Defining Teamwork, Moments, and Labels We Use In Western Society, In My Opinion

img_20160610_084344

Art by terryliebchen on Instagram 

 

Hello again, my name is Terry Scott. I write sometimes. I live in St Paul, MN. Please don’t think that my website is dirty because of the name. It is merely a name. Nothing much in it. Also, please read my article in its entirety before coming to judgement, and thanks for that in advance.

Here, I will write to you about what I think, and what is on my mind.  I have no aim, it’s free association. Nothing more, nothing less. These are just ideas I have at the moment, on a Saturday, on my couch, in the morning, in the Midwest, no labels, some teamwork.

Also, feel free to donate on the right with the button (Hit the Button!) to help keep my art project alive and free: dirtyterry.com. It keeps corporate ads off of my pages and the carte blanche spirit in my words. All donations go to benefit the author(me) and my website(s). It is generally encouraged…  Enjoy.

*

And so the story begins…

img_20161010_151127

Rows of Ranges

Let me start by saying that this week I discovered successful teamwork, damaging mislabels in the form of labels (again), and precious moments everywhere I looked because I wanted to. What they mean, and how they change me, I will attempt to explain below in the best way I can, with my common eclectic colloquial language. My week was varied, toilsome, and celebratory, in ways that I could not understand until now because of how sleepy I was.  My week was a week.  Yeah…

(I digress: The inevitable precious moments must come first. Why not start out positively? I love my son, I love my wife, and I love free thought, happy interactions, and meaningful conversation. I will get that out of the way for purposes of delving into ideas unbounded, uninhibited. Changing diapers is precious, getting pee-ed on is precious, and baby talk is also precious, and presents a certain beautiful arcana.)

You see, the importance of these ideas mentioned in the first paragraph actually touch us more than the election 2016 results (admit it), even though those results touched us at the very level we exist in, insanely. Everyone got sad.  The importance, and unimportance, of teamwork, mislabels, and moments are what we make them. I will admit, teamwork was the most importance right here. But all of these concepts are tightly intertwined.  Like people in America.

***

At work, my job can be varied. My position seems always fulfilling and always random, and still always purposed. I act as a facilities liaison doing projects throughout a campus of libraries in a major academic setting. For the last month or so I have been moving periodical shelving out of a basement location, study area, and moving them, the shelving and its hardware particularly, into a completely different area for space saving reasons.

Aside from the odds and ends one might find placed between cleared shelves, and placed under shelves, from decades ago, one might find immensely hard work. One will find that one does not do immensely hard work alone; one needs other ones, many other ones: one needs teamwork to complete this sort of task. That was the most beneficial thing found between the stacks.  Teamwork.

This teamwork was something important. Something important for thought’s sake, especially in our Now America. I aver, it mattered not the ideology of others I worked with, only that we saw our task through to fruition, this seemingly impossible task. I did my part, others did theirs as well, and most got along, and we completed our project. It was beautiful, it was something that our nation could learn from. Smaller yet, I certainly learned from it.

The work was hard. Since the middle of summer I counted shelving, had to be exact. I sat over sheets of paper, diagrams, walked through ranges; counted bases, bases, frames, shelves. Measured the sizes: 9″ and 11″, needed 10″, 12″, and 16″. (I am horrible at math, so added challenge.)  My project, it depended on me. Early November I was tasked to create space, it was first priority, to start pulling shelves, setting up pallets, unbolting frames, unscrewing bases, and complete the task on time. I had one month. Go.

Watching this project unfold was powerful. I thought it couldn’t be done. I spent all of my woken days there, even a Saturday, and very early mornings. The more I finished the more I had to do, it appeared.  (Being a new father as well, getting up in the morning was a sometimes challenge.) Soon, I found that I could not do this work alone. Without my colleagues I could not have fulfilled my task.  I sought help.  Found it.

