Self Identity

Identity

“What do you do?”
This is a question for which I have no answer. I get asked this often, and it is the prerennial american question, we are defined by what we do. We are our jobs. I don’t have an answer because I don’t get my identity from my job description, I don’t see the connection between what a person does to earn a living and their self description. If one is to answer the question truthfully it can’t just be the description of your day-job, since that is only a small fraction of your duties in life, but that is what the questioner is asking, ‘what is your day job?’

Why does it matter if I scrub floors in a hotel, or meet with investors, or drive a truck? Perhaps your janitor is also an amateur electronics engineer, or the professional negotiator is an aspring actor, or the truck driver writes mystery novels…Of what use is the question: ” What do you do?”

I do everything.

-Ezra

The Void

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There is that which can not be understood; a sharply defined realm of the unknown, our minds touch upon this secret only fleetingly. In a moment of self reflection and lucidity, there can only be silence of the soul. When the mind is free from any shadows of fear or lingering nightmare; then and only then can this be explored.

The key turns slowly in the lock.

The gate slides open to frigid darkness and vibrant color; pigments of very thought. My heart leaps in my throat choking away the consciousness. With timid, and faltering steps I cross the threshold to enter the silent chamber. Give me a way to capture this essence of life and return it to this world of horror and shame.

I shall shiver away the curtain of darkness that enshrouds our world, I will copy the keys and give them to all the gatekeepers and charge them to let all pass who desire entrance. When the last of our mindless shades have passed forever from the torrid darkness and into the color of thought; the gates will be shut fast, and the keys all melted down to nothing, and this realm returned to desolation with only myself: a lone sacrifice.

Guarding the void from habitation.

-Ezra Hilyer-

The Writer Who Does Not Write

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I am the Writer who does not write, and the poet with few poems.

I see myself as a writer; it is my self identity. When I imagine myself in my minds-eye, I am personified as a writer, I see the future in the context of writing, and I fully expect to write, yet the time goes by and I do not.

I relate to the world as a writer, I refer to myself as a writer… Yet I do not write. Oh sure, I pen a few sentences once in a while, and often I will dive whole-heartedly back into a novel or article I have been writing for a while, but in the long run, I haven’t really written all that much. A few short stories, thirty or so poems, and five or six novels in various stages of completion… Pitiful I think.

Though I know this; it seems that the pressing moments of my life take precedence over that which I really desire to do. Yes, that desire is to write.

So I come to the crux of the issue: I must simply steal the time to write from other interests. I must be a miser when it comes to my free time, and devote myself to the task as though I were a monk in meditation.

I know that to resolve to do this is no small thing, and would be easy to just forget and eventually just lose interest completely. Yet, if I do, I shall live my life in regret. I am now 33, and have intended, and longed to write for a full 15 years, what others have accomplished in less time leaves me to shame.

-Ezra

Published
Categorized as Travel

Repreve

I am the shadow of a forgotten memory glistening on my windowpane,

All wet with morning rain.

The man I see, only fleetingly; is never me!

Yet his visage follows my every waking step.

 

 

A dash of wine; spattered on my ragged beard, like so much unneeded blood;

I wonder if it is mine.

The ache of forgetfulness seeps into my soul, and I am grateful,

For the reprieve.

 

-Ezra Hilyer

Published
Categorized as Travel

Time Thief.

Darkness beneath the trees; twilight falls slowly down to the mossy leaf strewn earth, while I wait hidden between the dark void of the sky, and the sharp eyes of my pursuers, I keep my breath low and patient, my gaze even and wary. Time crawls across my rifle barrel and drips from my lips. It is the only real currency in this old world, it is the only thing we have to spend. Your time can be wasted away, or given away, bartered away, and taken away.

Movement crests the ridge below, and two men push their shoulders up against the deepening sky, moving silently into view like small black beetles crawling over a branch… They are looking for me.
They have been found.
Crosshairs divide features from darkness, silence from an echoing report. Unspent time… Unspent time.

EJH

Sad Velvet

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There are things slipping away from me.

