What would that movement look like?

May 23

to me

The other night, I had a slight experience of hearing the fan and my tinnitus and the other house noises converge into a sort of song, a lilting rhythm, that then sounded in my head very clearly and it was a beautiful song. I cocked my head and it was gone. I knew I’d forget it and by the time I got to the piano, an instrument that I could probably never approximate an intended song or definite composition with, I had forgotten it. It was gone.

There was a moment of fancy, about how I would play music – any music – every night and maybe one day I’d figure out what that song was that I heard through the fan and my own ringing ears. That, surely, would be worthwhile and would lead to many moments of beauty and wonder, because most times I play music that is what I experience, beauty and wonder, with the noises in my body, in my lungs, shaking my veins, tremoring my heart. The singularity that occurs when you don’t care what you sound like, you just play. For me, as soon as I start to care what I sound like, I can’t play for shit. The music leaves my hands, my throat closes up. So, playing everyday, trying to find that song, if nothing else I could probably train myself to stay in that space of not caring what I sound like, whether I am good or not.

May 25

to me

A character entered my mind the other day – unbidden, this home organizer specializing in getting other people’s ‘affairs ‘ in order so that loved ones don’t have to deal with piles and boxes of sundry belongings, from the cherished to the useless. Her pig farm landscape of home and her sensibilities.

Maybe she is the one to tell this story, and the stories within it will tell themselves?

I got the ending as I passed through the forest, the moment the woman walked away from the house surrounded by hedge trees and understood she wouldn’t go back, that it was over.

And all the sudden I got that in this writing, this process, this thinking about writing, that I actually do know how to write a book.

May 26

This morning, I was thinking about the fellow who I wrote that quick poem about, back around the last week of October a couple of years ago. I remember that it was the last week of October, because I met my coworker at a bar downtown that was dustily ornate and dim, an aesthetic that I personally enjoy. The night before Halloween. The bar was nicer early in the evening, when we agreed to meet, before the costumed revelry and drunkenness gathered into the space. We ended up staying late though, tucked into a corner, talking about our grandmother’s names, and I tried not to laugh at his grandmother’s name, because I got that it was sacred in the way a grandmother’s name is sacred.

My coworker said it softly at first, seemed reluctant to speak loudly, to spell it out, because it was a last name I’d never heard.

It wasn’t until days later that I realized that my maternal grandmother’s name was the same name as his maternal grandmother’s name, with only the first letter of my grandmother’s name shifted into finial position in his mother’s family’s name. I had been idly thinking about his brother’s Instagram account, how his account name was the grandmother’s name spelled backward, and I thought about my own grandmother, the person I am named for, what her name was, when she was married to my mother’s father, the son of Lebanese immigrants who had their name changed to Nicholas, for the patron saint of sailors, among other things. I did not know that Nicholas means For the People, or that it means Victory. Victory For the People.

My own last name is my father’s step-father ‘s last name. I am not related by blood to any of the people who bear this name, except for my parents, my brother. I do not know how to spell my father’s father’s name, only how to say it. We never say it though. This name, and the man who is represented by this name – these are among the things of which we do not speak.

I don’t think it matters anymore, that my father had a father he did not know, some man in Missouri, a professor at the teacher’s college. My father was the product of a brief marriage. I don’t think it matters anymore, but it might. This uncertainty is why we never bring it up.

I’d like to know my ancestral health history. I’d like my children to know more about their genes.

When I realized this thing about the grandmothers’ names, I actually called my own mother, verifying that I was remembering her mother’s maiden name correctly. She verified the name and then launched into the perennial mentioning of how her mother grew up poor in Alabama, and how her drunken father would wave guns at them, how she was a telephone operator.

