Been a long time coming for The Transpersonal Papers (1861-2010).
Three editors, two proofreaders, two designers, four printers, and hours, days, weeks, months, years, lifetimes, (I know I'm overstating), of writing, traveling, shooting, editing, remembering, hiking, and more writing, shooting, and editing, but I'm not complaining. No, no, no.
And apologies for not having the dough right now, to print The Transpersonal Papers as a coffee-table book as I had originally planned. ($10,000, it would have cost. Maybe someday.) But you now can buy it, for $14.95, as an Ebook on the Apple IPad, and I expect it to be available within a couple days on the Nook and the Kindle as well.
I just looked at it on my new IPad. The photos, text and design look grand.
And as an extra surprise, Bozo In Love is now up on IBooks too, ($9.95), as well as the rest of my catalog: Flame Spirals, Hoop Dancing, and Dementia Blues, on IBooks, Nook and Kindle.
Just in time for Christmas.
And don't worry. All but The Transpersonal Papers can still be bought as a book book through Fezziwig Press. I have plenty. Just go to www.fezziwigpressonline.com, for the hardbounds and paperbacks, but go to ITunes, today, (and Kindle and Nook, soon) for the ebooks.
Heavy sigh from my third story apartment balcony. I look out onto the Tucson city lights in the valley below. Cold, dry air embraces me. I inhale deeply. Exhale.
A very good night in the desert.
Think I'll make a cup of coffee with egg nog and play some Angry Birds on my new IPad.
"Painted Desert Spiral, Arizona" (c) 2011 Stu Jenks
Things I'm learning by writing fiction instead of memoirs:
1) I don't risk giving too-much-information about my own personal life. My life is only a single life and not everyone needs to know the details.
2) I don't risk hurting the feelings of others, as I might writing memoirs. I'm now creating the lives of brand new people.
3) I can talk about ideas and emotions that are meaningful to me without have myself or people I know in real life say them. Instead, my characters speak these thoughts and feelings, in far more compelling ways than I can say them.
4) I get to express an ever rising spiral of emotions, actions, and thoughts, through characters who, at times, seem as alive as the friends who I have coffee with. These characters act in wonderous or monsterous ways. They love fully or not at all. They think of others first or selfishly only of themselves. And all the greys inbetween.
5) And lastly, writing fiction is a scariest yet most exciting creative thing I've done, since I discovered that Zippo lighters make great light sources.
"The Great Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Utah" (c) 2011 Stu Jenks
[Remember: You can click on any images on the StuBlog and enlarge them.]
A coyote howls somewhere down there. I’ve pitched my tent but it may be warmer just to sleep in the truck. I’ve never seen so many stars. I figure I’m as far away from any living human being as I’ve ever been in my entire life. The pavement of Utah 24 is over 35 miles away. The nearest town is around 50, the campground at Goblin Valley around 45 or so. And to the East and South, there is nothing for 70 to 100 miles. (Good nothing, but still nothing.) I don’t usually get spooked in the wilderness at night but I am tonight. I’m a long ways away from anybody and if I get hurt, it’s going to be just me, me and me. Now, I don’t plan to hike any slot canyons tomorrow so the risk of getting my arm caught under a rock like Aron Ralston is slim, but I could sprain an ankle or big rains or snow might come. Bo calls it The Rule Of Two: I’m allowed one bad thing to happen but if two happen, I’m screwed. My major concern is the weather. If it rains or snows, the soft dirt road I drove in on this afternoon will be a ribbon of mud. I do have two new tires on the Pathfinder but you know what they say about four-wheel-drive: It just allows you to get stuck farther away. I watch The Kids Are All Right on my MacBook Pro, and eat some cashews and string cheese. I hit the hay early. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow.