Little birds that don’t sit on my chair-rails; and a dog that never comes to me when I forget to call her. Maybe I should put the phone back on the wall… I think enough time has passed.

When the bell rings, I go down to see if there is anyone there, but there never is. I wonder if I should close the shop up early tonight?

All the trinkets are gone from the shelves, or they are drowning in their own private blanket of dust. Perhaps I will put up the ‘closed’ sign; and take a walk.

The night is just a piece of sad velvet after all.

Inspirations

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Why are some places more inspiring than others? Why do I fail to create anything in my day to day life, and then when I leave and go to a new town, down a different road, or travel far far away, then suddenly the inspiration flows easily? Is is the dull unending routine that I am yearning to break free of? Is is just that I lose those mental dead-ends when I have to think differently? What makes those creative juices start to flow?
Will I lose that spark of new ideas and insight when I move away from here, and finally settle into the new life I make there? Will that then become the routine, and then years later I will realize that the muse is gone again? Am I to ever be a gypsy in search of an elusive firefly?
EJH

Published
Categorized as Travel

Poetry In A Glass.

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Can sunlight be distilled from wasted years? Can hope be rendered from the detritus of dreams, or peace be found between twisted broken bodies on the battlefield?

Poetry drips from broken oak staves where malcontent has been left to ferment.

Restructure.

Cut out the cruft, and streamline. Look to the goals I have set.

I need to restructure my life, to concentrate on my goals and dreams. I need to work on cutting out all the cruft and create a better faster more streamlined me.

Ezra 2.0

There isn’t enough time in one human life to do even half the things I want to do, so I have to throw out the old and choose carefully the direction I want to go. There is no room for mediocrity.

 

LOTRO Addiction / Rambling

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I got sucked into a MMORPG. I used to never play games, beyond simple puzzle and iPhone games, I just never had the time to play, and no real desire to invest the time. The last time I had played a computer game and cared about it, it was QUAKE II, back in the late 90s. I just don’t play games.

Or at-least I didn’t. A few months ago we had some houseguests for about a week, and they kept talking about this ‘Lord Of The Rings Online’ game which they wanted Ami and I to try. I was actually pretty resistant to the idea because I really don’t have the time to spend playing an involved game like that, but they persuaded us to give it a try.
Now I am hopelessly addicted.

The game is designed around the world of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, which I have always loved. I read the books several times when I was younger, and went to see all the movies as they were released about 10 years ago. (wow! was it really 10 years ago?)

The biggest draw for me in this game is all about exploring and seeing the locations, the game designers really did an excellent job with this game. They put a lot of work into the locations, they feel authentic and each area does have its own feel and pace. A lot of similar games seem to lack that connection, and it really shows that the game designers are really fans of the master-work at heart.

I especially like wandering and exploring, there are a lot of areas that have less to do with game-play and more with just awing someone who stumbles upon them. The ruins in the hills and the gorges and waterfalls make me want to go there in reality.

Ever since watching the films, I have wanted to live in Rivendell, I love the half-outdoor half-indoor settings, and the way the leaves cover the walkways. I know most of that is just CGI, but imagine how wonderful it would be to really live in a place like that? The stone simplicity, the rushing water and the bite of the winter wind. the smell of the moss and lack of cars, busses and wagons.

Imagine the quality of life if we could live like that? Using the natural world to make our homes, much like the birds and other wild creatures do. Stone is beautiful when if blends with the rest of the environment, and we are better people when we are connected to our environment and not isolated inside an air-conditioned, steel and glass box. I want hobbit-houses and Rivendell style places to be real, and not just in the imagination.

Why do we insist on living in a card-board existence and hiding ourselves away from the natural beauty that is all around in the woods, fields and mountains?

I will quote one of my favorite authors: George R.R. Martin

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real .. for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.
-G.R.R.M

Quite well spoken.

-Ezra

Balance

Life is all about balance. Between pleasure and duty; between desires and reality.
I can’t seem to find a good mix between my Maker side, and my Minimalist side.

