October 19, 2003
Sabbath in San Francisco

It’s Sabbath. A few years back, we realized that the work was never-ending, that our instinct for the self-preservation of soul was inadequate to the task, and that the ancient concept of a “day of rest” wasn’t just a bourgeois cop-out. So we defined our own parameters of a Sabbath. It was a moveable feast — schedule sometimes made it impossible, so it might shift from Sunday to Saturday or Monday in a given week. And the traditional “no work” definition had to take into account the manifold definitions of “work” that are part of our vocabulary. Our guiding principle was that one day a week the activity we pursued was something pleasurable, creative, energizing in some way. So it might be a trip to the beach, a long morning in bed, a movie, work in the garden, writing — whatever truly fed the soul as opposed to feeding the brainless, ravenous monster of the worklist.

We’ve held to that pretty well, mostly. Sometimes it’s been compromised by devilish intrusions, sometimes it’s been a split “sunset-to-sunset” experience, sometimes it’s been at the cost of making the next workday truly hellacious, and sometimes we’ve just pissed it away. But it’s come to be a very central part of our life, and a reminder that, in our way of thinking, what life is about is essentially soul-creation. That’s done through the life & joy of the senses, through the eros of human interchange, through making beautiful objects (be they plays or sculptures or songs), through the deepening of our textures of knowing, and through the digestion that comes about in the silence of spirit.

It’s been a week of anxiety and frantic work. Seven interviews for our “War Veterans” program on Hitchhiking off the Map. Doing transcripts of thirteen interviews, thankfully aided by a few friends. Performing last Monday night the solo show Survival Tips. Doing scattered notes on the three (3) (III) plays we have to write this season. Doing our Thursday night “Genesis” workshop, a series of improvs around the “search for the lost city” theme, this time exploring a dream-fantasy style that seems to open up imaginations tremendously. Having a meeting with our student website design team in the midst of radical redesign of our site. Feeling the bank account take another hit as we had to pay $500 for a new pump in our van. Performing a 20-minute series of sketches at a glorious concert by folk-blues singer Caroline Aiken. Busy week.

And now what’s ahead? Well, today I’m taking the bus into San Francisco, intending to walk and walk and walk. Trying to find a little New Age/Pagan store in the Haight where I might buy something related to my altar to Dionysus (more about that stuff another time). Then maybe across Golden Gate Park, with some stops to write until my laptop’s battery gives out, and possibly seeing a local documentary at a theatre up on Clement & 23rd. Then meeting Elizabeth at our ancient coffeehouse, Cafe Trieste, in North Beach, dinner at Brandy Ho’s (yeh, a tourist spot, but damned good), and then a movie or something this evening.
Then home in time (it’s about an hour and a quarter north at that time of night) to see the raccoons eating the leftovers from our feral cats’ dish. Walt & Patty Raccoon have manifested two little ones, and they appear very late at night, keep a wary eye on us as we watch through the sliding glass doors to the patio, and pluck the pellets from the cat dish with their delicate fingers. The little ones glide over the concrete as if they’re skating on ice. Then they invariably muddy the cats’ water by putting their front paws in the dish as they’re drinking. Are they washing their hands, or do they just like the taste of muddy water? Who can say? Life is beautiful in this world of madness.