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Went to write in my journal only to discover it had disappeared from the computer.  168 pages. External hard drive to the rescue. Not keeping any set schedule for backing this stuff up means I lost 9 months of writing. The Gremlins or sun spot activity or my own clumsy fingers. All go answers. What it forces me to do is think about the themes that happened.

Imagined fear is worse than the reality of facing it.

Control is an illusion that feeds those fears. The What ifs.

Everyone has the same fears and dreams. Not one has seen on TV. But ones of family and friends. Belonging. Feellng the gratitude or love for being themselves.

Mistakes happen. Life doesn’t stop or care. It’s what happens next that matters.

Stuff is just stuff. Material possessions will never satisfy a life lived in a lie.

Those lies are very powerful. They’re on endless loop in our heads.

All the fears, lies and illusions can’t stand the force of being honest about who you are.

Wisdom comes complete with scars.

The distillation of lessons learned, forgotten and relearned on the most intensely complicated and troubled time in my life so far. The hardest struggle is once a person falls out Respectable society,getting back in is optional. the game is rigged. Creativity and imagination replace what we’d been told. The whole American dream is being redefined with different eyes.

It lose has reminded me life has the same randomness deletion as the electronic story.

An Artist’s Dreams

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In the early morning hours before sunrise I came to understand the artist compulsion and despair. A complex, engaging masterpiece burned nova bright in my mind. All the bits that collected in my mind’s filters found that hidden magic in which all the edges fit. A jigsaw puzzle complete with engaging dialogue. Images in fourth dimension details. An intriguing trail through ribbons of colors. Of light and dark. A gift.

Like any true gift it arrived without notice. My emotions were ones of pure joy followed despair. A crushing knowledge that any attempt will yield a pale shadow of the searing sharpness that my uniquely human brain produced so easily. God. Art. Muse. Figments of the subscious. Concepts rife with shaded meanings. The science geek side of me wishes all of this could be expressed in the simple elegance of math. One symbol, one concept. Clean. Simple. For those that understand them. Very much like art anywhere.

Much of my frustration stems from the changeable meaning of words. Those shifting cultural reference that color combinations of words or sounds. Native speakers are unaware of the how or why language sounds the way it does. Children first mimic then add their nuanced weight that follow in the wake of particular words. My affliction of curiosity has exposed that lost in translation mechanism operating beneath the surface. The lost art of storytelling.

One that my fumbling attempts are pushing up against time. A constant beyond control. Unlike my daughter, who at 15, has already embarked on. Hers is a world of instant feedback, Fanzines and a worldwide community. A Brave New World. Some of which I have waited to see. The unknown is for her to explain through stories framed by other influences. Her dreams,

Three weeks of Blah

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Old habits die hard. You think the trail is clear but still fall over an unseen root just below the surface. Losing the part time gig at the grill did more than reduce my finances to zero. What also reached zero was something more important. The people there formed a loose group that I was forced to interact with. On bad days simply having a reason to get out of bed was enough.  Knowing the stories of their lives made mine, well. There’s the open question. It reinforced certain fundamental choices on my worldview. I am a leaf on the wind. But aren’t we all in some respects.

Until very recently that caused deep anxiety. Seemed everyone else around me had a plan. The path of the normal and accepted. It gave those around them comfort in their misery or worry. Something in common to talk about. Kids, wife and all the stress surrounding providing for them. The first question a stranger asks is what do you do for a living. What they’re really ask is how do I sort you in their assigned basic categories.  Useful to my career. Interesting enough to bother with. Move on. It’s what I still do to through a different set of values. Many job searches along with early influences have resulted in me living a Jimmy Buffet songline. A Pirate Looks at Forty. Occupation hazards means your occupation’s just not around.

The faster technology is created, the more in demand jobs become ordinary. Those that choose the field based on a future salary over some other field are being left behind. Business is all about maximizing profit. Looking after Me and mine. Every job is temporary now. Some aren’t built for that level of uncertainty. Regional and/or cultural differences come to the fore. America was founded by the Hustler.  History is full of examples of where the first ones over didn’t follow the agreements with their backers in England. A very small percentage gave that word a negative shading. Immigrants risk everything to come to the US for that dream. Cracks in the Capitalist wall is what they see. Their definition of success is shaped by their experiences in another culture. One where hustle is a way of life.

Then there are the ones who never found their way. For some it’s being born with a hand full of twos and threes. Not face cards. That Great American success story hides the thousands that didn’t. What did they do? Redefined what success is. And it’s not quiet desperation. That cheapens all of us as a society. Hard working parents raised children. Built a life filled with soaring joy and the hard lessons of loss. A reflection of human history. We endure.  I endure. My chemical imbalance is controlled by modern medicine. Another improvement in the human condition. The internet has opened pockets of other ways to see the world. Beating myself up for not having the Plan has faded into the background.

