divination personal streetfinds Uncategorized


I went to the highway like I used to go to the library in the pre-Internet days. I would walk the couple of miles reviewing my headful of questions, and go over my notebook so by the time I got there, I would be ready to research answers for the weeks’ questions.

I got to the highway thinking about what I needed to change to help ease the mid-life-crisis feelings that had been growing over the years.  I could have looked for symbols and oddities in the wooded roads to the highway, but I don’t spend a lot of time in the woods. I spend a lot of time looking at trash on the side of the road. So I was going to the highway.

When I got there I looked South and looked North.  When I looked North, right near what used to be a cafe where years ago I registered in a fit of vacation inspiration.  I saw a white lump in the grass. “That’d be it.”

vocabularyAs I got closer I got disappointed.  It looked to be directory, maybe even a phonebook.  Those can be inspirational, but nothing that could really get me going, nothing right for something like this.  I decided to go with the bibliomancy method.  I would think of the question in very precise terms, pick a random section, and pretend the contents were some confused person’s answer.

The paragraph I chose was a definition of “conflate”.  Now the challenge is to wedge this into the problem space. Shouldn’t be too hard.



divination interpretation personal streetfinds walking

Fear Rusted

fear rustedI saw this while walking through some worries. I have to choose between some good choices. Instead of comparing the various virtues and qualities of the choices, I was compulsively weighing risks, using long passed and irrelevant injuries as measure. Everything was incommensurable and awkward. I started feeling more and more inconfident, almost certain that I would choose the wrong path. I became lost. I saw this.

The reflex to cling to fear and apprehension outlasts not just the injuries, but the fear as well. I gave the barrier a nudge with my foot and kept walking.

bereavement personal

Brian Walker

brian-walkerMy best friend died last week. I’m still unclear on the details of his death. When I visited, it seemed he wasn’t very clear about it himself. He was quite lucid on several occasions and I got some datum points in short stories: One year, one month, one week and one day sober; A 1.75 liter bottle of gin; Waking up in an ambulance at 2 a.m.; A seizure; A morning drink; A sponsor moving out of town; A lost job and a business buy out; A liver and kidney no longer working.

Before he took the nap during which I had to leave, he asked rhetorically “What if I die today?” I could only remind him that had asked himself that question for as long as I’d known him, and that he had come up with some good answers.

Among Brian’s many excellences and virtue, he was the best storyteller I’ve known. The last story he told me was about a woman he watched on flight. At take off she rubbed her face with lotion. She put on dark sunglasses and headphones. She wrapped much of her face in scarves and then sat motionless. She must have made prior arrangements. Brian imagined, because the stewardess left her completely alone until just before strapping for landing. The traveler unwrapped. She took off her sunglasses and headphones. When she got up to leave, she was the picture of vibrant beauty. That’s the only way to fly, Brian said as he buzzed for the nurse.

Through the fog, confusion and crying of the last week, the memory of a bold and beautiful man emerges. He was complicated and troubled, particularly at the end, but through to the end, he remained the Brian Walker I will always know.

family personal professional

A Measure of Success

measurementFlora put this above the door down to the basement, where my office is. This pretty much says it all.

We broke even in March financially, and in its first week, April looks good. I’ve got a part-time job with customerforce along with a few new gigs, and some huge possibilities.

After being in such an ill place professionally, I wish it didn’t take global financial strife to get me to a better place, but it seems that it did. Yay!

Added “Create A Decent WordPress them for your own blog” to the todo list.

business personal

New Web Page and Resume

artwellsresheadI recently had a mention in BusinessWeek. Though it certainly wasn’t a This guy is awesome! You should hire him!, it did send quite a bit of traffic to my site.

This made me aware that my website and resume still suck, even though I’ve been leaning on both rather heavily. So here it is: my new home page and resume.

