A Constant Thinker

The_Thinker,_Auguste_RodinThere are a million possibilities out there, a million ways to do things, a million reasons for living, a million photographs that I might find fascinating, a million people I have yet to meet. If I stood for a moment and tried to process all the information coming at me every single day, all the people who might still make a difference in my life, I might go stark raving mad. The human brain just wasn’t meant to process so much information at once, or at least mine wasn’t. But that doesn’t stop me from considering the vastness of the universe, and of every single thing within it that could even marginally relate to me.

My wife says that I am a random thinker, but I’m not. I’m really a constant thinker, which means at any given moment in time I’m thinking of multiple things at once, making connections between things that others might wonder at, and creating new paradigms for my world. Last night I spent five minutes cycling through Phil Collins’ lyrics in my mind, searching for the common link between all those words that have somehow found a space to call home within my brain. But if you want a Phil Collins lyric for any occasion, I’m your man.

Being a constant thinker means I’m constantly analyzing what I’m thinking, so the entire time I was cycling through songs like Sussudio, Easy Lover, and Testify, I was also trying to figure out what it was about Phil Collins that fascinated me enough for my mind to so intensely focus on him and his creative mind. These ideas of constantly thinking about things, and then analyzing those thought processes at the same time make for strange bedfellows. In fact, I’m often up late into the night lying in bed wondering when my brain will finally let me sleep. Some nights it doesn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’m any smarter for all of the thinking, or at least any smarter than I’d be without all of the thinking. I think it has just become a part of me and I can’t stop doing it. It’s not like a light switch that I can flip on and off. It’s always there, like my fingers and my nose, like the fact that my skin is brown, there’s no getting around it. And believe me, I sometimes wish I could get around it. I sometimes wish I could challenge my mind to a duel and if I won it would promise to zone out every once in a while.

Yet here I still am — a constant thinker — and here’s where I will remain, because life has so many possibilities, because my brain likes to consider all of those possibilities and create connections in my mind for each and every one of them, because if thoughts can be endless I don’t want to be left behind.


Lost in Plain Sight

ualbanycampusI got lost today, even though I left early enough, I thought, for that not to be an issue. I should have known better.

I had been to the campus before, albeit 12 years ago, for exactly one day, so it shouldn’t have happened. In my own mind I still have a photographic memory, but my brain betrayed me this morning as I drove onto campus hopelessly befuddled as to where the Humanities building was.

And I wasn’t about to ask someone either. It’s a point of pride, you see. And it ended up making me late. It was Freshman Orientation today, so there were about a million little cars pulling onto campus when I was, so I followed them, which was the wrong move to make.

They all ended up in a large parking area behind a massive building that seemed oddly out of place, for whatever reason. There were people all around, wearing purple, who were there to guide incoming students into the festivities, and it would have been so easy to roll my window down and ask one of them for directions. But I didn’t, instead accidentally driving right off of campus and having to resort to my phone’s GPS to find my way back.

Eventually I just gave up, parking in the nearest lot once I was back on campus, and deciding to walk around until I found Humanities. Which was funny, because after I made the decision and started walking on an actual path I found a campus directory clearly marked in front of the Business building.

And then I wasn’t lost anymore. But I was still late, so I started running.


Dear Journal: If I Were King

martin-luther-king-jr-nywtsDear Journal,

I have a dream too. It’s not all-encompassing, and it really serves no bigger purpose. But it’s a dream nonetheless. Everybody has a dream, I guess, and yet so many of us are still sleeping. Wake up, and experience the realization of the dream. Because the dream is nothing without the follow-up.

I need to wake up.

You know those lucid dreams, the ones where you believe you’re awake but you’re still fast asleep? We somehow convince ourselves that life has moved on, that we’re advancing when we’re in fact in some sort of stasis. I’m really good at that. I think maybe that gives me an excuse to get nowhere, running to stand still as it were. I wake long enough to realize the light is filtering in through the window, and I turn back over again.

But if I were King…

If I were King I would climb a mountain just to look over the edge and freak out at the distance to the ground. If I were King I would get dragged away because I couldn’t stop myself from caring. If I were King I would make those dreams real, standing up and making things happen. If I were King I would put on my marching shoes and lead a revolution. If I were King I would stay away from hotel balconies.

I would soar, and never come down.


300 Writing Prompts: #76

“When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter? Why did you do it? How did you feel afterwards?”

