Archive for Writing (the medium)

Visions of Me, Reading Visions of Cody

“Ah the mad hearts of all of us.” ― Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

I have ran through many places, many times, worn many faces, I have started, stopped, and restarted time on several occasions, all in the daunting task of completing a read-through of Visions of Cody. At times, the days were cold and sent shudders to the very marrow of my bones, other times, the sun scorched my neck, reminding me of nature’s raw beautiful power and its indifference to my speck of functioning in the world. Jack Kerouac is my ultimate muse author, and having read nearly two dozen of his books, I still was not ready for the wild, free-flowing, at times seemingly disjointed and nonsensical writings that make up Visions of Cody, or at least I was not at first, second, or even third try. Visions of Cody, in all its 400 plus pages of spontaneous (I mean really meandering and spontaneous) prose, is a moment in my life, an accomplished feeling of having experienced an admired writer’s most experimental and complex piece. And in the end, I am better for it.

So what is this piece I am writing now? Well, it is not so much a book review, as it is a momentary snapshot glimpse view back into my experiences with Visions of Cody…my visions of me, reading Visions of Cody.

The first two sections, and approximately one-hundred pages, visually resemble the original scroll version of On the Road, long blocks of small type-font, with little room for paragraph breaks, a true stream of consciousness, and spontaneous prose tale. I was hooked right away. I went into the book knowing of its legendary (in a hip underground beat sort of way) reputation, but was still left in amazement by the hyper-stream of consciousness, and the beautifully, and often tragic, acute attention to detail, so much detail for even the most mundane of situations, that painted vivid imagery in my mind, transporting me back to this bygone era of America. Consider this, there is probably an easy one and a half, to two pages wholly dedicated to describing a countertop and chairs in a skid-row diner. This is part of what Visions of Cody did, it brought you so close to what would in any other situation be considered the dull and mundane, and transformed it into a passionate and somber look back at Americana, as it once existed from coast to coast.

“I can’t think of anybody…who knows the sum and substance of what I know and feel and cry about in my secret self all the time when I don’t feel strong, the sorrows of time and personality, and can therefore on all levels make it all the way with me” ― Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

The next two sections, and nearly two-hundred pages,  of Visions of Cody goes even further down the experimental and avant-garde rabbit hole of writing,  transcribing, word for word, a series of tape recordings between Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassidy, and other various Beats. It needs to be noted that these recordings are painstakingly random, at times incoherent, confusing, and are the result of much intoxication by all involved. It is in this stage of the book, that I am conflicted, torn between my love for self-expression, spontaneity, the “out there”, avant-garde, and the generally askew from the norm, torn between all this, and my ultimate takeaway, that while the intent of transcribing tape recordings of people in true naked conversations is bold and exciting (in theory), the end result is disjointed (and not in a good way) and lacking in true Kerouac storytelling depth. It lacked heart.

Countless cups of coffee, seasons of the year, and a kaleidoscope of people, places, and things came and went in my life as I read this book- my ever-present companion, Visions of Cody. There was some sort of bayou hoodoo spell conjured up within the pages of Visions, for each time I read a segment, my mind raced with intrigue, icons, lost visions, teleportation, and a heart-warming fondness for the less than glamorous side of America, the hard-working, the down-trodden, the people who will not show up on any billboards, wont star in a Hollywood movie, and would not even make a footnote in their local paper. This is the true America, the one Jack Kerouac saw disappearing, that he thought worth saving, the Americana of the blues, of railroad yards, late nights in bars, road trips across the country, a seemingly simpler time that was fading fast. This is just as poignant today as it was then, that is the beauty of Jack’s writing.

The remaining pages of Visions of Cody continues in the stream in which the book started, forgoing the tape recordings, and holds some of the most powerful and beautiful sections of prose I have ever read. I am not one for hero-worship, but I will say that there are some brilliant flashes of storytelling tangled within the stream of consciousness behemoth that is Visions of Cody.

In the end, Visions of Cody made me feel accomplished, rewarded for having made it through. It also left me inspired, inspired to continue writing, seeking adventure, living life on my own terms, and focusing on the little things in life, for they are what make up our memories (stories) we take with us forever. Perhaps, even more than any of those takeaways, Visions of Cody showed me a new level of pride in America (Americana), in the simple hard-working truth of the nation, and the unmolested beauty that still remains down every back-road, if we are just willing to let go, travel, and see what we have flown by blinded for too long, and for that, I am grateful that Visions of Cody is here.

