Category Archives: goals

Making Time

time gif

Tock-tick

Pink Floyd are bastards. You’re listening to Dark Side, get all snug and sleepy from Breathe, and then ALL THE CLOCKS IN THE WORLD wake you up for a lecture on wasting time. But they have got it right. You need both. The space to breathe and be, and that little clock in the back of your mind that reminds you time passes.

Clocks, particularly alarm clocks,  were made by monks you know. It was to help them observe the proper prayer for the time of day. So, no matter what their daily business: farming, sleeping, eating, writing, counting money, making beer or wool; the clock made certain that they took the time to greet and witness each part of the day with the proper ritual in worship of God, which was their real job. And then they approached each bit of the day and it’s work in the frame of mind of worship. They went about all this walled off and ignoring the crazy nonsense of the world.

And that’s how it works. That is how you make time. One part ritual, one part work, one part ignoring everything else.

I do a lot of dumb stuff. I do a lot of housework, cleaning, animal tending, bill-paying stuff. But I chose that. It’s the easiest stuff to do, and no one else wants to do it. That’s my in! What I do I get back? Time to think. When I’m walking dogs, cleaning the tub, doing dishes, taking a shower…my body goes into auto-pilot, and I can think. That’s when the knottiest problems get worked out. Not sitting about.

I have considered that this is a form of “mindless” living. But no! The exact the opposite. I shower in the exact same way — same steps and soap, shampoo, razor in the same place every day — so I can shower without missing any bits.  I LOVE my showers. Because the rest is automated, my brain is free! I made a routine, a ritual to make time to work. Coloring is my new favorite time-maker! How wonderful to let the mind wander to color, movement, and some music!

I do it on social media, too! Prentend every comment or response is a little exercise in thoughtful writing. I’m practicing. I also try stuff out. Oh, perhaps I’ll write like Spock with a foul mouth? Maybe Dickens with anachronistic references? I was going through a big laconic phase a short time back. Sometimes I just make stuff up. Little “words of wisdom” I just pulled out of my… brain.  Caption this picture for best effect! This is what I do. It’s free practice. It’s fun. And that’s my “social time.” Oh dear!🤓

But then, it comes Time. The Time to do the real deed of writing. Now, here again, ritual is big. It’s a habit, but it’s also a ritual. I have certain things to hand. Vaporizer, extra fluid, at least two beverages, chapstick, and music. Now I can do that part anywhere. In fact, some of my best stuff I’ve done in bed on my phone. (I have yet to determine the causal correlation there. It may be coincidence. Further research is clearly required.) But, you know what? Nine times outta ten, I gather all of the above at my little antique letter-writing desk here (which must have been made for a child or a young woman because it is the perfect height for me), and I light a tea light under a bust of Shakespeare. I shittest thou not! BUT! (big butt) all I have to do is write until the tea light burns out. I normally lose track and it’s long out before I’m done, but yeah, that’s my timer. If I do that much, I win! I can go back after a break, or not. But yeah, I work one tea candle to Shakespeare at a time. And it’s all I need. It’s just a little measurable moment I have saved up and prepared for myself.

I ignore a lot. I might be worse than the monks in that regard. They did charitable works, I presume. I have no idea what the monks did. I know what’s going on. I read the news in the morning (with the coffee, it’s a ritual). Then I forget it and go about my own business! If I’m talking to you, I really care. “I give you my most precious thing, my Time,” is what Dad used to say.

I generally decide on giving a damn status fairly quickly. I am a hermit. I talk to my animals more than actual people…or digital people. I actually only “talk” in “meat-space” to about three human beings regularly. One is my therapist. So you know, if I get out of my house for you (or let you in) I am already way out of my norm. I need like 24 hrs of Netflix to recover from large get-togethers. 😂

Oh yeah, this wasn’t about what a weirdo I am, guess that happened though. It was about making Time. But that’s part of how I do it. My area of giving a damn is really slim. And the rest is all up in the old noggin there. And in my thought-filled dog walks and showers and tub cleaning. And in the ephemeral pixels I manipulate against mortality. And the scrawl of half a page of scribbled lines…that I put into Evernote, set a timer and tag a goal and a project for…

“Far away, across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell”

– Time, Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973

*note to self: add back-up battery for vaporizer to writing materials to avoid getting up

 


Per Ardua ad Astra

per ardua ad astra edit 2

Through struggle, the stars

 

I didn’t write or blog this week. I got a cold, slept and watched TNG on Netflix. I did keep waking up from cold medicine dreams to type ideas in Evernote. When the Dayquil wears off I’ll see if they’re any good.

