The Pixies asked the question ‘Where is my mind?’ and I’d answer all over the place, not in a scatter brain kind of way but more in the lots of things are demanding my attention all at once. I’m juggling a number of projects – consulting for WH, the podcast, injecting new life into radio warwickshire, getting the new book ready for publication, trying to build momentum in the world of self-promotion (can’t rely on other people alone to do it – Walt Whitman was a tireless self-promoter and look where I got him in relation to his contemporaries) oh and I’ve gone and started a companion site to this blog on Facebook I can’t fight Zuck and win, like morpheus, I gotta get inside The Matrix and do damage from within – so yeah that is where my mind is. I’m going to have to go back to time blocking so my mind can take solid shape on one thing at a time.
For some reason I just had a flash back to the game A Barrel of Monkeys – remember that one?
In fact as I’m watching the scene unfolds in my mind, I’m back at my grandmother’s house on the floor in her room play this barrel of Monkeys game by myself. The adults have gone in another room and closed the door. I can hear them arguing, but I’m not sure about what. I think has something to about something my cousin did. And that’s it. The scene ends there.
I finished reading the Matthew Zapruder book, Why Poetry. I like that he is trying to win back poetry for the common people and encouraging folks to let go of how they may have been taught poetry in school. In a nutshell, he argues that a poem should be read in and of itself versus how many folks were taught in school that poetry is coded language for something other than what’s on the page and that you have knowledge of obscure references in order to get the “true” meaning of the poem. He wants us to forgo thinking of a poem as a puzzle to be solved and instead to experience a poem as a gateway drug to the associative power of our imagination. In other words, the poem will reveal you to yourself through the connections it fires off in you’re own consciousness. It’s a good book and worth a read if you’re into such things.
I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I might. I couldn’t connect with Olson’s choice of subjects which are grounded in New England. Plus his poems drip with intellectualism, which isn’t a bad thing, just doesn’t stir my insides.
Something I didn’t know, Olson coined the term postmodern.
And so I found myself at the Cats Protection re-homing event today. We cat fosterers. This event is held every couple of weeks and from time to time I go to help with the social media coverage:
And here we go. The mountain bug has bitten me (why it waits until it’s nearly winter to bite, I’m not sure). Friday, on a whim, I decided I needed some mountain air. It’s October and I’ve barely been out in the mountains at all this year. I can throw out the usual excuse of not of time, but I hate that as an excuse. Not to sound like a self-help guru or anything, but everybody has the same amount of time. We all have time. The only question is how you spend your time not whether you have time or not. Don’t fight me on this because it’s true. You have 24hrs. I have 24hrs. We all have 24hrs. I haven’t been to the mountains because I didn’t have time, but because I didn’t want to spend minimum 6 hours driving to and from the closet decent mountains near me. If I could scramble my atoms like they do in Star Trek, I would be in the mountains every single weekend. But 6 hours in a car is another story. I have a fix for that though which I’ll come on to later.
First watch this video I made of the journey to Cadair Idris:
So the stuff that didn’t make it onto the tape was my inner journey stuff. The summation of which is this: more poetry, more adventure – the adventure poet! I often go to the mountains to seek spiritual guidance from the Mountain Spirit. And as always the Mountain Spirit never disappoints. My conclusions from this walk – the clarity I was seeking – was reconnecting with adventure (and making the travelling to and fro a part of the journey and adventure, which is to say have the adventure mindset from the time I leave the house until I return. Doubling down on the poetry the reading and writing of. And blogging and seeing where I can creatively take the platform despite blogging being dead if you are of a certain age (actually my research says that all ages have pretty much abandoned blogging in favour social networks, newsletters, and RSS feeds. I should add it’s not that people don’t read blogs, it’s that they don’t go to the blog/blogpost, they demand it come to them, either through their newsfeed from friends and social media influencers, or curated apps like Flippoard or Feedly.