“…the great black bird broods outside my window in the high dark night waiting to enfold me when I leave the house tomorrow only I’m going to dodge it successfully by sheer animalism and ability and even exhilaration, so goodnight” ― Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

Rucksack

Upcoming…

  • Reflections on keeping momentum going in writing
  • Opening up about inspiration and attachment

 

I remember it all, the dream, the anticipation, that unknown beautifully terrifying feeling in the bottom of your stomach. It was time. I seemed ready to conquer, to make it happen, to transform. I sat and starred at the still newly worn green rucksack, the perfect item I had selected to hold my writing necessities. A sacred vessel in which within would hold the treasures allowing me to transform. I selected the green rucksack (and called it rucksack versus backpack) because of him, because of Kerouac. A nod to his wandering, dharma bum, traveling within the void, my inspiration and closest known author to what I strive to do. I am sentimental in that way, placing special meaning on a rucksack, an attachment to help inspire me (the attachment to an object alone would upset the dharma bum- sorry Jack). So there I sat, staring at the pack, feeling lost, lost and disappointed. The writing adventure started off a glorious blaze of hope and inspiration, settled into a groove, and over the past few weeks has nearly fallen by the wayside. Why? Did I not care anymore, had I lost the passion? No, quite the opposite as a matter of fact. I have been missing it- pining for a block of time to write, pick up the pen and let it all spill out, my soul escaping through vestibules of life’s cement jungle, each crack filled with an endless stream of wordy waves of liquid night fueled passion words. This is my struggle. I (again) have let the distractions of life get in the way. Then it hit me- I felt despair- I felt loss- loss for the dream I had felt grow closer, that now had receded deep into the void, a faint twinkle tempting and eluding me daily.

Tonight has been good. This has been good. The pen is active, the mind sharp, and the flame still burning- time to dust off that old green rucksack and get on the road Jack.

 

Looking Back…

It takes strong focus and sometimes recommitment to achieve success

Who Do You Want to Be? (You Already Are That) Now How to Show the World

It is when we have embraced our true-self in all aspects of life that we are at our optimal.

Self-reflection and a razor sharp critique of myself have been reoccurring elements over the past few months for me. Ever since being released from a corporate job I held for just a tad over a decade, I have done a lot of soul searching. To be transparent, self-reflection and the search for the ever elusive true happiness have always been cornerstones of my persona. Since my childhood days I have written. The writing has always been introspective and contemplative on not just myself, but on society and life as a whole. So when it came time for me to confront a major career change, fresh on the heels of the birth of my firstborn and several other key milestones in life, I truly was at a crossroads. But unlike many who approach a crossroads, I did not enter the lonely intersection with apprehension, fear, anxiety, or wondering who I was (or who I was to become). For me, the crossroads were bright, warm, inviting, and what was once a soft almost silent ambient sound that beckoned me towards my truth, was now an in your face message screaming at me- no more hiding softly just below the ever-present buzz of daily life, never being noticed- this sound was piercing, loud, intentional , and real. My life was calling and it was up to me to answer. And I have.

I am a writer. A little bit left of center writer, but a writer nonetheless. The fact that I had spent a decade in a corporate world said nothing about this. That was the path I had chosen coming just out of college (get that career job Scott…get that house…make sure it has a white picket fence…). I learned a lot, met great people, was able to provide comfortably for myself and my family, and it is that path through corporate America that led me exactly to where I am today- happy and excited to be heading down a new twist in the path- happily running past my crossroads, blazing towards what is next.

Cliché to say, but I would not change a thing about that portion of my path; for to change any component of the path may have altered my experiences in a way that would take away from what I have come to hold most dear- and that was/is my truth. So many have commented to me recently “oh, so you are a writer now”, or “you are getting into writing now”. That, along with my own intensive self-reflection got me thinking, who do I want to be?

