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On Fairytales, Romantic Fantasy and the Bourgeois

When in my twenties I belatedly came into real contact with the Punk movement and related underground anti bourgeois drug-taking communities and thought worlds, I immediately knew I wanted very little to do with this possible way of being, this psychic underbelly as I saw it… I aspired to the upper realms, in philosophy a Platonist, in imagination a Romantic, a High Fantasy lover (well, for good or ill almost exclusively Tolkien and C.S.Lewis).

So for 20 years or so I’ve been, with elder brother John, writing and now drawing the story of a quest in that higher level – volume one of which, The Girl and the Guardian, is a hero and heroine’s quest for the restoration of the Grail – which in this story is the Lost Heartstone of the Tree of Life. There is a lot in it about learning the traditions of the Old Ways of the Eutopian Order of the Makers, and a Restoration of the Balance in a new Age which is similar to the old Golden age. If that is bourgeois- then ironically I, the sociophobe, shy rebel, and Eutopian dreamer, AM  bourgeois – conservative, where compatible with reason.

It is to me the main, and sufficient, justification for Conservatism that we must at all costs avoid throwing the baby of nobility and truth and the social support structures thereof, out with the bourgeois bathwater.

We touch here on matters of faith… I am sorry if I hurt friends of old by the vehemence of my rejection of any tendencies to glorification of the antihero, of degenerate ways, of anti-platonism and relativism; or, in the last four years since Trump, my approval of much that he stands for, and disapproval of what he (mostly) stands against. I accept that early experiences can make a person feel a need to dwell on the ‘lower’ levels to sort out their victimhood and alienation, and that there they may also find consolations and fellowship. And to (vehemently) champion any and all ‘underdogs’, alligning with the so-called ‘Social Justice Warriors’ and ‘Social Marxists’.

But I would always wish to lead – indeed seduce – through stories if not arguments – these disadvantaged and victimised, and all who will listen, towards the higher ground from which they can see the stars. My parents had a poster on the wall (before they took us to live on a Papuan mission school settlement after they watched a movie The Sky above and the Mud Below) with this poem:

Two men looked through prison bars

One saw mud, the other, stars.

I always knew which man I wanted to be. This aesthetic and later ethical allegiance was a big ingredient of the fuel for this long and winding journey of my brother and I to create our own truly romantic epic fantasy – we believe it’s ‘true’ in the end – more true than the allegiance to the ‘mud’. We believe that the metaphysical stars are wo/man’s destiny, while loving the earth, and yes even the mud in its place as the nurturing place of the lotus roots… hence the major theme in our Apples of Aeden of the Restoration of the Balance – Earth and Sky, Feminine and Masculine, Yin and Yang, Anima and Animus. The lost soul is the separated half-human, alienated from its Other Half  (the male from the female especially – females can more easily compensate I think). That is partly why our epic is an advance (metaphysically, not necessarily in any other way!) on our acknowledged master of High Fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien; and also, thinking about it, C. S. Lewis. Apples of Aeden strives for a portrayal of a time before the great Schism of the genders, and what its healing would look like. It is an attempt to rediscover the Goddess, and reunite Her with the God. It also avoids the hateful heresy against morality and logic of portraying any sentient thinking life form, be he orc or monster, as created to be evil, without moral or ethical conscience or ability to become better than their biological heritage would tend to make them. Our human biological heritage after all has many ghastly tendencies!

So, I labour on, this part of the journey being to illustrate a shortened version of volume one, with a projected 80 or so pen and ink drawings. I’m up to about 42 now… If anyone wants to see these or to read the epic in short or long form, follow this blog! There will be news here of any location for updates, new illustrations, and announcements of the new illustrated edition of volume one, a shortened The Girl and the Guardian.
For the long version, free or cheap, see Smashwords or Amazon or Apple – see the links in the menu of this blog. Also, for $3.99 each, volumes two, three and four. From some of their high points, I hope you can see the stars.

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Joy of rhythm and entrainment

Under all our endeavours lie rhythms we normally take for granted: breathing, brainwaves, sleep and waking, digestion… and most vital of all, the heartbeat. On Sunday morning the cat woke me and I noticed I had an irregular heartbeat.  A really irregular heartbeat. Suddenly it was hard to think of anything else but the rhythm. Raewyn took me to the hospital, where the good people whose whole job is to help people when the rhythms get our of order, tested and helped me so nicely I felt a joy and gratitude for them and empathy for all embodied beings.

But after a few hours in the ward time dragged and the spectre of a life so handicapped by fibrillation kept me from even being able to read (!). All the busyness and goals from before the loss of rhythm seemed impossible to return to. I gave up coffee, got out on Sunday night with a withdrawal headache, a beta blocker prescription – and an irregular heartbeat.

