Myrrh: (noun) a fragrant gum resin obtained from certain trees and used, especially in the Near East, in perfumery, medicines, and incense
My favorite incense to burn while reading Oscar Wilde is myrrh and frankincense.
Sammy again. Column # 2. And so I begin to follow through. Reminds me of my motto, ‘Do everything you say you are going to do.’ In college, I started to create a motto for every year or semester, depending on life events and epiphanies.
Sammy’s Life Motto’s (Sammy-isms)
2012: Do everything you say you are going to do
2012: If you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you don’t say, they don’t know.
2013: The only person you need to love you is yourself. Once you love yourself, you can love everybody else.
2014: Eh, it will happen.
2015: It has to happen so it will.
2015: Don’t ask other people what they want to happen. Say what you want to happen, and then ask if they agree or not.
I have yet to determine this upcoming years motto. Options:
I’d love to hear what you think about my mottos, so comment below! Or if you have a motto you’d like to share- comment!
I love mottos, concise phrases used as mantras to keep me going when I get in a tight spot, or direct me and my intentions of living.
This week has been an intense week. I slept from 5pm to 7am on Sunday, and it was just what I needed. The Van Boys came to visit (two boys living in a van and traveling America this summer), as well as The Italians (my flatmate from Naropa and her two friends from home who were also traveling America this summer). I have never had a visitor in Los Angeles for the past twenty-one years, and in the last two weeks, I’ve had six! Six!
Visiting LA is a challenge. So many people hate LA, and I am constantly on the defense. My only response, ‘you just don’t know LA.’ Hell, I bet most people who live in LA don’t know LA. LA is huge. (Take NYC and smoosh it, that is LA!) My theory about LA is that it is actually a film set of the entire world. Every neighborhood looks so different, or has a certain community living there that you could travel the entire world in Los Angeles. Any cuisine, we got it! Any language, we got it! Any religion, we got it!
We have everything – you just have to know where it is, which is impossible in a few days. LA is no basic bitch (though there are a lot of basic bitches who live there).
I took them to Santa Monica, Amoeba and Hollywood, The Grove and Farmers Market, Melrose, and Franklin Ave, and Topanga Mall. I guess, in a way – those are my must see’s in LA. Although, looking back – I wish I had more time to organize our days. It was the situation of – I’ve been waiting all my life for visitors, but when they came – I was so busy, there was no time for all of my planned out day trips and adventures. It was a crammed LA trip. But I hope they liked it, and I hope they like LA a little more.
Although, the real LA is sitting in a car in traffic on the freeway.
I was just telling my dad (I am graduating in a year, and thus the future/real world/career/rest of my life is waiting for me, just around the bend) that I would like to write a column, that would be my dream job. I want to be Carrie Bradshaw- except not her, but me, Sammy Evans. He has, as well as this great youtube video of a lecture on Passion by Ken Robinson at the School of Life, that I need to find my element, follow my passions, do what I like and what I am good at.
For a while, I have been fighting with this idea. I have been fighting with my own identity and position in society. Instead of wanting to do what I am passionate about, I want to ‘help people’. I have been the host of a horrible fear that I am a privileged person, well that is not a fear. I, similarly to Emily Grant, in her fantastic article ‘On Gratitude. . . and Feeling Unironically #Blessed’, have been very fortunate in my life, however, unlike Emily, I am not going to study Refugee and Forced Migration studies – a program that in every way is trying to help people who have not had a fortunate life. I study English and History. I love to write. I love to read books. I love the world of culture (theatre, food, of conversations and philosophy and fashion and ideas and thoughts and lectures and art, and art, and all that is art). I love the pleasures of life, and I want to fill my life them, and to thoroughly appreciate the pleasures I come into contact with. I love the moments, the vistas, the visions, the imagination. I love the touch.
How does this help the world? I have been fighting this love because, how does this help the world? Isn’t this the life only a privileged person can live? Is it therefore my duty to live this privileged life? To eat from my silver spoon, and instead of pretending it isn’t silver or complaining that it isn’t polished enough, I appreciate it and spin words of beauty around it and think about it, and after I finish eating I lick it and kiss it.
The silver spoon reminds me of a few days ago sitting at Caffe Primo with my cousin Holly (She is a talent counselor and and her client Matty Icee (he is a video editor and film maker – check him out, he is living the Blasfamous life). It was rather humid in the cafe, I don’t think they have air conditioning, and we were eating lunch. I had a delicious chicken parmigiana sandwich and an iced coffee. It was good coffee. They were having a meeting, I was eavesdropping and fiddling on my laptop.
