Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I just finished reading “Billy Budd” by Herman Melville. It was a good book, although at times was rather dry to read. The one appealing part of this book to me was the moral dilemma it called to order. Melville challenges his readers by asking; which is the right decision; choosing between what is morally right and wrong based off emotion, understanding, and compassion for your fellow man, or should society’s laws dictate to us what is right and wrong, regardless of our emotions; all in the name of order. This was the central struggle behind this book.

“Billy Budd” was Melville’s last book, and was written the year of his death in 1891. The story takes place in 1797 on a British navel ship the Bellipotent. The main character Billy Budd was an uneducated, simple and just man. He was well liked and respected by his peers on the ship. His superior officer Claggart was the one man who despised Billy for his gentle nature and popularity among the men. Claggart in an attempt to frame Billy accused him of attempted mutiny in front of their Captain. Billy unable to express his feelings in words became frustrated and hauled off and punched Claggart; he ended up dying by the blow. Captain Vere assembled a military tribunal to proceed over the trial with Vere as the sole witness. The internal struggle Vere and those presiding over the trial caused me to question my moral opinions.  

The struggle Captain Vere went through in testifying against Budd was interesting in that there appeared to be no struggle at all. Yes he felt emotional over this because he was fond of Billy, but knew that military order came before any emotional feelings. The feelings of those who presided over the tribunal were not as cut and dry as Vere’s. They believed Billy to be a morally sound man who although made a mistake, was acting justly considering the circumstances. They had compassion for Billy, and for the situation he was in. Vere on the other hand was very matter of fact in his stance that military law reigns supreme in this issue. He expressed to the tribunal that he two felt bad that Billy was on trial but was also the main person who convinced the tribunal to convict Budd of this crime.

Veres stance was one of this; had the trial been a non-military trial then the jurors could afford Billy the compassion and mercy he deserves, but since this is a military trial then compassion and mercy do not apply. Billy had either done it or not. Since Vere had witnessed the crime, and Billy had admitted to it then there was no room for discussion. Billy must be sentenced to death. He feared if Budd was not convicted and word got out about his acquittal then the integrity of British military law would be under minded. Vere could tell the men standing over the tribunal were having a difficult time with this decision, and therefore pleaded to them.

Seeing this and knowing what was at stake Vere made one final speech to the officers. He said “but the exceptional in the matter moves the hearts within you. Even as mine is moved. But let not warm hearts betray heads that should be cool. But something in your aspect seems to urge that it is not solely the heart that moves in you, but also the conscience, the private conscience. But tell me whether or not, occupying the position we do, private conscience should not yield to the imperial one formulated in the mode under which alone we officially proceed?”  He made the argument that it is human nature to feel for a man who they see as right with God, but called to their attention the buttons they were wearing. He said “do these buttons that we wear attest that our allegiance is to Nature? No, to the King.” In the end Budd was convicted and hanged.

This story holds many different outlooks on morality. In one hand you have Budd who was a good man with good morals who accidently committed the most immoral crime one can commit. In this scenario is Budd a good or bad man? Well this is tough. It is not as though Budd killed a man in self-defense. He killed a man out of anger, because he was not properly educated enough to express complex emotions. In this scenario you could say this was a crime of passion, because it was fueled by anger. I think Budd is guilty of the crime, but I disagree with the punishment. I feel the only time murder is warranted is when it is in self-defense. This should be the only exception to the rule.

Next you have the officers presiding over the tribunal. They wanted to give Budd a non-guilty verdict because they believed he was a just man who was right in God’s eye. There compassion reigned over their duty. They knew what kind of man Claggart was, and believed he had it coming to him. They also understood the severity over the accusation of mutiny, which by its own standards also carried a death sentence. There desired decision was to hand down a not guilty verdict. They truly struggled with this decision. The question is if judges used personal feelings in deciding sentencing then the whole system becomes less about justice and more about personal feelings. Can we afford to live in such a system? This is a tough question for me because there are some crimes I think do not warrant such harsh penalties and others I think are not harsh enough. This is a slippery moral question to answer.

