Mythos & Marginalia

life notes; flaws and all

j.g. lewis

original content and images ©j.g. lewis

a daily breath...

A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .

Mondays are just young Fridays

It is a substantial record: Clues.
   The 1980 album by Robert Palmer took new wave sensibilities of the late ‘70s and ushered in the magnitude of what would become standard ‘80s popular music.
   I listened to the record intently last week, twice in a row. It has been decades since I have done that, but I had to. I enjoyed listening to the music that much.
   Years ago, I used to do it often. As a teenager, I remember the excitement of buying a new LP and listening to it repeatedly for hours and days. These were the times when radio wasn’t playing a lot of rock and roll. I grew up in a city that had only one AM station for the longest time (until a country music station took to the airwaves), and it was more focused on news, current events, and mostly my mom’s kind of music. Evenings they would play to a younger generation, but only the more popular pop songs (there was also an FM station but it played only classical music.
   Records and Rolling Stone magazine were then my link to real music.
   Back then you would play new records repeatedly, learning the songs, studying the lyrics and cover art. Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me comes to mind and, of course, Dark Side of the Moon.
   As my music collection grew over the years, as important as each record was, albums would be played less frequently; I had more albums to choose from. It had to be a damn good record to be played frequently.
   I know that changed when I owned my first car. The radio was still reliable, and I used to tape albums to play in the car’s cassette deck. Prior to that, listening to music was a stationary experience. Because of the limitations of the turntable, you had to stay in one place and listen, usually on headphones.
   I decided I wouldn’t buy any new albums this year, but instead listen to the music I already owned. I have a lot to select from, in all genres, on both vinyl and compact disc. I listen to music a lot, and in past years would frequently visit record stores to search out and both new releases and unfamiliar vintage albums by artists I was both familiar and unfamiliar with.
   I’ve now got a lot of alums that all need a good listening to.
   Clues was one of those albums.
   The album rocked a little harder than Secrets, his previous effort, but also dwelled in the synth-pop territory. One song, I Dream of Wires, written by new wave darling Gary New is sonically propulsive, a noticeable change of direction from the sophisticated strains of Palmer’s soulful, occasionally jazzy, sound. Palmer was the first artist I heard described as “blue-eyed soul”.
   This record captured the spirit of the times, without now seeming nostalgic. His albums that followed, both solo efforts and his work with The Power Station (an unlikely hook up with members of Duran Duran and Chic) continued in a similar groove, appealing to the Pepsi generation on MTV with his movie-star good looks and videos with the highly stylized back-up babes he became associated with.
   As I flip through my music collection, I am finding more and more albums worthy of re-discovering. All this music was purchased for a reason, and no doubt hasn’t been listened to with the intensity it deserves to be.

02/19/2024                                                                                        j.g.l.

truth or dare

Landscapes, like weather forecasts,
altered daily. Attitudes of how
we view our world, however,
remain stagnant.

Acid rain, climate change, dangers
inconvenient as carbon footprints in
freshly-fallen snow. We wait only
for it all to wash away.

Fossil fuels and solar flares, impotent
political dialogue of truth or dare.
Do we pay any heed past what
remains of the day?

Shame and blame living as we are.
What we do, or what we can do?
If only we would comprehend
how we have devolved.

Temperatures rising, though you
couldn’t tell it now. Common sense
approach far too common. We accept
what we cannot know.

We struggle, unknowingly, ignorant
of our ways. Messages lack meaning.
All talk. No action. Zero-sum gain
if all we do is complain.

02/16/2024                                                                                          j.g.l.

work in progress

I need to remind myself, more often,
who I am and what I have become.
More so, I need to remind myself of
what I am becoming.
If I am truly a work in progress, how
much progress have I made?
How can I tell if I don’t remind myself
or question myself?
Only I can really know.

02/15/2024                                                                              j.g.l.

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
well-rounded,
other times
dull or
occasionally
broken.
Still I write.

j.g. lewis
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.

Follow on social media

Keep in touch

Enter your email to receive notification of significant posts. Don't worry, I won't clog up your inbox or sell your data

What’s The Hurry?

Posted on February 25, 2015 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

_MG_8440

“When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care
about it and you want to get on to other things.”
                                                     – Robert M. Pirsig

I’ve been re-reading Persig’s Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance over the past couple of months. I breezed through it the first time, but now I’m reading slowly and paying more attention.

A newsroom colleague lent me the book in the decade after it was published, and some of Pirsig’s philosophies have struck a chord in the years since. The 40-year-old book is based around a journey (aren’t all stories, really?) but just as the author states; the book actually has little to do with maintaining a motorcycle and even less with Zen Buddhism.

