Sunday, September 20, 2009
There is hope. There is a story out there that you and I are living right now that can be an inspiration to someone...if we are willing to tell it. I'll be honest with you...I don't have a lot of answers most of the time. I make choices that I sometimes wind up wishing I could somehow find a magic "undo" button for...days that I wish were done on an etch-a-sketch so I could shake it and clear it and pretend like it never happened. It happens to everyone. that's part of living and part of the story. I know I may be oversimplifying some of the effects our choices have, but that's an altogether different and lengthy conversation...and not really the point I'm trying to make.
We seem to have this tendency to believe that our lives are not nearly as exciting or as important as those we see around us...or the ones we read about in the magazines or watch on TV. True, some people might go the complete opposite direction and think the world revolves around them and them only, but what I seem to see the most in people I meet or get to know is this minimization of themselves...sometimes to the point where they don't think that they matter to anyone and I think that's what gets to me the most...it tugs at me....because everyone matters, every single one of us. Our stories need to be heard and shared...all our joy and laughter and tears and pain....we need the connection....we need to know that we are not alone in our experiences. The only way for that to really happen is for us to start sharing our story...and sharing in the stories of those around us.
for more information on TWLOHA or to give your support/get involved go here: http://www.twloha.com
See you where the sidewalk ends...
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I'll break it down for you as simply as I can without giving too much away...Imagine a time not too far into the future where technology has made large strides in the arena of "virtual" reality. The first big step came with the introduction of a single chip cell that could be implanted into a human brain that would then replicate itself and come with the ability to receive signals from an outside electronic source; in effect making the newly chipped individual able to be controlled by someone else. This new technology is first introduced to consumers to be used in the format of a new program like The Sims or Second Life, but instead of creating a new virtual avatar, someone signs up to get paid to be another person's character and has to do and say whatever the person controlling them makes them. this becomes wildly successful and the technology is expanded to create a type of war game filled with prison inmates being controlled by others, and if they can survive 30 matches they win their freedom.
Anymore would simply be giving the whole movie; but what really got me thinking, and what I wish the filmmakers had spent more time on instead of hedonism and nudity, is the questions the very idea of technologically altering our physical make up brings. Are we really willing to sacrifice our humanity for a possible technological fountain of youth? Are there really people out there willing to allow themselves to be altered in a way that would allow someone else to control their every word and move for a preset period of time in exchange for a paycheck; even if it meant that they could be made to dress or act or speak in ways that they wouldn't dream of on their own? And what would drive someone else to actually pay for the rights to control one of the others; to act in ways through them that they couldn't on their own?
The biggest question encompasses all of the others: What does it mean to be human if we can make ourselves into something beyond it, good or bad? I mean the potential is there in what is being developed today to have impacts in the arena of health and medicine that would be beneficial to the entire world and is certainly a good thing, but those same things also might have a potential to be used badly. There are a lot of people today that play The Sims and visit Second Life and I wouldn't say that either of these are bad things, but there is the potential in both for it to be turned into a reality that the individual confuses with or even prefers to their real lives. If you could join a program where you had the ability to physically control another human being in a life or death situation, and your actions would determine whether they lived or died...would you? Would you want someone controlling you in the same situation and not have the ability to control the outcome?
I'm really just thinking out loud here...I don't necessarily have the answers to these questions...and maybe that's part of it...dialogue and discussion....open conversation about the direction our society is moving at a rapid pace...
What does it mean to be human?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
so with that out there....those of you who've read these before...I hope you enjoy them again and bear with me, new stuff is coming...for those of you who haven't...I hope you enjoy what you find and come visit often for the newest thoughts bouncing through my head....
See you where the sidewalk ends...
The thing that has been on the edge of my thoughts lately is something I know I've touched on before, but it keeps coming up so I feel like talking about it again. I've been working an overnight shift at Walmart lately and it's been quite good for me to have a less stressful job and do some more physically demanding work. Like any good mass market retailer they have magazines lining the registers hoping for a quick sale on this week's news. It's these things that really get to me. If I'm not seeing the latest scoop on someone's love life or lack thereof, it's someone's divorce or worse, capitalizing on a recent death. Our culture is so completely and totally obsessed with the lives of a few people that I don't think most even realize how much it invades every corner of their lives.
