Hands

I have words to upload again soon, but I insist on ruminating on them first for a while. In the mean time I’ve been taking a lot of photos these days, so I’m going to upload a few of them in the mean time.

This is from an assignment I had, and I think I will be continuing it as an ongoing project. The point was to capture hands in an interesting ways but the focus had to be the hands, This could be interpreted in a lot of different ways but I wanted to use it to capture the hands calligraphy in different human craft. It was the first time I had a reason to photograph something that portrayed humanity, and since I developed such a disdain for human subject photography, because it is so often extremely manufactured to portray an illusion, this forced me, but also allowed me to portray something real in humanity, crafts that we have developed through generations.

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It’s My Life

I get annoyed whenever I hear or read that phrase. “It’s my life”, you are right, it is your life, you live it, you control it, you experience every second of it… But, to quote John Donne, “no man is an island”. I find people use that phrase to mean no one else should have a say in their life as if their actions don’t affect those around them. I don’t wish to control anyone else’s life, I don’t want my life controlled and I certainly don’t think anyone else’s should be controlled by someone else, but I wouldn’t want my life to be uninfluenced by those around me. “Whatever makes you happy”, that is another one people love to use, I believe in following your dreams, pursing what you love and doing things that make you happy, but life doesn’t work if it’s just whatever makes you happy. In the end if it’s all about you, when you live by “whatever makes you happy” you still find yourself wanting, wanting for relationships that was neglected and cast aside because it was all about what ever made you happy.

That is not a life I want to live.

My life is surrounded by people, those I like and those I don’t, those I know and those I’ve hardly met, but my life whether I like it or not, is surrounded by other people. This means that my actions and words at some point or another will have a profound effect on the people around me no matter how hard I try to ensure otherwise. So it’s not all about me, It’s my story but my story plays into others, and theirs into even more people’s stories, so I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not all about me, This post is in many ways just me giving myself perspective. I have some friends, and some of them are quite a bit farther in life then me, I don’t want a single one of them to control my actions, but I would be a damned fool to ignore what they tell me. They have insight on what one should and shouldn’t do, what’s good, what’s bad, what might be best. They are not infallible, and every situation, dilemma, problem, and opportunity has its own factors that make it unique, and those who have gone before me aren’t going to always be right, they can have the worst advice possible, but they have gone before me, they have an idea, some of them a very good one. To shut them out with phrases like “it’s my life” and “I’m going to do whatever makes me happy” is not only setting you up to make easily avoided mistakes, and suffering unnecessary hardships. One should keep in mind that these hardships and suffering also effects our peers and friends when you are solely pursing what you think is best, and what makes you happy. I like what Solomon said in Proverbs 11 “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” He goes on in the book saying that council, hearing the advice of others, is the key to success.  Even if you aren’t looking to the people you whose words you disregarded to dig you out or give you handouts when you do fall, it hurts to see someone hurting, or at least it should, a bad relationship, a bad path in life, a financial crisis or anything of the sort in the life of a friend hurts. Those things are unavoidable sometimes, you are going to get shit on in life weather or not you live it aware of the effects on those around you or not, but that doesn’t mean you should live life as if it doesn’t hurt or better others.

From what I have seen it’s hard to find memories worth keeping when your focus is you, give and take has you branch out and try something new, and sometimes you hate it, others you like it, and every now and then you absolutely love it. And to clarify, when I talk about others input, it should be heeded, not followed as absolutely truth, sometimes you have to ignore the risk for the experience, and leave the morning to the morning, sometimes it’s good to forget what can and will go wrong, but one should not forget that though it is your life, no man is an island, and that your life and decisions effects those around you, positively or negatively.

