I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.
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I have always envied people whom are capable of speed reading, and retaining all of the information, the extreme side of the spectrum is an eidetic memory, otherwise known as a photographic memory. Many scientist agree that you cannot develop and eidetic memory, but I am not so sure about that. I read an interesting fact about eidetic memory that I shall share with you is that: the memory does not rely upon visual input, but rather it utilizes the capacity of the other body senses (Koka, 2016). And, with that in mind, there are exercises that you can do to improve your memory, such as: working on visualization skills (e.g. memory recall in greater and greater detail), playing card games (learning to count cards, etc.), encourage active reading (reading something with intent to discover information), chunking information into smaller bites, learn to make [memory] multi-sensory (explore your surroundings with all your senses, consciously), the ‘Duel n Back’ game (which can be found at brain scale), and the method of loci, or ‘places,’ which is spatial memory (walking around your home with zero light using only your memory to guide you without running into anything).
Another method that presented itself one evening while I was watching Road Trip with Sean William Scott, Amy Smart, Tom Green and others: a key to learning, and retaining information quicker and with greater ease comes by relating new information with information that you already have.
“Rubin: “What Class is that again?” Josh: “Ancient Philosophy” Rubin: “Well I can teach you ancient philosophy in 46 hours.” Josh: “Really?” Rubin: “Yeah, I can teach Japanese to a monkey in 46 hours. The key is just finding a way to relate to the material.””
Many of us do not realize however that we actually do have to teach ourselves how to learn, and memory, as most of us were fortunate to realize at some point in high school, is a huge part of learning, and understanding that we are capable of stretching our memories to retain information that we do not really want to have. We never have a problem remembering things that we are interested in—those things that intrigue us—but all that other crap, all of that everything else, that we would rather not deal with—do we really need that? And why does it so often stick with us anyway? When I was growing up it was easier to separate the two, however now, with Facebook and our media—having changed as dramatically as it has—useless crap is spilling out of our ears. I, for one, have no interest in political memes, although one did help me to recall the correct response at trivia last week, nevertheless it occurred to me that if my brain has to retain that one piece of useless information that popped up on my Facebook feed that I could not care less about, I would much rather my brain simply remember everything that it sees, reads, and hears all of the time, exactly.
I watch Criminal Minds: Behavioral Analysis Unit and, for those of you who are also fans you already know where I am going with this: Dr. Spencer Reid is an f@$king badass. Dr. Reid has an eidetic memory; the especially fantastical episodes or scenes are when he hits a switch in his brain and we watch him recalling information, even conversationally, verbatim. I want that! I read two books fairly recently that were incredibly fascinating, and I would like to come back to them once that I have made certain deductions about memory, I have a feeling I will get more from reading it with [those] in mind—you know by employing that thing I mentioned earlier called active reading—they were How to Read Literature like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster, a book which many people are familiar with, I think that it is required reading now in many college courses, and Mastermind: How to Think like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova.
I dated a girl not too long ago that could open a book and within hours have finished it, and I am not talking about one of those pleasant ‘one sitting’ novels, I mean a novel that is, on average, three- to four-hundred pages and I suppose that she remembers a good bit of it, probably because in those hours she allows it to consume her. And now that I am thinking about it that thought, actually, might explain a lot. I envied that about her, but it was all that I envied about her, and now knowing that a novel, in as many ways as is possible, became, for those few hours, her reality and she became, for those few hours, whichever character she deemed fit, and as she would come out, many of those characteristics, those that she either shared with a character or wish she had, would become a part of her, and after a time, and many-many books, she had become a puzzle of a collection of pieces each of which allowed her to experience something about this world she was afraid to actually touch.
“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” William Gibson
My memory is unusual, I cannot make sense of it. I remember behaviors well, and intentions, and ambitions, alongside useless facts, and where at a table people sat, however there are some things that my memory does not seem to have an inclination for and the reason escapes me, but probably only because I am looking for it. The ultimate irony is how can I look for a memory that is behind me, and only in shadow?
“We take it for granted that life moves forward. You build memories; you build momentum. You move as a rower moves: facing backwards. You can see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It’s hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way.”
I think, when it comes down to how I perceive the world, in our humanity, and as emotional creatures it seems obvious to me that we are bound to our moods, and our feelings, and our emotions too entirely they affect us profoundly in a moment and then in the next moment that feeling is fleeting, and we are different. Memory, which lives in such high regard, as if memory in-, and of itself was a being of our own creation that we are indebted to and that follow us, and yet our memories are as fluid and fleeting as the feeling that inspired our behavior in the first place, I think that is why eidetic memories are so intriguing to me, because they are balance; imagine a space between logic and emotion that collects the pieces that are left behind, and that space is neutral—remembering everything as it was, exactly and not how our emotions wanted them to be. From my humanist perspective that would astounding, but, on the flip side of that it would also be pretty great to locate a single passage from War and Peace on a moments’ notice just for the hell of it from my head.
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Writing has been a part of my life for—I’d like to say forever, but I cannot, in good conscious say that—for…a long time. I recognized that I had a talent for-, and enjoyed writing when I was either a sophomore or junior in high school. I had this English teacher, and I know what some of you all may be thinking, that she had a deep appreciation for literature and writing, and she took me under wing and cultivated that talent within me, unfortunately that’s not exactly what happened. She did recognize a talent in me, and would write notes about my papers that would read somewhere along the lines of, “Great paper! I look forward to the next one.” And, “You have such a vivid imagination, and a talent for communicating that vision onto paper.” As a result I enjoyed being in the class, and I waned to learn, and to become a better writer, and to develop a better understanding for the language. However, one morning, coming to class, she wasn’t there, and she would never be there again, when queried it turned out that she could no longer take it, it would be nice if I could say that she could no longer take the immense developing shining light that was beginning to expose itself from within me, but no, she actually couldn’t take the ridicule and humiliation and intense drama steeping from hundreds of testosterone filled teenagers at my high school. That’s right, my graduating class was so unabashedly evil that we were responsible for breaking a handful of teachers. I was disappointed when I discovered that we had driven her away, I had never really had a mentor, and I was looking forward to what the course of that year would have to offer, and what might develop but, you know, eh, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Instead I found myself bringing new AFI albums to class [The Art of Drowning] and spending entire periods laying on the floor tossing a hacky-sack to myself, sometimes I would fall asleep, because our long-term temp apparently had better things to do, I suppose, than to pay attention to his students. It took a few months to find a replacement, and once they did, our new teacher was only slightly more engaged than our long-term substitute.
