Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spider Lessons

                 Sunbeams visited my backyard yesterday and I went out to enjoy them with my notebook.  Been spilling a lot of ink on paper this month.  My imagination was ready to give birth to the end of chapter two of a long story I am writing.  Not sure what separates a story from a book.  My companion of the past twenty months expired in the middle of a sentence.  His well went dry.  I bowed my head and gave my blue pen his proper respects.  His last words were “My twin sister is in your desk drawer upstairs, still in the package.  She’ll take it from here.”
               I leaned up and discovered a spider with more legs than I have toes building a new home.  His foundation spanned fifteen feet and I wondered how he connected one end to the other.  When I discovered him, he looked like he was suspended in mid-air, but his engineering techniques were lowering himself from one string to another.  He was obsessed to connect his web into a circle of life.  I watched in fascination for the longest time, got out the camera that couldn’t capture this miracle in action that my eyes could. 
               Went and got my old pal’s sister and finished birthing chapter two.  My story is over 8,000 words so far.  Chapter three incubates in my mind.  Can I weave things as well the spider did?  I checked on him today and he was swaying in his new home like a hammock in the gentle breeze.  Creating art is much like the spider building his web.  Make a foundation, find inspirational energy to continue non-stop and produce a finished product that makes you proud.  I hope my story accomplishes half the beauty of that spider.  Glenn Stenson, author.  Yeah, I could get used to those three words together.   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hope And Chains - Part 2

               I sent a letter to President Obama on August 10th.  I shared it here on my blog with the same title if you want to read it.  Is it a coincidence he’s visiting my city today?  I think Warren Buffet is a secret reader of my blog and my letter inspired him to write the President asking the government to raise taxes on the wealthy.  The media ignored my letter, but highly publicized his.  Disappointed, but not surprised I received a standard form letter from the White House this week.  I wonder if this is the same one Warren got.  


September 20, 2011

Dear Friend:

Thank you for taking the time to share your views.  I appreciate hearing from you and value your input.

My Administration is working to address the serious challenges our Nation faces.  I am committed to taking immediate steps that generate job creation and economic recovery, and I am determined to make investments that lay a new foundation for real and lasting progress.

As I move forward on key initiatives, I am making my Administration the most open and transparent in history.  Part of delivering on that promise is hearing from people like you.  I take seriously your opinions and respect your point of view.  Please know that your concerns will be on my mind in the days ahead.

Thank you, again, for writing.  I encourage you to explore, which is regularly updated and more interactive than ever before.


Barack Obama

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You're A Pill

               I remember my parents saying that when I’d play a little joke on them when I was a kid.  These days, everyone looks for a cure-all capsule for whatever ails them.  Now, pharmaceutical companies make up illnesses to sell their chemicals.  It’s big business, not a little joke anymore.
               Our biggest societal sickness is self-hate.  We are loved, nurtured and socialized.  We see people who have more attractive eyes, can climb higher in a tree, do their hair nicer, have more money, a more desirable body, run faster, possess the voice of an angel.  As a result, we combine all these features into one imaginary spectacle and feel inept in every way.  I’m too fat, too weak, too dumb, too short to dunk a basketball and we beat ourselves up disgusted at our inferiority.  We whip ourselves raw with mental thoughts confirming our inadequacies.  And we begin to believe it and that leads to shame and anger.  It becomes a self-prophecy.  We stop growing, experimenting, or even trying.  It’s a snowball gone wild and there is no magic pill.  Yet, those around us see our worth, our talent and point it out to us, but we don’t listen.  We are certain we are useless and unworthy of the space we take up in our existence.  Our brain told us so.
               The blame for this not some outside source.  We are the ones who collected the information, categorized it and concluded we are despicable.  The only cure is not a pill, it is a self-realization that we do have talent to offer and we can contribute to the better good with our own unique flair.
               For instance, only I could have written this in this moment of time and space.  I am sure others have expressed it more eloquently in the past, but if my words reach just one self-hated spirit and wakes her up to her beauty, then I have done well.  It all begins with self-love.  It's true, you're a pill!  Give it a try, you might just like it, find peace of mind and make a friend for life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Changing Course

