Who controls the past controls the future: Columbus revisited

I took two more stupid caps off. It’s like typing by braille now. I can’t see all my keys.

. . . . . . .

I have a student who is extremely intelligent (and self-motivated…a rare thing anymore) but dislikes reading and writing, which astounds me because of how well spoken he is. I told him that he’s clearly been reading the wrong books. He agreed to give a new book a shot, so I’ve made it a mission to find something that he’ll enjoy, something that might even inspire him to write. Not that everyone should write, but everyone should have that skill at hand if when the need arises. I set my alarm to remind me this evening to find something of mine to lend him. I rummaged a bit and then realized that I haven’t read enough. I suddenly feel the need to broaden my literary horizons even though I’m reading my way piece-wise through a scattered assortment of books. As in scattered around the house. So I flipped through pages and then resisted the urge to start another book after rummaging and flipping and burying myself 30-something pages in Mother Night. Which now makes me question why I’m here tapping on little white unmarked nubs. I could be finishing something on my nightstand or this ragged copy sitting next to me. Or picking up where I left off on that 30-somethingth page.

I learned this evening that I have a new cousin. My parents are big into genealogy and sent in samples of their DNA to a database to get information about our ancestry. Not something I would personally do, but at their age what risk do they run? What risk would I run? Who knows. Maybe none. But Orwell sure does a good job of making me an even more suspicious person than I ever was, or rather a person suspicious. If I were a suspicious person, I would most definitely not send it in. But a long lost cousin of mine did, and my mom’s cousin found this out when she got her results back a couple of days ago, results that link her to a young girl that, according to the database, is her granddaughter. Long story short, what began as an attempt to find “Indian” blood (Native American, American Native, what have you) turned out to be the discovery of a granddaughter from India.

. . . . . . . .

It’s bedtime. If I had a nice 9-to-5, I could look forward to the weekend. Do those exist anymore? Nine-to-fives? Weekends?




writin letters

I miss my jee key.



A great burden has lifted. A new one is likely on its way, but for now, for tonight, I can breathe.

My life has been made very difficult by someone who thinks he has it all figured out (literally). A someone who is eaten up with arrogance and incompetence. Overcompensation? I don’t think so, but it could be. Pain in my rear for sure. There have been times that I thought I was overreacting, not because I second-guessed myself but because I let him get to me. He made me look inward, though, at my own arrogance and fear of incompetence. And though I can’t say that made me feel less animosity toward him, it did make me take a hard look at myself. It made me fight the urge to lash out. It’s a hard thing to overcome anger while holding the world on my shoulders. It’s a harder thing still to see shades of myself in the source of my hardship.


That oatmeal really did a number on my keyboard. I think I’m oing to have to remove the cap from my “g.” I don’t et why the keys work fine without the caps and then work lousy with them even thouh everythin, caps, keys and all, appear to be free of sticky residue.

I ot a copy of the Turner Diaries from the political science teacher. I told her I was on a readin spree with prophetic political novels in the spirit of the upcomin election. I bouht a couple books this summer and had only started readin the first one sometime in uly. (reat, now the j is oin out. The content miht be a bore but this post is ettin more interestin with each additional malfunctionin key. I’ll end up capless keyed before the computer oes kaput. Or letterless typed. Impressive either way.) I was deep into one of the books when thins started etin (there oes a t) stressful, and when I found myself divin down an emotional well I realized that Winston’s world was makin me depressed. So I put him down. The teacher asked whether I’d read her book yet and I said I had to put the other one on hold and wasn’t ready for another round of societal suicide. She nodded in silent understandin.

Oh, them nutty cynics.

