Dying Daily #216: Self-Obsession, Self-Deprecation and The Last Samurai

I am writing this in Lubbock, while Barbara is eating breakfast at a hotel in Norman, Oklahoma.

We were all supposed to go see her wrestle there, but Max has been so sick this week that we didn’t feel right about putting him in the car for 10 hours and keeping him up late at a show, so I am here. It was disappointing to miss the trip, but he and I had a fun day hanging out in the sunroom and watching Totoro 3 times.

One shift I’ve noticed in myself as I get older and less selfish is that I really value time with my family.

In the past, I was obsessed with making sure I got “my time”.  I felt I really needed the time alone, and fought to have it. I still need time alone, but not near as much as I thought.

Self-absorption has been a prime character trait for most of my life.

I don’t think I even started to get past the normal teenage self-obsessiveness until I was in my late twenties, and it was still hard. I was cleaning out old papers yesterday and found mountains of journals and writing I did when I was younger. It is all really poorly written, and really self-obsessed. 

It’s a feat in itself that I was able to write so much and still not be a better writer than I am. Maybe it is because I am just now seeing it as a craft.

Much of the advice I am finding in Zinsser’s “On Writing Well” would have helped me as a writer and a person when I was younger (it still does).

Use fewer words.

Eliminate clutter in what you say.

Be authentic.

Don’t try to please others.

I doubt younger James could have heard it though, he already knew everything.

How could he have cut words when everything he had to say was amazing?

It is funny that this self I was so obsessed with when I was younger is something I have an increasingly difficult time even believing in now. I have certainly never been able to find it. 

I watched The Last Samurai for the thousandth time this week.

I think people who hate it didn’t fully pay attention. Tom Cruise isn’t the last samurai. He doesn’t get to die with them. If he were the last samurai his life would be one of dishonor until he cut his own stomach open. Just an observation.

No bitching about spoilers in movies that are 14 years old, btw.

I am going to continue to work on cutting words and eliminating clutter from the daily posts. I am working to bring a genuine voice to every one of them. I don’t really have any topics prepared for this week yet. With luck, they will arise all on their own.

I have the third podcast recorded, but have to get to the work of rearranging and editing and all of that. I will post a guided mediation later today though. Feedback on these is all appreciated.

Check out the Moving Art series on Netflix, it will make your life better. The one with forests, predictably, is my favorite.

Have a great day.