All installments in reverse chronological order
A tale this tortured and tumultuous probably deserves a proper dismount - a contemplative final assessment of The Things I've Learned. However, this entire Slog fits that bill. Since launching it in 2008, not long after I left CNET, I've covered a wide range of topics - creativity, corporations, human behavior, marketing, fame, demoralization and resilience, and much more - which were slow-cooking as I gradually unpacked this disorienting experience. As bits of insight have congealed, I've shared them here. It's telling that almost nothing on this Slog could have been written by me prior to 1997. My 1996 self browses the more than 1400 postings and wonders, "Who is that guy?".
The telling of this origin story has, for seven years, weaved through my attempts to catalog the evolving psychic fruits of that very same story. This Slog is the result of having been made stronger by that which nearly killed me. The good, the bad, and the ugly are three avatars of the same teacher, and while some life lessons may flay you, the trick - always in this world - is to open oneself up, fully, come what may. To steer into skids. As I wrote in that last link,
If you can train yourself to respond to adversity and setback with an open, loose attitude, redirecting attention forward rather than obsessively locking attention on previous injury, life transforms miraculously. Just from that one tiny adjustment.I can't say my equanimity has been perfect. Perhaps that's why the resultant insight has been slow-cooked, rather than swiftly served. But this much is for sure: throughout events both harrowing and triumphant, as I've been places I'd have preferred not to visit and learned things I'd rather not have learned, and as my forbearance was rewarded with small hors d'oeuvres of wisdom, the entire experience leaving me a stranger to my former self, I have, paradoxically, felt like exactly the same guy through every moment of all this.
The same humming awareness has peered out from my eyes through it all - since earliest childhood, really - blithely unaffected. Everything that happens, it turns out, happens around you, not to you. If this seems an odd note to end on, I can assure you it's not. It is, after all, customary for grand sagas to conclude with a return home.
Read the next installment (Epilogue)