I would write here and there, on my own, from then on, and the next year, when I took a psychology course that the high school offered I discovered a new topic of interest and when, at first, it was an exciting new thing to write about, it quickly became the focus of my new potential career. I would even attend UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio) as a psychology major with the intention of becoming a clinical psychologist. After three years of study I became disillusioned by the idea that our apathetic society would aspire only to a fifteen minute 'therapy' session at the end of which a tiny little pill would prescribe itself to the uncertain well-being of said person’s pointless life. It was a difficult time for me, when people were more concerned with the quick fix than they were talking to-, and working through their problems—it made me sad. I did not want to prescribe medication, I am not a believer of medicating psychological disorders, yes, I know, we could talk about exceptions for hours but I would rather talk about writing, and reading, and books, so let’s get back to that…
The prospect of becoming a writer resurfaced late one night while I was driving through the southwestern corner of Colorado, it had snowed so much during the week prior that everything looked the same, although I had never been where I happened to be that night, so I’m not sure that it would have made a difference anyway, and I got lost. I use that word loosely—“lost”—because I didn’t really have a destination in mind at the time, and I’m not positive that you can actually get lost if you don’t know where your going to begin with. Nevertheless it was 3:00 AM I was driving down a snowy dead end road, before I knew it was a dead end, and thought, I should write about this. When I decided to settle(ish) in Pocatello, Idaho, and sat down to write, in my incredible new studio apartment, what would come out had nothing whatsoever to do with that night when driving in Colorado, and still, to date, I haven’t really written about that experience, I have touched on it, maybe, but (similar to how I’m touching on it in this blog) but I haven’t yet written about it—someday. I started writing, instead, about being on an airplane, and about the people on the plane, and how they might relate to-, and with one another. At the time I intended this to be a novel, unfortunately this wouldn’t be a novel. It would become a collection of short stories, and the beginning of my creative writing career. A writing career that was not at all easy to get into, however I have learned over the course of the last several years that we often attribute hard work simply to that of allowing an idea, or a passion the opportunity of the test of time. The only “hard” thing about anything is not giving up, because it is, apparently, a conditioned aspect of our nature to give up if it takes longer than we want it to.
I often think about my childhood and how much I wish my parents would have aspired to find some passion in me, and to help me learn how to pursue it. I think about that English teacher, and how that relationship could have turned into a mentorship that may have filled in the blanks, or offered those subtle insights into having a talent in a professional world that would have allowed me to develop my creativity and my professional success simultaneously. Don’t get me wrong, when I talk about success I am not referring to a Stephen King level of success or even a David Foster Wallace level of success, I am simply referring to having developed the means to cultivate a talent while also building a career. I never had that, at least the mentor that many successful artists do. Everything I know I learned by making mistakes, and by not giving up, but alas I still find myself in positions to, you know, not give up. It would be nice, at this point, to not even have the option of giving up and pursing something else, and that alternative to be an acceptable norm in the eyes of some people (my parents). I find that the difference that that mentor would have made is in the little push over the edge, you know when you're almost there, and you're always only almost there, but that little push; you know, like when something goes viral it was because that one extra person decided to like, or comment, or share, or whatever—that one little push that made the difference.
Don’t get me wrong, hard work makes a huge difference, especially for yourself when you lay your head on the pillow at night, however learning to ask for help, and to keep asking, and to continue doing it, that is what will push you over that edge.
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The vast majority of people throughout the United States are unware of how different our country is depending on where it is that you live. It will rarely cross your mind that the people living in the Southwest are not experiencing the same thing as those living in the Midwest, and so-on-and-so-forth, there are, of course similarities, an example of which being McDonaldization and the illusion that efficiency and familiarity establish some deeply-rooted since of comfortability, though this is not entirely true. Yes, regardless, I did laugh at Tom Segura’s joke, “…the worse part, honestly, of traveling in our country is that there’s no surprises. I swear to you, I travel every week, and it’s really a disappointment. Every place is exactly what I thought it was going to be. You know? I can prove it to you. Picture a place you’ve never been to in this country. Picture it. Yup. That’s exactly how it is.”
…because there is truth to that, it’s those similarities, or differences that we actually think about: I live in Texas, in a little town in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, I grew up here, I moved out of state after high school for ten years, and now I’m back, there are still people who believe that here in Texas we ride our horses to work, and granted in another little town about 40 miles from me called Bandera there is truth to that, but they do not speak for the rest of Texas, however, you would be surprised by how different things actually are.
I keep repeating myself, why? Because it’s important for you to understand the differences. When I was living in Salt Lake City I developed a strong craving for Jamba Juice one Sunday afternoon, I drove around for nearly two hours just hoping to find a Jamba Juice that was open on a Sunday. I remember having a conversation with a female friend—or so I thought she was—until I asked her, “So, can men and women be friends?” Her response was, “Yeah, I think so.” I continued with, “What if one of them is married?” To which her response was, “Oh, absolutely not.”
The way that people think, what people are interested in, how people express and act on those interests, all of which, and more, differ depending very much on where it is within the United States that you live. I was at the gym last week in the middle of a conversation—which, frankly, I still cannot understand what this friend of mine was thinking approaching me at the gym while I wearing headphones, I honestly don’t care how well I might know you—he asked me about my work, “So you run an online library, right? How’s that going?” I responded with, “Well, it’s a bookstore…you know, and it’s going great…” He looked at me after I corrected him about my business being a bookstore and not a library as if to say, what’s the difference? And there’s a truth to that, in Texas. If you’re even the slightest bibliophile (book person) living wherever it is that you might be living you are probably familiar with Book People in Austin and Larry McMurtry’s bookstore in Archer City, Booked Up, those are the two bookstores to speak of in the state—in the state of Texas! And most Texan’s are not familiar with them, but then again most Texan’s are still under the impression that printed books and bookstores are a thing of the past, most Texan’s are not aware that as of 2012 bookstores, and especially privately owned used bookstores have seen a steady increase both in new stores and sales, and that digital—or eBooks—had leveled out in sales.
It’s a result, entirely, of this misconception that though you might drive by (or thru) a number of familiar franchises between here and everywhere else, that everywhere else is not the same. They are not watching the same news stations, they are not hearing—or agreeing—with the same ideals, and I’m not referring to a political agenda, even though our government and media has managed to make everything seem like it’s a political arena in attempt to divide a manipulated American public, bu-bu-buuttt that’s not exactly the point of this blog. I want to talk about books, and about reading, guess what? Reading is alive and well, and you fellow Texan’s I’m not only talking about in “dirty liberal cities” like San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York, small town moderate (left of-, right of center Americans) are tearing through the spines of an increasing number of books and hauling them—after reading—to their local libraries or bookstores (what’s the difference again?) for reselling.
