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Thursday, December 29, 2016

What We Leave Behind

It may just be me, but 2016 was rough on the celebrity crowd.

It seemed like, for the last 52 weeks, two or three names of people I’d known by watching on TV, through reading their books, or listened to on the radio at some point were crossed off the list.  Upwards of 200 well-known names were removed including, most recently, Carrie Fisher, and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.

I hope that’s the most recent, at least.

At any rate, over the last few months, I’ve been thinking about the Future.  Not about flying cars or moon colonies or what have you, but about if or why I’ll be mourned when I’m gone (I’m not sick, mind you).

Will people remember that I wrote?

Will people remember that I was close with my family?

Will people remember me as someone who tried?

Will people remember me at all?

I think we celebrate people who left legacies behind – tangible evidence of their existence – because by celebrating that, touching that, we matter.  And we all get caught up in the legacy we leave behind, be it our children, a great work of art, a great discovery, or some political achievement, because we want to matter to the world around us.

The celebrities who have died this year – while no more tragic than anyone else’s death – left something behind in their varied works.  We honor how that work made us feel.

And to the countless regular people who died this year, people we knew and loved, people we observed casually in passing, we are their legacy, for they have touched us as well.

As we close out 2016, let us try to remember that we are all connected and we all affect everything we come across.

Safe travels.

Monday, December 26, 2016

What We Hold On To

As 2016 comes to a merciful end, it’s natural to think of all that we’ve lost.

If you’re anything like me, from the same time or era, the world is fundamentally different now than it has ever been simply based on the loss of touchstones to our youth.  The incredibly long list of pop culture icons that we have lost this year is staggering and includes people like Prince and George Michael, like Muhammad Ali and Jose Fernandez.  It includes stars who shone bright and men who reached for the stars.  Men and women whose decisions – good, bad, or indifferent – shaped the discussions on what we hold important in this country.  We’ve seen an unprecedented election cycle, which is saying something because we are coming off two terms of the first black President.

This is not the world we know.

But there’s one thing we should hold on to, and that’s hope.  It’s not as difficult as you might think, because everything we do as individuals, I like to think, is rooted in hope. You get out of bed because you hope you make a difference, or you hope today will be a good day, or you hope you make enough to get by.  You have children, participate in their lives because you hope you can teach them to do right, and hope you can teach them to improve the world around them.  Hell, you even drink because you hope to numb the pain of the past.  You fight with loved ones, you work through things with loved ones because you hope they can be better
Hope keeps us coming to the table.

So, I suggest we hold on to it.  I suggest we keep getting out of bed, we keep teaching our children right, we keep fighting and working.  We act as agents of hope.

I hope I’ve made myself clear.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Something About Winter...

So, Bellingham has just emerged from a week-and-a-half long deep freeze, complete with snow and ice, barely drive-able roads, and requisite traffic accidents.

Is it weird that I was made homesick?

New York is one of the great winter cities in the country.  Yes, I am biased a bit, but hear me out.  New York has earned a reputation for being a rough place, filled with blunt, rude people who will run you over if you get in their way.  It's a crucible that takes the weak-minded, undisciplined, and poor and either forge them into something stronger, or kills them under the weight and pressure of living there.  Some of that rep is justified, some isn't.  It's not up to me to sift through which is which.

However, for the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, the city softens a bit.  Maybe it's the brainwashing from all the holiday music that yo hear from every place that has a speaker, but for that time, it never seemed as bad.  People were generally nicer to one another.  Kindness was seen on the surface.  As people geared up for the season, you could see it, feel it, a particular and unique kind of spirit.

It's the same as in small towns, when you see a kid's face light up as they meet Santa (TM) for the first time.  The big city is no different.  The Salvation Army still rings bells at every street corner, and people still drop their spare change into the big red pots.  Lights are strung up from every lamppost, intersections are made more festive.  Storefronts put up amazing displays.  And while NYC does it on an entirely different scale...

... it's still Christmas.  Or Hanukkah.   Or whatever you want to call it.

Don't get me wrong, New York in the dead of winter offers bone-chilling temperatures, schizophrenic weather patterns, and sometimes a kind of bleak that there isn't a word for, but for those six weeks, that specific time of year, it doesn't seem half bad.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Other Than Politics...

In light of the season, I scoured some old writing and found this interesting bit.  Originally Posted December 1, 2009.

A friend posted that she wanted to know what true love is. 

It's a question I've often asked myself, and shied away from very scary answers. I came up with clever commentary ("If I can love you like i love family and still want to sleep with you") and funny analogies ("If I can love a woman the way I love the Yankees..."), even bad movie quotes (True love is the soul recognizing its counterpoint in another) but the truth is, I never really thought about it. Until, that is, another friend reminded me of the origin of love.


The love you feel when you look in the mirror should be absolute, despite the zits and the morning breath, the crusty eyes and the five pounds that won't go away. One should look at oneself in the mirror and smile, for you've already seen your best ally, the person who should be looking out for you the most in the world. You should be your own reset button, and when the world seems jacked beyond belief, you should look to you to re-center. You are the star of your own single camera show. Just please, stop yourself before tweaking your own nipples.

Now once you can identify that love within yourself, if you can recognize the love of self within someone else, and still have space to love that person, and that person still has space to love you, THAT is true love.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

So What'd I Miss?

SO... did anything interesting happen in the world since September?

Okay, that's a bad joke.  But it feels like I've been under a rock for the last few months, which makes for very bad platform building.

Can't believe I just used that term.

Anyway, as the year winds down, I've come to realize I haven't put nearly the focus I should have on the stuff that's important to me: specifically, my writing "career."  But that will change, and soon.

This blog will evolve into something more, and I would love to bring you all with me along the way.

All... five... of you, following this.

Okay, so maybe my reach needs some work.