35 And Dreaming

No matter how hard I tried, this story didn’t fit the poems I have come to post on this blog. It started with a conversation I had one afternoon in the break room.  We went from dinner to dreams by the time my late lunch was heated in the microwave.  I stayed longer to hear the end of a mom’s interpretation of her son’s dogged pursuits.  It was something that she needed to release and I happened to be the one to receive it.   Bill’s eloquence in the previous post depicts the complications that come with talking about your dreams, with putting yourself out there.  Here’s a story about dreams and not being ashamed of them.

“Hey Mom can you come home at 4 today? I have a photo shoot at the house.” Saul said it so matter of fact over the phone.  “Ok honey. Sounds good.”  Linda laughed nervously at his request.  “Good luck, “she said.  “Thanks Mom.”  She hung up the phone and sighed. Her 35-year-old son Saul recently moved back in with her and her husband.  He was working for his father during the week but wasn’t really into it.  All he wanted to do was take pictures of women in swimsuits.  Not swimsuits she quickly reminded herself but burlesque.  Saul used all the money from his day job for the photo shoots.  Linda remembers the one time she got to see some of his work.

“These are really good honey,” said Linda.  Saul tried to hide his embarrassment by being annoyed.  “Thanks mom,” he replied.  They both looked back at the camera.  There was a girl on the small screen with her physical features magnified.  Pouty, puffy red lips, breasts about to burst and bare legs with black leather boots.  She was wearing a red outfit with black ruffles, and held her feather duster to her face.  She looked at the camera in a moment of truth, admitting that she just made a mistake. Linda looked up at Saul as he turned the camera off.  “I’m impressed,” she said, trying to pry him out of his silence. “They are very artistic.”  Saul looked up at his mom as he put his camera in the bag.  “Thanks Mom” he replied and walked off into the kitchen.

She found herself surprisingly proud as the camera bag slung over his shoulder.  Proud that he was so good at something that he loved and that he put so much time and effort into it. Proud that he shared his dreams with her and he was so unafraid about all this.   She thought back on her life and her pursuits. “I just wanted to make ends meet” she thought to herself.  Now here’s her son, living with her again, taking burlesque photos after work to pursue his dreams.  “35” she said aloud.  “35 and still dreaming.”

Keys, Whiskey, Donuts and A Wrench

Keys, Whiskey, Donuts and A Wrench

The night should have been ending but instead I was on my way downtown to find the lost keys to our car.  It had all the elements of an epic tale.  The uncertainty of the adventure as a friend and I drove to the site of the lost keys.  The conflict thickens as the Triple A driver says he can’t open the car because I could be trying to steal it.  The night is getting colder, the local businesses are closing, and ,worst of all, we have to work the next day….early. These were some of the trials and tribulations of the journey before the redemption. One must read on to find out.

I lost my keys to my car

Triple A says I’m a thief.

I found the keys to my car

My gosh what a relief.

I sip whiskey for my car

The bartender says it’s on she.

I down whiskey for my car

Now there are donuts for me.

I eat one donut for my car

And remember the battery is dead.

I eat two donuts for my car

Then ask for a wrench instead.

I use the wrench for my car

To connect the car battery.

I put down the wrench for my car

The car turns on for me.

I return the wrench for my car

And sit down to finish my beer.

I realize that I fixed my car

And almost shed a tear.

Next time I lose the keys to my car

My eyes won’t get so misty.

For when I find the keys to my car

I also get donuts and whiskey.

A New Dawn

A New Dawn

The plan and the permit are the stalwarts of City life.  They dictate the path of today’s municipalities as the signs and cones of the urban roadway.  No plan, no permit. No permit, no work.  It can be a harsh form of enforcement at times by maintaining a static workflow in a dynamic world.  Yet with the onset of a new land management software, the time is ripe for a new workflow, a new path for the required plans and permits. It’s going to streamline efficiencies.  It’s going to make processes more robust.  It’s going to make life easier.  The permit that everyone needs, respects and in the end, follows.  However, there’s more to a workflow permit than just the permit.  It needs an acronym to roll off the tongue. It must be sharp and to the point.  It needs to instill a sense of cool as bureaucrats and developers talk the lingo.  A water utility permit is a WUP. A public improvement permit is a PIP.  A contextual site plan is a CSP.  A Framework Development Plan is a FDP. A proposed onsite operations permit is, well,…

 

It’s a great idea

I must admit.

Our problems solved

With a new permit.

It’s going to be great

It’s going to be grand.

When people hear it

They’ll clap and stand.

A Proposed Onsite Operations Permit.

It’ll rein them in boys

It’ll keep them straight.

Our City will be organized.

Our City will be great.

Now get ready boys, it’s time to go.

It’s a new era, a brand new show

So before they talk to y’all in this group

That’s right my friends they need a POOP.

The Development of Thomas Peters as a Hero

Life seems to bring those trials in clusters.  In the most inopportune time, they fill the space of existence and you just wish they would stop.  This desire is what makes it so easy to get stuck  and then stay there even after it has passed. The human as a living being is not adapt at seeing themselves as enslaved in their own life.  It takes an external force to create an internal change, to remove the existing stagnation.  So it goes with Thomas Peters.  The revised edition incorporates this stagnant moment in life, where it is best observed by a friend but removed by him.  Enjoy.

