Monthly Archives: December 2011

Beauty in a Chainsaw Massacre

I contemplated some New Year’s appropriate topic for this blog, but I ended up staring at a blank computer screen, mirroring my thoughts. I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions for a variety of reasons: sometimes out of laziness, other times, from a weary jadedness, or a simple lack of thought and planning. Moreover, the need to change is not suddenly recognized by some magical turning of the calendar. Rather, resolutions should be made the moment a need is recognized.

However, none of this is meant to take away from the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. I am not arguing against them–much the opposite. January 1st allows for a convenient starting point for difficult transformations. For many, this reminder of a New Year forces a re-evaluation of the past year, which shines light on the areas requiring improvement. What I am arguing is a greater self-awareness throughout the calendar year to notice and revise one’s life sooner than the beginning of January 1st–in effect–the personal institution of numerous “New Years”  within a single year.

One resolution I made, and hope to re-affirm with the New Year, concerned the development of writing on a habitual basis, which, as many of you may recognize, I discussed in my first post (which you can find here). I had considered waiting to begin this blog until the New Year for all the sentimental, convenient, and symbolic mumbo-jumbo that accompanies starting anew on the 1st of January, but I quickly realized that by waiting another month, I was feeding the same procrastination and doubting voices which had paralyzed my writing in the first place. Instead, this blog began in December, not January. There isn’t too much symbolic or sentimental about December the 7th (My apologies if that is your birthday, anniversary, etc.), and it was even less convenient given the proximity to finals.

Therefore, I will honor my resolution with a simple blog post.

At this point, you may be wondering (and possibly concerned with) how the title of this post  is involved, which is perfectly expected.

In the previous post, I shared a video of a poem, constructed by George Horne. While writing that entry, I browsed through his other videos and I found a more recent video titled Man & Machine. Drawn by the title, I opened the video below. I was instantly fascinated by Peter Leadbeater–by both his artwork and his methods.

If you visit his website (here), you will quickly discover that he has created numerous pieces of art spanning from small, interior pieces to massive, exterior sculptures, along with functional, yet beautiful, furniture. The combination of a stereotyped aggressive, violent tool of destruction with the calm, elegant, peaceful products is simply inspiring.

Yet, not only the nature of Mr. Leadbeater’s artistry drew my attention, but also the description he supplied in the video. I particularly enjoyed his answer to why he is an artist:  “I need to make, I need to express, I need to… explore form and shape and beauty really is what inspires me… I guess I’m an artist because I like beauty.” For many, maybe even most, artists, writers, and musicians, this need to express themselves and explore their world combined with a love of beauty is the very reason the pursue their trades.

Even still, I was most inspired by the background story. From a young age, Mr. Leadbeater discovered a love of creation, particularly through woodworking. He chased this passion, which led him to become the chainsaw artist. Stories of individuals finding, pursuing, and achieving their dreams provides me with encouragement and inspiration to join their ranks someday, and then share my story with other young dreamers.

And that, at the core, is the purpose of this blog: to document one man’s struggle to climb his mountain and, by doing so, encourage and inspire other to chase their dreams, no matter how lofty they seem.

Advertisements
Tagged

The Unforgiving Minute

As this weekend marks the Christmas holiday, there stands a slim chance I will find the time and focus to post anything; therefore, this week, the post is a few days early.

The previous post addressed the product of words and melody into music and the consequences of music upon the human condition. In many ways, this week serves as a reinforcement of the conclusions made. Many of you may have read or heard of Rudyard Kipling, as he is most famously known for his publication of the Jungle Book. A prolific writer, Kipling published numerous short stories throughout his lifetime.

However, my favorite piece of his is not a short story, but a poem.In 1910, Kipling wrote a poem simply labeled “If.”  The poem addresses the art of living–capturing and employing every moment. Or, as Kipling writes, “fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.”

