free of competition: advice from SARK

Cover of "Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gift...

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“May my writer’s heart be free of competition, comparison or questing for money or recognition, and remember that we all write for everyone.” ~SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy OR Simple Acts of Random Kindness), Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper.

A year ago today I sat at the library, as I am now, and wrote a poem I later mailed to Ray Bradbury. He thought my name was Tom but that didn’t matter. I titled that poem after a line he wrote in his book Zen in the Art of Writing: When Their Souls Grew Warm. The passage he wrote was how everyone becomes poets when their pain is acute enough.

A carnival barker named Mr. Electrico told Bradbury as a boy that he needed to pursue the creative process. I’ve met many Mr. Electricos for whom I am forever grateful. Sometimes brief encounters shape who we are, not life-long relationships. If brief encounters make us write, more power to us. If they make us become the next Ray Bradbury or not so much the next Ray Bradbury, then that’s okay too.

SARK asks us to list the reasons why we don’t write. The last reason I listed, besides “I have to clean the bathrooms,” was I don’t know where it takes me. But I thought, so what? I’m not competing or comparing or questing. What a trap writers fall into when we think we need a place to go.

Right now I hear a child crying in the library as I stare out the windows with clouds whizzing by. Erle Stanley Gardner penned his Perry Mason mysteries here in Temecula. Something about all these hills surrounding this old west city inspired him. I’ll find that something when it’s my time.

too weird to live: favorite hunter thompson quotes

Hunter S. Thompson: My Hero and Role Model

Image by Zombie Inc. Wholesale zombies for over 20 years via Flickr

Hunter Thompson died five years ago this week. Here are my favorite quotes:

A word to the wise is infuriating.

Call on God, but row away from the rocks.

For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled.

I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes.

I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.

I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people – including me – would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.

If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.

In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.

No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.

Politics is the art of controlling your environment.

The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.

lucky 13: the number of love

Notice the fortunate number 13 repeating:

1. If I speak in the tongues[s] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

~1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 3

two years, one day

Tater Tots

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“Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around.” ~Matisyahu, “One Day” 

The earth circles the sun twice
we stand in its shadow

confusing hate with discipline
and love for laziness

saving old valentines
while tearing paper hearts

a baby rests on your belly
a little girl eats Cheetos
leaving orange dust on your
favorite chair

she holds your hand
while crossing the street
you push her in the cart
with the frozen tater tots

then she rides the carousel –
a thrill for only fifty cents

the earth circles the sun twice
since that time

a valentine with child’s scrawl
now sits on the mantle.

on the field of battle: vince lombardi quote

Photo taken by Bobak Ha'Eri, on June 20, 2009....

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“I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour–his greatest fulfillment to
all he holds dear–is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle.” ~Vince Lombardi

And that is why Packer fans are so cool.