When you hold life like a bird.

When you are Rutger Hauer, you are an incomparable BADASS. At least that's what this article says, but only a few paragraphs deep, I'm deeply inclined to believe.

For starters, the name Rutger Hauer is already pretty sweet. Rutger. Name one of other college you'd rather be named after. Dartmouth? Lame. Baker? Who wants to be permanantly associated with cake and rolls. "Harvard Hauer" might as well be Roger Rabbit, and...Princeton? There's only one real Prince, and he's not even named that anymore.

(As a side note, when trying to think of cool names, I think you'll generally be fine unless you follow the lead of idiots like iamhassanjavad, who leapt to Yahoo! Answers and asked people to "Suggest some sophisticated/cool names for a college group/gang.?" Double punctuation aside, I think there might be a little more than a slight difference between "a college group" and a gang. Even if Hassan was just dying to form a gang with his whiffleball buddies, who's ever heard of a sophisticated one. I suppose they could start something totally new...big groups of angry, tatted men prowling the nighttime streets being extremely suave.)

Back to Rutger. To cut things short, I really don't need to know anything else about Mr. Hauer, because of his answer to just one question in that interview. (He's just made a comment about his strange feelings toward LA upon his first visit.)

"What's wrong with LA?
The place has a frustrated sexuality. The people there all think they should have what they want to have, and that they should be whatever they think they should be. I don't understand that, because I think that makes you very unhappy. You should never have exactly what you want. Wanting that seems so stupid to me."

That's gold in my book. I'm marking it down.

What I've been starting to realize is that feeling rejection, want, or loss, is one of the most powerful experiences a person can have. If our best laid plans always went just how we wished, life would be nothing more than a stone-carved formula. We could indefinitely plug "Action A" into "Formula A", and watch our dreams come true without the slightest hint of interest or concern. At a glance, I don't think that's something that I would want. There is some kind of wonder that comes right at the middle of the tunnel, where you realize how deeply you're buried under the immovable majesty of life. There's just something good about surrendering to that.

I'm reminded of the movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played. There's a line where Francis is learning to swing a golf club, and he's told something close to this:

"You've got to hold onto it like it's a bird. Not too tight, or you'll crush it–but not so loose that it's going to fly away."

These days, that's how I'm trying to live my life. I keep up with my day to day, but as far as making rules, or assumptions, or deciding this is how it has to be...well, that's where I've loosened up my grip. That makes your grasp of the few things you want to hold tightly so much simpler, and maybe even more complete. And strangely, untightening your grip on things brings you freedom. You start living inside of life, and you're not fighting it anymore.

So, in benediction...hold your life like a bird.

See what wonders that looseness can gather.


When you are a Songwriter.

When you are a songwriter, life looks different.

Since I was 14, writing music has been an outlet for the deepest, highest, and darkest feelings I've had in life. I write about my family, about people I love, or have loved–sometimes about people I never want to see again.

I've written love songs about girls I never loved, and even one song about a kiss that never occurred. (She was too pretentious.)

All sorts of messy stuff.

Relationships are always messy. They are particularly messy when they end, which all of mine have. But songwriters get to have things a little bit different. No matter the baggage, how messy or crazy the relationship (or individual), you usually walk away from things with a song or two. And sometimes they happen to be really, really good.

So when you date a songwriter, just remember–no matter how angry or upset you left him (or her), we always get the last word. You get the gift of being immortalized in song, and we get the gift of deciding how that will be. For every sad memory you may have, we get to write it down, and when we are feeling the whim we play your song. Revel in the brokenness of it all, or the thickness of whatever the fading feeling was, but we ultimately put the guitar away. And we can stop playing your song whenever we want, but you...you will always remember.


When you are wrong.

Today, I was wrong-woo, big surprise.

It was in an argument with my Physics "professor" (she says she does nuclear physics, but...come on. That's not rocket science.) about the speed of falling balls. (Heh.) I did something uncharacteristic and called her out on what I felt pretty sure was faulty reasoning.

