Dahlia Danton's Search for Meaning

in defense of amor sui

POST-POST-POST MODERNISM

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I am a modern, sophisticated, fierce and independent woman! I live to achieve. I am consumed with personal growth and professional development and I refuse to waste my time on anything that lacks a clear, coherent value proposition.

I learned in art school about the principle of form following function and I immediately identified with the economy and efficaciousness of the idea. But let’s be bold about this! Let’s dispense with the form part of the equation. Who needs it!? From now on consider function as a strict utilitarian concept that follows only and strictly function itself!

I’m done with art. Or at least with the part of art that still wades in the sorghum of nostalgic Romanticism. Paintings, sculptures, operas, poems, plays …. USELESS ALL!!

The only purpose for art – my art – is as a vehicle to advance my career! Other art, by other artists serve only as a necessary context for the comprehensibility of my art. Therefore galleries and museums and art schools and art critics and curators and academics are inescapable and therefore important despite their tedium.

People are equally necessary as fangs in a gloomy network of mercenaries. We dance in a fragile contract of assured mutual interdependence. We not so secretly hate one another but are bound by a covenant of the craven. We euphemistically refer to each other as friends but nobody has any illusions.

I don’t mind confessing any of this in print because I am confident that no one will get past the first paragraph. The first paragraph was deliberately provocative and deliberately inconclusive. The reader is left with the impression that Danton is a sassy, strong woman – something of a role model for younger women in the way she unapologetically asserts herself.

The frank confession that follows comes as a taunt, a dare, a death wish.

Why!!??

Because I’m tired.

Written by dahliadanton

April 1, 2017 at 7:36 am

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

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I’ve been thinking recently about how much time I waste. I used to spend a lot of time in my studio. I used to read fiction and spend time with my friends. I remember that it wasn’t that long ago that I liked to laugh – especially at my own expense.

Now, like most people I know, I spend a lot of my time trying to improve myself.

Trying to improve myself is a lot easier than living and it’s a pleasant distraction.

The enterprise (and that’s truly what it is – more like a business than a pastime and as far from the condition of sensuality as you could possibly get short of dropping dead), is all consuming

It takes the form of objectifying the self, turning one’s life into a project whose ultimate goal is the avoidance of humiliation and minimization of self-loathing. (Good luck!).  I spend most of my weekends attending seminars where starchy middle-aged blue-eyed women captivate audiences by asking them to identify the five (it’s always either five or three) things they like most about themselves.

An ex-boyfriend of mine told me that it reminded him of the mega-churches he attended as a child in Indiana. I have to confess that the appeal is strange. We are told that we are singular and extraordinary yet the remedies for our individual anxieties are suspiciously uniform.

Avoid negativity! Let go of the past! Empower yourself with daily affirmations! And of course Enroll in our next seminar!!

At what point will I gather the courage and presence of mind to confront my demons with honest introspection? Probably never. It’s way too terrifying and besides, compared to the losers weeping in their sleeves every time we’re instructed to “pair and share” I’m a paragon of equanimity.

Another ex once told me that our significance in life is in direct proportion to our capacity for love. I still don’t know what that means. He said my problems were invented and that if I would stop treating life like a resumé I might start enjoying my flaws.

We broke up after he pointed out that my fears were “as bland as porridge.”

Like all decent, college-educated malcontents I blame my parents.

My parents were indentured to each other by dint of their irrepressible need to endure suffering. They dented the vessel of their unholy alliance with the sorts of sordid indiscretions that would recommend masturbation as a more romantic alternative. Their nightly silences were punctured by the gurgling of digestion and the occasional cough. They neither read nor watched TV but preferred instead to sit at the dinner table until my mother decided to break the monotony by clearing and washing the dishes. Dad would have disappeared by the time she was through, either to Phin’s, the local ale house two blocks away or, if he were feeling chaste, to bed.

I learned about love through them which is to say that I now see any increment beyond perfect stillness as a hot, crazy, impulsive flash of recklessness. I am like a dog you find at the pound – a pat on the tummy and I’m in rapture. I’ve been swinging from vine to vine for so long I can’t accurately inventory which of my erstwhile boyfriends I vowed never to talk to.

And so now I find myself alone, shotgunned into a necessary celibacy.

I wouldn’t wish myself on anybody I might potentially care for and as they say in my 12-week Intimate Momentum course “you can’t actualize a pulse!”