I very quickly realized that I did not need to be asking myself that question; it is easy to go there given my circumstances, but it was a faulty query at its base-level. Losing a job does not negate or change who you are. Yes, you may go a new route (like me), acquire new skills, rethink many aspects of your life, but you are still you…always have been…always will be. I do not mean to insinuate that we can only be one thing, or that we are limited in what we can do in life. There are no limits, and many truths about ourselves will only be revealed throughout our time in this life as we navigate and are exposed to different factors. But it is there. What I call our true-selves, is at the very basis of our makeup. Understanding who I am and what that means for myself at this point in time is freeing. To understand one’s truth is next to the sublime.

Who we are, our true, vulnerable, naked self is rarely (unfortunately) exactly (or even close) to the person we are perceived as in everyday life by the masses, as well as by some of the people closest to us. The simple living, neo-hippie, free-flowing writer/artist masked by what others blindly (by no fault of their own) see as a standard run of the mill suburbanite father, husband and corporate worker bee.

Let the wild truth within run free, unfettered by expectations and safe choices- embrace your truth and the mask will fall away until the world sees you as you have always known you are and have been.

Freedom and peace with our lives is a paramount pursuit. That pursuit is within and not dependent upon others.

Coming out of the introspective, deep, philosophical leanings of realizing out truths have always been with us, there is a different level of being, a (albeit more superficial) benefit to helping others to see our truth.

So how can we help others, even the casual observer, see our truth deep down to our core? How do we materialize into the world the miraculous bits and pieces that make up our truest fibers?

Here is what has worked for me (perhaps it has or will work for you)…

  1. Pursue Your Dreams
    1. You have to make it happen. I have always been a writer, wrote when I could, and knew that I would love to pursue it professionally one day; but it was not until I took legitimate steps to make this a reality and see just how far down the rabbit hole I could go (still a long ways to go) that the gap between my inner-identity and the outer-self began to be bridged and meld together in a noticeable way. You need to take actionable steps out in the world to help people see your truth.
  2. Embrace Your Truth- hide nothing
    1. As with much advice, it is always easier said than done, but being as open and transparent as possible (be an open book) with whom you are, what you want, and what you will be doing is freeing and eye opening. It only took one or two soul opening conversations with my family about being a writer and how I feel when I embrace that piece of me for those around me to get it. After that, I found people’s support and curiosity inspirational.
  3. Stay Strong- do not fade away, justify, or feel the need to rationalize
    1. Many will not understand, especially when we are challenging the norm. You will be met with resistance, some so intense it may make you doubt yourself- do not let it. This is your truth and your truth alone- own it. Strength and confidence in who we are will attract others and can turn nonbelievers into devote followers.
  4. Be Obsessive
    1. This is all about who you are as deep as possible, it is about losing the mask, shedding the expectations laid by others for a magnificent blindingly bright light of your truth- be obsessive. Dive in with everything you have, trusting yourself implicitly. If there is anything worth doing full-bore, it is this.

These are snippets, short capsules meant to detail what I (as one individual) have done for myself. The focus has been on career change, but is applicable across the spectrum of life, whether it be a similar career shift, a new religious or political leaning, sharing an alternative lifestyle with the world, or declaring your allegiance for a formerly embarrassing television show. The point is, whatever your situation, own it.

I encourage you to leave your own thoughts. Share your truth. Best wishes on your own unique adventure.

Scott Norek

Blogger and Freelance Writer at scottnorek.com http://bit.ly/1KOSW02

Writers Today vs. Writers of Old (Part 1)

Upcoming…

  • Writer of today compared to that of yesteryear
  • Traits of the historical writer
  • Quips on modern society
  • A promise for more to come

 

Being a writer- prior to twenty years ago (give or take), it meant basically the same thing throughout the ages, creative spirit holed away somewhere, isolated, banging out page after page on a typewriter. I imagine Jack Kerouac sitting at an old wooden desk, not old in that classy antique sort of way, but old in that just plain old, beat-up, and forgotten by time sort of way, the luster gone, wood splitting and rough, the legs uneven and wobbly, the surface barely suitable for a family to eat at, years of abuse- but perfect for the true writer, for the artist who cares not for the luxuries or even sometimes the bare necessities in life, but rather is so laser focused on their craft that they will sit in a skid row motel, at an abused desk, eyes blurry from countless hours of straight typing, just being what they are. I pick Kerouac as he is an inspiration for me, a lighthouse that has guided me in my writing; but while the scenario may change from skid row motel, it is the same for the writers of history and legend- simplicity in their craft.

