Saturday, October 02, 2010

First Saturday of October - yes, crowds are beginning

It is hard to find parking in town, and people are milling the streets.  We haven't begin the outreach officially, so I am still preparing things for action, but here are a few shots from the street this morning.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pics from One Day Before Halloween

It is 9:30 on Thursday Night in 2010.  The night before Halloween.  At least, the night before Halloween in Salem begins.  It's September 30th, and October 1st marks the beginning of Halloween in Salem, MA.  We are the Halloween capitol of the world for sure.  So here are a few things going on today in Salem, MA - the day before Halloween.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pics from Salem, MA - 2 days before October

 It's almost Halloween in Salem, MA.  In fact, it really starts in 2 days.  October 1st is the unofficial, but everybody knows it is, beginning of Halloween in our town.  Here are a few shots on this Thursday afternoon in downtown Salem near our church.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do Lectures - Maggie Doyne

Maggie Doyne.

She's 23 and already has 30 children.  Wow!  What a story.  Really you need to hear it.  This is reason number two you should join the Do Lectures.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Craig Mod at The Do Lectures

Okay, this is part of my list of 1,000 things to DO before I die.  Well, I wasn't there last week, but it is now coming up on the web.  So here is one of the lectures from The Do Lectures in West Wales.  Worth listening to, especially for all my friends who blog, write, think, and act out important issues in life.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Phil Wyman by Tyler Junker

A few weeks ago I was at The Gulu-Gulu Cafe in Salem, MA with Josh.  We met Caroline and Tyler Junker (mom and son), and they decided to hang with us as well.  Tyler took me on as an art project over the evening, and now I have the drawing at home.  Dang! is he good? or what?

Thanks Tyler.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Blackout by Tracy Ann Williams

Arriving by air from Wales I received my copy of Blackout on a Thursday, and was headed down to Washington DC for a 3 day retreat.  I started the book on Friday night, but due to the pace of the conference I did not return to it until Monday, which was a day off for me.  By Tuesday I finished reading the Blackout.

is a self-published book by Tracy Ann Williams, the self described Welsh Mountain Girl - exhibitionist - writer looking for a publisher to take notice.  Sounds like me:  well, not the Mountain Girl - exhibitionist part, but the rest of it.  She calls herself the "Naked Blonde Writer," which I am sure gets significant attention on Twitter, and probably more than a few undesirable requests.

Since nothing Welsh on Twitter gets by me for too long, I happened upon Tracy some months back shortly before my trip to Wales.  I tried to connect with her in Wales to pick up a book while I traversed the nation from South to North and back again, but I am sure that strange Americans asking Naked Blonde Writers for a personal delivery of their books are frequent and sketchy propositions.  So it was a couple months later I received it via the volcano-dust delayed air routes.

Back to the book:

is a raw, dark, and desperate picture of Rhondda Valley life among druggies, and factory workers.  It is  filled with F-bombs, anger, wild dreams, and hopelessly trapped people caught on the painful knife edge of poverty and addiction.  It is not something which would typically make my list of of books, but then the picture with a stack of some of the other things I am reading right now might suggest that.

The mountain wandering protagonist, a 29 year old blonde meets the dreamer boy, wannabe rockstar from the moneyed English family and they stomp off angrily toward his dreams of success in a secluded house in the Brecon Beacons of South Wales.  (I am sure I have driven by that house, even though this is a fictional tale.)

English privilege is juxtaposed against the struggling Welsh working class.  A deadly paced party life stands against a healthy on the outside only well-to-do lifestyle.  The hopelessness of the daily drudgery of the working class, and Valley addicts is contrasted with the laissez-faire attitude of the rich who do not have to work or scrape along for survival.

I have a pre-release copy, which still had corrections to make before final printing, so the beginning of the book was chopped up a bit with sections printed twice, misspellings, and incorrect chapter divisions.  Despite that it read smoothly enough, generally transitioned well.  The second half of the book moves at a frenetic pace like an action novel.  It lifts you toward hope, and drops you toward despair, and captures a wild bi-polar movement in between the two extremes.

