Summer Projects

Once I carry out more updates, I may focus some of the following information into specialized sections of this site. However, since this is all some really big stuff, I felt that it was worthy of a whole blog entry unto itself.

PROJECT: TREESONG

This project is about… well, me. 🙂 This project has a high priority for me since so many of the other ones will suffer or perish if I’m not alive and kickin’.

Basically, it involves healing — healing on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. It involves resting more, having more fun, spending more social time with friends, and acting on creative projects such as my writing that are uniquely my own.

It also will probably involve updating my website more than I have been lately. So… yay me! 🙂

PROJECT: COMMUNITY CIRCLE

This is a series of community meetings aimed at bringing together people from a wide variety of different community organizations. Initially, I had hoped to see us meet once a week, every week. For the time being though, we’re working on a potluck for early June and taking it from there. For more info, visit http://community-circle.org/

PROJECT: EARTH CONSCIOUS REVOLUTION

This book, due to be released on August 1, 2006, is the sequel to Revolution of One and a classic in its own right. Just as Revolution of One offered an introduction to revolutionary principles and practices, Earth Conscious Revolution takes these a step further by centering our attention on the power of the Earth and releasing any personal and community blocks that stand between us and this great earth power. For more information, visit http://earthconsciousrevolution.org

PROJECT: EARTH ACTIVIST TRAINING

In the fall, I’ll be attending something called the Earth Activist Training. This two-week intensive training session strikes a balance between the strategic advocacy of activism and the earth-centered community-building of permaculture. I’m hoping to get about half of the tuition from work trade, but the other half will have to come from fundraising and any savings I can set aside between now and then. I first learned about it through Starhawk’s email list because she’s a teacher there, but many other cool people will be there too. For more information, visit http://earthactivisttraining.org

PROJECT: GAIA’S ORPHANS

On October 31, 2006, I will be releasing a full-length novel called Gaia’s Orphans. This groundbreaking work of post-apocalyptic fiction is set in the Chicago area with a cast of undead critters that includes Zombies, Vampires, Trolls, Demons, and Stones.

For the fantasy fan, Gaia’s Orphans has plenty of ghoulish monsters to haunt your dreams. For the politically and ecologically minded reader, it has plenty of anti-authoritarian and earth-centric themes. For the psychological and spiritual reader, it does some soul-searching that will rock your world. No matter how you slice it, Gaia’s Orphans is a well-rounded and captivating drama about one man’s journey through the heart of the underworld.

In a world filled with the living dead… is there any hope for new life? Grab Gaia’s Orphans on October 31, 2006 to find out for yourself! In the meantime, visit http://gaiasorphans.org for the latest news and updates.

PROJECT: R

This project is currently flying slightly under the radar but will potentially be quite important by this fall. I’ll be co-creating this with at least one other person, possibly a team of several people. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s innovative, and it’s revolutionary. And that’s all I’m gonna say for now, because anything more would spoil the surprise. 🙂

PROJECT: MANIFEST

This project is definitely flying under the radar at the moment — not because of any need for secrecy, but because of the time, effort, and focus that will be involved. What’s it about? Well… suffice it to say that there will be powerful positive changes in my life and much of our community by this time next year. These changes are already starting to unfold, and they will continue to blossom throughout the coming year.

Okay… that’s certainly enough projects for one summer. 🙂 My friends at the Big Muddy Independent Media Center and at the Interfaith Center have several other projects going on related to those respective organizations and beyond. I’ll be active off and on in some of those — but since they already have their own websites, and they’re the ones who will be coordinating that action as a group, I’ll leave it to them to describe those happenings… 🙂 In the meantime, I’m off to enjoy Dinner Part II, so I must bid thee farewell…

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Betrayal?

I don’t want to go into too many details here because this involves another person and my whole work situation… but since she was the one who violated my trust and turned this all into a "problem," I don’t feel too terribly bad about writing generalities about it here. Many of my guests on this site are my friends too, and so I’m always eager to share what’s going on in my life in some form or another

First, a bit of the context. My friend and I met as coworkers, but we’ve been personal friends for a couple of years now, sharing a wide variety of personal conversations and spiritual experiences both in and out of work. We mostly only have personal time together at work during breaks or moments of downtime, but we also occassionally talk over email or hang out together. With everything going on in both of our lives, I was inspired to share with her what an inspiration our friendship has been, and just how much she means to me. I thought that we had built enough trust between us that I could share this poem without leaving her feeling uncomfortable about our time together both in and out of work. Apparently, though, I was sorely mistaken.

