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Andrea del Sarto

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In 1969, publisher John Martin offered to pay Charles Bukowski $100 each and every month for the rest of his life, on one condition: that he quit his job at the post office and become a writer. 49-year-old Bukowski did just that, and in 1971 his first novel, Post Office, was published by Martin's Black Sparrow Press.

15 years later, Bukowski wrote the following letter to Martin and spoke of his joy at having escaped full time employment.

(Source: Reach for the Sun Vol. 3; Image: Charles Bukowski, via.)

8-12-86

Hello John:

Thanks for the good letter. I don't think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don't get it right. They call it "9 to 5." It's never 9 to 5, there's no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don't take lunch. Then there's OVERTIME and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there's another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, "Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors."

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don't want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can't believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: "Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don't you realize that?"

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn't want to enter their minds.

Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:

"I put in 35 years..."

"It ain't right..."

"I don't know what to do..."

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn't they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system. And now that I'm here, a so-called professional writer, after giving the first 50 years away, I've found out that there are other disgusts beyond the system.

I remember once, working as a packer in this lighting fixture company, one of the packers suddenly said: "I'll never be free!"

One of the bosses was walking by (his name was Morrie) and he let out this delicious cackle of a laugh, enjoying the fact that this fellow was trapped for life.

So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I'm gone) how I've come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.

To not to have entirely wasted one's life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.

yr boy,

Hank

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Early-January of 1964, at which point his third studio album was soon-to-be released, 22-year-old Bob Dylan wrote the following letter to Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen — both founding editors of Broadside, a highly influential underground magazine of the period — and spoke of, amongst other things, his recent rise to fame, the money and guilt that came with it, and his love for Suze Rotolo. The letter was published in the magazine's next issue.

Below is an image of its first page, followed by a full transcript; the original signed letter can be seen its entirety, here.

(Source: Broadside Magazine; Image: Bob Dylan, via Lost in the Cloud.)

Transcript

A LETTER FROM BOB DYLAN

for sis and gordon an all broads of good sizes

let me begin by not beginnin
let me start not by startin but by continuin
it sometimes gets so hard for me --
I am now famous
I am now famous by the rules of public famiousity
it snuck up on me
an pulverized me...
I never knew what was happenin
it is hard for me t walk down the same streets
I did before the same way because now
I truly dont know
who is waitin for my autograph...
I dont know if I like givin my autograph
oh yes sometimes I do...
but other times the back of my mind tells me
it is not honest... for I am just fulfillin
a myth t somebody who'd actually treasure my
handwritin more'n his own handwritin...
this gets very complicated for me
an proves t me that I am livin in a contradiction...
t quote mr froyd
I get quite paranoyd
an I know this isn't right
it is not a useful healthy attitude for one t have
but I truly believe that everybody has their fears
everybody yes everybody...
I do not think it good anymore t overlook them
I think they ought t be admitted...
an I think that all fellings should be admitted...
people ask why do I write the way I do
how foolish
how monsterish
a question like that hits me...
it makes me think that I'm doin nothin
it makes me think that I'm not being heard
yes above all the mumble jumble an rave praises
an all the records I've sold... thru all the packed
houses I play... thru all the communication systems
an rants an bellows an yellin an clappin comes
a statement like "why do you do what you do"
what is this?
some kind of constipated idiot world?
some kind of horseshoe game we're all playin
responding only when a ringer clangs
no no no
not my world
everybody plays in my world
aint nobody first second third or fourth
everybody shoots at the same time
an ringers dont count
an everybody wins
an nobody loses
cause everybody lives an breathes
an takes up space
an cant be overlooked
an I am a people too
I cannot pretend I'm not
an I feel guilty
god how can I help not feel guilty
I walk down on the bowery and give money away
an still I feel guilty for I know I do not
have enuff money t give away...
an people say "think a yourself, dylan, you're
gonna need it someday" and I say yeah yeah
an I think maybe about it for a split second
but then the floods of vomit guilt swoop my
drunken head an I spread forth more gut torn
bloody money from the depths of my forsaken
pockets... an I whisper "ah it's so useless"
man so many people need so many things
an what am I anyway? some kind a messiah walkin
around...?
hell no I'm not
an I ask why dont other people with things give
some of it away
an I know the answer without lookin
security security security...
everybody wants security
they want t be secure
they want t be protected
an I say protected?
protected aginst what?
protected against starvin I guess
an power too
an protected against the forces that they know will
get them if they lose their money.
an why does it have t be like that?
man why are these walls built?
who is this god that is so feared?
certainly not in my life this isnt
yes I have my fears but mine are the fears of
the mind. the fears of the head
a lonely person with money is still a lonely person
I have never had much money before
an so it is easy for me I guess t spend it
an overlook it
but I'm sure that many other people could overlook
some of theirs too
I'm not speakin now of the century ridin millionares
but rather of "get theirs and get out" people
I dont understand them
I dont understand them at all
there's many things I admit I dont understand
I dont understand the blacklist
I dont understand how people aginst it go along
with it
I'm talkin about the full thing
not just a few of us refusin t be on the show
I'm talkin about the poeple that stand up
against it violently an then in some way have something t do with it...
not just the singers mind you
but the managers an agents an buyers an sellers...
they are the dishonest ones
for they are never seen
they play both sides against each other
an expect t be repected by everybody

