Why Me? Why Write? Why Now? Why Not?

The Me is Doug Curran…Douglas M Curran…Douglas Metcalf Curran. Douglas is Celtic for “dweller by the dark stream”. Curran in Gaelic means “little spear”. And Metcalf? Scottish for “I met a calf”? Hey I don’t know! I don't have all the answers. I'm still trying to get the questions right. At least I seem to be a spear fisher by some dirty water. Or maybe I'm a Druid. And that Curran thing may not even be as Irish as my Irish American wife, Colleen Fitzsimmons, hoped it was when she married me. Ok, I might be a Viking. It's like this. I was reading this book, The Lion Of Ireland, see, and the author, Morgan Llewellyn, recounts a last battle between Brian Boru and the Viking invader king, to regain Irish dominance again throughout the island and kick the fureners out. The Viking king's name? Olaf Cuaran? Cuaran? Curran? I'm a Viking now, so I am? And a descendent of one of those marauding and murderous pillagers and plunderers? I've never pillaged a thing in my life...well, maybe a book or two from somebody. I'm really just a gentle giant who loves books and music. Ok, I bought a sword recently, but only as a wall decoration to enhance my Irish family history coat of arms! Honest! Viking, Schmiking, so rest my Irish soul! Or my wife will have my old bald Irish head!

September 22, 2010

Sunday Morning Epiphanies and "Inception"...

It was in that quick transition from dream state to waking up last Sunday morning, that I somehow felt a kind of realization and release. Release from guilt that I have from buying and enjoying so many books! It felt like a moment of vindication, perhaps elicited by some disdain I felt from my wife the other day, asking to see a little stack of books I had on the fold-out table beside the chair in the family room. When I showed them to her, she said nothing upon looking at their titles. Just stony, baffled silence.

But to me, they are what keeps my mind alive and active, giving me hope of discovering new ideas and insights. . I've often talked about having a life of the mind. I am constantly defining myself by my books and the important ideas their authors share. Since I never really had a successful career or job identity, and so much of what I did was an eclectic hodgepodge of this and that, it helps me to keep looking for a life identity perhaps, something I can hang my searchings on, my sometimes desperate desire to know who I am and still do something significant with my life with an ongoing project of fitting life puzzle pieces together.

Lately, I've been reading Lou Marinoff and his philosophical counseling movement expressed in books like "Plato Not Prozac" and "The Middle Way". Here's something I could get into and do if I could get certified. . I have a minor in philosophy. I love philosophical questions, though they don't always engender answers I can always agree with. I'm guess I'm just more of an LDS/Christian/Thinker I think, seeking ideas and connections with scripture, history and the present, with the good, the true and the beautiful...kind of like Mulder's "The truth is out there" but with no conspiratorial focus. I'm nowhere near the level of a Hugh Nibley or Truman Madsen, but they are some of my religious and philosophy heroes, as are some of the General Authorities of my church like Neal Maxwell, Jeff Holland, scholars, teachers and men of God..

I have also gotten some books by renowned scholar Joseph Campbell recently too, because he has explored cultural history through myth and the meanings of our collective unconscious and symbols. I like to read his writings without sacrificing scripture or anything which affirms the marvelous life and atonement of Christ the Savior. I'm just seeking meaning and purpose and fulfillment and self-actualization, that's all. And I'd like to make some money while I'm at it! It's been such a curse for me to have to make money at one thing, while always wishing I was doing something else. Now Colleen takes up that slack for as long as she can, an inspirational teacher to the disabled and mentally impaired at Riverton High School.

That "something else" I refer to for me though was probably teaching, while I had the chance at BYU-Hawaii...in English. But I was always so distractible, so interested in so many things, filled with creativity to try different things, filled with ideas to try out in different ways - just couldn't settle on teaching, especially when I got flattered out of the classroom by our VP who told me I was a great writer and could really make use of that as University Relations Director, working directly under the President. And the money was better too. But the job security wasn't. It was a hot seat and I didn't last that long, as some of my management and administrative flaws were exposed, though my creativity flourished for four years.

So I surround myself with good books, shelf friends with great ideas and conversations going on inside them, since they seem to be the only ones who want to engage me and me them in discussion and idea exchange that makes me want to keep living. No one else in my life is very interested in what I'm thinking or studying it seems. I can't live in the mundane very long. And I really do feel as one philosopher said, "The unexamined life is not worth living". So to keep living, I have to keep examining...and writing about things that don't mean much to anyone else, but which in some way help me sift and sort and try to make sense of my my world....does that make sense?

And oh yes, I saw the movie "Inception", previewed it the other night before taking Colleen. Don't know if she would like it though, as convoluted and confusing as it was. But it was, after all the hoopla and special effects, about the power of ideas and how to get a great or important idea into the mind of someone through getting into their dreams. And so I come back to dreams, as I said. I may have been at the end of a dream, when I woke up Sunday morning. But it felt empowering to feel that my love of good books, having them around to pick up and scan for an interesting idea, using them for resource and research, expanding my fields of knowledge while trying to make more connections and at the same time know who I am better... was somehow ok to me, as much as others don't understand it and may even think I'm crazy for it.