Like the spider…

Yesterday the day got away from me. It started with a run to the post office, then downtown, a few café stops. It also included a chance meeting with somebody whom I had not seen in years. He is special in my life. I was sitting by the lake taking a break from life, watching the ducks on the lake, and then I hear this distinct voice. I got up and walked towards the voice. I would not have recognized him without the voice. He would not have recognized me. Period. In the years past we have both changed, gotten older mostly. His expressions have gotten softer, and his rheumatism gotten worse. We talked about his wife and our families, we are family friends. We chatted for about ten minutes before I had to go.

After so many years this chance meeting was bound to happen. We live in the same neighborhood. It was bound to happen. Finally it did. The joy of such a chance meeting is always double. First there is fact that one finally gets to see somebody who is important in your life but for a multitude of reasons you have been out of touch. Second there is the joy and sobering experience of catching up with what has happened in the last few years since you lost touch. It makes me think that it is not all that bad when you loose touch with people you esteem. When you meet again, the joy is immense. 

Still my day was far from being over. I dropped by at the dojo as there is seminar going on this weekend. I am not yet back up to being on the tatami, but I did try it briefly yesterday and it seems that it is still all there. At least I can still roll on both sides without killing my ailing shoulders. After the seminar I joined my Aikido colleagues for dinner and had interesting chats with Sensei Chris Mooney and Sensei Barbara Imboden and most of those around the table.

With Sensei Chris we ended up on the subject of writing, and I thought that somehow the most sound advice on being a writer is the one that Bukowski has penned. I particularly like the poem ‘how to be a great writer’ vernacular language and all.  Now, how is it that a woman can read Bukowski? I find that behind his macho veneer, there is one sensitive and screaming human as frail as any other. I am not offended by his vernacular language or the sexist clichés, and there are lines in some of his poems that might set your head spinning. Advice is like food. You eat it, chew it, swallow it, digest it, and the parts that your metabolism does not keep, are expelled and rarely, if ever, does excrement smell like roses.

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LIFT06: my moment

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal gave one of those presentations that is very much to my taste. He asked the audience, he asked us, to close our laptops and do some thinking with him. Then when he was through guiding us through the elements of understanding context, he took feedback and he listened, just listened. If you could not be present for such a magnificent moment when someone just listens to you, you missed something.

The LIFT organizers billed him as someone from whom entrepreneur types would get some inspiration from. Now, I do have one hell of a time identifying myself with the entrepreneur crowd, but when you boil down what I do, it is anyhow one hell of an enterprise: writing.  You end up taking all sorts of risks, and working for months or years on end without seeing a penny or getting any praise for your labour. Not that I have much to complain about, but really, that thing called a paycheck at the end of the month can also look attractive in moments of desperation when nothing seems to make sense. I have had lots of those moments in my life, and that paycheck has seduced me enough times, only to have me give it up a few years later in a state of complete physical and emotional exhaustion.

Then, there comes this guy wearing his reboot t-shirt and a jacket over it, the picture perfect geek, and the room fills to the brim, there were people standing against the wall. He had me. Few speakers ever get my undivided attention, he did.

Augmentation, freedom, education, nature, computer, connected, individual, creation… and then he asks what human thoughts have we been having after we all laughed at his casual remark that Europe has been more connected by EasyJet than by the European Union.

All I could come up with was that it felt like walking on a tight rope without a safety net. That is what it feels like to live my life, the real one, not the one that would be expected of me. So if you do not have a passion for what you are doing, why are you doing it? Why would you want to go and work on anybody else’s passion?

Damn good question.

Somebody else’s passion has a safety net, it is called a paycheck at the end of the month.

Money covers food and shelter…