Sunday, February 26, 2017

1437: The White Circle

You have heard it said, ‘When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.’ But I am engaged, presently, in a much more curious switcheroo than that – namely, that behind the closed door is something (seemingly) custom-made for me, and through the (blatantly) open window is something I don’t suspect belongs to me. Although it is likely that those sentences suffice, there is a certain degree of emphasis to be noted; the former element is as conspicuous as a messenger whose telegram corresponds to my address, though its inaccessibility is as evident as though it were blocked by steel bars. Likewise, the accessibility of the latter element is far more than plain, or obvious – it is as if a golden stairway were leading there, and (lest we haven’t enough cartoon clich├ęs) many flashing neon Arrows were pointing at it.

It might be insensitive to associate that latter element with a trivial object; but I mean to say that my journey is painfully clear. This quest, this Life-Walk, this ‘Road to Cincinnati’ as I have sometimes called it, is taught to me in such a way that I seem to understand it. And the path behind the Open Window is, to put it simply (and to eschew the tedium of details), anything but Cincinnatian. Similarly, to that alleged understanding is owed my perception of Destiny behind the closed door. Words, signs, locations, events – all point to the characterization which I have assigned. But I suppose that alleged understanding is the key phrase. Do I really understand it? No, assuredly not. And maybe neither of these opportunities is ‘open’ at all, except arranged in such a way that they strengthen me: That is the trial. That is the Road to Cincinnati. That is what the Psalmist calls the Path of Life.

But. That’s just a guess. For the sake of rhyme, God bless.

1. Who would have guessed it? In the past, my blogs made mention of you; and I would have assumed, with such inexorable certainty, that the days of those entries had finished.
I would have guessed it. That is the answer. I would have written this scene, with quite an overwhelming majority of the details which we find – all except the one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

1436: Royal Octu Noelyn

In 2012, I made a rather large mistake. I met someone who was, by and large, a very normal and relatable representation of our human journeys, except assumed that this person was sufficiently advanced (sufficiently more intelligent, and beautiful, and well-equipped when compared with the larger Human Zoo) as to contain some kind of organic panacea, of which only an elite few could allege possession. In the past, I have heard claims that my blog(s) are vague, unclear, or enigmatic; and yet, you might be relieved of those enigmas once you recognize that, in some of those wistful paragraphs written to the non-clarified ‘You,’ it was that same foolish assumption that I was letting myself dip into. To that end, I mean to say that I am tempted today. I am tempted to fill this blog with more drooling and idolizing, with a paragraph that treats one person as though they were powerful enough to trample Emptiness under their shoe. Maybe you would recognize the words which are involved: statements commenting on a state of hypnosis after looking at someone, vaporous securities which issue from daydreams, or the ‘You’-shaped hole which rests somewhere in our cartoonish physiology. But I live in a different world now (0r in moments where I flounder, I still intend to) and that is not the physiology I will grant myself. Do you understand that no Human Action-Figure carries the keys to the universe? That we are all like Stretch Armstrong dolls, whose limbs can only stretch so far until all our substance has burst? Which leads me to say,

1. Despite how tempted I am to try and transcribe the ‘magic’ which surrounds you, I will say the following instead: You are given a beautiful journey, akin to mine, and akin to everyone else’s, and one in which I would not refrain myself from maintaining a healthy interest. You have your flaws, I am certain; and you will need to overcome particular struggles and monsters. But these trials assign you neither an advantage nor a disadvantage compared with the rest of us strugglers. Yes, you have beauty (likely, in as many realms as a Coca-Cola has bubbles), but that is no mystery. That is the beauty which was poured into all of us, and which serves as a blessing in each of our lives. And if it is enchanting to see the ‘magic’ which funnels through you, the sense of belonging (of which your very company seems to be a flashing neon advertisement), then know that my spirit possesses similar magic. Should this paragraph still seem overly poetic or cryptic, then let me try and stuff its message into forty simple words: Just because you are beautiful does not mean that we need to worship you. That beauty is no tormenting enigma; it is a beauty which God wires into each of us. And I will go near Him to find it.

