DREAM OF THE MOUNTAIN

I wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 every morning. Old habits are hard to break.

But right before waking this morning I had a great little dream.

I was at this huge outdoor conference right after sunrise. Apparently it was some kind of business conference. There were thousands of people milling about and many had brought their kids with them.

Suddenly a guy walks up to me (I know the guy in real life, and like me he owns his own company) and says, “Jack, let me show you something!”

Then he shows me this (what is to me anyway) small and barely visible spot of oil and dirt on the back of the collar of his wife’s dress. Actually it was mostly on the tag on her dress with just a small smudge on her collar. Then he begins to bitch and complain and fuss about how all the kids running around are mucking everything up and that no one (dry-cleaners for instance) can get or keep anything clean or nice. He’s going to be giving a speech today and he’s really ticked off about others seeing a spot on his gal’s dress that unless I had come up behind is wife and examined her dress closely I doubt I’d have ever seen (and I’m pretty observant – just by nature). Assuming I could have seen it past her hair. Not that I’d have cared if I’d have seen it anyway. It’s was just a little oil and dirt. I’d have just thought that maybe someone had spilled something on her or that more likely maybe her make-up or hair was too oily.

He then asks my opinion on the matter and I tell him, “Well, that kinda thing happens in real life ya know. I mean that’s the way it works, ain’t it?” And I walk off to head back to wherever I’m supposed to be going.

On the way this whole gaggle of little kids (I’d say they were between 7 and 10 years old and mostly boys but some little girls too) run up to me and encircle me. So I stop. One little towheaded boy says to me, “Hey mister, where ya going and what are you doing today?”

So I tell em, “Well, I gotta go to a buncha seminars and talks and lectures and I’ve gotta teach a class later today too.”

They all look at each other kinda disappointed like and the towhead goes, “Ohh…”

So I say, “Why? What are you guys doing worthwhile today?

And they say that they are going to go “hiking and shoot the bow and play and explore and swim in the lake and that there is a mountain they wanna climb.”

So I think on it for about a half-second and say to them, “Well, screw all this then! Let me go get in my play clothes and I’m coming with you guys. You seem like you actually know what you’re doing.”

And all the kids screamed, “Yay!”

Then I went and got in my jeans and grabbed my gear and booted up like a boss and right before I woke up I was headed with them towards that mountain they wanted to climb.

It was a nice dream, sure enough.

By the way, anyone who really knows me knows that that is exactly what I’d be most likely to do…

 

 

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THE DANGER from THE BUSINESS, CAREER, AND WORK OF MAN

Part of me greatly adores and admires words, as they are man’s chief means of communication and the primary treasure of his High Word Hoard. Another part of me, an equal part, absolutely distrusts and detests words as they are the means by which far too many men habitually deceive themselves and the rest of the world, and mankind’s primary method of excuse making in order to avoid noble and just action.

(As a writer) I am like a man caught in the grinding maw of some bizarre and fantastic creature who is sometimes angelic, and sometimes demonic, yet always dangerous.

 

THE NECESSARY TRUTH – HIGHMOOT

“The necessary Truth about them is that, in the end, all modern men will do exactly as they are told, but not a one of them will ever do what is truly necessary.”

From: The Curae

THE WELL OF WISDOM…

Most of this advice is quite good.

Advice on Writing from Modernity’s Greatest Writers

by

What sleep and plagiarism have to do with the poetry of experience and the experience of poetry.

I recently stumbled upon a delightful little book called Advice to Writers, “a compendium of quotes, anecdotes, and writerly wisdom from a dazzling array of literary lights,” originally published in 1999. From how to find a good agent to what makes characters compelling, it spans the entire spectrum of the aspirational and the utilitarian, covering grammar, genres, material, money, plot, plagiarism, and, of course, encouragement. Here are some words of wisdom from some of my favorite writers featured:

Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. This you cannot do without temperance.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Begin with an individual and you find that you have created a type; begin with a type and you find that you have created — nothing.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Don’t ever write a novel unless it hurts like a hot turd coming out.” ~ Charles Bukowski

Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry.” ~ Muriel Rukeyser

A short story must have single mood and every sentence must build towards it.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” ~ Saul Bellow

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” ~ T. S. Eliot

Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ~ Stephen King

Good fiction is made of what is real, and reality is difficult to come by.” ~ Ralph Ellison

The problem with fiction, it has to be plausible. That’s not true with non-fiction.” ~ Tom Wolfe

You cannot write well without data.” ~ George Higgins

Listen, then make up your own mind.” ~ Gay Talese

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Write without pay until somebody offers pay; if nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for.” ~ Mark Twain

And then, of course, there’s the importance of knowing what advice to ignore:

THE EASY PAIN

I woke this morning with these lines running through my head.