So the gig is to combine all three passions into some sort of mashup accentuates them all.
I’m going to start writing this post tonight, but I may not finish it. You see, right now, I have a belly full of hate and an unreal heart. The two together make me want to break something. What’s eating me up is the amount of injustice in the world that’s being perpetuated by those who can by virtue of their position or monetary status. It makes justice look like a sham, like just another one of these “moral” concepts used to keep us in bondage. Machiavelli was on to something when he wrote ”Might makes right.”
Thursday, 5 Oct
OK, I had to sleep that one off. Yesterday, James Altucher laid out an interesting:
EXERCISE: list the things you loved from ages 6-14. Figure out what you can do around those interests right now.
Basically it’s an exercise designed to help you tap back into the things you were passionate about before you got caught up with working for The Man. The sentiment creeping around the Internet theses days is that anyone can start a business around their obsession. All the tools to build the structure exist as either free tools or inexpensive tools that let you set up shop in whatever way that looks for you. And then, using the Internet as the conduit, connect up with an army of people who want to buy yourself. I’m simplifying, I know. But the theory is to start a business around the thing you are passionate about. Regardless of how ridiculous it sounds, there will be population of people out their who will gravitate to you, or so story goes.
Anyway, I thought about what I was passionate about between 6-14. I can’t recollect what I was a passionate about at 6 apart from my Star Trek action figures. I had them all. Plus a cut-out replica of the Starship Enterprise. Gary Vee would tell you to start a blog about Star Trek action figures, go to conventions and meet and connect with all the Trekkies out there and then get them to visit your site and from that you can build a community and once you have the community, you can monetise the community.
From about 10 – 12 I was obsessed with science, microbiology in particular. And then at 13 I discovered Dungeons and Dragons and became obsessed with heroic fantasy books, especially Savage Sword of Conan (I still have my entire SSOC collection). Pumping iron was my other obsession. Pretty much between the ages of 13 – 17 you could find me in the bookstore or the gym.
I stumbled upon this clip from the HBO series The Newsroom, which I have never seen, but after watching this scene, I want to rent it from Amazon and see what it’s like.
Recorded the next episode of the podcast. On discussion today was the topic of certainty.
“It is not the search for certainty. To err is human. All human knowledge is fallible and therefore uncertain. It follows that we must distinguish sharply between truth and certainty. That to err is human means not only that we must constantly struggle against error, but also that, even when we have taken the greatest care, we cannot be completely certain that we have not made a mistake… To combat the mistake, the error, means therefore to search for objective truth and to do everything possible to discover and eliminate falsehoods. This is the task of scientific activity. Hence we can say: our aim as scientists is objective truth; more truth, more interesting truth, more intelligible truth. We cannot reasonably aim at certainty.”
“Since we can never know anything for sure, it is simply not worth searching for certainty; but it is well worth searching for truth; and we do this chiefly by searching for mistakes, so that we can correct them.”
I’ve long since given up on certainty. I’m also on the fence about Truth. Does truth exist? I’m not so convince it does.
I woke up to the news that Tom Petty had died. Sad days indeed. I immediately played on of my favourite Tom Petty track:
I remember when this video first came out I was ecstatic. It was during those days that I played a lot of role-playing games one of which was Gamma World, a science fantasy role-playing game set in a 24th century post-apocalyptic earth. This video was like Gamma World brought to life and set to music. I raced to the television every time this video came on MTV.
Another one of my all time favourite Tom Petty tracks is You Don’t Know How It Feels off of his 1994 album, Wildflowers.
I could go on and on…
A vision came to me this morning of two paths. One path was labelled ‘existential angst’ the other, ‘the devil may care.’ I could see myself standing at this divergence. I’ve been down both paths at one time or another in my life, so the choice didn’t disturb me. Quite frankly, I’ve been on the chilled path for too long, grown too comfortable, so this choice comes at just the right time.
