Saturday, February 7, 2015

Larry's Lesson


About twenty years ago my boss Larry laid some humility on me. I wish the lesson had landed at the time, but I'm a slow learner and needed a few more lessons in humility before it made a dent in my own hubris.

I was a young teacher, it was my first job and I had a lot of passion. I also had a lot of self-righteous anger. One day I found myself in the middle of a rant when my boss Larry put his arm around my shoulder and said, "Corey, you're not that important". Before I could say, "well, thanks Larry.....fuck you too", he finished his sentence, "and guess what ....neither am I. No one is...because it is not about us."

Twenty years later I'm spending a lot of time repeating to myself, "Corey, you're not that important." It's been a liberating and joyful insight.  When you are not that important It is easier to hear what other people are saying. I cringe at all the amazing people I missed when I was busy being important. Thanks Larry!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Cold Saturday Morning

I'm sitting in bed covered by five thick quilts painstakingly pieced by my wife. The weight of them is delightful and they do a pretty good job of keeping the frigid air that flows freely into our converted porch of a bedroom from reaching most of my important parts. At this time of winter I tend to go to bed wearing a thick hoodie, flannel pants, and wool socks to stay warm. Yeah, I'm that sexy. I have considered mittens this week, but I can't scratch the cat when he comes at 2 a.m. for his nightly scritch sessions. It is morning now, and the temperature is beginning to climb from a low of 5 degrees. It is Saturday morning at the launch of a three day weekend, I am covered in heavy quilts and sipping very strong hot coffee. Kids are asleep and Emm is staring at another half finished quilt hanging on the wall near her sewing machine.* It's one of those rare moments when life is perfect if you can push the specter of overwhelming debt out of your mind.

To top it off I just read a turn of phrase that made me brave interrupting Emma's train of thought. Under certain conditions it is okay to interrupt Emma's quilting, if it involves books you are pretty safe. This demands nothing of the quilter, which is key (see previous footnote). Sharing something you just read is one of those great intimate moments that makes life worth living.

If I go back to sleep now, this might turn into one of the best days ever.

*  Never bother a quilter when they are staring a wall. It looks like they are doing nothing, but the are actually quilting. The problem with quilters is that they are never very far from sharp, aerodynamic objects.






Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Teaching fish how to ride a bicycle



Einstein famously (and perhaps only allegedly) said, "..... if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid".

So how do you know you are a fish? And what if your deepest desire, as a fish, is to climb a tree? Or ride a motorcycle, because riding motorcycles would be really cool.

Sometimes we don't know we are fish until we have jumped out of our pond and are desperately gasping for air. If we are lucky enough to survive that leap and make it back to the environs we were made for, what do we do then? Accept our fishiness and enjoy a good swim? Or do we invent, create, and strive against our limitations, knowing full well that we may not survive?



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Look Mom, no hands




I've tried to restart this blog so many times over the last year. I ran into a few problems. First and foremost among them was that my writing sucked. A close second was that I didn't have anything to say.

My hope was to be clever and entertaining. Trying to be entertaining was paralyzingly. Especially when I had nothing important say. The quickest way I know how to manufacture writers block is to reach for the funny. A paralysis comes over me and if I ever did have a point to make at the outset of a piece, it got lost in the ether of trying too hard. If I were being honest with myself about why I am writing in those moments, it's really to say something like, "hey everybody.....I'm still here......look at me".

So as I restart this blog, I want to be cognoscente of that trap. The other piece of wisdom that allowed me to re-engage in the blogosphere is the realization that my writing doesn't have to be any good. I'm not getting paid and no one reads this. With that liberating thought I can proudly say, "hey everybody.....I'm still here......look at me".