Thinking about thinking about thinking…

The Thinker in The Gates of Hell at the Musée Rodin

When we spend as much time thinking about thinking as we think about not thinking, we are closer to Descartes than Derrida.

I say, enjoy the ride, and don’t feel bad about residing in an ivory tower (it’s better than being homeless).

 

Thinking About Thinking
How people think in the bathtub
is beyond me, I just don’t know how they do it;
the water is warm enough just so long,
worth thinking about,
then I wonder if it’s okay to run more hot water
and how full is too full
and if I have to start the thinking
all over again from the beginning
or if I can pick up where I left off,
but I give up,
nothing important comes to mind,
except that I have nothing important
to think of and how a bath won’t
make it happen, and I notice
my fingers are pruney, the water feels slimy;
I can’t wait to get out, dry off
and see how long it takes until I decide
to try to think of something
worth thinking about again.

Thoughts and Thoughts
A thought that can be thought
without something thoughtful to be done
is no thought at all, but a mere pretender;
thoughts which generate no ideas
and make the weak weep, the simple
comfortable, and the frail cringe at whims
like wishes so all beggars ride. Puzzled and
rancorous ideas are harmless excuses of
unexamined life, a sermon looking for life
in the service of paranoid, naval-gazing
called spirituality, pharmacology without
diagnosis, life without death,
desire without lust, and obedience without
ignorance. Ruined lives litter the path of
thoughts, bitter disciples
are casualties of this pedagogy,
angry tears are learners’ lovers, hemlock
cocktails mixed by the bartender of the many.

Advertisements

3 Ways to Remake Mondays

Monday“If Monday had a face, I would punch it.”

Monday does have a face – it’s staring you in the mirror every Monday morning. It’s you.

And you can do something about it. You can remake Mondays.

It’s easier than you think (really). Here’s how to start:

1 – Be the only one.

2 – Be a smartass.

3 – Be the first one.

Everyone hates Mondays. So, when you don’t play along, you’ll be the only one. You’ll stand out. You’ll be special. No gimmicks. No ‘think happy thoughts’ motivational memes. Be the only one to not hate Mondays (and start today, since it’s Monday). But how to you not hate Mondays?

Be a smartass and embrace Mondays – make Mondays your own, make Monday your day. Mock Mondays. Mondays are trying to kill you, so laugh in Monday’s face, and let everyone else hate Mondays (because they will – you know they will). You’re not here to change everyone else’s hatred of Mondays; you’re going to turn their weakness into your strength.

But how? It’s simple. Be the first one. Start each Monday greeting with ‘Happy Monday!’ and let the hate-speech begin – let everyone bitch and moan about the self-evident truth that is Monday. But don’t say anything more – AND DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM. Let the haters hate. Let them wallow in it, and stand back because the crap will fly. Let it. Learn from it.

But you MUST say it to others – not yourself. Let me repeat: don’t spend your Mondays talking yourself into making Mondays into another day. It will always be Monday on Mondays. All that ‘fake it ’til you make it’ inspirational crap is crap. So, say ‘Happy Monday’ to others and let them go off on Monday. Let them hate Mondays, and you take it all in. Listen to them sound happy about being unhappy. Watch them blame Monday for being Monday. It’s ugly, and you don’t need to be ugly – especially on a Monday.

Everyone hates Mondays. But when you don’t, you’ll be the only one. You’ll be special. No gimmicks. No ‘think happy thoughts’ crap. Nothing to buy. That’s where to start.

IMG_7659

James Callahan @jamescallahan

Check back every Monday for more Remaking Monday – Remaking Your Life.

If you’d like to receive Remaking Monday – Remaking Your Life updates in your inbox, send a request to: remakingmonday@gmail.com

See you next Monday!

James Callahan

(Please retweet, like, forward, gossip, tell a friend)

Salvation and other messy words…

salvationSalvation is not a religious word. It has become one, but only by losing its usefulness – its realism.

To preserve from harm or loss, deliver from, hold back, keep rather than lose – in a phrase, to love well,  with consequence. Not all love is salvation, but all salvation is love. Unless… unless it becomes religious.

