Something Good

Words sit out in the dark somewhere waiting to be conjured;  I am the conjurer. Words begin to exist only as I give them utterance; I am the solipsist. Words are only poor approximation of the communicative essence; thus spake the relativist.

I suppose part of the reason for having a personal blog is that over time it suggests an outline of its creator's personality, a glimpse of his nature, a shortlist of his tendencies. It even evinces things undesirable, things better kept under veil of secrecy. The creator of said blog, of course, even in the format of a public personal journal, whatever that is, will still attempt to sway perception somehow, to keep his true persona cloaked. Extensive obfuscation, sleight of hand or glib cataracts of inanity are all valuable tools in this regard.

This seems to be one of the latter so far. I'll create an interweb ars poetica tag and it will probably end up applying to most of my writing here. Too much goddamn introspection, not enough swashbuckling climbing tales and inspiring life insights. Well, anyone who only tells you those stories is omitting the other ones such as the time he got drunk and called everyone on his cellphone contact list at 3am, including at least one ex-girlfriend who shouldn't still have been on the contact list anyway. How can he possibly keep something like that from the curious public eye?

The most popular post on this blog is climbing-related, but the second most viewed is about obscure computer games and obsolete online communications protocols and the amount of time I spent engrossed in that world. With such a rich tapestry of culture on the internet who would dare fall into the monotonous trap of single-topic writing? But then, this constant modulation becomes irritating too if it fails to offer a common thread, some kind of refrain that at the very least acts as a signpost in the wilderness.

In this spirit, I've decided to choose some particularly transformational tales from my life experience and spin them here in a series of more focused posts. My hope is that more craft and a humble plug on Facebook will bring more people to enjoy this strange ritual of self-effacing wordplay. Check back for more as boredom and inspiration in turn will incite me to type something wonderful here over the next while.


Thy Flesh Consumed

Just some easy climbing. That's all I want to do. A little 5.8 in the mountains; Sagittarius at Index perhaps. Maybe some slab climbing? Yes, that's what I'll do: when I can raise my right arm parallel to the ground once again without the type of pain that just says, "stop", I'll become an expert at slab climbing. I'll drop all this difficulty shit and go for mind expansion. Mention '5.12' these days and it's a small wonder if someone hasn't climbed the grade. 5.12 slab with a bolt every 25 feet? Now we're talking!

Injury is all about perspective. You get lucky, it doesn't happen. If you fall in the median somewhere, it's going to happen multiple times. If you're really fucked, you'll just have to quit. I'm in the median, I think, but solidly. Injury has shaped my outlook on climbing, especially in recent years. Every year, I think, will be the one where I play it smart. This year, I started by spraining a finger. Three weeks later, I was rehabilitating on moderate but tall boulder problems in the Buttermilks. Lucky! I thought as I cranked my way through recovery. No wallowing in a year-long miasma of doubt and despair like the first time. Lesson learned? Nope! None to be learned. Try hard and you fail hard, sometimes: It's a rule of the game. Perhaps the rule of the game. I could extrapolate this finding over to real life, but if I knew how to 'try hard' in real life, I probably wouldn't be writing in this blog. I'd either have a lot of money or I'd be some feckless burnout with a prescription habit. Or maybe both? Who knows.

It's traditionally the final month of good weather around Washington for the year. My shoulder hurts. Yes, it hurts in the way that says, unequivocally, that things are 'over' for awhile. By 'things' I mean rock climbing, working, basically anything that may or may not exacerbate an injury of unknown proportion and somewhat unknown etiology. What is known, however, is that it originated from indoor climbing. A great surprise, of course, that attempting to take up routesetting again in my 30's would result in injury. Gotta go show up the kids to prove myself, right? OK, it's not quite as simple as that. I was being paid to climb, which sounded pretty good to me. I'm otherwise broke, listless and generally can be found whoring my body to the construction industry for money so how bad could more climbing gym employment be? The eventual verdict is that it would have been great 10 years ago, but that's kind of a moot point. I was doing the same thing 10 years ago anyway, which smacks more of some nightmarish Nietzschean Eternal Recurrence shit than anything else. But all hyperbole aside, life continues in these frustratingly pointless cycles. Really it's more of a linear frustration, as each endpoint is different somehow than the last. The code, however, remains the same. Plans are shelved for next time. Next time is next month, next season, next year and then, realistically, never. Fitness ebbs away until a month, two months are required for even a glimpse of 'baseline' strength. This, properly, is a cycle of pointlessness. This is frustration boiled down to its bitter essence.

As I get older, my body becomes less and less resilient to various abuses. Repetitive stressors, beer drinking, the other kind of stress (emotional) all take their tolls in different fashion than I have become accustomed. My stomach revolts at the first sign of stress; even a small amount of alcohol destroys what little stability I have in my digestive system to begin with. Joints show signs of decay after years of unbridled enthusiasm towards climbing and other such self-destructive pursuits. I am older than I was before. What was once the same is no longer. Being realistic can help distinguish a lifelong devotee from an early burnout. The slabs are looking better and better. Whatever torn labrum, impinged rotator cuff or inflamed bicep tendon might be inflicting its wrath upon me, the implied wisdom is the same: change thine self-destructive ways, or thy flesh be consumed by hubris, apathy and general idiotic disregard. I like to call it 'adjusted reality', which is the ideal cross-referenced with all the setbacks, bum luck and general fuckall of the actual. "Caveat emptor!" is what the flesh says to the mind. But the mind digresses and oh, how it doth.

Happy 9/11. Let's bomb Syria.