What can I try and say in closing? Perhaps a comment on the layout of this webpage. Once this entry is published, all previous entries will be bumped down the page; and by virtue of that mechanic, the last of my pre-Turnaround blogs will vanish from the default screen. That is a good thing, and maybe (in all humility) as good of a symbol as I can end on. Whoever happens to be reading, bless you.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

1435: Super-Cola Dilemma

Before my life turned around for the better, I was often saddened by certain gatherings. I suppose there is no simpler way to explain it than to say that I was chest-deep in envy, that none of my adventurous talking & socializing made me feel any closer to intimacy. Though here is some good news: After life turned around, a pensive mood is about as low as my pendulum swings. I will leave some gatherings with oceans of thoughts, but none that are remotely threatening or venomous. It is more akin to appreciation now; less envy, more a feeling that I've just seen something more miraculous than the Grand Canyon. And as far as I'm concerned, the Grand Canyon is an overused device anyway.

          1. I recall when I first laid eyes on you. That moment is good evidence (perhaps better than anything else) that I am a wildly visual person. Why? Because your image, I think, offered me a certain degree of comfort and security. And I can't finally know if my instincts were correct, but neither can I disclaim some occasional guilt on the matter of being so visual. That is to say, is it right of me? How well would I fare, do you think, if the entire world were equally image-driven toward me? Do not think that I am suggesting an answer to this question, because I simply do not know. For what it's worth, though, you are both (to my mind) wonderful people whose kindness corresponds to those early, and instinctive, imaginations. I'm not going to pretend that your lives are flawless (please don't think that I am quite that starry-eyed), though I might still pose the complimentary question: What would someone lack if they modeled their life after yours?
          2. Let me try and describe you with only two words. I think I might choose Ingenious and Laughter. And when those two forces meet with one another, they will morph into something which is neither the first nor the second. There are no real words, I mean to say, which can describe your sharpness; but I promise you that it swells to artistic proportions. And I can't describe why I smile when our conversations re-play in the VCR of my mind; suffice it to say that you are funnier, perhaps, than every Pie-in-the-Face joke ever performed in our history. You are unique. I would be content to have many more of these memories. Bless you both.

Sometimes I tell people how emotional I am. How I am, in many ways, a Head-in-the-Clouds romantic whose best moments arrive in those instances of interpersonal fireworks. I think that some people have trouble believing it; I think that some people, no matter how much time they spend with me, will always see me as a robot, or a Mr. Spock. But please don't think I observe this concept with any kind of a grievance. Yes, the Erudite is part of me, too. And if that's what people see, then God bless the Erudite. He is a special part of this spirit as well.

          3. I have mentioned already that I am a visual person. And I could be wrong, but I suspect that you are often subject to the whims of us so-called 'visual people' (or in plain English: I bet there are people who want to know you better, merely on account of the way that you look). I advise you, once again, to visit the sentence where I say 'I could be wrong.' Highlight it, underline it, or cover it in Christmas lights if you so choose; but know that there is something in you (quite beyond the visual) which suggests an admirable tank-full of wisdom. Have you ever wanted to ask a question in a lecture, except that you realised the Professor was in no mood for questions? It is not entirely dissimilar to see the marvelous journey you are living; had I a sense that you were in no hurry to finish it, I might sit down (do the whole Criss-Cross-Applesauce number) and ask you to teach me your secrets.
          4. I confess that I have a fear of bothering people. But it is a little more complicated than it sounds, I'm afraid, for the simple reason that it only applies to certain types of people. Well, guess what? You are one of those 'types,' one of those genuses where the issue would typically surface. But you are teaching me, as it were, that these interactions are nothing if not rewarding. To be honest, it would take a little while for me to explain this idea correctly. But I'm not too worried about that. I appreciate you so much for inviting me to a place where (I think) I belong, and where I continually realise how genuine this (relatively) new environment is.

Senses of humor are complicated. If I'm being honest, I don't think my Sense-of-Humor has fared too well in other people's lives. What do I mean when I say that? Well, it's similar to how some movies (which are box-office hits in America) don't make a lot of money when they're taken overseas. I understand that many of my jokes, particularly those predicated on utter misinformation and non-sequitur, are going to confuse others more than they entertain. But, you know. What do you want me to say? Do you want everyone to be like you? Hey! Here are some rapid-fire thoughts:

