"I don’t sleep well in the squat - it’s cold, and the sagging mattress is hell on my back. I am the kind of traveller who can and will hitchhike, but prefers roadtrips; will sleep in alleyways, but prefers couches or cheap motels, guaranteed access to a bathroom - nothing fancy, just a bit of comfort so that my escapist vacation is not a test of survival. I finally learn to drink coffee during this excursion, spending hour after hour at my favorite cafe, Z’otz. My cellphone gets disconnected ‘cause I couldn’t pay the bill, emails bounce, & I’m out of postage stamps. I scribble furiously into my journal until I am empty, and then I wander about town, dumpstering surplus beignets & catching one amazing musical performance after another: The Broken Bottle Band, Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship?, The Zydepunks, The Cankickers, The Panorama Brass Band, not to mention the many impromptu street jams that crop up all over the place. I watch a few parades, alone in an immense crowd of strangers - all of us appreciating such overwhelming beauty, connected by our shared celebration of New Orleans, beauty, love, sex, humanity, and alcohol; yet we are strangers, separated by distance & unfamiliarity. Tourists, all of us."
"Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success… To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble."
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
I must admit, I imagined a great deal more wilderness.
But, from tomorrow I shall be in just that. The wild. National parks here I come!
"Most folks in my predominately white neighborhood see themselves as open-minded; they believe in justice and support the right causes. More often than not, they are social liberals and fiscal conservatives. They may believe in recognizing multiculturalism and celebrating diversity (our neighborhood is full of white gay men and straight white people who have at least one black, Asian, or Hispanic friend), but when it comes to money and class they want to protect what they have, to perpetuate and reproduce it—they want more. The fact that they have so much while others have so little does not cause moral anguish, for they see their good fortune as a sign they are chosen, special, deserving. It enhances their feeling of prosperity and well-being to know everyone cannot live as they do."
"I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of “madness”. Then: I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: “Poor thing, she’s crazy!” (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s - my madness would not be an escape from “reality”."