It Was 1600 Words: You Can Have 300

I value the people who give back.  It’s not as much a tit for tat as a, “Wow, look at that!!”  It’s easier to find the best in me, when I see it in others.

When my friends tell me to take it easy, that anybody can work themselves to death.  The generous few in my life who consistently are willing to put up with my cycles of idealism and dreaming, without stomping me into the dirt with judgements.  Their questions are oblique.  They don’t tear at me like a prideful cleaver.  They sit back and ask me something of honor….and let it steep in their love.

These are the people who act like my dog, or a kid.  When all the hope in my world has gone into the engine of a nasty train of thought, and I look at the memory of them, and see only calm acceptance, or a well-meaning question.  They are the reason suicide is never a viable option for me.  They are the knot at the end of my ropes of disappointment.  They burn the doubts in myself, with faith that what is inside of me, is worth their attention.  These are the people I live to serve.

Maybe I should let go of wishing they were in my age group.  I guess that’s one of the main reasons I love blogging.  I don’t know how old you are, and I don’t really care, but it gives me a chance to cultivate and share the sentiments I value most, from the wisdom of those people. I am thankful for my family, my friends, my honorable customers, and my readers here.  For the several who make the difference by reading and encouraging me consistently, and the many who just stop by to see which way the wind is blowing.


Are You Happy?

At times I am a locomotive running full-tilt, pulling my load through new decisions on the line.

At other times I am a caboose, pushing the weight up the hill, with all that’s left of my will.

The engines always need fuel, they’re insatiable appetite gobbling down the tracks in my mind.

There’s always the sound of screaming wheels on the track, smoke in the sky, and brake dust billowing.

As each car passes by, I notice what each one carries, and the train is me.

The station stops are my chance to question the load, to strap one down, or cut one loose.

I hope for shorter stops, a better maintenance crew, and less need for repairs.

The track is community, the hive, the ant hill, and a shared meal.

Blogging Makes Laughter

Releasing my thoughts and feelings in a free flow in the hope of making the world a better place, and finding encouragement as I do, is rewarding me with laughter.  Wouldn’t it be great if we had an economy based on laughter?  What if the goal of making money was to laugh?  The ones who laughed the hardest could be the richest, and you know what I think?  I think they’d probably share the money to promote somebody else laughing.  I pledge to you, that if you donate a dollar to my blog, I will find somebody with a need, and find a way to make them laugh with the dollar.  Heck.  I’d pay them a dollar for the laugh, and take a picture of them laughing for you to see what your investment did.  That seems accountable.  Whatever.  I’m gonna have to pay somebody for a laugh whether you give me money for my writing or not.  I’ll post the picture at some point….because work can be play with a little shift of imagination. 

Thanks TK and Marina for liking my post about character development.  I read back through it after you clicked there, and laughed.   I have to admit I did a little bit of good-natured trolling earlier, so I’m in a pretty good mood, and I did just finish a beer, but whatever.  Goodnight.  🙂   

Oops. I just got caught spreading smiles on Facebook with a like notification here. Thought I’d come back and add in this link for his SEO, because he liked my post, and has a harmonic reason for being here. 🙂

This article is starting to get out of hand, and I like losing control of my laughter, so I’m going to keep putting links for the people who encourage it with their attitudes of pleasure. Thanks for the chuckle Otrazhenie.

It was great to read this post from Brad after writing the last paragraph, because his article supported it in a way that didn’t bring me laughter, but made me want to ask; is blogging a symbiotic relationship? This post, his like, my link, and his article…with my like…. 🙂 After further review, I’m finding that he has a menu item dedicated to humor, so if you want a laugh, I’m sure you’ll find one free here.

Perfect timing Erik. I enjoy reading your smoky love poems and the presentation of your writing is top notch! I wish I had the talents to make the face of my blog as aesthetically pleasing as yours. Thanks for letting me know you were here and liked this post. My reference in the first paragraph to jolly trolling, was your article here, so it won’t hurt my feelings if you never take it out of moderation. It was interesting to read your “about” page while researching for this link placement, I hope your book series brings you happiness and prosperity, now I see why we enjoy each others craft. I found this link in your “just for fun” category, and it gave me a medicinal grin. 🙂

Defining the Character Types In a Story

What is somebody’s disposition, and how does it change?

