Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Idle" Chatter

Breaking news:
Bike Scribbles Cross Atlantic!
"City Cruise"
© Kathleen King 2008

While I can't believe I'm saying this I must admit I am thoroughly smitten with Twitter. At first it seemed like just another techno-gizmo time suck:

"What are you doing right now?"
"Chewing on my pen cap. You?"

Honestly, who among us is moment-to-moment fascinating like, say, Lance Armstrong (who is, you guessed it, also on Twitter. No really, it's him)? Certainly not I.

But I gave it a couple of weeks and POW it started to work its magic. I now swear by it as one of the most brilliant networking tools in existence. I've started meeting all kinds of local creative people and bike people as well as reaching all the way across the US and the Atlantic. Which brings me to the point of this post: The Bike to Work Book by Carlton Reid and Tim Grahl.
One night I was reading the Twitter roll and saw that a British man I knew only from his internet efforts in the cycling world was asking for Americans to look over the rough draft of his new book and make constructive comments. While just breakfast time in the UK it was the wee hours of the morning here so I think I was one of the very few Yanks still awake at the time. I offered and he sent me the pages in an email. Along the way he mentioned that he had seen my website and liked my artwork. Then I had an idea. I sent over a bike Scribble and made a suggestion. Long story short, he accepted. I drew some custom scribbles and in really a head-spinning short time - TA DA! The book is almost here and my Scribbles are part of it!

It is a very timely volume indeed. The perfect manual if you want to sock it to Big Oil in style. Fun to read, energizing and packed with information, these guys have covered every possible question. I've learned several things about biking that I didn't know before and learned about some really cool products that assist in making bike commuting a breeze. And those are from just the first few chapters. The only downside is that when you're done with the read you will be plum out of excuses to drive a car for much of anything!

I am intensely proud of being involved in this project. Carlton Reid is a really good guy (with an amazing 11-year-old cycling son Josh, by the way). I hope this book gets all the smashing success it deserves. Do check the link for a preview and you can leave comments if you like as well. I've never seen an author so gracious about getting critiqued!

Many thanks to Donna Tocci, Tim Jackson and Kris Keim for coaxing me into this fine pot of jam! And thanks to photographer Carson Blume for the digital assistance.

"Zoomin' Through"
© Kathleen King 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The "Wait" is Beginning to Lift

It's a sunny day at the beginning of the Obama Era...

Warning: You are about to see poetry. But not just any poetry, one of the greatest American Postmodernist poems ever written. Don't be afraid. I promise it won't kill you.

In the streets, the shops and on the web it feels like the dawning of a new age. Now I know this man will be just a president and a president is just a man - who needs a congress, a senate and corporate America to cooperate with his vision. Not only that, he will be a president who inherits a generation of troubles to solve. Four years is such a little time. And we'll all need a lot of meditation, good vibrations and old fashioned prayer. But the People! The spirit of the American People is hopeful and excited and able to dream again about being 'the shining city on the hill'.

All my life I had read this poem in a mood of angst and irony. It is one of my top three most favorite. Today I read it and felt for the first time that maybe for some things the wait would soon be over. Please give it a chance and try to get all the way to the end. I hope you will get something from it and maybe love it as I do.

First published in A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1958.

I Am Waiting

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am seriously waiting
for Billy Graham and Elvis Presley
to exchange roles seriously
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the living end
and I am waiting
for dad to come home
his pockets full
of irradiated silver dollars
and I am waiting
for the atomic tests to end
and I am waiting happily
for things to get much worse
before they improve
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the human crowd
to wander off a cliff somewhere
clutching its atomic umbrella
and I am waiting
for Ike to act
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and save me forever from certain death
and I am waiting
for life to begin
and I am waiting
for the storms of life,
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am waiting
for Ole Man River
to just stop rolling along
past the country club
and I am waiting
for the deepest South
to just stop Reconstructing itself
in its own image
and I am waiting
for a sweet desegregated chariot
to swing low
and carry me back to Ole Virginie
and I am waiting
for Ole Virginie to discover
just why Darkies are born
and I am waiting
for God to lookout
from Lookout Mountain
and see the Ode to the Confederate Dead
as a real farce
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for Tom Swift to grow up
and I am waiting
for the American Boy
to take off Beauty's clothes
and get on top of her
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth's dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

-Lawrence Ferlinghetti

San Francisco's Poet Laureate and co-founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers was born in Yonkers, New York on March 24th 1919. Ferlinghetti, who is also known for his activism, essays and painting, has often been considered a Beat poet though he doesn't consider himself one. Located in San Francisco's North Beach district, City Lights Publishing is most noted for publishing the controversial and legendary Howl by Allen Ginsberg. Ferlinghetti was then famously charged and tried for violating obscenity laws, then acquitted. At age 89 Lawrence Ferlinghetti is still writing, touring, traveling and speaking his mind. His voice and life are heroic and he is one of the greatest artists and Americans this nation has ever produced.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
about to sign my copy of Americus, Book I at D.G. Wills Books in
La Jolla, CA

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy


I am proud to be an American!