Living On | hyperlinked poem series | #1

Let’s keep living on advices we love. Wrap ourselves

In nothing cloths on summer evenings and lie about.

 

Let’s stay put

with grace. Or go on and on without punctuation

We’ll do the whole damn ceremony without it.

And forget prayer.

 

Let’s renew vows in a garbage dump—or fake a break up

Over the airport P.A. while they all break the other hearts

Delaying flights. Let’s cover ourselves head to toe

In honey, stick on the bandages bought that morning at market. Call up

Love’s captain to drop us off on a strange pier. Linger for a while.

Go back home where we’ve stitched dreams to streams

Of advice in letters across the floor.

 

And let’s throw in some bad apples too.

Disasters are the parades that remind me why I love you.

And have we already forgotten the too-drunken toasts to what we caught

And what we killed. And what we had but could not hold.

 

See I had all these plans and no gun to trigger the start. I had all this

Money and no tools to bury it.

All these seeds and

No pots to corrupt

That spectacular emergence.

Collars, but had no dogs. Chains, no commands.

Pride, but no patience.

 

I promised you the glories of life and came up short on what to do about it just

Yesterday.

 

So today I listen to advices, mostly from fabled folks

And they say to let love spoil as fast as possible—use it up,

Stomp on its throat,

Move on.

 

Well, I don’t know if I can do that. I’ve always preferred

the lovesongs you used up on me

To tragedy’s flirtation.

 

And even then I’m fresh out of my own ideas anyway.

H1 Goal Review + Q3 Goal Planning

For the sake of ledger(ing), here’s a review of my H1 2017 goals and a listing of my Q3 2017 goals (all personal goals—professional goals excluded).

H1 2017 Goals

Buy less than H1 2016

— Success. I’m sure I’m missing a few variables (tracking reimbursable work spend, for instance), but my YoY spend through Q1 and Q2 in 2017 is down 15.02% from the same periods in 2016.

I don’t have a great hack for this—I still think I spend too much. I tried to spend less on Amazon (down almost 50% in same time period as last year). I tried to make myself think about any clothing purchase for at least 3 days before purchasing (do I really need this?). Lastly, I tried to not buy books, with the only reasoning being that I have more than enough to read through this year (and several more). I’m essentially building my own queue that’ll hit impossibility eventually. So…….I bought 11.

Volunteer at least 25 hours

Not success. I volunteered a total of 21 hours in H1. I have no excuses here. I know that volunteer work is good for myself, my community, and my world. I didn’t prioritize this. It was a failed attempt at a worthwhile goal. And it’s not that many hours. Darn.

Publish 2 literary criticism essays (+1000 words) on my blog

Not success. I published one very not-well-thought-out piece of criticism. I had another draft. I just couldn’t get behind this. It’s not an excuse since it’s just a lack of discipline but it wasn’t my favorite goal. I did throw up one review of the exceptional Nick Cave documentary, so many that can count too. Either way, no success on this one.

Deadlift 160% of BW

— Success. On 6/5/2017, I deadlifted 275lbs. I weighed myself that morning at 169.8 pounds. That’s 162% of my bodyweight. I’m glad I set this goal too since it was the morning after a later night—U2 show at Soldier Field. Without having this goal set, I likely would have skipped the gym or held off from going for 275.

Can’t say how good this feels to see progress in my deadlift. It was just 4 years ago I was walking with a cane in Vancouver.

 

Q3 2017 Goals

Moving to quarter goals. Here’s what I’ll try to achieve before October 1, 2017.

Take SuperLearner course (link)

10 pieces of writing as part of a themed project (theme is TBD)

Two weeks on time-restricted diet & two +24-hour fasts (link)

Deadlift 295lbs

What I Bookmarked in 2013

I don’t bookmark too many sites. For articles, I try to throw them into Pocket. Other sites will get a note in the notebook or an email to a friend. For some reason, though, I don’t hit that star in Chrome too often.

And when I do, there are a variety of folders that things go into. Writing, sites of Zirtual interest, education material, etc…..For everything else, there’s been a folder simply called ‘2013’.

At the end of the year, here’s the randomness that made my bookmarks.

Find The Conversation Concept Map — perhaps still the best designed website I’ve come across. A great database of articles on various topics, but an even better aesthetic.

Reddit ‘what are the best websites for NOT wasting your time’ thread — self-explanatory

Letters of Note — great blog of correspondences through the years. Lots of famous back-and-forths here for the literary minds & historians.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling — self-explanatory

GetInspired365 — new inspiration for each day

37 mind-expanding subreddits — for the Redditor in me.