I’m not really all that cynical. There’s plenty of conscientious folk out there. Not plenty, no, but lots. I like to think I am a conscientious person, but I o back and forth. We all do. It’s human nature. Mostly. But I think it’s more in our nature to think the worst of ourselves than to live up to who we fear we miht be. When we fear ourselves, we have hihtened sense of self-awareness, which puts us one step closer to becomin who we’d rather be. Fear can be a ood sin. Not a sin, but a sin—a thin that tells us stuff, particularly about ourselves in this case, so that we can see what needs fixin and have the motivation to fix it.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall. I prefer the word autumn. It sounds redder and orangier. Fall reminds me of the pretty brown and yellow leaves that fell like snow from those towerin trees at a park in Dallas that one time. Talk about surreal. But autumn still sounds lovelier.

This is the first niht off I’ve had in a while that I didn’t fall asleep within minutes of bein home. Which worries me a bit. I drank a lot of caffeine today. (Can you tell?) I could be up awhile.

I probably ouhta stop typin and et ready for bed so that I can lie down and make a ame of thinkin of nothin. If I win, I’ll fall asleep. I’ve been oin nine thousand miles an hour all day, so slowin down will either be a challene or an involuntary response to a reclined position in a dark and quiet space.

Anyway, oodniht.



look, there’s a light

There’s a diffuser on my bedside table that lights up a pale purpley color through the dome top where the mist comes out. I can see its reflection in the mirror across the dark room, and the glow looks how I imagine a huge piece of amethyst might look in a hidden cave if amethysts could glow.

Man, what a week. What a month. It’s been like one big out-of-body experience, unpleasantly surreal. But when it gets quiet, like right now, my mind remembers that it’s attached to a body, one not well taken care of, and I become cognizant of every labored involuntary function that keeps me alive. Why does the world rely so heavily on someone so eager to distance herself from it? Am I not too self absorbed for this?

I have a collection of raw jewels from a trip my family made to Brazil years ago. My favorite gemstone is a large dark green tourmaline, a heavy, cylindrical stone with ridges running down the sides. I like that in spite of how dark it is, I can almost see through it. I like how heavy it is and how even in its raw state its ridges are straight and well defined. My thumb blindly follows the grooves when I hold it. When I pick it up, though I’ve held it hundreds of times, I’m always surprised by its weight. And I always try to look through it knowing I can’t so much as see into it. I also have a beautiful chunk of amethyst that has overlapping jets of variegated purple pointed in all directions. It’s an enchanting crystal grown out of an ugly rock.

People have been awful these last several weeks. I included. Even that pretty amethyst grew out of an ugly rock, though. They all do. I suspect I will too, eventually. I’m holding on to the idea that the glow in the mirror across this dark room is a preview of the reflection I’ll see up close when all this madness comes to a close.

quick before bed

It was a late night at work. Then I came home, ate two cookies, got ready for bed, and turned on the computer to do more work. But I’m forced to let it wait until tomorrow. I’m having technical difficulties. I’ve learned lately to expect technical malfunctions any time I have to do something that requires mechanical equipment or radio waves or any other thing not involving sticks and rocks. I would call my mother for fun to find out whether Mercury is in retrograde, something I do sometimes when things get ridiculous and I feel the need to blame my problems on the universe, but it’s late and I don’t want to bother her. If the internet doesn’t blow up before I hit the search button, I’ll find out all on my own here in a sec…


Well, I’ll be.

That astrology business has always seemed silly to me, but Mercury never fails to prove me wrong.

Of all the planets to be, that’s got to be the worst one. It’s the first to get blamed for something going wrong, and it’s tiny and Africa hot. If I were Mercurian, I’d be about four and a half billion years old, which is impressive, come to think of it, but … no, it’s just really impressive.



choosing sanity

I couldn’t move three nights ago for fear of throwing up every bite of dinner, not because I was sick but because of stress. My biggest problem has not been not being able to do everything, though wouldn’t it be nice if I could, it’s that I worry about the fact that I can’t. Inadequacy doesn’t settle well with me.

And therein lies the problem. What I perceive as being inadequate is instead failing to accept that I have choices. You have this much time. You have this, this, this and that to do. Choose.