Did you know that Half Price Books started in Austin, Texas? HPB is one of the largest book retailers in the country, and, that’s right, it started here in lil ol’ Texas—there are five stores in San Antonio. Just outside of San Antonio in the numerous growing towns such as Boerne, Bandera, Comfort, Kerrville, Fredericksburg, and New Braunfuls the only existing bookstores (that are not specialty stores) exist within the local libraries, which, unfortunately, do not have the means to offer to the town the inventory or the hours that the residents deserve. The main reason for this is the fact that most people in rural Texas do not understand that people still enjoy reading. I know, from a number of perspectives that might sound ludicrous, in the sense that how can a person not know what they like, but that’s not what I’m trying to get across, it’s that you don’t necessarily know what other people like, and individuals, for whatever reason, make the assumption that they are different from everybody else, that our own interests are not shared by the people around us, and it’s that idea exactly that is the catalyst behind the ‘mob mentality’ reaction to—well, now-a-days, to just about everything.
Printed books are not going anywhere. And it’s not just about nostalgia, though there is something about holding a book, smelling it, having it resting on our shelves, it’s not entirely about that, and it may not be the most logical understanding, but the simple truth is that the reason books are not going anywhere is because, they are books. The Gutenberg Bible was printed in 1455, that’s more than 560 years ago. Don’t let your misunderstanding of what others may or may not understand affect something that you actually enjoy doing, pick up a book, grab something of your shelf, open the spine, and start reading. Respond to this article, and tell me what you decided to read, and how it made you feel—or visit Communitea Books and share with me a story about a time when you stopped reading, for a while, and came back to it, or tell me about a book you never finished, the one that’ still sitting on the shelf with a bookmark in it.
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I miss reading while riding the train. I preferred to stand so I would, either, find a free space to lean against the side of the car or I’d wrap my arm around a pole, and I would read. When living in The Bronx I would get on the train at Parkchester and ride it, usually to 86th and Lex, but sometimes further. That is a twenty minute ride, at least. I had nearly an hour of reading time every day simply by riding the train. My problem now is the time, where do we find the time to read? Eh, actually, I have more than enough time, but how do we decide to allot our time to one thing over another?
Sometimes, on the train, something intriguing would redirect my attention. I have too many accounts for it not to be difficult to even come up with one. I do recall one late night when I was riding the train back from Brooklyn—from Brooklyn to The Bronx mind you, so it was a bit of a ride—and a young man, he may have been homeless, and/or just completely out of his mind, sits down next to this older African American woman. He faces her and begins talking to her, only he started in the middle of a sentence, as if an earlier conversation of his had abruptly ended and he arbitrarily decided on this moment to best represent the end of his story—assuming, of course, that there is a discernible ending. The woman wasn’t entirely too phased, her only reaction to this character was to hold her purse a little closer to her chest, although that might be habitual for her, who knows, while she read her book. She was reading. No, but that didn’t stop this guy from talking to her. And, no, what he had to say was not coherent, there were very few coherent ideas coming from his lips, nevertheless it was entertaining, and enough so even for me to put my finger between the pages, marking my place, while I blatantly stared at the happening. His eyes were glazed, I don’t remember him blinking, once. He just stared straight ahead into-, and through the train telling his incoherent story seemingly to this woman but, really, to nobody at all. When he stood to leave. I can’t imagine he actually knew where he was getting off, he must have made the trip so often that the entirety was as automatic as a dog finding his way home after being left somewhere far, far away. He left, and then I continued to read.
There is something happening to eye contact. The way people engage with one another. It’s all changing so rapidly, well maybe not even changing, it’s just disappearing, and I honestly don’t think it’s only the way that we interact in person, I, sometimes believe that it’s the undoing of all interactions. How we talk to people and why. I do not recognize this world as the same one I grew up in. And I grew up in the 90’s, I mean, this wasn’t that long ago. Before I moved to New York City I bought a pocket sized travel book called, NFT: Not For Tourists Guide to New York City, and at some point in the book is expressly states not to make eye contact with people on the train. A handful of the stigmas that book created took me a couple of years to unlearn. Eventually I was making eye contact with almost everybody on the train, because that is a human response to other humans. We make eye contact. If you look at people a certain way or are not conscious about what you’re feeling or thinking while your maintain eye contact you might discover some surprising, and unfriendly reactions, but that’s only because we emit what we feel and what we think by how we look at someone inasmuch the same way that we do when we communicate with them verbally, the vast majority of our interactions are nonverbal. So shutting yourself off to the people around you, in the train car, and in the world it isn’t going to create a safer or better place for you, it might sometimes feel safer, but, I mean does it really? This crack head that was sitting on the train telling us his incoherent story was completely out of his mind, but he was harmless because we allowed him to be human—regardless of how different his humanity is from our own.
I’m not sure how I got off on this tangent exactly. I know that every time I read a book a big part of the reason that I lose myself in the story is because I am not satisfied with the direction society has gone. We talk about creating a better world, and change, and then we argue about what that means, and we are always wrong. With every step that we take we think that we are headed in the right direction, and still we consistently manage to f$%k it up. Meanwhile I’m trying desperately to lead some semblance of a normal life, but, really, all that I want to do is go build a cabin in some remote woodland area—if I can find one—or to live on my long anticipated dream boat and return to ‘civilization,’ if only immensely dire: such as the imminently problematic, and unlikely event that my boat is sinking.
I actually haven’t read anything new in way too long—I’ll leave it up to your own imagination to invent how long is too long in this case, for me—but when you listen to too much news radio and spend even a fraction of the day on Facebook without losing yourself from time-to-time in a good book, or rather when I listen to too much news radio and spend even a fraction of the day on Facebook without losing myself in a good book, it doesn’t matter how green it is outside I know a long weekend of some Golden Milk and several happy pills while binge watching Roku’s background graphic is in store for me or I am going to lose my mind!
I suppose that is part of the reason why I miss riding the train, and reading so much. For nearly an hour every day I would both read and be surrounded by people just being people: I would occasionally hear conversations spark up between strangers, random people singing, the occasional argument, but nevertheless everyone on the train, whether aware of the people around them or not, they affected one another—if only for that hour, and my head could be buried in that book so deeply I’ve missed my stop, and the next one, and the next, nevertheless all the people sharing that car with me became a part of that story in ways that I cannot always know.
