Old Man Jazz

There used to be a separation between what I say and who I say it to, but time is closing it down, so that it’s one thing, not parceled out in segments so that it can be installed as software to take care of a circuit. The one thing is prior to the parceling. The one thing is dancing.

Down beneath all the ideas and structures reaching all the way to heaven, all the way into outer space, into all the accomplishments of structuring, there is a dance going on. I first began to think about it after reading a book, The Silent Pulse, by George Leonard. This was awhile back so the technology was crude, but they essentially photographed interactions at 58 frames a second, and showed that there was a choreographed dance happening between the peope in the moment. That dance is prior to everything else.

There is body language, which is dance, regardless of the nature of the dance. Dance is the expression of the body about how it feels. The first way people know each other is by experiencing the musculature patterns of the other person. By being conscious of the reactions to somebody else you can influence their reactions. It’s a feedback circuit and the only place where it can be influenced is in the reactions.

The way we learn things is that we hear what we know stated in such a way that we remember we know it. Blake said you can’t hear the truth spoken so as to be understood and not know it’s the truth. Milton Erickson, who revolutionized hypnosis, said that the meaning of a communication is the response it gets, and there is no other meaning. The impression that there is other meaning is in your head and is not part of the communication.

What a glorious change it would be to have people understand that what is in their head is not part of the communication, ever. The other person does not share this information unless they are based in the same cult. And then you have a whole new set of issues. How do you relate to people outside the cult? No, it’s best to realize it is the response that matters, and only the response, and that this is happening all the time. It is the dance.

At the moment I am dancing with Jerry Garcia. After Midnight, Kean’s College. Texting with a friend about the album and about Garcia. I said I have a story about Garcia and the Dead from the first Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, when I was a sailor, stationed next door to the Fairgrounds, where the festival happened. I had guard duty that weekend and of course nobody was going to trade duty. I was in that little gate house at a Naval Air Field where the officers at the Presidio put in their flight time. I was there because I dropped out of electronics school, asking to be a bosun’s mate instead. They sent me to Monterey and made me scrub toilets for awhile to adjust my attitude. I didn’t mind. I rose quick. But Jesus Christ, the greatest event in rock history, and I was listening to it but could not get over that fence to be in the midst of it.

It must have been about two in the morning when I got off watch and went over the fence. The people were mostly gone. There wasn’t anything going on, not at first, but then the Grateful Dead decided to just jam for awhile, there in the hall, with a few stragglers like me. It wasn’t just consolation, it was a gift, to be there with some people just standing around in the early morning, listening to the endless jam. I got caught being gone when I had duty. I was confined to base for two weeks. I had a good story about the Hell’s Angels buzzing the gate house while I stood there with a stick in my hand. How droll was that.


Writing is for me is playing the a piano keyboard. I like the music of the words. I have been a professional magazine writer and newspaper editor.

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Writing is for me is playing the a piano keyboard. I like the music of the words. I have been a professional magazine writer and newspaper editor.