Welcome to the Slow Turning to Light
by Art Goodtimes
Dec 29, 2008 | 961 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW YORE’S EVE … I’m no Adam, but best not offer me an apple. Nor resolutions. I rarely keep them … Better just enjoy the darkness, as we move into the light … A neo-animist (or some would say neo-pagan), I think of the first day of spring as the start of the new year. It always seemed somewhat perverse to base the beginning of a calendar in the coldest, darkest time of year – as though the icy hardening of the social arteries should be celebrated as new life, a new spin of the wheel … Eostar, or what the Christians call Easter, is the real start of the new year for me.


YEAR’S BEST NEW WORD … Oniomania is a technical medical term (from the Greek ωνιος [onios] = "for sale" and μανια [mania] = “madness”) for the compulsive desire to shop, more commonly referred to as compulsive shopping, compulsive buying, shopping addiction or shopaholism … First described by Bleuler in 1915, and then Kraepelin in 1924 (as oneomania from the Greek ωνηομαι [oneomai] = “to buy”) … In the United States, impulsive-compulsive buying behavior may be diagnosed as an Impulse-Control Disorder. Although the study of compulsive buying is still in its infancy compared with some of its psychological siblings – alcoholism, eating disorders or drug abuse – there is more and more evidence that it poses a serious and worsening problem, one with significant emotional, social, occupational, and financial consequences. As many as 9 percent of the American population may be full-fledged compulsive buyers, and the problem is fast becoming a global one … The terms compulsive shopping, compulsive buying, and compulsive spending are often used interchangeably, but the behaviors they represent are in fact distinctly different. Most current researchers use the term compulsive buying and subscribe to a specific definition proposed as follows … 1. Compulsive buying is a maladaptive preoccupation with buying or shopping, or maladaptive buying or shopping impulses or behavior, as indicated by either frequent preoccupation with buying, or impulses to buy, that is/are experienced as irresistible, intrusive, and/or senseless; or the frequent buying of items that are not needed or cannot be afforded; or shopping for longer periods of time than intended … 2. The buying preoccupations, impulses, or behaviors that cause marked distress; or are time-consuming and significantly interfere with social or occupational functioning; or result in financial problems … Sounds like a textbook description of our annual Christmas shopping spree. While based originally on the wonderful concept of an exchange of gifts, it’s degenerated in post-Depression America (thanks to immense marketing) into something of an obsession (Thanks to Ed Werner of Ridgway for this item)


IRIS IN BORNEO #5 … On my second day [in Semporna], I went snorkeling at Sipadan. When I signed up for the snorkeling trip, I thought I'd be going with a group of snorkelers, but as it turned out I was the only snorkeler, everyone else was diving. I was a little nervous about being alone on the open sea, but after my first hour out at sea, I was addicted. The coral was even more beautiful and in better shape than the coral I'd seen on Sibuan. And the sea life was amazing! I saw about 40 sea turtles and I swam directly above two following them around as they swam in circles. I saw two reef sharks! The first one freaked me out, but after confirming they are relatively tame and don't usually bite, upon seeing the second one I was transfixed, watching it glide back and forth through the water. I saw a gigantic fish as big as me, its mouth as big as my head! I saw two giant Trevally fish patrolling the edge of the reef, where the ocean drops 600 meters. I spent a lot of my time floating on this drop off line, always staying on the reef side imagining that if I crossed the line, I'd be plunged to the bottom of the sea. It was like looking over the lip of the Grand Canyon, but instead of the bottom, you just see blue. I saw two puffer fish, many bat fish, striped fish, polka dotted fish, and fish of every color imaginable. I enjoyed watching the fishies so much that I hope to get certified to dive soon, maybe even in Borneo … But now it's back to the grind in Vientiane. School started last week [actually several months ago] and I'm teaching three young learners classes and one advanced presentation class. My youngest learners are so cute and eager to learn their abcs, they were upset I didn't give them homework the first day!


THE TALKING GOURD

Netsuke

Her backbone's a white

stripe that snakes

into a desert of sighs.

I sip at her nipples

of milkweed

& flowering yucca.

Dawn's glass jars

tinted grenadine

seep into our irises.

They cry: "Open us!

Open us!" & we do

as the wind does.

Above us Kokopelli's

rock flute & below us

Kali's molten allure

where mountain springs

roar through rumpled

bedsheets of limestone.

Paint the glaze of

our skin: my mirage

& I --

waves of pink clay

fired in desire's

dazzling cloisonné.

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