Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moving on up and getting things done

Got my first spam comment today. It's a small accomplishment, but we take our victories where we can find them around here.

My horoscope today said:

You may feel as if your world isn't able to contain you now because you're ready to shed anything that holds you back. Just as a snake outgrows its skin, you, too, have moved beyond your teacher, job or relationship that brought you this far. However, you can't escape before tying up loose ends. Give yourself a break and let your greater ambitions slide for a couple of days while you gain the closure you need.

So I went through a pile of old (first) wedding photos that had been in a box for the past six years. I'd been putting it off, and Katie had mentioned how it was starting to hurt her feelings. Six years is long enough, I figure.

I kept a few - pictures of old friends that I wanted to remember from that day, pictures of my remaining grandparents and uncles that are no longer alive. I set aside some pics for my ex-wife, Stephanie, too, pictures of her dad and mom and friends of hers I'll probably never see again. It was interesting, and a little exhausting. Memory lane always seems to take the wind out of me.

My dreams have been busy lately, too. I suppose that comes from reading Jung (I always have been a bit suggestible), but far from being archetypes from the depths of the collective unconscious, they've been remarkably specific to my life and concerns, if as convoluted in plot and imagery as ever.

Though I've often heard that other people's dreams are boring, this particular one might be of interest to those who are here, most of whom I consider to be my friends. In this dream, I watched a test flight of a new jet, and the launch was spectacular. The plane, a short, stubby little bullet-shaped thing, catapulted faster than the eye could see, up into the night sky on a brilliant arc of flame until it was almost out of sight. The trouble started when it was on its way back. They'd built it perfectly for take-off, but landing was another matter entirely. The ship had nothing in the way of wings or landing gear, and it could barely steer. The things that had made the beginning of its flight such a success now threatened to destroy it. It wobbled through the sky, narrowly avoiding crashing until it finally skidded to an ignominious halt after a very harrowing descent. I stood beneath a tree where I'd been watching the flight with the designers and cried, saying, "I don't know about anybody else, but that's one of the saddest things I've ever seen."

The meaning for my life, once I figured it out, seems obvious to me, but you might disagree. My life, in almost every endeavor, has been a series of good beginnings, strong progress and quick success, followed by stagnation and falling off. I have a strong will, a good focus and a lot of natural talent, but the coming back to earth, finishing the thing and bringing it home, has always been difficult for me. When I woke up from this dream I realized that I need to put better wings on my work. I need to use the circumstances around me to better advantage. And most of all, I need to plan for the finish. I have great ideas. Now, I just need to finish them off, and get them out into the world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Checking in after checking out

I celebrated my two year anniversary (and they said it wouldn't last!) with Katie last week by going up to Vermont. It was lovely and fun and boring in all the right proportions, so that we were really happy to be hanging out, just the two of us, and had a great, relaxing time, and then were really glad to get back to the familiar environs of Brooklyn.

One thing I discovered, and I never thought I would say this, is that I think I've had enough of driving for a while. I can't say what changed, but the guy that was really into driving hundreds of miles when Katie and I met on that children's theater tour seems to have had his fill. I came back from the trip exhausted, enervated, and just sort of ready to walk places for a while. That was a week ago, and I feel like I'm just starting to recover.

Since my return I've been working on the novel, which I basically took apart and started over. The structure is profoundly different - to the better, I believe. I'm considering posting a sample chapter up here as it gets closer to finish. Anybody reading this? Feel free to voice your approval. Or disapproval. Or profound indifference.

The Brooklyn Book Festival was this weekend, and I got to meet an author I've been corresponding with on Twitter named J.R. Angelella. He wrote a book called Zombie which I highly recommend. It's pretty grim, and has fewer actual zombies in it than the title might suggest (i.e. none), but it's well written, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it. On a personal note, he's been super encouraging of my writing, and I'd like everybody who reads this (you, especially. Yes, you.) to check out his work.

My currently reading project is The Essential Jung which I've owned for literally 15 years and never cracked, carrying it around with me from place to place. Well, I'm almost through it now, and I'll say this: I'm glad I'm reading it now, rather than when I was younger and expecting every goddamn book I read to somehow solve my life. It's interesting, complicated, dense, deep, and well-written, but I don't feel like it's really life-changing. This is a good thing. I'm a lot calmer now than I have been in a number of years. Maybe ever, and so there is a self, a boundaried I-ness that allows me to reflect on what I read and decide what I may eventually take in. Previously, any given book would be absorbed whole, and then, maybe, assimilated into a world view and behaviors. This was, you can imagine, rather destabilizing. So now I can read and enjoy and absorb without the ache of trying to fill some void inside me (hint: not possible, at least not with words, books, other people's world-views, drugs, sex, relationships, food, projects, art, beauty, poetry, magick, religion, or any of the million other ways that I've tried).

Regardless, I think it will inform a lot of my upcoming reading, which includes finally getting through The Golden Bough and Jaynes The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Don't worry, there's some fiction in there, too, including some more Murakami, and Brautigan. So there's that. Hope you're well.