Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Was Both Amazed and Left Stunned and Speechless By What Happened Next.

"You won't believe what happened next."

I just about hate those words now. Scanning through my Facebook feed, I almost lost count of how many times they popped up.

At what point did the internet decide collectively to begin to use this formula centering around the three words "what happened next"? The formula consist of a) a situation introduced ("This mom surprised her high schooler at lunch"), b) a "power adjective" (stunned, speechless, amazed, etc) and c) "what happened next." I'm sure you've seen it.

It evokes a visceral reaction in me, and since I've noted its arrival, it has guaranteed that, no matter how intriguing the subject material is, I WILL NOT CLICK ANY LINK WHICH INCLUDES THIS VERBIAGE. I just won't.

It's probably my issue. I have a deep-seated fear of being manipulated, and I think I may react strongly to anything I see as a possible attempt to coerce me into a certain action, no matter how innocuous it might be. But really, my objection is that it's simply a cheap way out. If one can't think of a creative way to hook people in to watch a video or peruse a link, one can fall back on a formula which (assuming from its over-usage) has success.

I admit, I feel a pull on my curiosity when I see the words. Who doesn't want to know what happened next? Isn't that why TV season finales always end on cliffhangers? The power of curiosity and the desire for closure and resolution is so strong. But it's that very pull on my curiosity that makes me despise the words. I despise my own reaction to them, wishing that my natural desire to know "what happened next" could be curbed. I hate being manipulated. Don't trick me into watching your cat video by tempting me to find resolution. I was happy without knowing "what happened next" five minutes ago; I will be happy not knowing "what happened next" five minutes from now.

There's my curmudgeony moment of the day.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Madness sets in like
Like, you can't
is true because, who are you just you're just a little
        so-and-so and who do you think you are to think
        you can tell you what's what

And the funny thing
you start to believe it firmly.

But madness gotta be
Gotta fight it, gotta tell it where to go and where to get off, I got Truth on my side, you old so-and-so so you
 Better, that's right, you better run

Gotta go to Jesus, man - go to Jesus, He got, yeah He got the Truth:
          Tell the madness what's what
And that
You can KNOW
(Are you LISTENING? Can you HEAR ME?)
You can KNOW!

freedom. love. family. forgiveness. honor. respect. love. grace. love. grace. love.

and the end

I'm not sure where this came from. I started writing and this is what came out. I haven't changed a single word to it, so you can take that for whatever it's worth. I can give no real commentary on it other than it came from thinking about the problem of wallowing in guilt and isolation, a place I would find myself in frequently if I did not embrace the denouement of the piece. I'm not sure why I feel prompted to offer commentary on the piece, either, since I wrote it with no real intent in mind other than to see what came out. Still, here the commentary is, and I suppose it shall remain. 

Let's try this again.

It's a new year, right? A new year, a time for trying to form new habits (or re-form old ones that you let die).

I'm a writer - at least, I've always called myself one. But it's hard to keep believing it when I cease to write. When I let my pens and pencils die in obscurity. When my notebooks languish from want of use. When I have to blow layer after layer of dust off my blog before I can see the screen to write this post.

Most of the writing I do these days is out of duty rather than delight, when I'm writing to supporters to communicate about work and life here on the Rez. There are times - quite often, even -when these two hemispheres of the Venn diagram overlap, and duty and delight squeal with glee when they meet. I love those moments when I feel like I'm clearly communicating the passion and joy I find in the work I do here in a creative way. I get a lot of satisfaction out of that.

But there's the part of my writer-soul that's weak with hunger from neglect, rocking in the corner of my mind, having ceased about a year ago asking to be fed. It's that part that likes to write poetry and make up stories and imagine that magic is real, and just write about whatever it wants. I'm gonna start feeding it again this year. Maybe it'll be fat in 2015.