Artist, paper, pencil/pen/quill (you get it), typewriter, and whatever ambience/setting they need, mixed in with a little inspiration (the indulgences), and you have the skeleton of a writer’s life. Sprinkle in some poverty, heartache, struggles, pains, misery, with a sense of adventure, excitement, inspiration, and you have the perfect storm for so many of the writers that have etched their names in history’s library.

What is it all? Simple- it was simple. Life was simple, if not a challenge for the writer. The term starving artist is there for a reason. What made the memorable ones memorable and countless more that time has forgotten is singular focus- Writing. They wrote because that is who they were, and they shut out much of the rest of the world (unless it suited them to engage with the world for their writing).

So what is the writer’s life like today? There is no way to marginalize all the unique personalities and life paths that the pantheon of today’s writers have, yet I will (forgive). Today’s writer still has all the characteristics I described earlier, the simple mad crazy driven desire to do their art, a willingness at times to forgo anything else, and the need for the right setting, but with all of that (which was enough and often too much for writers of yesteryear) they have modern (last twenty years) society. The internet, social networking, self-publishing, celebrity obsession, technology entwined into EVERY component of life, and looking out- a world that would seem like science fiction and make a good many of the writers of yesterday shed a tear for humanity.

How pure and how true it must have been to have been the writers of a long gone era, just to write and experience life. Thoreau never had to worry about how many Twitter followers he had, whether he should self-publish or not; he never overthought about a photo he was taking and what filter to use before it went up on Instagram. Critique today comes from the anonymous, the obscure, the virtual masses so quick to destroy your passions with hateful words spewed out over a laptop’s keyboard.

There is a lot of greatness, exposure, possibilities and new mediums that come with this modern age (more for another post), I acknowledge that- but for today, for right now, I am on the idea of the writer’s life as it exist in its simplest form- one individual- writing. Modern benefits aside, one cannot deny that the scope of the writer, the need to stay connected, and the overexposure at times, has taken away from much of the simplicity that has always been at the core of being a writer.

Leather bound journal and pencil have been replaced by laptop, tablet, smart phone, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc…and for many, that is pure bliss, exactly what they want, what they need. But there are throwbacks out there. The writers who prefer to stay low-tech, carry paper and pen as they stomp throughout the world in search of their next inspiration- Thoreau at Walden pond, Kerouac at Big Sur. It is for those that I write.

As I said, there is much more to be said for the modern era of writing, and I will, just not right now. For now, I am going to pack up the computer, turn off the music, not obsess over Twitter or Facebook- for now I am going to disconnect and go out into the world. I encourage you to do the same.

 

Looking Back…

  • I generalize and romanticize the writer, but it was different, simpler before
  • The modern day writer must be plugged into social networking, the media, the age of technology
  • While this is a godsend for many modern writers today, there are throwback writers (old-school)

Author’s note…

  • This topic could be written about for hours and days, endless in its length of discussion. This is a snippet, a quick thought burst from one modern day writer.

I will do a companion (part 2) piece that highlights the benefits of the modern era. Stay tuned…

Ten Week Reflection on My Path

Upcoming…

  • Self-reflection on the first steps in my new life path
  • How it has impacted me and the people around me
  • A tidbit or two on what we can all do to find truth

 

It has been exactly ten weeks today since I stepped out of the office of my corporate compliance position I had held for the last ten years for the last time. As of that day, I no longer was required (are we ever really required- we make choices even if we do not think they are choices) to come into the office, complete my corporate duties, and contribute to a for-profit publicly traded company, that today seems a distant memory and eons away from who I am right now, in this moment. Sure, the departure from corporate life was not on my own accord, my hand forced via riff, but it was welcomed, it was needed.

It has always been in me, writer, artist, and I have always known that a corporate life, while rich with many material benefits and comforts, was not me, not deep down to my truth. It is possible (and probable) that there is a corporate career out there that would align directly with my true-self, my core beliefs and passions. I will not deny that. What I will say is that I am and have always been a writer, artist, and a seeker of adventure and truth. The world is a wonderful mysterious place and it calls to me, beckoning me to explore it, experience it, and to understand (try to) its infinite mysteries and truths.

This is where I need to be, this is what my path needs to be, a primary focus on life, experiences, and a continued searching of truth and beauty. I was not doing that from my desk in a corporate office, focusing on regulatory compliance.

