Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Page

The empty page is a baby. Selfish, a pleading void of need drawing you in, demanding, wanting. It cries at you. It calls to you. It screams, “See me, fill me, make of me something great! Know me, believe in me, use me to create!"

The empty page is angry and demanding. “Make a statement, it calls, “Make Love. Make War. Make a mess.” Crying and cooing, cajoling and pleading and whining for attention. The empty page is a pain in the ass. And it’s no wonder it’s so often left, alone.


The empty page is not my friend. It offers no warmth, no comfort or solace in its starkness. It does not beckon to me because, at the end of the day, it came into my grasp empty and is just as happy to pass on the same way, and billions if its brethren have in the past. It has no particular bond to me, no desire for me. It is not on my side.

But neither is it my enemy. It has nothing against me, when t has nothing for me. It is my mirror, my echo, as true or faithless a lover as I am to it.


If I commit, it is no longer an empty page—it is mine. The committed page is not empty. The committed page is a coach calling out to me; “Go, go, go, give one for the team, provide, extrapolate, build!” It’s anxious for me to take the field, to commit with the fullness of my attention and passion and belief. It wants me ready to get battered and bloody, and fall flat on my face again, and again, an exercise in toughening skills and building abilities. It wants me to fail as a path to future success. Or so I believe.

So I choose to believe.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Walking Down the Road on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Movie of Your Life: A Hollywood Curse

In the initial stages, the short, exciting, but tragic (for all true stories are tragedies) story of your life, is planned as a movie.

The agent promises that you will be played by a Beautiful Person in the Movie of Your Life. As a result, no one will understand why someone who looks that good had such a difficult time of it, instead of simply counting blessings. As a result, you fear the story will play out as surreal, disingenuous, and unbelievable. So in that way, it will be reflective of your reality. So you let it pass.

The soundtrack will be hip, likely featuring songs that are not to your taste, by artists you’ve never heard of and who will not acknowledge you at the movies premiere. And in that way the music will reflect alienation and outsided-ness on multiple levels, and thereby, to you, emphasize the themes of the storyline of your life. Of course, no one else will notice this, and the soundtrack will seem entirely appropriate to them. It will hit the top ten within a week of the films release, go double platinum, and be remembered for itself, not for its place in the Movie of Your Life.

After the project is green-lighted, and after the first script rewrites, it becomes painfully obvious that the story will not be a major blockbuster. Scrapped early on is the idea that there will be multiple parts to this screen story, like a Lord of the Rings Saga, or even Planet of the Apes. The project is whittled down. The idea is floated that, perhaps, the story might be better suited for a music video, or a subplot for an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. But regardless of all of this, the Movie of Your Life will proceed.

When we get to the ending of the Movie of Your Life, everyone will predict that they saw it coming. No surprising Keyser Söze-out-of-a-hat here, no M.Knight Shyamalan twist. And you will wonder why, when everyone else could see the foreshadowing, that it so completely escaped you at the time.

Eventually the Movie of Your Life will move to DVD. While it’s largely ignored at first, it does, after a time, develop a small but loyal fan base, and an underground cult status.But it never makes a lot of money, or receive critical acclaim in the Director’s lifetime. Eventually, one day after it falls into the Public Domain, the story of your life will be slickly repackaged with impressive Bonus Features such as interviews with people who knew people, who knew people, who actually knew you. Of course, this will be many years after your death. Therefore most people will assume the Movie of Your Life to be a fiction.

The Movie of Your Life will then be transcribed onto a new generation Virtual Reality Viewing machine that will allow the VR user to experience being you. He will smell what your car smelled like, and taste what you had for breakfast. She will feel the place you first scratch when you wake up in the morning. Hundreds of thousands of people will pay for the opportunity to experience a day in your life.

And still no one will know how it feels to be you.

Roll credits.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Short attention span meets something to say

Okay, as I hoped, my getting into the habit of posting has started me back into the writing habit again. So I'm interrupting my (boring, narcissistic, pointless) list of favorite poems to start posting for real. Starting tomorrow.

You Remain
Arthur Symons

As a perfume doth remain
In the folds where it hath lain,
So the thought of you, remaining
Deeply folded in my brain,
Will not leave me; all things leave me;
You remain.

Other thoughts may come and go
Other moments I may know,
That shall waft me, in their going
As a breath blown to and fro;
Fragrant memories, fragrant memories
Come and Go.

Only thoughts of you remain
In my heart where they have lain-
Perfumed thoughts of you, remaining
A hid sweetness, in my brain.
Others leave me; all things leave me;
You remain.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers
Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

And because I've posted this one before, here's another I love by her. Still counts as one, though.

Not In Vain

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

How do I love thee? (Sonnet 43)
Elisabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Some of my favorite poems, in no particular order.

This week, again in lieu of actually writing anything of consequence, I'll post some of my favorite poems, in no particular order.

These are my favorites because they come out of one of the several books of collected poetry that I've read since high school, and these ones have seemed appropriate to me at the time I first found them, so that they stuck with me. And the glue still holds.

When You Are Old
William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Everybody and their sister has seen this video...

...but I can't go a month without seeing it. It never stops being funny. Guess that speaks to where my head is at.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Silence, explained.

It had been over a month that I didn’t blog, and people were starting to ask me about it. The fact was that I was just overworked and overstressed. I’d fallen into a groove of getting into work early, and staying late, and through that entire process feeling that, despite the fact that I was working nearly every moment of the day and often multi-tasking several project at once, I still could not catch up, let aloe get ahead. That feeling left me exhausted in the evenings, and therefore left no creative energy for blogging, or writing, or drawing, or updating my website.

Well, now summer is over, as my kids have been lamenting, and we blew out the end of summer with a week-long camping trip to Cape Cod, at Nickerson State Park. I’ve returned rejuvenated, energized, and ready to tackle life head on. Most importantly, I’ve returned with a dedication to take time to make time. Work will take as much as you give it, and not necessarily pay a subsequent return. My mind flashes back to the old saying that no one ever expects to see on a gravestone “I wish I’d spent more time at work.”

Not sure what I’ll have wished I spent more time doing. But I’m determined to find out.