Art requires neither complaisance nor politeness; nothing but faith, faith and freedom.
— Gustav Flaubert


With a Homeless Friend of Lester Bangs

short story

She began to tell me a story just as we were finishing lunch. I tried to keep her as long as I could knowing I rarely get to see a woman like her up close. She had someplace to be soon after.

She said a man of the streets and the Other came into the cafe where she worked, "Way back when I was 24."  I've been 24, I thought. He was in his 40s and looked like he shaved with a knife. He smoked two hundred cigarettes out on the sidewalk. He kept his bags in a corner. He was polite and lonely.

She and Ruth closed early on that slow Monday night. The thought of sitting down by him was the only noise in her head. She felt obliged, so she did it. She thought about bringing a notebook with her but decided not to. When she told me this story she said she didn’t remember what they talked about in the beginning. “It was one of those ones that are so real you get amnesia because you’re meant to feel it, not think. After a moment of silence he said, 'Tell me something that weighs heavy on your heart.'"

"I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it so much I had no idea what to say,” she said.

“What did you say?” I said.

She complained to him, going on about how no one cares about your pedestrian problems when youre in your twenties. “I hate this place and I want everything and it feels impossible to start because it seems meaningless before it even begins.” He listened to her in stillness. She felt like a jackass even though his eyes weren't judging her. He leaned back in the sofa and said, "Someone once told me that the only thing that matters is what you share with others when you’re uncool. It’s not about being cool, it’s about how cool you are with being uncool.” He sipped his coffee.

She didn’t remember the end of the conversation, which I was disappointed about but I liked what he said. I liked what he said and what he asked her considering he had no place to sleep that night. "It broke my heart and restored my faith in humanity at once," she said.

When he left she gave him more coffee and a leftover bagel. She went home and opened the drawer of all her supplies, her half-schemed ideas, all the pecked-at notebooks and unused pencils. Her camera, paints, cloth and clippings. "It had always been the problem of not knowing what to do next," she said. I knew exactly what she meant.

    “That’s when I started. That’s when it all really changed.”

    “What changed?” I said.

    “ I kept going.”

I could hardly understand what she meant but knew that I wanted to feel that way too. I admired her so much and she had gone so far. I wanted what she had. As I stood up to leave she said, from her seat, “I hope you find it. I think you will.” I wasn’t so sure. She smiled and walked me to the door. I watched her walk down the street after she left me graciously with a kiss on the cheek. She did not turn back.

 Later that night I walked into my apartment and saw my roommate rearranged everything. The first thing I saw was myself in a mirror across from the door. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe it was statistical inevitability, maybe it was everything or nothing or both. I stood there for a moment with myself. Then I went to my desk and did the next thing that came to my head.

Liberty Enlightening the World with child's crown

I ask the students to set themselves up in such a way that they'll learn as quickly as possible. I'm teaching spontaneity, and therefore I tell them that they mustn't try to control the future, or to 'win'; and that they're to have an empty head and just watch. When it's their turn to take part they're  to come out and just do what they're asked to, and see what happens. It's this decision not to try and control the future which allows the students to be spontaneous.  -Keith Johnstone, Impro




I know that I want us to be free. I know that freedom is an action. I know that I know nothing.

The Free Corner is  a mixture and  mirror of what-is and what-could-be reaching for that-which-we-do-not-know.  It's what knocks on my skull, asking to Be in the world which I do not understand. In that action, we time travel together forward-- closer to The End.

mirror | mixed | make | monthly




If you want to know

You follow thru the circles 

And then, who knows what

Nina and Watts ____ US

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.
— Alan Watts