I feel more alive today and more satisfied in each day than I have in a very long time. Many would look at my situation and see an unfortunate individual laid off from a (seemingly and was for ten years) stable, very well paying corporate position, which provided an excess of financial and material comfort, evidence of career progression, success and promise for the future. These people would see all that and conclude that it was a tragedy, a worrisome situation, one difficult to recover from, and wonder, “what will he do next?” “How will he match that success in the job market today?” and I get it…I do. I understand that mindset.

It is a mindset I have had to battle and explain away to so many of my closest friends and family members. As a husband and father to a one year old son, the traditional standard of success, comfort and safety are hard societal tags to shake.

But there is a different type of success, a different standard for life, a more fulfilling and true ideal to strive for. That is what I am going for now. The path to live it my everyday as my true-self, to pursue my passions, my dreams, the components that I most closely identify with at the core of my being. My wife Laura and I have always fancied ourselves a little bit different, slightly left of the mainstream, neo-hippie types caught up in a corporate suburbanite world. In between morning commutes to the office and painstaking repetitive maintenance of our suburban sprawl, I dreamt of escape, of running away, leaving it all behind, going simple, primitive, free and living away, secluded, perhaps a remote rustic cabin tucked deeply into a woody pine, the fresh mountain air in the morning, the simple and true reality sounds of birds, insects, a babbling brook…and us, just the family and peace.

So now and for the last ten weeks, I found myself able to escape, able to explore this path. With the support of my wife and a desire to take this leap, I have experienced a lot.

It is no easy task to go from amateur (still am), casual writer in my free time, writing pieces only for myself, or at least only seen by myself, the hidden work of an artist at heart and mind for the entirety of my life (as far as I can recall), to choosing to leap into the public eye and make my works, my emotions, my truths, and my very being available for public consumption. Our emotions, identifiers, and stories are very personal to all of us…imagine taking your journal, spilling your desires, fears, insecurities, struggles and accomplishments out into the world. This is what I am doing, this is what I have chosen to do…and I love every second of it.

I miss no part of my former corporate career. I miss several people, but nothing else. That is not to imply I am not grateful for the opportunity, the company, the experience, or the path it took me on for the last ten years. That part of my life brought me many great memories and provided in a particular way for me and my family. It also led me to where I am today, sitting here, literally recounting my past years in a creative writing form that has always been primary to my true-self. I am not ungrateful, but I also do not miss any part of it and do not desire to return down that path. That path is done; it is no longer part of my current or future story (as far as my limited perspective can see).

What I have today is brilliant, special, engaging, and beautiful. I have a purpose and a path that makes me feel alive and deeply satisfied in a life fulfilling way. I am a writer.

In ten weeks on this new path, I have learned many things:

  1. It is difficult and can seem impossible at times, but being true to yourself as deeply and honestly as possible is liberating. There is nothing like it.
  2. You must first discover what being true to yourself really means. We may think we know, have convinced ourselves we know what we desire, what we need, but it may be a wall, a facade, a compromise we have made in life to deal with and accept our circumstances. Take time, find solitude for however long you need, listen to yourself and discover the silent voice within that whispers to your soul. Hear what it has to say.
  3. Following a path that veers any degree from what you have done in the past, what is expected of you, and or is unconventional for whatever slice of society you are a part of will be misunderstood and met with a great degree of confusion. Be true, honest, open and frank with those that you feel need to, or you care to explain yourself to. Even if your decision is not for them and they do not understand, if you are being true to your core, they will understand and feel that. People will respond to your vibrations you set out, as long as they are pure and true.
  4. We can all do it; we all need to do it. We can find ourselves and make it work in our life. It will not happen overnight, it takes time. Finding truth starts with desire and unbreakable determination. Never lose sight, even when times may be their darkest.

It has already been, but also has only been ten weeks since I have pushed down this new path. I still have so much to learn, so much to experience.

I welcome comments (comment link at bottom of each blog post- may show as “no comments”). Let me know a way you have followed your path that others can learn from.

There will be more recaps to come, for now, adventure on my fellow life travelers. Find your peace.

