The Art of a Fool

The Infinite Abyss(es) is not going away.  It does need a makeover, however.  There will be less frequent posts.  The posts, however, will be longer pieces, more essays essentially, and better quality.

The post that preceded this was not good enough as many of the posts are due to my benathaning a picky little shit.  The post was about how the finale of How I Met Your Mother was a bit of a sham, how the poor pacing and writing of the season completely left its viewers on a sour note.  Revisiting the blue horn was revisited, the dogs, the window scene, paralleling Romeo and Juliet, was a good note.  Yes, we got to meet the mother, who ends up dying.   Yes, we finally do meet the mother and we see how this plays out.

However, my lack of paying attention, paying attention to the signs was questioned after reading a post by our fellow blogger, Brittany White.  HIMYM is noted for it’s consistent and constant pop culture references.  For instance, check out the post by Brittany the White, and see what you think.  This changed my perspective on the end of the show, which is actually quite acceptable in my eyes.

Ted is probably one of the biggest fools on earth, in pop culture.  It’s not a bad thing.

 

There is a thank you that has to be given to Ursula at An Upturned Soul, and this is reference to her post about the joys of being foolish.  Yes, I did quote the Serendipity paraphrase of Epictetus:  “If you want to improv, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”  This may get old for you readers, but it’s a happy reminder for me.  It’s a reminder for anyone to be themselves and accept who we are at any given moment.  If we don’t like our abrasiveness, something can be done fix the issue.  However, coming down on such absurdity or goofiness or lighthearted nonsense can only hurt growth.  Failure is inevitable as well.  Accept it.

“Good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share… but I still don’t seem to care.”

– Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin

Perhaps, should you choose to believe this or not, your act of foolishness was supposed to happen.  Otherwise, you’d be stuck in place. A thought came into my head earlier this week, and it will be placed in the Sunday’s observation post:

Have you ever seen someone stuck in the room of a store, the space in between two broken automatic sliding doors?

Neither have I.

Upright Citizens Brigade

Photo by Alexis Pierce

Last Saturday evening, a buddy of mine, Nick, and I went to the good ol’ Palace Theater in Syracuse–told you this was my venue of the year, and it’s only April–for an Upright Citizen’s Brigade improv show.  Nick had never been to an improv show before, and it was explained to him that this wasn’t short form, the well-known Whose Line Is It Anyway? type of show.  It’s been mentioned several times before that long form improv is supposed to tell a story.  The improvisers get their inspiration through a variety of ways:  one word, a song or music or a lyric, a line from a book, monologues, or they can interview someone aside many other methods.    These three chose the interview shtick.  There was no hesitation on my part to raise my hand, which may have jumped the gun a little bit.  However, knowing the interview process, not too many people would be eager to volunteer.

So, John interviewed me (see picture above).  It looks like a shoddy beard is slathered across my face, but it’s the lighting.  The topics that I had to spill the beans about included:

  • blogging (obviously)
  • shitty blogging
  • life in Syracuse
  • skiing and crashing into my now ex on an excursion
  • the art of a yard sale
  • working for the New York State senate, but not about the Senator I worked for (rest easy, big guy)
  • living at home (after being asked what my living situation was and who my roommates were, an audience member boo-ed me)
  • Columbus Bakery and car bread

Despite the the word vomit and obvious evidence adding up to reveal my not getting laid, one guy came up to me and shook my hand.  He told me I was brave to get up there.  Tears welled in our eyes.  I asked, “Father?”

That last part is a lie, but we did talk about Columbus Bakery bread and The Kind Coffee Company, one of Syracuse’s small gems.

Not too much over a year ago, my confidence grew…a lot.  That section of the spectrum of confidence, the getting on stage,  the performing random scenes and games based off an audience’s suggestion, was superfluously fulfilled.  It was a victory for four of us in that beginning improv troupe with the Syracuse Improv Collective.  Last Saturday, which felt like Confession, which I haven’t done since my Confirmation in 1999, was a confidence reminder.  I’m willing to go out on a limb and look like an ass, not caring one bit about it because no one–including myself–is being injured mentally or physically.

Laughing at myself, at my expense is always reassuring.

However, there is this issue that I have with wooden chairs; they seem to just crumble, dismantle and fall apart beneath me.

It is comforting–Ty, an artistic and genuine individual known in the Syracuse community, has confidence in me that I can probably act despite not doing so.