the heroes of this battle are not me an Joan
an the Kingston Trio nor Peter Paul an Mary
for none of us need t go on that show
none of us really need that kind of dumbness
but there's some that could use it
for they could use the money
I mean people like Tom Paxton, Barbara Dane,
an Johnny Herald... they are the heroes if
such a word has t be used here
they are the ones that lose materialistically
ah yes but in their own minds they dont
an that is much more important
it means much more
we need more kind a people like that
poeple that cant go against their conscience
no matter what they might gain
an I've come to think that that might be the most
important thing in the whole wide world...
not going against your conscience
nor your own natural senses
for I think that that is all the truth there
is... an no more
thru all the gossip, lies, religions, cults
myths, gods, history books, social books,
all books, politics, decrees, rules, laws,
boundarie lines, bibles, legends, an bathroom
writings, there is no guidance at all except
from ones own natural senses
from being born
an it can only be exchanged
it cant be preached
nor sold
nor even understood...

my mind sometimes runs like a roll of toilet paper
an I hate like hell t see it unravel an unwind
at my empty walls
I'm movin out a here soon
yes the landlord has beaten me it hurts t tell you.
this place I am typin in is so filthy
my clothes cover the floor an once in a while
I pick up somethin an use it for a blanket...
the damn heat goes off at ten
an dont come on til ten...
that's mornin wise
gushes of warm smelly heat always wake me up
when I sleep here
the plaster falls constantly
an the floor is tiltin an rottin
but somehow there is a beauty to it
columbia records gave me a record player
of the goodness of some keeps on amazin me
an sometimes I play it.
gettin back t the landlord tho
he is really too much
he owns I guess three buildings
I pay him way too high
an I'm gettin screwed an I know it
an he knows it
but I just dont have the time t go down t the
rent control board. I been told they'd get after
him but I'm so lazy. when sue was here he was
gonna jack up the price cause he said I never told
him I had a wife. you really got t see this place
t believe it. I ought a've jacked him up a long
time ago an used him for heat. last year he put
in a new window (there was a god damn hole in the
other one) man it was like I asked 'm for his blood relation
or something. (which he'd probably give away)
anyway the record player's on now
an I'm listenin t Pete sing Guantanamera for
the billionth time. I dont have many folk music
records (I dont have many records really) but
I do have that one of Pete's.
god it's like I go in a trance
he is so human I could cry
he tells me so much
he makes me feel so good
it's as tho of all the things that're sold t make
one feel better, aint none of it worth while.
all the cars, an clothes, an trinkets an foods,
an jewels an diamonds an lollypops an gifts of
glad tidings, just dont do nothin for the soul.
I believe I'd rather listen t Pete sing Guantanamera than t
own everything there is t own...
(that's my own private selfishness shinin thru there)
yes for me he is truly a saint
an I love him
perhaps more than I could show
(as always is the case ha)

I think of love in weird terms.
sometimes I even feel guilty about it
because I know I love sue
but I should love everybody like I love sue
an in all honesty I dont
I just love her that way
an I say what way?
an a voice says "that way"
an I get quite up tite
an I know I have a long way t go
when the day comes when I can love everything
that breathes the way I love sue then
I will truly be a Jesus Christ ha ha
(but I dont wanna be a Jesus Christ ha ha)
an so I am again contradictin myself
away away be gone all you demons
an just let me be me
human me
ruthless me
wild me
gentle me
all kinds of me

saw the last issue of broadside
an especially flipped out over
"talkin Merry Christmas"
I have never met Paul Wolfe but I'd like to
he has an uncanny sense of touch
as for Phil, I just cant keep up with him
an he's gettin better an better an better
(spoke with someone who was with him in Hazzard
named Hamish Sinclair.. an englishman
of high virtues an common tongue)
I want t get over an see Phil's baby
I'm told the girl came out yellin about
the bomb. good girl

my novel is going noplace
absolutely noplace
like it dont even tell a story
it's about a million scenes long
an takes place on a billion scraps
of paper... certainly I cant make nothin out of
it.
(oh I forgot.
hallelullah t you for puttin Brecht in your
same last issue. he should be as widely known as
Woody an should be as widely read as Mickey Spalline
an as widely listened to as Eisenhower.)

anyway I'm writin a play out of this here so called
novel (navel would be better I guess)
an I'm up to my belly button in it.
quite involved yes
I've discovered what the power of playwriting means
as opposed t song writing means
altho both are equal, I'm wrapped in playwriting
for the minute, my songs tell only about me an how
I feel but in the play all the characters tell how
they feel. I realize that his might be more confusin
for some but in the total reality of things it might
be much better for some too. I think at best you could
say that the characters will tell in an hour
what would take me, alone, two weeks t sing about

