Holiday Party

•December 13, 2018 • Leave a Comment

It was the day of the office holiday party so my whole routine was pitched out the window and I’m really feeling the effects of it now. But I did get a few good pictures so I thought I’d share.

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Bowthree, Bowtwo

•December 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

On a scale of Bowie, how are you feeling today? Asked the internet meme. I surveyed the faces as I stood at the bus stop waiting for the morning bus. I decided I was somewhere around a three: a happy, smiling Bowie. I’d spent too much time lately trapped at ten: a despondent, unimpressed Bowie. I was ready to move on.

The bus rounded the corner at the end of the block and I began to drift down from my high ground towards the sidewalk in order to board, except the bus never stopped. For whatever reason, the driver swept past the stop without even slowing down. What the hell was I? Chopped liver?

I slipped to a two on the Bowie scale: angry, boozing Bowie. Only without the boozing. Just angry.

Unsurprisingly, I was late to arrive at the office, but the morning was slow, so I noted it on my timecard and resolved to take a shorter lunch. I wasn’t angry anymore, but I wasn’t prepared to be happy yet. I was probably a four: a focused, neutral Bowie.

It was the day of the office Secret Santa gift exchange, and the festive gathering had been tacked onto the end of a staff meeting in which we were updated on the changes (read:increases) in the cost of our health insurance coverage. It was not a meeting of happy Bowies, at least not until the donuts were delivered and the gifts were exchanged.

Mmm… Donuts.

I always underestimate the delight of donuts- probably because they typically bring them to the office on Fridays when I can’t partake of them. But today was not a fasting day, and Damnit I was going to enjoy that donut.

Happy Bowie.

So all in all it was a three-Bowie day. A Bowthree. I got a lovely Secret Santa gift, ate a delicious donut, made some progress on my writing, called my Dad to wish him happy birthday, and now am home, warm in bed, getting ready to call it a night. Seven Bowie. Sleepy Bowie.

So that’s all for tonight.

Doing Gratitude

•December 11, 2018 • Leave a Comment

For the third day in a row, I walked out thefor without my sunglasses. I arrived at the bus stop just in time to see the bus go by on the far side of the street- before I could cross to catch it. All in all my day should not have been off to a good start, but I found myself feeling strangely upbeat about it.

“What if the next bus is so crowded you have to stand?” Asked the pessimist in my mind. I quickly quashed the fear before I could obsess over it.

“Don’t think yourself into trouble.” I told myself, and for a welcome change I actually listened to my own advice. My reflection in the mirror showed me someone with a lightness in their eyes for a change, and I wanted to keep it.

I spent the spare moments of the day trying to write letters of gratitude to the people in my life who helped my personal growth within the past year. There have been quite a few. Not all of them are people who made me happy. Not all the letters will get sent, but it was helpful for me to really think about how various people in my life have changed me.

It occurred to me that gratitude is really a precursor for, say, forgiveness. I’ve often wondered how one goes about forgiving someone. Is it just as simple of saying “I forgive you” to the person? Or just out loud? Or thinking it?

Gratitude is a lot more concrete: one can be grateful for a lesson learned, a skill acquired, an object given, a story told- and you don’t have to like the person in order to be grateful to them. You don’t have to forgive a person to be grateful to them. You don’t have to worry about patronising someone with your gratitude: it is a recognition of value instead of an erasure of ill will.

I’m not sure where I was going with this: it’s late and I’m tired. But also grateful. And I feel better already.

Prints

•December 10, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking backwards over the past year. Tis the season, I suppose: a time for wrapping up loose ends and getting a sense of where I’m coming from and where I’m going. I wanted to get prints made of some of my favorite photos- especially the ones of me with the new friends that I’ve made this year.

I always find that printed photos have a certain weightiness just because they exist as physical objects. So many of my photos exist only in digital space that I don’t get to treasure them in quite the same way.

As I clicked through my selected images, I could see a kind of self-aware pattern emerge. I actually liked a lot of the photos of myself for a change- as if this were a year in which I became somewhat more true to myself. But there were also a great many photos with dull, dead eyes and a hopeless stare. For all my drive to grow personally this year, there has been a great deal of struggle and discouragement as well. Old dreams have had to die and new ones have not yet taken their place leaving me dangling in limbo and searching for direction.

“What am I learning from all this?” I asked myself. “Is this making me stronger or am I just growing harder and meaner and less willing to take risks?” I still don’t know the answer, I’m just trying to keep moving.

I’ve found myself thinking about the main character in my work-in-progress a lot. I love this character profoundly. He’s not very likeable: he’s angry and manipulative and self interested and volatile, but I love him. And I put him through hell. His story is not easy or fun or pleasant, and if he knew I was the one guiding his destiny I know he would ask “why can’t you just make this easy?! You’re all powerful! You control the entire world!” And it’s true: I could write his fate however I wanted- showing him with wealth and acclaim and the sense of belonging that he’s always been missing with a handful of keystrokes.

