February 11, 2018 – Books

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”  – Stephen King

 

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February 6, 2018 – Milton!

Wow. The last time I wrote something here was at the end of 2016. I’m truly a poor blogger. But I’m going to try to be a better one.  A lot has changed since my last blog post, but I’ll get into all of that in later posts. Right now let’s talk about Milton. That’s right, Milton. I’m reading a few of his works (including the controversial and beautifully-written Paradise Lost) for a course I’m taking. Reading Milton is no walk in the park. His writing can seem abstruse at times, and you definitely need to reread his words to fully comprehend him. Try reading Areopagitica or any of his essays on Divorce and you’ll understand what I mean. And of course, there’s the epic Paradise Lost. I tried reading Paradise Lost many years ago and got through most of it, but not without having to rub my head over and over again because of how difficult much of the poem is. But his prose is beautiful. I mean, here is an excerpt:

“Into this wild Abyss/ The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave–/ Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,/ But all these in their pregnant causes mixed/ Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,/ Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain/ His dark materials to create more worlds,–/ Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend/ Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,/ Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith/ He had to cross. ”

What the frith! Isn’t that pretty? And by the way, I looked up frith and found two definitions. The first one is peace, and the second one says that frith is an old way of spelling firth (a narrow inlet of sea). The latter definition is the one that fits the passage above. But back to the beauty of Milton’s writing. If you read Paradise Lost and are familiar with Dante’s work, you can’t help but see the similarities. But make no mistake; I prefer Dante over Milton any day. I know that’ll ruffle the feathers of most English professors, but Dante is Dante.

While reading about Milton’s life, I learned that he ended up blind later in life. Some said it was because he read by candle light most of his life, but it was probably due to glaucoma. Milton was considered a heretic and was almost hung, drawn, and quartered (what happened to Mel Gibson’s character in Braveheart – pretty grisly), but he was spared that ungodly fate because he had friends in parliament who managed to use their influence to his benefit. Unfortunately, however, a few of Milton’s cohorts were not so lucky and ended up receiving the penalty Milton was fortunate enough to escape. Milton was considered a heretic because his beliefs about God were not orthodox, and on top of that, he believed in and argued for an uncensored freedom of speech and of press, something that would’ve gotten anyone killed back then, and did. Today he is hailed as a hero by many, and even secular, anti-theist professors promote his work because of his cry for freedom of speech and rebellion.

Milton’s literary skill and prosody go unmatched even today, and only Dante comes to mind when I think of anyone I would consider of the same pedigree as Milton. Check out Milton if you haven’t, and let me know your thoughts. If you’ve read him, let me know what you think of his writing.

I hope you guys are reading good books and taking photographs. By the way, the photo above is of some gorgeous Barnes and Noble editions I picked up yesterday (I actually picked up 8 of them).

Until next time,

Nigel

December 6, 2016

I have not forgotten about this blog.  I really haven’t.  I just have been doing most of my writing in my journal as of late.  The semester is coming to an end.  It went by quickly.  As I’ve said before, the only reason I am making such a huge sacrifice to return to school for another degree is because it is required to be a teacher.  I am broke as shit and most of the time I’m struggling to find ways to pay my bills and not end up on the street, which has almost happened so many times over the last decade.  The last thing I need in my life is to pay for classes, but I’m venturing out on faith.  The more I thought about it the more I could not stomach the thought of spending the rest of my life in the corporate world.  I had to do something.  I’ve always felt a pull toward teaching, and I do crave being in an environment conducive to learning, so perhaps this is the right move for me.  We’ll see.

