Category Archives: personal

On Pain, On Want

I’ve spent the last few days reading a book which has as its center the country of North Korea.  The people here, if the book is to be believed, are the most atrociously deprived lot in the world.  Yet they accept these deprivations without thought, without regret, without knowledge of any state other than want.  Since I’m a privileged American, I have, of course, compared this rather hopeless situation to my own and have plumbed the very depths of my emotional nadirs over the years.

As a child, I wasn’t abused.  Nobody ever really hit me outside the bounds of discipline but part of me ached.  All I ever wanted to do was to please my parents but somehow that was beyond hope.  My father, as a rather free spirit couldn’t care less.  He would have accepted me as a mime on the street as readily as he would as a Wall Street banker.  OK, well, let’s be honest, he would have preferred the mime.  To him I was his son and that was entirely sufficient.  Sadly, as a child I had no way to know this so I sought desperately for approval that was already in evidence.  From my mother… well, approval was impossible.  She could scarcely accept her own existence let alone approve of mine.  She was a large and throbbing ball of pain that had long before given up all hope of happiness.  She was in no shape to dispense such on me.  So from my family no hope of fulfillment was to be seen.

Later in life, I look back upon dark times in which I recall with particular poignancy the pain of rejection.  In high school I remember many long nights spent sitting at home with my grandparents (recall that my mother tried to kill herself so I went to live with her parents during high school) wishing for some outside connection with people my age.  Until one day… one magical day when the girl whom I had often admired from afar but never dared speak to told me that she was going to come and take me to some school function. What that function was proved irrelevant to my young mind.  The point was that after all those long months alone somebody was going to come and take me to be among my peers.  I was actually going to do something normal for once.  I recall with great vividity waiting by the front window for hours.  The minutes ticked past and no car appeared in the driveway.  I was left sitting and wondering and later my mind whirled around the possibilities of what might have happened to somehow dash my hopes.  To this day I remember in excruciating detail the chair I was sitting in, the thoughts that raced through my mind, my grandfather saying, “aaah, nobody would want to take you anywhere anyway” as the minutes became hours.  Despite my greatest hopes I never got the chance to be a normal kid.  The car never arrived.

As an adult, another period of my life stands out.  Again I hung my hopes and dreams on another person.  This time I didn’t wait for hours.  I waited for months.  Every time I saw a particular color of car my heart raced, is that her….?   No.  Every time a door slammed or a footfall was heard, is that her…?  No.  For a year my nerves jangled on a knife’s edge but it was never her.  In the end I was left with nothing but a fistful of dust and forced to start over yet again from nothing.  Every time that I have placed my trust in someone else, with the exception of one, I have been betrayed and left with nothing to show for it.  I am eternally the fool played by another.

Yet for all this I have hope.  Through all this I have always had a place to at least begin again.  No matter how my heart is wounded and my soul darkened, I have found a starting place to go upon the journey once more.

Clearly this is an unusual place to go beginning from a simple story about North Korea but it is what comes to mind.

4 Comments

Filed under blogging, personal

Long Time Gone

Over the Edge

Over the Edge

It’s 1:13 in the morning.  I’m waiting patiently for some photos to copy from my camera and it occurs to me just how long it has been since I bothered to write in this blog.  As always, the reasons for such an occurrence are many.  First among these is that my internet was out for almost two weeks.  My good friends at AT&T U-verse were unable to repair my suddenly failing service for an exceptionally long period of time so I found myself without television or internet for the better part of 14 days.  In that time, my mind turned to other things.  To put it briefly, I rediscovered my bookshelf.  Then I discovered the library’s bookshelf of materials downloadable for the Kindle instantly.  Since that particular milestone I’ve been a firm consumer of the written word rather than a creator thereof.  On one hand I look at this as a positive.  To write well, one must read well, the old sages say.  On the other hand, in order to do anything well one must first DO it, say other equally correct sages.  It is with this duplicity of advice in mind that I find myself sitting down to write only because I’m waiting for 2500 images to copy from the camera.  Oh such is the woe to he who tries to do time-lapse photography.  This entry promises to be a meandering one so hang on for whatever dear life you find most dear.

The same sages that wax philosophical about writing also have plenty to say about how to live your life.  The standard advice says to do what you love and lately I’ve realized that what I actually do for a living is vaguely related to what I love but not particularly closely related to it.  Luckily, however, I have several loves, so there’s room for many, many possibilities.