I was having a conversation last night with a fellow writer, and in walks his roommate. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t know we were working on becoming co-writers of a book. Additionally I failed to communicate properly, which if you read my blog you know that I’m a bit socially retarded, so it wasn’t a surprise.

We were discussing how to judge people properly, and that pride with greed go together depending on personality types. The judgement angle might have been what turned him around, but I didn’t know so I tried my best to help him understand where I was coming from by saying, “I like you, but if I was going to write you into a book, I’d judge you with my best attempt at objectivity.”

Maybe he didn’t like the idea of being the object of my judgement, as I started in on his lifestyle and what I could look at to define him. I probably should have let him debate the idea of becoming a character in a book, before launching into verbally writing it in a brainstorm, and I felt bad that he left in a hurry seeking water.

This moment was a beautiful example of why I love this place to write. People here enjoy the peace of mind found in sharing perceptions that build each other up, and I found that same feeling when I shared with my co-author. He’s a blogger too, which probably helps him receive constructive criticism, and we laughed together about this, which to me solidified our collective effort to define personalities.

My first attempt to formally develop character types for fiction:

From role-playing games when I was a kid, I remember the process of developing a character to play. We’d roll a ten-sided-die twice and choose from a scale of dispositions:

Diabolical(100-81), Aberrant(80-61), Anarchist(60-41), Scrupulous(40-21), and Altruist(20-0)

The scale was an interesting way to approach personality, and I found that the higher or lower you picked, the less flexibility of choice you had to get “playing in character bonuses”. My favorite “experience points” to earn(this is how you gained character strength), were called “deductive reasoning and or insight”. This is why I love to put question marks where they don’t belong?

The funny thing to me about intelligence, is that it fits into this paradigm for me. In my experience the smartest and least intelligent experiences I’ve had, shrink my options towards contentment. The closer I get to accepting I’m not better or worse, the happier I am.

Editing this now for the sake of grace(I am talking about judgement here, so please take a deep breath and recognize that to me it’s synonymous with definition, and I prefer the thesaurus), I’m realizing that maybe this is why my philosophical approach to imagination is getting me into trouble with people’s comfort zones.

Maybe most people want a clearly defined sentence. They want to know, and are not comfortable with a question mark on identity, because it might imply an unreliable narrator? Is this why I’m pursuing the goal of promoting imagination in education?  Is teaching and learning how to think more important to me, than finding the answers?  In my experience learning how to judge myself more gracefully, builds my self-esteem, mental health,  and confidence.

From an oblique spiritual perspective(non-religious/scientific/creative) I would say that the scale fits gradients of selfishness, as the lowest numbers would be most generous. Pride and shame would be higher while humble would be lower. Hate would be high, while love and compassion would be lower. Nihilism would be highest followed by Materialism, Pragmatism, Utilitarianism, and finally Spiritualism?

Since this is all theory, let’s put it to a test. I’m seeking to help another writer and myself, which would imply a combination of selfish and generous within the gospel of Pragmatism and Utilitarianism, as a teacher/student. I’m concerned that sharing these perceptions with pride wouldn’t help my creative juices, so I’m doing my best to remain objective and humble, as identity is part of well-being, and I hope to maintain my spiritual health. How can I remain objective? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. There. I feel better.

Since I’m talking about character class, I’ve worked myself up to socioeconomic status. What does money do for me? It gives me power in materialism, and allows me to get what I want in selfish ways easier. At the same time it allows me to be generous, so its a matter of choice.  What does lack of money do for me? It makes me wish I was a saint. Most of us are somewhere in between having no money, and having too much.

Since books and life in general consistently have heroes vs villains, and most people compare themselves to these polarized opposites when they question identity, I better address it for the sake of character type definition. It comes down to personal perceptions of good vs evil.

The things that I consistently battle with in my goals towards imaginative thought, are the cultural constructs around perceptions of work and play. Is working in your mind as valuable as working with your body? If what you produce is immaterial like this article, is it justifiable as work? If I love doing it and see it as play, can it still be work in your mind?  If I don’t make money at it, will you call me a professional volunteer, a fool, crazy, or eccentric?

