"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." Leo Tolstoy
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I once believed I had to travel the Earth to find what was missing in my life. I disappeared into four continents and fifteen countries and countless cities and towns and villages. (Why do people think they have to lose themselves to find themselves?) I overturned rocks and shined flashlights into caves and called down into abysses. I once believed I was doing all I could to find truth, happiness, meaning. Now I realize for years I'd searched in vain for an elusive epiphany that was always one day, one mile, one step ahead of me. I'd never found it, never realized what it truly meant to be alive, because I had never opened my eyes.
I have friends around the globe who have couches on which I can hopefully collapse for a few days or nights when I choose to resume my travels. They are likewise welcome at my home. I am always looking for new friends in new places, new experiences and adventures, new beers and wines and cheeses and fruits.
Someone asked me, "Who are you? Do you even know anymore?" And she wanted an explanation. She wanted the answers to questions I haven't asked myself in a long time. And I thought about it for a moment as I stared at the moonless sky and the emptiness and I spoke softly so not to disturb the crickets' song, saying: "It's so hard to get to know anybody these days. We sit and we drink and laugh and we talk, smoking cigarettes and cradling cups of coffee, looking for answers and weaknesses in each other's eyes. We think we know each other because we've shared secrets and traded confessions. But feelings, true feelings, have we been too frightened to share them? Do you know or do you even want to know my true opinion about anything? Do you want to know what's happened to me and how all the decisions I've made, good and bad, have transformed me into the man I am today? You may like me better if you fill in the _____s yourself with what you imagine to be my feelings and opinions and assumptions, creating a new life for me that fits neatly into one of your recurring dreams." She silently stared at me, biting her lip, not blinking.
And then I told her everything.
To be honest, I don't recall a single word I said.
I am a voracious reader who loves to trade suggestions for reading material. I try to read at least two books every week, mostly fiction. The beginning of the list of my favorite authors might look like this: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; Phillip K. Dick; Herman Hesse; Italo Calvino; Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Albert Camus; Jean-Paul Sartre; Leo Tolstoy; Franz Kafka; Cormac McCarthy; Saul Bellow...
I am a self-taught musician who is aware of his shortcomings and is not a shameless self-promoter. I do have a music site on MySpace, which I've recorded myself, if any stranger reading this would like to listen to the 'poems' posted in my portfolio in the intended form.
Letters on white paper stuffed in stamped envelopes please me more than phone calls, emails, and often, because I'm sort of a gregarious hermit (if that's not an oxymoron), direct communication.
I have no delusions of grandeur.
There's an animal inside of me, dying to get out, scratching at the inside of my brain, laughing, howling, moaning, and when he succeeds and breaks free, I will die.
Then I will be reborn.
I'd like to be a leprechaun in my next life. That might be fun. Or maybe a giant in a traveling sideshow. I could be thirty feet tall with fingers the size of a man's whole arm. Or maybe just a mole on a beautiful woman's face.
Someday I will disappear. And so will you.
"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." Henry David Thoreau
"Any artist should be grateful for a naive grace which puts him beyond the need to reason elaborately." Saul Bellow
"Have no fear of perfection- you'll never reach it!" Salvador Dali
"I am eternally grateful for my knack of finding in great books, some of them very funny books, reason enough to feel honored to be alive, no matter what else might be going on." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Every writer should own a copy of this book: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. If you don't already own it, go buy it.