And maybe the hardest part is facing the consequences of not doing something well if at all. But the world won’t end if someone gets in a twist over an incomplete task. Likely I am the only person who notices the imperfections and even some of the omissions. And if not, I have an apology on hand, not to get mercy or make myself feel better but for etiquette’s sake. Any dire consequences would be more of a step toward something for which I’m better suited (and therefore happier doing) than a punishment. 

I have to make my choices and be okay with them if I want peace. Saying I have no choices puts me immediately and directly in the hands of defeat.

Though I have in the past, even in the very recent past, felt guilty for being a bad example, a hypocrite even, I serve as positive reminder that there is no spherical chicken, that life isn’t as smooth and uniform as we’d like for it to be, and that we have a great deal more control than we may sometimes think. There is power in making choices, and there is peace in allowing one of those choices be to let go of that idea of perfection, or even of competency in some cases. I can be competent in anything given the time. But I can’t control time, only the choices I make in the time I am given.

talking to myself

Sometimes you just have to suck it up.

Is what you tell them sometimes.

And it gets hard, boy does it ever, you tell them.

And then you’re reminded how difficult it can get, and you have to swallow your own pill.

Which makes you want to hug them. Because you never really know what people face. You just never really know.

Maybe they need a good dose of hard reality to toughen them up, though. It’s better they learn now with safety nets.

If there are any.


But in the end it comes down to personal triumph. How tough are you willing to be?

The toughest people you know had the toughest lives growing up. They became educators. And they ain’t easy, but they’re fair. They have good hearts, they love deeply, but they don’t let up. Because they know how hard it can get. For a kid living out of a car. Abused if not abandoned. They know. And they know what it takes to make it out, to make something of yourself and face the day.


So all of this that’s ruthlessly beating you down right now—heck—what the hell do you have to complain about?

Suck it up!




chopping through the thicket

I’m counting down by weeks because not only do they fly by quickly but there are fewer of them than there are days. I blinked, and it’s Saturday again. I have 38 more Saturdays to go, which is way better than 268 days.

I don’t hate my job anymore, I’m just exhausted. Maybe it’s because I know that I won’t be teaching much longer (the plan is a couple more years max) but I’m going full throttle. It’s that sprint before the finish line, and my students are better for it. I think I am too in a way.

That said, I need to go jump again and let the 120 mph draft at the edge of the troposphere strip away my negativity and stress. I haven’t reached my limit, the needle is in the yellow, maybe orange, but I need that physical release before I get in the emotional red. I physically ache, and I cried this morning for no reason. The warning signs for impending meltdown are there, and it’s been only two weeks.

Let’s change the subject.

I’m reading two books, or I was until I started back at work, but I’m not in the mood for either of them right now. I’m considering starting a third. Joyce this time. He’s a baroque music piece that dances around my insides like soul candy. He’s good medicine.

I’ll get my truck cleaned, too. That always makes me feel better.

I’ve been thinking about painting small squares of canvas, one here one there, to express my moods, and then hanging them on a wall in my new little room that I’ll get one of these days when we buy a house. I could start hanging them now, but I won’t. I feel detached from this shoebox we’re renting, and I’m not interested in hanging my emotions on something I have no investment in.

And I haven’t been running, but I’m going to this weekend. I’m mentally committed to the idea of being a runner, of taking on this thing I’ve never wanted to do. I’m sure there’s a logical reason for my illogical behavior, something psychological, cliché even. But fine, sure, I’ll eat from the hand of whichever facet of human nature is responsible for the phenomenon. The nonconformist in me is fading—I don’t feel my stomach turn at the thought of fitting a label. I really don’t care, and I don’t know whether that alone sets me apart from existing in-groups or lands me square into the 40-something could-give-a-shit crowd. Either way, I’ll be running alongside a group of 5k’ers soon, drowning out the world with the sound of a thousand feet battering the pavement.

In the meantime,

I’m going to put my mood on a leash and drag it to the bookstore, then later I’ll run it to death. I should be better by evening.