Buckminister Fuller helps me feel good about this dilemma with an idea I love to share:
“I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing–a noun. I seem to be a verb.” On that note his quote about work brought me happiness the other day, when I was doubting my goals and identity as a blogger and scholar:

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

Since character development is such an important part of plot, think of this blog as my dream of how I can have a happy ending.  Each article is a moment in my process as a Student/Teacher/Blogger/Artist/Builder/Executive Director, and Friend who loves to write.  With each letter I type, and each thought I share, my understanding of this art grows.  I might get knocked down by a rule, and your encouragement helps me get back up, and attempt to figure out why.

Toys are tools, and work is play.  This is an instrument that does both.  If you are reading for the first time on this blog, welcome to the definition of myself that will never change:  I am in flux and content to ask questions for the sake of TATWIP goals.  If you have questions or answers, feel free to give me some of your thoughts below.  Thanks for reading.

Cedar Trees From Ridge to Ditch

The thing that makes me strong buries me in misery. She is the shining light that burns my skin. He is the fierce hug that I miss. We are the moment in time that was here, and is now gone.

They wondered why I didn’t show up, because I was showing up for myself. The last conversation we had was wild, it took me across my mind-scape, and brought me laughter to tears. It was exhausting because the flow consumed me.

You know the dance a puppy makes? The one that leads from “Hey, how you doin?” to “Ouch, dang… chill out!” Well, that’s friendship for me, and while I take it seriously, I end up being a sad puppy at times.

I have lot’s of people I consider friends. I love to socialize, but it’s exhausting to fully embrace a high standard of emotional intelligence, and I grow empty from it. If the ditch I land in from failing to meet their expectations is something I have to climb out of each time I see them, our friendship is weak.

My best friends appreciate my need for silence, and revel in my reappearances. They don’t expect me to conform to their sense of attachment to my time, and express their longing in easy messages that end with, “If you don’t call me back I’ll know everything is okay.”

Depression cycles have been the worst, and best. They jump me around, toss me in the air, and I land on the ground in a heap. I enjoy sharing the lofty parts of it, where I’ve finally come out of my cave of sadness, and I can’t get enough of the smell of flowers. Sunshine puts a smile on my face, and the storm of a grey day is something to challenge.

Through research I’ve found that this is a common pattern. From the honorable place of wanting to save my friends from misery, I bury my sadness from the people I care about, hide it in being alone, and let it stew in me for long periods of time.

This had built a shame deck that people who cared about me would walk on to get to the house that was me. They would tread softly in their approach, and knock on the door gently, asking if its okay to enter. At other times out of disgust for my pattern, they’d pound on my door, and think about kicking it in.

Each ridge and ditch has gotten bigger over the years. It hasn’t taken any longer to climb or fall, the ride just got more intense. The best things I learned from it make the ride easier for me, but unfortunately for the people who care about me, I’m a stranger who built walls.

Some people judge my actions as irresponsible and immature, but I’m not as ashamed about my miseries and expressions of exponential happiness, as I’ve begun to accept them as my process in learning to survive change. My relationships grow stronger from this experience, and I see it as one of the main benefits of my blogging.

How am I doing? Do you need to worry? Read my blog if you think you do, because the doors to the walls I built between us, are everywhere. I’ve done enough worrying for the both of us, and plenty of other people I may never meet.

I’m working on not worrying. Do you want to help with that? Good. Stop worrying, as doubt feeds doubt. If you want to show that you care about me, get curious. I do my best to preserve love with my question marks, and I hope you can return it.

I’ve proven to myself that I am not the king, the best, the smartest, or the prettiest. I feel like a beautifully shined burning boot, and that won’t ever change. I get pleasure from seeing you, and if I turn away to hide my tears from your joys, at least you know I still feel.

Have you felt the bottom of the pit? Did you ever lay in a curled ball and cry yourself to sleep for months? Was your perception ever laced with the crystals of so much happiness, that you burst from it and people were worried for you? Do your friends look at you with curiosity and wonder how you feel?

Do they assume you showed up only for pleasure? Watch out for that, as they’ll like you better if you let them bear some of your grief. If you don’t, they’ll bear it anyways in quiet resignation, or reject you from the compassion fatigue of bearing to much.