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For a running number of years now I have wanted to pack a backpack with a few essentials, design and buy a sailboat out of Hamburg, Germany, then hop on a freighter from some undisclosed point on America’s east coast and disappear, at least from anything that I am familiar with.
I imagined that I would end up somewhere along the southwestern coast of France. In my novel, Between Transitions, Jonah, the protagonist, started his journey in Paris then headed north by train to Brussels, Belgium then east to Cologne, Germany followed then by Leipzig, Berlin, and, finally, Hamburg. Where he too had commissioned a sailboat. Between Transitions ends with Jonah sailing up the Elbe towards the North Sea, leaving in an open-ended journey towards whoknowswhere, as Jonah sails away.
I, however, would like to visit the shores or Bordeaux and backpack inland to Lyon, and wander upwards to Geneva, Switzerland before making my way to Paris. Or to find myself in San Sebastian, Spain and then to walk south to Pamplona, and then west to Santiago de Compostela completing the walk--The Way—Camino de Santiago, before heading to Bordeaux and then east towards Lyon.
I was driving earlier this morning, listening to music, and singing along, I don’t remember to what exactly, and this feeling swept over me: how badly I wanted to get out of the car and just walk away. In that moment I could picture my sailboat, and I could see me sitting on the deck, with nothing but the sea surrounding me, and, in the distance, there was a faint hint of land, but still I could be mistaken, it could very well be nothing, only a mirage. I might be reading, or writing, or fishing perhaps, there is a glass of wine on the deck next to me, a small crimson puddle gathers around the edges of the circular base of the glass stem; or maybe I’m doing nothing at all, I’m just staring off into the distance, until I’m distracted by the warmth of the sun on my arms, and the salt in my hair, and the smell of seawater, of the sea completely consuming me, “you would think I would be used to it by now,” a thought likely to have crossed my mind: the smell; while also being consciously grateful that I’m not yet used to it, and here’s to hoping that I would never be.
I could go anywhere at all the world is as big or as small as I allow it. I could eat cheese with wine at a café in Barcelona, after running with the bulls, and smoke hookah with old wise Turkish men on a patio near the port of Istanbul, and swim in the pale blue ocean off the coast of Santorini, Greece, and walk through the castles and the hills of Croatia, jog from coast-to-coast on the tiny island of Zanzibar, and after docking in Mumbai, hike through India towards Nepal: Tibet: China. And, this would be the beginning, only.
What keeps me, I wonder. Here. Projects, different dreams, love? All of which are consuming day-in, and day-out, and yet all of which are still just slightly out of reach in their entirety. So, again, what keeps me; here.
I had let go of my fear of the unknown, and of the familiar long ago. I packed up my 99’ green Honda Civic and drove west down I-10: Pocatello, Idaho; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; New York City, New York; Santa Fe, New Mexico. All of which came and went as easy to me as picturing myself sailing up the Elbe, towards the North Sea.
When I was younger I had an unquenchable desire to experience life. In the mornings, as my eyes slowly opened, I thought only about what I had already missed that day, and what I would not allow myself to continue to miss if I didn’t get out of bed. And so, I was up, and I was out, waiting to experience whatever opportunity I was able.
I know when that changed. When my lust for life left my body like a cold soul being lifted towards the heavens prematurely. It was during those same series of moments when everything else left me, and I was numb. I was a shell of body that contained only the hope of revival. It’s funny how the subtle manipulation of someone who claims to have loved you will slowly rip pieces away from you, it’s not so funny when you look back at a younger version of yourself remembering that you once had a lust for life, but to not remember what it felt like. It’s gratifying slowly developing it again. And then again the promise of sailing away is postponed because of dreams of opening a bookstore, the determination to see it through, and the limbo of a love that’s an unspoken, mutual, idea…only.
Do you ever think about that kind of stuff, and then you look out the window, and you see the sun reflecting off of the innumerous shades of green—my favorite color—and feeling only the passion, again, to experience…everything? Perhaps I would not have found that lust again without the direction of a dream, and the fulfillment of unrequited love: like pieces being put together, but differently, a puzzle that slightly resembles you. “You don’t know this new me, I put back my pieces differently.”
It is so easy to let the mistakes of your past dictate the direction of your future. In very small, unsexy ways, it builds up: more, and more, until it is all you can do just to get through the day, and then the next day, and the next, and the next.
I was driving earlier this morning, listening to music, and singing along, I don’t remember to what exactly, and this feeling swept over me: how badly I wanted to get out of the car and just walk away. In that moment I could picture my sailboat, and I could see me sitting on the deck, with nothing but the sea surrounding me, and, in the distance, there was the faint hint of land, but still I could be mistaken, it could very well be nothing, only a mirage. I might be listening to music, or dancing, or cooking perhaps, there is a glass of wine on the deck next to me, a small crimson puddle gathers around the edges of the circular base of the glass stem; or maybe I’m running along the beach, I’m not even sure what country I’m in, the silhouette of my boat anchored just off shore, the course, uncomfortable feeling on the pads of my feet from running in the sand drifts in and out of my thoughts, “the sea is cold this morning,” a thought likely to have crossed my mind: the ocean; while also being consciously grateful that I’m not yet used to it, and here’s to hoping that I never will be.
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Does anyone remember that documentary What the Bleep Do We Know!?? The film that brought quantum mechanics, and human consciousness into mainstream society. A commercial interest in physics exploded in the newly evolved social mediasphere and it took all the Millennials with it. I really enjoyed it, the film, as did everyone my age that went through the “Rabbit Hole,” but there was one aspect of the film that really intrigued me: a brief interjection of commentary discussing the writings and experiments of Masaru Emoto. Now, for those of you whom are unaware Masaru Emoto is the author of The Secret Life of Water, Hidden Messages in Water, The Shape of Love, and other fantastic books. Emoto believed that water was, essentially, a blueprint for our reality. The frequencies and vibrations of our world could be channeled and enhanced by water, and that water is a conduit of energy. The idea is…OK, take The Law of Attraction, for example, and the concept that our thoughts affect our reality, now consider for a moment that there might be a scientific, physical explanation of the idea that our thoughts are capable of affecting water through vibrations, and that because everything is made up of water molecules that water might be a conductor of thought which allows for the manipulation of reality. Are we all on the same page? Because if not I will be explaining it further momentarily.