On the one side is my obsession with creating things, fixing broken stuff, and modifying and generally tinkering constantly with electronics, bikes, cars, you name it. This makes a huge pile of parts, pieces, bits, odds and ends.

On the other side is the rest of my personality which is driven to simplify, refine, purge and clarify. I don’t like stuff lying about unorganized, and I also resent the time I have to spend thinking about the detritus of my life. I see those pictures of the minimalist rooms with everything perfectly aligned and nothing out of place and I am frustrated at my own lack of zen.

A few times a year I set out to just drop anything unnecessary, and get rid of all this clutter in my mind and also in my house, but each time I go through the boxes of parts that I keep organized, I feel torn.

Why can’t I be single faceted?

-Ezra

Career Choices

Why is it that nearly everyone expects, and wants a career that is dependent on others? A larger entity than ourselves seems to offer stability and control, we don't feel like we are all alone on the seas of change, we are anchored to something larger and greater, and that gives strength to our small petty lives. A career is something like that, it is a system of climbing up through the ranks of others who are doing just the same, and who are fighting you for a chance to be where you want to be.

I have always looked at the idea of a career with apprehension and suspicion. It seems to be only a gilded coffin to climb into and then pull down the lid, and nail it closed with your own hands. The idea of staying inside the same system year after year, and moment after moment is so limiting and degrading. I want my horizons open and the skies clear of clouds. I like to keep my bags packed and always be ready for the next challenge. After about 5 years of doing the same thing, and being the same place, I start to get itchy feet and want to head out and start new.

Several years ago, I worked in maintenance at a manufacturing plant, and there were several people who worked on the production lines who had been there for 20 years doing the same job. That would be torture for me. The complete end to everything I am. I would shrivel up and die if i didn't have variety in my life. I can simply not imagine a life that is unchanging like that. How can one possibly cope?

I remember that they were nice guys, but their whole life revolved around going home and cracking open a beer in-front of the TV. How is it possible to live like that?

-Ezra

Neutral Education

I want to send my daughter to a good school. What parent doesn’t want that for their kid? I want her to learn the skills she needs to survive in this damn mess we call a society. What I don’t want is to send her away to be indoctrinated into a narrow-minded view of the world. I don’t want to send her to the Warren PA public school system because I have seen what comes out of that school system and I don’t want that for my daughter. I don’t want the influences of the kids she will be around, and I don’t want the constant undermining of our parenting. I don’t want her to be indoctrinated into secular humanism or any of the other narrow mindsets of modern public schools. I don’t want her to come to see the state as the solution to all the problems in the world, I don’t want her to lose sight of who she is, or to be bullied into submission. I want her to learn critical thinking.

So the obvious choice from there is to send her to a private school, but the options around here are very limited. I want a school to focus on academics, critical thinking, and history. Once she learns to read well, the rest will naturally flow from there. I learned nearly everything I know simply from reading books and observing life, I have no reason to believe that she won’t be the same. So I want a school who will allow her to come to conclusions based on facts, who won’t be a harmful influence to the upbringing of her parents. This seems impossible here.

I most want her to attend a Montessori school, I believe that she would do well in that setting since she is a naturally very bright kid, and she takes to things with excitement. She does have trouble following tasks through to completion, but the environment that would foster her creativity is what would do her the most good. Trouble is, that there are no Montessori schools near this horrible little town of Warren PA.

There are only a few choices around here for private education, and most are nearly as dismal as the public schools. We will probably end up putting her in Lighthouse Baptist Academy in Jamestown NY. I am not thrilled at that prospect since it is just another form of indoctrination that we will have to overcome, but my wife attended there, and we do have some friends and contacts who send their kids there, so it won’t be all bad, I do think that they will give a strong early start to her education, and since we won’t be living here long-term I can allow it for the time being, but I want so much more for her. She is such a bright little kid that it would be a cruel shame for us to continue to live in this cesspool of a town and settle for a redneck education. I will not stand by and let it happen.

-Ezra

Oh Sea

Oh Crushing Sea
Crashing salty wet brine leaping off cold wind on to my scorched face, twisting, crawling, trying to burrow deeper into my warm shell of a coat. My fingers are numb at the deep edges.