Today I got a haircut. So I don’t look like Seasons 4-5 Daryl anymore. But it’s rainy and crap and now I’m going to take a nap. I despise unproductive weeks! It’s hard to rest now that I’m well after being sick all winter. I have so much to make up.

But seriously I’m going to take a nap. Then be up all night listening to SPQR by Mary Beard having asthma/panic attacks. Give me a few days. I’m a terminator. I’ll be back.


Never Giving Up

rocky-punching-meat-o

What I feel like.

tumblr_inline_nn2l946gJV1to5tbp_500

What I look like.

 

Spoiler: Life is actually the exact opposite of Forrest Gump. Screw that feather on a breeze. Life is more like Google Maps. You have to know your destination to get directions. If you want to know what to do, you have to know what you want and, just as important, what you don’t. Then you have to scream it at yourself until you just believe that shit.

Have you ever done that thing where you imagine yourself in five, ten or fifteen years? It’s weird, but it really helps. I know I used to do it all the time when I was a kid. All this awesome stuff I was going to be and do. And I had the right idea, too. Just keep doing the thing I was/wanted to be good at. That strategy has never failed me.

But you know how stuff happens. I lost my biggest fan. The playing field broadened. And then I found I’d go any short space without everyone telling me how awesome I am, and I lost all confidence. How could I not win that contest? How could I not be the fucking best? I must suck and be awful and i’m a loser and oh god i wanna die…

Oh yeah, and then there’s the folks who go out of their way to remind you “you’re not the center of the Universe.” Yeah, I kind of figured that out, now shut up. I had to really shut those voices out. But the voice I needed to shut up so hard was the one in my brain that started to say that too.

Yeah so, I got to a point where when I imagined myself years on, aside from my own funeral, I could not see anything good. So that’s when I started labeling the “me” and “not me.” And please, all you older white dudes who’ve benefited from nothing but privilege your entire life do not pull the Alan Watts Buddhist routine on me . My ego’s done been broke down, bitch. I need to build it back up on some better foundations, thanks. Besides, why ya gotta try and hold a gal down, boyzzz?

Oh that’s another thing. Being a girl/woman/female. I guess I was raised like a boy. I learned to throw like one and tie my own fishing knots and all . But it was always about what I could achieve and not really about pleasing others. My Mom was just as likely to be organizing a strike as taking me shopping. And of course Dad because, ya know, he never got his Sammie (the boy my mom was supposed to have). And he really dug the fact that I wanted to know everything, and learn how to do everything. He wanted to help me with that. And he did.

It was really weird going out into a world that expected something else from me beyond brains and talent. I taught myself some female stuff, but I internalized some of the bad in that as well. Mainly the worrying about others and what they think more than yourself. That’s a bunch of bull and mainly the reason why those old male baby-boomers need the Buddhism more than I. To be fair, guys my own age know more about tough times. We’re closer to our Great Depression, WWII grandparents than Boomers. You guys had it all then blew it for the rest of us. Thanks.

But I digress, so I started to find “me” and “not me.” What then? Well frankly, I started to get pissed…at me. Which was a start. But recently I realized I had to take it further. It’s not about repeating “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And gosh darnnit, people like me.” in the mirror. No. I have to scream it at me.

Every day all the time. I’M NOT GIVING UP ON YOU JESS!  I can’t expect anyone else to do it. I’m not even asking. I got this.

And, yeah, I’m still a big geek. . . like YUUUUUUGE. Well actually a five foot one geek with myopia and allergies. In my mind, I slay!

Take care of yourselves brothers and sisters, you’re ultimately all you can count on.

So, cue the Rocky music.  And remember: Never give up. Never surrender.


What a Loverly Daze

morrissey_bona drag

And if I seem a little strange, that’s because I am.

