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Sullygram...September 2016 newsletter
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Author:  Thomas (Sully) Sullivan [ Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Sullygram...September 2016 newsletter

April, May, June…umm, September. Man-nnn, what happened to summer? I remember some silver moonlight in July zigzagging across the lake behind my house, and August flipped through its day calendar like a magic act of playing cards blurring through the air until they were suddenly neatly stacked on the doorstep of autumn. But where did those long languid nights and armadas of clouds floating lazily through shimmering days go? Amber sunsets, riots of roses, black pools dusty with dandelion fluff, floral perfumeries tanging the air – they must’ve happened. And they did. Only it seems like a millennium ago, leaving just flitting shadows and faint echoes behind…

Speak, Memory! Remind me of the two weeks I spent playing T sax to bad ol’ rock ‘n roll CDs while the Olympics swam, ran and leaped past my eyes with the TV sound off. And let not all those kayak journeys against the current or gliding with sultry breezes fade to black. I was there. Yes I was. Were you? Hope so. Summer was a coming out. The party is always wherever you are at. You are the driver, the catalyst. If you go everywhere like you’re the freight or the passenger, then that’s what you’ll be. Must participate.

Participation took me on a 5-state road trip last month. The threads of daily life are always a Gordian knot of somewhat surreal interactions for me, and this is especially true when I’m traveling. One minute I’m in Battle Creek, MI, discussing the star Proxima B with a maintenance man hanging from the roof outside my window, and 30 minutes later my daughter, who is recovering from surgery, is sitting next to me in Jackson, MI, my amazing grandson is in his car seat behind me, and I’m driving my ex’s car to Ann Arbor to experience something called “The Tree” which is sort of like a decathlon for munchkins on caffeine. Some pictures below capture a snippet or two from Michigan along with a few other summer adventures.

The photo key: #1 one of the many trails Mickey Magic and I travel on outings that included everything from road dancing in the rain to a Hindu temple; #2-3 my trip to MI last month made some memories with my daughter Colleen and grandson Seamus; #4 meet Hazel, my son Sean’s new rescue dog; #5 Mickey and moi hiking in the rain; #6 Seamus and I playing “Tack-A-Nail”; #7 Elm Creek on a beautiful black-and-white day; #8-11 various kayak and canoe adventures with Mickey on waters near and far; #12 yours truly breathing by osmosis in the pure air of Crow-Hassan…

Note: if this is a mirror site and you don't see photos, you can see them here: http://www.thomassullivanauthor.com/new ... 62016.html . And you can find all Sullygrams archived on my author's web page>Sullygrams & Columns.

Here’s how I pitched my latest column on FB: Just try to pry that microphone out of my hot little hand – make my day! I might let go in order to reach for a piece of lemon meringue pie, but short of that not even dynamite will work. That’s because, as an hourly wage, I’ve made far more money speaking than writing. Not in the paygrade of politicians, but hey, that’s money-laundering. I have, however, been in the 4-figure range a few times for sometimes less than an hour’s work. Work? Can you call it work when all you do is get up and be yourself for 40 minutes, maybe add a little Q&A? Writers, on the other hand, generally make 0.000000004 cents/hr, if you break it down, and they sweat blood, suffer paranoia, break out in stigmata, flay their souls, go blind and don’t get any sleep. And those are the perks. So, maybe it’s wishful thinking that I tried to merge the two. But that’s what I did over a decade ago. Tried to get some of my basic writer stump speech down on paper. Some of it is here in my column this month on Storytellers Unplugged: http://www.storytellersunplugged.com/20 ... s/#respond

Like many of you, I struggle daily with all the disconnections in our society. Too many of us are standing on our last hill these days. That’s the one where we dig in our heels, jab our fingers in our ears, and waggle our tongues in a monotone to block all input. The hill where our emotions reside…

Yes, it’s an astonishing election year, but the divisions and polarization have been mounting since perhaps the 60s of the last century. We see it in issues, we see it in politics – which are mostly the same thing in this age of political correctness. I won’t weigh in on either. If I did – even just to analyze – I’m reasonably sure it would trigger everyone’s negative reflex. That’s because I usually find a third place to stand. That way I can offend everybody. But what I want to say here isn’t aimed at any candidate. Rather I want to address the process of honest thinking and open-mindedness.

Let me start by flipping that to dishonest thinking and narrowmindedness. It’s been my experience that there are two kinds of ignorance:

The first is simply NOT KNOWING.

The second is NOT WANTING TO KNOW.

I guess you could call them involuntary and voluntary. Involuntary is circumstantial. Voluntary is a deliberate and willful omission. So many of us gather and process information simply to reinforce what we want to be true. And given the absence of objective media, that’s easy to do. We feed our core premises such a selective diet that they become knee-jerk emotions. And we block everything else. That last hill to stand on is where we protect against what is called “cognitive dissonance” – anything that clashes with our core beliefs or conditioned beliefs. From there we fire our canon blindly at whatever doesn’t fly our personal flag of partisan indoctrinations and unexamined groupthink. My fervent wish is that in the privacy of our own thoughts we will remember or learn how to separate our emotions from our truths. May we examine our alliances and allegiances for their herd mentality, their conformity. May we listen and hear from all sources, not simply those that preach to our choir. May we think for ourselves in the cold light of reason. And may we never be guilty of not wanting to know.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan

You can see all my books in any format here on my webpage or follow me on Facebook:

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