a friend issued me a challenge…
hahaha, this is pretty good—of course any challenge involves editing, doing what I don’t; any critic can see—I can see, I know what I’m doing wrong; the wrestling match is daily, hourly, minute by minute; you discipline yourself as long as you can (that’s one flavor of the working process; giving up at the right time then flowing into something else, all on the map and on the clock, all owned; all art; art and artists and artistry prized above other ownership games; time is hard to buy, impossible to buy; no one can come and give you more—no mortal; so immortality becomes the professional practice; yes—at least I am reinventing my own spirituality and work-life balance; choosing myself is a beautiful thing, I’ve found the best influences and people to support unconditionally and believe in (8/16/22)
Friend and former colleague and actual 2019 consulting client:
“I have a challenge for you. Post complete blogs or essays. These fragmented thoughts don’t allow me to create a relationship with you. Your writing seems very self indulgent right now. Are you writing for me and my betterment or yourself?
I want less maybe that, maybe that, maybe that, or maybe that and more I Geoff Lewis believe this.”
Geoffrey P. Lewis:
you remind me of my stepdad who i am furious at, who can’t do things for himself, clearly is helpless and an idiot, an asshole, doesn’t think for himself, wants desperately to be right, has no self-awareness or any sense of how much space he takes up, is a thoughtless and selfish partner to my mother, has no emotional skill or sense at all, completely the person to not be, someone we will talk about only as an example of the kind of Neanderthal that Darwinish weeded out of the species — anyway, he has wonderful opinions about what other people should do, in the clear absence of his own competence and discipline and listening ability and humility and gentle curiosity. It’s a funny thing men do, give others advice and counsel when clearly they can’t follow their own, and rather than go to therapy and get better interpersonally or spiritually, they’ll go build something (a fence, a mailbox) and talk about it — talk to themselves about it, bouncing around some light and sound in their head probably refracted and stored from the 1950s. Men as they get older…
and if I know one thing about you my friend, you are shining with all the human needs, and they are loud in you—I’ve known you a long time, sat with you and showed you Twitter, we updated your profile picture ourselves, we gave you a name—you’ve vented to me about work, about women, about money, about death and purpose and literature and This Is Water by David Foster Wallace, TED Talks, job searches, product management, people management, companies, hiring processes, résumés, leadership, the heart, what else?
and I know that you know intuitively what others should do, and I know how you know it: self-awareness. You know what you should do and aren’t doing. I know this too, we share that and we aren’t alone. Every white guy with an education and a sense of freedom is trying to crack this same code: how do I get paid to do what I want; or in other words, how do I do what I want and convince enough people that it’s actually of service to them!
And my political question is, what happens when no one wants to be told what to do but their own work product isn’t that good? What happens when people want freedom but their freedom doesn’t produce anything worth scaling and adding to the whole?
You are so good at recognizing what others should do, because you know by heart the state of being of not doing what you should do, or simply getting it wrong, or simply “wanting and not getting and wondering why it still hasn’t happened yet”
in this sense I do write for you
because I know you and see you
and when I sit with my dissatisfaction on my side of the computer, I bet yours is like mine
it’s like I know how your frustration tastes
you just don’t want to click the links I have up
it’s too hard a read
you want something else, something easier
what I can do is tell you exactly what you should do about anything in your life, 1:1, right here
ask the oracle
you’re speaking to the divine and the void when you talk to me, i’m really that good a poet
i am really as good and in tune as the greats are
and I know you
so, this relationship is always here for you to take advantage of by asking it good questions and being patient for an answer and then when you get it, feasting on it, reading it twice or four times, from different states of mind and energy levels
no one cares about complete blogs or essays, people can only read like 4 of those a week anymore
because everyone is desperately trying to write and publish and get their own ones seen
the problem is thinking about money
because everyone wants to get paid to do what they want
somebody has to consume this stuff
and somebody has to pay for it or finance it
this is what the writing is about, or in search of: the bar to break and bend that lets us be more free
i’m writing to reach the point of no return
actually i’m past that
i’m writing to find the control room
where my freedom settings are
and of course the key is inside me, and what i write is a deep-sea dive inside myself and my soul, again, on the bet that what’s wrong with me is wrong with you and with the world
and America, etc.
if one’s work isn’t addressing climate or politics, it isn’t important, full stop, sorry for being wise
but, i haven’t married the game of homeownership or marriage, so my opinions aren’t even heard by people who have the stock market stuffed in their ears, or their position in whatever org chart, or their own metrics
their own striving and failing to bring people together and get paid for it via being the leader they were born to be
we’re all trying to get free from fear of loss
so how’s this? Does this qualify as a longer form essay or blog? It’s just for you, did you read it?
Share your comments below…
interesting word, going back to your original challenge
I’m of the belief that these days, the finished work is obsolete
it is all a melding and shaping process
and studying, and reacting, and making new
no one cares about your completed work
no one would care about my blogs and essays
i already have them and no one cares
they aren’t good enough
nobody’s work is
so how do we keep going?
and I asked my mother this
how does one go on when the world says your best isn’t good enough?
I suppose you lean on your wife
I’ve made other people and things and ideas my wife
and I’m working toward a real one
being worthy to a partner and being worthy to an audience and a market and one reader all comes from the same core function, an attentiveness, a readiness, an openness
I work and I love with the same hand, and often in the same breath
(if you want your white guy guide to success with finished essays and neat conclusions about how to think and what to do next, Tim Ferriss, David Perell, Brent Beshore, Tiago Forte, Buster Benson…plenty of good guys who look like me out there writing very well about the things you might want from me)
I’m more interested in beauty and rage and love and justice and fury between people and what we owe each other
I am free of all the shackles those guys use to talk about the world
I can go a long time without referencing companies or the stock market
since I happen to think “shareholders” is a classification holding us back, i.e. people with no real skin in the game — I also think housing should not be an asset, it makes smart people lazy
it makes smart and capable and skilled people lazy and selfish and racist and myopic and addicted to television and stupidity
Nassim Taleb was right, the worst thing for a person is a guaranteed salary, guaranteed safety — no, you should have to earn it anew every day
rent is due every day, and every day is also an election
no more waiting for next November
and then busying ourself with triviality
Having a finished essay online isn’t satisfying enough; of course, I do finish essays, you just don’t want to read them, because really you want to be writing your own and freeing yourself from your stupid job
and getting yourself to the 120k creative entrepreneur place with a bunch of adoring fans who can’t wait what you have to say next
but what if it isn’t that good? What if your ideas aren’t that good? What if you aren’t fast enough?
Who’s gonna have you when it turns out you’re not that good?
You gotta believe in yourself again.