Gulls want more, they scream at me to run in; to try and drown myself upon the soaked and scratched coral sea-bed. They are furious at me; angry that I do not care to worship Neptune in his salty temple.

They are his minions and scraggly temple slaves hooded in white; half demon -half dove. They have been cast from the frigid crushing sea to scream and cry for bread and for blood on the lonely shore.

Circling in great clouds  of white they push, they call, they plead. Into the salty tear soaked spray: the teeth of the storm. I slosh, I tremble, I fall. Sinking slowly down to a shell strewn path that leads farther down into the blackness.

-Ezra Hilyer

One Week Without Food; A 7 Day Fast.

Saturday: Day 1

8:00am: Now begins my fast. I am abstaining from all forms of solid food for 7 days. I will only drink water and tea, perhaps a little coffee. I am not doing this to lose weight, I have been exercising, and eating well for about a year now and have made great progress on that front. This is for my mind, my focus and also to satisfy my curiosity of what a week without food would really be like. Will I attain zen-like focus? Or just a really bad case of the munches? We shall see.

3:00pm: Not really feeling any hunger, it isn’t uncommon for me to go most, or all day without eating much, so I don’t really expect to feel and hunger until late tonight.

7:30pm: I am feeling hungry, not bad, just a general want of food. I have seen this stage many times before, -like when I am waiting for dinner and don’t want to spoil it with a snack. I am sure much more will come after this. I am having my first cup ( of many I am sure) of tea. It is Twinning’s Premium Black Tea With Lemon, with one packet of Sugar In The Raw.
It is good, hot and slightly sweet.

11:20pm: Ready for bed, no real trouble so far, day one has been easy. I have been keeping my mind and body active with projects all day, I have lots to do and that seems to be helping my body to forget that I am even hungry. The real test will be the next two days. If I can get through them ok, I think it will be smooth sailing.

——

Sunday: Day 2

11:30am: Going strong. Bottle of water and regular sips. Staying away from any temptation, going to get over the hump. I am not really feeling much hunger, just a slight ’empty sensation’ is all.

1:00pm: Drinking Coffee, little bit of sugar, and a little cream. Keeps the hunger at bay. I don’t want to drink a whole lot of coffee since that is pretty harsh on my digestive system. Tea without cream is better.

10:30pm: This day really blew past. Really not much hunger, my biggest temptation is just the habit of eating, several times I have ended up in the kitchen without even thinking about it, I am only there out of habit, not hunger.
I have resisted, and this makes the end of day 2.

——-

Monday: Day 3

11:00am: Great rest last night, went to bed late, and woke up early feeling rested and alert. I never wake up like that!

10:30pm: One more day done! I have been having pretty strong hunger off and on. Sipping water all day helps keep the hunger at bay.

——–

Tuesday: Day 4

9:00am: Today is the first day back to work since Saturday, still feeling strong and pretty much ‘normal’, I find myself thinking about food a lot, even though I am still not feeling especially hungry, the thought of food keeps coming up. Mostly about foods I don’t normally eat. Dried Dates, Grapes, Pomegranates ect. I find this a little odd, perhaps my body is trying to tell me something. When I resume eating I am going to go get some of these.

4:30pm: I am feeling some nausea, quite hungry, but manageable.

11:00pm: I didn’t expect this to be quite so boring. I am amazed that I feel so ‘normal’ I am no hungrier than I often feel in-between meals. If I didn’t know I hadn’t eaten anything for 4 days I would not suspect it. I listened to an older episode of: This American Life where David Rakoff goes through a 14 day fast, his experiment was a bit like mine is. He didn’t find anything special in the experience other than the experience itself.

———–

Wednesday: Day 5

3:00pm: Again, just plodding along. Bored.

10:30pm: I am glad this day is over. Hungrier today than before.

—-

Thursday: Day 6

6:30pm: Only one more day left. Feeling very good today, I feel like I have more energy than before. My feet feel light and my head feels very clear. I like this feeling. Not sure if it is worth forgoing food for an entire week, but it is a good sensation. Not quite ‘enlightenment’ but more like lucidity. I am hungry from time to time, I keep thinking about food, but it goes away after a few sips of water or tea.

