Saturday, November 13, 2010

Being Human

Sometimes you need a good cry.  I'm not talking about a deep depression, wailing like a banshee, curled up into a fetal position in the corner cry.  No, some times you just need a few tears to fall to make you feel human.

And there's nothing wrong with that.  There's nothing wrong with admitting a little bit of sadness into our hearts.  It reminds us we are human.  And, it also reminds us of the good times.

I wouldn't say that I know exactly when I need a good cry.  But, if I do, there are a few triggers that are sure to bring a few tears and cleanse my soul.  It's good to know these triggers because I don't want to forget that life is ups and downs.  Without the downs, you'll never get back up.

The movie, "Stand By Me," was on the telly earlier.  I first saw it when I was around the ages of the kids in the movie.  And look at them now.  The fat kid is a very buff Jerry O'Connell.  The weirdo buddy is, well, still the weirdo buddy in a lot of ways.  We're talking about Corey Feldman.  Wil Wheaton is an internet celebrity and deals quite well with his fame.  River Phoenix... is dead.

What strikes me about this movie over 25 years later is how it still gets me.  There I was flipping back and forth between that and UFC's Greatest 100 Fights.  "You guys want to see a dead body?" "Randy Couture is back!" "Sick balls, Chopper!" "The Iceman Cometh!" "Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, Pluto's a dog. What's Goofy? "  "The Spider wins again!"  "The train had knocked Ray Brower out of his Keds the same way it had knocked the life out of his body."

I decide to leave the movie on until the finish.  The boys find the dead body, face off against the older gang, and head back home.  We find out Verne got married and has three kids.  Teddy is working odd jobs after a stint in jail.  Neither really surprising endings.

Gordie & Chris are talking before going home.  The poor white trash kid is afraid he'll never get out of Castle Rock.  And, joy of joys, we found out he does.  Chris ends up going to college and becoming a lawyer.  Then, the news comes - and is probably why the Writer writes this story - that Chris. ever the peacekeeper, was trying to break up a fight and was fatally stabbed.  River Phoenix fades from the shot.

And there it is.  It wasn't expecting it at all.  It just happened.  A soft, sticky sweet trail of saline falling down my cheek.  Again, I am reminded that I am human and smile.

I'm not sure why this moment is one that never fails to get me.  Maybe it's because I have long since drifted apart from the kids who were my friends around age 12.  Maybe it's the realization that we become very different people from when we are kids and can't remain friends.  Maybe it's because I want to go on my own journey to "see a dead body" (figuratively speaking; I really mean a life journey) with the friends I have today.  Maybe it's just really sad that Chris Chambers made it and was struck down by chance.

I guess it doesn't really matter why that moment gets me.  It's just nice knowing that I am human and there's nothing wrong with that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Top 15 Influences

There's a meme going around Facebook called "Book Snob."  It asks you to list the Top 15 Authors (poets included) who influenced you and will always be with you.  Well, I thought about it, and if I'm honest with myself, there's not 15 authors that have influenced me into becoming the person I am today. I'm not a big reader, folks...  So, let's get a little more creative with the word "authors."  So, for this, I will define "authors" as someone who has written something, as opposed to just a book or poem.

1.  Bill Watterson -  (Calvin & Hobbes):  There is no doubt that Bill Watterson's iconic comic strip had a big impact on me.  Heck, in a lot of ways, I will walk around with my imaginary friend.  And, I'm not ashamed to admit that.  I gotta have someone who really gets me, right?

2.  John - (The Gospel According to John):  John wrote the book of the Gospel that I most identify with, that I read the most often and this book is responsible for bringing me to Christ.

3.  Donald Miller - (Blue Like Jazz & others): Mr. Miller writes about Christianity and approaches the subject with non-religious thoughts.  He writes about the kind of Christian I try to or at least want to be.

4.  Stephen Page - (songwriter; formally of Barenaked Ladies):  I always preferred the Stephen songs to the Ed songs.  His songwriting seems to me therapy for himself and his manic depression.  He is a genius songwriter, certainly flawed (that seems to be how it works, eh?) that has definitely influenced my own songwriting and lyrics.

5.  Ryan Adams - (songwriter):  A brilliantly talented songwriter whose music makes me think there is no need for me to write songs because he already wrote them and 1000x better.  He is another flawed musical genius that has helped me to realize how to write eloquently and honestly about my emotions.

6.  Liz Phair - (songwriter):  If you know me, I guess it's no surprise to see Liz on this list, after all I all but worship her.  It is the intimacy of her songs that have influenced my life and my songwriting.  If only I could speak/write with half the intimacy & honesty as she does in her music.

7.  Lord Byron - (poet; "She Walks in Beauty"): Honestly, "She Walks in Beauty" is the only poem by Lord Byron I can remember.  It's just so descriptive in how he tells of the beauty of the woman he loves.  In a lot of ways, I think this poem influenced my thinking about relationships and how intimate they should/can be.

8. Harry Anderson - (Con-artist; Night Court Actor):  I pretty much watched his stand-up/magic routine "Hello Sucker," special near endlessly when I was a kid (if you can match quotes with me from this special, I will love you forever).  He taught me I should always have a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face.  He also taught me that if a man walks up with an unopened deck of cards and bets me that the Queen of Hearts will jump out of that deck and squirt cider in my ear that I should not take that bet because as soon as I do, I will end up with an earful of cider.

9.  Congressman John Linder & Neil Boortz - (The FairTax Book):  This book opened my eyes to taxes.  This country needs the FairTax if we are to remain a SuperPower and we need it now to get the economy back on track.

10.  Douglas Adams & Terry Pratchitt - (Various Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels):  Love the humor and satire these two authors write.  I include them both as one because I've only read the Hitchhiker's Guide series twice and it's been several years since I sat down with a Discworld novel.

11.  Sylvia Plath - (poet):  I'm learning more about the woman and the feelings behind her poems and journal.  While she suffered from major depression and ultimately killed herself, I think she write beautifully and quite intimately.  She was really in touch with her emotions and I strive to be like that... without the suicide...

12.  Molly Bang - (author, "The Grey Lady and Strawberry Snatcher"):  Her book had no words. It was all illustrations.  Beautiful pictures telling the story.  I remember "reading" this book countless times as a child.  And probably owe a major chunk of my imagination to this book that taught me the power of pictures to tell the story.  I would "read" it and the "words" and "dialogue" in the story would be slightly different every time.

13.  Dr. Seuss - If I have to explain this... well, the point, you miss.

14.  Stephen Soundheim - (Composer):  His musicals are wonderfully written.  But, this is more for two of his shows:  Children of Eden and Into The Woods.  These two shows hold a special place in my heart because of what they taught me about being a parent.

15.  My dad:  I don't think he wrote anything, but I would not be who I am today without my father.  He is still teaching me to this day and is one of the biggest influences in my life.  He is the person I most try to be like.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Another definition

Let's do another definition.  I stumbled across this quote that is attributed to Bob Marley:
Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life."

For my two cents, that's pretty much what intimacy in a relationship is all about.  You cannot enjoy the love within a relationship without opening yourself up and being vulnerable to the possible pain.  Totally worth it though.