Masaru Emoto is most commonly known for doing vibration experiments with ice crystals. When you freeze, and then unfreeze water there are very, very brief moments before thawing when the water creates crystalloid shapes. Masaru Emoto thought to photograph these crystals, and he applied the idea that different non-physical variables might affect the crystals, for example: different types of music playing, speaking with both negative and positive intention and tone, writings, etc., basically what I’m talking about the is epitome of New Age bullshit, you know, how our feely feelings affect our surroundings, but when perceived from a scientific perspective. I suppose that another way of putting it is to say that I have reached the point in this blog where if the GOP cannot kill it, or eat it, and it cannot be explained metaphorically somewhere between Jonah and the Whale and Noah’s Ark then it’s quite possible that I have become a dangerous liability to the illusive American standard.
Masaru Emoto discovered that when being expressed positive thoughts or intentions in the form of positive verbal, auditory, and written stimuli it would affect the vibrations and frequencies traveling between ‘the source’ and the water crystals, and they would form stunningly beautiful crystalloid shapes, and when expressed negatively the water crystals would appear misshapen and deformed. As a result Emoto discovered that our positive thoughts affected water in a very real way through measurable vibrations and frequencies that travel through all things, and he therefore began to express urgently how important positive thoughts are, and when you consider that the human body is made up of more than 70% water you might rethink the way that you live your life. See, for me, these concepts provide so much more insight, and a more logical framework for the genesis of our existence, and the development of our reality. And to be completely honest I do not understand how anyone could possibly disagree with it. The physics of quantum mechanics, the conception of spiritual evolution, and at the concentration of human connection can be expressed collectively by the discoveries of Masaru Emoto, and, as far as I’m concerned, where the three of these concepts meet we find a pinnacle understanding of our humanism.
I read Emoto’s books and found so many profound connections between the most difficult political, spiritual, and relationship questions that have challenged a belief that I had always felt, and yet I could never quite explain, and not just between one idea and another, but Masaru’s writings offered insight to various connections between ideas that I never even considered might connect.
Religion is deeply personal for the majority of the people on the planet, in one way or another, even atheism is responsible for strong stigmas regarding religious, or spiritual ideas for some of us. As far as my own beliefs I cannot deny that my upbringing was a case study of spiritual ADD: my parents were both raised with strict religious contexts: my father’s family was devout in Southern Baptist, which, from the 1950’s through the 70’s, you know, “the severity of American religious idealism,” especially among Southern Baptists, was pretty scary. My mom went to an all-girl Catholic school for twelve years. And as a result of their childhoods my father, being an intellectual, but not much of a humanist, now considers himself agnostic, while my mother spent years looking for spiritual enlightenment, and stumbled upon a religion called Eckankar, which is a young western philosophy similar to Hinduism that has adopted also a variety of other eastern philosophies, and I have attended many of the religions Sunday services. My mother gave me the option as a child to either attend service or to spend the time studying different religions—more often than not I took her up on the study. Throughout my years of practice it became quite clear to me that the two most prominent problems within our religious purview also happen to be the same two reasons why many religions still exist today, and exactly as they did centuries ago: stigmas and money. Modern religious institutions have created stigmas against their religious counterparts, which has been both sustainable, and dangerous. For example, according to the Qur’an anyone who follows the teachings of a religious text is not, technically, what some Muslims might consider, an ‘infidel’ and, for those of you whom are unaware, religious texts include the Torah and the Bible, as well as others, it would appear that a sect of Islamic 'believers' simply disregarded that creed, but no more so, and inasmuch the way that Christians tend to ignore much of their own doctrine—many people form a belief on baseless hearsay.
Masaru Emoto and his writings—his books—have helped me develop many ideas, within our belief systems, that others are taught not to accept, or that they have been disallowed the means to see through various stigmas and dogma. It would seem that the unusual aspects of my upbringing have made it easier for me to distance myself from the manipulation of emotional reactions when necessary. For example: I was reading a copy of Indigo Sun Magazine many years ago, I picked it up while working at Borders Books, Music, and Café, and came across an article in which the author describes sitting with a group of people discussing the different ideals and perceptions that shadow God, and in the middle of the discussion someone said, “Oh! I get it, so God is like water and we are like fish.” The author goes on to describe how no one among them seemed to understand how profound a realization that was. It simply went over their heads, or the idea did not fit into the systems that they have created for themselves because of their religions.
But, think about it for a moment, "God is like Water and We are like Fish." As a foundation, the principles itself, when developing ideas from that particular foundation, the places you are capable of reaching, I mean, it’s astounding where that one idea can take you.
And, of course there are obvious similarities between this sudden burst of spiritual clarity and what Masaru Emoto was writing, but there is a deeply-rooted hidden concept within this spiritual understanding that exists as well, and it’s an idea worth expanding upon, and that I urge you to develop on your own. I have gone on to develop my own understandings surrounding spiritual enlightenment over the years. But whenever I’m asked about my own ideas I share one or both of the following: “God is not the Creator but instead the Act of Creation,” and, again: “God is like Water, and We are like Fish,” because I do recognize how deeply profound they are, and how uniquely they can be interpreted, they also fit comfortably within the dogma of any belief system that YOU might presently accept, because thinking of your belief system in ways that you have not yet considered can be paramount to perceiving the world around you in a way that might be less threatening.
For years, even since developing, what I thought, would be an open-minded all-inclusive system of ideals I realized that I still had my own stigmas, of which included the belief that my ‘pillars’ listed in the paragraph above were antithetical to those of Christian or Muslim doctrine, until I was sitting in a café in Salt Lake City one evening talking about religion with a friend of mine. We stayed there until 4 in the morning discussing different ideas and belief systems. My friend was raised Mormon and when I mentioned that “God was like Water and that We are like Fish,” and, then went on to suggest that “I don’t believe God to exist as a personified being, but rather as a collective,” he agreed with me completely. I asked him, “Well, I thought you were a Christian?” to which he responded, “I am.” “So, then how can you believe God to exist as anything other than as a personified being?” his response was that- “That idea is not mutually exclusive to Christian Doctrine.” And, aside from accepting Jesus as the Son of God, he was absolutely right. We have a very basic, and limited understanding of our own spirituality, because we have collectively refused to understand it, as a result most of us would immediately reject the idea that God could have a ‘Son’ while not actually existing in the image of man. Allow yourself to imagine, for a moment, the idea that we may not be created in the physical image of God, but rather the emotional image; what would that look like? And how would that connect with, not only, other belief systems, but other aspects of our humanity? Science, Politics, Relationships, etc. I thought about Masaru Emoto and the differences that we establish between creating a narrative and developing a belief, and recognized that my stigmas regardless of their foundation were the inherent problem.