We read magazine articles, watch interviews and exposes, trade rumors and gossip, and then wonder why celebrities are such a big deal. Well we made them that way! We delight in raising these few people up on a pedestal because of some talent that they have been blessed with (amazing singer, phenomenal actor, etc.), or in some cases because of the number of children they've been given or the type of work or life situation that they're in. We exalt these people...dare I say it...even worship these people....and then we cast them down when they act in a manner less than the godhood we've raised them to. Here's a question for you: What did you expect? Human beings acting humanly. And we're surprised? Is it any wonder that some of these people can't hold a relationship together or lash out at someone during their work day? We have set standards so impossibly high for people who have garnered even a minute amount of fame that they are inevitably going to crash and burn. We stick cameras in their faces and video even the most intimate moments of their lives and yet we're surprised when they crack and break down. We expect these folks to be role models or examples but put them in situations where making the selfless choice is all but impossible. And to reemphasize: they are human beings. They are going to act like it. They're going to make selfish choices, self destructive choices, and more, because that's what we all do sometimes. We're Human.
Maybe it's more than just that. Perhaps, in an even more devious way, we like to watch them fall. We like to see them make the bad choices. We enjoy the painful divorces and tabloid trysts. We like to watch our celebrities fail. Why? Because that means we don't have to focus on our own bad choices. We don't have to worry about the fact that we can't go to a party without mixing in some cocaine and alcohol because so and so celebrity is going into rehab for the tenth time after another wild night. We don't have to think about how many people we're sleeping around with because this celebrity has a different girlfriend every other day. We don't have to think about how horribly we're treating each other in our marriages because that husband and wife with the 8 kids is tearing each other to shreds in their divorce.
We don't have to think about how broken our own lives are because we can just shut it all out and focus on some other person we don't even know and heap all of our praise and love upon them...and then in turn our scorn and degradation. When did our lives become so small that they seem boring by comparison? When did we become less than those that we idolize? When did they become so important?
I'm not saying that we shouldn't enjoy the entertainment that these folks bring to us, be it through music, movies, comedy, television, or any other medium. What I am saying is that we need to start remembering that every one of them is just as human as you and me and we should stop elevating them to a higher status. We should stop reveling in all of their brokenness. What if it was your wild party night where you had made some lapses in judgment plastered across all of the magazines? What if it was your painful break up or divorce in the headlines? All of a sudden it doesn't seem like an article you want to read does it...
That's all for now....Love God, Love others, love yourself.....
see you where the sidewalk ends....
All you need is love..love..love is all you need....
Recently I saw the movie Across The Universe.....and then bought it....and it was truly amazing....I do admit to having a love of musicals...especially the rock opera type...and this one was something special....it used the music of the Beatles to tell such a great story...and it didn’t seem forced....if you haven’t seen it I can’t recommend it enough....
I’ve thought about those lines from "All You Need Is Love" quite a bit lately...wondering how true that could be....all you need is love? really? could there be nothing else you might require in life? It seems so simplistic and naive...like glossing over the difficulties life presents.....and some might argue that having that view is just unrealistic. I tend to think of myself as a fairly realistic person and have to admit that it’s awfully tempting to write off ’all you need is love’ as a quaint idea from decades past that just doesn’t stand up to modern life...but how much different would modern life be if people made a choice to be more loving? what would the world look like if love was the predominant factor in the decisions we made? I’d like to think that the world would be a little brighter and the people we meet everyday a little happier....and maybe we might even see beyond the superficial and realize the beauty that lies beneath the surface of each of us that so often seems to be obscured by the darkness. if we made the choice to be more loving we might be more apt to help one another...and in so doing make each other feel like we belong to something more....that we’re not alone in this life....that there really are others that care about who we are....the more I think about it, it sounds less like novelty and more like the beginnings of a revolution....
The Beatles weren’t the only ones with this idea....quite a few years before them another man came around...with a message that was different than the accepted ideas of the time....he said that the greatest thing of all was to love God with everything you have...and the second greatest was to love everyone else the same as yourself.....that everything good and true in life can be summed up in those two statements....and he lived and breathed those ideals during his life...even to the point of giving it up.....so if we choose to follow his teachings how can we do any less?
you know...the more I think about it the more undeniable it becomes...all you need is love, love...love is all you need.....see you where the sidewalk ends....
We speak in dreams and memories...clever phrases hidden from the cold
light of reality illuminating the landscape....it's not fear that keeps
us there...more of a sense of belonging...it is who we are...the
fantasies you cling to when life seems too hard to cope with....the fairy
tales you treasured as a child...that other world where magic and true
nobility are interwoven with the struggle to survive the tyranny of the
ordinary and become something more than just a man...something you push
aside in the daylight hours...choosing to believe what others perceive
you are....living as though what they think truly defines who you
are....returning to us only in the depths of slumber...and it's the only
time you ever smile.....
