Archive for go for it

Writer’s Notes and Five Passages

{Writer’s Note}

This piece is disjointed, and intentionally so. It is a collection of several small pieces that I have written in my personal journals over the past couple of months. Individually each piece is not my finest work; together they are not my finest work. So why include them as a public posting, because what they lack in prize-worthy writing, they are abundant with message, with exposure, a summary of sorts as to where my head has been at, in what has come to be a very long creative drought. So please, read on through the lens of me trying to understand me, a little self-help and self-realization. This is a peak behind the curtain.

Passage 1:

I have never been completely honest in my writing, and this will be no different. Total honesty is a scary thing. To pull back the veil and expose the most intimate of truths is something, I would safely bet that, the majority of us have either never done, or if we are so fortunate, may have done on such rare occasion that these moments, while probably profound and full of meaning, are so few and far between, that they seem foreign, as not a part of us as they are intimate. The writer, or more generally, the artist seeks to do this through their chosen medium as often as possible, with many claiming that they are open and honest, brutally honest, and free in all the ways others are not- “I tell it how it is”, “I say what is on my mind”, all common catchphrases they will employ. So often, the ones most prone to boast about something are in fact the ones least likely to possess that trait, or have that truth. If we say it enough, others will believe it. If we say it enough, even we can start to believe our own lie.

Perhaps we proclaim what we are, when it is the farthest thing from the truth- our simple yet manipulated attempt at changing our truth?

Truth in art, art in truth, will either set you free?

So what is this all about? Why so much focus on truth, perception, and reality, because, each is prominent in my identity. The attempt to learn and understand each has mystified me for as long as I can remember- pulling back the veil, the elusive search for “the meaning”.

My writing can be largely summarized as focused on two things, perception and truth. Really two opposite notions always intertwined.

As I come off a long creative drought, I feel energized, empowered with a new power- an expanded arsenal and a needed mindset to push through.

Will all subsequent work be complete truth, free of shadows and alterations? No.

As alluded to prior, I don’t believe most of us possess the capability at-will, even if we have convinced ourselves we do. But there is no reason we cannot challenge ourselves to get there, to pursue what may seem unattainable. For in this pursuit is where life happens.

For myself, I want my writing, my art, to creep closer and closer to this truth, each piece, a truer reflection of me, and I encourage that we all can do that in life, regardless of your artistic leanings.

For each individual to live a little truer, a little more in line with who they are each day, that is progress my friends, that is evolution, that is enlightenment.

Passage 2:

I am in search of my own authenticity. Family aside, no other singular item is more important to me right now. My last piece discussed truth and perception, both playing directly into my search for the authentic-self. The ego-me tells myself that I have been the authentic-self for short bursts of time in prior, younger years. Truth is, that may or may not be true. It is entirely more likely that I have not been witness to my authentic-self yet, and I have only proceeded to play the part of the fool in my own memory induced illusion.

At some point, Stella lost her groove and, I believe, Austin Powers mojo went astray…well I know Stella got her groove back and Austin Powers was just fine (baby), so why not me, but on a much more real, personal, and impactful way than a couple of late 90s mediocre Hollywood story lies. This is the search for me, the authentic-self, something that I have convinced myself I need here and now, in no particular terms.

But what does that even mean, authentic-self? If I knew exactly what it meant, I would probably also have found it for myself. So I can tell you what it is not (what the problem is) and give you a (likely) inaccurate fumbled portrayal of what I think the authentic-self is, on a high-level all-people bird’s eye view.

{Writer’s Note}

I have removed content here. The subsequent paragraph did not delve deeper into the authentic-self, but instead, went on a crazy tangential rift about caves, creatures, and darkness, for no foreseeable reason other than it is what came to mind.

Maybe that’s just it, maybe the groundhog peeping of the authentic-self comes out of nowhere, is bizarre, does not make sense, and deviates you from that nice tidy little path you had laid out for yourself…truth…art.

Passage 3:

Change.

Change in all forms.

Today we sing, tomorrow we dance.

The night’s sky flickers with memories of a bygone era.

Here we stand, united in our moment.

I find myself meandering much more the last few days than I have in a while. Gentle winds take me here and there.