Last night the caffeine withdrawal was almost over and I had caught up on sleep, but the heartbeat thing was distracting and depressing. I had read about ‘entrainment’, how rhythms in proximity tend to synchronise, for example two pendulum clocks mounted side by side, and I thought maybe lying heart to heart with Raewyn with her steady beat might help my erratic one get in line again. It was hard to even settle to trying that – the tendency seems to be to nurse the affected parts and protect them. Then I meditated and listened to music. I prayed to get that rhythm back, and vowed to be calmer and meditative. I found I could imagine opening  Dreamspace after all if I was like that, in harmony with myself (what was left of me) and any others who visit the gallery. I went to sleep more calm about the future.

This morning I noticed I wasn’t noticing my heart – the rhythm was back! I am learning, not the way I would prefer, but it is good! I intend to continue with these lessons. I’m back in the most vital rhythm of life – and appreciating all the other ones!

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A t shirt full of ancient stone

I had an interlude on the old Kaipara today, an impromptu quest for the smooth heavy brown stones that I’ve carved from time to time – including lately as I live alone in the Hall of the Ark while I finish relining the hall for the hopeful new owners (who want to teach yoga in it). I put a crystal on the brow of the Bird and made holes in the pupils so you can sit inside and look through its eyes…:)

It was just an interlude between taking sofas and gas tanks from the land before handover day and going back to the Ark to cook dinner and prepare to get back into the renovations, but a bit of magic opened up by doing it.

I have written a whole ebook on the subject of these stones, kind of – it was discovering them that set me to thinking about loving stuff, all stuff, beginning right here with what is to hand that we relate to. A dollar on Amazon How to Love Everyone and Everything….Starting with a Stone  and free on Smashwords  Here. And I did relate to these strange, ancient smooth stones, all sitting on a section of the muddy shore in a kind of ancient convocation unearthed by time. So, now we have sold the land which is close to the Kaipara, having loaded the trailer I thought why not walk the dogs and seek a few more of these sacred little stones, so unassuming but like gold for a carver…

 

It’s a bit hard to do a good selfie while holding 63 heavy pebbles in your t shirt!  Funny, when I counted them later – that’s how ooold I’ll be this year… So, maybe I went a bit greedy prospector, but I know eventually I or someone at Dreamspace – Tiana are you reading this? -will probably carve them all. Some could just be polished a bit and left as found objects of great antiquity, too…

The lone mangrove tree marks the spot. In the sunset it was like a tree of life standing in the tidal mud and oyster-covered stones…

Magic. Oh yes the carving is my evolving take on ancient fertility goddess figurines. And the adzey thing is a chisel I angleground today from a piece of hard old steel I found inside the wall of the hall.

Next post here I may already be back in Gisborne to stay, creating more things I ‘know to be useful and believe to be beautiful’. Here’s to Dreamspace Gallery and workshops!

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Paradise for sale

Well we had to choose, and we chose Eutopia in Gisborne (and grandsons) over paradise in the Kaipara. I uploaded the ad with 20 nice photos today

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=1089181824

Hard to let go, harder to try to live in two places! ‘The snake that cannot shed its skin, dies’- Nietzsche. ‘Simplify, simplify!’ – John Harris 🙂

Share this if you know someone who wants a great place to build their dream home overlooking the Kaipara… The Dreamspace project was the final nudge for me; for Raewyn it’s the danger that prices will start ramping up here in Gisborne as they have in the Kaipara. All these money things – almost can bury the sense of wonder and adventure that should be in all we do – especially when starting a new adventure like Dreamspace Gallery and workshops…

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Concept card of the Dreamspace Gallery

Now with better photoshopping! And some words to the effect – if you like this concept, why not get in touch? Renaissance is a together thing… Share this image and message… website coming, looks like the name is DREAMSPACE, and the place, hopefully, is 61 Carnarvon. Early adopters who might want to share a space here, and also artists wanting to exhibit in a positive, spiritual space…and get true feedback by a variety of means. Also any ‘friends of Dreamspace’ wanting to be a part of the group/movement/process…? for my philosophy on art, see http://www.altarsofart.com – art is about the sacred, and Beauty Truth Love and Freedom – the Possible Human. The world has had enough reflections of its filth, nihilism and anti-romanticism. ‘There ARE still Blessed Isles’ (Zarathustra)

Two men looked through prison bars; One saw mud, the other, Stars’.

Dreamspace Carnarvon concept reduced 27 4 16 copy.jpg

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‘Go Big or Go Home’ for sensitive artists

Happy Earth Day! Excuse the animal metaphors which follow. ‘Go big or go home’ – this saying, from a Trump documentary, got to me in a good way! I thought ‘Yes we can!‘ – to quote the Obama side of the elephant. Both ends of the human spectrum in  their saner moments know there’s only one elephant in the room, and it’s called Homo Sapiens, and it’s uber-smart, uber-adaptable, a veritable rhinoceros of the intellect in the animal kingdom, unstoppable in its problem-solving power, in any situation or environment on or off the planet, dammit!

