Not only have I written some books of various lengths (currently in editing phases. They’re getting there. You want to talk about a ton of work, commitment, patience and time… holy moly), I’ve also spent a number of years in research as well. Sometimes deep, down the rabbit hole research. Everyday I try to learn something new, or investigate a subject I didn’t know or understand; or something to which I was never exposed.
In my universe, research is essential. Research, to me, is just as important as breathing, eating and sleeping. I need it. It’s required to survive.
Not the research and learning that’s projected through the television. No. I don’t pay attention to any of that. Or reading the first major news article from a popular network that pops up on the social media feed, so I can say I’m informed. Thanks… but I’ll pass.
I’m back to reading books. Old books. Back to the library and the dark corners of the Web. Spending time away from mainstream media. Digging for the roots and the heart of the matter and not being satisfied with what’s shown on the surface. I enjoy origin stories, the mythical, following bread crumbs and delving deep into what most of the population would consider a colossal waste of time and absolutely absurd. I live in it. I thrive on the archaic, mysterious, controversial, conspiratorial, ancient, and the days of early recorded history.
Not an expert by any means. Not even close. Only engaged and interested. I will never profess to be an expert in ANYTHING.
Just the opposite. I feel thankful, blessed, lucky, and I eat humble pie three square meals a day. Research is a part of who I am and what I like.
It’s the ongoing journey which I need in life. I need to educate myself.
Without that time spent in self education, and investigating the topics I desire and feel I need to investigate, I’d go completely insane.
It didn’t happen all at once and over night. The urge to explore was progressive and slow at first. An idea would pop into my mind (from out of nowhere), and as a result, I’d spend days researching it to absolute death or until I had my fill and felt satisfied. Some researching adventures have led me places where I scratch my head. Why did I feel compelled to look into this? What was the catalyst? Why am I invested and interested in this material? Then, unable to answer my own question(s), I’d carry on as though it never happened and move onto the next. A consistent psychological conundrum.
The problem with research (my opinion only), is everyone has differing opinions or levels of expertise. What may sound plausible from one author, is contradicted by another. What might have made sense in one book, is seemingly nullified just as quickly in a different book.
“I’m right and they’re wrong.”
“No, I’m right, and you’re wrong.”
“No, both of you are wrong, I’m right. End of story.”
“None of you are right and everything is speculative and mostly guesswork.”
Some authors are on the same page. Many believe the same thing(s) while declaring themselves experts, which is nice. But because of all the confusion and varying ideas and nothing being absolute and concrete, despite some random scattered similarities, I decided instead to whittle my research down to only working with common denominators. I focused on grand unifiers exclusively and was then able to eliminate the congestion and confusion I was creating for myself.
My research topics are neither here nor there at the moment. I won’t spend any time in the here and now discussing what I’ve studied, or explored, or what truly interests me. I believe my musings today are centered around, fear. For myself, fear is, and was, the ultimate enemy.
Deep inside my brain, was a locked door. I’d peek through the keyhole from time to time, ponder opening the door… then back down, and retreat. I think I was scared of what I’d find.
We all experience that. Determined to look into something, move forward on instinct, question the what if scenario, then run away from it at full speed because we’re so content with our life and the way things are. “I don’t want anything to jeopardize my current thinking, or come across a wedge that becomes a hindrance to my way of life.”
I was scared to death to follow my subconscious urges because I knew it was about to take me to something. Although I didn’t know what that was. All I knew, is it was something. I was terrified to go beyond what’s perceived as normal and tear down a wall I constructed around my mind and heart. A tall, thick barrier mostly built from a need for immediate protection.
My gut would say, “You need to look into this, for some reason,” and my mind generated an argument instead.
Why? Why go there? What will you possibly gain from it? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Close up the laptop, crash in the bed, zone back out to the programming and re-read that sci-fi magazine you like so much. Tomorrow’s a brand new day. You’re thinking crazy thoughts, you fool.
I’d fight the urges and give in to the fear. I didn’t want to explore and waste my precious valuable time. I didn’t want to go beyond my current level of knowledge. I was so Hell bent on surviving life, I couldn’t consider anything else. I just needed to make it through the day and sleep the night as best I could, while battling away the nightmares and vivid dreams that didn’t make any sense.