 

“Oh, my heavens” says Thomas Peters

On the verge of despair, he teeters

“What is wrong?” his friend asks

“Do you have too many mundane tasks?”

 “Oh, my heavens it’s that and more,

School and life make my head feel sore.

Each day feels like I just can’t win.

I honestly don’t even know where to begin.”

 “The itch on my leg is definitely a skeeter

And I didn’t get an A because I’m not a cheater.

The runny eggs for breakfast was my mom’s egg beater

I’m cold because my brother turns off the heater.

 My sister’s room is always neater

And I’m really not that good of an eater.”

 “But worst of all,” Thomas does say

“Were those sloppy kisses from Grammy today.”

 Thomas pauses to think a bit

Before he goes on with the rest of it

“My dad snores so loud I don’t sleep til dawn

And the neighbor’s dog poops on our lawn.

All my secrets are told by Mike and Shawn

And when Mom drinks coffee, she’ll still yawn. “

 And on and on goes Thomas Peters

Whose list of complaints measures in meters

But after much time has come to pass

And Thomas’ complaints have run out of gas.

 His friend rises from her listening pose

To look him in the eyes after staring at her toes.

And smiling towards Thomas with her kindest gaze

Hoping to encourage some sunnier days.

 “Thomas my dear it’s time I said my part

And let you know you should change your heart.

It’s ok if you sister’s room is neater

and be happy that you are not a cheater.

Wear pants when you might be bit by a skeeter

And my goodness, just ask for another heater.”

 Exasperated from her passionate reply,

She took a deep breath and looked towards the sky

“Thomas my dear,” she said with a coo

“You are getting mixed up with the wrong point of view

In life there are highs and in life there are lows

And up and down the journey goes

So find what you love and follow it through

Because the unfolding of life is the unfolding of you.”

 “You know,” said Thomas “I think you are right.

I shouldn’t be so down, but happy and light.

If I am upset at the actions of Shawn and Mike

I’ll just tell them exactly what I don’t like.

 I’ll ask the neighbors to respect our lawn

And it’s not a big deal if my mom has to yawn.”

 Thomas pauses to breath out the tightness

Relieved at his new found feeling of lightness

 “You know, I can hardly control what goes on out there

No matter how much I want to pull out my hair

 Through all the silly things and all the apparent strife,

I see the importance of being grateful in life.

Because you can’t always choose the life you’re livin

You can only live the one you are given.

The Arc of the Hero

The hero is forged on a journey that follows three different categories. The first part of the journey is separation. It starts with a call, an internal beckoning to proceed along the unrealized yet destined path.  This self-reflecting dichotomy, an internal struggle to discern the legitimacy of what is being asked, is the beginning of the destruction of the old self. Once the call is answered, a purification will ensue through the second stage of rediscovery.   A series of trials and tribulations will cleanse the hero of his/her restrictions with the hope that he or she will shed the ultimate limitation: the ego. With the ego in their rear view mirror, it is time to return to the land once called home with your new self to share the enlightenment that comes with one who has embarked on a successful heroic journey. Leading by example, the hero will be a lighthouse for all who come to follow.

Now Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero of a Thousand Faces is an inspiring and well written treatise of comparative mythology.  I am glad I have embarked on the journey of reading this book for the path of my own arc however let’s apply this to Forgetful Jerry. Forgetful Jerry loses his winter stash and enters into a dark stage of helplessness. Unsure of what to do, he runs out of the house.  Here we see a point of separation from society however it is not really a call to purification but rather a knowledge that he is cooked come winter time without any acorns. His motive of separation is a correlation of his desperation. The next step though is compatible with the arc of the hero as Jerry has a meeting with a guardian of the threshold.  Jim the Badger is an unlikely source but every hero has to find some spiritual guidance from the most strangest of conduits. Once the adventure begins, Jerry has a serendipitous meeting with Steve the Skunk, another unlikely although comparable guardian, to accompany him on his path.  Think Han Solo from Star Wars or Harry from Dumb and Dumber.  The two of them overcome rough terrain and a shaky memory to finally find the winter stash in the able hands of Hambone. Cue the lesson, the spiritual transcendent nugget of wisdom that friends sure are important in this world. This is where our story ends, as Jerry’s return to society is more a relief that he won’t starve this winter rather than enlightenment of an internal transcendence.

Besides the arc of Jerry, another critique was the length of the manuscript.   Already too long, one can argue that Jerry embarks on 1 and a half of the steps in the hero’s journey. How does one include a lifetime of the molding of a character in less than 500 words? 500 words to depict Jerry’s unique journey into a stone as common and rugged as the rest of us? 500 words to display the same concepts yet in different format as the Illiad, Arabian Nights or the story of Jesus? 500 words and not one children’s book I have read since this critique remotely follows the path of the hero? I don’t know man. Maybe I am looking too much into this.