Friday, April 13, 2012

Action and Thought Instances

Spilled the last of my coffee after staying awake the entire night, yeah, it was also the last of my money-so that makes it even better. About an hour before the tragic spill, I had walked about the lakeshore. Trying to catch the sunrise or trying to catch something. But the sky was too cloudy and the weather a bit chilly so to keep warm I kept moving instead. All I found was wet sand, a family going fishing in the early morning hours and a photographer taking pictures of me as I walked back toward Second City.

I clumsily scraped a knuckle upon a board at work with the sign “Safety Zone” on it. Not very safe to have the sign where it is, but I’m no manager. Instead I continue my work and two days later I bump the same knuckle with the scrape against objects-unintentionally-and become more annoyed as this continues eventually kicking something in anger…I hate it when previous wounds continue to be irritated.

Chopping down on chips with guacamole is only wonderful when the guacamole has flavor, straight avocado, where’s the excitement in that? But as I much on these chips, I feel at a loss, no more guacamole to dip them in…

Don’t take your eyes off the road, Kevin screamed in my ear after punching me in the arm. I had nearly creamed the vehicle in front of us. Thankfully the brakes were new. If I had been driving the car I have now, Pontiac Grand Am, we would never have made it.

She and I partner up for the writing exercise. I had never met or seen her before, I forget her name too. But she was a beautiful blonde from the United Kingdom, London in fact. Don’t know if she was visiting or came to the States to study, but she was definitely someone I would like to talk to again. There seem to be fewer people I wish to talk with each day.

Noise around me, a dim light in the bar, and jazz playing-no shitting you!-jazz. This bar is my kind of bar. At this bar I can be myself as I am a regular here. Many people come to keep drinking far into the night as other bars close, but I come to read and to drink. Not shitting you Mike! To read, write and talk-and yes-listen to jazz.

Ever watch the news, or hear someone say, or see them do, or know about the lie, or the blatant disregard, or the complete misunderstood retaliating statement, or something-many things that just make me want to throw up! I tend not to converse or wish to meet the people that cause me to puke from the utter stupidity and nonsense that makes me question the direction of human evolution…Are we truly evolving for the better?
Justin Vaisnor

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I DON'T Want to Conform

I look around at myself and the world. The evolution of mankind that has taken place is extensive and quick.
            I consider myself to be lazy, but perhaps it is because I like to think in depth in everything I do and observe my life around me. The world is getting up and acting so fast without questioning their motives behind their actions. “Society and the media showed and told me and my family to this-so I shall not question and act as I am told.” This is a mistake I believe. If one is for individual liberty safety and a global community that works together then what is needed is not extensive commonness and mediocrity, but individuality. While respecting everyone’s individuality.
            I guess I should be saying something about my life and the trivial matters I am affected by. But I feel affected by the world and the actions people make which I have no choice but to trust as they produce and I must consume (food and materials and immeasurable entertainment for my leisure).
            Alright, alright, I’ll conform for a moment and mention something, that bugs me. Youtube, the voting of like or dislike. There are some videos where the music artist is not well-known but is up and coming, they may have a beautiful voice, great musical talent, a great music video and the song is sung about peace or love-it doesn’t particularly matter-and yet there are numerous dislikes. It makes me wonder if people are hitting dislike just for the fuck of it or are against music and so while trying to find their soul searching through endless youtube music videos, many filled with great expression or combination of tones, melodies, and images, they realize the people making these videos are all conforming to the trend of downloading a useless waste of time onto the internet-and know that people will watch if bored or procrastinating enough-and so dislike everything that is in their lives and dislike themselves for going on youtube for they themselves conformed to the mediocrity of watching a bright screen and not looking about their world to see the beauty and simplicity of life, of cultures formed around simplicity being sucked away to the conforming idea of greed, power, and civil liberty abuses to make people of a like mind and hand money to a rich few that will grow richer as they will obtain more wealth and more ability to obtain more wealth…yeah, that went a little far.
            I watch Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s South Park. There is an episode called Ass Burgers. And a message in the episode (at least I got one from it that they didn’t even try to form in the first place nor outright mention): The ten-year old Stan Marsh sees the world as pointless and shitty. A group of people tells him then tries to show him that the world is that way all the time and there is a reason people can’t see the world as it is-which isn’t shitty-but a varying repetitive world that is projected as an illusion of blissful leisure and without worry or stress: created by a group of genetically mutated people, by aliens, or by a ruling class that knows secrets no one else knows; but really I saw the problem being: oneself. We blame problems on everything in our world around us as out of our control. Take control of your own life, don’t go to see that movie or watch that show or go to the mall for something you don’t really need. Maybe leisure is listening to a new band while trying to play a new instrument as you listen, or going out to volunteer, taking a hike, turning off your phone and talking to friends (be sure you mention you wish to talk and not talk to the backs of phones as they text or explore the internet). For life is not on a screen, it is in front and all around. The reason the world is the way it is, is because of people getting up and performing actions that had changed the world. We have no one to blame but ourselves if the world is the way it is because of faults or mistakes, negligence or not seeing all possible flaws or terrible consequences that could befall us. We have only ourselves to blame. That is why I think long and deep into everything around me, to not conform and make the same mistake twice, three times, four-Damnit!-stop getting completely trashed and wasting a perfectly capable brain that can do more for you-and others-than you assume!...blame-and then change!-yourself, and find a way to do so for the better. (But first find what the “better” truly is.)
            This may just be a journal entry, and just my thoughts but, doesn’t that count as non-fiction? Anyway, some imagery: I type this on my laptop atop of a brown desk beside two windows that provide my room much light, especially in the afternoon when the sun hits the leaves of the tree outside my window and gives me a feeling of bliss and hope as the light streams through to hit walls of beige like gold sandy beaches with waves breaking along a spotted shaded shore from tall palm trees. I sometimes lounge upon my bed as one would on a hammock stretched out under the sun with the only thought being: when will this end?
Justin Vaisnor

