“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
“There’s no such thing as a perfect piece of writing or poetry for that matter. Just as there’s no such thing as perfect despair.” So said a poet friend of mine I knew back in my adolescent years. He’s no longer with us on this spun little sphere. Well not in the physical sense. I miss him, more now than I did then. He was awfully real in a forsaken world full of fake.
It wasn’t until recently that I could grasp his full meaning, but even back then I found solace in his advice—there is no such thing as writing with perfection.
All the same, I quailed whenever I sat down to write. The scope of what I could handle was just too limited. I could write all day about the elephant in the room, so to say, but when it came to the elephant’s trainer, I was prone to draw a blank. Writing needs that kind of built-in accessory of a subplot, wouldn’t you think?
I have been caught in the web of this particular writing bind for quite sometime—twenty plus years to be exact. Now color me crazy all you would like, but that is a very long time.
If one operates on the principle that everything that happens to us can be considered a learning experience, then of course life needn’t be so damned painful. That’s what they tell us, anyway. Life though, has a way of letting pain dictate the steps in which we take.
From the day since I have picked up this pen, time and time again, I have done my best to live according to that philosophy. As I result, I have been swindled and misjudged, used and abused, day in and day out. I am though, one hundred percent guilty of doing the same, if not worse, to others. I have also done my fair share of returning these favors, in my own shameful way.
And yet still, it has brought about many strange, distorted, and wonderful experiences. All sorts of people have told me their stories, some I’ve tried to figure out on my own accord. Then they left, never to return, as if I were no more than a bridge they were crawling across to get to where they were so desperate to go.
I, however, have kept my mouth sealed shut. And so these stories have stayed with me over the years until I have found myself sitting here today, walking out, not necessarily wound free, but happily, from my very own existential crisis.
The time though, has come to shake it all off and tell my story.
This doesn’t mean, by any means, that I have resolved even a single one of my problems, or that I will be somehow different when I finish. There is a very good chance I haven’t changed at all.
In the end, writing is not always an overeager step toward self-healing, it is in my opinion, an infinitesimal step, a very exploratory move in said direction of promise. But in order to get to where I am to be—with writing I must lean into honesty.
All the same, writing with the bittersweet taste of honesty is very grim. The more I start to write honest with myself and my words, the farther we may slip into darkness, but of the dark, it is true, the only way out is through.
Don’t take this as an excuse. I promise you—I’ve been telling the story as best I have known how, and this I will continue to do. But there will always be more to add to it.
A story, like life, is much like a tree. Branches grow, and branches must be cleared. They keep growing and you must keep trimming. Some will branch out farther than you could imagine, and those are sometimes better off left to grow.
I can’t help thinking with hints of confidence—if all goes well, a time may come, years or even decades from now, when I will come to discover that my self was somehow salvaged and redeemed from these articles of my life.
The elephant in the room will then return to the veldt, and it is of my hope, that I may tell the story of the world through my very own eyes with words far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
So with that being said, sit back, relax, and settle on in.
Silence merely whispers at the edge of eternity, like a light fringe of foam at the lip of a wave.
He stands toward the stars, staring stoned with a suffered gaze. The thoughts that cradle his imagination are being spoiled with over processed knowledge. At least this is what he thinks, and this thought alone is diluted. This exact moment’s perception of himself clenches at him like the white-knuckled clasp of a man gone mad behind the wheel of desire. He knows this inward perception of him is self-inflicted from the sound of his own inner voice—that parasitical ego—dancing mad through the tranquility of his inner peace.
He knows it will pass, much like the forgiveness of time, tomorrow holds the key to the land of milk and honey. But like desire, these spells of self-destruction were beginning to wreak havoc down every avenue in the city he calls life—his thoughts were becoming more congested, which in turn, brought everything to a standstill. Above and beyond all reasoning, he needed direct knowledge where subject and object coincided with perfection, or else risk confusing the moon with his own finger pointing at it.
