gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Tuesday, August 30, 2005 To be continued... Some stories never die, even after death.
As I listened to these two people talking about the man they knew, I was just amazed to see how connected they were... to the man, to his story, to history itself... and I was so (what's the best word?) "satisfied" to have been a part of it... to have some connection to it myself.
She knew him as a boss, a mentor, a friend; he knew him as much as any son can know his father. They really knew the man after the diary; the man who picked up the Rafu Shimpo after World War II, to keep it alive. The diary, for them, was an inside look at the man he was before his time in the Japanese Interment camps.
As a writer, he wanted the story told. He was diligent about taking notes in that diary... even if they were sketchy or mundane much of the time. Some of the entries were like little footnotes to history; it'd be only a passing mention of an event that was far bigger than he let on.
But still, he made sure the story was told.
I never knew the man in Life. I only heard a whispered voice... stern, urgent and terribly persistent. A voice that may have passed beyond this world, but still demanded to be heard.
I found his diary at his urging... and returned it to his family, where I felt it belonged. I never questioned my decision.
And listening to her conversation, I felt "validated." She spoke of how almost-obsessed she was to write the story... like "someone" was urging her to tell the story... a stern, urgent and terribly persistent presence that kept at her until the first draft was complete.
I admit I had a little pang of envy at that. I think because I wanted to be that person to tell his story. Yet knowing who she was to him... and who she's going to be for him... I just know it's in the right hands.
I now believe the story is far from over. It's been a long hiatus, but it didn't end with the diary returning home. This isn't meant to be just another footnote in our history... it's really just the beginning of his story.
Do you have any stories of Life Altering events? Any After-Life stories?
Sunday, August 28, 2005 Half way there... Getting half way is still a big accomplishment.
I did a lot this weekend. It's just that I planned to do twice-as-much. It's just that everything took twice-as-long.
Still, when I take note of all that did get done... it's quite a lot. And none of it was particularly profound, but the nature of them represents subtle life changes.
Laundry... no big deal right? Well, it's my own machines in my own place. That makes it bigger.
Fixing my place up. Peeling and sticking vinyl tiles seems easy enough, but I never imagined I'd be replacing and grouting kitchen countertops. That just wasn't part of my thinking. The thought actually made me a little nervous... and yet now, passed that learning curve, I feel more empowered. I look around my old apartment and think "I can fix that" (and it feels good to know the landlord will have one-less-reason to keep my security deposit).
And I still managed to squeeze in a little bit of fun in there as well.
So, for now, I will celebrate my successes today... and make a new list tomorrow.
Thursday, August 25, 2005 Half and half If you spend half of your time worrying less and the other half doing something about it, the first half will be taken cared of by the second half.
Time is sliding by again... just with Life Stuff. The book writer didn't call on Monday and I was just too busy to make a big issue of it... I just now found out she left a message on my machine yesterday. I really ought to pay attention to the outside world sometime... or at least to my voicemail.
It was something about a meeting tomorrow... so I'll pick up the ball and run with it... just at a more reasonable hour.
My words of wisdom at top don't really pertain to anything in particular. I suppose I could force it to mean something in all that's been going on lately... but I won't.
Actually I was trying to find a way to it that into a cartoon and it was just too big to fit... so there it is, in its nutshell.
The point is to do stop sulking about "stuff" and at least turn it around half the time into some form of productive action. That way you can at least feel like you're being proactive... and it leaves less time to let it get to you.
Sunday, August 21, 2005 Write on... Just because one chapter is closed, doesn't mean the story's over.
Years ago I found a diary... a very special diary... from a man who had his family (in fact his whole life) torn apart by being put inside the Japanese Interment camps during World War II. What made the diary so special is that he urged me to find his diary. He TOLD me to find it... years after his death. Read about it here, if I haven't told you the story already, then come back and pick up the story now some 15 years later.
I got a phone call from a woman who asked if the last name of the writer meant anything to me. You see, all she had to go on was a letter I had written to the family when I returned the diary to them. Apparently I'm not that difficult to track down (so why I haven't heard from some people in years is beyond me, but I digress).
It turns out that she's written a book about the family, and after reading how I found the diary, now wants to rewrite it to include my story. We're supposed to meet this week to go over rights, royalties and my involving with this project going forward.
I'm very excited. I always believed I lived in that house for a purpose... and am still passionate about sharing their story. I respected their privacy when they asked for it years ago... knowing that the door has opened again, it's giving me renewed hope.
Speaking of renewing hope...
I also had a chance to get out of the house (re: condo) to actually go see not one, but TWO movies this weekend... both of which had lots of hope.
The "40 Year Old Virgin" is light hearted and not as mean-spirited as it could've been. It has a few fratboy sophomoric feel, but still has enough heart to keep it endearing. It reminds me a lot of a script I wrote many years ago (not the virgin part, but more like the lost-boy-becoming-a-man-finally angst-ridden romantic comedy part). I had a few pangs of envy seeing what Steve Carell was able to bring to the screen. Good job Steve! You really scored with this one!
