Damyanti, Stephswint, iGamemom, Stuart M. Perkins, Frausto, E.I. Wong, Man of Many Thoughts, theryanlanz, RobertOkaji, Elan Mudrow, Dennis Cardiff, KidazzleInk, Dieter Rogiers, Christine Fichtner, Betsy, Karen, Daedalus, Ron, Drew, David, Joan, Vince, Alex, Joe, Eileen, Elliani, Susan, Greeny, Schoen, Tripp, Andy, Garrett, Shannon, Preston, Janet, Larry, Kate, Sam, (Mike?), Grandma, Grandpa, Noa, and K-: Thank you for reading. Some of you have read every single post, and it seems that the rest of you have read nearly every post. Thank you. You give me your time and that means the world to me. Thank you.
We’re all busy today, but in exchange for two minutes more, I’ll give you guys tomorrow off. Please keep reading.
I have quit every job I have had since leaving the Air Force. The other day I finally figured out why. The reason has to do with time and energy. I gave all my time and all my energy to my singular goal of becoming a hero pilot for the United States of America for over a decade. And now when I unintentionally find myself in front of a news source, I see stuff about ISIS. To be clear, I can’t shake the feeling that I wasted my time and energy. If I believe serving in the Air Force of a country whose way of life is worth defending to the death is a waste, you needn’t read my anti-carwash/anti-customer posts to empathize with how I might feel about working at a carwash. Simply put, I realized I’m once bitten, twice shy as they say.
But through it all it’s been seeing your gravatars at the bottom of the posts that keeps me writing. I don’t think it’s a waste of my time to improve my writing, because I think I have something to say. Whether I do have anything of value to contribute on a large-scale is yet to be seen. What I know is that you make me feel like I might. While this blog is primarily a sounding board, I spend hours making sure I don’t think I’m wasting your time. And I think my writing has improved. I’m especially proud of Piano Practice and there is no way I could’ve written that without two years of your encouragement. Again, thank you.
Next to H- and the Mark Twain Listening Club, this blog is the only other thing I give my full attention to. If your name is in the list above, whether you care or not, know that you are one of my top three reasons to try–to fight–in this life. But there is one name missing.
I met George two years ago. He is a constant source of inspiration. He is as principled a man as I have met, moreover he reads and responds sincerely to every post. I have moved away from nearly every friend I’ve ever had for one reason or another and will not hesitate to admit that I’m scared to ever lose George. Honestly, regarding my writing, his encouragement falls under the “dangerous” category.
To know that someone believes in you is probably the most empowering/powerful feeling we can experience as humans. Only I know how I’ve handled this life, and despite the tone that I’m sure comes through in my words, the great “I Am” knows that the truth is not pretty. But that’s the thing about believing in someone. It’s contagious. I know George believes in me. And that makes me believe in me. That makes me believe that no matter what mistakes–sometimes terrible mistakes–I’ve made, the fight is winnable and worth winning.
Thank you George.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
The only way to get there is together.
Actions speak louder than words. I really want that to be true. I remain unconvinced.
Growing up in a Southern Baptist church and having a healthy competition in me, I really soaked up the power of the preacher. I memorized bible verses better than my peers, took pride in reading out loud better, prayed better, and spoke more. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk–all in naïve earnestness. I walked the walk as well. It wasn’t a fear of hell, but more a genuine wish to show people it wasn’t that difficult to avoid sin as I understood it.
Of course I was sinning all the while (“making mistakes” if you heathens prefer).
Until I graduated from college I had never read for pleasure. Simply movies for me. And I was as evangelical about movies triumphing over books as I was about saving souls. Catch-22 fucked that all up. I fell in love with reading as quickly and madly as Yossarian fell in love with the chaplain. After the last word, I literally had the thought, “If this is how good reading can be, I wonder if there are other books like it?” Obviously, there were. One of them being Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. In that gem, there is a part about telling the truth to people vs. using flattery on people, and the point is listeners are awful picky about one while rather forgiving with the other. Given that I had the gift of gab, I made errors left and right that my listeners had no problem pointing out. My strong character and integrity-first approach to life seemed to bail me out of most situations when I strayed from the truth in large ways, but I slowly began to realize that writing might be a better outlet for my ideas than talking. With writing there is proofreading, and re-writing. As a writer (versus speaker), I have time on my side. So I started writing. This was 8 months ago.
There is something more, though. In the story that I tell myself to make sense of this crazy, crazy world there are some written words which have changed the world. Specifically, there are books that exposed how someone felt about life. Books that took courage. Upon publication, the reading public needn’t have said a word. They simply had to show their support through a purchase. And then life as we know it changed. I understand one of these moments to be the release of The Feminine Mystique. Within its pages, a woman wrote about an unnamed problem, that being women feeling unsatisfied as housewives, and it soon became clear she was right. I am shocked every time I contemplate that women back then could have been too ashamed to admit to each other how they were feeling about life. At the same time I am so hopeful. Consider what life might be like if enough of us shared ourselves via the written word. Maybe we could start doing this life we’re given better.
