Bookish Osmosis (Some Imagination Required)

Bookish Osmosis

os·mo·sis –  äzˈmōsəs / Gradual or unconscious assimilation … ideas, knowledge, etc …
Examples;

“What she knows of the blue-blood set she learned not through birthright, not even through wealth, but  through osmosis.”

He never studies but learns by osmosis.”  

“Living in Paris, he learned French slang by osmosis.”

Yes.  I have the right word, osmosis.  Bookish osmosis brings words, ideas, sentences into the heart and mind, from books, held close (my theory).  I am nudged in my psyche and my passion, when I think of writers who may have experienced bookish osmosis:  Annie Proulx, Anton Chekov, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, Daniel Silva, Maya Angelou, Tim Cahill, John le Carre, CS Lewis, William Blake, Brad Thor, Douglas Adams, Nelson Demille, Craig Johnson, Vince Flynn …  and Keith Richards; George Orwell; Anthony Burgess (see photos, below).

Image result for Images Keith Richards library
Keith Richards / Rolling Stones … close to his books, listening to his guitar.
Image result for images famous writers and their books
George Orwell, close to books. http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/06/showbiz/gallery/famous-writers-typewriters/index.html

 

 

Related image
Anthony Burgess, listening to books. http://timescolumns.typepad.com/stothard/2016/03/observeranthony-burgess-prize-for-arts-journalism.html

 

 

 
 
 
 
My “book-eyes” are bigger than the hours of the day.  My desire for good books, transcendent characters, kick-ass plots, great stories, goes beyond what is realistic.  And that, my fellow bloggers, is why I am holding out for bookish osmosis.

Keep the Pieces Coming

I’m fortunate in so many ways  …  Countless ways.  Even the wounds are a gift.  For I I learn from all of this.  Every week or every other, I meet with a wise woman, walking with me for a short season.  I bring a few pieces for the puzzle; I reach down, I reach out, to find pieces that might fit.  Sometimes a piece will fit.   I might want a piece to fit, but it doesn’t.  I just keep the pieces coming.  I call this process “Puzzle-ing”.

 

Going Back? Dialog Series #3

“Holiday, coming.  Are you heading southward, to see your folks?  You have some older brothers, there as well, eh?  And your parents?”

“Parents and my two brothers (a nod), down there, east of Dallas.”

Wood Stove
Wood Stove

Both men sat in the logged house, a small place, in chairs made of gnarled pine posts, smoothed from years of use and exposure to the wood stove heat.  Words were suspended in the air, transformed into vapor and memory.

“I am not going back . . . “

“It is a drive, isn’t it …. What, about 1200 miles?  Twenty-two hours?”

“If I drive straight through, its only about eighteen hours.  And, around 120o.”

“Boy, that is a bear of a trip.  So you’re not going to make it this year.”

“Naw.  I’m not going back.  Its one thing to pack up, load up, head out on a 1200 mile trip…  (pause) But, the trip … or the thought of the trip … is a metaphor for the struggle I’ve had for years: ‘going back’ to the lies I bought into, the l mistakes I’ve made in my life.  In that sense, I’m not going back, or backwards. ”

“So, why is it that we want to … ‘go back’?”

“For me, I think I go back to my past because it is easy, a path of processing that has very little resistance.  I know those apparitions.  I know my past.  I think that I can change it by  going there.  As for what is ahead, I don’t know it because I’ve never been there.  But I plan on going there, soon.”

“Yeah.   Me, too.  There is good stuff happening there.”

How Did We Get Here? (Dialog Series)

How did we get here?

“We”?

depression, man sitting on floor thinking with copy space - stock photo
http://www.shutterstock.com/s/depression/search.html

(Pause) … Well, you are here, aren’t you?

No, no.  No-no-no-no-no-no.  You are where you are at, and I am where I am at.  And believe me:  I wouldn’t want to be where you are at.

How’s the view up there?  Up above guys like me who don’t have it together like you?

(Pause) What are you were asking me?  And, I’m kind of in a hurry, okay?  So, tell me what you need, and I will try to help.

I was asking  you … how we … “I” … arrived here, at this place.

“This place”?

Our relationship?  Fading.  I have become isolated.  My addictions, like work; like books; like fast food.  And, life – – – I do not enjoy life as much.  That’s a picture of what I am talking about.

Okay.  (Pause)  I have to get going, need to be somewhere.  Take care of yourself.

