You might think that by the time a man is in his forties

You might think that by the time a man is in his forties he would care deeply about his profession. He would be so invested in it that you would know who he is among the people who are in his field. I don’t have any data to back it up, but I would argue that there is a limit to which someone’s single focus of their own career and professional image dovetails and accelerates revenue for a business. Yet, companies and organizations, large and small, government, non-profit and private all seem to agree that a person who is obsessed with a career makes the best manager of whatever. An individual who does nothing all day but find the absolute best and optimal ways to bring in new business and revenue, with little care and concern for how they are perceived or how their actions will help their career advancement is someone who is inevitably going to be used up and spitten out time and again–unless they own their own business. Even then, at some point, their own image will become what is important, and the image of the business will be secondary and only of prime importance where it impacts their image.

You know, I have probably spent too much time exulting myself high above anything that I really am. This has been much to my detriment. Fortunately for me, I have maintained some grasp and handle on reality, and I can recognize that I am among the common lot of men who make their living by doing whatever is en vogue during their generation–some profession that requires as little effort and input as possible while maximizing the output and income. My true output as an individual will likely be ultimately be measured in the form of whatever generations follow me directly as well as maybe one small quote extracted from millions of lines of writing–some pithy nothing that I hardly recall writing which some absurd AI will claim matches in form and substance other pithy quotes and sayings admired by small men.

I have finished off wrestling with the questions of identity. I am hardly capable of becoming a great man among great men, but I am never to know the experience of declaring myself more woman than man since I am not the most manly of men. For the purpose of this life, this body, this consciousness, this go-around, I am a man and I write as such from that perspective.

You’d think that the way I write about myself all of the time

You’d think that the way I write about myself all of the time that all I care about is myself, but that’s not exactly true. I spend a lot of time walking through my Facebook list, and praying for friends who need prayers. I worry constantly about my son. Maybe worry isn’t the right word, but I am singularly focused on making sure that my son grows up to be self-sufficient and semi-successful in this strange society. At work, I place myself in a servant’s mindset, and my focus is on serving others, especially people who are growing the company’s revenue. I think about members of my family, living and dead all the time and obsess over why my family never reunited. I spend a good deal of time, also, out on the web, surfing news sites and reading about people of all walks of life, and I do try to pray more than gloat over the people who are suffering and in a worse place than I am. My thoughts and prayers do often extend into writing letters to congresspeople, donating money and sometimes donating my time, though it seems that as a dad and full-time professional, the volunteering doesn’t happen as much as I would like it to.

When I start to write about others, I tend to be mostly motivated to write about people who are presently making my life uncomfortable, and I realize that this is a negative attribute. I don’t write much about my wife, or people that I work with who are great people, because I guess it’s more interesting and easy to focus on the awful people who are doing miserable things. Someone might extend that further and say that if this is how I’m engineered, perhaps I think the worst of myself above all other people, since I do write about myself the most. This is only partly true, though. I certainly know myself better than anyone else, and so of all human beings, I see more negative things about me than anyone else, even if it really isn’t proportionately so.

You might think that I spend too much time sleeping during the weekend, or you would think that if you knew me. The thing is, I can start to see my mind defragmenting, and resetting itself, the longer that I rest throughout the weekend. A day spent obsessed with all kinds of projects and activities isn’t a day spent resetting the mind. Most vacations are spent worrying all the time about what thing to do next and which flight to catch and where to drive in an unfamiliar place–they are rarely resetting periods of time, but they are supercharged moments in life where extra consumption takes place. A weekend spent resting a lot, especially in states of mind that aren’t fully awake or asleep–until I reach that point where I am no longer driving my mind this way and that–is really one of the better weekends I can have, even though it doesn’t make for much in the way of conversation the next Monday at the watercooler.

You might be appalled at the fact that I spent most of the weekend indoors, going out only a few times for a walk and a trip to the grocery store to get things for my wife’s birthday. I missed church again for the umpteenth week in a row. I am somewhat hounded by seasonal affective disorder, and also beset by this ennui/inertia caused by me ripping myself out of seminary and throwing me and my family into a vortex of uncertainty even as I strove to get a handle on more stability. Ideally, I am moving toward a place where I can work for the rest of my professional life, and live in a house where I will die or at least live until I’m too old to take care of myself.

But, what’s really been ripped from the very depths of myself are any precious clingings to what a call or vocation or plan for my life might look like. I think what I am trying to say is that I have made many plans of my own look and feel as if they might have been heaven-sent, and believed so wholeheartedly as to be propelled along for at least six months before running out of the energy of the fumes of faking it.

