A Simple Question

Lesson - A Simple Question: When the question found me, my body had already been broken by a sleep-deprived week-long extravaganza of chaos at Burning Man, and with all my filters of perception completely blown. Then there, staring at me out from the photos of one dusty face after another, was a single question:

[click images to enlarge]

Simple. Powerful. Frakking important! Why had no one asked me this before? Why had I never even heard of the WDYDWYD? project before Burning Man? And the question itself? Oh, yes, I knew my answer... I knew it immediately. I had tried to think of a better answer, but I returned over and over to the very first one that my heart screamed at the moment I heard the question:

"Because second chances aren't guaranteed."

Second chances are not guaranteed. Yes, I've been given second chances before--I'm alive because of a second chance--but they're not guaranteed. Ever since that second chance at life, I've been living it on a first chance basis... and that's why I do what I do.

What was standing in front of me was a wooden wall, where the WDYDWYD? question was written. Surrounding the question were hundreds of black and white photos. Every photo was the same... and every photo was completely different. Every photo had one person at the center, looking at the camera and holding a piece of paper where they'd written their answer. Each person was different, and as unique as their answers. The answers hit me over and over like the notes in a song.

There's no "right" answer.

There's only your answer.
...and the answers of others that strike you.

The project's evolved over the years. It now includes art beyond photography. Many color photos now fill the galleries with their answers, videos are online, and the project's moved far beyond the borders of the legendary "City in the Desert" where the question started.

I've included only a small handful of the answers I saw that night. You? You need to look into their eyes for yourself. You need to feel their expression... and you need to answer this question for yourself. Maybe your answer will change over time. Since that night in 2005, my answer has stayed the same.

My favorite photo remains one of those black and whites that I saw back in '05. It is in her eyes and fingers, her mix of calm and intensity, and I've kept it with me for quite a long time. With today being the last day of 2012, I can safely say I'll be holding on to this one even longer.

So.... why do you do what you do?

All photos by Tony Deifell. And the song of the day comes from an old favorite--Little People--who are back and making music again, with many free songs already up for download. Here's my current favorite--"4 and 8" (available for free here on Facebook):

American Women in Europe

Hilarious before and after the twist in this little story, and expertly delivered by none other than David DeAngelo himself. Pay attention, however, well... if you're laughing too painfully, play it again, but there is real information here hidden inside the laughter. Enjoy!

"American Women in Europy" by David DeAngelo

12.12.12 in Reflection

People still email me about this short story I wrote in 2002: "Homelands". Even in a fantasy setting like this story, where magic and armies dominate the environment, the story's driven completely by the most essential human emotions: confidence, fear, doubts... love. I ended the story with the same words that started the story: "There was a man and a woman in a garden."

You could say I'm a bit of a romantic. Ok, more than a bit... I burn and I burn hot and my passions are animal and very thirsty and, yes, at the end of the day it is one woman I desire in my arms. On any given day, I work with some incredibly attractive artists, models, musicians, and side-by-side with some frakking hot creatures who are tribe to me... and no matter how many women, or what the day brings, or how attractive, there is still this romantic idea and desire for a "one". It is worth loving and trusting and burning completely to find that woman... and it is worth dying alone knowing I tried to find her.

I am on American shores... and here in this moment there is more pain from love than there is the pleasure of love's intoxication... and by my choice. If I had one request of my heart, it would be not to fall in love at long-distance... but I have no control over my heart, and control is a chain I would never want put over the fire and blood that burns inside me.

I do not know the future. The future is born of actions, and of the fire that fuels those actions. Slowly I am rebuilding my world, especially the memorial for the man who taught me everything I know about music--Mushuto--and rebuilding the record label that he founded. I remind myself, also, that I frakking have a war to fight... and that war does not wait for anyone.

And I have a story to tell.

"Landlore" is the first of many stories, and the horizon calls, my brother Zero whispering to me of Mexico and of the West. Expect more as I put ink to paper... as paper becomes print and as sections are shared here on the site. The world ends in just over a week... so I'll catch you all on the other side of the apocalypse.

Much love... and burn bright!
~Kantiki Jayamana Whateva

Song of the Day: Until the Ribbon Breaks - Pressure (LuQus Remix) [Free on BandCamp]