I've watched this darkness for so long that it holds shapes and movements that would escape those huddling together around me. In fact they wouldn't even know that there's a difference...something out there that is waiting to challenge their blindness. A small flickering off in the distance that has been calling to me since it first caught me in it's shining brilliance. That....light...stung and burned...yet I find myself wanting to return....to feel it cover my skin...it's hard to explain....but there was also this voice ....whispering...soothing....asking me to stay....I ran...back to the cover of this eternal dark...the cold comfort of familiarity....but it's still there...pricking the back of my mind...calling me to travel further in that small voice....and I want to go...but what I seek I'm afraid to find....afraid that when the veil is torn aside the reality of who I am will frighten the owner of the voice...and yet He calls...
Still shadows often hide the smallest flicker of light A spark that dances in defiance of the surrounding night Like a falling star burning a path through the heavens In search of the last resting place in the valley Amidst the remains of the fragile souls Lost and alone in the wandering night
If I wonder long enough will this all make sense or is it only an illusion?
it's a question worth considering in the span between breaths, the fragile oxygen hanging in the space between the atmosphere and inhalation, on the verge of being the molecules that further this existence. The short frame of seconds is all it really takes for that first thought to creep in and take hold...giving birth to the wonder that will forever captivate the imagination with a spark and a light that never willingly goes out. But will it make sense? Will it be the realization that finally gives it all meaning and purpose and drives forward towards that place where the pieces all fit together and everything works out to the right conclusion? Or is it just another wisp of illusion, a sleight of hand in the fog and mirrors surrounding us? Can it be both? It's one of the things that invades my slumber in the apparition of a dream...this idea that maybe the illusion is as close to being what makes everything work as the reality we cling to...treading through the mundane and the trivial like they're the only things that are certain....and in the quiet moments when nothing stirs and the only sounds are the natural humming of the night intermingled with the mechanical revolutions and the breath of life filling and escaping from our lungs....the only time our guard comes down and who we really are is laid bare for the "not so" blind eyes of the evening...it's these moments when our most lucid thoughts play out on the theater screens of our minds....and we dismiss them as careless wondering and easy dreams, sometimes even nightmares....but what if all our daylight hours were the real source of fiction? what if what we consider our normal average daily routine was the real dream...a sort of broadcast image controlling our range of thought...to the point where no one openly considers the idea of there being anything more. Is this all we are? And if so then what's the point of wondering at all? Unless....unless maybe there is something more out there....maybe life is not so paint by the numbers cut along the dotted lines....maybe it's a mess and a dream and a hope in knowing that each day is another step....another chance to wonder....
A vain attempt to silence the voice of a generation....
So as I sit here late on a Monday evening (or early on a Tuesday morning, however you want to look at it) I'm left with quite a few thoughts on the current state of things in this world that we inhabit. A couple of things that I've witnessed in the last few days have given me quite a few things to ponder and I figured I'd open things up for discussion by posting my thoughts here. And just what were these things you ask? Well both are sort of Music related (you're all shocked I know...) and both had messages and ideas and will prove to be points of interest and conversation starters for those inclined to discuss these things on more than a superficial level.
The first was the Live Earth broadcast that was aired all day Saturday, via the web and a few cable channels. the idea behind this series of artist performances over a 24 hour period to raise awareness of the climate crisis and ask for individuals' support on a personal level to make small changes that can help improve the state of our planet I think is noble and needed. We need to be made aware, even painfully, that remaining on our current path is going to destroy or in the very least reduce our quality of living and do irrevocable damage to the Earth. I'm reminded of a passage in the book of Genesis that states we as people have been made stewards of the planet and everything in it; and I have to say, from the looks of it we've done a really lousy job taking care of what has been entrusted to us. I think each and every person needs to take stock of their own personal lives and the way we currently live and determine what small things we can do to make things a little better for our environment. No one person is perfect or can do everything exactly right, but we can all make a few small changes and they do add up. Having said this, and also enjoyed several of the performances (AFI did a cover of Ziggy Stardust during their set, look for it on youtube or the Live Earth replays..awesome performance), I also echo the sentiment that here we are promoting Energy Conservation by hosting concerts on all 7 continents and using enough power to light several small cities which can seem just a bit hypocritical. With the number of viewers and attendees numbering in the billions, the fact that the number of people pledging to make a difference wasn't even coming in at a million seems slightly dsappointing as well, and only time will tell what kind of impact this event truly had on the larger population.