It’s time to bring it.

art

“The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch.
He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters,
compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.”

– Steven Pressfield, The War of Art (p. 40)

I’ve been indulging in The War of Art by Steven Pressfield lately.  It’s been a time consumer, because it’s more valuable to me than originally thought.  It’s book that has been passed along by the lovely Erin, and it’s a time consumer due to my reading and re-reading pages.  As the cover reads, the Esquire review, the book is a kick in the ass.

Resistance.  Fear.  These combine to make one hell of a devilish team that seek to destroy our confidence and productivity.  These can combine and regurgitate a mess that can be illustrated by addictions, procrastination, deviant behavior, and other negative associations.  These qualities can emit through personalities, qualities

Its fun to overcome these obstacles, to gain that satisfaction that your work/art is progressing along, and this has nothing to do with whatever you are working on to result in success or failure.  We need failure in order to live.  We need to be rejected.  We need to feel miserable.  We have to be broken down to get stronger, and brush the disdain off should this obstacle or failure come back around.

Some people are unwilling to accept this fact,  and I know more than a handful of them.  Instead of actually trying, people tend to tiptoe around taking on a challenge; they eventually accept challenges, but they are small; which each success these individuals step out a little bit more and take another less-than-drastic challenge.  This pattern keeps continuing until they fail, which brings them back down to square one instead of the block or level they were previously on.  Rejection and failure is life threatening to them.

~~~

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.  Since this is a blog, let’s associate writing into this situation.  This is fictitious and any situation that you think relates to you, probably does not.  If you take this next section to heart, perhaps it does pertain to you in some other dimension… or you’re plainly a sociopath.

Revising a couple paragraphs is in no way as threatening walking a wire across two skyscrapers.  Perhaps it is to a non-writer.  Of course, these individuals who throw such a hissy fit upon being denied by an editor, and their cussing out the editor to friends does not do anyone good.  Frankly, the friend(s) probably look at their stressed colleague with concern.  If the piece of writing does not meet the criteria, it’s something the writer did; own it, fix it, and learn from the mistake–this is especially important if writing is not your forte.  Just because you might be into aquatics, an apostrophe is not a floating comma.  There is no buoyancy on a blank page.

Back to Level One they fall.

This could be the beginning of a new path.  The individual could learn from mistakes, or they could take the other path in that fork and utilize their gift of gab–despite nothing being eloquent about it–instead of writing to succeed.  The latter, the second path, would ultimately running away from problem; it’s easier to take flight than to fight, to stick to your convictions.  The ability to take that ability to charm with a serpent’s tongue is a talent.  This talker, schmoozer falls into the same category as the ass kisser; however, they are the one step above with the realization that they don’t have to get specks of shit on their nose.  It’s the path that can have people falling at your feet and adhering to your needs, something that a little please and thank you cannot do.  It’s the melodramatic woe that one possesses and stresses when it is felt that they cannot be understood, they cannot understand why they failed (and that is blamed on another).

Meanwhile that editor and others too busy to pay mind to the call for attention cannot hear this, because each person is too busy and their nose is buried in the work on their desk.

Those who build, construct.  Those who design, draw.  Those who write, scribble.  Doctors diagnose, cure.  This list can go on.  The schmoozing attention seeker, those people who want to be complimented for what they have said instead of what they have actually done, and will seek things handed to them.  They will flock and stand by those who continue to give them things for free.  Those who call the person out, are left to the side.  The branch is broken, and this person snatches the closest vine to swing to safety.

In the grand scheme of things–it’s to be reiterated–the schmoozer is too focused with what they are going to say instead of what they are going to do, accomplishing work.  They’re comfortable playing the amateur, sailing through life and enjoying the breeze as they are not in command.  The professional pets, grooms, feeds their work; they know rewards will come to them down the road.

~~~

Stick to your guns, as they say… whoever they are.  Do what you have to do.  Accept failure.  Learn.  Accomplish.  Go from amateur to professional.

Accept failure.  Accept failure.  Accept failure.

I puked out all of my frustration/animosity a couple Sundays ago when plagued by the flu.  There is no blaming anyone, but my inability to dress weather appropriate probably had something to do with my getting sick.  However, it was the only time I had gotten sick all winter long; not even a cold.  The lack of confidence probably went down the porcelain bowl as well; it was just in time for the Syracuse New Times gig.