Finally we have Captain Vere, who I believe holds the key dilemma of morality in this story. Should he be condemned as an evil man because of his abstract notion of duty blinded him to true justice and compassion? Or should he be considered a hero who rose above sentiment to meet the need for order, authority, and law in human affairs. I battle with this question because I think there is a huge grey area in-between that is hard to quantify. I think your own personal answer will show what side of morality you are on.

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Today is the official release date of my new self-proclaimed masterpieces “Yin” & “Yang.” I was honestly worried these two books would never see the light of day. I wrote the last poem in “My Descent into Madness” in November of 2009. After I wrote “To My Children,” I was all of a sudden hit with severe writer’s block; no matter how hard I tried I could not write a single poetic line. I wondered if this was because I had said everything needing to be said. I was worried my voyage into becoming an established poet was simply not meant to be.

In January; I started this blog just to try and conquer my writers block. I figured if I did some free writing then eventually the creativity which helped me write “My Descent” would come back to me.  I wrote and I wrote about this and that, but still could not write a lick of poetry. It wasn’t until four months later I would finally find my voice again.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was visiting my mom during Easter, when a quick goofy poem hit me like a lightning rod. I didn’t have anything to write with so I just burst out this quick four liner. My family started to laugh at its silliness. I quickly grabbed my poetry journal so I could write it down. As soon as I finished another one shot into my mind, then another one, and another one. Since then the creativity has just ruptured out of me like a broken dam. This has allowed me to finish two children’s books, two poetry books, and make progress on my other projects as well. I am excited about these two books because I have decided to take the indie route. Here are the book descriptions and links to where you can purchase them. You support is much appreciated.

YANG BOOK DESCRIPTION

My life can be depicted by the Taoist symbol of the Yin Yang. The yin yang shows how in life there is a perfect duality; within the bad lays the good. My life is tortured yet blessed, engulfed in chaos yet somehow there is perfect order. For good or bad I would not be the man I am today with out this internal struggle between mania and depression, thus the YIN and YANG.

Yang is the light and love in my life. Without the light within yang my life would be swallowed up in bleak darkness. Yang feels soft and comforting. The expressions will make you long for the one you love. Yang will resonate in your ears as if the words I have written have come from somewhere inside your own heart and made specifically for your personal Yang. The words you will read are tender, erotic, and devoted and they are what represent the Yang in me. For those fans that enjoyed the political poems in “My Descent into Madness” will enjoy the political musings in each edition.

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/yang/13001638

YIN BOOK DESCRIPTION

My life can be depicted by the Taoist symbol of the Yin Yang. The yin yang shows how in life there is a perfect duality; within the bad lays the good. My life is tortured yet blessed, engulfed in chaos yet somehow there is perfect order. For good or bad I would not be the man I am today without this internal struggle between mania and depression, thus the YIN and YANG. For those fans that enjoyed the political poems in “My Descent into Madness” will enjoy the political musings in each edition.

Yin is the darkness and torment of my life. Without the blackness within Yin my life would be consumed by self destructive mania. Yin is cold and aches to your very soul. Emotions feel bleak and horrific; it will take you to a dark place deep inside, and leave you yearning for salvation. The words you read will be twisted, poignant, and cruel but they are what represent the Yin in me. In this poetry chapbook you will encounter my internal struggle to keep my shen from experiencing the reapers cold hands. It is my written feelings which keeps me sane, and keeps me alive.

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/yin/13001645

Now that these are complete I am going to come up with a set list and start touring local coffee houses to help get my name out there. If you are local readers and want to know when and where I will be performing shoot me an e-mail. I will let you know the details. Please use the links on this post to get directed to my Lulu page. I will not have links on my website until tomorrow.

In between projects, when feel uncreative I work on my upcoming book “The Life and Mind of No One Special.” This requires me to go back and edit my old posts and transfer them over into book form. In going back and reading these old posts I am stunned by how shitty they were written. I am almost ashamed I published these posts as they were, and I am even more surprised people have come back again to read it.

I started this blog back in January as a way to help keep my creativity juices flowing. I never really thought anyone would read it, so I just vomited all over the computer keys with my poorly thought posts. I have and still do write my posts during my lunch break; not a ton of thought goes into what I am going to write about. Something will come to my mind and I just go with it. I do not research my topic, nor do I go back and edit what I have written. Like I said earlier I never thought anyone would even see it.