More than anything else, the setbacks, the outside forces, the inevitable issues to arise, the physical and mental challenges at present were extremely meaningful. I had to overcome the idea that couldn’t do something, a project so massive and crucial to the libraries, and believe that I could do something. With everyone watching, I had to do without judgement or reservation. To meet completion.

Now, I look at this as an allegory for our society, the I HAVE TO PART, THE BELIEVE I CAN PART.  Why can’t we put our beliefs aside and get along for the common good, to make things happen? To be the part and just do.  Had I labeled this task impossible, it may not have been completed. Had I thought my colleagues as this and that would I have been able to see them as amazingly talented, hard workers? I have no idea, I never thought that. I thought do, do, do; make, make, make; create, create, create, until finished.

***

Looking back now, I think of the social aspects of this exchange, and sadly, how they differ from outside life.  How the outside life lacks this doing for doing and creating for better. Have we come so far politically, in the United States, that we can no longer exist socially? Trapped in our bubbles, the illusion of being safe, and wrongly believing it necessary to be that way. I found that this last month I have cleaned out my phone; blocked numbers that had been contacts for years, simply out of ideological differences, because of their need for this fantastical safety.  (It’s becoming very close to the American Dream now, I posit The American Safeness.)

(Moreover, all is well with this cleanse, no hard feelings. (Friendships sometimes, if meaningful, stay like bears in the winter; they hibernate.) I deactivated my Facebook account, I found myself happier. I don’t need a profile for people to interpret who I am or am not. (Also, I am not a billboard for corporations.)  They can come find me and talk to me and try to understand me. I told people off who labeled me unjustly, unfairly, by the same ways of the media, in words they may not understand–I feel, why have someone in my life that doesn’t offer me something positive? I feel like a Smith’s song.)

At times our passions do take over, this is obvious, we flawed people, all of us in particular! At times we take our sharp eyes off the grand prize, we digress for what we think is genuinely beneficial, which may be a well-placed mirage. I think of Faustian, the word: Sacrificing ones spiritual beliefs for knowledge, or the concept of “knowledge” (in my opinion). It is as though we must sacrifice our very deep political beliefs, or viewpoints, for our engaging social intercourses and interactions to even attempt to prosper.

Rightly so, if I say something on Twitter or in an article or in a blog post or within a poem, and that idea goes against what the progressive groups or mainstream idealists feel is “factual”, then I risk being labeled a bigot, a racist, a xenophobe, with ease, without a moment of hesitation. And this happens all the time, scroll a political Reddit post, find a Twitter feed of impassioned Democrats (or Republicans), check out the comment section at RT.  A bunch of know-it-alls, all while not listening to their peers.

For example, I study words, I have looked at words, I have a B.A. in English, an A.A. in Fine Arts, tho I am no expert, I don’t claim to be, I don’t “know” it all; still I feel these words people use have become as powerful as love and hate, as people would tell me as a child. They should be used sparingly, with exactness.

Yet still those implementing these words do not grasp their meaning. Probably I won’t try to throw out words I do not understand with such boldness as certain individuals do freely, constantly now, at others. All words are theories of their definitions. Try to figure that out. Labels are crutches for those afraid of the unknown, in attempt to define it as less, because it is neither.

These words carry meanings and histories that are demeaning when misused so openly, when put out for the entire internet to see, and they hurt people, and they put people down, and they spread more hate and confusion, ironically. Words like these can wreak serious havoc for someone trying to exist in modern society. Label someone something and then start tearing them apart, or down, because it’s easier when you “know” how they are by the labels you choose to place on them.

***

And now you are wondering how this piece ties into teamwork and labels and moments, all combined. Yes. Me too. Well, at any moment a person can be good, bad, or indifferent. Found in any of those states can be defined by that. So, when labeling a person, think of this: you are different each second that you exist; when you contradict yourself you are learning more about yourself, becoming a more enlightened individual. Changing your mind is not a bad thing, it means you are becoming smarter. (The mainstream media doesn’t agree: they call it flip-flopping.  Bad!)  Your brain is growing out of its shell. Next moment, you or I could be smarter–give us that chance!  Do it without calling foul!