Rainer Rilke said the “Only journey is the one within.” That may be so, but I’m tired of that journey. I’ve been inside and there’s nothing there but a big dark void. One I’ve tried to fill with many things, but each time the object of my desire was devoured by the void.
So it’s with light heart that I begin to tread down the ‘devil may care’ road. I’m not sure what that will entail, but I look forward to finding out.
I wanted to say something about this whole inner journey thing. In Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Once the hero has completed the quest and the elixir, he or she has to face one more trial – The Return. The road back is often dangerous and many heroes don’t make it back. Not always because they meet some demise, but because they have fallen in love with the enchanted world and refuse to return back to the Ordinary World where the hero belongs. By choosing to stay, the hero abandons the Ordinary world and doesn’t bring back the elixir that will help humanity.
I think that happens with a lot of seekers. They embark on the inner journey. They learn to meditate. They adopt some form of spiritual practice that unburdens their soul. They find peace. The bliss is intoxicating. They get trapped in non-ordinary reality, seduced by the bliss. They fail to heed the Zen Master’s warning:
“Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
I think I’ll hang out here for a while:
On that note, as you can see, my glass is empty. Gotta top up.
It was a whirlwind of day down in Bedfordshire. I was at Jordan’s Mill, the home of Jordan’s Cereal. Unfortunately I didn’t see much of the mill. Instead I was in a room filled with 30 or so people from the UK and as far afield as African. I was there on official business operating in the capacity of social tech and digital marketing dude. I was also the group’s part-time picture taker and the resident podcaster.
I finished reading the Michael Robbins book, The Second Sex, which was his second poetry collection following his Alien vs Predator debut collection back in 2012. I was slightly disappointed with this volume. I felt it lack the cohesion of Alien vs Predator. If I happened upon this book without any indication as to which was published first, I would have said The Second Sex. The poems felt all over the place kind of like being in the back of a Landrover Defended going cross-country over rough terrain.
Unless, of course, he intended for the ride to be rocky.
I also spent time with the Richard Halliburton book, The Royal Road to Romance. No I haven’t gone soft on you and reading romance novels, this is a pure adventure travel classic.
A quiet, normal life was never in the cards for Richard Halliburton. While the rest of Princeton’s Class of 1921 was busy matriculating into more “respectable” lives, Halliburton stuffed his diploma into a backpack and set off on what he hoped would be the adventure of a lifetime. As it turns out, his hopes were wildly understated.
His story doesn’t end. At the age of 39, he dies in the middle of an expedition to sail a Chinese junk from Hong Kong to San Francisco, but that’s another story. Halliburton is making me nostalgic for a simpler time in my life, one filled with youthful exuberance, recklessness and a constant eye on the horizon. Once when asked what his profession was, Halliburton answered: ‘I’m a professional horizon chaser.”
And of course, you know that fired me right up! I want to be a professional horizon chaser too. I think I’ve spent the past few years looking for that edge Hunter S. Thompson talked about:
“The Edge…There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others-the living-are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still Out there.”
It’s a dark road that leads to the edge. And as David Lee Roth calls out in ‘Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love’:
“i’ve been to the edge/and there I stood and looked down/You know I lost a lot of friends there, baby/I got no time to mess around.”
I want to come back into the light and chase horizons.
On another note…
I’m not much into cars, vintage or otherwise. My main requirement for a motor is that it gets me from point A to point B and back. It was always this way. As a teenager and into my early twenties I was into American Muscle cars – the Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and my all time favourite, the Chevy Camaro. My first car was a Camaro Z-28. Loved it.
My little town of Southam held it’s annual Retro Revival today. It’s look back to the 1950’s. On hand were a variety of vehicles from cars to howitzers to tractors and mint vintage condition. They had the hula hoops out and 50’s music blasting from the centre stage. The cars carried the event, but there were people who really got into and got all guy and dolled up in their 50’s threads. I didn’t see any Fonzys though.