Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bunch of Books Roundup

Okay, bastards. You think you had me down? You think I haven't been reading? Well... HERE'S a bunch of books that I've finished in the past few months:

"The Path of the Mother" - I love Ammachi. This book got a little fruity at times, but the shining love and radiance of the Holy Mother Ammachi shone through. :-)

"Born Standing Up" - Steve Martin is simply awesome. Totally inspirational book that proves that HARD WORK and being completely devoted to your craft can really take you places that no man hath gone before.

"Diaboliad" - My love for Mikhail Bulgakov already knew no bounds, and now, if there WERE any bounds that I did not know about, they too have been obliterated, and I love him even more boundlessly than before.

"Mary Holmes: Paintings and Ideas" - This woman is one cool character. Great life, beautiful art, and really cool ideas. Holmes was also a big influence of the balloon twister Addi Somekh, who self-published the book.

"Strange Interlude" - A totally awesomely weird play by Eugene O'Neill. Ahead of its time, it deals with all sorts of psychological tomfoolery and some taboo abortion stuff thrown in. Good times.

AND THERE'S MORE! I'll be finished with this MUSIC PUBLISHING book in a couple hours, and of course there is that classic book of sci-fi and humor THE BIBLE that I'm reading, and I know I'm forgetting some stuff from the past few months. Must consult the stacks next to my bed, and in the bathroom, and by the couch, and at my boyfriend's house.

Another update, coming soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our Destiny: No More Bad Gigs

"As musicians/healers, it is our destiny to conduct an inward search, and to document it with our music so that others may benefit. As they listen to the music coming through us, they too are inspired to look within. Light is being transmitted and received from soul to soul.  Gradually, the planet moves from darkness to light.  We as musicians must surrender to the ocean of our inner selves.  We must descend deep into that ocean while the sludge of the ego floats on the surface.  We let go of our egos and permit the music to come through us and do its work.  We act as the instruments for that work.

If we can live in this realization, we will constantly have deep motivation for what is played, never getting stuck in the ungrateful consciousness of good gigs/bad gigs, out-of-tune pianos, low fees, ungracious audiences, and so on.  Instead, our minds will be consumed with what a very great privilege it is to be the one selected to deliver the message to others.  We will no longer be caught in the mundane world of good music/bad music ("am I playing well?")  Instead, our hearts and minds will be focused on the task of remaining empty and alert to receiving this God-inspired information and translating it faithfully, without any coloration from us"

(excerpt from Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within by Kenny Werner)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Fact and the Matter

The fact of the matter is.... I have been reading a ton. A TON!!! I just haven't been good about blogging it. And I got really busy. I mean, since I last wrote, I directed an Opera at CalArts, took a play I wrote (Dawn of Quixote: Chapter the First) and my band (The Evangenitals) to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, and have been touring extensively with the World's Premier Johnny Cash Tribute Band (Cash'd Out) singing the June Carter parts in their stage show all over America.

And STILL... I've been reading a ton of stuff! Cover to cover!!!

Here's a quick review of a few of the things that I have read lately:

In preparation for taking the play to Edinburgh, I re-read Unamuno's "Our Lord Don Quixote"... one of my all-time favorite books in the whole wide friggin' world.

I also read:

Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being
followed by Anna Karenina
followed by Rasputin: The Last Word
followed by Brewsie and Willie
followed by The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics

I'm currently reading David Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress, which is awesome so far.

In other news... I'm learning to sight read bass clef, so that's kinda reading as well, no?

Just wanted to assure you all that I'm still trudging away over here...

Will be trying to check in more frequently.

Apologies & Amor,

Monday, January 26, 2009

God Bless Henry Miller!

"The way of life is towards fulfillment, however, wherever it may lead. To restore a human being to the current of life means not only to impart self-confidence but also an abiding faith in the process of life. A man who has confidence in himself must have confidence in other, confidence in the fitness and rightness of the universe. When a man is thus anchored he ceases to worry about the fitness of things, about the behavior of his fellow men, about right and wrong and justice and injustice. If his roots are in the current of life he will float on the surface like a lotus and he will blossom and give forth fruit. He will draw his nourishment from above and below; he will send his roots down deeper and deeper, fearing neither the depths nor the heights. The life that is in him will manifest itself in growth, and growth is an endless, eternal process. he will not be afraid of withering, because decay and death are part of growth. As a seed he began and as a seed he will return. Beginnings and ending are only partial steps in the eternal process. The process is everything... the way... the Tao.

The way of life! A grand expression. Like saying Truth. There is nothing beyond it... it is all."