I still follow this guideline; except now through practice I have learned a few things about writing. I still do not feel my writing is good especially when I read some of these talented writers out here. I have no formal writing training; I was not really around for school so basic sentence structure escapes me. My vocabulary is weak and I have no concept of grammar. This becomes apparent to me when I read posts by “The Rambling Taoist.” His ability to write is just mesmerizing. I like to think with another nine months of writing I will continue to get better. I know I have a long way to go, but I think it is a good sign I am able to see fault in my early posts.

I have thought about taking writing classes at my local community college; but this would simply not work. I do not have the time or the money to commit to such a thing. I know starting from square one and building on the basics would help me. I could always go enroll in my son’s elementary school, since public schools are free. I could just skip all my other classes. I don’t know what kind of role model I would be for my classmates and besides the principle would probably report me to the school cop for being truant. I could go purchase a writing or grammar book for dummies. The problem is when I try to read all the words become jumbled and it is hard for me to comprehend the material.

I just can’t figure out how to get better without knowing the basics. I think this is why I enjoy writing poetry because I can write anyway I want. I have had people praise and condemn me because I do not follow traditional poetry guidelines. The only poetry form I know is haikus. Beyond that I have nothing. I don’t think there should be guidelines or structure when it comes to poetry. I think poetry should be an open art form, and can be written exactly how the author intended it to be. I have found when painted in a box I cannot write for shit. This is why I enjoy this blog so much because there is no structure. This is a jumbled mess of random thoughts spewing from my brain. These two mediums define me as a person.

On Saturday September 18th “Dylan Thomas: Finds His Courage” was published. This is a very exciting time, because I have been working on this project for the past seven months and I am very happy it has been released. This is the first installment in a long series of books based off my son Dylan. My other two children will also be included in every book. This series is geared towards 1-10 year olds; the stories will be varied in topic subjects. One book can be about Dylan being potty trained and one about Dylan’s first day at kindergarten. I have already started working on the next book “Dylan Thomas: Bedtime Songs.” I have a three to four week deadline to have it written and edited. I think I can honestly hit this deadline.

This book has a nice niche in the market, because it is written entirely in rhyming poetry. To my knowledge there are not many out there following this format. The first draft was written in story form but did not make it through the focus grood. Many people thought the story was rather boring. I decided to alter the story to write it in its current form. This edition was met with praise from the focus group.   

The next step is to start marketing it. I was able to put a link on WordPress but it would not allow me to add the picture which means readers will not see it. I viewed my site and all I see is a small box with a red X through it. I doubt this will draw people to the link where people can purchase the book. I posted a link on my Facebook status message, but these status messages get lost in the shuffle of Facebook posts. I can not figure out how to create a permanent link on my account. I do have my website where people can purchase the book, but I have very limited resources to advertise this site, so I receive very little traffic.

I need to get my Philosophy of Me business cards made up so I have the option to strike up conversations’ and hand them out to drive sales. I know these business cards will prove to be valuable when I finally start doing readings. I can also place advertisement on message boards. Nicole has found many sites where I can get professional reviews from which would provide great exposure and give me more things I can send to agents after the next installment comes out. I am a bit overwhelmed with all the reading material to get this started. Below are two links to where you can purchase this book. I received a comment from Johanna asking to see a preview of the book, and that preview is offered on the purchasing site.

I hope to get your support, the more sales the easier it will be to interest literary agents. It would also help if you could post the lulu link and either e-mail to family and friends and or post the link on your Facebook and ask people to repost. This worked great for my previous book.

 http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/dylan-thomas-finds-his-courage/12677841

 www.thephilosophyofme.com

I have been advertising my book on Craigslist, Facebook, and this blog; looking for people to read and write a review I can put on my website. I wanted these reviews to help sell my children’s book, “Yin” “Yang,” and “The Life and Mind of No One Special.” I figured with an abundance of positive reviews it will help generate more sales of my future work. I have sent out over one hundred copies and have only received fourteen reviews back. This is disheartening. I was not under the delusion that every person I sent my book to would follow through with a review. I was shooting for at least a 50% return. I am also not under the delusion everyone would enjoy it. I was prepared to post the good the bad, and the ugly.