The New Blog Site and Me

Upcoming…

  • I explore my mind-state on the night of my blog go-live
  • Glimpse into why I write

 

On the eve of the go-live for my blog site, I sit with mixed feelings- excitement, apprehension, joy, wonder, unease, apprehension (wrote that twice- mean something?), but mostly, I am on edge in the greatest way possible. I have always been a writer and artist, since I can remember as a child. I remember creating my own versions of the story of the Alamo and of the cinematic Aliens series; both done in word and picture. I believe I still even have the Alamo story. Writing for me has always been a release, an escape, a way to try to not only understand the world, but especially myself- what makes me tick, why I feel the way I do, why I am the way I am. Who I am…

Writing and all other forms of art have always been amateur for me, something I just did for pleasure, in my spare time. Thing is, there was always spare time, ample amounts, when I was younger; but as the years went on and I sank further and further into the typical American suburban life, that time for art, that time for writing seemed to all but disappear outside of neatly pocketed manic bursts. It is in those moments that I would feverishly write as much as I could, until my arm cramped and hand felt numb. The pulsating agony and joy of a blur of spontaneous writing.  In a way, it is what I have always done, but it took discovering my now Holy Grail author Jack Kerouac, to discover and find acceptance in this method. Jack called it spontaneous prose, and he was the unwilling master and ambassador. A style of writing that says that first thought is best thought- no need to rewrite- no need to ponder- no editing, going back, scratch that, use this instead- total trust in one’s instincts and inner voice. Autonomous writing in a way.  To use a contemporary example, it is akin to the hip-hop artist of today who do not write their lyrics down, they just rap from their mind and one-take it in the studio. But my muse is Kerouac, (again) unwilling leader and ambassador of the Beat generation, a group hell bent on freedom of expression, adventure, and a willingness to go for it in writing, life and in every sense. This is what I try to also do. This will come through as very diverse, sometimes chaotic, occasionally brilliant, and followed by a few misses, in my work. I am not about polished, I am not about the boundaries, the rules, the expectations, and trying to ensure my work fits a mainstream idea.

My work is simply me, through and through. This means it will not be for everyone. For some will not get it and dismiss is; while others will see truth, similarity to themselves and understand why I do this. I am very open, frank and introspective in my works.  Acting as my harshest critic and as my biggest advocate, I wind and snake my way through life via written word- each moment captured for record, understanding, retrospection, and discovery. The ever illusive search for the eternal truth, the ultimate reality hidden just beneath our noses, just existing in godly glory just beyond our eyes.

As I said, I have always written and considered myself at my core and artist; but this has not been able to play itself out in what is commonly referred to as my professional life, my career. That is until now. No, I am not a published author, nor a blogger who has so many followers, so many visits that a generate money. I do not have a job in the writing industry; in fact I do not have a conventional job at this moment. That is the short version of a long story behind this new career path. I have spent the past ten years at the same corporate entity, in various roles, most recently as a corporate compliance Director- about as far away as possible from being an artist/writer. Those ten years culminated in me being one of many rifted in a massive company-wide layoff.

That is the catalyst for this, the chance to find a new direction, to retake hold of my life, to make myself happy, find true joy and purpose in what I do. My chance to write.

In some way, everything I will post on the blog will be about my new path. Some more obvious than others- yet all being true glimpses into my mind, my life, my view of the world- for better or worse.

What do I hope readers get out of my work? Who knows…how can I truly answer that without sounding cliché? I would be lying if I said I did not care if anyone enjoyed it, found meaning, found some level of truth. And in another sense, I am doing this as my own therapy- my own truth being peeled back from my innermost psyche and jettisoned into the world.

I have put a lot of work into getting this blog page up and running, and the initial spattering of posts are not a representation of my favorite work, best work, worst work, or anything down the middle; they are simply some of my most recent work. Like I said, I have been writing all my life and have the vast majority of those works hand written locked safe away. How would one who has been on this earth the better half of thirty years as myself go about handpicking his best or favorite works at this juncture? An exercise in futility. I will go back. I will resurrect some of the works from the vault.

For now, take a look into me through my written word at this juncture in time. As I continue to post more for the world, hopefully the intricacies of my world and my mind will become living entities out there, and I will find truth, meaning and oneness with my true-self and the ultimate reality.

Ready for the journey?

