A Day In the Mind of Sean L Nelson
One should always trust one's first intuition. You see, I just made
oatmeal. I held the spoon somewhere near my mouth and sensed it was too
hot so I went to write this while it cooled. However, on second
thought, I just barely tasted it. It was indeed too hot and burnt the
tip of my tongue. This will no doubt have cosmic significance.
Today, I went to the Goodwill and bought myself a decent pair of jeans
for $5. On my way out, I saw a woman's wallet on the ground. It was
open so that I could see credit cards. I couldn't see if there was cash
in it. I took it to the clerk. Now, I was wearing a backward baseball
cap and my silver chain. Well, there was this old woman ahead of me in
line. When I returned the wallet, she made a big to do of it. She told
me what a good thing I've done. At one point she said, "You didn't...
you didn't..." It made me feel good that she thanked me. I'm actually a
rather scrupolous person, which is I'm still so bitter about what the
Justice Department did to me.
But the thing that really makes me happy today is that Kitty, my
lesbian friend, is pregnant. I've known for a few days but it's just
now sinking in. It gives me something to live for and a great amount of
hope. It's been a long winter but maybe spring is finally taking hold.
Kitty has a partner, a "butch," and they are really the sweetest
family. They each have a kid of their own and parenting is the center
of their lives. Laura is in college to be a nurse. They don't have much
money so she sometimes donates plasma to take the kids to the mall,
etc. I'm not contractually obligated to send child support but I pray
that I will be in a position to offer help.
after note: As I was walking to the library to write an essay on
Richard III, I saw an Asian man juggling five red balls. He would
juggle them tightly and then unbelievably high. You could tell that you
struggled somewhat but generally he seemed to be on top of the
situation. Finally, he spun around as the balls were in the air and
caught them all. I approached him and congratulated him on his
His accomplishment gives me a new faith in humanity and in myself. No
other animal is capable of that sort of discipline and precision. I am
a thinking man and, in some ways, we live in a dark age. It is my role
to so often play the cynic, to try to bring men back to earth. But I'll
take this juggler as a sign to move more in the direction of optimism,
to put more faith in the values and intelligence of my fellow humans.
Also, I will take risks to put my own dreams on the face of this earth.
And that does not always involve trusting one's first intuition.
after note: I've been working on that essay. We have to choose a single
solliquoy and write a rather precise essay on it. I've read all the
options and selected Richard's final solliquoy. I've also looked up the
three words I didn't entirely understand in the Oxford English
In the play, Richard has just had a nightmare in which the ghosts of
those he's had murdered have visited him. Waking up, he gives a speech
about fear, confidence and conscience. I took a few things from it. For
one, nothing is perfect. Though the speech is brilliant, the ending is
lackluster. There is always room for improvement.
But what really struck me is how Richard talks about how, if we cannot
love and believe in ourselves, how can we expect the world to love or
believe in us? So often, I let socially minded people talk me out of my
bloody ambitions. But I won't have it.
How did that juggler gain his achievement? Through discipline and
through following his heart? If he'd spent his days chasing girls or
assenting every time a friend asked him to the movies, could he juggle
five balls? If he listened to the discouraging cold or his rumbling
belly, could he juggle five balls like that?
I am just as ambitious as Richard and just as under siege. And my
conscience does not even weigh against by bloody ambitions. Why?
Because I have been greatly wronged and abused by many parties, many of
which are worshipped by mainstream society. I have a moral right to
suceed in my enterprises.
And how should I achieve such success? Well, in the back of the
library where I like to work, there is an art work on the wall: a lot
flat metal shapes against a blue wall, a sort of combination of the
modern style with that of the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Looking
at it, you see it in the context of the tables, chairs and mini-couches
under it. To its left is an unfinished section of wall, grey and
The point of my digression is this. We must launch our enterprises to
match their surroundings. I attempt success in a society that is
duplicitous, shallow and treacherous. In order to create my art-work, I
must be ruthless and cunning. Only then, may my goodness and wisdom be
a light to the world.
Ah, but I must not forget the good parts of our society and suit my
actions also to them. It is precision of choice that keeps five red
balls in the air... and how much depends on five red balls in the
after note: It is now 9:30 and I've spent the last 45 minutes or so
working on my Richard essay. I've gotten a respectable amount of work
done; more than half the essay. But it strikes me how much work life
is. It's such a struggle to knock one essay out and it's such a small
part of what I have to achieve this term. And then I'll get worse
grades than people who wouldn't survive a round with me in the
intellectual boxing ring.
But everything is just like this Richard III passage I'm writing
about: It's shallow and then tragic and then darkly hilarious. You see,
my Mom used to have this little statuette of a round-headed character
sitting down and looking glum and comic at the same time. The base has
a saying: "Ever have one of those lives where nothing goes right?" When
I was a kid, I saw this with a mixture of wonder and intellectual
contempt. It baffled me that my Mom could reflect on her whole life as
if she were separate from it. But as the years go by and I see more and
more of this world, I am no longer baffled by much of anything.
It's not that I now "understand" this life but just that I don't need
to understand and call into question what it even means to understand
something. The other night I gave a shivering bum one of my well-loved
fleeces; the part of me that did it hides well below my conscious self,
with whatever makes my heart beat or my mouth salivate. In the end,
everything turns into pleasure and pain, separated by The River of
Consciousness and it stands to intuition that river runs into God.