Don't read this if you are thinking of moving to the Rhondda, because it won't encourage you.  Don't read it if you are troubled by nightmares after dark readings.  Do read it if you like dark literature, don't mind F-bombs, and certainly read it if you like to support new writers, or artists coming out of Wales.  It is a good read.

Tracy is a talented, Welsh mountain hermit actress who spent some years in Hollywood and now likes stay on top of the mountain only to pop out every now and then and show off.

You can get your copy of Blackout from Amazon.  If you get it, blog about it, and pass the word on. You can find out more about Tracy on her website.

So Cymru am byth! and buy a book to support struggling artists and for the sake of easing your aching hiraeth.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Poem: The Woes of the Ornamental Sword


The Woes of the Ornamental Sword

standing sword, in the corner
unsharpened, tarnished blade pointing downward

too dangerous for play
too benign for war

standing sword, in the corner
casts its thin shadow toward the coward

too alike are they
too hopeful for more

standing sword, in the corner
a naked, unsheathed blade facing forward

too violent to pray
too far from the door

Poem: embracing the hangman

embracing the hangman

for aching joints, and scratchy skin
I know I am alive
for clutching chest, and labored breath
I know I am alive
for downcast eyes, and heavy heart
I know I am alive
for troubled mind, and wanting words
I know I am alive

in pain and not in pleasure, in sorrow not in jest
in loss and not in treasure, in tossings not in rest

these muted tones of struggle from graying days of rain
the lonely rooms of silence with clicking clocks as friends

send me to the hangman - a full embrace I give
that which is killing me is teaching me to live

Have you ever found it necessary to embrace your pain in order to keep your sanity?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Poetry belongs on paper (a poem)

This poem was written rather quickly as I was waiting for a video of Mary the Goth Theologian to download onto Youtube.  Rather than get up off the bed, and get my notebook, I typed it on my Mac.  There is something rather sterile about writing poetry on a computer.  So, as you can read that was the theme of the poem.

This is also the ongoing pursuit of the poetic skill I should have acquired by sleeping on Cadair Idris.  The only real way for me to discover whether I have poetic prowess beyond song-writing is to offer this to people who actually read my stuff.  So, here it is - offered as a screen capture from my Mac.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I will remember you (poem)

I will remember you

friends from distant places
   whose words bend on the wind
      they somehow reach my longing ears
         now strained by hammered pains

he who remembers me
   will be remembered too
      like water to dried prophet's lips
         and rain upon parched land

sorrow is my prison
   and yet my freedom too
      betrayal is my enemy
         till friend's words salve the sores

I will remember you
   the kindness and the calls
      have now poured life into my soul
         through tears and sweated brow

Yes, my attempts at testing poetic prowess on the heels of sleeping upon Cadair Idris continue.  Photos and video of the climb.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Furious! I was in a movie and didn't know it!

I wasn't really furious.  I was more surprised.  I received a call from Drew, the pastor at the North Shore Bridge Church in Beverly, MA.  He called to tell about a movie they were showing at their church last Friday night.  It was 3pm and he apologized for not contacting me earlier.  I wasn't sure why he apologized, until he asked me if I would like to come and say a few words before the film began at 7pm.

I wasn't sure what the film was about, but the name "Furious Love" sounded familiar to me.

Then Drew mentioned my part in the film.  (Sound of the screeching needle across the vinyl record inserted here)  What?!  I'm in the film?

Then I remembered that about 18 months ago some guys came into to Salem filming events, and did an interview with me about stuff God is doing in Salem.  I was nervous about the interview, because the things we do in Salem are definitely outside the box, and our stance to befriend and love Witches and the various Neo-Pagans living here has been misunderstood and/or demonized a few times too many.  Even if it has not been demonized it has been re-communicated in typical, and often aggressive sounding warlike Evangelical/Pentecostal terminology.