What I really love most, and at a deeply fundamental level, is solving a good puzzle.  I like to take a situation and figure out how to get the most from it, dissecting the proverbial pig and putting it back together with oinker intact, to coin a phrase.  That’s what really gives me joy in this world.  The more complicated or complex the puzzle the better I like it.  Work services this need in a way since it provides an endless series of puzzles.  Every email that wanders into my inbox is some new mystery to be unraveled.  Well, pause and rewind momentarily.  I must take issue with my own use of the word ‘new.’  In reality, the vast majority of issues that come across my desk require not so much investigation as recollection.  I’ve been in the same job for … almost longer than I can remember.  Nine years?  Whatever the actual exact number, it’s a LONG time for a technical job.  There’s very little that I haven’t heard before and even less that’s really and truly novel rather than some simple variation of a previous situation.  Work is usually painfully dull and only interesting or fulfilling because I have the capacity to remember so much rather than coming up with anything new.  When I should chance to be so bold as to try to create anything new I’m instantly and mercilessly punished with twice as much time spent catching up on the banal items I was forced to omit in order to actually do something novel.  Eight hours of development is paid for by 16 hours crap, as the saying goes.

So it is at roughly this point that photography and writing enter the picture.  Over the years I’ve acquired a certain knack for both of these activities, though I’m sure some would take issue with my results.  These are both pastimes that HAVE no right answers.  Every time I take pictures I take my best guess at what is most aesthetically pleasing or what will inspire viewers the most and every single time I am utterly wrong.  This is a puzzle about which I have no clue and it engages me.  No mere exercise of recollection this.  Art is varied, complex and often beyond reason.  Or, at least, beyond the current reason that I possess.  That makes it all the more attractive and interesting.  I do NOT have the right answer.  I’m forced to go spelunking for it each time I put my eye to the lens or my pen to the paper.  That, my dear readers, is satisfaction.  Plumbing the great unknown depths of a world unknown.  And that is why you find me spending my weekends writing or taking photos rather than programming a computer.  I refuse to spend my free time in pursuits so clearly deterministic.  Give me the seething quantum uncertainty of the creative process any day.

4 Comments

Filed under blogging, personal, work

Sodden Teabags of the Soul

Sodden Teabags of the Soul

Sodden Teabags of the Soul

Some days one just sits down to write.  I have a list of topics that I very well COULD write about but for whatever reason they just don’t appeal at the moment.  So it’s Saturday.  I have this little internal upwelling in my chest that is either the nascent rumblings of a heart attack or the strange and giddy need to put something down on “paper” (or rather the most easily available electronic approximation thereof).

As I said before, it’s Saturday and another weekend stretches out before us.  Since I’m an American that means two things:

  1. There are dozens of options available to me from the arts to zoology.  The world is figuratively at my fingertips.  Lots and lots to do today.  I could be lazy and be entertained or I could absolutely push myself to the physical and psychological limit and make this weekend a real gasser.  Damn it’s good to be affluent and American.
  2. Despite all this I’m almost sociologically required to be dissatisfied with whatever the choices are.  As Americans we’re required to want more, more, more or at the least different, different, different.  I’m in the Midwest in February so long observation of the other people with whom I associate impels me to look to the south and say, “Boy!  Sure which I was on the beach in Florida right now!”  If I allow such silliness to creep into my head it does tend to have a deleterious effect on the perceived efficacy of the 174 things I have right here in town to entertain me this weekend.

This does beg the question of what the hell AM I going to do this weekend?  There are any number of ticketed events I could wander out to but the problem is that I’m not especially keen to buy tickets to anything.  I’m currently on a cheap binge so the thought of buying tickets to something for $25 each plus the almost compulsory dinner out before makes me knead my tongue with my teeth in a manner intended to keep the gnome of parsimony in my head distracted long enough for me to whip out my Visa.   The more economical options, while neither worse nor better, have the aspects of doing something outside when it’s 30 degrees to recommend against them.  Cleary this is a maelstrom of over analysis that requires a second party to participate in it.  As I write this Laura’s still slumbering peacefully away so she will no doubt soon rise with vigor and enthusiasm to break the impasse in my head.

Shifting gears most wildly, the above bit of blather brings my mind to another point on which I’d intended to write but never quite gotten around to.  In previous entries some of my situations have inspired a level of sympathy from my readers that was quite unintended.  I’ve often written and been quite perplexed when the response is roughly akin to, “Oh that’s terrible, hope it gets better soon.”  In these situations I can’t help but blink quizzically a few times while the words, “um, ok, it wasn’t actually –bad- in the first place, but OK…” roll lazily through my head.