But it wouldn’t make for a very good story. It wouldn’t turn him into a legend. So I mentally apologize as I pull the rug out from under him again and again until he finally becomes what he needs to be. Transformation. Then redemption.

And then I think about my own life and my own frustrations and all the times the rug gets pulled out from under me, and I wonder what creator loves me enough to make my story great and in the end all the struggle will be worth it.

I hope.

Christmas Shopping

•December 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I had to get a gift for a Secret Santa exchange at work and I was stumped. I’d hoped that if I went out and wandered the stores I would find inspiration, but even after a marathon shopping run I still had nothing, and not only that, but I was quickly approaching sensory overload and everything was starting to look the same.

In the end, I finally settled upon an office related gift which seemed useful and safe, if not particularly inspired, and some chocolate- figuring I couldn’t go wrong with chocolate. Then I went home.

It had been an odd day from the start: I got up at sunup and went running, which felt pretty good and usually puts me in a good mood, but my mood dropped suddenly and I found myself crying in the shower. So I laid back down on the bed- not really to sleep so much as to reboot the morning. If I could just dip shallowly into sleep, then I could wake up again and start over.

It seemed to help.

I got up the second time and started the day again- this time feeling calmer and clearer headed. We ate breakfast, and then headed out to do our shopping with the aforementioned mixed success. I did get my secret Santa gift and we picked up gifty things for a few other people on our list without quite getting enough to cross them off as done, but at least there was progress.

Afterwards I returned home to do a Google Hangout with a group of bass players (who spoke very little about basses) which was lovely. I used the time to sort through the photos on my phone and figure out which ones were worth getting prints made. And after that I had dinner with a friend which was fun and low key.

So overall it was a good day.

Open Eared

•December 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

The earbuds were a bust. I gave up and took them off, vowing to buy a new set before the end of the day. I’d just have to make due until then.

The inevitable peril of not wearing earbuds while commuting on public transit is the dreaded Conversation. The bus took forever to arrive leaving plenty of time for a fellow rider to see me, compliment my hair, and strike up a Conversation. She was pleasant: older with wrinkled brown skin. The padded hood to her coat was drawn up around her face hiding her hair and she wore sunglasses that hid her eyes. There was a festive holiday pin on the right side of her coat, and she was missing the teeth on the left side of her mouth. At her feet, a flock of blackbirds pecked at the ground with a brazen kind of familiarity.

If ever I were speaking to a sorceress in disguise, then this was it. I resolved to be on my best behavior, lest she smite me with a curse.

My bus arrived at last, but was so late and so crowded I could already see I’d be standing the whole ride. I figured that if I was going to be late anyway, I might as well wait for the next one so I could get a seat and get some writing done.

The witchy woman got on the bus heading north. The next express wasn’t due to arrive for another twenty minutes so I crossed the street to catch the southbound local. The ride was uneventful. I got some good work done.

On my way home in the evening I stopped and bought earbuds at the Walgreens before heading to the bus. Part way along the bike path I could see two of my usual ‘Neighbors’ out visiting. The Neighbors live in their cars: one in a red sedan, and one in a white panel van. They were speaking with a third who lived around the block in a vintage Dodge SUV. I hadn’t seen Dodge or his SUV in several weeks, and had noticed a cascade of broken glass in the place where he normally parked. So I was pleased to see he was well. He was working a security job that took him all over the city. Yes his truck had been broken into- he was thinking of selling it to get a van instead. Over all, though, he seemed in good spirits.

On the bus home I encountered one of my former professors from the USC film school whom I hadn’t seen in some time. We caught up on the goings on on campus and the new changes to the curriculum. Or chat was brief but pleasant. All in all, a very social day of commuting: a rare thing for me who generally prefers to just be left alone, but I can’t say that any of the encounters bothered me, so maybe I’m growing. Who knows.

•December 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

But at least I have been chosen. I must be worthy.

I made it through most of the day on an even keel only to have a sudden plunge into discouragement at the end, so I’m not exactly in the clearest frame of mind for writing.

Yesterday I managed to finish another chapter of my novel. The ending is still quite a ways in the distance, but now it is at least within eyesight. I’m approaching the final arc of the story and I need to give some structural consideration into what needs to happen next and in what order.

But I was pleased to have at least one chapter done for the month.

It rained again during the night and into the morning so my bus commute was spent huddled beneath a scarf to catch the water droplets that had leaked into the cabin from falling on the laptop. One of these days I’ll remember to buy myself a clear plastic poncho that I can just wear over everything and still work even in leaky conditions. Today was not that day.

The new earbuds are still profoundly painful to wear. I took off the rubber coverings in an attempt to make them more comfortable. (It did not.) I’m going to add them to my Christmas list, but I’ll probably need to get a spare pair before that, which is a shame.

Anyway, so that’s my day.

 
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