I shall get up t see you one of these days
just cause I haven't in a while please dont think
I'm not with you. I am with you more'n ever.
yours perhaps is the only paper that I am on the
side of every single song you print
an I am with with with you

my nite is closin again now
an I shall drift off in dreams
an climb velvet carpets up t the stars
with newsweek magazines burnin an disappointin
people smoulderin and disgustin tongues blazin
an jealous mongrel dogs walkin on hot coals
before my smilin unharmful eyes
(oh such nitemares)

an I shall wake in the mornin an try t start
lovin again

I got a letter from Pete an he closed by sayin
"take it easy but take it" I thought about that
for an hour or more when I reached my conclusion
of what it really meant I either cried or laughed
(I cant remember which) I will repeat the same an
add "give it easy but give it" an I'll think about
that for an hour an at the end either cry or laugh
(I'll write you another letter an tell you which
one it is)

all right then
faretheewell
shaloom an vamoose
I'm off agian
off t the hazzards an lost angels an minneapoilcemen
an boss towns an burnin hams an everything else
combined an combustioned for me...
tryin t remain sane at all times

love t agnes
she is one of the true talents of the universe
I've always thought that an would like t see her
again some time

love t everybody in your house

see yuh

softly an sleepy
but ready an waitin

Bob Dylan

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On December 13th of 1963, at a dinner event in New York, the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee awarded its annual Tom Paine Award to Bob Dylan, for his contribution to the fight for civil liberties. Despite not having prepared one, a nervous and slightly drunk Dylan gave a speech that evening — a controversial speech in which he expressed sympathy for Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who, just three weeks previous, had killed John F. Kennedy.

The backlash was immediate, and prompted a fascinating explanatory letter from Dylan to the committee in the days that followed. Transcripts of both the speech and letter can be found below.

(Source: No Direction Home: The Life And Music Of Bob Dylan and Corliss Lamont; Image: Bob Dylan in 1963, via The Guardian.)

Bob Dylan's speech:

I haven't got any guitar, I can talk though. I want to thank you for the Tom Paine award in behalf everybody that went down to Cuba. First of all because they're all young and it's took me a long time to get young and now I consider myself young. And I'm proud of it. I'm proud that I'm young. And I only wish that all you people who are sitting out here today or tonight weren't here and I could see all kinds of faces with hair on their head, and everything like that, everything leading to youngness, celebrating the anniversary when we overthrew the House Un-American Activities just yesterday. Because you people should be at the beach. You should be out there and you should be swimming and you should be just relaxing in the time you have to relax. [Laughter] It is not an old peoples' world. It is not an old peoples' world. It has nothing to do with old people. Old people when their hair grows out, they should go out. [Laughter] And I look down to see the people that are governing me and making my rules, and they haven't got any hair on their head — I get very uptight about it. [Laughter]

And they talk about Negroes, and they talk about black and white. And they talk about colors of red and blue and yellow. Man, I just don't see any colors at all when I look out. I don't see any colors at all and if people have taught through the years to look at colors — I've read history books, I've never seen one history book that tells how anybody feels. I've found facts about our history, I've found out what people know about what goes on but I never found anything about anybody feels about anything happens. It's all just plain facts. And it don't help me one little bit to look back.

I wish sometimes I could have come in here in the 1930's like my first idol — used to have an idol, Woody Guthrie, who came in the 1930's [Applause]. But it has sure changed in the time Woody's been here and the time I've been here. It's not that easy any more. People seem to have more fears.

I get different presents from people that I play for and they bring presents to me backstage — very weird, weird presents; presents that I couldn't buy. They buy — they bring me presents that... I've got George Lincoln Rockwell's tie clip that somebody robbed for me. [Laughter] I have General Walker's car trunk keys — keys to his trunk that somebody robbed for me. Now these are my presents. I have fallout shelter signs that people robbed for me from Philadelphia and these are the little signs. There's no black and white, left and right to me anymore; there's only up and down and down is very close to the ground. And I'm trying to go up without thinking about anything trivial such as politics. They has got nothing to do with it. I'm thinking about the general people and when they get hurt.

I want to accept this award, the Tom Paine Award, from the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. I want to accept it in my name but I'm not really accepting it in my name and I'm not accepting it in any kind of group's name, any Negro group or any other kind of group. There are Negroes — I was on the march on Washington up on the platform and I looked around at all the Negroes there and I didn't see any Negroes that looked like none of my friends. My friends don't wear suits. My friends don't have to wear suits. My friends don't have to wear any kind of thing to prove that they're respectable Negroes. My friends are my friends, and they're kind, gentle people if they're my friends. And I'm not going to try to push nothing over. So, I accept this reward — not reward [Laughter] — award on behalf of Phillip Luce who led the group to Cuba which all people should go down to Cuba. I don't see why anybody can't go to Cuba. I don't see what's going to hurt by going any place. I don't know what's going to hurt anybody's eyes to see anything. On the other hand, Phillip is a friend of mine who went to Cuba. I'll stand up and to get uncompromisable about it, which I have to be to be honest, I just got to be, as I got to admit that the man who shot President Kennedy, Lee Oswald, I don't know exactly where — what he thought he was doing, but I got to admit honestly that I too — I saw some of myself in him. I don't think it would have gone — I don't think it could go that far. But I got to stand up and say I saw things that he felt, in me — not to go that far and shoot. [Boos and hisses] You can boo but booing's got nothing to do with it. It's a — I just a — I've got to tell you, man, its Bill of Rights is free speech and I just want to admit that I accept this Tom Paine Award in behalf of James Forman of the Students Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and on behalf of the people who went to Cuba. [Boos and Applause]
Bob Dylan's letter:

to anybody it may concern...
clark?
mairi?
phillip?
edith?
mr lamont?
countless faces I do not know
an all fighters for good things that I can not see

when I speak of bald heads, I mean bald minds
when I speak of the seashore, I mean the restin shore
I dont know why I mentioned either of them

my life runs in a series of moods
in private an in personal ways, sometimes,
I, myself, can change the mood I'm in t the
mood I'd like t be in. when I walked thru the
doors of the americana hotel, I needed to change
my mood... for reasons inside myself.

