Friday, October 26, 2012

Mikey Likes It. Still.

This one's for the tallest kid in the class.

Whatever that means.

"I don't like Reggae.  I love it..."  So the song goes.  I thought about making a list of things that I like, regardless of how it may work against me.  And that song popped into my mind.  Yeah, I really like it.  It's catchy and a good refrain.  Don't know a lot about it, like who sings it, for instance.  But I like it.

I also like beer and pizza.  I like warm, dry socks in the winter.  I like beer.  I like repeating myself.  I like reproductive rights.  Equality.  Orange soda.  Cuddling.

I like not turning my blog into an E-Harmony ad.

I like storytellers.  I like narrative style, and the oral tradition.  I like sexual innuendo.  Most of the time.

I never really liked Andrew Dice Clay.  Didn't really "get" him.  But I like Lewis Black.

I really liked how I felt while tripping on magic mushrooms.  I like that sustained, "spiritually at peace" feeling.  I used to have it more often when I was younger and of fresher perspective.  But I still have it occasionally.  I haven't done illicit drugs in many years.  But I'm still on drugs, psychoactive ones at that, right now.  I don't really "like" them, but I tolerate them.  They do seem to help me some, in a way that brings me more success and less crisis.

I like friendships.  I like hanging out, joking around, laughing it up with friends.  I like sporting events.  I like family.  I like eating.  Almost anything, really.

But this isn't just about me.  What do you like?  Who are you, and what do you like, about yourself, about the world, about this blog?  What brings you pleasure?

I like dogs.  I like being clean-shaven, but I hate shaving.  I like getting mail from friends and family-- y'know, letters and stuff.  Like in the olden days, before all of this electronic stuff.  But I like getting email, too.  But not spam.

I like Life cereal.  It's true.  But I rarely eat it.  I like grits, and linguica, and eggs over easy.  And toast.

I like doing the work.  I like working for a few hours, then stepping back and regarding the progress.  Admiring it.  I like progress.

Tomorrow I'm driving up into the Santa Cruz mountains and attending a writer's workshop.  Three hours of intensive work towards writing my book and getting it published.

I like that.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Do What You're Supposed To

I just dared myself to write something.  Anything.  Because it doesn't matter what I can think of if I don't write it down.

Writing sustains and endures.  Thinking fogs and scrambles, mangles great ideas.

You gotta do it.  You gotta get those hammers throwing.  In the old days, that's how it used to be, tossing manual typewriter keys up at the paper, one at a time.  Because if you tried to go too fast, the keys would get tangled and stick together, or stick to the paper or the typewriter ribbon.

Not that I had a lot of experience with that.  I'm not THAT old.  But I did attempt to type a report when I was in the fourth grade.  I thought that typing it would make it more impressive.  Well, I waited too long to get it done, and my mom had to bail me out.  She was a much better typist than I was, at least at the time.  So I struggled and got about half done, and mom finished up and even sent a note along with me and my report, disclosing that she had finished up the typing for me.  I felt somewhat a failure but it wasn't a total disaster.  And I got a perfect 100 out of 100 for a grade.

But the worst part was that my classmate got a score of 110.  How in the world?  I couldn't imagine even how that was possible.  The scale didn't even go up that high!  How could he have done more than perfect?

Somehow, my 100 didn't feel so perfect for very long.

But that was fourth grade, when life was still full of magic and wonder.  Today, I'd cherish a 100 out of 100, regardless of what others did.

Life doesn't seem to have those easy scores, slam dunks.  Things are so much more complicated.  And it's probably because I've done so much thinking.  I'm tangled up in my own string.

I didn't even really realize that your own thinking can hurt you.  But it's true.  You have to work at your thinking or it gets undisciplined and clouded.  Your emotions can blur rational thought.  So even though something seems logical, it actually, after further scrutiny, doesn't measure up.

There are lots of ways that we skew our thinking, though.  We exaggerate for greater effect.  We rationalize with facts and figures and paint elaborate dioramas to explain, when the simple truth goes ignored.  This is at the heart of many a mental illness.

Some of it doesn't occur of our own volition.  The medical model tries to explain that there are chemical reactions that take place that drive our thinking and perception and that operate on a level beyond the control of the individual mind.

I don't know if I believe that.  I'm still trying to figure it out.  Am I just an organism controlled by chemistry and biology?  I don't think so.  There's more to it than that.

I think that my habit of thinking and questioning and deciding for myself is a process that should be encouraged.  Figure it out for yourself and you'll feel better.  Get help if you need it, take in information,  but evaluate it, consider the source, put some weight to it, and keep going.

But keep going.  Don't dawdle around thinking you got it figured all out, because you don't.  No, you don't.  Because the answer is not a set target.  It moves.  We're all in motion.  Oh yeah.  You're going somewhere, even though you might think you're attached to your chair.  You've got swooshing blood and pulsing organs and you're thinking you're something you're not.  You're more than all those parts that you can list, alphabetically if you're inclined.

And so am I.  So are we.  You and me?  And all these other glorious idiots?  We're all made of the same stuff.  And we are One.  The collective diversity.  Both the source and the container.  The Holy Singularity.  All of us.  Uno.

The same crazy crackheads that design our freeway systems think at speeds and in diagrams that mimic the webs of spiders and mycelium networks in fungi.  There is brilliance everywhere the eye is turned.  We are doing what needs to be done.  There is this purpose towards which we all strive, and our hearts yearn to realize.

And that is it.  That is the purpose.  To live, and to love.  And even to die.  But to love-- that is the greatest.  Honor that purpose.  Love like you mean it.  And the accountants will figure out how to balance the spreadsheet.  Just love, people.  Love.

I love you.