About Paul

I live along the Front Range of the Rockies, near Cheyenne Mountain.

I like walking about the town, hiking the hills and mountains, camping in the wilderness, and soaking nude in hot springs.

I paid my college room and board to study philosophy by fighting fires for the city.

I once owned and operated a small business with 13 employees, including my ex-secretary, who I was especially fond of, in part because she taught me — better than anyone else — that people with absolutely no intellectual interests could be lovely, wise and compassionate.

When I was 16, I hitchhiked around the Western United States, living on the streets of the cities I found myself in. At that time, I was one of four people I met who were 16 or younger. Nowadays, there are thousands of kids younger than 16 living on the streets.

I didn’t figure out I’d married my first wife for her looks until after I was divorced — the obvious often escapes me.

I was raised in a tiny Mid-Western American town of 2,500 people in which the dogs were allowed to vote in local elections on the theory they knew everyone in the community just as well as anyone.

My second marriage was to a brilliant, but abusive woman who herself had been abused as a child, and it created in me an intense interest in fighting against all manner of abuse.

At thirty-seven, I lost nearly everything I owned, including everything I’d built my self-identity on, and consequently discovered the art of dying. I haven’t felt afraid of death since.

Apart from the nine things mentioned above, there is nothing else about me that could possibly interest anyone. That’s the greatest tragedy of my life: I haven’t enough personal stories to keep up my end of a good bar conversation — a fact I feel compelled to compensate for by indulging in endless jokes about farts.

Please enjoy the blog, and feel free to comment on any post! 🙂

Paul Sunstone

107 thoughts on “About Paul”

  1. Oooh, I just love to be the first one to comment on the about page! So here I am! I think you are going to absolutely LOVE wordpress Paul. And you will build up traffic in no time as you not just post regularly, your posts are really good, and very interesting.
    Have fun!

  2. Paul, the detail about the hot springs caught my attention. There is a place south of where I live called Warm Springs, where FDR built a home called the Little White House. He established a cure center for polio there. Hot springs are one of the planets little gifts.

  3. I think I’ve been more at peace with myself and this world while soaking in hot springs than in nearly any other situation, Mariacristina. I agree they are one of the planets little gifts!

  4. I don’t know why I just found your blog today, but feel fortunate to do so. Intelligent conversation, clarity, willingness to consider topics necessary to think about – a lot to like. I’m putting you on my blogroll. G

  5. Isn’t it funny how chance things take us to another possibility? Looking for the Galway Kinnell poem, When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone, this blog appeared. Perhaps the long and hard winter, the seemingly endless gray–whatever, that sense of my place in the world and its place in me as I hibernate was huge……..nice conversations here.

  6. @Suburban Life: Welcome to the blog! Thank you so much for adding me to your links! I hope I continue to deserve the honor you’ve done me.

    @Julie: Welcome to the blog! Thank you very much for the warm compliment!

    @Anamika: Welcome! Thank you so much for adding me to your blogroll! I hope you continue to enjoy the conversations here.

  7. I stumbled upon your site. I was looking up something about soul mates. I like what you wrote on here. Thanks for the insight. 🙂

  8. Came over here via Enreal, looking for one Paul and finding another.

    Just today I was speaking with a colleague of mine wondering how on earth my interests can be so widely spread, torn between studying quantum physics or brain plasticity, while thinking about starting Arabic (in an Alzheimer’s prevention fight), enjoying business yet longing for creative writing and feeling that I’m betraying marine biology.

    So it felt good to read about your ample interests and I’m looking forward to reading more of you.

  9. Its so weird, I wrote that comment while I was not signed in to my wordpress blog (I am right now not in town), but typed in the url of my blog, but even then my avatar didn’t appear.

  10. Paul – It appears to me that you put the “calm” in common sense (rare enough these days by itself), and while I haven’t read much here yet, I have greatly appreciated what I’ve seen. Thanks for providing your thoughtful insights, attracting more of them, and judiciously handling the inevitable “outliers”.
    Best of luck to you in the future.
    – Tim Prosser ( I have several wordpress blogs)

  11. Tim, thank you so much for those kind words! I look forward to exploring your blogs! 🙂

    By the way, Tim, what has most made this blog meaningful to me has been the commentators like yourself who share their insights on it.