He knows that all of this suffering is self-catapulted upon the sandcastle of his own conscious. As the castle erodes, should he have to rebuild it with chaos? He sometimes thinks so, but he knows that a sandcastle made of chaos is just a few farts in the wind away from his mind being turned to dust. He must settle down and allow the chaotic cloudiness to clarify itself within him via extended contemplation. Which bear in mind, he had been skimping on. The things that make you go, hmm?
He always knew the wounds of life would heal with a slight scar. That he would eventually fall back into the flesh of his own Being. Still he would always scratch at the scars upon his soul, with the sole intention of aggravating the past. From this, his psyche would never be the same, yet his thoughts told him that by revisiting the past, it might somehow send him spiraling towards the future.
While the possibility of this does exist, the depths at which he would need to seek within himself would take him deeper into the wilderness in which he already sits. This is something he believes that he is not yet fully prepared for, but we’ve yet to see the final score. The path is there, a bit hidden and maybe arid, but there nonetheless. Will he really ever know where it goes? In all honesty, he hasn’t a clue, but this is no longer a concern of his, only His.
He understands that the spiritual passage is not for the faint of heart. It’s just as well he knows that from the beginning of this journey, he must create an atmosphere about him that will carry the content of his posthumous existence, while leaving something of worth behind for his kid. He comprehends that the future of the world will not be changed by his words, but their future will be and that May in turn change the world.
This point must always be kept in mind when he starts questioning the “why” upon the fringe of all things. After all, the silent mind merely whispers at the edge of eternity, like a light fringe of foam at the lip of a wave.
He has learned that salvation is not a reward, but a very wild and normal consequence. If not to even say that it is a natural process of the inner work in which he tries to achieve for himself, as well as that of his innate disposition. This being what pushes him in the enduring direction of his voluntary search that seeks some higher purpose in the creation of his life. He knows these words are but the footsteps along this long and winding nomadic expedition in search of his Spirit.
He can and will attest that it is a path filled with treacherous steps that lean into all sorts of different hidden angles and patterns. But they are his, they have put him here with this pen in his hand. And at this point, he understands that he and this pen tilt at a geometric point where the horizontal and the vertical meet, an invisible cross of sorts. He sees that this path is built for only him. And he sees that your path is nothing like his. It is yours and yours alone. And should our paths meet let it forever be sweet.
On a good day he understands that those he thought he was helping, in the end, he came to learn that they were helping and teaching him, and he as well, himself. He is, sometimes too often filled to the brim with the facility of his own thoughts and the sublimity of his own reason. But it is time to insulate those thoughts he hates to love, while loving to hate, with the fashion of his old self again. This meant it was time he get to wherever needs to be at the present time.
It took him awhile, but he finally learned how to outwit the craftiness of his thoughts, only because the answers themselves brought about new questions. And it is today, as we mark it, that he has finally taught himself a valuable lesson within the inner work of his better habits.
It was then he laughed with a joy that shook through his body from his head to his toes. It was such a laugh that it put money in his pocket, because it paid no doctor bill. It was a laugh that made him feel alive as he was now whole. It was a laugh that howled from the depths of his core. It was then he heard providence call, and he knew he had to answer it, with no intention of hanging it up.
And by and by his smile rises with a new dawn and the sun, she rests upon his weary-eyed thoughts with clarity. The boy had laughed himself awake from the depths of a bad dream, a different man. So with that being said, I leave you with the truth.
What we say about God isn’t what counts, but what we let Him say in us; this right we grant Him to say Himself—instead of us.
The point of writing my name to you is that I see who you are, you see who I am…and that’s what it’s about.
Here is but a post that is two years overdue, call it an extended bio if you choose. And it is true, today marks the second anniversary of the beginning of this little creative outpost. The point of writing my name to you is that I see who you are, you see who I am…and that’s what it’s about.
My name is Ryan Love. I am 41 years young. My nickname is Buddy out west and Bubba back home, hence the Be. Home being the hidden, paradoxical beauty of Alabama. I now live just down a mountain pass from the majestic splendor of Lake Tahoe in beautiful Carson Valley, Nevada. I moved out West sixteen years ago today as well.