(That often happens to me with poetry, I awake with a poem or a set of song lyrics already running through my head – it is a lifelong habit going back to when I was a kid. Don’t ask me why this happens, maybe it is a result of part of my dreaming or sleep cycle. To me it’s just the way it works. And has always worked.)

To me this poem is a sort of psychological or sub-conscious encapsulation in verse of how I feel about pain in general, and what purpose is served by pain in particular.

I know that a lot of people, especially modern people, think pain and suffering is something to be avoided at all costs, a thing to be eliminated, ignored, or at the very least escaped by lifelong periods of “treatments” or self-medications of one form or another. Something they would rather not endure. And truth be told, sometimes at least, even I am sympathetic to that point of view. In certain cases anyway.

But to me, at least in general and in most circumstances, pain (of most any kind) is not an enemy, it is not something to be dulled or medicated, or cured (except in specific situations – such as injury recovery) but rather you should use it as a tool and a weapon to Cure and control the lesser and weaker parts of yourself.

Pain is not something you fear or flee, but rather embrace and use to reforge yourself into a much harder, tougher, and stronger man. Pain cures you of your own smallness and frailties. It is both a method and a means to become a much bigger, stronger, tougher, capable, and a much greater man. (Or woman, or child.)

I am sympathetic, even empathetic to the pain of others in most cases (unless it is needlessly self-inflicted pain used as an puny excuse to lazily escape their better natures), and many have been the times in my life I wish I could have cured others of whatever they suffered. But not always. Sometimes I wish they had simply employed their pain for their own advantage.

As for me, and seemingly contrary to modern man in general, I think it is mostly (not always, but mostly) a grave mistake to view pain as an enemy to overcome, rather than a valuable Friend and Ally to beneficially exploit.

Pain, well used, is treasured gain.

Hence, the ultimate folly of, The Easy Pain.
Note: this poem is unfished as of yet. This is just a first draft and it is in part at least fragmented. I wrote down as much as I could compose and remember before having to go downstairs and tend my animals and start breakfast for the family. I’ll correct, edit, and finish it later.

 

THE EASY PAIN

The easy pain is nothing, the harder pain is true
Numb your pain with medicines, it dulls the things you do

Exploit you pain with action, suffer for your aim
Give your anguish meaning; give your pain a name

Modern men think hardship something to escape
A prison cell of torment, an inconvenience they do hate

So remedies attempt them, with surgeries and drugs
To treat their pain relentless, or kill it like a thug

Yet still pain hammers on them, but tempers not their soul
The longer they do flee it the weaker that they grow

Agony is iron-dust if suffered not in Truth
Corrupt the ore is broken, not forged to better use – yet,

When men make their anguish the raw drive of their life
And consume it like ambrosia it feeds them in their strife

When they shape and craft their pain into their sword and tool
They shape themselves in better ways, Grow Wise, and not a fool

Anger righteous is no vice, Justice is a christ
And pain is not a fearsome foe, but a Holy Geist

Man you flee your sacred pain, and to what avail?
Meant to grow you into gods, you’ve made it into hell

One day you should thank the God who made you suffer such
If only you might use your pain to make yourself as much…
End of fragment…

THE THRONE OF WISDOM

Had an interesting idea this morning while walking Sam for one (or maybe more than one) of my fantasy/mythological novels. Probably first and foremost for The Other World.

It is called the Throne of Wisdom and it is based upon my own experiences with my office chair (which I intend to replace today with a new and far better engineered chair).

The Throne of Wisdom is a chair/throne employed by one of the Kingdoms in my novels. The throne is beautiful and seems luxurious to all appearances and whoever sits in/on it (after being properly appointed or elected or having won the chair by right – different methods apply but the throne is never hereditary) will be King.

However by law the new king must sit in the chair for four hours each day, no exceptions, seven days a week. For two hours he must pass judgments and for two hours he must conduct other business. He is not allowed to move from the chair, stand, or go elsewhere. For any reason – of any kind. He cannot go to the bathroom or receive food or drink. He must “Work Upon the Throne of Wisdom without rest or complaint or cease.

At first the chair seems comfortable but over time, because the throne is enchanted, it becomes slowly ever more excruciating to sit in it. (Like my office chair.) Eventually the throne will physically and mentally cripple and finally kill the one who sits upon the throne. The Wise Man realizes early on that the chair is not what it appears to be and that the throne, while seemingly beautiful and comfortable, is actually a high and heavy burden.

The Wise Man therefore eventually “steps down” when the throne becomes too painful to endure (usually after three to seven years) and gives it over to another, whoever his successor might be. All the wiser for the experience.

The fool and he who grasps at power tries to continue to sit the throne indefinitely until it either cripples him, drives him mad, or kills him.

The Throne will be as much a story about the surrounding population and People of the Kingdom, and about those who attend and serve the king, as it will be about the “king.”