I think the reason for this low return could be one of three things; they never intended to read it, they hated it, or they never intended to write a review. I would prefer the latter. I just do not know how such a low sampling of reviews will drive sales. I will be including in all my future books a link to my website where people can post their own review. I hope this will prove to be more effective than my current attempts to find reviewers. If I were to look at the Brightside of this situation I would say at least people are reading my work. That means more than anything to me.

I am going to try a few different approaches once I publish the kid’s book and the two poetry books. I am going to make up a ton of business cards and try to enter the coffee house community. I think this is the quickest way to get myself known in the community and possibly lead to one of my dreams of becoming a songwriter. I am scared to death of trying to do this because I am shy and introverted. I do not know how I am going to stand up in front of a crowd and read. I think I will be able to do this because I am reading my words and I know exactly how to read them; where to put pauses and the proper emotions. I figure if I call around and go to some open mic nights I at least will have the option of backing out if I am not ready. The first step to doing this is printing business cards so I have something to hand out because I do not have the kind of money it would take to purchase large quantities of my books.

My other option is to send my work out to known or professional reviewers who have their own websites and have status in the community. I am not going to do this with my current book, because I do not want anyone to buy it. My wife has found out a bunch of sites where you can find reviewers and sites telling you how to do it. I am a bit overwhelmed with this because there are so many words. I tend to have a hard time following things and soaking up the information. I know I can depend on her to assist me in this area. I have felt at times she does not support my dream, but I realize she is my biggest supporter. Thank you sweetie.

I do know I need to start really pounding the pavement and do these things to get my name out there. The only way I am going to advance is if I bust my ass. I can’t expect readers to just stumble upon my work I really need to get it exposed. I love the idea of doing readings because I will become apart of the community which will be a good feeling. My dream is to be known and respected, and I really need to work harder on doing this. If anyone knows free ways of advertising or knows any other measures to expose my books, website, and blog; I would be grateful to learn from your experiences. I really want this website/blog to take off but I have no idea of how to make that a reality. If anyone knows of places to do readings I would like to add to my list. I will keep people updated if any of my readers would be interested in seeing me do readings.

If anyone is interested in reviewing my book or have any topic questions please go to www.thephilosophyofme.com under the contact me tab. I post responses to fan questions on this blog at least a week from receiving them

A while ago I wrote a post about my current projects. Since then a few things have been finished and a few of my projects have been altered, because I am a shameful promoter I would like to give an update on my progress. Things have been progressing nicely although there are some tedious things causing me to dread the process. Feedback is always needed.

Dylan Thomas: This is a children’s book series written in poetry form. The goal is to create stories which appeal to ages 2-10. I want the rhyming and lush drawings to not only draw the kids in, but also make the stories enjoyable for the parents as well. I have completed the first story “Dylan Thomas: Finds His Courage.” Currently it is in the illustration phase and will be released the end of September. I hope to have the next installment “Dylan Thomas: Bedtime Songs” I hope to have this available for sale by February 2011 or sooner.

This series is probably the only way I will make any money from my writing, and hopefully this series will help me land a literary agent. The stories will follow the same flow as far as the rhyming poetry, but the illustrations will change. I think this is exciting because it will keep things fresh. The illustrator Jeff Chia has one more page to complete, and my sister Cailee is doing the editing. I hope to have everything but together by September 1st. This will allow me a month to ensure everything looks good on the actual book. I am a quarter done with the next installment.

Yin; A poetry chapbook chronicling my dark side. I have already finished this book, and should be released before November 2010.

This is completed with all poems in my journal. I just need to type and edit. I hope to have this out by November. I will either sell “Yin” and “Yang” separately or combine them into one book. If I were to combine them into one I would set it up where “Yin” is on one side and “Yang” on the other. I am planning on setting them up as pocket books.

Yang; A poetry chapbook chronicling my light side. I have already finished this book, and should be released before November 2010

Politico; Working Title This poetry chapbook focuses on my political and theological perspectives. This book is also finished with an expected release date before November 2010.

This book will contain my political, philosophical, and theological points of view. There is a website called Politico, so I am unsure if the name is copyrighted or not. If it is I will have to get their blessings to use their names. There were plenty political poems in “My Descent into Madness,” and seemed to be well received.

