Sunday’s prelude

A pile of (clean) clothes sits on my bed. It’s been shifted from my chair to the bed, back to chair and then to bed at least three times this week, as a clear sign of denial. Shoes are scattered all over, my drumsticks, resuscitated from the past, lingering around and the floor in need of some serious sweeping.

 I’m normally a rather ordered person but at times there is no time for such a commodity. At times even time is a commodity! or at least I delude myself thinking so. It might help fight back the ever present guilt result of the notion I simply don’t administer it well.And here is why, ready?

I listen. Intently. Almost always.

Right now I am supposed to be polishing a portfolio on which I’ve been working for ages. Instead I’m writing this post, but prior to it I listened to at least a dozen pieces of music. It goes like this:

(Hint: keyboard sound) Click, clack, clickety clack… Stop. Music plays in the background.Clack, clack… cl-ack… clicke-ty… clack. Stop. A phrase captivates my attention. It literally sparks my imagination into loads of ideas, concepts, muttered prayers. clickety, clickety, clickety, clack… tap, tap, tap. My desk and bare hands have been engaged. I’m getting the rhythm. Thoughts continue to flow. Are these laptop or piano keys? That’s it; I’m lost.

Even if just momentarily, I enter this realm of the Heavenly – which much reminds me of some rabbis pointing to all things ordinary as possibilities for bringing the mundane and the spiritual closer together. Every time; all the time. There are two options: either to sing my lungs out to the tune, perhaps even paired with some good ol’ potentially hip dislocating movements, or stop fooling myself, pretending I won’t pay attention to the music in the background and just turn it off, If and when I am serious about getting some work done.

Granted, of those two options the latter sounds more sensible but, ha! Dare I miss the chance of hearing God speak into my heart, especially as those occasions tend to be rare? (at least the “spontaneous” ones) Dare I miss the chance of having (an)other human being(s) grasping chunks of my heart, whose existence I ignored?! Never!

So… that’s why I didn’t bring my homework, Miss…

and the reason my clothes won’t get put up tonight either, my floor will remain dusty and I’ll most likely be freaking out in the morning for I am late for church. Again.

I just listen. Intently. I use time for it and so all the other stuff happens to get in the way of my listening.

My suggestion for you this Sunday? Listen – no, but really, listen – to a couple songs yourself. Be inspired. Be lifted up and enjoy!

· · ·

P.S. In case you were wondering, nope, not everything I listen resembles “Sister Act” or the Baptist Hymnal (nothing wrong with them, though). Someone’s words I keep imbibing lately are Josh Garrel‘s. Check him out.

Picture by: Atibes (through Flickr®)

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Whatever happened to me? (or how NOT to blog)

Pic by: Travelin' Librarian

I used to be able to write. No, really, I did. I even had a professor in college who many times admitted I was better writer than designer/artist…hmmm, OK, it’s just dawning on me that might have not been exactly a compliment. Anyway, I did use to write well, in clear, short, concise sentences, making strong points and avoiding all the commas I’ve just included in this one sentence. So, whatever happened to me?

It is painful, at best, to read some posts from the recent past. I still understand the general idea I aimed to convey back then. I still think I made some good points, and I still laugh at my own silly, simple jokes. Oh, because let me tell you, I have a sense of humor, too. My sister says it’s “just too smart for everyone to get it” but she laughs with – or at(?) – me every time. My problem is I do what I just did in this paragraph… TMI!

It seems these days I just type whatever comes to mind, “uncensored”. The flood of ideas invading my brain makes it to the screen all too quickly. I use too many brackets, commas, dashes and secondary ideas in between ideas. That is, I am making a point and then, all of a sudden, deem too important to clarify a certain aspect of such point or introduce a whole new idea out of fear that, if I don’t, I’ll forget it, my point will be weaker or, even worse, the world will be deprived of a genius thought… f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

Did I mention I also write extremely looooooooong sentences? oh, and yes, I add drama by spelling words with dashes, adding extra letters to words so as to evoke emotion or tone, and can’t refrain from being a little ironic on occasion. Of course you’ve probably spotted all these  – and even more – offenses throughout this text because I just did it again! An almost exact reproduction of what my average, confusing, verbose post looks nowadays. I guess I could have saved myself, and you, some time and gone directly to what you should NOT copy from me if you ever dream of producing a clean, readable AND enjoyable post. So, here:

1. Avoid inserting too many ideas in one sentence. They may all be important. Then, make up your mind! choose one and stick to it.