The meandering wanderer is not looked down upon, it is welcomed, wanted, needed. For too long I have been caught up in a race, a frantic need to measure up, measure up and “get things done”- complete the list.

I have added and added, said yes, made it my task, layer upon layer of complexity, of complication, until it was no longer bearable, and I was no longer me. I feel that sense of self-knowing coming back now. What once seemed like a barren desert, now feels like a cold rush of water infused into my veins, filling me with potential and direction.

No stranger to redirection, self-reflection (loathing?), and contemplation, I have found this current crossroads most perplexing and having the most gravitas.

Moments, they happen when we least expect them.

For better or for worse, my career, or better yet focus in life has become more clear and structured in the last few days. Structure, be sure you are the architect of the construction.

Passage 4:

I told myself today that I would be traveling- I had various destinations in mind, but was willing to deviate. I have fallen into routine and trappings of my own design- even a day of travel and adventure; I can quickly turn into routine and the expected. It is difficult to escape and be free in modern America, especially in the unhealthy hustle and bustle of major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, where I reside on its suburban outskirts. I have long been obsessed with the writings and lifestyle experiences of Jack Kerouac, the, to me, simple adventures in an era of slower living, basic joys, and still plenty of America (and life) left to explore. We all have the explorer within, mine aches with a longing I cannot currently satiate. Satiation of my core needs and identities is a big focus for me, it is rampant in my writing.

In my push to be deeper, I find memories of ultra-shallowness, such as focus on and concern for the outfit I put together for the day, “what says writer… breakthrough…what says adventure?”

As a writer, I have had so many stop and go, or rather go and stop moments over the past 6-12 months that I am left with a disappointment and a fear of the well having run dry. That scares me. Briefly I considered complicated and impractical options, ways to fix this creative rut…quickly jumping off of that speeding bullet train of crap and instead going simple.

My plan…to write everything… to write and write, about everything and anything (or is it the other way around?), and while I am continually writing, I will also be sharing nearly all of it.

This is the only real way I know how to get back in, to slide back into that groove of writer, creator, artist, satisfied being. So, let it be so.

Passage 5:

{Writer’s Note}

This fifth and final passage catches me on a day when I felt shallow as an artist, feeling as if I had denied my art all of me, and instead been selective and manipulative with what I let others see, or even write for myself. It is a very brief piece that alludes to a possible future project exploring the depths of my being.

I am a broken person. This I realize.

Yet I have the grace within, everyone does.

Describing the Beast:

So much of what I do in my writing is self-analyze, self-medicate, and self-help myself. My writing is intimate, it’s intimate when it is obviously intimate, and it is intimate even when it seems distant and removed. I believe all art, or at least all genuine art is intimate, it tells the story of the individual, in one way or another. A little bit, or sometimes nearly the entire artist is embedded within the deep recesses of the piece. And while my writing goes to a certain depth, I freely admit it is limited, it goes medium’ish deep into me. I have never dared to go deep into the recesses of my being. In a recent piece I said that I would be breaking my writer’s block by writing about anything and everything. I feel that in addition to that, I need to take a stab at going deep, deep down into the abyss…down into the abyss and describe the beast- but how to begin?

Where does one start with an exposition such as this? How does one simply let go and dive into the darkness?

I am flawed, completely and utterly beautifully flawed. Both heavenly and brimstone, I, like nearly all in life, am a duality of existence. So how to begin? Perhaps a tit for tat, a positive and then a negative. I have much I am proud of, and enough that I am not. I have shined in many moment so far, and stumbled in even more. I am me.

There are countless tales to tell, but what fits and describes the beast? Today will probably not be the day I decide that…

{Writer’s Note}

So there you have it, five passages mashed together to provide you a glimpse (albeit hodge-podge) of me speaking to me, trying to figure me out, and in the process find a way to get back. Perhaps you can relate. We all, in some way, need to get back, to get back to something or someone.

Something New Every Day

The many faces of a person- my persona shifted from face to face. Today I am this. Tomorrow I am that. Perceptions of myself ever evolving as I sit and stare, stare and stand, in the continuous flow of life. I recently acknowledged, both too myself and in written form, that I am learning something new about myself every day. With no real knowledge of what has sparked this, nor any real need to know, the days have been filled with self-reflection, micro ah ha moments, and a mind which is always on- peculiar being unable to calm the mind in nearly any situation- this is my attempted release.