The Mind of a Madman: (working title) this is a novel written in poetry form describing the inner workings of a psychopath in the making, and his journey into madness, starting from the time of conception up until… the rest will be a surprise. This has been a difficult book to work on, the places these poems take me is very dark. If I spend too much time there I may become a product of my words.

I have been all over the place in writing this one. I am jumping around to different phases of the main characters’ life. I am planning on telling this story strictly in poetry form or if I should add some narrative to it. This is taking longer than I expected, because I can only stay a short time in this mans mind.

The Philosophy of Me: The life and mind of no one special: This will be a book based off 365 days of my blogging entries. This will appeal to my fans wanting all my entries in print, and introduce the site to new readers. I will also use this as part of my portfolio.

I received an e-mail from a reader saying she would purchase this even though it is just an edited version of my blog. I suppose if one person would enjoy it than others may as well.

My Journey Through Taoism; This will include every verse from the Tao Te Ching along with my quest into understanding and living the Tao. Many books are written by experts. I hope to relate to readers who are new to Taoism by explaining my journey seeking understanding. At the end of each chapter I will be including a poem based off the verse. I do not want to rush this; so I am unaware of a release date 

This will be written in real time chronicling my quest into understanding Taoism. This book is the reason I stopped adding verses in my blog. I don’t want too many books to cross pollinate. I am enjoying this project because I can spend a few weeks working on each verse which will really bring me closer to the Way. In writing this in the perspective of someone seeking the Way it may help others understand it better and assist them on their journey. 

The Humor In Theology; I was originally going to write a descriptive timeline and the evolution of religion. I realized this book would only appeal to a certain audience. I was becoming overwhelmed with the mighty scope of this project. I decided to stick with the theology aspect but instead write it in a humorous way. I think this will be informative as well as funny.

I changed this from a serious educational book into a comedy. I will look into religions of the past and current beliefs and point out the goofiness of what people believe. There is a religion in Africa which believed their God vomited up the entire universe. This is just one of the silly beliefs people hold onto. It is amazing how people completely abandon logic in the name of faith.

The Philosophy of Quotes: Everyone loves quotes, and it seems each person may walk away with different perspectives on the meaning of these quotes. This book explains my philosophical view on the meaning of quotes. I hope to turn this into multiple volumes; each volume will be broken down by letters of the alphabet. I am excited to take a deeper look at my favorite quotes. 

I thought I would enjoy this one, but I have been running into a little bit of frustrations. My mind will not shift into this mode, which is holding this bad boy up.

Deceived: (working title.) This book examines how the Christian religion has allowed itself to be destroyed by the word of man. I have read the Bible a number of times; once because of faith, once as a theologian, and once as a skeptic. You would be amazed how much the bible has been changed to not only create copyrights, but to change the original meaning of the “Word of God” to fit mans needs. This book will be written entirely on a non-biased theological way looking strictly at the Word.

If I want to properly do this one I will need to focus 100% of my attention on it. I will need to simultaneously read three to four separate versions of the Bible. I started this awhile back and read the first couple chapters of Genesis, and it made my head hurt. I really think this project has potential, but with the amount of time I have to work on my writing it would take a year or two and I am not sure if I want to make that type of commitment on something which may not reap what I sowed.

On a side note I have thought of releasing my poetry books with commentary as far as what I was feeling and the meaning. I tend to write in abstract ways and I have had people tell me they get lost in finding the true meaning. I just wonder if this is sacrilegious with poetry because poetry is meant to be subjective to the reader. I am worried my poems may lose some of its luster if I add commentary. On the flip side some of my dedicated readers may care enough to know the story behind the poem.

What are your thoughts? Do you think I may be wasting my time with some of these books? I am starting my quest today to find an agent and I wonder if they want to see complete projects or is a concept enough to wet their whistle.

I am sorry for missing posts the last two days, I am on a vacation. I left early Thursday to get my tattoo, and I was unable to write yesterday. I figured today my readers could give me some advice on my current book projects. I have run into a bit of a dilemma, because content currently overlaps upon on another. Please your feedback is greatly needed.

