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Monday, 1 March - link


I write about my life on the internet. I've been doing it for ten years! A year ago, I added direct comments; nearly all of my chronological posts allow for feedback at the bottom. I've noticed that this tends to create a sort of reinforcing effect. Once in a while there's a debate, but most of the time, people tend to amplify each other, delivering more or less a strong message.

It's intriguing to watch. I write a long piece about my life, and people read between the threads and pick up on themes I don't even see, or certainly don't intend to emphasize or put up for extended discourse. And then they tell me a story in return. They give me advice! With recent medical problems, the advice is tangible. As the medical problems continue, the advice has grown from "see a doctor" to "change your lifestyle." And there are some very specific suggestions there.

And it has an effect on me. That's not bad either. At least now as I'm thinking about it. Some days I think about removing feedback, to returning to the days of solo ranting. Because I get overwhelmed. Or the threads grow out of my control.

But most of the time, the messages are on target. People study me, consider me, and give me their time and their advice. My friends have observed that I'm impressionable. Do you think that's true? Hah! It is. I ask advice widely and then tend to synthesize all manner of advice. I lean heavily on recently delivered wisdom, holding it in my mouth like a gobstopper, sucking through the layers, seldom biting until I've reduced the candy coating.

Either way I often look outside myself to see what's happening with me. And maybe I need to stop that. To learn to listen better. To sit still and feel each part of my body. Someone mentioned a type of meditation that works like that. Just sitting still and feeling individual hairs on your ankle and the blood flowing to your toes and the tension in your calf. What a wonderous articulated bag of flesh that ambulates us each day! How could we not stop to wonder between our skin cells each day, to feel all that we have still, functioning nerve endings?

I filed that meditation under "Things I should try when I am ready to sit still." Hah! And maybe I will be ready to sit still soon. Since Wednesday I've read four novels. I had to sit still to read them. I could have been writing or drawing or poking around. I was on the road, and books were a comfort, that's true.

But I can feel it! Believe me, yes feel new words from my fingers like the first glimpses of hair poking out of my chest - maturity dictates listening better I hope and I've heard my own throaty cry, perpetually sick. I have a few things I missed for all my illness this time around - some parties, an eager spirit of life, the chance to savor London and Paris better. What did I gain? Quiet time with one of my favorite people. I'm going to go home now. I'll read. I'll paint. I'll clean up. I'll work. I'll take ten days of trips in the next sixty days. That's fifty days at home! A seventh of a year. Glory hallelujah.

I became a single man in October. Alone working, alone living. At that time I dedicated myself to the eradication of my debts. I've been double and triple booked for writing assignments since then, generating articles and research reports, editing book chapters. So now I glimpse into my coffers and it looks like I might soon be even.

And I start to think, hey if I keep up this pace, I can get ahead! Save some money! Buy a Macintosh! Invest for the future. Finance a wonderful trip. Save in case of dire illness. So many possibilities.

But for now, I'm going to try something else. I want to try living debt free, cheaply, at home, quietly. Not working quite so hard, not living in such a frenzy. I'll continue writing some, but I'll turn down some work too. And I'll see what it's like to have empty afternoons. Maybe then I can watch my hairs grow.

Posted on 1 March 2004 : 17:57 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.