Then start it all over again.
What possible good will come from breaking that routine? I have to work full time. Have to abide by the schedule. Have to maintain normalcy. Have to stay structured and robotic. Have to keep my dignity. Have to prove something.
Hold on… what do you have to prove? Think about it for a moment. What could possibly be holding you back from perusing something that interests you? What are you actually afraid of?
Your interests are moot right now. What you want is irrelevant. What you need is paramount. You need to be afraid of what you want and desire.
I believed at the time maintaining what I currently had took precedence over anything else. I was walking on eggshells, sprinkled across thin ice, surrounded by twitchy landmines, tip toeing through my fragile paradigm as though my life depended on it, and deviating from that in any way—could cause a schism and possibly destroy everything I’ve retained. Fear was in control.
I fought the fear left and right, tooth and nail. I came to conclusions which told me I needed to live life, as it was designed around me. Since everything happens for a reason, the transpiring events are what I needed to embrace and nothing else. This is how life is supposed to be, despite the conflicting thoughts on the matter.
Stay inside your box and stop thinking outside it. This is where you’re safe. Maintain the wall around you, and you can’t get hurt.
That lasted about a month. A month of internal dispute. Thirty days of second guessing and overwhelming confidence issues. A month of shutting down. A never ending avalanche of negative energy. I couldn’t figure out my feelings and my desperate need to go outside the box, so within it I remained. Better to be safe than sorry.
I had become adjusted to the battle, fighting not only external forces but forces deep inside, and the end result of all that warfare was the essence of “self” continuing to slip away.
I feared myself. I was scared to death.
Have you ever had a fear you felt couldn’t be conquered? It’s debilitating isn’t it? Mind numbing. Fear has the ability to shatter everything and morph the psyche into a vessel for madness, confusion and terror.
My terror was hashed out in the dream world. The waking world made no sense to me. My feelings, emotions and thoughts were in constant battle with my mind and spirit, and the only way I could process it all, was by experiencing the situations conjured up in the realm of dreams. My conscious mind was smothered. My subconscious took control when it was demanded. And for some strange reason, it all centered and originated from something that was trapped in the box beside me.
The dreams slowly opened the cryptic door I had kept sealed for so long. Although, before I allowed it to swing wide, at the time I was devoid of a key.
Joseph Everett was the keeper of that key, but I didn’t know it. He kept it hidden from me and the next time we met, boy oh boy was I pissed off. I could have ripped that cocky old man’s head clean from his shoulders.
The church-like building was surrounded by the thick woods of central Maine and could be found located far off the beaten path, away from all main roads, out in the middle of nowhere. I reentered Joe’s “refuge” and stormed into the wide open room as if I owned the place. I could smell the lobster right away as I shoved open the double doors, and a hint of cinnamon lingered in the background. The mean old woman baked another apple pie.
Keeping her back to me, Jessica entered the kitchen and dragged her wheeled cart along behind her. I’d only see her for that one brief moment. That was okay and more than acceptable as far as I was concerned.
Shelby walked beside me as I approached Joe’s table at the far end of the room. The broken glass had been replaced and new quotes were etched on each individual window in black lettering, but this time I couldn’t make them out. The words were fuzzy and seemed as if they were made of crackling black static.
Joe sat at the center of the table, wearing a red shirt emblazoned with the Star Trek insignia over his heart, and beside his mug of tea sat a plate full of lobster debris. A thin napkin dangled from his collar and the white material was stained with streaks of melted butter.
He placed the tip of a knife into the warm center of the freshly made dessert, and pulled the blade through the middle. His eyes opened wide as I grabbed the edge of the heavy table and grunting against it’s weight flipped it upside down with every bit of pent up rage I could muster.
With cat like reflexes, he snatched the pie from the surface, stood up as though his seat was on fire, and held it over his head as we both watched the table’s contents crash to the carpet. Shelby barked once, I stuffed both my hands in my pockets and all the old bastard could muster was, “Well. It’s good to see you too.”
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