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Ten Minute Free-Write #1 - Quebec

I read a book by Pat Pattison on Writing Good Lyrics.  One of the exercises is to free write with as much sensory detail as possible for 10 minutes and 10 minutes only... start from a randomly generated word and then write with absolutely no editing.  I am supposed to do these daily though I often neglect them.  This is one obvious manifestation of my lack of self-discipline.  There are plenty more.   Luckily today I did it!

Quebec

The people.  That’s what separates any city from the next.  Well… The people AND the architecture I guess.  The former makes the real difference and the latter is just aesthetic: interesting for now but meaningless in the long-run.  Walking around these streets, cool crisp air bites my exposed neck with the playful seductive tease of a lover.  The threat of discomfort is not to be taken seriously but rather serves as a reminder of cold’s presence, preserving life from the sterilization of safety and reminding me of my lack of romantic companionship.

    A large shaggy-haired 20 year old passes me with his arm tightly around a blue eyed brunette. She throws her head back as she walks, cackling at what I cynically, jealously, desperately assume is a douchey joke.  Between the hair, the fact that we’re in Canada, and that this girl is untouchably sexy, I have to assume he’s a pro hockey player.  He carries that sense of over-blown confidence that one only gets when they are in peak physical condition or making millions. Baffoon's probably got both.

      Suddenly the rug is out from under me and I’m falling face forward.  I catch my feet before eating it but my maneuver wasn’t without a grunt worthy of birthing cattle.  I feel the blood flush my face afraid that the hot couple won’t be able to hide their laughter. When I reluctantly look up I find that they’re so absorbed in each other that they didn’t even notice. Now I feel my face flushing with anger.  These two perfect people are so happy they don't even have the time to make fun of me.  Ugh... just disgusts me.  

    Ah shit!  My brand new sneaks are ripped.  I look back and see that I caught the edge of an old decommissioned sign post.  The little chunk of my shoe is stuck in it with the Nike swoosh facing me, perfect mocking me to “Just do it.”  You know someone should really do something about that post…

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In 1783 a French Town Stabbed the First Hot Air Balloon (to death?)

I recently finished Walter Isaacson's biography on Benjamin Franklin and he spoke about the invention of the Hot Air Balloon in France.  He tells a funny little story about how in 1783 a mob from the town of Gonesse, France attacked Jacques Charles' invention (he may have been #2) of the Hot Air Balloon with pitchforks.  

At first I laughed at how crazy those people were but then I realized that they had never in their lives seen anything but birds in the sky before.  How terrifying must it have been to suddenly look up and see a giant floating orb slowly sailing over their town.  I guess I can understand their fear.

That got me thinking...

What are the 1783 hot air balloons of today that are stirring up the fear of the mob for no reason?   

What destruction are we going to do out of fear and look back and say... "Woooopsies... little bit of an over reaction there"?  

 

-Things I think I think

 

Let me know what you think...

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The Only Jane I Know

She's tall, brown, and brunette,

She works w/ her hands

She sings a song sweetly

Simply because she can

 

There is loss that she carries

There is pain somewhere other than her eyes

There is a wrecklessness that comes

When a loved one suddenly dies

I'm so glad you're the only Jane I know

 

Her eye's know no color

We're all students of black and white

She carries the grace of a mother

And the dance of candle light

 

She stands for the first time

Ocean waves bring her in

She's one for mentos

Not for television

I'm so glad you're the only Jane I know

 

She sneaks joints in Tampons

Walks casually backstage

Takes pictures w/ celebrities

But carves images of her friends

 

She's a lover

She's a rich girl

She's an adventurer and an artist

She's given her heart searching her hardest

Maybe she'll find it in a Cracker Barrel on a book she snags on tape

Maybe in the syrup she pours on her pancakes

Hopefully she found some in the laughter of newly formed friends

I'm so glad to have met you, Jane.  

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Decoded #1 - Rarin' to Roam

My favorite book of all time is Decoded by Shawn Corey Carter aka Jay Z.  There are a multitude of reasons for his book being my favorite but I'll dive into that in another blog post.  

For now I'm going to steal something that Jay included in his book.  It was his song lyrics "Decoded."  I was blown away when I read through his unbroken codes.  I realized that the songs were so much more than clever rhymes.  They were deep personal stories ridden with linguistic devices to reinforce the ideas and stories he told.  I'm no HOV but I thought it may be fun to break my lyrics apart in the manner that he did.  This is my first attempt.  I'll start with an easy one.  