Anarchy ensued. Voices were raised. Hearts were broken.

The question was about whether or not two balls thrown from a cliff with the same initial velocity, one up and one down, would hit the ground with the same speed. She said yes, I said no. My argument was simply that we needed more numbers on the situation. She told me numbers were important in science. At that point, she had it coming.

If you really want to hear why it turns out she was right, ask me sometime. Although for the record, she never managed to explain it well enough to convince me.


I am struck by the fact that the opposing sides in an argument are identical, if you take away the truth of the matter. Truth is a third party to the incident; it's not something that either side can create or destroy. The best they can do is show you who else thinks, believes, derived, or proved that it is true.

Even then, Truth is something else. Every type of thinker is trying to describe why something is true, but no one can make it so. Truth is a state of things that exists entirely outside of mankind-we can't make it, manufacture it, or destroy it. It is something that we constantly aspire to and seek out, but it doesn't matter whether we get it wrong or not. If everyone in the world still believed the earth was flat, that wouldn't make the planet any less round. The reality of things will never bend to our reason, no matter how hard we believe.

It makes me wonder what we think that is untrue. It makes me think again about holding onto anything too tightly. It's easy to believe mankind is at the pinnacle of knowing and understanding...but haven't we been there before?

And aside from that, it's irrelevant. People who don't know they are wrong will fight tooth and nail, and every bit as hard as the side that's right, provided that they care enough. It's why we have war in the Middle East, and why everyone can't stop talking about Kanye. It doesn't matter who's right...the same wounds can be inflicted, the same damage can be done. It's why terrible things said in an argument can hurt so much. Because it doesn't matter what exactly was said, all that matters was the terrible look in his eye when he said it. Or her.

So if we can make it to the moon, move mountains, create civilizations, lie, give life and kill, what is it about Truth that makes it so untouchable to us?

It's that one thing. The constant. The unwavering will of the universe.

Maybe that's God.


When you think you have it.

This is going to be a little break from homework for me...after all, I've had about thirty minutes of focus and I'm feeling mediocre, so I guess that's something to be proud of. I'm in the middle of writing an analysis of the opening scene of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where Joel and Clementine meet. It's a story that I've loved for a long time, but watching for the little twists of color and cut is giving me a whole new appreciation for it.

The movie begins from Joel's perspective, tracing the fateful morning that he awoke with no memory of the woman he loved. Clementine enters centered in her own frame, but exists from Joel's perspective as always far-away, and never in focus. We only know it is Clementine from the bright orange hoodie that gives her so much hazy prominence in the frame. This all goes along fine for Joel, until she approaches him on the train later, and they are finally shot together for the first time. The rate of cutting speeds forward like the nervous heart of a boy in love often will do...always giving Clementine the power in each shot, with color, dominance, and positioning.

The rest of the movie you'll have to watch for yourself.

This has been a significant week, to make an understatement. Like saying the Titanic was a boat, or the sunrise is "what wakes me up in the morning". I don't fully understand the sequence of separations, interactions, and mistakes that have all converged to bring about this moment and this feeling.

I wrote my last post about cliffs, and all week I have been looking over one. Comtemplating the dive. Wondering if this might be the time that I fall, but do not die. Like a non-errant footstep could carry me over the edge into the greatest free-fall of my life.

As humans, we spend our entire lives trying to make desperate sense out of our world. It's infuriating, and sometimes agonizing, but I don't think that's ever stopped anyone from looking though it may have guided their eyes elsewhere. And after my 21 years of heavy thought, I don't believe that any of it is past comprehension, although I am convinced that it is fraught with dead-ends and times where there is no clear path anymore. You've got to pick your way through the rocks and find out where you really want to go. The way my brother put it to me, sometimes "You just have to choose."