A) For the love of Heaven, please stop with this '(my ideological opponents) say (x), but then on the subject of (y), they contrarily say (z).' This kind of appeal makes no sense. Flip the quotation to its exact inverse, and the opposite ideology is incriminated of a mirroring paradox. And if you think there's a slick justification for the paradox in your own ideology, then you'd better accept it when the Other Side whips out a justification for theirs.
B) A similar thought, which stems from a recent tweet: The claim 'Just because you think (x) doesn't mean (x) is true!' is not any kind of argument whatsoever. The recipient could easily flip the claim, and say 'Well, just because you don't believe in (x) doesn't mean (x) isn't true!' Do not think I am saying that neither claim is correct; I am merely saying that neither is an actual argument, so much as a motorized wheel of circular-reasoning which depends on a presupposition. That is to say, you've got to provide evidence for why (x) is or isn't true before you talk about a world where it definitely is or isn't.
C) The Cowboys lost! Rejoice!
D) There are far too many calamities and injuries for us to say that 'Happiness is a choice.' But have you ever heard it said that joy (distinct from happiness) is a choice? That we can choose blessed contentment in spite of the emotional lasers falling on us? I am at a point of life where I agree that joy is a choice; I think the toughest question is 'If that's so, then why would anyone choose not to have joy?' To which I am inclined to reply, 'Easy.' To my mind, life deals each of us some terrible cards. There is no denying that some people's cards are more dreadfully stacked than others (and if you think I am claiming otherwise, then you cannot be in my MySpace Top Eight), but even the most spoiled individual will find some perceived injustice. If you choose joy, then, are you not (in some way) saying, 'The injustice, however difficult, must be accepted. Bless the Lord.' And wouldn't that be a very difficult thing to say, unless you had buried your pride somewhere in the backyard?

But please don't think that I am necessarily asking you to agree with me. My larger concern is that there was a dog howling outside the window while I was writing this entry; and the neighbors heard the dog, it was always making noise and by the time the neighbors I had finished writing this entry, the neighbors came and the dog died

Friday, October 7, 2016

1434: Caboose Ruse

Does respect mean the same thing as look up to? In some contexts and Thesauruses, maybe. But I will offer an interpretation based on the Latin; it is re + spicio. The spicio means to look, or to watch. The re can mean again, but here it is best translated as back. To respect is to look back. No, not look back the way Orpheus looked back at Eurydice – look back as in, looking at someone in the eye while they talk to you. And do you know what that means? It means you are standing at eye-level with them. You are their peer, their equal. That, to my mind, is where we find respect. I do not think it is reserved for our parents, our bosses, our elders, or our superiors; no, we respect anyone we do not look down upon. We respect our friends (perhaps most of all) because they are at eye-level with us. To respect is to treat with fairness and balanced admiration. Individuals who are equals will respect one another.
. . .
I miss you. In the end, I don’t think you respected me. When all was said & done, I think you despised me a little. That is, de + spicio; you looked down upon me. I think you were wrong to do so, and maybe I was culpable for allowing it. But I will tell you what is fascinating: You always respected what I said.  Even when things were crashing & burning, you gave my words a chance. You allowed me to disclose. There was no need to compete, to lecture, to correct, to silence or one-up. Not even to relate with – perhaps occasionally to analyze. You are aware that, for my mind in particular, analysis can suggest interest . . . provided that you don’t claim to have solved all my puzzles, to have mastered them before I even had a clue.

But no, you never claimed that. You respected everything I had to say, so willingly and so considerately. You could have laughed when I told you about my swine-flu experience; you dealt with illnesses much more terrible than that. But you didn’t laugh. You listened. And I entrusted you with ‘guy feelings’ too, didn’t I? You could have tried to convince me that your ‘girl feelings’ were so much worse, so much more terrible than I could have imagined. But you didn’t. It was known between us, understood and appreciated, that neither of us had it worse than the other. All because of respect. You respected my every word; and in return, I respected yours. We respected one another. We regarded each other as equals. We both had respect, and it was marvelous.
. . .
Fact is, I miss you a lot. I know it’s easy to peg you as a villain. It’s true that you made a lot of mistakes, and also true that these paragraphs won’t reverse them. But good heavens, your respect was through the roof. And it really makes me miss you. Bless you, pal. Bless you wherever you are. And thank you so much; thank you one million times to the millionth power. If suddenly I felt very bold and courageous – well, only then would I be able to thank you for real.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

1433: Lightning On The Letter-Monster

I have read certain books which do not impress me. In order to describe them, I might choose any number of unflattering adjectives: boring, dissatisfying, empty, futile, tedious, or overly long. Yet (inevitably) after I share my impressions, someone always suggests the following: 'But Bill, that was the point! You were supposed to be bored! It was supposed to feel empty! Because it addressed the emptiness of (x) and (y)!' But the same word always comes up in my mind: No. It probably wasn't the author's intent that I should be unimpressed; but more importantly, it should never be the author's intent that readers be unimpressed.