               We are a social species.  Even hermits talk to themselves, the birds and inanimate objects.  Believe me, I know.  Being social is innate and nurtured.  Family, neighbors, friends, school, work, we are smothered in it.  We set out to explore other people and easily identify their love, kindness, goodness and beauty even though they fail to recognize it.  We do the same to ourselves.  We disregard accomplishments and compliments from those who more clearly see us.  Instead, we focus on our self-perceived inadequacies and failures.  Never good enough, we brainwash ourselves into believing we are worthless, dumb and ugly.
               So, we search and discover more people who are so wonderful inside and out and find they question their value too.  It is so vivid to us that we are unable to resist them and want to be a part of their beauty as friends and lovers.  We hope we are clever enough to bamboozle them into thinking we have some to share in return.
               Most wars in this world occur in our own heads.  It is a continuous battle and until we undo our hostile self-torture, the war will continue.  I am changing course and choosing peace.  It is time to take an introspective expedition to the inner core of me.  I am in search of I, the one others plainly see.  It’s time to reverse the tsunami tide of negative and flood it with positive thoughts of self. We seek to see the goodness in others, it’s way past due we do the same for ourselves.  That’s what life is, looking for I and accepting what we find as treasure and loving ourselves instead of constantly beating our self up.
               I invite you to join me in this journey, but no self-centered, egotistical, fat heads who are in love with themselves are welcome. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Snidely Whiplash

               I always loved that cartoon character’s name.  The evil villain with the handlebar moustache was foiled every time by the inept Royal Mountie, Dudley Do-Right.  Dudley was mad about Nell Fenwick, but she only whipped her lashes for his horse.  In real life I have seen girls wearing snidely eyelashes that looked long enough to be whips.
               Opened the mail the other night which is usually an unpleasant affair.  No wonder the post office is losing billions.  Anyhow, my regular IRA statement was amongst the rest of the junk.  I hadn’t bothered opening the previous one I received a month ago.  This one said my meager portfolio balance was zero dollars.  Well, whip my neck.  It never was much, but it was something.  I quit paying attention to the media, but I found it difficult to fathom the financial market shut down completely.  Then I thought what kind of idiot would want to steal my identity to abscond my piggy bank.  Next morning, I called my personal representative whose name was on my statement to inquire where my pittance might be.  Of course, I was connected to a live answering machine.  Now, isn’t that personal!  My broker, who has made me the same for the last number of years, immediately returned my phone call twenty-eight hours later assuring me his organization was just in the midst of changing every account number for no apparent reason.  My chump change was still safe.  I’d like pull out my whip and lash a few of these snidely clowns in monkey suits.
               Now my wife is dealing with some whiplash.  She was the front car of three in a stop and go rear-end collision on the freeway.  She was fine for a few days. But developed a headache that won’t go away.  Doctor took x-rays and compared them to ones he took a few years ago.  Diagnosis confirmed, severe whiplash.  Neck, jaw and back all ajar.  One hip is lower than the other too.  When I start joking around, I should pull her shorter leg.  The car is all repaired.  Wonder how snidely the guilty party’s insurance company is going to get about making her whole again.  Sure hope I don't have to depend on Dudley Do-Right.      

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Running Wild

   I sit in a circle with my tribe and pass the peace pipe.  Someone left the gate unlocked and my imagination escaped from its cage.  The neurons or protons or futons or whatever they’re called actively ping in my brain.  Suddenly, my word crop grows taller than the cornfields.  Overnight, I turn into a word farmer.  With fertile fields ready to harvest, I pick the ripe words and phrases like apples, tomatoes and cherries late into the night.  I rise with the sun and plant alphabet seeds for nearly an hour.  I rejoin my tribe in a circle and inhale from their pipe.  We dance and rejoice each woo-hoo and powwow the good spirits to exorcise the demons some possess.  Repeating these activities quickly addicts me to the love and support.  My other to-do list doesn’t even get written.  I only crave and focus on my next fix.  It feels good letting my imagination run free and wild. 