For whenever the People and officers of the court and soldiers and the king’s guardsmen are cowards and fools in their own rights they allow the king to sit indefinitely without overthrowing him, and they follow whatever orders he gives no matter how tyrannical, foolish, reckless, self-destructive (to the Kingdom), and unlawful. Their own foolishness and cowardice makes them craven and witless accomplices in the tyranny of the “Fool King and the Fool’s Throne.”

But whenever the People and officers of the court are Wise they refuse the orders of the Fool King and revolt against and overthrow whoever would sit madly or recklessly forever upon the Throne.

For a Wise People give birth to Wise Rulers and a Wise Ruler knows both his own limitations and his True Duties to his People.

But a cowardly and foolish and self-absorbed people give birth to selfish and foolish rulers and a ruler who is a fool both dictatorially oppresses his people and gives birth to more just like himself.

THE PEERAGE OF GREAT EQUALS

THE PEERAGE OF GREAT EQUALS

I don’t have any idols. Never have, and never will, either real or fictional. I have people I admire, and would like to emulate in some way or another (not emulate in other ways) but not idols. Certainly not like modern people seem to think of idols. In the sense that I’d like to be someone else or that I would ever fawn over anyone else. I never would. I have only ever wanted to be me. And I would never fawn over me, much less any other man. To me that is both low, and ignorant.

And I don’t think of the people I admire and would like to emulate in some way as my rivals, but rather as exemplars of some particular capability or trait. And likely and potential friends with whom I would work well together or some important project or endeavor. To me to instinctively think of other great men as my natural and necessary rivals is both low and arrogant. So in those senses I totally disagree with this sentiment.

However I think that the underlying implication is that you want to work your way up to being a Peer and an Equal (in the sense of your on capabilities) with other great men and women, rather than forever remain a subordinate or inferior (in action and ability). And in that respect I agree with the sentiment expressed below.

I have always believed in the Peerage (and Friendship) of Great Equals. I think that is what this is really trying to convey. Unfortunately modern people are so filled with the petty pop culture modern bullshit of fawning over and being obsequious towards others, sometimes of actually wanting to be and of idolizing others (rather than their abilities and capabilities), or of being jealous of others (a very petty and puny vice indeed), and just instinctively think of other Great Men and Women as natural rivals rather than what they truly are – potential Peers and Friends and as Great Men and Women with whom you could work to achieve even more together than you could separately.

So in that respect the only way far too many modern people seem to reflexively understand other Great Men and Women is as either idols and/or rivals. And thinking of other men as idols is just plain juvenile, whereas thinking of other men as natural and unavoidable rivals is not necessarily Wise at all. These habits and ideals seem more engrained by uncritical and unexamined instinct than by malicious intent. Still, I think them small and counter-productive for the most part.

But I don’t think of other men in that way at all. First of all I think of all men as my equals, neither inferior nor superior. And secondly I think of all men as being my potential peers if they so wish.

I think of it as the Peerage of Great Equals.

And that’s exactly what I mean to be, the Peer and Equal of Other Great Men.

But I will never idolize them, anymore than I wish to be idolized, nor are other men my instinctive rivals. Just as likely they are my as yet unrealized friends and peers.

 

TRULY TELLS from HUMAN EFFORT

In life many things may rightfully inform but it is behavior that always truly tells.

THE OVERMASTERED MAN from HUMAN EFFORT

Emotions are fine things if they lead to useful improvements in a man’s circumstances (beneficial insights, sustained advancement, heroic self-sacrifice, workable solutions and cures), but emotions that merely lead to more emotions and to self-absorption are worse than useless, they are actually detrimental to human progress.

Modern man is almost wholly absorbed in the latter view of his own emotions. Therefore he constantly wallows in his own anger, fear, hatred, and loss of self-discipline and self-control. He is in constant self-generated despair about both the things he could easily control about himself and the world but won’t bother to, and the things he could never control but “feels” he must.

Yet it never occurs to modern man that he is absorbed in this hyper-emotional outlook upon himself and the rest of the world merely because he chooses it to be so. Many far wiser people throughout the history of the world have had far different views upon the role emotions should play in living their lives.

Emotions are merely camouflaged vices when they overmaster the man.

CONTENT AND CHARACTER from THE BUSINESS, CAREER, AND WORK OF MAN

Far too many modern Americans are extremely and wantonly self-aware of structure and characterization, but entirely and willfully self-ignorant of Content and Character. Both on the personal level of the human being and on the societal level of human interaction.

THE PERFECT MAN from DIVINE SOPHIA

The wisely perfect man is not interested in proclaiming his own perfection, but in proclaiming the means of his perfection. Which was never himself.

ONLY GOD AND MAN from DIVINE SOPHIA

Only man can perfect man. Only God can provide the means.