Friday, April 1, 2016

The Middle: a dragon and water wings

This is not the beginning – it is the middle.  It’s too late to begin at the beginning, so I am starting here instead.  I intended to start this blog in August of 2015 and I’ve been geared up to do it several times since then, but have not managed it.  Not incidentally, I have a six and a half month old son.

I didn’t want to begin this blog by boring you with an explanation, however, or by making excuses.  I am weary of beginnings already, because I have been through so many of them in my head, and it would seem strange now to issue you an invitation to an event that’s already begun.  But I do feel obligated to announce my intentions, much like a suitor concerned with the decorum of a bygone era would have announced his purpose in courting a lady’s attention (Dear Reader, and all that).

I would rather have hit the ground running.  I had planned to say, today I got rid of *this item*.  I would have posted a picture of it.  I would have talked about my feelings concerning the object and how I vanquished it, removing the fire-breather from its hoarded stronghold in the mountain (or you know, my house).

Afterwards, the post would have been there for you to see, like a buck’s head on a wall.  I could have invited you over on some pretense, like an evening scotch tasting, and placed you across from the wall where it was being displayed so you would have been facing it, compelled to remark on it.  That is what I had in mind when I thought to start this blog.

The problem is, the dragon is still here.  My phone’s memory is full, I still have too many possessions and at this precise moment, I am not ready to fix my phone or throw something out for the sake of this blog, even though I can think of several things that are huddled in corners right now that need to go.  I’ve placed action on hold for now, because I want to write about it.  It is – I think, because this is untested – the writing about it that I am really after and the idea that writing will lead to improved action.

I want to share ideas and gain more ideas by sharing them.  I would love to take off running, wielding a sword, towards that dragon, but I want to live to tell about it.  I need to get used to the sword, its weight, its purpose.  I need to know a little about the dragon first, a little something about the mountain.  Maybe I’ll do some calisthenics to warm up.  An epic is an epic for a reason. 

It reminds me of the process by which my son discovered he had feet, learned to put them in his mouth and then naturally desired to show this adorable new skill to me at 4am.  It’s always going to be 4am, inconvenient somehow, but happening nevertheless at 4am because that’s when it needs to happen.

I will most likely put my foot in my mouth.  I intend to blog about culture, about minimalism, about consumerism and advertising.  Those are big ideas that come with special dangers.  You won’t hear me talking about my “journey.”  Like I said, this is no longer the beginning.  This is the middle.  I’m thirty years old, so I have a past and gods willing, a future.  Let’s leave it at that, see where it goes.

I also don’t want to be a guru giving out tips or telling you what to do.  I’m not qualified for that.  If I were, I would never want to stand on a street corner shoving flyers into people’s hands, regardless of whether they pitch them into the nearest puddle or memorize each diagram as if it could save their lives. 

I wanted to be a modern prophet Isaiah, exhorting my peers to turn away from their sinful (consumerist) ways from an overturned vegetable crate I found in an alley somewhere.  I will write a poem for that, eventually.  The point is, life is messy and I want writing to be a respite, like a pair of water wings.  Most of all, I want to get personal, take a hatchet to the podium.

I want to see you walk by, introduce myself and invite you for some iced tea at my picnic table outside.  After we empty our glasses, I want to take a box out of my garage, one of the ones I haven’t looked in since I moved a few years ago, and dump it out on the table for you to see.  Maybe you will listen while I rummage through my things, maybe you will offer me some advice, maybe you or I will box them right back up and toss them in the trash or drive them to the nearest charity.  Maybe you or I will have some other reaction I cannot yet anticipate - that’s probably more of what I’m after, but those other options will sustain me as well.

There is beauty in confusion, not just in clarity – I am convinced of it.  Wabi-sabi.  That could be my manifesto, if you’d like.  I am confident as well that reality is not a secret to unlock.  I am not going to pretend I have an answer.  In my view, you cannot offer solutions to other people, only suggestions, or better yet, stories.  I want to have and share experiences.  I want us to get to know each other.  Hello.

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