Haunted by Hemingway

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I found myself haunted by the following words of Ernest Hemingway:

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”

The dynamics of Hemingway’s life are well documented. Nothing further to say there. My haunting is rooted in a creative soul and its desire for something more. Something more that pulls on me everyday. I know who he is.

The truth in Hemingway’s words, found in such an open and vulnerable way, lay out feelings of belonging. For me there is no other choice. I’m living too far into the story.

I lay this out before you because there is something more.

You’re Crazy, Eric

Steps

Many times over the last ten years I’ve been called crazy. What exactly does that mean? I mean, “you’re crazy, Eric.” I believe it was code for “what if you fail?”

I’ve made it a point to learn how to read communication of the non-verbal variety. It has helped me cut through the fog and certainly the BS. By the way, you can apply this to yourself personally. I’ve created a lot of fog and BS in my own head before. Whenever I’ve been called crazy, it often has spurred me on. Almost like treasure map with clues. Imagine, “when you hear this, do that.”

Not every bet pays off. We all would do well to remember that the “house” is called the house for a reason. Even so, a little craziness, a little chaos is essential to moving to a life worth living. In my experience, I would never have taken the risks I’ve taken without those twins. I would have hidden behind my citadel and played it safe. Craziness and chaos forced me into a path that hurt, and created in me an Epic Life. A strange dichotomy, I know.

On those nights when I’d awaken at 2 AM, and wonder if I really had lost my mind, there was always his voice saying keep going…just keep going. This is important. You are going to encounter a dismantling during your steps, it is inevitable. Don’t believe the crowd or your own doubts when you wonder if you have lost your mind. Finding life over the sun might be the most challenging pursuit you’ll ever undertake.

Here are some reasons why I advocate the beauty of crazy:

  1. Those who are not ” target=”_blank”>crazy are typically medicated and just wanting relief from a life that has no meaning at all
  2. If you walk away from your craziness, you’ll find no one willing to follow
  3. Maybe you’ve seen this ” target=”_blank”>clip? It strikes a good chord here
  4. If you haven’t gotten into the habit of taking risks, time will rob you of that desire, and time doesn’t give refunds. Start small and start now
  5. No one has truly lost by being crazy. People who live their lives to hide are the losers

I am thankful for the craziness.

The Giving Up Thing

Giving Up

Wrote this back in 2011. I was in the garden this past week and it dawned on me how I’ve been to this place and back, and back again. Hope you get some inspiration here. Cheers!

Picture this, you’re moving through life wondering where you fit in.  You’ve played many roles.  You’ve tried finding happiness in what everyone says you should be happy with.  But, alas, you’re still looking.  Every day you’re looking and the “giving up thing” rears its head (ugly or beautiful).

This is tough and lonely work.

If we’re honest, we’d admit that the purpose/mission has at one time or another whispered to us.  Trouble is we’re not a very honest culture.  The art of lying to oneself is very much the norm.  And so it goes, the whisper.  The proverbial, “this is what makes me come alive” or “I belong in this space.”  Do you listen or try to ignore?  So now you know.  It’s calling you and maybe you’re one of the few that listens.  Your first step out into the great unknown is a dip (thank you Seth Godin).  Maybe it’s skepticism, maybe it’s envy or maybe it’s flat out fear on your part.  Before long you begin to wonder what you’ve done and is it too late to turn back.  Turning back always has your number on speed-dial.

There is a reason Cortez burned the ships in the harbour.

Let me be clear, sometimes you should give up.  I think we know when that is.  The time to give up is not when you’re being refined by the crucible of exhaustion and doubt.  And believe me, that’s when many do give up.  I’ve always believed that no one can truly play a part in changing the world until they have felt pain and loss.  By the way, that’s what everyone else has experienced.  And is experiencing in some way.  The audience is looking for someone who is unwavering in integrity and has a passion to solve the problems.

Here are some observations on combating the desire to give up when you shouldn’t:

  • As mentioned earlier, your exhaustion and doubt may be related to the crucible.
  • Being who you really are is Tough Work.  Don’t buy the lie of ease and comfort.
  • Going back is often the first step to your own eulogy.
  • Don’t confuse the need for reinvention of your work versus turning the lights out.  Your work is your work, know what it is.
  • Be allegiant to your life.  This brings clarity, you’ll need this when the difficult times come.

