hubris

Posted in Autobiographical, General Musings on June 23rd, 2014 by D'jaevle

Let’s suppose someone has mastered the nuances of human behavior. They’ve spent the better part of four decades watching how people interact, studied their motivations in the face of ambition and desire, learned when instinct outweighs consciousness, examined the patterns that lead to heartbreak and betrayal. Let us say that at first this study was done to learn the art of seduction but later was simply a tool for living a better, happier, life.

Let’s suppose all of this is true.

There remains one other singular fact:

No matter how great their understanding, it is arrogance itself to believe they are not bound by the same motivations, same instincts, and same patterns.

And being arrogant is about as human as it gets.

aut viam inveniam aut faciam

Posted in General Musings on May 21st, 2014 by D'jaevle

20140519_180344

I shall either find a way or make one.

It took just under twenty years between decision and ink.

The words are a way of life for me: most everything is possible so long as you are willing to bear the cost.

I live a balanced life, and this is one reason for it. I almost always weigh the price of my actions against the reward.

Almost.

There are times where I act without thinking; when hunger overrides sense.

For a long time the metaphor of the wolf was merely a literary tact. But in the last five years I have come to have a better understanding of myself.

And this much is true: I harbor a wolf within my heart.

north star

Posted in General Musings on April 7th, 2014 by D'jaevle

It is our nature to enlarge, reaching out to touch on every conceivable experience while expanding our consciousness to envelop the world we live in.

But sometimes it pays to be small. To pull in, becoming a condensed ball of concentrated self capable of intense drive in a singular direction.

r e a d i n g

Posted in General Musings on September 11th, 2013 by D'jaevle

Most of my life I’ve been teased about how much I read.

And when I say teased, I don’t mean in a mean way; at worst it is a gentle ribbing, at best it is done with an affectionate smile.

But anytime a person’s quirks are repeatedly pointed out to them, it can cause them to feel like they are being singled out for being different. A reminder that can cause someone to feel uncomfortable with themselves.

I’ve never felt that way. I don’t mind the teasing. Because I really, really love to read.

I’ve had a book in my hand since I was twelve and discovered I liked adult-level fiction; I spent that summer’s vacation at Disney World with my nose buried in a book.

One of my best friends said that even before we were friends she knew who I was. I was the kid at St. Mary’s who sat at the lunch table reading while distractedly eating fries.

If one of my co-workers catches me in the hall without a book they joke about not recognizing me.

Before I was eighteen, I’d read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, most of the Perry Mason books, a number of Destroyer and Executioner novels my father had laying around, all of the Babysitter Club books my sister owned, and even a few Danielle Steele books I found in the house (sorry mom!).

I’m the guy who went to the college dance and spent most of it leaning up against the wall with a book, reading with the occasional glance at the dancers.

If I’m at a party with people I don’t know, I don’t think twice about pulling out a book.

(I don’t read in social settings because I’m anti-social; I just happen to read _everywhere_. I love people. I just don’t see the need to fill my time and space with awkward silence when I can be reading instead.)

Sometimes people ask me how fast I read. One book a week? Two books? Three? As if how fast I read is some kind of party trick.

(I read 72 books in 2011, 80 in 2012 – so the answer is I average about 1.5 books a week).

Reading hasn’t made me smarter (it might be different if I was reading rocket manuals; I’m not). But it has given me an excellent vocabulary and taught me to love language. It’s made me a better writer.

I was productively using ‘waiting in line’ time way before cell phones made ignoring the people around you cool.

I never feel particularly out of place, no matter where I go, so long as I have a book.

I don’t know what boredom is. Free time? More time to read.

Which is all to say this:

Reading. F’ing. Rocks.

a study

Posted in General Musings on April 20th, 2013 by D'jaevle

A1
Relinquished, reminded and revered.

the tiniest fairy

Posted in General Musings on April 5th, 2013 by D'jaevle

Once I captured the tiniest fairy.

That’s not to say she was small. Kittens are small. Flowers are small.

She? She was tiny.

I caught her in a tiny bottle with a tiny cork and a thin black rope so that I could wear it around my neck.

She never spoke, but the beating of her wings made a humming vibration that I knew so well it became a second heartbeat.

I could never tell if she was happy or angry or sad, but I like to think she was as content as I.