Don’t get me wrong, basic needs must be paid for. That’s the reason for my long absence in posting. Sometimes a leaf came be tossed on the storms.  Thing about storms is they uncover buried treasures. My friend talked about starting an online tee shirt company.  His PTSD and other medical concerns means he needs a friend to help. Someone who understands the real meaning of having a bad day. Neither one of us desire massive success. We want to move to Lack of Panic over needs street. Small house off the grid and the freedom of working for a good boss. Us. The gut wrenching fall has moved my sightline to a different level.

I hope my sometimes brutal honesty helps someone. The journey is taken alone. Along the way we move with fellow travellers. Learning happens when we listen to others. Their struggles. Hopes and dreams. But most of all Laughter. So I am a teacher and student.  My post remind me what I need to learn or practice. They also help me to see how far I’ve come and have to go.  How that knowledge affects me is a choice.  So dear readers, Thank you for following the words thrown on the electronic wind.

A Father’s Day Thought.

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On this special day, It’s time to publicly forgive my Father for things beyond his control. To say our relationship strained is an understatement. He died from complications of Cancer treatments in 1985. I was home on leave from the Navy for the passing of his physical body. What made him a person was already gone. How does one feel when someone who holds a title so import and cultural powerful dies a stranger? It’s something I’ve struggled with until 5 years ago. An adult rewritten the hurt of the inner child and teenager with new knowledge of the how or why. I remember the moment.

It when the news of Junior Suah’s suicide brought into the light of the NFL dirty secret. I had watched him play with a reckless abandon absent in the sport at the time. It had been a fleeting dream in my childhood in the Texas football religion. But large kids become interior lineman. The anger of injustice never fueled my play. Bad coaches and bad teams. It was the bitter dregs of next time. My father played the same position in the 1940s. Which is at the heart of our uneasy relationship.

When I became the keeper of the family pictures after my mom passed, I saw them with different eyes. The bunker mentality created by my father’s unstable personality meant these captured moments have no emotional connection for me. My memories are of the times of temporary escape. The man who played the role of my father was not the boy he was. Life can do this without added conditions of brain injury. He was writer. Report for the school paper. Active in the community youth center. Officer in multiple school organization. In the ROTC. With Hollywood looks, a very popular boy in social circles. And a star football player. And that was the killer of his dreams.

My grandfather moved the family to the boomtown Houston was becoming. He was a man who worked with his hands. Whatever feed the family in the Depression and Dust Bowl years. Then his son starts having blackouts. Missing school. Painful headaches. Classic symptoms of a concession. Interior lineman in leather helmets. Medical advice of the time was a drier climate.  His lost year. During which Pearl Harbor was bombed. The former ROTC member is now 4F. The defining moment of his generation passes my father by. The last picture of this handsome young man was from Hawaii 1942. He has a DOD tag on his shirt. My Father is smiling. An expression I rarely experienced outside in the private life we shared,

This is where the mystery that was my father starts. He was married before. A life he never spoke of. It was both my parents second marriage. A barren one until my adoption in 1964. Those pictures of a smiling open dad are equally unknown to me. Compound all this was increasing depression, Bi polar was an unknown thing in the 80s. Didn’t every teenager think daily of hurting themselves or dying?  That was the reality I saw on TV. Isolation became my companion. Still is on many days. The medication helps the crazy but not long standing behaviors. Didn’t every father and son have a violent argument during their teen years? A rite of passage from childhood to something else. Those were some of my thoughts waiting for a husk of man who I should have feeling for die in the next room?

After the funeral, I returned to the Navy. An action taken to escape that man. My ship was geographically has far as I could find. Guam. Deal with the grief? Didn’t have time. Came back to Houston by default. I hadn’t planned that far ahead. All I wanted was out. Military life was a bad fit for an adopted boy who was like his father in temperament and interests of his younger self.. Writer. Loved the theatre and plays. The stages of grieving happened about the sometime my chemical imbalance went into overdrive from stress. It has taken years to except small bits of the role he played in my life. The past 3 years of concession research to understand the profound mental and physical dangers from concessions, has allowed me to put all the pieces together..

Many letters filled with hurt and anger. Now I’m at peace with a relationship never possible. Living in a community filled with fathers and sons that stay in one place for decades has helped me create a different framework to hang our difficult relationship. On this Father’s day, I very publicly forgive mine for being a man unable to be the person he desperately wanted to be. William Mathis Lipscomb was a prisoner of an inner life that trapped him in life contrary to his bass personality. He provided for his family. Played the role of respected community leader. And died wondering why someone could love him. His spirit still inhabits the world. The Jewish tradition that a person still lives so long as someone remembers their name strikes me as good guide to healing. Now you know his name. A flaw man dealing with his demons who did the best he could. That is the best lesson I learned form My Dad.

A Quick Word of Thanks

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It seems I’ve reached 100 likes for my ramblings. That my writing has found some resonance in a larger community is surprising and humbling. Most of my time is spent writing on the old fashioned media of pen and paper lately. Ideas or thoughts strike at odd times. Generally when driving or waking up. Thank You for putting up with my sporadic posting.