At its root we do not understand religion and spirituality beyond a narrative, a collection of stories that we’ve been told in order to perceive certain ideals or feelings in a way that we are able to make sense of. Unfortunately, when applied, those stories don’t exactly mesh with other narratives that we tell ourselves as humans. Unless we strip that narrative to the fundamental connections, but not just between us and our belief systems, but the belief systems of others, and of our scientific and political communities. Once we allow ourselves not to force our connections, beliefs systems, and stigmas but to recognize-, to be conscious of how the connections exist around us, just as Masaru Emoto has done with the simplicity of the harmony between nature and our humanity, we’re capable of recognizing the simplicity of our own connections and we’re left with the freedom of our perceptions, which are influenced by both our physical understanding of our world, and our emotional. Masaru Emoto helped me to bridge the gaps that, before reading his books, seemed much too far to connect.
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For as long as anyone can remember reading, or being a reader has been synonymous with being smart. As a child if you enjoyed reading in school you were a nerd, inasmuch as being good at math, or science, or what, I don’t know, being able to build a *lamp. I wasn’t this child. I did not have a particularly normal childhood. The dynamics of my schooling did not fit within the confines of the stereotypical Jr. High, High School drama. I was kind of a nerd jock: which is to say that though I played basketball and tennis, and I ran cross-country and track at different points throughout those six years, I was labeled as being smart—though I never understood why. I wasn’t particularly smart. I hated reading the assigned reading. I pretty much hated doing everything that I was expected to do, and as an unconscious result I lived as unexpectedly as I cou…well, as unexpectedly as I wanted, at least inasmuch as the unexpected would fit into the purview of how I thought I might want to live my life, someday—yes, that’s seemingly paradoxical, but if inquired I will always explain the unexplainable when explaining me.
Of course I did, eventually, come to enjoy reading once I had escaped the invisible bubble of the accepted, and expected societal constructs of systemic humanism, which is to say that once I no longer had anyone telling me what to read, how to read, and what to think about what I was reading. Still I could never shake the concept of the synonymic between readers and intelligence. I thought about it for a long time as if working through a math problem in the back of my head over the course of years, and years (I would do the same with religious and political ideas, as well). See, there were adults in my childhood who were apparently intelligent, I mean, based on a series of mutually accepted societal measures these people would be considered, by all means, intelligent. Yet, I could see through them. I thought back to Jr. High and High School and this apparent impression of intelligence that surrounded me, and how I did not actually fit that construct, and then how at the present time, I was an avid reader, I had become synonymous with the construct, and still I could not accept the identity of-, or measure that intelligence granted. I could read every book that I got my hands on, and enjoy it, and want to know more, and still anything that I might learn from picking up a book was equally accessible to everybody.
One day—I cannot remember where, or when, or why—it occurred to me that the way we perceive and measure intelligence itself is simply wrong. I mean, think about our IQ: it’s supposed to be fixed, it’s supposed to never change, but considering how often we change that’s ludicrous, and we base our intelligence on a series of ostensibly calculated questions that have been accepted arbitrarily by an academic minority in order to organize us, but it’s all entirely academic. How can we possibly base the ‘intelligence’ of a persons’ humanity on our hypothetical academic agility? The idea is based on an academic cast system establishing ranks with the understanding that the top tier, at the highest level of humanity, is chaired by college professors. Yet we still put so much stock in the idea. Politically even, the Alt-Right and many Conservatives are not classically educated, they are vocational and business oriented, and they often mock the more classically and liberally educated left while still maintaining the idealism of an academic intelligence, as if they accept IQ as the God of the classic liberal, and they revere Him.
But look, our humanity does not exists entirely in our head. Our bodies are not vessels designed only to carry our brain from one place to another. We are social creatures, by our very nature. Everything in our lives changes: the jobs we keep, the ideas we share, the beliefs we hold, the facts we covet, the environments in which we live, the people that we know it will all change throughout our lifetime, however the one thing that will never change regardless of the extent of our effort is that there will always be people in our lives. This is unequivocally the one thing in life that never changes, so would it then not make sense to define our intelligence by the way that we act, and react towards people?
Daniel Goldman wrote a small handful of books describing the different intelligences that we, as humans, share however Mr. Goldman based it all on the idea that our original measure for intelligence is true, and that academia somehow casts a shadow over us in dominion, but our present education system was designed in the early 20th century to accommodate farming families and industrial workers, it was not designed to develop well-adjusted, informed, innovators, artists, and thinkers. We have let the system dissolve without reform and now our education system is a f%#king disaster, and that is in part because we have developed the belief that our bodies are only vessels to carry our brains from one moment to the next; Daniel Goldman would suggest that basing our intelligence on our ability to interact well with others is Emotional Intelligence, however I would suggest that, if there is such a thing as emotional intelligence that it should be recognized entirely by how well we act, and react to our own emotions, not the emotions of others, and definitely not by the means in which we interact with one another.
I believe that reading is identified with intelligence because the means in which we measure intelligence is based not only on outdated concepts, but concepts that may not have been appropriate to create parallels with in the first place. We inherently recognize a problem with the means in which we base the foundation of our entire society, so we avoid it, and as children, during school, we find ways to separate ourselves from intelligence. We create negative stigmas around ‘smart’ people and reading. And not only has the act of reading taken a loss because of those parallels but are humanity has as well, and it continues to. Until we decide to change the way we perceive the world around us.
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When I was in my early twenties I started writing a book. I had this idea to set the novel, in its entirety, on a plane, and it would be a study into behavioral and psychological habits of people that, for one reason or another, all found themselves sitting together here on this plane, at the end of which almost no one would hold on to the connections that they may have made that day, at least consciously. The novel was tentatively titled, A Window Seat. I enjoyed writing it. I remember sitting in my office, or what I had decided would be my office, in my new apartment in Pocatello, Idaho. The building was renovated to resemble an old ritzy hotel: the lobby and hall carpets were all maroon, the wallpaper maroon and gold, the radiators were painted gold, and each room had a milk door that opened up into the kitchen. I love this apartment. It was essentially a studio with a single room that was separated by French Doors that led into a room that, on the remaining sides, were covered by windows, and this room would become my office. I sat one evening on a chair that was left in the apartment. That chair, a bookshelf, and my bed, which lay in the middle of the larger room, was the only furniture that I had after leaving Texas so I used a book as a desk, a hard surface to write on while sitting in the chair, in my new office. I was consumed entirely in writing this story, A Window Seat I remember, distinctly, seeing not the windows but beyond the windows surrounding me, or the room adjacent, my bed, etc., I instead remember seeing my airplane and the passengers in it, I remember the window seat, and the gentlemen sitting next to me, I remember all of this fiction that had enveloped me. It was in that moment that I decided that I would write for a living, I realized that day that I was a writer.