 

Looking Back…

  • I am a writer, always have been
  • I am taking a leap to see how far down the rabbit hole I can go

The Intent Observer

FullSizeRender_1Upcoming…

  • Afternoon drinking
  • Observing society
  • Kerouac and Van Gogh

 

The afternoon is winding down, the air has turned from a crisp morning dew to a breathy cool breeze. The sun doing its best to stay present and accounted for amongst a stream of wispy clouds. The veranda outside of the Schaumburg Beer Market is simple, classic, and perfect for a mid-afternoon drink and write. The metal grated table and chairs increase the feeling of openness to the elements, as well as a free flow of life. The wind swirls around, clouds creep by, and I feverishly write. I have grown to love these types of locations, an outdoor seating area nested within a crowded city- evokes imagery of traveling on vacation, the unknown adventure of the living pulse of a city happening all around you- and a nod to the past writers and artists, all of which I have to believe spent countless hours and days in locales just like this- out, in the thick of life, observing, interacting, and watching the intricate dance of people going about their day, each a different story to tell-and there the artist sits- a part of it all- yet strategically removed enough to be detailed observer- Jack Kerouac at the Skid Row diner. Me, in the Schaumburg afternoon, outside patio of the Beer Market. Visions of Van Gogh sitting at a similar table outside of a (now) historic European village comes to mind. Though admittingly the scene here for me is much more subdued and commercialized (it is Schaumburg) than Vincent’s image I conjure, madman painter, inebriated on various drink and substance, genius mind swirling with beauty and inspiration. The conservative well-to-do parade down the cobblestone street, umbrellas, top hats- while he sits stoic, creating, living, taking it all in. For me it is office workers zipping by in their cars, the young family heading over to their fast-food chain of choice. Inspiring locales are still very much alive, they just take more work to find them today in the modern era. I need to find the inspiration around me- remind myself of the beauty that exists within each day.

 

Looking Back…

  • The artist needs to be a part of society, yet remain invisible

Inspiration and A Hard Day’s Work

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Upcoming…

  • Inspiration and Mood Setting
  • Outdoors
  • Suburban Ideals
  • Good Ol’ Fashioned Hard Day’s Work
  • Going With the Day

Author’s Note…

  • This is a short piece that I am including to display the nature of my day-to-day life as a suburbanite, parent and partner. You will also get a glimpse (very small scale) of my drive to seek adventure and go for the unknown in each day.

Instincts and going for it. It has worked so far this morning and afternoon (also the day of Ryland’s 11th month). After an inspired writing session fueled by Grapefruit Sculpin and ambiance and by incense and psychedelic music, I rushed outdoors just having dodged the rain to start to unbury my backyard from the overly earthy attack of overgrown shrubbery and weeds- in a place like Bartlett Illinois, we must be seen as having the scarlet letter for how we maintain- or in this case do not maintain our yard. Two (now three)out there neo-hippieesque souls swimming an endless sea of cookie cutter, drones of well to-do cogs in the suburban idealism wheel- we need to get out- get back to the land and live in the mountains. We are out of place here and it goes well beyond our unkempt yard, peeling house paint, untrained dogs, lack of interest in playing the “hey how are you doing neighbor”, it is partially these things, but more- deeper- it is our outlook, our beliefs, our passions, our goals, our dreams…and our disgust for all things expected and cookie cutter. Having cleared my yard the best I can in an hour or so time frame I return indoors, shirt sweated, mud streaks cast about shoes and socks drenched with stagnant remnants of the day’s monsoons we have gotten. It is in this moment I feel a sense of pride. First for having accomplished a chore, it was overdue, but there is also something primordial, earthy, basic, savage, and manly about working in the yard, using tools, sweating, lifting stone. I am man in this moment. A quick shower washes away the glory and I am back down to modern era, the alpha brute stomping through the mud washed away swirling down the shower drain. I call my dad to see if he wants to grab lunch. The plans seem initially foiled by the fact that my dad is amidst a chain of to-dos hoping from place to place and is catching lunch nearly a half hour away from me. We end the conversation as we will meet up some time soon, but then I think, hell, why not now? I text my dad that I will be driving out to him to meet for lunch. The long and short of it is a great adventure of time with my dad, including some great finds for Ryland at a local thrift store and some more than decent food. Post lunch I head out looking for my next stop to write, and here we are, beer in hand.