——

Friday: Day 7

4:00pm: Today is my last day. Looking forward to eating again. I am surprised by how clear minded I have been feeling, this must be that feeling people talk about; it is like I am standing on a chair In a room full of people. I feel like I can see things just a little clearer.

—-
Post-fast:
Food! Glorious Food! Nothing has ever tasted so good! I have started with a very small chef salad and it was wonderful. I have been warned about eating very much right off the bat, so I am trying to be cautious, but oh how wonderful to be eating again. I have a whole new appreciation and thankfulness for food now.

-Ezra

Promises of spring.

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Sitting on a rock in the cold sun.

The wind comes up from the sparkling river and whispers of a future spring.
There is yet a core of warmth in the twisting wind, a hope of dog starred August days.
Winter has for a moment lost the thread,
Lady frost is searching for clear moonlight, for razor pinpoints of light on hoarfrost frozen fields.
-EH

My New Favorite Pen: The Kuretake Letter Pen

I am enamored with my new pen: the Kuretake Letter Pen.
It has a really fine point that allows for heavier lines when pressed hard, it makes really beautiful lettering, and gives my normal handwriting a bit of pretty flair.


I just loooove it!


(BTW: I got it from www.jetpens.com )

Whats In Your Moleskine Pocket?


My Moleskine is a vital part of my life, it serves as a permanent record of the daily thoughts and ideas of my life. I hope to one day pass on all of my accumulated journals to the fire of forgetfulness.

In the pocket, I keep a $20 bill for emergencies, and a couple of Moo cards for interactions with new people.
I never go anywhere without my Mole!


Inspiration Kit


Inspiration rarely gives warning; so I must be ready!




When I suddenly get the urge to make art; I dig into the dark depths of my messenger bag, and pull out my trusty Moleskine Watercolor Notebook and my Winsor & Newton Bijou Box.



Then, I search for the soft brown wrapped Ple Ple Pen Case, and unwrap my tools: Pilot Parallel Pen, Sakura Waterbrush, Cross Triple Pen, Lamy Safari with EF Nib, Tasche Fine Black Pen, and the prize: a fine Sable Brush Pen.




All of these objects, I arrange neatly on the bench beside me, and then Open my Bijou box filled with richly pigmented watercolors, I then snap the elastic from the Moleskine, and seizing my water-brush, I dive into a different world: one that I create upon the virginal page.




What colors will flow from the bristles today? What pigment of very thought, will I bleed upon the page?




I never know.


Published
Categorized as Travel

Lucidity

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‘Lucidity’ is an absolute clarity and understanding. As if all the shadows have been cleared away, and all that remains are hard truths. In average existence, our minds are busy with the details and routines of everyday life; we often exist almost as machines. As if the conscious mind stays just behind the present, and reacts on delay.

I used to work cutting tires for a disposal service; the job was repetitive in the extreme. Pick up a tire, throw it on the table, pull the lever for the ram, reverse the ram, rotate the tire 1/3rd turn, and repeat, throw the cut piece and then rotate again, cut and throw. Then repeat the same process once again. In the mornings I would see my huge pile of tires to cut and it would seem an impossible task because my mind was too aware of time and of my own existence. But after the first 10 minutes I would begin to lose the present and become more detached from what I was doing. Time would then begin to move much more quickly and aside from interludes of clarity (or lucidity) I was just as unthinking as the machine I worked with.

Much as sleep is an existence where the conscious mind loses it’s grip and in effect dies to time for a while, only to be re-joined again upon waking, so it was for me in working that repetitive job. All those hours were lost never to come again. And what did I gain for them? Nothing but a few dollars spent on bills and items long lost to memory.

So I ask you, how many of your waking hours do you spend in lucidity? How much of your life have you really lived, not just existed?

Think back on your life, what are the moments that stand out? The seconds or hours that have defined your life?

Live in Lucidity