I do not know how she met my grandfather, who died 15 years before I was born, when my mother was ten. I don’t remember what my grandfather did for a living, only that he traveled and he died in Jacksonville, Florida, a day’s drive north from Miami, where his wife and daughters were going about the business of life as usual. There is a photo of my grandfather in a business suit, sitting at a mirror top table, so that the geometry of his torso, his dark tie, his grey suit, white shirt as negative space and the shadows of seams and fabric are just lines and shapes in the glass. He is smiling, surrounded by other business men, only their bodies in the frame, not their faces. He is sitting, with his hands on the table. They are standing.

As a gift to my mother, I had the picture framed, and in the process, his hands were removed. My mother, upon receiving the photo, quietly lamented the loss of her father’s hands in that picture. I will forever regret my part in the loss of the hands.

I was born in Jacksonville.

I am so glad that I did not die when my children were young. I don’t ever want to die, but understand that I probably will, and could at any moment, in any number of absurdly tragic ways.

This morning, I was thinking about that person who I wrote the poem about, after he died “unattended” in a trailer out in the middle of the county. He always wanted to write a book, that guy. He never managed it…and, truly, I think that his not ever having written a book contributed mightily to his misery in the last few years of his life. That frustration of having something to say, but not knowing how to say it, how it gets into a person, coils up and rattles around, something undone and restless.

Then I thought about how maybe I will post notes about the process of writing here, and may be freewrites…and I will use the skills of time management and discipline that I learned during NaNoWriMo 2016…and all the little tricks and practices that I had learned about from doing the creative writing class at work…and maybe I will just open a document and begin a book…and open another document where I can deposit spurs of thought or story as needed. Typically, I leave these spurs in.

This writing here, it’s a spur.

I started off wanting to reflect on a series of moments and deep felt reckoning that I experienced on the drive to work, which has become a sort of spiritual practice for me, in that I pay attention, and allow for what might arise in my mind as I listen to the radio and watch the cars in front of me, the cars behind me in the mirror, the sun coming up, whatever the clouds might doing, how they hold the light.

I usually feel fairly grateful on the drive to work, sometimes powerfully, so much that it feels almost like amazement, like wonder.

I also feel a little scared, moving along the highway with the knowledge that something really weird could happen, with my car or another car in the vicinity of my car.

I don’t trust other drivers to be good drivers and, frankly, the amount of heavily sedated and/or amphetamine addled Americans cruising the streets is a little alarming.

May 27

to me

It’s as much about a place as it is about anything else, and that is what I keep coming back to.

The strangest thing is that I don’t feel the same emotional response that I used to feel when I think about the land that I grew up on. No wide open longing to be in those woods, smelling that river. The breathless ache of wanting to go home. Such an animal feeling, that pull.

I hardly have that anymore, at least in regard to that place. Just mild tremoring somewhere in my chest, a coolness, a slight weight. I don’t even know if I remember any of it, or if – at this point –  I am only remembering the experience of remembering.

I used to hurt so badly when I thought about home, the searing of love and tragedy broiled, mourning and outrage.

I think I still feel these things, they just don’t create the same nervous system response that they once did, making my heart pound and my breath quicken preparing me for the long journey that sometimes happened, a hasty pack-up and flight back home, and mostly didn’t, but just settled in me as a thread of sickness, a morose frustration of wanting – needing! – to go to a place that you know does not exist anymore and never will again.

I’ve worked it out in my mind to understand that nothing ever stays the same and that, hey, shit happens and beautiful places die, beautiful creatures die. This, which could be a demoralizing reality to reckon with, is augmented by – whoa – be in the present, this is all already gone…and it’s amazing…that all this exists.

Birds are so beautiful. Trees. The sky.

Last night, I went running in the forest, a slow trot, easy, hovering at the edge of mild exertion. The air was so full of smells – damp, and leafy, old rain leeching out minerals, wet wood in the sun, the underbelly of the river, algae slicked stone, and as the trail wound through currents of air, the temperature would shift, tendrils of cool snaking out from the brambles, pushed by the curve of the river, the splashing of water over the rocks.