  12. Hey Paul! Thank you for the link. I didn’t even realize you had included it till I started seeing traffic show up from it. I appreciate it. 🙂

  13. Hi Paul,

    Came to know about your blog through Nita’s magnum opus.

    Congratulation on the award she has given you and from what little I read of your posts, you deserve it.

    Will be back to ruminate at leisure.


  14. So you are still alive!
    It’s been too long since we exchanged lengthy streams of words.
    Care to fill me in on your summer? With as much colour as possible, please! >.<

  15. Paul:
    A personal note for you (you can delete this after reading if you wish)–
    I feel a sense of bonding with you (if it makes any sense in the virtual world), even though we differ a lot in our approaches to life in its various aspects.
    In that sense, I often write comments directed to you that may sound acerbic or critical. They are not meant to be. I mean what I say in genuinely benevolent ways with only fun and humor. Because of the understanding I think we have, I don’t put in smileys when I write to you. I hope we understand each other clearly, and that you do not feel any offense at my jokes and jibes.

  16. Hey Doc! I feel the same sense of a bond between us. The teasing that goes on between us reminds me so much of the teasing that goes on between me and my two brothers. It never offends me. In fact, it delights me!

    I’ve noticed, though, that at least a couple of times other commentators have read what you or I have written to each other and assumed that we were serious. I’ve tended to dismiss that as their problem not ours.

  17. I love the line about when you figured out what attracted you to your first wife. Sometimes it takes a while — or things have to smack us between the eyes for us to get ’em.

    Saul Bellow has a character (Henderson the Rain King, I think) who is chopping wood when a small chunk bonks him in the forehead and as a result he changes his life, traveling to Africa …

    Could it be you have more for your “About” page than what has bopped you on the noggin so far?

  18. Paul, I ahve been here before. But now I have decided to subscribe, if only to look at the portraits, nudes and other artwork you put up time to time. 😉

  19. paul…i found your site looking at various other sites on pascal’s supposed “god shaped vacuum” quote…what he actually said is…

    What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself. [Pascal, Pensees #425]

    I choose to believe pascal is correct as is “ralf” that you quoted…

    I must respectfully disagree with you also when you said… “Bluntly put, what Ralf has told me about his god doesn’t turn me on, for I don’t care if my god-given purpose on earth is to be tested for whether I merit an afterlife in a heaven or a hell.”

    Bluntly put…we all merit hell…for all have sinned and fall shot of the glory of god (romans 3:23)…you and I both fall in that category…it is our sin that has caused the vacuum within us…

    your (and my) god-given purpose on earth is to glorify him…the one who created you, us…at least that is what I believe…

    the vacuum is filled when we acknowledge we are sinners, need a savior, and accept Christ as that savior…then and only then can life have purpose and meaning…

  20. Paul: thanks for an honest response…i don’t have time to talk now…but i would like to continue to communicate…OK with you?

  21. Hi Paul – great blog you have here, I’m adding you to the Blogroll on my nascent blog … it focuses on synchronicity/coincidences, but will be dealing quite a bit with mystical experiences and awareness as well, since it was one of those experiences that led me to my first synchronicity, and I’ve never been able to get back to my former snug, smug, and secure fundamentalist rationalism ever since.

    Right now I have about a dozen of your blog posts open in different tabs, I look forward to catching up on your archives and keeping up with your explorations going forward. Thanks for blogging.

    PS – are you familiar with the recent studies done at Johns Hopkins regarding magic mushrooms, mystical experiences, and their effects? The study came out in 2006 and a 14 month follow-up was recently published – very interesting stuff!

  22. Hi Teapotshappen! Welcome to the blog! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. It’s quite interesting how our experiences in life have a way of challenging our “fundamentalist rationalism”, isn’t it? Obviously, there are limits to the purely rationalist model. I am looking forward to reading your blog and hearing what you have to say.

    Oh, and thanks for the heads up on the John Hopkins study — I’ll see if I can find it through Google.

  23. I like the peace and solitude of the hotsprings. Personally, every story you’ve mentioned above would account for a good bar hopping if you hit the right person at the right time. The right mind with anything can end in a positive thought.