There are simply no words to describe the sense of betrayal that I felt seeing my letter to her laid out on the table between us in the presence of a third person. I poured my heart into that poem, just as I poured my heart into our friendship — and what I received in response to my unconditional love was a stab in the heart in the form of her choice to turn a personal misunderstanding into a professional vendetta.

Having her betray me like that left me feeling cold, hollow, violated, and dirty. It was as though she had reached into the core of me, taken something beautiful, and caused it to wilt with her cold, callous touch. I lost 4 pounds in less than 24 hours, and even several days later, I still can’t fully believe that this is happening. I had an online friend betray me in a major way once long ago… but that was different — a veritable stranger engaging in weirdness that ultimately had nothing to do with me. In this case, I had a good friend — one of my best friends — who I thought would be with me through thick and thin, just as I had been there for her during moments of personal strain and even acts of unkindness or boundary-crossing that she had directed my way. But somehow, even though we had talked about really personal stuff before, sharing something this personal just triggered a defense mechanism for her that was so powerful that instead of coming to me to resolve the situation, she felt she had to go to an outside party to resolve it. Now, I have to deal with both personal and professional wreckage simultaneously, while she pretty much gets to move on rather quickly because I’m out of sight, out of mind.

I feel very sorry about all of this. Initially, I was very upset with her… but really, the sort of unconditional love that I feel for her doesn’t allow me to sustain a negative attitude about her for very long. Sure, the trust is shattered… and I won’t be sharing anything personal with her anytime soon, and probably not ever again. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care anymore, or that I hold it against her. I still care about her just as much as I always have… and I’m very sorry that my communication left her feeling uncomfortable. I just wish that I knew how to restore her comfort level and bring peace to the situation — but since she won’t even speak to me, there’s no way for me to know how to do that. And that also leaves me in a bind professionally, because I’m trying to resolve this misunderstanding with a minimum of conflict and a maximum of peace of mind for everyone involved.

I really don’t understand it… I mean, it’s one thing to feel discomfort when romantic topics come up. I’ve had that happen in both directions. You spend some time with someone, you say or do something that potentially shifts perceptions or feelings in a different direction, and then if something goes sour, you deal with the consequences like adults. If it goes sour, you can deal with it through communication and clear establishment of boundaries. In this case, she jumped directly from a boundary in which friendly personal communication was expected and commonplace to a boundary in which it was used as the basis for a professional complaint.

This is all still in process, so I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out, and don’t know how much to say about it. All I know is that ever since this all started going down on Thursday, I’ve spent most of my time feeling very tired… tired in the body and tired in the heart… I may end up taking action against her to counteract the action she’s taken against me, but if at all possible, I want to avoid that, because I feel loyalty and care for her even now. Deep down, I really just want to close my eyes and wake up in the morning to find that she’s just ready to talk now and everything will eventually be worked out. That would be best for her, best for me, best for everyone… but if she doesn’t feel that level of comfort, then I don’t know what I’m going to do.

I still feel very loyal to her as a friend, so I’m very reluctant to take any action to counteract the consequences of her betrayal. But then again, I’m also reluctant to just let all of this pass without talking it out with her and making some effort to come to a place of peace and restoration.

So, basically, I’m faced with a choice — and I’m reluctant to follow through with either side of the coin. So, I don’ tknow what I’m going to do… in the meantime, I’d better get some rest. My heart aches, both for myself and for her… but deep down, I know that there’s a resolution somewhere, and I pray for the best for all of us…

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New Beginnings

In honor of the return of Spring, I’m discovering a new lease on life — newfound energy, newfound inspiration, and newfound hope that I’ll be able to apply that energy effectively in pursuit of that inspiration. Right now, the big move at the Co-op is changing a lot for me… it’s changing a lot for so many people, really. But once the dust around that has settled a bit, there will be a whole lot going on in other areas of my life too. More to share on that soon… but first, I’m off to bed.

