Sunday, December 21, 2008

Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old by deserting his ideals. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideals wrinkles his soul.
Preoccupations, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us unto dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature, and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair,
may God have mercy on your old man's soul.
Douglas MacArthur.
he said.

and then i smiled for a good while..

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lo excesivo (forgive me, i've written an essay)

too much driving.
too much eating out.
too much thinking about things that do no good.
too much talking when it isn't necessary.
too much sitting on the white couch.
too much clutter.
too much rushing.

Surfeit [sur-fit] n: overabundance; a general disgust with excess or over-indulgence.

In January of this year I wrote feverishly in a portion of my daybook on the concept of excess. Just excess in general, as it appears in so many different forms in my daily life. I’ve been stricken with a conviction about this periodically over the last couple years, and when it hits- maaaaan it hits.

I wrote once that I wanted to ‘wage a personal war on excess,’ within myself, and as a part of the greater society I subscribe to.

As of yet, I’d say I haven’t done a very good job fighting that war.

It’s everywhere. It’s literally everywhere. And one of the most mind-boggling thing I've ever tried to process is this: I take part in these absurdly selfish, excessive, unproductive ways, but am simultaneously disgusted by those cyclical behaviors. In a book on Benedictine hospitality, a monk wrote that immature distractions “just keep us running on the treadmill of our little egocentric worlds.”
Sometimes I find I’ve been sprinting on mine without realizing it.

What’s easy, comfortable, and instantly gratifying dangles in sparkling allure.. Even when headed in the right direction, I am by no means guaranteed a direct trip from point A to B. I get lost, lost. lost. to myself.

It’s the indelicate way I tromp through my day
Spitting out empty words and crumpled up goals.
To make a slightly over-critical analogy, I envision my priorities all written on bingo balls; they live in a gameshow raffle spinner and each morning I wake- reach in and pull out the purpose of the day. It’s a toss-up; to what will I prove my commitments today?
Vanna smiles and says condescendingly, “consistency isn’t the name of her game.”
The simple and the necessary hang at the wayside, because I’ve laid a red carpet for the trinkets of distraction.

This may be getting a bit overly-intense..**(see bottom) But regardless, it’s simple truth that I often I fail to do the things that will develop me into the person I want to become.

I sing in chorus with this tongue twisting conviction- “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do… For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do…”
And my behavior is as blatantly redundant as the verse is.

This poem by Tagore is unfortunately relevant:

Obstinate are the trammels, but my heart aches when I try to break them. Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed. I am certain that priceless wealth is in thee, and that thou art my best friend, but I have not the heart to sweep away the tinsel that fills my room.

The shroud that covers me is a shroud of dust and death; I hate it, yet hug it in love.

My debts are large, my failures great, my shame secret and heavy; yet when I come to ask for my good, I quake in fear lest my prayer be granted.
-Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali

(**This certainly wouldn’t be uncommon of my writing.. I often begin with a level-headed quandary or observation, but see it snowball into some frazzled rhetoric that’s facing an entirely different direction than when I began. I think it’s because I start with an idea, but during the written expression of it I get caught up in the description and syntax and movement of the writing.. I get a bit distracted from fluid thought while riding the wave of descriptions, analogies, rhythm of language..
Ooh I’ve just realized what it is- once I get rolling, the writing pulls my thoughts to and fro, rather than my thoughts dictating what is to be written next.

The act itself of writing becomes the guide, determining the next thought to entertain; whereas typically, the act of expression is subordinate to the thought which is to be expressed.

Well clearly I’ve again lost cohesion of content. But at least in most cases there does remain a portion of what I've written that reflects what i originally set out to voice..)

Monday, December 15, 2008

a time when we were together:

When you live in a place like this...

and this is just a typical friday night at home...

you begin to understand the invaluable rarity of the mix of people closest to you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

12 holes. always 12 holes...

In a world where not many things are consistent, permanently dependable, or altogether without debate, I found some wonderfully simple kind of satisfaction when I picked up a shower curtain at the market today. Because you see with shower curtains, there are always 12 holes. It doesn’t matter what street you live on, or where you grew up for that matter. Or how many gold rings you have on your fingers, or which position you take on the wars. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have, or if you can’t have kids, or if you are depressed, or if you are an addict. Because whether you are an asshole or a philanthropist or a tiny person or a person with 11 toes.. when you purchase a shower curtain, you agree that there are 12 holes needed- no more, no less.

Trivial? yep.

But I think sometimes it is good to appreciate the transient points of connection between ourselves and the rest of the wanderers living their lives in different bodies with different minds and different eyes..