So why do we artists and thinkers feel so stopped and powerless sometimes/most of the time/when not high on caffeine? ‘If we’re so smart/creative, how come we ain’t rich?’

It’s called Learned Helplessness. Some humans (ughh!) actually benefit from spreading it. They even started public schools to inculcate it, and make the baby human rhinos of the spirit attend 6 hours a day for a decade or so, and progressively cut off their little horns and geld them too. Then tell them to ‘express themselves’ in art class or English essay assignments. Horrible but true history… it’s changing now – isn’t it? (Not if the Muslim faith triumphs in the West.  Or any other religious fanaticism with a Book to back up the apes of the mind and spirit with a Thus Saith the Lord).

So, to continue my own slow emancipation saga: I have rung up about the space for a gallery workshops and general Mad Art pursuit, and the agent told me it was under contract and would go unconditional next Tuesday… This Tuesday he rang to say it fell through and do I want it. I had a feeling he would! Gulp… ‘Put up or shut up, I said. So now it’s the ‘putting up’ stage. Funny thing about Home – it can be a haven – or a cocoon, or a prison. I was going to do all my thing here at appletree haven – Home. Now I am looking at Coming Out, doing it Out There, in town, at 61 Carnarvon St, Gisborne. The energy is there, and the ability to pay the rent for a 6 month trial (just) ; then I’ll need to have used my homo sapiens unleashed creativity to make a financial go of it.

Sound good?  Go thou and do likewise, human rhinos, and grow back that horn of the spirit, and the other bits, and Go Big or Go Home! 🙂  Not sure what the name will be – ideas are Eutopia Gallery, Renaissance Workshops, Heartstone Gallery… Dreamspace Gallery?  Photos follow…

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State of the Dysunion: blogging for People of (Too) Many Parts

For good or ill, I decided a few years back to divide and conquer – to have multiple blogsites for my multiple and possibly confusing interests  and endeavours. It got out of hand, some would (indeed DO) say. I have exactly forty, according to WordPress. But this is misleading – some are registered for other people, and others I left up though they are ‘dormant’.

So, my personal ‘State of the Dysunion’ speech:

  • It was good in some ways to divide up this way rather than have one big site with lots of pages. This way, if I write a new post on a site, it can be automatically shared on FB (one FB location only – either one’s personal feed or a dedicated page which you can set up easily and for free on FB), Twitter etc., whereas if you update a page on a site it doesn’t get shared. I could have got around this by doing a quick post notifying of an addition to a page, but the prospect isn’t thrilling.
  • It was tempting to get nice short dedicated domains. At USD18 a year for dotcom and dotorg and $25 for dotco, and more for dotnz once it’s bought elsewhere and mapped onto WordPressdotcom, it was getting financially embarrassing. Fortunately, if you’re willing to suffer the indignity of the longer FREE domain YOURNAME dotWordpressdotcom, you can always retrench to free.
  • It has been difficult sometimes to know WHICH BLOG to post in! The logical problem of ‘Overlapping Categories.’ Things one writes are  almost never entirely and only about one thing, on one topic. Not if they have any generality at all.
  • The changing, retiring and new creation of blogs does give a kind of drama to new movements in one’s life and thought, and it does help one to say exactly what one wants to in a particular field without having to please a ‘general’ audience, explain or tone it down. Great too if one wants to make a ‘business’ card of any kind. A dedicated website is great.
  • There can be a feeling of being ‘spread too thin,’ like Bilbo. But this can happen however one orders one’s output. As we get onlder/poorer we have to actually limit it I guess! To the real ‘bucket List’…
  • It may be bad for following numbers, getting up to critical mass, etc, but I figure that people don’t want to follow EVERYTHING a person of many parts is up to… sigh!
  • it keeps one’s hand in for creation and maintenance of blogsites – a gentle art and quite satisfying. Though everyone seems to be on Facebook, the Blog is a more orderly place, where what you see is what you have put up, ordered your way, with pages as you want them.
  • So, the slightly uneasy dysunion goes on into 2016 – already this year I have three new sites! (mindcavern, thelogicoflove (well that’s a rename of loveqor), and thetruewest). However, I do have a meta-ordering emerging, a kind of hierarchy of my blogs. It goes like this (live links to the main active ones):
  • GENERAL/MISCELLANEOUS ‘MY BLOG’: this site, www.wizardofeutopia.com
  • PHILOSOPHY: Most abstract and metaphysical: www.mindcavern.com. Eutopia-political: www.thetruewest.org. Philosophy of Process and applications: www.4phase.org. Moral/psychological: www.thelogicoflove.com
  • ART: a portfolio and diary of my own art and some comments on art: www.altarsofart.com. The writing: the epic http://www.applesofaeden.wordpress.com
  • ARCHITECTURE: Cabins fit for Middle Earth: www.hobbithaven.nz. Ferrocement construction, news and info: www.fantasticferrocement.com
  • CRAFTS: Unique carved-edge and embossed-cover book technologies: http://www.carvedbooks.wordpress.com. Previous efforts in bookbinding and ebook uploading: http://www.newleafnetwork.wordpress.com and http://www.ebookuploader.wordpress.com. Magnetic ‘eggs’ for holding jewellery etc: http://www.gempod.wordpress.com. Jewellery by me: www.silventree.com.
  • PERSONAL, FAMILY: About our OE with brother John and partner: http://www.fourgowest.wordpress.com. About our grandchildren here in Gisborne: http://www.appletreegrandkids.wordpress.com. About our flat here in Gisborne: http://www.appletreehaven.wordpress.com.