I finally accepted that I need help with job hunting and other aspects, because I’m doing something wrong.  I’m accepting and appreciating the help given to me.  I approve of my feeling passion as ridiculous as it may seem.  I’m not afraid to call people out when they are putting on a facade and guiding society in a less than favorable path.  Writing was actually considered a distraction, but now it is understood this is what I want to do, to excel at, to be professional with.

I’m willing to take risks.

I’m willing to put myself through hell.  I am willing to be miserable and accept being miserable, because–in turn–this makes me, anyone positive or elated.

According to The War of Art (section “How to be Miserable,” page 68):

“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell,
whether he knows it or not.  He will be dining for the duration on a diet
of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation…
He has to know how to be miserable.
He has to love being miserable.”

– Steven Pressfield

And this brings us to The Fool.

falstaff

The Falstaff Hotel (& Restaurant) is an actual place in Canterbury, England.  My nerdy self took that picture back in 2007,  because there was no resistance.  Falstaff is one of my favorite Shakespearean fools.  A picture was definitely needed to satisfy my nerdism.

The concept of the fool has been a part of literature for years and years and years and… in folklore and before the written word.  The Fool, despite the character’s designated name, is entertainment.  Shakespeare knew how to write a fantastic fool.  The Fool is a foil.  The Fool has the ability to bring lighthearted humor into drama.  Drama is written to parallel the hardships we endure in life, but life is not miserable all the time.  That’s why there is drama, the climax, in romantic comedies.  It’s the same concept, its opposite.  The Fool reminds us to not take life so seriously.  The Fool is easily dismissed and as easily disposable.

The Fool does not see is actions as foolish despite being demeaning, demoralizing, preposterous; the character believes in himself and displays his loyalty to those who surround him despite making jokes or observations at their expenses.  The Fool is an observant character, and is smarter than perceived to be.  The Shakespearean fools are male, but that was society back in the day.  Some of these characters were actual imbeciles or actual clowns/jesters.   Talk about calling the kettle black (CLICHE ALERT!).

We lifestyle bloggers/writers, we are a bunch of fools.  We are not clowns.  We’re different from the specialized bloggers aside our dappling into some of it ourselves.  Some of us write specifically for food, music, movies, design, fashion, etc.  However, we all have second or third blogs where we let loose to varying degrees.  We observe.  We take notes.  We answer questions by our peers.  We write about our crazy lives.  We write about how the everything bagel had too much onion and not enough garlic. We write about other people and their ridiculousness, sentimentality, love, hate, sadness and happiness.  Some write what they have to, stick to what they write about for their career and call it a day’s work.  Others are chameleons.  We we write about what generates vitality.  We incorporate music, sarcasm, satire, and the occasional slapstick.  We’re not afraid to express our passion of relationships.

We’re not afraid to express passion.

We are brave to write about what ails us:  fibromyalgia, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, suicide, autism, cancer, homelessness, drugs, mental and physical abuse, death, divorce, etc.  We put a positive spin on it, ending on a high note despite our being low.  There are those out there coming down on writers for talking about this, putting it out in the open, and some may say that this so-called constructive outlet is a cry for attention.

The coming down on someone is mean bullshit, in my opinion, and other’s disgusted attitudes are generated from jealousy.  I have personally learned  a lot from many writers on here.  Fools are looked at as Fools, designated by those unwilling to read and listen and understand.  The quick-to-belittle don’t understand that the Fools do have an upper hand.

The Fools have wonderful timing.  They shut up when they need to.  They chime in when appropriate and when no one else will.  Should they get shut down, an extra layer of toughened skin is draped over us.

Stay foolish, my friends.

17 thoughts on “The Art of a Fool

  1. I am so split about the finale. I mean, on the one hand, what the shit! They had to kill the MOM? On the other hand, it’s nice that Ted finally ended up with Robin. Still, the blue horn, the dogs, etc. It feels like it was wrapped up too nicely. And honestly, Ted’s hypothetical happy ending with Tracy would have felt wrapped up too nicely as well. There really was no winning this one. I didn’t hate the last season, even if it kept bouncing back and forth between the past and future, but the finale just left a sour taste in my mouth.

    • I’m still dwelling on it. It was wrapped up nicely, but too quickly. They shouldn’t have focused on the characters as much as they had–we already know them. Bringing back old characters… fine and whatever. As long as they didn’t take the Seinfeld approach.

