Life living

September 15, 2008

My dear friend Michael has brought to my attention words that I had written some time back and with the revisit I can feel the bubbles of lifeexpansionfreedom well up inside of me.  I am in my last semester of graduate school and feel the closing of an era that began with a plunge into the standardized test of the GRE and will now finish with the search for that first job at the professional level of librarianship.  I feel unsatisfied.  I have projected a life path that includes the safety of government work and am close to acquiring a degree that will strengthen my ties to career that has moments of satisfaction but still leaves me yearning for more.  I’m sure that I am the first human being to ever be in this predicament (Ha!).

In that first post written a year and a half ago (referenced above) I was struck dumb by the words of a YA author who let go of the known and plunged into the churning rapids of the yet-to-be-determined.  In his story I saw my own life and eventual future of chances not taken, fields left unexplored.  So I mustered up enough gumption to write my blog post to the world and then dutifully returned to the writing of a paper dictated to me by an educational system that encourages well-thought-out passive responses to pre-fab questioning.  And I received an ‘A’ on that paper which made me feel quite good about myself, like I actually accomplished something substantial rather than demonstrating what a nice obedient puppy I truly am.  I’m a smart doggie.

Zoom to this moment and my dogness (no offense to you canines out there, I appreciate a good fetch session) has become even more ingrained as I take the next step of holding up that piece of parchment that proclaims to the world, “Yes I am ready to join the working ranks of those that have chosen security over risk.  Please welcome me with open arms, um, how many years until retirement?”

I admit that I’m allowing drama to infuse this post but I know that there is a ripe kernal of truth at the heart of these frolicking words.  I’m already looking ahead, glazing over the process inherent in the now, trying to find that job description that I can match to my perception of me.  There is a certain thrill there, the chase of that elusive next job that overshadows a deeper longing for a life purpose that will remain unfulfilled if all of my days are restricted to the library field.  I know this to be true.  And yet one must work and financially it makes sense to try and move up the career ladder.  Blah.

The difficulty of my situation is that my dreams are cloudy unformed things that are elusive and cause me to shrink back into other more comfortable arenas.  I consider writing for a bit and then sit down with a book.  Or watch a movie.  I’m fascinated by the creative process and then abandon it personally to become one of the audience.  I read about the lives of authors and calculate their life trajectory with my own.  At time I’m a pathetic silly man surrounded by books yearning to be on the other side of the words.  But to this point the insistence of the dream comes in spurts and I can placidly go about my life for weeks at a time with only a faint recollection of what it is I truly should be doing (At least that’s what I suppose, I am welcome to life injecting an alternative purpose).  The beauty of modern life is that everything is so busy and one can easily be submerged into the flux and forget what it is one ought to be doing.  My yearnings get caught up in this flow and the cloudy dreams easily disperse to reform in a different day’s sky.  I’m conflicted and know it and these words attest to that fact.

Skating along

June 7, 2008

It’s been awhile since I’ve made my way onto these pages.  I am reverting back to sponge, taking in the information around me and letting it ooze out through my pores.  Alas that expiration rarely finds itself being translated into written words and I continue the intake unabetted.  When I’ve convinced myself that now, this moment, is the time to sit down and write, I am overcome with everything else that I could potentially be doing.  While at home I open up the journaling notebook and remember that the dirty dishes are sitting in the sink and gleefully get up to attend to suds and scrubbing.  I open up Word and begin a few sentences and it occurs to me that the laundry still needs to be sorted and I bound up from the desk chair to search out the disheveled garments.  I am both compelled to write and repelled by my own yearnings to step away from the creative flow. A man and mind divided.

I just remembered that the temperatures are in the nineties today and I have yet to water the garden…I’ll be right back…*Runs to the freedom away from the words*

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One of the thankful recipients of the water.

Inspiring Blogs

April 6, 2007

I wanted to point out a couple of new (to me) blogs I have been reading and enjoying.  Leah listens to her creative muse and reports back for the benefit of us all.  I enjoy her inspiration-laden posts as well as the humanity inherent in living the life of an expressive personality.  Thanks, Leah.

Michaela is a world traveler and heart-listener who works towards a brighter future and reports back from fields afar.  I am inspired by someone who is doing what they love and admire her courage in pursuing her dream.

Joshuabrings much-needed humor into the Bibliblogisphere (Library-related blogs) and is gracious in both sharing ideas and giving credit.  Keep up the good work!

Although I have never spoken (e-mail or face-to-face) to any of these three individuals, I am touched by their words and thankful for their welcoming messages.  Perhaps one day I will comment on one of their posts but for now I’ll just stew gratefully in gratitude.

Waking up today

April 4, 2007

Today the cherry blossoms were falling like snow on my windshield as I relaxed during my dinner break.  I even tracked them into the library as my Converse provide perfect blossom pocket holders.  I’ve since cleaned up my flowery tracks but the image of the cascading spring shower still tickles my brain.

The mockingbird sings strong discordant tunes in search of a mate as I glaze over into sleepiness.  I wonder about the beauty all around and my place as observer of it all.  I’m willing to let go of my identity (for just a moment) to bask in the happenings exploding all around.  Robins dogfighting, leaves waving, cars growling.