I read a quote from a magazine in the dentist’s office today from a guy named John Cacioppo who studies social neuroscience; on watching strangers at Grand Central Station in NY, he said “You’d see these people walking in all these different ways and different paces, and all of a sudden, they’d be synchronized.”
The premise of the article in which he was quoted was on the perception of loneliness in NYC because the majority of residents there supposedly lead more isolated and independent lives than in any other US city, and thus they must be more lonely. But what the whole thing set out to voice was that in fact, New Yorkers are far less likely to report feeling lonely and that perhaps amidst all the outward chaos and hustle and bustle… there is a deep thread of connection that binds these people together. The article plays with the thought of some bond existing in their being

“Alone. Together.”

And with a warm but understated smile, with just the slightest melancholic undertone, I thought 'I like the sound of that.'

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

...during the Ray concert in october.
In a fabulous venue, lights turned off, and nothing light about the words he sang..
now i'm just remembering the feeling of listening to his voice in person. it was a sort of quivering chill sent through every listening cell in the room.. his words are raspy, patient, fierce- burdened, yet bold. upbeat or low key, catchy or crawling, you could never accuse a song of his to be lacking passion.

"I never learned to count my blessings
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters.
well I looked my demons in the eyes, laid bare my chest, said
do your best to destroy me..
you see, I been to hell and back so many times I must admit
you kind of bore me"

have you ever heard words strung together as these? ...empowering through pain.

Monday, November 24, 2008

a rhetorical nightmare:

It’s a Monday, late. My face is looking as weighted as I feel. A stranger even said so! A little pissed that this adorable town can’t keep any warm place open past 10 for a girl to read a damn book and write. Mostly though, I feel wilted. (but all too emo for saying that, if we’re being honest)

I have a hard time with things that aren’t fair. And unfortunately, much of the time the unfairnesses of life are quite out of our control.

I feel like I should be channeling this state I’m in into some brilliant and poetic prose, or a stunning piece of art. Or if I should choose to ‘talk things over’ with someone close by I’m certain it would turn into some rhetorical nightmare, me- rapidly shuffling through uncertainties and what-ifs and why-the-hells.. I’d be talking, not looking for a response, but just a wall, really, to hurl my questioning frustrations at.

But more honestly, what feels the best right now is sipping this tea and listening to the drums wailing from my tiny speaker and looking at things green and growing and dressed up in holiday twinkle lights (thank you, City of Monrovia) and just letting everything absorb. not for the purpose of churning it all out again in a vigorous act of rebuttal to these things unfair, but letting it absorb just for the sake of acceptance of the way things are.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

there's tobin rambling on life again..

I heard somewhere this rhetorical question: “Why are we always apologizing to corpses?” So by the same token, why are we always crying at the beauty of a loved one as we look at their picture once they’ve gone? And why do we decide to see the truth and power behind someone’s art only years after their funeral?... and on and on…

Now I should emphasize first that I do believe the world is already running on the blueprints of a plan much better than anything I could scheme up or even comprehend for that matter. But for the sake of curiosity- wouldn’t it be weird to imagine if funerals were never ever sad?

Like think of the reasons why you cry at any sort of ending- a lover moving away, a family member passing away, a child growing up etc. The most probable cause for tears or heartache in such cases is this theme of LOSS. Loss of a number of things whether it be companionship, laughter, adventure or whatever you shared with that person. When you come to the end- the point where it’s gone- you’re incited to reflect on what “once was.” And so you cry, because what once was is no more.

But here’s the weird thought just for the sake of well, thought: what if each day, during the typical, ordinary, frequent interactions with others, we let ourselves (or trained ourselves) to be overtaken by gratitude for those very things worth crying for at someone’s leaving? What if I cried for you today the way I would cry at the memory of you after you’ve left?

What if by allowing ourselves to supremely cherish those things consistently, always renewing our gratitude, then when it came time to let go, we could do nothing more than reflect on how privileged we’d been for ever having experienced it in the first place. And not the kind of recognize where you notice it then move on, but the kind where you legitimately let yourself FEEL the honor of knowing this individual. And then what if when it came to goodbye, you could find no use for sadness? Tears of pain and remorse would have lost their place to the active gratitude you entertained each living day.

Now I know this is not how humans were made to behave. And I trust that we were not wired like this for some good reason (whatever that reason may be). I can also acknowledge that this train of thought doesn’t line up in all areas... I know it doesn’t sound right to think of moving yourself almost to the point of tears for appreciating every single interaction you have throughout the day. I know that there is actually a phenomenal beauty in those moments that occur unacknowledged- the ones unplanned, they carry you away, effervescent with spontaneous joy. I know that having balance between light moments and heavy moments is right. But I still can’t help but think there’s got to be a better way to indeed keep living openly free and content in the moment, but still remain mentally and emotionally present enough to feel maximum gratitude as it happens.

Hmm but maybe it really just isn’t possible to fully grasp the full value of another’s life until it’s gone, because maybe full comprehension of something’s value can only be reached in retrospect.. ?

But to loop myself back again, I’m sure there’s a reason that for the most part, humanity compartmentalizes the daily experience of relationships from the whole-hearted recognition and gratitude for such.

