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The requirements of my English course include doing a "special project". It involves choosing some form of writing you are interested in, and furthering your ability in it. It could be reviews, a dream journal, critiques, letters, poems, songs, scripts, etc. I've decided to use the 100 words format for mine, and am constraining myself further by writing only entries that relate, in some way, to the month of September. I chose September only because it's the month of my birth. I'm not going to cross-use entries, but all the entries for the project will be available on my website: http://www.lonita.net/journal/sept/
One thing I realised when I had that Great Personal Change a few months ago, was that I really don't care much for gossip, at least not the sort that ends up more like a bloody WWF smackdown of someone's character or lifestyle; the vicious, ugly sort. It makes me feel just that way, ugly. I can honestly tell you that I don't much care for feeling that way. It's not beneficial to my health, mood, or character. I figure my personal mood ring will turn from crystal blue to some version of black that more resembles hell than charcoal.
I have this thing about the number three. I have no idea why, nor how it got started, but it's ended up being my favourite number - next to pi. There seems something more proper and honest about three. Two isn't enough for anything, it's too cut and dried, too convenient. And, when it comes to the truth of something, there *are* three sides: Your side, my side, and the truth. Maybe I just don't feel comfortable with dualities, because I know, deep-down, that there's more to life than black and white: there are also a million shades of grey.
The thing about baseball these days, the very worst thing, is the disappointment. I remember the simple joy of looking forward to the next Blue Jays game, waiting for them to get into the World Series. But the strike happened, and baseball lost its lustre, heroes fell on top of their overfull moneysacks, and the glow dimmed, faded, and finally wore off. There's no way for me to love the game anymore, and that's what kills me. Just one more tiny example of innocence being stripped away. Reality a little less colourful, and things tasting just that much less sweet.
I've just experienced something which has never before happened to me: the reasonable desire to eventually persue a masters degree. It's just never been an option for me, at least within my own mind, because the thought of putting that much work into something seemed too daunting, and I felt incapable of the necessary insight required to complete a masters degree. Such tiny specialisation seemed beyond me, but I've changed my mind. My university has developed a new masters program: Master of Arts, Integrated Studies. I read the course outline and thought, "I could do this. I want to."
Happy birthday to me,
happy birthday to me,
happy birthday dear me-ee,
happy birthday to me.
Now that I've regained my compsure...
It's been a decently nice day outside the disconnection letter from my telephone company. "Pay this amount now, or you'll sleep wit da fishes." Okay, they're not that bad. Many birthday greetings spread throughout the day, a Hawking book for a prezzie, and grandma's homemade stew. Mm-mm good. The trouble with birthdays is that you then have to remember a different number every time someone asks you how old you are now. This was disjoined, wasn't it?
I saw my friend Max today. It's not an often occurance since he lives out of my area. We had a nice little afternoon wandering around the city, and he sang Happy Birthday to me in his best Marilyn Monroe voice. I wait every birthday for that. *grin* Both of us, though, are still trying to figure out what possible sort of conversation could have caused a fellow pedestrian to say rather too loudly, "You must know One-Handed Connie!" Figuring there was more to it, I added my own filler:
Why is she one handed?
'Cause that's all she needs!
I went to the store just now to get some Coke and milk and to generally get the hell out of this horribly stuffy flat for at least a few minutes, and the Korean gentleman who runs the store (the same man who gives me credit despite not giving credit to others), just out of the blue gave me this grey leather folder that's for holding a passport, tickets, credit cards, things like that. I was very surprised by the offer, and thought it was really very generous of him. Handy, too, since I carry my passport at all times.
There's three sides to every story, my side, your side, and the truth. The natures of truth, reality, and perception have been the subjects of metaphysical and spiritual debates for centuries. Is there any reality besides that which an individual sees? Is there some ultimate truth that we'll never know because everything is coloured by our perceptions? Is there anything beyond perception? Is there an ultimate perfection that mankind is capable only of thinking about, but will never be capable of experiencing? They are wonderful questions, but despite our lust for answers, there are some things best left to mystery.
Last night I drempt of my grandfather strangling me. He's been dead for years. He never hit me when he was alive, though I always thought he might. The precipitant in the dream was me yelling at him, something I had done a million times in real life in response to drunken outbursts. He lunged at me in the dream and started choking me. It was strange. Oddly enough I don't feel creeped out by it. I dream about him often enough, but none of them have ever been this... hmm... they've always been fairly normal, innocuous, bland, just stuff.