What a daze. What a loverly daze. Another snow today. Not the blizzard angry Thor thunder-snow sort, just a stay in and drink tea in jammies with books day. And, if you’re like me, you couldn’t resist some Smiths and writing in your journal. And if you are like me, well, where have you been? And if you’re not, that’s OK too.

Man, is there anything important or useful that can be done on a day such as this? I can’t imagine what or why you’d want to. I was impressed that I cleaned a bit and wrote a bit. Showered.

The journal writing was good. I can be even more personal, random and meaningless there than anywhere. And yet, that’s where I come from. As far as writing is concerned. My first journal was a Tinkerbell notebook from the 1st grade. I always wanted to write. I always wanted and kept a journal. Look in my Mom’s basement. Look in my wooden chest. A whole life in little bound books.  (*Get those back from Mom.)

And it’s not that my journals are going to rival Samuel Pepys’ or Thoreau’s. But they represent an actual thing I have accomplished. But more importantly, that’s where my voice comes from. I can wriggle through every crease in my mind, process it all, write through the thousands of voices I take in and come out sounding something like myself. And that’s gotta be something. For a writer.

Honestly, voice is key. If you can nail you, you can nail anyone. What more is my voice than a grand amalgam of every voice and influence I’ve ever taken in since I was born? That’s a lot of voices. All of those people, characters, movies, books, the poems and songs, the interwebs.  All condensed and focused through the lens of me.

And while, yes, I might fall into your “journal keeping” stereotype. It’s a thing I’d suggest all writers do. It’s the easiest, least pressure way to just write a little, every day every day every day. And journals don’t all have to be the mole-skin or Red Book of Westmarch type of journal. Go to the dollar store. Use a legal pad. Start a new notebook on your computer, on your phone. Just write. It’s not precious or for posterity. It’s for you.

Have a cup of tea. Play your favorite music. Scribble lines in the margins. Keep your favorite quotes in the pages. Write down something you just heard in a movie or on that TV show. Just put some writing on some paper or pixels. You’ll feel better I swear. Even if better means you just want to wallow. Wallow away. No one’s there to judge.

And if you are like me, then remember, I may wear black on the outside ’cause black is how I feel on the inside, but I have a heck of a time doing it. You know, just being me. Go be you, and choose any color you like.

 

 

 

 

 


I Don’t Want to Go Out

david_bowie-Modern Love

Never gonna fall

I want to stay in…get things done.

Bowie understands. As usual. And people who love winter can go do their lumberjack and I’m OK thing. Just leave me be. I don’t want to go out. I’m sick and things aren’t getting done that I want to do. I’ve figured out a few things though.

Firstly, my goal of writing an outline in a week was not attainable. I realized this the other day. Someone asked me what was the best way to refine their writing project. So I gave them the old schpiel. Find a few words that describe the basic themes. Words like Love, Revenge, Ambition, Betrayal, Wonder, Coming of Age — the basic stuff we all get: sex, death and all the stuff in between. Fix a genre with one or two sub-categories (sci-fi action/drama). And explain the plot in one or two sentences (A college-kid must decide whether his Uncle killed his father, and struggles with how to react to that knowledge, while tearing the lives around him apart). It’s Jaws meets Terminator. What have you. Basic stuff.

And then it hit me, that I needed a dose of my own medicine on the writing front. I’ve been looking too carefully at the individual parts and the esoteric stuff that I’d lost perspective on my own story, and I need to go back and do this to my tale again.

So, that’s my new focus for this week. Would i’twere so simple. I just can’t seem to feel well. People want me to do stuff and go outside. And as usual, I’m convinced I have walking pneumonia, and I’m slowly dying. But aside from my hypochondria and feeling less sociable than usual (which is never particularly social), I’m becoming less than pleased.

Last year, I put too much on hold because of “life”– not even my own. That made me feel like a good human being for tic. But when my own health took revenge in a bout of bronchitis, I figured I’d outdid the “others” thing. Then there was the holiday we do not mention. And now I’ve gotten back to work, people still want to do stuff like that’s normal in February because they’re insane and my body is in revolt again.