I never took her from around my neck except at night where I feared breaking the tiny bottle in my sleep. Before resting, I would set her on the small table by the bed and in the morning I would slip the thin black rope around my neck once more.

Until the morning when I awoke and she was gone. The tiny bottle was there with its tiny cork in place. But it was empty. I searched under the bed. In the cupboards. And because I was clever, and knew she was tiny, I would close my eyes and listened for the sound of her tiny wings beating.

But I could not find her.

And for weeks after, each morning I would reach for the bottle in habit only to find it empty anew.

Until the one morning I stopped reaching for her. In time I forgot the soft glow of her, the warmth of her against my chest, the ritual of the day.

But sometimes…sometimes I close my eyes. And feel her flutter behind my heart.

river behind me

Posted in General Musings on October 30th, 2012 by D'jaevle

Last night, I slept in my study with the window open.

Ella, my cat, curled in my lap as I listened to the rain from my leather chair. I moved in and out of sleep, and each time I woke to shift positions, two things happened.

The first is that Ella would get up, circle, and find a new nook in my lap to sleep in.

The second is that I would try to find the rain.

The rain was there – of course, it was a hurricane after all – but I found myself reaching through my sleep-addled brain to listen to it. As if hearing the rain as it hit the trees and creek outside were a touchstone I needed.

(that I put up with a cat in my lap all night tells me that I am somewhat attached to the beast, as I usually avoid anything that will affect my sleep; that I found myself searching for the rain tells me that I spent too much time as a child playing in the rain and may be a re-incarnated rain god)

nerieds

Posted in General Musings on October 1st, 2012 by D'jaevle

In one version of Greek mythology, nymphs spend each day in an orgy of wine and wickedness only to fall asleep and rise anew the next morning with no memory of the day before.

Youth is like that.

We are immortal in our youth, invincible. We fall often, mistaking impermanence for beauty, experience for wisdom.

And we are not wrong in that. At least, not yet.

Because this is how youth is meant to be spent – it is not a thing to hoard: the longer we try to hold on to it the faster it slips through our fingers. Time is the one commodity we cannot overspend on. It can’t be saved. It can only be lived as thoroughly as possible.

And it is better spent without extensive worry or weight. Consequence will follow – it must always follow – but we don’t have to chase it.

Because age and wisdom and second-guessing will come to dodge our heels; we will begin to use the word naivete as a sort of taunt, or a curse, but it will be born of jealousy.

Because we once lived more fully.

Before we knew better.

no vacancy

Posted in General Musings on June 22nd, 2012 by D'jaevle

I’ve come to realize something very important.

I have only so much room in my head.

Lately I’ve been filling my time – and my brain – with TED talks, Kahn academy lectures, web-found life tips, inspirational quotes, harmonica lessons….

You get the idea.

It’s like I’m trying to level up.

But it doesn’t work that way. I won’t finish watching a TED talk on the importance of classical music and suddenly become enlightened. There’s no SHAZAM!-like quote that will transform me into ‘The Renaissance Man’.

Nirvana is not a youtube video away.

I envision my head as a bookshelf. Some ideas and skills fit into nicely. Scientific method? Simple, elegant, easy to learn and implement – it’s like a slender leather-bound book that fits neatly on one end of the bookshelf. Save ten percent of my income for retirement? Not a problem.

But how about the principle of ‘Always be good to others.’?

Not so easy to fit – some things you do are good for some people, but not good for others; how do you reconcile that? What happens when being good goes against your own self-interest? It’s a big idea. It’s like placing a large, weird, abstract sculpture on the shelf. It’s not easy to follow every day, in every act I do. But it’s an idea worth striving for.

And! At least I can get my mind around that idea. There are some that I just can’t grasp in a meaningful way. Stuffing those ideas into my head is like trying to keep a sack of playful kittens in one place. There’s no way. And that’s fine – maybe I’m not ready for that idea. Or maybe it just isn’t the right idea for me.

But back to the point.

There’s only so much room in my head. And sometimes I try and cram in a bit too much.

I’m not saying I plan to stop watching TED talks – really, they kinda rock. But I think I’m going to slow down on collecting character-building facts, and focus on better understanding the pieces I’ve already got in place.

gingerbread

Posted in General Musings on December 24th, 2011 by D'jaevle

I have a tangled, mangled, mouthful of words. They’re sharp enough to cut into my gums, long enough to gouge my cheeks. And the longer I hold them in, the harder they are to swallow.