Anyway, in regard to being broke all the time, it does have some benefits.  You’re probably saying to yourself: how can being broke yield benefits?  Well, let me explain.  Being broke means that I am careful with every dollar I have, so I have been less inclined to spend money on frivolous things over the last 8-10 years.  The only things I’ve really spent any money on are my cameras, and I shoot with budget equipment.  I’ve also imposed a rule on myself: I do not spend any money on photography stuff unless the money comes from photography jobs.  Good rule.  Great rule, actually.  Being broke also forces me to find entertainment in some of my favorite place, like the library! Yes, the library.  You know, that building most of you drive by while on your way to the mall.  It’s a good place, check it out.  Seriously.  I mean, I’ve always spent a lot of time there, but now I go there to borrow movies.  In my entire life, I have never used a library to borrow movies; I’ve always used it for the books, like it was designed for.   Sometimes I feel guilty when I borrow movies.  I mean, anytime I go to get a movie I feel like I should give the librarian a few dollars.  I guess I’ve been indoctrinated by decades of going to Blockbuster Video and multitudes of seedy, neighborhood video shops.  You know, the ones with that “special” section in the back. Ha.  So, yeah, being broke does have some benefits.  I spend more time now reading than ever before, and that’s saying a lot for someone who has been a voracious reader since he was about 10.  I also spend more time studying music, working on my Spanish (Si, estoy aprendiendo el espanol y otros idiomas tambien; soy estudiante de idiomas! Me encantan idiomas), and also a lot of time contemplating matters of existence.  Well, I know none of that is new for me, but I’ve taken it up a few levels.  So if you’re broke, when you’re not looking for ways to make money, use the time you have to nourish your intellect and learn stuff.   As I keep telling people, knowledge is basically free.  Go to libraries and read books.  And the internet is useful, too, but tread lightly.  Lean more toward books.

Also, if you’re broke, try to stay away from people.  People will make you spend money.  Most people are not satisfied with immersing themselves in discussions about books or anything for that matter while sitting in a park or a coffee shop; most people need to spend money before they feel like they’ve done something productive.  I used to be one of those people when I was in my twenties.  And another reason to avoid people is, well, because people are overrated.  There’s no better way to say that.  Books are better friends than people will ever be.  Books will not betray you; books will never talk about you; books will never lie to you; books are not self-serving and selfish.  Always choose books over people anytime you can.  Trust me when I tell you that you’ll benefit from a relationship with good, nourishing books more than you would from relationships with people.  Anyway, as usual I’ve gone off topic.  Back to the benefits of being broke.  The last thing I’ll mention here about that is that being broke gives you insight.  I’ve been able to look at the world and people in general through a clearer lens.  When you’re broke you observe things in others you never noticed before.  You start to see how dependent people are on material things for happiness.  Again, I used to be one of these people in my early twenties.  I needed the latest video games; I needed trendy clothes; I needed expensive things.  Now I can see how financially and intellectually crippling being that way was.  This is not a judgment on anyone; it’s a realization.  Being broke has given me some real insight, so in a sense I should be somewhat grateful that I have limited funds.

In any case, that’s enough for the morning.  I’ll try to write something here before Christmas.  If you’re reading this, I hope you’re doing well.  And I hope you’re reading some good books.

 

Nigel Nicholas

 

 

September 14, 2016

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Today I ran into one of my old guitar teachers, Pete.  He recognized me before I recognized him while I was waiting to cross a busy street.  I met Pete about 8 years ago when I went into a guitar shop to look for some strings for one of my acoustics.  While there, I noticed that the shop offered private guitar lessons at only twenty dollars for a half hour.  These were the days when I was a serious music student; the days when I used to carry an acoustic guitar with me even to job.  I used to be ridiculed by coworkers and relatives anytime they saw me carrying my tattered acoustic guitar case.  In any case, Pete and I chatted for a while and I mentioned to him that I now give private guitar beginner guitar lessons myself, and have been doing so on and off for years.  He was very happy to hear that.  Pete and I only had one class together all those years ago.  I sat and played some simple chords and sang a little for him during our one and only class, and he told me that I didn’t need lessons and that I’d be wasting my time and money with him.  I was grateful to him for not taking advantage of me and for recognizing that I knew enough back them to be able to teach myself more without having to pay for lessons.  I’ve had two guitar teachers since those days with Pete, and I’ve learned so much from them, but I’m still self-taught.  I’ve been slacking with my guitar and piano practice for a long time, but running into Pete today and thinking about how passionate I once was about music made me want to seriously pick up my guitar again and get back into studying music.  Maybe toward the end of the semester I’ll pick up my guitar again.  As I said, once upon a time I was obsessed with learning and studying guitar.  Music was my life.  Playing and studying guitar helped carry me through some turbulent and sorrowful times in my life, and nothing soothes me more than strumming a few chords on any of my old acoustics.  I seriously wish there was more time in the day.  When I’m not in school or working, I’ve been studying Photography, Writing, Theology, Philosophy, Languages, and Literature for the better part of a decade now, and now I think music needs to be re-added to that list.  And did I mention I’m writing a book?  24 hours a day simply is not enough.

