Issue # 14
June 23, 2000
This Is The Good Stuff
(Thanks for the title, Jimmy!)

By Rich Wilhelm

I have 38 minutes and 5 seconds, or the amount of time it takes to listen to Los Lobosí album, This Time, to write this column. I think itís time for a little evaluation.

I have now been writing Dichotomy columns for about as many weeks as I would have working on a semesterís worth of Temple News columns back in college. Writing for this website has been an eye-opening, creativity-awakening experience for me. It has allowed me to explore some new ideas and to put some old pieces of writing into a new context. More importantly, The Dichotomy of the Dog has opened (or maybe, re-opened) my mind and soul to just how important writing is to me. This is not something I merely want to do; this is something I need to do. My friend Eric very recently expressed quite well how I feel about writing when he said, "Self expression is something I believe allows people to get in touch with themselves, and our society suffers from people who cannot get in touch with their own feelings." By writing these pieces, I feel like Iíve plugged myself back into a very important part of my own soul. If itís pretentious to say that writing is a spiritual exercise for me, well, then color me pretentious.

Iím not exactly sure where Iím ultimately going with The Dichotomy of the Dog but something Jimmy occasionally says these days keeps entering my mind. Heíll be hanging out with us and playing and heíll stop to happily say, "This is the good stuff." The last time he said this was last week as he joyfully splashed in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Itís a beautifully simple way of saying, "Gee, life is cool right now." In addition to whatever else Dichotomy is about, I want it to be about the "good stuff." This is not to say Iíll always steer away from things that make me angry or sad. What I do want is to avoid the cynicism, the world-weariness, and the negativity that seems to run rampant in our society today, because, in spite of it all, Jimmy is rightóthere is a lot of "good stuff" in this world.

I still have plenty of ideas for Dichotomy. In fact, some of them might have to be developed over the course of a few installments, as some of the topics Iím thinking about might need more than a weekís attention. This means I may have to occasionally write shorter pieces (like this one) while working on the longer ones. I donít exactly have oodles of time to work on this, but I definitely think itís worth the time I can devote to it.

Anyway, Iíd like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this and any other Dichotomy columns youíve read. I truly appreciate your support. If you like what youíve read, tell your friends! Iíd also like to ask that, if youíve been reading for a while, drop me an email or sign the guestbook and let me know any comments you might have. Iím not necessarily looking for a pat on the back here, Iím just really curious to know what you think about The Dichotomy of the Dog so far.

Thanks again! Los Lobos is winding down, so now I must also! Check in next week and I will introduce to you to some of My Favorite Dads.

(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2000 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing,
please let me know so I can sue you or something.)