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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bittersweet Nostalgia

I get a bittersweet sense lately. As a piece of music that must end at some point, our time together is limited.

Guessing that progress is cumulative in some ways. Maybe it also cyclical? I keep coming around again and again to a rash of activities that I seem to be abandoning at the same time. I drop the threads and pick them up again. Then I come around to the other things I dropped again and again.

Author Barbara Sher would say that I'm a scanner.

Perhaps this longing in me comes from words being sequential - we can't say it all at one time because we don't have the shorthand concepts to encompass it all in entirety. So we can only discuss pieces of the whole story, the whole life.

Used to think that I could bring someone I knew up to speed on my life - to fill them in on what has been happening. I'm beginning to realize that I can never do that. I've experienced too much.

Reminds me of the story called "Smoke of Memories" written by Jorje Borges about a young boy who has decided to isolate himself; he wants no more experiences because he has a photographic memory and his mind has filled up to the brim.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

When Is Selling Manipulative?

I prefer to be honest about as what a person is "selling" to another. For instance, "Wouldn't you want to.....?" These actions of "selling" are, in a sense, manipulative. Manipulation is, at it's best, the ability to create a desire for an experience. The ultimate value of the experience is, of course, determined by the user.

Of course, permission is implied, as in the teacher/student relationship or in the forms of the assault of advertising. People understand that others have to make a living, so they listen to their "pitch" about the
value of what is being sold. People in business attempt to create a "NEED" for their services. Students buy courses orchestrated by teachers.

In our culture, the more someone must pay for an experience, the more they tend to value it. In some forms of manipulation, permission is disregarded to the point of coersion. There's a fine line between implied permission and coersion.

For me - when this permission gets violated, it really upsets me. Makes me wonder when or how I agreed to it so I can use whatever power I have to retract that permission.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fear of No Money

There's lots of concern about a lack of money in my culture lately. Lots of people are reluctant to spend their money. Credit is tight. There are many other stories that seem to be anticipating horror and paranoia that supposedly is going to happen. So I'd like to tell you a story about the first time I thought I might have to borrow some money in my distant past.

What happened, circa 1977, was that it was a Friday. I had just written a check to my prospective landlord for first and last and a security deposit to rent a place that would hit my checking account on Monday. The problem was, that the amount was $361. more than I had in the bank.

I wasn't worried. I guessed that someone I knew personally would loan me the money over the weekend because I had never asked my friends for a loan before. Money was coming to pay it back as soon as the job that I was working on was done, which was a matter of days. The sum was pocket money for a few of the people I knew. I had always been careful at managing my finances and had started my business by building it from nothing, without ever needing credit.

At the time I was working as a sign maker. I was putting the finishing touches on a sign the proprietor had specified belonged on an old, hardwood mantelpiece at the Pelican Inn in Muir Beach over the fireplace. A dremmel tool was how the letters were being carved out. It's a tiny drill with a bit of a certain shape on the end of it that I was using to shape the letters.

Well, that day, the bit finally wore out and all the letters were not done yet. Calling the hardware stores nearby, they all said they had dremmel bits. But I had to go to three stores before I found the right shape. All this running around had to be done by hitchhiking, because my car had stopped working the day before.

So, after some trouble, finally I come to the hardware store where the right bit shape was available. They ask me what was the specific shape used for what purpose. I told them about the job I was finishing. After hearing what I had to say, they expressed an interest in having new signs on their window. So I sat down and drew up their order. At that time, my estimate process was codified; pricing was figured by the standing inch per letter.

The total came to $361. I had the job done and installed by Sunday. The cash to cover the check I had written was in the bank on Monday.

As I was gilding the letters that I had finished carving out on Monday, it was then I reflected how curiously relevant the content of the sign over the mantelpiece had been to my experience over the weekend.

It happened to say:

Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there.