June 14, 2013


The bills are piled, high & deep
But I have promises to keep
And words to write before tackling that heap
And words to write before tackling that heap
[with my apologies to Robert Frost]

I'm feeling in a lyric mood. The movie October Sky is a favorite, but I never read the memoir that inspired it until today. Homer Hickam's writing voice is a wonderful one for me. It's very easy for me to get lost in story with that sonorous writing playing in my head.

His father died of black lung, earned from years of coal mining. Homer's relation of a hospital orderly's description of Homer's father's deathbed has caught at me. The imagery holds mesmerizing truth. The orderly described Homer's dad as a small man, which Homer says he wasn't (small, that is) until his father shriveled physically around his lungs, a body shrunk to the size of that which became his primary focus.

Sometimes a thought is powerful enough to stop reading, even reading a story you enjoy.

I've wrestled with (fought with, tried to ignore, tried to analyze, over-analyzed) my internal state. I hate the thought that life might pass by while I'm caught up in navel-gazing, but my organization-oriented mind insists that things going wrong on the surface means that something's awry in the details of the underlying machinery. So I delve. What did I mean by this? Why do I feel like that? Whose responses am I monitoring?

Reading the description of Homer Hickam, Sr. brought a water-splash of reality to all my ponderings. Knowing the who, what, and why can matter. I feel strongly that we are becoming a race of people uncomfortable with waiting and honing wisdom. For all that, I don't want my life to be collapsed around the singular focus of my thoughts and feelings. Not everything that is a focus deserves to be one, after all. I desire to be sociocentric, not egocentric.

I want a life that animates, inspires, or encourages others. A collapsed life waits to be animated or is so consumed with its chosen focus there is no room for others.

I don't want to have a collapsed life. I thought perhaps my mulling might (in sociocentric fashion) help you, too.

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