The book explores society’s relationship with each other, with technology, self-satisfaction and Persig’s profound philosophies on life’s fundamental questions.

An engaging book, I first read it over a weekend and many of the ideals have come back at certain points in my life. Persig speaks of quality, and how to mindfully squeeze more out of your life. It’s ironic, however, that when I first read the book I missed the lesson quoted above. I was hurrying through the book. Decades later I realize I may have not absorbed one of the greatest lessons in the pages.

Much of my life has been chronic hurry. I’m not sure when it started, or why it continued, but I have spent a lot of time rushing to meet deadlines or obligations, to reach my next goal, to get something done, or to be somewhere. In my early years it was keeping up with the latest trends, or getting to the next party or happening. Later it was rushing to the next appointment, or the next city.

I know it’s not just me. I think we, as a society, have developed into a culture of hurry. Multi-tasking is part of our daily dialogue and the introduction and rapid advancement of technologies has enabled us to do more and see more, at the same time. Along with this progress we have heaped expectations onto ourselves, as have others.

As a result, more often than not, it feels like we are always rushing.

We are continually off to meetings, to dinner, to work, to the theatre; we always seem to be hurrying. Commerce and capitalists embraced this change and have created ways that allow us to do whatever we could before, but quicker now with express lanes, drive-in restaurants, and online banking and shopping. It is, apparently, called convenience, as much as it is called progress.

We take on more work, because apparently we can. And we hurry.

‘Hurry’ is described by Oxford as moving or acting with great or undue haste. All of us have become hasty; we rush to get the job done.

Look at your work at the office; was it completed accurately, thoroughly, and properly, as you multi-tasked your way through the allotted time? Were you getting the job done, or just getting through the day? Did you care about the work you were producing, or just the next task on your agenda?

As our professional lives creep into our personal lives in this imbalanced work/life balance, we take the attributes of hurry along with us. Did you care about the meal you prepared after speeding home from the workplace, or did you rush it?

You know what it’s like to hurry a meal, to sit at the dinner table and discover a little too much pink in the meat, or too much bone in the broccoli. Or, more so, you arrive home hungry after battling rush-hour traffic and don’t even bother preparing the nutritious meal you were planning. Instead you zap one of those microwave entrees designed for people in a hurry, or you take only the time to boil water for your instant noodles. Even then you rush through the chore because you had other things to do, or things you thought could be done at the same time.

In the process you hurried through both tasks. Did you care about either? Really?

As we hurry we learn shortcuts that allow us to keep up the frenetic pace, like ironing only the collar and front of the shirt (you’re wearing a blazer anyway). But like that shirt, the job is never really complete. Take off the jacket and you will see the wrinkles of a job done poorly.

There is no efficiency in hurrying. Still it is expected of us: at work, at home, by ourselves, and in life in general.

I’ve hurried through preparation and presentations, relationships, and lunches with friends, all with the perception that I had something else or something better to do. I’ve also hurried to pack for a business trip only to discover half of my wardrobe was left hanging in the closet or at the dry cleaners.

How efficient was my hurry? I’m reminded of a bumper sticker (or coffee mug) I saw years ago: ‘The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.’

Whatever happened to patience, to persevering through the pain and annoyance and even the mundane tasks to arrive at satisfaction in what you were doing?

I used to think patience meant slowing down, but that is not the case. It’s about taking the right amount of time to do the task right. I’ve hurried through manuscripts; I wrote in a hurry, I edited in a hurry, and I submitted in a hurry. It’s not that the work wasn’t good . . . it just wasn’t good enough.

Hurrying is not economical. You spend more money on gas, on food, on your clothing. You misuse your energy. When you hurry you make financial decisions that will plague you for years. A split-second decision can disrupt, even kill, relationships. How many times have we heard the idiom ‘haste makes waste’?

I’ve been trying, over the past couple of years, to find and implement my patience. It has been trying because you need to unlearn and relearn what it is you do, and what it is you want. You have to cultivate patience, and you have to allow it the proper time.

Patience comes from within; it must be nurtured, it must be respected, and it must confront all the hurry that is imposed on us. Patience is not always there. As I write this I’m trying not to hurry to meet a self-imposed deadline. Still I keep trying to have more patience with myself, as I take the time to plan and organize (and not hurry though the process). I try not to think of what comes next.

I try to care. I try not to hurry.

Most times our lives are hectic and hurried. Does that mean we no longer care about how we are living? I hope not, because there is only one option to living, and I’m in no hurry to do that.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

-->