In our society we value highly the sympathetic character in others.  We want others to understand our pain and appreciate it but sometimes I think this can be taken to an extreme, especially in cases where there really isn’t any pain, but merely some internal quandary to be untangled.  I often find myself writing things in a negative vein, expressing some conflict which I view as a puzzle to be teased out.  It’s been my observation that many people view this internal puzzling as an appropriate target for sympathetic responses but personally I find these puzzlings very satisfying and if they were to be unavailable I would doubtless find myself going in search of them like a Pooh bear in search of that golden sustenance so painfully extracted from the recalcitrant honey bee.  Oh bother.

And with that I close.  The tie-breaker in the decision on the day’s activities has arisen so I make my way to determine the fate of the day with her.  We shall see what the day brings.

11 Comments

Filed under blogging, personal

So What Now?

As preamble I should say that over the years I’ve noticed that the blog posts that turn out best are typically those which I have the most reticence to write.  This is a post that I have a LOT of reluctance to even broach so it’s assuredly going to be one riot of a result!

Firstly, a bit of background.  I’ve worked for my current place of employment for eight years and in that time I’ve gone from developer to architect for the product to team lead for the team.  I’m that solid ever-present denizen of the company who states quite clearly that he’ll do whatever it is the team needs him to do.  Getting close to product release and need code?  On it.  Product support needs assistance?  I’m there.  Need someone to manage work in your release?  Already doing it.  This is not to say that I’m some mindless automaton.  I’m also the first person to look at his boss and say, “I just spent 50 hours finishing up work that I shouldn’t have had to do.  Can we plan a bit better next time?”  Ultimately though, I’m a “do whatever it takes” sort of guy.  Solve the problem.  Bitch about it later if you really feel it’s necessary.

Recently when the management position became available in my department I waffled back and forth in my head for a while and finally applied.  I reasoned that in no small part I was already doing a lot of managerial work anyway, so it only made sense to actually have the title.  Over the next couple months the interview process dragged on and on and we found a couple of what seemed like reasonable candidates aside from me but it was about this time that the world caught fire.  Well, let’s be honest, the world’s always on fire but the world seemed even more on fire than usual.  I found myself doing one of those jobs that I shouldn’t ever have to do and that I’d been promised, literally years ago, that we would “find someone to take care of” and by god here I was doing it again!  As I was taking care of this bit of unexpected tedium, I realized my work life was spread out over three different jobs.  I was still the developer.  I was still the architect.  I was still the team lead.  Could I really reasonably add manager to that list and hope to ever have any peace at all?  If my previous bosses hadn’t managed to have any success centralizing my job duties into one reasonably-sized position with literally decades of managerial experience and much more influence than I would ever wield then what chance did I have at accomplishing that task for myself?

It was with that realization that I withdrew myself from consideration for the position.  Now though, on a bright and clear Saturday morning, I find myself with a feeling akin to post-partum depression.  This time last week I had new challenges and interests on the horizon.  Today I have the same doldrums and ennui to look forward to that I’ve had week after week for eight years.  From a strictly logical standpoint I still believe it to be the right decision.  The team will be better off in the long term with a new manager from the outside to infuse new ideas and incrementally bring about change.  The team will be better off with me there to sweep up the tidbits and handle the overflow from whatever goes wrong.  The company will be better off having me as a resource rather than a manager.

From my viewpoint though, work life looks boring as fuck.  When the workweek resumes I’ll go back to the exact same thing I’ve been doing for years, doing all the bits and pieces that nobody else really wants.  When the new manager comes in he will probably rightfully take some of the more interesting bits of my job over for himself and the saturation of dullness will rise.  If I’m exceptionally lucky he’ll actually figure out how all the bits and pieces should be properly handled and run me out of a job entirely.  That last bit was maudlin, so strike it from your memories, but it’s a possibility albeit remote.  The more succinct point here is that the cliché “the good of the many is more important than the good of the one” can tend to leave the one feeling rather … well, unamused.

To flip this on its head, I will acknowledge that I still derive great joy from “doing.”  While I refer to my work as “bits and pieces” and “overflow” (all while imagining a plugged toilet flushed one too many times) I really do get a lot of satisfaction from getting things done and when allowed to actually concentrate on something I’m a hell of a “doer”.  It must be admitted though that the satisfaction of doing is a very short-term narcotic and there’s only a small difference between busting your ass to help someone and becoming their slave.  The joy of doing requires the catalyst of appreciation to be completely effective.

