Do you know what you’re made of?
I don’t mean physically – like your composition. No, what I’m talking about are those experiences from your life that made you the way you are today. You know, like when someone says a certain thing to you – be that “get out of my hair”, or “what lovely eyes you have”.
What shapes the ways we respond to what others say to us?
Is it our original programming; that version of software that came pre-installed in our between-the-ears hard drive? Or is it the way we were conditioned by parents, teachers and life’s hard knocks?
A combination of both?
Here’s why I ask: There are things I’d like to change about myself. I can hear what you’re thinking now: “But John, you’re super great, at writing and probably many other things, so why change?” And trust me, I get your point – but there are still things about me I might want to modify a smidge.
Like how I argue.
Loretta: This ought to be interesting… Continue reading →
Do you have a memory that has stayed with you over the years?
You know the kind – it’s sort of like an unanswered question that lives in the back of your mind – and every now and then, maybe every month or two – or even every year or two – it resurfaces. It comes back because it’s a puzzle you haven’t solved yet. And if there’s anything that makes us uncomfortable, it’s an unanswered question. Well I’ve got one of those – and I’ve had it since 1989.
It won’t go away because it concerns the death of a man. Continue reading →
Somebody asked me recently how it is that I can recall, in detail, the events from my life that I write about.
It struck me as an interesting question because I can’t imagine not being able to recall them – I swear it feels like some of them happened just a few days ago.
I don’t know why that is, or how I’m different from others, or whether I’m really that different at all – but stories from my past play out on what seems like a screen in my mind. I can see all the players, and I can see all the events. I can even sometimes look closely and see stuff I missed before.
Is it like that for you? Continue reading →
I hate baseball.
I know those are strong words, but it took me a long time to get here. You know, the truth probably is I don’t really hate baseball – hate is such a harsh word. So how about this: I deeply dislike baseball.
A little background: When I was a kid growing up in the Bay Area I played a lot of baseball. I played it at school and I played it in the neighborhood. And back then, in the mid 70’s, when the Oakland A’s were doing really well, I even watched it on television.
But it was not my favorite sport – I preferred football and soccer. To me there just wasn’t enough going on in a baseball game. It seemed liked long stretches of boredom, punctuated with the occasional spurt of excitement – kind of like a fire station. You stood around waiting for something to happen, and then when it did you hoped you were part of the action. Continue reading →
I was an impressionable kid.
I suppose we all were, in our way. I think by definition being young means you’re looking for direction – first from your parents – and then from others… Continue reading →
When I was little I traveled to Ireland every few years or so.
My parents are from Ireland and took me and my brother and sisters back there during summers to stay with our grandparents. One morning, at Grandma Tierney’s house in Tipperary, my brother Brian and I decided to head down the fields in search of adventure. At the time I would have been about 12 and Brian maybe 10 or so. Continue reading →
The kids in the neighborhood I grew up in had a certain fearlessness about them.
Well most of them did – there was this one kid named Shawn Reilly who seemed to be afraid of everything. And because fear was such a big part of his daily life it kind of set him apart from the other kids. In fact even now when I think about the kids in the old neighborhood his face doesn’t always pop up. He was a bit player. Sort of like a lesser character in a favorite movie of yours – you don’t always remember right away that he was even in it. Continue reading →