Willpower

Affirmation of the Day: Lies are what we tell ourselves in the mirror at night. Truth is the mirror’s reply.

Will to power. Willpower. Do I have the will to achieve power? You must be the change you wish to see in the world. It would be hypocritical to have it any other way, yet the hypocritical is what we excel at. I should know. I’m just as human as anyone else.

It may be true, but can the truth be handled? The truth always has the potential for deeper harm than lies. Lies can be dismissed. Yet the truth, once known–inescapable, all-encompassing. Man comes to the crossroads: do I have the will? I have the longing–the dream, he thinks, but the will, well, I could say yes and the world would never be the wiser, I could say yes but I do think I would be lying. I would know that I was lying, even if the world doesn’t know.

History, after all, points to the contrary.

Man stands longing at the crossroads, mired in the wait, for a lack of perseverance to press forward. The easiest path is often the path that leads nowhere at all–the circular trail to nowhere.

I depend on my perceptions of reality–on the pre-conceived boundaries as set by society. Dwelling on this issue, no matter–trying to come to terms. I really on the work of others. I profess independence, yet I hide amidst the foundations of cozy uniformity. Go with the flow. Don’t think too hard, it will come in time.

Waiting, what is with all the waiting? Man can but shake his head.

Good things come to those who wait.

How cruel is that? Untrue as well–the world must be moved, and someone must take the courage to move it. So it always goes. The waiting is merely waiting for someone else to do what you might have done. Such a notion! Surely man recoils at the insinuation. Yet reality looms: I call myself free, he whispers, yet I am content to submissive docility, waiting for the changes I wish to see, writing about them, idolizing them, but never once myself for the doing.

Waiting on the world to change. Still waiting. As the song says, one day this generation is going to rule the population…and what changes?

The ultimate question put before man at that crossroads comes not long after this thought: am I weak, than? Is it a factor of strength and weakness, or do some people simply have this capability–this fortitude for change–and others inherently don’t?

All answers lie in the self. But how does one strengthen the self? Through will. How does one strengthen their will, their resolve? A much more difficult prospect altogether. The first step to believing, after all, is having the will to do so.

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The Humor of Life

“A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.”
~Hugh Sidey

Remember this, dear fellows: if you don’t have a sense of humor, you’ll never get out of life alive. Humor is divine in its way–an outlet, a defense mechanism, an escape. It holds at bay the devil of reality as sure as any intricate dose of reading, any flashing sea of lights we call the big screen. It softens our interactions toward others, steels our own resolves.

Writer or no, it’s something we should embrace. The soul yearns for what little lights it can get. Jokes go a long way. Do you think half of the writers of the world would have such endurance in the face of rejection without the ability to laugh? Don’t let the world get to you. Let it in, but then let it back out–with a laugh, and a smile.

Because if there’s one thing to remember about life: we’re all just passing through.

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”
~Henry Ward Beecher

The Music of Life

Photo by Chris Galford.

This time of year always gets me to thinking. On life. On death. On family and friends. Toss in a little bit of “purpose” in there to boot, and we have a veritable medley of late nights ahead. This year’s kicked it into overdrive, though—far from home, far from what I know, first book out there, struggling to make sense of it all. But tomorrow, I head home. Amidst snow and ice and the sodden flight of the night, I head back to Michigan for the holidays.

And the mind cranes toward the whimsical.

There is a certain music to life. It is in the air. In a lover’s eyes. Reverberating in our own delicate touches upon the world. Even when you inevitably ask the bleary-eyed teenage neighbors to turn down the racket, and the bass fades into nothing, the music of existence still resounds. Sometimes it’s just a whisper. But sometimes, it is a veritable symphony.

The real wonder, I find, is trying to puzzle out the notes. We can identify the chords as they come, but putting them all together can be more of a puzzle than a tune—for while there might seem some pattern in a series of certain moments, it is gone in the next. This might frustrate some. In fact, I know it does. Yet I can’t help but find it beautiful. Wondrous, even.

Close your eyes. Breathe it in. Senseless wonder—is that you?

Soulful artist Grace Kelly. Photo by Chris Galford.

So often we try to attach purpose to everything we do. In fact, I dare say it’s a human imperative. We are so distraught if we cannot master “the tune,” drumming up a performance to put all our ancestors to shame. Yet I must say there is a certain freedom in realizing it doesn’t all have to make sense. We don’t always need a purpose—that is merely a construction, to add some unidentifiable quality of “worth” to life.

You know what is truly priceless? A sunset. Drink that vision in. Crisp mountain air. Feel it on your skin. The smile of that like-minded soul just across the room. Let the sensation pool inside you, and stir that heart to motion.