So do I regret not becoming the manager or at least letting that play out?  A bit.  All the “what if” scenarios do run through my head and the logic of my underlying assertions are a thin balm for the loss of my aspirations.   However I think I do need to remind myself of something I’m often called upon to tell my co-workers.  Ultimate satisfaction with life and self cannot be derived from work.  Work is merely a necessity, a means to an end.  Most of my maudlin meandering stems from a misplaced desire to assign unnecessary meaning to what is really a trivial necessity of life.  Can I perform my duties and continue to get paid the necessary money to live the rest of my life?  Yes.  End of questions.  Let’s use the rest of the day to do something we really give a shit about.

31 Comments

Filed under personal, work

Any $50,000 a Year Programmer…

In a job I held long, long ago I had a boss who liked to strut around the office and proclaim, “You’d better get to work!  I could get any $50,000 a year programmer to do your job.”  I worked under this guy for six rather annoyed months and in that time I rewrote the product that was the heart of their business.  Before I arrived it was written in VB6 and by the time I’d left the whole system was completely redesigned from the ground up in .NET.  Ten years of evolution happened in six months and I was the go-to guy for everything because I’d written the whole blasted system.  Unfortunately for our blow-hard boss, when a better opportunity came along I took it and my resignation letter read simply:

“I hereby tender my resignation.  While this would be seen as a regrettable circumstance by most companies I am abundantly reassured by the fact that you can, in fact, find any $50,000 a year programmer to do my job.  I wish you the best of luck.”

The company was a tiny little outfit with an entrepreneurial spirit and aside from the boss’s attitude I rather liked the place.  It was a pity to leave in some ways.  My absence was clearly felt as they did contact me for several months asking if I needed a job.  Fortified by previous experience with the boss, I stated simply that I was doing just fine without them.

I sincerely wish that I could say that I felt the attitude above was an uncommon one but it seems to be the predominant view among leadership within companies.  If you ask an executive which would hurt the company more, the departure of an executive or the departure of a senior engineer who served the company for a decade and designed their systems they’ll inevitably value the executive more highly.  All this despite the fact that the skills of leadership are fairly interchangeable between companies while the knowledge of a seasoned engineer is at least in part specific to the company or products they service.  A good manager is a good manager no matter where you put them.  When your senior engineer walks out the door he takes a decade of proprietary knowledge with him.  That knowledge will take 10 years to grow back yet in many cases the value placed on it is absolutely nothing.

What’s most stunning to me is that the problem seems most predominant in the cases where job knowledge is most important.  The more poorly documented your product is and the more it relies on the ‘tribal knowledge’ of the employees to keep things running, the less respect the old-time engineers seem to get.  The company I used to work for is a classic case in point.  The entire staff consisted of seven people servicing million dollar contracts.  When I left, that probably set the company back 6-12 months.  Since they were only paying a pittance for programmers, of course they got the bottom of the barrel.  I saw this first hand as employees rolled in… and then, like the tide, rolled right back out again.  When it comes to the hiring process you really, Really, REALLY get what you pay for.   There are no bargains in the world of employment.  You might occasionally catch someone between jobs but you’re never going to keep them long and when they leave you’re right back where you started.

As with any problem, I like to look for the causality behind it.  How can companies so blatantly disregard the intellectual capitol that they have in their staffs?  At the risk of being cynical, I think most of it boils down to simple ego.  The average executive would rather lose an important employee than admit that some non-executive plebe might be more important or have more to offer the company than a manager.  You don’t get to be an executive by having an excess of humility after all.  In the case of my former boss, he thought he was the end-all and be-all of the business world.  As a result he rolled through employees year after year.  He’s getting by, but how much better off could he be if he just doled out a modicum of respect to those who work for him?  We all have our contributions to make and recognizing those goes a long way.

The analogy that comes to mind here is that of a vast forest ecosystem.  The executives are the tall, noble trees of the woodland.  They take much of the sunlight and the glory.  They’re the ones that everyone comes to see and oooohhh and aaaahhh over.  The workers are the dwellers in the underbrush diligently working away, industriously doing the day-to-day work of the woods.  As workers, we don’t actually mind that the executives take the sunlight.  It’s part of the symbiosis of the system.  You promote while we provide.  All we ask is that you don’t dismiss us.  Even the roots of the tallest tree need the lowly worm to till the soil.  If there were no trees… well, life would go on in the forest.  But without us there would BE no forest.