..ah well, just a thought ya know

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

3x - 42a= 6.739 + 1/2%(15x + 9.23ab)

I dreamt about math last night. Serious. Equations and square roots, and even some logarithms, although I couldn’t remember how to carry them out. I think it’s because numbers oddly comfort me. They’re so logical, and feel even more so when all the real stuff of life is lacking logic.

I woke up (hadn’t remembered the mathematical dreamstate yet) and found a knot to un-do. I sat on the edge of my bed Indian style and proceeded for the next 23 minutes to work at untying this knot.. as in, it seemed not a single other thing clouded my mind while I worked feverishly with the string.. straightening what was crooked and lost. If this inclination can be attributed to anything, it must be that I feel there are things {things bigger than string} I need to make straight that are a little kinked and confused. Freeing string from twisted restricted knots make me feel better when I’m feeling this way.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

on the christening drive


“I wish we were driving in a firework thunderstorm” {me}

“Congratulations” {he}


OhhhhhhhhhHHHhhhHhhh I’m breathing a new independence right now, I think I might be taking more than my fair share of the sky tonight.  And there’s stars out!  I smiled so much it hurt, but in a good way, and only for a second.  Somehow in the same frame of time I was flying off to fantasy-land, while being sobered by that frantic joy.  It was that kind of feeling where simple is right, gratitude is key, and companionship is the kicker.  There was this tickle of curiosity and satisfaction just for being in the place I was in, at the time that it was.  There were a lot of pure moments on that drive.. 


“The way we see other people is usually the way we see ourselves. If we have made peace with our flawed humanity and embraced our ragamuffin identity, we are able to tolerate in others what was previously unacceptable in ourselves.” –b.manning

-after reading this, I realized- damn. I’ve got some work to do in both respects. The source of value we hold for ourselves, and the way we treat others and perceive their value- these are the separate but layered frames that ask how seriously we’ve taken life, and then go further to dictate the answer.

apricot contentment

Right now it’s lovely you see because in this exact moment I don’t care for makeup, or blow-dried hair, or busy agendas, or having some place to be. 

I only want my candle burning that smells like spiced apricots, and the playlist I made precisely for moods like this.  And for my hands to write, and create.  I’m so grateful for those.  I shouldn’t let a day go by without being grateful for my hands and eyes.  And actually, it’s such a shame I don’t use them well more often. I use them all the live-long-day.. but all too often in such futile and narcissistic routines..


>a note I scribbled to myself one day as I was frustrated typing on the computer. It felt impersonal, unnatural, and so forced. I still felt like I wanted to get something on the screen, but then I realized I’d rather get something down on paper. So for me what works is writing words then cutting them apart and rearranging them, letting me visualize connections and transitions- the flow of my thoughts. the flow of language in fact, becoming something physical i can hold and move and make. mmm this method naturalizes the creative process for me rather than forcing myself to sit down clean and cold at a keyboard, sinking me into my own wallowing attempt to write a bit of magic that became nothing more than obligatory and lackluster..

--yes this works for me. it moves me forward.

{And james, please keep reminding me that scrappy is exquisite and that unpolished can be even more striking than the refined.}

Learn, but hold on loosely..

I woke up, looked in the mirror, and did it again.

Took a sip of coffee, did it again.

Putting on my shirt, stepping into some too-tall shoes, doing it again.

Yes I know, I already know this is a waste, please don’t think I’m unaware. It’s just that it’s harder than I can say to just stop something so addicting and creepily comforting, cold turkey. In those moments that are dangerous, the ones that teeter totter between settling for contented, comfortable self depracation - and decisive confidence.. in those moments i try to remind myself that I simply don’t have the time. (or i shouldn't give it time). I have got things much more eternal to get to, thank you. Be on your way, there’s nothing for you here.

Its like I’ve been this all-too-hospitable caretaker, in fact a protector, of my insecurity. But I know I have real guests to attend to, productive parts of my life throwing pebbles at my window for attention, while poisonous insecurity dressed up as a helpful friend, is uncovered as nothing but a snarled and hurtful weight in me.

I won’t call them purposeless though. Struggles are anything but purposeless, I’ll stand by that. There just comes a point where it is most certainly time to move on and away from them. In a way, these things we wrestle with, that we’ve clung to forever it seems, have been a close companion. No doubt they served to teach us things we’d never know otherwise. But as with all good things, we have to be able to let go of the thorns in our sides that we’ve ironically come to hold so so dear.

Thursday, November 6, 2008



It’s night now, it got darker earlier than I wanted, t’s been doing that more and more.  And I’ve been letting mediocrity come too close lately.  Not in the routine of schedule, but in routine of thought. I’m getting lazy on my ideas. It’s a sad and wasteful thing.. for me, it’s spending countless hours crafting these intricate plans to paint more color into my life, and then just waiting and staring at the paints until they dry up, so I can say “ah welp, guess it’s too late now..”