I think the best thing for me to do is stay in my pajamas until April. Going outside makes me sick. Activity gives me asthma attacks. My sinuses don’t like the dry air. So I’m staying in, getting better and getting some things done for me. I just don’t care about going outside. I don’t care about much that isn’t in my sphere of interests on a good day. So, I’m not over-extending what little brain power I have left. Just let me write and play Battlefront and color and leave me be. Also there’s my violin. Jeez, I have a lot to do. How am I’m supposed to take care of outside stuff. I feed myself and my animals. I walk my dog. What else do you want from me world?!

When the spring comes, I will feel better. Although that’s another bad time for the allergies, but I don’t mind it because it’s nice out. I’ll still find ways to ignore people and stuff. But this is what I’m rocking for now. Don’t believe in modern love or winter.

 


JKHOA: What Can I Say?

The Seer - de chirico

One of my favorite images. The Seer, by de Chirico

 

For two weeks I’ve been posting here everyday except Saturday. Time to take a look at the experiment and get some new plan set out. See what I’ve learned.

I certainly have plenty so say, and I’ve hardly run dry. But, honestly, this has become a slightly more formal version of my journal. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. But looking back, mainly I just sat down with some tea and Mozart and started typing without a clue as to what would come out, with varying success.

Honestly, I got more responses from my nearly absurdist posts, with less interaction for the ones that I gave more thought to. I don’t know what that means. It could’ve simply been the day on which those posts were made. Maybe this the sort of thing Google understands. I surely don’t.

Also, I don’t know if it was the Mozart, or the lack of pressure I felt about what I was typing, or the caffeine in this chronic chai I’ve got (I mean the tea. I’m a tea snob. Shut up.), but even the posts I put more thought into weren’t much. I was just really goofing off the entire time. I almost feel a bit of fake. Sometimes when a thing is easily done, I don’t do it as well. Hey, or do I?

Anyhow, so aside from getting through a snowstorm, having the plague and some Nicholson level cabin fever, what’s next for Jess? Well, that’s a deep subject. (Yes, that was a very bad pun.) Dah! Darned if I know.

I suppose I’ll keep up on the blog here twice a week. I’m going consider which days. It’ll most likely be a combination of my stats for each day over two weeks combined with whatever the heck I feel like — probably a strong emphasis on the latter. And as I seem to find it useful to keep talking about myself and whatever happens to be on the brain that day, I’ll stick with that. By far my most popular posts are tagged “Geek”.  And while I also have a high level of nerd in me — I guess I’ll just keep on with my super-nerd/geek self.

I’m not apologizing for being me. I will continue to consider Star Wars, Roman military strategy, whatever video game I’m playing and documentaries about irrigation and flood management in ancient Mesopotamia with equal enthusiasm. After all, what is being a geek if not simply being a rabid fan of “your thing”. I don’t see any conflict between my enthusiasm for Galaxy Quest and that for ancient epic poems. If anyone takes issue with that, I don’t care. I just don’t. Go write your own damn blog.

But how about your book, Jess? Well, part of myself that just has to make that “B” an “A”, I’m glad you reminded me not to let myself slip. I was reading back in my journal to when I was working on it full-time. I’ve also been looking over my old notes, and I got some interesting thoughts from the feedback on the rough chapter I posted, but what I need is a new outline. And that will have to come before another chapter, because I don’t like the next chapter as it is. Let’s make my outline a goal for this week. That should satisfy my self-loathing. And make me happy. Not being disgusted with oneself is generally conducive to personal felicity.

I will post the next chapter when I’ve done the outline. I enjoyed that. I saw its shortcomings with far more clarity.  Possibly with the knowledge that someone was actually paying attention to the thing. Which is really why I’ve taken up the ebook idea anyway. I’ve got all these screenplays that I send out, and sometimes they get a read or something, but generally they just sit taking up hard-drive space.

Unlike Kafka, I did not take up writing with the notion that all my work should be discovered in a sock drawer upon my death. I write to speak to other people. It’s the best way I know how to communicate. So, at least with a book I can “publish” online, a series in which I’m interested and invested in the character and story, and hope that more people will read what I’ve done. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do. I hope they feel something when they read it. I hope they geek out on the reading as much as I did on the writing.