I am a restless soul
hungry
perhaps wretched

it is hard to hear someone you dont know, say
"this is what he meant t say" about something
you just said

for no one can say what I meant t say
absolutely no one
at times I even cant
that was one of those times

my life is lived out daily in the places I feel
most confortable in. these places are places where
I am unknown an unstared at. I perform rarely, an
when I do, there is a constant commotion burnin
at my body an at my mind because of the attention
aimed at me. instincts fight my emotions an fears
fight my instincts...

I do not claim t be smart by the standards set up
I dont even claim to be normal by the standards
set up
an I do not claim to know any kind of truth

but like an artist who puts his painting (after
he's painted it) in front of thousands of unknown
eyes, I also put my song there that way
(after I've made it)
it is as easy an as simple as that

I can not speak. I can not talk
I can only write an I can only sing
perhaps I should've sung a song
but that wouldn't a been right either
for I was given an award not to sing
but rather on what I have sung

no what I should've said was
"thank you very much ladies an gentlemen"
yes that is what I should've said
but unfortunatly... I didn't
an I didn't because I did not know

I thought something else was expected of me
other than just sayin "thank you"
an I did not know what it was
it is a fierce heavy feeling
thinkin something is expected of you
but you dont know what exactly it is...
it brings forth a wierd form of guilt

I should've remembered
"I am BOB DYLAN an I dont have t speak
I dont have t say nothin if I dont wanna"
but
I didn't remember

I constantly asked myself while eatin supper
"what should I say? what should I tell 'm?
everybody else is gonna tell 'm something"
but I could not answer myself
I even asked someone who was sittin nex t me
an he couldn't tell me neither. my mind blew
up an needless t say I had t get it back in its
rightful shape (whatever that might be) an so
I escaped from the big room... only t hear my
name being shouted an the words "git in here
git in here" overlappin with the findin of my
hand being pulled across hundreds of tables
with the lights turned on strong... guidin me
back t where I tried t escape from
"what should I say? what should I say?"
over an over again
oh God, I'd a given anything not t be there
"shut the lights off at least"
people were coughin an my head was poundin
an the sounds of mumble jumble sank deep in
my skull from all sides of the room
until I tore everything loose from my mind
an said "just be honest, dylan, just be honest"

an so I found myself in front of the plank
like I found myself once in the path of a car
an I jumped...
jumped with all my bloody might
just tryin t get out a the way
but first screamin one last song

when I spoke of Lee Oswald, I was speakin of the times
I was not speakin of his deed if it was his deed.
the deed speaks for itself
but I am sick
so sick
at hearin "we all share the blame" for every
church bombing, gun battle, mine disaster,
poverty explosion, an president killing that
comes about.
it is so easy t say "we" an bow our heads together
I must say "I" alone an bow my head alone
for it is I alone who is livin my life
I have beloved companions but they do not
eat nor sleep for me
an even they must say "I"
yes if there's violence in the times then
there must be violence in me
I am not a perfect mute.
I hear the thunder an I cant avoid hearin it
once this is straight between us, it's then an
only then that we can say "we" an really mean
it... an go on from there t do something about
it

When I spoke of Negroes
I was speakin of my Negro friends
from harlem
an Jackson
selma an birmingham
atlanta pittsburg, an all points east
west, north, south an wherever else they
might happen t be.
in rat filled rooms
an dirt land farms
schools, dimestores, factories
pool halls an street corners
the ones that dont own ties
but know proudly they dont have to
not one little bit
they dont have t be like they naturally aint
t get what they naturally own no more 'n anybody
else does
it only gets things complicated
an leads people into thinkin the wrong things
black skin is black skin
It cant be covered by clothes an made t seem
acceptable, well liked an respectable...
t teach that or t think that just tends the
flames of another monster myth...
it is naked black skin an nothin else
if a Negro has t wear a tie t be a Negro
then I must cut off all ties with who he has
t do it for.
I do not know why I wanted t say this that
nite.
perhaps it was just one of the many things
in my mind
born from the confusion of my times

when I spoke about the people that went t Cuba
I was speakin of the free right t travel
I am not afraid t see things
I challenge seein things
I am insulted t the depths of my soul
when someone I dont know commands that I
cant see this an gives me mysterious reasons
why I'll get hurt if I do see it... tellin me
at the same time about goodness an badness in
people that again I dont know...
I've been told about people all my life
about niggers, kikes, wops, bohunks, spicks, chinks,
an I been told how they eat, dress, walk, talk,
steal, rob, an kill but nobody tells me how any
of 'm feels... nobody tells me how any of 'm cries
or laughs or kisses. I'm fed up with most newspapers,
radios, tv an movies an the like t tell me. I want
now t see an know for myself...
an I accepted that award for all others like me
who want t see for themselves... an who dont want
that God-given right taken away
stolen away
or snuck out from beneath them
yes a travel ban in the south would protect
Americans more, I'm sure, than the one t Cuba
but in all honesty I would want t crash that
one too
do you understand?
do you really understand?
I mean I want t see. I want t see all I can
everyplace there is t see it
my life carries eyes
an they're there for one reason
the reason t see thru them