Salvation Song

In search of the lost, each
and every day, without fail;
certain you’re out there
wandering, daring to wonder
at the recovery of your way,
regaining your bearings for
home, for the way it once was
when you knew of comfort
or simply no better, and love,
especially love, now lost;
you’re certain, aren’t you,
no one is looking, no one
cares as long as you don’t
interfere with the ways of
those who’ve never been
lost and thus, are never found;
evangelist I am not, counselor
ignored, prophet spurned,
only you know, Lord, if these
bones can live again, but
to what end – for another war
of destruction, another test
of fidelity, another loss of
love – no, they’d be better
to bake in the sun, strewn
about, picked over, broken;
hope of change in the pocket
doesn’t raise the dead,
protestations of sins forgotten
only console the guilty,
joyous hymns of sacrifice
are the blood sport of piety,
none of those are for the
found among the lost surely;
if you return, you expect
servitude, for that’s what
you’re taught the never
ending price of restoration
must be – will-less existence
while all other retain theirs,
and once returned you’re
never trusted and must
continually prove the
celebrated recovery – always
so, but never arrived, never
home because you can’t
go home again, can you;
I have no guilt, no pity either,
I am no god in need of
your praise, gifts or alms,
make no pilgrimage to me
for I am not home either,
I am a worm and not a man,
a son of man only whose
fato is the same as yours,
no sacred tale of success but
victorious defeat, no tragic
celebratory dirge to hide
the pride of humiliation;
the telling is itself compelling
as much for it’s incorrigible
neglect of largesse as my
refusal to be examined,
my anonymity, my death
as an author on the pyre
as Dido, lacking comparison;
I seek by looking ahead only
as I pass your lair, ignoring
cries for gifts my mercy is
only discovered in the walk,
the follow-after leaving
the lost still wondering if
the gift of suffering is your
damnation by a Calcutta
saint dancing to Lucifer’s
tune, your sores unhealed,
or the only hope of ransom;
there is a way, several to be
clear, for therein lies the
game – and a game it is,
competing for titles, pews
it’s yours to refuse the
triviality of sin, accusation
as the easy way, to refuse
Augustine while he still
damns from Monica’s shadow
above his child’s grave;
making home, not finding it,
will be the only consolation
offered here, and it is the
same for love and mercy
and joy and the peace so
desperately missing today.

When writers fail at being writers…

8hSdXHUOWriters Fail – A Confession

It’s simple as an aphorism –
writers fail because we write of
who we want to be
unconsciously trying to blot out
who we really are;
I take it from my failures
as a writer this is true of me,
so I wish to offer a true 

and unvarnished confession
on behalf of writers everywhere,
and it reads as follows:

“I (who ever that is) freely confess,
under no coercion whatsoever,
save that of desperately hoping
to be successful as a writer,
that heretofore (as in, since
whenever cursed moment I dreamed
I could write something so that
others would call me a writer)
have lied to myself and those
who suffered through my pages
of fanciful fabrications
wherein fiction was forced
into fiction that would not fit,
and all such alliterations
attempting to allude the
aphorism about fiction and
reality or reality and fiction
attributable to Camus, Emerson,
Woolf, and it appears,
every successful writer who
has an opinion on the matter;
I write fictions of my own life
because I’m lost and think
that with words that are not
my own I will find better words
and a better life than my own;
I thus apologize with all
sincerity until such time as
I begin another memoir
of someone I am not and
could never hope to be.”

Amen.

 

Blue Monday is a lie we believe… #BlueMonday

Blues_MondayThe third Monday of January is called Blue Monday. It started all the way back in 2005 – by a travel agent trying to drum up business.

Yep, they just made it up.

But everyone buys it because everyone hates Mondays. No one has to argue it or prove it; it’s an inalienable thing – self-evident and all that.

And it’s a lie.