I find myself swimming in all these unfinished or un-started projects and un-actualized ideas. Oh the sting!  ‘...So go, do.’ (I try to urge myself to get a move-on) (it often fails)


But I did have this moment, it was a sudden kind of thing while we were at Denny’s [and by the way this was a particularly juicy episode] and as we talk about our plans and ideas that make eyes sparkle, I was so stricken by the realization that we can, in fact, be the stories that we so desperately want to write into existence.  The ambition we draft into words and poems and stories may just as well be made real through our trips. and talks. and tears..

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

skinny love.

There was this song playing yesterday when we were in the car. It’s one of those that always ends too soon.. the minor chords make me melt just in themselves, the lyrics ring harshly the truth of a painful love. I don’t know music in a technical sense, but I could describe this part in the song where it shifts from a patient and pensive sadness, to a more raw and bold sadness that’s dying to speak itself out of existence. It’s this part that makes me double over with feeling.. you can hear the singer wincing through his words, expelling breath just to get out the next word of truth to himself.

It’s somewhere around this point in the song that I said, ‘man, there are those parts in songs, ya know? where you feel it so much and so deep that you need more.. yet it’s so good that I couldn’t ask it to deliver any more to my audible satisfaction. It’s like I want more of it, beyond music. I wish it could take me into its world so I could touch its sinking sadness the way I hear its sadness. And so I could see it writhing the way I hear it writhing. I’m thinking that the layers of this music have just got to be able to take me deeper than a song..

But then, maybe that’s the beauty and real power of music- it creates a desire to expand sensation beyond the ears.. it leads to a place of experience beyond what the song delivers literally- chords and words. It’s taken one medium of expression, and I- one listener at the least- am receiving that expression outside the medium in which it was dealt. I say that I ‘hear the singer wincing;’ I’m hearing something that’s visual. There exists this translation of the senses where they begin to melt into each other, it deepens the process of feeling. And I do truly feel it, but I struggle to find words that can describe the feeling I get when his hands trickle down the guitar strings and the chords imply on his behalf, 'between you and me, you have ceased to love, but I never will.'

I’ve never known heartbreak like that firsthand, but I’m trying to describe the sensation in my chest when I imagine his. It’s similar to the feeling immediately after you hear something tragic or devastating.. that kind of somber shock. It’s something to me like a quieted scream, a radiating sense of reality. Not as blatant as a vibration, but more active than an emotion. It’s a rush of energy, that somehow is anything but energizing.. it’s the most draining of energies. Maybe this sensation is actually the felt translation from emotion to physical experience. It typically forces me to draw a deeper breath, or else it would be too easy to choke on the quiet pain.

I’m realizing this is starting to sound awful; but although I may not be successfully describing it, the experience isn’t actually awful or ugly, not in the slightest. Though tinged with pain and heartache, this sensation brings the overwhelming understanding that this, this is a moment of real life. This means, if nothing else, that I have participated in life with another. That I have been present, I must have given of myself enough to create a void that was then filled with some part of another being.. and although it’s now left an emptiness that hurts and hurts and hurts- it means I participated. I gave some and I received some, and that means I have, as John Berger would say, ‘increased my capacity to be human.’ This is not a given, it’s not as easy to do as it is basic to describe, and it’s not always joyful. This give and take, it doesn’t always feel effervescent and exploding with gratitude for the reality of existence. Quite often, it feels like shit. But what I mean to say is that the effervescence and gratitude are not all that life should aim for. Maybe we shouldn’t strive just for the good and sparkling feelings of joy, but also to find satisfaction in the experience of pain, for these affirm both sides of existence.

So above it all, above the temporality of shock, and beyond the sting of the start of heartbreak, it is a sensation that confirms- you have been present, you have let part of the outside in, and you have left a part of yourself on the table for another. And I do think, that in itself is a vast and stunning accomplishment.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Re: To my unborn child

In writing to you, I am adamant that this not sound overly lifey and made-for-tv-movie-ish. I don’t intend this to be scripted for misty eyes and warmth in your heart. I want it to be a raw, bold piece of truth, communicated to someone who has yet to be, but hopefully one day will be, a moving extension of me into the world. I’ll give you words and lessons at that point I trust, but I also want you to have words from the me that is now, the young the racing the glowing me that is raging with questions. 

 When you’re a little older and you’re painfully awkward and you’re lost and confused, I want you to have words that resound from the me that was equally lost and confused at some point.. and I was ok with it. And I want you to be ok with it. I want for you to grab hold of that which makes you glitter inside because that is what the world cannot do without. If you’re scrappy if you’re shy if you’re obnoxious if you’re uncoordinated if you’re prissy if you’re bored if if if if….. you need to take moments to remember how little that really matters. 