my country is the Minnesota-North Dakota territory
that's where I was born an learned how t walk an
it's where I was raised an went t school... my
youth was spent wildly among the snowy hills an
sky blue lakes, willow fields an abandoned open
pit mines. contrary t rumors, I am very proud of
where I'm from an also of the many blood streams that
run in my roots. but I would not be doing what
I'm doing today if I hadn't come t New York. I was
given my direction from new york. I was fed in
new york. I was beaten down by new york an I was
picked up by new york. I was made t keep going on
by new york. I'm speakin now of the people I've met
who were strugglin for their lives an other peoples'
lives in the thirties an forties an the fifties
an I look t their times
I reach out t their times
an, in a sense, am jealous of their times
t think I have no use for "old" people is a betrayin thought
those that know me know otherwise
those that dont, probably're baffled
like a friend of mine, jack elliott, who says he
was reborn in Oklahoma, I say I was reborn in
New York...
there is no age limit stuck on it
an no one is more conscious of it than I

yes it is a fierce feeling, knowin something you
dont know about's expected of you. but it's worse
if you blindly try t follow with explodin words
(for that's all they can do is explode)
an the explodin words're misunderstood
I've heard I was misunderstood

I do not apologize for myself nor my fears
I do not apologize for any statement which led
some t believe "oh my God! I think he's the one
that really shot the president"

I am a writer an a singer of the words I write
I am no speaker nor any politician
an my songs speak for me because I write them
in the confinement of my own mind an have t cope
with no one except my own self. I dont have t face
anyone with them until long after they're done

no I do not apologize for being me nor any part of me

but I can return what is rightfully yours at any
given time. I have stared at it for a long while
now. it is a beautiful award. there is a kindness
t Mr Paine's face an there is almost a sadness in
his smile. his trials show thru his eyes. I know
really not much about him but somehow I would like
t sing for him. there is a gentleness t his way.
yes thru all my flounderin wildness, I am, when it
comes down to it, very proud that you have given this
t me. I would hang it high, an let my friends see in
it what I see, but I also would give it back if
you wish. There is no sense in keepin it if you've
made a mistake in givin it. for it means more'n any
store bought thing an it'd only be cheatin t keep it

also I did not know that the dinner was a donation
dinner. I did not know you were gonna ask anyone
for money. an I understand you lost money on the
masterful way I expressed myself... then I am in debt t you
not a money debt but rather a moral debt
if you'd a sold me something, then it'd be a money debt
but you sold nothin, so it is a moral debt
an moral debts're worse 'n money debts
for they have t be paid back in whatever is missin
an in this case, it's money

please send me my bill
an I shall pay it
no matter what the sum
I have a hatred of debts an want t be even in
the best way I can
you needn't think about this, for money means
very little t me

so then

I'll return once again t the road

I cant tell you why other people write, but I
write in order to keep from going insane.
my head, I expect'd turn inside out if my hands
were t leave me.

but I hardly ever talk about why I write. an I
scarcely ever think about it. the thought of it is
too alarmin

an I never ever talk about why I speak
but that's because I never do it. this is the
first time I am talkin about it... an I pray
the last
the thought of doing it again is too scary

ha! it's a scary world
but only once in a while huh?

I love you all up there an the ones I dont love,
it's only because I do not know them an have not
seen them... God it's so hard hatin. it's so
tiresome... an after hatin something to death,
it's never worth the bother an trouble

out! out! brief candle
life's but an open window
an I must jump back thru it now

see yuh
respectfully an unrespectfully

(signed, 'bob dylan')

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The Independent Games Festival has announced the eight Student Showcase winners for the fourteenth annual presentation of its prestigious awards, celebrating the brightest and most innovative creations to come out of universities and games programs from around the world in the past year.

This year's showcase of top student talent include the lithograph-sketched 2D logic puzzler The Bridge, from Case Western Reserve University, Art Institute of Phoenix's magic-moth platformer Dust, and DigiPen Institute of Technology's part-psychological-evaluator, part-boot-camp-instructor, possibly-part-malware action game Nous.

In total, this year's Student Competition took in nearly 300 game entries across all platforms -- PC, console and mobile -- from a wide diversity of the world's most prestigious universities and games programs making the Student IGF one of the world's largest showcases of student talent.

All of the Student Showcase winners announced today will be playable on the Expo show floor at the 26th Game Developers Conference, to be held in San Francisco starting March 5th, 2012. Each team will receive a $500 prize for being selected into the Showcase, and are finalists for an additional $3,000 prize for Best Student Game, to be revealed during the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 7th.

The full list of Student Showcase winners for the 2012 Independent Games Festival, along with 'honorable mentions' to those top-quality games that didn't quite make it to finalist status, are as follows:

The Bridge (Case Western Reserve University)
Dust (Art Institute of Phoenix)
The Floor Is Jelly (Kansas City Art Institute)
Nous (DigiPen Institute of Technology)
One and One Story (Liceo Scientifico G.B. Morgagni)
Pixi (DigiPen Institute of Technology - Singapore)
The Snowfield (Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab)
Way (Carnegie Mellon University, Entertainment Technology Center)

Honorable mentions: Be Good (DigiPen Institute of Technology); Lilith's Pet (University of Kassel); Nitronic Rush (DigiPen Institute of Technology); Once Upon A Spacetime (RMIT); Tink (Mediadesign Highschool of Applied Sciences)

This year's Student IGF entries were distributed to an opt-in subset of the main competition judging body, consisting of more than 100 leading independent and mainstream developers, academics and journalists. Now in its tenth year as a part of the larger Independent Games Festival, the Student Showcase highlights up-and-coming talent from worldwide university programs, and has served as the venue which first premiered numerous now-widely-recognized names including DigiPen's Narbacular Drop and Tag: The Power of Paint, which would evolve first into Valve's acclaimed Portal, with the latter brought on-board for Portal 2.

