Thursday, April 14, 2005

My (not so) Favorite Glyph

I am an addict. (There I said it.)

As far as I can tell, addiction is a compulsion to repeatedly do something that is either physically unhealthy, emotionally pathological, or really annoying to others. My addictions are many, but there is one addiction that I must confess to for I can no longer hide the pain, guilt and shame within…

I am addicted to parenthetical remarks (you know those comments that reveal the inner feelings of the speaker by establishing an entirely new, yet candid thought mid-sentence). I cannot remember the last time I wrote a journal or blog entry that did not contain at least one parenthetical remark (not that I am all neurotic and would actually attempt to write a parenthetical-less entry just to demonstrate the ability to myself). I even converse in parenthetical remarks (dropping my voice an octave to dramatize the parentheticality). Maybe I am just in love with the actually punctuation mark. The soft curve of the parenthesis is so inviting (not rigid and formal like the brackets, yet not overly ornate like the braces). They almost appear to be giving the text they surround a big group hug.

But everyone makes a parenthetical statement from time to time, you say. Its okay to indulge in a little digression from time to time, right? Maybe so, but I came up with this little test to identify my fellow addicts. If you see that someone has opened a set of parenthesis, but forgotten to close them, are you saddened (or angry and disturbed that anyone could be so cruel as to leave a parenthesis mark out by itself in the middle of the page, without its cosmic twin to provide closure and balance to the universe? Do you forget you are in mid-parenthetical and nest parenthetical statements within parenthetical statements? (As an aside, I know it is okay in mathematics, but is it grammatically acceptable to put a parenthetical statement inside a parenthetical statement (like this) or is that poor form?) Do you rationalize to yourself that your use of parenthesis has never led to anything stronger, like say…abusing ellipses…all on some stream of consciousness shit…with no regard whatsoever to if anyone can actually follow your crazy ass train of thought? Do you secretly feel superior to people who rely heavily on commas, viewing their inability to truly break free of traditional sentence structure as some character flaw or sign of cowardice. If you answered yes to any of these questions, you my friend, might have a problem.

But there is one sure fire way to know: If you cannot stop sitting on the fence with every statement you make by parenthetically playing devil’s advocate to your own statements, you are certainly addicted to parenthetical statements.

(Or not).

Thanks for indulging my silly mood today (like you actually read this far.)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My Own Private Island

Disclaimer: What I am offering below is just a confession of how i feel sometimes. It is more about me expressing myself and sharing a fear or an anxiety then really looking to be delivered from it. I hope anyone reading this knows me well enough to know that I look at struggle as a good thing from a spiritual perspective. I feel it is important to be honest (at least with ourselves) about what we pains us emotionally even if it is something we are ashamed of or we believe should be no big deal. Nothing superceeds one's own experience and whatever troubles me is worth giving some reflection too. Plus I don't want to be too content Complacency is an enemy to the soul's growth, so I feel blessed to have a little emotional adversity and look forward "becoming" through the experience. Besides, I am sure everyone's path is just as tough if they choose to admit it...


I don't think I have ever loved anyone beyond a certain kind of semi-noble non-committal brotherly/paternal style of love. I don't even know if I have the capacity to love a singular person, but I have spent most of my life on an emotional island. The island is deserted but just lush enough to seem like I could live here indefinitely without starving to death or succumbing to the elements. I have access to a small dinghy, but I don’t know how to navigate so I have spent most of my life hoping someone would come rescue me from my island. I always reasoned that someone who is patient enough to wait for me, confident enough to know their own worth, and tenacious enough to deal with my faltering could draw something more genuine and sincere out of me, but why would someone like that be interested in rescuing people. Occasionally in my life, I think people have come and visited me at the island. Many of them I have charmed for a while, but of course no one will stay on my island forever and they have invited me to follow them out on the open seas. I have hopped in my boat to chase after them, but there is always a critical point where I see my little island fading in the distance and realize that if I go any further I will be lost. Lacking faith in my ability to catch up with anyone (everyone else seems to be in a clipper ship) I have never strayed far from island.

I have known I was this way for years. I recently found this poem that I had written years ago and I still find it applicable to me today. It was meant to be a performance piece so forgive the style…

Cast a Way

I feel alone on a deserted a castaway
you this tom hanks movie I saw the other day
that didn't really make any sense to me when it ended
but neither does my life so I guess me and tom are kindred
the weirdest part was that he pretended
a volleyball was his best friend-did
you see this flick kid?
Maybe its just me but I felt like Tom just killed it..
but on further review...I know my situation is different.

After all, I don't have a clue how I got to my current location,
and no amount of tracing through my history reveals the exact causation
of my facing this separation...
this aloneness...this solitude...this insignificance
and I am unrepentant
for any decisions that resulted in my current predicament.
For I have no regrets
and yet
I still find myself unable to get
off this fucking island...
so I keep staring at the horizon
hoping someone will fly in
and rescue me.
So I continue to cry out profusely

Anyway, that’s my fantasy:
freed from the jail to which my own ego has banished me
without having to leave its security on my own…
to face the unknown
made even more aware of my insignificance
in the infiniteness
of the abyss
that surrounds my current existence.

I guess I forgot to tell you that I have a boat.
Its in perfect working order as far as I know.
I mean I have gotten in it and rowed
To where the waves cease to throw
the hull to and fro.
But alas, I can go
no further then my eyes can see,
the boundaries of my rationality
won’t allow me the feat
of testing the seas
without first solving its mysteries;
to go out on faith in things so non-concrete
is so foreign to me.
I guess I’d rather face eternity
here in solitary
then face my fears indefinitely.

Most days I smile feeling blessed to have this place that I dwell
But I know that what I call my heaven is really my hell
persisting through pain of purgatory in paradise lost
lingering in limbo rather then paying the cost
of my soul's freedom which seems far too steep
to gain my heart's passion, must i let go of everything?