Isolation

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A condition that I have become too familiar with. All the groups that formed my social network slowly eroded over the past two years. Older men don’t make friends easily. The chapters of our lives offer few opportunities to cultivate them.  Longer hours for stagnant wages. Divorce. Relocating for work. Move to high demand types of work that reinforce isolation in order to met our obligations.  For parents with kids it worse. By over scheduling their lives, we overschedule ours. Then the question of why the nation is politically divided is asked. Smaller and smaller tribal groups gain a larger voice.

My journey back once more begin with changing the type of work I choose. Food service. Specifically making pizza in an old school short order bowling center grill. My old boss found every way possible to fail. Then I got partial blame for his failing. Leaving cash only in a credit world is a challenge. Not a lot of cushion. All of this has become red meat for my depression. I’ve become a leaf on the wind. The swirling storm is making it very hard to do that. If owning a functioning car wasn’t such a necessary, it would be someone else’s problem. Now can’t afford a cheap bike.

Needed to get all this out of my head and journal. Consider this my public soapbox to bitch about a situation of my own making. Not gonna apologize.  Later.

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Movies create illusion through devices that mimic our senses. Namely our most dominate, Vision. The sky is actually clear. First a bit of biology. Our eyes take in images that our brains, of which the optical nerve is an extension. Then interpret the unfiltered light into images. Evolution has given us a structure that see the light passing through our atmosphere as blue. That distinction is a direct result of very small broken bits of DNA. Darwin macro observable differences have been confirmed by the advanced scientific study of the brain. It’s all about survival and safety. Our highly elastic brain create self fulling conceptual judgements.  Experiences build judgement prisms. A necessity in sorting the unchecked flow of visual information collected by the eyes. Sherlock Holmes unchecked. Chaos.

First block is the family. Kids are Mice with huge eyes and ears. A confusing input of conflicting actions, words and behaviors. All flowing through an incomplete matrix assigning priority values. They fill in the gaps with a magical thinking. In adults it’s the contradiction of thought and actions. Do as I say. Not as I do. The human animal continually adds or subtracts from this early world view. Form and function. Welcome to the messy world we inhabit. Unfortunately that need for survival and safety are a  basic during need lost in higher thoughts. Our animal self.  Constructs of morals, beliefs, cultural value and societal bias expressed through language.  Expressing a value set around with clusters form.  Safety by absence of fear.

I watched a movie based on a Discworld book. A series of very humorous fantasy where the rules of the genre are taken seriously.  Death explained to his granddaughter, Susan [Read the books. It’s all perfectly logical] that Justice, Morals or the Hogsfather are cultural constructs of man. They don’t exist except when the majority agree they do. It’s an extension of larger and more diverse groups of humans settling around essential natural resources. Babylon. Rome. New York. Chicago. LA. Is the collective meaning of Justice the same? Here the basic root language ties the original meaning to the culture expression of the a specific word.

Justice. mid-14c., “one whose profession is to plead cases in a court of justice,” a technical term from Roman law, from Old French avocat “barrister, advocate, spokesman,” from Latin advocatus “one called to aid; a pleader, advocate,” noun use of past participle of advocare “to call” (as witness or advisor) from ad- “to” (see ad-) + vocare “to call,” related to vocem (see voice (n.)). Also in Middle English as “one who intercedes for another,” and “protector, champion, patron.” Feminine forms advocatess, advocatrice were in use in 15c.

Has a concept, look at the change from Latin root iustitia “righteousness, equity,” from iustus “upright, just”. Phrases assigned meaning within the culture norms as they existed at the time. Terms outside of the legal codes of the Empire. Lop off the last the letters to get the adverb and adjective form, Just. Who is Just in a society? By whose set of rules? I say it right. See the sword in my hand.

Society is shaped by the evolving Culture. Culture shapes a Society path in and through time. A dynamic which in turn changes the language used to frame a shared concepts. Or in the case of the Internet and social media, exposes the fault lines. Virtual communities tie the disenfranchised together for mutual support. A very real sense of tribe. Then there’s the constant noise of keyboard warriors attacking anything against their worldview. A perceived attack on their core values. Heightened fear. The provocateur Trolls add to the conflagration. Set at of the combustible framework all these noble? conceptual words hang on.

The events of the past 18 months have forced me to find my core values. Those 5 things that I will not compromise on. An exercise I highly recommend. The Constitution is one. In its entirety. The focal point of long contested ideals of equality in a world of Empire and Kings. My oath of enlistment is still in force. This is a personal view shared by many Vets. What that means isn’t. Our personal matrix determines our worldview. Decisions made without thinking during the course of living. Passed on from generation to generation. All built on the shifting sand of concept language interpreted individually.

Assigned value. Priorities. Personal need or desires. Where it all ends I can’t tell you my friends. We’re all a journey. This is food for thought. To be chewed during those interludes of quiet. That fleeting space where conversation and thought cause us to look up. To ask eternal question without complete answers. Thanks for taking time from your journey to read about mine. Off to read the Constitution once more with different eyes.

 

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