I’ve been thinking about walking. Admittedly, thoughts like these have their origins in reflections backward to this time one year ago. Mark said “goodbye” to his house at 38 Pleasant Street, and walked down the hill on his one-way street commencing yet another cross-country journey into the unknown. He’d done a similar one in 2010, but this one was different in a host of ways.
He let readers know some of the reasons why he was making this trek. I knew the road had been calling out to him across the expanse of the previous six years since he stepped into the Pacific after wearily making his way across the sands of Santa Monica Beach at the end of that epic march.
Mark wasn’t the first writer who’d been drawn to the realm of walking. Perhaps the obvious name that crops up when talking about writers who valued the walking experience would be Thoreau. There have been a host of others. There seems to have been some deeper, intuitive connection between walking, thinking, and then, writing. We of course have by-and-large lost this. I’m sure part of this stems from being immersed completely in our American version of Happy Motoring.
I found an older article in The New Yorkerby Adam Gopnik. He details how at one point in the mid-19th century, walking was actually “the dominant spectator sport in America.” Could be that if enough fervently patriotic football fans abandon the NFL, then walking might make a comeback? That would be a shame because if there was a figure who could captivate fans of professional walking, it would have been Mark. Continue reading →
How often do you affirm other people? I mean, honestly recognizing qualities and positive traits—some amazing skill or ability they have. I’m guessing not very often.
Yesterday, I spoke to two friends. One of them I’ve known since 1988 when we were both new meter readers at our local power company. The other one, I met in February, the weekend we held Mark’s Celebration of Life at Brown.
The former knew Mark from the age of five and saw him grow into his teenage years. We’d lost touch as Mark got into college. But with true friends, a sabbatical isn’t a deal breaker.
My old friend was crushed when he learned Mark was killed. I’d called him the next day because I knew he’d find out and I wanted him to hear from me. He’s been there for me over the past eight months.
My newer friend and Mark were colleagues at Brown. Both navigated the school’s Literary Arts program together, earning MFAs. They are also poets.
We’ve been calling every other week and have deep and meaningful conversations about life. Yesterday, we were talking about how rare it is in this life to receive validation.
It’s interesting that our current president is a man who has made his way to the top by doing the opposite—tearing down others and seeking to destroy them. That says a great deal about the value that Americans place on catching others doing good and authentically recognizing that. Continue reading →
In 2013, a friend passed away before he and I were able to schedule one final visit. He was a man I had come to consider a mentor, as well as a friend.
He had given advanced warning that his time was winding down—he’d been diagnosed with cancer—and had urged me not to “wait too long.” Foolishly, I treated him like another appointment on my calendar and when I found out he had died and I’d even missed the celebration of his life, I felt like a total heel.
The post I wrote honoring him back in April, 2013, touched on some of these things, but really didn’t do his life and influence justice. Rarely is it possible to perfectly capture one’s life in a blog narrative. So why do it?
It’s always easy to focus on yourself. I know, I know—your situation is important and you don’t have time to think of anyone but yourself, or to ask about how I’m doing.
I’m re-evaluating most of my relationships. I remember a friend of mine from years ago mentioning that the “masses are asses.” My recent experience would validate his assessment. However, I’m trying to give people the benefit of the doubt and maintain a positive view of my fellow humans. Continue reading →
I’ve been married to the same woman for 31 going on 32 years. Long-term relationships don’t just happen—they require constant vigilance.
For the past six months, I’ve detected relationship drift. A set of patterns were developing and I realized it was time for some honest talk. An article about marriage caught my eye. I wanted to discuss it with the one who has been my best friend for the past three decades. Continue reading →
Strife and conflict seem to be the twins that fuel many people. For these types, there’s always an “issue” or some Henny Penny kind of conspiracy to get behind and wind others up about. Most of the time these people make it their place to ruin your day. Conflict makes the world go round, at least it does seem to be central in the lives of many that’s for sure. Continue reading →