‘The rest is silence’…or history. I think…

Oh, and if you DO want to start a blog, go straight to http://www.wordpress.com for a free blog and quite a bit of online help to do it. Fear not, they have made it fairly routine! Always there’s a learning curve but it’s worth it. I think… 🙂

Blog on dudes. The world is not just Facebook. There are quieter places where YOU are in charge of what’s seen, and by whom. (There’s even a private blog option, so it can be just like your own personal diary or ‘notes to oneself’, on the Cloud, unable to be dropped in the bath or lost. Unless the Web went down… Then there’s always the plan A of the notebook diary).

 

 

 

 

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Why do Christmas?

Ask this boy! 🙂

bruno with plane at airport

 

 

040

Grandson Bruno (here wearing my sparkly hat and glasses) is waiting patiently for his third Christmas  and the pine smell of the tree is already bringing magic into his house.  This is a year I decided to once again try hard to DO Christmas. Why? Because for once I wasn’t trying to cram an impossible eleventh-hour achievement of this year’s goals into the last two weeks of the year – I’d given that up early, for once 🙂 Grandchildren help you to do that…something has to give!  So, I was free to look at what we HAD done – and had – this year, and celebrate it, however wistfully and frugally.

Yes, there were hopes and goals that didn’t materialise; but by Jove! (as my father was wont to exclaim), though ‘much is taken, much abides’, as Ulysses says in Tennyson’s inspiring “Idylls of the King.” I remember the best Christmas and holiday we ever had as a family was one year when we decided to have a ‘poor man’s Christmas’. We bought a leaky clinker dinghy and went North to stay with my parents and go boating on the Whangaroa harbour and swimming in the local creek, and other things that cost nothing but a little planning. After the holiday we sold the boat again and so it was virtually free. And we still have the photographs…

As I said in my last post here, the making of a photographic record of 2015 for a christmas card was a great thing for the igniting of gratitude in the midst of the ever-present struggles of life. Since then I have redone it to put in a few more images for something like balance, though still very far from completeness. Here are jpegs of the card, and if you didn’t receive a printed one, accept this as our offering to you this Christmas. Oh, and let’s all reread the wonderful “A Christmas Carol”, by Dickens! (another exclamation of my late father’s, God rest his soul).  (Did you know that Dickens was in dire financial straits when he had the Scrooge inspiration and this one little book, self-published, brought him back from the brink!)

The first page of the card now includes a little stone from the beach below our land in Kaiwaka that I carved. Picking it up made me realize what a gift the natural physical things around us are. One little brown stone accretion, probably deposited millions of years ago… mine for the picking up and taking home. A precious epiphany.

Christmas card A4 07 12 2015-1

Christmas card A4 07 12 2015-2

Page two – now with Crocodile and Caesar’s penny from our Siblings Great Australian trip after our mother’s departure. And a Hyde Park squirrel, jumping for my potato chip 🙂

HAPPY CHRISTMAS, rich or poor!

Love from Peter Harris

AKA the ‘Wizard’ of Eutopia

AKA grandpa.

 

 

 

 

 

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Every Little Thing – a forthcoming film by my brother

Celebrity alert! Guess who’s going to be in my brother’s film! (hint: it’s not me) I’ve just updated the EveryLittleThing blog EveryLittleThing for brother John – it’s exciting after all these years he’s stepping out into the wild blue yonder of film-making for himself (after selling his documentary company Greenstone TV).

everylittlething header NEW Blk 13 10 15 copy

I think this movie will be wonderful. I love the beetle. After this, perhaps he’ll do our joint story The Nautilus Project (get the ebook on Amazon for a mere 81c US: The Nautilus Project

 

 

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A new blog site just for art’s sake

Sorry, it had to be done…

g3 cutout bit dark 11 09 15 copy

http://www.altarsofart.wordpress.com.

It’s what I am doing a lot of and it needs to be together in a dedicated place, kind of an altar to art. See what you think, follow it if you like what you see…

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