Should you feel aimless or purposeless, just think: Each time you breathe in and breath out let that be an assurance to you that there is someone who thinks it necessary for you to be alive. That’s some powerful shit.

Please don’t ever let the sun go down on anger. All issues needn’t be completely resolved; the problem doesn’t need to be fixed, but you can resolve to work toward a better place of mind as much as is in your power to do so. But don’t ever let yourself close the day in contented bitterness or tolerated scorn. It is these that will begin to quietly eat away at your soul. And baby, that’s something too big to put at risk just for the sake of pride and anger.

There is so much that I could write and record and research to try to set you up for a life of least-resistance, but- I don’t think that’s the point. No doubt there’s a good chance I’ll one day become a worrying and protective parent and I’ll be eating these words in favor of safety and practicality in all your endeavors.. but maybe that’s why I’d like you to have pieces of my words right now. And from 2 years from now. And 5 years from now, so that you have written accounts of my current worldview (from a time before children) that can identify more with the need for uninhibited adventure. The need to experience the world in the stunning light of risk and uncertainty at this fresh and flying age…. be continued..for a long long time..

..and so it goes.

There are a lot of important things I feel and I won’t say them loudly to you but maybe I’ll whisper them. Because if I say it in normal volume I’m afraid it will sound normal and therefore be normal. 
Even though, 
It’s not as though,
Things are only what they sound to be..

But it’s just what I feel.

I've found myself so concerned at times with the impending changes that life seems to deem necessary. I'm prematurely mourning for the things that aren't gone yet. (Granted, i do have a history of doing this.) But i've been thinking so much lately about how sad it is that many of the things and people in my life right now won't be around forever. It may seem absurd or elementary, but i just have a real hard time being ok with the fact that hardly anything lasts forever, or even a few years at that.
but the truth is... the fear, and subsequent avoidance, of loss, only inhibits the true flow of life that is the necessary give and take of existence.
and so begins a very intentional 'being ok with' process. it's a daily, active aim to warm myself up to the idea of things being temporary- purposeful in their seasonality.
it's a matter of crediting the truth of where i'm at enough to lay rest my concerns of the non-present, my worries over the past, and my fears for the future.

But sometimes I wonder, is it true that it’s always and only the ‘now’ that we've got.. ?


So it wasn’t really that I even thought up poetry that day. It was more like poetry came dancing and rushing and flashing toward me, encircled me and wrapped me up, scooped up my restraint and tossed it to the wayside so that I had nothing left but to write.

Monday, August 18, 2008

a fairly recent project initiative.. the 'nutshell' version:

{What if we’re not meant to live with only what we’ve got? What if we’re meant to take part in others’ lives in such a way that we let parts of them seep into us. Permeate us enough, so that we get to live by a mesh of experiences, their and ours. Wouldn’t this then equip us to face the world with a little more than we had on our own when we first began? Obvious Tobin, that’s quite obvious.. I know. But I think I’m just re-epiphanizing (I realize this isn’t a word, but I think it needs to be) to myself and to my blog that we were never meant to go this alone. This whole thing this whole process this whole challenge of keeping-on, of pressing forward, of changing things in our path for the better or at least trying to, this whole thing of trying to survive in a place that sometimes seems un-survivable.. all of it, we were just never meant to do it as one against all. Things just get so clouded that it can sometimes look that way.
So at the risk of oversimplifying, would I be selling this thought short? to say that sometimes- asking someone how their day was (and really listening for the answer) could actually change the way we live…}

So blog: I think I’m embarking on a project. i’ve realized that there is too much that people have inside them that never gets let out to be shared. Much of this realization stems from the fact that I understand all too well what it means to have thoughts that go unsaid and ideas that go un-acted upon. So I wondered- if I, just one young person, have so much to give that has yet to be given, then so must everyone else, and probably to an even greater degree! Particularly those who have lived much longer and fuller lives than myself..
So in short, I’ve decided it’s necessary for me to begin writing letters to a variety of individuals, basically prompting them to let out whatever it is they feel they have to say, whatever it is they feel needs to be heard by others before their time on earth should end.
I guess an inherent challenge in my prompt could be this: that many people don’t even know they have something of sparkling value to offer to the world. Don’t know they have something brilliantly unique, be it complex or simple, that needs to be heard.
BUT! It's only logical that if you validate someone (mind you, it must be genuine and not contrived brown-nosing) in their hidden wisdom, it’s more likely that you’ll extract some of it than if you left it up to them alone- i feel the majority of people don't even know that they have things to share and ways of voicing those things like nobody else is capable of. That may sound confusing. But I’ll step out on this limb to say that I’ve felt before like I had something valuable to say, but didn’t. didn’t because I either thought nobody would care or because I myself didn’t care. If someone had been there to prompt me, to nudge me, to kick me in the ass in encouragement then maybe I would have been more willing to open my mouth. Now I don’t think I’ve missed any life altering experiences because of reluctance like this, BUT.. just think- there must have been a devastating amount of lives that have indeed ended on unsaid wisdoms. Unshared perspectives. Unexpressed beauty..
The unheard magic of those individuals is about as tragic as tragic gets.
So I thought well ya know maybe I could do something with a few people sort of as an experiment ya know… just throw something out there, lay the groundwork for someone to bring into the light that which may be standing on the sidelines of their life. I do not believe that I am someone with any sort of prestige, but I think that is irrelevant in this particular venture. I hope to serve simply as a commissioner in this..
Well, I think I’m viewing this little endeavor of mine as small battle in the war against that stifling of humanity that we impose on ourselves and others. This would be the same war that serves to defend the truth of creation, the fact that each individual exists for a purpose having to do with much more than his or herself.

