Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year, everyone!

Well, time to weigh in. What should I say? My daughter Madeleina and I are about to eat prime rib with basmati rice cooked with garlic and a touch of olive oil and seared zucchini and yellow squash with organic scallions and a Roma tomato in pan juices. Not everyone would want that. Most of the people who would want that meal cannot afford it. They certainly could not afford the olive oil, the organic veggies, the touch of excellent blue cheese on the steaks, the spinach under the steaks. They could not afford the pink sea salt or the butcher-ground black pepper or the pans to cook this meal properly. How we did it/do it, I don't know. The pans I'm using were first class and given to me at my marriage to Chepa in 1994. They've got another 100 years in them till their really broken in. My knives have been collected--by buying or being gifted--over 40 years. That means I'm old.
    None of that matters to anyone but me. And me? I'm sad, because my sons and ex and her new babies and my grand baby went to a family party that I was not included in. I'm not included because I won't stay awake till 3 AM. That doesn't bother me. But generally the kids come here for fireworks before the party and so we have a pre-party party. I upped my fireworks stash, which is good, by a couple of hundred bucks today, so it's a very good stash now. But so far they've forgotten to come.
    I guess that's good. I was a rotten son at 30 as well. Payback's a bitch, Gorman! Live with it!
    Past them, I know some of you. We've met or talked or what have you. So what would I like for you this year/ I'd like you to have good food and the time to make it and enjoy it. I'd like you to love the work you do, and if you don't I'd love  you to have the opportunity to change it to something you do love. I'd like you all to wake up every day this year with fresh eyes to see the world in a new way. I'd love you not to be sick, not to have aches and pains and illness that detract from your daily joy. I'd love you to get a raise at work that would give you enough to share $20 a month with the local food bank, or surprise a homeless person or six with fresh fruit now and then. I'd love you to be part of the skein of humanity that makes this world a better place, and we can do that without suffering for it. I'd love you to have shoes that fit so well your feet never hurt. I'd love you to love your haircut and smile every time you see yourselves in the mirror. I'd love you to lose the weight you want lose or decide to love yourself as you are. I'd love it if each of you could forgive one person completely and let them know it. I'd love you to love yourselves and soar as high as you want with the freedom, strength, and will to allow you that. Happy New Year, everyone! We can fix this world with love. And that love starts with loving ourselves.--PG

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Quick Note on Taking People Out to the Jungle

I was involved with a discussion group about the need to try to be prepared when you take people to the jungle, particularly for something like ayahuasca. This was a note I posted. No big deal, but i know I'll lose that thread and want to remember this. Here's what I wrote:
       I take people out to the jungle. I've been doing it since 1998. At first I took them to my teacher, Julio. He died in 2007, and my team and I decided that his son Jairo should take over the space. My group is with me five days before we drink ayahuasca. Maybe 20 percent are not permitted for various reasons. I have six of us watching a max of 12 people; but I've got 5 more within 20 yards if we need them.I've got 3 more within 100 yards if we really need them. And I'm still scared to death that something will go wrong! Stuff happens in the jungle and you have to be prepared. Planning will never suffice because what you plan for will never occur. But the act of planning gives you a shot at taking care of things should shit rain down. And while I do not want to jinx myself, I always want my guests to be in the best possible hands. Yes, there are still septic spiders, poisonous snakes, cayman, electric eels, vampire bats and a host of bad things. The trick is to try to minimize those bad things from happening.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

To all of you, if I had my druthers and was king of the world, I'd give you peace. I'd share water and food and grazing land and knowledge and invite you to teach me as well. I'd give you health, a sense of joy at the little things we stumble upon daily, I'd give you lovers who never bored you or took advantage of you. I'd give you experiences that took you to the farthest reaches of your capabilities but never more than that. I'd give you sleep when you need it, comfort when you need it, a sense of belonging when you feel like an outsider, a bit of mystery to keep things interesting, and a spirit or three to help you through vexing times with clear guidance. I'd give you the wherewithal to fight through the obstacles that stand between you and your dreams. I'd give you the power to empower yourselves to be who you want to be, shamelessly, proudly, ferociously.
    Merry Christmas everyone, no matter how you say it or think it. And please have a wonderfully joyful New Year!
The Texas Clan of the Gormans

