It doesn’t terrify me, I just don’t like it, usually.

You know, I’m constantly reminded that life happens even  when you are not paying attention. For example, I was not paying close attention last week when Kat put up the quote for the week’s quote challenge. I make no excuse for my tardiness in this matter. I simply resolve to pay more attention this week.

So, to the quote:

“Experience teaches us that silence terrifies people the most.” ~ Bob Dylan

Now, when I first read that, my initial thought was, “Bob, I do love your music, but after all the drugs you’ve pumped into your body, how can you remember anything you’ve been taught?”

But, that line of thought didn’t really address the quote, so I sat back, lit a cigarette, and thought about it some more.

The first thing I thought was that silence doesn’t terrify me, but I have to admit I don’t like it much. I can’t concentrate in a silent room. When I’m reading, writing, working on any kind of project at all, I need some kind of background sound. As I write this the television is running in the background. I’m not paying any attention to it, but it’s on. Later this evening when I’m assembling components for the Gleann Abhann chains I’m making, I’ll have Pandora Radio playing in the background.
When I try to work without that kind of auditory distraction I end up thinking more about the lack of sound than I do thinking about whatever I’m working on. I tend to get distracted more easily, and I actually spend less time working on the project at hand. However, if I turn on the television, or even better a radio, I can focus better. In fact, I can focus so well that often hours will fly by before I realize how much time has passed. This of course is a good thing, because during those times when I’m really focused I find that I get quite a lot progress made on whatever project I’m working on.
I don’t really know why this is. I think the background noise allows me to block out thoughts of everything but the specific project I’m working on. I know it doesn’t make any kind of logical sense, but it works, and you don’t mess with what works.

My second thought on the subject dealt with silence among people, or groups of people. Again, it doesn’t terrify me, but again, I don’t like it much. If I am in a group of people I’d much rather be talking with them than sitting in silence. I’d much rather be hearing their stories, or learning what their thoughts on a particular subject are and why they have those thoughts. I genuinely like most people (someday I’ll write about those few people I don’t like) and I like learning about people. Now, you can learn a lot about people simply by observing them, but you can learn so much more about people by talking to them.

My third thought went in a slightly different direction. There are times when it is good to be silent. When you are in a theater watching a movie, at Court during an SCA event, or a business meeting of your SCA group (or business meeting of any other organization you may belong to), or to be really broadminded, when other people are talking shut the hell up and listen to what they are saying. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to bite my tongue in the above situations to stop myself from saying something like, “Excuse me, I know you two are enjoying your private conversation, but I’m trying to listen what the King is saying ( or the Seneschal, or a character in a movie, etc) so would you kindly STFU, please?” OK, I admit it, I have done more or less exactly that on a couple of occasions, but not nearly as often as I have wanted to. This is not rocket science folks; when someone else is talking, you listen, you don’t talk at the same time.

So, those are my thoughts on Bob’s quote. I hate to disagree with the man, but my experience is that silence doesn’t terrify me, I just don’t like it much, except when it is time to be silent.

Easing back into it.

So, I’m going to try maintaining a regular blog again. As my friend Sarah states, Facebook doesn’t really lend itself to communicating anything more complicated than what you are doing right at that moment, and that just doesn’t really appeal to me

I have not been active with this blog since August, but don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you, or myself, with a recap of what I’ve been doing since my last post. Some stuff happened. Some of it was good, some was great, and some of the stuff that happened was not so great. There were some good SCA events, and, of course, the Holidays happened – and they were truly great.

Instead I’m going to focus on looking forward; thinking and writing about what is happening now, what I hope happens in the future.

That is all for the evening.  There will be more in the future.

Cormac

Just not feeling it tonight.

Sorry folks, I just don’t have anything to write about tonight. I haven’t felt up to par all day; took a sick day in fact. I’m sincerely hoping I feel better tomorrow. I can’t afford to take two days off work, and I need to be healthy by the weekend. There is no way in hell I’ll miss Kingdom A&S. I have people depending on me to be there.