In any situation, or moment, we try to define something, we try to make it our own by our words, we try to possess something in words and ideas. It’s call exonym: IMO: we define something from outside of something; within and without the frame, as a subject. Perhaps labeling people is a Western phenomena we have learned in way of possession. See if those who disagree with Western ideologies the most employee this Western labeling technique the least. See if those who detest and disparage something do that very something in their actions.  Hate because of hate; violence because of violence; the excuse: a means to an end, typical hypocritical.

Beyond that, labels are about as meaningful as the sound of a toilet flushing on a Tuesday at 11 AM as some clouds float over.  I could label my floor dirty in one moment, and five minutes later sweep, and then label the same floor as clean. Labels mean nothing, other than you can see something and presume a whole by a small part, and tell your assuming friends and presume more about that made up subject, and be right or wrong, whatever you call it. It’s easy. Even a cat can do this; take a plastic bag and shake it, see what the cat “knows” about getting fed in its actions.  The cat runs to you, even without you holding food.

***

And back to the subject of teamwork. I love teamwork when teamwork is working. Some of the worst moments in my past have been teamwork moments, but overcome; having to give a group presentation and no one showing up. Everyone has dealt with a similar instance, well most–and if you haven’t, it sucks giant dork.

This teamwork over the past month showed me that even different people from different backgrounds working together can build the Titanic, or take down a massive collection of periodicals, or find the same necessary conclusion from differing viewpoints. It showed me that we must talk before we assume things by labels, by political ideologies, and work together as a team.  Teamwork.

***

In conclusion, Teamwork is amazing, doing the impossible is amazing (stupid overused word). America needs to have more amazing teamwork, and do the impossible more often–that being talk about ideas openly without the pressures of judgement.  More positive interaction instead of none.

I will admit I am guilty of stopping conversation for negativity–do forgive.  Because in stopping conversation that was only stagnated by the popular/trendy words we choose to use–those words coming from the television, from the online news sites, from the group think rallies or movements or protests that do not welcome opposing ideas, even though to grow they must–we gain imperturbable equilibrium in their absence.

***

Lastly, most importantly, I implore, open a book and see how the characters within that book talk together.  See the dialogue.  How do they discuss things–feelings, ideas, opinions, respectfully or disrespectfully?  Think about which character you are, which vocabulary you wish to use to describe the things on your mind so accurately, your important opinion, like everyone else.

Have empathy and wisdom, show respect of differing viewpoints.  And ask yourself: what words do they use to converse, to make things happen, to move the plot, to show themselves as they are by words rather than labels. Because you won’t find any of those words in the daily news you read or see on tv.

Posted in Art, College, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, literature, Midwest, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Objective, Post-Modern, Post-Structuralism, Prose, Realism, Satire, thought, Uncategorized, USA, Wisdom, Words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Thankful

SONY DSCToday is Thanksgiving day.  This means that I am thankful for everything.  And I am incredibly thankful for that.  Also, mainly, I am especially thankful for my new family, and our baby son.  Tho… Yesterday, I wasn’t so thankful for leaving them for work.  But then I thought again, tomorrow would be Thanksgiving, I am thankful for everything.  What a wonderful time of year.  What a holiday, America.  I am nothing but thankful.  I got out the door.

Today, I will most likely eat way to0 much and try to say too little.  I am thankful for that.  This year we all can’t say much without saying too much about malarkey like politics, proper language, and particularly easy labels, which are everywhere–thrown around like baseballs (America), without offending everyone.  You got to watch that and make sure to not be too thankful for your freedom of speech, because, as I am told it only protects you from the government, not idiots, because of offensiveness.