I guess I’m just here to talk to folks, and this is the best way I know how. So that’s probably the biggest take-away I’ve got. I like to write, and I enjoy it when people enjoy what I’ve written. Simple. What else can I say?

 

 

 

 

 


JKHOA Pt. 2 Snow Day Geek

peter o'toole - lawrence of arabia 1962

Ladies, gentlemen: the most beautiful image ever. http:www.doctormacro.com. Enjoy!

If you saw radar maps of Snowmaggedon or Snowzilla — or whatever hashtag you prefer — I was right under the part of the map that displayed a graphic of an angry weather deity suffering from dysentery. I rather enjoyed the storm, but today I became enlisted in said deity’s personal sanitation crew. I mean I shoveled, but it was closer to mining. I’ve lived most of my adult life in either Philly or Costa Rica. So I’m not a practiced hand. But I was out talking and working with other people. It was weird. But not necessarily bad.

The lady who lives next door had her kids and grandkids marshaled up. She was like George C. Scott in the part of Patton when he clears up the traffic, except with a white Maltese instead of a pit-bull. My other neighbor just moved here from Los Angeles. He carefully cleaned all the icy patches with a windshield scraper. He explained to me that he hadn’t thought to buy a shovel. But he seemed to be getting a get kick out of it.

I’m not tall, or strong, or particularly inclined towards physical labor. I’m a clutz. My BF calls me the “fainting goat” because I just lose my balance and start to fall while standing perfectly still on even ground. So I was glad to have my new neighbor to chat (pretend I was still shoveling) with. His name is Jerry, and he’s a retired aerospace engineer. He worked for NASA in the mid-seventies, and knows a man who walked on the moon. Yeah. And I knew we’d be fast friends when he asked me “I don’t know if you ever think about transporters…?” “I think about transporters ALL THE TIME.”

Seriously, gentlemen, that is the best pick-up line I’ve ever heard. We talked about the physics and computational issues etc. of transporters for about an hour. I think I might have a crush.  He’s friends with one of the twelve human beings to have stepped on the moon. And he enjoys talking about transporters. We both felt jipped by the actual year 2001 because it wasn’t, well, you know, like 2001. And one of his early designs is in the National Space and Aeronautics museum. Like the ones that hang from the ceiling. Be still my heart.

What was I talking about before I drifted into a nerd hole? Oh yeah, #Blizzard2016. Yesterday I tore it up in an epic game of Civilization with the BF. History tells us that the Poles were instrumental in holding back all sorts of Muslim invasion of Europe. Well, let me just say, I played as Harun Al-Rashid of Arabia, and I corrected that error. My empire is the most literate, cultured, wealthy and well equipped Wonder of the World. I hope Alec Guinness as Prince Faisal would approve. There were street lights in Damascus! Baghdad was a center of science. Mecca made Paris look like a Neandertal shelter. It seems I’ve crawled back into that nerd hole.

So, fun! Enjoyed Snowmaggedon. Today begins week two of my 500 word a day thing for this blog, but taking off Thursday, most like. Did you folks enjoy your snow days? Everyone all safe and tired from shoveling? Is tomorrow Monday? Are these my hands?

Peace and love, LLAP, and May the Force be with you…always.

Jess

 


JKHOA 1.6 Midpoint

Bilbo

The Road goes ever on and on . . .

So, last Friday I gave myself the challenge of writing 500 words a day on this blog every day for two weeks, no rolling on Shabbas. Half way in, what have I learnt so far? Well, for one, I’m taking a weekday off next week because I need a week day of. That’s my reason. What? That day will be Thursday or Friday. Other than that, I had a hell of a time. In both senses.

First: I really did have fun. It was a hoot. Glad I did this. I needed a jump-start. I got out a bunch of brain backwash that was just building up in there like soap scum on the tub. You know how when you need to clean the bathroom, and every time you go in there, you’re like “God, I gotta clean this.” But you don’t. Then one day you get skeeved by the idea of taking a shower or brushing your teeth. And you’re like “Right! This is on!” And you scrub the crap out of that tub, and then you’re like “Ah! I can feel like I’m getting clean again in here.” That’s kind of how my brain feels.