While reading the poem alone is enough to evoke the emotions Kipling poured into this short poem, I stumbled across a video constructed by George Horne which combined the words of Kipling with narration of Des Lynman and further accented by the music of Pavane by Gabriel Fauré. The result is a moving three-minute film that brings to life the words of this 100-year-old poem.

More than many others, this poem touches the human condition. Every person can connect with at least one line or one verse. These four verses contain lessons all of humanity could and should learn, and, by doing, we would gain “the Earth and everything that’s in it.”

Text from “If” by Rudyard Kipling:

http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Rudyard_Kipling/kipling_if.htm

Biography on Rudyard Kipling:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1907/kipling-bio.html

Tagged

Keep It Simple

[For those of you who like schedules, routines, and such, it appears I will be adding a new post at least every weekend. I’m trying to blog at least once a week, and the weekend allow for the most time for hobbies such as this. So! If you’re not subscribed/following the blog (which you should, just sayin’) check back on the weekends and there should always be at least one new post to read.]

Sometime around the beginning of the now concluded Fall semester, I wrote a note on a sticky note with a simple phrase: Keep it Simple. I no longer remember why I wrote this note, but it ended up stuck on the wall next to my desk for the duration of the semester.

Eventually, the yellow note became a part of the wall, and often went unnoticed. Had the note fallen from failing adhesive so common to generic brand sticky notes, I may have completely forgotten it. However, the note endured through the semester. As the semester drew to a close, finals loomed, and bags began to be packed, I found myself noticing this note again.

Keep it Simple

A simple phrase. A common expression. An overused cliché.

Keep it Simple

We live in a highly complex world. Technology expands and evolves at exponential rates. As a society, we participate in a daily struggle to fit as much as possible into 24 hour periods. Increased efficiency brings only more stress, rather than satisfaction as we fill each crack with activity.

Just Keep it Simple

From experience personally and with others, I have found much of life’s adversity requires a simple, but sincere solution. From the beginning, humanity fundamentally struggles with distorting relatively clear issues. A combination of emotions and assumptions cloud an individual’s rational problem solving, attributing to rash and, ultimately, damaging “solutions.”

Relationships are too often broken by over complicating a disagreement. Eyes shed tears, fists abuse walls, and pillows muffle raised voices because a straightforward problem was made difficult. Disputes arise from a misunderstanding and lack of communication. One conversation of clarification could solve many of the relationship issues experienced. Sacrifice the pride preventing the problem from reaching its conclusion.

When the trials arrive; when the emotions rise; when the fights occur; when the frustrations begin, stop. Breathe, and remember.

Keep it Simple. 

Tagged

David, Sing Me A Song

(Insert ironic statement about starting an ambitious project during Finals week.)

One thing I can guarantee you: This blog will frequently feature music I find as I float around the internet.

Music.

Music, the simple symphony of words and melody, serves as the great unifier of humanity. I do not have the anthropological knowledge to claim this with complete certainty; however, I am unaware of a single culture without some form of music. Across the world, people cherish music. While the forms and functions may change from one people to another, music serves a vital role in each culture.

Why?

Why does music appear throughout history and across land as a common element of culture? Again, I am unable to make this claim with any expert knowledge, but I believe human beings are fundamentally musical beings. Music contains some level of emotion and meaning that supersedes normal language. Music connects with an individual, evokes feeling, and opens the imagination in a way no other form of communication can.

Music rejoices, cries, screams, whispers, dreams, and surrenders. Music reflects, intensifies, and suppresses experiences. Within hearts and minds, music itself breathes. Within each individual, music is alive. Music is more than a few notes and words on a piece of paper. Music is love lost and love found. Music is betrayal and companionship. Music is desperation and satisfaction. Music is the best evidence I can provide for the concept of a soul.

Each person views the world in a unique light. There are infinite shades of color from white to black, but the eye cannot detect the subtle differences, leaving only a small collection of discernible shades. Much in the same way, the individual approaches life subtly, but significantly, different from another. For this reason, those most similar to another, often share musical tastes, though the specific choices among the genres may vary. The music chosen reflects the journey one has traveled and is currently experiencing.

