An important milestone. Two years ago today, little Mandela passed along to whatever and wherever we go after this experience. This of course was not an easy thing. But it is the way. A good day to think back and remember some of our times together and all the joy she brought me.
Pops is here now, but he is his own dog. Confident in his own right and with his own sort of vibe. There is no comparing them of course. That’s not fair or necessary.
Dela’s presence still hangs about the place. Photos, her leash, her ashes, and some cards people sent in sympathy. She is missed, but at least the sharp edges of those feelings have smoothed over.
My obit to her originated here but got distributed around a bit.
I’ve been re-thinking some of my recent posts. And I’ve also been taking some time to page through some old books to refamiliarize myself with Taoist and Buddhist philosophy that I haven’t looked at for a few years.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
In my own life, meaning my immediate ecosystem, I have made great improvements in my ability to practice acceptance. When circumstances and events move through my life I have learned to, by and large, roll with the punches. To realize that my happiness is within my control and ultimately not fated by external circumstances. I am far from perfect in this practice, but vastly improved. Large events, like Mandela passing, take a toll. But a lot of other life events like job changes and housing and friendships and acquaintances are kept in perspective. I just don’t get worked up over much of anything really. It’s all just little stuff and I have acquainted myself with all manner of lifestyles over the course of my time, and find that I can be pretty contented in most situations.
I do have a somewhat unhealthy attachment to work, but I don’t think it is out of hand.
But in terms of some events in the world these past months, and as I have digested the craziness around Donald Trump and the cult of followers and GOP enablers he has nurtured, I find I have allowed these events to affect me more than they should. I have not been as accepting or as graceful as I might have. The issue I have is that I just don’t know what to do in terms of our political situation and the obvious and accelerating destruction of our democratic systems.
But even as I say that out loud now, I realize the paradox of my own thinking. I have been railing for years that our system needs massive reform to truly represent everyone in our country and not just the favored few. So why should I be upset over the dismantling of our current structures? This seems a necessary step as a prelude to rebuilding better.
I’ve long been annoyed by comments people make when having this conversation—they will often say something like ‘well our system may not be great, but it’s better than what anyone else has come up with.’ Which I don’t believe is anywhere near correct, but also why would that be an excuse to not try to improve?
But the main point I started out to make, is that I am not going to affect change by attacking and belittling people I disagree with. No matter how completely absurd I find their opinions. I know of course by now, that they find my tree-hugging, liberal, socialist, hippie and free-love, opinions offensive and absurd as well.
So, I think I need to practice acceptance here and as the saying goes, ‘let things flow naturally’. I like honesty and transparency, but do not need to repeat myself to the point of ad nauseam and I don’t like the overly negative vibes. So here’s to a little positivity and acceptance of different viewpoints (even the dummies).
I will endeavor to adhere to some decorum on this medium. For my sake and for yours. Of course the odd rant here and there not withstanding.
Our early morning walk today was glorious. The sun was just coming up when Pops and I headed east along Lakeshore. With the blue sky and sun, it felt much more like a crisp spring morning than a dreary winter morning. And there is is a big difference in how that sets the tone for the day.
I was up early, around 5:00, and managed 1.5 hours and 3 paragraphs on the novel. It is a slog. Writing fiction is so much harder than non-fiction. I’ve had this story in my head for years. And am confident the story is good. But telling it compellingly is a different matter. Getting the sights, the sounds, the sensations, the emotions, the character traits and all the nuance that allows a reader to visualize a scene is a challenge. Even that could be manageable but the words must also be elegant and paced and draw the eyes to the next word and the next and the next. And this is the difficulty. And looming over all this, looking over my shoulder, are the eyes of all the great masters I’ve read over the years. I think they are judging me, but perhaps they are encouraging me.
Either way, the only known remedy to mediocrity in craft is practice. I must write fiction. Make up more stories and learn to find the right words from the several hundred to choose from and get them in the proper order so that a reader comprehends what he has left behind and anticipates what comes next.
Imagine all those hundreds of nights in pubs and honky-tonks and bars and nightclubs and restaurants that I might have been home honing my craft.
But then I might not have had any stories to tell. Love and adventure and friction and friendship and pain and loss and curiosity and wandering are the raw materials of fiction. Sailing the seas and hiking the forests and riding motorcycles and climbing mountains and drinking until all hours of the night with people who started as strangers and ended up as friends. This is the fuel of a good story. Or maybe just of a good life.
Visited the family this weekend past. It was warm enough to sit out in the sun on Saturday afternoon, which was a delight. We were celebrating my birthday a little early since I won’t be back down probably until Easter. Saturday night we ate at Epicerie and Sunday big family brunch with smoked turkey. I got 4 bottle of whiskey and a cookbook as gifts—all I’ve ever wanted and a cookbook to boot.
When I got home Sunday night, it was still nearly 60 degrees. So I got my first fire on of the season. And had a nice Oliva with some Old Forester to celebrate the beginning of the end of winter.
A few random pictures from the past few days–including Terri cutting dad’s hair. He’s an ornery and mean son of a bitch most of the time, but he does let the girls take care of him a little. The book ‘Woe is I‘ is a handy and cute text I’ve had for 25 years and still reference occasionally. It’s great to help sort through some of the nuances and nonsensical riddles of English language
I took the title of this post from an old saying. I don’t know the origin. But I most recently heard it while watching clips of Brian O’Driscoll, the legendary Irish rugby player. I watched his last International match from a pub in London a few years ago. He was amazing and a thrill to watch play the game.
No other news of note.