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FIELD NOTES ~ 05.21.24

Updated: May 22



"Blessed are the weird people - poets, misfits, writers, mystics, heretics, painters and troubadours - for they teach us to see the world through different eyes" (Jacob Nordby), eyes through which paintings, performances, poems, and all else that exists in their field notes come to life.


Scratchings, sketches, words, photos, memories, taped and glued-in treasures, intentions and recipes for success, my own field notes serve as a gift to the future, as the evidence of art yet to come.


Just as Susan Sontag wrote about her library, amongst other things my field notes are an archive of longings; my longings and my stories.


And “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” (Jonathan Gottschall) But "we are all unreliable narrators), aren't we? "Not just in the way we tell our stories to others, but how we tell them to ourselves." (unk)


However, as my friend Clifford said, "Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?"


Right?


So it's story time, and this one is true, or so I'm told.

From the get-go I realized that I had a lot to say, and that I could say it all in my field notes to use or share one down the road. But by saying the same thing twice and in a different way, semantics might well be my savior by letting me say twice as much and in just twice the amount of time, effectively sharing lot more than I ever could by writing it down just once, and in only one way, but in half the time, or so I'd thought.


The real problem though wasn't the volume of thoughts I had rolling around in my head, mostly on the right side, but that I could barely read my own handwriting. It was like pointillism gone wrong.


So, in a desperate attempt to bring clarity to my field notes, aka my wanderings, to make them legible, and therefor immortal if-you-will, and still say twice as much in just twice the time, I started writing with Letraset, (rub-on lettering for those who don't know what that is).


But with it taking more than twice the time it took to write things down once, the semantics approach of saying everything twice but in different ways while using Letraset defied logic, so I went back to saying it once, but this time using pencils with erasers; those pink wedge-shaped erasers that you slip over the top of your pencil.


You know the ones right?


I love those erasers. More collecting them than actually using them. I found out later that they also come in white.




So, using a pencil, I wrote the following in my field notes . . . "For a period of time, a long time, and even more so now, a big concern of mine was and still is the well-being of our dear Mother Earth." I'd read what David Suzuki wrote, and I wrote that down as well, that "We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they're going to sit."


Wow, I thought. Because sadly we are, and so, because I was sure she'd get it and that it might help, I wrote this in my field notes for Greta Thunburg,


the whole,

world,

is greater than (a)part,

or,

or it’s;

(a)part from itself,

which,

from either direction,

semantically speaking,

is something I think I'd wanted to say publicly for a very long time, because we all need to know that it's either one way or the other.


Choose wrong and we're fucked.


I did however, forget to send it to Greta.


But I did however, remember to write it down in my field notes.



And then, partly because of what David Suzuki wrote and partly because I struggle to reach the higher levels of thought that I could achieve prior to my accident and Acquired Brain Injury, I reminded myself that things didn't have to be complicated, that I could keep it all simply, and show kindness and respect to and for our dear Mother Earth, and hopefully inspire others to do the same, by, (and this was so cliche), simply living in the moment, and by spending time with all the beauty she has to offer. So I wrote that down as well.


After that, because I'd written it down on the previous page of my field notes, I recalled what I assume was something Joan Didion first wrote in her own notebook before adding it to her 1966 essay titled 'On Keeping a Notebook':


"Remember what it was to be me:

that is always the point.

It is a difficult point to admit.

We are brought up in the ethic that others,

any others,

all others,

are by definition more interesting than ourselves;

taught to be diffident,

just this side of self-effacing.

Our notebooks give us away,

for however dutifully we record what we see around us,

the common denominator of all we see is always,

transparently,

shamelessly,

the implacable 'I'."


But,

and I was told this by more than 2 people,

probably 3,

that I was lost,

and so it seems I was.


I was,

I was,

I was,

living in chaos.


At every crossroad,

every junction if-you-will,

over and over again,

like Monday mornings at a bad job,

I was melting into puddles of confusion,

all the while being bombarded with thoughts.


Thoughts borrowed,

original thoughts,

imitative,

counterfeit,

infectious,

puritanical,

corrupt,

normal and insane thoughts.


Commandeered,

annexed and influenced thoughts.


Simple,

sophisticated,

naive,

innocent,

credulous,

incredible and suspicious thoughts.


With my zero-gravity knee pads on I plunged to the ground,

praying to the universe for order,

looking for guidance.


And at that moment,

the one I was in,

the visionary hand of someone,

a visionary I guess,

from heaven perhaps,

a heaven,

any heaven,

just someplace higher than me,

reached down from above,

and while gently stroking my brow,

in a reassuring voice said . . .

"Stop thinking. Just stop."


So I did,

and all became quiet,

still,

serene,

and comfortable.


Very comfortable.


Not a thought troubled my mind but one;

"How do I live without thought?" I asked the visionary voice.


"Follow me" the voice answered.


But it didn't feel right,

so that implacable 'I' went left instead.


I'm quite pleased that I listened to my instincts because now, as did Joan Didion,

"I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be."




Then, in deciding where to go and what to do next,

my first thought was say to whomever might be reading this,

that if you are lost, you should call my dad, because he found 'me' more than once.


The second was to say that if I were a woman I would most likely be a lesbian.


My third thought was that for those with an ABI, maybe not all of them and generally speaking, you should know that "Nothing can be taught. All must be learned."


(I'm not sure who wrote that, but I think it was me.)


After that I recalled what George Wald claimed, that "we are the products of editing, not authorship."


But I was that white-haired boy with big ideas who wanted to be the author of his own life, so remembering that I'd forget, I saved things and wrote things down in my field notes with a pencil so that "the days, weeks, months and years of my life wouldn't have to fight to the death to hold onto their dreams of lasting forever" (unk).


This is a true story, or so I'm told.


But true or not,

I wrote it down in my book of field notes,

which begins with "Blessed are the weird people . . ."



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