“…At the Threshold.”

Or is it “on the threshold?” Doesn’t matter, it’s eyes toward the horizon now! Yesterday’s grab for clarity brought two points, Gloria Gaynor and the growing mind. And yeah, they probably are related.

Music has that strange quality, like electricity, that it knows what you’re thinking sometimes. And it tailors itself to fit your mood, despite the seemingly randomness of using the shuffle button. That’s a modern adaptation, of course, but I would bet that chamber music of the flirty flighty type was just the same for the young bright eyed couples of the early eras, the same being true for those lovely and somber funerary dirges.

It’s some kind of pattern, music is. It’s natural that such a logical machine like the brain would enjoy it, from whenever the first tune was banged out on some bones ‘n’ log to now. Now, when you go hunting and foraging for groceries, there’s music playing. Don’t like it? There’s probably some way to have your own follow you around already on your person.

But back to the point, as much as we want to give credit to music for “understanding” us and speaking directly to our souls, how much of that is wanting to be fooled?

In the last five months, I’ve discovered or rediscovered songs that have just “appeared” to prove some point, or to show some example, or to uplift, or whatever. The first, in November of last year, was Emily Kinney’s rendition of Jimmy Cliff’s “Strugglin’ Man.” Mr. Cliff’s original is a very peppy track, despite the heaviness of the lyrics.

As much as the mind works subconsciously, on that day, November 2nd, when I found the song and I heard the refrain – “Strugglin’ Man has got to move // Strugglin’ Man, no time to lose // I’m a strugglin’ man // and I’ve gotta move on…” that was the moment that the idea to leave my job sparked. It would lie dormant for some time, but I knew when I heard “Strugglin’ Man,” the message was clear.

We learned from Amy Tan last week that the everything aligns to show you signs (of the things we’re “sure” of) and that was probably my first. Certainly, something changed. (I can pinpoint a few times that literature has changed my life, too, which is why I’m so terrified of the power of “bad” words.)

Shortly after, in … December sometime, I found “Harmonic Motion” by Dubsahara and that was instrumental in getting me back into dancing after a long break. I needed that, plus, it’s a very fast-paced song, with lots of booming bass on capable systems, perfect for groovin’. That carried me for a few months, until February, this year, when I discovered Symphony of Science’s “Onward to Edge,”which was an inspiring catalyst to learn again. And more in April, when I found a few more catchy tunes for dancing purposes.

A lot of the dancing music doesn’t have lyrics, though. Or, it’s in a language I don’t understand, though I believe I get the sentiment (and then translate that sentiment with my hips!), but for that reason, in the absence of lyrics, the music is moving, so it can be danced to, but it doesn’t stir something within.

And yes, that leads me to Krogers yesterday doing me the great favor of bringing about Mrs. Gaynor’s classic song of strength, “I Will Survive.”

And yes, for some reason, high-paced, disco-style beats make it that much easier to accept and understand the message: I will survive.

That mindset makes it easier to accept that change is growth and that’s what I’m doing. I’m growing by leaps and bounds, and again, that’s supposed to feel good! Where is that feeling? It seems the more I learn and grow and want to do so, the more alienated I become. Is that the way it’s supposed to be? That gradual solitude is what I seek as a writer, anyway.

Surviving is the same as moving forward. They are synonyms. And as Jimmy Cliff so eloquently put, “Strugglin’ Man has got to move…” It’s a bright dawn tomorrow, but I’m only at the twilight. It’s going to be a long night in between and I expect a lot of things. Good, mostly bad. I keep hoping that knowing would make it easier to prepare for them, but so far, no.

For better or worse, I’m becoming more lost in my imaginings, which I’ve taken to huge extremes, though they lack focus, still. That comes with practice, which I get by way of imagining all the bad, horrible stuff.

I’m gettin’ past that and it’s still a mental work out, even if negatively-themed. Tomorrow is Sunday, the beginning of my days off. I am making no specific plan, but I’m going to devote this weekend to trying out what my new writing schedule might look like, mk I.

I believe in a lot of things and I’ve collected a lot of objects that mean huge amounts to me. These totems are going to have to be my new sources of strength, or at least offer some supportive role. Plus, that sort of thing may lead to its own story, a la “the Iron Coins.”

Oh, yeah, I’m seeing “the Jungle Book” again with Nate on Sunday. I’ll have to see if I can write these films off on my taxes as “research” since I’m trying to make it as a children’s author.

I hear the phrase “inner child” sometimes. Not as much as I used to, but I’ve more or less unplugged from television and related things over the last year. I’ve kept up with the shows I do follow, but I’ve pursued nothing outside of that. Anyway, there’s usually some speech that follows or precedes the phrase “inner child” and uh, it goes without saying that it’s always directed towards adults.

I believe in it, I also think that it should apply to letting a kid enjoy kid things as long as possible. That way, as adults, we might be more apt to admit that we enjoy some of the things that kids do. I mean, as much as there was so much to learn as a kid, those were simpler times. I’m reading their books (a lie), and I do like to be mislead that the world is perfect, people are good, happy endings are guaranteed. I’m not an optimist by nature, I learned it in the hardest way in a stinky jail cell in 2008 and I guard it so carefully now, more than anything, that I will always say the opposite of how I feel, just so no one will ever know.

I’ll happily argue a point I don’t care about, I may even pay attention to the interaction, but I will never mention the stuff that matters, because I refuse to be drawn into a discussion that may change how I might feel about some of the most important stuff in my life.

And that is a description of the opposite of a growing mind. That’s the point, this, too, must change. I mean, I knew I was going to have to start exposing myself to all kinds of everything in this whole process of becoming a writer, but I can’t say that I’ve ever looked forward to it.

In terms of gaining personal strength, this is probably the easiest way to do it, the proverbial trial by fire.

Ah, it would do me well to remember this, people are stupid and they don’t care. Almost nothing is truly memorable enough that it sticks in the mind of someone else forever. Most people won’t even see it, anyway, since it requires looking left or right. Then, they have to understand it and form some kind of opinion on it (< which is the easy part). And who cares? I’ve made a fool of myself hundreds of times, probably in just the last 24hrs. I’ll do it again. I guess it’s a little different when it’s your beliefs and morals and dearly-held ideals.

Dr. Richard Feynman, unintentionally, taught me why the ego is important. That doesn’t mean that I know to use it properly, even armed with this information. Worse, there’s thousands of years of written history to document that man doesn’t really use it properly throughout time.

I mean, at some point in our lives we can claim ignorance as an excuse. “You know, I just had no idea about anything like that.” After that, there’s no excuse that should ever be the case again, even if only in that specific area.

I can’t stop myself from feeling sad or knowing I’m going to lose, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to let it stop me. It’s cold today, again, surprise, but I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt anyway!

Vive le Spring!

-j.

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