2. For the love of God, avoid never ending sentences! At least get them shorter than mine. My excuse? I’m a native Spanish speaker; we write long. And then I am left-handed… Check!

3. Don’t try to explain it all. I do it all the time. Hence the dislike for my recent posts.

4. Avoid excessive uppercase and bold letters, signs, bracketed ideas, underlying,  and other “contraptions” that rob your post of visual “cleanliness”.

5. Avoid initials and other “techy” lingo as much as possible, especially if you’re not sure it is widely understood by your readers.

6. Read and re-read your paragraphs. You might be able to make some changes and say more with less words.

7. No matter how good “that” joke would read in “that” paragraph, avoid it if it results in distraction from the main idea of your sentence/paragraph. I’m guilty as charged of this one.

There… that’s it. I could say a lot more but then I’d fall even deeper down the hole of my verbose quasi-curse. Seven is also a good number; let’s keep it at that.

¨¨¨

(OK, OK, here I commit double or triple fault. Not only am I bracketing, but destroying it all with a point number 8 and abusing capitals:

8. “p.s.” , quotation and ellipsis marks are NOT your crutches. Stop abusing them and learn to walk, or float or slide or whatever you do, through the text. )

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I’m a design junkie…

…and still – warning: here comes a confession – I did not set foot on the Danish Design Centre, ever, while in Denmark. I suppose I had more important stuff to do, ha! That, or I  I did not feel the need to go there in order to satisfy my design contemplation appetites, as they were satisfied in my daily. Of course I was also subjected to horrific design, if it can even be called that.

Most people, at least artsy familiar-with-Scandinavian-design ones, think that when in Denmark all one sees are these beautiful creations out of the hand – and brains – of Arne Jacobsen or such. Not true. One can perfectly walk by stores displaying the most whacky, non-sense, outrageously expensive articles and wonder what on Earth the so-called designer had in mind when (s)he came up with that… hum… piece? and more importantly, what on Earth the buyers have in mind when they hand out their money for such monstrosities. These may be the exceptions but they do exist so, beware, fellow design junkies, for you might also, one day while strolling the gader* of Copenhagen, be unexpectedly scared by some infamous, pieces? of design.

In any case, now that I’m not there (Denmark) anymore, but here (Mexico), and especially while brainstorming for a developing project, I occasionally do what every other designer/artsy person, hungry for inspiration does: try stealing someone else’s idea! Just kidding, though scrolling down through the moma‘s online catalogue certainly helps open the creative “boxes” in my brain and thus I start collecting ideas. Perhaps somewhere, lurking behind a saucer or a kids puzzle, silently lies the spark that will ignite the flame of wisdom and creativity, the one Plato spoke of in his allegory of the cave; so elusive, almost unattainable, yet approachable for those who patiently wait and observe, observe, observe. Perhaps then, it’ll get me to accomplish my noble current assignment and …ahem, get paid.

There’s only one down side to that corny beautiful and monetarily oriented delightful observation experience; the inherent depression episode a true design junkie experiences after realizing one wants, covets, desires at least 20 of the listed items but can not afford them. Never mind owning all those precious objects, materialization of the human genius potential, would require space where to store them, display them and eventually other junkies to admire them as they grow green with envy , all “commodities” I am , for the time being, short of.

So, given the odds are temporarily against me, I guess I’ll just keep day dreaming of the day I can hand out some green in exchange of a “little moma something”… or why not, the day I break free from the chains, run to Plato’s encounter and thus become the brilliant mind whose flame is fed and whose hands design the next “little something” others hand out some green for. :)

* gader = streets

** Image by: Ik’s world trip (source:Flickr)

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Are we all alone here?

There is life “A.D.” At least that’s what I think; that’s what I believe, both in the “traditional Christian” way of the hope awaiting those who have believed in Jesus Christ as savior, and the more abstract, romantic way involving still-alive people, carrying part of us through their lives, as remembrance. (Whether that “us” bit they tow along is positive or negative is another matter). Perhaps a habit, an idea, a dream; a moral standard or an affinity towards a particular sports club. I would say we certainly live well beyond our earthly allotment of time.

That being said, sometimes this life, this present one seems too lonely, and that’s a shame. Now, I could save myself (and readers) the pity session but since I have stated there is life “A.D.” (this time meaning “After Denmark”. Read Day 1, Year O for an explanation) I won’t, for reflecting on loneliness is part of life too, right? right?