I am not sure which is worse: to be demonized or defined by someone whose language offends our friends.

I went home and watched the trailer.  Now I was really nervous.  This was looking like a crazy, demon busting film.  I was sure I was going to be typecast as an aggressive Witch Hunter.  Oh boy, just what I need living in Salem, MA!

I arrived at The Bridge Church just before the movie began.  Drew talked with John Harding (my good buddy in the crime of overtly and openly loving people in Salem) and I, and asked us to share for a few minutes before the film began.

John talked about the outreach which their church performs with us in Salem, and then I followed up and suggested that the title Furious Love challenged us to consider love as the weapon of our warfare, and turned our conceptions of treating people different than ourselves upside down.  I was hoping the film might have that kind of theme attached to it, but I was really just grasping for straws, and was quite nervous about the way I would be cast.

Film began:  Demon possessed people in Africa (I think it was Kenya) were flailing around and screaming.  This set the stage of a documentary travel film, which went to the "darkest places of the world" trying to find out if God was working in these dark places.

Within two or three other visits to "dark places" the movie makers arrived in Salem, MA during October.  Of course, they inaccurately identified Haunted Happenings (the month-long Halloween celebration) as a Witchcraft Festival.  It really is a combination of children's events, street vendors, theatrical presentations, museums retelling history of the 1692-1693 witch trials, and witchcraft shops peddling their wares and holding events.  Our church is more active than almost any other institution in town and so it can't exactly be called a Witchcraft Festival, but that's what most people seem to think it is.

Now in Salem the movie makers were trying to reach out to people by praying for them and healing their diseases.  They spoke of coming into Salem looking for a fight with the devil.  Oh boy, I was getting real nervous, because I knew this was the lead in to whatever interview cuts they took from me.

They showed an encounter praying for a lady with a knee problem.  She did not get healed and openly said that it felt exactly the same as before the prayer.  This was contrasted with another experience in another place in which a man on crutches was healed.  They remarked that nothing was working, and that their approach to looking to fight the devil head on was going nowhere....


The scene panned in to our church with me sitting on a stool in front of the old vault which graces the meeting room. 

"...we met this man."

Uh-oh.  My part came in.  The cut they used had me sharing that it was far too frequent for people to be afraid of, and to demonize the Witches and Neo-Pagans in Salem.  Once we do this we disqualify ourselves from speaking on behalf of God.

The movie then pivoted upon this interview, and they went back out into the streets of Salem, and found themselves being able to interact positively with the visitors and locals on the streets.

This was truly the first time I have felt that an interview was understood fully, and effected the kind of response we are known for.  The theme of the movie moved from war to love - but love as the manner in which God fights for people.

It continued through other countries, and other events with some wonderful, and some sad stories.  It was far more beautiful in its shaky, hard edged documentary style than I could have expected. 

It touched me simply because I felt understood, and because it encompassed the message we live in Salem.  Hundreds of people every year learn from us, and the movie captured something we have been teaching for 11 years now.

So it gets a biased two thumbs up from me.  Watch it if you can.

Okay, here's the trailer that scared me, and made me wonder how I might be cast.

How You Process Pain

The readers of The Why Man who responded to the poll about processing pain were broken down into these divisions:

45% I face it and try to either overcome it or learn from it
37% I pull myself together and move forward as though it didn't exist
9% I find a way to drown it
9% I go viral and blog about it!

So, the real question is "who is the the most healthy here?" Is the 45% who face the problem, the 37% who redirect themselves in new directions, or the the 10% who are honest enough to really tell the truth and say that they drown it? Certainly our viral bloggers have got to be sick - of course, I say that because that is my most likely response.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Poll on Processing Pain

Please click the words below "View Survey" and answer the question on processing pain and struggle. Do you do it by evasion and ignoring, or by confrontation and publication?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Airplane Poetry - The Waning Gibbous Moon

The following poem was written on the airplane from London to Boston last night.  As you will notice from above I spelled Gibbous incorrectly, so it is corrected in type below.    The out of focus section on the bottom of the page gives the date 2/26/2010 and says "On a plane "home" from Wales. Remembering a [gibeous] moon low in the sky in the early morning about a month before."

