Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Kerosene in a Tin Cup

I've spilt gallons of ink in my journal intime trying to understand the attraction I feel to explore the darker parts of my nature. I try to keep that stuff out of my blog because I have a squeaky-clean image to maintain. Still, this one bit seemed worth sharing. Don't worry: no shocking revelations here.

When I talk about the darker parts of my nature, I'm mostly thinking about the compulsions we all feel to do things that are obviously self-destructive. Why drink too much? Why not sleep enough? Why say foolish things that we know will rebound to hurt us in the end? I want to understand the devil that makes me do these things so I can beat it.

I had a little revelation while I was swimming the other day so I paused to write it down:

Brooklyn, October 21

So I'm starting to understand my desire to flirt with the dark side. It's about proving one' fortitude--mostly to oneself. In this book I'm reading (The Third Chimpanzee), Jared Diamond describes a Kung Fu challenge of drinking Kerosene. Quite impressive to your adversaries if you survive to kick their @$$ with that handicap. There's a ritual version of it but the masters also do it when no one is around. Who are they trying to impress? There can only be one answer...

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