All beginnings are tenuous: wishes without guarantee.
Take a breath, close your eyes, let go—
Exhale the yesterdays
watch their whirling dance
settle and fade
Pocket your hands and walk away.
Inhale, exhale, and dance
sideways along the edge of tomorrow
looking always at today.
-Lisa J Haugen
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
all photo credits, poetry, and other writing unless credited otherwise belong to Lisa J Haugen; do not use, distribute or reproduce without the author’s permission or appropriate citation.
All of us walking
around on this planet are
both a polished and rough draft:
a work of art—a being—in eternal progress.
I’ve been reading Carl Jung’s Principle Archetpyes to help me orient my next steps into articulating aspects of the four-dimensional creative matrix that is at the center (ha) of all my work. It was in reference to Jung that I first learned about synchronicity: the nods and winks of the greater collective consciousness that we are on a path that serves us, serves our conscious evolution, well,
Like, sitting at a cafe, lost for hours in writing scenes aboard a ship, looking with surprise at the time and worrying that you’ve lingered too long, Then, though you’ve paid almost no attention to the music preceding this moment, song lyrics float from the speakers, “though the truth may vary, this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore;” and laughing because, among other things, you’ve been doggedly altering canonical details (or varying truths) to better suit your liking—to better suit your own objective inner knowing.
Or, after wrestling with some of the worst your mind has to offer, having the inexplicable impulse to take a different route to a routine destination. And, stopping behind a car that pulls out unexpectedly, casually turning your head to see a brightly colored sign you’ve never noticed before: “Bare Raydiance Tanning” (why precisely that is so perfectly entertaining I decline to explain. Call it… a well compounded inside joke).
I have a little leather-bound notebook full of such small, seemingly meaningless moments in time.
To free myself from the grasp of a collective inheritance of relentless self-doubt—one irrefutable page at a time.
the speaker at the Starbucks drive-thru: “how are you doing today?”
my mind, completely out of nowhere: gradually working my way back to an ecstasy of pure knowing.
me outloud, now giggling while trying not to giggle: “good. You?”
after ordering and waiting in line I’m still laughing: “she probably thought I’m high.” More giggling. “I think I am high.” Laughing. Trying to stop laughing. Which makes me laugh even harder. “I’m laughing at my own joke.” Laughing harder. Turning my face up to the invisible ethers of non-physical energy: “I’m laughing at your joke,” Laughing even harder because I’m talking to nothing. And then laughing even harder because that’s an even funnier joke. Then trying not to laugh, and laughing even more for it..
Why is this funny?
Because pure joy.
Pulling up to the window, completely unable at this point to rein it in. I must have a disability. Even funnier.
Me, between laughing:: “I’m so sorry, I swear I’m not high.”
Yes you are.
Oh my god.
Her: “That’s okay, I wish I was in that good a mood!”
“I just thought of something funny as I pulled up and now the harder I try to stop laughing, the harder I laugh.”
She takes my card and says, looking curious and as if she wants to ask what the joke is. Be in on it. “Is it, is it like an inside joke?”
I start laughing even harder, “Oh my gosh, yes!” I hadn’t thought of that. “In fact, that’s what makes it so funny, exactly, It’s an inside joke.”
She really does look like she wants to be in on the joke, as she hands me my things and I pointlessly keep trying to stop laughing, while laughing so hard now that I’m crying and my stomach hurts. The pure, unintended stupid hilarity of the moment is too much.
“Thank you, thank you, take care,” I say as I prepare to drive away.
“I hope the rest of your day goes as well as this,”
“Have a good day, too,” I say inanely as we so often do,
I plan to have the rest of my life go as well as this.
It really is as stupidly simple as that.
Do I sound crazy?
Well, I guess I am.
When my intellectual work is gummed up, I turn to fiction. That’s often where I find the clarity necessary to move forward with my intellectual work.
And I’m a bit gummed up at the moment, So I’ve been back at a fiction project that I first started writing in 2018. Essentially, it’s fan fiction based on The Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings.
I wrote a sort of prelude: Dagor Dagorath in my own imagining. It turns out, a little permission can go a very long way.
I had an idea for what happened next: a very simple seed that I planted then mostly ignored. I didn’t bother to work any more with it.
And then I heard, last year, that they had made a Rings of Power series. As soon as I saw an ad for the series, it ignited something in me and I began writing the story out in earnest, discovering far more than I had ever expected at the beginning. It continues to surprise me, nearly every time I sit down to it.