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Investing Time

I want to preface this in saying that I know all day every day isn’t fun, you can’t shirk all responsibility, and often times you need to man up and do the unpleasant things, however I’m in full time school so I have to bend those rules a little bit. And though it is not an absolute rule I make a point to not invest too much of my time in things that I hate, I spend as much time as possible doing what I love until someone is willing to pay me for it. So I’ve been re-evaluating where I spend my time, including actually setting aside regular time to write, this also often means sacrificing sleep and occasionally forgetting that I need to eat, but you know it happens. One key way I have adjusted where I spend my time is by busking, it has a nice (though modest) finical advantage to it, but I get to preform, and sing for my city, whether people want to hear it or not, and I enjoy it. I’ve also started carrying around a little black book and a penciled for those ideas that I want to remember, for those lyrics that pound on the inside of my head, poems that I can’t help but want to share later but know I will forget, and a place for thoughts to flow into when the pressure in my head is too much to handle. By writing it out by hand and always keeping it on hand it helps my memory, helps my writing, and helps my thought develop in a healthy way, and allows me to share with greater clarity. By investing most of my free time in music, and writing, and calligraphy, language or audio in some way or another rather than wasting away the day with another episode, or one more level, or just sitting around unsure what to do, and in developing into the person I want to become it seems to be leading me to opportunities for those memories worth keeping.

 

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Beware of Monsters

This is a piece I jotted off at the end of the summer and have become quite fond of;

I know it is not the end but it is the end of the beginning.

The same idea keeps coming to my mind in different terms:

“Giants Lie Ahead”

“Here Be Dragons”

“Beware of Monsters”

And as I think of these I see them as warning signs as my life plays out in front of me. When I reach a fork in the road and have to make a decision I notice some of the paths are marked with a warning sign.

It’s intimidating, and I know they speak the truth, but as I look down the that’s I can’t help but notice that the marked ones lead to a better end.

So I’ll take them on with courage, not thinking I will be let alone on the perilous paths, but confident that the monsters will be slain.

But I keep seeing these warnings in my mind:

“Giants Lie Ahead”

“Here Be Dragons”

“Beware of Monsters”

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Back On Track

“Another year has gone by, they really never do last long, and for all that time the year still seems pretty void, I mean it’s had its cool days, and has built great stepping stones for the future but where are those memories worth keeping? I can tell you now there are none, none that come to mind at least. Am I still doing something wrong? Is the time just bad? Or do I need to change my perception? I still think it’s the environment that needs to change. The summer is here again and not only has come but I’ve had time to settle in it, my schedule is good, its left time for writing, reading, music, language, my job, and a few days off I can take. The end of my summer looks great, its packed with things that have potential to host those memories worth keeping, but what do I do for now, I know every day can be a great one, but do I just slowly work without these experiences until those plans and events come together, I’m sick of nights that are just enough to keep me alive, I’m searching for nights and days that are worth living for. But here is where I get things on track and regular, for now I keep trying what I know.”

I wrote this somewhere near the end of July this year, but I was a twit who kept writing new content but never edited or published it, and then eventually just forgetting new content all together. However the world has changed since then. I am currently working with Youth Unlimited for school credits; it’s the greatest thing I could imagine. Overall my dreams haven’t really changed, the same ideas and goals keep pounding on the inside of my mind, waiting for the summer when they can start to become a reality, but always working towards them now. Life is getting better, and some long lasting memories have been formed, nothing groundbreaking but little things well enjoyed, and memorable. Life is starting to be enjoyed to its fullest for a man like me. It’s still a journey, but I’m making headway.

I intend to have this post marks the restart of the goal “finding memories worth keeping” as well as the start of regular content.

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I’d Be a Machine

It’s had been 3 years, A lot can happen in three years, and I think a lot should happen in 3 years, but when I ran into some people I went to school with 3 years ago from what I could tell they were exactly the same. They even said that nothing had changed, I asked what they had been up to and they said nothing, and when they got into conversation I believed them. When the spoke to each other it was pretty much the same topics and mannerisms they talked about three years ago. I don’t understand, In those three years I have completely changed, and I get that not everyone does changes as drastically as I have, but I don’t understand how did they remained so static? Then as I started to ask about the other people I had not seen in those previous 3 years, apart from those who had more or less fallen off the grid most people seemed to be just as static. I get they are not at the point in their lives where they have had to go off and live on their own, fend for themselves, make their own way in this world, but I don’t understand how after 3 years they only mellowed out, they didn’t bother to grow.

“Dammit Amy

Well of course I’ve changed.