The Complete Guide to Interval Training — early seeds of a healthy year. workouts on the go.

The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We’re Going to Miss Almost Everything — great NPR article on living in the age where anything can be in your hands in minutes. Daunting, mystifying, yet wonderful.

Maggie Appleton — great artist I discovered. Love her sketches with quotation additions.

Jason Collins is the Envy of Straight Men Everywhere — a good reminder of the first openly gay professional athlete. Big step for sports in 2013. This is author Sherman Alexie at his finest — shoving our own presumptions and cultural norms in our face.

The Big Dot — more people live inside this circle than outside of it

Radical Openness — video on new paradigm. Dig it.

How Do You Define Yourself? — Alan Watts asking the important question. He was good at this.

Mindful in May — a month of mindfulness. Good links to be found here.

What? You Didn’t Fall in Love with Rome? — great little sentimentality trip here. I know not everyone loves the eternal city. But their wrong. Simple.

Ernest Hemingway’s Reading List for a Young Writer — self-explanatory. and how.

Reddit’s r/malefashionadvice The Basic Wardrobe — good for dressing on the road. plan to follow this more in 2014.

The Dark Side of the Digital Nomad — blogger Mark Manson on some things you lose out by living on the road.

The Inside Story of the Moto X — goes into the phone Google released this year, and some of the reasons for its acquisition of Motorola. Good read.

100 Alternatives to ‘So whaddya do?’ — good list of interesting questions to spark a conversation other than, well, the standard.

Vancouver pic — this is nice to look at it. Can’t wait to make it back to all the glass.

Milesimizer — helps determine whether to use miles or $ when booking plane tickets

Note to Selfie — great article on why using social media doesn’t take people ‘out’ of the moment. A truly potent analysis of the world we live in today.

 

And that’s all. 23 sites. Not the best or the worst  I’ve found. Just the ones that found their way to the 2013 folder.

Book Recommendations, I

A lot of friends ask about book recommendations…..So I thought I’d publish a seres of posts with some commonly recommended reads.

If you’re looking for….

…a novel everyone should read?

East of Eden (J. Steinbeck)

John Steinbeck was one of the most prolific American novelists who ever lived. He may take the cake on that honor in the 20th century. And you may know him from either a summer reading requirement of Hatchet, a long history-based English course on The Grapes of Wrath or, more randomly, for his love of his dog Charlie. He also won the Nobel Prize and was a great letter writer.

East of Eden, in his own words, was the summation of everything he learned in the craft. And it shows. It’s brilliant. About as brilliant of a novel as I’ve read and every novel that I come to has this as its basis of comparison.

It’s just so. well. crafted.

…short stories that would be perfect for my commute:

A Good Man Is Hard To Find (O’Connor)

Flannery O’Connor was a master. And I don’t use that term lightly. Anyone who has written a short story knows of the challenge of saying A LOT with only so many words. O’Connor mastered that and this is her pièce de résistance.

What might be considered the best collection of short stories published in 1) this century; 2) America; 3) by a female author — is well worth its high praise.

O’Connor takes you through the American South of the 40s ands 50s more than any other medium I’ve found — and she does so with a cast of interesting characters, outlaws and women. Not to mention a litany of lessons,  aphorisms (see title), and the kind of sentences that make writers want to put down their pens and weep.

Any newcomer to the short story would be wise to start here. Those experienced in that style should have already made their way here; and if they haven’t, there’s a dozen reasons here to check it out.

Try this line on for size: “She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

…a change in my worldview:

Weapons of Mass Instruction (J.T. Gatto)

Well, maybe not worldview. But it’ll certainly change how you view the education system in our modern world.

Gatto was a NYC teacher for something like 30 years and after leaving in what seems like an unceremonious fashion, he decided to start railing against a system that’s been much the same for the last 150 years. And the only big changes came about 100 years ago when the first wave of huge American industrialists put their hands in the system.

Why? Well, because they needed to know that 10 years from that point someone would come and work in their factories. That American workers would still be manageable and have the basic skills that they felt were necessary for the post-industrial revolution economy. They wanted an assembly line system IN education. And they got it.

Worse…..we’re still using it today.

Gatto breaks down that system and how it’s failing us in our current context. It’s almost a scary book in that right. Well worth the read.

Only knock: he slips a bit into the anecdotal a few times. You can list hundreds of people who quit school and “made it”. But you can also list those that got PhD’s doing much the same.

 

 

More recommendations to come. Enjoy the first round here!