Thursday, January 31, 2013
Imperfections: the spice of life. I picked this particular picture for this post because while some may consider his tattoo to be an imperfection and a blemish on the Body Temple, others might see tattoos as their stained-glass windows. It just shows the difference in perspective that many different people have about many different things. No one can escape imperfection. Imperfections can bring people together or tear them apart. Perspective is a powerful thing. As for me I think "imperfections" give people texture. In books there are flat and round characters. Flat characters are characters that seem to only have one mood, or personality trait, in short they are a relatively uninteresting side characters. Round characters are vehicles for discovering, exploring and portraying humanity. Usually these characters are flawed and colorful. It is their humanity and imperfections that give them dimension. Movies like Pleasantville celebrate this. Imperfections turn a grey world into a world full of color and zest. Maybe it is the romantic in me talking but I love most of the little blemishes of everyday life. Yesterday for example. I took my dog up the canyon to go on a trail run. She is very lively so my car was covered in fur and she tried to jump in the front several times. I may have slight OCD tendencies because I like to keep things very clean and organized in specific ways. I love animals but not on the upholstery. Anyway, we went on our run and by that time I had just given up trying to keep my car from becoming dirty (I put a towel down to try to contain the fur and slobber but to no avail.) We got back in the car and starting driving home. All of a sudden I felt Bodie's (my dog) head rest right on top of my shoulder. She smelt wet and dirty but it was one of the sweetest things to happen to me in a long time. That is the beauty of imperfection. The cliche' perfectly imperfect. Today I went and had my car cleaned. Problem solved. I'm not saying search for imperfections in the people around you but don't be afraid to laugh with another when the little imperfect moments happen. Like, when someone drops their ice cream or says, "you too" when someone wishes them a happy birthday or your kid is blowing bubbles in his chocolate milk again. The remedy? Laughter first, fix later (not every imperfection needs fixing though). Laughter is a fantastic painkiller and mood enhancer. Life happens when someone doesn't blow out all the candles on their birthday cake the first time. Life happens when I try to curl my hair and it just DOES NOT work (initially this can be annoying but why turn a bad hair moment into a bad hair day?). So you tried to flip the pancake you made that was supposed to look like Mickey Mouse and it turns out looking more like something Pluto might have dragged in. It still tastes delicious right? You barely finish cleaning your room and suddenly you realize the shirt you want to wear is at the bottom of your hamper. After pulling out every piece of clothing in your hamper and your clothes are, once again, all over the floor you discover the shirt you thought was in your hamper is actually hanging up right above you in the closet. Laugh. Think you have a dorky laugh? Share it. If your voice cracks while you are singing at the top of your lungs in the car by yourself, cringe involuntarily, then laugh. At least your singing. I'm not saying harmful addictions should be cherished and accepted. Those may be considered, in book terms, "fatal flaws" if they become out of control. I'm saying that severing relationships and trying to change someone by coercion into your idea of perfection may not be the best, or the most enjoyable road to take. Maybe your drunk uncle makes the worst wedding toast ever. Maybe you go in for the kiss and you miss. Maybe you've married someone and they, for the last 25 years, still don't know how to get their socks from their feet to their hamper without leaving them on the floor for days. But no matter how many socks are piled up that person can still make you laugh when no one else can. No matter how terrible your Uncle Tom's toast was, at the end of the day your still married to the love of your life. And that, "missed kiss?" well at least you tried. And that is brave.
There is a time to laugh and a time to be still but for most of the harmless everyday mishaps, laughter turns those weird, quirky, times into gold. Laughter can turn a dropped ice cream cone into a fantastic story or accidentally bumping into someone on the subway into over fifity years of love, life, laughter and family.
I'm not perfect at this. Sometimes I wish my nose looked different or that I could be better at math than I am. I struggle sometimes to see the humor in some things. But I'm trying to recognize where laughter fits into everyday life. That is it belongs quite frequently. As long as I strive to be happy and help and hope others are so as well it makes life's like a huge chocolate bar that doesn't make you gain any weight. Or a perfect season for your favorite sports team.
Perfection is unattainable in this life. Happiness is there to be had. So why not take it, why not share it, why not make the happy moments into a happy life?
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I am sorry for my prolonged absence. Life happened. It is still happening, but the pages are turning more slowly these days.
From time to time my brother, sister and I engage in glorious battle using extravagant language and synTACTICAL finesse. We each have a different voice when writing. Going along with this analogy my brother's voice is like a smart bomb with a few hand grenades thrown in. My sister's is like an eight inch naval ship gun and smatterings of torpedoes (Those will catch you by surprise). Mine is more like a sling shot. From which I shoot acorns, flowers and the occasional rock. Oh yeah, and booby traps (according to my dad). That being said, we have our own bases and books that we retire to in order to refresh and reload but then it is off once more to the battleground. We have battled it out from Santa Barbara to Virginia to Utah, England and Thailand. We have crossed through Neverland and been held captive in the notorious Chateau D'If. We have dined at the round table and fought dragons deep in mountains riddled with clever creatures. We've lounged on flying carpets and had a few run-ins with an odd and occasionally rude detective. However, while the battle zone may be rank with logistical derision, and fragmented sentences and the occasional straw man can be seen pickpocketing the decaying "thous" and "thees," we three still manage to banter back and forth about the humdrum, sparklers and collywobbles of life. It really is quite entertaining I assure you. If you are wondering about the title of this post rest assured that this post is devoted to my entirely self-indulgent love affair with the english language.