September 5, 2016

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I’ve returned to school.  Yes, you heard right.  I’ve been procrastinating and deliberating for years about whether returning to school for a second degree was even feasible, but alas, life is what we make of it, right?  I spent the last 12 years being confined to a cubicle working in Project Management for two technology companies and, although I’m truly grateful for the experience and knowledge, I realized a few years ago that this was not the way I wanted to spend the rest of the my life.  I’ve written about this many times before right here on this very blog.  I’ve always wanted to be an English teacher, and now I’m finally making some progress toward that.  I can only go to school part-time, obviously, but still, slow progress is still progress.

Let’s talk about the two courses I’m currently taking.  The first one is Literary Theory and Analysis.  The class is designed to teach students how to deeply read and analyze texts, which is something I do anytime I read a book.  I mean, anytime.  When the professor was talking about the importance of looking past the superficial parts of a text (plot, characters, etc) and how all good novels have deeper philosophical meaning to them, I was nodding away in agreement.  The professor then said something to the class that I absolutely loved hearing.  Something that I’ve been saying to my friends, relatives, and colleagues for years and years.  Something I first really learned when I read Mortimer J. Adler’s slightly dry but supremely informative work How to Read a Book.  Adler said that to truly absorb the knowledge contained within a book, you must write in the book.  Now, many people over the years have disagreed with this, but writing in a book is something that all serious readers need to consider.  Let me be clear about a few things, though.  By writing in a book I do not mean to destroy or deface a book.  What I mean, and what Mortimer J. Adler meant, was that we should make notes and annotations on the very pages we are reading, or at the end of chapters.  We need to have a dialogue with the author, and many times the books we read were written by brilliant men and women who are no longer alive, so we’re not able to email or call them; instead, we need to try to engage them through their books.  I’ve written in almost every book I own.  Of course I do not write in library books, but if I own it, I write in it.  I highlight, annotate, circle, and make marks in all of my books, regardless of genre.  I circle words that I do not know and then write their full definitions out right there at the bottom, top, or even the sides of the page where I found the word. This is the one true way to make a book fully yours, and also to make the book a part of you, always.  Also, I love looking back at books I’ve read over the years and reading my own questions and answers to things I’ve read in the book, as well as seeing words circled and defined that now have become a permanent part of my vernacular.  In any case, my professor said all of this to the class, and I thought it was satisfying to hear this from her.  My professor also seems to be a staunch feminist.  We’re reading one of the greatest novels of all time: Jane Eyre.  I never knew Jane Eyre was used by modern feminists and touted as a piece of literature that symbolizes feminism.  Ironically, after learning this from my professor, I did some research and found that feminists and non-feminists both lay claim to the novel.  It seems to be a book that can be argued either way.  We’ll see how I feel when I’m finished with it, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying it because it’s a Victorian-era novel, and I’ve always been obsessed with Victorian literature.  A few months ago I read Oliver Twist by Dickens, and I feel like Jane Eyre seems to be, so far, a female twist (pun intended) on the story told by Dickens.  If you’ve read both books, you’ll understand what I mean.  I mentioned this to my professor, but I don’t think she was too keen on the comparison.

The second class I’m taking is a writing and rhetoric course.  The degree path I’m on is geared toward writing, and I’m going to need a good amount of writing classes to fulfill this requirement.  When I sat down with my advisor a few months ago, she told me that I’d be able to choose from two paths: a concentration in Literature, or a concentration in writing.  Obviously the Literature specializing sounded appealing to me, but I looked at the list of books that I’d have to study should I choose that path, and I quickly realized that I had read almost all of them, so I didn’t feel too excited.  When I looked at the specialization in writing, the course listing intrigued me.  There were many classes on creative writing, poetry, and classes that were writing-specific, not necessarily geared toward reading a specific book.  My professor for this second course seems to be really warm and engaging.  She made us introduce ourselves to the class, and I noticed that she smiled while I was explaining to the class that I was a photographer and a writer, and how the two, to me, were two sides of the same coin.  We’re reading Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin, and another book that I forget.  I’m excited to absorb all of these books and do some writing.