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On Writing Processes

by David Marcus Karp

          This is a journal I wrote about half a year or so ago and, even though I have learned more about writing and processes since, I still think this stands out for me! Enjoy!:

            I believe that the writing processes of one’s pieces are as important as the pieces themselves. This is a strong belief of mine, as it can add a lot to the plot and the characters in general.
            To admit it, the thing that made me really realize this and make me want to write about it is the play Red, which I got to see this month at the Goodman. In the play, Rothko had a process to the particular pieces that made the theme of the show. He knew that they represented something inside him that not only fascinated him, but scared him. Yet, there comes the bravery, beauty, and tragedy of art. Depending on the situation, pushing yourself to another level is part of the art. I could go on with this for hours, but I will try to condense this as much as I can.
            Here are some examples from my own work: For the first poetry series I’m writing about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and my travels to the Middle East, I set up my kitchen to look very urban looking, with a single fluorescent light illuminating the place, and the table being my work place set up in the middle of the kitchen. I set up the kitchen this way as it makes me feel like I am actually in a bit more of an urban (and I mean middle east urban, or even European urban) environment and I can feel the atmosphere around me as I work, inspiring me and rubbing off of me onto my work. I want my work to have somewhat of a raw, urban, “graffiti like” feeling to it, and I believe having myself in an atmosphere that mimics it is very helpful to put me into the writing.
            Another example, for my novel, my character is going on a journey of sorts (I won’t say much), so to write it, I have come up with a plan where I will also travel around the city with my laptop and write in a different place every day, as my character is going, so I can, in a way, see through the eyes of the character. In many cases, my work will have different processes or mindsets when then they are created.
            So in other words, I believe that sometimes it’s appropriate to put yourself into the mind and the world of your stories. If you surround yourself with whatever inspires you and the story, whether it be music, environment, place, time, I say put yourself in there! Let the world take you for a bit as you go on your own journey, because I believe you can learn a lot that way.
            The writing process doesn’t only make the artwork, it is part of the artwork, and it should illuminate on the work. As for me, I want to feel what the character does, where the character goes, and why he is the way he is. Of course, it is different with everything that is written, but I believe there is a beauty there when you can feel so connected to your artwork. It is your world, take advantage of it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Tried To Write...

