Thursday, May 31, 2007

A bit of a placeholder. But it fits.

Night has fallen, in this city of ours.

Not with a vengeance, but with a resolute sense of peace.
The people that I know have drawn themselves in from the glittering fields of colored lights, away from the bustling hustle of their daily toils, searching for a time where quiet is all they might know, hoping for closed eyes and cool air brushing gently across their skin like the hand of a special someone. Moving towards a place where they might lay their heads and prepare for the day to find itself again. Out there, they rest.

In here, I work.

I work on truly, truly, truly ridiculous things.
And I enjoy it. I enjoy it a lot, to a point.

But then again -- it’s troubling to another point. Because here I be, busy working on truly, truly, truly ridiculous things. So much so…that I lose the time to find fresh thoughts.

So here’s something for you. It’s not altogether fresh, it’s not altogether wonderful. It’s actually an addendum -- A bit of something that previously closed something else.
But hey. Something is something. Right?
Right you are!


It's an odd thing, this place right now. Still a hotbox, the air still thick with the scent of sweat turned sour with dread, and the rehabilitating guffaws of people taking off early with their conscience clear. It's too late for me. Still here, still waiting. Sisyphus is the World-engine -- and these are the rocks we push uphill.

Knowing all the while.
We talked about that, the lads and I. While we went about our busyness, a cohort had mentioned the frequency by which one of the day-fellows mentions my apparent fascination with Albert Camus. Now, seeing as I don't spend much, if any, time at all discussing that particular Algerian-French thinker in these emails (unless I'm poking fun at that particular day-fellow, but of course) this kind of rubbed me the wrong way. So I decided to throw caution to the wind, and think about this for a moment, think of something to say. So here you go: Sisyphus is the World-engine.

And by that, our lives our fueled.
Way of the World. Right?

Some background, then.
Sisyphus was a figure from Greek mythology who, after attempting to escape the Hades by way of deceiving Persephone (Queen of the Underworld), was dragged back to the pit and set up with the eternal punishment of pushing a rock up a hill. After which it would fall back down. So he would push it back up. And it would fall. So again, up. And then down. And up. And down. Up. Down. Up Down. UpDown. UPDOWN. updown. Updownupdownupdownupdown…and yeah. Et cetera, Eternity, Ad naseum. And so on.

This was hell, this was purgatory, this was his punishment.
Et cetera, Eternity, Ad naseum. And so on.

There's this myth. And in about 1942, the Algerian-Frenchman (remember him?) published an extended essay which essentially came around to this singular point: That the lot of Sisyphus is only a torment if he perceives it as such.

There is a man. He has a rock. He pushes it uphill. And then he pushes it again.
So if this man were to look at this massive stone, and then down at the rough-hewn crags of his fingers, he might be able to simply and solemnly nod his head. To stand up as a man, and declare: "I am a pusher of rocks."

To accept his life.

And the walls came tumbling down.
Because if one takes their life in this manner -- still, without declaring their hopes and ambitions forfeit, without laying waste to their dreams -- they may see the day for what it is: another day. Via this acceptance, the absurd comes to light, and by way of that, all is well. So.


Look at the world. Look how it's built, upon a foundation of the push and pull between the forces of limitless Chaos & calculated Choice. And look at the people. The people who go out there, every single day, and do the things which keep us alive. At the people who pull the levers, who till the fields, who laugh away the day. Dirty hands flushed clean with mirth on summer evenings. Life being lived. Work being done. World turning over, time after time, day after day after day after day. The people of the world: "We are pushers of rocks." Even if they don't realize, even if they don't really say it aloud. And it is they, as well as we, who move the Earth.

We keep it going.
Something went down. It'll come back up again. The work will get done.
Sisyphus is the World-engine. And these are the rocks we push uphill.

Good times, my friends. Good times.

I’ve things to do, noble interweb, and less and less time to do them.
I hope you don’t get cross.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A storied song for a gray day.

I’ve been rather tired as of late.
No ones fault but mine, of course. Working long nights, sleeping short days. Keeping myself busy to the point of crippling sanity, losing those moments where I’d do nothing more than stare deeply into the heart of nothing in particular, until I could manage to see through the epic tales of the dust that floated through streams of mid-afternoon sun, see through to everything they could hope to teach the world. Spending my time losing moments of nothing at all. It’s been happening. And yes, I’ve been tired. So much so that I’ve found nary an opportunity to sit my popping heap of bones down to start prattling away about…whatever it is that I might prattle away about on an idle Wednesday evening.

These days, it gets harder and harder to puzzle out what I might say.

So. Here’s one for me, and for you as well:
What does it take to tell a story?
And what does it take to build one?

I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve always thought about it. I thought that I might come here and head off into the territory of word-smithing with by making some manner of joke about a concept that doesn’t quite exist. Something like…“Secular Onanism,” maybe. Some sort of Something that might get you wondering what the tenants of such a thing might be, until you finally come full circle and realize that it might already be established by the wealth of fellows practicing self-flagellation in the name of Deity; a practice enjoyed by pale, pale Arthur Dimmesdale, and other paler, paler (and poorly-written, poorly-written) albinos alike.

Yes, I thought that joke might be funny.
It’s odd where these things go, sometimes.

…kinda maybe most of the times. Which is the way it has to be.
It has to be that way, it has to have the struggle of pointless meandering, it has to choke on its own indifference before the story can be built. It has to be a world we know, so we know where it might take us.

Because when you get right down to it:
I have no slathering jaws that open wide to rid the world of lives.
I have no thunderous growl that would casually lay waste to man’s resolve.

This is just another story of a guy walking down the street underneath the casual gray of the sky. Just another story of a man who exited a movie theater, who just witnessed an introduction built upon one person starting a friendship with the brazen act of walking up and declaring that you love their music. And it got to me, that story. I’ve started a friendship the very same way, just by me knocking on a cheap-ass dorm door and declaring appreciation towards a lonely violinist. Because that’s what should be done; we should gesture towards the lonely, while being sure to nod our heads. I did, that day. I gained a friend, that way. Later on I lost that friend, through a host of bad, bad things.
Just another story. Building it by living through it.

So. What’s it take to build a story?
It takes open ears and stretched out eyes, staring into the face of the Sun and listening to the roar of the Earth.

It takes a willingness to accept things as they come by.
Think of -- think of those beautiful times, when people you don’t know walk up to you, smiles stretched out on their faces, a world of memory on their minds. They hand you a camera, and ask you to take a picture. There, in that very spot, they’ve placed the future of their memories in your hands. Given you a chance to build a moment.
Given you responsibility over their story; of the things they wish to tell the people that they love and trust. It’s a beautiful chance, it always is. Whenever it happens, I just hope to fuck that I don’t screw it up with my storytelling sensibilities, hopefully giving them the right place at the right time.

What does that mean then, for your world right now? For the times you know and love, for whatever place and time, whether or not they happen to be right?

Next time you get a chance:

Take a moment.
I mean that.

Take it. From the very center of your day, grab a moment with both hands and hold on tight enough to make your fingernails crack into splinters. Take that moment, and just be quiet. Quiet and still. Hold on. Hold onto it until that fateful moment where it, that it in particular, where it grabs you in return and you begin to feel the tears welling up in your eyes. And then? Just let it move away.

Watch it slide into the distance like the fateful farewell of the five-cent koan.
Another thing to puzzle over, another world to make you tired. Another story to (hopefully) tell.

Yesterday was my birthday. Said some things, did some things.
Could be I learned some things.

What’s it take to tell a story?
That -- that’s a part of my world that I’m still trying figure out.

And as odd as the lot of this might be, it certainly wouldn’t feel right any other way.

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