I hope both of these classes can make me a more critical and analytical reader as well as a better writer.  I love to write, and I’ve been writing on and off since I was a child, but I’ve never been satisfied with my writing.  I guess I should just be happy that I can string together semi-coherent sentences  and, most of the time, get across a point or two, right?  No, that’s not going to cut it for me.  I want to be a great writer because writing, for me, like reading, is a way of life.  I love words and I adore books.  Putting words down on paper, either via a keyboard or using my hand to write with a pen in my journal, is sublimely cathartic.  I enjoy writing.  Well, it’s more than that, really.  I need to write.  I am compelled to write.  I need to create.  I write short stories, and I live vicariously through the lives of the characters I come across in books.  I feel like I’ve lived thousands of different lives through the pages of great books, and I would like to contribute to that one day.  So, I will try to benefit as much as possible from both of these courses.  I can’t wait to see what classes I can take next semester.

Keep reading and writing, everyone.  Oh, and take photographs.  Lots of them.

Nigel Nicholas

 

July 5, 2016 – Frankenstein

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I try to reread Frankenstein every few years.  When I first read it as a teenager, I could not believe how beautifully written it was, and even today I still marvel at how colorful and moving the language is.  I am reading some photography and language books (I’m studying Spanish and Italian), and I wanted to take a break and read something that I knew I would enjoy.  I was going to read Gulliver’s Travels (which I will read soon) but I decided to read Frankenstein for probably the fifth time. This is the first time I’m reading it in my thirties.

For the first time in my life, I felt a deep remorse for both Frankenstein and his creation, and I feel like I finally understood some of the deeper things in this book that I’ve overlooked before.  There is a lot more in this book than people are aware of.  Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with finding the origin of life, decides to create a human being out of pieces of deceased people.  Everyone knows the story.  Hollywood has made many ridiculous adaptations of the book, and almost none of them were faithful to the novel.  I’ll get to that in a minute.  So anyway, Frankenstein manages to bring his creation to life, but the creation turns out to be an abomination.  Frankenstein is appalled at what he made and regrets trying to play God.  The creation, however, wants to have a relationship with Frankenstein, but Frankenstein will not have it.  The creature then becomes filled with hate and murders everyone his maker holds dear as revenge.  Frankenstein chases the monster across the globe to a final showdown in the arctic.  That’s a basic synopsis of the book, but there is much, much more going on beneath the surface here.

There is a lot of insight in the book.  The creature, once it’s brought to life and becomes aware of itself, experiences life the way a child would.  It quickly learns that people are revolted by its disfigured appearance.  It learns quickly that it must eat and drink in order to survive, and even learns how to read and write by observing classes that are given to two young people.  The creature even learns to appreciate music, and it is even moved to tears while listening to music.  It becomes incredibly intelligent and even refers to classical books while engaged in conversation.  So, back to Hollywood.  Every Frankenstein movie I’ve ever seen, including modern adaptations, portray Frankenstein’s monster as a crude, unintelligible, illiterate, non-intelligent being.  This is clearly contrary to the novel.  In the book, the creature speaks articulately and possesses a great intellect.  The creature has a superb vocabulary, and has the ability to reason and think deeply about profound matters such as love, life, death, vengeance, and even forgiveness.  I don’t think I’ve seen an adaptation on TV or on Film that portrays the creature accurately.  The monster from the novel is without question an intellectual being even though it has a physically abnormal form.  I wonder if we’ll ever see a Frankenstein movie where the creature is portrayed as the thinking intellectual it is in the novel.  That would be interesting.

In the book, people are immediately terrified by the monster’s appearance, and the monster is only accepted by a blind man, which I feel is a commentary on human beings in general.  The monster’s rage and anger are fueled by its rejection by human beings, and especially its rejection by its creator, Victor Frankenstein.  There are a lot of questions that are raised in the book. Victor Frankenstein repeatedly calls his creation evil, but is it really evil?  That would make an interesting discussion, I think. If something does not have knowledge of good and evil, can it truly consciously commit acts of either?  The creature never learned right from wrong, and it was never taught anything, really.  It was “born” into the world already in the guise of a man, and was treated with hatred and violence from the moment it was conscious of life and its surroundings.  It responded in anger and violence, but who really is to blame?  Its creator may be more to blame than the creature itself.  And even though the creature was abhorred and reviled by everyone, it still had the capacity to love and show compassion even though it committed heinous acts of violence.  It was moved to tears while observing a loving family, and it even desired a female mate so that it could be loved as well as give love, so even though it did do horrible things, I feel like maybe it was a being that was inherently good.  Maybe if Victor Frankenstein nurtured it and taught it, it would have been a different story, but I think Shelley wanted to make the book a commentary of sorts in regards to human nature and even a philosophical discussion about life and what it means to be a human being.  As you read Frankenstein, you can’t help but think of certain timeless questions that are still relevant today.  What is the origin of life?  Do we have a soul?  If so, did Frankenstein’s creation have a soul?  What does it mean to be human?  The reader is also reminded of the truth that no one can or should play God.  I think that this is a message that men and women of science today should pay attention to.  Victor Frankenstein tried to take on the role of God and it led ultimately to his destruction, and even to the destruction of the most beloved people in his life.  This is far more than a horror novel; it’s a set of philosophical observations and life truths masquerading as a novel about a monster created in a lab.  I will read it again as soon as I get through this growing list of books in front of me.  Frankenstein is without question on my top ten list of greatest books I’ve ever read.  There is a reason why classical literature still endures today.  I read a lot of contemporary and classical books, and I’m always amazed at the timelessness and depth of classical books.  It’s one of my life’s goals to read all of the classics, and hopefully I can before I become a classic myself.