A deep dark robust taste hearkens to memories of dark chocolate, sweet coffee, and velvety cake, swirling around in the glass, as well as my mind. The precise yet free flowing sounds of Miles’ horn next to me, a slightly uncomfortable feeling in the air, an uncleanliness on my skin that only a humid summer’s night can capture. The sun is still out, but it is fading- I am fading, fading deeper within these thoughts, and within myself. A sultry groove fills the air- thanks Miles.

I am lost without creativity, specifically without writing- this is one of the many things I have learned about myself recently. Not just a hobby, nor a casual pursuit, writing and being a writer is something that I identify as a core trait of my very being, something that at times I have regrettably not made room nor effort for. The feeling of not being true to yourself- my own worst critic.

I take much more pride and harness much more joy out of my career (which I always considered as separate, vast majority of the time very separate from me being a writer) than I have ever realized. My current work and reflection has taught me that.

I pause for a moment, for another sip, to enjoy the air, to find what comes next? Perhaps all of these- perhaps none- but I take the sip anyways. Life of a writer.

I am bothered by myself when I am anything but truthful, true, and honest in my efforts, and in my integrity on life’s values. I have not always been that way.

I find joys in simple things, and in things that my prior versions of myself and others may find mundane and dull. A quiet weekend night at home with my family, a few minutes to read a book, a chance to de-clutter my home, or even a simple conversation with a friend or loved-one. This is not to say that all wild times, and all adventures are behind me, they are not- this is simply to say that I can now appreciate both, and often times prefer the “mundane and dull”. The power of sitting on the floor playing with your son and his toys is simply undeniable, and the greatest concert, party, or wild adventure could not compare…and believe me, I love a wild party.

Another sip, strong, warm, altering…perfect.

I am no longer the one who provokes, who welcomes altercation, who yearns for a moment, any moment to make a statement, a physical impact, and perpetuate conflict in the world. This is part of the reason I no longer play the game. I strive to be strong, to be calm, to find peace, and to bring good into the world and to those I come in contact with. I have no regrets on my self-appointed role and work for the Nation, it is simply is just not who I am anymore. We all grow- we all evolve.

Another sip, and it is gone. Such is life. Drink it up.

My desire to curtail and control my impulsive and addictive personality is another point of my recent thought meanders. It is a rollercoaster of want, desire, need, followed by satisfaction, which is always followed by near-immediate regret and self-loathing.

I am blessed- truly blessed. I want for nothing, yet find myself getting down on occasion. This is another realization (that I already knew, but have rededicated my focus to), a true appreciation for my circumstances, and the will to carry on confidently with them.

Time. Time, is on my side. Yes it is…I don’t know why I said that.

Every day is a chance to better myself, to learn from my experiences, to realize that about myself that I previously have been scared to, or felt it too difficult.

I gather much of my inspiration from my son- he is my little Buddha.

I am learning to not be so hard on myself, to let myself be, and to let go and embrace it. As Laura and I discussed the other day over an evening walk, it is time to “own it”.

I truly have been learning something about myself every day lately, and I hope that I continue to do so. Norek out…

Duality

Upcoming…

  • A return to the wild free-flow of spontaneous prose
  • Train life
  • Duality
  • Letting go and not being limited by structure, proper form, or standard rules

 

The first winter storm has come and gone. Here I sit, motionless, yet continually in motion- the duality of life. The train roars on down the line- steel, wood, and ice collide in a swarmingly dark lovely cold attack windblown beautiful mind story. Here I sit. Rows of individuals, all faced forward, quiet, still, stoic- missing out on the connectedness of life. Here I sit.

The next stop has arrived- a flood, a momentary bustle of beehive kinetic flickering dance light excitement. It quickly dies down- the cold rows of warriors reminiscent of my time in China with Terra Cotta- resumes. Here I remain, in the back of the car so that I can observe, discover what the first minutes of dusk have to offer.