Today is a day to reflect yesterday, America.  Yesterday, Target was a zoo, lines longer than the mind could handle.  Yesterday, Walmart was fucked for their photo developing station is a box on the ground which magically develops your film in about 2 weeks, left marginally open.  I’ll pass.  But all the staff was mostly friendly, smiling.  Everyone looked wide-eyed concerned about tomorrow, bittersweet happiness.  It wasn’t so bad.  I love the culture and people trying to do what they have to do.  Trying to be their best.  I was doing the same, thankfully.  I dropped my receipt and picked it up on the wet ground in dim light.

I am thankful for everyone on the train yesterday listening to music on speakers attached to their bodies or phones, not in earphones.  They provided the party.  I would provide my family with Broccoli.  It was almost like the Westside Story of Metro Transit.  I am thankful nothing happened.  The two most concerning DJs spoke about locations as their tunes drown out all communication those coordinates.  It was nice to get off the train at the next stop.  I am thankful for the cold walk in fresh snow, even with holes in my favorite shoes.

There is nothing better, or more American than Thanksgiving.  And you can probably bet that president-elect Donald Trump won’t change that, because of pilgrims.  He won’t change most of the world, anyway, but use your grand imaginations.  I know, life is boring for many.  That’s life again.  I am thankful for winning some and losing some and finding out from this election season that if you disagree with people then they will find you a “bad” person with labels, generously provided by the media, that their educations couldn’t handle.  (No thoughts.)  Because they don’t understand language or themselves, so they try to define others in such mainstream and cheap ways.  I thought I had artist friends; now I find my only artist friends in the mirror.

No big deal.  Still I am thankful.  I am thankful for cutting much of the negative out of my life.  And replacing it with positivity, honest critique, and smiles.  I am thankful for getting away from what has been coined “progressive privilege” by some guy in St Paul, because labels tell us nothing.  (But this made me think.)  I can agree with this theory, because others have agreed with the far less believable and told others to agree with them.  I told my wife yesterday that it was the best Letter to the Editor I have ever read, cut it out and posted it on the fridge.  I am thankful for that.  This was after a shot of Windsor, two Downtown Browns, and shoveling and salting the sidewalks like a good citizen.  Really, it was amazing.

Outside last night while making the neighborhood paths safe again, just before our big holiday, I watched silhouettes of thin naked trees scrape at purple evening overcast and thought of old friends, and my late father, of which I haven’t spoken to in some time.  I thought of how proud I am to have such diversity in my life.  Thought of what my dad would say–anything.  Thought of how we would shovel drives and walks in and around La Crosse, WI each year when I was a little boy.  (And now I have one.)  Because that was how he paid the bills and kept us warm.  I am thankful for that, and my family present that was over last weekend.  Because that is life, not what people tell you call it.  It is what you do  and what others don’t that make you more special, and better, because you are.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, there is nothing not to be thankful for.  To those prancing in safe bubbles and those stomping without restraint, I am thankful for you.  You act as props in the theatre around me, you define me as apathetic no more.  I am happy today for the conversations I am able to have and the ideas that I am still able to share without filter or judgement.  I am incredibly thankful, and you should be too!  You are alive!  And problems are pluses too because they offer you the chance to solve them.  Happy Thanksgiving!

***

(And remember: a donation (even $1) helps me to keep this website up and running with unique and unimpeded content.  Help make my art possible for the many without ideology constraints of paid advertisement.  Much love.  Hit the button on the side.  I am thankful for your consideration and gifts this holiday season, TS_.)

Posted in american dream, American Plight, Creative Non-Fiction, Facebook, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, literature, Minneapolis, Minnesota, post structuralism, Post-Modern, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

invest in a dictionary

SONY DSCi can’t help it when i have to say the things i have to say.  i tell the people i “know” what i think.  i am like a child just thinking and saying my thoughts, not some group think experiment.  what i “know”.  what i understand.  nothing.  i don’t see it set in stone, only behind my eyes.  i see it like that and have to say.  probably post-modernly… as in experience is god or vise versa.