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Worrying About My Madeleina

So your kid makes it through infancy, healthy, and you sigh in relief. They make it through kindergarden and elementary school without too many bumps and bruises and lots of papers saying they're good students and you sigh in relief. They make it through high school, there are some tears but they're not bullied, not molested, and you sigh in relief. And then my Madeleina is off to college, just an hour away, and has a good roommate, good classes, good teachers, and all is good. So now she's home and last night was the second night in the last week where she's come home between 3 and 4 AM. What to say? She comes home sober, doesn't go drugs, was just hanging with pals. So I say what every dad says: Nothing good happens after 2 AM. Remember that, Madeleina, and let it go.
    This morning she comes into my office, plumps down on the couch and announces: Dad, I might have a record.
    I ask, What?
    She explains that she and two friends were out in a nearby park. It was just after midnight, the park curfew, when they started walking back to the car. They weren't far from it when three police cars pulled up and told them the park was closed, then asked for identification. They scanned the IDs, asked if they had drugs or weapons, were told no, then were given a warning. Next time they'll get a citation and fine.
    Madeleina was indignant as she told it. We were so close to the car and it was only about six minutes after midnight and I wanted to give those cops a piece of my mind.....
    I reminded her that that's how people get tased or arrested. She said she knew, which is why she kept her mouth shut.
    I said good on her.
    The three then went to the home of the other girl in the trio to drop her off. That's when it got a little spooky, dad, she said. Because there was a man kind of pacing in front of her house.
    Was he on the road?
    No, he was in front of her house.
    Now the young woman's home is set back 100 feet in the middle of nowhere. There are other houses around but they've all got an acre or three, so it's pretty rural, and the road the house is on is very rural, very backwater and beautiful, but not a road someone could stumble on by accident.
    Anyway, dad, we pulled up and asked him who he was. He said he had no car but that his name was Ricky and he needed a ride. He had no phone either, which is why he was in front of the house: He was deciding whether to wake people up to ask to use their phone.
    Madeleina, it was about 1 AM in nowhere. He had no car. He wasn't walking anywhere. But he'd obviously come from somewhere. And if he came from somewhere walking, he could probably return to that somewhere on foot as well.
     Don't worry, dad, Lizzie lied and said we didn't have enough gas to go anywhere. Then he asked to borrow a phone, so we let him and he called someone and when they answered he said Hello, this is Bob. That was weird, right, because he told us his name was Ricky. Anyway, after that he walked away and we all went into my friend's house to make sure he left. And that's why I got home at 4 AM.
     Darling, did your friend L recognize the man from the area?
     Never saw him before, dad.
    So a guy with no car winds up in nowhere at 1 AM and needs a ride home? No. He had a ride. It was probably waiting in the dark just down the road. This guy was going to rob the house, and then signal his friend to come round with the car as he was leaving, so that there was little chance anyone would see the car long enough to get license plate numbers.
    Could be, dad. All in all, it was kind of scary when we got in the house and started talking about it.
    And that's why dads like me worry about my Madeleina.

Friday, December 18, 2015

On a Perfectly Selfish Note....

On a perfectly selfish note: How can it be that I've had something along the line of 4,000 people join the group Ayahuasca in My Blood, and have only sold maybe 6000 copies. Not everybody who bought the book would want to join the group. Not even anywhere near two-out-of-three. So, this month, for instance, how did more than 50 people ask to join when I only sold 14 copies so far? Am I nuts or are there sites out there giving the book away for free and people are actually taking advantage of that? No artist should have his/her work used/misused/abused that way. No musician, no dancer, no film maker, no poet, no sculptor, and no writer. As I said, this is a perfectly selfish note. But if anyone has the answer, or an answer, I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Life Goes On

