Sunday, December 17, 2006


Love and Ambition

An old but unnamed friend gave the young and successful Giacomo Puccini some advice in a letter:

"After much sententious advice to work hard, not to rest on his laurels, and to avoid running into debt comes a more specific warning: Keep clear of women who, with rare exceptions, are the plague of society; treat them as playthings, to be thrown away into a corner once you have done with them: use them as a physical necessity, nothing more. As you know, I speak from experience. One last word of advice, take care not to fall in love if you can possibly avoid doing so, since that will lead you into the grave of matrimony, which ninety-nine times out of a hundred hampers, cuts short, and ruins a young man's career, especially one such as yours, who need absolute freedom and independence. But if by any chance you should fall into the net, for goodness sake, marry a woman whom you love, who is beautiful, simpatica, well-educated, and kind, because if you don't, heaven help you."

Sage advice to not only Puccini but for young and old too.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Empathy Amiss

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill?
He sounds to blue to fly.
The midnight train is whining low:
I'm so lonesome I could cry.

-Hank Williams

This "Hillbilly Shakespeare," reflected in his music how vulnerable and exposed we are. He was in the end alone and forsaken. Like many of us he was flawed. Yet, he was courageous-you felt the truth in his music.

I remember an experience with a former girlfriend. Roxanne and I arranged to meet. Unbeknownst to me, she brought her daughter. Through our nascent relationship, I voiced I didn’t want to develop a relationship with children. I felt the children suffered enough losses in their lives and they didn’t need to suffer a loss on my account in the event the relationship didn’t work out. Evidently she didn’t hear me and I couldn’t appropriately negotiate against her desire to have me connect with her daughter. When her daughter showed up I was angry instead of feeling sad that she would place her daughter in danger. At the time, I was flooded with emotion. I had no empathy for her motivation and reacted from a victim stance.

In my past blogs I have written about manipulation by women, giving a name to my grievance-misogyny and women’s objectification of men. What I haven’t voiced is walking in a woman’s shoes and what that must be like. This is the place where I lose clarity because I find it difficult to understand the feelings of women especially when I place myself in their circumstance. It’s confusing to me. Hearing a woman emote real time is powerful. It shuts me down. I completely miss the connection. It evokes my emotions and I'm lost because I am flooded with emotion. I revert to talking about others feelings hoping to get some relief. Sometimes I lash out or tune out. In the end I don't get heard and I am left alone with my fears; my anxiety. Hence neither of us gets heard and we are both left alone with our fears; our anxiety. It must be this feeling Hank Williams wrote and sang about.

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