A man in a t-shirt and jeans came in. He sat at the table in front of us. His ipad was shattered and his phone looked dead. I sat typing away on my laptop (working on plans for Margaret and I’s beat adventure to San Francisco to work on our dissertations – hers is a fantastic website called Andthebeatliveson.org). He sees me, and stumbles over.
‘You, you’re pretty good looking. I’d like to talk to you.’
‘Sorry, we’re in a meeting,’ I say. Because I don’t know what to say. Because he seems aggressive, and because all through high school I hated when boys liked me without talking to me because ‘they only wanted my body’.
‘Oh, okay’, he gruffs, ‘I was only looking for a phone charger. My phone is dead, see.’ He shows me his phone.
‘Okay- there is one by the ATM over there,’ and point. He sees where I am pointing, and walks over there. But he seems looking for something to happen some thrill, and so he turns to Matty who is sitting next to me, and mumbles, ‘who do you think you are, sitting with these girls, like you’re some big shot.’
Matty, after living in LA for a while knows how to talk to people like this, and simply nods and says, ‘I wasn’t talking to you’. The guy tries to start something, but we ignore him, and he is quiet.
He seems out of it. He pulls out his dead phone and answers it. ‘Hello, yes this is him. Things in the recording studio went great. I sounded awesome,’ and he begins singing into the phone. He keeps darting to look over at us, trying to impress us, I thought.
And even though we are not talking to him, he shouts over to Matty, ‘who do you think you are? I bet you eat from a silver spoon.’
‘Yes, I do eat from a silver spoon. I worked hard to eat from a silver spoon.’ The guy hates this response, it was the response he didn’t want. He wanted submissive, not a return of his aggression. He stands up, and he is frustrated.
‘Of course, you.. you’re just, look do you want to start?’
‘No, I don’t. I just answered your question.’
‘You want to start.’
‘Look, we don’t want to start anything,’ I say, ‘We are having a meeting’. Hoping to calm the aggression with the power of a pretty girl. It is impossible to work, so we get up and leave.
Matty is furious outside. ‘People like that.’
‘He seemed drunk,’ I say.
‘He was on more than that.’
But the point of this whole story was that the reason I was thinking of a silver spoon was because of this story, and because Matty instead of saying that he did not eat out of a silver spoon, said that he did. He was appreciating the fortunate circumstances of his life and of how without them (but also with lots of hard work and luck and passion) he was able to be self-reliant and self-dependent, to be the video maker he was.
And so I guess what I am trying to say is that I have been fortunate, and I think the best way for me to help the world is to appreciate my fortunes and follow my passions (even though they are not the self-sacrificing moral kind), and to encourage other people to follow their passions and dreams, and to help them follow their passions and dreams.
My dad told me, ‘First you have to be able to be self-reliant and self-dependent, and then you can try to take care of others.’ I am trying to do just that in the way that I can and that is open to me.
And I really want to stop feeling negative about life and overwhelmed by all that is there, as I sit suffocating in the suburbs in my room apart from everything and feeling like the world is against me. Sulking in my luxury. I want to appreciate the moments. I want to be open and encouraging and passionate and motivated and have a little hop in my step.
To be at all is a miracle, the Dalai Lama says. To live at all is art, that is what I say. So I’m just gonna live and breathe and try to invoke kindness and appreciation into all that I do.
Ps. I will write one of these every Thursday.
“The real bugaboo of conservative thinking, arguably, is the West German New Left in its current political incarnation.” (200)
**can you believe this word was used in an academic journal article? who even knew it was a word? Way to sit on the thesaurus Dr. Geoff Eley!
fingers strum, poets
read, wood chairs and coffee cups,
this is my he(art).
*’This is My He(art)’ is the 2014-2015 literary journal published by Inklight Creative Writing Society of the University of St. Andrew every year. This is a haiku inspired at the launch party that took place on May 10th, 2015 at the bean room.
** This haiku can also be found as part of an event review for The Tribe.
And so the ‘cruellest month’ has come to a close. Luckily it is only thirty days. Writing a poem every day was a struggle, and I did not succeed. The thought, however, of needing to write a poem each day made my days more inspiring, as I looked for things poetic.
To those who succeeded, congratulations! You have written thirty poems, nearly a whole collection of poetry – at least a pamphlet!
To those who tried, congratulations! You have written a number of poems, which is more than before April started! You tried, you said yes, and that kind of mindset is what makes the world the beautiful place that it is.
This month was indeed as Eliot predicted. My life was upheaved and jolted – as I fought to remain in control. Time has passed, the days have ticked by, and I do feel more in control.
‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ is really a statement to live by. There are many variations of that quote….
And, here is my own contribution!
What’s your version of ‘When life gives you lemons…’?