 

Rarin' (0) to Roam

23 years with this heart of mine
Tender as a worm on a fishing line
I’m hoping for a nibble not hoping for a bite
No'm much to young to tie my line too tight (1)

Well I never grew up, guess I never tried (2)
Heard the older you get the closer you are to dying
I’ll admit Imma lonely, I’ll admit Imma scared
Cause I’m not so sure I’ll ever care (3)

One foot in your river bed, one on shore (4)
Longing to love but I live to explore
Gotta lay you in the water (5)
Can’t take you home
Now the sun is rising and I’m (6)
Rarin’ to Roam

23 years with this heart of mine
Just trying to figure out how to spend my time (7)
Cause a life without loving is a life un-lived
And a man without a mission is an empty tin

I could date one in the morning to fill my bed at night
But something about that just don’t sit right
Cause every day I’d drag her deeper down
Till I up and leave her to drown (8)

One foot in your river bed, one on shore (9)
Longing to love but I live to explore
Gotta lay you in the water
Can’t take you home
Cause the sun is rising and I’m
Rarin’ to Roam

23 years with this heart of mine
As tender as a worm on a fishing line (10)

 

(0) Raring (adj.) - Aching desire, restlessness, or yearning.  Rarin' to Roam means I have an aching desire to be free to explore.

(1) I'm young, tender-hearted and aching for love, but at the same time, I'm young, free, and uninterested in being tied down to anyone or anything.  There's a big world out there to explore.  

(2) I'm 23.  Recently graduated from a "great" university and decide now it is time to get serious about my music career.  Most of my friends/peers are going out and getting new cars with their nicely paying jobs in the corporate world and I'm moving into my younger cousin's attic in Nashville. I tell myself I'm cool with it though.  I'm only being irresponsible by very conservative society standards and I guess I'm not so sure I believe in those standards anymore.  

(3) Yah^.  I sound all big and tough with my "don't care to ever grow up speech" but I'm more afraid then the lot of ya.  I may be ok not growing up quite yet but I know I want to support a family and kids one day.  Is music just an irresponsible and selfish exploit?  What's that say about me if I don't care about the potential costs in the future?

(4) The chorus is a little cryptic and plays with the multiple meanings.   Two stories are told simultaneously.  One of a boy adventuring unable to decide whether to keep fishing or to keep exploring.  The other and more weighty is a story of a love interest: one foot in your bed, one out.

(5) Keeps the fishing theme with the catch and release idea but really it's talking about a fear of relationship commitment. 

(6) I like the visual of the sun coming up and the character's anxiety taking over.  Can't stay in bed but rather has to leave before she wakes up.  

(7) It's a reiteration of the opening confusion in the song but with a little more weight and frustration. I know life is ultimately about love but so far I have not found any fulfillment in my love life.  Beyond that, I know I want a career and a purpose on my own.  At this point I believed I had to choose one or the other. 

(8) I have the luxury of many older siblings and one snippet of wisdom that they've shared with me is that Love is so reliant on timing.  At this point, I was at a place where my career was all I wanted to focus on and anyone in the way of that (seeking time and attention) was going to be disappointed.  I desperately craved loving another but I just didn't feel right about seeking a relationship with someone when I knew eventually I'd have to leave them for the road/tour.  

(9) This time when the chorus hits, it's more of the story of ending a relationship just before it really starts.  It's a break-up before the break-up is really necessary.  

(10) Starts where the story began.  Feels nice to come full circle but at the same time, this character hasn't resolved the situation yet.  His heart is still tender.  He's still playful but he recognizes that he's seeking something.  

-the things I think I think

 

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Boundaries in the 21st Century

I was taking a moment to sit and relax... a breather from the work I was doing and a thought struck me that I realized I wanted to explore via a blogpost.  That thought is the importance of setting up boundaries for ourselves and our consumption of technology and media in the 21st century.  These smartphones that so many of us "privileged" human beings have on our bodies at all times are very much altering our experience of life as humans.  There is no denying that access to the internet, email, and other social media has shockingly positive impacts on all of us.  We are able to conduct business and build relationships across continents, time zones, and cultures.  People with obscure interests are able to connect to others globally with the same interests.  Community is very much available at the click of a button.  And the social understanding of other races / cultures that the internet is fostering is truly beautiful.  

