End of Year Observations 2010

December 29, 2010

By Jay Cradeur

To quote my friend…

“Well look who crawled out from under his rock!”   David W.

It has been a while since I sat down to type out some words.  I have been talking about writing a book.  Talk talk talk.  Blah blah, freaken blah…  Have you ever felt like your life is one big honkin piece of bullshit?  Perhaps not.  I have certainly felt, no, cross that, I do feel like my life is one big honkin piece of bullshit!  I am the guy with the potential.  I am the guy that other guys expect much from.  I am the guy for whom it appears things come easy.  It is my time.  Or is it?  Is it time for us all?  Have you had some version of this monotonous grating conversation blasting in your head?  Start writing or take the pipe.  And although the pipe is sometimes rather attractive, I will start writing.  “Do Something!!!”

Inspiration is for Amateurs!

I have been reading more than usual lately.  I am now reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  I just finished reading Freedom by Jonathon Franzen.  I am always reading some nonfiction having to do with truth realization.  I read to feel what it must be like to be a real writer.  I read to get into the heads of the authors.  I imagine Jonathon Franzen sitting down every day, day after day, creating this fantasy world, with his fantasy characters, all with their unique insights and opinions.  I love Hemmingway.  I imagine him going to work each day, sitting in his writing space in Paris, putting words to his thoughts, feeling satisfied if he put together just one good sentence.

Inspiration is for Amateurs!  Charlie Rose is the man!  If you don’t know of Charlie Rose, he has a daily talk show on PBS.  He features topical guests, politicians, pundits, actors, writers and professional personalities.  My DVR records every new Charlie Rose show so I can scan through in my free time (like when I am not writing!) and watch the interviews that interest me.  Last month, Steve Martin was on speaking about the publication of his first full length novel, its theme and characters.

As Charlie does, he was asking Steve about the creative process, and what drives that process.  Steve said that the process of creating something, and putting that something out for public consumption, makes him feel a bit more alive.  Charlie Rose then cut to a clip of sculptor Richard Serra, who I had never heard of before as I am not drawn to any sculptors with the exception of Rodin, who was responding to Rose’s question about the creative process.   Painter Chuck Close spoke up, laughing as he said “Inspiration is for Amateurs, the rest of us show up and get to work!”   When I heard those words, I felt like someone had punched me in the gut.  “Inspiration is for Amateurs.”  In other words, create the space for the magic to show up.  Discipline.   Create the space, day after day, put my fingers on the keys, day after day, regardless of my “feelings.”   Inspiration is for amateurs!  So here I type, warming up my conduit muscles for the monumental 2011 task ahead.

Who is Chuck Close?  I did some research on Chuck Close.  What an amazing story!  This is from Wikipedia:

“The Event”

On December 7, 1988, Close felt a strange pain in his chest. That day he was at a ceremony honoring local artists in New York City and was waiting to be called to the podium to present an award. Close delivered his speech and then made his way across the street to Beth Israel Medical Center where he suffered a seizure which left him paralyzed from the neck down. The cause was diagnosed as a spinal artery collapse.[10] Close called that day “The Event.” For months, Close was in rehab strengthening his muscles; he soon had slight movement in his arms and could walk, yet only for a few steps. He has relied on a wheelchair since.

However, Close continued to paint with a brush strapped onto his wrist with tape, creating large portraits in low-resolution grid squares created by an assistant. Viewed from afar, these squares appear as a single, unified image which attempt photo-reality, albeit in pixelated form. Although the paralysis restricted his ability to paint as meticulously as before, Close had, in a sense, placed artificial restrictions upon his hyperrealist approach well before the injury. That is, he adopted materials and techniques that did not lend themselves well to achieving a photorealistic effect. Small bits of irregular paper or inked fingerprints were used as media to achieve astoundingly realistic and interesting results. Close proved able to create his desired effects even with the most difficult of materials to control.

The Law of the Reversed Vector.

So much of my life now seems to be about understanding just what I have been through these last fifty years of life.  When it comes to reading nonfiction, there are just a few authors that hold my interest.  One of those authors is Richard Rose, often referred to as the greatest guru no one ever heard of.   I have often said that my  life is an ongoing “being in alignment” with the universe.  It is a bit more than going with the flow, but you get the point.  In noticing what is required to be in alignment, I have started to make a list of rules, or laws that one may adhere to throughout this life experience.  For example, most people have heard of the law of attraction.   Simply put, what you think about is what you bring about.  Crude but effective.  Now I am reading a 37 year old book that I found in a used bookstore in Los Angeles, and I come upon the Law of the Reversed Vector, which is brilliant.  Not as simple to understand as the law of attraction, but brilliant nonetheless.

A human being, man or woman, can become a vector, a force of nature, moving in any direction.  The strength of the force, as pertains to the pursuit of truth, is directly proportional to the amount and quality of energy and attention applied to the pursuit.  Think of Ahab’s obsession with Moby Dick.  The brilliance here is that this law is so counter intuitive, yet so spot on in reality.  This law is all about the direction in which the vector must be pointed.  Rose is saying that you cannot vector towards the truth.  Rather, you can only vector away from non-truth.

You  cannot vector towards the truth.  Rather, you can only vector away from non-truth.

When all non truth has been examined and discarded, one is left with what Rose calls the “Absolute.”  Rose writes “It may be said that the Absolute is a state or essence from which all untruths have been subtracted, leaving behind a region of pure fact.”  Wow!  Did you get it?  Powerful.

“His uniqueness comes from the particular game that he plays.”  Richard Rose

Lessons Learned

Patience – I end this year humbled.  Nothing appears clear and definitive in my future.  I am not running to stand still.  Rather, I am standing still.  Patience seems to be one of  the big lessons of the year.  I see there is no need to rush ahead, to reach out to grab, to claim anything that I feel is mine.  Rather, I am content to wait at the back of the line.  All things will come in perfect order.

Death is Near – Last year, my wife’s mother died.  This year, our good friend Daven Joy took his own life.  Just two weeks ago, my 74 year old father was hospitalized and had surgery to remove a faulty gall bladder.  My friends are losing their fathers and mothers.  Seems many are leaving this plane for whatever may be next.   Two months ago, I had a dream.  In the dream, I knew that I would be dying in one day.  I had both a sense of fear, and marvel, at the realization that in 24 hours, I would know what happens at death.   Then I woke up.

Nothing lives up to its billing!  Nothing!  – From Day One out of the birth canal, it appears we are all living in some sort of dream world.  Implicit promises are made.  Get an education; it will get you your dream job.  Get married, it will make you happy.  Find your life’s purpose; it will give your life meaning.  Have children.  Make money.  Have sex.  Buy this.  Buy that.  Be a good father.  Go to church.  Eat, Pray, Love.  In the end, it all falls short.  It has to!  Otherwise, we would not feel the discontent that drives us to go deeper into ourselves for something that is real, for something that is true.

Thanks for reading.