I sat down to start writing-not this entry you are reading-but to work on one of the many books I have either started or had an idea to make onto paper as the next great novel in mankind’s history. I have started many books, and a few that I decided to make into screenplays and vice versa, how much have I finished? Well I feel like Franz Kafka the German speaking Jewish Czech writer, who never finishing a piece of work to his complete satisfaction (aside from maybe Metamorphosis). But I live in the age of distractions, the age of overloading of knowledge: books upon books, plays, movies, television, magazines, short stories, poetry, music-oh don’t forget the abundance of music!-I know friends that are distracted by sports, and yet complain about government. See and feel the pain of driving inefficient transportation, and yet are forced to do so for a job to get food on the table and water to continue running. Just as my soul, life, and body feel incomplete without love, it feels incomplete without my work being finished, my friends family and my world-our world-being incomplete without a genuine and virtuous reason to continue getting up each day. Our reason is not fame or fortune, at least not for everyone. But then what is it, to live life like a party? a game? a risk to take?...let me ask you: what’s at risk? Who would that affect? What would you gain? Is it worth it?
            Welcome to my “non-fictionalized” world. It feels so much like a fantasy horror-like that of a Kafka story-that no wonder I wished for film to be a “career”. I guess I wished to no longer see me and everyone go through the motions unhappily doing what society dictated because no one can no longer tolerate, observe, understand-we just disagree. And what a piece of non-fiction this is! All I said was I sat down: I sat at my desk with a chair and wheels that roll on the carpet of my room. However, now I have my feet up on my bed and my computer on my lap-warming it. I stopped writing about midway through the last paragraph as I was distracted (not by any media or cultural thing) but because I seriously thought my nails could use a trim. They have been looking worse lately. Possibly due to my “nasty habit” which I agree-it is quite bad. Some of my nails are bumpy and yes a little yellow at the tips of the nails. The skin on my fingers is soft, as I haven’t practiced the guitar in some time. All the work at my dead-end part-time job is preventing me, however I need the job in order to pay off student loans, and so what is preventing me is my debt, but I wished for an education in the field of film, and now I have one-whatever that is-but can’t get a good job unless I go into further debt or unless I sell out and care little of the world and environment around me. I could say: if not me, then someone else will. True, perhaps, but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself, I’m barely able to now, especially when this affected by the world.
            People say the world isn’t fair. Okay I’ll take that for a fact then. But fair or not, how can one justify war and killing people, or a single person? The person can be a terrorist. Then jail is perfectly fine to lock up a psychopath, a sociopath, or just keep the irresponsible idiots out of the decision making processes. Right now, locking up so many citizens in a country claiming to be free, it’s not just ironic-it’s plain stupidity. The prison system, the judicial system, the police, the education system, our world: it’s being run like a business…one that’s too big to fail?
            Alright, I’m sorry for typing at my computer and spewing crap all about in the form of language and words. The trees outside are starting to grow green again and for me, that’s hope. Of life continuing to cycle, to continue on. Change is all about me, even if I’m twenty-three and still live in my parent’s house…(sigh) c’est la vie.
Justin Vaisnor

