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July 21, 2003

All my fine words last week, and I'm still not writing very regularly. . .

Rereading Shogun. I originally bought the book more than 10 years ago, as plane and coach reading while traveling in Spain. No one else on the trip understood why I was reading a book about medieval Japan while traveling in Spain. Somehow I never managed to adequately explain that it wasn't the subject matter but the fact that it's an 1100 page paperback.

Yesterday, I found a little card marking page 758; the card offers a Fiesta Americana on the 4th of July, "Tu segunda cerveza gratis." I have always assumed I had finished this book, but now I'm not so sure.

Watched Treasure Planet last night. It's OK, a bit lacking in subtlety. I may now need to read Treasure Island. Mom tried to read it to me when I was small; all I remember is being scared out of my wits. I can't remember if it was the story that scared me or the paintings. It was a Junior Illustrated Library edition with very few illustrations: black and white drawings at the beginning of each chapter and five or seven color paintings. My voice recognition software uses excerpts from the first chapter of Treasure Island as part of its training. I almost know it by heart, and it's always a little sad that the story comes to a screeching halt so soon.

July 16, 2003

At the rate I'm going, I'll have to to rename this journal "Almost Weekly". . .

It's this ridiculous Protestant work ethic. Whatever I'm doing has no value unless it's gainful employment. One would think that by now I would have figured out how to turn that voice off, or at least convince it that taking small steps now toward my dreams will help me achieve gainful employment later. But, sadly, I haven't figured out either, evidently. All day, every day, somebody else's projects, somebody else's words.

I'm not complaining, much. It's more that I'm frustrated with myself. I know, and I was reminded today with one of the writers' newsletters that appear in my in-box, that I need to be writing every day. Not when there's time. Not when I feel like it. Not when the workload gives me a few spare moments. Every day.

It's just a matter of doing it. Like the yoga I do first thing every morning, except this morning since I'm not supposed to do an inversion before the end of the week.

A while ago I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, mostly to see what all the fuss was about. The author has been rather successful with real-estate, and he seems to feel that will be more stable and earn him more money than traditional stock market games. Whatever. The most important lesson I took from the book: pay yourself first. He meant literally. Give yourself the chunk of your business income that you want for yourself; sure, when the taxman comes, there will be a deficiency, but the awareness of the deficiency should inspire you to go out and make the additional money you need to keep yourself out of prison. Not exactly the way I want to live my financial life, thank you. But a useful metaphor. If I permit myself to use the time I want to spend on my projects first, before the projects for other people, I will somehow find the time to accomplish both. Walnuts and rice, again.

July 08, 2003

Saw Terminator 3 over the weekend. I don't think I've ever seen a movie more obviously designed for no other purpose than to make someone a lot of money. Problematic plot, shallow characterizations, average action sequences, and an ending left wide open for more of the same. This movie should have never made it to the theater. I don't normally complain about movie ticket prices, but $10 a head is a bit much for something that is really no more than a special two-hour preview event for a new television series.

Interesting trend, though, this summer. Are we really that afraid of technology out of control? Is it a real fear that we may be eclipsed by our own inventions? Perhaps it is time to start thinking about broadening the definition of multiculturalism. Or maybe to be more respectful of more things, from the natural systems we abuse to the artificial systems we create and enslave.

July 01, 2003

Seems to me we stand at a crossroads. On the one hand, there seems to be a growing consciousness that things cannot stay as they are. On the other, our very inertia propels us toward chaos and catastrophe. I went to the market yesterday, and while walking in the parking lot I seemed to see two buildings: the intact commercial center in front of me and a dark and crumbling shell mentally overlaid. I'm never sure what causes the destruction my inner eye sees, just that it's a possibility.

Finished reading Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters Trilogy. Wrapped in a story of 10th century Ireland that begins with a retelling of the tale of the six brothers turned to swans and rescued through the pain and determination of their sister, the author offers a suggestion for the origin of Avalon and the possibility that when the time is right The Islands will unveil themselves. She does not speak of the return of Arthur but rather the return of balance. After centuries of destruction and pollution, of believing our human selves above and outside the tapestry of existence, we will rediscover what we once knew: We are a part of a whole, balance is everything, and there's magic in the elements, in family, in love.