediocrity with which they surround their kingdoms. So institutionalized has this insult become that many of the government and other competitions state that applicants for their bursaries and  grants must have been published by accredited and recognized publishers.In other words the  recognition of the capability to judge good writing has passed from those who DO have the skills (i.e. writers) to those who do not (i.e. publishers)

When you add in the fact that writing to publishers ( who frequently publicly announce a six month wait for an answer) is incredibly time intensive and the cost of mailing extremely expensive and then consider that publishers and agents demand submissions  in double spaced single sided paper you arrive at a time/cost/enviromental situation that merits nothing less than the description ‘a bloody mess’.I therefore decided to do the job myself. One thing is certain and that is the personnel in the world of publishing,distributing, competition making and the rest of the Masonry all have full time jobs and wages. Writers are almost universally penurious.

Well, Dear World , you are probably getting used to my usual rants and that is the one for this Post.

Well let me amend that with a comedic one. My dear friend Carey who is the soul of generosity and the only person I know who is not addicted to money sent me an air ticket to go to hear the Dalai Lama in Vancouver. So by and by I arrive at Kamloops airport which used to be loosey-goosey but this time had beefed up security.My suspender clasps are metal so I had to spread my arms Christ-like and show them my belly and my bum as they performed their sacramental mumbo jumbo with the magic wand. Tribal witch doctors and brujas would have approved this ritual.The finest part of this comedy however was the search for liquids. Did I have any liquids? No Mam!May I search your bag. Yes Mam! (What COULD I have said ?) And there she discovered my half depleted toothpaste tube. “This is liquid she asserted following her manual. The cap was unscrewed , the contents sniffed (Hey getcha hooter out of my toothpaste ! I have to put that stuff in my mouth. Where is your mask ?) The offending dentifrice was then popped into a ziplock bag and replaced in my valise. The purpose of this was to make me feel secure. A diligent official operator was looking after my safety. Hmmm.

All well and good but suddenly my mind was flooded with fearsome possibilities I had never known before. Scenario one. “ I was in the cockpit , officer, when this dark skinned guy with a beard and turban grabbed the pilot by the hair and pulling his head back jammed a toothpaste tube up his left nostril. In a thick middle Eastern accent he said ‘O.K. Meester! We fly now to La Guardia , o.k. or I feel your brains with McCleans’ "

Scenario two. The security woman was a rabid anti-Canadian who had swine fever and was deliberatey spreading it by nasal virus trnsference into peoples toothpaste.

No No it is all too crazy. For the sake of my reputation as a serious writer I rest this matter here. We must live with a certain amount of danger!

Well, and now the Dalai Lama’s Personal Peace presentation at the Vancouver Peace Summit. tickets $330.75 no camera’s no backpacks.This ‘summit’ organized by Victor Chan marks the fourth visit of the Dalai Lama to Vancouver and the Vancouver upper crust had turned out en masse to welcome and  listen to him and the luminaries who shared the performance with him. Outside there were five tent marquees selling refugee woven bags,free Tibet signs and T shirts. Amongst this crowd was a contingent of classy, stern looking ex hippies still wearing their hair long but white now, with their elegant women. I am going to use that ‘elegant’ word a lot  because this was definitely elegant city and no one arrived in a car like my 1989 Toyota Tercel. It is B.M.W., Merc.  and up. And I, blessed with a gifted ticket from head photographer Carey Linde was now in the presence of the recklessly serious or the hopelessly rich. I couldn’t help myself wondering what all these folks did for their daily bread as I joined them as they gathered on the steps leading down to the Chan (a different Chan) Centre.The location was the campus of the University of B.C., a sylvan paradise on the sea’s edge in Vancouver. The crowd that moved slowly down into the  rotunda of the centre were unmistakably comfortable financially, the men casually but expensively dressed , their women elegant in haut couture.There were security people as everywhere these days, but apart from the R.C.M.P.who were generally inconspicuous, the in-house security were affable people in ordinary suits. Tickets were looked at. No one was patted down. Lets face it, this mob was just Elegant wall to Elegant wall Privelige – the sort of people you don’t pat down. We entered the towering auditorium, sat in our comfortable seats and surveyed one another. There was no one who looked alarming. None, thankfully exhibited the ugly and dangerous signs of poverty. The audience was ninety five percent white Anglo-Saxon middle class and liked itself. The lights dimmed. A Tibetan children’s group played Tibetan music with controlled precision and were applauded. The females wore beautiful blue silk tight-fitting dresses. Steven Chan introduced the Summit. Accolades, compliments,acknowledgements, were uttered and the session began as the lights dimmed and the Dalai Lama, the Worlds Leading Peace Icon of pacificism  and safe love entered on the arm of his  interpreter and sat down in the middle of the resource people.

These , in the morning session were all people who were ‘successful’ in their chosen fields where ‘successful’ could be defined as ‘known to the media and rewarded by the media as marketable public property’. In the morning session all were male and their expertise ranged from books on Buddhism and spirituality to the invention of E-Bay. The participants during their expositions re-iterated the topics which they were given—personal and world peace, compassion, and forgiveness.All of them in spirit or action had become famous for their  attempts to transform the world into a better place—though I still cannot see how Canada’s leading misandrist Kim Campbell fitted into these categories.

