Monday, October 26, 2009


Current Reading: Now and Forever, by Ray Bradbury

Inspirational Quote: "I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life - whoever you are, whatever our differences." -- John Denver

I've found myself thinking more and more about the definition of success. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has a great deal of analysis, in several parts, that indicates why the idea might be worth some contemplation.

I've never felt like a success. I got through university, I eventually got a job which led to other jobs and to about as much financial reward as could reasonably be expected. By that measure, I guess I'm doing alright (although that could change in the next three weeks. Yes, I know, but I've been told that deadlines have slipped and dates are approximate. My happiness is immeasurable). I've got a working marriage and a family that clunks along without actually flying apart, so I guess that could be considered success of a sort.

However, I feel less like a success than as though I simply haven't failed.

But that judgement demands I define personal success. What am I reaching for that I haven't achieved? I haven't finished thinking about that. Until I have, I guess worrying about whether or not I'm successful is a fool's exercise.

Musical Interlude, Part I
I feel bad about this: more than 20 years after hearing "Summer of Sixty-Nine" the first time, I've realized that I don't like Bryan Adams's music.

Please, don't tell anyone. They'll revoke my Canadian citizenship and I'll have to move to somewhere foreign, like Andorra.

I could just move to Quebec, but I refuse to worship Celine Dion and that may cause greater difficulty than my lack of French fluency.

No modern politician has had as significant an impact on my country (Canada, not Andorra. Not yet.) than Pierre Trudeau. The Toronto Star asked Pierre's son, Justin Trudeau, to review the second book of his father's biography. Interesting reading.

Musical Interlude, Part II
October 12th was the anniversary of the death of John Denver, a musician, writer and actor who was everyone's kid brother during the 70's. As a teenager, my favorite albums were Star Wars (by John Williams and the LSO), and Greatest Hits Volume 1 (by John Denver). This is perhaps greater testimony to my innate oddity than any other single fact I could relate.

And of course he had numerous appearances on the Muppet Show.

He lost me when he began turning to New Age concepts and away from the sort of grass-roots innocence that informed his early work, but that's the way it goes.

For those of you who expected a teen-aged Ulysses to an angst-ridden fan of rebel-music, metal or counterculture, I'm sorry to disappoint. I'm too shallow for any of that.

Anyway, here's Calypso in memoriam, a piece which never fails to stir my nostalgia.

His description of a moment of subconscious creative breakthrough (a conscious mind becomes saturated with a problem it is unable to solve despite complete concentration, it distracts itself with some other activity only to find the subconscious providing a complete solution during that activity) should be familiar to creative people in any field.


Anonymous said...

Ulysses is my konda guy. Never has to ask for directions. Why? Because he's a guy, that's why.

Stephen Tremp

Ulysses said...

Oh, I have to ask for directions, alright.
I just don't. I figure if you never get lost, you'll never see anything new.