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Further Adventures of a Rogue Journalist

by Nowick Gray, Editor of Alternative Culture Magazine

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Night Call


1. Cruising the Personals

Tonight’s caller informed me that my introduction on Monday Magazine personals sounded sexist, since I asked for attractive, slim, with beautiful eyes, instead of wise, caring and honest. The truth is that both sets of qualities are necessary. The first comes at a glance and the second only with a commitment of time. The commitment starts with the glance, and increases over time as the inner qualities reveal themselves.

Voice is also a fair indicator of character and even appearance, and also attraction (or not). Again, for me, appeal in both content and form is required to nourish a long-term mutual affection. This caller’s voice was somewhat harsh, not quite slurred (though she said she hadn’t had a drink in thirteen years), and carried a certain impact of earnest, direct, hard-earned honesty.

While I’ve been holding fast to the line about romance leading to relationship, I guess there is something to the other side, that romance can develop over time - as it did, of course, with each of my four wives. Come to think of it, those four strikes against me might explain why I’m ready to reverse the formula - especially when I consider the romantic attractions I turned down in favor of those once-promising long-term relationships.

This dualism isn’t so clear cut as it seems, though. For each of those four partners I put aside the option of a more romantically appealing rival; yet I had my doubts about those pretenders even then. And with the romance that grew in time with the partners I chose, it wasn’t always a case of finally fading attraction that spelled doom for my affections. Behavioral factors were also involved; communication difficulties, emotional disharmonies. It is true that part of my problem in sustaining relationships has been that I never did like quite well enough the beauty that I had ... at least, not where it counted, in my demonstration of such love. There were certainly those I gave my heart to, if they would have it. But we were poor matches in different ways. Which gets back to the question of which comes first ... But when all is said and done it seems most sensible to start with the first filter that you confront: and that is the person’s appearance.

I guess I could adopt a more universal approach to dating: “I’m enjoying the life energy that breathes through me. Would you like to share it?” I might get 3 billion cyber-women clicking me virtual winks.

A picture is a thousand words; a voice is a hundred words. Then we come to the profile. “I would like to meet a thousand women who are wise, caring and honest; but first, a hundred of those who also enjoy nature, music and travel. Of these hundred, I will like best the appearance of ten, and hope to call one my partner – probably the one who likes me the best."

2. Love in the New Age

"This evening is an invitation to open to the fullness of love within and dance in wild abandon to set your spirit free. To dance ecstatically is to celebrate your full presence and aliveness here and now. We will be dancing with the intention to dissolve our separate ego identity and dance to let go of all that holds us back from being in the full presence of the love that we are. We dance as a practice of spiritual devotion, to cultivate and share our radiant hearts with our community. Participants are inspired to let go of outer form and surrender to their internal energy flow. In that surrender the body opens, the mind becomes still and we know ecstasy. Ecstasy is an ego-less state of no-mind, where our inherent dilemma of separation dissolves and we feel at one with the whole universe.

No experience necessary, drop-ins welcome.

The most intense part of the Kundalini dance workshop came at the end, with a partner exercise. Looking full into eyes, opening to love ... but it’s a complete stranger, and not one I would ordinarily ever think of loving.

Of course, that’s the challenge, isn’t it? So on the one hand I can feel disturbed and invaded (after trusting to go along with workshop instructions) when we touch fingertips, elbows, backs, hips, and hold each other’s weight in turn -- and on the other hand I can start feeling what it’s like to be an attractive woman whom every man wants to fuck. I can find out what it is to encounter the walls of love when they go beyond the inclusion of friends and lovers, to those who are merely fellow humans.

Welcome to the New Age, when caveman proposals of love and biting rejection are replaced by universal union. Except that my heart really wasn’t in this union; I was stiff and practically unsmiling, refusing to lean or hold fully, not into the fingers or elbows or hips; my back and a shoulder were all I could offer. My queen-for-fifteen-minutes looked up at me with New Age love in her eyes and complained, “I feel there ith a lot of rethithtanth to love in you.”

Confusion reigns in the hardwiring of hormones and pheromones; with a bug in the cultural program of romance and politesse; as we try or pretend to bond with no thought of our differences, yet no intention of conventional liaisons either.

It would have been different, of course, had there been any hint of attraction. That would have also been dangerous, challenging territory, sending waves up against the storm walls of hope and conquest and enchantment -- or uncertainty of compatibility -- or rejection turned back in my face. No, this time the Raven wore a new disguise and came to me with the trick of a pre-Halloween shadow. See what it’s like, pretty boy? Or -- so you think you’re spiritually evolved and ready for love? Try this one on for size.

Afterwards in the sharing circle: I am Nowick, and I am ... semi-transparent. Quiet, centered, still, deepened, sober, vulnerable, open. I share a full long close hug with my friend Linda, who’s blessedly sittting next to me. I go out into the night of the full moon, exchange a few words with a nice-looking woman who was sitting nearby alone during the partner exercise, and continue on to my car to dress warmly for the beach.

There is a super low tide. I walk along the wide sand and kelp-slippery rocks to a spot on a log where I sit to try out Gary’s Moroccan reed-horn and offer sacraments to the full moon. On the way back I notice a strong bounce and glide to my step, a new smoothness and ease, overcoming any fatigue from having danced three hours straight, and despite the near-freezing air. Coming up past the hall again, I pass Chris the drummer and Leyola the workshop leader, who tells me, “You’re glowing,” and then, “You need this. I can see that it’s good for you, to open you up.”

Beginning Again: Meditations Between Relationships

journal online


Many of the essays appearing here are collected in convenient e-book format (pdf). Coming Home: Nature and Me and Other Essays is available now for free download.

Right-click to save to your computer: nature.pdf

Rule Reversals (January 2003)

Telling it Like it Is (January 2003)

White Rabbit (February 2002)

On Novelty (February 2002)

An Open Letter to the Democratic Party after September 11 (December 2001)

Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion (book review) (November 2001)

Forest Storm (September 2001)

Feminism, Poetic Myth, and Alternative Culture - An Homage to The White Goddess (July 2000)

Quests for Identity and Other Addictions (May 2000)

Wheel of Fortune (April 2000)

Great Writers and Street Poets (February 2000)

Upgrade for Speed Because Time is Running Out? (August 1999)

Retail Therapy: Decision Making in the Computer Age (August 1999)

Retail Therapy2: Random Brief Downtimes (August 1999)

Farouche Speaks (April 1999)

NetGlut: Notes from a cleansing fast (February 1998)

To Unix and Back Alive (January 1997)

Webness (November 1996)

Surfing Again (November 1996)

Bananas in British Columbia (May 1996)

Confessions of a computer addict (May 1996)

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