Uncle Will once told me that I need to be interviewed. I said, “I think I’ll have to establish myself as a ‘somebody’ first before anyone would want to interview me.”
“No,” he said, “you just need to find someone who will ask you all the right questions. You find someone who knows what to ask, and it’ll prove you’re someone worth interviewing.”

---well I suppose I am just setting out to be the person who asks the right questions, with hopes of drawing out wisdom offerings, perspectives and words, the life beauty that is another from me, because the truth is, everybody is worth interviewing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

{and now for a medley of unrelated thought streams}

I’m finding there is momentous fragility in this venture to express.
I feel christened with imperfection. And I’m basking in the birth of this unpolished truth.

I envy the liberation of non-committal instability. But then, I know that the inherent uncertainty of such a state would drive me to a search for security. So I throw in the towel. I choose, for now, to give up on this unceasing game of running in circles chasing my own tail, nipping at the tail that is ‘control’... only just before it’s pulled from my teeth again.. I’m running too fast.

Again, it all comes back to perspective I suppose. I can decide to look at this all as simply, the way it unfortunately is. Or, I can decide to view where I’m at as just another place to spend curiosity, exercise creativity, and cultivate a story. So sometimes it’s as simple as laying yourself down on the day, and whispering to no one and everyone- ‘Go. Do. Shut up and just be.’

Irrelevant and purposeless development of the day: from now on, when entering info on itunes, I think I’m gonna end all the song titles with punctuation. I feel like names of songs look much more meaningful with the closure of punctuation :)

Summer Olympics! I’m watching 3 swimmers from different nations standing in font of the podium right now waiting to get medals.. how funny to think that they probably couldn’t understand a word of the others’ languages, yet they share as profound as having spent much of their lives, poured out their time, sacrificed and persisted in pursuit of the same goal.

So dare I say that it could be this way on much more frequent occasions, and not restricted to the rarity of glory-filled Olympic ceremonies? I mean when we’re waiting in line at Starbucks no, there may not be the bold-faced barrier of verbal language, but perhaps I don’t speak the language of divorced, as the guy behind me; or of workaholic, as the lady in front… rather than our words, maybe it’s our struggles that don’t translate. and how often am I so caught up in the anticipation of waiting for my medal, or latté, to be served, that I fail to acknowledge that the three of us are shoulder to shoulder in the midst of a strikingly similar battle- the one to stay afloat in a sea of change. 2 days ago someone preached to me that change is the only constant in life. And thus it’s one of the few few few things in life that every living and breathing human has in common. So regardless of the mistranslations we do or do not recognize, I’m confident there is always some other gem of common ground to be found and credited..

So good old Phelps is awaiting another gold. And it’s kinda wondrous and inspiring to imagine that maybe he feels goose bumps all over not just for his victory, but for the common thread that links him to his podium-mates.. a thread not of swimming, no not of the object of sport, but of the connecting parallel of passion.

better late than never eh?

i've been camping in the eastern sierra mountains for the last few days and let me say, the thoughts were flowin.. it's late and i gotta be up for work in the morning but i'll jot some of this down because it was from this morning and i think it deserves to get put somewhere before the close of the day...
{now this was a thought process that began as an observation in my mind and then apparently desired so badly to become a descriptive piece on my morning kayak ride that i drafted the entire thing in my head while out on the water, and felt compelled to say it over and over.. and over, to remember it once i got back to shore, where i could get my hands on a pen and paper. Although the paper didn't come so readily. once i found a pen i quickly scribbled some key words on my thigh to help me re-draft it in scrappy entirety a little later..}

it's 5:50 am. way too early and way too cold to be sitting in a puddle of icy water.
i'm an electric orange vessel on a body of heavy blue true glass. and i mean true, and i mean glass. there's this ethereal fog that neither my camera nor my pen can translate. And the sun's creeping up and in..
it rises. i paddle. it rises. i paddle. i'm chasing something that's chasing me.
{i've said it before and i'll say it again: it's a tragedy not to have a pen when you need one}
In this moment i realize my marriage to writing is yes, often neglected, but by no means unrealized.
In this moment I almost want the beauty to cease for a bit, or else i'll keep wanting to write and keep not being able to.
In this moment I wonder why i spend so much time squandering the fullnesses of life, because if ever a moment were full, it's now.
"whooee, there it is. so bright. there it is," she said from behind.
I’ll commit to myself, to commit to memory, the magnificence that is now.
It’s the start of a day you just know will be technicolor through and through.
it's electric.
i'm ecstatic.
and giving out silent 'hoorahs!' for seeing and for breathing.
the delineation between the lake, the light, and the pausing of my wayward worries, is positively undetectable.