I just received great news from my illustrator Jeff. He told me he is finished with all pages of my children’s book “Dylan Thomas: Finds his courage.” We need to meet regarding the front and back cover along with the fluff page. I was hoping for a September 1st release date, but I think we are cutting it a bit close. I am unsure if we will hit that deadline. I am very excited about this project because it will bring me greater success than my poetry and other projects.  I am a quarter of the way finished with the next installment of the Dylan Thomas series. “Dylan Thomas: Bedtime Songs.”  I will be finished with it by September 1st.

As I stated in my earlier post I have finished my next three poetry books; “Yin,” “Yang,” and “Politico.” I need to check on the last one to make sure that it isn’t all ready copyrighted. The only thing I need to do is type it all out.  I have been giving away free copies of my book “My Descent into Madness” in exchange for a review to post on my website. I have been marketing the shit out of “My Descent, in order to help sell my newest books. I have used Craig’s List, my website, this blog, and Facebook. I have found Facebook has worked out the best. The problem is I have sent out well over 100 copies, and I have received only a few reviews. I am ok with this to a point, I am happy people are reading my book, but sad I have not gotten as many reviews.

I have three other books I would like to come out in early to middle 2011. The first is putting a year worth of this blog “The Life and Mind of No One Special.” I am going back and touching up the posts. I have noticed since my posts are rushed they do not come off as very good. I am honestly surprised I get as many people reading this with how poorly they are written. I am working on a book called “The Philosophy of Quotes.” The jist of this book is taking famous quotes and writing my philosophical interpretation of the quotes. I am in love with quotes, and writing about them. Finally I am working on a book called “My Journey through the Tao.” This book will have all 81 verses of the “Tao Te Ching.” The book will include the posts I do on this blog, along with a poem after each verse. I intend to go a bit deeper, and explore my effort to incorporate the Tao into my life, along with progress made on my journey.

Here is my dilemma; all three of these books along with some poetry posts would all intertwine. I think I would be cheating any of my buyers because they would read some of the same material. I doubt anyone would buy “The Life and Mind of No One special.” I think if they knew they could read all entries on my blog; it is highly unlikely they would pay to read it. I am not really looking at sales with this book, but I do intend to use it as my portfolio to send to agents, and use it to apply for any kind of journalist jobs.

I intend to market “The Philosophy of Quotes,” as a bathroom book, which I intend to write numerous volumes. I am unsure if this book would even sell. I see other books of this type have sold well on the market. I am also unsure about the “Tao Te Ching.” My wife has advised I put everything into just the “Life and Mind” book. I think the down fall of this would be the example I used above.

I would appreciate any feedback my readers can give me.

Last year I started submitting my manuscript “My Descent into Madness” to publishers. I found most publishers do not take unsolicited manuscripts, and you had to sign with a literary agent to get into these publishing houses. I found a few who had open submissions for one month out of the year. I came across this publishing house called PublishAmerica. I sent my manuscript to them in November 2009; about three weeks later I received an e-mail saying they were interested in publishing my book. I was so happy and excited; my dream had finally come true. I quickly sent the contract to three different people to review. They came back with little objection. I signed the contract, and my book was released in December. My dream would soon turn into a nightmare.

“My Descent into Madness” was not only my first book, but it is extremely personal to me. My words were meant to be my final words to my loved ones. I started to write this book in August 2009. I was prescribed Chantix to try to quit smoking. The Chantix mixed with my MI caused me to go off the deep end. I finished the book in October, and my last poem “To My Children,” was dated February 8th 2010.

I first realized how crooked this publishing company was, when I received my first royalty statement. They were claiming I had sold zero copies. I knew this was incorrect, because I knew people on my Facebook had purchased copies. I complained to the company and all they said was I had to provide to them receipts of every sale. I filed a BBB complaint while I gathered the receipts, but stopped after the BBB complaint was settled. PublishAmerica offered me to go to Massachusetts to audit them. This was satisfactory for the BBB. I stopped all marketing of my book, and just gave up; accepting I had lost my work for the next seven years.

