All, Journal, Prose

28 Jan, 2015: Library

It was nice going to the library today – hell it was downright spiritual. I assume it was a similar feeling to what stepping into Wrigley or Fenway would evoke in a twelve-year-old who dreams of hitting home runs.

Poetic, corny, whatever – fuck you ego.

It was kind of sad to think how empty the library aisles were – excepting the intermittent solemn-faced Senior citizen seemingly searching for a piece of the past in silent contemplation. Socks with sandals.

And of course there is always an attractive mom-type or two to smile at because in a place as unsexy as the library you automatically apply a +2 or 3 handicap on the standard one to ten scale, but it’s also just possible, likely even, that books simply turn me on. Sapiosexuality.

But I was saddened to not bump into any awkward twelve year old boys looking for a copy of Lolita, as I would have once done – had I known it existed – of course at twelve the call of the sea had bitten me and I was searching out any and every sea story which could in hindsight fulfill my desire to run away. Treasure island was and perhaps will always be my favorite story.

Looking out through the library’s panoramic windows onto the grass and the January cool enshrouding the two Michigan-like trees I couldn’t help but think about all the days I have spent inside in an almost agoraphobic self-imposed exile from the world. All the days I could have been looking through the library windows onto the two Michigan-like trees atop the frigid, pale green grass.

I also realized in my manic excitement combing through the library’s fiction aisles that I hadn’t eaten all day, then immediately thought of how amazing it was that I had unfettered access to the worlds greatest books, and how awesome it was that I didn’t even give a fuck about the hunger, only minding the books. Just mind the books. You could spend two years here, I thought.

Reminded me of the time I sat on the sea wall with Shaggy talking about how our respective routines were based on the simple things that had “sustained the ancients for centuries” -as Shaggy had so fittingly said, given his grey beard and long matchy-match hair. Wise old man is wise.

I’m incredibly excited about the books I’ve picked up. It’s unbelievable simply witnessing my own writing mature and progress at a noticeable clip as a result of the writers I have been blessed to read lately.

I can only imagine after this next round of books that my pen game will be even sicker. Yes, I want to be a rockstar writer.

Author note: this is the first of my “journal” entries, which will be the now theme of 7Saturdays (think Carrie Bradshaw meets Ernest Hemingway) as I will be focusing on publishing my poems, essays, and stories in journals and magazines.

It was a bit tedious to publish this since I at first attempted to write this via screen, but quickly realized my writer’s facade was encroaching on my thoughts (I have always journaled into a paper notebook), that being said I had to transcribe this into WordPress, which I did verbatim – and I have a feeling my future Journal entries will require the same modicum of labor.

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All, art, MyFavoritez, Personal Mythology, Philosophy, Prose, Writing

Reset, Move Forward, Follow Folly

In order to write the book you want to write, in the end you have to become the person you need to become to write that book.
– Junot Díaz

Today was an important day; I needed today, I needed a reset. Hence, walk to park with blanket and books in bag, and call Marquitos – my best friend going on fourteen years – to come join me.

After a couple slow and beautiful hours of accomplishing little besides reading intermittently and skipping through my music selection, I ended up striking up a conversation with a nearby beachgoer, which turned into one of those great and expansive “think aloud” sessions full of life-affirming truths – new and old.

We talked of love and religion, of morality, of family, of small-talk that’s not small, and of our mutual dislike for [New England] Patriots fans.

For our time together she was my muse, stepping into the real with me and drawing out the song in my heart – a song of yearning and optimism, of ideals, of hope.

I recall and write of our conversation because it was a catalyst for me; I left knowing I would not forget the things we spoke of – but I was also given clarity, thine eyes to see – it was not unlike the feeling I experience after yoga, mind blowing sex, or meditation. She had given me le petit mort and I felt confident and free.

Afterwards I came home to nap but could not, the sunset was calling – and so, intent on staying in the real, I walked down to the water’s edge with headphones and journal in hand.

Admittedly it has been awhile, weeks actually, since I’ve journaled. I had filled my previous journal but for some reason didn’t maintain continuity in writing daily in the new notebook – perhaps having something to do with the fact that it was a gift from my ex-girlfriend, complete with a personalized inscription, signed with her love. Regardless, I was eager to resume the ritual of daily journaling, a practice that is immensely fulfilling and deeply centering. True ‘connect to your inner voice’ / authentic-self type stuff.

