Wisdom from Spam

It is the depressing truth that I get more spam comments than actual comments on this site. So it goes. Thankfully, Akismet has caught every piece of  junk so far. Interestingly, some are directed at me, not you, dear reader. They offer me Search Engine Optimization consultations and programs. I found this a particularly clever strategy, the recognition that only the admin will ever see the advertisement.  But honestly, I’m still figuring out what Eleventyone is all about, so it’s hard for me to strategize for keyword density. I don’t even know what my keywords are yet. And I’m doing my best to be OK with that, so lay off. Anyway, tonight I found this gem in the spam folder as a comment on Meditation While Avoiding Bird Shit:

“Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, regards . ‘Nothing happens to any thing which that thing is not made by nature to bear.’ by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.”

The comment was back linked to knockoff Isabel Marant shoes. It seems Isabel Marant is some super high end French designer I would know about if I knew anything about fashion. I considered actually approving the comment because the site it pointed to was full of hilarious Engrish. Here’s a sample:
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Stepping into the Darkness

A fresh piece of paper is white. So is a primed canvas, or a new document on a computer screen. It is pure, full of potential, and maybe even promise. It can shine. It can be so bright that it hurts your eyes. But there are other reasons we look away. We all come to this point at the very beginning of any project, whether we seek to fill the blank with an image, words, or music, we experience the emptiness before us. We are gazing into the void. Sometimes the blank page doesn’t feel white at all; it feels black. We can feel the emptiness but our sight can not penetrate its depths. Starting a new piece can feel like standing at the edge of a cave. Perhaps we can see inside a little way, but beyond that all is darkness. And we are all afraid of the dark.

The mind can fill the unknown with terrors and populate the darkness with monsters. In the moments before beginning a new project, uncertain of what it will be or how we will do it, our doubts and fears rally. The cave may be home a dangerous animal. It may contain a bottomless pool containing pale, sightless creatures without names. Maybe its simply a dead end. Maybe we’ll never find a way out. But we know the longer we waver at the entrance, the less likely we are to start in. And so we advance, taking the first, hesitant steps.
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Happy Valentine’s Day From Eleventyone

Benny HeartDear reader. Let me be honest with you, that started as a device. Addressing you was a tool to adopt the tone I was seeking, and a trick to convince myself that maybe, someday, I would have some sort of an audience. “Dear reader” brought an indistinct silhouette to my mind, like the shadowy avatar on a website before you upload a picture. You were the imaginary friend I conjured to ward off the fear and loneliness brought on by broadcasting my approximation of truth into the darkest reaches of internet. And you really helped in these early days of Eleventyone, as I felt out what this site is and what it can be. But it turns out, dear reader, that you are not imaginary at all. You exist. At the other end of a fractal network of dendrites conducting electricity and light, there you are there, reading these words. So on this Valentine’s day I have a confession to make:

I am your secret admirer.

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I, Zombie

If I were any movie monster, I would probably be a zombie. I wake up in that murky time before dawn, what the clichéd expression would have us believe is the darkest hour. I take stiff, lurching steps from the bedroom. My arms are raised in front of me, half in protection against colliding with door frames and furniture, half in an expression of primal seeking. My eyes are open, but it is clear that there is little to no cognition occurring behind them. My speech function is severely impaired, but I manage to form one word, drawn out and guttural: “Coffee.” It is the morning breath escaping with these two groaned syllables that really let’s you know I am the undead.

While zombie morning me is a little scary, his limited range of motion, slow speed, and dim intelligence keeps him from posing much of a threat. That is, as long as no one is around. He is a creature of habit, and as long as nothing interrupts his routine he is surprisingly successful at getting out of the door on time consistently. Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of zombie morning me is that he is usually the one who drives to work, but the steaming travel mug of antidote in the cup holder helps. (Side note: the original draft of this piece has coffee stains all over it. True story.)

What movie monster are you?

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Athena

Athena in Athens Square

Photo by PandaB0t

I have walked past this statue of Athena, the ancient Greek warrior-goddess of wisdom, hundreds of time. She stands at the entrance to Athens Square, the little park in my neighborhood where the Watch Your Eyes incident took place. It’s pretty amazing how, though she never changes, my impression of Athena evolves. Sometimes I marvel at how nice it is to have a work of art standing a few blocks from my apartment, and wonder why there isn’t more public beautification in general. Occasionally I consider the poignancy of a divine figure who is no longer worshiped, appreciated aesthetically but no longer contemplated with devotion. I’m curious if it calls people’s faith into question, this god who has fallen out of favor. Perhaps it just affirms a true believer’s faith all the more. Maybe there are those who still sacrifice to Pallas Athena, what do I know?

But lately I have been wondering about her outstretched hand. She holds her right hand out, seemingly at the crowds walking by her on the sidewalk. For a time I thought she was bestowing boons, one of the chief functions of the gods. She could be offering wisdom and inspiration to us lowly mortals who pass beneath her. But there is a hint of sadness in her expression that lends her an air of longing and I began to believe Athena wasn’t presenting us with anything, she was asking for something. Maybe she holds out her empty hand hoping for some small sacrifice, remembering the days when temples and even a great city were devoted to her. Or maybe she’s just lonely, standing out there alone, day and night, in all kinds of weather. Perhaps she just wants some sign that she is still relevant, still remembered, still meaningful.
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