I personally resonated with activist and Nobel Laureat Jody Williams, the woman who almost single handedly persuaded the U.N to ban landmines using any means available to her including creating an exploding area that the U.N ‘suits’ as she called them had to cross to get to their offices.I enjoyed her pronouncements “Compassion isn’t pity. Compassion is action’There but for the grace of god go I’ Peace is justice plus equality. Sensitivity is a  waste of emotion. Get up off your butt and go to work.We need to force people to recognize humanity when they want to hide behind their suits.”

But here ! Let me give you  a few of the phrases thrown at the audience without acknowledging the authors because there was no controversy at this  summit, no dissension, no reservations. This was a motherhood meeting and whilst I have no objection to motherhood it can become a mental , emotional and intellectual escape from reality. As an old  hippie revolutionary I have believed all my life in the values that this meeting epitomized—peace, love, compassion, forgiveness. But the complexity of our global society,  the manner in which  globalism makes us complicit not merely in peace actions, but in warmongering as well, confuses us all. We don’t know where our pension monies are being invested, our municipal fundings, our national monies, our bank savings.We have become dependent for jobs on the five trillion war economy in the U.S . We are confused when humanitarian military escapades elide into warfare as in Afghanistan when we were told that the actions were to emancipate women with no explanation why it should be male only bodies in the body bags with two exceptions despite the female military presence and despite the constant reiteration of the word equality. Or why no one mentions oil pipelines.We aren’t told how many civilians we are killing. Spin doctors abound .We are lied to by politicians who are being lied to by powerful allies with vested interests in murdering people –anyone really;anywhere. Some of us have become skeptical, to say the least. And if we are perceptive we have come to associate money, large visible movements of money as the shadow of butchery, militarism, weaponry, control disguised as security and corruption. I’m in there with Jody Williams. Give us the facts! Is that negativity, small mindedness? But I rant again. Here are some of the phrases I jotted down at this summit.

‘The object of all religion is compassion( catholic torture?me ). .. You must yourself become the change that you wish to see in the world …compassion means to suffer with… respect other’s lives. They are human beings. They are part of me. real compassion is uiversal..we are not helpless. We have a choice.. we need to force people to recognize humanity when they want to hide behind their suits…emptiness is the space under the mind, like childishness ..the self is an illusion.. there are 27million slaves today more than ever before…transformation is one on one at a time giving opportunity.. the main subject in school should be awareness,,- of self and others—global change agents..gathering of hearts and minds.. peace and justice,hope compassion and togetherness… It is time to view the world through a new glass..special tribute to women..peace is within our grasp… more love and forgiveness ..goodness matters..more love and forgiveness.. some of the issues of World peace are issues of humanitarianism. Few of us understand the depths of this possibility..world peace and personal peace…there are seven billion people .. people are basically good—2 hundred million people killed in the 20th century….we need to recognize the nature of a dysfunction of the human mind, there is an illusion of the separation of one person from another……

And then , from Nobel Laureat Jody Williams, the feisty activist who was honoured for a1most single-handedly  forcing the U.N to ban land mines. “compassion isn’t pity. Compassion is action, the ‘there  but for the grace of god go I’ feeling. Peace is justice plus equality. Sensitivity is a waste of emotion. get up off your butt and get to work.”

Well, that is the one that resonated most strongly with me. Peace is justice plus equality. And all I would  add to that is that the equality should be real EQUAL equality and not a campaign slogan for privelige. And since people aren’t born equal  except spiritually equal we will have to supplement the de facto unequal ones with love and kindness.

But there were many high spots to this fascinating and inspirational summit; many committed people exemplifying lives of courage and dedication to the highest principles.Another of them was the magnificent voice of Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis accompanied by Rena Sharon. Mario has performed in 40 charity galas specially for children with cancer.Tenor silk on a plate of caring sensitivity.Gut wrenchingly beautiful.

And it was a beautiful experience to be there and be part of a mass meeting of highly intelligent people who were directing their hearts towards idealistic goals and it is cheap and easy and counter-productive to criticise this summit for it elitism. The fact is that those people  were there, contributing a significant sum of money towards a future physical Ceentre. That surely is a generous  gifting for those who are well off  but haven’t yet discovered their legitimate personal niche for propagating social change themselves, but who are  none-the-less animated by love for their fellow beings and a concern that things must be better.Change must occur on a field of consent or else it is tyranny.I would add that the event was diminished by the absence of young people in their thoughtful teens, and by the perpetuation of the myth that women were still worse off  than males in our social structures despite a mass of studies that plainly indicate the opposite. I was a little saddened that the rampant genital mutilation of newborn male children continues at horriffic rates right here in Canada. Men die seven years before women—a rising statistic  and males have significantly less spent on their health nationally. These surely are inequalities that we CAN modify in Canada with a sensitized Prime Minister. Covert gender inequality is a landmine field that cannot avoid destroying the amity between the sexes at the precise time that the industrial revolution is also destroying families and , more dangerously, the man/woman alliance without which  we would never have traversed the brutal frozen millennia of ice ages and predatory animals finally to attend this wonderful symposium.We men and women must love one another, couple, raise children with love and guard and feed them. The gentle Lamas’ exhortation to be compassionate is worthless if we fail to reproduce. Re-incarnation is of two  types. One, the making and raising of children. Two, the fashioning of language and ideas  that  make the world a better place even after we have died.With those ideas I will close this post. Goodbye Dear World.The principle reason for making the world a better place is, of course, pragmatic. It works better that way  and when the intricate mechanisms of the universe are better understood they will be seen to be pure practicality and consonent with our highest moralities.Adios

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