The Waning Gibbous Moon
     by Phil Wyman

The waning gibbous moon slung low upon the sky
Winks, and bids the dawning day goodbye
It mocks me with its eloquence
It portends darker nights
And with the waning gibbous moon I sigh

The waning gibbous moon slides down to meet the line
Stops, where earth meets sky and dark meets light
Inerrant gibbous moon I sense
Prognosticates my life
and with the waning gibbous moon I cry

The waning gibbous moon slinks out beneath the sky
Flees, to squeeze the night time and the tide
O, soothe me omen gibbous moon
Reveal where I might fly
and with the waning gibbous moon I'll hide

Still in need of work, but basically there.  This is the continued efforts of seeing if sleeping on Cadair Idris made a poet or a madman out of me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Restaurant Napkin Poetry

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips... (Isaiah 6:5)

When scripture and how we feel meet.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Am I the Consumate Doppleganger?

Perhaps I am the perfect imitator, a doppleganger in every season of my life.  Maybe there are aliens on this world like those who populated the planet before the coming of the V, and they have been trying to take my place since I was in Junior High School.

In 7th grade, a cute little middle school girl followed me at a distance ohing and ahing because she had a crush on Danny Bonaduce from the Partridge Family.  I guess I looked a lot like Danny Partridge, freckled and curly headed, so she had a crush on me too.  I never even found out her name - silly me.

In High School "Young Frankenstein" came out in the movie theaters.  My wild curly hair, my thin mustache, and the fact that I looked significantly older than my 15 years made me a shoe in for Gene Wilder, and students I didn't even know would shout at me and tell me I looked like Young Frankenstein.

Shortly thereafter Peter Sellers' Pink Panther series was running through its remakes in 1975, 1976, 1978, 1982, and 1983.  First I started hearing from High School mates, and then the following years at Palomar College that I looked like Inspector Clouseau.  Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately I could imitate the crazy accent flawlessly, and girls at college would stop me to show their friends that I looked and sounded like Inspector Clouseau.

A few years later a Russian comedian made the big time in the US, and once again I was accused of looking like another TV personality.  Standing in a room at the gym by myself one day a girl shouted from the door, "Yakov, Yakov is that you!?"  At this first encounter with the name, I had to visit the bookstore and find a book with a picture of Yakov Smirnoff, famous for the "Vat a country!" line.  Finding a picture of him standing in the middle of the street in New York City I coould easily have been fooled into thinking it was me.

Finally we come to today.  I have now become a suit!  Beginning about 15 years ago while I was still living in Oceanside, CA George Zimmer, owner of the Men's Wearhouse began to do his own commercials for his company.  I was an instant George Zimmer doppleganger.  At the time I ran an open mic at Joe's Garage, a coffeehouse on the corner El Camino Real and Oceanside Blvd.  A group of young guys walked in one day and asked if I was the guy from the Men's Wearhouse.  I said, in George Zimmer stunted and stiff fashion (he has since taken acting lessons and is pretty relaxed and cool today) "I guarantee it."  For a couple months these kids would bring their friends to the coffeehouse to meet the guy from the Men's Wearhouse running the open mic.  I never told them otherwise, I simply replied "I guarantee it." whenever they asked if it was true.

So during the current Facebook Doppleganger session, this is my confession - I am the ultimate doppleganger.  If I am not then I have been doppleganged throughout my whole life.  These are just the major dopplegang characters.  There are a few more minor characters whose names I can never remember.

Of course, these guys all have two things in common:  Wild hair and big noses.  I guess wild haired, big nosed guys all look alike.

This could really lead to a personality disorder, or at the least a mild complex of insignificance.