Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the nice journal: april 9, 2013

Once again, I must get to the Carolina Dermatology Center, Dr. Tateen. I had to go there to get a growth cut off my ear last May, something they call "basil cancer" or somesuch. Now there's a new growth that Dr. Eihger at Eagle Physicians Corporation thinks has to be looked at, similar scalpel need from the funny, Brooklyn-born Tateen. Looking forward to seeing him again. He told me he loves novels but he can't find any he can read. He reads the first chapter, then throws the book away. I gave him the best novel in my bookshop, Giuseppe Lampedusa's Il Gattopardo, translated as The Leopard (N. Y. Pantheon, 1958). So April 30, when I have to go again, I'll surprise him with Doctor Zhivago or Teo Savory's To A High Place. I'll enjoy doing that.

Charlie drove me to the doctor's office yesterday. And he'll probably be nice enough to drive me to Dr. Tateen at the end of the month. Kate Dunnagan and I visited Paul Lavack yesterday. Paul's out of the hospital. And, last night, I saw Kate again–and Carol, Tom, Sarah, and Valerie Warren, too–for an Occupy Energy Working Group Meeting here in the bookshop. We're working on an action entitled "The Raleigh Convergence," coming Earth Day weekend . . . bicyclists from all over the state converging to work for alternative energy (alternative to mountain top removal, coal, fracking. alternatives to oil and nuclear fission). Interesting how we citizens have to work against our political leaders! You'd think "political leaders" would lead, politically. Instead, they have to be pushed and, often, pushed out of the way! We're having an artist sign party, for the event, here in the bookshop's Back Room this Sunday, 3 p.m. (Earlier I'm off to I.R.C. to serve a free breakfast there, with my fellow Unitarians--something we do once a month at IRC and once a month at the bookshop!)

I felt pretty bereft in the bookshop yesterday. Because Mo wasn't here anymore. She left without any notice after a year and a half.  She meant to leave with at least a few days notice, but she got angry at me and used that as an excuse to leave with about 4 hours notice!!! After a year and a half. Fortunately, I've worked with young men and women in their 20s all my life, and I'm used to their ways, which includes appropriately enough getting bored with idealistic enterprises they join for awhile to try them out. They get over-enthusiastic and then overly disabused. They're going to change the world in a flash, and get burned out trying. I know I  did. That may also be Mo's passionate style, which I admire tremendously. But.   

     In the Occupy Movement, as a woman member in her 30s shared yesterday, there were a lot of men and women in  their 20s who just left. No notice, no warning, no nothing. They seemed to be responsible people, but they simply dropped working groups that they had agreed to bottom-line: Education, Civil Rights, Employment–and several other crucial working groups: just kerblang!
     I have had over 40 young men and women work for me and with me in the 47 years I've been member and a director of Unicorn Foundation and Unicorn Press, an alternative small press craft poetry pubisher and peace and justice activity. Over 40 who worked two years or more full-time. Half of them dropped out after those two years in anger and resentment, justifications flying. Too much work, too little pay, impossible working conditions, misunderstandings–all true. But never taking responsible for their part of all the mess. Accepting praise for the goodness, yes, but unable to see their part in the disarray.
     Mo says the reason she failed was I was living in the bookshop space. You can see her point: an old man who is obviously camping out in the bookshop office. Unappetizing. But was that really 100% of the affair? In any case, why does she think she failed? We kept a vital, enviable, successful public community space going.  We did this together.  Without any money. That's failure? Of course, as usual, ol' Al is left to pick up the pieces and carry it on!
I certainly intend to carry it on, as I have for 60 years now. I'm not a quitter! Mo will join the 20,000,000 college students in America . . . she says. Half of those drop out, too. I wished her "good luck," and I meant it.As the French say, "Bon chance!" Love will guide me. Peace inside me.

Charlie had a great suggestion from George Huger. Charlie married George's mother 18 or more years ago. George is a wizard at computer stuff, the new internet entrepreneurship, that kind of thing.
     Charlie's schtick is Permaculture gardening just as mine is books (book-making, book-selling, book-writing, book-publishing, teaching about books). Charlie teaches about Permaculture. Gives workshops for which he might charge $500–$1,000 a person. He has one workshop now with 22 subscribers.
     Anyway, George was giving Charlie some suggestions about how he could use the new youthful technology to further his service, his Permaculture ministry, and make even more money, broaden his approach, etc.
     The advice was simple. "Charlie," George recommended, "walk around your garden with a smartphone . . . and take a couple of interesting pictures. Then write for an hour about them. And blog it." That was step one. The second step, which George said he'd help Charlie with, is marketing and promotion (to build up an internet following). And the third and final step is how to turn all that into money.
     I have no interest in steps two and three.  But step one sounds terrific. As you know, I write journals. Completed ten (10) last year, and I'm working on another ten, like this one and my new Criminal Journal, Cat's Journal, Childhood & Old Age, Another Publishing Journal, Glenwood Coffee & Books, Al's New York Journal, etc. What if, when I talk about someone, Charlie for example, I take a picture of them and include it in the journal, in the blog that I usually create from my journals?

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