Saturday, January 28, 2017

POST No. 1501


Happy 4714, Year of the Rooster. Today also marks The Practical Humanist's passing the 1500-post mark. Like Pepys Diary in its time, The Practical Humanist is an obscure record of one man's experience of his time. Millions of writers, painters and composers work on in solitude to express themselves without notice year in and year out. This is what I call 'personal process', or a way of living, rather than 'product', something that is completed and displayed for recognition and/or profit.

I have been publishing on line since 1998, when I first registered my former domain, paulcreeden(dot)com, which is now a domain name owned  and unused ("parked") by an optometrist in Iowa, I believe. What's in a name? My first on line site was a weekly digest of cartoons, poetry, short stories and five serialized novels. I published it for five years. Then I discovered one day that my domain host had allowed my domain to be hijacked for the advertising and sale of rather seedy hillbilly pornography. An early example of Dark Web abuse. I surrendered the domain name immediately. I wonder if my namesake has taken his site down for similar reasons.

Buddha's Pillow premiered in 2006. Its 567 posts led to The Practical Humanist in September of 2010, as I began to perceive myself as less sectarian (Buddhist) and more secular in my approach to life. My involvement with Greg Epstein and Rick Heller at The Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy, now The Harvard Humanist Hub, was extremely helpful to me in this self sorting and reshuffling. My involvement with a writers' group of HIV+ men and women at that time also inspired many of my posts. 

I could not tell you why I persist in speaking to the wind in this way. I wish I could say that I have some grandiose desire to help humanity, to spread peace and love, or to change the course of human history. I try to never lie, so I cannot claim any of that. I write my posts when a voice within tells me I should. The stimulus for that voice to speak is usually some inane radio piece I hear or some other medium I read/watch. I am that voice's ventriloquist dummy, transferring its dictation to the page with a good share of typos, since my typing is atrocious.

That voice is a rather cynical old thing. I was once told many years ago by a disembodied spirit through a human medium that mine is an Old Soul. My blushing appreciation of that appraisal faded quickly when the voice told me ... in front of a roomful of spectators ... that my Old Soul is in part a foul thing which once inhabited a mad high priest in ancient Egypt who committed genocide in the name of a minor deity. Bummer. So, when my internal disembodied voice dictates this blog, I am always a vigilant and skeptical transcriber. 

Surviving HIV for 33 years now and cancer for the last 14 of those years has informed the editing of my inner voice's dictation as well. Psychologists or psychiatrists might call this an "observing ego". Whatever it is, I do wish I could find more of it in other on line work. I have never been a fan of James Joyce's stream-of-consciousness style. Twitter and other forums abound with it. I aim for fewer, more crystallized ideas, precipitated by research, meditation and reflection.

I welcome comments on  my posts, but the general lack of them confirms my suspicion that most people arrive at them by making a typographical error in a search box. I don't pay much attention to statistics. In fact, I took my visitor counter off this blog because I never consulted it. This isn't about likes and numbers for me. If that were my passion, I'd dress up in a funny costume and go on Youtube, an idea which I consider from time to time. My drag name might be something like Sherriah Hagg or Wanda Rinck Handz. 



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