      The wedding was dragged out, which could have made room for the future instead of dropping hints that she was going to die. Essentially, the show is about Ted and Mother/Tracy. It was just so rushed. We didn’t get a proper goodbye.

      Not sure if you saw this already. The guys at Average Nobodies posted this video from YouTube. Someone edited Silver Linings Playbook to make it seem Brad Cooper react to the season finale.

  2. I know we’ve spoken in the past about things needing to change. I’m soon to follow in your footsteps I think….I hope,actually. Because that would mean I’m working- either on my memoir or freelancing or both.

    I’m still on the fence about HIMYM. I didn’t hate it and in a way, they tied it all in nicely.

    Why isn’t my light buzzing that you liked my instagram photo? 😉

  3. Better quality? I’ll need to set aside special times to read those posts. You already write so well that I hesitate to comment with my inane bullshit.

    • FIrst: You don’t comment with inane bullshit; you haven’t yet, and you probably will never. I appreciate all of your comments.

      Unless, you just write “bullshit” and a period after the word, leaving it as is. But that would be quite comical, and I might fall out of my chair with laughter.

      Don’t actually mail me bullshit either. I don’t think you’d enjoy trying to find some to put in a box to mail, and the USPS wouldn’t appreciate transporting it.

      Thank you for the compliment, though; keep in mind I will be returning the same deserved compliment to you. I hesitate quite often when it comes to commenting on others posts (because I think I don’t write that well, and feel that I have nothing credible to comment with.). We’re too hard on ourselves. It’s easy to be.

      Hope your weekend went well! Mine was way too busy, but fun, yet I failed to post another observation Sunday segment.

  4. Thank you for the blog nod my way!

    I noticed you had changed your theme and thought – a creative being is in the process of re-creating – I was going to say something but then I doubted my noticing. I’m not going to explain that, explaining things is where I dig a hole… and keep digging because once you start might as well keep going, no choice really as climbing out is a form of digging too… which punctures the Earth and lets all the air out.

    WTF am I on about. That is why I rarely comment! – talking to myself now as always.

    Anyway… I feel there is something big going on in Chris Abyss world and I’m curious to see what happens, so let the words bleed and express it all through those very talented fingers.

    The more people try to stop you from expressing yourself, the more you know you’re saying something worth saying – and those people who try to stop you include you. At some point everything which is expressed coalesces into a magnificent story and a work of art.

    Follow your impulses and enjoy the journey! (and please share it)!

    • A nod is the least I can do, or say, or write. Yeah, I changed the theme. Revamping is always needed, desired, because it keeps writing spaces fresh. It’s best to try new pads, new paper, new pens. It keeps people guessing, or thinking I have OCD.

      You are more than to let your brain vomit in the comment section. You will not be judged. There is no cutoff for words here, and stream of consciousness writing is always encouraged. It’s leads to places, and these roads are not to be barricaded. If they are, walk around the obstacles while laughing at them. If people are the obstacles, laugh at them especially boisterous.

      Thanks for sticking around in this journey, for the support. I can only hope I’m reciprocating as much to your cause.

    • I’m starting to think maybe it was the friend of mine who I saw at the front of the theater upon walking in. I’m cool with that.

      Regardless, I looked at the audience and gave them the Mafioso-You’re-Going-To-Go-Missing-When-I-Find-Out-Who-Said-That look. However, I laughed.

  5. I wish I had not had that busy Saturday night already scheduled when you asked me if I’d like to go to the Palace on Saturday night, Chris. I would have given the stink eye to the guy who booed.

    • It’s okay, Mark. I should have asked much sooner, but it was a spontaneous decision. The gentleman who came up to me was a gem, and we laughed about the boo. I should have chimed in with telling him he should have booed louder, but my comic timing was idle.

      Regardless, it was a great show, and it was fun to laugh at myself and the scenes that aspects of my life inspired.

  6. Great post!! I really like how you describe the idea of foolishness, especially for writing and not being afraid to express passion. Those are some things I sometimes struggle with too. And thanks for the linking my HIMYM post. I’m glad it helped you see the finale a bit differently. But correction…it’s Brittany the White 😉

    • Thanks, Brittany the White! (You do realize the acronym is B.T.W., BTW). This correction shall be made. I couldn’t resist including your perspective.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, for stopping by. Hope your week is turning out well.

      • Yes, I’m well aware of that acronym, lol! My friends sometimes call me that too. Hope your week is going well too!

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