Discover more from An Ordinary Disaster
Highlights from two dozen Brothers and Teachers
Twenty-four good people on truth, creativity, identity, writing, performing, meditation, addiction, abstinence, transcendental moments, the infinite game, positive confrontation, and... patriarchy.
This is a recap of a series of interviews with various brothers and teachers, including many fellow writers, all of which are part of the body of work surrounding my book-length memoir An Ordinary Disaster.
What I’ve Learned
Here are some highlights from episodes 11–24.
TRUE, AND FUNNY TOO — E24 w/ Michael Mohr — I learned by way of our conversation thatis just as honest in direct conversation as he is as a writer—and even more fun to talk to. We go head-on with the so-called “patriarchy,” and more in this dynamic one-on-one.
THE CREATIVE ACT — E23 w/ Michael Lipson —taught me something about himself that I hadn’t known: that’s he’s a master interviewer! That’s what helped to pull such things from myself as how “the creative act is a form of dreaming.”
IDENTITY AND BELONGING — E22 w/ Andy Johns —taught me something about the dilemma in that “what most people do is they sacrifice their individual sense of self in order to be accepted” by their parents and by society. We have to learn to form our selves despite this urge to conform.
WRITING LIKE MUSIC — E21 w/ Lyle McKeany —taught me something about how writing can be like playing music, “trying different formats and playing around and seeing what might resonate with folks and just making it interesting and fun for myself.”
PERFORMING — E20 w/ Sean Vigue — Sean taught me something about the value of training to be a better performer, how that benefits him as a trainer and teacher, and how that plays into his own personality and presence as a man.
MEDITATION AS A SPORT — E19 w/ Scott Britton — Scott taught me something about approaching meditation as a “sport”— that is, something that you choose to do, for fun (and fitness), that you know you’re going to start out not that good at, and that you’ll enjoy getting better at over time.
DON’T “STOP” — E18 w/ Dr. Adi Jaffe — Adi taught me something about addiction and recovery that lines up well with my own experience, in that “It is actually wrong to try to stop yourself from doing anything. Stop trying to stop drinking—instead, start trying to fill up your life with other things that you love, that are meaningful to you...”
TRANSCENDENTAL MOMENTS — E17 w/ Charlie Engle — Charlie taught me something about why he does hard things on purpose: because “that ability to be in a moment where you're completely empty” is what allows him to “not panic when something's going wrong with my business or when things get hard in my marriage, or one of my kids is having problems.”
THE INFINITE GAME — E16 w/ Galen Kirkpatrick — A professional paraglider pilot, Galen taught me something about the sport of paragliding as an infinite game—that is, a game in which the goal isn’t to win, but to keep paying as long as possible.
POSITIVE CONFRONTATION — E15 with Ashanti Branch — Ashanti taught me something about the power—and the need for—positive confrontation, especially between men and boys.
FROM DOMINANCE TO RESISTANCE — E14 w/ Kim Stanley Robinson — Legendary sci-fi author KSR spoke about how even though a lot of what gets lumped in as “patriarchy” “happened by accident,” it sure seems like “we're cutting off our feet in order to make wings,” and how his relationship with the poet Gary Snyder taught his about the idea of resistance, and of moving the central paradigm of masculinity “from dominance to resistance.”
“STRAIGHT MEN ARE FRAGILE” — E13 w/ Chris Ryan —brought something valuable to the surface in sharing that “A lot of my closest male friends have been gay… Those relationships had an intensity and an openness that I rarely find with straight men”
“VIOLENT EXPRESSION” — E12 w/ Bill Maeda — Bill sure doesn’t seem like a violent guy, but he taught me something about the value of what he calls “violent expression” as part of physical fitness—and how the lack, or repression of this type of expression is problematic for all of us.
USING MARKETING FOR CHANGE — E11 w/ Fernando Desouches — Fernando is a great example man doing transformative work in a field that is often considered only as part of the problem: marketing and advertising. Our conversation addresses the fact that “the relationship between marketing and identity is complicated and fraught…marketing has often served to narrow our identity, and it's helped to create the man box,” and answers the questions of “what role does marketing and advertising have to play in society, and how can that role be more positive?”
…and here’s a prior recap of episodes 1–10.
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Questions for you
Who do you hold as an example of someone that embodies positive presence?
Is there anyone that you’d like to hear interviewed as part of this series?
Which of these episodes has been the most impactful to you so far?
What have you learned from some of the good men in your own life?
What does “patriarchy” mean to you, precisely?
Was this worth your time?
Use the heart ♡ below to let me know