You asked me about “this place” I am in, I told you, and I thought we were going to talk about it.  But, you … are just leaving, now.

(Pause) I am sorry about your confusion.  I can’t help you.  I don’t do well with others’ shame.  I don’t do well with addictions.  Your isolation is something you have chosen; your relationships evaporating  didn’t suddenly happen.  It’s been in the works for a while.   And your enjoyment of life?  Not happening?  I don’t want to have anything to do … with that.  (Pause) On top of all that, you wouldn’t even hear what I have to say.

Why would I not want to hear what you have to say?

http://www.shutterstock.com/s/depression/search.html?page=1&inline=197995073

Because you are right where you want to be.  And if you are right were you want to be, why talk about how you arrived at this place?  If you wanted to change all that, you would.  But, there is no change.  

That’s harsh.

(Pause with some hesitation) Uhhhh, maybe.  

You’ve got me all wrong.

‘Doesn’t matter.  This is your party, not mine. 

END

*

The dialog, above, is like a metaphor, representing some of the relational pain / disappointment that happens … on some level … in the human soul.  Our hearts, our minds … bring about different dynamics of expectations (realistic and / or unrealistic), an arcane blend of intimacy (healthy and / or unhealthy, whether it be physical or emotional or both).  The relationship and dialog happening up above is somewhat of a composite derived from my years working as a psychotherapist with married folks.  Lastly, the nuances / verbal clues accentuate the factors / themes we deal with in our society, and our relationships:

  • “I don’t have the time to have this conversation …”
  • “Don’t blame me for you problems …”
  • “I don’t have any compassion for you, now …”

True, this is a rather cold exchange happening between two people.  My hope is that one can see their thankfulness for being able to transcend such unhappiness, such insensitivity.  We all need help, at different times, and in different ways.  Here is a truth that is disruptive to many, and this truth applies to the “composite” dialog at the beginning of this post:

Something good can come out of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiding Writers, Reading

‘Revisiting some (old) lyrics, and a theme, previously posted, perused in one of the blogospheres (I don’t know how many there are) … A different direction emerged while the muse came by.  Two fellas, met up in 1953, the elementary school-scene in Queens (N.Y.) became famous in their school play, Alice in Wonderland.  One was the White Rabbit (Paul Simon) and the other was the Cheshire Cat (Art Garfunkel).  Actually, they did not get famous from their work in the theater, doing Alice in Wonderland.  They continued to be bro’s through junior high school and high school.  Simon and Garfunkel, their junior year, emerged as “Tom and Jerry” playing some good music.  Seriously?  Yes.  Someone in the recording studio brought up the “Tom and Jerry” thing … and it faded quickly.  “Simon and Garfunkle” was the balm, apparently.  Eventually, after “The Sound of Silence” which put them on the map, they put together this song, “I Am A Rock”, with the lyrics … here:

” … Gazing from my window to the streets below /
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. / I am a rock, / I am an island.
I’ve built walls / A fortress deep and mighty … “

I really love these lyrics, for quite a few reasons.  One of my favorite writing quotes goes like this:  “My wife doesn’t understand that when I am staring out the window, I’m actually working.”  I agree.  Productive? Maybe not, but … still … working.  Because a writer is always watching, observing, taking it all in, appreciating (some) details, editing others.  A writer would take time to ” … gaze from (his / her) window to the streets below, taking notice of the freshly fallen silent shroud of snow …”  And a writer is also aware of how easy it would be to become “a rock … an island”, with “walls, a fortress …”  Such imagery.

” … friendship causes pain. / It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain …”

I believe that some writers struggle with friendship more than others.  I actually acknowledge my envy of individuals who don’t seem to struggle at all, ever, with friendships.  They seem to be sufficiently charismatic, cool, and people love to be around these individuals.  Friendships are sometimes hard, and I do think that such struggles contribute to a writer’s persistence in writing, and reading.   And that is why these lyrics, here, resonate for me.  And … a question emerges that I pass your way: would you say, on some level, that you “hide” with books? With poetry? And do you have your armor that you protect  yourself with?  

“I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.”

What is a bit weird is that I really find … asylum … with the spy novels (Thor, Ludlum, etc.) sometimes the Western novels (Johnstone, Lamour), and sometimes the good old mystery-“Who Dunnit”s (Charles Todd, Castle, Craig Johnson).  And there is that great line from Shadowlands (movie): “We read to know … we are not alone.”