I was so down and out over this realization I was unable to write. The only thing I was able to do was my blog entries. I could not find the creativity to write my children’s book, and was completely blank with my poetry. I remember when my writers block left me, it was on Easter and we were up at my moms. This poem about the Easter Bunny molesting children just popped in my head, and poems have been filling my head ever since.

I was still upset about losing ‘My Descent into Madness.” I was not concerned about the money; I was more concerned about knowing how many people were reading my words. I came up with the idea to start giving the book away for free in exchange for a book review I could post on my website (e-mail me if you are interested in a copy.) I figured this was a great idea. I now knew how many people were reading my book, and this was a great way to get my name out there. I figured if I had good reviews for “My Descent,” It would generate sales for my future books. This has been working out well, except only three people out of the hundred or so people I have sent my book to have taken the time to send me a review. My plan is not working out to well right now.

I have finished my next three poetry books; “Yin,” “Yang,” and a political/theology poem book. I am very excited about this, all I need to do is get the books typed up, edited and sent out for publishing. I still feel sick about losing some of my poems from “My Descent.” I went back and read that book, and realized there were some horrible poems, but many good ones. This is my plan to take my words back. I am going to take those poems I wrote and re-do them with some minor to major changes. I think this is a great idea, but I worry the people who read “My Descent” will be put off by some similar poems.

The question I have for those who have read it; is this a bad idea? Would you be upset finding a few of the similar poems in my up and coming books? I also want to announce I am going to try to tackle my fears and start going to some open mic nights to read my poetry. I just hope I don’t freeze and look like a douche.

Have a great weekend.

Favor and disgrace seem alarming.

High status greatly afflicts your person.

Why are favor and disgrace alarming?

Seeking favor is degrading:

alarming when it is gotten,

alarming when it is lost.

Why does high status greatly afflict your person?

The reason we have a lot of trouble

is that we have selves.

If we had no selves,

what trouble would we have?

Man’s true self is eternal,

yet he thinks, I am this body and will soon die.

If we have no body, what calamities can we have?

One sees himself as everything

is fit to be guarding of the world.

One who loves himself as everyone

is fit to be teacher of the world

Lao-tzu

The thirteen verse of the Tao Te Ching is encouraging us to live with an independent mind. We need to be free from the positive and negative opinions of others, and allow yourself to be guided by your internal nature. In order for us to flow with the Tao and live within the natural order of the universe we need to nourish our individuality. If we make the assessments of others more important than our own we will afflicted.

Seeking others acceptance, praise, and a desire for higher status goes against the natural order of things. The Bible says we are given free will. The Tao teaches us a similar lesson in that the Tao does not interfere or force itself upon us. The Tao lets us work in our own way to produce results naturally. Whatever approval is due to us will come to us, any wealth or status will be in perfect alignment as long as we are flowing with the Tao. This is also true for any disapproval; it will come in perfect alignment with the universe. The more we try to go against the grain of the Tao; the greater chance of a splinter.

The Tao tells us that living for ourselves is not the way to go. In earlier verses we learned feeding into our ego and its desire for possessions and self-importance is destructive to living our lives with the Tao. If we are able to live without ego, and without selves or concern for status and praise than we should have no problem following and listening to our true selves, free from outside influences.

I have problems following this verse; due to my low self-esteem I rely on what others think of me to fuel my life. I need this praise to continue following and listening to my internal self. If I receive no praise I tend to let go of my true self and conform to a certain way of life to feel I am important. I am a slave to outside messages of praise, I allow others opinion of me or my writing to direct my life. If someone gives me disfavor it destroys my inner self and I work really hard to change their opinion of me. I am sometimes able to live the way of the Tao and allow my independent mind to flow freely. When I am able to achieve this I am filled with a greater sense of happiness.

I need to spend more time meditating and listening to what my inner self is passionate about and what my inner self feels about who I am, follow it. This will put me in harmony with the Tao and the universe. I want to become a teacher of this world.

There is no running

He is always right behind

Do not bother to hide

We will always see

He is we, and we have you

Golden sunrises

Fills us with light

Moonless nights

Ushers he into my life

These are things he puts in flight

Without my knowledge, 

I gave him no consent

He dives us deeper

Into bitter contempt

He pushes away, those we loved

Without regard; to what they meant

We is he, and he has me

By: Tim Lundmark