I remembered a day in early Fall when I was 7, and the air was cold for the first time in a long time. Everything was bright and clear, the pasture grass sending up a tang of protest at the dying summer, the scent of drying grass. I was running, and the dog – whose name was Woody, a German Shepherd that my father had impulsively brought home the year before, as puppies – was running, too, bounding as dogs do.

I remember (or at least remember the memory of) the feeling of sheer joy and exhilaration, to be running. “Even Woody is running!” I called to my father, standing at the edge of the pasture. The dog’s Brother, his litter are, Jake had been bitten by a rattlesnake in the summer. Since the death, Woody had taken to hardly moving at all, trying to sneak down under my great-grandmother’s porch, a quarter mile down the road, where he would lay in the dirt among the black widows. However, on that one day, he was running and it was fun, to see him run, to see him alive.

I have a lot to appreciate. I cannot mourn my home anymore.

Nonetheless, as much as this is about anything, it is about that place, what it taught me to believe.

May 31 (12 days ago)

to me

I will give myself 20 minutes to write and 10 minutes to play music, banjo or piano. Probably piano because it doesn’t require any sort of walking g up the stairs and carrying down a case, cold faux leather against my bare calf, clunk clunk, the fumble with clasps, the settling and tuning, the weight of it.

To play piano, all I have to do is walk into the other room and sit down.

It’s been a few days, with the holiday and other shifts in my usual schedule of doing things and spending time. There are meetings and extra days off, other days on that might usually be on, unanticipated demands on time and attention, the pause as I walked to the car and saw, what’s that, a grey smear on the inner edge of my tire, the inside of my tire, showing through.

I thought of the high pitched sing of that tire going around a curve in Mills River, heading to play in the water, just the day before.

I didn’t want to drive my car home, the previous dim anxiety about one of my tires blowing apart on the road or something otherwise sudden and terrible happening to my car as I drove…this dim fear became something concrete and inevitable, a badly balding tire on the hot pavement.

I did drive home, feeling out the road as I drove, 1/2 braced to remain calm.

My mother lent me her car and is helping me to get new tires.

I am grateful for this.

Nonetheless, I don’t want to drive quite so far as I have been driving these past few years, to keep buying so much gasoline. Even small cars use a lot of gas if they are driven 80-100 miles, several times a week.

I still have 12 minutes left to write. I started a little early, and may end early, too. There is just too much . . . but, I guess what has been most prevalent in my thinking about what it is I’d like to say in writing, what I’d like to share, what I want to remember, is the fact of my home and who I was in that place, and what that place is in me.

I listened to country radio as I drove across three counties today, songs of the ubiquitous dirt road, various rivers and various girls. The radio in my mother’s car wasn’t picking up much other that 99.9 – country. Some people who grow up hearing these songs everywhere, who recognize elements of their own lives in a yearning toward or a reflection of the idealized themes in standard verse – chorus format sung in a drawl that sounds like how people talk where you’re from . . . well, some people loathe country music, precisely because it is emblematic of the places they are from…and I definitely get that, culturally and politically, country music could be considered super problematic . . . but, it’s the parts of songs that describe rivers, or long stories, wind…and sometimes a certain chord that rings some familiarity in my heart.

Most of the songs on the radio today we’re pretty crummy. I do like hearing the word river sung, however.

I have one minute left. I had to pause, think through a long sentence or two.

I leave out so much here. I wish I had the time to write it all down…of course, then I would be spending a lot of my time writing and not enough of my time out living and doing, listening, watching, thinking and feeling the things that might be worth writing about.

At some point, I would like to try to succinctly articulate the components of this perspective I have developed that, when engaged, allows me to be powerful aware that every moment is miracle and a wonder.

I’ve written 2 minutes too long.

To get eight hours of sleep, I’d have had to go to bed 7 minutes ago.

I am going to play banjo. I want to hear it more than I want to hear the piano right now.