I've never, until today, known what a possum looked like. I figured, going on the supposition that it'd be like raccoons or hedgehogs or something, that it'd be furry and cute-ish, perhaps have some sharp teeth and claws. I suppose I was thinking 'ferret', when I should have been thinking evil, satanic, spawn of the gods of the more hideous parts of the underworld. I have never in my life seen anything that freakish looking. It's like a giant grey rat with an even worse attitude than a rat would have. I never, ever, want to meet one. They're creepy.
Today we welcome Zoe Beatrice to the great wide expanse that is the world and the human race inhabiting that world. She is the one and only child of my best friend, and was born sometime during the late evening of today. I get to be the freaky auntie and teach her weird things, take her to art galleries, and read strange books. It's the only time I will ever be maternal, so I need to make the most and best of it. *grin* I must start searching out appropriate gift items and material for perversion of the child's mind.
I wonder how Friday the 13th got so unlucky. Some say it relates to the number of diners at the last supper of Jesus, or even more simply, death. The Egyptians believed in many stages of spiritual existance, the thirteenth happened after the body died. Some theorise that it was purposely vilified by priests of patriarchal religions because it represented femininity: 13 revered in ancient goddess-worshipping cultures because it corresponded to the number of menstrual cycles in a year. Some people are so afraid of it they've even got a phobia all their own: Paraskevidekatriaphobia. Try saying that one ten times fast.
Ever wake up knowing you were a better person than someone else? I don't mean that as a function of ego, I mean it in the sense of progression, of evolution, of maturity. You just know you've long got past things that other people have not, that other people either willingly hold on to or are incapable of getting past. I had that feeling last time I spoke to my father. He screamed in a most virulent and indignified manner, using some rather nasty insults. I couldn't believe a man of his age had progressed so little past childish indulgences.
Ever since I started getting into Tao and Zen, I see the concepts everywhere, in rock songs meant as anthems to art punks of the 80's, in hymns, in humour, in places one would never normally expect to find them. To some, that would increase their unversal significance and existence. You can find Taoist and Zen beliefs in more things, I think, than you can find those of other faiths, religions, spiritualities, and philosophies. The worst thing that's happened to either Tao or Zen, is being relegated to the same place we put religions. They are so much more than that.
I have this friend, let's call him Angry Paul. He's one of those people that never seems to say anything nice unless it's somehow backhanded or hidden under some other nasty overtone. Paul seems to think that he has to be cold, harsh, rude, crude, and nasty in order to get by in this world. What he's yet failed to realise is that the world would be a far more pleasant place if he was far more pleasant a part of it. I'm not suggesting he turn into some sort of spineless twonk, just not to be so needlessly abrasive.
Ever notice how heavily native speakers of English depend on certain words for emphasis? We add a few 'reallys', half dozen 'verys', multiple exclamation points, and such. The English language is so rich with words that never get used. I know it lacks in some ways, but there are ways in which it doesn't, and people don't seem to take due advantage of them. A thesaurus is a must, my friends; a thesaurus and better education in language arts. And never underestimate the power of the made-up word. It's amazing how easily some of them can be understood by others.
I'm disappointed. I really like Tom Petty and Peter Gabriel, and both of them have released new songs that I can only describe as lame. There is nothing special about either of them. Perhaps it's the subject matter. I keep thinking, "Yeah yeah, whatever, get on with it." Maybe I'm just jaded because I've spent over a decade being on the fringes of the radio industry, so Petty's song is about something I went through years ago; and as for Gabriel's song, the nature and habits of tabloid tv are things I don't tend to spend much brain energy on.
Earlier this week I decided that I didn't need anyone else's help to get my social life, which is fairly non-existant, on a more satisfying keel. I plan to take myself out to the pub with my hardbound journal, sit in as quiet a corner as you can find in that place, and see what happens. Funny, I feel no fear in doing this. I normally would. I'm not used to taking charge of my life this way, I've always been more of a hanger-on. That's got to stop. What a strange year it's been so far, so many changes.
One of the great philosophical questions of modern times, or any times actually, was posed by the band They Might Be Giants in their song "Particle Man". It goes as follows:
When he's under water does he get wet,
or does the water get him instead?
