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16 Feb – 1 Mar, 2015: Amused, Helocene, Sing, SunKing, Cauterised

Note: Herein are four separate journal entries. The reason I am publishing four at once is twofold: firstly, I often write sporadically and transcribing the entries from my journal is fairly time consuming (my scrawled, barely legible handwriting prohibits anyone else from doing this task for me); although, I find it a pleasurable activity when I’m in the mood for it, which is typically late at night while listening to relaxing music, as I am now – and secondly, I don’t want my email subscribers to wake up with four different email notifications of new entries – despite how thrilling that may (hopefully) be for some.

- L. Black

16 Feb: Amused

She’s in the watercolored, pinkish, burning-orange of tonight’s sunset. She’s walked by me in soft, well-worn shoes, and in a long black paisley-patterned skirt.

I created her because the song I used to sing – the one once again trapped in her heart – I can’t find the words to it anymore. It’s lost for all time like an ancient family recipe, but the soul of it lives on. In my heart and in my writing, somewhere between a memory and a dream.

A man (an artist) without a muse must invent one in his heart, if only to remind him why it beats. And so we beat on, if only to keep dreaming. The love of Marina Keegan, in all of us, beats on. Beating on in dusky moments like these. Moments fated to end, endings we are fated to witness.

But I’m not sullen or sad; this is normal. I’m coming to accept this, this “essence” of who I am (But I must remember the words of Haley S., who said to me, “I’m a different person than I was two months ago”). And I could dismissively apply an adjective like foolhearted to it [my disposition], but that wouldn’t do my appreciation for life justice – my zeal. I’ve got a damn zest for life like Papa Hemingway, I’ve got it alright. Cursed to want to taste my own blood after the punch, to catch the biggest, best fish of my life – ending it’s own with my fillet knife while ad-libbing a Native American prayer to it’s soul. For I believe in the souls of fishes and in mice and men.

Yes, I have zest for life. Zest enough to cook that fish for you and I. Zest enough to fall in love again. Enough to beat on – on the longest way round – hoping I don’t run into myself again, knowing I will.

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18 Feb: Helocene

Growing up, growing up, growing.

Spirituality manifests itself in very material ways. Our job as spiritual beings is to impart deeper meanings to the synchronistic occurrences we experience. For none but ourselves can give meaning to our lives. Regardless of how meaningful external things seem to us, we ourselves must orient our lives in the direction we wish to progress. And it’s the spiritual truths, as decided by us, that give us the deepest clarity and guidance, clarity and guidance we find when we need it most – when we open ourselves to it, when we open the doors of possibility and reveal the doors of perception, unlocked and waiting, slightly ajar, the light of our inner truths, our consciousness, – our souls – shining through.

Who would have known that after reading Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead, I would discover it’s deeper meaning (for me) in a dollar book reluctantly purchased from the library sale today. I suppose the universe did – or my inner voice, I’m coming to see they are one in the same. As Neil De Grasse Tyson exclaimed, ‘we are not only in this universe, but of this universe’.

Light a spliff, watch the sunset, listen to Helocene.

Watch your neighbors face the burning cotton-candied sky through their phones, turning away to mindlessly post a moment that they themselves (as souls) never recorded.

One more thing to write about. You had hoped to hear from her, to see her here again. Well, you didn’t; c’est la vie. Savor it.

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24 Feb: Sing

A procession of sunsets, the days dawdle on. Weeks on, months on, years on. Then life is gone. So I sit here chewing on these almonds as life eats me up. But what am I going to do about my inevitable exit from this world?

I mustn’t go quietly into the night. I’ve got to sing all there is in me. I can’t go down under the weight of unborn dreams – or of dreams past, neither regret, nor nostalgia, nor grief, nor great heights, nor depths deep and dark.

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27 Feb: SunKing

The sun sinking away behind the row of houses on the isthmus, once again, like the final glimpse of a golden crown on the head if a king riding over and down the hillside towards his destiny. For like the sun, the king never says goodbye. A silent display of confidence that he will be back again, once more.

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1 Mar: Cauterised

Days of daze are over. Dreams risen up and fallen, gone away.

Goodbye to Daniella, Shannon, Genevieve, and Jen (footnote: 1). Freed like birds once kept in my heart – free to begin again, to move on – I mark these scrawled letters as the start I have so long sought.

I now enter into a new sacred compact with my heart, a romance built to last a lifetime, a love with the one I wanted them to love most.

I’ll love myself all at once as they did and as they did not. As only I can, I must, I will – as I do now.

I will grant myself gifts of kindness, compassion, forgiveness, health, success, comfort, peace, and joy. All that love is dwells within me, and should the pangs of old wounds return in nostalgic remembrances of things gone away, I will not allow myself the masochistic, caustic self-pity of devolving into the person I was and the state I was in when the damage was first done, “for the valiant taste of death but once”, and it’s not valor or bravery – but courage, emotional strength.