I’m up. I had a hell of a time sleeping. It was so cold last night. I like cold weather but I like warm rooms too. I have no such room, unless you count my truck idling with the heater on. No coffee this morning. Just strike the tent, and load up the gear. No tripod. It’s just too long a hike, in and out, up and down to carry it. Long and wide lens, water, Rollei, and the 5D Mark II and I’m good to go. I’ll eat when I get back. It’s about 800 feet to the valley floor, then another three to four miles or so. Around eight miles round trip. Not a long hike but with all this gear, I’m feeling it after just the first mile. The air nibbles at me. Doesn’t bite. No wind. Just a pleasant cold slap to the face. A chipmunk screams at me. He just wants some breakfast, not some big human breaking his routine. The path is easy, being an abandoned road that descends to the valley floor. Seems there was some exploratory mining here a hundred years ago. That’s how they found the pictographs. Probably why they are so well preserved, they being literally in the middle of nowhere. Really. This section of Utah was known as The Blank Spot, the last place in the lower 48 to be explored and surveyed. On maps, over a hundred years ago, it was a blank spot on the map. Just white paper. On the valley floor now. There is water but much of the stream is frozen. That’s a first. I’ve never hiked on a frozen stream in the Canyonlands before. Wonder if this water flows year round? And then, I stop thinking all together. It’s a good thing. Partly age, partly spiritual practice, I often hike for miles and don’t think a single thought. I just see and listen and smell and breathe and walk. Only time I think is when I bring my camera to my eye and think ‘Should I shoot at f11 or f16, or ISO 125, 400 or 3200?’ These thoughts last until I have answered the question and taken the shot, and then it’s back to nothingness again. When I was a toddler, my parents thought I was retarded, for I hardly spoke at all. I would just stare out at the world with a blank look on my face. Some things haven’t changed. The hikers from yesterday said I couldn’t miss them. I’ve already missed the first pictographs I think. That’s OK. I came for The Great Gallery. So on I walk. Water, rock, color. Water, tree, look. Water, walk, rock. Water, rock, color. Pretty much my thoughts. I round a corner and then I think I see something. Could be them. I walk toward the sandstone wall. “Wow,” is all I say. I unload the cameras and get to work. I work for about an hour.
Afterwards, I just stare at the walls. I’ve capture some images but I know that you never really capture a place with flat images. 2D can never capture 3D, no matter what they say. You have to be in a place to know it, to feel it, to smell, to see it. The 2D does give you a sense of the space, but only an aroma. Like the smell of baking cookies is not the eating of the cookies. The smell is a thing, a real thing, but it isn’t the thing. So I just stand and take in the 3D of The Great Gallery into the 3D of my body and soul. I believe my soul is three dimensional or perhaps four dimensional. 3D plus time. Or maybe 11 dimensions like the quantum physicists say there are. 4D plus soul plus a constant plus gravity plus a bunch of unknowns like heart and God and spirit. After a few minutes of flying between worlds, I notice something. All of the figures of The Great Gallery appear to have been painted by different hands, different artists. And then I have a few thoughts. I think I know what these figures might be. These are the paintings of the leaders of the tribe, much like the marble and bronze statues of Lincoln and Washington and Robert E. Lee and Caesar Augustus. And are these stylized paintings of women or men, or perhaps both? Many native tribes today are matriarchal as well as patriarchal. Maybe the chiefs and chieftesses of this clan all had ornate robes to signify their rank. Sure looks like they wore their fineries for these paintings. And maybe, just maybe there was some sexual equality in these tribes. Maybe. Nice to think so, but who knows. But definitely, all these pictographs were painted by different people, in slightly different styles, at different times. Definitely. Some in the Woo-Woo community (in which I still have my membership card) suggest that these are pictures of extraterrestrials. I think not, nor do I think that Picasso’s later work was painted by someone with brain damage. It was Pablo’s funky style just as these paintings were the Archaic People’s style of representation. No, the ancient people were just as creative as we are now, perhaps more so. No. I think these are paintings honoring the brave and the powerful and the healers and the protectors. They are of good strong men and women. They were the leaders of The People. But given that these pictographs are over 3000-4000 years ago and all we have of these people is what I’m looking at right now, my guess is a good as yours. But I think it’s a good guess. I continue staring at the walls, at the figures, and then stop thinking so hard and fall into the space again. Robe, red, jewelry. White, red, water. Wall, sky, paint. Sky, paint, wall.
The hike out isn’t easy, but it isn’t that hard either. It just is what it is. A bit of a trudge. But a hell of a good slog past cottonwood trees and below high sandstone faces.
Rain clouds to the right and left, virga almost making it to the ground. Others directions, I see rain falling all the way down to the ground. The soft dirt road passes underneath my Pathfinder and I. About 25 miles to go. I just might split those two storms if I’m lucky. I just might get out of here before it rains. And I do. Back at Utah State Route 24. I back up to disengage the four-wheel-drive. I get out and check my tires. All’s good. I consider kissing the asphalt of the state road but decide to just thank the road in my own quiet way. “Thanks,” I whisper, and off I go, heading south toward Capitol Reef.