Others include USC's The Misadventures Of P.B. Winterbottom (later released by 2K Games for XBLA); Hogeschool van de Kunsten's The Blob (later becoming one of THQ's flagship mobile/console franchises as De Blob); and early USC/ThatGameCompany title Cloud, from the studio that would go on to develop PlayStation 3 arthouse mainstays like Flow, Flower, and their forthcoming Journey.

For more information on the Independent Games Festival, for which Main Competition finalists were also just announced, please visit the official IGF website.

For those interested in registering for GDC 2012 (part of the UBM TechWeb Game Network, as is this website), which includes the Independent Games Summit, the IGF Pavilion and the IGF Awards Ceremony, please visit the Game Developers Conference website.

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Hitbox Team has more gameplay and music for gamers to enjoy for its early 2012 Windows and Mac platformer: Dustforce. The emphasis seems to still be to stay moving, sweeping up trash everywhere and swatting enemies mid-air.

One thing I didn't notice from before was that the enemies don't die, at least not according to this trailer. The players nearly clean up the enemy's act, and it becomes a less angry part of nature again.

I wish the actual characters were all a little bit bigger, since they add some rich color to the game. I suppose, though, that one would want to see a wide angle of the stage to play at a fast pace and plan combos.

While waiting to see more gameplay from Dustforce, click on to hear a few songs in progress from Terrence Lee.

"Dustforce is not just about acrobatic movement, but also about adventure and exploration," explained Terence Lee, the Hitbox Team audio engineer and composer. "I wanted some of the music to evoke a sense of mystery and discovery." Do you think the first of these three tracks achieves this sense?

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The work of Natan Dvir first entered my consciousness with this image:

Amona, 2006

It's an iconic, masterful image that rivals great war paintings, and has been well celebrated both in color and black and white. Born in Israel, Natan received his MBA from Tel Aviv University and his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts (NY), and now makes his home in NYC. With good reason, Natan's work finds itself in a host of international magazines and on the walls of galleries and museums around the world. His upcoming exhibitions include The Museum of Israeli Contemporary Art, Ramat Gan, Isral - Group Exhibition - 03/17-07/15, The War museum, Dubrovnik, Croatia - Solo Exhibition - 05/01-07/31, Houston Center for Photography, Houston, US - Group Exhibition - 05/06-06/30, Central European House for Photography, Bratislava, Slovakia - Solo Exhibition - 06/01-07/03.

Natan has just produced a new project, Eighteen, and it's tremendously insightful and comprehensive. There is text with all the images, and the "testimonials" give us a richer perspective into a culture, society, and an age group that are facing a complex and difficult adulthood. We have a lot to learn from Natan's work, and it is a priviledge to share a selection of this project.

Eighteen: Although I grew up and spent most of my photographic career in Israel, I came to realize I did not truly know or understand its Arab society - over a fifth of the population consisting of hundreds of thousands of families who stayed within Israelʼs borders after it was established in 1948. This large minority, which is currently experiencing a challenging identity crisis, has been somewhat forgotten amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a highly political environment I became interested in the stories of these people living as a minority in a country defined by its majorityʼs religion.

I wish to confront and dispute the widespread misconceptions and stereotypes of the people within my own country who I was brought up to consider more as foes rather than as allies. I decided to focus on Arab men and women at the age of eighteen, a crucial turning point in their lives, when they complete school, become legal adults, and earn the right to vote. Yet unlike their Jewish peers, most do not join the military. By photographing and portraying my so-called “enemy”, I hope to highlight the impact that cultural and internal conflict have had on these young men and women both individually and collectively.

By photographing my subjects within their normal surroundings I hope to present a sense of place, and to reveal the social context of their lives. The essence of the intimate environmental portraits does not lie in their aesthetics, but rather in their complex dynamics - unwelcoming expressions and body language testifying to the tense nature of our engagement. The combination of portraits, personal testimonies and daily life images reveals the transformation in my interaction with my subjects while shedding light on their lives.

Eighteen is an artistic point of contact serving as an invitation to get closer. A project aimed at reconciliation through understanding and respect. An inside view by one who is typically regarded as an outsider. If I, a Jewish Israeli man, have been accepted and was allowed into my subjectsʼ personal lives – so can others

Images from Eighteen
Hanan (Abu Grinath, Bedouin)

I pray to God I will reach heaven in the after life. I am very happy as a devoted Muslim, and enjoy a traditional lifestyle. Still, I feel the womenʼs role in the Bedouin society is evolving and hope it changes significantly. Until recently we were expected to marry at the age of 18 or even earlier. During the last few years it has become more acceptable for women to get higher education and study at collages or at the university. We are still obligated to return home every night, and can study only at nearby institutions. I wish to study Communication & Journalism and make a documentary film about my village, which is not recognized by the Israeli authorities. This is my biggest dream. I love watching documentary films on TV and learning about the world. Unfortunately, neither my familyʼs financial situation nor my level of education would allow for it at this point. I recently applied to an organization offering scholarships for studies of social work or education. Hopefully it will allow me secure a profession in either of these fields, which would enable me to help the community in my village.