The thing is, a few days ago I read this blog entry from a former renowned, die-hard vegan. ( here‘s her post, referred from another great blog, just like mine… ha!  – but wait! don’t go there just yet!) In there she chronicles her painful and at times lonely journey back to being omnivore due to health issues. I say lonely because it seems from her comments, her fellow die-hard vegans, who might have cheered for her as long as she ‘belonged’, left her alone and even attacked her when she needed them most. Some of these people secretly confided her with their utmost secrets, like eating the occasional egg or meat, ‘cheating’ at restaurants or so. They would not, however, be as courageous as she was and publicly admit it; they simply couldn’t voice their struggles for fear of being judged, excluded or even hurt – at least verbally – as she was, and that is precisely the point I want to touch, for such appears to be the case in more than one sphere, culture or way of life.

It appears to me we are nowadays, more prone to ‘freely’ express ourselves yet at the same time more and more afraid of voicing views which will grant us awkward looks, social stigma or harsh judgement. While I find the general society (regardless of nationality or class) a tougher one to live in, there seem to be rising expectations of people doing the right thing and being ‘good’ but without providing any values, role models or structures that will help attain this. Then, when shortcomings are exposed, struggles uttered and sorrow admitted, it is oh so easy to become jumping jacks, coming out of nowhere, pointing out deficiencies, but almost never offering some grace and mercy.

As a believer in God and Yeshua (Jesus) I’ve experienced this. I’ve been in both sides, the judging and the struggling one. I have thought I’d do it better than the guy next door, but  I’ve also struggled; struggled with my faith, afraid of letting anyone know I can’t fully comprehend how Noah could fit so many animals in the ark or why God allowed the Israelites to kill. Reading the account of my ex-vegan fellow blogger and feeling identified- albeit not in my food choices – with her, I can claim the ‘closet-struggler’ syndrome (yes, I just came up with the name) to be one permeating all ways of life and all kinds of people. Therefore the question: Are we all alone here? hundreds of thousands of strugglers, hiding from millions of unidentifiable judges? And are there really millions? Could it be just that most of us look like them, but are in reality all part of the same group? the group that secretly battles their doubts, fears, decisions and so? I suggest that might be the case.

To this day I fight my daily and to this day I question the sometimes vast gray areas of my faith. To this day I have, at times, little black to hold on to and to this day my heart breaks for those who can’t sincerely say, “I don’t know… I’m not sure”. From this day on, I am deciding to welcome such a thought, to say, “It’s OK, you don’t have to know it all”.*

* Sara Groves summarizes it better in her song Mystery… and then she also has a beautiful voice

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Of the inconveniences in assuming the unconventional job of a writer

For a writer, observation often means the world. All thing seen nurture, educate and inspire. It can also block, though; drive many a brave soul far from the writing desk.

We all have a life. We all have problems, situations, challenges in those lives… and we all have jobs… or not. No offense intended for those of you jobless, out there. I understand. Believe me, I do.

However, provided we do have all the above, it is fair to assume every now and then our job interferes with our personal lives or vice versa (mind you, when I say “our” , of course I mean each person’s one… no crazy cult-like collectives or anything). If we are good and focused enough at what we do, chances are we’ll have an off day or two – unless a certain situation cripples more than “the hamster in our head” – and then go back to normal, being able to perform fairly well. Perhaps, if we are “lucky” enough and/or  do not even know our boss personally, nobody will even notice our, as of late, out of character behavior (which, honestly, might mean  you’d better stop slacking off, buddy… That, or you live in Scandinavia where “things happen” and it’s OK to not be OK, eat cake three times in a single day and spend more on candles than clothes… long story).

My point is, and maybe by now you’ve guessed I’m a writer – albeit an “aspiring” one – , when one’s “real” job comprises writing about the natural, unnatural and supernatural of life and everything in between, having an off day actually means having an off day. Some might want to contradict me (please, do so) as I say this, but I simply cannot see how a writer is to compartmentalize, discard or put “on hold” his or her thoughts, actions, observations and their conjoined results, later poured out on paper… or screen. While it is possible to be a plumber – and boy, I admire plumbers – and somewhat sweep off personal thoughts while one concentrates on Mrs. Olivero’s kitchen sink, that is, on the matter of one’s professional affection, it results quite hard – if not impossible – to completely do so when one’s working material is precisely thoughts, ideas, which ultimately take shape in words.

