Trust30 – Day 4: Postit and Life Challenges

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

Post-it note? Are you kidding. Where am I going to find a post-it note?

Biggest Challenge at the Moment: (Other than I have no Post-it notes) Lost my voice.

Question from Challenge: How to acquire a useful voice.

Answers and Evaluation:

  • Stop reading insipid crap and start reading works by authors with voices worth stealing, er, borrowing. Not sure this exercise takes me in that direction, though it makes my lips curl in smile; somewhat smug; remembering a 7th grade English teacher, an innocent at 55 years who never traveled beyond state lines, trying to explain Silas Marner, a pre-industrial tale written by an English woman named George, to a room of bored American boys and girls whose primary literary sources were Stan Lee and Beatrice Potter and whose only dramatic experiences emanated from cathode ray tubes.
  • Try not to write run-on sentences. Though fun for the writer they tend to piss off readers.
  • Bury seriousness. If Pen does not have tongue planted firmly in cheek, chances are the lazier, uglier, dimwitted, brother of Muse has locked Muse Proper in the closet again.
  • Practice, practice, practice does not always work. Honest. It keeps the fingers and hand muscles toned but can, if pushed too far, dull the mind. When writing produces over-serious, proselytizing prose, stop writing and organize; make outlines, mind-maps or a new pot of coffee. Digging the same ditch, again and again, ruins the dirt, wastes the day and interferes with drinking.
  • Politics distract from art. Stop thinking about politics. My politics run too conventional to be of interest to Pen or reader. Stop writing political drivel. It’ll save up to 72 hours a day – guaranteed or your money back.

Could keep writing excuses for another hour or so but nothing of value appeared in the few minutes invested thus far. I doubt anything of value is likely to appear with more time invested.

So. Finished. Yes. To liking? Not so much. Enough to move on. Yup.

Trust30 Day 3: Personal Illusions

What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family?

What inspires this belief?

What have you done to actively live it?

Language contributes more than direct experience to the realities people adopt.

Our species is the symbol making species.

We recognize and create patterns. We employ symbols to simplify and share patterns.

We assemble symbols into languages.

Through languages, people project and inherit realities – each reality altered by personal history, made true by personal languages and manipulated by group languages – languages assembled from patterns of symbols of patterns of symbols of patterns and on forever to the beginning of time.

Dislike, hatred and war erupt from clashes between personal realities. People destroy people for using unfamiliar symbols to represent familiar concepts. People destroy people for relating unfamiliar concepts to familiar symbols.

Perhaps this is the conceit concealed in the metaphoric Garden of Eden debacle and the poetic but inevitable collapse of Bifrost.

I do not write to transfer meaning but to elicit response. My fingers draw letters into more than words and words into more than phrases. Punctuation & pronunciation tremble pitch and stumble rhythm for Mind’s ear. Like a maladroit wizard, I weave insipid spells intended to evoke cognitive responses from readers I have not met and cannot see. By calling forth cognitive responses, I alter personal realities. Neither agreement or disagreement matter.

This has been condensed from many pages and the condensing eliminated my broad definition of languages: languages of speech, letters, numbers, motion, music, form, color and more are meant. To think of the language of letters only does not work, at least not for me.

Trust30 Day 1: Ageism

They’ve given me fifteen minutes and a keyboard.

Idiots. They have no idea how foolish I can look in fifteen minutes.

To begin –

We waste age.

Illusions ingrained by social messaging permeate our culture. Social, political, economic, religious – every aspect of our timid existence dims beneath clouds of delusion. Social-programming paints belief on a foundation of idolized youth and fear of aging and death. Media and dogma reinforce fear with hope; hope we avoid appearing aged; hope and promises that we transcend Death.

Make no mistake. We will age. We will die. Deny this simple truth until the eleventh hour when nothing more can be done. It matters not. You will age until you fall into darkness. Only in darkness does aging cease.

Ranking differences between young and old, putting one above the other, sets the stage for social folly. Fear of aging prevents transition of middle-age roles into old-age roles. At fifty, we avoid the question “Are we ready to be sixty.” because we tremble at the thought of sixty. We do not spend time preparing ourselves to become elders.

The young justifiably perceive the powerful-old as barriers and the subservient-old as over. Not because the old lack assets to share but because the powerful-old refuse to share and the subservient-old do not know what to share. Our culture places little value on lessons learned and less value on passing our wisdom to the next generation. Instead, old-timers, clinging to the past, demand obedience and subservience of young-adults condemned to eternal childhood.

Peter Pan never threatened to take over the corner office.

Trying to avoid being over, old-timers cling desperately to achievements of time past. Defying reason, they refuse roles as mentors. The old push the young away hoping distance will delay advancing generations; generations that must replace them. The old who hold power legislate young adults to children, and deny these children of advanced age liberties inalienable to young adults.

In our society, the old feel material goods, a trivial value relative to life lessons, enough to give back. In return for loans, cash and promised estates parents insist on obedience, dependence and obligation.

Our society refuses to nurture a concept of transformation from learner to teacher – the natural journey from naive, insatiable curiosity to vessel of wisdom; from questioning and study to teaching and coaching.

Old adults blame the young adults.

“The young do not listen.”

Why should they? Old adults ask for obedience and respect not because they’ve earned it but because they are old.

“We did everything for you.”

Before we ask the young to listen, we need to make room for them to get comfortable; let them sit in our chair, take our desks and occupy our offices. The young want to get on with their lives. We need to let them live, make decisions, succeed where they succeed and fail where they fail.

At sixty, we come to a time for sharing life lessons. Share, not tell. If someone listens, good, they listen. If not, oh well, not. Share without expectation. The next generation, with or without our input, must make their own mistakes. Our role is to point out the rough, not to swing the club.

Failing to point out the rough spots, we fail as old adults more than young adults fail by not listening.

Fifteen minutes and the keyboard are gone. So much more to say. No more time.

This post contains a thing I wrote as part of Trust30. Trust30 is a 30 day writing challenge that has something to do with Seth Godin. Click on the banner at the top of the page to learn more.

I do not usually participate in challenges. Why I signed up for this one, I cannot say. Maybe I thought it would end writers block.

Now I feel committed. And as I write this, I am a day behind.

The first day results disappoint me, which is why I post a day late. I had to get the courage to post this (writers block?)

I easily found something to say but the way I said it, bah. The challenge asked for a story. I started with story language but quickly regressed to philosophy, opinion and public whinging.

Treating it as stream of consciousness, in contrast to essay or narrative, makes it less embarrassing.

ageism forms the basis of this post and though I feel I cheat to do so, I have a few additional points to make about ageism.

Ageism is real. More real for some than others.

I indulge in an ageism of sorts with this post. I have the right. I am old.

Ageism differs from career path to career path. In politics ageism seems absent. Given the state of politics, some ageism might be desirable.

I hear peers complain about ageism and agree it is not fair. But it was not fair how easily, as clean shaven white guys, many of us climbed the social ladder when we were young.

We fail to create ourselves into good examples of older adults. Our society does not nurture a good model for relationships between young adults and old adults. As a result old adults cling to youth, try to protect roles assumed in middle age and refuse to mature into mentors, gurus and sages. Ageism results. This, I hope, came across in my story.

I hoped to get across the idea that people older than 55 have value, but the value might not be what they think it is. I am not sure this came across.

© 2008-2012 Chromia Poetics