The other hopeful movie is "March of the Penguins." Sure the soaring music and spectacular cinematography is meant to yank the heart strings right out of your chest... but isn't that why you go to these types of movies? Penguins rock! If they can walk 70 miles to go get dinner, you certainly can go a few miles to see this pic.
Of course this meant foregoing a few activities this weekend... but I said I was going to be more level this weekend and I was.
Now I'm full of hope and eager to see how the coming week plays out.
Thursday, August 18, 2005 Leveling... There is an optimal level of effort... too little and you don't reach your goals; too much and you waste your energy.
I've been burning out a little bit. Everything I've been doing has been taking a bit longer than expected. Deadlines have become a distant memory and I'm just pushing forward to "as soon as I can." Maybe it's not because the deadlines are too unreasonable... it's the scope that keeps creeping.
In order to "enhance" a project a work, we added so many bells and whistles that it's nearly impossible to get through. We seem to have devised the longest way possible to get the least amount done. One little "oops"... one tiny "oh"... sends us back through the cycle of bell-bell-whistle-bell-whistle (or is that bell-whistle-whistle-bell-whistle?). I say "we" because I'm as guilty of whistling as the rest of 'em. I feel bad because it seems like we're moving through mud... and I feel tired, because mud is tough to move through.
And I feel dirty.
And no, it's not THAT kind of project... and it's not that kind of mud... it's just that after spending yet-another-hour in the aisles of Lowe's, I just have a layer of dust permeating my pours; and I haven't even done any construction!
I didn't work on my kitchen floor last night, and I didn't do anything tonight either. I've whistled so much all morning, I just can't manage to work at night. My floor isn't level, and my energy level isn't up to the challenge.
That means more dedication to it this weekend. I'll just make sure to whistle a happy tune, and keep things level.
Sunday, August 14, 2005 Threads... Weaving together all the threads of our days, form the fabric of Life...
Often times, things come in waves... all with a common theme; sometimes it's celebration, sometimes its devastation. In any case, naming it with a theme helps us to define it. That way, we can either deal with it better, if it's bad... and remember it easier, when its good.
Lately, it's been pretty good.
I was sort of coming up with what my latest thread is, and I came up with...
"Celebration of Bowls"
Kind of an odd title, but everything lately has to do with bowls... bowls of different types... and it really is a bit of a stretch the way I make it all fit together... but that's my mind for you.
So let me explain...
Friday Night at the Hollywood Bowl Went with a large group of friends to see The LA Philharmonic with Tony Bennett. Although most of the group kept asking "what songs did he sing?" the evening was really enjoyable. He joked about being the Britney of his day... and for a man who's been "getting up there" for quite some time, he still had a lot of energy... and still sounds great. (The answer to their question was usually "Oh, I didn't know he sang that")
Kitchen Bowls Saturday was spent wandering around Home Depot's Expo store. Lots of really neat looking bowls... and a few funky ones too.
Toilet Bowls The less popular of bowls (but none the less important) was what I had to deal with on Saturday night. Welcome to Home Ownership... where the most exciting thing going on a Saturday Night is removing the bowl for the new floor to go in.
No bucket I didn't have enough buckets, so had to use some tiny plastic bowls to mix my flooring compound (Again, "getting plastered on a Saturday Night" just doesn't mean the same anymore)
Swap Meet at the Rose Bowl I spent this morning, worming my way around aisles of other people's junk. Let's just say that a lot of people want you to go retro. I ended up getting tools for $1 each... and a red neck (yeah, yeah, watch your comments)
Red Beans and Rice If you're ever in Pasadena, go check out Big Mama's Rib Shack... get yourself a bowl of red beans and rice... or some BBQ Ribs smothered in Big Mama's BBQ sauce... gooood eatin' !!!
Good Night I feel kind of "bowled over" from all this stuff, so ending my theme, and my post... I bid you all a good night.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005 Two steps forward... When you suffer a set-back, step forward.
Life rarely progresses one easy step after another. Sometimes each step is laborious; and other times we're actually back a few. The important thing is to keep FACING forward, even when the wind is against us... and step... and step... and step.
It just seemed to be the theme of the day... set-backs; Getting so far, feelin' good, then hmmm... wait a minute... that's not right.
It's partly my fault. I'm so busy with the "I don't have time" excuse that I've just been barreling ahead and skipping a few necessary prep-steps. It's not only come back to haunt me once... the same thing haunted me time and time again.
It was this pesky video I was editing... full of problems... but I just kept going until I found an "oops" then had to go back and redo stuff. A simple review session would've saved so much time. A **know** better... but "knowing" and "doing" are miles apart.
Hopefully tomorrow, I'll show that I've learned my lesson (that is, if I have the time for that :-)
In world news, the Space Shuttle made progress, but the whole space program has its share of setbacks. They've got a long road ahead of them. People have wanted to explore the skies ever since we looked up in wonder.
Even though there are dangers... and plenty of things we need to take care of here at home... I believe it's essential to the spirit of humankind to go forth and see what lies beyond us.
And tonight, while I think about the theme of setbacks, my mind lingers on my brother, whose setback this year was a big one. Tomorrow is the first wedding anniversary he will spend without his wife. Even though they hadn't had much celebration during the last few years, at least she was around to be together.