Monday, July 28, 2008

so i've been making anything "adult" out to be the opposite of "free"...

Today I talked about revenue and 401K plans and networks and protocols.
2 months ago this would have incited a mild heart attack followed by some childish tears and sulking. I think I’ve moved past this extreme sensitivity to anything that feels overly “adult,” but I still worry from time to time about whether or not I’ve sold out to a standardized life of duty.
I think I’ve landed on a conclusion, however, that will keep me afloat as I ambark on this segment of life where I welcome work as simply another experience that will show me a piece of the world yet unseen; albeit less exotic than Sevilla, Spain, and less carefree than living on a houseboat, but all in all I’m learning that accepting a full-time job doesn’t mean that my life must become characterized only by revenue goals and conference calls. most definitely could, if I let it.. but I’m realizing that if I choose, really I can make this next phase the most artistically fruitful time of my life. I can make the richest and most rewarding investments in relationships, not just in a retirement plan. I can boldly pursue my ideas for a life of adventure, and not just my boss’ ideas for company growth.
So I suppose it comes down to my realizing that everything is about perspective. I spend far too much time fearing what I don’t know, and it’s not until I’m in the thick of an experience that I realize it’s nothing at all like I had imagined. I’m not even gonna thing about how much time and energy I’ve waster being anxious about a fabricated daunting future. I often act as though guessing what the future will hold will better prepare me should it actually turn out that way. But let me say, I’m finding that the only truly effective way to deal with uncertainty is to welcome it. Keep hold of it. Literally wring the life out of it by seizing everything it brings you to…
Fear=stagnancy. Making friends with the ambiguity of being human=movement.
If nothing else, at least be able to say you’re moving forward. All that to say, I’ve decided to move forward, with a bold smile, a pen and paper, and the determination to maintain the ragamuffin, young, artistic side of me despite my wearing professional clothing and acting like a grown-up 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. And who knows, I’m thinking that maybe the very intentional efforts I’m gonna have to make to maintain my carefree nature outside of my professional nature will result in a period of artistic growth more abundant than I’ve yet seen out of myself.
So from 9 to 5 I may be hair pulled back, coffee on the go, contracts and appointments, but before, after, and all throughout I aim to keep letting the world in through rainbow colored filters, and moving about my days and nights as poetry in motion..

Friday, July 18, 2008

Living through a lens?

Almost 2 weeks later and this is just the second entry? Well this is because since I created this thing, I have secretly been whispering to myself “this needs to be perfect before it gets posted. Oh that doesn’t sound right, oh that won’t make sense to anyone but you..” And unbeknownst to me, I was deterring myself, yet again, from the freedom that is found in expression. This internal standard for perfection and logic has been my Berlin wall. Fulfillment, satisfaction, at least some subtle form of freedom lying on one side, my thoughts on the other. Well the good thing about realizations such as these is that I am no longer ignorant to the things I do that inhibit myself. The bad thing about them is that I am no longer ignorant to the things I do that inhibit myself. Good because I am personally challenged to move past any excuses I’ve formulated or aversions I’ve schemed, bad because once you wise up to something, you hold the accompanying convictions and have lost your ticket back to ignorant bliss. Even if I wanted to return to a life unaware of these particular shortcomings, that state of being no longer exists for me (at least in regards to the issue at hand; Lord knows I am still clueless in dozens of other areas of my life) But even if I tried to return to my justifications for why I have other more important things to attend to right now, the fact is that I am now aware of my avoidance tactics and have been forced to lock this thing in as a claimed discipline.
{Sidenote: I do realize I sound like I have dual personalities. I assure you, this is not so. I just happen to have very strong goals and aspirations and instincts, but I also have some insecurities, which I am fully aware of.. but let me tell you, if you allow insecurities to take the smallest foothold, they gain power exponentially. In any case, this is essentially why I tend to articulate my internal thought processes as though it were 2 people rivaling head on.}

That said...

