Tag Archives: philosophy

Is it better to burn out than to fade away?

Neil Young famously sang “It’s better to burn out than to fade away. “

Well, right now I feel burned out like a candle burning at both ends. Or the ashes at the bottom of a fire. A book of matches, or a…. ah, just forget it.

While I have no regrets, I do have a few questions and possibly some concerns. To what point is it advisable to push the human body? And at what point is this process counterproductive?

Admittedly, I have a difficult time self-regulating. Maybe some of my readers can empathize. Surely they can sympathize. It can’t just be me, can it? 

Sometimes I get all these ideas in my head and all I want to do is create-create-create.

As if I could only make enough things, then I could get “It” out of me.

“It” is my special drug.

I am always chasing “It”. I am always trying to show people what “It” is. “It” wears me out but there is nothing to be done about it.

Even at this moment I should be getting ready for work tomorrow. That’s what the clock says anyways. But here I am at my keyboard again just smashing away. My little obsession.

The process is a peculiar thing though because sometimes, if only for a moment, you are successful. The stars align and you can see “It”, right there, in front of you. You feel happy and fulfilled; like you are walking on a cloud.

But then “It” eventually fades away, (always does), like grains of sand through your fingertips. And then you’re back to square one. Just a man with a pencil and a blank piece of paper, or a woman with a chisel, or… anyways you get my point.

Once you understand “It” then you have to ask yourself…

“Was Young right?”

The Power of Simple Language + a Poem

The verb “to like” is simple and powerful. Often we don’t understand the weight of simple language. We think that if it’s simple then it’s boring and accordingly write it off.

Oh, I would much prefer to use prettier words like enjoy, love, or obsession. 

But perhaps the power of the verb “to like” lies in it’s simplicity. That is to say, almost everyone understands a smile or a frown. (Sure, there are probably exceptions to this in some country, but I rest easy in spouting this as a truism.)

I wrote this poem on a whim. It’s about my likes and dislikes. There is a slight anti-technologist edge which I think resides in all of us.

Anyhow, here it is. 🙂

I like to Write

I like to write late at night and early in the morning.
I like to burn incense in my fake stone incense holder.
I like the way it makes the room smell.
Sometimes I pretend I am in an opium den.

I like to listen to electronic music and run down by the river.
I like to wear my sunglasses and a t-shirt while I cruise on my scooter.
I like to walk in my sandals and drink milk tea.

I don’t like emails and text messages and phone calls.
I don’t like how many social media accounts I have.
I don’t like the sound of my refrigerator running all night.

I do like rainy days and drinking coffee.
Reading a book, not the kindle version.
Talking with a pretty girl who smiles like the Californian sunshine.

Why Writing Is Like Plumbing

Some people want to be writers. Others want to be plumbers. But the way I see it, plumber or writer, we’re learning similar crafts.

Both plumbers and writers are just trying to figure out how everything fits together. And neither of these jobs is glamorous. In fact, odds are clearly in the plumbers favor in terms of money and security.

The downfall of an amateur writer is trying to be a writer when he should be learning the trade of plumbing.

Step by step the amateur progresses. He learns how to line-edit, write to a beat, and use grammar. He thinks about his audience and method of distribution.

I guess the only difference between a plumber and a writer is that people like to be called the latter.

Plumber, writer, pediatrician… the words are just labels in the end. And labels are for soup cans and filing cabinets. Don’t confuse the label with the skill-set.

Better To Stay Loose

Leaving Seoul today. I knew that it was coming but still, for some reason or another, it’s hard. I don’t want to go back to Beijing. I have responsibilities there.

I am writing this while sitting on the airport express train. That old, peculiar feeling of leaving a place or a friend has sprung up again.

For some reason it always feels like it’s raining on the last day of a trip. Rain drops splatter against the sides of window panes as the questions run through my mind.

What if I don’t leave?

What if I do?

What if it’s all a mistake?

seoul black and white

Hill top in Itaewon, Seoul.

Traveling to a new city is always like living in a dream. You meet new people and see new things. You walk around and imagine yourself in every cafe and on every street corner.

But you know you’re just kidding yourself. You don’t love this city anymore than the last. It’s all just that hopeless romantic side of you. Not made to fit in anywhere because, actually, you enjoy not fitting in.

I mean… what I mean to say is, you don’t like staying anywhere too long. Then the shine wears off and you see that everyone is human again.

Better to stay loose. Better to keep moving.

Go Make Something

We…

We read too many books.

We call a friend and ask for help with a problem that we don’t have, yet.

We surf the internet to look up the prices of homes in the areas which have the highest salaries for the jobs that we think we might want.

We worry about balancing the responsibilities of being a husband and a father before hearing her say yes.

We sit around and wonder how to deal with the trappings of fame before we become famous.

We lose the faith before anything ever happens.

We cannot be the victims of analysis paralysis anymore.

Reflection on a Fake Japanese Internet Quote

I was browsing reddit earlier today, when I came upon a quote.

The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.

This is slightly oversimplified, yet still true. The concept of putting on a “front” for strangers is nothing new, to me anyways. I see people doing it all the time. I do it myself. It’s just part of human nature.

Whatever the case, I thought about it on my run today.

When I am running, and deep in my element, I feel my third face comes out. My true, wild nature. Swashbuckling and brash.

Maybe that’s why running is so amazing. 

Sidenote: I can’t find the source of this quote anywhere. Perhaps I am just circulating more fictional Japanese proverbs. Oh well.