Now, I’d like to tell you I wrote in my notebook and that it was good – only I didn’t – I did something else; I walked along the shoreline in a thoughtful and deliberate fashion, thinking of my plans as a writer and making big decisions about the future of this blog.

Up until now I have written on a myriad of topics over the five years I’ve been writing here. To give you a little backstory – this blog began merely as a medium for me to document the lessons I wanted to impart upon my future generations – part of my legacy in a sense; however, it naturally became something more, something cathartic, something central to my identity. And so it was, last year, when I made these major life shifts and decided to devote my life to writing that I began self-publishing poems and becoming once again [as I was for years past] a literary minded person; although, this blog of course still did not have a central theme – beyond the vast, Grand Canyon of my most haunting thoughts and feelings – thoughts and feelings which have at times seemed to have almost climbed their way over the walls of my mind.

If you’re reading this – thank you, particularly if you are a follower or email subscriber. My followers have thus far come via word of mouth and I have never promoted 7Saturdays beyond casually informing friends and acquaintances of it’s existence – an existence made all the more bleak by it’s spartan, almost featureless design.

In addition to properly skinning this site with a customized theme, I’ll also soon be changing my writing approach. Instead of haphazardly publishing everything I write here, I’ll be focusing on publishing my poetry, essays, and short stories exclusively in journals and magazines, while I continue working on the two novels I am writing, leaving 7Saturdays to be the new home of my Journal. No more privatization of my innermost thoughts. Think of me as Hemingway meets Carrie Bradshaw. Part of my mission is to show people what it means to be a fucking human being, and to do that I’m going to need to bleed a little – I’m going to need to put some skin in the game.

I desire to be a prolific writer. But I’m not one of those writers who merely likes to hear himself think. Having just recently started reading through my previous journal and reflecting on it’s contents, I see that the focus of my journal entries is on my relationship to my thoughts and to the world – on being a better, more whole person. And just as I did in my journal, I may write 50 words some days – while others I may write 500. It depends on what I need to iron out, what thoughts of mine need exercising, and what silent inner dialogues need to be brought to life.

I want to do my best to remain authentic and true to my own self – a duty Shakespeare described as our most important in life – that being said, my entries may read like Hank Moody’s personal escapades, and frankly my dear: I don’t give a fuck. This is not to say I’m apathetic to my actions, but I am a real person – I make mistakes, I sometimes do stupid things; I’m a human being, but I try to be more human than my mistakes, and that’s what I reach for in my writing – humanity, what’s Good, Beautiful, and True.

These aesthetic and moral tenets are the foundation of my art. I believe as John Gardner did, that good art is life affirming, that it seeks to improve life, rather than debase it.

To improve life, the world, I am going to have to take the advice of Joseph Campbell and teach people how to live in it. That means focusing on things I think matter. Thankfully the timing for my writing career to begin couldn’t be better, as the initial and perhaps even the central and lasting themes of my work are beginning to show themselves in my dominating thoughts. These themes include the impact of society on the individual, technological “progress”, love, wellbeing, human development, sexuality, gender, race, spirituality, philosophy, and self-actualization. There’s a lot more to my ethos than a handful of broad topics can encompass, but I’m really interested in fiction as a vehicle for something larger than itself. Fiction as myth and myth as mirror for the ego, as Joseph Campbell once quipped.

I can’t describe what it’s like having the stories and the messages inside of me that I do.

William Faulkner described the plight of the born writer well:

“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is worth any number of old ladies.”

And so it’s been that many of the things I once held dear have gone by the wayside. In the past six months I’ve said goodbye to a three year love, and moved out of a place I could no longer afford to live in. As J.K. Rowling once said of her pre Harry Potter life, Rock Bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Two-thousand fourteen was the most significant year of my life; I became whole in twenty-fourteen, and as Carl Jung said – I’d rather be whole than good.

I had to let down a lot of people this past year to clear the decks so I could redefine myself, but I had to let myself down most of all; I had to let go of the life I had planned to make way for the life I wanted. In twenty-fifteen, this means being Lawrence Black the writer – the iconoclast – the only man I will ever be for as long as I live.

I believe in literature. I believe in story. I believe in human fulfillment over the narrowness of having to choose between fear and pleasure. I believe in living beyond the chains of the Amygdala, from a place of authentic inner-truth – a place of beauty, a place of good. This is not an impossible place to reach, but living in the real requires knowing when to reset, move forward, aynd follow folly. It’s not easy, but the reward is tasting of death but once.

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I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.