Secondly: Hey feedback! That’s really cool. I’m thankful for all of it. Especially everyone who’s just shown interest in my brain drivel, or pushed me to consider new ideas and ways to expand upon my work. I enjoyed all the conversations I’ve had with folks over the past week. It’s good. I’m not as social as some (most) folks. So that part is good for me. Talk to people, Jess! Most don’t bite.

Number three, all the rest of my other goals-stuffs and things are lining up around this small enterprise. I’m managing my time better. I’m making sure that everything is in place so that I can take care of me, my life, my dog (she got super-walkies the past few days after a few neglectful ones — and she’s the best listener and has some great ideas too. Thanks Molly!). I’m sleeping better. I’m making an effort to eat before 5 pm. I’ve had to do some yoga and walk to work out the back issues, and that also helps my thought processes. Hell, I even cleaned the house. I haven’t been that productive since before the day we don’t speak of.

Number four. I’ve been back to work on my other projects as well. I needed the self-inflicted ass-kicking.  It’s been a tough past half year. And I was getting all anxious and pissy because I wasn’t doing what I apparently need to do, which was get back to work. So I’m sure the people around me appreciate the less pissy part. Besides, if I dump all my excess brain energy here, I’m a lot more mellow IRL. (That’s “In real life”, Mom.)

So yeah, brain juices are flowing. I’m feeling better overall (although I think I have a cold). The people around me aren’t as afraid of me, and I’m feeling cool and groovy with them as well. I’ve enjoyed talking to new folks too. My neglected work is no longer neglected. Molly is also pleased to have her long talkie-walkies again. She’s such a help. And, finally, I have to thank my Mom for giving me this topic to write about over the phone while she was shopping at BJ’s  I was stuck. Thanks Mom Now when are you going to take the challenge with me? Your story needs to happen, too. I think we can manage better together.

Happy blizzard 2016 everyone. Hope you’re someplace warm and cozy with something or someone you love. No you cannot borrow Molly. I don’t care how much you need the touch of another being. You can have the cat though.

* I must say, this is the perfect day for the Master and Commander soundtrack. Why is that nobody ever talks about how awesome that movie is? It’s just like this magical thing only a few people know about and love.


Jess Kicks Her Own Ass Pt. 1.3

Memoirs of a Traveler: In the Beginning

by,  Jessica Lakis

Vedder-The_Questioner_of_the_Sphinx

Look on my works…

Chapter 1: I Slept and Am Awoken

The midday sun assaulted my eyelids. They submitted and shut. The sun burrowed through them into my brain. I think the beer at The Drunken Barleyman must have been stronger last night. Maybe I if I just slept…

The elbow of Mec, my esteemed colleague, in my ribs, “The contract! Where is it?” I felt his spit in my ear.

I blindly laid my hand out on the table in front, put my hand on the document, passed it to him, stuck my hands into my waistband, and tried again.

“And the precedent! Keep your eyes open! If you at least pretended to be interested in your work you’d get on better, you know.”

His concern was always touching. I couldn’t ever ask him to stop. Gods forbid I should stop someone from doing what makes them happy. I pried my eyes open enough to be struck blind, but managed to again supply Mec with the documents.

The day was hot, and the morning’s cases were typical — contractual disputes over property or marriage, but usually both. But Mec was a predator. He pounced on each as fresh prey to feed his ambition and reputation. I suppose I admired that. He could care so much about something so small. That’s most likely why I worked for him. He also knew my habits, and he paid.

This morning the object of the hunt was some poor sod-tiller. The man probably didn’t know his seal from the King’s. But he relented before Mec’s attack. He identified the seal on the contract as his own. Fines were settled. The farmer shuffled out of the courtyard with his head down.

Mec wedged his body onto the bench next to mine. “Excellent breakfast!” Evidently onions. “Now the feast!”

“Feast?” I asked. I pitied his fleshy palms for being so rigorously submitted to the moist contact of one another. I saved no pity for my own flesh, to which he painfully transferred some of that red and sweat via my back.

“The Foreigner, Jackal! The Foreigner!” I’m not really sure how I had acquired the appellation of “Jackal.” I’ve born other names, I took this one indifferently. That was my name then.