- Henry Miller, Sexus: The Rosy Crucifixion I

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It may appear as if I have fallen off the reading wagon... alas, I assure you that appearances are deceiving! Let me explain...

Whilst I have not been keeping up with my BOOK a week regimen in the last little while, I have been on another adventure known as PURE CREATIVE RESEARCH!!! Yee-haw.

I've been hired by CalArts to direct the US premier (!) of a truly bizarre opera from 1965 called "Loving" by a rather hip cat named R Murray Schafer who coined the truly awesome term "schizophonia"... and as I was brought onto the project rather late, I've been busting my arse trying to get familiar enough with the piece and do enough research to make some fundamental decisions regarding the design and production of this epic piece of avant-art-visual-musical-poem theater.

I've been reading about Abelard and Heloise, Eros, Vanity, Ishtar, Carl Jung's theories on the Anima & Animus, Botticelli's Primavera and all sorts of varied and sundry visual research and inspiration, from the light works of James Turrell to the fashions of 1965, Beach Blanket Bingo, Jean Luc Godard, and the world's smallest drive in movie theater.

In the midst of all that, I'm working my way through William Irvin Thompson's The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light, which has THE BEST FRIGGIN' TITLE THAT I'VE EVER HEARD!!!!

I'll probably have some exciting things to share after tomorrow, which is the first major/official production meeting for the opera. It's happening after a 2 1/2 hour design meeting wherein we shall try to come to some sort of same-page consensus on the look, feel, function, form and aesthetic of this wild and weird piece of work. :-)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wen Fu, Fool!

This week I resorted to my skinny book technique (in order to stay on schedule in the midst of my post-holiday haze) and read Master Lu Chi's "Wen Fu" (The Art of Writing). Whilst Master Lu's life (as quickly communicated in the introduction) seemed to be a succession of raw fuckin' deals, this lil' book is BOSS. Floats like a butterfly, stings like the bees in the Wicker Man. :-)

Here's some highlights:

IV. The Satisfaction
Out of non-being, being is born;
out of silence,
a writer produces a song.
X. Shadow and Echo and Jade
When the mind is caged and separate,
the spirit wanders
and nothing is controlled.
XI. Five Criteria
The poet calls and calls
into the void,
but nothing answers.
XIII. The Masterpiece
Wanting every word to sing.
every writer worries:

nothing is every perfected;
no poet can afford to become complacent.
I've been reading a lot of books about writing lately, as that is the next step for me in this dissertation process. The ULTIMATE step! Actually WRITING the damn thing.

I have filled myself for YEARS with books and more books and ideas and obsessions -- underlining things, making notes, connections, following threads -- and now it is finally time to step into the wild frontier of actually putting forth my OWN thoughts, ideas, and articulating MY philosophy on the topic that has been the recurring theme in my life, art, and thinking. It's an exciting time to be in the mind of Juli Crockett. And terrifying. Incredibly terrifying.

It is a damn good thing that I recently started meditating regularly. Not only does the journey into effortlessness and emptiness have EVERYTHING to do with my dissertation on NOTHING... the practice itself helps to keep me grounded as I venture deep into the void. Like the 'ol Zen kōan about walking in a circle in both directions simultaneously:

Here I amn't, grounded in groundlessness.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Jesus in George Marshall

The Individual: An assemblage of fragments artificially brought together by the mind in a "unity" which cannot stand up to examination.

(Friedrich Nietzsche)

I'm having one of those deeply suspicious days wherein I don't believe anything anymore, and all is suspect. It feels as if some wrong turn has been taken. A single misstep which has disturbed the trajectory of my journey, and I find myself out to sea. Thinking causes headaches, deep breaths make me cough, and the pain in my shoulder will not relent.

August Strindberg was haunted by the scent of celery, and I find myself hounded by the pungent odor of leeks. Are you aware of the onion-like heart of the leek, which makes the eyes tear more than any onion ever could. It is a terror, the leek. And I cannot determine if the scent is seeping out of me, out of my very pores, or if it follows like a fog. How can One be sure?

I am in a panic!

A fervor!

Gregor Samsa awoke one morning to find himself transformed into a disgusting creature.... some sort of bug. I am trying to take it easy. The universe seems to have something in store for us. Something crazy.

I must get organized!

I must go home, clean my house, scrub the corners, file the papers, and do the laundry.