So, yeah … I was just curious if you guys “hide” … from time to time … in your books, your poetry, your armor.

 

Door-Door-Door

Someone’s knockin’ at the door /Somebody’s ringin’ the bell / Someone’s knockin’ at the door / Somebody’s ringin’ the bell / Do me a favor / Open the door and let’em in, ooh yeah … “  (Paul McCartney, “Let’em In”)

Thinking about doors, and don’t know why … Stranger things have happened, and I don’t know why.  Stranger things are not always a loss, not always a bummer, not always a washout.  And doors get opened, and doors get closed, and I really, seriously, don’t know why.

“When people keep repeating / That you’ll never fall in love /When everybody keeps retreating / But you can’t seem to get enough / Let my love open the door / Let my love open the door /  Let my love open the door … To your heart.”  (Pete Townsend, “Let My Love Open The Door”)

Below: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/red-door-quote-jamart-photography.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/red-door-quote-jamart-photography.html

Someone told me doors are to keep people out, and to keep people in.  Some sojourners are looking for a safe place, a place of rest.  Others may be looking for a non-safe place, where the crazy-talk is, where emotions are hellish.   I like safe places, and doors play a part in all that. Closed doors can really get to me.  Times like that, I ask “What am I supposed to do?  Where am I supposed to go?”  So, if you come by, find the door locked, leave me a voicemail, an EMAIL, a text, a scribbled note with some tape on the door, or a carrier pidgeon.

 

 

 

 

 

Relationships, Reality & Redemption

What do I know to be true?  Know yourself, and I will know myself, and if I come up short in that area, then … then … What?  Then what?  Oh, my!  Maybe the earth will rip off its axis and hurl into the sun!!!!

No, I doubt that will happen.  Here’s one truth about me: I am able.  I am able to do both good, and not-so-good.  I am able to empower (good).  I am able to enable (bummer, not-so-good).  I’ve walked with many folks over the last 20 years in the counseling context.  And in the realm of addictions, I have encountered the “enabling” dynamic a great deal.  And, if an individual is an “enabler”, that does not mean … that their heart is not good.  In fact, with every enabler I have sat with, there has always been a good heart.  We, with our good hearts, are able to miss the bigger picture, to mess up the smaller picture.  And we, with our good hearts, are able to walk with a soul and inspire, without many words.  We, with our good hearts, are able to run races with specific individuals who have come into our world who want to run well, with love in their hearts … a healthy love, an empowering love, a fragrant love, a tough love, a tough love not without honor, a tough love not without integrity, a tough love not without gentleness.

I am able.  I am able to go after myself with rocks and razored insults; rage and disgust.  There is a fancy word for it, I think: “self-contempt”.  Truly, I am not exempt from self-contempt.  And, truly, there is no exemption from redemption.

And, to use the title of one of my favorite films, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, there is an indescribably intense piece of fighting with honor and love and fairness and staying in the place of a safe place.  Not fighting with physical warfare.  Not fighting with psychological abuse; or verbal abuse; or emotional abuse.  No … this is a fighting where, at the core, is a deep authentic love for the other; caring for the other; and choosing to not let the other “off the hook” … because that is the last thing we need, to escape the responsibility of loving well and “doing relationship” well.

And that is all I’m going to say about that, for now.

Keep It REAL ! !

‘Learned about a woman, today, who wants to be Barbie.  Being a guy who lives at 8800 feet in the mountains, chops wood, snow blows, a family man, psychotherapist … I have no interest in Barbie, never have.  My daughter does not even like Barbie!

This story was surprisingly disturbing; my heart heavy, beyond measure for this woman. This story is a vivid, disruptive, metaphor for a fear of authenticity; and one’s fear of intimacy.  Check out the title of the article, published in the Huffington Post:

“Blondie Bennett, Barbie-Obsessed Woman, Uses Hypnotherapy To Make Herself Brainless”

Here are excerpts from the article in the Huffington Post.     (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/19/blondie-bennett-barbie-woman-hypnotherapy-stupid_n_4815495.html)

    • A California woman who describes herself as Barbie-obsessed says she uses hypnotherapy sessions in the hopes that it will decrease her IQ.
    • “I just want to be the ultimate Barbie. I actually want to be brainless,” Blondie Bennett, 38, told Barcroft TV. “I don’t like being human, if that makes sense… Natural is boring… I would love to be like, completely plastic.”
    • Bennett … five breast augmentations … other procedures in the hopes of attaining her goal. But now … undergoing hypnotherapy sessions two-to-three times a week in order to dumb down her thoughts.
    • She says it’s working.
    • “I’ve had 20 sessions and I’m already starting to feel ditzy and confused all the time,” Bennett told the Daily Mail.
    • She … loves her looks, (but) her plastic features tend to turn off a lot of people … friends and family don’t approve of her lifestyle.