Now try to do it without calling me a hippy. Thank you.

Life does not always need to have purpose. It is a chaotic tune, often enough—a jazz-like echo through which each and every one of us grind along. Sometimes, all life is—truly—is the simplest of moments, where we can stop and breathe and hear it all stirring around us.

I think if we could find more moments to just…stop, we would all be a little saner for it. But then, maybe that’s the writer in me talking. And I don’t think anyone would ever accuse him of being the sanest man in any room.

(P.S. Almost forgot to let you all know—this week and this week only, e-book versions of The Hollow March are on holiday sale if you purchase through Smashwords. At just 99 cents, it’s perfect for a virtual stocking stuffer for that fantasy lover in your life—because nothing says Merry Christmas like the ring of steel and magic.

See that? Now you know what I meant when I said the writer in me’s not the sanest lad in the room!)

Bedside

* A work in progress – critique welcome!

Broad strokes, bedside

broached the topic of

wedded blasphemy,

through bygone whispers

renovated in bravado,

battered with the blue breeze

bloody braggarts call carnal bastardization.

An immigration of conscience

instituted something like incontinence.

Winged Aphrodite pulled hormones

through the shaft of her soul,

but ringed Bast barred in gold;

lovers circled bane and bust,

but the band bonded true—

like a shadow, lust, pulled

through the needle of love’s eye.

Restless Nightmares

"The morning after the battle of Waterloo", by John Heaviside Clarke, 1816. Image care of Wikimedia Commons.

For the final One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry, and the grand opening of the dVerse Poets Pub, I would like to bring back a classic – the poem with which I introduced myself at the first One Shot Wednesday, in July last year, when One Stop was still just a glitter and a gleam in the eyes of a few good poets.

It is dark, and due to its age not the style of mine to which you may have become accustomed, but I hope you enjoy it all the same – and if you’d like to see the piece with which I more officially gave my ending salute to that wonderful art community, check out last week’s contribution: One Winter Morning.

– – –

Restless nightmares break,

From wretched slumber do I wake

To a world of endless night—

Thunderous choirs make me crouch in fright.

High above us wraiths now soar,

Men clasp their ears to deafen their roar.

Over hills and shattered streets,

The bands come marching to woeful beats.

A hundred thousand voices cry,

Then all the singers die.

Google+ For Photographers

Yes, bow before me, for I was one of those rare, select, elite few to receive Google +!—by which I mean, oh boy, one of my media friends shot me an invite to the latest social network everybody.

If you want to read up more on the basics of Google+ and its “circles” of influence—ah, you see what I did there?—follow that link to learn more about the network. For me, however, the immediate question was how Google+ might appeal itself to photographers, while crossing my fingers and hoping against hope it wouldn’t have the save decidedly unsettling service agreements as Facebook.

So far, I’ve not been disappointed. While lacking the Facebook “like” pages, that allow you to essentially build up your studio, image, what-have-you, Google+ does have its own worthwhile contributions:

  • Circles. Yes, it all comes back to circles. Not only do they allow for quick organization of your photo-related contacts, they essentially allow you to set up a group for your photography information, and to quickly locate those contacts you may wish to check up on, communicate with, etc.
  • Picasa! Remember Picasa? Yes, well, it actually has purpose now. Long oppressed by flickr, photobucket, webshots and the like, Google+ has now revitalized Picasa to store its images, for all intents and purposes remodeling it into Google+ Photos. Nice, easy storage system, with largely unlimited album capability, and the potential for videos up to 15 minutes long.
  • Lightbox. Keeping in the Picasa vein, when you enter an album, Picasa reconstitutes the images on the page to be more visually pleasing, and clicking on one opens it in lightbox, giving you a nice viewing space—and full details on the photo, too.
  • Lack of Facebook licensing woes. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Google’s classic slogan “Don’t be evil” works its way into the distinctly mundane terms of service versus Facebook’s “gotcha” politics. Still – take care, because they do reserve the right to modify your images as they please…
  • “Scrapbook.” It’s essentially a nice mini-portfolio that opens your main page. You can upload up to 5 images here to go right alongside your profile, to be displayed right under your name. Good for highlighting your work if you want people to link off a certain website…
  • No apps! Sure, it’s not photo related, but bloody hell—no more getting bogged down with Farmville and Mafia Wars invitations!

In short, it’s sleek, it’s efficient, and it’s got potential. Check it out, if you grab an invite, and feel free to add me to your circle, if you feel I’m worthy!