With all the things that I’ve done and the places I’ve been,

I’d be a machine if I had stayed the same.” (-Frank Turner)

They have not always been the best years, but they have been a busy three years. I don’t understand, are people really not venturing out of comfort at all, or are they going through the width and depth of the human experienced unaffected, like a machine.

I don’t get it.

Perhaps they just don’t know how they have changed, or they haven’t realized it, but I saw them, and heard them, and it seems so true, that “nothing” has happened, that nothing is going on, that life just stood still and they ceased to really live, they chose to merely exist.

So I started looking at those around me, I looked first at the 3 men I’ve come to love as brothers and I’ve defiantly seen how they have changed in those same three years, but I start to look outside of that and I see it less and less common, I see a small handful who have really taken that time to grow. Is that how people are, do they really go through life without letting it affect them at all, or do they live life in such a way that there is nothing much to change them.

I fear for them, living life so statically, what happens when they do have to do life on their own, when everything around them drastically changes and they don’t know how to move with that. How will they cope, and who will they turn into when the pressure is on?

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Wooden Heart

It’s overdue again, and I litterally have about a dozen post waiting to be edited and published, but in the mean time…

My brother (not a biological brother) is finnishing up his writers craft class, they are ending with poetry, he was bouncing off ideas with me of using a Listener poem, we talked about the points of different poems and which one he should use, and I kept urging him to use “Wooden Hear” a poem I explacted in a english course last semester. After telling him a bit about it he asked to see my writeup on it, and as I was about to send him it I thought I might share it here.

First a link to the music video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8k9rD7lx9c

 

Wooden Heart (Sea of Mist Called Skaidan)

We’re all born to broken people on their most honest day of living

and since that first breath… We’ll need grace that we’ve never given

I’ve been haunted by standard red devils and white ghosts

and it’s not only when these eyes are closed

these lies are ropes that I tie down in my stomach,

but they hold this ship together tossed like leaves in this weather

and my dreams are sails that I point towards my true north,

stretched thin over my rib bones, and pray that it gets better

but it won’t, at least I don’t believe it will…

so I’ve built a wooden heart inside this iron ship,

to sail these blood red seas and find your coasts.

don’t let these waves wash away your hopes

this war-ship is sinking, and I still believe in anchors

pulling fist fulls of rotten wood from my heart, I still believe in saviors

but I know that we are all made out of shipwrecks, every single board

washed and bound like crooked teeth on these rocky shores

so come on and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief

and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach

come on and sew us together, tattered rags stained forever

we only have what we remember

 

I am the barely living son of a woman and man who barely made it

but we’re making it taped together on borrowed crutches and new starts

we all have the same holes in our hearts…

everything falls apart at the exact same time

that it all comes together perfectly for the next step

but my fear is this prison… that I keep locked below the main deck

I keep a key under my pillow, it’s quiet and it’s hidden

and my hopes are weapons that I’m still learning how to use right

but they’re heavy and I’m awkward…always running out of fight

so I’ve carved a wooden heart, put it in this sinking ship

hoping it would help me float for just a few more weeks

because I am made out of shipwrecks, every twisted beam

lost and found like you and me scattered out on the sea

so come on let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief

and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach

come on and sew us together, just some tattered rags stained forever

we only have what we remember

 

My throat it still tastes like house fire and salt water

I wear this tide like loose skin, rock me to sea

if we hold on tight we’ll hold each other together

and not just be some fools rushing to die in our sleep

all these machines will rust I promise, but we’ll still be electric

shocking each other back to life

Your hand in mine, my fingers in your veins connected

our bones grown together inside

our hands entwined, your fingers in my veins braided

our spines grown stronger in time

because are church is made out of shipwrecks

from every hull these rocks have claimed

but we pick ourselves up, and try and grow better through the change

so come on yall and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief

and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach

come on and sew us together, were just tattered rags stained forever

we only have what we remember

-Listener

 

 

The poem Wooden heart talks about a life journey, and the poets idea for pretty much everyone, it talks about the voyage of life and breaks down to the fundamentals of what we are made of and how that relates to weathering the seas of life this is done using mostly nautical images. Rhythm and rhyme scheme are not something that is present; it is a free verse poem though not completely without rhyme, however without organized rhymes. The diction used if from the common vernacular though as I said before using nautical imagery, making the words easy to understand, in spite of this (at least to me) the theme of the poem is not immediately obvious.