 

Looking Back…

  • The mood and atmosphere is critical to the creative day
  • So is the willingness to break routine and go for it

Days of Freedom

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Upcoming…

  • Short blurb on days I am free to do nothing but write

 

Inspiration. These days are key for me- the days I am free to explore, free to create. No have-to-dos. No responsibility. For the day, my duties as a father, husband, and (until recently) corporate cog are vapor. I exist only as an artist, writer, explorer and seeker of my truth. Each day like this is different, but there are some reoccurring elements. Outdoors, getting back in touch with nature- the harmony between myself as an individual, as well as the unifying truth of the ultimate reality. Freedom- I may plan out where to start   for breakfast, where I will take an afternoon walk, and perhaps where to catch a good drink, but overall, time constraints disappear, freedom to change, alter, take a quick turn to a new location, constitute those days. It is this freedom that helps fuel my creative spirit. Beer- right or wrong, booze has fueled the creative spirit throughout time- I am no exception.

What makes up a great day of creativity? Inspiration. Inspiration and an openness to the little gifts life will sneak up and give us each day.

 

Looking Back…

  • The writer needs time, space and freedom to explore themselves, explore the world, and to write

My True Path

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Upcoming…

  • Life Change
  • True-Self
  • American Dream
  • Your Own Path

Author’s Note…

  • I wrote this piece just a couple of months ago when I had just started considering that I would make a push for writing. It is very self-reflective, somber at points, yet hopeful and aspirational. In that moment, it was being as real as I could with myself on where I was at. I hope in reading this, you take something away for your own life and your own path.

 

I have come to terms recently that I am a disappointment to myself in life, sounds very harsh I know, and your first instinct is probably to say “oh no Scott…don’t talk like that…it’s not true…your great…look at all that you have…look at all that you have accomplished…” But it is true, I am a disappointment to myself. But, if you were thinking what I assume you would have said, you are also right. I do have a great life and so much to be happy and grateful for. I have my health, great family, friends, an amazing wife and son, I had a great paying job (one benefit), and more material possessions, beyond more than anyone truly needs. I have all these things and I have happiness in my life with my wife Laura, my son, and in an overall general sense- I am happy- but in another, primordial, base-level, cerebral, true-self sense, I am miserable, I am lost in my current path, and have great regret, disappointment and depression with myself. I have an immeasurable hole in my being for not having fully realized my true-self, my true-form as a writer, an artist. I could blame a lot of people and a lot of things, but fuck that, take a stand you sniveling sniff, it is on you (me)- I did this- I allowed this to happen- I bypassed a path as an artist, and went the expected route, the preferred way, the safe path, the “successful” mode of living- aren’t you all so proud of me? Outwardly making a nice tidy in-the-box living and life- nice house, good neighborhood, comfy high-paying corporate job- all I needed was the white picket fence. Smile Scott, smile for them, they all need to fakely believe you are happy, you have made it, look at you go.

We trade in our true-selfs for an existence of conformity and quiet despair. Very few finding themselves and even fewer having found themselves and then making it their truth, their daily existence.

The mainstream American society does not promote truth-seekers, the American dream is a facade, a sham, dreamt up by charlatans and spoon fed down our throats- the American dream means fitting a mold, sacrificing freedom, expression, individuality and truth-seeking in order to fall in line, get the job, get the house, get the family, get the happiness?

{insert hardcore public backlash here}

Before I am labeled a commie, or a blasphemous hater of all things good, pure and right in the world, I should say that I believe there is a true American dream, one hidden to the everyday eye, not known, not seen by any beyond a select few- There is an American (really a life) dream…it is at the core of us all and what I believe the American dream was meant to be before it was manipulated, perversely raped, and tossed aside to rot and transform into the ugly creation it is today. The seers of history knew it, a way to find happiness, to find truth, to find a pure path meant for each of us. It includes nothing of the American dream spoken about today- it is uttered throughout the ages by mystics, shamans and prophets. It is on the cuff of adventure seekers and spiritual lighthouses, a clear devotion and unapologetic pursuit of their (our) truth, a life uncompromised by anything and focused on pursuit of life. It is different for each of us, but the modal delivery remains unchanged at its core- pure unmolested unapologetic devotion to the path.

I know this.

I need this.

I am this.

I am.

I.

.

Looking Back…

  • There is a path for each of us
  • That path may be difficult at times
  • Each of our paths share a commonality at their true core