 

May 10, 2016

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It’s been a while since my last blog post.  I’ve been trying to work on some projects, and I forgot to keep pretending that I was a writer.  Wait, that’s self-defeating, right?  Yeah, I think it is.  OK, I am a writer.  There, I said it.  I write, so I should stop saying that I’m pretending, right?  I mean, Stephen King did say that the only requirements for being a writer was to write a lot and read a lot, so technically, since I do adhere to those two rules, I am technically a writer, right?  Lol.  OK, this is why I need to get off the caffeine.  It’s after 3 in the morning and I have to get up in a few hours, yet I’m here because I felt compelled to write.  I’m sure there’s medication for this.

In any case, what I set out to write here is this: sometimes I forget how rejuvenating it can be to be around family.  I spent a few days with my baby sister in FL, and I could not believe how much peace and tranquility filled my heart from the moment I saw her.  As creepy as this may sound, I spent a good amount of time just observing her and her husband as we all talked, ate, and reminisced.  My mother went with me, too, and I loved watching the three of them interact.  I sat there with my camera and documented almost every moment ad nauseam.  I’m pretty sure one day my sister or my mother will break my camera over my head, but it will be worth it.  I’m fully committed to documenting life around me, especially as it pertains to my family.

Sometimes I wish we could go back to when we were children so that we could relive and savor the moments that we so foolishly tried to rush through so that we could become adults.  Adulthood is such a scam.  I wish there was a reverse switch we could hit once we get to a certain age.  I’m 35 now, but if such a switch existed, I would’ve hit it since my early 20s.  A friend of mine posed an interesting question to me the other day.  He asked me if there was a specific age that I could go back to, what age would it be?  I had to think about that for a few moments, but I finally decided on an age: 5.  Some of you would say that 5 years old is a terrible age to want to go back to because I’d be too young to understand anything, but that’s the exact reason why I think I’d go back to such an early time in my life.  I would love to just exist without knowing how apathetic and cold this world really is most of the time.

In hindsight, my childhood was dreamlike and really beautiful.  I can remember sitting in our little living room in our quaint apartment listening to records (Abba, The Beatles, Bob Marley, and various Indian records whose names sounded more like profanity to me than anything else) while my father worked on a painting a few feet from me.   This was most weekends in our home.  I close my eyes now and I can reconstruct, in my mind, every part of our apartment as if our apartment had been imprinted on my mind.  I do this frequently and try to relive those early days of my life, and I thank God for this ability that we all have because sometimes the memories of days gone by are sweeter than the realities we have now.

I can still vividly remember the afternoons my sister and I spent at our Ecuadorian babysitter’s house (she used to pick us from school and then watch us until my parents came home – this went on for years).  We’d sit in front of the TV while we listened to the babysitter, Maria, speak to her children in what I thought was the most beautiful language I had ever heard, Spanish.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I would grow to love Spanish and become obsessed with it for the rest of my life mainly because of our babysitter.  I remember how she used to yell “zapato!” anytime her little son would do anything bad.  Zapato means shoe, and yelling that was her way of threatening to beat him with her shoe.  And to anyone who is reading this who thinks that beating someone with a shoe is cruel, you clearly have not grown up in a West Indian home.  I wish I had been beaten with shoes.  Shoes have soft parts.  Shoes can be soft.  West Indian parents, especially Guyanese parents, will beat you with anything they can find, even other people, but I digress.