My attention translates the enormity of life into these tiny scribblings.  My attention goes back out and is silenced by the unknowableness of the cosmic dance.

I like the passion of my last post but I’m not sure if that is an altogether honest assessment of my situation.  It is a picture for that moment.  And this is a new moment and I have new feelings and thoughts regarding the life situation.  For one thing I have not completely gone the fear route and given up the dream.  The dream being to write as a way of life.  Realistically there are many ways to go about that and having another job does not mean that I am giving up the dream of writing.  More like I’m working so that I can support myself and sometimes I write because of this deep necessity to do so.

Where I get hung up is the quotes. “Quotes?”, you might ask.  Well it goes like this: I love to read and in the process of reading I’ve come across inspiring writers who invariably talk about their craft.  I’m mystified.  I take their words and try to translate them into my life.  And of course there is much lost in the translation:

1. These words may be inspiring but may look entirely different when the thing behind the inspiration manifests in your own life.

2. These words have more to do with the writer than the reader (not entirely sure about this one but I’m sticking with it for now)

3.Words although beautiful can be quite clunky: these symbols that point to something are quite difficult to grasp. 

So I read these wonderful sublime writers and I continue to read their loveliness and so on through the night until it is time to go to bed and I conveniently haven’t left enough time for my own writerly ruminations.  I’ve gotten way too used to being the intake valve instead of giving myself over to the creative outflow.  I can see that it requires a reorienting of the mind and in a sense this life. 

Perhaps that is why these words are here and this is a part of that shift in energy.

Creative impulses

March 20, 2007

I find myself writing so much with school and work that when I turn to this blank page my grasp fails and I’m left gazing into the ether.  Of course that activity can have its own benefits considering the balancing effects of allowing the mind to unfocus a bit.  I’m pulled by the need to create and repelled by the sense that I have nothing meaningful to say.  I think sometimes it is hard to see that living is a creative act that does not require expression on canvas or page.  Yet I return like I have so many times.

And I notice so too have millions of other communicators.  I marvel at the growing number of blogs created on WordPress alone.  These thousands of voices crying out into the void.  This one voice bewildered by his own wail. 

We are here to communicate and the blog is a  way to hear and express what must be heard and expressed.  The magic lies in the boundaries that are crossed, the space that disappears between you and I.  My content becomes searchable and the lover of Henry Miller can read the comments of a like soul.

Writing revisited

March 8, 2007

At different times I’ve fancied myself as a writer.  Dreaming big and at times going through the motions but always there is an impass reached where something happens and I am put off the course.  Is it within my control to stay on track and continue writing?

Honestly, I’m not sure.  A few years back I applied myself to the regime offered by The Artist’s Way and I actually made it all the way through the twelve-week program.  Yes I was surprised.  I tried it a few years before that and didn’t even get through the first week!  Committment issues on parade! 

So I’m back to the blank page watching the words fill up the screen and wondering from whence they came and where they are leading to.  Can you show me the way?  (If it were that easy I don’t think it would be worth the trip)  As my good friend Henry Miller once wrote–you’ve got to write a million words, perhaps more before you get down your first true word.  By the way, if you ever get a chance to visit his library in Big Sur it is well worth the trip.

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Yes, a taste of beauty.  A magical place where mists rise from the ocean and blanket the jagged green mountains of the California coast.  So Henry Miller yes.  The romantic version of his life: moved to Paris at the age of 39 without much money but with a mission to write and be heard.  Taking up residence among the destitute populations of Paris he found his true voice and penned The Tropic of Cancer.  Read it if you get the chance.  It was published in Paris in the early thirties but the “obscenity” kept it from our Protestant American shores until the early sixties.  If you’ve ever read Miller before you know that he uses a fictionalized version of himself as the main character.  Where does the character end and the man begin?  Does it matter?

Miller influenced my life at different times.  The first time I found him (he found me?) was in a small bookstore in Blacksburg during my fifth year in college (extended studies-ha!).  Looking back I think I was looking for a book that would change my life and I was not going to settle for spiritual texts.   Displayed on one of the top shelves at the front of the store a 1960’s copy of Tropic of Capricorn.  I found inflammatory words that caused fits of jovial delirium.  I locked myself away and peeked inside as explosions detonated from the prose.  Wow!  I wanted to be a writer and write with abandon!  What was I doing in school getting so much tripe spoon fed to me only to regurgitate it all by filling in little black ovals with No. 2 pencil?  That is education?  I must travel the world and have great adventures, sup from the nectars of sexual passion–blow my mind away from its conditioned misery and begin to live!  ( I can feel my blood boiling right now!)

A good kick in the ass is what it was.  Life must be lived and I needed to step off of the sidelines and get into the game.  In a way that is what this blog is about.  Reminding myself that I don’t need to always intake other peoples stuff (books,films,art etc.) and can take the steps to explore my own creativity and how it (I) relate to the world.  I must admit that it is about damn time!