I unashamedly admit that I used to cry every time I finished a Harry Potter book because every time I finished a book I would have to wait an entire year for the next one to come out. Some of you might understand the extent of my impatience. I was in shambles after the last Harry Potter book. Completely and utterly diminished. I was incapacitated for about a week or more after my childhood basically ended. The epilogue really sealed the deal.... That being said, good writing is like good wine, (or so I am assuming), pardon the cliche'. I've read, on wikipedia (how absolutely scholarly of me) how wine ages, and here is what it says: "The aging of wine, and its ability to potentially improve wine quality, distinguishes wine from most other consumable goods. While wine is perishable and capable of deteriorating, complex chemical reactions involving a wine's sugars, acids and phenolic compounds (such as tannins) can alter the aroma, color, mouthfeel and taste of the wine in a way that may be more pleasing to the taster. The ability of a wine to age is influenced by many factors including grape variety, vintage, viticultural practices, wine region and winemaking style. The condition that the wine is kept in after bottling can also influence how well a wine ages and may require significant time and financial investment.
So I think it is with good or bad writing. Bad writing is like boxed wine. It didn't take very long to make, wasn't made with the master's hand and will not last for too long before it turns to vinegar. Good wine, like Penfold's 168,000 dollar bottle of wine, not only ages exquisitely, it gets it's own "opening ceremony" (uncannily similar to an author's first book signing. ) when the buyer decides to, if you will, read Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings for the first time. You can't open the same bottle of wine for the first time more than once can you? That would be weird and completely destroy my analogy if you could. But that doesn't mean the wine can't be just as sweet the second sip. Maybe not as mysterious. Maybe the anticipation is gone but the sweet taste remains to be enjoyed in a more self-assured way. Each poem, each story is a bottle of wine. Some good for the moment and some good for generations.
As for grapes, the more grapes you collect the more wine you can make according to your craft. Bad grapes make for rancid wine. Words are like grapes. The good ones are sweet and tangy. The bad smell and taste like mold and are hastily spit out. "Good"constitutes words that are used well not just ones that have a positive connotation just as "bad" words are perfectly fantastic words just used heinously. "Good" and "bad" having nothing to do with the words individually but in how they are used. Different people have different taste therefore "good" and "bad" grapes are a fluid thing and not a "one-size-fits-all type thing. Like grapes, words burst and splash and occasionally will leave behind stains (such as words that are characteristic of certain generations and time periods or words that people use a lot (who hasn't said "dude" or "like" excessively?). I like to take time to savor words, however, if I spend to much time fixated on a word I begin to second guess whether I spelled it right until I eventually begin to question whether or not it is even a real word. In which case I have a marevelous time making up words. Those spontaneous outburst are like artificial grape flavoring - an aquired taste. (As for me I have have no qualms with artificially flavored grape otter pops or starbursts. I quite enjoy them actually.)
People can also be compared to wine. Each person is a potentially delicious bottle of wine. Aging, aging, aging. When their time is up and they open up, did they age well or go sour? Will they swish it's contents of their life around in their own crystal Holy Grail, hoping it will catch the light? But even then we won't taste that final product. Only they will. Delicious or rancid. Since I am Mormon I hope my life tastes like REALLY good grape juice (Welch's). I don't want to sway on the Judgement seat. But I digress.
Unfortunately I can go FOR DAYS with this analogy. (Submitting poems for review etc, saying I love you for the first time (oh, me.), or even a job interview. But I trust you too can think of a million ways this can be an analogy for a million things as well,so I will leave it at this, terribly formulated-scattered-needs-more-explanation analogy and call it good. (You dig?) But I will stop pretending to be pedantic (I really do enjoy it,
My self-indulgence at your expense.I really am sorry, but this is just TOO fun)......in a moment.The Rambling, now comes to a point.Rebecca Black's song :Friday = (old) boxed wine (yes, I borrowed this band wagon.)"Call Me Maybe" = grape juice (hey, I thought it deserved an honorable mention.)J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter = Henry Jayer's Richebourg's red Burgundy (HEY. It was my childhood.)Shakespeare, J.R. Tolkien, Mary Shelley, J.M. Barrie etc, and all the other enigmatic, famous writers we kinda wish we were like, well, they never drank alcohol did they? ;) I kid. Their writing = Penfold's 168,000 dollar bottle of wine. (The most expensive wine in the world) (It comes ensconced in a unique and incredibly handsome glass case after all. I mean, have you seen Lord Byron? FACT.)
I have never tasted good wine. And I dare not because If I did, I imagine it would be a lot like great writing, in which case I would become a drunkard.In other (less "winy") words, I love good writing and great stories.
So i hope I have supplied those in my life with a few good grapes in my short life. (that is my intent).
FIN.(did you see what I did there?)
(No words were harmed in the writing of this blog.)