However, I believe there are also some serious negative impacts of what these computers on our bodies are doing.  Each application or program is designed by very smart individuals whose best interest is to keep you "the user" using their application.  This results in us having numerous applications that have been expertly designed to grab and hold our attention.  Have you ever found yourself realizing you just spent 45 minutes on Facebook scrolling through strangers lives when you initially went there to drop a quick message to a friend?  I'm guilty... that's for sure. 

It takes a very large amount of self-awareness and discipline to be able to deny these psychological triggers that email, instagram, facebook, twitter, etc. have built in and it's excruciatingly important that we realize these apps have a hold on us.  I'm terrified by myself and the prison that these apps keep me in at times.  Demanding my attention with a little red dot.  

I worry that we (humans) are running down the technology hill faster than our legs can really carry us. We can't stop running otherwise we'll fall... but we sure as hell aren't in control anymore.  Technological innovations are coming at a pace that is so much quicker than what our brain's can aptly adapt to.  I worry that we're becoming lemmings... not questioning whether or not we should engage in a behavior simply because the vast majorities of our peers are.  Are we running down a hill and right off a cliff?

I sure hope not.  

 

 

 

-Things I think I think

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Interesting Point(s)

Interesting Point^  I'm generally in favor of smaller national and more robust local government, so I can't say I'm a huge fan of all democratic policies but I can't disagree with his point on it being a tautology.  

I am a fan of Jon Stewart.  I believe he honestly wants what's best for humanity.  Watch the whole thing if you have a chance.  A couple of my favorite points start at: 

In regard to 24 hour media - https://youtu.be/Da5VYSPsoE0?t=25m34s 

Corruption and Human Indecency of Politicians - https://youtu.be/Da5VYSPsoE0?t=29m46s 

Executive Order Inefficiency and Democrats Faults - https://youtu.be/Da5VYSPsoE0?t=37m

 

Curious to know what you may think about any of his points.  

-things i think i think

 

 

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More Talk about Writing and Fear

I'm afraid to put my thoughts out there into the ether.  Thoughts are... just thoughts. They're fleeting.  They are expressions of ideas that we have at one specific instance.  You can learn about how somebody perceives the world by reading their thoughts and you gain insight on their thought process more than their specific beliefs.  Even if somebody makes a statement,  they're a different person then who they were when they started the sentence compared to when they finished it.  

^That's a little nit-picky but what I'm trying to convey is the idea that though I may have written a thought down, it doesn't represent who I am now.  It's a snapshot into the way I was thinking at the given time.  And moreover, it's a snapshot of the emotional state I was in while writing during that day.  Was I angry? Hungry? Sore? Stressed? Elated?  All of those emotions will directly effect the tonality and subject material of my written voice.  So many factors... not enough control... Sweet Pennebaker Johnson!!!  I just can't handle it.  

I fear posting my thoughts because I assume people will judge and define me today for the ideas I was thinking about at XYZ given time.  That and I'm afraid if I don't properly communicate my message, they will misinterpret it.  There's no feedback so someone may just go on misunderstanding me with out me knowing.  Reason tells me that I shouldn't care what people think but that doesn't stop me from fearing judgement.  However, I've learned and continue to learn that insecurity and fear are the most crippling attributes a person can hold onto.  More so than lack of money or resources, fear holds people from accomplishing the things that they truly want to.  

I'm a pretty confident person relative to the rest of the world I'd say.  I don't mean that in an arrogant or self-righteous sort of way, I've just heard people say "Oh you'll have no problem, you're a confident dude" when volunteering me to do something ridiculous.    

Well the truth is, I'm the most terrified person you'll ever meet.  I am constantly wanting to do things and am not doing them because I'm afraid:  Asking the girl out, raising a question in front of smart people, showing songs I've written to other people/musicians, sticking up for myself or a friend (that's the worst one to screw up). I'm constantly afraid and very often it cripples me and I leave a situation thinking "coulda, woulda, shoulda!"

I hate it, but it happens ALL THE TIME.  

Yet I recognize that there are certain behaviors that come easily to me that others may be terrified of: talking to strangers, public speaking, singing on stage, or even walking across the country.  The reason that I'm not afraid of them is because I've done them or similar things before. 