The second was a documentary film by Don Letts called Punk Attitude. This was something I saw initially on TV while I was in Mexico and I was intrigued so I found it for rent and got the entire thing to watch. I'm still digesting everything I absorbed while watching this but I have to say that I really enjoyed it and was moved by some things that I had kind of let lie dormant within me as I've grown more into adulthood. That word "Punk" brings different things to mind depending on the person, some of which are valid expressions of a musical period, an attitude, a philosophy, a style; while others are a thinly veiled attempt to assimilate the youth into preprogrammed little stereotypes, simply a poseur. I'm not going to argue who or what is more "Punk" if it's this or that era of rock history....see the documentary if you want more info..it was fantastic. What is it about those ideals voiced in this Punk thing that still draws me in? Well teen angst doesn't exactly work for me anymore seeing as how my teens are now more than a decade gone. But it's more than just teen angst, and teenagers certainly aren't the only group with angst as Trent Reznor so succinctly points out in his musical outings in NIN. The thing about Punk is that it's not just about a music style with loud guitars, fast drums and snotty vocals. It is an attitude, an Idea a way of looking at life, and I really think that every generation has had punk in some form or another and will continue to do so, or at least I hope so. the first generation that comes up and doesn't challenge what came before them will be a truly dead generation. And therein lies the beauty of these ideals. We should challenge everything. People need to realize that there is a difference between Questioning Authority and Disrespecting your leaders. We should question things, we have a voice and a say and we need to stand up and use it. The ability to do so is what makes this country great and anyone that would deny you that right is not someone who deserves to be respected. There is such a thing as a necessary Rebellion, and I think everyone has a little bit of a rebel within themselves that they need to let loose every now and again. This country was founded on Revolution and Rebellion and I think we need to be reminded sometimes of the potential for change that lies within us.
Where am I going with all this....maybe I'm just thinking out loud...maybe I don't have an exact direction....I'm just starting the conversation. You have a voice, use it. Don't let anyone tell you that what you have to say isn't important or needed. We may not always agree with each other but we all have the right to speak and that's just one more thing that I love about living in America. Diversity is a beautiful thing which leaves me with the impression that if we were all supposed to be exactly alike then we would just pop out as little carbon copies and there would never be any reason to change.
Now it's your turn, keep the conversation going. Do you agree and share a similar sentiment? let me know, share your own experience. Think I'm full of crap? Tell me why, what in your experience leads you to that conclusion?I look forward to the dialogue....see you where the sidewalk ends....
The measure of impact..or what this means to me...
It's only Rock n Roll but I like it….
25 Records that impacted my life one way or another
In no particular order
· Jeff Buckley "Grace" – unfortunately I did not discover this until after Jeff had tragically past away way too young and with so much more he could've given the world…incredible voice and musical composition…I remember feeling like I was in another world the first time I put this disc on…I still feel that way whenever I give it a spin…
· The Police "Message in a Box, The Complete Recordings" – I had been hearing the police singles for most of my young life and even had a greatest hits disc and a copy of "Ghost in the Machine" on Vinyl, but it wasn't until I got this boxset that I really learned to love the genius of this band. Sure Sting has had an impressive solo career and Andy and Stewart have both been involved in some ambitious projects, but to me they were never better than when they were together fusing punk, pop, and reggae. To this day I still can't hear Roxanne without thinking of Eddie Murphy in 48 hours…
· Metallica "…And Justice for All" – I remember being twelve years old thinking I was into Heavy Metal because I liked Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi, and Motley Crue…and then I heard One and saw the video and my perceptions were shattered…from that point on I was hooked and my tastes were expanded to include a number of amazing Thrash groups that I still go back to when the moment takes me…
· The Clash "London Calling" – while I have the box set and pretty much all of their albums, it's London that I most vividly remember from my youth…back when WFIT was a true college radio station and didn't care what anyone thought about their on air programming (those of you from the home turf know what I'm talking about). This album for me truly captured the spirit of the band and showed me that we all have a voice to make a difference…
· Hot Water Music "No Division" – the first time I remember hearing this album I felt like I had been fired out of a cannon…the musicianship is second to none and the raw unbridled emotion pouring out of the lyrics and throaty vocals was just amazing to me…I remember screaming along to the lyrics in my friend Aaron's car after one particularly distressing evening…very therapeutic…
· The Cure "Galore" – The credit for this should really go to my college roommate Joel. I remember listening to The Cure as a kid and through my teen years…but it wasn't until I listened to his copy of Galore that I really kindled my love for this band…this record has all the best tracks and really, how can you not love it?
· Believer "Dimensions" and Circle of Dust "Brainchild" – while two separate and distinct albums, I discovered them both on the same day and was absolutely blown away. I had never heard music by artists who proclaimed to be "Christians" that wasn't super preachy or sentimental tacky pop two steps behind all the rest of the tacky pop artists.
· Led Zepplin "IV" – While I think this record is probably on every Rock fan's list, for me it was just the ultimate discovery in my early years when I found this in my uncle's record collection. The loud guitars, incredible drumming and vocal wail was like a little piece of rock heaven…and then there was the stairway….