The poem starts at birth, and from birth we are at the mercy of others, we need there grace even though we have done nothing yet to deserve it. The poet then goes to say he has been haunted the typical things you would expect, red demons and white ghosts, nothing extraordinarily traumatic but none the less bad, and it is not just at night he has been haunted day and night. The poem then goes on to talk about his life as it progress. At first it is lies that hold him together, he holds them deep down to keep him together in the brutal storms of life. But rather than just being tossed around and taking life as is he had dreams to give him direction and to keep him going towards where he wants to be, his sails which point him towards his true north. His dreams were thin, but he held them close to his heart while he prayed for times to get better not that he believed that they would. Next he let his heart become softer and more vulnerable using the image of wooden heart is compared to the image of an iron ship which is this strong put together outer image he kept. Now that he has that he continues through dangerous waters to find end, sailing the blood read seas looking for the security of someone else, someone that could basically substitute for the uncertain difficult seas of life, he is looking for someone’s coast. He now engages a second person heeding them to not let the hardships of life wash away their hopes. Even though he thought he was prepared to handle life with the image of the warship, he finds himself sinking, at this point still believing there is some security, anchors, something to hold him. During this time he starts to find that in his heart is all this “rotten wood” vices, bad emotion, sin, he is working to get rid of and is finding in abundance pulling out by the fistful. He again engages an audience, he realizes that no one is really that iron war ship, but rather makeshift vessels made from shipwrecks, broken, failures, hurts and mistakes, beaten and battered going through journey they cannot handle and. He suggest community, one that’s not just there for good times, that’s not real community, but people helping each other, through pain and joy, that these shipwrecks cannot survive on their own, that we need to bind ourselves to each other, become co-dependent, sew us together, even though we have all been permanently affected negatively, tattered rags stained forever. Positions are no guarantee; the only things that are truly ours are memories. And together we can make them good, not just looking at life in disparity as this endless sea we cannot handle.

But it is not that simple he admits that he is barely making it, but he is in fact make it, barley held together with help that we do not deserve and having our past forgiven and forgot, taped together of borrowed crutches and new starts. He says that fundamentally we are all the same; we all feel that need for community, for love, for peace and not fear and uncertainty, for something more, those needs being the holes in our hearts. And even when it seems like everything is falling apart what we do not realize is that it is everything is getting into perfect place for the next great thing to happen we just cannot see it. Still he is kept captive by fear, it is his prison, he keeps his fears hidden where they cannot be seen and locks it so that others cannot get to it, it can be accessed but he keeps that key to it close at all times, it is quiet and hidden. What he has to use are his hopes, but he doesn’t know how to use them, they seem to too big and he doesn’t know how to handle them, they are heavy and he is awkward, always running out of motivation to pursue them. So again he goes back to working on his heart even though life is getting worse, hopping that it will keep him going just a little while longer. He admits that he specifically is not this iron war ship; he is made of brokenness, virtues and vices both being lost and found just like everyone else. Again he repeats; we cannot survive on our own, we need to bind ourselves to each other, become co-dependent even though we are tattered rages stained forever. We only truly have our memories.

He can still remember these tragedies, they are always at least in the back of his mind; his “throat tastes like house fire and salt water”, and he has nothing lasting to cover him it is just the tide which washes away and it only acts as loose identity. But if we hold together, if we put effort into each other’s lives we will hold together and not just be some fools rushing to die lethargically. He reminds us everything we have will be lost, our machines will rust, but we will still be alive, keeping each other alive, bringing each other back from despair. He suggests together we grow deeply connected, growing together so fundamentally, and the connection will grow deeper, we will grow together stronger.  He then goes on to talk about this image for The Church, it is not perfect; it is not made of well put together people, Christ’s true bride is a bunch of broken people holding each other together, a bunch of smaller communities working together for the better through this ever changing world. One last time he repeats; “let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach come on and sew us together, were just tattered rags stained forever we only have what we remember”.

 

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