Outwardly I sip on a multi-layered flavored coffee in a throw-away Styrofoam cup. Internally I envision and long for a dented, cracked, faded, blue stainless steel with the little white flecks camping mug- the type you would carry with you on all of your travels and keep for decades. This is my duality- a modern worker with the spirit of a lonesome dharma bum traveler.

A few snow-capped trees pass by and I am reminded that the holidays are quickly approaching- that insane lovely time of chaos and peace- this is my family’s duality. Slyly I catch a peak of a fellow passenger’s laptop, discover what she is doing with her ride, this is what the train is in the morning- individual bubbles being gently penetrated by the next onlooker for a sense of connection and oneness. The young man (how old have I become) in front of me reeks of too much cologne- his attempt to be noticed, to scream out in a world that has trapped him in- this is peoples’ duality.

Pausing to reflect on my works, I realize that they are always there- even when you are not writing, you are writing. We roll on. It all happens so quickly, one moment you believe it will never come, and the next moment you are looking back to see what has happened- this is time’s duality.

Outside the moving looking glass inspired (uninspired) window, countless tracks litter the snow- quiet the bringer of truth and exposure, the snow tells a tale of who or what has been where- a tale that we cannot escape. The train rolls on and here I sit. Just as quickly as the snow appears and marks our tracks it will disappear and leave only a faint trace- this is the snow’s duality.

The snow is life.

Wild and frantic, the car bounces over the tracks, not a smooth gentle lover, but rather a rough around the edges sort. Here I sit. Here we all sit. This is life’s commonality.

 

Looking Back…

  • Writing can be free, uninhibited and wild
  • The Yin and Yang of life is everywhere

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

Why “Live Every Day as if it is Your Last” is Bad Advice

Upcoming…

  • A critical review of a popular saying
  • I imagine my chaotic twenty-four hours
  • Lessons learned on how we can apply the saying without causing societal breakdown

“Live every day as if it is your last.” This well-known life advice has been stated, restated, and over-saturated throughout the years from everyone and everything from friends, family, strangers, Hallmark cards, motivational posters, to internet images. We have heard it so many times and on the surface it seems like great advice, a push motivation to help the individual see the fragility in life and seek out full-life optimization in each moment of each day. We do need to appreciate the day, enjoy the moments that present themselves, and go for what we want now, instead of assuming we will have time later on. Still, this phrase is bad advice. You should not live every day as if it is your last, for the good of you and the good of mankind. If each of us were one hundred percent honest with ourselves, fantasized out what we would do with our last twenty-four hours in this life and did that EXACT scenario every single day, chaos would ensue and society would breakdown.

Consider that faced with our own twenty-four hour mortality, the majority of people would forgo obligations in exchange for a last few precious hours with family, make reckless impulsive decisions, play out situations that they would never do in real-life because of the repercussions that would follow the next day, and in general burn out their twenty-four hours in a chaotic, emotional mess of glory.

I imagine nobody reporting to work, offices empty, commerce at a standstill. The impulsive individuals causing chaos by indulging in all forms of sin, debauchery, excess, and violations of social norms and laws, followed by countless relationships (family, friend, partner, colleague) destroyed by the silver forked tongue of people who have nothing to lose and no repercussions by speaking their mind with no filter- the immediate stalling and caving of society, all within twenty-four hours.

What would I do with my last twenty-four hours? First and foremost, I would spend all of my time with my family, my wife, son, brother, mom, dad, etc. I would forgo all obligations such as chores, work, and social obligations. My family and I would get outside, experience nature, do as we pleased, and not be bothered by what others are doing or may think. Honestly, I would probably also take in a few indulgences and risking endeavors.

Now imagine my scenario above, add in your own scenario, and multiply that by the choices and actions of every single person on the planet- pure chaos, hell on earth.

So why does this popular phrase hold so much weight and end up being uttered daily with the best of intentions? First, we want to believe that we can be free, do as we please, and experience life unfettered. Second, while the literal interpretation is flawed, the intention is a valuable message.

The message is simple, live life in the present. Do not wait for life to align perfectly for your dreams and desires, you need to do it now, whatever that “it” is. Many spiritual practices share a central theme of be present in the moment. That is what this phrase is getting at. We can learn a lot from that perspective.

In the end, be aware of what you desire in life, find ways every day to pursue those desires, and be grateful and present in each moment.

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