Written by dahliadanton

March 10, 2017 at 7:56 am

HAND JOB

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The formally secret Wiccan grand Son/Lover God benediction is a derivative of the ancient Kohanic hand gesture modified for the single arm.

hand

As is the case with the YHWH Dukhanen of the Hebraic tradition, the fingers tell the whole  story.

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 Mitt Romney’s  Mormonism never bothered me and it doesn’t bother me now that I know that the Trumps are Wiccans. I live in California and out here we embrace diversity. We’re a State of seekers and if cauldrons, candles and sharp curved blades keep you off the hard stuff then may the force be with you.

I can totally relate.

votexLike the Big D, I too had a major love affair with blow. My salvation came in the form of speed skating and yoga. I was never the religious type. For all I know, with all his ass pinching and pussy grabbing the dude might need a few witches to whip him into shape.

And speaking of Cones of Power, I also get his crush on Putin. As we all know, the KGB was nothing more than a fraternity of lapsed Masons. Vladimir and the Donald have this anti-Christian thing between them and that’s okay with me .

Vive la différence! as my Canadian grandmother would say.

Anyway, I think it’s refreshing that our new president is both a pagan and an ex-druggie. It makes all that other weird stuff about him seem more normal.

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I’m going to give the guy a chance and if he promises to keep his paws off of me, I’d love to paint the official presidential portrait.

Written by dahliadanton

December 30, 2016 at 12:42 am

Pre-Post Truth

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 … AND NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON …

google-logoBy any measure, 2016 has been a wretched year. Those Silicone prophet/merchants peddling disruption got it in spades. The Internet, the great leveler, has finally ascended to the supremacy of a god. Post-truth, like post-partum, have a way of trivializing their precedent. We now officially reside in a world adjudicated by cyber-assertion.

According to our president-elect, some bumbling, bacned, overweight geek hacked his way into the DNC from the comfort of a sofa bed in his parent’s suburban basement.

It’s useless to argue.

dukeI have friends, reasonable people who are perfectly capable of stringing together a coherent sequence of nouns, adjectives and verbs, straight facedly opine that  vaccines cause autism and will back it up with a dozen Youtube docudramas. Soon we’ll be told that the Jews have poisoned the wells again and that the New World Order invented the Ebola virus in order to depopulate Africa.

2016 will soon be in the books and not a minute too soon.

At first we thought that the uncurated anarchy of the internet would at worst result in the  unsolicited greeting from the deliberately forgotten high school acquaintance. Now we know it can turn our own government and many of its vaunted institutions into a middle school boys bathroom. As no good deed ever goes unpunished, we have transferred power from a mensch to a maniac.

In the spirit of honesty I must take some of the responsibility.

ddmeaculpaI began this blog September 2008. In it I claimed that I, Dahlia Danton was a single, female, Los Angeles artist searching for meaning. Though I never divulged my age, the implication was that I was in my mid to late thirties.

I have been blessed with a loyal and loving community of readers who have put their full trust in my special form of confessional writing.

I’m ashamed to now confess that I have played with your trust.

In truth, I never finished art school, I live in Nevada and when I began my blog I was 25 years old.

I am very sorry.

And by the way – I have never wasted a single second searching for meaning.

YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!

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Prem Morran is a freaking genius!!!!

prem-morran

Prem Morran

Born in Bacharach, Germany, the romantic wine village on the Rhine just outside Frankfurt, Achim Mohr first changed his name to Rainer Moll then to Richard Männer, later to Ewald Erhard and finally settled on Prem Morran after seeing Arnold Fanck’s 1929 silent masterpeice Die weisse Hölle vom Piz Palü.

After a short tenure as a police officer and an even shorter stint as a day laborer in East Berlin, Morran experienced the sudden realization that life was, in his now famous words, “a series of unavailing efforts.” The shock of this revelation led him to a prolonged period of self imposed seclusion and intensive research and study.

mantegna_andrea_-_crucifixion_-_louvre_from_predella_san_zeno_altarpiece_veronaAt the time, the libraries and bookstores of East Germany were a skeletally stocked propagandistic mash of State sanctioned sanctimony making Morran’s autodidactic mission something of a challenge. (For example, between 1975 and 1981 there was not a single volume to be found that dealt with Christianity, Gnosticism or Persian Zoroastrianism!).  Undeterred, Morran roamed the entire eastern bloc amassing a spotty potpourri of random and mostly secondary historical, ecumenical and philosophical sources.