Executives are born to control.  They want to manage, to move the pieces on the chessboard.  Unfortunately for them, the pieces aren’t made of plastic.  They don’t just do whatever you tell them to.  Otherwise, management would be far too simple.  Instead it’s a system of give and take in which the employees must feel respected and valued or else they’ll take their contributions elsewhere.  A company is the sum of its parts and any company that forgets to respect its workers does so at its dire peril.  Every employee that walks out the front door of your office should be seen as a failure of management.  If they didn’t stay long at all, you failed to hire the right person.  If they stayed a while and then left, they took a bit of you with them that can never be replaced.  How many bits can you afford to lose?

22 Comments

Filed under personal, work

The Power of Community

I spent the first twenty minutes of writing this blog post babbling on about my recent change of mind about photography.  Is it an art or is it merely capturing what is already there?  The classic create versus capture argument.  I went on for 412 words before I realized that it was all mundane babble.  It was on approximately word 413 that I realized the real significant thing that I was feeling.

It has been my attempt in these blogs to be as forthcoming as I can possibly be.  I’ve shared some deeply personal thoughts and in some cases I’ve been applauded and in some I’ve been deeply scrutinized and put rightly in my place.  I want to be utterly and completely ME in here despite the fact that many, many people I will never meet read what I have to say and many people that I work with every day do too.  I daresay that in some future time a potential employer will read my work and use it to judge my fitness for a new job.  There’s a fair bit at stake here.

What I think is vastly underappreciated about the world of the online is just how much of an impact it has on the writer.  Certainly every writer wants to have an impact on the world outside.  We want to change the planet, to bring new ideas to the fore and make people think… or laugh… or… whatever.  We want to exert our influence outward.  Sometimes though I think it’s missed just how much that outside influences us on the inside.  As of this writing there are hundreds of people who subscribe to this bit of tattered tripe that I call a blog.  WordPress tells me that you’re out there.  If you count Facebook followers, there are thousands of you and every one of you has a voice that shouts loud and clear in my head.

For example… the last time I went out to wander and photograph downtown in the dark, all I could think about was some comment from the photo blog in which someone admonished me that there was “no excuse” for missing a shot because of lighting in this day and age.  Whenever I start to write a new entry on the writing side of things, I think about the blogger who asked if I’d edit their novel once they were done.  There are constantly images of other people’s photos flashing through my mind when I’m out shooting.  The world has an irrefutable and immeasurable influence on everything I do.  I constantly think to myself, “how will I represent this event in my writing?”  I’ll admit openly that I’m utterly and completely obsessed with my own acts of creation online.

All that said, the knowledge that people are watching and reading both motivates me and holds me to a higher standard.  I feel in some odd way that I “owe” you more.  That because you’ve hung on for all this time that I should absolutely bust my ass to do well and bring you knowledge and inspiration and whatever else these blogs provide.  It’s a lot of pressure to be sure but it’s also wonderful in that it gives me an excuse to try to be better.  My creative outlet has an audience that it wouldn’t have otherwise and hopefully as a result it improves by virtue of your feedback both passive and active.

I was asked long ago by a wise person to explain why I bothered to blog at all.  He challenged me to explain why I spent so much time and energy preparing content for an audience so disconnected from me.  I’d like to hope that in a perfect world I could actually build a friendship with those in my audience but ultimately I know that’s unlikely.  The possibility that I will crash on one of my reader’s couches for the night while I’m passing through town seems vanishingly remote.  However, despite the lack of free lodging, I can say with confidence that your participation makes me better and wiser at whatever it is I do online.  You contribute the one thing that I can never get on my own, an unbiased and honest view of my own work.  I’m hopeful that as the decades pass the partnership will be ever richer and more profitable for all involved even if I’m not lucky enough to spend the night on any of my reader’s sofas.

 

32 Comments

Filed under blogging, personal

Feeling Fairly Fitful

Placid Patient Repose

Placid Patient Repose

Well, well, well if it isn’t the unlucky side of the house that gets to hear me blather on about nothing.  Like a late-series Seinfeld episode this is likely to be one of those posts that you read all the way through and as you near the end you say to yourself, “What did I just read THAT for?  I could have been gouging my eyes out with chopsticks during that time!”  I’ll try to avoid anything that would bring you to that extremity but I must point out that I’m not likely to be entirely sensical.