Ehab (Ba’ine, Muslim)

I have been playing soccer for as long as I can remember. This is the most important thing in my life. I used to play for HaPoel Haifa in the 2nd Israeli league. A few months ago, I was transferred to HaPoel Be’ine, my village’s team. We are in the 4th league, so the level of the game isn’t as high as I am used to. With hardly any available funds we are forced to make the best of our very basic facilities. Although this soccer club represents an Arab village, quite a few players on the team are Jewish. I am happy the Jews have to serve in the military, which creates openings on the team. All I can do is continue to play my best and hope I will be able to return to HaPoel Haifa, now playing in the Israeli major league.

Aseel (Umm Al Fahm, Muslim)

I love living in Umm Al-Fahm. This is a Muslim city considered noble for its hospitality and respect for others, yet sometimes we must defend ourselves against our enemies. A few months ago, we had to prevent Baruch Marzel, an ultra-right wing Jewish nationalist, from entering the city to stir up trouble. Ten years ago, three young men were killed here during the October 2000 clashes. I was very young at the time yet remember how horrible it was then. In the past I used to go with my father to Jewish cities, but after what happened, we hardly have time anymore.

I prefer being in a family with sisters, since a brother might have imposed increased restrictions. My mother taught me well how to follow Islam, how to dress properly, and how to be respectful of others. I am not allowed to have a relationship with a man before we are engaged. I loved somebody once but never told him. It is better to avoid all the mess of falling in love before getting married. My dream is to become an English teacher and help the people of my city. I currently work at a local grocery shop, study sociology in a college near Tel Aviv, and improve my English by reading books. I am very optimistic and believe that if you have positive thoughts, good things will happen to you.

Mohammad (Muawiya, Muslim)

My father and uncles work in construction and my mother is a housewife. I am an only child. My parents are extremely generous and give me everything I need, though sometimes I feel they are overprotective. They made it possible for me to travel to various Arab countries including an unforgettable visit to Mecca six years ago, which was very important for me as a Muslim. I used to work in a boutique in Um Al-Fahem and am now working at McDonalds. There arenʼt many options to go out to around here -- only restaurants and hookah places. I prefer to go out with my friends to dance clubs in Jewish cities which are much more exciting.

I have lived by myself since I was 14 in this apartment above my parentsʼ house. This house looks nicer and can help me find a better wife. My parents donʼt know, but I have a secret girlfriend. We talk over the phone every day. We have to be very discrete since her parents forbid us to be in touch before getting engaged. We must respect their will, but cannot deny our feelings. Yesterday she had to get off the phone very suddenly. I havenʼt heard from her today and am worried somebody might have found out about us.

Mohammad (Nazareth, Muslim)

I never got to finish high school. I was in a car accident about a year ago and injured my head and my arms. When I tried returning to school, everybody mocked me and called me names. I became depressed and could not complete my final exams. Half a year ago, I went to buy new shoes and was caught up in a demonstration against Israelʼs war in Gaza. Policemen arrested me claiming I threw stones at them. How could I have thrown stones at them? My arms are too weak because of the injury. I was put in jail where the guards harassed me every day. They would wake us up each morning by kicking us. The Jews were allowed to pray however they wanted to, yet the Muslims’ practices were constantly disrespected. After a month in jail, I was released and was put under house detention. They have no evidence against me, but the trial goes on and on. I wear an electronic leg bracelet and am allowed to leave the house only on Mondays and Thursdays, when I can go to my brotherʼs shop in the city. I usually use this time to hang out with my friends in the neighborhood.

Angham (Kfar Qassem, Muslim)

My father is a high school principle and my mother is an Arab language teacher. Education was always very important in our house. I love to study and hope to do well in the upcoming Israeli SAT exam so I can study in the university. Many Arabs see the exam as discriminatory and choose to study in Jordan instead. I hope to be accepted to physiotherapy studies and make enough money to be able to donate to charity for the construction of a school or a mosque. I donʼt like to watch modern music channels and enjoy only religious programs with preachers explaining the knowledge embodied in the Koran combining faith and studies. The Islam is attacked these days all over the world. The attacks come even from Muslims that try to imitate western lifestyle. Muslim women find it especially hard given the common negative reactions to the hijab (traditional head scarf). Our religion is beautiful and encourages studies, having an order in life, and earning a place in heaven.

Iʼve recently gotten engaged and hope to get married in the upcoming summer. This is my first relationship with a man of course, as it is improper for a Muslim woman to meet with a man before there are engaged. Iʼm very excited and confused by my emotions as I am finally allowed to fall in love.

Anat (Sheikh Danun, Muslim)

I was named after a Jewish municipal worker from Nahariya that my father used to work for as a county-employed gardener. During high school I joined the “Bereshit LaShalom” (Genesis for Peace), a multicultural theater company, and traveled with
them to Europe to participate in performances promoting peace. This experience was very meaningful for me and I wanted to do more things with Jews and try to understand them further.

After graduating from high school, I chose to volunteer for national service for a period of one year. I joined a collective of 18-year-old Arabs and Jews in northern Israel which supported the local education system in villagesʼ schools. This was an extremely rewarding experience. I feel I learned something greater than life. It helps me understand my life and the place Iʼm living in.