Jun 1 (11 days ago)

to me

It is this issue of cumulative and accumulative stress caused by having too much to do and not enough time to do it.

I got to work a half hour early this morning, driving my mother’s car still, with its unfamiliar and glitchy radio that only scans to the strongest stations and will not allow you to self select specific in-between-stronger-signals stations. Yesterday was a better day than Tuesday, when a lady almost ran me off the road trying to merge when I couldn’t get over and then blared the horn and flashed lights at me, a face contorted in yelling (at me), even after I had slowed down to let the car in, even though their were cars behind me. This was before my car went to the shop and so I was already anxiously, worrying about my tires and my engine, why that light had been on so long. Service Engine Soon.

How Soon is Soon? It has rarely been, “Now.”

Yesterday I got paid to eat nachos and talk about the challenges and opportunities of being played by* an increasingly industrial non-profit behavioral health services organization. *I typed in “employed by” but auto-correct detected “played by” and – really – that works.

My work is stressing me out a little lately.

This morning, 15 minutes before either of us were supposed to be working, a co-worker and I discussed the motivation to do work at home, the grind of having a set of values and ethics that hold high expectations of quality and being employed in a setting that is structured in such a way that to provide a high-level of conscientious, consistent service in the business of being human beings supporting other human beings whose lives are characterized by various degrees of struggle is – while not impossible – really.freaking.difficult. So, it becomes a choice in the evening, the weekend…to work within one’s integrity and in alignment with one’s values, or to allow “things” (people and their lives) to fall off the radar or go without contact or be in a position of trying to coordinate meaningful and “person – centered” supports with a person whose attention and energy is strained and diverted, addled with worries a out yesterday’s paperwork. However, in choosing to work at night, on sunny mornings, with our family’s life moving around us…we are choosing not to do other things, or – due to the cognitive dissonance and sheer fucking anxiety that is produced by being a person who genuinely cares working within a system that, increasingly, does not seem to care . . . or, at least does not seem to care enough to organize some seriously advocacy efforts to these programs funded in such a way that people’s actual needs could be met, both among those being served and those working within these systems out of a commitment to equity in access and high-quality care within state-funded programs, out of a sense of social and human responsibility that runs deeper than a paycheck.

I somewhat feel like this industry has leveraged my values and ethics against me in a way, or – rather – I have fallen into a set of circumstances which is problematic at its core, this working in a system that does not afford people whose vocation it is to do whatever they can to contribute to the recoveries of people and community…does not afford an actual living wage.

When I spend too much time thinking about this, adding up the hours I worked that I am not -as a salaried employee – going to be paid for, not because I worked over – which I did, but I barely bother to invoice that anymore – but, because there were more days in the pay period, due to how the weeks fell. I don’t know how this happens, but it seems to a lot…because of the extra day, sometimes more than an extra day, maybe sometimes 2, depending on the days that the weekend falls on, whether there are two weekends in the mix…it’s confusing to me…how I can have extra hours in my payroll, but get paid the same amount? I never have fewer hours, only extra. I can’t figure out why this happens.

…I get mad, my chest tightens, resentful and frustrated thoughts elbow their way into my headspace. Right now, I am shaking a little, but I might be shivering because I am still wearing my running clothes and I need to take a shower. I also need to wash the dogs because they are itchy again.

…and I have at least an hour of paperwork to do.

…otherwise, I start my day tomorrow behind on yesterday and that creates stress, in the form of adrenalized urgency, cortisol absent-minded mess, and general distraction in trying to be fully present with the person in front of you, when there is that voice-mail from that lady, that email, the sound of the entry door opening, the class you still need to make copies for…

I don’t like to be scattered and behind at work. It doesn’t jive well with who I am, to try to work like that. At a work retreat, where we ended up mostly spending our time eating and talking workplace dynamics vis a vis the enneagram and I learned that I am something of a 5, with perhaps some 4 solidly in the mix. I dont know much about the enneagram, but I do know that there seem to be types of people, of general themes in attributes and styles of orienting to the world – introverts, extroverts, 5s, autists, artists, engineers, thinkers and feelers, linear and non linear, etc.