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V for Vendetta

I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot for people who haven’t seen the movie, but I do want to discuss a few aspects of the story. So if you haven’t seen it yet, you may want to read this entry later.

"V for Vendetta" is set in a near-future alternate reality where England is ruled by a fascist regime. A masked man, codenamed V, engages in a series of creative and often violent actions to resist the reign of fascism and inspire the masses to pursue their own freedom.

One of the things that I like about this movie is that the main character, known only as "V", is a very complex individual. Over the course of the movie, we discover that he was tortured and experimented upon, leading to his rebellion against the fascist regime and underground struggle to overthrow them. At times, he is very charming, creative, intelligent, and endearing. Ultimately, these qualities allow him to inspire a massive rebellion against the powers that be.

And yet… he’s also a truly dark figure. He extracts a brutal revenge from some of the party members who participated in the program that lead to his torture. He engages in several acts of property destruction that — while being very focused in nature — probably involve the injury and death of "innocent bystanders." He even subjects the other main character — a young woman who he stumbles upon being attacked by fascists in an alley — to an extensive program of mind games and torture. She’s ultimately grateful to him for revealing to her the horror of the fascist regime, and the hope of a free society… but still, the fact that he kidnaps and tortures someone who basically sympathized with him simply to break her societal conditioning makes him a very dark character indeed.

So, he’s at best a dark, tragic hero. But even his dark side isn’t simplistic… one of the party members who participated in his torture shows deep remorse, and he is receptive to her apology. His heart is filled with bitterness and hatred, but he ultimately feels inspired to love by the female lead, even though he thought he could never love again. His secret plan to use a combination of explosives and misdirection to create chaos is in some ways very villainous… but he announces the general goal of this plan publicly, and its motivations arise out of a very pure and noble critique of fascist media and government.

Due to the highly political nature of this film, there are several moments of "didactic speechifying" that some viewers may reject outright. Some people think that dialog which includes direct commentary of a political nature has no place in a work of fine art, whether theatrical or otherwise. I can certainly see their point… but since these moments of "speechiness" emerge quite naturally in the context of a very well-done narrative filled with great symbolism, metaphor, deep characterization, refined plot development, and high art, I feel that it’s very appropriate, and that we can excuse the creators for being a bit ‘didactic’ at one or two points in the movie.

It’s also very fascinating how important the relationship is between the themese of this film and the themes of political life in the US and the world today. From what I’ve heard, the graphic novel that inspired this movie was apparently drawing its themes of authoritarianism from the Thatcher administration. But as I watched the story unfold, I felt as though they were talking about current events.

Here’s a good, though somewhat crude, analogy: take this movie, replace England with America, and replace the deadly plague incidents that triggered the rise of the movie’s fascist regime with the all-too-real events of 9/11 and their role in promoting fascism in the US.

When V gave his speech about how the people of the nation were basically reasonable people, and they had let their fear be used to manipulate them in the presence of a great national crisis, I felt as though they were speaking directly to the people of the U.S. about 9/11, the War on Terror, etc. Of course, some of this is simply due to the fact that fascism has a certain pattern to it wherever it occurs… but some of it may very well have been a conscious intention to create an analogy between the two.

My only regret is that as usual, this approach to revolutionary insurrection is very violent in nature. It relies on creating a negative rebellion rather than the "constructive program" of revolutionary community-building. Of course, I suppose a movie about exploding buildings and masked vigilantes sells more tickets than a movie about community gardens… but still, I hope that eventually, we may find a way to communicate the idea of a proactive rather than reactive revolution to the masses and encourage greater dialog on non-violent change of institutions and consciousness.

In any case, I found this movie to be very thought-provoking, fascinating, and thoroughly entertaining. I’ve already got themes of fascism and freedom on my mind as I begin a series of articles on the subject. Watching a movie like this has only helped me to explore these themes further. I look forward to discussing this movie — and its underlying exploration of fascism and freedom — with as many people as I can.

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My name is Treesong. I'm a father, author, talk radio host, and Real Life Superhero. I live in Carbondale, Southern Illinois. I write novels, short stories, and poetry, mostly about the climate.

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