Therefore, I realize many of you may not find the music I share at all interesting, which is only to recognize our differences in culture and experiences. However, it is my intent to share with you my thoughts and feelings, which are often better conveyed through the songs of others than any combination of words I may attempt. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself enjoying some of what I have to share.

I recently stumbled across a young artist from Washington. His melodies and lyrics are often simple, yet he perfectly captures a variety of emotions and frustrations through his style. Noah Gundersen has released several songs, all of which are available to purchase through iTunes or his website, which will be included at the bottom. If interested, you can listen to the full songs on his website. Furthermore, Youtube has several great videos of him and his siblings (which are also talented). 

Here’s the lyrics:

I keep kicking at the curb with my worn out shoes
I keep running into strangers that say i know you
I don’t want to be a proud man, I just want to be a man
a little less like my father and more like my dad
 
I want to hunt like David
I want to kill me a giant man
I want to slay my demons
but I’ve got lots of them, I’ve got lots of them
 
I try to keep my conscience clean
I try to keep myself out of your bad dreams
I try to wash my hands for you every night
lest you find my strangling fingers wrapped around tight
 
I want to hunt like David
I want to kill me a giant man
I want to slay my demons
but I’ve got lots of them, I’ve got lots of them

And the website:

http://noahgundersen.bandcamp.com/

Pressing Words, Pressing RESTART One More Time

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Internet,
 

I wish I could tell you I am a master of eloquence. Or rugged traveler, home from wandering the world. But I am neither of these. I am just a man with a laptop and a lot on his mind.

I have spent my life chasing. I have spent my days chasing grades, objects, people, happiness, and truth. And I still chase these, yet the past year has yielded a new pursuit. Not new as a pair of shoes waiting to be broken, rather, as an overgrown path long ago abandoned. A new pursuit. A dream, anew.

I had a dream. I had a dream, not of noble unity, but of simple desire. This desire was born in the dark places of a young boy’s  struggle to understand. This dream began as a desire that began as an act of desperation. Beneath lamp light, stained in blood, this boy found a gift: a pen and notebook paper. Driven with passion, the two connected in a clumsy, disorganized manner. Those first ink-stained pages were the only testimony to a secret battle with demons.

With time, the clumsy prose was sharpened, and desperation gave way to talent. Talent weathered criticism, and continued growing until talent turned to passion. In those early years, the passion bore a dream—to write and, through writing, change a life or two. In other words, repay for that pen and paper.

But an immature man let a cruel world and the voices of his childhood demons steal that dream. The voices of Doubt told him he never would, and he believed them. So he said, “I never will. Those were the silly dreams of a child. This, this is real life.” And so he lived, but never really alive. Empty.

Empty has a funny way of spreading. And it spread, stealing the very marrow from his bones, the sinew from his muscles. Until, one day, he collapsed—no longer a person, just vacant skin. Suddenly, desperation was his once again. Through blood and tears, he fought to survive, but to no avail. He had forgotten his dream, his hope, the very breath that sustained him. Weary, his gaze fell upon a desk, illuminated by lamplight. Someone had left a gift at the altar, a pen and paper.

He remembered. He wrote. He dreamed.

Now here I sit, the pen and paper exchanged for a keyboard and blog. But this blog is more than a collection of writings (I tried that and failed). Rather, this blog is a post-modern sailor’s log of his journey through life in his search for truth. To this end, expect topics ranging from daily observations, to political or religious debates, to music, to interesting articles, and even possible original pieces of writing.

This online journal will contain my opinions, many of which you may not agree with. It is not my wish to stir up dissension; rather, I hope to challenge critical thinking. Posts may not be published on a regular schedule, but I will strive to maintain relevance. Constructive criticism is encouraged, but take baseless negativity elsewhere.

I am not always right; I am certainly far from perfect. This is just life as I see it.

This is What Doug Says.