Once I learned I had this strong fiveishness, a lot of the things that excite me and the things that become bees in my bonnet made much more sense. I get why I sometimes feel great staying up late and getting work done, seeing who is on my schedule, making sure that I am noticing something (someone). I also get why it drives me bananas to be financially dependent on an industry that undervalues and underestimates my labor, while simultaneously being poorly managed to the point of belligerent neglect and sheer chaos…which is a major burr in my brain, that I should be thinking about what an org chart would even look like, and a hundred bajillion ways the situation might be improved and then the reality that the vast majority of those ways would be reliant upon adequate funding and hugely complicated and tedious processes of trying to change legislation.

What would that movement look like?

…that such wondering and figuring should be in my headspace as I try to think about art, or housework or to think about nothing at all and just hang out in whatever present moment I am occupying in my immediate reality of time, place, and environment.

Jeez, I had to go to bed a 1/2 hour ago to get 8 hours. That sucks.

I can survive on 6 hours, but it is not good for me and I become exhausted feeling, weary and little numb.

Then that affects my life.

I am beginning to realize that it is kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

…so, now, as on most nights, I am going to begin the process of prioritizing and economizing , figuring out what corners I might cut in my home. This morning  the reality of this moment in time, during which many miles Great Barrier Reef are dying in the heat and salt, glowing in fluorescent greens and Mauves as they starve to death…and the president of the country I live in does not support the Climate Accord. I wanted to draw a picture that was also a prayer for the reef and I felt that image, saw it, or what I would begin with…and that is another thing that I give up, that I do not choose when I choose to work…and that is giving up more than just making a painting.

Jun 6 (6 days ago)

to me

It’s 10:39 pm. Fifteen hours ago, as I was driving to work, I felt excited, a palatable youthfulness seeming to stir in my belly, the feeling of late summer, of being young. “After work,” I thought, “and the drive home, taking care of the dogs, going to the kids band concert at the middle school, finishing my paperwork from yesterday and today…then I will sit down and write another couple pages, and that is how this will start, and I will build on it and build on it…” I could feel a new future opening up for me. A song I like came on the radio.

Jun 7 (5 days ago)

to me

Last night I didn’t write. At least not much anyway, a few lines about how I got too tired, physically and mentally.

It’s dull to me, this scarcity round-and-round about energy and time. I just haven’t figured out a way around it, the weariness that I feel at the end of the day. I guess the simplest solution is to just write despite the weariness and let the business of activities and hours sort itself out. That is a definite oversimplification, and the reality is that when I am doing one thing I cannot be doing another. I cannot be folding laundry or cleaning they old dog’s ears or spending time with my children or working while I am in the act of writing. I can think about other things, and often do. I can listen and notice the sounds around me, the stir of color and motion at the does of my vision, a blur beyond the screen. I might look up occasionally, and can even – if necessary –  muster a brief answer to a question, or swipe ‘Ignore’ on a ringing phone.

…but, generally, when I am writing all I can do is write.

When I do most anything, I can only be doing that one thing I am doing.

I’m usually thinking about other things though. This is not to say that I am not being aware of what I am doing, or that I am not thinking about the task at hand, just that I am often also thinking about other things. This afternoon, cutting watermelon in the kitchen, looking at the clock, wondering what it feels like to be one of my kids walking home from school at that moment, noticing the wind outside, thinking about the bigger world and all the things that might be happening in it. Thinking about thinking, and feeling a blunted anxiety settle around my shoulders when I consider the possibility that there really haven’t been too many moments in my life during which I wasn’t thinking about a dozen different things or more.

(It is the middle of the night across the ocean. Someone is puking in an alley somewhere and further East it is bright noon and the dust of chicken feathers hangs in the hot air. My children are across town, at their other house.)

