Wednesday, February 18, 1998

February 18, 1998
Too tired, druk, and stoned to write. Must say, tonight was the climax of my trip. Met 3 beautiful girls who moved into this wonderful new hostel: Christina, 24 French and the least beautiful, most intelligent; Yoke, 20, Belgian fascinating, radiant, smiling; and Ines, 16, stunning, quiet, perfectly beautiful. Went out with 3- joy to be surrounded by them. Wine, lots of red wine, walking the streets, Carboneria, flamenco, etc… Walk home; fog about to go into hotel when drunk man asks for guitar; I see immediately that this is someone important: duende compas. Walk through fog guitar/singing. Accompany for the first time. Pure oneness with the universe, beauty, girls, guitar, fog, and for the first time poetry really strikes me. I play soleares man recites poetry in German, French, English, Spanish: His own, quotes great writers in such language. Words with forms and context. Words that strike the soul like music. Accompanist drunkness, openness, presence, poetry poetry poetry. Life Life Music…

Wednesday, February 11, 1998

February 11, 1998
8:42 pm
I just talked to Sarah. It was good to here her voice. Life in Seville is already settling to its rhythms. I spent the morning walking around, had lunch at a horrible pizzeria (the pizzeria wasn't horrible, actually, but the pizza was.) I came home, took a nap and went to a guitar lesson. Juan and I talked again about film and he again confirmed my desires to make a film about flamenco. He says exactly the things I think about but have until now been afraid to say for my lack of exprerience. That is, Spanigh directors cannot make films about flamenco because they try too hard to raise it to the level of "high art." Anyone, Juan said, can sit and play flamenco, but what is difficult to portray is the soul of flamenco. "El amor, el odio, la passion," as he put it, "El Dialogo falta!" Plus, he insisted that these directors had too much money at their disposal and that a good movie about flamenco should be made quickly and with little money.
The most exciting thing is that he wants to teach me the Cante, something I've always wanted to do but never had the nerve to ask. He told me anyone can learn, Spanish or not, something I was thrilled to hear. When I told him he would change his mind when he heard me, he said you don't need a good voice to sing (at least adequately) as long your heart is in the right place. Tomorrow I will begin. My rhythm is improving tremendously with his help, and the lessons are what I look forward to most each day.

Tuesday, February 10, 1998

SEVILLA: first journal entry

February 10, 1998 
8:45 pm Sevilla
I arrived this morning on a bus from Southern Portugal. Sevilla is all it's cracked up to be: stunningly beautiful, charming, full of life in the streets. I had my first guitar lesson in Spain with Augustin's cousin, Juan del Gatos. I arrived and as he opened the door the smell of hashish streamed into the hallway and there was Juan, dressed in sweat pants and a rasta hat (a shirt too.) He invited me in and offered me tea. He came out with some hot water with honey in it and then ran back into the kitchen having realized he had forgotten something essential: the tea bag. He listened to me play and started correcting me and teaching me some new ways of playing the Alegrias I already know. He asked if I minded if he smoked, and when I said no, he pulled out a block of hashish and proceeds to roll a fat joint. As I played and he smoked, he told me of his plans for a movie of his childhood home, where he claims to have lived with 42 families in one home! He said Saura is a good director but knows nothing about flamenco, and neither do any of the 300 performers in the film. He told me when I'm ready to make a film about real flamenco, I should call him and he'll start writing. 
He constantly reminded me I must play with more "aire" and never to forget the feeling of flamenco when I play.
He then started to teach me how to accompany the cante, something I've been dying to learn. I have a very hard time with the rhythms as it is, and when I have to listen to the singing at the same time, I get especially confused, but slowly I got the hang of it (the basic rhythm, at least, with him playing it along with me.)
Finally, we negotiated the price of the lesson and I agreed to take 3 or 4 lessons a week. I think I will learn a tremendous amount from him, if not technically then emotionally.
I came back to my Pension, but since my room is hardly bigger than a closet, I was not tempted to stay long. So I wandered aimlessly around the barrio Santa Cruz, the neighborhood of Seville where I am staying, and which seems the most charming, with its narrow streets (or alleys, rather) and cafes on almost every corner.
I sat down at one of these cafes and saw a pretty girl talking to a friend in English so I gathered my courage and with my heart racing I walked up to them and introduced myself. We talked for a while and I relaxed, but although they were very friendly, I realized when I tried to make further plans with them they really had no interest in me. I was happy that I had had the nerve to meet strangers and I left a little less nervous about the prospect of being here in Seville alone.
I walked around a little more and saw 2 even prettier girls singing and laughing while walking in the middle of the street. One was blond and the other brunette and both were tall and beautiful. I ran up to them without thinking and said hello. They were not American but Dutch. They too were nice, but being European, they were so used to being picked up that the whole situation soon turned very hard and I got bored and walked away. They had told me they were here training and that they spent their days rowing and were too tired by evening to go out. I didn't feel like insisting.
I returned to the bar where I had met the Americans and ordered a beer, which I drank while reading the International Herald Tribune.
Now I'm back in my closet, listening to some Buleria on my discman, wondering whether I should go out to eat and look for some flamenco tablao. I'm tempted to just go to sleep, but I think I'll have more fun going out tonight than if I wake up at seven o'clock tomorrow morning with nothing to do. Maybe I'll go to the movies…who knows…
The fucking owner of this place forbade me from playing guitar in my room, meaning I should probably move, since the whole point of my being here is to practice the guitar. Maybe I'll just find other places to play and just try to spend my time here writing, although listening to this flamenco on the CD reminds me of the emotion present in this music that I am unable to approach in my writings. I wish I could write poetry. I wish my words could strike the soul the way images and music do.
I want to try some automatic writing like the surrealists advocated, but I'm afraid I don't know how to let go enough. My writing is so tied to my rational side, probably resulting from too many years studying and writing philosophy. Besides, I'm convinced any art requires a certain domination of the medium, something I don't yet have with writing. But I'll keep trying (or start trying).
Tears. Attempts. Fear, judgement, from men I near I saw you, don't stop, write, write, write, words, images, sounds, colors, sounds, lemons, oranges, ideas, whatever, toes, trees, images, words, thoughts, writing, what, how, reason,my scribbles, fewer nouns, adjetives, sloppy, ugly, hesitant, unsure, insecure, green, basil why all these commas? Streams Sevilla flamenco fear fear fear, insecurity, doubt, exhiliration, sleep, doubt, doubt, doubt let go, feel love open, para para para papa. Running out aihhhhh! What what what ceballo, eel sex masturbation, penis kisses affection held I want to be held, I want to be alone, I crave solitude I fear solitude. I seek meaning I fear pretension I fear judgement I fear love commitment. What next keep going, keep going write write write. What what what death fear, trembling, sweating, dizziness recovery, words words style, beauty, politics, Sarah, hot cold reason ration red green blue, tits skin touch touch touch repetition what is this going  coming waste idiocy, judgement, warmth kisses penetration, clinging rejecting fearing pretension presumption creation words words more words, quickly sloppily constantly. Still hesistant doubting friends family cliches, originality beauty boring uninteresting nowhere everywhere eventyally this will go stop no yes What socks keep digging digging letting go stop thinking flow flow flow eyes ears bones windows mothers fathers, help help help keep going faster faster faster stop doubting stop stop go go go aahhhh stop.
Pause, breath think don't think, feel, streets change slower reflection. Time temporarily ole. Boredom sleep dreams, where logic ceases its unceasing torment tormented, happy curious loving hating looking inside outside stop with words something with fragments. Then sentences. Stop hesitaion stop fearing judgement this is for me this is practice who cares what they well say. Who are they anyway! They are the ones who will make me feel good make me feel worthless they are the ones who ####. 
They will stop existing existing mix words with fragments just keep going. Let the words be musical eventually I will learn to manipulate, form, transform create with them they are beautiful powerful, too laden with meaning (they are now words) escape meaning to find another meaning escape immediacy to find a deeper immediacy. Who is the judge. What are the answers to these stupid questions Love, do I? Will I am I. Trumtrumtrum. What next immaturity experience, depth, words, dialogue creation representation, editing, censoring, soft warm hard cold oppositions aches pleasures commrecial politics bells take give what happened to the sentences not ready yet tired uninterested uninspires doubt doubt doubt. More words, searching looking listening, limited, STOP!

