Avatar No9, Sept 29-Oct 12 1967

Letters to Mel

Dear Mel Lyman
How often you seem to end your letters in the AVATAR to readers with the words Love, Mel.
How quickly you seem to have forgotten you own words from AVATAR No2: ". . .Today love is hip. Love used to be something you were supposed to have for your wife. Now love is supposed to be something you have for your fellow man. . . .love is the thing to do because nothing else is real, love is being spiritual, love is hip. it makes me sick, Love doesn't even EXIST on this planet except in rare fleeting moments...."
Is each letter you sign Love Mel supposed to be one of those "rare fleeting moments" you speak of? I certainly hope not, please don't disappoint me.
Love and peace Christine Dwyer
(Please don't think my closing is hypocritical, it's not meant to be. It truly comes from my heart, but sometimes I fear my heart might be as mixed up as my mind).

Dear Christine,
No, I haven't forgotten my own words, I'm just not afraid to contradict myself. I live on both sides of the road and I live in the middle and I am all the road and none of it, do you see what I mean. I live and express each moment with utter sincerity but if the next moment seem to contradict the last then so be it, I cannot allow my flow to be checked by such trivia. Have you ever known laughing to turn into crying or vice versa, have you ever seen a day that wasn't followed by a night, each one makes the other possible. Once I wrote a poem:

You cannot expand without contradiction, reversal, back and forth. Have you not ever found yourself loving today someone you hated yesterday. I take it as it comes, what I feel right now is the Truth for me right now. I cannot trouble myself over what may or may not be the truth tomorrow. If I do my best today, tomorrow will take care of itself, tomorrow I will know what I do not know today, today I will speak my heart freely, today I will sing todays good song, today is the only Eternity I can be forever, today is NOW.
Your heart is the only part of you that cannot be mixed up, it is the MIXER, trust it, it is greater than you know. Regret not what is spoken from the heart, it yearns to flow, it yearns to be opened up and fill you with itself, it is always only trying to create you. Don't limit its expression to "rare fleeting moments", love CAN be eternal, if you let it. . . .
Love, Mel

(This letter is the continuation of a correspondence which began in AVATAR No7)

Dear Mel,
Just received your note. Don't feel sorry for me or anyone. Joy is only to teach and learn. Yes, you speak truth from your heart. All hearts are only grains of sand if they are individual hearts. I feel you. Try feeling others. Try to guide, not to ridicule. Don't speak as the Truth in a harsh tone, speak with love. Your are not here to destroy, but to build.

You seem to know; but not how to express.

Each moment builds on the next; we are always learning.

Mel I truly want to learn from you do you want to learn from me (not the Truth) but about people?
The truth will be shaky if it isn't learned from love, but from fear

My knowledge of the Truth is so vast that I can express it equally well throughout the whole spectrum of human experience, don't limit me to just tenderness, you will create a storm. I am a fire eating dragon, I am a dewdrop, I am whatever I have to be, there is no fury that is too great for me to contain and no gentleness that is too small, look around you lad, the truth lies EVERYWHERE, it is much greater than you would have it be, much bigger and much louder and even softer than you know. I must quote you a box poem:

Also read in the centerfold of AVATAR No7 the box poem that begins with the line, "Will you never risk me". If you don't get the message then I can only say, "good luck".
Melvin the Terror

Dear Mel,
Your words, when I have believed you, were strong, and when I sensed that you have simply risen to say what must be said, despite your own weakness, are all (almost) that have kept me functioning this summer. I thank you, thank you, thank you. I don't know what to say to you I have a million huge question, and a million trivial ones, that it would be unfair to thrust upon another. I must answer them myself; only I can answer them, and that will be my growth, if there is any.
Please keep telling me that it's so hard and I feel such great loneliness and selfishness welling within me.
If there is a God that listens to men's pleas, pray that we may have love and strength and courage and I will pray for you if I ever find such a God.

Grateful, I am
Name withheld on request

Dear Pupil,
I HAVE no weakness, except that I cannot resist beautiful women, and that one I don't intend to do anything about. Other than that I am soft as silk and strong as steel. I express OTHER peoples weaknesses in my writing because I only WRITE for other people and I must talk to them in THEIR language, My language is silence.
Life is a school, suffering is the "norm", graduation is inevitable, love and strength and courage are the results, they're all that's LEFT after the suffering is over, AFTER I say, AFTER you've learned your lessons and passed your exams, if they came first there wouldn't be anything to GAIN through going to school, LIVING.
Study hard, don't expect much relief except for occasional vacations, don't expect them to last too long, apply yourself with all your heart and you will grow at the right rate of speed, if you DON'T you will be in school all your life, most people are still stuck in the first grade. . .

The teacher

Dear Mel,
I just finished reading AVATAR No6, the first issue I have ever read, and I was so moved by it that I had to write this letter.
I have never written to a newspaper before but I don't consider AVATAR to be a newspaper. To me it is a unique and new form of communication; a newspaper you read, AVATAR I felt.
I don't know you or any of the other writers for AVATAR but I feel like I do. You sincerely seem to be so concerned and so aware of the whole world, almost as though you considered the whole world to be your responsibility.
That is a beautiful, wonderful thing.
I am overwhelmed by the clearness, the lucidity of your mind. Your mind seems to be really free, unconfined, open and aware.
It's strange. I didn't think people like you existed. It seemed that there were either people who were 100% straight or 100% hippie but no one in the middle. But I'm in the middle. All of you are too. You all seem to have a firm grip on reality and on the straight world. Yet you have not been swallowed up by it. You can evaluate it objectively almost as though you were a little above it.
For many years I was completely out of it I couldn't find anyone who understood what I was trying to say. Then I started writing poetry and discovered a few people who could understand me that way.
Now in your paper, in some typewritten words, I feel that I have discovered real people: 100% human beings who are truly perceptive, aware and alive, who are concerned about the world and seem to have a genuine love for everyone in it. (Sometimes I wonder about the hippies love for the world it has become almost cliche with them. The word seem to be synonymous with flower what a terrible fate for the word love).
You all must have great sensitivity, serenity, self awareness and universal love At least that is how it appears from the articles. If it is true I envy you. You are rare and wonderfully amazing human beings.
Thanks for AVATAR I think you ALL are Avatars and most of all thank you Mel.

Love Aurora

Dear Aurora,
Where in the world did YOU come from? I'm flabbergasted when I find someone who can really FEEL what we're all about. What we're doing is open to every misinterpretation in the books and believe me, I've heard them all. You must have a HEART, a rare thing these days m'dear, a very rare thing. I carry on a very heavy correspondence with an awful lot of people who ask an awful lot of questions and voice an awful lot of opinions and every now and then there is a flash of light in this jumble of words and that's all that keeps me going, the rest is just a lot of hard work, necessary, but not very rewarding. I am at war with everybodies pride, the oldest war in the world and the most difficult because PRIDE IS BLIND!
Your letter is so 100% right that I can't comment on it, it speaks for itself, you get my gold star award. I am so moved by your perception that I am sending you all the back issues of AVATAR out of my own personal collection. Read some of my old articles, you will think you wrote them yourself. Amazing, absolutely amazing!

as a brother,
Mel Lyman