Updated: Jun. 23/03

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You don't have to be rich, or smart, or good-looking - It's already yours. Tap into it. More than a place, a person, an idea, Passion is a State of Mind.

"Miguel de Cervantes: ...When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Too much sanity may be madness! To surrender dreams---this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash! And maddest of all---to see life as it is and not as it should be!"

- Man of La Mancha (1972).
Image: Picasso's Don Quixote

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Live Without Dead Time - by Trace Ramsey
Activist Trace Ramsey's latest (last?) essay. He trades his pen for hoe and shovel and dirtier hands.

"Cutting the fat...
The following is a goodbye I sent to the readers of my weekly column."

Cutting the fat...

The following is a goodbye I sent to the readers of my weekly column.


Lately, in respect to relative time, I have wrestled with the specter of “responsibility” and its many implications. For example, what are my responsibilities to you, the reader of this back page? You, the barflies, the lunchtime flippers, the coffee shop patrons? You, the bankers, the bored, the competition?

While you sort out your feelings (there may only be love or hate) allow me to continue. We talk about throwing away the cautious notions of our reality, grabbing on to whatever fits inside a backpack, and walking away from the rusty trappings and chains of society for an undetermined and open-ended amount of time. But, as the weeks and months speed by, we seem to acquire more and more of this goo called responsibility; the sticky and mostly sickly sweet substance that we continually inherit, manufacture and pursue.

The prospects of a “Kerouacian” adventure slip further away as each birthday cake parades before us, especially as we create new birthdays for others. We may insert Easy Rider references and substitute metaphors all we want, but it comes down to our feeling burdened by our own creations and the want or need to kick and claw our way away from these same creations. There are meetings to attend, social interactions to pursue (where we must act lively and interested), people to speak with: everywhere people becoming increasingly dependent on the completely real concept of you or I simply *existing*.

We sometimes imagine a sort of all out war between the risk taking, anti-authoritarian forces of our right brains and the time managing, practical, and prude forces of our left brains, but we often defer out thoughts and actions to the results of smaller border skirmishes. We accept our nature as seekers of responsibility all while lusting of ways to shed what we gain, dreaming of getting away from “it”, just for a day or just for a few hours.

When we become trapped inside our own ambitions, constantly moving towards what we perceive as success, we create dead time – the time in the “now” of our lives, which does not contain “us”. We move through the dead time, always looking for the future goals, but almost never milking the moment around us. You know, that moment when the sun disappears behind a cloud, that look through the smoke at a bar, that penny on the sidewalk…

This is where we make our mistakes, or, more correctly, this is where our shadows make their mistakes. Divorce is a common breaking point; a time to realize that the moments are gone and far too much dead time has accumulated. The plans, the providing, the “always on” get-ahead switch…these all lead to a dissolving of that which we build. It leads to fights, to suicide, to drug abuse and alcoholism.

Right now, as you sit on your barstool, or behind you desk, dreaming of riches and the future, you look at what a 27 year old nobody writes, and you think of your own actuality. You have no desire to push that pencil anymore; you want the moment and all its flaws, its distended stomachs and bony fingers. You want to look out your window and laugh, say “Such are the pawns”, and beg for a chance to dot commitment’s new eyes.

I am there as well. Having written one hundred and five columns for The ********, I have concluded that the words come harder now (even though I have evolved from a complete hack to a semi-coherent hack), and it is time to step back. I need to spend more time with my other creations, so I am taking a sabbatical from these pages. I thank you all for reading, but now I must fade back into my anonymous existence.

~ Trace Ramsey ~

Copyright 2002

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