What! More Self-Disclosure! The Tag Meme Rules!

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. 

RaftofSelfCover.tff

Okay, I think that’s at least five things. So now I’m tagging:

Joe McCarthy

Nick Smith

Jory Des Jardins

Chris Cor­ri­g­an

Nan­cy White

Go for it!

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