Do not mistake me. I have read wonderful books which made me unhappy; others confused me, and others still made me feel rather tantalizingly empty, as though I had missed something that the author tried to piece together. A text does not need to be logical or satisfying in order to impress. But it ought to do the whole resonating number. It should draw them back, make them say 'I want to feel that sense of puzzlement again.' If an author's purpose was to underwhelm me (to have me say, 'This was boring and I don't ever care to read it again'), then couldn't they have just written a shoddy poem in forty-five seconds? Couldn't they just say 'Screw craft, the point is that the reader be unimpressed; let's write like a second-grader.' If it is artful to make a reader dissatisfied and unimpressed, then let's publish what a ten-year-old amateur has written. Because that's the point, right? The point was for the book to stink?

No. You may assign your work any number of 'reasons' and 'points.' But if you expended time & effort in order to make it, then do not tell me it was meant to stink. If you worked on it with intensity and focus, then that is the one thing it cannot be intended to do. No, John, no.

A few krazy kharacters:

1. It's like somebody threw the two of us in a box together. We're like 'Oh how are you!' and we're trying to figure out when we start doing stuff. Oftentimes I wonder how strange I might seem, how sudden and off-balance everything might feel to you. . . But I also have a habit (is it a defense mechanism?) of imagining the two of us in some sort of vacuum. This concept is tough to describe, and I would understand if anyone felt bewildered by what I'm writing. But basically I imagine this empty world, one where I'm standing there and you're just kind of looking at me. And that's a comical image that makes me laugh, and the End Result is: I'm kind of just happy that I'm trying.
2. Why do I get the sense that I can do nothing to please you? Is it because I behaved in a self-centered way? Yes, I suppose you noticed that & resented it. But more than that, it's like you're unable to forget it. And now (in your mind), everything I do is self-centered. If I use the word 'I,' that is self-centered. If I write in a personal blog, that is self-centered. It's almost as though you're scratching every part of me away, until one day you will merely catch sight of me. And you will say, 'Still existing, Bill? How self-centered of you.'
3. Man. There are so many people I could try & puzzle over, but you drew the short straw today. I maintain now (and likely, will always maintain) that Somehow, you carry an inexplicably frustrating handful of mysteries with you. The main issue is this: You've seemed so determined to erase me from existence, to blot out every word I ever said because it bored you or confused you or made you uncomfortable or whatever. But every once in a while, it's like, 'Oh. You aren't trying to ignore me. How bout that.' And suddenly my understanding is ruined, if not improved, and I have no idea where to start. Bottom Line: I don't think I will understand you. Ever. But if you try and prove me wrong, I will be thrilled.

I think this is the worst closing-sentence I have ever used for a blog entry.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

1432: Super Celsius Kid

1. I am repulsed by the concept of silencing. It is difficult to know the origin of my disgust, but a nasty childhood story is often given credit. What do I mean by silencing? The idea of suppressing someone's voice, turning the volume down until nobody can hear them. Do not drug yourself with the concept that only certain persons do it, that silencing belongs to one personality, one ideology, one class, faction or football team. Wherever hatred and impatience appear, there are those who will try and silence. They could either stuff a bag over someone's head, or simply ignore their texts; they could duct-tape someone's mouth shut, or merely order them to be quiet. But I will tell you this much: I find it disgusting however it occurs. Is all communication constructive? No, but to steal someone's mouth and sew the lips together is to crush the very woodwork of communication itself. And as a believer of the vitality found in words, I think I would suggest the following: that to silence someone is perhaps as conceptually cruel as to break their legs.

