Sycamore wisdom


I used to trust
The tree trunks
Against my body
The sycamore wisdom.
The pocket of silence
Amongst deconstruction

I once made a promise
I could not keep
And now I am asking
To be free
From this place

This body has never felt
So shackling
The only wisdom is the whisping
Wind through these sycamore leaves

All other words are lies

Coming back


Long ago i bailed on this medium prompted by certain life events. I had lost someone close to me by suicide. Not shortly after that, some very dramatic circumstances arose around a project i have been involved in. I had to close down here. I deleted years worth of postings. My thoughts were feeling too exposed.

Something seems to be coming back though. These last months i have been trying to take risks again. I admit it seems strange in the sea of information and social media – the iphone age has arisen since i abandoned blogging – to return again to this medium. I wonder if i will stick with it. Maybe long form blogging is not as dead as i thought, or maybe some trend will start happening again. But there are so many people in the world. So many things to look at. And it’s mostly visual information. And there is no theme in these words but the person writing them. I wonder what will happen. I don’t expect much of an audience.

Here are a bunch of loose thoughts i have been having lately.

Words and writing are something i think i am good at but they don’t change things. They are second to experiences. And this makes me feel sad because words are what i have plenty of. I can write and write and write but it doesn’t change. I can fill blank spaces with thoughts and perspectives but it doesn’t change. In fact, it makes things change less. It makes things permanent. Once something it said it can’t be unsaid.

I have this problem that i refuse to believe the past is gone. I dwell a lot on what happened. Especially in relationships. I try bringing them back or resurrecting them and it never works out. I repeat the same mistakes over and over again. I think there can be some positive things that happen from examining the past. I think about the sankofa bird particularly, which suggests that it is okay to reach into the past and find what you have forgotten. Still, perhaps i stay there too long. The past usually feels better, a safer and more comfortable place. A happier place. It holds the potential for healing but probably most of the time it just traps me there.

I feel brave enough to love but not brave enough to live in a world where love cannot win. I’ve always been willing to throw caution to the wind when it comes to caring for someone. I’ve been reckless and hurt because of it. Maybe i’m in denial about adulthood, but my work and practical life just pales in comparison to the possibility of love. I’ve spent a lot of time in a very pragmatic phase but i can’t deny that i am deep down a wild eyed romantic. I realize this is too much to expect from other people sometimes. Maybe as i get older i will some day too cave to pragmatism, close off avenues of love because it’s just not practical. I doubt it though. Love feels scarce. Not abstract love, but relationships where romance and emotional intimacy coalesce seamlessly. There are so so many mitigating factors that block those possibilities. Maybe the person isn’t attracted to the other person; maybe their job stops them; maybe the person doesn’t live in the same town; maybe the person doesn’t fall into some set of socially prescribed norms. Countless other things too. It makes me feel like love cannot win in this world for me. My imagination is pretty circumscribed these days.

Closure is really important to me on things. Graceful closure. When i don’t feel like i receive that from others whose actions effect me, it sets me back a lot. Everything i have tried to do with the projects i have been involved in is create graceful transitions. I wish i could receive this more in relationships. For me, it would mitigate so much unnecessary pain. Instead, i’ve just been mired in having to deal with my own subjectivity, having to make my own meaning and narrative, without much outside referent.

I hate how jealousy destroys things. I hate when jealousy wins. It feels so damned unjust that i feel like i could die from it. I believe there must be a safe place to explore jealous feelings, but most often the safe place means simply succumbing to someone else’s jealous tendencies and therefore suppressing one’s part of themselves. Of course, people choose relationships out of more than mere sexual association, so sometimes making choices around jealousy are actually more about other practical things in life. Suppressing one’s self might mean gaining something else important. This is difficult for me to accept, i admit. The more i get embedded into these thoughts, the more i realize it is really not healthy for me.

Because I need honesty. I need truthfulness. I need relationships where those are core values and there is not fear about sharing information. I am bad sometimes, about sharing too much information. But generally i feel like i’ve been hurt simply because i want to tell the truth. I want a shared narrative. And by truth i don’t mean some self righteous notion of truth, but simply what happened. The truth shouldn’t be told to manipulate things.

I bought a bunch of books this past month, but nothing really stuck save one: Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus. Prior to that i had been thinking of Orpheus and Eurydice, and lately even Cassandra.

The cold autumn descends and i am again alone. I’ve spent so much time in these recent years winnowing down my life, paring down, emptying out, opening up, that it seemed inevitable that something or someone would come fill me up here. It seemed like these cycles that have been coming around had the chance to break out into something new and amazing, but instead they are simply repeating.

But i’m still alive. And these days that simple fact seems like a victory.

Citation Problems with Microsoft Office 2011

Don’t let the date on this post fool you. The following screen shots visually illustrate flaws in the Microsoft Word / Office 2011 (with Word 2008 for comparison) citation/footnoting system. This particular feature has been integral to my writing in the past months, most specifically my academic work. Here was the original post I made on the Office for Mac discussion boards:
1) I have both Office 2008 and 2011 student editions on my first generation Black Intel Macbook (latest versions of everything installed). The FULL list of sources in my citation manager that i have in Word 2008 does not appear in Word 2011; the “master list” in the source manager stops at my source authors that begin with the letter “T” whereas in the Word 2008 source manager my master list has sources that go all the way to the letter “Z.” Also, last I checked, the letter “R” comes before, not after the letter “S.” Apparently in Microsoft Word 2011 it doesn’t though; I went looking for an source whose last name started with the letter “R” and couldn’t find it; scrolled down past S and there it was. 

2) Footnotes: I insert an footnotes, and attempt to insert a citation and some text. If I scroll away and return the page the citation will frequently be half gone, with additional endnotes on the page gone. This seems to be a display problem in the program, because when I print out the document (or do a “print preview” the text shows up intact.

3) Additionally, using the citation tools to insert a FULL citation into the footnote/endnote no longer works anymore. It will only show a shorthand note (the kind you would use for an in-text citation). There does not seem to be a way to change this.

I was really looking forward to this new version, and appreciate its elegant interface. However really dropped the ball on this one (suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise), and based on the comments on my post a fix is unlikely to come for many months.
Sigh. Hope these screen shots at least offer some people comfort that they know they are not alone with these problems.
Citation Manager Ends at Letter "T" and messes up alphabetization — notice the order of the letters S, R, T?
Footnotes in Office 2011 will only insert an in-text citation, not the full text citation.
Office 2008 shows the actual list of sources in my citation manager, ending at "Y" and will correctly insert a full text citation from the citation manager