Think about that one for a minute. Ponder its mystery. Consider the subtle points being brought up in that small snippet of text. Now, go put on the cd and play it at nearly neighbour annoying volumes, move back the furniture, dance around your livingroom, and sing along with gusto. GO on. I'll wait.
So many people stop at the ritual similarities when they compare Christianity with other faiths, but the similiarities go much deeper. For example, the idea of reincarnation and the god coming back on a day of judgement to separate the evil from the good is shared by the followers of the god Mithra. In fact, it is his birthday that was later conscripted by Christians as the date when they celebrate the birth of Christ. The cult of the god Orpheus, known as "the fisher", used the dove and the fish as symbols, two commonly used represenations to denote Jesus.
I've been reading a lot of those "this day in history" websites, and come across some really interesting little facts. Did you know, for example, that on this day in 1656, an American all-female jury voted the acquittal of a woman charged with murdering her child? Or that in 1792 the French republic was declared? Or that in 1949 the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb successfully? History's a godmine for the what-if, science fiction, or fantasy writer, since all they'd need to do to build a story is find an event with gaps (or not) and fill in their own details.
I seem to be suffering a distinct lack of inspiration this month. I've written very little, and felt little of the bug that normally pushes me to write. The only difference is that now I'm not bothered by it. I am not writing because there hasn't been a lot to say, and I feel comfortable in my silence. Ever since things started falling into place and I let go of a lot of cantankerousness, there hasn't been the same push to write. Perhaps a lot of my writing was an outward reflection of an inward agitation that no longer exists.
This seems to be insomnia month. I go to sleep, two hours later I wake up. I'm up for hours until I feel tired enough to go back to bed. I then sleep for four to six hours. I'm starting to get, pardon the pun, tired of it. At least it's better than the last severe bout which had me sleeping about an hour and a half a night for three weeks straight. I can describe in intimate detail just how much fun that wasn't. I got so wired I swear I could feel the synapses in my brain firing.
I'm an atheist with a sense of spirituality that I think surprises some folks, but only because they assume that people who don't believe in God also have no sense of spirit. Spirituality is not confined to believers, my friends. I find a good many things of great spiritual value, but can't quite accept them because of their references to God. To that end I recently rewrote "The Serenity Prayer" to suit my atheist, Taoist, and Zen outlooks. I'm not completely happy with it yet, but I'll keep working at it until it's as "just right" as I possibly can.
My version of Reinhold Niebuhr's "Serenity Prayer".
Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting that hardships are part of the path
rather than insurmountable obstacles
rather than aberrant occurances, flukes, or mistakes
Taking this world as it is
Not as I would have it
Trusting that things will be made right
realising that nothing lasts forever
That I may be happy in this life
And that to follow
I performed my social experiment yesterday. I took myself out. I thought it was going to be a total bust because the pub was emptier until far later than it normally is, but about 11 people started wandering in and drowning out the band playing in the corner. What the band lacked in ability they make up for in enthusiasm. The experiment, I'm happy to say, went well enough. I talked to strangers, and did not once feel the sense of unease I'd normally feel when sitting alone in a social place. I'm going to try it again this week, methinks.
My mother is here from Europe, and I've finally realised that we, at least from my perspective, shouldn't hang out with each other too much. My unease is going through the roof, and I don't much care for that. I'm far more comfortable when she's half way around the world. I don't know what it is, just something about the energy mix that just isn't right. There are also assumptions she's made that have put my back up, things that make me uncomfy. I'll have to talk to her. I think she knows it too. I think it bothers her.
When I was walking home from the bus stop the other night, a guy who'd also been on the bus tried to talk to me. I wasn't very forthcoming, mainly because he wasn't the sort of person I normally want to talk with. He finally kept repeating, "I'm sorry if I'm making you nervous." I told him he wasn't. He was not making me nervous, he was annoying me, but didn't seem to catch on. Even still, if he thought he was making me nervous, why the hell did he keep yammering and yammering at me with his boozey breath?
When you were very little what sorts of strange stories did your parents tell you? Did they say that thunder was the angels bowling, did they tell you the moon was made of cheese, did they say babies were brought by storks or found under mushroom caps? I think that last one is terribly cute, and I've always loved the idea of angels bowling, even though I don't believe in celestial winged beings with divine power. The mere thought of it always made me giggle when my grandmother said it to soothe me. It certainly explains the "strikes" of lightning.
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