now, if you like euphemisms you might not understand, might feel it harsh, might think it sharp, or argumentative.  like say the media.  might feel like those words might be interpreted as such!  i ask you to interpret them as what they are: naked with no history.  maybe we can’t do that tho; language and history, inseparable.  but then again, that might just be you, and you are great, until i say, or you think i say and you appreciate what i say, or not.

some time we should talk and i’ll tell you about it.  i will use words that don’t have history. or i will make them clean.  i will say privilege or pride or affirmative or et al., with no affiliation, and mean them as they are defined by Webster.  if you can imagine, not entirely loaded. sometimes i can’t help what i have to say.  i would cite freedom of speech, but that same concept died a long time ago, got killed by sentimentality.  that left with the toughest, hardest, most genuine americans, who used language, they died in history books with misinformed words by aloof authors and so on.

there is nothing better than stewing in what you should have said when you said it.  the momentous pause of  oh fuck.  telling someone that embarrassing story.  that anecdote will jeopardize more than a laugh.  what you thought of something from your objective subjective direct.  the interstitial between words.  the fear between moments.  will we speak again?  i don’t know, i hope.  truth is tough.  i am not sure, but i just spoke.  perhaps you think i am inadvertently being a dick.  perhaps get a dictionary.

Posted in literature, Minneapolis, Minnesota, post structuralism, Post-Modern, Post-Structuralism, Procrastination, Thinking, thought, Uncategorized, USA, Words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Limited Options: What We Learned From The First 2016 Presidential Debate

What we learned from the first 2016 presidential debate, a lot…  Trump is inconsistent, among other things, perhaps.  Hillary is a liar, among other things, perhaps.  I thought my parents were fighting in the living room last night, turns out it was just the first 2016 presidential debate.

What I have learned from the first 2016 presidential debate: these are the truly best representatives for the United States of America.  Fuck, today everyone else looks really great.  God bless America, and those not running for office.  Our nation has limited options.  To our melancholy, this election is not Netflix.

Posted in american dream, American Plight, comedy, Essay, Life, literature, Objective, Pastiche, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Which Door?

It’s not what you want to hear. It really isn’t. Groups are created of dissimilar individuals called same. And that what you hear all the time probably is just a guess.

Though, that guess is treated as fact, as religion.

Still we are all unique.

People move and march on belief and theologies, armies are conceived at the thought, even without video footage. A whole world is shaken in its wake.

And another door is opened as a door somewheres else is shut.

A man sees a door which is in the middle of a busy street. It’s ordinary, it’s plain, it’s uncannily placed.

He walks up to this door and enters.

Before he turns the knob he notes the traffic coming–completely normal, feels the breeze; the sun warms him at noon in front of strollers and dogs and pedestrians making way, and he knows.

He pulls the knob and steps through the threshold.

What we hear and what we see may not be as certain as the newspapers and broadcast headlines read, MPR News maybe switching articles for ads. It may be the focus that is askew; angled by who points the lens and who fills their pockets.

Sure, some things are apparent, yet other things are covered.

Humans commit violence towards humans; males commit violence towards males, females commit violence towards females; James “Jim” Harrison outlined this some years ago in “Wolf”, a semi-autobiographical novel of the author’s early life and chasing a glimpse of some wolf, yet we forget.

Hitchens wrote about how being “Politically Correct” kills the language, makes a euphemism out of real talk, in For The Sake Of Argument in 1991. No one cares.

Always we are soft, our flesh.

Gasps and screams, a man lie in the street. Motionless. He gestures before being struck by a car. Thrown in the air, twisted meat.

He is a new chalk outline about to happen, leaking. Indiscriminate however. People die. Unfortunate, save for we hope he wanted this, sort of, oddly. Couldn’t live the way it was.

Someone’s perspective changes. Self Spectacle. A man opening a door becoming the ground below, and then ash; theatre to others.

It’s not what you want to hear. Someone is no longer there. Someone is gone. Though does it matter what they were?