I just saw a lightning bug.

It is that time of year again.

This morning, I was aware of the fact that I felt a little crummy about not having met my goal to spend time with this thing that I aim to complete. The day before, after I had written a measly 900 words, the vast majority of which would likely be edited out, I feel great, satisfied and alive…strangely reassured and connected to a feeling I have – a series of sensations and fragments of memory and a certain cumulative meaning that has something to do with home and being young, being happy, excited. Dopamine, adrenaline, and probably oxytocin, serotonin, possibly anandamide. The sun coming up and the hills in blotches of green, a good song on the radio, remembering days when I believed in and could imagine so much possibility that, really, I did kinda lose my mind.

It feels good to slip back into that space for a minute or two, to imagine that maybe I could actually write a book that might do something out in the world.

This morning, after saying up too late the night before after attending an excellent middle school band concert in the gymnatorium following a full day at work during which I facilitated several classes and spoke with tearful people, taking work home at the end of the day, I didn’t feel excited or good about myself or my future prospects. I tried to just notice the discouraged frustration and fatigue, opened my eyes wide on the drive to work, looked hard at the sunlight, stopped to stretch in the parking lot, took deep breaths, set positive intentions, told myself – hey, look, you’re fine. Totally okay. Things will work out.

I am embarrassed to admit that one of the made-up scenarios that I hold onto as a form of hope is the prospect that somewhere there are people sitting in a pleasantly decorated conference room brainstorming ideas for potential production of media projects that address the confounding complexity of being a human being the modern world and someone, maybe a precocious intern suggests the possibility that they look about for stubbornly prolific and yet unnoticed people in unlikely places within cities and on the Internet and that someone will come across this and be like, dang, this person has been doing this for like 7 years. There are a thousand pages here. What? This person isn’t an oddball hermit who has nothing better to do than try to make sense of the human condition and our species’ ideas about God and beauty? This isn’t just some 1/2 asked loner folk theorist holed up in a dark studio apartment deconstructing the impetus of continuing war and ranting in emails to themselves about the commodification of everything in a capitalist economy?

Well, technically, I guess I am sort of a 1/2 assed loner folk theorist.

Jun 7 (5 days ago)

 

to me

It feels like midnight inside this body

In this mind

But it’s not so late

The wind is cool today

Even though it’s June

Sitting at the table in the recently remodeled restaurant, my son remarked, “It feels like it should be Friday. It’s been a long week.”

My daft adultishness thinks he is too young to have a long week, but I remember long weeks when I was his age.

Three times today, someone mentioned staying in one’s own lane.

I don’t like it when things that I want to stay the same change. That restaurant was the first place we ever ate at as a family here in the mountains, before we even moved to the house I still live in, years and years ago. It’s a silly thing to feel nostalgic about, but the sleek new lines and modern design elements, the counter girls with accents and dyed red hair replaced by a laconic auburn with green eyes and burner pants…it made the world seem strange and unfamiliar to me, to eat food that tastes like the same old nachos and salsa from the same old place, but to be sitting in an environment that is brand new, slick.

This morning, I was thinking about how last night at the band concert in the gymnatorium  my mother gabbed about politics with a woman who I know to be a staunch New England baby boomer.

“I am past the point of forgiveness. I just can’t forgive them anymore,” the woman said. “They are just idiots. Idiots.” She held a red balloon, ready to wave it when the band performed the patriotic orchestral medley and, later, a sure-to-be rousing rendition of the Red Baron.

“I think they’re just scared, in such a fear place. They aren’t able to be rational.”

The irony of me identifying anyone as not being rational did not escape me. In this family, I was – for a time – considered to be rather irrational myself…and I was irrational, because I was scared and I was hurt and my nervous system was freaking the fuck out.