Getting To Now

               I was reincarnated this past weekend when I spent some time with a couple toddlers.  They showed me how they thrive in the now with vigor.  No regrets from the past, no worries of the future, they joyously celebrated now and the infinite possibilities it offers.  My now is filled with amazing.  With a child’s curiosity and a longer memory, I daydreamed if I could recreate this feeling on demand.
               I went back to my conception thinking Glenn Miller’s band was playing “In The Mood” on a primitive turntable.  I was named after him.  I couldn’t have got to my now “now” if my parents hadn’t moved us 400 miles out of a redneck, hick town to the suburbs of a growing, big city.  After graduating college, paid in part by washing dishes and matriculating to head cook, I was hired as a manager trainee for an expanding restaurant chain.  Once trained, from this job I found in the newspaper classifieds, I was assigned to my first restaurant.  It was a 24 hour, American food diner.  The first employee I met was the graveyard waitress who gave my boss the sports page and me the Sunday paper comics.  In less than a year, she was my wife. 
               Her brother is an audiophile and gave me a CD of music by a guy named Greg Brown.  You can read about some of the adventures that road took in my earlier blog posts.  Among those adventures, I discovered a fan group online and made lots of amazing friends.  One of them recommended a book on creativity.  Another became a good email friend.  My e-friend told me about being invited to a private group to study the creativity book together online.  Unsure if she should accept this by-invitation-only offer, I pushed her off the fence with envy.  Previously, she had suggested I check out the group leaders public blog and I instantly connected and began commenting on posts as only I can.  Having been inspired by reading the first chapter of the creativity book a year before, I was jealous.  There was no way I was going to invite myself and I told my e-friend not to suggest me.  She did anyway, nobody listens to me. 
               Because of all the infinite possibilities of past nows, I am in an incredible now.  The group welcomed in with supportive, arms open.  My daydream concludes that reproducing all these events are improbable, but putting yourself out there presents an infinity of opportunities.  And thank Heaven for the little girls who exposed the glory of now.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Glow Worm

               I love parties, especially when they’re at my house and someone else is hosting.  That’s my part-hermit, part A-plus personality.  My oldest child threw a birthday party for a friend yesterday in my backyard.  My admission price was helping out on the fringes as she and her buddy did all the real prep.  Her buddy has a one year old and near three old.  They’ve been here a few times this summer and at best have been reasonably lukewarm to me.  Yesterday was different as their mom and my daughter shish-ka-bobbed fruit, veggies and meat.  My kid has never done anything half way.  The young ones became my miniature shadows.  I kind of wanted to see my college football team play, but the wee ones were way too fun.  Unaccustomed to little people, I bopped the older one with my arm when I went to turn around.  She barely blinked and continued to make me her pied piper.  I have been exploring for my artist with an incredible support group lately.  Maybe the light bulb within me has a higher wattage. 
Kids see things that adults learn to be blind to.  Their mom set up a kiddy pool and slip-n-slide on the hill.  The delight, the spontaneity, the excitement in a child’s eye grabs my heart strings every time.  They have no worries of how to pay the power bill or where their next meal is coming from.  They just imagine, explore, follow their hearts and exist in the present.  Responsibility and social mores seem to deaden us as we age.  The one year old chose to ignore her mother’s scolding and showed me she needed me to hold her.  There’s a first for everything.  Sopping wet, it was an honor to pick her up.  Older girls don’t let me do that anymore. 
Water sports drain energy as I painfully learned on my dad’s pee-wee baseball team.  He prohibited swimming on game day.  Nine years old in 95 degree heat, I had to pool dip and I didn’t get to play that night.  The little ones were put down for a nap to recharge.  I tuned in to my game and saw my team block an extra point attempt and then run it all the way down to the other end of the field for two points.  This was going to be some wild day and the party had yet to begin.
I hung the birthday sign and pulled out extra chairs.  The guests started arriving.  All 30-plus years younger than me, I collected hugs.  Nine out of fifteen or so is pretty good.  Some of them I have known before the kid in them was scared away in young adulthood.  The unhuggers must not have seen my lamplight glow or were too inhibited by taught social restrictions.  Most of the evening, I sat out on the lawn that looks like a freshly mowed hay field, thanks to this late summer weather.  The hostess and guests mostly congregated on the deck.  I was a firefly, the writer type, sitting in the corner scribbling in my mental notebook.  I absorbed more than the paper towels in commercials. 
A party mind set, a bit of imbibitions and mouthful delights quickly leads to laughter.  I watched and joined in the interactions, dynamics and fun.  My gift to the guest of honor was a poem I recited in her ear.  She later requested I share it with the others, so she I guess she liked it.  Two of the guest were drag queens.  Good money, good tips they told me.  They simply call themselves queens.  Super cool, outgoing, friendly guys.  Guess I’ll have to go to one of their shows to get a hug from them.  One of them was making blended drinks for others and was asked if he was a bartender.  He said, no, I’m an alcoholic as he sipped root beer into the evening.  I applauded both of them for openly being who they are.  My kid has some pretty cool friends.  With a stimuli overdose, I said goodnight to all at 11pm.  They must have missed my inner glow worm because they built a bonfire with flames two stories high.        