Obla-di, Obla-da, Life goes oooonnn, O la la la life goes on....
Been a hectic couple of weeks. I've had 9 visitors to the house: Two young women for sapo, one guy who wanted to meet me because he read my books; one young guy from Houston who brought me a stick he thought was important; two people who are coming on my January Jungle Jaunt, my old friend, Milan, who came by just to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with us, plus a few days; a woman, now a friend, who is a television producer, and an utter stranger who showed up at the door asking if I was Peter Gorman, and if I was, could he talk with me.
   That and a case of walking pneumonia have had me under siege. Not a lot of energy. Now it might be emphysema, which I would have to own, considering how much I smoke, but then that would mean it came on awfully quickly: Two months ago I was never out of breath. The last two months I walk 200 steps and i'm gasping. I hope this is temporary. I'm considering taking antibiotics as I'm coughing up a quart or so of phlegm from my lungs daily. That's a lot of mucous and probably more than you wanted to know.
    On the other hand: Madeleina came home from college exactly a week ago and that has been great: We laugh, yell, argue, laugh again. She's the bees-knees. I've rewarded her by cooking Uncle Clem's Chicken, chicken parmesana, duck breast with pears and port wine; Lime chicken, a hot roast beef sandwich on good sesame french bread with seared organic tomato slices; and tonight chicken breast with bok choy, ginger, daicon radish, scallions, garlic in a sesame oil sauce, over a bed of baby spinach, with a side of broccoli, cauliflower, sweet red onions, tomato, garlic, zucchini, and yellow squash.
   So I have been remiss. I apologize. I've been worried about my January trip to the jungle which will lose $3,400 that i will have to put on a credit card. Darn it. 20 People signed up for it and only four are still with me. That's unusual. I hope something will happen in the next couple of weeks to at least let me break even....
   I love you all for sticking with this loser. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

New Column

Well, a week or more ago I posted a piece on how fear causes problems. Right now, they are still counting bodies from a mass shooting by what looks to be three murderers who attacked a center for people with learning disabilities. At the moment they are saying 14 dead. How does this happen? Were these foreign born or US-raised terrorists?
    The information remains sketchy, but considering that I expanded on how fear diminishes us in my most recent Skunk Magazine Drug War Follies column, I thought I'd post it here. It's not on the money, but it's part of what explains things like today's mass killing.


Too Much Damned Pain in This World. What can be Done About It?

