May 23, 2021


Shem Creek 12/06/2017 Oil Paint Rendered — Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
It all starts with,
and revolves around,

We want this, 
we don't want that.

If we don't know what we want,
we know of a lot of things
we do not want.

Wanting runs our life.
And ruins our life.

With wanting at the center,
everything waits to serve
what we want,
and don't want,

When we override our wanting
based on what we want more,
wanting is still running the show.

What is a better guide
on our way through our life,
and why would we choose it
without wanting to?

How could we choose it
without wanting to?

Wanting is in charge of our life.
All of our choices 
are determined by
what we want/don't want.

How do we know what to want?
What does wanting know?
We can want what 
we have no business having.
What then?

We are at the mercy of wants
that are generated by what?
What grounds and directs our wants?
What would it be like
to have nothing left to want?
It would be like being dead.

The aesthetics who abstain from everything,
want to be free of wanting.
They want to not-want,
and are as bound to what they want
as anyone/everyone else. 

What is the primary want?
The base want?
The want around which everything else serves?
The God Want?
What is the God Want?
To be God?
Not even God is happy with being God!
Even God wants what God cannot have!
God wants complete and total obedience
from all of God's subjects,
or else.
"Else" being God sends them to hell.

To be God is to be as bound to, 
and constrained by, wanting
as much as anyone else.

So, what does wanting want?
What does wanting serve?
What is more important than 
having what we want,
if it is not having
something else we want?

What drives wanting?
When is wanting satisfied?
How do we determine what to want
and what to not want?
How do we know we are right about that?

What do you want that drives your life?
How do you know that it is worth wanting?
That it is worth having?

Since we can't help wanting,
can we help what we want?
And don't want?

Where do we fit into the wanting,
not wanting,
cycle of living and dying?



Brown on Black
My world is colored with sadness,
not that I cannot be joyful and glad,
but because the predominant theme of life
these days is sadness.

There is sadness everywhere.
We are creating reasons to be sad
with every rotation of the world.
We need a Wailing Wall on every corner.

How do we carry this sadness?
The weight of our sorrow
increases with time.
There is no relief for our remorse,
no end to our grief.

Justice should be a given.
We should never have reason to wonder
what has become of Justice,
or why Truth is belittled and ridiculed,
vilified and condemned.

Who are these people who denounce the Good
and honor Evil?
Who berate Kindness and revere Ruthlessness
and Greed?

Why the Rage and the Hatred?
What have the victims of Anger 
done to deserve their treatment?
They are innocent of any wrongdoing.
The wrong is being done
by those guilty of Crimes Against Humanity,
and there are none to bring charges
and then to trial.

We are left with the emptiness
of wrongs without redress,
and sadness without end.



Oak Leaf Hydrangea 05/23/2021 Oil Paint Rendered
We create our identity
by saying who we are
and doing what it required
to be who we are.

I'm a writer and a photographer
in the service of saying what's what,
of articulating/expressing/exhibiting
the truth that calls for

I take for myself as Muse,
Hermes, The Messenger of the Gods,
in his Greek form,
and Mercury, the slippery, elusive,
impossible to pin down,
or pen up,
or nail in place,
in his Roman guise.

That is the work of hermeneutics,
saying what cannot be said,
and yet, cries out to be said,
to a world dying to be told
what it cannot hear. 
Make sense of that if you can.
That's what I do everyday.

I started out writing and photoing
and stayed with it,
trusting myself to figure it out
over time.

I'm still figuring it out,
even though I'm running out of time.

The turning points were many,
each one a quitting place,
where I did not quit,
but pushed on, 
pushed through,
the fear
and the discouragement.

What the hell?
It's only fear and discouragement.
Am I a writer and a photographer, or not?

I kept at it.
Writing and photographing,
and saying, saying, saying
what needed to be said--
what I needed to hear/see/know/understand.

I became my own teacher
in search of other teachers,
being led along all the way,
still searching,
still following,
still saying what I need to hear.
Looking for what I need to see.

The program is a process of unfolding 
ourselves slowly over time.
Jung called it "individuation,"
the "circumambulation of the self,"
over the course of our life,
using the tools of our work,
in my case, 
a keyboard and a camera,
to discover who we are
by being who we are,
with the determination 
of those who will not quit
until it's done.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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