I will make a list of priorities which begins:


Here is the situation:

Upon waking one morning I found the following note pinned to the lapel of my pajamas:

Marie Antoinette died with a mouthful of jism, sprayed forth from the pecker of a most talented man. A musical genius, whose work was suppressed for fear of a world-wide spiritual liberation. His name was George Marshall, and he was a man of unknown racial origin, an orphan: found in Egypt, raised in Greece, exiled to France. Had a torrid love affair with Missus Antoinette, before her untimely demise. Just before, in fact. She died with a mouthful of his eternal artistic legacy. He disappeared shortly afterwards. I fear it was the Goons.

I believe it is in Plexus that George Marshall first appeared, at least in my conscious experience. Henry Miller has a childhood friend that he is identical to. They were bosom buddies and they both got sick and he spent some time living out in the country with George. Then something changed and he who was once his friend became his nemesis. The coin flipped and they were opposites. George Marshall became his enemy. This is all that I can recall of the episode.

The root of their conflict was, of course, a woman. One that Henry was idealizing, and George Marshall was not one to idealize. He thought it foolish. Especially in the case of this particular woman.

George Marshall.

Never have I identified with a character more than with George Marshall.

This identification, I admit, is dubious, considering that I can't really remember many specifics about the character at all. My only recollection is the deep sensation of knowing that I am him.

I do not mean this literally. Although, I shall proceed as if I do.


Sometime, right around the Turn of the Century, it came to my attention that I was none other than George Marshall.

This is a very difficult sentence to phrase properly, so I ask that you please forgive my seeming redundancy. There is a very specific moment of revelation which I feel it is imperative for me to express from the get-go, if we are to have any hope of arriving at the same place, so to speak. Or rather, on the same page. Therefore I am impelled to try this sentence in a variety of forms and phrasings so as to make sure that the bases are covered, so to speak, and that whomever should chance to read this volume might have the greatest possibility of understanding the particular and peculiar realization that occurred to me on that fateful day.

The day of which I am speaking was the day that I realized that I was George Marshall, or, rather, if you please, George Marshall was me. I and George Marshall were one and the same. There are many reasons why this sudden revelation was rather shocking. For one, I never knew of George Marshall, prior to our defining first contact, and when we did encounter each other, very little was revealed. In fact, I didn't actually meet him, in the flesh, that is to say, in person, I merely read about him. The reading wasn't even an autobiographical account. It was fictionalized second-hand reporting, by a well-known exaggerator, who, in this particular case, was not inclined to go into much detail about the character which I have since spent my life trying to construct.

George Marshall isn't even his real name.

But alas, what's in a name?

There's the name you're given, of course, and then there's the name you give yourself. And sometimes they're the same and sometimes they're different. I wouldn't say that mine is an exceptional case. Not at all. I don't pride myself on being "radical" or think that it's anything out of the ordinary. Like all men, I see myself in the mirror in the morning and in my head I acknowledge that the image I see in the mirror is me. It isn't shocking, and it never has been. I may notice new things, but I have never had a startling revelation or alternate recognition whilst looking in the mirror. It has always been that I meet my own reflection in more or less the way that I expected I would. Without event.

It was very much the same when I became George Marshall. I merely recognized myself and accepted that fact as I accept the fact of my own face in the mirror. No use denying it, I know who I am. And perhaps there are moments when we surprise ourselves, with our behaviors and our capabilities, however, we usually know where we begin and end. There have been instances of religious experience (and chemically induced experiences) in which people have reported a sensation of not knowing where they began and ended. Regardless, the best I can do to explain it is that I instantly accepted the fact that I am George Marshall and I don't even remember that much about him, however, I plan to go back and investigate.

The fact that George Marshall and I were one and the same, indivisible, and united in the deepest sense, was not something that was readily apparent to the casual observer. I had no proof. All I had was the first instance of deep and unquestionable knowing with which my life had ever been graced. When I realized that George Marshall and I were one and the same, I realized that I had never realized anything before in all my life. I had thought that I had known many things; however, upon knowing the first thing that I had ever truly known, I then knew that I had never known anything. Again, this is a difficult and specific moment of realization to phrase. This is a peculiar experience which I would love to go into great elaboration upon, because it is a pleasure and an intense delight to recall those feelings of the first knowing. However, time is of the essence, and I must stick to the point.

The point is, in that moment, I knew, for the first time, something, and that something was that George Marshall and I were one and the same. In that instant I felt timeless, boundless, infinite and always. Not only was I George Marshall; George Marshall was also I. He was born again in me and was able to witness himself. In me, as me, George Marshall was restored to life. Reborn. It sounds much more mystical than it was, and yet, no words can properly give glory to the holiness of the situation. It was the stuff that science fiction novels are based on; of which religious literature speaks.