Writing the Hard Thing

If I could tell you the number of stories and novels I’ve begun writing and not finished, we’d be here too long.  But “not finished” doesn’t mean “discarded.”  It means what it says.  The difficulty comes when I’ve convinced myself that I’m one sort of writer (the consistent, cheerfully productive kind) as opposed the other,… Continue reading Writing the Hard Thing

Maybe being a success-bot isn’t the way after all?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJhUs1L_RQo

Surpassing Meritocracy: the Artist’s Way

There are many different paths to greatness, not just the ones most commonly identified by conformist culture.  As long as your basic needs are met, where you put your energy—how you pursue excellence—is completely your business.  Realizing this can be difficult and gradual. It seems true, even if we admit that discourses (value systems) will… Continue reading Surpassing Meritocracy: the Artist’s Way

The Heat Death of a Wandering Star

A fortune teller in Northern California looked at my palm and said, “You’re going to lead an unnaturally long life.”  Then she slid my money back across the table and added, “I feel bad for you.”  This was in 2008 or 2009.  My memory of the year is less distinct than the mournful expression on… Continue reading The Heat Death of a Wandering Star

2010

First, a Sincere Declaration of Thanks I’ve spent most of my life running in circles looking for something authentic, then waiting for permission to explore it, and harshly criticizing myself when I didn’t get that permission.  Maybe other people have different experiences, but this has been mine, my personal through-line from childhood to the present. … Continue reading 2010

This Mad Dance

Looking at photos of relatives from the early 20th century, I’m struck by how incredibly normal they look, how I could walk down any street and see the same faces.  Such an insight comes easily since I live near the locus of my ancestral lines, but I think it’s a realization one could have anywhere. … Continue reading This Mad Dance

Tiredness, Truth, and Mockery: the American Way

Today, I wonder whether I should re-think some of my ultra-liberal biases and attendant leftist news consumption.  This is good.  But, man, I'm beat. The alt-right (and the radical religious right) to me seems like a uniquely American expression of deep stupidity but, of course, I would say that. Look at my demographic: college educated,… Continue reading Tiredness, Truth, and Mockery: the American Way

The Professional and the Superior Man

A long time ago, I watched a black-and-white movie about the French Foreign Legion in Algeria. The title escapes me, as does most of the plot, but I vividly remember one scene. A young recruit had snuck off to a local village to visit a girl he liked and was arrested for deserting his post.… Continue reading The Professional and the Superior Man

Nobody Knows It But Me

Long ago, I was an English teacher at a private high school in central California. It was a good, if demanding, job and unlike many of my colleagues, I seemed to manage occasional moments of non-misery in the workplace. In fact, the two years I spent working there taught me more about human nature than… Continue reading Nobody Knows It But Me

All Hail the Tooth Fairy: Reasonability and Belief in Times of Rapid Change

We come into the world screaming and it remains for us to learn how to impose order on our experiences such that we can live in a reasonable way. We could say that adult life comes down to whether we have behaved reasonably, according to the information available. In the tension between what we know… Continue reading All Hail the Tooth Fairy: Reasonability and Belief in Times of Rapid Change