Finding Treasures

Another day ends, and I’m still feeling good. I find it unusually pleasant to be able to say that on a Monday. Let’s face it, only masochists actually enjoy Monday. So, anytime I can get through the worst day of the week and still be feeling good, well, that is a good thing.

The weekend was surprisingly productive; got a lot accomplished on a couple of projects, but I’m most pleased by the work I’ve gotten done on de-cluttering my living area. I finished my bedroom and got started on the bathroom this weekend. I’ve still got a lot left to do; regaining control of this house will be a project that takes a while. What makes me proud, makes me feel good, is that I can see that I am making progress. That visible progress helps me maintain the self discipline to keep going.

For the past three weeks I’ve been focusing on cleaning my bedroom. I’ve gone through and eliminated over half of the items in my closet.  I’ve also gone though all the boxes of stuff I had stored in  my closet, the boxes and tubbies stacked along one wall. I’ve also cleaned out the two junk drawers in my dressers. Most of the stuff I tossed from the closet  were pieces of clothing I’ve been holding on to for far to long. The stuff in the boxes and tubbies, and in the junk drawers was mostly…well, it mostly crap I took each box, tubby, or drawer  and removed everything inside. Each item got examined individually, and a choice on whether to keep or toss was made. Quite frankly, most of it got tossed. If I hadn’t  used it in the last year, it got tossed.

Well, the “have I used this in the past year?” test determined the fate of most of the items in those boxes. The three cases of cassette tapes, none of which I’ve listened to in at least ten years? Tossed. The box of assorted commputer cables and other related odds and ends I’ve not needed in the last six years? Gone. The files of class notes from college?: Out of here.

I’ve compared this de-cluttering process to an archeological dig recently, and that is an apt description. The most recent items were on top, and as I dug down through the stacks of boxes, through the layers of stuff inside the boxes, I was literally digging through my past. Most of the items were no longer relevent to my life, so, as mentioned above, they got tossed. Just as most of the items found at any archeological dig are trash, literally. The trash reveals a lot about a culture, but it’s not what one would consider a treasure. Occasionaly, both in “real” archeological digs, and in my personal dig, treasures are found.

The first treasure I found was a small stuffed animal, a buffalo, that my sister gave me about ten years ago for my birthday. She was not the first person to tell me that I’m difficult to buy a gift for (a description that I heartily disagree with – how hard is it to get a gift certificate to a bookstore?), and that year she had commented a couple of times that was, “as stubborn as an ox.” So, on my birthday she handed me a wrapped box that contained this little stuffed buffalo and said, “this was the closest thing I could find to an ox. Love you, bro”. I’m not sure how long it’s been in that box; I remember displaying it in the apartment in Decautur, but I can’t really remember having it at the apartment in Nashville. It’s now sitting on top of the two reference books I keep on my desk (dictionary and thesaurus). It also led to me calling her Sunday afternoon and having a long, pleasant conversation.

The next box contained two treasures: a fake stone gargoyle statue, about six inches high and as ugly as homemade sin, and a bear figurine. The bear was a gift from my Mom, and I can’t remember how long I’ve had it. It is now guarding the top left corner of my book case. The Gargoyle? I got that from friend about  seven years ago. For reasons I never did really understand, his name is Fred. It’s ugly, as gargoyles are, and he is now guarding the second shelf in my book case.

I know that by keeping thse three little nick-nacks, I am kind of violating the concept of getting rid of things I don’t use. The whole purpose of de-cluttering is to simplify, to get rid of stuff. I know all that, but there are different ways to use things. The buffalo reminds me of of my sister, of what a great person she is, what a unique sense of humor she has. The bear does the same job, reminding me of my Mom. Fred, the gargoyle, reminds me of a friend I’ve not seen in years, and the fun we had. These three little items serve as visual reminders of the most important things in life; they remind me of friends and family. That is plenty of reason to keep anything.

That’s all for tonight.

C