Friday, September 9, 2011

Marvelous Night

               My brain lifts off to reach the full moon while I play ping pong.  All the while, I am just sitting in the comfort zone of my backyard deck.  Birds have either fallen asleep or departed to escape the neighbor’s radio playing commercial filled, soft rock.  Made preparations for my kid today around the house.  She’s throwing a birthday party for a friend here tomorrow.  Cleaned bits of the yard and house.  She and her guests won’t even notice.  Getting too old to manage it all.  I’ll be the only to notice the aches and improvements.  Got to remember to tune into my college football team's game in the afternoon.  Hope I haven’t forgotten how to turn the TV on.  After that, I will help the kid with whatever she wants me to do.  I know she’ll blare better music than my neighbor.
               One benefit of having a young adult kid is feeling the energy of her friends.  They have always been welcome here and are comfortable with me hanging out with them.  I do give them their space.  I have fond memories of my buddy’s single mom who always opened her home and heart.  Non-judgmental, she made everyone feel like family.  Unlike me, she didn’t mandate hugs, but often received them anyway.  I fully expect multiple hugs tomorrow.  It’s the rule of the house and I have trained them well.  Last time a talked to one of them she promised a hug or a mermaid.  Wonder which I’ll get.  Either way, I can’t lose.
               My paintbrush calls to me finish the window trim before the rains return, my mail sleeps on the kitchen table, and I am in orbit playing table tennis with zero gravity.  The neighbor’s radio goes silent and my dog barks at moon shadows.  I turn into Tom Waits and scare myself trying to moon dance.    

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Identity Theft

               This is the end of the road were the only words spoken.  After twenty-nine years of service, I was given five minutes to gather my personal belongings.  In shock, I left behind more than I collected.  My career had crumbled.  Too often, we define who we are by our occupation.  So, for five years I have carried the stigma of unemployed.  Constant rejection gnaws at worthiness.  Employers now openly state that the unemployed need not apply.  Their mission is greed and control.  Drug and IQ tests, a background check, all for a minimum wage job that is demeaning and unfulfilling.  The whole situation makes it feel futile to keep trying.  I can pass all their tests, but they want to control behavior when you’re not on their clock.
               My children have begun to scale the corporate ladder.  They have stayed in my nest to help their bum father as they itch to fly and make their own mark on the world.  My pride lamp glows brightly on them with gratitude and intense guilt.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
               Yesterday, all the neighbor kids headed off to the first day of school.  Today was my wife’s first day of work in thirty years.  Let’s hope I don’t have to wait twenty-five more years for a job.  It’s really her first time of being on a payroll in all those years.  She worked plenty hard being an involved mom and making our house a home.  She wouldn’t let me take of picture of her this morning like she did for our kids’ first day of school every year.
               Now I have become the house husband, stay-at-home dad whose kids only need me to find a job so they can soar.  Humbly, I recognize my talent wastes and withers as each day passes.  In the process, I have begun to discover my true identity.  It wasn’t stolen, but buried in manure just waiting to be uncovered.  Alone, we are getting reacquainted.  The cow pie skies are parting as I start anew three nickels short of a dime.
Enough introspection, I have floors to mop.     

Little Man In A Boat

               Hi, my name is Glenn, I'm nuts and I am a recovering artist.  Last week, I enrolled in a twelve step boogie to rediscover my creative wonder. With enough sunlight, water and support, my inner child will thrive like fruit on the vine.  I repel my crazy maker buggers and receive into my spirit only that which is whole, real and organic.  While tubing down this river, I will encounter jagged rocks threatening to overturn, deflate and drown my aspirations.  But, I am determined to find my way safely through the rapids a wiser, more artistic being in tune with the positive vibrations of the universe. 
               We see and find what we are looking for and I choose to search out good and kindness and love.  My blinders are outside in so I can reverse my path.  It is long overdue to re-examine and rediscover life and all the beauty, treasures and joy it offers, if only we seek it out.
               So, farewell my sad friends, I am on journey to wholeness and everlasting, orgasmic happiness.  I set sail to discover my new home of creativity.    

