Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Painful But True

Your worst moments of total failure are a gift.

Learning from these failures is how you get better.

It’s part of the journey toward mastery.

We All Live in Two Realities

There is the external reality of the world with its laws of physics and messy human psychodynamics.

And then there is the reality in your mind, which is essentially whatever you want it to be.

Note: It’s important to understand that there may be very little, or quite possibly no overlap between the two. That’s alright — it doesn’t diminish the pleasure one derives from either perspective.

The degree to which any given person’s inner reality matches, or even exeeds the world’s external reality, may be the single factor that distinguishes artists from the general population.

Just a thought.

It’s All a Dream

“To admit that we are afraid is a wonderful freedom. Everything is important, but, finally, nothing is important. It’s all smoke. I look back on my life and think, Was it all a dream? Everyone I know is dead now. My parents are gone, and I think, Did they really exist? I’m going into metaphysics, in a way—the solipsistic universe we live in. But I look back over my life and think, The past is incomprehensible. I don’t grasp it at all.”

–  Anthony Hopkins

What Comes After Burnout?

Research indicates that many Covid nurses have most likely advanced beyond burnout and are now suffering from “moral injury,” a term typically applied to combat soldiers that the Department of Veterans Affairs defines as a response to “acting or witnessing behaviors that go against an individual’s values and moral beliefs.

Searching For a Genre (Part 1)

In an interview discussing his film “Eastern Promises,” David Cronenberg states, “I realized I’m not interested in the mechanics of the mob, but criminality and people who live in a state of perpetual transgression — that is interesting to me.”

Everything I’ve written up to this point has been based on ideas I thought would be interesting to explore. In the process of doing this, certain themes seem to emerge in many of my stories. Transgression is one of them, although it was never my intention. I simply thought the stories and characters were provacative.

Murder and death seem to make regular appearances, often involving people who exist on society’s fringes.

I’m interested in morally ambiguous characters — asking whether they are good or bad isn’t even the right question. They simply do the best they can with what they’ve got.

Isn’t that how life works?

This (Part 3)

“The job of the creative person is to recognize and express things for others. Some haven’t fully grasped their own feelings. Others lack the skill to communicate the feeling or idea. Still others lack the courage to express it. Whatever the case, we recognize the truth when we read it. The best writers seem to read our minds, and they nail exactly what we’ve never been able to put into words.”

– Chuck Paluhnik

I Love My Job, But…

Just finished a three-day stretch in the ER. I work 12.5 hours each shift, so that’s 37.5 hours in 3 days. And it’s not a normal job, that’s for sure.

It’s a job filled with sadness, tragedy, and death. Oh, did I mention the frustration of trying to stabilize patients who’ve spent a lifetime of neglect to arrive at a such a state of disarray that you’re not quite sure what calamity to treat first. Hint: it’s the one most likely to kill you before you get out of the ER.

Yet I’m still fascinated and turned on by the whole process. And the best part of all?

I get paid to help people in their most vulnerable moment of need. What a privilege to be entrusted with.

I’ve often said – there’s only three ways you’re leaving the ER: you’re either discharged back to wherever you came from, admitted and transferred to floor, or you’re packed up in a body bag and sent to the morgue.

Explaining the latter to the spouse and loved ones is one of the most difficult aspects of practicing as an ER nurse. You’re constantly reminded of the fact that we’re all, give or take, going to end up in the same place.

But still – at least for now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Who’s Running This Ship?

As I understand it, humans gather together in large groups bound by geography and form societies. Over millenia, new languages are born and cultural customs and religions coalesce.

In order to control what would otherwise become a coalition of violent tribes constantly at war with one another, humans created something called government. The idea was that this would bring order to a lawless world and protect those who might otherwise be exploited.

In the process of establishing this government, safeguards to protect the population would be implemented, and various branches would ensure that the infrastructure needed to provide essential services to the people was always functioning.

So why does America seem to be reverting to “a coalition of violent tribes constantly at war with one another.”

Are we going forwards or backwards here, folks? “

‘Cuz I don’t know what you see from where you’re sitting, but I see a shitstorm up ahead.

We Have Prepared For Nothing

Question: What does the Coronavirus and the current power outages in Texas have in common?

Answer: Our complete failure in anticipating and preparing for disasters. It might as well be our American motto: What? Me Worry?

Seriously – if there is one overarching epiphany I’ve taken away from 2020 it’s this: We are doomed by our own incompetence. We are not prepared for anything, indeed, what we call society is a flimsy construct in constant danger of falling away and revealing the nihilistic impulses of a species hell-bent on seeing its own destruction.

Is this really who we are?

The evidence points to a grim response – I’m afraid so.

An Alternative Viewpoint

“In Barry Malzberg’s fine novel, Herovit’s World, the protagonist argues that rewriting his work would rob it of the spontaneity that is its only virtue. And I believe it was William Goldman who defined revision as “washing garbage.”

– Lawrence Bloch

Jodie Foster

Ok – I didn’t research this (or even spend that much time thinking about it, really), but I just listened to a great interview with Jodie and Marc Maron on his podcast. OMG was it good…

So here’s a few Jodi Foster roles you might want to check out if you’re interested in high-level acting/producing/directing by a woman. She’s formidable – and I mean that in the best possible way.

The real deal.

Anyway, here we go:

  1. Taxi Driver
  2. The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
  3. The Accused
  4. The Silence of the Lambs
  5. Nell
  6. Little Man Tate

That’s enough off the top of my head.

I always have time for an artist like this.

Sheesh…

That didn’t take long – nuthin’ happening here folks.

See you in the land of tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by – if you don’t mind, could you turn the lights off on your way out?

It Shouldn’t Be That Hard

There is nothing more charismatic than someone who is completely comfortable in their skin. They are magnetic – we can’t take our eyes away.

The closer you get to expressing who you really are, the more undeniable you become. It’s as if being vulnerable enough to expose yourself makes you more attractive, not less.

So why don’t we do it?

Fear.

It Made the World Smaller

At the end of COVID year one, I’ve had an epiphany – one caused by reflecting on this blog. See, tomorrow marks the beginning of year five posting something daily. Well, daily until the last few months, anyway. It was getting harder and harder to come up with something new every day, and I wasn’t sure why.

I’ve been struggling with whether to keep doing this thing, thinking it might have run its course when I suddenly had this realization.

It’s become harder because COVID made my world smaller.

I didn’t run out of ideas — I’m just not going anywhere except work and home. No outside stimulation of being in the world — and no potential growth that might have happened because of it.

So maybe this blog taught me something, even as I struggled to do it.

Perhaps it hasn’t outlived its usefulness.