Moon shot courtesy of Rene Wigfall.When I was young I used to pull all-nighters all the time, and they usually coincided with some kind of party, a celebration of a youth and a vibrancy that I took for granted back then. I remember doing it by accident, going to a club, or a dorm room, or even a bar, and latching on with others who kept the party going until the wee small hours of the next morning. And surprisingly there were very few ill-effects from those nights of near-debauchery. No hangovers, no worries.

But as I got older the all-nighters became less of an accident, and more a product of intense planning. They also became relegated for the most part to New Year’s Eve, and then I would sleep the entirety of New Year’s Day away. Gone were the times when I could go a full 24 hours without sleep and still feel okay the next day. Coffee replaced beer at about 1 in the morning, when my body was crying out for me to just let go, to drift away in the blissful sleep that awaited me if I just gave in to it.

Then I stopped doing even that, and New Year’s Eve became like any other day, or if I did indeed stay up to witness the dropping of the ball my head would still hit the pillow by 12:08 or so, coffee or not. And years later it would have still been the same if I hadn’t started working at Target, and I was introduced to the phenomenon known as Black Friday. As the years went by each Black Friday began moving farther into Thanksgiving Thursday, until two years ago when it finally moved into late Thursday night instead of early Friday morning, and I was there all night.

I liken it to Cinderella turning back into a ragged girl, the coach returning to a pumpkin, and the horses back into the little mice they were from the start. The boy I was back in the day, the one who dared to take being nocturnal for granted, laughed at me that night as the clock kept moving, and I got slower and slower. It was like my brain was molasses, and I had a hard time finding my thought processes. I joked that they would have sold more stuff had I not been there and in the way. Somehow I survived the night, and I did it again last year, but both episodes only served to show how time changes things.

Maybe this year will be different.


A Silent Prayer

A silent prayer
Thoughtfully applied
Yet condescending
In its attitude
Tearful in solitude
And full of pity
This sweet salvation
Attuned melancholy
Wistful in its keening
Yet serving purpose
On bended knee
Eyes turned inward
Like spinning plates
This delicate balance
Light across lips
Tender in supplication
To a supplicant god
Who cannot hear.


Searching For That Freshly Pressed Formula

      Why were these Freshly Pressed?

As far as I can tell, a Freshly Pressed post has one or more of the following:

  • current events
  • arguments
  • unique takes on celebrity
  • stunning photographs
  • food recipes
  • political satire
  • social commentary
  • religious relevance
  • highly stylized writing
  • extensive research
  • reference to classical literature

freshly-pressed_blog-badgeBut mostly they’re a startling mix of past and present, some future thinking, myriad writing styles, pertinent thoughts, and an introduction to ideas that are quite possibly new and/or eccentric. I used to go out and read every single post on the Freshly Pressed main page to start my day, in a search to make some sense of what could only be described as chaos. Perhaps this mix can be attributed to the cadre of editors involved in picking out posts for FP. Or maybe they simply skim each post and pick randomly from those that happened to contain good quotable material.

I want to believe in Freshly Pressed like I believe in Christmas, that the interesting will always outweigh the uninteresting, that the cream will rise to the top and I will never be disappointed in any posts that show up there. But I would be kidding myself if I though that were the case. You see, the individuals who pick the posts that end up there are still individuals, with their own view of the world that might not square with mine all the time. Which is fine. It just means that, like in a mine field, I have to tread lightly when visiting FP.

And I also wonder at those who still check it religiously, trolling for what they think will fill their souls, or just to add numbers onto each post, “voting” for everyone down the line without even looking past the images that grace the intros of each blog post. Don’t even get me started on the comments, those words typed in languorously by people who live to argue, or who exist as mere yes men, or who are only interested in hyping up their own blogs, leeching off the perceived success of others.


Then there are those who try to emulate the Freshly Pressed blog entry, thinking that the formula for inclusion in that grand, select company is all in sussing out and imitating patterns they find. These copycats tend to post entries on their own blogs with a mix of the above topics, with each one more vague and overreaching than the next. Then they bitch and moan on their own blogs a few days later that they have not joined the ranks of the CHOSEN ONES, despite the fact that they catered to the masses with their spectacular missives.

It’s kind of funny to type in the tag “Freshly Pressed” and see what shows up, though, because for every person who is legitimately identified as “worthy” there are about 50 others who are hating on them. Because there is no real formula for getting Freshly Pressed, just a general understanding that every single post on that page was interesting to at least one person long enough to get published. From there it’s up to you to validate it.

You know, or to hate on it.


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