I'm sure it'll weigh heavy on him all day... and I sincerely hope that we'll keep moving forward... and one day reach the happiness he deserves.
Sunday, August 07, 2005 Leading to another... If it's not one thing, it's a dozen.
In keeping with my theme of one little thing makes a difference... it started off this morning with removing "just one tile" to icing my fireplace with plaster like a giant cake.
Yes, the fireplace looked dated and kinda ugly... I knew there were adventures under there just waiting to happen... and when it started to crumble with the slightest tough, I knew I had the day set out for me.
It wasn't really something I wanted to do the whole day doing, but one thing lead to another... which made the list of things-to-do-before-you-do-the-thing-you-want-to-do so much longer.
I'm starting to know the names of the people at Home Depot and Lowe's. The minute they greet me by name, I'll know I've made it to "too far gone."
Knowing me I would've stayed even later to work on the fireplace. The artist in me wanted to get all the lines just right... but the thing (and the laws of physics) just didn't want to cooperate.
I could've used "staring at plaster dry" as a form of meditation, but I chose coming back home and going to sleep.
Saturday, August 06, 2005 Different angles We may only sit a few feet away from one another, but our views can differ by miles.
After I posted that last entry, I went to a friend's birthday party. The backyard was set aglow by tiki torches and an abundance of Hawaiian food on the table.
I got there just in time to see a group of young girls perform the hula. As I watched, I bit into Spam Musubi that was so rubbery I couldn't get through it. I looked around to see if anyone else was having the same problem... then I looked again to see if anyone noticed me removing the plastic wrap and trying again :-)
As the evening wore on, and people drifted away, a small group sat around in the circle and ended up talking about every topic under the setting sun. There was the "well I know the hairdresser of the publicist for you-know-who" topped with "yeah, well I know someone who was WITH him." Then there was the usual politic flare ups mixed with "no way would I bungy jump!" and of course, that finishes up with discussions on Life After Death (been there), Aliens in the Bible (wasn't there, but I would've liked to) and "On death row, what would your last meal be?" (Something in a crock pot).
I really loved all the conversations, because no one was really arguing as much as just seeing the same things in different ways. I added my comments about how scientists look for what they can see for the answers and religion looks for what it cannot see for the same answers. We all just want to know who we are, where we came from and where we're going.
I'm not sure we'll ever really know (which doesn't make me agnostic by any means... I have my own set of beliefs, but I'm not so egotistical as to believe I've got it all figured out). As long as we have a singular view of the whole, we'll be narrow-visioned into understanding only a part of it and guessing about the rest.
I'm also not so sure we need to know all the answers. After all, it's the quest for the answers that defines our lives much more than the answers we find. Once we know it all, then what?
The way I see it (i.e. my little singular view of the whole) is that Life is for the enjoyment of it all... the experience of it... the sharing of our other singular views so that we can expand our minds and see it just a little differently.
It's all about taking off the plastic wrapping to see what's underneath.
Little differences... The little things DO make a difference...
I happened upon Blogathon this morning. It's a simple grassroots concept where volunteer bloggers post entries every half hour for 24 hours straight. Although a lot of them read like "this is my first post... this is my second post... only 23 more hours to go" it's very encouraging to see the effort that people put in to help others. They raised over $50,000 for various charities... that might be a "drop in the bucket" but
"Every drop of water makes the ocean stronger"
I wish I had known about it sooner, because in hindsight, I think going around Los Angeles to do LifeWatches for a whole day would've been quite an experience.
Someone please let me know if there's other events like that out there... or at least remind me next year way before it sneaks up on me again.
And if you're reading this before Tuesday, August 9th YOU can make a difference by pledging money to their cause... which is extra special cause you didn't have to lose sleep over it.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005 Iron it out... When Life hands you a wrinkle, go get an iron...
Standing in front of my new green screen, trying to remove a wrinkle by ironing it on the wall, I came to think about how my days lately have seemed an awful lot like this stubborn crease.
It seems like everything I've been doing lately has been very very good, with just one... little... thing... that makes it imperfect.
Take my new condo... please! The construction is going along, like mud down the gutters. It all looks great, but it doesn't just **happen**... Instead, it's phone calls after faxes after repeating myself over-and-over again to people who just nod then go about doing whatever they feel like doing anyway.
Every evening has been a surprise... but not in a oh-joy-birthday-party kind of surprise.. it's been more like "what-is-that?" and "who-told-them-to-do-that??" followed by more phone calls and faxes and nodding heads.
Tonight I'm off to scrape off the paint that the ceiling guys trailed from outside my unit down to their now-long-gone vans.
Then there are the video projects I'm getting through. Lots of fun, everyone enjoying themselves, making progress... bad sound... reshooting, less fun, almost everyone enjoying themselves, still-making-progress-if-we-hurry... computer crash...
And there are no creams for this... nor wrinkle releasers... no photoshop magic... that's going to do the trick. I just have to keep changing my plans... keep remaining calm... and iron out the details every chance I get.
And just keep reminding myself that this is all just part of the fabric of life... wear it well... and earn those wrinkles.