  24. Ok. But it’s a rather long one. True story, though.

    A while ago, I did a stint as an administrator on an internet forum, Sandra. It was dull work, but one day, someone started a thread for “women only” that was titled, “Tell Us Your Feelings!”

    The thread was hugely popular! Every woman on the Forum crowded onto it.

    Two weeks went by when, for no apparent reason, one of the Forum women unexpectedly put up a thread, “Men Only”. The title of the thread was, of course, “Tell Us Your Feelings!”, and in the introduction she wrote, “I am tired of you men and your stoicism. You must have feelings, so here’s your opportunity to express them!”

    Well, the men started posting in the thread, but not their feelings. Instead, they posted questions. “How do I know what my feelings are?” “When am I most likely to have a feeling?” “Should I be alarmed if I have too few or too many feelings?” “Indeed! How many feelings are too many?”

    But then someone posted the question that broke the camel’s back: “Is a fart a feeling?”

    The idealistic woman who had begun the thread left the Forum and was not seen again for three months.

  25. So … what was the consensus?

    Read something the other day that wrapped it: Men have an emotional span of two: hungry and horny. So, if you don’t see him with a hard-on, hand him a sandwich.

  26. There’s a good deal of truth in your joke, Sandra. Especially when one is younger.

    I recall I went for years, around 16 or so, without noticing even a single personality trait of any girl in my class. I never got much beyond how a girl looked, back then. Is that difficult to understand?

    The men easily agreed that farts were emotions, of course. What else can farts be? Frankly, I don’t know why it was even asked. 😀

  27. Paul,

    FYI. It seems like WordPress is not displaying your latest couple of posts. The Rand one is gone and the Gabrielle isn’t displaying either. The last posted one is now back to Dec. 3rd.

    1. Yeah, I got drunk, started playing around with the bulk controls and screwed up massively by somehow deleting both posts. However, I’m not sure I wanted those posts anyway: They both seem premature.

  28. Ack! The dangers of drunk blogging are well documented in crap all over the Internet and the compulsion to fiddle at the controls is something that should be curbed.

    Paul. Mwah!


  29. “My second marriage was to a brilliant, but abusive woman who herself had been abused as a child, and it created in me an intense interest in fighting against all manner of abuse.”

    Paul, this is my first comment on your blog, although I have visited several times. Incidentally, I am currently married to a woman like you describe, except for the part about “brilliant”, my wife is actually quite dim witted. I stick with her only because we have a son together, and his welfare comes first.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your bio here. Sounds like you would do quite well in a bar conversation.

    1. Sheldon, thank you so much for dropping by and saying “hello”!

      I’m very sorry to hear about the situation with your wife. I wish you the best.

      If you would like to “talk” in private about it, please feel free to email me at paul [underscore] sunstone [at] q [dot] com. I can’t often offer much in the way of help, but I’m all ears and can listen.

    2. I’m sorry. I had to interrupt.
      Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s best for the child to stay in a relationship if it’s not satisfactory. Abuse trickles down onto the children, whether it’s coming from a man or a woman. It never goes unnoticed. There are two possible scenario’s that could happen: He could become an abuser, or take abuse from a woman himself. Neither of which is healthy. I was in the relationship for almost 12 years, married almost nine, and ended it when my children were 2 and 5. I had to consider the possibility that if this man was this angry, he might possibly someday take it out on my children. Get a good attorney. Grab your son and run. Run fast! This never heals itself. Leave her to her own demise.

  30. Paul, I really neglected to thank you for joining my blog readers’ list. Thanks! I also harbor some hope that you’ll really let your hair down and help us to get to know you better. Write on brother, write on. :O)

  31. “At thirty-seven, I lost nearly everything I owned, including everything I’d built my self-identity on, and consequently discovered the art of dying. I haven’t felt afraid of death since.”

    Really touched me.

  32. Suddenly I’ve been found by you, I guess, because I was running after the Colbert quote (about Jesus and the poor). Very nice–many many thanks.