“Who has actually decided that this day is the most depressing day of the year?  To get some scientific clarification – Dean Burnett, neuroscientist at The University of Cardiff – has described the conclusions drawn about Blue Monday to be ‘farcical’, and concocted with ‘nonsensical measurements’. In fact, the ‘scientists’ who first reported Blue Monday were found to have received payments from PR and Marketing companies related to holiday companies specialising in winter breaks.” (http://uktherapyguide.com/blog/blue-monday-here-to-stay/)

The pseudo-science of Blue Monday even has a mathy-thingy:

the_blue_monday_formula_11008

It is a meaningless math-like thing (kind of like the way I did math before dropping out of high school) that takes debt (first credit card bills after Christmas), a general lack of motivation (Seasonal Affective Disorder – S.A.D.), weather conditions (in the northern hemisphere), and the assumed failure of New Year’s resolutions, so you should go on a vacation. It’s B.S. (and I don’t mean a Bachelor of Science).

But follow #BlueMonday hashtags today and you’ll find it’s popular. Shame on us.

Everyone hates Mondays, and Blue Monday is the Anniversary of our hatred. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

IMG_7659

James Callahan @jamescallahan

Check back every Monday for more Remaking Monday – Remaking Your Life.

Or, if you’d like to receive Remaking Monday – Remaking Your Life updates in your inbox, send a request to: remakingmonday@gmail.com

See you next Monday!

James Callahan

(Please retweet, like, forward, gossip, tell a friend, ask people to pray for me because I said B.S. and everyone knows what that means)

Blue Monday is a lie we believe… #BlueMonday

Blues_MondayThe third Monday of January is called Blue Monday. It started all the way back in 2005 – by a travel agent trying to drum up business.

Yep, they just made it up.

But everyone buys it because everyone hates Mondays. No one has to argue it or prove it; it’s an inalienable thing – self-evident and all that.

And it’s a lie.

“Who has actually decided that this day is the most depressing day of the year?  To get some scientific clarification – Dean Burnett, neuroscientist at The University of Cardiff – has described the conclusions drawn about Blue Monday to be ‘farcical’, and concocted with ‘nonsensical measurements’. In fact, the ‘scientists’ who first reported Blue Monday were found to have received payments from PR and Marketing companies related to holiday companies specialising in winter breaks.” (http://uktherapyguide.com/blog/blue-monday-here-to-stay/)

The pseudo-science of Blue Monday even has a mathy-thingy:

the_blue_monday_formula_11008

It is a meaningless math-like thing (kind of like the way I did math before dropping out of high school) that takes debt (first credit card bills after Christmas), a general lack of motivation (Seasonal Affective Disorder – S.A.D.), weather conditions (in the northern hemisphere), and the assumed failure of New Year’s resolutions, so you should go on a vacation. It’s B.S. (and I don’t mean a Bachelor of Science).

But follow #BlueMonday hashtags today and you’ll find it’s popular. Shame on us.

Everyone hates Mondays, and Blue Monday is the Anniversary of our hatred. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

IMG_7659

James Callahan @jamescallahan

Check back every Monday for more Remaking Monday – Remaking Your Life.

Or, if you’d like to receive Remaking Monday – Remaking Your Life updates in your inbox, send a request to: remakingmonday@gmail.com

See you next Monday!

James Callahan

(Please retweet, like, forward, gossip, tell a friend, ask people to pray for me because I said B.S. and everyone knows what that means)

Jesus is looking for me for some reason…

388089281f54b1fcdc489fd76080f8c3Ninety-Nine and One Hundred
There are one hundred things I wish to do
but ninety-nine I never will it seems; they’re
not dreams so much as wishes and urges,
conscious and clear, not fantasies at all;
they’re real, as real as life and air and my
beating heart, and they’re mine – all mine
because no one else could do what I wish
to do, or would want to it seems. Not all – just
some – would admit such things; frustrations
and hopeless hopes are what the ninety-nine
are to others and the one done – the one
done over and over again – becomes routine,
monotony the others call real, ordinary, life.

