So I’ve been tagged by Rosa Say with the new game among bloggers. It’s all about sharing five things you might not know about me — and once I’ve gone through this big disclosure thing, I get to tag five more people. Cool!
Yes, but Rosa made it even more challenging for me. She couldn’t just add my name to her list of tag-ees. Oh no, she also had to add that I would make this meme “philosophically beautiful.” Ah, such a challenge, my dear! But I’m up to it — I promise you. (See #5, below, if you can’t wait).
The hard part is that I’m disclosing all the time on the net. So what’s left? In fact, disclosure is my reputation. Well, okay, so let’s just accept that I haven’t told you everything. Alright then:
1. For several months I’ve been an active participant in eHarmony (although right now I’m focusing on one very lovely person who enjoys, as I do, the poetry of Pablo Neruda). Typically, I’ve referred to my blog early in my communication with “matches,” so they can see who I am. That works mostly, although I did get a rejection once from a woman who said she was “overwhelmed” by my blog and objected to my rather “stark portrayal” of myself in my posts. I think it was a little Too Much Information (TMI) for her. It’s good to find these things out early. By the way, I did write a spoof to my friend, basically an eHarmony profile as if Pablo himself had signed up. I then forwarded it to Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the guru of eHarmony, imagining he might enjoy this artful fantasy, but all I got back was a form letter suggesting I add additional months to my eHarmony subscription.
2. I’d like to think I majored in drugs and cafeteria in college in the late sixties, early seventies. I was young, impressionable, idealistic and I did enjoy a fair amount of license there. It’s possible, for example, that I might have received some unusual substances in the mail once or twice from my older brother — I know, I know — I’ll never be President now that that’s out in the open — and neither will he. But, oh for crying out loud, how the heck was I supposed to write my papers on Sartre? It was all fog to me. Being, Nothingness? Okay, I’ll have some of each. I just wanted to pass. And then there was the war in Vietnam. A bunch of friends and I sat around drinking mateus wine and listening to the radio as they called our draft lottery numbers based on birthdays. The idea was to keep drinking until your number was called — mine was three hundred and nineteen, way too high to get drafted, and so high that I was completely sick for about three days after the event. I woke up with a horrible hang-over of two kinds: one from the wine; one from the guilt of such a high number when I had friends who now knew they were definitely going to war. It was another time.
3. I was 48 years old. I’d just had a conversation with my mother, then in her late eighties, in which I chided her for not buying a microwave. “Oh, Honey,” she said, “I’m too old to learn how to use one of those things.” She’d rather scald her hands on a traditional tea kettle. The next day, fully present to my own midlife crisis and mortality, I drive past a music store and reflect on how I’d never learned to play the guitar. I had fantasies of entering the store where everyone would go suddenly silent. “What do you want?” “Well, I guess I’d like to learn to play.” “What? Come on, man, you are way too old for that!” (My fantasy voices, I’m sorry, more “stark portrayal” of myself, I guess.) The irony hit home around my mother and a microwave. Okay, I’ll go to the store, I said to myself, and I did, and you know what??? Isn’t it amazing? They took my money! I bought a guitar! I signed up for lessons! (I don’t play well, particularly, but I do love the practice of writing songs.)
4. My very first memory is playing in the dirt. I can barely recall this but recall it I can. I was at my Grandfather’s place down near the lake where the sweet smell of the cottonwoods mingled with that of sour swamp cabbage. There was a muddy circle for cars to turn around and in the middle was a mound of clay. Not much for a first memory, huh? But it evokes all the other memories of my Grandfather, who died when I was five. He was an artist, story-teller, potato farmer, and orchardist. He loved people and he loved the earth. Something about being near him was magical. Perhaps all grandparents are like this, but he held a loving and accepting space for me that I did not feel elsewhere in my family. Art went directly into my veins from his presence. All this reminds of the time, shortly before his death, when I happened to tip over a card-table of tea-cups. They’d just been poured for a party crowd of people at my grandparents’ place. The hot water all went down on me (there’s a scalding theme in this writing, isn’t there?) and I was rushed to the hospital where they took the skin off off my back in one big sheet. I have no physical scars, but I sure do mark it as the time when I suddenly became hugely conscious of just being here.
5. Okay, so here’s the philosophically beautiful part. I wrote it as a present for you all, a gift. It’s a little book called, “This Raft of Self” and it contains 34 meditations and photographs that are both personal to me and I hope helpful to others. You can download it here. If you are displaying the book in Adobe Reader, set the Page Display as “Two-up” and also “Show cover page during two-up.” You should end up with even numbered pages on the left and odd numbered ones on the right. Feel free to distribute the book to others, but please don’t use it for any commercial purposes, and please give attribution for excerpts, including photos. I’ve been working on this book for about six months. Kind of my “heart statement,” my truth about where I am right now. It’s small recompense for the pleasure of being here as part of this far-flung but intimate community. We all have the opportunity for “interbeing” and I feel blessed to have many great connections on the net.
Okay, I think that’s at least five things. So now I’m tagging:
Go for it!