Thursday, March 15, 2012

At The Lake: A Journal Entry

By David Marcus Karp

As we walked through the marble stone gate, we were presented by a small pathway for runners and, next to it, a wall that went to about our chest. We quickly climbed over the wall and, revealed to us, were large concrete steps that led down to the lakefront.
            We made our way down briskly (or jumped our way down rather, since the steps were more built for giants) and stood right over the water. It swayed with a calmness that was almost silent and the waves were nowhere near menacing. Out in the distance, you saw the sky, almost absent of all sunlight, meet the water. It was a perfect meeting of the abyss and the unknown, as both seemed to continue on forever in peaceful coexistence.
            We turned around to an equally pleasant scene. On the right side of the steps we had  just made our way down, there were three kids, all dressed in black, and one of them playing an acoustic guitar. You couldn’t make out exactly what he was playing, but they seemed content and the notes went well with the surprisingly warm breeze that haunted the moment. In front of us, on top of the wall, the couple that was making out were cuddled together in each other’s arms, watching the same silent water that we had come to notice. Their hands were locked together and they smiled with the content of each other’s company. To the left, a few friends were just hanging out, talking, and enjoying the warm night.
            There weren’t too many people around besides them and us, except for a few people that still walked the path behind the wall, their upper body bobbing up and down like puppets on an oversized stage, their lower half cut off from view by concrete. It had just reached the end of any sunlight that shined on the day, and would be totally dark in just a few minutes.
            Watching…no…feeling the scene around me, I took a few deep breaths and realized that I had no worries at that moment. I had no fears, I didn’t feel anything bad, I felt content, I felt like nothing could hurt me. I had good company in a peaceful home-away-from-home setting.
            I turned to T.J., one of my best friends, and we talked about life after college and the future ahead. Unlike me, he is graduating on time and hoping to go off to Northern Ireland for a year for a service project. As for me, I have an extra semester here, which I can’t complain about, and walk next year. It’s going to be nice staying in Chicago though and see where life takes me. But, at the moment, life took me to the lake after a crazy weekend, and every ounce of me was happy with that.
            You see, T.J. and I spent the whole weekend on close to no sleep. It was maybe a total of seven hours of sleep in 72 hours.  Thanks to a bout of insomnia, I didn’t sleep at all Friday night and instead, went to my favorite cafĂ© when they opened at 5:30 am and had breakfast, then went home, took a little 3 hour nap, and went off for another day of adventures with T.J. The next night, I feel sleep around 3:00am (which was really 4:00am because of daylight savings time…damn it) and woke up about 5 hours later to start the busy day. T.J. stayed up until about 5:00 a.m. Friday night, but still didn’t get much sleep. The next night, though I didn’t ask him, we were still out pretty late together so I’m sure he was up awhile.
            I’m not sure if this was the contributing factor to the peace that surrounded me at that moment on the lake, but there was also another feeling. In addition to the calm night that surrounded me, there was also a looming air of something beginning or even ending. It felt like being home but, at the same time, being lost. Lost in something unfamiliar yet unthreatening.
            I climbed the small ladder that lead down to the water to see how cold it was and as I hung off the yellow metallic ladder and stuck my hand in the water, the sensation of the softest fabric you could ever touch warmed my skin, silently and motherly. It held my hand and greeted me with confidence. I slowly took my hand out, climbed up the ladder slowly, and told T.J. that it wasn’t too cold.
            We talked and joked for a few minutes as a few stars appeared in the darkness above us like very distant headlights, and as we watched them, I listened to my breath and let that same unknown feeling of happiness, content, and unknown flow through my mind and my body. It did feel like a beginning or an end. It’s silence was the loudest poem to echo in my ears. I turned to T.J.
            “Doesn’t this kind of feel like the ending of something. Like a movie, or something.”