I have an analogy to explain this a little more:  

People are like tape measurers.  We all start out nice and unexperienced with all this tape (human potential) wound up in us.  Now pull the tape out an inch.  That exposed inch represents unknown areas in our lives that we fear.  Some people have a 1/2 inch, some 1 1/2 but in general we all have a relatively constant and similar capacity for the amount of fears in our life.  At all times humans have ~1 inch of fear in their life.  When you work past that one inch of fear, you pull out the tape and now you're left with one inch of life experiences (things you don't fear) and a new set of fears.  The amount of fear people have never changes.  But every time you conquer a fear you pull the tape measurer out and simultaneously expose yourself to a new set of fears whilst adding to your life experiences.   Eventually, we run out of tape and thus run out of fears.  We're left with an extensive tape of life experiences.  This I call self-actualization.  

I know its a pretty loose analogy, but what my point is, is that at all time all humans have a relatively similar number of things that they are afraid of.  The difference is what we're currently afraid of if we have fear.  We have the option to be crippled by those fears and never explore and beat them... thus leaving our tape of life experiences at an inch or two, or we can attack our fears which lengthens the tape of life experiences and exposes us to a new set of next level fears.  

The more fears you conquer, the more life experiences you will have and the more things you will be less afraid to do.  So when people acclaim someone for being brave, it's not that that person has conquered fear.  It's more likely that they've conquered that specific fear.    

 

Things I think I think...

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Bad Poetry For The Day

Writers write.  My friend Sam told me that.  I write a lot... but it's always in notebooks and I rarely go back and analyze.  Feedback is one of the most important criterion for growth.  So in honor of the theme of this here Po-em... I'm going to start writing more of my thoughts to this here internet public.  Sending shit out into the abyss...  

Also, the formatting for this blog is weird so I guess the only way to get it in single space was to have it as a quote.  I don't normally quote myself...

 

Chase Your Fears

I write to go on a journey
Twists and turns have no path
The page is laid out neatly
So I scribble this way and that

I play to make magic
Song from nothingness
To make a foot tap
From complete ignorance

I sing to hear your singing
Harmonize with me
Let go of what you’re missing
Your voice is all I need

I dance because I’m afraid of
What others will make of mine
That’s ok though
Fear’s my favorite sign

When I hear her calling
I surely must rejoice
The gift of her presence
A clear and easy choice
Her advice is always errant
but her error always pure
So I flip her on her head
To make her wisdom clear
Now the harder that I chase
The farther she seems to run
I cannot keep pace
Oh what have I done
I love you fear
So I’ll run faster for you
I’ll create new gears
You always make me do

I write to go on a journey
Twists and turns have no path
The page is laid out neatly
So I scribble this way and that
— Things I think I think...

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I Walked 1600 Miles to Play Music. Here Is Why...

Riiight, so I just finished Walking from Maine back to Nashville with three other (at the time strangers, but now, great friends). We're called The Walking Guys (Google Us!) and we played 50+ shows.   Here's why I went:

For me this tour was a declaration.  I let fear rule my life and was quite afraid to admit to my family, peers, and friends that I fully intend to dedicate my life to a career in music.  Music is very much a "winner-take-all" industry in which a select few hyper-popular musicians make millions while the vast majority are busting their ass just to pay their bills.  The financially ambiguous nature leads others to question a career in music.  You get questions like "Oh what's your real job?" or "So how much money have you made from your CD sales?"  There is an underlying message "good luck but you'll never 'make-it' kid (whatever the hell 'making it' is supposed to mean... perhaps it's being famous with millions of dollars? I guess I doubt I'll ever make it then). To them, the lack of financial security looks like a large life-gamble to take.  The constant pressure of being told "You cannot succeed" is tremendously draining and breeds a pervasive thought to abandon music altogether.  This tour provided me with an opportunity to ask and answer a defining question of myself. "If I can walk across the country for four months with three relative strangers, no place to sleep, and still want to play music...?  Well then I'll know I've chosen the right field."  

Now I know my flirtation with the idea of abandoning my passion was the biggest risk I've ever taken. I have found so much inner-peace in the notion that I will continually build skills in what I love doing most.  I am aware of the lifestyle sacrifices that I will have to make but I can bear them much easier than I thought. We (TheWalkingGuys.com) kept saying that the tour was "easy." The anxiety of living a semi-homeless lifestyle never got to us because we were all so excited to be working towards what we love to do.

 Little Nietzche bomb... "He who has a why can stand to bear almost any how."

 

 

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