Saturday, February 07, 1998

On a train to Lisbon

10:20 pm
I just sat down on the train headed for Lisbon. I will arrive in ten and 1/2 hours. I'm in the smoker's cabin, full of Portuguese, Africans, Spanish, etc… It's hot and smoky. 
I fell asleep around 2 o'clock this afternoon and when I woke up I had one of the worst stomach aches in my life, and it was accompanied by a minor anxiety attack. I was lying in bed, crouched over in pain, and as usual, my physical condition transformed the entire world, which suddenly took on its cold, indifferent side. I became afraid- afraid of leaving I suppose, but at the moment it manifested itself as a fear of life and the world. I wanted to be held, to be taken care of- I felt like a baby, in other words. I tried to tell myself to be "tough"- to be a man, but I realized that that isn't me- that with my ability to experience great joy at the smallest things comes a sensitivity to pain which causes bouts of depression. I just had to live through it, and sure enough after half and hour the pain subsided and I began to laugh at myself out loud. I realized that I could not have laughed like this while it was happening, since although I realized the absurdity of my tendency to overdramatize, the drama I create invades my whole being and therefore cannot be willed away. I went out with Carmen with my stomach still hurting but my spirit restored, so I was able to ignore the pain.
Just as I was sick the days before leaving L.A., I realize now that I create comfortable spaces for myself and fear leaving. Once a trip has begun though, I get settled and on course, and my anxiety passes, replaced by excitement  and wonder at what's to come. That is how I feel now- I have never been to Portugal and it has always had a somewhat mysterious ring to it. The fact that it's on the Spanish peninsula, but that it faces the ### Atlantic and the fact that I don't speak Portuguese despite its similarity to Spanish and Italian adds to this aura it has for me. I'm sure once I arrive it will seem normal, as everyplace does to a certain extent, but now it feels like I'm off to a strange, distant land.
Monday I would like to take a train by day along the coast and head slowly for Jerez. 
I called Sarah last night and left her a message to call me today, but she didn't. I'm sure she wan't alone, and although I have no right to be, I am jealous. It was my choice to leave, and I'm glad I did, so I have to deal with it…
The train is leaving the station.
I love trains- I guess I'm a hopeless romantic, but travelling by train seems so much more civilized than airplanes.

Monday, February 02, 1998

To: Chema Prado
From: Bob Rafelson
Date: February 2, 1998
Dear Chema,
A young friend of mine, Tao Ruspoli (I think a godson), arrives in Madrid today knowing little about the country. He's 21, has been working for Vittorio Storaro, plays extraordinary Flamenco guitar, and he's brilliant and fun. He know much about cinema.
Please Chema, try to make time to invite him to the cinematheque. I think you would enjoy meeting him. He's in Spain mostly to continue his Flamenco studies.
He'll call.
P.S. Tao is also a friend of Brenardo's, and many other people we know.
Attn: Concha Oncina- Should Chema be away, would you be so kind as to welcome Tao.