I was never able to finish that novel, A Window Seat, instead I chopped it up and rewrote it as a series of short stories and moved on from there. I struggled, a lot. I did find opportunities in various outlets like the Idaho Falls Magazine and a handful of literary journals, but I learned how to live small. There were times that I lived unimaginably small. I know how to comfortably sleep and to live out of a car, and I know where to-, and where not to sleep as a struggling, homeless, and starving artist in New York City. I’ve watched people that I know make the same efforts that I’ve made and rocket into stardom even without the security blanket of talent. I have sacrificed the prospects of a ‘normal’ life for the sake of persistence unrealized in order to develop a dream inspired by my passion for writing. And I’ve wondered a great deal what it is that I am missing that seems to have come so naturally to everyone else, that thing that allows them to succeed while I, you know, don’t—and still sometimes I wonder.
I know the value of determination and persistence, and when people say to “never give up,” I know that it is not just a sound bite, because the catalyst of success is in being noticed every day, consistently. The day after you give up is the day that you would have succeeded. It’s just the truth. And at the foundation of that truth is the willingness to have taken a risk in the first place. It’s no coincidence that a large number of great artists, writers, actors, and people are an example of what we have come to call “a success story.” If you spend your life risking failure, and failing, you will, inevitably, discover success. We will encounter hurdles that seem more impossible to chance than others. For me, honestly, it was—it is—the expectations of my parents that continues to challenge my drive, but I know, without a degree of uncertainty, that the day I give up, the following day is the day that I would have succeeded at least in the eyes of my parents, of course, as far as I am concerned, I already have succeeded, simply because I have never given up, and once you are willing to take that same risk to not only find the willingness to start something new, but to see it through you’ll know exactly what it is that I mean.
When you’re an artist, of any medium, and you have made the decision to pursue that craft professionally you will tend to look for any opportunity regardless of how small to make it work. I write blurbs for Crowd Content—I still do. It’s a small online marking firm that hires ghost writers (like myself) to write short advertisements for, almost, anybody that will take them, and they pay almost nothing. As an artist you have to train your brain to think differently, in a lot of ways, but most aptly for this blogs purposes, you have to rain your brain to think differently when it comes to the way that you make money. For anyone whom has worked a job whether it be shift work or a nine-to-five you are used to working a specified number of hours and receiving a check, in one weekly or bi-weekly or bi-monthly bulk transaction, and your organize your budget based on that income. As a—struggling—professional artist you’ll often receive multiple checks throughout even the course of a day ranging from $10 to $500 (or more; or less). It’s not the time you work that becomes valuable it’s what you’re doing with your time, which for obvious reasons, demands you to covet time, but for all intents and purposes bear with me on this point that I’m making. In my experience if you’re an artist, and have worked to develop your art and yourself, and developing a market of yourself, the only reason we struggle, really, is because it’s difficult to rewire our brains to think differently about the way we understand income, especially if you never stop to consider the possibility that the unconscious expectations that we develop throughout childhood are considerably more demanding on our behaviors, and our actions than most of us fully understand.
When taking a risk whether it’s quitting your job to write a book, or to start your own bookstore (business), or you’re going to paint, or be a full time photographer, it’s important to be aware that success comes only from changing the way you perceive the market, and the way that we make money, and the way that we spend money. I’ve worked many jobs while trying to make my life work as an author--and then, again as a business owner. Some of those jobs have been too demanding for me to even consider creating my own life, and so I just simply left them for the sake of my passions, and if things got bleak again, I would find another job, and in the meantime I learned to train my brain to think in terms of a, I don’t know, micro-income generator, and how to accept money regardless of whether it was in the form of a ten dollar bill or a few thousand dollar check. You make a lot of promises, and acquire new and interesting kinds of debts, your write a lot of thank you letters, or texts, or Instagram’s or whatever, and you never give up, and just like Jim Carey walking around with a ten million dollar check in his wallet made out to himself until he was able to cash it (he carried around for years, and was able to cash it in 95’), you will find success.
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Do you ever find yourself trying to relate your life to a book? I often find myself doing just that. Sometimes a short sentence will pop into my head, and suddenly I’ve escaped somewhere in story, and attempt to remind myself that I need to write that down. Don’t forget this James, until you get the opportunity to write that down. And, of course, I always end up forgetting it. When I do remember I remember only that I did not want to forget something, but, for the life of me I cannot remember what that something was. My favorite slam poet, Buddy Wakefield, has a great line in his poem Information Man: “There are times when you will lay your head to rest and have a moment of brilliance that will grow into a perfect order of words, but you will fall asleep instead of painting it down on paper. When you wake up, you will have forgotten the idea completely, and miss it like a front tooth. But, at least you know how to recognize moments of brilliance.”
I will be sitting on my couch, listening to music, and working—probably marketing, because geeze driving people to my site is insanely difficult—and I will look out the window, and escape once again. I am transported beyond the tree just outside my window, the leaves lightly fluttering in the wind, and then I am who knows where. Just gone. Inasmuch as I could be browsing Facebook, just lying in bed scrolling through the countless useless posts the nature of which inspire anxiety, and frustration, and sometimes inspiration.
A hermit surrounded with books lives out his ‘endless numbered days’ in hiding only from Facebook, his cats pawing at the windows and the door desperately seeking something more than the pacing, the reading, the writing, and the one record, bent and dusty, circling beneath the needle again, and again, and again.
Every story I escape to is a reflection of myself in a different time looking back on me today, and acknowledging the process, the conversations that I might have that help me to make sense of Trump, of Gun Regulation, of our Minimum Wage and Inflation, of Healthcare, and Education, and the staggering degree of Indifference, of how Desensitized we are, and how much Worse it’s getting, and how with the development each new iPhone we see only a Devolution in our ability, and our Willingness to Interact with one another, and how Differently each Generation of Humanity is being Affected, and therefore Conditioned to Behave, to React, and to Ignore. The Glass Figurine on my bookshelf and in my Television Screen, and how Complacently we do Nothing.
