Shine On Award
by m lewis redford
… there I was, all ready to curl up in my own spot of light there, when from out of the rumbling of the city, from out of the sky, came the voice of Tazein, ‘My dear! I have nominated you for Shine On Award’; … wha- whosaidthat – turning quickly around, nothing. But I heard …; what can it all mean? Am I already shining? Do I have light to shine? If so, where is it – turning back, quickly, again? Am I doing it now? Was I about to stop doing it? Quick, gather (are there any dragons in the corner?): what do I know? Who can help me …? Buddy? Seymour?
Buddy: ‘Franny was staring at the little blotch of sunshine with a special intensity, as if she were considering lying down in it’1 so I have to find the light, outside, get in it … get in it! … no that can’t be right, that’s when you’ve lost it (‘always, always referring every goddam thing that happens right back to our lousy little egos’); it’s inside …
Seymour: ‘She went on at beautiful length about how she used to fly all around the apartment when she was four and no one was home. The new announcer is worse than Grant — if possible, even worse than Sullivan in the old days. He said she surely dreamt that she was able to fly. The baby stood her ground like an angel. She said she knew she was able to fly because when she came down she always had dust on her fingers from touching the lightbulbs’2. So it is inside, but … ‘Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun // blown on the steel breeze’3, what is the use of light (inside) if it does not shine – if it cannot shine – (on the outside)? OK, ok, let’sthinknow – light makes no sense just by itself, it is just neurosis, there is no yin to receive it (to be), the light was separated from the darkness for a reason on the first day …
‘Before I had studied Chan (Zen) for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers’4; so, to ‘shine’ is to ‘know’ (the mountains and rivers …), if I just search for the light I will lose the mountains and rivers, if I keep the light for myself, they will lose me … I have to shine the light while looking for it because it never was un-separate in the first place …
… ‘Anyway, I started bitching one night before the broadcast. Seymour’d told me to shine my shoes just as I was going out the door with Waker. I was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and I just damn well wasn’t going to shine my shoes for them, I told Seymour. I said they couldn’t see them anyway, where we sat. He said to shine them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady’1 … ‘the least of these’5
1 J.D. Salinger, “Franny and Zooey”
2 J.D. Salinger, “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters”
3 Pink Floyd, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
4 Qingyuan Weixin, translated D.T. Suzuki, “Essays in Zen Buddhism”
5 The Gospel of Matthew
OK, I get it now: I accept. Here are a blooming bunch of shining lights for the Fat Lady -
sunlight: the long road
traffic lights: ‘at the traffic lights …’
moonlight: ‘the moonlight …’
lightning: ‘she shook the sweets …’
streetlight: write / by the / night / of the / lamp
The rules for the Shine On Award are:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you – done and done, thank you again for your faith Tazein
2. Offer the Award to ‘Shine On’ to other bloggers you know to shine – I’m supposed to do 15 but I’ll do just those I can see in all this darkness
3. Answer the questions given to you – I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to change the questions to answer; and answer them – make them more to do with shining; light …
1. what is your favourite colour (or combination of colours)? why?
I must admit I’m rather partial to a big glob of charcoal grey with ANY shade of green; I like a nice aperitif of the brightest blue with squiffs of white; I used to like deep purple (dh’ dng danng, dh’dh’ dng danng, dh’ dng danng, dnng dngdng) and black, but now prefer mauve stirred once with thick yellow although it’s bad for my heart; I’ve become rather fond of olive mist before a lemon sunrise on spring heathland these days; and then some lime hints in a deep blue sky through the power cables at midday
2. what is your favourite light of the day/year? why?
car lights that hang and rise in one corner of the room and then play across the room like a UFO when the car passes; I also like the sun settling orange diagonal across the dining table on an early Saturday evening at the beginning of a school holiday; and don’t forget the very first piece of sun across any old meadow that knows in its heart that spring is here, even if it’s wrong
3. when was the last time you ‘saw the light’?
when I recently re-joined a sitting class: I was asked why I came back (after an absence of about two years); I said I felt I needed to meditate with others – it’s what all the books keep telling me; my questioner responded that I need to meditate for others … bing; thanks Jay
4. who, for you, is the craziest diamond in music?
David Bowie CAME BACK! Once I get over this and the familiar but awkward music has soaked into my skin a little, then the nuggets are to be found – the ‘flinks’ of certain phrases/music/delivery will make a ‘nick’ in the fabric letting something shiney out – which I will SING
5. who, for you, is the craziest diamond in art?
Neal Adams CAME BACK to Batman! A barking mad story in itself – the Odyssey – but some of the panels are teeth-gritted visceral as they ‘step’ ever tantalisingly into whatif-possibility; … oh, alright, Herge’s street scenes as well; and his stairwell landings; and Hopper’s opened windows
6. who, for you, is the craziest diamond in literature?
I have recently found, and fallen in love with, the work of Sylvia Plath; yes, she shines best when it is most dark but she telescopes into her darkness with such tendril and overlap that it is like a sinewy muscular arm which you can’t help wish your arms looked like that; and she also has the perkiest little humour at times
7. are you a crazy diamond?
Nope: I am a piece of coal that has yet to be given to Superman to crush in his Krypton fingers. Actually I suspect Supes would hand it back to me and ask why I was wasting his time with the cleanest of hands! And I still wouldn’t get it.
My nominations are:
joe2poetry: straight and sincere blue light / through a glass of beer
emina redzic: light through the trees erasing all lapse of time and place
omrum: a tall apartment building bathed in red light as the residents variably get up for the day
suzy blue: actually blue with a hint of green; just look at her header pic and logo background
bruce ruston platypiphotography – especially when he mucks around with new colour app-thingies
Betty Generic: catalogues the changing light from her bedroom window every day; it has a ‘drawing in’ effect
miguel: sees the light of the city and the twists of his words through the drawn curtains of his bedroom … ‘blue, blue, ‘lectric blue, that’s the colour of the room where I shall live’
susan sweetland garay: has some beautiful light all over her site, never night
dieu on the grass: speaks through all the light in the champ de mars gardens on an early misty morning … although she lives in Canada
waywardspirit: every once in a while, while you’re happily drifting along in a poetic haze (streaked mauve with hints of lemon), wayward snaps on the overhead light of day and says ‘oi, have a look at this, you great poetic shirt’s blouse’ – harsh light with a smile and wonder