You could probably call it a divine comedy.
Here’s a little excerpt. It’s part of a dream that one of the main characters has:
“He watches the golden orb float gently back to Nienna’s hand with dismay. She holds her palm out for the silver orb, too.
‘Think not too much of sorrow,’ she says, with a note of consolation. ‘But know it for what it truly is: a displacement, an upswelling tide; one that rises in volume to match the pressure of joy already dawning inside.‘”
The whole excerpt can be found here:
The Leryavalatúrë: Return of the Ring
tumbling I need space
I need distance I need you close
I need nothing between us
crying I’m here.
Love is our light
fun where we meet in the dark.
I finally uploaded a presentation of my paper given at the PAMLA conference in 2022. I’d recorded an audio-only reading of it last November, the morning after having sat on the panel, with the intent of uploading it. I just couldn’t figure out how to pair the audio with my slideshow, so scrapped it. But here I managed to cobble something together that worked.
My 5 yr old can be heard a few times in the background, mumbling and moaning a bit in his sleep. Life unfolds amidst scholarship.
This paper, excerpted conceptually from my master’s thesis, illustrates the basic governing logic behind paradigmatic frameworks and how to distinguish them morphologically: Dialogism & Dialectics in Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness
So that you don’t have to scroll down to find it, here’s a link to the poem I wrote, one that came out of what you could call the polyamorous creative synergy generated by the conference, channeled and focused through my own particular set of lenses: Paradise is Here: an unruly epic ode to PAMLA 2022
I’ve finally uploaded a few videos!
Here’s a link to a live stream that outlines the basic mechanics of the human creative process:
Creative Matrix Basics
This is a video I recorded after attending a beautiful, stirring live performance of “intimate cello” tuned to 432Hz, (featuring a guest-star appearance by Freud’s observant ghost), articulating the insights I gained into some of the dynamic interactions in this four-dimensional archetypal creative matrix—particularly the vital role of the son/brother archetype—as well as going a bit further about the scope and depth of social cohesion (what we call spirituality).
Essentially, I discovered the source of strong emergent creativity without quite realizing it—the moment the son begins empowering himself to begin pushing back against the patriarchal narratives that have inhibited his emotional expression:
Stellar call and response [I’m editing this video down for better focus and brevity]
And a very short introduction to the creative foundation of the personal aesthetic, playing off a teeny smidge from Kant’s Critique of Judgement:
Joy as a universal baseline for the personal aesthetic
There is nothing more consistently attractive
to children at a playground
than a man willing to play
Demystifying spirituality without losing the mystery that makes it what is is—a vital and nutritive source of creative expression and power.
There is a lot to say on all of this, so I’m going to break it up into bite sized chunks. Read them in any order. They are all very brief introductions, the dippings of toes, into topics that can be explored at much greater depth and breadth. Forever and ever into eternity.
[If the link is not active, it is because that part of this essay series is not yet uploaded]
Insight, a never-ending personal story— A (very) brief introduction to my own developing relationship with spirituality and a basic definition.
Weak-emergent social cohesion: codependence— the basic mechanics that govern the massive bulk of our current social dynamics
Strong-emergent social cohesion: interdependence— the locus for deliberate personal creative power and collective social shifts
“In our mainstream society, the term “spirituality” still sparks cynicism in many, and I’ve come to find that, oddly enough, even spiritual communities can have narrow-minded views and a sort of tunnel vision about themselves and their relationship to the rest of the society. One way or another, it’s an unnecessarily loaded word.
It’s like we live in a world where every single branch imagines itself as the entire tree. It’s been interesting, sometimes discouraging, but most often amusing to stand in the middle, tree-hugging and gazing upward, bare toes feeling their way around the lifted surface of exposed roots for different angles, different views.
It’s the method of all my musing. It always has been, whether I knew it as “spiritual” or not.
So, after half a dozen years and more trouble and spiritual titration than I can hope to summarize, the most objective way I’ve found to condense and clearly define spirituality is… [drumroll] … social cohesion.”
The unspoken question at the heart of my master’s thesis:
If Genly Ai had met Estraven
as an alien once more
in that stove-warmed tent all alone in the snow
would Estraven have said yes to life
instead of no?
excuse me while I go
sort out the laws of the universe
so that I can talk with you.
…this might take some time. BRB