I don’t even have much of a case that my one remaining thing in life to do–raise at least one child to be self sufficient–is heaven sent so much as put upon me by a strong sense of duty. Without that strong sense of duty, I would be just another toothless, homeless drunken wanderer of the earth–another unknown smelly guy you spit on when you pass me by while walking down Congress Avenue. (Actually, I am more in favor of being a wild hermit of the swamps, but you get the idea).

I have strongly considered taking a break from writing altogether and reading only poetry–letting the words and worlds of others living and dead fill me and change me. Of course, I take a few days off, and I’m back here again, hammering away at the keyboard with the expectation that I will just start writing and something will crack wide open. I might compare my relationship with writing to that of a gambling addict’s with a slot machine–just one more document opened, one more paragraph written, and this time a landslide of gold will fall upon me. Seen in this light, it is clearly unhealthy–I am no better than any individual addicted to a sucker’s game with a lazy loser’s attitude about how to get the payout. I have no intention of sitting down and methodically learning to write verse in any number of its global and historical forms. I don’t get farther than an outline most of the time when it comes to cooking up the plans for a novel. My short stories are virtually nil–mostly because I don’t really have any capacity and patience to craft the perfect short story. A sloppy, deeply flawed novel or poem is much preferred to a perfectly crafted…anything. And, short story writers of all people seem to be the most obsessed with their craft–most poets seem to be happy to put muse before craft.

Could this be the morning that the clouds lifted?

Could this be the morning that the clouds lifted?
The darkness hanging over me might have an ending point?
Outside of the bubble, there are still wolves.
They are more like spirits, demons, haunts of a realm beyond this one, but I am certain that they are real.

Wait long enough. If you wait long enough with a mind stretching out to that place where something outside of you shines in, then you might begin again. You might still be growing. If you stick around to look back at where you were, and you think you were simply standing still. Maybe you weren’t. The years that went by did not take you anywhere, but they did push you along a certain path so that when you looped fully back, you could assess the progress and the damages.

Your younger self was constantly abuzz with programs for progress. Every initiative launched was an epic event that would see you radically transformed. Except, you never were. You are indeed a rock face. You are not a sunbeam or a feather. It takes true epics and eons to watch you change into something else.

Overall, I can’t see a true path of progress when it comes to becoming a saint. All I can see are a few bad vices effaced to the point that they are only minimally present. I never developed into a modern, well-integrated, perfectly adjusted grown-up. I just slowly lost the most cherished myths of adolescence one by one, until the only thing I knew to set inside my list of expectations for what comes next is death.

On this particular day, I continue to indulge one of the remaining vices–writing out my endlessly uninspired thoughts. Twenty years ago, I did more or less the same thing–pop open a new word processor file, start writing what pops into my head, then stop when I grow bored with it.

Next month, I am moving on to go and work for a big company among people I once worked with long ago. I begin working there after a trip to NYC, and the first time I started working with these folks it was following a trip to NYC. Bookends, things that repeat themselves. The way that life cycles but never comes back around perfectly to the exact same place it was before. Maybe that’s why I spent so many years running around and around the same jogging trail–I could see the faces that remained the same year in and year out, and see the places on the trail that you might think never changed as places that were constantly rearranging themselves and forming new patterns of life and death.

How long can someone really live

How long can someone really live, if they are given optimal conditions–advanced medicine, including full vaccination offerings, access to antibiotics for bacterial-based infections, immediate care and resolution of cuts, etc.–and they live in a relatively pollution-free area, have good genes, don’t smoke, eat reasonably well, including not eating a lot of processed foods injected with chemicals and hormones?

We have no idea, though many of us in the Western world continue to believe that 120 years is the longest someone can live, based on the fact that we’ve never observed and documented anyone living in such an environment into their 100s. A vaccination for polio came in the 40s, smallpox was eradicated in the 60s. Then, that generation and the next, in the western world, began getting fed a lot of mass-processed foods including industrial feed lot/slaughterhouse beef, and all of the additives and preservatives and pesticides that were found to be cancerous in the processing of food. With the introduction of GMOs and hormones in our food, we are still at the early stages of seeing how many of us might get some kind of cancer from these artificial additives to the food production process.

We may never know if someone can live much beyond 120 years. The first generation who has fully benefited from all of the modern vaccines, the baby boomers, have also experienced a planet full of pollution and food full of carcinogens. That generation and the ones that follow it may survive all of the diseases, famines and wars that killed previous generations, only to die from so many diseases caused by humans. The best we can hope for is a handful of wealthy people or perhaps poor people who got all of their shots and lived mostly out of the way of industrial pollution and ate mostly healthy foods (of course, pollution and GMOs completely cover the earth so it’s not possible for anyone to completly avoid them) dodging all of the contemporary bullets being thrown at everyone, survive the worst of climate change, and reach an age of the upper 100s, before the earth is completely destroyed by careless humanity.