By Peter Gorman

I know you all understand that there is a lead-time when it comes to magazine publishing. It’s generally a couple of months. So what I write about today has to still be fresh by the time it reaches you. That’s not always an easy guess for what material to cover. But what I’m writing today, and yeah, it’s serious shit this time, wrapped in sadness, are things that I would give anything to be old news by the time your read it.
    The news right now isn’t good. Yes, up in Canada you’ve had the sense to toss your very Conservative leadership and that’s fantastic for you. Here in the US, we had the great sense to do the same 7 years ago—though our incredibly short-sighted, misogynistic, pro-birth, anti-human, pro-rich, anti-poor, bible-toting, beer-chugging, anti-pot, asshole-stuffed Congress has done its best to hamstring him.
   And yes, there is good news in a lot of states concerning the cannabis movement and with the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration being called out in a lot of quarters for saying that marijuana has no medical use and serves no medical purpose.
   But so much of the rest of the news seems to be filled with palpable pain. We’ve got racial tensions blowing up due to cops killing a lot of people for no apparent reason other than that they panicked and decided to shoot, over and over and over. We’ve got hate groups putting up Facebook pages claiming to be university white supremacy unions. We’ve got ISIS recruiting thousands of disenfranchised kids from all over the world to take part on their insane and apocalyptic war meant to bring on the Endtimes. We’ve got the USA mostly keeping boots off the ground in the on-fire Middle East while our drones hit as many civilians as they do bad guys. We are watching whole countries being bombed back to the middle-ages. Millions of Syrians have become refugees because their civil war, the war that’s been going on for five years now, is being fueled by immeasurable hatred. Millions of Iraqis are being displaced as well as their cities and towns are torn to pieces by half-a-dozen different murderous factions.
   We’ve got a huge swath of Brazil facing starvation and displacement because of a dam collapse that released a huge amount of very toxic mining waste into the Doce River there.
   We’ve got climate change that is causing unprecedented extremes in weather patterns and events.
   We’ve got extremist groups in several parts of Africa that are committing atrocities against humans at astonishing levels of frequency.
   We’ve got planes being blown out of the sky and the Paris attacks and millions going hungry and homeless and left helpless and hopeless in nearly every corner of the globe.
   We’ve even got ego wars raging in the legitimate and legal cannabis business world in Colorado and elsewhere.
   The list of horror and sorrow is long. Too long. Yes, nature, through disease and cataclysmic events will always make life on Earth a bit harrowing, keeping us on our toes.
   But the madness men are creating seems to be escalating once again. The pain and suffering men are causing one another is horrendous.
   And it is all caused by fear. Fear of not being seen as strong enough; fear that people will discover your penis is small; fear of the other skin colors; fear of not having enough; fear that someone else might have more than you; fear of an unseen god who apparently demands bloodshed in his name; fear of our own shadows.
   That fear consumes people. That fear drives anger and rage and negativity and finally, it drives all of the sickening things that men do to one another.
   And while that fear was once a necessary part of man’s existence—fear of drought, not enough water for everyone’s camels at the oasis, virulent diseases, pestilence, and just being mauled by large animals of prey—it’s become as useless an appendage as an appendix. We can overcome those things that used to terrify humans while still maintaining the fight or flight reflex for things like tornados or wildfires. But to maintain the fear that people had as a safety valve 150,000 years ago, that’s no longer necessary as we’ve conquered most of those negative realities. There doesn’t need to be famine anymore. Or lack of water.
   The question is, how can we eliminate the fear. If we could do that, the negativity would dissipate of its own accord, and the brutality would vanish. Because if we could eliminate the fear for long enough to work in unison with one another, we’d find what we already know in our hearts to be true to be true in reality as well: That there is enough for everyone. There is enough food, there is enough water, there could be enough shelters, there could be enough doctors and nurses and whatever the hell else the human race needs to live.
    If we could work together we cold reforest the Sahara, replenish and refresh the oceans. We could all be sipping on good fresh water and we could all have basic plumbing and we could have a world where people do not have to hide in fear from the next massacre or the next drone bombing or the next fear-fueled teenager killing people in a movie theater.
   It should not be so hard to eliminate the fear. I wish I knew how. I’ve tried to raise my own kids not to be fearful, not to be so fearful that the heart fills with hate and rage. But then my kids were not raised on the US dropping napalm on them, or on Boko Haram slaughtering whole villages or on ISIS’ death wish or any of the other wretched things men do to one another. It will take a lot of work to eliminate the fear not just from the perpetrators of that horror, but the fear that’s been instilled in those who have suffered through it. How well do the Bosnians and Serbians get along after what they did to one another? How much fear and hatred still exists in the hearts of the elderly Jews who saw their families put on trains and sent to the incinerators? How do we eliminate that fear? What do we do?
   I wish I knew. Awareness of it is the first step. Speaking out about it—not me, not just here, but by good men and women everywhere, all the time—would bring further awareness. But how do we get to where we’ve got the mass to allow the changes to begin. Not the numbers: There are already a whole lot more good people in this world than bad ones, the fearful ones. How do we get them together to stand up and point out the fear, to start working to eliminate the issues that cause the fear?
   A lot of you younger readers are going to inherit this world. We hippies thought we would have it all set up and peaceful for you by now, the second decade of the Age of Aquarius. We didn’t get it done, but it still needs to be done. And it can be done. I’m not the guy with the answer. I do see the problem. Fear. Eliminate fear in men’s hearts and the rest will take care of itself. I wish I were smart enough to have the answer.
  Now, remember how I started this? About magazine lead-time and trying not to be dated by the time the reader reads this. Well, I would love nothing more than to discover that every bad thing I’ve mentioned and all the ones I didn’t were gone by the time this hits the newsstand and I was completely outdated. That would be great.
  Okay. Sorry to go so heavy, but I needed to say that. Take a breath or three, fill a bong. Come up with answers and let’s make this world the one we want it to be.
It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.