Carlen the Courageous

Dear blogging world,

I just published my first children’s book, Carlen the Courageous! It features illustrations from a very talented artist named Samantha Woo (you can check out her work here) and it’s a story about a bird learning to conquer his fears. (Contrary to popular opinion, it is not about obesity!)

I’ve been working on this baby for nearly a year and it feels wonderful to finally get it out there! I would love to share this part of me with you all.

shan-mart1

A happy reader =)

If you are interested in purchasing a copy for $15, please visit the site here (it’s kinda ghetto, but it’ll have to do for now). Parts of the proceeds will go towards rebuilding inner-city schools and communities. Thank you friends for inspiring my words!

-MY

Thanks Bruce

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently act frankly; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In other words, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. – Bruce Lee, Oct 20 1963

It is hard to swim upstream. It is hard not to feel like I have to keep up with the rest of what society is selling. It is hard to dig when you only have the energy to rake. It is hard to turn the other cheek, walk in their shoes, give without getting in return. It is hard to wake up each morning knowing it’ll be a fight.

But, this is where I might find the real essence of life.

no zipper

The winter can be frighteningly cold. After an unfortunate experience, I was inspired to write this haiku:

 
Sleep gives rest for body
Weak bladder wakes me from dream
No zipper, crotch cold.
 

I tried to capture the agony and tragedy of cold wind blowing into your lower body parts while making the trek to the restroom in the middle of the night. Can you feel it?

Stay warm, folks.

The Slow Blog

My sister found me the perfect site today. It’s called “The World Institute of Slowness” or simply the “Slow Blog.” She said she came across it and actually thought of me first. I don’t know if she’s implying that I’m dumb or that I take too much time when I move.

But after clicking the link and looking through some of the content, I realized it was indeed for me. It talked about life and the necessity to slow some things down in efforts to really get at the heart of life–the quiet pleasures, gradual beauty–that is so often missed amidst the noise and quickness of “life.”

I stumbled upon a quote from one of their earlier entries that really sums up its ideals (and, of course, my “slow” sentiments). It’s from the Dalai Lama:

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
the new neighbor.
We build more computers to hold more
information to produce more copies then ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
Tall men but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.

It’s a great site that’s worth checking out. That is, of course, only if your quick and ever-demanding schedule allows it.

Near His Heart

I am very honored to share with you readers a new blog that my head pastor Jon Hori just started a few months ago. Being the stealthy guy that he is, I wasn’t even aware he had a blog until he brought it up during our lunch meeting. I was not only impressed by his writing ability, but also encouraged by all the insights he had to share.

It is called “Near His Heart,” and it details the accounts of his everyday life as a husband, father, and spiritual shepherd. Please check it out here and leave him a comment or two!

Good Will Hunting

One of the best scenes from my favorite film. It is timeless and gets me every time. (Screenplay by Matt Damon & Ben Affleck)

*****

EXT. BOSTON COMMON – DAY

Sean and Will sit in the bleachers in the mostly empty park. They look out over a small pond, on which a group of schoolchildren on a field trip ride the famous swan boats.

WILL: So what’s this? A choice moment between guys? This is really nice. You have a thing for swans? Is this a fetish maybe we got to devote some time to?

SEAN: I was thinking about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. I stayed up half the night thinking about it, and then something occurred to me and I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep and haven’t thought about you since. You know what occurred to me?

WILL: No.

SEAN: You’re just a kid.

WILL: Why, thank you.

SEAN: You’ve never been out of Boston.

WILL: No.

SEAN: So If I asked you about art you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written…Michelangelo?

You know a lot about him I bet. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works right? But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. If I asked you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites. You’ve probably even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy.

You’re a tough kid. If I asked you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me. “Once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap and watch him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help. If I ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable, known someone that could level you with her eyes. Feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel. To have that love for her to be there forever. Through anything, through cancer. You wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand because the doctors could see in your eyes that the term visiting hours don’t apply to you.

You don’t know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you ever dared to love anything that much.

When I look at you, I don’t see an intelligent, confident man. I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius, Will, no one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you look at a painting of mine and rip my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right?

Will nods quietly.

Do you think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don’t give a shit about all that because you know what, I can’t learn anything about you I can’t read in some fucking book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are.

And I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that, do you, sport? You’re terrified of what you might say.

Your move, chief.

Touch From a Dream

She held a beauty that was unnecessary. That is to say, she had more than enough beauty to divide into twenty lifetimes. In her it was all bottled up.

Some claim injustice–for her fellow maidens to gaze upon her and be reminded of whom they are not, and for the myriads of men who carry an admiration only to be matched in their dreams.

But for the man who claims her heart, it is divine.

Is she real? Does she exist? I have not seen her or known her, not in my consciousness.

Yet I cannot wait for the time when we shall meet again.