//Privately Undecided
Edaville Railroad

Privately Undecided

Summer Update

This week is going to be full of excitement

(not as much fun as the Edaville Railroad though)

(and indecision)

  1. American Literature paper due Monday
  2. Mail paperwork to DTA to continue getting food stamps
  3. First computer assignment – Microsoft Word
  4. Softball practice Tuesday & Wednesday
  5. Softball game on Thursday
  6. Training for the 5k in August
  7. Temps are going to be in the 90’s
  8. the list goes on and on and on…


…I need to be mindful of everything that I take on because one misstep could be fatal, quite literally. Maybe I need to relax and binge watch some of the new season of Doctor Who (too bad I don’t smoke pot anymore).

“Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief
All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief”

I just finished my first paper for my American Literature class and I am very nervous about it. The assignment was simple; compare/contrast the authors treatment of war in “The War Prayer” by Mark Twain, “Editha” by William Dean Howells and “The Wound Dresser” by Walt Whitman. Without difficulty, and with very little preparation, I typed up two pages of what I think is decent analysis. I’m uncertain if I handled the citations correctly, but that should be a relatively minor issue. My chief concern is the content because I do not know this teacher or where her sympathies lie. With Kelly I knew how to write and what she expected but in this small class I am at a loss. Here’s my opening paragraph:


War is a theme that is often addressed in the literature of every era. The main reason is because war lends itself to provide a dramatic setting for emotional conflict and vivid imagery which is often in stark contrast to our ordinary lives. Besides being a major catalyst for political change war also produces an emotional and cultural shift in people. Tension is heightened and the senses exaggerated by the sights, sounds, feelings and thoughts surrounding war. The effects of war are rarely seen by its supporters and its causes never understood by those who fight it.


I always get concerned because my thoughts tend to drift off topic and my final version bears little resemblance to my first draft. In my blog writing I am far less anxious about staying on point and being grammatically flawless, in fact I use this space to experiment with novel uses for punctuation and unconventional forms.


Coming soon:

Mark Twain’s “Letters From The Earth”- then I can take a break at Rancho Relaxo. Ahhhhh!

Mark Twain


MLB All Star Break

I don’t know about the Red Sox this year. The team is doing well, staying close to the lead all season (and currently ahead of the Yankees by 3.5 games) but I don’t get the feeling that we’re going to win it all this year. My own thoughts on the matter don’t really account for much seeing as how my feelings have very little to do with how well the team performs.

Undecided champsMy fantasy baseball team is once again in last place by a healthy margin without much chance of improving. After being reduced to a minor league team after the draft the only way I could salvage anything was to go with an all rookie lineup and see if maybe something starts cooking. That was not to be the case; while some players have performed well, most of the expected “stars of tomorrow” are apparently waiting for tomorrow to shine.

Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, the mantra of “there’s always next year” is always ready on my lips. With that being said, I am going to ride this team through the playoffs and hope for a decent showing in the consolation bracket of the playoffs (which begin in three or weeks).

I have to apply the same resignation to the outcome of our first softball season. This was a learning year; how to manage a team, coach it and play. Next year we will have the valuable experience a full season to build upon. So, even if we don’t win any games and knocked out of the playoffs in the first round it will not have been in vain.

Zeitgeist update (why didn’t I think of this earlier!)

  • Law & OrLaw & Orderder marathons are a very good example of the “spirit of the times”. Law & Order first aired on September 13, 1990 (that was 27 years ago) and has become as iconic (well, not quite) as the city whose stories it features. I am not the only person guilty of indulging in this not-so-secret pleasure. There is a reason why one can always find back-to-back episodes of one of the several iterations of this definition of “crime drama”. Perhaps it is the realism (if that’s even true) or the exposure of the darkest side of human nature or the screenwriting or characters. The real appeal for me is the depiction of the American legal system from differing points of view; seen alternately as Justice, Revenge, Hubris, Villainy, Tyranny, Empathy and Sympathy. Whatever it is, I have been watching SVU for 20 years! And I still love get sucked into one of TNT’s marathons like an insect on flypaper.
  • This leads naturally to a discussion of “binge watching”, the practice of watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession. It was difficult to accomplish this before digital media. However, there were annual Twilight Zone and Three Stooges marathons. I can recall watching the entire box set of VHS tapes of Twin Peaks back in the nineties – that was a gluttonous good time! My most recent binge watching was the final season of The Walking Dead while I was in rehab, of course that was frequently interrupted by meetings, counselling and medication.


The Recover Project

I have been working on a manual this weekend for an acquaintance at the recovery center I volunteer for. This manual was part of a joint project between local, state and federal agencies to create a peer managed community center for recovering addicts, “Peer(s) in Mental Health, fellow Trauma Survivor, and/or Person who Experiences Extreme States of Consciousness”. While editing this manual (essentially, my task was to create a printable format from the web version) I was introduced to many of the concepts and hurdles associated with creating a unique environment to assist anyone in Recovery. Over the past two years my view of what constitutes Recovery has grown considerably. This does not simply mean a step along the way from treatment to eventual re-release into society but, a coordinated effort to bring about meaningful change in the lives of many who have been affected by a variety of mental, substance abuse and violence related traumas.

I hope that by participating in this process I can:

  1. Be a factor in my own recovery
  2. Use what I have learned here to bring this process to someone that needs it
  3. Add valuable experience to my career goals
  4. Help others learn the value of the Peer Participatory Process in Recovery as well as in Education and Business

“Privately divided by a world so undecided
And there’s nowhere to go”