A loving and God-fearing family raised me. My mother, bless her soul, with her ability to harness all of our shit, mainly mine, still amazes me. Though my siblings are significantly younger, we have managed to stay close, even with the age difference and me being so far away from home.
I am a single dad to a four-year-old son walking away from a collapsed marriage that I had a strong hand in tearing down. Now I am finding my purpose through God. I am learning how to live alone with Him half the week, the other half I am trying to be the best father to him that I can be.
I was once considered an alcoholic—I for one may not have been, but then again that’s what I perceive from within. I was always one to skirt the idea of moderation, and that is in itself a glaring sign of alcoholism. As I stand today, without staggering, I have almost learned how to master my self-control, ‘tis but the season though, for loneliness to creep up on the right thing to do.
Nowadays I am a Chef in the casino industry, so temptation does flirt with me on a nightly basis, and it is quite the task shaking myself loose from it on those Friday nights when the adrenaline drip is more or less at a steady stream. But the beast within has found purpose and unity with God especially when he gets to push around this pen. And it is true that once I let the wolf in, he has become my greatest teacher.
I first realized that I had a knack for writing when I was in Journalism back in high school—many, many moons ago. I covered the sports beat for the high school paper because I was a bit of a jock and I could spell, which back in those days didn’t always go hand in hand. But then I started to dabble with illegal substances and my dream of making it to the big leagues of life and baseball fell apart. As much as I said no to drugs, they never listened. So let me be a lesson, don’t do drugs.
When not working, my hobbies include writing, reading, snowboarding, exploring God in the wilderness around me, photography, fly-fishing, and creating memories and art with my child.
I have questioned authority at every crossroad in my life. I have always said that I knew the rules but the rules did not know me. This sometimes breathes true even today. I have those who have egged me on, and of course myself. One could say my friends and I were nothing but a bunch of heathens, such is adolescence I guess. But we have a bond between us that will last a lifetime and maybe more. A bond that will never be broken.
I tried my hand at college, but much to no avail because I was too smart for school. Oh good ole fashioned hindsight. It’s worth the mention that I do not regret a damn thing, well maybe one or two things, but that’s neither here nor there. The memories that haven’t faded are still as precious to me as the moment they were created.
Then I fell head over heels in love with a girl. Sure I’d been through the ringer with cherry-popping puppy loves, but this one touched my soul. Next came the heartbreak and the words they rained like poetic tears from the depths of my being. These words were not very well situated in the lyrical sense, still debatable whether they are nowadays. Nonetheless, my soul had finally come to the center stage of me. Then it vanished for a long time, the beast, my ego came front and center, with no intent on feeding the soul.
In the midst of my efforts of dealing with heartbreak, higher learning, hallucinogenics, and a Pink Floyd obsession, I started writing in the sense of reality. I fell in love with the Beat Generation: Kerouac, Ginsberg, Cassady, and di Prima. They were all so transcendental and unique, with all of the philosophical and Zen undertones it was hard to not fall in love with them. Then I read “On The Road” by Kerouac and my soul fell sick with the travel bug. I traveled far and wide looking for a home away from home.
At this stage in my life I considered myself agnostic. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe, as much as I didn’t want to believe one way or another, sort of like taking the high road. And I really to this day do not know why. Sure I had a sturdy moral compass that would fall out of whack from time to time, but for some reason my ego thought intellect was more reasonable than God. More on this down the road.
Then came my second taste of spiritual awakening, or maybe it was a crisis, maybe both are one in the same. Who knows? It was in 2008. I took some classes at the local community college, and finally got around to reading “Heart Of Darkness” and I became consumed with the elements of good and evil within man. I couldn’t stop writing. My writing evolved at a rapid rate this time around. Something was opening up within me.
From here I turned to an infatuation with the Donner Party, so much so that I wrote a screenplay about it. The chaos, the demons of hunger, the capability of what man would do to survive blew my mind wide open. The events that surrounded that winter of 1847, made my mind move in directions it never had, what if we were living in Hell?