I could write that story, but we are already desensitized to it. The character development is trite, the conflict is familiar, and the end is only as ingredient to the means. We hear time and again to write what we know, or if we have something to say to figure out the best way to say it, and then to bellow it throughout the hills, “to sound [our] barbaric YAWP!”
And then, of course, there are some stories that I will escape to that have me immersed, and taken, and welcomed some stories that I will bleed to never return from. These stories our born off the same seeds and foundation as any other story I might pen. These stories are equal to my fears in every way except for the manner in which we express empathy, and offer acceptance. I am sitting in the same couch, looking through the same window, and beyond the same tree, and yet the world beyond that tree is one that I view through an open window, an unlocked door, while my cats are lounging on the front porch.
I do sometimes consider creating fantastic worlds with heroic ideals and acts of altruism, and I will even sit down and stare at my computer, and begin typing, I will have written pages upon pages, but then I look at the window, and I find myself instead writing a short blog that touches on the challenges of marketing, the experiences of creating, the dream of writing, and the indifference of politics while my cat, standing on a windowsill of books, stares out at the leaves of the tree fluttering in the wind just outside my window.
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I hated to read when I was a kid, and actually, all the way up through high school I couldn’t stand it. Most of what I was reading was for school, and I wasn’t a fan of school. I wouldn’t realize for many, many years that my distaste stemmed from an inherent flaw built within the education system itself, but that’s a different story, and one that I could not possibly have explain in elementary school, even if I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the books that we were reading, the stories, I mean, and the writing but I never liked someone else telling me what to do, and what to read, and especially what to think of what I was reading. David Foster Wallace suggested that the point of a Liberal Arts degree is to teach people how to think, and as insulting as that sounds, he posits that the intent is more deeply-rooted, which is to say, that the point of a Liberal Art degree is to teach you that you have control of what, and how you think. I’ve always liked that position. Maybe because we’re not offered that through high school, there was always a right and wrong answer to everything, which, of course, indirectly teaches us that there are right and wrong answers to life. Hmm, well any well-adjusted adult would argue otherwise.
Anyway, because I was told what to read, and what to think about what I was reading I didn’t enjoy the act of reading. It was lost on me. It was lost on me until I picked up Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I don’t remember where I found it, I don’t remember how I found it, all I know is that I couldn’t stop reading it. I loved it. And, in many ways, it changed my life. I discovered a love for reading. I, of course, read the follow-ups to Hatchet: The River, Brian’s Winter, Brian’s Return, and Brian’s Hunt. I started looking for books to read, on my own, and found a way to enjoy them. The school’s required reading lists never ceased to irk me, though I learned to find joy in story, especially if I was offered the opportunity the read the book on my time, such as our summer readings. That’s when I read Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country for the first time, which introduced me to a different type of author, and a different kind of story. It’s still mainstream, of course, which, you know, eh, but as an introduction to the fact that not everyone was afforded the same lifestyles that I had been privileged to—what argument would you really want to make in opposition?
If, at this point, I’ve lost you then I think you should consider looking into writings by African, Asian, and Middle Eastern authors, both fiction and non-fiction. Another good introduction writer, but to Middle Eastern writing is commercial and Noble Prize Winning author Orhan Pamuk—he’s Turkish. I bring them up only because they inspire an entirely different type of genre, an artistic writing style that is unlike anything you might be familiar with. The only thing that might come close here in the United States, that’s more mainstream at least, is the more obscure works by Beat Generation authors: Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, etc.
I’ve been thinking a lot about reading lately, and not necessarily what I’m reading, but more how I’m reading it, the act of reading in, and of itself, and how that translates in different places. As an example: close your eyes. Now picture yourself reading. What do you see, how does it look? Are you sitting on a chair, next to window, with a cuppa tea, as the rain settles just outside the window? Are you in bed, winding down, the day is done, and your attempting to settle your mind with a book? Or are you on a bus, or the subway, on your way to work, or anywhere with a book in your hand? I have found myself in each position, enjoying reading in any way that I can, however when I picture it, when I picture myself reading, I am almost always on the subway. For two years, in New York, I lived in Parkchester, in the Bronx. I would commute to Manhattan every day, not to my ‘day’ job, but to wander the streets looking for a new café, or to end up at my trusted MUD Coffee, either way the commute allowed me to read. A lot of people read during their commute on the subways and buses. That’s a major factor when understanding why people living in cities read more than those in rural areas, it’s largely due to public transportation. I loved it. I loved riding the subways, and I loved reading on the subway. Currently I’m living in Boerne, Texas. I small German town in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The very mention of public transportation might actively upset people here. In part because they love their cars, but also Boerne is fairly affluent, and some people fear that public transportation means catering to low income families, which might mean that more of ‘them’ will show up. Despite that being unlikely, it’s also unfortunate that our politicians are refusing to address that fundamental problems that create low income, poverty stricken communities, and people—that’s probably another conversation though. Anyway, without public transportation the means to read while commuting diminishes, unless you’re like me, and you read while driving trusting that all the other idiots on the road will recognize how important I am, and drive around me, accordingly. Just kidding, I only sleep when I drive…reading would be stupid, haha ha ha.
I often sit at a coffeehouse and read, which I’ve learned recently created the problem appearance of being social. I am kind of a socialite in Boerne, a lot of people know me, from numerous circles floating about, and when sitting at a coffeehouse I’ll find myself in conversation after conversation and losing reading time. I have a difficult time reading at home, I don’t know why. Perhaps my house doesn’t exactly feel like a home, I don’t always feel comfortable in the house. There is a tree, at the river, in the center of the town, which has a large branch forking from the trunk that is established perfectly to rest on and to put your feet up. I used to lay there, for hours, and read. That park is always crowded with people now, and children running around, playing, feeding bread to ducks adjacent to signs that implore visitors not to feed bread to ducks, and that even offer a list of alternative food sources. It’s difficult for me to concentrate there. That’s most likely related to the fact that it would be hard for me to ignore the people there. I’m a people watcher.
The point is that I’m reading less than I otherwise would. I can feel the loss. I think that is part of why I want to open Communitea Books, my bookstore. I would love to create a place for people to read, for me to read. Surrounded by like-minded people, people whom explore the human experience in story, and whom might want to share that experience with others.