So this entry was very nearly devoted to photography watermarking.  I had a couple paragraphs written before I realized that I was so over the idea that I didn’t even care enough to write about how annoyed I was by it.  Suffice to say that the new protection mechanism for my photographic work basically boils down to trusting the great stone wheel of karma to crush any would-be wrong-doers.  So if you steal my work for your own profit-making purposes then I’m just going to laugh when you get crushed by a huge rock.  No sympathy whatsoever.

Moving on, I woke up this morning with a hangover.  That would be a katzenjammer to all you visiting New England types.  Before you cluck your tongue at me both for being hungover and for using the word katzenjammer when hangover would have done perfectly well, let me inform you, oh assiduous reader who has made it 254 words into this post, that it was a hangover NOT caused by alcohol but rather from general dehydration.  In retrospect it has been a rather busy few days.  I traipsed for many, many hours photographing the city Sunday and Monday and apparently took far too little care with my own level of hydration.  Thus the surprise of waking up this morning feeling as if I’d been hit over the head with a tequila bottle despite the fact that I hadn’t actually consumed any fermented agave squeezings at all.  Clearly taking one bottle of water is insufficient for seven hours of hiking over two days.  Who knew?

Being sensitive to my own weariness, I came home tonight intent on relaxing a bit and putting my feet up in front of the television.  True to form, I proceeded instead to sit at the computer and work on personal projects for… five hours.  Ahh, it sure feels good to relax!..?  I really don’t see how people do it.  If I don’t accomplish… well, something that I can vaguely justify as “productive” in an evening then I start to feel rather guilty about it.  The average person, I sense… I suspect… does not have this problem.  My fundamental need seems to be not to relax but simply to do something different.  The last two nights I did the outside thing.  Tonight I planted myself firmly inside, made a simple dinner that hobos would be ashamed of and just wrote, edited, uploaded, and generally fiddled.  Tomorrow I’ll be back out in the crowds and that’ll be good again because it’s different.

In the paragraph above I hint at the need for something “productive” and it’s at about this point in my mental conversation that I ask myself the rather pointed question, “and THIS is what you call productive?”  Much of tonight was wasted.  I hosed about pointlessly with watermarking photos and the decided that was stupid.  So two hours down the crapper.  I did eventually finish two blog posts and start this one.  The first was a short blurb on night photography on the photo side of the house.  This might be somewhat helpful to someone though there are thousands of people better qualified to give this advice than I am.  Despite that, if the stats are to be believed, plenty of people will read it so perhaps it’s some positive contribution to the universe.  The second was a 100-year-old ad for toothpaste on the advertising side.   Traffic over there is pretty light but I tend to amuse myself at least.  Lastly there’s this wandering musing in search of an ending.  All this brings me solidly back to the fundamental question of “what’s the point?”  Why do I, or does anyone, bother?  What exactly has been accomplished by anything I’ve done tonight?

If one takes a few deep breaths and works really hard to put the answer of, “I do this to service my raging narcissism” out of one’s mind, then one can devise a couple reasonably plausible answers.  The first is that putting oneself on public display does have a tendency to improve whatever you happen displaying.  Even if your audience doesn’t offer their direct and helpful feedback, merely the knowledge that whatever you write or paint or photograph will be on display and open for others to see does tend to make one focus a bit.  I hope that I’m a better “photographer/writer/advertising commentator/whatever” because of your collective influence.  It’s also worth noting that you DO offer your direct feedback and are exceptionally helpful.  Not to mention that in consuming your work as I peruse your respective blogs, it fortifies my own and makes me at times absolutely consumed with envy.

So if not this, then what?  I could, I suppose, sit and learn a foreign language or read every book in the Big Box of Books but would that be an improvement over what I’m doing?  The mere act of repeating an activity reinforces the skill it takes to achieve it so even if I write and write and write every day and nobody ever reads it then I am, by force of repetition alone, improving my craft.  So if I can use my raging narcissism to my advantage and motivate myself to actually do something that’s good for my intellectual life in the long run then isn’t that good thing?  It seems a victimless crime unless you count my readership.

And with that, I think I shall close.  Such is the somewhat tattered thread of consciousness that runs through my life.  I find myself having much the same mental dialog over and over and sometimes with vastly different outcomes.

9 Comments

Filed under blogging, personal