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Artist Friend

               As I shove Cracker, my censor, off the stage, he screams that social mores should be enough to keep my mouth shut.  With knees a wobbling and spine chills, I reach the podium and whisper. I am afraid, I am afraid of you.  But, I am helplessly, irresistibly attracted into your magnetic force.  I must face this fear or be forever blocked.  There are no rewards without risk.  Perhaps as I draw nearer, I will be thrown in the metal scrap pile again.  They don’t call me a master recipient of rejection for nothing. 
               Yet I am starved to touch and be touched.  I hunger for passion and the intimacy that goes with it.  So, here I am uncensored and naked.  I lay before you exposed and I am at your mercy.  I must leap in faith that your net will appear.  I am getting out of the way to allow you to flow your magic through me.  If we have these gifts, we are supposed to use them.  Maybe you are shocked or offended or possibly even a little flattered.  I must discover which because this has been consuming me and I must release the rumbling volcano inside.  Will I erupt in joy and prove Cracker wrong or will he tell me I told you so when I am doused back into dormancy? 
I crave to feel alive again.  Will you play with me?       

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wheels On The Bus

               My dog takes me for a walk every morning.  He waits for me to finish my shower outside the bathroom door.  When it hasn’t rained too much, he leads me through the woods full of Scotch Broom and blackberry stickers.  Each day, he knows how to deliver me to the sidewalk across the street from the grade school my kids went to twenty years ago.  We pass the bus stop, sometimes someone is standing there waiting for one.  I have lived in this neighborhood for twenty-five years and never taken the bus out of it.
               The suburbs dictate you have to have an automobile, even if you’re a hermit.  Just look at all the driveways with one or two cars.  And then there are even more parked on the street.  It’s like it’s mandatory to own a vehicle in case you want to escape the solitude.  My dog doesn’t really notice as he poops in someone’s yard.  I am a two bag scooper pooper, picker upper. 
Without much of an income for way too long, I have failed to give my transportation much love.  One came lunging and coughing, begging for help.  I limped it down to my trusted mechanic and discovered the shop is an ownership transition.  Good old Frank is retiring, hopefully the new guys will be just as good.  A few days after taking my car to the hospital, she was purring like a kitten again.  I had to bail her out with $1300.  Barack, I could use a personal bank account stimulus, hint, hint. 
Today the wife went out to do whatever she does with her sister most every weekend.  Stop and go traffic on the freeway, she was rear-ended by somebody who was rear-ended.  Her first traffic accident after twenty years of driving.  The rear bumper was branded with the license plate of the car that hit her.  We are not exactly the litigation kind.  When our former neighbor accidently broke both her ankles sledding, there were no lawsuits.  So far, she seems to be without whiplash symptoms and the car is relatively unscathed.
I am thinking I don’t need an auto to expand my horizons.  Maybe I’ll grab a pile of quarters out of the coin jar and catch a bus to who knows where.  That will be special date with my artist child.  Take a nap my sweet pooch, I’ll take you to the mailbox when I get back this afternoon.          

Friday, September 2, 2011

Can Of Corn

            I  pulled out my old baseball mitt for my kid who hoped to catch a foul ball at the Mariners game last night.  Nothing came her way.  That glove and I had some good times, like the one long fly ball that was hit over our head in left field, but with my speedy legs and outreached arms we hauled it in and hushed the crowd.  Felt good to hold her again when my kid got back from the game.  She fit like a glove!  We played on three all-star teams together. 
Just recently, I was selected to a different kind of all-star team.  A group of creative types have formed an exclusive online club to learn, grow and discover by studying and practicing the methods in a book called The Artist’s Way.  It’s a spiritual path to creativity.  I deserved to be on the select baseball teams, this one I am not so sure.  The universe is telling me it is exactly where I need to be right now.  Let’s just say I stumbled my way into getting invited and I am so excited.  My teammates are so supportive and seem to be as enthusiastic as me.  It feels good to feel welcome.
So, here I go on a twelve week journey of exploration.  Hopefully, by Thanksgiving, I will have dozen new friends for life, one of them being me.  I wonder if anyone will notice a change in my writings when I get there.  Will I be a better wordsmith?  I wonder if I’ll notice a transformation in me.  It’s time to set sail in search of my artist child.  Maybe I’ll take my mitt with me on this adventure so I can catch everything I can, including the impossible long fly balls way over my head.