Anyway, back to adulthood.  Yeah, it’s a scam.  If you have kids, let them know the truth.  Childhood is where it’s at.  But, as all adults know, when you’re a child you think you know everything, so telling a child to savor his or her childhood would be pointless.  Wait, what was I writing about again?  Oh yeah, being around family.   Being around family is therapeutic; it’s cathartic; it’s healing.  I need to spend more time with my family.   A few weeks ago I met up with an aunt and uncle of mine who gave me some real solid advice about life and work, and God bless them for that.  They helped me realize that the career I was pursuing was indeed a good choice for me, and that I shouldn’t feel like I was too old to get into it.  I’ve been considering being a teacher for a long time, but the 12 years I’ve spent in Corporate America made me feel like I had made a permanent home for myself in the corporate machine.  After speaking to my aunt and uncle, they helped me realize the value that my professional experience would bring to the teaching profession; my uncle is actually a counselor and administrator in the public school system, so his advice was very helpful.  Then, a week after that, I met up with another uncle of mine who I’ve looked up to my entire life.  He’s an English Professor (what I hope to be one day), and just seeing him lifted my spirits.  I hugged him as soon as I saw him, and then spent almost 45 minutes listening to his wisdom.  That same day I spent some time at another uncle’s house and benefited from being around him, my aunt, and my cousins.

This year I’m going to try my best to interact with as much of my family as possible.  I have relatives all over the world, and I’d like to visit them all at some point.  I want to photograph them and write about them, and enjoy them.  I want to enjoy them while I still can.  OK, that’s all for now.

Nigel

 

11

April 2, 2016

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“Like so many of the other books I read, it never seemed to me like a book, but like a place I had lived in, had visited and would visit again, just as all the people in them, every blessed one – Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Jay Gatsby, Elizabeth Bennet, Scarlett O’Hara, Dill and Scout, Miss Marple, and Hercule Poirot – were more real than the people I knew.  My home was in that pleasant place outside Philadelphia, but I really lived somewhere else.  I lived within the covers of books and those books were more real to me than any other thing in my life.”

– Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life.

April 1, 2016

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Reflections on a rainy Friday evening

As each day passes by, there is one truth of life that I cannot escape no matter how hard I try: life is about sacrifice.  Even though we desire something, that doesn’t mean that we can or should have it.  I’ve learned that if I hold on to things that my heart may desire, I will lose focus of the really important and necessary things that need to be accomplished, things that have been left undone for years.  I’ve lived my life carelessly for most of it, and I’ve paid dearly for it.  Still, sometimes I pretend and imagine for just a moment that even I can still enjoy some of the sweeter things in life, but then the reality of certain things jolts me back to the path I made for myself.  I have mountains to move and oceans to cross before I deserve a respite of any kind, and I cannot allow myself to forget this.  But I cannot be angry at anyone except myself.  I did this to myself.  The hands that paved the road before me are the same ones I’m using to write this.  My life is the way it is because I made it that way; all of the obstacles in front of me were created and placed there by no one else but me.  I must continue working on putting together the broken pieces of life that are the products of the failures of my youth and young adulthood.  May God guide me and forgive me for so much wasted time.

Monday, March 14, 2016

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Probably the most important question you have to ask yourself is whether, while you’re still breathing, you’re willing to let life keep you where you are. But I think an even greater opponent than life is the one that lives within us all. It’s difficult to look this opponent in the eyes because you realize that there’s no way to avoid him. And he’s strong and remorseless.
I’ve spent the last 5-6 years reading all the success literature I could find. I’ve spoken to successful people I’ve met at work, at various workshops and classes I’ve taken, and I’ve even listened to every Ted Talk I could find. The one thing that I’ve learned from all of these people is something that is so simple that it’s often overlooked. There’s no secret to success. There’s no magic formula that allows us to overcome the obstacles of life. I’ve learned that the only way to succeed in the face of grave circumstances and seemingly insurmountable odds is to just keep moving forward. That’s it. Keep pushing forward as hard as you can, and one of two things will happen: either you’ll die trying, or you’ll make it. Either way you win, because even if you die trying, you tried, and no one can say you didn’t.
To anyone reading this who feels like there’s no hope or no end to whatever you’re going through, I just want to say this: Do not give up. Keep going. Keep moving. Keep hoping. Keep your dreams alive and nourish them. You’ll have them one day. I’ll have mine one day. It can’t rain all the time.