Hard Reality

What ever happened to
the peace and love we spoke of,
decades before? Our realism of idealism
before capitalism; humanity above profit.
Conscious thought. Truth.
Was this a concept
within a dream, altered by greed
and get-rich-schemes
that became the way of the world.
Do we know how it happened?
Can we understand? Why?
Each generation judges those before,
every generation knows a state of war.
This reality becomes hard
when the violence is right there
in your backyard. Fact.
Something is not the same.
We were young once. Age
now testimony to where we have been,
what have we witnessed, and
how we have failed those
who shall follow. Evolution.
How do we speak of freedom?
Can we hold a stranger’s hand?
Are weather-beaten symbols and
time-ravaged slogans relevant any more?
Honesty. Do we remember
how to make love, not war?

© 2019 j.g. lewis

Cancelling Woodstock 50 Festival The Right Thing To Do

It is not surprising the 50th anniversary of Woodstock was cancelled late last week. The venue, and the line-up of performers, had changed several times and there seemed to be little enthusiasm over the event.

Woodstock 50 was to be a celebration of the original event held August 15-18, 1969 on farmland in upstate New York. Billed as An Aquarian Exposition; 3 Days of Peace & Music, an audience of more than 400,000 converged on the site and took in acts like Santana, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and Jimi Hendrix.

It was a pivotal moment in world history — less than a month after the U.S put a man on the Moon — that forged a new attitude among a generation seeking change.

But the world has changed too much to allow an event like that to ever happen again.

Financial backers pulled out of Woodstock 50. Among other things, I suspect nobody was willing to accept the liability for that many people attending a single event.

In light of the epidemic of mass shootings over the past few years, cancelling Woodstock 50 was the right thing to. It doesn’t take much to remember the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. committed by an individual happened at a music festival. On October 1, 2017, a heavily-armed lone shooter killed 58 people, and wounded more than 400, in Las Vegas.

A mass shooting tales place every single day in the U.S.; you cannot even go to WalMart for groceries without fear of being gunned down. Really, who would want to take a chance on going to a multi-day concert with hundreds of thousands of people?

In the United States of America this year, there have been more mass shootings than days. There were 323 mass shootings in 2018, and 343 in 2017. There is a debate between sources as to whether a “mass shooting” constitutes 3 or more, or 4 or more, people shot and killed in one incident. The statistics are alarming.

Mass shootings are an American crisis. The country leads the developed world in gun violence, and no other nation has these types of shootings to this degree.

As much as America could use some sort of celebration of peace and love, it obviously doesn’t deserve it. There is too much violence and political posturing, and the top-down hatred spills out across gender, race and party lines.

When will the president face the music?

© 2019 j.g. lewis

More Than Procrastination

I was resting on a lazy afternoon last week, drifting in and out with TEDtalks streaming, (as it often does) when a voice, or a phrase, took hold of my consciousness.

‘You’ve got more to do.’

I didn’t listen much further to the message, mantra, or the moral of the speaker’s presentation, but this phrase immediately got me thinking.

I do have more to do. Hell, I’ve got a lot to do.

Then a bigger thought: why aren’t I doing them; it. More.

I keep a list on a scrap of blue paper inside the cover of my dayplanner, separated into several columns depending on urgency or importance. I’ve got projects and plans on the go (some in dire latency), several manuscripts in various stages of undress, and a mouthful of commitments and obligations. Occasionally I will even add a couple of items, or erase a line from the page when it is completed. It does get messy.

About a month back I even took a fresh scrap of paper, reprinted the blue list, and tried to get organized with the intention of jumping back on track as soon as I returned from a much-needed vacation.

I even added a couple of tasks while on holidays.

A few weeks later, I actually moved a project from one column to another after spending three glorious days doing nothing else but writing and editing work that desperately needed the time and attention.

But I haven’t taken it any further. I’ve still got more to do

There is one particular issue that is, and has (for months now), tarnished my capacity to do what I need and want to do. The tendrils of this hindrance have legal implications, trust issues weighed down by questions of culpability, ignorant assumptions and misunderstandings, and it continues to move at the speed of bureaucracy.

I deal with it. Lately, it seems that it is all I have been dealing with.

I know the necessity of putting the work in and getting my ducks in a row, and I’ve always been good at compartmentalizing and know what is required, but this one serious and suspiciously protracted issue has taken up too much of my bandwidth.

Just keeping up with my obligations and maintaining commitments to my self, leaves little room for anything else.

And, I’ve sill got more to do.

I printed the message on a sticky note, and placed it on the first page of a brand new scribbler (it’s always easier to begin or continue anything on a fresh page). I even pulled out a big sturdy pencil and readied myself to get going or planning, my next step.

Then I stared at it.

I’m still staring at it.

‘You’ve got more to do’.

This reminder hits on so many levels — long-term or immediate, personally or professionally, singularly or holistically — that I could create a flow chart indicating the importance of each task, or the order in which they must be completed. I also know that would simply take up time (read procrastinating) where I should be doing something.

I’ve got more to do.

We’ve all got places we want to see, books we need to read, relationships to nourish or mend, career goals, fitness or wellness objectives, things to repair or replace, and activities and events to attend. Finding time, inspiration, and cash, is not always easy. Let’s face it; it is easier to find excuses than it is reasons why you should be doing more.

Still, you know you need to do more.

So why aren’t you?

© 2019 j.g. lewis