Maybe he was this and that; maybe he died of natural causes “in relation to [their/his] line of work” -Cormac McCarthy. “Everything happens for a reason.”-Mom. Certain things matter more than most. Other certain things don’t matter to the person in question, and what do you think? Don’t you see it differently too?

A man opens a door and moves on, goes somewheres else. And ambulance sirens blare. Women hold hands up to their faces. God. Onlookers reach into their pockets and grab their smartphones, dumbly.

The new Spectacle. How many pictures can you take; how long will it be to upload that video to YouTube? What kind of story will grace City Pages cover the next week? Goals, dreams?

He’s probably somewheres else, somewheres where it doesn’t matter.

He thought, which door?

Posted in american, american dream, Art, Artist, Creative Non-Fiction, literature, Midwest, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Objective, Poetry, post structuralism, Post-Modern, Post-Structuralism, Satire, Thoughts, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

some days

A foot-long Subway sandwich. Of the cold cut variety. Touching the fine buns in the shadow of some academic building in the heart of West Bank, Minneapolis. The Mississippi flushes by moving south. Garnishes had fallen on the ground before me. The broken concrete as a catcher’s mitt. I sat on a grey block people-watching, watching people, watching trees turn in wind semi-cool, watching the sun slip where it passes from point high to point gone. Each bite was something to take in, something like energy. And folly, I had forgotten my water on a hot day.

These trees though, they stood different, silently drinking deep with their roots. People walked scholarly ways between. Probably unnoticed. Probably apathy. An easy moment free. Verdant green leaves, cut-out cardboard scraps, twisted giving a dry paper sound rubbed out together in reciprocal fashion, disposable bag’s fleet—something Halloween, orange and happy in decorative ideal of waning fall. Here today mid-summer they stood again, taking the lost. My sandwich had unusually robust bread, the kind they show in commercials to dampen your mouth, the kind that makes me question its creation.

A few eyes caught me eating as well, with the day, the sun, the shade, next thing on the agenda. Others hidden behind frames did nothing to heed my pupil’s calling. Glass reflecting the ground. Reflecting motion. Pencil skirts and the walking dead. Each person to their time. A wave from across the mall, ah, a familiar face. The cement cooled my assed jeans. My eyes watched leaves cut the light from dim to bright to green to warm to the blue passing and sandstone tan bricks of a hall I had never entered.

The cold cut combo. Something of a sandwich. I think, or maybe it was the black forest ham. I am sure this would be German. I am sure. I am guessing it was not because of the variety of meat; some American sandwich in my hand as I read about Miyamoto on my phone and Nintendo stock and think about dirty hands just washed and how work just works. People go by working to, working on them. A crane lifts pallets with materials over sand and over a river. Washington bridge spans. Something about the city. Eating. Regimen of social and sustenance. Riots, violence, and sun.

***

I also found irony in that a musician friend of mine, and former professor, voted for Britain to stay in the EU from the United States.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Individual Accountability

Individual accountability.  Where we are judged by our own actions, not by the groups we associate from.  Not by our words.  Not by which is interpreted by others in other groups, but by what we mean when we are saying what we mean and in our actions.

Too often we are judged by a system, by a process, which is fast to don labels, one run by those at the charge in the media; coming up with new memes and talking points to prove their necessity, and to divide kindred hearts.

I imagine we live in a place by where we do something and at that moment we are known for doing that something, not by what we say we will do in the future or have done in the past.  I imagine we live in our America.  Thought of just for a second as that person who did.  And then in the next created a new.

Individual accountability.  Where we are called by what we do, not by what we wish to do.  Because we all have a million good ideas, and the road to hell is paved by good intentions.  And what you say just might be that: only what you say.  Same for what you think and your interpretation.

That is why you are individual.  That is why you are accountable.  That is why nothing else really matters aside from your actions and the positive efforts you put into seeing those actions into fruition.  Less talk about, go out and achieve.

Posted in american dream, comedy, history, Life, Motivation, Objective, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment