Saturday, September 28, 2013

I'm so happy when you dance with me (The Beatles)

I've been thinking about happiness lately.

A recent post title was 'Enlightenment - don't know what it is' by Van Morrison. I'm pretty sure a number of us can share that confusion. But happiness? We DO know what that means, right?

A former student sent me a link to a site listing 'The Habits Of Supremely Happy People'

From there I went via a TED talks link to a presentation by Dan Gilbert called The surprising science of happiness. It's lengthy but entertaining and interesting.

And so to me.

I was doing my Saturday cross trainer workout while watching The Last Waltz (loud) when Neil Young wandered on to sing Helpless. At one point he ambles over to Rick Danko's microphone. Robbie Robertson is also there and the three share the mic, singing Helpless (around the 3.30 min mark). Their happiness at that moment is clear to see.

I smiled big time as well. Real happiness.

Love and peace and happiness - Wozza

Friday, September 20, 2013

The light of San Francisco, is a sea light, an island light (lawrence Ferlinghetti)

All my roads seem to be leading to San Francisco at the moment. The America's Cup has contributed to that but for me there are other pointers aside from the fact that Samantha and Jesse and the SF whanau live there.

I watched The San Francisco 49ers play an NFL game last week on ESPN (unfortunately they lost to the Seattle Seahawks so at least Clay will be happy).

I have been grooving to SF band Beyond O Matic and their track Wish during the week.

Reading my 1979 poetry journal I was struck by how many of my favourite poets have a strong connection to SF (Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Snyder, Creeley).

We had a House sports day at school during the week. I'm in Wallingford House which has green as its colour. As fate would have it - I have only one green T shirt; it was bought on the corner of Haight St and Ashbury St in SF in April. It has pretty flowers and the replica street sign saying Haight Ashbury; it's cool!

And last night I watched Bullitt again. Steve McQueen is sooo cool! The actual movie plotline is a little too convoluted for today's tastes but the coolness factor is set at 10. From Lalo Schifrin's jazzy soundtrack to McQueen's character (Frank Bullitt - what a cool name) to THAT car chase - all is coolness personified.

The other real star of the movie is the city itself. Here's to you - the city by the bay! 

Love and peace and island light - Wozza

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Enlightenment, don't know what it is (Van Morrsion)

Enlightenment says the world is nothing
Nothing but a dream, everything's an illusion
And nothing is real (Van Morrison)

In this post, I thought I'd try to extend my deep double exposure photo from that last post with a glimpse back at my first ever journal.

Ever since 1979 I've kept records of my thoughts as journals (not diaries). The blogosphere is now the natural home to those thoughts (those stories of my reality that Life Of Pi touches on - The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story? The telling of something always becomes a story).


I know it was 1979 because I was introduced to journal writing at Auckland University when I took a stage three poetry paper under the guidance of Roger Horrocks and Wystan Curnow. By stage three English I'd learned that anything organised by those two dudes was going to be amazing.

The idea that Horrocks/Curnow had was that their students for this paper would keep a discovery journal during the course and hand it in regularly for comment. I loved having a vehicle for my weird thoughts/ questions/ideas about the poems I was reading for the course.

I was a big fan of Robert Bly's poems (still am actually). Here's a fairly typical section from my 1979 journal on 'deep image' - Bly's vague term - he used it to variously describe 'a notion of the poetic image which involves psychic energy and movement' and 'a geographical location in the psyche'. Yeah, right! I still don't know what that means.

But that didn't stop me having a go back in 1979 when I was trying to organise my thoughts around this concept and, even then, I used references from popular culture to do it:

'Looking into a tide pool' is a deep image prose/poem.

(Looking into a tide pool.
 It is a tide pool, shallow, water coming in, clear, tiny white shell-people on the bottom, asking nothing, not even directions! On the surface the noduled seaweed, lying like hands, slowly drawing, hands laid on fevered bodies, moving back and forth, as the healer sings wildly, shouting to Jesus and his dead mother)

 And here's a bit of my journal entry:
The pool is only shallow but the life inside that one pool is huge. Every time I hear the expression 'deep image' I see a picture in my mind. This picture is only about 1/16th of an inch thick on one level but a couple of hundred feet deep on another level. It is literally deep. the picture I am thinking about is the cover to a jazz record released in 1962 called Undercurrent by Jim Hall and Bill Evans.

I photocopied the LP cover for my 1979 journal.
I was so drawn to this scene when I saw it. I couldn't believe it was done in 1962 but jazz covers were more liberated in the late 1950s/60s. This is DEEP IMAGE to me - someone or something buried deep under the surface trying to raise itself just enough to be recognised. Like the images of a poem.

She is buried yet her face can look out - like the tip of an iceberg. Beneath the surface is her body, beneath her body is suspended time in the water, beneath the visible bottom  is another world. There is so much space between the individual things (body, water, ocean floor).

What an incredible picture - I can feel the lightness of floating. The baptism in the poem is a deep symbol. Her body in the picture is relaxed, submissive, free. Who is she? Why is she there? What does it mean?

I tend to get carried away at times.

More from my journal next post.

Love and peace - Wozza
A.K.A. (from the title page of my 1979 journal) Warren Purdy 4 Ramelton Road, Mt. Roskill, Auck 4. 674 595)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

It took me so long to find out, but I found out (The Beatles)

I have struggled with my recreational reading this term. I've read a couple of books that I've taught at school, but, outside of those, it's been Mojo and Prog Rock magazines and Life Of Pi.

I've been chewing through it at a snail's pace. Mainly because of a lack of time, partly because I haven't really got into the story in a sustained way, and this is partly because I've been largely reading it during library periods at school.

I was actually only reading it in the first place because it is a colleague's favourite book in the same way that Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance is mine. That is, it's a book we return to again and again to experience fresh revelations, and one we feel compelled to share with others.

The difference being that I would never teach Zen.. and Greg teaches Pi to his Y13s. Brave. I've taught favourite books and films before without great success. Of course, the students don't love it like I do so it's ultimately not a fulfilling experience.

So - it took me so long to find out what happens to Pi, but I found out (I finished it after a marathon reading session at about 3.30 one morning last week).

I enjoyed the book, I wouldn't have persevered if I hadn't, but I can't rave over it much.

I did, however, really love the book's concluding chapters.

At the end of the novel Picine (Pi) has his story challenged by some Japanese investigators who don't believe his survival story that involves a tiger on a lifeboat. Go figure.

Pi says "Isn't telling something - using words, English or Japanese - already something of an invention? Isn't just looking upon this world already something of an invention?"

"The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story? The telling of something always becomes a story.

This is true. My blog is a case in point. It's my invention, my world, my 'telling of something' which I share with the blogosphere. And you interpret it as you will.

* The photo above was a double exposure I took about 32 years ago. It's me looking at my 'self' reading. I am experiencing a deja vu feeling looking at it now and as I type and recreate my world on this post, someone else entirely is looking upon my world, 32 years later.

Woo - deep.

Love and peace - Wozza/Wozza

P.S. Hi Irene - hope you're on the mend chuck!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No regrets Coyote, we just come from such different sets of circumstance (Joni Mitchell)

Life at the moment has been about work work and more work for both SWMBO and me.

Apart from an interlude of chain sawing up a Wattle that had blown down in a gust of wind on Sunday afternoon, I spent the last weekend marking and writing reports for my senior classes while Jacky put in extra shifts at Hastings Hospital. I also had my one-Sunday-night-chapel-service-a-term to go to!

I managed to get it all done but at what cost?

Well blogging for a start. The posts on this blog have slowed to a veritable trickle this year. While I manage to do two music related blogs a week on Goo Goo G'Joob this is a dramatic decline from when I was in the Middle East. 

What else? Well the time SWMBO and I spend together is also a casualty of our increased workloads. It's a necessary fact of life - we all have to pay bills and eat stuff.

Of course things are relative. I do remember a time when I was busier. When I was Principal at Stratford High School I had many late nights at school during the week, sport on Saturday (including taking a football team) and prep and marking on Sunday (I taught one class of English then).

After that experience SWMBO and went to work in the Middle East. My work finished at 2pm each day with zero marking or other commitments on the weekend. SWMBO didn't work. Bliss. But an unreal bliss and a bliss that couldn't last.

Being a teacher has always been demanding and I am not surprised that my life has become once again centred around school things.  This weekend was a doozy though because the balance was missing, and I am cream-crackered this week as a result.

Thank goodness for that Wattle. You can't always get what you want but sometimes you get what you need (to paraphrase Mick Jagger).

I was sitting in the A.R.T. room doing report comments and Jacky came in yelling stuff (I forget exactly what but along the lines of, "Oh my God, the Wattle").

I, of course, did the Wattle routine from Monty Python (part of the Bruce's skit below)!

This here's the wattle,
The emblem of our land.
You can stick it in a bottle;
You can hold it in your hand.


And then I looked up to see the tree snapped off, leaving a big hole in the area by our house. Doh.

Oh dear, how sad. Nevermind.

At least SWMBO and I got to spend some quality time together cutting the thing up and turfing it over the fence before I headed off to school for chapel.

Funny old world innit.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I want you here to have and hold, as the years go by and we grow old and grey (Ringo)

Time for another trip to the photo vaults this post.

It's Fathers' Day in Nu Zild today, as well as the first day of spring so that' s the theme I will be twisting my photos to suit.

Of course - this is my blog so the snaps are from my perspective but I know many of my whanau are fathers so this post is also for you! If you are a father you do an important job. There is no manual and so you will make mistakes aplenty but there will be joy and there will be a legacy for good or ill. You will live on in your children.

I was lucky. I had a great great dad. I love you dad.

I am lucky. I have great great children. I Love you guys!

With the minister of defence - the father-in-law

Token spring shot
Wozza and daughters and son-in-law

Wozza and sons

Deedoo and his son Graham

Karin and her dad with Wozza (SF 2013)
SWMBO tries on manhood for size (which does
matter), Gavin and Mabelle try to hide in the stove,
 without success.
Son-in-law Jesse with Fanfa

Graham and sons part 1

Graham and sons part 2

Love and peace - Wozza

P.S. Thanks for the cake Jade. Yum yum!
P.P.S. Thanks for the gift basket of yummy goodies Fanfa.