standing up, being counted

“We stand awed at the heights our people have achieved. No gods, no religion. Us.”

The cult of Warren is strange and bizarre – standing in his shadow, I attract my own miniature flock of digital stranger crows that flap and holler. They pool in my footsteps, inky comments on breast size and comic book lines, and hop from medium to medium, trailing like shreds of three panel love songs cut with rusty scissors and animated comedy quotations.

It happens sometimes, that my friends are made larger than life, puffed with their creations into parade balloons that float on the hot air of media, swearing, writing, and song, mossy with articles, bright with light, and loud, that I get caught in the slipstream, somehow. I flutter, attached, back stage, in the green room, in the booth, behind closed doors. Crew, countryman, friend, lover. I look out and see eyes, lines of them waiting, eager, like drugs waiting to be born, delicate membranes of gossip, admiration, and downright lies, torn between trying to keep the pedestal up, balanced, and meaningful, while wanting nothing more than to climb on top. Disparate options with similar needs.

I do my best, but I can’t relate. We sit in restaurants, months out of date, how have you been, me too, this place, that bit of news, how is it, how was it, I’ve missed you, say hi to the wife and kids. We eat, trading knives like we trade stories, smile, and sign where the waiters ask us to sign. I loved that movie you were in. And I get the smile too, as if they should know who I am, what I do, why I’m here. We lie in bed together, on top of the covers, clothes on, flipping through television channels, ordering food from room service we will finish eating in the morning, after we wake, bleary, uncertain of the city, uncertain of the beige pink walls, the cold marble floor, how we’ve moved to hold each other in our sleep. We are not these incantations written on message boards, names attached to more meaning that stone. We are people, as difficult and as holy as everyone else. We make what we make, create when we can, scrape a living out of it, barely, and rinse, wash, repeat. Glory is rare.

Over 35 years ago, a plastic surgeon named Dr. Maxwell Maltz noticed that it took his patients 21 days to stop feeling phantom sensations from lost limbs. After further research, he came to find that it takes only 21 days to form a new habit. In fact, if patients worked for just 15 minutes to form a new habit every day, without skipping a day, after three weeks it was actually harder to go back to their original behavior. He wrote a book on the subject called “Psycho-Cybernetics” and accidentally founded the self-help movement.

I wish more people knew. It’s proven, too, that everything hones with practice – research, accounting, programming, painting. Even dry talent, art learned from a book, can be added to, can better itself. With the advent of the net, it’s possible for everyone to have an audience, if they only try, use the tools available.

The only way to climb is to stand on a pile of your own creation.

To live, learn, and strive.