Category Archives: Self Reflection
Warning: This post is probably as personal and serious as I’m likely to get on here. It won’t be very funny. It will, however, be genuine. You been warned.
Father’s Day is coming up. For many people, it’s a day to give their father a suitably crappy gift and give the old man a hug. I see a lot of ads and sales and heart-warming hey-ain’t-Dad-great stories and I think that’s pretty cool. For a lot of other people, Father’s Day means not much at all. There’s a load of deadbeat dads, kids who don’t have their fathers in their lives, dads who abandoned their kids and whatnot. For some, Father’s Day is a reminder of someone who abused and terrified them. Not such a great place to be.
My first encounter with Christopher Hitchens was when I read a piece of his on Slate, a left-leaning website I browsed because it tended to concur with my own opinions. It was shortly after the attacks on September 11th, and during the run-up to the possibility of war in Iraq. I was against the idea of the war for many reasons: one, because it was an attack on those who weren’t responsible for the attacks on U.S. soil, two, because it put our soldiers at risk, but most importantly for the third reason, which was that I didn’t think our country had a plan for what to do after the inevitable victory against the Iraqi armed forces. I was convinced we would be involved in a long period of nation-building, a morass with no end and no tangible sign of Victory in sight. Most of the pieces in Slate agreed with my own opinion, which is of course why I read it, because nothing makes us feel quite so smart as reading words which we already believe.
From last Wednesday (June 29th) to the 4th of July, I was on vacation. The purpose of that was mostly for a wedding on Saturday, one in which I was both the best man and also the officiant (which means I performed the ceremony – I’m a minister don’tchaknow). It also included my birthday and a BBQ blowout party for friends on Sunday. That’s why there were no posts here, why I wasn’t on Twitter or Facebook much, and why I didn’t read my personal email.
My birthday was good – low-key, the way I like it. Marking my progress to old age isn’t something I revel in, and I absolutely hate getting presents from anyone who isn’t my wife so low-key works for me. My wife is the greatest person in the world, and not only because she buys me books and toys for my birthday. That last part helps, though.
I’m struggling today to do just about everything. I’m struggling with forcing myself to work. I’m struggling with making myself write (although I did pen a little addition to “The Space“, a small scene which has wedged itself into my brain and refused to let up until I wrote it down, so I did and will be updating the story as it’s posted here just after I finish this). Hell, I struggled putting up a blog post. I wanted to put something up (probably related to some interesting programs I watched looking at the Old Testament through the eyes of a military historian which absolutely fascinates me, but evidently couldn’t be less interesting to everyone I’ve tried to talk to about it over the last few days), but struggled with what to say and how to say and if I’d offend anyone with it and wondering why I care about that at all and blah blah blah. Instead I’ll just write what I’ve been thinking half-heartedly about this morning. Read the rest of this entry
I just read an article on Slate about the beloved Choose Your Own Adventure series of books, and it made me think about those days of school book fairs and curling up in my room with the latest one, Forbidden Castle or Deadwood City. I was probably 8 when I got my first one, and it was like the first hit of heroin for me. I suddenly had the power to choose where a narrative went – my decisions suddenly mattered. What was going to happen to me? It was intoxicating. Read the rest of this entry
There are a lot of perfectionists in the world. Perhaps you yourself are one of them, or know someone who is. Many famous people are perfectionists, especially artists of all stripes, honing their craft or whatever they are working on, striving for exactly the right sound or feel or look. Take Ralph Ellison. He wrote Invisible Man, a highly successful novel that was judged at one point as the best American novel since World War II (world wars being the demarcation point for literary eras, apparently). That was pretty much it. He published a collection of essays, but he was too much of a perfectionist to ever finish the sequel to his novel. He apparently had over 2000 pages written when he died, but wasn’t close to finishing it. He was even unsatisfied with Invisible Man, a book so remarkable that I didn’t entirely hate every word of it when I was forced to read it in high school (have no fear, I didn’t read all of it, but the parts I read weren’t excruciating like most of the rest, but especially Moby Dick and The Scarlet Letter, oh, and The Red Badge of Courage, god how I hated them). I can picture musicians being the same way, tweaking individual notes and sounds until just the right sound emerges.
What a horrible-sounding way to go through life.
I think most people ask themselves that while they are exercising at some point. For me, it’s usually when it’s 4:30 am and I am tying my shoes, getting ready to do an hour or so of cardio before work, or when I realize that I need to do 53 consecutive pushups to finish my pushup workout. Those moments are the hardest, when it is so easy to just walk away, or lie back down, and say: Tomorrow. I can do it tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry
Everyone wants to improve themselves. There is something about everyone that they’d like to change, whether it’s their health, their career, their outlook, something. Change, real change, is very difficult to do, however. It’s easier to rationalize or procrastinate than it is to follow through and try for various reasons. One is complacency, that pernicious voice that whispers that hey, things aren’t all that bad, so just sit down over here with a box of HoHos and we’ll get ‘em next time, champ. Another is fear, like I talked about yesterday. The fear of failure is brutal, since the person you are failing is the same person you look at every day in the mirror. The self-loathing that accompanies it is crushing, which makes it harder to contemplate making the changes you want to make for yourself. Fear is the enemy, always. There is only one real solution to making changes: Do it. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. Today.
I’ve always wanted to believe in the supernatural. As a kid, I loved ghost stories and other supernatural horror stuff (well, I guess I still do, with, you know, writing a zombie novel and all), and I always hoped to discover a ghost or see something like that. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but stopped going at 7, but even then I’m not sure how much BELIEF there was in me. I went to Kingdom Hall, but I’m not sure I ever really bought into the actual existence of a god. Maybe it’s just my futuristic atheist self projecting back on the past, but I really don’t remember thinking of it any different than any other stories.