The Thoughts at a Single Moment

As I drove down an interstate to a relative’s distant house, I noticed an American flag. Normally I would have thought nothing of it, or if I did, I would think of the freedom the flag represents. Lately however, the flag is used for what symbols are always used as, nationalism and propaganda, but - for our flag specifically – the forgotten values and knowledge attained at the time of the American flag’s first formation, of our founding fathers true personalities – though the personalities of some of our leaders haven’t changed – we have forgotten that government is opposed to freedom and longs to expand influence and obtain more resources continuously – this includes human lives: rather through voluntary cooperation (usually working just to live and provide), ignorant enslavement, or - hopefully never, though seemingly unavoidable - enslavement of the many serving the few. This destiny is possible to escape; the thought process of the many needs an awakening. If governments are to be run by people once again and the corporations (which are only concerned for profits and not human or animal life) are eliminated from the influential positions they uphold currently (this includes the private bank firm of the Feds) then peace will not be too far out of reach, but it would most certainly be closer. Thus the stars and planets of our galaxy would be closer as that is the next frontier, space. Mankind exploring space peaceably is the goal our society should be striving for. A planet united not through religion, or a nations flag or even a corporation’s symbol, but the world’s symbol: Earth. A glob peacefully united while divided, this is how mankind can look at our existence, and then maybe religion will be a thing of the past and knowledge will be the true thing to seek, as it is the only real thing to believe. Religion is still possible to believe in, though as an extremist view, that belief can be harmful. Any belief to an extreme can and is harmful (if not to the believer, then the belief is hurtful to others).
            And this all came from the viewing of a symbol, an American flag fluttering in the breeze. What I really thought of at that moment when my eyes saw the symbol has much to do with how the flag looked at that moment. The flag whipped in the wind, without control, but the wind did not have the strength to unfurl the flag entirely to view completely. This, to me, spoke more words than any one picture speaking volumes. The flag had hidden stars or lines that were incomplete. The flag pointed down toward the soil of the earth, symbolizing to me, a nation on the decline, one that has been for a long period of time (in more ways than one). The wind, or the course of evolution and life, whipped the flag about as it had no control of it’s hanging. The stars were secrets hidden from us and the lines are half-truths, or blocking and fogging up, just and right morals. This is done by the mainstream media, which uses questions where none are needed for something like torture. The media uses doublespeak (what George Orwell warned and spoke of in his book 1984), now Americans even doublethink, and have debates when morals are forgotten. The American nation is an empire of corporations and of a military industrial complex that Eisenhower spoke of. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt said Presidents are chosen and not elected. I like to think that this started after 1913 when the Federal Reserve took control of the country, after that, America became a tool for the bankers to one day seize control of the world. And by control, I mean no freedom and the enslavement of humanity. The last president that attempted to abolish the Federal Reserve was Kennedy (although sadly he supported war and had a few other stances that I oppose). Now freedom, and the exploration of space, is on hold and at a full stop.
I am hopeful in the kindness that rests in each one of us, but I am afraid of the ignorance of many, the laziness of others (even myself at times), the consuming blindness Americans live in, the television they sit in front of, and the slow take over of what freedom is while we consume nearly unconsciously. The walls are closing in, as they say. And as for being safe, we can be pelted by an asteroid, struck by lightening, killed by human error at the wheel – rather on a cell phone or changing the radio station – or the house collapsing due to faulty construction, an air borne disease, or food poisoning; the point is: we can die a number of ways, but to give up freedom for safety is ludicrous, or as they said give up liberty for freedom (which is the same damn thing and again is doublespeak). I believe we need to help each other and be happy-as it looks, we have only one life-lets not spoil ours, mine, yours, theirs, everyone. “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either” -Benjamin Franklin.

There is no word more powerful, more evasive, more elastic, nor more neglected in foreign policies, mainstream cinema and everyday life than that word called love.

Justin Vaisnor

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Fallen Memory

By David Marcus Karp

            It was a beautiful day as I entered the second tower. Inside, around the lobby, flags from different countries waved over me as my father and I entered security. We went through a metal detector, and then, with some of the people who were on line both in front and behind us, we boarded the elevator under a sign that said “Top of the World Observation Deck”
            I was going to the top of the world today. I was so excited. I remember being very giddy when we stepped in the elevators. The doors closed and we were off. As we went higher and higher, a monitor tracked the flights we went up. My ears popped a little as the car went higher and higher into the sky.
            “That’s where my office used to be.” said my father.
            We kept getting closer and closer and the automated message started. “Ladies and Gentleman: welcome to…The Top…Of the World.”
            The metallic door opened and I ran over to the window to look out. I was flying! I was higher than all the Central Park pigeons and Jersey Shore seagulls! I felt like New York City was mine. The cars below looked like ants parading through concrete tunnels. The Hudson River was glowing in the rising sun. I could see birds. Clouds. Rooftops. Airplanes.
            My dad took me around the floor, pointing to where he thought our house was across the river in Jersey. He pointed to Times Square, where I was to see my first Broadway show that night, Les Miserables, and then to Central Park and the GWB. It felt like I was a superhero, looking over the world (inspired by the legend himself…Spiderman!) and I could just fly in and save anybody from this height whether they were Downtown, in Brooklyn, or in the South Bronx! The top of the world was everything my dad said and more.
         About a month later, there I was, standing on a field near my school, watching the smoke rise from the piece of the skyline that once held my key to the top of the world. Sirens echoed from a distance, lights flashed like firefly swarms, and every person I looked at that day seemed to have lost their sense of any hope that once kept them sane. I stood there, wondering: how did the top of the world turn into a world of disaster?