Saturday, February 27, 2010

Grab Bag (aka Three Blind Blog Entries)

Occasionally I have my morning coffee with dead people. The ones I drink with are good company. It's not a Sixth Sense, "I see dead people," kind of thing, mind you. My morning dead peeps include Walt Whitman, William Blake, William Carlos Williams. It is not a prerequisite that their first name starts with "W."

Du Fu (the artist formerly known as Tu Fu) is the most recent to join the coffee klatch. A Chinese poet, he lived during the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), specifically from 712-770 AD. I've never been big on dates and numbers, but I throw those out there to ground our boy Du Fu, who had an f$%^-ing rough time making a living as a poet/writer. He kept trying to land a decent paying government post, make a name for himself, and provide for his family. He lived through rebellions, was separated from his wife and kids for stretches, and relocated his family, on foot, over several hundred miles, a number of times, trying to find peace and happiness. It's never been easy to get by as a writer, particularly as a poet. Funny how contemporary the stuff he grapples with comes across.

I can relate to Du Fu and his struggle to make a living through his writing. I feel fortunate in my own life to have landed a decent writing job as a technical writer. I don't think it's what he would have had in mind for himself, but I also don't think he was bringing bills in from the mailbox, balancing checkbooks, hitting the grocery store, and all the monetary/material baggage that our society seems to feel we all need to carry around. And I look around and see our girls and family and know that trying to make sure they are healthy and happy, well, there's not much more important than that.


One week into a new job and I find it has given me back something I had lost, professionally. Beginner's mind. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few," so says Shunryu Suzuki. I'm not one to call myself an expert in anything, but I realize stepping into something new, how many possibilities there are. A new place to work, a new subject matter, a new way of doing things, new people to get to know and work with. It is truly all a gift. "So I've got that going for me... which is nice."


Those who knew me between my NC State years and Washington College years know that I came mighty close to enlisting in the Army (if you were at our wedding rehearsal dinner and listened to Doug Hanks talk, you may have thought I actually left for basic training, but never believe what you hear from a reporter ;) There was something about the military experience that I wanted--to put myself through it, to rebuild myself, Six-Million-Dollar Man style, but without bionics, cool sound effects, etc.

I did rebuild myself during that time, through the discipline and repitition of running, through lifting weights to get ready for the Army, through time out of school to re-evaluate my life and what I wanted, and through meeting my now wife, Robin, among other things.

But I didn't quell that thought/spark about the military and looking back, I sometimes wish I had the foresight to have gone in straight out of high school, or maybe even after graduating college.

This comes back around now, writing for and working with the military, and reading bios and accomplishments of career military--the things they have done and seen, the education, both real world and continuing academics, the service they have given. It rekindles something more than a deep respect, almost a longing to have done it, or be doing it. Funny how as someone who reads and writes, I am not big on sitting still at a desk all day.

But at almost 38, some things sneak by you and I am not one to spend a lot of time on could haves, should haves, or what ifs. I try to honor and indulge that side of myself on my own terms, in my own ways, and now, maybe by being able to be a part of it by working alongside.


Kelly said...

this is lovely mike, thanks for the update.

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