– Hermann Hesse, Demian

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All, Poetry, Timeless Truths

For What it’s Worth

When the journey grows painful I meditate on death

How in unknown years there will be nothing left –

Accounts, houses, and cars won’t matter
As you lay dying,
Headed to dust from pink matter

You too ought heed the deepest regrets –
Spoken by the faint voices of the dying,
Who blindly await what’s next –

They’ll tell you they wished they had overcome their fears
And how they never spoke up –
Except after three beers
They’ll tell you the truth,
How happiness was a choice –
And how they wished they had shown courage and followed their inner-voice

But for you Dear Boy –
For what it’s worth –
Your heaven and hell are still here on earth

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All, Prose, Real Life Inspiration, Timeless Truths, Writing

Last Night Lasts

I haven’t written anything in prose in awhile, but after a particularly fun evening spent in conversation with friends – old and new – I began to think about how it’s the singular experiences in life, and not the days, weeks, or even the years that change us.

It’s the people who change us.

Because if you live in a modern city, you will literally meet thousands of people across the span of your twenties alone. But of these thousands there will be perhaps less than 20 who will be remarkable in their own right. People whom you simply can’t ever forget and can naturally fondly recollect with a deep and abiding measure of genuine gratitude. Perhaps a teacher, perhaps a friend – perhaps someone beautiful with a kind ear and a bright perspective.

But oftentimes these game changing things aren’t pretty. Game changers come in a myriad of forms. My personal experience is that some of your deepest and richest spiritual insights will be discovered in your darkest places. And don’t worry about having to go seek the darkness in your search for the light; the darkness comes uninvited without fail. Life naturally contains challenges and you’ll have plenty. And my wish is not that you don’t have troubles, but that you discover the right lessons, insights, and messages that are contained within them.

And it’s all meaning. Perception is merely the filter. However, when you don’t understand the importance of moments and experiences as the life changing things that they are – you don’t harvest the richness that you are capable of evoking by merely remaining mindful of the power of life to touch you – to turn you on.

There’s a kind of alchemy that occurs when you interact with someone on an open and authentic plane. As Carl Jung once wrote:

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

Last night I spent the evening smoking hookah with friends. And I felt a glimpse of a feeling which Marie Louis Von Franz detailed in describing a “burgundy fueled dinner party” with Carl Jung and friends.

I knew that it would take me twenty years to digest what I had learned that night

And maybe it won’t take me twenty years to digest last night – but I’m in no hurry to forget about it, and I’d almost be happy if it did.

Here’s to hoping last night lasts.

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All, Poetry, Writing

Residual

For what woe go I –
For what woe go I unto the day?

The day’s heat –
A hot sun,
The sun sets, the day is done

For woe too ceases in due course,
But as the eye of heaven shines too hot,
So too does woe steal the day’s splendor through it’s might

Woe’s reign is cruel and unbending
For woe’s wrath – as the suns – as merciless and unending

We’re all looking for good girls
We’re all looking for good guys
But it’s all a guise,
For who does not wear a disguise

Will I ever be young again
Will I ever explore the world with someone again?
Will I ever love again?

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All, Ancient Wisdom, Poetry, Timeless Truths

Homefree

They told me home is where the heart is,
So I roamed the world homeless and broken-hearted

One person,
You can let one person destroy you

But that’s not all there is to life –

For tonight I found myself under a rain splatted roof,
Unsure and at ill-ease

And no sooner had this feeling befallen me,
Than I had a vision:
Our Ancestors, under a night-sky – Wild, Scared, Free

And this gave me a memory,
A knowing deep in my bones –
A feeling that the world Itself was to be my home

And the ancients spoke, speaking:
“If you do not make yourself home in the world now, you will never.”

So tonight
I am alone –
But I am home

For ‘tho it may be just me –
I know right here,
This is as home as I’ll ever be

So, if you’re reading this now, know,
You are Home,
You are Free

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All, Poetry

Part Dos

How could you not have anxiety in this society –

Two million advertisements telling you to buy this and you’ll be okay –
Buy this and you’ll be liked too

But no, Dear Boy,
You’ve been lied to

The horses do not whirr in the wind,
The city breeze catches no daisies,
And the old men do not smile and laugh at the cafe

Yes,
The whole world has changed

And me –
Yes, what of you?
Hmmph
I was in love once too –
Okay, twice

But it’s been a long time,
It’s been a long time since somebody loved you –

I had a place in the world once though –
I had a home

I was young and perfect,
And she loved me –

Boy did she love me.

Part Dos

So where is she now
– Where is she now.

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