Jesus left the ninety-and-nine to search for
the one, in some twisted appeal to his
everyone is important, everyone matters,
everyone gets a trophy gospel of me,
myself and I that numbers hairs, dresses
flowers better than Solomon, and offers
funerals for every sparrow that succumbs,
while the boring ninety-and-nine never leave
home, never leave each other, never explore,
never risk, never have anything to regret,
never live; like the prodigal’s older brother
who wanted a fatted calf for – what, staying
home and never returning to life in his
father’s eyes?! There is no fatted calf for
never trying, never dying, never living again.

You’ll Soon Be Dead
Buying a scale won’t make you lose and weight,
like owning a treadmill won’t make you an eight;
and those fitness magazines sure aren’t evangelism
that will magically transform your sluggish metabolism;
of course, it’s all in your genetic predisposition
and eating because of an unhappiness mission;
and the drive of snacking out of life’s painful boredom
requires one to super-size every single portion;
so regardless of what your doctor always said,
it’s just the way you are and you’ll soon be dead.

To life and other boring things…

more_of_the_sameBoring wins, unfortunately; it always does. As sad as that seems, it’s true.

More of the Same
The little girl sits propped on top of the world
and glides through the summer breeze
with her arms outstretched as an airplane,
eyes laughing, her soft hair twisting in the air
in this open field of dandelions and long grass
where there is only joy and want of nothing
except more of the same, and more.

 

When Black Hawk dreams dreams…

blackhawk-m

Chief Black Hawk – captured, paraded, and depicted wearing a photo of his captor

From my manuscript about real people living in a real place at a real time (that is, a fictional account of the story of Elizabeth, Illinois).

The Black Hawk War wasn’t really much of a war (unless you were in it, I suppose). It lasted from May to August 1832 and started when Chief Black Hawk crossed the Mississippi from Iowa into Illinois.

That’s all it takes to start a war.

Abraham Lincoln was part of the story too, but even that doesn’t amount to much (Lincoln mocked the ‘War’ and said, “I had a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes, and although I never fainted from loss of blood, I can truly say I was often very hungry.”)

The death toll includes 77 of the 7,000 of government forces, and 500 of the 600 warriors led by Black Hawk (so that’s not funny).

Chief Black Hawk’s Dreams

Dictated from the tongue of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, known to the white man as Black Hawk, Chief of the Sac, born on island Saukenuk of Rock river in the white man’s year of 1767 in the Thunder Clan, but soon to die. –This written down by Antione LeClair, U.S. Interpreter for the Sacs and Foxes, on the tenth moon, 1838, but never published before.

Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak said:

When I was just a boy and not yet my people’s Chief, the Great Spirit called me to lead my people, as my father had done bravely in more peaceful times. The hatchet was buried, the bow was at rest, corn was planted and taken-in, women had birthed many healthy children, and the land was quiet. The Great Spirit had given my father a dream that he spoke to the men before he departed. See the many blankets and the strong young men? he asked. The Great Spirit has told me, when I was just a boy and not a Chief, that a time of peace is not a time to lose courage, but a preparation for what is to come. The white man will come soon and drive the Thunder Clan from this home, across the river in time of snow. Women and young women will weep and men and young men will become brave warriors, some will take a scalp and dance for the first time. And a child will be called to lead the people. That was the dream my father spoke before closing his eyes to be with his fathers.

On another occasion, Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak said:

The great warrior and leader of our nation was also my father who played with me when I was just a boy and not yet a Chief. He told me of his journey into the forest when a young man, without food or drink or company of his family he sought the Great Spirit who sought him. This is the way of our people. He dreamt of a deer approaching without fear. Their eyes met and it was as they were brothers. The Great Spirit made him ride through the land on the deer and he was shown the river, the forest, the hills, and the fields. He heard the sound of children at play, songs of gratitude, the smell of fires and roasting food but he did not desire the meat. He was told this land was given to the nation for a season of peace for good labor and hunting. But in the next season there would be crying and hunger.

When I was told this dream I asked what would come next, The next season, after rest and after hunger, what did you learn by the Great Spirit? My father said he was not told of this season, but the next leader of our people, a child who now laughs, would be Chief of a crying and hungering people. And the child would be met by the eagle. And like a boy and his father, we resumed our play together.