Spread them around!

memory personal

Echos of Ordinary

remembrance-stoneLately I’ve been having strong memories, almost re-experiences, of extremely mundane things. I’ll be walking upstairs from the basement and I will be instantly in a cold morning on a second-story deck of an apartment. I’m in a t-shirt and regretting that. I’m smoking the first cigarette from a large can of cigarettes given to me by a student. I’m thinking about doing my ironing.

I’m out for a walk and noticing something in the gutter. I reach for the camera and I can feel the arches of my feet on the front rung of a chair. I’m pulling on the loose thread of a sweatshirt and listening to someone talk about Aquinas. I forgot my pen but have nothing to write anyway.

I’m brushing my teeth after flossing and then runningrunningrunning down a grassy hill. I’ve just decided that I’m not able to stop and the only way to avoid hitting the pavement at the bottom is to fall now–to make myself hit the ground hard and flat–and I’m laughing about that but only briefly.

I turn from the keyboard and there’s the card table at my old apartment. I’m kneading sourdough and it doesn’t stink enough. It probably won’t make a full rise today and I’ll probably be up all night anyway. Tom Waits is singing and I’m crying about that.

Quick bursts that don’t feel like they stop. I’m there. I never left though there’s nothing much to keep me there.

glove personal

Shovel Ready

shovel-readyI made yet another commitment today to being hopeful. I’m finding less and less of my failures have to do with my circumstances and more and more have to do with me. I’m finally becoming convinced from this that much of my successes are not from good fortune alone or even primarily.

Though I have no job, I’ve never worked harder, never done more. I’m taking on projects and making connection. I’m becoming expert in things that only months ago were opaque boundaries.

Will used to be for me an independent force, something that drove towards roads yet to be built trailing hope. Intent, I felt, lead to power. Now it seems that intent belongs to power. We build the roads we want, perhaps first by wanting, but mostly by bending to the path.

creativity personal photos

Settling The Horizon

settled-horizon After some somewhat urgent dentistry, I walked through a growing storm. Even though I really can’t take pictures when it gets this dark, I ended up taking a lot of pictures. None of them turned out.

Still, a large number of bad photos is appropriate to now. I’ve been trying to imagine myself as so many things lately that I’ve neglected a bit of who I am. My goals need settling before they can be seen.

nshrine personal professional twitter

On My Toes

precariousI’ve been exploring a lot professional opportunities lately. None of them are firm. None of them are yet a path.

I walk around on tippy toes, trying to find a foot size spot of earth for the first step.

In other news, I completed a twitter bot for nshrine. Twitter users can place candles by messaging @nshrine. See the twitter bot help page for more information. Enjoy.

faith family personal

I Now Know Five Things

I used to know four things.

I mean really, really, know, for certain, in a shut-up-you-can’t-tell-me-otherwise. Because it’s important to feel this way about something, and dangerous to feel this way about the wrong things, I revisit the List of Things I Believe often. This time, I made a dramatic addition to the list while my son fell asleep on me. I’d like to make this into a “you know, my son taught me something today” type of tear-jerker, but it can’t be. My son was falling asleep on me, in the same rocking chair in which my mother rocked me to sleep, and I was thinking about cold certainty.

The list used to be:

  1. I am.
  2. I sense.
  3. I want.
  4. I don’t always sense what I want.

I’ve always been uneasy about that last one. It assumes something, and perhaps a great deal, about time. The last bit doesn’t count at all when I’m completely satisfied. But HA!, I don’t care about the list when I’m completely satisfied anyway, so it doesn’t matter. I’ve come up with other cheap tricks to get around that uneasiness, but nothing’s stuck for long. Here’s the next trick.

  1. I am.
  2. I sense.
  3. I want.
  4. Now is a moment different from others I can remember or imagine.
  5. At different moments my sensations correlate with my desires to different degrees.
  6. I need to work on the wording quite a bit, but that’s the list for now. In the end, this list gets me to a point where I can guess that other things exist. Why I would bother with this while a warm bundle is spreading a drool spot on my shoulder is another issue entirely.