Saturday, January 23, 2010

A year older

Change and self improvement is mostly a journey of one. While there are significant numbers of people that have chosen to do the necessary work to move forward on their yoyage to wherever--success, self-actualization--regardless of how you unpack the process, there are many others that remain content to stay stuck in their rut. These people wallow in their own pathetic misery, and sure as hell don't want to hear about your weight loss, successes, books you've completed, and goals you are striving for.

That's the double-edged sword that comes when you make positive changes in your own life. If you share it with others, some will want to throw it back in your face, mock your accomplishments, and belittle any attempts not to stay in the same small little place.

January 23 is my birthday. I looked up celebrities that share this symbolic date with me. Most of them are people I know little, or nothing about, and appear to be D-list celebrities at best. I did note that two amazing guitarists--Johnny Winter and Django Reinhardt--as well as Cheap Trick lead singer, Robin Zander were born on this date. I liked learning this, given my interest in music and love of the guitar, an instrument that I occasionally pick up for a season and enjoy noodling around on.

2009 has been a good year, at least its second half. Actually, let me back up. I've been on a journey now for the past seven years. If pressed to characterize where I'm headed, I'd tell you it's to be the best that I can be. Even that doesn't do justice to, or capture my intentions exactly.

I'm somewhat reluctant to expand on that riff right now for several reasons that I prefer not to elaborate on for now. One being that it's early in the morning and I'm not looking to write an extensive post.

I've been pleased with the progress I've made on the fitness front. Losing 52 pounds and getting in shape for the first time in over a decade has been positive for me. By and large, the work I do to make a living is fulfilling and provides me with a meaninful outlet for the skills I've managed to acquire, often by living, and learning from past mistakes. I have a partner that loves me and does her best to understand me in my complexity and allows me the space to breath and grow.

As I move out into the new year, I sense I'm at some kind of crossroads with my writing. I haven't had my usual spark to write that I've had in the past. This may have something to do with having a finite pool of energy and possibly some of that has been siphoned off by my physical pursuits. I think, also, I've been censoring myself. Too often, I find myself thinking about who might be reading what I write, and what would they think of me, particularly if I just unloaded everything, much in the way that I used to, when I started the blog back in 2004, as a place to vent and air my frustrations, which were legion.

I just picked up a book on writing by Nelson Algren, Nonconformity: Writing on Writing. Algren takes aim at timid writing and writers that lose their vitality, in order to conform to society's conventions and mores. The words bite, and seem directed in my way. What is the role of the writer in the world? Are writers still vital, or has any remaining life been bled from the written word by technology's demands for brevity, reducing everything to a cliche, or a 140 character string? I'm not sure Algren's book can answer that, but I hope that it helps in refocusing me and points me in a direction that offers clarity.

My birthday horoscope:

Today's pragmatic Taurus Moon reminds us to use our common sense before embarking on an unrealistic venture. We may feel as if we are at odds with others because the Moon squares the Sun, Venus and Mars, stirring up discord in relationships. Luckily, the dynamic energy can encourage creativity if we aren't overly stubborn. The Moon's easygoing trine to interactive Mercury indicates that communication is the key to resolving the problems of the day.

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