· The Beastie Boys "License to Ill" – this album proved to me that hip hop and rock could coexist and complement each other in the basics...and we all were willing to fight for our right to party that summer…
· Braid "Frame & Canvas" – I just remember hearing the opening drums kick off this record and thinking I just found another new favorite band…there has never been another band quite like Braid and I think that this record truly captured the genius these boys were capable of…
· Thin Lizzy "Jailbreak" – I found this album on a cassette one afternoon when I was about 13…and I remember thinking that this must be where a lot of the pop metal bands learned their licks from….and I would put Jailbreak and The Boys are back in Town up against any new song coming out today…and those two would still come out on top….
· Elvis Costello & The Attractions "The very best of Elvis Costello & The Attractions" – The very first Elvis Costello song I remember hearing on the radio was Pump it Up…and I liked it enough to pick up this cd…and I couldn't have made a better choice…every song on this is amazing and worth every repeat listen I can spare.
· MXPX "Life in General" – this album totally rewrote my perception of this band. I sang every song til I was blue in the face and I think it solidified my attempts to really be in a band that might go someplace. After all, these guys are the same age as me and they still rock as hard as they did when they started…me…I still rock…just not the mic in a band anymore….
· Pink Floyd "Wish you were Here" – while both Dark side of the Moon and The Wall could easily be in this list…I really remember putting this record on at night when I wanted to just chill…and waking up after a nap to the sounds of Welcome to the Machine was extremely haunting but worth it every time…
· Jimi Hendrix "Voodoo Soup" – this album was released many years after his death and it pulled together a lot B-sides and rarities that didn't make it onto his studio recordings…and I remember thinking I would never be able to hear the guitar the same way again….and I would still choose his version of the Star Spangled Banner over any other….
· Weezer "Pinkerton" – Never has a more personal record really reached down and pulled me in as deeply as this one did. While the first record still holds a special place for me, it's Pinkerton where I really felt that Weezer had achieved true greatness…
· Red Hot Chili Peppers "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" - There's few things more vivid in my memory from being 15 than seeing the video for Give it Away and just sitting in my living room in awe…I had never really heard anything quite like it and I've been a diehard fan ever since…
· The Iceburn Collective "Meditations on Revolutions" – While I only own this on a double vinyl record it is still one of the absolute best, and possibly only, jazz influenced hardcore jam records in existence…the music left me breathless and enthralled…a feeling that has to be experienced to truly understand…
· Pearl Jam "Ten" – this record defined my sophomore year in highschool and I wore out my videotaped copy of their unplugged performance…I will always be a fan and have yet to hear them make a bad album…the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should have a spot reserved for them now…
· The Doors "Absolutely Live" – I've been told it's hard to wear out a CD….but I certainly gave this a try. I listened to these two discs everyday for months and I think the true essence of Morrison and Co. was captured in these recordings there will never be a Rock front man as truly Charismatic as Jim…
· Jimmy Eat World "Bleed American" – Another disc that I listened to everyday for like a month straight…there isn't a truer representation of what a good pop record should be…Sweetness is one of the true perfect pop hooks out there…this record should be in everyone's collection…
· Johnny Cash "Live from Folsom Prison" – it's Johnny Cash…do I really have to say anymore?
· Guns and Roses "Appetite for Destruction – I remember my cousin Chris telling me about this band that was going to be featured in the new Dirty Harry movie…but I wasn't truly captivated until I saw the Video for Welcome to the Jungle and got a cassette copy…and I was hooked…
· David Bowie "The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust" – I could listen to this album for days….it would definitely be one I would choose if I was only allowed so many for the rest of my life…but then maybe I would just choose Mr. Bowie's entire collection…it really does have something for everyone….
- The Refused "The Shape of Punk to Come" – innovation is not usually a word associated with punk or hardcore…but this album smashed whatever preconceived notions might have existed for me about what was "punk". Too bad they didn't last…the newer incarnation of the this group…The International Noise Conspiracy, while good…has never come close to the pinnacle this record sits on….
half a block from sweet avenue....
....I thought I caught a flash of some memory we shared amidst the cold ashes of what once was a bonfire ablaze.....the flicker floats past....a vain glimmer of hope when none ever dared surface before....is it too much to ask....too much to think that maybe there was something more to who we thought we could be....an enigma within this mystery....smile now and remember me the way I was....I'll remember you as someone I used to know that's long since gone away....and the winter breeze will soon scatter theses ashes....another funeral at sea....
I walked over these streets...dimly lit and shadowed in presence of the fast approaching winter chill....wondering if the world might stop for me if I asked nicely....intent on breathing in the last remnants of autumn still hanging in the breeze....smiling sadly at the thought of you and where you might have wandered off to....chasing those things that never really satisfy you in the end....the moonlight pierces the shrinking shadows receding from the rising tide of silence....broken by the song of a new dawn approaching and the hope of spring and your return.....
speak to me in riddles and I'll answer with enigmas....it's never just the edge of night but a fine line drawn over the sand of this desert I lived in once upon a time....the chill seeping into the dry breeze that swept thru me in the dead of some winter life....I only wanted to see the sea again...feel the salt sting my eyes and the waves crash around....I only wanted to see the ocean come to terms with who I wanted to be....a lost soul floating on the reef in search of another song to sing.....