I do not espouse sending ones vulnerabilities into exile, but rather – bringing ones strengths to light. As is said: a smart man learns to endure pain, but a wise man learns to avoid it. And while I cannot thwart the inherent risks of loving truly, I can choose to be whole.

In moving on alone, ahead, onward toward my thirtieth year, I am complete. Devoid of nothing and no one.

One last thing on the subject of love. Have I been too toady, too servile, too schmaltzy, too self-sacrificial, too pollyanistic, too indigent, too infantile and infatuated? Yes – but disingenuous or insincere? Never. That said, there’s a certain balance of wisdom and maturity between my head and my heart that has never before existed within me. Too my surprise, I’m not in the least bit regretful about possessing this. I’m no longer sad that love will never be what it once was.

I’m no longer seeking a comeback. No longer seeking to incarnate the love of one in another. The Master’s Chamber in my heart is once again unoccupied and I am once again occupied in making a masterpiece of my life.

For the first time in my adult life I am in all actuality grateful for the misshapen gifts of my past – all of them. The incendiary bombs of love departed have kept the fire burning in my heart and my wounds are no longer septic, having now been cauterised by the ashes of love past.

I carry no more torches into the night as I have for the thousands of nights now at rest behind me. Since I am no longer dedicating my love to those who do not love me, I have certitude in my ability to commit my love to where it is most deserved. To I. To me. To mine.

Footnote 1: Chronological order of meeting – except I never actually met Genevieve as it was semi long-distance, and I only met Jen once, after a lengthy correspondence, but nonetheless, they entered into my soul [anima]): although, Daniella and Shannon I did spend the better part of a decade with in total. Either way, it is goodbye. It’s a season in my life for letting go. Something that (my inability to do so) has royally fucked me in the past. Bless them, but I need them not anymore, and do not care to be who I was before: the man who never let go. There’s simply no place in my life today or tomorrow for unrequited love.

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p.s. Here’s a quote that felt appropriate to end these entries with:

“Dignity
/ˈdignitē/ noun

1. The moment you realize that the person you cared for has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you, but a headache.

2. The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes.

3. The moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education and your parent’s wisdom.

4. The moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter.

5. The moment you realize that no one is your enemy, except yourself.

6. The moment you realize that you can have everything you want in life. However, it takes timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not yours, it is because you really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it.

7. The moment you realize the ghost of your ancestors stood between you and the person you loved. They really don’t want you mucking up the family line with someone that acts anything less than honorable.

8. The moment you realize that happiness was never about getting a person. They are only a helpmate towards achieving your life mission.

9. The moment you believe that love is not about losing or winning. It is just a few moments in time, followed by an eternity of situations to grow from.

10. The moment you realize that you were always the right person. Only ignorant people walk away from greatness.”

― Shannon L. Alder

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All, family, Journal, Prose

6 Feb, 2015: Piñatas

Long afternoon shadows. Watching kids strike a small, child-shaped piñata in the park. The scene eerily not unlike someone lynched, beaten. The act senseless were it not for the candy splayed out onto the grass, soon to be in the clutches of tiny, selfish hands.

We do things like purchase piñatas for children to beat on at birthday parties without ever knowing why.

I look to the families, specifically the parents, standing cooly on the park’s grass in clean, hip clothing, as if I can somehow figure out how they manage to seem so good at life, so effortless in their ability to sip lemon flavored water and stand around discussing their kids, or their jobs, or perhaps the idea of putting down fake grass in their small heavily-shaded yards.

I look to them in amused, respectful jealousy. Jealous for the families they have; longing for the family I want – the family I’ve always wanted.

So maybe I’ll take up running again and I’l get it all together. All on a silver platter. All tied up with a bow on it. A bow for a wife as beautiful as the one standing with her back to me in the yellow flowery dress and the black, soft looking cardigan – long auburn-brown hair flowing down her back, topped with one of those hip tropical hats with the small brim. I’ll get it all wrapped up for a woman as good as her, a girl as good as my exes. Better. Or maybe better ’cause I’ll be. And though I sound as melancholy and embattled as Kerouac, I mean it as Kerouac never did.

Yellow dress girl has put on her shoes – corky, chunky heels, which ruin the bohemian, kombucha-making-mom image I had projected onto her. And on by walks another, prettier girl, and so the dream begins again. She tosses her hair back over her shoulder, as I look on, and I am enchanted. For she does not wear corky, chunky heels – but flat-soled canvas shoes, like the ones I wear.

Yellow dresses, black dresses, purple dresses. It’s a day and a feeling as timeless as the lyrics to Coldplay’s “Shiver”:

And I’ll always be waiting for you. And it’s you I see, but you don’t see me… So I look in your direction, but you pay me no attention. And you know how much I need you, but you never even see me, do you.

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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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