This is when I first felt a newfound purpose through my own doubt and God made sure that I felt Him as he started coursing through my veins.
As soon as my soul would bark back, the beast would only tighten his grip, choking the life out of my softness. Then I gave up my passion of writing because my head was swelling instead of moving in linear directions. The beast couldn’t handle it without the soul, and didn’t feel the need to collaborate. And I was still questioning God and his antics. From there I put down the pen and decided to focus on my career as a Chef, being a Chef feeds the ego.
Then came 2016, my child was two and a half. God had very much proved his existence through the eyes of my child. But I became sick at the hate that was dividing our blessed country in half. And yes I sort of blamed God. This is when I first felt a newfound purpose through my own doubt and God made sure that I felt Him as he started coursing through my veins.
I could no longer stand pat within the herds of ignorance and mediocrity. I felt that maybe my way with words could plant seeds that would bloom into hope and salvation, something that made love seem not so distraught and grow into something more beautiful than the world had ever seen. After all what a man sees in the world, he carries in his heart.
Then came a vessel out of nowhere that showed me the true light of God’s work. This vessel gave flight to a new me, and readjusted my system of beliefs. I felt a creative spark that I had never knew existed. Sure being a Chef came with avenues upon avenues of creative effort, from managing different personalities, to creating specials, to setting the standards for the simplicity of a kitchen’s flow. But something was different with this creative spark from writing, to photography; my soul had found its home within the walls of creative gusto.
I have come to find it humbling that the wilderness within the eighteen inches from my head to my heart is the purpose of my journey in life. And I am humbled that you all still listen. And I have learned that I am much happier talking to myself, rather than listening to myself. Try it. It works.
It is in the darkness of faith at the foot of the cross that the light will always flicker.
Now here I am still fighting my inner demons, trying my damndest to keep the beast on a leash, hoping to mind my head, and surrender my heart to the power of God’s Love, and just maybe the consistency of me watering my own seed through prayer and devotion will breathe consistent with my purpose while these words with their rooted message of hope, love, and faith for all mankind shall forever spring from the bottom of my heart. And now every day I awake by acknowledging my dependence for God above and my need for His mercy.
Recently I was saved at my family church back home, but I still have a long and winding path ahead. It is in the darkness of faith at the foot of the cross that the light will always flicker. And the reason why I feel this way is as follows.
Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say, “I am here because of you, your sin, your curse, your debt, your death, I am here for you. Nothing in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. We all have self-inflated views of ourselves, especially in the self-righteous state, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.” If anything speaks the truth it starts with minding your head.
One more thing you may not have known about me. This band Widespread Panic, they are very much a part of me, I have traveled all corners of this land to see them, I have made friends of a lifetime through the most hospitable scene behind a traveling circus of music. And even though panic is the one thing that is widespread in this world, it is an honest tune with a lingering lead that has taken me this far, and will always leave me wondering.
This is a story of me. And who knows maybe you may come to find out a little about yourself as I find me.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5 : 8
I know not where I’m going. But it is my hope that wherever it is, You are there. I have no idea what path You have laid for me, but I am confident that You have made it the way it should be built for me.
Of one thing I am sure is that pain will fall like rain, but upon my soul it will never stain. And yes, I still do not fully know who I am, but I do feel You in the depths of me, and for that I am hopeful for what it is—I think might be left of the goodness in me.
For I have already found the treasure I sought when it was You I found deeper than just a thought. And just because I talk about following your Will, doesn’t mean I always will. So please allow us to speak more privately of that beneath your eternal Windmill.
But know this, it is your Glory—I will never allow anyone to steal. And the fact that I feel you in my heart brings joy to all my days, and when those days are done, I’d be might to find a bit of a head start upon those Pearly Gates, because of your ways—I would rather not part.
So it is my desire to walk with You and You must know there is not a thing I will not do to prove the Essence of You, except maybe use a double negative or two while writing this letter to You.
But from this moment on, it is through this valley filled with the shadow of death and You—I will walk until my final breath. So please allow me one last jest before I take my daily rest.