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March 29, 1998


I went to the movies yesterday. I didn’t have a movie in mind, any would do. So, I walked around, entering different theaters at random just looking at what was going on at the moment, trying to avoid the temptation of staying in one place. Soon, however, I realized that there was one theater I didn’t want to visit. The door was covered by a maroon curtain. Walking in front of that door gave me a feeling of dread and impending doom. So, I went in.

The previews were ending. The movie was about to start, and I was alone. They were showing the feature to an empty room. Why would they do that? Who would do that? Is the process so mechanized that the movie just begins and ends regardless of the audience? The ticket I bought was not for this movie. This show couldn’t be running just for me. Right?

In the film, aliens make the whole city fall asleep regularly in order to steal their memories. At one point, I realized I had fallen asleep on cue. I knew this because someone yelled at me to stop snoring. But there was no one there with me. I had dreamed the yell.

I kept watching the movie. I kept looking around me to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I found no evidence one way or the other. Except that the movie seemed to be just ordinary scenes of ordinary people doing nothing in particular. I found myself becoming more intrigued by the ‘exit’ sign next to the screen. I seemed to be glued to my seat. A heavy metallic atmosphere pushed me down. A smell of plantain soup would come and go. I was confused by that sign: was it informing me of the exit? suggesting? commanding? luring?

The screen doesn’t cast its usual magic. My surroundings are not forgotten. The ceiling of the theater is a dome, and there are big columns supporting it. I wander if I have perhaps fallen asleep in church again, and dream of going to the movies while missing school once again.

March 28, 1998

Into the Deep Raster

Computer images come in two flavors: raster and vector. Raster images are maps of little pixels, something like little points of light across your video screen which can be set to different colors, which your computer translates as exactly as its video capabilities allow.
Vector images are equations or instructions that a program within your computer interprets and from its interpretation it creates a picture for you to look at.
Of course, ultimately, all computer images are maps of pixels. The difference is in the process of communicating them to your computer and in the process of interpretation.

When a computer gets a raster image it reads it as literally as its equipment allows, detail by detail, pixel by pixel. When a computer gets a vector image it sends it to its local interpreter and then recreates what it believes was sent to it. This would usually be pretty accurate but... what if the interpreter is out of date? What if you've allowed your computer to sit in your garage, holding on to the same old programs while the world was changing around it? What if that interpreter you trust so much is still in a world that was painted years ago while new paintings have transcended the old limitations and the new vectors contain variables it can't resolve or understand?

You come home one day, after being away for several years in another city, and your little brother comes up to you. Here's a whole new animated raster image being offered to you but your inner computer chooses to turn it into a vector. "Ah! Little brother Kevin!" In fact little brother Kevin died long ago and the figure that stands before you is only related to it by association... and by your out of date programming. And yet you will see little brother Kevin, you will talk to little brother Kevin, you will react to little brother Kevin and you will leave thinking you just spent some time with little brother Kevin, when in fact little brother Kevin wasn't there and you just spent the last two weeks talking to your own ghosts, your old vector images.

When you were young, and I mean really young, you saw the world as pure raster, every image came fresh and new to you and was processed as a breakthrough discovery. The whole universe was a never-ending fountain of innovation and you were capable of taking it all in as it came, without interpretation, without ghosts. The Universe still is what it used to be then and you are still capable, but somewhere along the line (probably around the age of three or four) you betrayed yourself to the adult world of efficient vectors and you migrated to the land of ghosts. Unless you engage in some disciplined and practical line of work on self during this lifetime, a committed effort to break down the vector interpreter in your brain and body , you are destined to remain among the ghosts, you have a life long sentence in the prison of illusion.

Ultimately, of course, no sentence is forever. Whatever wasn't happening before will probably stop happening later. When the body and the brain go into their final bow, when the curtain is about to fall, the programming will break down, the vector interpreter will be disabled, and, all of a sudden, without warning, you will be plunged into the world of freshness and innovation, the land of open eyes and silent thoughts, you will be violently launched into the upper reaches of the true reality of infinite dimensions, infinite detail: the Deep Raster.

You will be frightened and shocked and, in a mad rush of desperation, you will rush to find a new program, a new interpreter, a new code of programming that will make reality palatable again. And your search will be rewarded. As you tumble madly through the endless storms in the sea of all possibilities, you will find that particular one that satisfies your desire for safety: that same computer, that same program, that same interpreter. Brand new and ready to begin the old trip again, you will have been reborn as... You.

There is a way to escape, but you must prepare before the violent plunge at the end. There is much work to be done and very little time. Don't waste another moment, don't let yourself be distracted by the vectorized apparitions, don't let your fearful interpreter hold you back.

The right time is now.

Get ready for the jump into the Deep Raster.

March 27, 1998

With every minute

...in the distance I can hear her soft voice singing:

"Tini-tini-tini-tini..." and then I hear her clearly say: "Its done little sister!!!"

I found it by coincidence one day in which, opening the "the box of memories," I decided to listen to those tapes I brought with me from El Salvador. I remembered my adolescent years with that music, the fantasies of that time, the colors, the people, the places...I was digging little by little, finding more and more details. More happy than nostalgic, I was surprised at all the wild and crazy thoughts I had ten years ago. But I received the low blow when, as if cut with scissors, the past that used to be ten years ago, all in one jump, changed into the past of just a year ago.

My little sister, in the mists of one of her curiosity pranks, had pressed the ‘record’ button, and I was able to capture, in five minutes, the usual voices and sounds that traveled through the house. I heard my name, the voices of my other sisters and my mom; I heard Celeste sing and call to me, "Its done little sister"...then I reconstructed the scene clearly, I could even feel the heat and humidity in the air...it was only five minutes, those five minutes that exploded like a bomb in a space that was like a thousand more. I twitched, I wanted to get it back...but there was no way, it exploded and was lost forever. I could rewind the tape and listen to it again, and the only thing I would hear was the sound of a bomb exploding...exploding again and again, killing and destroying me minute by minute.