You know how when you’re watching a home video of someone, particularly someone that’s not with you or you haven’t seen in a long time, you tend to notice the glowing parts of their personality just bursting from the screen as clear as day? For some reason, I’ve noticed that when I watch a video of someone, or even when looking at a photograph, I see the people in them as much more incandescent than most any time I see them in person. So I’ve wondered a lot in the past why this is so.. why it is that I can watch a video of a friend, and tilt my head to the side, say “awww…” smiling endearingly, and point out every minute aspect of their character that shines like a rare gem. Tiny moments of laughter are heard as a sweet familiar song, minor facial expressions are seen as priceless signs of unique life, sometimes even comments or habits that would in annoy if he/she was sitting next to me appear rather as charmingly unique. It’s just so much easier to get that sort of nostalgic affection when you’re watching someone’s life carry on from the removed perspective of a viewer, and not a participator. This indirect position somehow fosters a perspective that seems to focus less on flaws, and notice more of the tiny fragments of light that are always in existence, yet are overlooked in day to day interaction. This line of thought sparks so many more for me.. *what is is that inhibits us from seeing people in this way at all times? And not just when we are seeing them through a lens. *are we as humans even capable of training ourselves to see the real splendor of the ordinary, or is there a reason that our views of people should be clouded by a number of things, like selfishness, insecurity, laziness, or jealousy? *is this whole pondering just a minor offshoot of the great great challenge that continues to boggle my mind: what are we missing in the present? When you pull back, and look at your life or an aspect of your life in terms of the “big picture” (whatever that may be for you) you can gain a little more clarity as to what matters and what is worth spending your time and thoughts on. Yet when you are living in the moment, you often miss the mark and don’t live accordingly, so what gives? It seems this is analogous watching someone on an old video and noticing the light they possess, but spending the day with them and never stopping to cherish who they are.
Annie Dillard is quoted as saying “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I just can’t stop thinking about this quote as I sit here writing because it seems so applicable: we fly through so many moments thinking “well I’ll get around to telling him or her this or that when there’s more time, when it’s more comfortable, when I’m less tired etc etc etc blah blah. But that moment, yes that one you just passed on because the conditions weren’t ideal, has gone now and that WAS your life. I think most of us have a habit of writing off moments, days, months, and sadly years sometimes, as “not the right time,” but appease ourselves by saying “oh don’t worry, I’m just waiting til it gets easier, then I’ll really live!” (likely not stated outright as this) But like Dillard so keenly states- the way you choose to utilize this moment, IS the way you are choosing to utilize your life.

this train of thought is quite incomplete. more to follow...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Regretfully, i preface.

Oh the first posting, I’m nervous. Not that I know what I’m trying to start here, but beginnings usually signify so much in setting the stage for what’s to come. Well let it be said that nothing is planned, other than thoughts. Words in my head, turned into words on a page, and eventually, hopefully, turned into a sort of connection to others..
For years now I’ve known this gut inclination to write what i think, yet I’ve been feeling like it’s all just been ending there prematurely.. Writing has been this marvelous channel for me to process my movement through the days, but it’s proven insufficient in itself. Well as it turns out, (logically to most, but this took some time for me to learn for myself) there is an aspect of sharing your thoughts with others that just isn't fulfilled by simply writing down scratch notes in the little pocket book i keep to myself and shield from the eyes of even those closest to me. It’s that external delivery of thought, the throwing out of something that started inside, and letting it just be in the hands of someone else. You see that risk isn’t a present danger when you limit your expression to a private notebook. And that safety, which comforted at first, has now come to stifle.
SO, basically i've been thinking a lot about how i feel like there are things i have to say, and ways i have of looking at things, and questions i have, and sensations i get from all different experiences in life- that i want to share with other people. Being introspective and pensive has its benefits I suppose, but there comes a time, for me at least, when the things you think become the things you need to say. and if you don't say them, give them as a delivery to others (be it through speech, art, writing..) then you feel like there's something inside you that's going to do one of two things: either it will 1. build and build and ultimately burst out in some less-than-preferable way, or 2. it will die inside you. personally, i think the latter is much more tragic.
so here we have the blog- a simple, clear cut 'step 1' in the how-to process of expressing oneself and creating an avenue for others to understand the parts of you that tick madly as the world floats on. I’ve had quite a few, what I like to call, ‘lifey’ moments over the past few years that have all meant something big to me, so I’m guessing this page will become a cornucopia of past scratch notes (typically my most significant thoughts and epiphanies emerged as such), muddled in with current realizations, fascinations, observations, enjoyable words and phrases, and other assorted bits of intrigue. For some reason it never occurred to me before that there are ways this simple to begin releasing your words into the air of freedom that is the world wide web.. but i have this friend who fully understands how golden it is to express thought and perception, and after receiving a message of encouragement from him (of curiously appropriate timing), I felt commissioned in a sense.. to move forward. Because after all I happen to believe that there is very little permanence in life.. so if something feels right and necessary, then it is to be shared, now.

oh and I’ll also try to stop prefacing things so much, it’s just a defense based on insecurity after all. and I think writing, if it accomplishes anything, should aim to cultivate an openness and hunger that makes the defenses crumble at the seams...(So the prefacing thing stops now, I just had to get that first one out of my system.)