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Yelling at the Computer Wasted My Breath


A few days after Santa dropped by, I yelled at my computer.

It. Was. Slow.

I. Was. Irritated.

I argued with a thing. Why? A smart friend told me to get the monkeys off my back and the chatter out of my brain.  Yeah, yeah, yeah. I joined in the noise and yelled at my computer. Again.

I banged copy.

My ebullient fa-la-la-la-la fell out of tune.

Then another wise friend said, “Stop. Read something quiet.”

I did: three steps to a better place.

  1. Walden by Henry David Thoreau: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.”
  2. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: “To overcome the anxieties and depressions of contemporary life, individuals must become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself. She has to develop the ability to find enjoyment and purpose regardless of external circumstances.”
  3. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen: “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”

I swear to Buddha: the oxygen in the room feels clean; I’ll take this day, one breath at a time.


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The Daily Post Prompt: Sink or Swim

Categories: Musings The Writing Well

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Catherine Hamrick

Soul deep storyteller, poet, copywriter, and editor with a passion for wordplay, gardens and literature

4 replies

  1. Ah, Catherine. Our culture places such a high value on “acquisitive individualism” that there seems to be little hope of simplifying our lives, or of training ourselves to ignore what we perceive as unjust treatment of our worthy selves. However, it is an interesting time when we get a Donald Trump, someone who is without shame for his embodiment of the excesses of acquisitive individualism. He is a type of the Anti-Christ; he is Christ’s evil twin, to put it in the vernacular. And he is the Anti-Buddha and the Anti-Mohammed. What a rare treat in a way, to find so many people who identify as Christian embracing such a perfect symbol of everything Christ stood against.

    On the other hand, for those like you who seek the Tao of simplification and acceptance, he is a constant reminder of the reasons for committing to your search.

    1. My reflection is not intended for any noise beyond my own walls (i.e., this is not about politics). It’s a note to self that basic sans drama is optimal. I recall a few interesting lines by Adam Gopnik (“Voltaire’s Garden”/The New Yorker):

      “By ‘garden’ Voltaire meant a garden, not a field—not the land and task to which we are chained by nature but the better place we build by love. The force of that last great injunction, ‘We must cultivate our garden,’ is that our responsibility is local, and concentrated on immediate action.”

      I can live with this notion while acknowledging that everybody puts a spin on Voltaire for his or her purposes. That probably includes Voltaire himself (in his phases).

      Nobody can pack anything for the journey ahead (or in the now) except a separate peace, which is weightless.

      1. Your notes to yourself, shared as they are here, are not exactly alms for oblivion. Hemingway’s “separate peace” sounds admirable to me, but I agree with Gopnik (as always) that Voltaire was not envisioning such a total retreat from the world. Are you?

        In the Hemingway story, Nick Adams (we assume) is suffering through a war. Maybe such suffering allows one to drop out of the world of others. Who can say otherwise, unless they have been to war and seen its horrors directly? Or unless they have experienced the authentic equivalent of the experience of war, or something even worse?

        I have packed for the journey with Thoreau, and Camus, and Ecclesiastes, and Hamrick. And many others. We all travel together, inseparable.

  2. I would not retreat from the world on a permanent basis. I like people, and I am a Leo! However, Henri Nouwen’s Out of Solitude proposes a balance of inward/outward movement. I am a reasonable introvert, so temporary time apart serves.

    Nice that you bring up Camus. I started to mention La Peste but left it alone. To persist, even in the face of a nonsensical world, is a decent code. I have not suffered and thus cannot speak to the horror of war. Thank goodness, I’m not driven to chase a white whale (Moby Dick). A modest bundle suffices. In effect, I am not packing up troubles. ; )

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