Sunday, May 31, 2015

Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as Frank and Joe Hardy, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-1979)


Fishing Buddies


Nice socks.


Beach Boys


Alex Crockford


Kisses


Mars, Jan. 1964


Fizeek, April 1967


Benjamin Eidem


Greg McKeon


Matanua Beach Surf Club


Family


by Valerio Gámez


Window Dressing


Tim Arlovski by Serge Lee


I Got A Rocket


by Otto Greiner


Hmmm


Oh, my.


Gay Camp


Covered Bridge


An Original Wee Hours Classic


I would rather not.


I know the feeling.


Maybe he is.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Kisses


Self-Admiration


Jack Laugher, Tom Daley and Chris Mears


Finn Harries Loves Bangkok


The Swing


Stu and Friend


Man About Town


Window Dressing


Selfie


Tom Daley


Jack Falahee


Beach Boys


In The Moment


Fruit


Breakfast of Champions


Muscle


Juggling Man by Adriaen de Vries, c. 1610-1615



That Look


Lance


Yum


"Nice hat."


Police Sergeant, 1926


Friday, May 29, 2015

Healthy Poverty

“The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside by a generous hand. But—and this is the point—who gets excited by a mere penny? But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days.”
―Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


I read Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek about twelve years ago. I was in my mid 30s, and my life had not turned out the way I wanted or expected it would. I spent my 20s battling severe depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, and when I was 31, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I didn’t have a job. I was on disability. I had never dated or had a boyfriend. I had gained a lot of weight. And I was living with my parents in southern West Virginia even though I spent my teen years dreaming of escape and finding a homo promised land somewhere over the rainbow. I felt prematurely old, stuck, useless. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had nothing to look forward to. I feared I would never have a home of my own, or economic security, or friends. I feared I would never travel or get published. I had all these visions in my head of me living an elegant life. A good life. But non of it was coming true. The quote above—nestled in a book full of observations about nature, some of which are extremely harsh and ugly—helped me put things into perspective.

I hate it when you tell people your problems and they spit platitudes at you as if that’s going to make everything okay. We all have a right to our pain, and some things are truly intolerable…even if we are “lucky” things aren’t worse. But I think it helps, at least a little bit, to face facts. In my mid 30s, I knew my youth was fading fast, and I knew it was unlikely that I was ever going to be an object of desire. It wasn’t my destiny to be the blond, lithe golden boy that had been my ideal since high school. I knew it was possible that I’d never have a partner. I knew it was hard for me to make friends and it might not ever get easier. I knew that I could die poor, unknown, unpublished and unloved. I knew I might never see the Great Pyramid, the Great Wall, the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum, the Grand Canal, the Tower of London, Petra, Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat.

However, once I faced the hard truths, it was time to take stock of the good stuff. I was still alive, and that was amazing. Even though I didn’t have long term security, and I wasn’t living in my own place, I wasn’t homeless, at least not yet. I did, in fact, have a nice, comfortable place to stay. I had a little yard, so I taught myself how to garden, which gave me immense pleasure and satisfaction. I lived less than a mile from a network of wooded trails leading down into the beautiful New River Gorge, and I started walking on those trails regularly. Doing that gave me a profound sense of calm and wellbeing. I was, at last, home in the woods. I began writing. I didn’t know if what I was producing was any good or if anyone would ever read what I wrote, but if you’re going to be a writer, you have to write, and so I did it. I had been socially isolated for years, so I used fiction to express all of my fears, anxieties, desires and longings. I ended up with a creepy, complex, labyrinthian tale. I’m proud of it, and I’ve written other things since then. I got a computer, too, and I found I could find out all kinds of things about the world and see all kinds of beautiful images of it even if I couldn’t travel. The best part is I discovered that I could use the computer to connect with others in a way that didn’t cause me to panic. I made friends. I often wished they lived closer, but they are now part of my life even if they are far away.

My honest assessment led me to conclude that life wasn’t all bad. The things that weighed me down were real, and they might not ever go away or be resolved. And that’s not okay, but it’s not the whole story. In Dillard’s words, I began to cultivate a healthy poverty, and in doing that, I began appreciating the pennies.

A Day At The Beach