Thursday, January 03, 2013
Went back to the usual ritual of morning exercise in Bayonne county park, starting off the new year with the same determination stay sane and healthy.
The world is just too complex for me. I’m a very simple man at heart and why ELP’s “Simple Man” was a theme song for my life for years. Pauly and the band played “Love of the Common Man,” at my wedding, reading something in me I was not completely aware of.
Personal politics gets really ugly when there is no firm ground to stand on, some fundamental belief system that defines who and what you are. Absent faith in God, there has to be faith in something else outside ourselves that we can rely on to steer us. Most people I notice do not have this core value, but bounce in a constant reactive rebounding, going from person to person and belief to belief, never firmly attached to anyone or anything.
At my core, I believe in writing. It has always been my religion and my faith, and I get most lost when I forget it or neglect it, as happened over the last few years, but was shaken back over 2012 in an unexpected way.
I’ve always risen to the challenge of writers who I believe are better than I am or at least have more natural talent. Like everyone, I aspire to the greats – having found heroes in Graham Greene, EB White, JRR Tolkien and others, but the real challenge has always come from contemporaries who are one or two steps ahead of me, and whom I see as rivals, people whose ability challenges me to do better, and to aspire to, and try to beat – even if my natural ability leaves me at a great disadvantage (as did my home learning).
Early on in the paper, several reporters at the paper did this for me, people whose immense talents I still aspire to, going back to them the way I go back to Bob Greene or Mark Twain, to teach me how to do what I forgot to do.
But over the years, many of these people moved on, and I have remained a fixture where I am, treading water, hoping to inspire myself (an impossible thing for me) until others came along. I always need challenges to inspire me, and so looking back at to 2012 I found inspiration again, and perhaps this time, I might be able to hold onto it, taking it into me as a life lesson I can return to again and again, seeking instruction on how to turn a phrase the way Tony Morrison might or to tell a straight yet emotional yarn in the manner of Jane Austin. Yet I know, I will always continue to seek out people who are better writers than I am, the way a man climbs a ladder reaches for the next rung, hoping to reach the top of something I can’t even imagine its height, to find my place or to simply rise as high as I can before time and energy runs out, and I have done all I can do, been inspired by all I can draw from, and aspire to all that is possible for a man of limited means can do in a life time.
I look ahead to the new year for inspiration, and the next rung on this insane ladder called life.