I am not able to get past my belief that this story is about a woman who had / has great pain, not so much physical, but emotional … psychological … possibly traumatic.  We can all agree that life is intense, and at times some of us want to hide.  At other times our hiding is found in joining the crowd.  To be so passionate about removing your pain to the point that you don’t want to think, anymore, about anything … It feels tragic to me.  This story is a jagged picture of the deep desires to self-medicate.

I Feel Your Pain

The desperate longing to be someone other than who you are … Why?  Because of the pain.  And when it comes to pain, your pain is your pain.  I have NOT walked in your shoes, I do not know what it feels like for you.   And yet, because of my own journey, I feel some of your pain.

. Ta dah! #quotes #create #authenticity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“BE GOOD” … OK, With Or Without Authenticity?

“Who are you?  Who? Who?” from the band “The Who”.  By the way: who are you, and who am I?

This excellent piece, below, came from a site http://www.mileychile.com.

take me as i am quotes: Take Me As I Am Quotes ~ mileychile.com Daily Inspiration

Once I have established who I am, a question comes from within, at times:

“Am I good enough?”  If my level of “good” defines who I am, then I’m up-creek without a laptop, without coffee, and without a paddle. “Being good” can be truly ambiguous.

Am I good?  Or am I good?

Yes, No.

Houston, we have a problem

Things are not always as clear as they seem.  I can be “good” and still have some issues.  “Challenges”, “opportunities”, and mistakes can come up; and I can still be “good”.   The wheels may be falling off; the car may need a transmission; my friend may be ticked off at me … but I can still be good. 

Plenty of examples, but one of my favorites is with Apollo 13.   Image to the left is from the link http://ecrc.nl/houston-we-have-a-problem/

Jim Lovell: “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
CAPCOM 1: “This is Houston. Say again, please.”
Jim Lovell: “Houston, we have a problem.”

Astronauts Swigert, Lovell and Haise were definitely going for it, which is what we do, right?  When “a problem” emerged, things were ugly.  But, the mission wasn’t just the responsibility of those three wild men.  Other men, in Houston, were for them. 

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-350/ch-13-1.html    A photo of the Gold Team in Mission Control     Authenticity, in the midst of our struggle to be “good”, means being willing to have mistakes.  Authenticity means having some good folks you can walk with through this jaded, conflicted, addicted world … friends who are for you. 

“Things are not as bad as they seem.  Things are far more serious than what they appear.” Anonymous

keep-calm-and-tell-houston-we-have-a-problemI believe the human mind, the human soul, the human condition, can drive one to be so preoccupied with “being good”, which connects with being accepted, that we communicate this: “Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it so I can ‘be good’ …” One issue with that approach to acceptance and identity, is that one’s inner peace may be contingent on someone else’s decision: “Are you good enough?  Are you performing the way I want you to perform?  Are you meeting MY needs?”

I actually believe that some individuals don’t care about inner peace.  For me, inner peace has great value.  If I have a problem, I will keep calm.  I will tell Houston that I have a problem.  I will deal with it.  And I can still be good in the process.


Story Series: An Extraordinary Conflict and a Profound Victory Part 1

Story Series: “An Extraordinary Conflict and a Profound Victory”

Notes: A great joy, storytelling, comes with a great privilege: to release my craft of storytelling in the midst of a fairly large group of willing listeners, two to three times each year.  After telling a fellow blogger, prior to the most recent storytelling session (12/1/13), that I would be telling one of my stories in front of a crowd,  I was fortunate to have this good man / blogger express his interest.  He suggested that I bring the story to the blog realm.  Here are some “safety tips”, if you choose to read An Extraordinary Conflict and a Profound Victory”:  

      • Time and setting: 1779; a young America is at war with England.
      • American Patriots are severely outnumbered and out-trained.
      • This story is not about the United Kingdom being “The Bad Guys”.
      • This story is about the reality that we all have battles to fight.  
      • Our battles are interlinked with our own individual, unique stories.
      • Our battles are harsh, and ugly, and we will get nicked, wounded, clobbered, dazed, knocked down, discouraged, and at times we will forget what is it we are fighting for.
      • We are not fighting alone; we need vision, hope and courage; we do not give up; we need to know we are fighting our battles for something worth fighting for; and this will help us see why we do not give up, why we  keep fighting.

