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Archive for May, 2010

Excerpts

Nothing here follows. Cars, houses, even trees and grass flow past me as I go. Only the stars and moon moves with me.

I belong to the sky.

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Back

I have been unpacking for days. I have no recollection of bringing so much stuff to school, nor do I remember my room being so cluttered to begin with. As I find places for the contents of each box I unpack, I come across hundreds of mementos scattered about my room.

I have spent hours reading through old letters from parents, friends, lovers. I sit silently while I wait for the songs long kept hidden on a tape play back to me. The comic books of my youth capture me again as they once did. Each finding takes precedence over my true task.

My bookshelf stands in disarray, rearranged a dozen times. Subject, author, period, color, shape? How do I compartmentalize my life? I face the daunting task of going through everything I own, choosing what to keep and what to give away. But everything I pick up reminds me of something, someone, or some place.

So, I stack books in every corner of my room. My dressers reach bursting with piles of clothes. Shoes I haven’t worn since childhood hide under my bed, trying not to draw attention to themselves lest they be tossed out. Overflowing cabinets of old school work dare me to throw them away.

I rationalize my hoarding by telling myself that this will all matter someday. I will be thankful I kept this shirt, this psychology book, this collection of pens. Not everything is as trivial though. When is it time to throw out the letters or the pictures?

How can I throw anything away when I might need everything again? How do I know when I am ever truly done with something? Nothing is harder than closing a door for yourself.

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Formspring Post #1

Taking a leaf out of my friend Fran’s book, I am going to use formspring for some ideas. Here is the first of this installment.

What are your thoughts on the Marquette discrimination case?

I feel like my views have been nicely summarized by the post that I linked to on my facebook wall earlier.

More personally, I feel like the whole incident was handled improperly. However, a private institution maintains the right to follow its own doctrine in whatever way it chooses. Also, to say that Marquette is anti-gay is to narrow an argument. People who are riled up about this conveniently ignore the fact that gays are currently employed at Marquette (sidenote: I am using the word gay to refer to both male and female homosexuals). Like I said, the incident was handled very poorly, but I maintain that Marquette is well within its rights to control any offers it puts forward based on whatever criteria they choose.

Ask me anything http://formspring.me/timothyjames

Here is the post to which I referred earlier:

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Meaning of Life

Here is the newest installment from my new series, “Posts Taken from Facebook Notes.” Enjoy.

Tom Grill and I once talked about the meaning of life. Although he probably didn’t realize at the time, that conversation was one that would stick with me, even to this day. When confronted with the question, Tom answered simply: “To have a positive influence on people.”

*Although I included quotation marks, I cannot guarantee these are his exact words.

Ideals and cliches to live by are a dime a dozen. Many people (myself included) claim to live by an idea, yet, when the novelty of a new quote has worn off, they falter in the fulfillment of its meaning. Short proverbs to live by don’t often stick around long enough to have any valued effect. I think Tom and I had this conversation during my sophmore year. Here I am, a graduated senior, and I still remember and attempt to live by what he said.

I suppose my reason for writing this is to share this idea. Obviously, “the meaning of life” cannot be a singular thing as it would be impossible to pin down one purpose to fit 6 billion people. However, with the idea of universal truths in mind, I feel that this might be one of the most important things I have learned.

So, after reading this, think about it. Mull it over. Chew on it. Whatever. But keep it in mind. As Tom has proved, people have a much stronger impact than they know, or even intend. It is in the best interests of everyone involved if one tries to make that impact a good one.

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4th of July

Turns out my notes aren’t gone. What joy. The following is a little tid-bit that I wrote on the fourth of July last year. I still feel this way.

Today, it is the “birthday” of America. Most people (I know not all) spending their day praising America and all of its wonder. This includes, but is not limited to, politics, past victories (be they military or otherwise), and country music.

If you claim to hate America or Americans or American culture and you will be the first to jump on an opportunity to tear your country down for whatever reason, don’t kid yourself and claim that you’re “Proud to be and American.”

Tomorrow, July 4th will be over. You will claim that “Americans” are fat, stupid, ugly, and are generally the plague of the world, as if you aren’t one yourself.

Take some pride in your country. And if you don’t, then don’t adopt this superficial air of patriotism just for the 4th of July.

And don’t claim your’e doing it be ironic. I hate that.

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Lost

In an effort to put some sort of activity up here, I went to my Facebook account to copy an somewhat interesting notes that I had written from there to here. I had recently deactivated my account because of finals (a method of deterrence that is increasingly ineffective), so I had to reactivate in order to access the notes. When I got there however, I found out that all my notes were lost. I had quite a few – around 80 maybe – but no more. Now, a vast majority of these were stupid surveys. Question upon question of the most trivial things in my life. But there were a few notes worth reading.

I realize that the loss I feel is rather petty. If I actually thought anything I had to say was worth saving, I should have taken the proper steps to protect it. But I can’t help feeling like I’ve lost something important. Regardless of content, all writing has some merit to it (well, almost all writing. There no accounting for Nicholas Sparks’ books), and despite its insignificance, the loss of my notes feels like something much more important.

Now, as far as I know, there is only one person reading this. I don’t like that. Not the fact that there is only one – I made this blog largely for myself – but the fact that I know this person is examining everything I say and is hoping for writing in a much different theme than this. So, it may take some time until I work up the courage to actually post something that I am proud of on here, but until then, I will feel a sense of loss for the empty ramblings once held on Facebook because they might be the only things I put on here.

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“I have neither the scholar’s melancholy, which is emulation; nor the musician’s, which is fantastical; nor the courtier’s, which is proud; nor the soldier’s, which is ambitious; nor the lawyer’s, which is politic; nor the lady’s, which is nice; nor the lover’s, which is all these; but it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded by many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness.”
— Jacques, “As You Like It”, William Shakespeare

As each is his own, each has his own melancholy. Like Jacques, I find myself at the focus of the world’s “many simples,” but also, at a congregation of of my own questions and quandaries. Too often I find myself simply stopped by the impending weight of the things that I have yet to approach. For mine are not problems of the past or things that I have done, but those of the future. The choices that lay before me are those that become my personal melancholy. And unfortunate it is to have a melancholy thus. For from mine comes no inspiration, no fantasy nor manifold wisdom. Only stagnancy.

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