....wonder if the daydream is as good as the memory...standing on the water's edge watching the foam rush between my toes....warm salt in the breeze invading my senses....smiling at the thought that I might see the sunrise in your eyes....the golden rays that glitter in the swelling seas....one blink and the rest is just a fading outline...a blur in some flickering reel as the film spins at it's end....did we ever even stand there....did the sun rise at all......sometimes it's best not to wonder....and let the band play on......
The basic construction of a tragedy...
Recently I saw a movie called Idiocracy that I really enjoyed but also really had to stop and think about when it was over. The basic premise of the movie is that an average guy name Joe Bauer (played by the often hilarious Luke Wilson) is chosen for an army hibernation project where he's supposed to be placed in stasis for a year. Things go a little haywire and Joe ends up hibernating for 500 years, and the society he wakes up to is vastly different from the one he remembers. This new culture has been so dumbed down by mass media and over commercialization that "Average Joe" is now the smartest person on the planet. The hilarity ensues from there as Joe tries to get things back on track and it was enjoyable to watch but it really got me thinking about the current state of our own society and culture.
We live in an era where everything is progressing at a rapid pace, sometimes too rapid. Our televisions and radio stations and the internet are saturated with Ads of every sort clamoring for your attention and more importantly for every dollar they can get from you. They all advertise the next big thing or the newest advance or the ultimate version of whatever is being sold and they'll use just about anything to sell it. This mass commercialization of everything eventually breaks everything down to some catch phrase or cliche that seems to makes you forget to wonder what their product or service really is. This process, if left unchecked, would lead to what those in big business would probably love to see; a society that consumes every single one of their products without questioning what it is, what it's good for, or why they need it. A society and culture that can be led around by the nose, waiting for whatever they're told is what's good or necessary. I'm not saying that the consumable products we have in our culture are bad or evil, but I do think that we need to think about the products we're choosing to buy. How are they being made? who's benefitting from the sales? If they're being produced in another country that's less developed than ours is the labor force being treated fairly? These questions and more can often lead to some uncomfortable silences or political hem hawing by those at the top and it's worth thinking about. Thinking..really thinking..about anything in life needs to be encouraged at all costs.
This brings me to another point. what are we teaching the younger generations? How is this mass media overcommercialization influencing them? I would venture that the younger generations are already being sucked in. I remember being a kid and when school let out for the summer I couldn't wait for those days I could spend outside all day long in the woods or at the park or the ballfield, only coming home for lunch and then inside for the night when the streetlights came on. Those were days spent with friends playing whatever game we could think up and just enjoying being outside. These days it seems like the outdoors is like a punishment, with kids wanting to spend all their time in front of their computers or video games or the TV. I don't think any of these things are bad and good things can come from all of them, but it seems like we're encouraging them not to think...to just accept whatever they're told as being the only way it is. When I was younger, and even now still, I loved to read and loved to hear a good story. Now I just seem to hear the response "I'll wait til they make it a movie."
Where am I going with this? I don't really know I guess....I just don't want to see our society make all of these advances in technology and science only to forfeit it's creativity and artistic imagination....I don't want to wake up one day in a culture where Thinking is a crime or a long forgotten antiquity...
So I'll keep exploring these imaginations and asking the questions that might seem trivial....please keep reading and looking at things beyond just their slick presentation....seeing may be believing...but you don't always see what you truly get....above all...Think for yourself....never let anyone tell you how or what to think....
see you where the sidewalk ends....
well I thought I would share a few of the things I've written recently with everyone. they're short poems that I wrote on the spur of the moment...one at a restuarant on a napkin even....and as with most of my work there's no real revision that goes on....I write them once and if I don't edit it in that first writing then I don't edit it at all....I think that while this may not be professional...it's just a matter of personal artistic quirks....and besides..no one is paying me for this yet...regardless...I wrote these in a few minutes and I think they have something to say....might say something different to you than to me....but the words are speaking nonetheless....enjoy them...let me know what you think....
watch the silhouette fade away to the inside of a distant shadow as we creep along the expanse of this haunted night.....footsteps tread lightly as we walk among the dwellings of the left behind....tension dimly lit by the last sliver of a dying moon....will the past undo the things we've often hoped for with their whispered resolutions and uncertain dreams....troubling this sleep we often never rest...compelled we wander on.....not quite lost but never really found.....