I don't like choosing things. I'm bad at it. I can stand in the candy aisle at a grocery store for twenty minutes, pacing and wondering which choice is perfect for me. I just know that the other people in the grocery store must think I've lost my car keys somewhere in the bags and wrappers. Nobody looks for candy harder than me. But this is not about candy, and if I've found out nothing else in the last week it's that there are a very few choices worth making. And in those ones that do matter, it doesn't matter how far you have to go to make them. At some point, when you stop waiting for life to fall in your lap, you decide what you really want.

When that happens, you're ready to stay up all night in that aisle if you have to. You're ready to fight with the aisle, and be angry at the aisle, and just stop for a minute and rest your head on its cool, smooth foor. Then you try it again. And no matter how long it takes, you know that you just have to stay, and wait. And wait, and pray.

We can make choices, but the impact we have on our lives often feels so small.

Our choices are so often only half the battle. The bigger half is You.

And you.


When you Shut Up.

I feel as though people are always telling me to "Be Prepared", whether it's said in so many words or not. "Take Care". "Be Careful". Like knowing was half the battle, and if I only knew to "Watch out!", I could avert, tackle, vanquish, or succumb to whatever it was I ought to be afraid of, although I usually am not.

For me, the edge of a cliff is where I feel at home, and every inch stepped closer makes me want to dangle my feet over oblivion just a little bit more. Just a bit more. Perhaps one day I will fall, but at least I could tell you that I died walking home–doorstep at my feet, then at my knees...rising to swallow my waist in horizon, and finally shooting up past the tips of my hair, like the slamming of a black door that I cannot unlock.

A few people feel this way, but most will want to fix you. This is the type of talk that makes mothers squirm, and fathers huddle to quiet places. Make them need to evade that figure that so recently tapped his bony finger on the door.

On their way they will tell you to "Be Careful", or that "I Love You" as if that advice, or that fact, could stop the ground from rushing up to meet your careless feet. Maybe if they could tell me what comes around the corner, I might listen.

I was born with a brain that will not, under any circumstances disconnect. Every moment is rife with millions of unending tiny lines of code that build colors that repeat, and repeat, and repeat like someone forgot to yell "Stop!"...

The way a tunnel repeats.

Some days it's worse than others...many days I feel as though I'm losing hold of reality. Sinking into a purely subjective life, held captive by the cruel arbiter that crushingly turns my eyes.

But always in the end it is wisps, and ever lifts from me. Today it flees as much as on this page it stays, and in permanent words I've pinned down a cloud and put it on display. Squirming there under the lights, it is dying. Run through with the desire of a world of people wanting there to be no more night, lying prostrate and bleeding on a pink page. The last of its kind, wracked with desperation, the crowds see it buckle and writhe though never shed a tear, do not give one drop of mercy for its tortured soul. There will be a death rattle no one will hear and no one will miss, a heartbeat none will be privy to, and a dying that no one will notice, but me.


Because she told me to.

The church that I live in has a bat problem. And not a "problem" in the sense that your Sega Game Gear running out of batteries is a problem; this is the "Hi!-I'm-a-bat-and-I'm-going-to-try-to-kill-you" kind of situation. We've become fearful, every night. We live in terror of death from a foot above our heads. It's become ugly and stupid. A full-fledged, man-to-beast midnight battle.

You wouldn't believe how many bats we've had in the church.

We've had two bats in the church. But I'm sure there are more somewhere.

I usually dispatch of our adorable captors with a bath towel, or mattress pad...The trick is to picture yourself like some Ninja Gaiden and swing your terrycloth hard at exactly the last second. My mother tells me this type of behavior is going to give me rabies. I do not care, I don't think Ninjas get rabies.

This is at least the fourth blog I've started over the years. Not one has survived. But now, I've been asked to start one. It's like a commission, but for free. Which is really not like a commission at all.

For some reason, everyone feels the need to make their first blog a mission statement. Much as I'd love to do that, I think instead I just won't. Stay tuned for the next installation of: I don't care.