Seasons passed and we continued to enjoy peace, even while we fought with our ordinary enemies from across the great river, and I enjoyed the first taste of bravery and took my first scalp at fifteen years of age. But I learned the bravery of retreat as well as the bravery of attack, and I practiced the ways of my father who fought when attached, when our hunting grounds were taken, when our food and our home were threatened. We took no joy in this, but enjoyed the success that the Great Spirit gave to us.

But the time of rest seemed to be passed and enemies grew more numerous, and white men with guns who acted not with purpose but often after consuming alcohol threatened us without reason, and my father rested with his fathers and I will join them soon. I blackened my face, did not eat, and asked the Great Spirit about the seasons my father had spoken of; I hunted and fished, but I was not happy. I sought the Great Spirit then by taking no food, drinking no water from the streams nearby and went into the woods. I was looking for the deer that met my father, but I was afraid and the Great Spirit was wiser than a young brave. There was no deer, but I looked up and saw an eagle soaring above me, circling, waiting for me.

With the eagle I flew over the forest, above the trees, and I saw the hills descending into the valley of the great river, and I saw my people, our tents, our women and children but they were not singing or laughing –they were quiet and busy and there was no joy in their labor. In the distance I saw many faces, white faces, angered and cursing

I awoke from my dream and returned to my people to lead them from our home. I became the Chief of women who were crying and men who would be brave but had not taken scalps or tasted blood going against our enemies. But the enemies of my fathers were not to be our only enemies, and the ways of the white men were new to us and hard to understand.

When being transported from Fort Monroe to Iowa, Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak said:

After returning to our home to the east of the great river, we found no peace (this was after being driven from our homes by the white man because of a treaty signed by some of our braves in drunkenness but not agreed upon by me or all the braves as is our custom). And after the invitation to plant corn and make a home once again in the lands of our fathers, I sought the Great Spirit and in my sleep I was met by the eagle again. I saw the grave of my father as we flew toward the sun rising, along the great river. There were white soldiers, riding horses and firing their guns as my people ran, hiding in the woods, children and women hunted by warriors. They were chased as a fish upstream in a river known by trees bearing apple fruits. They hid for one moon in a quiet place and prayed that this might be their home. But the white women and men had made this there home not being content to stay where the Great Spirit had placed them.

I circled with the eagle over the woods, watching over my people, and saw drunken men riding toward their hiding place. When they met there were threats but little bravery, and I was discouraged. The white women and men retreated to hide in a structure that surrounded them for protection while my people had only the trees and hills for their protection. There was no great battle but many noises from the white men, cruses and shouts that sounded much greater than their number. My people moved around the structure and the sounds grew louder, but there was no battle as my people were only looking for a home and passed by this pleasant place.

When I awoke I led my people as I had seen from the eagle, and it happened as I was shown. But I prayed that this place of conflict could be our home and not a place of hiding, but it was not so.

At Des Moines in the land of Iowa, just before his death, Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak said:

This is the last moon I will see, and the Great Spirit made me to see the land that was once the home of my people. I was a brave Chief, but the white man had taken our home. The few women that are alive are crying, and our few children are weak with hunger. Many were killed by the white soldiers or chased into the great river as they escaped. I surrendered not to spare my own life, but to preserve the lives of my people. We were fearful for our weak, and a brave Chief must act not as his pride demands, but in compassion.

I dreamed and the eagle showed me the island of my birth, my father the brave Chief of my people, my mother and her kindness to me. I was shown the land we returned to and hoped to plant corn. I saw the river of apple fruits and good soil and my heart sank as I hoped this would be our home, but we were feared without cause and fled to escape. And when I awoke from my dream I was crying which surprised those with me, and they asked if a great warrior should cry or was my age the reason. I said that I was not crying for myself, but for my people who were driven from our home and starved and the season had become one of tears and bravery. I tried to save my people and the Great Spirit who shows the Chiefs the seasons stopped my plans.

But I did not tell them about the following season, about the season I asked my own father of, the season that eagle would show to the child who would lead my people. And I went to be with my father and my fathers and dreamed a dream with the eagle that did not end.