Go Sports!

Today is The Big Game. Wait, can I say Super Bowl? Is that just for marketing and advertising or for everybody? Is it now The Game That Dares Not Speak It’s Name? I’m so confused…


Today is The Big Game. I will not be watching said Game because first of all, I have to work, so I won’t be watching anything. Second, we don’t have live programming at our house now, just Netflix/Hulu/Amazon. Third, I have nothing invested in the teams involved…neither the Patriots nor the… I want to say Eagles? And fourth…

…I just don’t like sports.

I don’t say that in a hipster, too-cool-for-school, sports-are-the-opiate-of-the-masses kind of way. I grieve my disinterest in sports. I’ve tried to fake it over the years because I know I’m supposed to be A Fan. If you’re an American male, black or white, gay or straight, you’re supposed to like sports. But I don’t.

I like sports movies just fine. I’ll watch the Rocky series, Rudy, Miracle, A League of Their Own, and don’t get me started on Field of Dreams. But the sports themselves to me remain incomprehensible. I’ll eavesdrop on people talking sports and try to figure it all out and fail, bored, each and every time.

I think possibly all my problems may stem from the fact that I don’t find joy in sports. Or maybe a chemical imbalance. But I’m going with the sports thing.

Happy Sports Day, everyone! I’ll be at Target backstocking stuff.


Learning to Play.

For Christmas 2016, my wife gave me a guitar. No frills. I would have to get up and get it out to tell you what brand it is. It’s a good guitar, from what I can tell. It more than serves my needs as someone who has never played guitar before.

I started to learn guitar in the first weeks of January 2017, but even though it was something I’ve wanted to do for awhile, it just didn’t take. It broke my heart to see it in its case in the corner, but my heart wasn’t broken quite enough to do anything about it. It sat there, an entry in my continued work: Things I Start But Don’t Ever Quite Finish. Instead of happiness, the instrument brought guilt.

This past Christmas, one of the gifts my wife gave me was a set of guitar picks with the art of Vincent Van Gogh on them. Picks with sunflowers and stars. I smiled.

I have loved Van Gogh for a long time but my love for him intensified upon watching a 2010 episode of Doctor Who titled “Vincent and the Doctor.” Maybe one day I’ll take the time to write more fully upon the impact that this episode continues to have on me, but for now, suffice it to say that there’s a scene where the time-travelling main character (played by Matt Smith) asks a museum curator (an uncredited Bill Nighy) to talk about who Vincent Van Gogh really was:

The Doctor: Between you and me, in a hundred words, where do you think Van Gogh rates in the history of art?

Curator: Well… um… big question, but, to me Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular, great painter of all time. The most beloved, his command of color most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.

Taking pain and producing joy. I tremble at the idea.

What if medication, therapy, meditation, prayer… what if they all work to fight my depression and it’s not enough? What if there’s a missing element…that of recreation, of play, of creativity. What if I’m supposed to put something back into the universe that wasn’t there before that quiets the demon inside.

I will admit, those Van Gogh picks lay on a shelf until today, when I happened to see them, and that dialogue about Vincent jumped into my head. I thought about all the music in my life and how I consumed it. I thought about all my friends who loved being professional and amateur musicians. I thought about my kids and how wonderful they are at their chosen instruments. I thought about my wife whose very mission in life is to teach character through music. I thought about them all.

I picked up my guitar today. I picked up my Starry Night pick. And once more, I started the process of learning to play.

Why Write?

Why should I write in the first place? What is the point when there are only 26 letters in the alphabet and just under 200,000 words in the English language? Everything that can be said or written has undoubtedly been said or written before. Everything and anything worthwhile, at least. Nothing new under the sun.

Why write? Maybe because there is no point? Maybe because the only way to combat the demons of the day is to play with words even if the play is derivative, the song is familiar, the prose is heavily borrowed. Words are a way of seeing, a way of delineating, describing. While words can be dangerous and deceptive, sometimes they are the only light the can shine into the ever-creeping darkness. Words bear witness.

So I write because I can. Memoirs are a way of saying “This is what I saw. This is what I see.” The invisible becomes visible. Specifically, the things about myself that no one sees, sometimes not even seen by me. I pull the curtain back on the demon in the hopes that people reading might find it a familiar sight and thereby identify the demon that have hidden away inside them. To write about my demons is to take away their power of subterfuge and to show them for the clumsy brutes they are.