Dina (Jaffa, Jewish-Muslim)

I was born to a Jewish Russian mother and a Muslim Israeli father in Ukraine. They are both doctors and met in medical school. I moved to Israel with my family at the age of five. My family lives in Taibe, a Muslim city in the triangle area that is heavily populated by Arabs. I didnʼt really like living there and felt oppressed as a woman in that culture. My mother could not work as a doctor and had to open a boutique for brides. Boys and girls remain separated. There are hardly any places to go out. I was able to hang out with my friends only at our homes or in Jewish cities. I joined the Communist Youth Movement, but everybody was always trying to prevent me from organizing activities. My parents encouraged me to leave Taibe and find a place I felt more comfortable socially and professionally. I am now living in Jaffa in a collective of Arab and Jewish human rights activists and volunteer in various organizations.

I donʼt really care if I live with Arabs or Jews. I guess I kind of did that all my life anyhow. I appreciate people for who they are and have little regard for that kind of categorization. I am both Jewish and Muslim; Both Russian and Israeli. I can be defined any way that makes you feel comfortable, but if you ask me, I would prefer not to be called any of the above -- I am a human rights activist.

Mohannad (Be’ine, Muslim)

Iʼve been boxing ever since I was young and have been the Israeli Middleweight division champion (up to 75 Kg \ 165 lb) for the last couple of years. Iʼm training every day either at a boxing gym in the nearby city of Akko together with Jewish and Arab boxers or here in the lower floor of my house. I canʼt make a living as a boxer and have to work with my older brother as a repairman. I donʼt like to talk about politics since I believe it never leads to anything productive. The situation would have been much better in Israel if Arabs and Jews were treated equally. Hopefully I will have a chance to move to the US or Sweden where I can train at better facilities and experience less discrimination as an Arab.

Reeham (Rahat, Bedouin)

The origin of my family of 11 brothers and sisters comes from the Bedouin tribes of Sudan. We live in neighborhoods 7, 11 & 20 in Rahat, the only Bedouin city in Israel. People live in modern buildings and houses, yet many families try to preserve elements of our nomad culture. There are no movie theatres or nightclubs. Men hang out in hookah bars or playing snooker, while women spend their time at home or visiting friends.

When I went to school I used to wear a veil since I wanted to be like all the other girls. I prefer to go around wearing a hat and trousers and donʼt see it as a bad thing as most Bedouins. People saw me as a bad person and were surprised to hear about my future plans. Young people in our society struggle between adopting modern lifestyle and preserving our heritage and culture. My dream is to become a doctor, yet I have to work in order to save money for my studies. I would like to study in Russia, though my brothers recommend I go to England or Jordan. I want to live in a non-Arab country and experience a different culture. It is extremely rare that a Bedouin woman would be allowed to study away from home not escorted by a male family member, so I am very grateful for my familyʼs support.

Sliman (Shkip, Bedouin)

I have 6 brothers and 3 sisters. A couple of my brothers work in gardening. Iʼve been searching for a job for a long time now yet nothing is available. Our family is surviving on social security stipend. We are living in one of 47 Bedouin villages not recognized by the state of Israel. The authorities do not provide us with water or electricity nor allow us to build permanent houses. My home was destroyed a week after we received the court order. Many policemen arrived at the village, evicted us out of the house and destroyed it together with 6 other buildings. This rubble is what was left of it. My father served 23 years in the Israeli army. Two of my older brothers were about to join the army, yet refused to do so after our house was demolished. I do not want to serve a country that doesnʼt respect the Bedouins and denies us of our rights. All I dream about is having a big house with running water and electricity as others do.

Daily Life, from Eighteen

Family Dinner

The men of Awad family share the traditional Maklube during Friday family dinner Jerusalem. A large part of the Arab society in Israel follows traditional lifestyle defining gender rolls and separating between the men and the women. The men dine together and the women follow after they have finished.

Jehad with Friends

Jehad Nassar, eighteen, standing next to some of his gang members in the streets of Arrabe. Jehad is a local gang leader and has seen one of his friends loose his leg in a recent fight against another gang. Crime and gang disputes are very common as the police hardly enter Arab settlements.

Aseel Praying

Aseel Mahajneh, eighteen, praying at her home in Umm Al-Fahm. Muslim women pray 5 times a day as the men, yet do so at home and not at the mosque.

Iman Serving her Father

Iman Iben-Atami, seventeen, serving her father in the guest-room of their home in the illegal Bedouin village Hashem Zana. The Bedouin society is very traditional. Women are expected to follow a very strict lifestyle and be obedient to the will of their father or husband.

Card Game

Mousa Hatem Al Rifi shakes the hand of a friend while playing cards with his brother and other friends. Mousaʼs father was one of the leaders of the local mafia and was murdered four years ago by his bodyguards. Mousa quit school a couple of years ago and works with his two brothers as an electrician. His dream is to leave the city of Lod which is infested with violence and drug traffic, yet he is unable to do so until his family resolves the blood-vengeance inflicted on them by his father death.

Homework

Angham Amin Issa, eighteen, helps her sister Johaina (10, B) with her homework. Most Arab families have many children, forcing the older to help their younger siblings.

Bedouin Wedding

Hundreds of men celebrating around three grooms dancing at the end of their wedding in the streets of Rahat. The last part of a Bedouin wedding is a large party celebrated out in the streets.

Living Room

Mohammad Nadaf, eighteen, and his family in their living room above the market in Haifa. Mohammadʼs parents divorced a few years ago. His mother remarried a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem. His father is a drug addict and goes in and out of jail. Mohammad quit school two years ago and tries to work to support his family, which survives on welfare.

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