2. I will tell you the difference (in my opinion) between self-esteem and self-hope. Imagine you are seven years old, and you are going to a Halloween party. Your father buys you a Halloween costume, and you arrive at the party after dressing in it. But when you look at all the costumes, you begin to think that yours is shoddy. Everyone else's costume is INVENTIVE, eye-catching, attractive, comfortable, colorful and full of intrigue. But yours? It is (by your own judgment) dull, monochromatic, clunky, itchy, tedious and unimaginative. That is low self-esteem. Now for self-hope; imagine you are still seven years old, and still invited to a party. Little Wilbur tells you to get a nifty costume, so once again your father purchases one. You see the costume in the mirror and it is BEAUTIFUL: sleek, chic, brilliant and intricate, well-constructed and brimming with energy. But once you arrive at the party, you realise that you were wrong. This isn't a costume party, and you're the only one dressed up!!! Not for the slightest moment did you suppose, 'My costume is shoddy,' or 'I don't like who I am.' Instead, you said to yourself 'As wondrously as I am dressed, I am in the wrong place. I shall never find myself at home.' That is low self-hope.

3. I'm sure you heard the line about building a better mousetrap. The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground. I think it's a little difficult to communicate the nature of certain struggles. If someone tells you about a problem they are dealing with, it might be standard to assume that the problem is a recurring villain. If you turn on the TV and see a cartoon Dog chasing a cartoon Cat, for example, you might assume that the Dog usually chases the Cat in this program. But what if American Idol had a sequence wherein a cartoon Dog chased a cartoon Cat? Am I not correct to suppose that this sequence would be rather contextually unusual? So, too, I am struggling with something that is largely unusual and unexplained. Maybe self-hope is where I used to struggle, only I finally figured it out. And then the competition built a better mousetrap. And I suppose there is an unnerving, can-of-worms moment, one in which you realise that the competition will keep pumping out larger and more terrible mousetraps . . . It does not matter if you overcame the last one. Do you know it? Can you explain it? And where are the Chancellor's ambassadors?

Bless the Lord, oh my soul.

Friday, March 18, 2016

1431: The Cereal Submarine

In some movies (likely a cartoon for kids, but in some very serious productions as well), there is a character who is an obvious liar. Our heroes trust them (despite the flowing bad-guy capes and evil mustaches) leaving us to ask, 'Why in Thunder would any good guy believe that?' It's a real stretch, or so we feel, regarding patterns of credibility and gullibility; if an evil overlord knocked on our doors (and told us to sign some sketchy-looking contract on the condition that we do their bidding), no way we would listen to such a person, right? Dude, that's Jafar!! No one would believe that! 'Real life doesn't work that way!!' we think.

McSpoiler Alert: It does.

They didn't make these cartoon characters because they were bored. Nor were they having a contest to create the most outlandish villain. No, what they're doing is borrowing from real life a little; where somehow, as sad and as bitter and as hilarious it may be (all at once), we will listen to the voices which are bent on destroying us. We will turn into movie-heroes whom we typically regard as so Fictional: hypnotized slaves with swirling cartoon-eyeballs, doing things we'd never dream of before something had poisoned us.

'The wages of sin is death'

There is such a thing as a prude. We think of them as curfew-enforcers and party-poopers. There is such a think as a stickler, an ultra-conservative, a staunch moralist and a rule-pusher. This is the mother in your favorite sitcom who doesn't want her daughter eating ice cream because it's the devil's food; it is also the bitter dean in your favorite college movie who wants to squash the fun-loving fraternity. We like parodying these people, and I think there's a good reason for that: because rules and guidelines can become extreme. I do not think of myself as a prude, nor a party-pooper. I do not identify as ultra-conservative, nor as a curfew-enforcer and a Funkiller. But I also believe that moderation serves us best. And once we've been walking around the movie for a while, doing foolish/stupid hypnotized things, we wake up and have to ask ourselves the question,

'What if?'

What if we'd realized that the purpose of instruction was to help us? What if we'd admitted that Angry Mother/Angry Dean were much more interested in protecting than suppressing? It's easy to laugh at these clowns when they show up, easy to mock all the fairytale platitudes that told us what was ill-advised; But once your house gets blown by the dumb wolf, it's no laughing matter. You ask, 'What if I had listened? And, Holy Geez, why didn't I?'

* *

I am so sorry for what I have been. I cannot disclaim the responsibility, because all the actions are mine. Just please know that my eyeballs were doing cartoon-swirls. Please know that I intend to wake up for good. Yes.