I’ve been sitting here for almost an hour

I’ve been sitting here for almost an hour staring at the blinking cursor on this canvas of digital paper. Recently, I made the decision to start leaving the past in the past for good–in every way that I should–including the good memories. It’s not so much about personal mental health as it is about hoping to have an empty, open mind for something new to come along and inspire me, and take my writing somewhere. Unfortunately, I am getting nothing. My son is watching the Disney Channel, and it has become our normal weekend morning. My wife sleeps in for an hour or two, while I sit here and am mostly left alone with my thoughts and only the intrusion of squeaky voices and silly commercials popping into my head. I would like to think that I can filter most of that out, but I’m sure a truly quiet place of isolation would be much better for me to develop some new pattern of thought that generates novel writing.

I know that I’m doing my job as a parent by letting so much television babysit my son. However, I am inclined to think that my son will go on to be who he will be in spite of me, not because of me. He has been given every opportunity to socialize on a regular basis with other kids, and he often chooses isolation at school. This must be something genetic. I used to think things like “if only we’d stayed in Colorado, I would have gone on to be more socially adjusted” or “if only my parents had let me watch more television so that I’d have something to talk about with the other children at recess and in the cafeteria,” but now I am beginning to see that I probably would have chosen isolation no matter what.

The real deal-breaker for me around social clubs and groups and fraternities and gangs is that moment when you feel locked in to a kind of obligation toward some leader or group of people that doesn’t quite feel right–a yoking of yourself that feels more like being a member of a cult or a slave to a master than a member of a group that can advance your own personal progress. Even at an early age, when we first moved to Missouri and BS wanted me to join his White Wolf gang, I was of a mind that I had no desire to belong to a group where I wasn’t the leader. If I can’t be the head of some group of people, and must submit to someone else, then I don’t want to be a part of that group. Of course, I have long since acquiesced much of this and conceded that I need to be yoked to some individuals and groups just to make a living and not be homeless. However, I want as little to do with that feeling of being owned as possible.

Here I am, on my first day with no weekend contract work hanging over my head

Here I am, on my first day with no weekend contract work hanging over my head. My imagination has been stripped clean. I only have the naked urge to write. The feeling is that I must make something, and I have no skills to make anything but words. I have arrived in the suburbs of a medium-sized metropolitan city, and I am here to stay. I haven’t really been anywhere else but this city since leaving college, except for the occasional vacation and the three years living an hour north of here. I suppose that I could sit around getting depressed, or drinking, but I think that I will just drink and leave aside the depression, if I can. Maybe I shouldn’t really care about the way things have gone and the way things are headed with my professional work, and with my self-appointed role as a writer of nothing worth reading.

At one time, at least I could go back and enjoy what I wrote, but the things I write these days are simply the detritus of the mind that knows no other outlet. My activities today are mostly limited to watching bad cartoons (bad as in creatively bad not naughty) with my son and drinking beer and watching sci-fi shows on the Netflix or Amazon Prime.

There is a great urge to just do nothing, and let my thoughts wander into dreams that will be forgotten. The grist for the mill of writing has been mostly the past, and dreams, and rants about work, since I can remember. None of this is especially interesting, of course. None of it benefits and furthers human civilization. Is benefiting human civilization the ultimate thing to do and the best kind of work to leave behind? Perhaps not.

Is there meaning to be drawn from a life where almost all relationships have been severed, and the ability to make new ones has all but atrophied? If my writing is any indication, the answer is “no.”

There may not be any meaning in anything from which I’ve been trying to draw meaning. Asking if something means something may not even be the right question. It could be that any and all attempts at transformation, and becoming instead of just being, are misguided.

I walked on

I walked on. I saw no end in sight, and I couldn’t afford to fly, so I walked on. I wasn’t in any position to be upwardly mobile, and the edge of the cliff was always nearby.

I sat still. I sat still while the rest of the world progressed. The rest of the world progressed toward the edge of a cliff, and I was in no position to extract myself from the rest of the world.

I thought that I was no longer caught up in the snares of teenage years and my twenties, but you know I was just fooling myself.

Settle in, and don’t expect to have much control. The ride is going to be worse than bumpy, the ride is engineered to kill you. You are like any other living thing–you were made to be alive and healthy long enough to reproduce. Something bigger is in charge. It might be evil coating this plane with very few eyes of the needle to pass through. It might be good. It might be both, or neither. But, it is something bigger.

Empty your mind. Clear it, and then let it expand and go where it will. Let it expand beyond the confines of your skull as your skull is in its time and place.

Let your mind tell you its stories and take you places. Don’t let Hollywood and online Original Programming take control of your own storytelling.

You could be in a rainforest without the help of audio/visual aids.

But, don’t linger long there.