A minute gone. Another minute goes by, and another, and another. I realize that during this minute, I can only wait to be destroyed, and hope to keep the memory of the last minute. A minute later I will only remember...

I have asked myself thousands of times:
How will it be when I die?
What will happen?
And I have told myself:
I must prepare and be ready for that moment.
But I never understood its real nature:

The moment of my Death is now.

March 26, 1998

Whirling dervish

When I was a young girl of eight years, I had a white dress with a flowing skirt. I would stand bare foot on the grass and spin. I would look all around me as I spun like a ballerina in a music box. I would look down and see the white of the flowing skirt and the green of the cool dewed blades of grass. I would look up and see the blue sky and see the flowing blur of the sunlight day. Then I would close my eyes and feel the tingling as the wind blew, softly grazing my skin, my heart beating out of my chest, the air filling my lungs, and excitement growing in my belly. When I was too dizzy to stay on my feet I would collapse. I would lie on the grass, the dew soaking through my dress, cooling my hot skin. Laying there with my eyes open, I could see the world continued to move in the flowing pattern of a giant calydascope. An overwhelmingly exciting and scary feeling would wash over me as I realized: " I am part of the pattern. All is one and nothing at all."

March 25, 1998

Wassup with tha city?

The sounds of a city seem to be out of tune. If you don’t believe me, go to a place where there are a lot of cars, airplanes, streets, buildings, etc., and sit, or stand, and just listen. What do you hear? If you left out the sounds of people’s voices and singing birds, what’s left is out of tune. These sounds don’t have the full tuned resonance that birds have. Or even if you go to the jungle and simply sit, or stand, and just listen, the sound has a totally different resonance, like a fully tuned orchestra. The difference between the two has to do with their sources. The sources of sounds in the jungle are full of life, and those in the city are full of metal and rock.

The problem is not how to get rid of this huge, slow and dead "machine" in which we live. The question is more like "how do we tune it?" This is impossible for the city to do on its own without knowing that there is something more beyond the repetition of its mechanical gears. By tuning in to the funky cosmic beat of the Great Mother, the citizens of the city can shake it up and make it play a jazzier tune. Yes, us! Go ahead and listen to the city and realize that it needs our help. Do something for the sake of that great machine! Bring the city back to life!

Word from your motha!

March 24, 1998

Where Am I?

Where do I go when my brother goes to jail?
I feel sorrow, pity, and pain inside of me.
Just to think about him in that cold, no sunshine, small and crowded cell…

Why do I spend so much time, so much energy and attention on my brother’s needs – and on his wishes?
Do I fear the possibility that he will some day disappear from my life?
I protect my brother in my visions, in my daydreams…
I have visions of him, and he’s cold and shivering. He’s always in a chamber surrounded by brick walls and with far more enemies than friends. He is trembling, and I get the dreadful sense that his trembling is the result of a frightening vision, as if he had seen a terrible monster that is rushing towards him…
The fear of death is at its peak. Death itself easily roams the halls and the yards – its presence filling every single room in the prison.
I stand right next to him when he and his friends are attacked by a group with at least three or four times their number.
I feel his fear, his loneliness.
I fall down into a dark abyss. I let myself be consumed in an immense void that seems to open up from within the center of my being.
He sits at the edge of his bunk bed. With his back crouched, his elbows are resting on his knees and his face is buried within the palms of his hands. He is alone, and he weeps.
I’m escaping…I’m escaping…
My brother is pushed into a cell by a man in uniform. He is kept alone in a small, ten-feet by ten-feet cell that has yellow walls which turn orange from time to time (always seem to fit the occasion). He is kept there twenty-two hours out of every day of his life in that prison…
Is he dead?
Do I fear his death?
Have I created the illusion of a jail where my brother is kept? Have I but dreamt all the telephone conversations, his heart to heart letters from jail and our brotherly chats through the bulletproof glass?
But if he were dead, nobody else would see him; my parents wouldn’t drive sixteen hours a week just to go visit him and keep him company; his friends and brothers wouldn’t ask me about how he was doing and if I had talked to him recently.
Could I be playing a part in some make-believe game? Perhaps one in which everything around me – including my parents, my sisters and brothers, my son and wife, and everything else that I am – is but an illusion. An illusion created by some sort of defense mechanism that has been triggered by the need to protect me from the terrible truth that my little brother is dead.

No, not that.

That would mean that I am dead too…

March 23, 1998

The dark sky looms above my sleepy head. 4:31AM. A rain so silent is falling outside, have I ever heard the rain before? Speaking in whispers from the land of the mists, I hear echoes from the voices of ancient Espers.

It’s the middle of the night and the cat, Bindhi, meows, "feed me". Heather gets up and opens the door for him. She comes back to bed and I say, "you didn’t complete the ritual." In the morning, she says that I sounded like a little kid when I said those words. In a voice untainted by the demands of living in the adult world.

I’m thinking now of all the little people inside, looking out but rarely speaking. On the edge of being completely forgotten, but at the same time still quietly watching the shadow show. Like faded family photographs, images of birthday parties, the first bicycle, posing in front of the Christmas tree. All these faces silently watching me, looking into the future at me, wondering where I am.

Suddenly Bindhi jumps up in my face and nuzzles my head. Okay, okay, I get up and give him some food, go to the bathroom, and he follows me back to bed, ritual complete.

Click here for the articles ending on March 22, 1998

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