Living Music

My friend, Marc, shared this performance by Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter with me and it truly inspired. Instrumental music has always created space in my head to dream, write and most importantly live freely. The genre of jazz has always struck me as a living music as well. The movement, the improvisation, the unexpected beauty.

I hope you enjoy the video as much as I have.

 

Forced to Be Authentic

What if we awoke to a world where you had no choice but to be authentic?  A flood causing  your authenticity, or the lack thereof, to be easily detected by those coming in contact with you.  This would have scared me to death 10 years ago.  Thankfully, not the case now.

I'm struck by how much time can be spent getting back our identity from a world that seems bent on taking and counterfeiting it.  Even more tragic are those who never get it back or care to attempt the feat. It's as if there's a daunting figure who scares you into giving up dreaming, giving up taking a chance, giving up the willingness to be laughed at.  And then you're convinced to take the position pill of safety and conformity.

The following concert clip is from Peter Gabriel.  I don't know if he ever confirmed it, but I've read that the song is about a major shift in our ability to see the authenticity in other people.  And instead of me trying to explain in a half way, take a peak at the clip or read the lyrics below the video:

 

When the night shows
the signals grow on radios
All the strange things
they come and go, as early warnings
Stranded starfish have no place to hide
still waiting for the swollen Easter tide
There's no point in direction we cannot
even choose a side.

I took the old track
the hollow shoulder, across the waters
On the tall cliffs
they were getting older, sons and daughters
The jaded underworld was riding high
Waves of steel hurled metal at the sky
and as the nail sunk in the cloud, the rain
was warm and soaked the crowd.

Lord, here comes the flood
We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
If again the seas are silent
in any still alive
It'll be those who gave their island to survive
Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry.

When the flood calls
You have no home, you have no walls
In the thunder crash
You're a thousand minds, within a flash
Don't be afraid to cry at what you see
The actors gone, there's only you and me
And if we break before the dawn, they'll
use up what we used to be.

Lord, here comes the flood
We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
If again the seas are silent
in any still alive
It'll be those who gave their island to survive
Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry.

There is no doubt, the only way you're going to have a life worth remembering is getting to (or back to) a place of being "real."  For whatever hell you encounter in doing it, worth the effort is an apt response to that crossroads.  My prayer and energy goes out to you.

The Security Of Dreams

Had someone tell me last week that your target=”_blank”>authentic swing is found in the "letting it flow" zone.  Don't know why that analogy struck like it did, but Neal's got a good grasp on things.

Today I'm talking with a business partner and friend about the courage it takes to pursue dreams, and the courage to hold onto them when the head-winds come.  This is hard work.

What I find ironic and tragic about where we're at-America specifically-is most people view dreams as some outrageous risk.  In other words, something that only fools and gamblers engage in.

What if our dreams are directions to living out what was poured into us?  What if the Matrix is just trying to get us off course, so we will wake up to a life of regret?

There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest security and safety is found in our dreams-the authentic variety. 

Do you believe this?  If it is, what are you doing about it?

Everyone Has A Story

I subscribe to the Pigg Pin because I need help in the garden.  Kevin dispenses in an understandable way, and I don't have to spend crazy amounts of time implementing the advice.

His post is more about his journey in life and entrepreneurism.  It's rooted in accidents and attraction, but one that I share on a different path.  I believe we all have something in common with Kevin.  Shame that so many spend a lifetime denying it.

Cheers to you if your living the dream, and to Kevin for the gardening and entrepreneur advice.

A New Voice, A New Dream

The below is an instrument (Chapman Stick) that I've added to my book of dreams.  I played bass many years ago and a conversation with a musical director prompted me.  I told him the Stick was an instrument that might be my next "voice." 

I'm convinced that we all need to have a book of dreams-we also need to make those dreams come true.  Not all dreams make it to reality, but I'd rather have a few that do right along side the one's that don't.  Shows you're playing on the right field.

Here's to checking the dreams off one-by-one as time flies by.