Backwards and Forwards: Life, Death, Yellowstone, Typhoons and Twitter

I am back from the road; back from skydiving, back from Yellowstone National Park, back from teaching in Idaho where students had the courage to talk about their meth addictive relatives, back from cement mixers outside my hotel room window, back from free coffee libertarians in line for 17 hours waiting for a free cup of coffee, back from a Christian school in Montana where students ask, “How could God give my grandpa or grandma Alzheimer’s, back from another school in Montana where students spent four hours bearing their hearts about the large issues involved with growing up, leaving home, watching the world change, wondering about the future, wishing they could hold on to some part of what might have been their best time, a time gone unrecognized, a safe time unfettered by grown up concerns.

I am back dealing with illness of one friend, death of another friend’s brother, working on the next book, asking myself, “Why bother?”  I am back to dark afternoons, questions of faith, fearlessness, and the inevitable questions about “the human flaw.”

Disappointment, loss, and lack of faith are easy to buy into, but we can choose the notion of possibility, purpose, and a profound sense that life has its way with us, but it too has its way with everyone we know, everyone who has come this way before us, and will come this way long after we are gone.

I love working with teenagers.  I love my friends.  I sort of love my family, because they are apart of my genetic disposition, but most of all I love life, even if I am well aware it is incomprehensible, heart wrenching, and, like that typhoon that hit the Philippines, it is completely unpredictable.

Fiction is out of style, non fiction is in style, twitter is better, and considering its IPO, let’s put our money on short not long, like selling stocks short not holding on to them, believing in their long term worth as an investment, like something that has a future.

I never dreamed I could teach ‘Hamlet.’  I did not think I was smart enough to teach Shakespeare’s themes.  I was wrong.  Shakespeare and his many themes are alive today.  We have no choice, but to live, to choose life over death, to carry ourselves, like the sturdy baggage we have come to call “me” or “you” into this world, and transcend our grief, and questioning by reaching out and trying to make a difference in this world of long or short, or surrender.  I can not surrender.  I do not want to end up like “Hamlet,” where every character is dead on the stage.  That is the easy way out.  I want to find the way in, even if it hurts like hell.  I want to feel the pain, see the shadow, feel those moments of joy, and give it all back whenever I am with another.

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