Thus daily events, interruptions such as a phone call, genuine life crises and ongoing questions, they all may somewhat disrupt a writer’s cadence, tone and edge, genuinely (see? I just used 2 words derived from the same root, namely genuine and genuinely, in one paragraph) causing a writer’s blocks and the consequent inability to work for one, two, three or more days. It is not that we are physically disabled or otherwise impeded from sitting at the keyboard (may or may not be at the table) and effectively typing some gibberish; it’s just our coordination brain-hand is interrupted by the very materia prima* that should complete the necessary synapses. The problem? How do you explain that to your editor, boss, mom, significant other or dog who wakes you up to run at 6 a.m.? How do you explain “external” thoughts disrupt your work dynamic and you can not simply “leave them at home” (exceptionally hard in particular for those of us who work at home) and proceed to work? How do you skip the explanation part and attempt to at least halfheartedly deliver some equally halfheartedly written advance?

*means “raw materials”. It just “didn’t go” in English. There’s a certain strength in those two Spanish words. Something similar to Alma mater … that’s Latin, I know.

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Wandernlust… Ja, es ist Deutsch (translation: It’s German for ‘get me out of here’)

So, today’s word? Wanderlust. I know, I spelled it wandernlust on the subject. The thing is, this English word (back to wanderlust) finds its origin in German, whose father word contains an extra “n”.

Now, what’s so special about this word? Nothing, really. Only it:

1. Describes my inner self as of late very well

2. I have being seeing/reading it an astounding number of times in recent days, like in these 2 blogs (free promo for you, fellow bloggers):

http://walkingontravels.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/i-dare-you-to-travel/

http://zephotographist.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/the-snow-and-the-vinter/

Hence my – even more recent – suspicions there’s been a conspiracy to borrow the one cool word I’ve acquired as part of my otherwise dull vocabulary, and use it as much as possible, thus almost turning it into yet another dull word I won’t be satisfied uttering at every opportunity, being left instead with the feeling I’m just one more of those H&M clothes wearing ladies, whose only sin is perhaps to not have money enough to buy more original clothes, though… now what I’m thinking, their sin might well be being not authentic enough to even look for different clothes. Whatever… The point is, I am still full of wanderlust, regardless of how uncool or otherwise, the usage of the word turns me.

Then, dear bloggers and readers alike – and everyone in between – I give you WANDERLUST, capitals and all. Use it wisely; use it for good and not for bad; use it as often and freely as you deem it fit.

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It kind of stinks, sometimes

I try to be as positive as my ever reflective self allows. And I try to see difficult situations as learning ones, and I try to have faith and hope and “positive vibes” for the future, if you will, but seriously, some days, like today, one’s got to be not only 100% honest but even raw and admit LIFE KIND OF STINKS SOMETIMES!!!!

Since this is now a blog about my life A.D. , I deemed it only appropriate (or at least cathartic) to unleash all my rage, anger, frustration and any other negative emotion one might think of, because:

1. I had to have my laptop repaired at a really high cost with no good enough repair having been done so far, which takes us to…

2. I fooled around with my recently acquired external hard drive in order to work with some of my files while my computer was being repaired, which means…

3. I had had my pictures albums FROM DENMARK AND PRETTY MUCH ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD backed up in my hard drive, but NOT my computer. Therefore, after doing a series of backups, I stupidly and mistakenly deleted around 90% of my pictures!!! Yes, I even cried – I even cried – out of frustration. I know I will always carry the memories of 2010/11 in me heart BUT I won’t be able to see my little “adoptive” kids again, as they were back then. I am utterly upset, mainly at myself, for it was purely my mistake.This is only the last in a series of “little” yet completely annoying events occurring in life this past week/weekend, so yep… it stinks.

Does that make me stop being grateful? nope. Am I being a hypocrite for keeping a “gratefulness” blog (www.tak4det.wordpress.com) when I am so angry? perhaps. Can this be compared to famine in Africa, floods in southern Mexico or people losing their jobs or health or even life? by no means. And still, it feels like someone just stripped off a chunk of me; a chunk I won’t be able to recover.

I don’t know what else to say, except it’ll take a while to recover from this one. I know… pictures are just pictures, but I am only human, and humans like recording their journey through this life and Earth and, for better or worse cameras were invented, pictures are taken and thus we try – obviously not very realistically – to re capture and re live moments of our lives.

sigh, sigh, sigh…

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