a spirit dancing in the slender silver moonlight...awkwardly stumbling thru the forest with the lonely creatures of the night....merely a spectre haunting the shell of a former life....I am the ghost of a better tomorrow....the last vestige of a once vibrant heart now beating in time with the broken and spent....funny that it always seems to be me who never wants to see this transparency so evident to all these prying eyes....always quick to critique another and leave their own black hearts be....walk on by...walk on me.....this ghost remembers a life you can only dream....
speaking in shadows and bittersweet melodies....I thought I saw the faintest trace of a smile as this thought crossed your mind.....too bad we never got past the simple pleasantries of being alive and alone and I think I might want to take this back when all is said and done....my heart is the worst kind of weapon and it's pointed at another tragic fairytale that we somehow want to believe is the reality we both belong to.....nothing left now but the saddest words we've ever shared even though we never once said one phrase past hello....might've beens and should've dones are the only faint memory I'll want to have as the jukebox plays another lonesome tune and the world runs blue in the dark of this welcome night....
the softest speech sometimes stills this beating heart that jumps every time the shadow falls over the room where we often tend to find ourselves....alive in the last fleeting glimpse of sunset before the stars appear to illuminate the even sky...tiny diamonds that sparkle in the deepest indigo...and if we close our eyes this moment might freeze in time and suspend us evermore in this bliss we discovered in a passionate encounter....quick as it arrives it's gone and I'm left here in these sheets listening to the faintest whispers of the midnight breeze and wonder if it was nothing more than some elaborate dream....
All these things I've done...and a few I might've dreamed...
I thought I might take a few moments to reflect on some things I've noticed lately. it's strange to me how easily we often override the basic sense of who we are in a vain attempt to reach some imagined state that we, or at times someone else, believe we should be at. we waste more time on trying to figure out and attain some deluded social status and in the process forget to spend time finding out who we are.
But is it any wonder that we expend so much effort trying to "keep up with the Joneses" in the society we live in? we have built up these massive pedestals that we set our "celebrities" on and then engage in an almost masochistic endeavor trying to be just like them. we secretly, sometimes openly, enjoy watching them fall from the heights we've pushed them to. we love to watch the rise and gloat as they plummet back to earth...shattered marriages...failed parental relationships....any number of substance addictions.... their lives a broken mess....much like our own....and I have my own confession to make....I'm no different....I will turn on the E! channel and watch in utter fascination as the True Hollywood story scandalizes.....and occasionally redeems... the "star." Why do I do this...? Because I'm secretly wishing for their downfall?....not really...more or less because I, like everyone else, sometimes get caught up in the hype.
The truth of the matter is this....we are all the same. Now I'm not saying we don't each have some unique qualities and gifts and talents, because we do...but when we strip ourselves down to the core of human nature...we are the same....same feelings....same emotions....same basic needs....each and every human on this planet is the same at the deepest level. Life can be tough sometimes, and even moreso when the eyes of an entire nation or even the globe are watching your every move and breath. It's no surprise then when the little vices that once only tempted in secret become the words spilling from loose lips to hungry ears waiting for the newest juicy tidbit to feed the growing obsession. And when we've had our fill and there is no longer an interest...we leave them there...bruised and broken...looking for the answers to questions that were thought to be long gone. Sadly this doesn't just happen with "celebrities"...we do this to our friends..our neighbors...our family...Why??? Because it takes the focus off of ourselves...we don't like to look at ourselves...really look...because we know what we'll find scares the hell out of us. But perhaps we need to be scared. maybe...just maybe...we might look past our intial shocking inner appearance and realize that there's more....There is so much to each and every one of us that we don't even take the time to think about. We're too busy looking at everyone else to notice the beauty we have within us.
So what have I noticed about myself?....There's good and bad....much like in you....I'm too often unmotivated...sometimes downright lazy....I can be selfish and crude....and have a tendency to let myself wander into areas I should avoid.....but I've noticed compassion too...a will to make a difference...a desire to help and to listen....I have all these things...it's what makes me who I am....and I think that's the first step....recognizing who I am and being ok with that and yet having the willingness to explore what can be done to help me improve the things that drag me down....
I have learned this in my life....and whatever you may believe about God and Faith is your right....but in my life it rings true that I have been shown so much Grace....and I believe with the very essence of my being that God loved me enough to die for me to have that Grace......and it gives me Hope that I might someday see a lot more good than bad when I do my self evaluations....but even moreso that when God looks at me that Grace has already covered me....I even had those two words tattooed around my left wrist as a reminder....Hope that I have...Grace that I've been shown...you may think that's just too easy....but why should it be hard?
Just an observation.....if you have something to add or maybe just want to have your say...leave me a comment.....
see you where the sidewalk ends....