And so that is why I talk, and that is why I write. No one should have to live in shame. No one should be hiding behind social graces. For whatever reason I don’t mind if others find out I was wrong or stupid. It’s kind of exciting to me when it happens, as it is so rare.
In sum, I write first to reduce shame, second to reduce mistakes that happen when talking, and lastly, I write because people who read what I write tell me I write well and I am compelled to believe them.
Now you know.
Last summer an entrepreneur, friend, and sometimes blogger told me, “If you blog daily for six months, you should have 1000 followers at the end of those six months.” Well, it’s been more than seven months of daily posts on Captain’s Log, and I’m sitting at 199. As is the case with most facts, this amuses me. Just the same, seeing that I am a part of the human race, and therefore partial to round numbers, I’m excited to amass follower number 200. And I’m shameless when it comes to getting what I want. So here’s what I’m offering: the blogger who follows me as number 200 will get a free review of their blog. That’s right. I’ll take some time between now and Monday to peruse your blog and then I’ll write the review for Monday’s post. You can trust that I will be sure to say nice things as well as true things. If you’re on the fence, think of it this way: in return for a simple click of a mouse, you’ll get exposure to 199 readers who possibly aren’t aware of your stuff. Heck, I might not be aware you exist.
This is a one time offer, and it is sure to go fast. A little book called “The Magic of Thinking Big” mentions that “everyone you know craves praise”. Well, I’m offering praise in exchange for bliss. Whatdya say?
Schwartz, David Joseph. The Magic of Thinking Big. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959. Print.
Rock Gods Metallica just became the first band to perform live on all seven continents last week. Adding icing to the cake, they accomplished this enormous feat within the last calendar year. However, the news isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. Without stating its intentions, a private polling organization released survey results which strain credulity, and frankly, are depressing.
736 randomly selected participants, ages 13-25, were given the following information and question: “Metallica just performed on on Antarctica. This means they have performed on all seven continents in 2013. What is a continent?”
- 13% answered “I don’t know”
- 36% answered “Something in space; like an asteroid, I think. Metallica sure is crazy”
- 19% answered “It’s another word for country”
- 32% answered “One of the main landmasses on the globe, usually reckoned as seven in number (Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, North America, Australia and Antarctica).
More surprising than the fact that more participants thought a continent was an off-earth body is that these young people never learned that the longest answer is usually the right one.
Nevertheless, “you can’t keep a good dog down” as they say, and the older Metallica fans are lifting themselves out of these findings’ mild depression by reminding themselves that over the last 22 years Metallica’s Black Album is the “highest-selling record in the U.S., period.”
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)
Because it is time, that’s why. Someone needs to grab the bull by the horns and reveal the secret to accomplishing anything. The following few paragraphs are going to give you the tips you need to do anything you can conceive.
In the recent Tom Cruise movie Oblivion, T.C. and his female counterpart are two-weeks away from completing their mission on the ‘remote site’ that is Planet Earth. After the two weeks, they will return to the new human settlement with those who survived the war. Granted, the work they were doing was not in itself particularly difficult or boring. Loneliness seemed to be the biggest negative. And the dream of how life would be like in two weeks’ time kept them going.
How many of us ever thought we’d spend as much time and energy as we have to accomplish so little? How did we do it? Where did we get the strength from? Were we born with it? Even if we were born with it, we must fight the desire to victimize ourselves. Instead, as a group we need to accept total responsibility for our lives.
Where did the strength to put up with a life we never conceived come from? The strength came from believing a lie. The lie that there will be more time in the future. Break down the concept of the future a little and you’ll see why this is a lie. The future has not happened. The present is happening. The future “is not”. The present “is”. What do you gain if when you trade what “is” for what “is not”?
The future will never be. Can you understand this? The future will never “exist.” It will never “be.” That’s it’s definition. If you believe that the future is something that “will be”, then you’re no longer describing the same abstract idea that’s being discussed here, and is commonly labeled “the future.” There is no catching-up. There is no getting ahead. These are impossibilities.
I have been nearly exclusively reading the classics for almost a decade now, and a common theme is best summed up by Jon J. Muth in his children’s book, “The Three Questions”, based on Leo Tolstoy’s ideas. “Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in this world.”
The choice is always yours. If you want to do the inconceivable follow the instructions below. If you want to exist in reality, stick with living in the present.
Instructions for How to Do The Inconceivable:
Step 1 – Believe that after you’ve accomplished it, you’ll have time to do what you really want.
Step 2 – Understand that there is only one step.