Art, Human Nature, Life, Living, Passion, Quality of Life, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Spirituality, Writing

The Human Need for a Discipline

(About a 5 minute read)

Earlier today, Alice Gristle put up an original, intelligent, and insightful post on her blog about the relationship between a writer and his or her story.  In it, she notes that, when we write a story:

We’re tempted, every one of us, to somehow include ourselves in the story. To make that gibe at the politician we hate, to get our comeuppance on the girl who slighted us in junior high, to put a little salve on our hearts after that smarting breakup.

She notes, however:

Your story is more important than you. You will die and be wormfood, a lump of bones, a smear of ash. Well, your story might be, too – but it might not. Alone of you two, it has the chance to live, to stay aloft on the hours of history, in order to live and teach hundreds of years in the future.

The strong implication is that, for a story to live on past us, we must “get out of the way”. That is, we must put aside our natural tendency to insert too much of our own views, concerns, behaviors, and personalities into the story, least we distract from it and thus weaken it.

Continue reading “The Human Need for a Discipline”

Art, Christianity, Creative Thinking, Creativity, Cultural Change, Cultural Traits, Culture, Human Nature, Idealism, Ideas, Ideologies, Intellectual Honesty, Invention, New Idea, Obligations to Society, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Society, Thinking

What Do Intellectuals Do, Anyway?

SUMMARY: American culture has a virulent strain of anti-intellectualism.  Consequently, few people understand or appreciate the role intellectuals can — and often do — play in a society.  In fact, many intellectuals can be seen as similar to cartographers in that they create ideas that can be used as guides to reality.  When they do so conscientiously and accurately, the whole society can benefit.

(About a 6 minute read)

It is a truism among people who study such things that American culture has, almost since the founding of the Republic, harbored a virulent anti-intellectual streak.  But the founders themselves were anything but anti-intellectual.

Franklin, for instance, was the leading American intellectual of their day, and Washington — possibly the most prominent non-intellectual of the era — often made efforts to improve himself in that department, for he did not think himself an equal to the others unless he could muster at least a passing familiarity with the great ideas of the time.

But almost with the deaths on the same day of Adams and Jefferson, American culture developed a marked anti-intellectual streak.  Some people have attributed that streak to the democratic suspicion of anyone who might appear to be smarter than oneself.  But while that might sustain American anti-intellectualism, anti-intellectualism seems to have gotten its start in religion.

Continue reading “What Do Intellectuals Do, Anyway?”

About This Blog, Advice, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Fun, Miscellaneous, Play, Writing

Paul’s Eight Edible Tips for New Bloggers

SUMMARY: Eight tips for new bloggers.

(About a 6 minute read)

If you’re like me, you have noticed that most people now and then say exactly the opposite of what they really mean.  This is no where so true as when people accept excellent advice.

At least, when accepting it from me, they usually say things like, “That’s the worst advice I’ve had since my fiancé’s dad’s on prom night!”, and “Paul, if I had wanted to die young, I would have asked you straight-forward how to die young.”  Meaning, of course, “Thank you for the superb advice!”

Continue reading “Paul’s Eight Edible Tips for New Bloggers”

Abuse, Infatuation, Poetry

Why, I Wonder, Do You Think You Love Me?

I have wondered whether I could win
A contest with asphalt for your love.

If I told you I was allergic to your cats,
You’d take sides with your cats,
And not ask if I was at all discomforted.

You profess to love me with the abandon
Of a wild rose in the rain
But I have observed your love now
And found it yields quicker than a reed
In a hurricane to your self-image.

Whenever my life with you has forced you to choose
Between me and who you think you are,
You have chosen who you think you are.

I wonder now if you have ever loved anyone
And why you think you love me?

Humor, Love, Miscellaneous, Poetry

Clueless

I adore you, Toots.
Your breasts are lovely,
So’s your butt.
What more do you want
Me to admit?

I’m dark and handsome,
Strong and rich.
If I didn’t love you,
I’d be with someone else, right?

What’s all this
About needing romance?

Is that some kind of criticism?

I thought I gave you some romance
Last May, a box of chocolates.
Don’t tell me they’re all gone.
This is only September!

You’re leaving me? Really?
What for? I said I love you.

Fine! Try to do better!
Just try.

You’ll be back.

Good men are hard to find.

Poetry

If She Were Not…

If she were not as kind as strawberries,
If she were not as witty as ice cream,
If she were not as smart as lightening,
If she were not as generous as soap,
If she were not as considerate as sunlight,
If she were not as thoughtful as old shoes,
If she were not as pleasant as lavender,
If she were not as gracious as a deer,
If she were not as strong as oak,
If she were not as merciful as a chair,
If she were not as energetic as a squirrel,
If she were not as wise as a raven,
If she were not as curious as a fox.
If she were not as mischievous as the moon,
If she were not as elegant as a falcon,
If she were not as benevolent as a wolf
If she were not as fun as an orange,
If she were not as beautiful as a loon’s song,
If she were not all those things,
I would never have been able to bring myself
To forgive her for her sin of mentioning
(In passing)
That we humans were evolving
Towards a “higher consciousness”.

Whew!


This poem is an attempt at a comical reflection on my nearly quixotic distaste for the term “higher consciousness”, which I have explained here.

Abuse, Jennifer, Love, People, Poetry, Sexual Abuse

A Letter to Find in the Morning

(About a 2 minute read)

“Strange someone would do that to a child.”
It sounds lame to say it, Jennifer,
But that doesn’t make the strangeness go away,
The feeling that something alien, terribly alien,
Once happened to you on that lonely ranch
Near Grand Junction.

You’re restless in your sleep tonight.
Your head tosses this way, then that way.
I worry that when you whisper
Something I can’t quite make out,
You dream of the year of your foster father,
His brother and their cousin.

The moonlight on your face
Makes you look ghostly, those are ghosts
You wrestle with tonight,
Ghosts you’ll always have.

But at least they’re ghosts now.
They once were demons.

I can wish that year had never happened
But it did happen.
I can wish you could forget it had happened.
But how could anyone forget that?
I could wish
I could wish
And I could wish,

But what can I do?

There are healers. You’ve been to them.
You’re healed now — as functional as anyone.
Only the dreams still come at night,
The memories return by day,
The scars still show
In both your beliefs and your actions.

But what can I do?

I try to understand what’s too alien
To understand, what can never be understood.

I accept your scars, your ghosts,
I don’t tell you to “get beyond it”.

But nothing feels like I’m doing anything.

I slip out of bed,
Hoping that doesn’t make things worse
For you in your sleep.

On your desk by the window
I find a pad and your pen,
Write you a love letter to find
In the morning.


Inspired by a poem on Paeansunplugged’s blog that can be found here.