The Foreigner, defended by Mec, was charged with what you’d call treason. Being Mec’s researcher, among other things, it had been my job to run about the City finding the truth of the Foreigner’s character. His crime amounted to being a member of a Northern Tribe during a time of general anxiety within the City regarding that clan. During such times, officials were prone to offer incentives to good citizens for information regarding plots and conspiracies to help focus the distress of the people. Such was the case of the Foreigner.

Afternoon cases promised dismemberment, disfigurement, or public shaming at the least. Today’s promised death. I prepared for a large crowd.

Mec prepared himself with more vigorous fat, sweaty hand rubbing. I was actually a little surprised that the wittnesses against the Foreigner dared losing a limb again. I guess liars also have bar debts. Maybe more than others. I imagined Mec was considering how to best hack them up for the offering. Which chop first and where. He was a crude butcher, but effective with guidance.

The stench of bloodlust. The citizens began to choke the baking courtyard. I looked up and traced the flowering vines along the lintels. Not much hope of shade from the Sun of the Immutable Law in them.

Following one of these tangles of green and life down, I found Her. High. High above me in the benches opposite my low table.

Separate. Apart. Beyond. Her face, no it was her entire self, focused into a beam of intense concern and honest pity. And that soft strong light focused on the figure now presented to the Court. The Foreigner. I hated him.


Jess Kicks Her Own Ass Pt. 1.2

 

I knew him well, Horatio!

Alas! I know this feeling well, Horatio!

I suppose I’ll address the issue of my “negativity” or “pessimism”, along with some other words I’ve been hearing in relation to my writing and other media, comments, etc lately  (really, “emo?). These claims have a certain validity, but I’d hardly call my muse “the tombstone”, as someone recently observed. Mostly it’s just winter, and frankly I’m against it. I enjoy freedom of movement and the outdoors. My most cathartic moments are generally spent out of doors with my dog and my man. But let’s sing a song of momento mori today.

I want to feel something in life, even if that be something be “bad.” I don’t even necessarily care for that word or the notion of “negative emotions.”  There’s a time for The Beatles and there’s a time for Mozart’s Requiem or even just a sad etude. Winter naturally reminds us of death. And there’s been more than a few reasons to mourn lately. Bowie has left us for the stars. And Alan Rickman is sneering on us from some celestial plane of infinitely languid condescension.  So what’s so wrong with a bit of sad?

Not a thing. Say I. And dear me, how could I be alone? Why go around with a silly grin plastered on your face everyday unless you fear some unbearable evil will befall if your smile should slip? I’ve never seen anything wrong with celebrating an old cemetery, a moment passed, a shiny yellow memory that’s gotten blue on it. How would we ever know Joy without Sadness? Right my fellow Pixar fans?

I don’t advocate dwelling in grief, sorrow or despair. But ignoring these emotions seems to me far more perilous a thing than letting them grow inside until they own you without your realizing. When your fear of your own Dark Side dictates your very life because you’ve neglected it, then what? If we had no reminders of that eternal loss, our own mortality, how can we be expected to handle the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to?

Denying the Dark is every bit as dangerous as ignoring the Light. That’s why we can experience both. Evolution teaches us that nothing evolves without a reason because nature doesn’t waste energy. All of our emotions are there for a cause, and a very good one. They’re how we learn to live as a human being and survive the process.

I recently heard a phrase I liked. “When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.” ( Ursula K. Le Guin, The Earthsea Cycle) I don’t know the context of the quote, but I do know that the the Light and the Shadow are always with us. Shakespeare wrote sonnets of loss, and it never dimmed the brilliance of his humor. But it occurs to me that all life navigates that in-between world of mirth and joy, darkness and sorrow.

Why not choose winter, when the light is cold and Persephone still walks in the underworld, to meditate on those quiet, and not so quiet, shadow moments? Just don’t live there. The Spring will come.

And on the next sunny day, “Let’s go where we’re happy. I’ll meet you at the cemetery gates. Keats and Yeats are on your side. But Wilde is on mine.” (The Smiths, Cemetery Gates)

PS – I’m still with Johnny Cash on wearing black though.  I’ve got that which passeth show. Good grief!


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