To be a dream...
The first waking moment is always the most alarming...It's that moment when you're most unsure if your surroundings are still part of some fantastical dream or terrifying nightmare....or the real world you know. But what if our whole life is someone else's dream? what if we spend all of our days chasing fleeting things that don't satisfy and only leave us desperate for one moment of contentment...a real sense of being loved? I think there are a lot of people out there living their lives in a dreamworld that they did not create nor did they ask for and yet there they are...shuffling along to the beat of some distant drum that keeps them in time with whatever seems to be popular at the moment.
We are all born into this world with nothing...no possessions, no name, no previous experiences....and yet somehow we know that what we see around us doesn't seem to be all there is to the world. Over time some people numb this inside of themselves until it's nothing but a dim ember barely burning as a thought. The thought doesn't go away though, no matter how much we would like it to just disappear and allow us to live this self absorbed existence. It grows and branches out into our thoughts until it can no longer be ignored or supressed. It whispers to us in the moments when we let ourselves stop running after trivial things..."there is a world that you are missing"..."you are loved more than you realize"...."wake up o sleeper"...and these whispers can become haunting the longer we try to ignore them.
So where do we go from here? Where do these whispers take us if we follow them just a little a look beyond the dream that we're living in?
(to be continued)...
Poetry originally published in May 2006:
Alive in the Mystery
Away the expanse
Of this lazy
Smiling at the
A mountain sheathed
In cold ivory
Gliding by as the lift
Guided us to our
Where the world
Unfolded beneath our feet
And I think I couldve
Laid there in that
Powdered ice forever
If I knew that youd be near
And it wasnt daylight
That shone so bright
But your smile
And your laughter
That ignited the night
So whats the story
Can you tell me
What your heart knows?
A new season
Begins in bloom
Filling the space between us
And what will this garden grow?
The slowly rising tide
Of this affection carries us aloft
In a mystery Im enjoying
With a hope
That you feel the same
It Starts With A Flicker
Sometimes I wonder
What you must be thinking
When someone elses world
Is caving in around them
Youre always the first one to listen
The one they run to when they
Just cant seem to work it out
And I know you wish that you could fix
Every heartache they face
But the grace you live is something
They need more than another band-aid solution
And this is how it begins
The path that has been chosen
Your love displayed is the spark in the darkness
Its in their eyes when they hear your counsel
The hope that starts with a flicker
Like a fresh lit candle flame fighting
Against the incoming winter breeze
So I wonder what thoughts
Run through your mind
For the thousandth time
When the heartache
Makes a repeat offense
And I smile
Knowing that your arms are open
In a comforting embrace
If it ever seemed like it went unnoticed
Like being the first one to listen
Last one to be heard
Know that you make a difference
Be it one life or a thousand
It starts with a flicker
One bright spot to start a flame
I wandered in a daydream
And wondered at a field
Of fresh spring flowers
Waiting to emerge from
Winter's snowy grip
Just a dream and yet
I found myself entranced
Holding my breath as the first slivers
Of sunlight shattered
The cold darkness covering
Slowly, as the fiery orb
Rose higher in the morning sky,
Every flower yawned and swayed
Revealing natures true beauty
Kept hidden til the promised
I smiled as the dream faded
And thought how similar
We can be
Our souls waiting to display
The true mystery
And love like light
Beckons us to unveil
Our own glory
And so it seems that Im
Like Adam in slumber
Dreaming of Eve
Knowing my friend
Has fashioned someone
Just for me
Poetry originally published in February and March of 2006:
Love is Light
Simple phrases sometimes
Sound the best
In tangled situations
And I never met
A poet yet
That didn't err in favor
Of the sentimental
A time or two this year
Yet please don't think
I mean to excuse
These profound moments
That truth seeps through
The cracks of this
Hastily erected wall
Love is like sunlight
Just a little touch
Is enough to kindle hope
In the dormant furnace
Of an icy heart
So raise a glass
Wipe the tears
As St. Valentine draws near
I'll be sharing a round
With Sgt. Pepper
While the Lonely Hearts Club band
Gets by with a little help
From my friends
And the world will feel
Sunrise To My Surprise
awakened to the prospect
of another day spent inventing
stories to entertain the subdued
remains of our tired relationships
but it's funny
how those vain imaginaries
never seem to pass beneath
the shallow surface of a spoon fed understanding
only able to accept the trivial or mundane
still a small spark
pops in the wilderness
igniting a single flame
an idea glowing in eyes
that say more than your
words ever could
and I know somehow
the past will fade into a glimmering
pinpoint in the starfield
of this relational tapestry
woven between us
filling this view
sunrise to my surprise
seen for the first time
without the pretense
of what we might've meant