George Washington Crossing the Potomac / http://www.PasteMagazine

The Story: An Extraordinary Conflict and a Profound Victory Part 1

The year is 1779.  We are at war with England.  We are patriots.  We are Americans.  We are a young country, and therefore, we are a young America.  We are thirteen colonies. And, in the eyes of England, out of the mouths of the British, we are fools and rebels.

Below: picture of King George III made possible from www.napoleon-empire.com.

Rebels?  Yes.  We are rebels. We rebel against tyranny, oppression, excessive taxation, and “The Quartering Act”.  Fancy wording, eh?  “The Quartering Act”: it means “Home Invasion”,  British soldiers living in our homes, against our will.  Rebels? Yes.  Fools?  No.  We are not fools.

Right: picture of George Washington, made possible  from sccoec.edublogs.org.

 The British Monarchy and King George III’s perspective goes something like this:
      • “I don’t care if you live in America, Russia, Jamaica, or on Mars.  It makes no difference.  The British Monarchy and I, own you … the Patriots.
      • We will tax you heavily, you will pay dearly.
      • We will take what we want, when we want.
      • You will fear us because we are so powerful, you will be thankful to be servants of the British Monarchy.
      • You will LIKE it, you will not complain.  You will be silent, say nothing.
      • This is the way it is, this is the way it will always be.”

The Patriots’ perspective is, as you might imagine, quite different from that of King George III’s.  Picture yourself sitting with King George III.  The discussion might go something like this:

  • “Your Majesty … Let me stop there and confess my confusion.  This wordmajesty” means dignity, and grandeur, supreme greatness.  And then, there is you: a “majesty“; a little man, a large amount of greed, and an addict’s desire for control and respect; but you will not give freedom, and you will not give respect.
  • Anyway, Georgie, that’s not why I came.  There has been a misunderstanding.  You and your people have expressed that we will LIKEyour oppression and tyranny and excessive taxation; that we will be thankful for our servitude to the British Monarchy; that we will not speak; that we will accept this as it is, and as it will always be.  
  • Here is the truth:  we do not like “it”, and never will.  We will not settle for this. We will not take this lying down.  George, we have made efforts to work this out with you and your people.  But it looks like you want a war.  If it is a war you want, it is a war you will get.   I’ll close with this, sir.  Read my lips, I know I do not speak very loud:

WE … ARE NOT … VICTIMS.

WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS.

In 1775, British troops marched into Lexington and Concord with two objectives:

        1. To seize the armory of the Patriots: their ammunition, artillery, and supplies;

        2. To capture two Patriot leaders, John Adams and John Hancock.

The British failed with both objectives, thanks to an American spy ring, successful in obtaining  invaluable intelligence data: the British plans to march into Lexington and Concord, and their objectives.  The Patriots moved their armory / supplies ahead of time to a safe place; and  the Patriots moved John Adams and John Hancock to locations where the British would never find them. 

Below:General. Gage, Commander of the British Army and Military Governor of Massachusetts, from www.landofthebrave.info.

File:Thomas Gage John Singleton Copley.jpegThere is a rumor . . .

that the intelligence data came from Mrs. Thomas Gage, the wife of the General Thomas Gage, Commander of the British Army and Military Governor of Massachusetts.

Mrs. Thomas Gage - John Singleton CopleyTrue, all sources indicate that this was never proven.  However, General Gage sent his wife away, back to England in 1775, shortly after the battles at Lexington and Concord.   
Mrs. Gage, wife of General Thomas Gage, from

April 19th of 1775.

British troops marched into Lexington and Concord.  A 500 man militia of Patriots were waiting, armed and very much pumped up.  The Patriots gave the British a run for their money: key word “run“.  They retreated all the way back to Boston.  These two battles, Lexington and Concord, marked the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.  It was a long, and ugly, war.  The Patriots did not win every battle.  But they did win the war.  

This is a good perspective: we will lose some battles; but we will win the war. We are called to fight with honor, for what is good.  We are called out to live with passion and vision, even when the cards are stacked against us.  We have an opportunity to leave behind us a powerful legacy.

This is the end of Part 1