The publication of his first book, Sei Glücklich du Narr, coincided with the fall of the Berlin Wall and like the proverbial talking dog, those in the West were less interested in what Morran had to say but were amazed that under the dark pall of Communism, he managed to say anything at all!

prattle-projAfter he appeared as a guest on Ofra Freidman’s popular daytime TV program Damen, Das ist für Dich, his book was catapulted onto the European bestseller list where it remained for an unprecedented 377 weeks. There was a time when you couldn’t be at a European airport without seeing Sei Glücklich prominently displayed on every newsstand and refreshment bar.

 

I first came across Morran’s work about ten years ago while traveling in Israel. I was there to meet my ex-fiancé’s parents – a cross cultural debacle that I promise to recount in a future post – and I was in dire need of some metaphysical succor. If you’ve never been to the Holy Land you may be surprised to learn that nothing fascinates Ashkenazi Israelis more than Germany. There is no greater emotional currency than the bitter undying grudge and the ostentatious flaunting of chivalric forgiveness.

Morran was all the rage. I read four of his books while I was there and since then I’ve read everything he’s written at least twice. His latest, Surge Beyond Capacity is all about mindfulness, personal empowerment, gratitude, serenity and the ability to remain positive and in the present.

I have the audiobook, the Kindle version and even the print edition and I can’t stop reading it!

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I love him so much, I’ve taken upon myself to become something of an unofficial ambassador.  I’ve given his books as gifts, have invited friends to attend his seminars and workshops and have tweeted, posted and shared on Instagram morsels of his sagacity and his stirring revelations.

Here is a small jewel that I am certain will inspire you toward healing and happiness:

prattleiv

Post-Election Stages of Grief

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Truth and accountability have been in retreat for quite a while now. Our recent election may have issued the loudest rebuke yet to those who who still cling to the fairy tales attached to virtue.

splainI welcome these changes.

For years I have been an advocate for the unconditional inclusion of the untrustworthy and the incompetent.

Really.

Think about it for a second. Look around you. Take a silent assessment of your family, your friends and your casual acquaintances. Do a formal accounting and try discarding anyone who is a bit of a blowhard, a phony, an ass-kisser, a bloviator, a braggart, a swindler, a cheater, a loudmouth, a narcissist, a finagler or a fraud.

Who do you have left?

If you’re being honest not even you have made the cut.

img_6697A good friend of mine, the painter David Schoffman once pointed out while we were sipping watered down mojitos at an overpriced tapas bar in downtown L.A. that if two good people could blithely sit under a lavender umbrella and pay twenty-four dollars for a couple of lousy cocktails while next door homeless people were choking on their own vomit then Mother Theresa surely lived in vain.

It’s not that we were evil, he quickly added, just that we were cold, callous and compromised.

He then got our waitress’ attention and ordered a plate of fried calamari.

 Now I wouldn’t necessarily throw Schoffman into that proverbial bucket of deplorables but I wouldn’t nominate him for a Peace Prize either.

We’re all asleep.

asleep

 We’re all implicated in this world of unearned stature, unentitled prestige, counterfeit aggrandizement and fraudulent self-promotion. We all deceive and inflate our minor accomplishments while nodding in complicit mutual deception with our equally compromised colleagues.

We not only elected a con-man, we elected a large, mocking mirror of ourselves.

And let’s face it. We’re fat and we’re happy and I have a Facebook account to prove it.

Now comes the hardest stage of grief.

Acceptance.

Written by dahliadanton

November 19, 2016 at 11:12 pm

CATHARSIS

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To some, life is a slow, dreary footslog toward insensibility and decay. Others delude themselves with uplifting incantatory asseverations casting a goopy brume of self-deceit over their obvious insignificance. Others spend their time buried in books, searching for succor from the sages of antiquity or the sappy contemporary bards of existential palliation.

Some drink, other smoke. Some weep while others giggle all the way to the gallows as if this grand cosmic pleasantry was a sniff of nitrous oxide upon life’s grand majestic dentist chair.

I  boogie.

I can’t carry a tune so I dance.

Our folly and our vanity are the delusions that set us upon one another like snakes and geckos. Our empty ambitions are the sacred scorecards where we measure our mediocrity against the mediocrity of our peers. We feign seriousness when what we really feel like doing is gently attend to our genitals with the only legitimate expression of love we seem capable of.

Like you. I’m in denial but perhaps unlike you I declaim my denial with dance.

I’m too well bred to cuss and too scared to move to Canada so I give voice to my frustrations with my toes.

I never, however, claimed to have good taste in music.

Written by dahliadanton

October 4, 2016 at 6:39 am