  33. I was more than impressed,I was mystically impressed with your cafephilos site.Do call me or write-I do not type well as I am 70 years old.late,late starter.I was inspired by your site Paul


  34. living as you have described I disagree….I think you would have more stories to share from the heart, just need a catalyst to get it going. I liked the humour between the lines, it’s nice to read deep thoughts from someone who doesn’t take their selves so seriously. Nice to meet you Paul – Gina

  35. Paul, the more I read of your exploits, the more I’m intrigued. I imagine you have a whole lot to say about the simple observation of life on the edge of survival as a teenager, for example. Like your description of yourself as a ‘hack’ in reference to your poetry. Why? Don’t run yourself down, brother. To measure oneself with someone else’s yardstick is a surefire way to come up short in everything you do but that’s what people do. Worse still, that’s what abused people do, often unknown to themselves. I don’t have any answers and I can’t point to a glittering career with the trappings of success, either. I do believe in my own work, though, because it’s honest.

  36. It’s so interesting to have a discussion on our “stories,” Paul, and then to read this and hear your story, the nine parts of your life that define you here on your blog. I’m fascinated by how our choices open and close doors and how each choice, the major ones and teeny tiny ones, the “good” ones and “bad” ones have the potential to steer our lives in completely different directions. And how sometimes, through the gift of hindsight and tracing all those choices, we find that the mistakes were the sources of future wisdom and compassion. Happy to have met the virtual you here. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Wallace! Those are some fascinating ideas, too! I wonder, have you ever posted on them on your blog? If you have, I’d like to read the post.

      I do so agree with you that a seemingly slight thing can become a turning point in our lives, and that even what we might thing of as “bad” can turn out to have some very positive consequences.

    1. Thanks, da-AL! I’ve been forming an opinion that you are one of the best, most insightful commentators on the many blogs on which I come across your comments. It’s always a pleasure to read your remarks.

  37. Hi Paul, so nice to ‘meet’ you. You live in a spectacular part of the world that I’ve always wanted to visit. And I truly have enjoyed what I’ve read so far of yours. Look forward to following you along on this journey we’re all on. Cheers and warmest wishes from down under.

    1. Thank you so much, Miriam! I’ve only had time to take a quick glance at your blog and read a couple of posts, but what I’ve seen has whetted my appetite for more. I’ll be dropping by later on today or tomorrow, as soon as I can.

      1. That’d be great Paul, I’d love to see you back. just posted a comment on your About You page, what an awesome idea that is. I wrote a really long one which somehow I then lost! Aaaagh, story of my life lately. 😏

  38. Hi, Paul. I’m sure your evaluation of not having enough life stories to tell is a joke too?!:-) I’m just starting to explore further your blog thanks to first interactions with each other. Thanks for that! Your “about” was emotionally touching me. You’ve obviously had some of the biggest teachers of life. Together with your background and lifestyle you need to write and teach (my opinion;-)! I couldn’t find your paintings anywhere on your blog… All the best, Mathias

  39. hello my friend ,Thanks for the follow and comments on my posts. By reading ‘About Paul’ I felt I am sitting just next you and both chatting lot of things about the funny part of our existence called ‘life’ and lots of ironies in leading one’s life.I am following you back and going through your posts and let us keep interacting regularly.

  40. i just had to find out more about the man who knows so much about pirates, toe nail painters and water wing condoms. And of course to have a peek at those acrylic portraits of yours. And other stuff … this little snippet of you has hooked me in to follow. I do hope you’re not a pirate in hiding 🙂

  41. So many words, so little time. I have no idea how you came to read my about but I enjoyed reading yours, Paul. Thanks for stopping by and I’m sure our paths will cross again.

  42. I was going to email you, but getting into my emails is an irritating task right now. I was wondering if you would consider critiquing a poem I wrote a couple of months back. It’s very different from the two poems you have already critiqued. I wrote it in a fit of pique, as I explain underneath the poem. It describes a woman trapped in a psychologically abusive relationship. If you do this for me, will you require a few sample poems, as you suggested before you covered the other two poems?

    This is the link to the post: https://janebasilblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/weapons-of-feathers/

    but no pressure – you’ve already been very generous.

    1. I’d love to do it, Jane! Your poems are always fun and interesting to critique. I don’t know exactly when I’ll get to it, though, because I have a minor backlog of poems now. But it shouldn’t be too long.

  43. Incredible life story Paul. You are living proof of posttraumatic growth and resilience. Something I also live and breathe – both personally and professionally. I look forward to reading your posts! Andrea aka Dr. D 😉

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