A couple of years ago, I stood outside a seminar room in an airport Westin near the Pacific and asked one of my advising professors if they were familiar with any work being done to address the issue of collective trauma. The professor didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, what I was trying to ask. “You know, like when an entire population is in a state of fear and reaction, a collective survival mode?” The conversation ended shortly thereafter.

As I pulled out of the parking lot where I stretch and take a picture of the road when I have enough time to stop, the radio program was reporting on research re: whether the current political climate increases stress levels. Not surprisingly, the current state of politics appears to increase stress levels significantly. The reporter mentioned a tweet by Barbra Streisand, about the news making her gain weight. It makes sense that when we’re scared, we want to eat. We want to stay alive. The hunger kicks in.

Jun 9 (3 days ago)

to me

So, I have been thinking about this idea I had, about what the heck is so wrong with humans and why our beautiful abundant miraculous world is increasingly fucked up. I don’t have an enormous amount of time for research, I have the challenge and pleasure of figuring things out for myself, aided by the snippets of information that cross my path in the form of article links and brief radio programs, things that I learn at work. While I do enjoy reading and research, I don’t especially like having things explained to me…which is ironic, because I am such a damn explainer. I mean, really, all this is – all these thousands of words and pages and images – is an effort to explain things to myself in a way that I might be able to really believe and trust. Rely on, you know. It started out with me wondering why I stopped drawing, and traversed the problematic territory of developing a flawed understanding of my family and the flawed understandings of me…while simultaneously trying to figure out why clouds are so darned beautiful sometimes and why people fight and what God might be.

…then of course, I had to figure out why I lost my mind.

…so on and so forth.

So, in the process of figuring out what the heck was going on with my life and who I am and…why?!…I continued to work on figuring out the things I had been trying to figure out for most of my whole, entire life.

Seriously, if one were to read my dull-ly earnest essay for my application to the doctoral Sociology program at Georgia, circa 1999, one would see the same themes of stubborn questioning: Why are things the way they are?

Even then, I was clear in my assertion that “Things are the way they are just because they are the way they are.” was not an acceptable explanation.

I wish I’d finished that program. However, I hadn’t yet figured out that I could figure out myself, my glitches and pitfalls, my cardinal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, my assets and resources. I think I ended up in the hospital twice that year…it was humiliating. The whole thing.

Even though I dropped out school before the first semester ended, I still kept trying to figure things out.

That has never really gone away for too long. Sometimes, I can’t stand it. I have learned some skills of compartmentalization and letting go of persevering impulses to analyze. Fortunately, a few years ago, I realized that I am actually not that smart and that I am even kinda dumb about a lot of things, so I don’t take my analysis of most things too seriously.

Nonetheless, some ideas stick, some questions become pervasive. The satisfaction of new information coalescing with existing ideas is . . . oh, man, to me it the best feeling.

I heard a talk that mentioned that even when people are blind and have never seen gestures of victory and celebration, pride in accomplishment, the fist in the arm, the pumping of arms, that even if people are blind, they do these movements, these human exclamations of the body. When I feel very solid in the integrity of an idea, or find its nuances to be particularly interesting or persuasive, when it connects to other ideas, bigger ideas . . . oh, it is the best feeling.

Dopamine.

Hey, we all got our kicks. I like to think about things.

I don’t want to feel weird about that anymore, or feel like there is something not-okay about enjoying ideas or playing with ideas. Of course, no one would suggest that there is anything wrong  with thinking or playing with ideas. They’d likely claim that such endeavors are not only worthwhile, but vital to the advancement of Arts, science, and human potential and society. There have been times when it has not been okay for me to be preoccupied with ideas, because the act of preoccupation conflicted badly with my responsibilities as a mother and as head of the household. So, I have had to find ways to allow this part of myself, this aspect of myself that enjoys understanding how things work and is oriented to the macro in my worldview, to exist.

I figure that whatever causes one to throw a fist into the air or audibly whoop with delight is probably worth doing.

That statement is quickly countered in my mind, because – shit – people get excited about some truly dumb and often terrible things.

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