Thursday, September 16, 2010

SBT: Trust

Beyond the last last line of defense... past the places that you hold sacred... and at the edge of reason, lies a boundary which you dare me to cross. You entice, and cajole, and plead with me to step over that line. And yet you say nothing. It is all unwritten except on your heart, and deep in your eyes. Away from public consumption. But the signs are there for one who knows that path.

It is well worn with only my steps. And yet each trip I take there is unique. Each journey requires its own dance, with steps that are similar, but not quite the same from the last. At the heart of the matter is a emotion that is simple and pure. Trust. It is a simple helix with infinite variety. A genetic code all its own that wraps its way forward and back in time... pulling history and mingling it with possibility into something that is new. It is an emotion that is as solid as smoke, difficult to grasp, and impossible to regain once it has dissipated.

But once there... once the invasion has begun... it devolves into naked fury, hand to hand combat, where both sides sweat, and both sides struggle, and both sides die a little death.

And once the battle is over... and we lay there, spent... the lines resolve again into north and south, and we stare at each across the parallel and await the next battle.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Closer to Fine

Socrates said that "A life unexamined is a life not worth living." And while Socrates was undoubtedly a smart guy, he doesn't give a whole lot of guidance on how much examining we should be doing. Does this mean I should be examining your life? Or mine? How closely? Is a financial statement enough? Or do I need the full Monty, complete with sleazy investigator pics of your vibrator collection. See what I did there? Cleverly employing some Socratic irony... and vibrators.

I'm thinking he was talking more about self examination... and not the monthly kind for lumps. But the internal wrangling with who we are... and what we are... and why we are.

For most writers... the written word is a formalized wrangling. Regardless of the topic, it is impossible not to inject some of your own soul searching between the lines. Writers of history are not, as a general rule, a happy lot. Oh, I'm sure that there have been some painfully happy writers. Just not very successful ones. The process of laying oneself bare in the form of the characters that we create can be very taxing. Blogs are no exception and in fact they can be even more so... since the character generally has little in the way of fiction. Comedy or tragedy. They really are two faces of the same internal dialogue.

I've been writing less of late. Both here and elsewhere. I suppose it is a natural flow where we are driven to write and then just as quickly emptied out. Writers are typically "a little bit bipolar" as my mother terms it. She should know. She's been treating them for years. Driving around my home town with her is like a mobile PDR of diagnoses. "Oh, there's Bob! He's a little bipolar." I think we all have a bit of the manic depressive cycle within us. We are more prolific at times than others. But at the heart of the matter is our own soul searching. Is a life unexamined really not worth living? Do we really need to dig into the knotty problems of our jobs, and our loves, and our mistakes, and our mid-life crises on a daily basis to be "worth living?" Or can we just check in from time to time to see if we have any new lumps.

There are more days than not when I don't really feel like writing. Does this mean that I am not feeling as deeply as I do on days when I do write? Am I more in touch with me when others can read and connect? Or am I just repeating the same words time and again?

None of these questions really have answers. Your answers will be different than mine... and my answers today will be different than they will be tomorrow. And this lack of clarity is the thing that has kept real philosophers and amateur ones tied in knots for eons. But I wonder if Socrates is a little off some days... and if there were days where he just laid in bed and watched the tube and didn't really do any thinking at all.

Personally, I've begun to prefer the philosophy of the Indigo Girls: The less I seek my source for some definitive, The closer I am to fine.

Off to watch some mindless television.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Ties that Bind

My youngest has started her own business. It isn't much of a business since she doesn't charge for her wares. She does it for love. And because she is a busy body. Somewhere along the line someone taught her how to make bracelets from multi-colored string. Now she can't stop making them. And she takes orders from friends, family, strangers who dare to ask her what she is doing. Her little fingers flying as she weaves the thin string into multi-colored bands.

On the surface of it... it is a childish hobby. On a deeper level there is much that is symbolic about it. It is her way of making her mark in the world. Of staking her claim on the people that she loves. Public displays of affection, if you will.

Love can be like that. It is our deep, unspoken desire is to make our mark on other people. To bind them to us in ways where they can't escape. In some cases this is sweet and lovely and happily ever after... but in other cases it can be stifling and limiting and troublesome. My dog has a way of binding us with his love. He sits on us. It isn't really comfortable for either party. But there is a territorial protective part of his behavior that is funny. But it is also hot, smelly and uncomfortable when he steps on areas of you not made for stepping. But the concepts are the same.

We are surrounded with symbols of owning and being owned. Wedding rings are only a hop, skip and jump into metal from the string colored bracelets of my daughter. There is desire to own... but a reluctance to be owned. But owning someone when it means we have to sit on them to keep them where we want them isn't very satisfying. Being our own people by running away from any possibility of being owned isn't very satisfying either.

Of course, love isn't really about owning... or being owned. It is about willing giving oneself over to another. Choosing to stay. And letting the other person decide whether to come or go. That can be joyful. That can be heartbreaking. But it is a lesson that comes to us all at some point. I hope for my daughter the heartbreak is minor and the joy overflowing. But those lessons are far away from now. A now where a piece of string is all it takes to say "I love you".

And so... for the time being at least... there is a middle age man walking around with some woven colored thread on his wrist. She owns a piece of me. I accept that and embrace it. And I love her back, even though that means that I can't tie her down and keep her with me forever. I will let her fly away when she is old enough to fly. Perhaps she will return or perhaps not. That is the risk we take whenever we give a piece of ourselves away with no strings attached.