WordSmith66
49 Austin, United States
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WordSmith66
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My self-summary
“I want to know what you ache for...if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive...I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes."
~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Are you insatiably curious, infatuated with the wonder-full, beautiful, and heartbreaking roller coaster of experience? Do you long to live authentically and make a real difference?

I'm a curious blend of laid-back and intense. I believe in compassion, mindfulness, and integrity, in living well (or at least striving to do so). I don’t believe in boredom: the world is too full of fascination, the value of stillness and emptiness too often underestimated.

Often I feel like a niche person, as though the things I'm drawn to are mostly the sort only a minority of people find appealing -- my Zen practice, my passion for Sudbury schooling, and my taste in music, for instance; my fondness for words and wonder and searching for What's Most Important.

While I cherish solitude, I crave connection and a world-expanding partnership.

”Don't choose me because I am faithful,
Don't choose me because I am kind.
If your heart settles on me, I'm for the taking.
Take me for longing or leave me behind."
~ Alison Krauss
What I’m doing with my life
Professionally speaking, I've been involved with Sudbury schools for the past 19 years. I've staffed at a few schools, and I supplement my staffing with online promotion (e.g., blogging, tweeting) and consulting work. Occasionally I write/edit non-Sudbury stuff for money.

My self-care regimen consists of daily reading, journaling, and meditation, as well as near-daily exercise (typically, running up and down Shoal Creek). A kick-ass choir is also something I require in my life, as I've discovered over more than a decade with the Ars Nova Singers and the ensembles of Chorus Austin.

I used to play pub trivia, and once I very nearly published a couple of children’s books (stories and meta-story available upon request). I try to maintain and/or develop my fledgling Spanish, and I play my piano with varying frequency (though my trumpet hasn't seen the light of day in years).
I’m really good at
  • playing with words (e.g., writing/editing)
  • playing/connecting with kids of all ages
  • music
  • logic games/puzzles (minimally skilled at chess, enjoy Sudoku, Set, and games that challenge my nonverbal side...)
  • communicating (e.g., listening, public speaking)
The first things people usually notice about me
ACTUAL WORDS FROM ACTUAL FRIENDS!

  • "I see you as an attractive, fit, smart, introspective man, who will take risks but only after weighing the rewards against his values."
  • earnest, peaceful soul
  • open, sincere
  • good hugger
  • "You make people feel safe."
  • "You are a beautiful, intelligent, charming, humorous, solid man."
  • "You have this Stephen Colbert vibe."
  • "You know what I like about you? You aren't afraid to say important things. You aren't afraid to skip the smalltalk."
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
BOOKS
1. Anything by Wendell Berry or Haruki Murakami.
2. Favorite books include Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; An American Childhood; Walden; Letters to a Young Poet; Goedel, Escher, Bach; Gilead; Angle of Repose; Crossing to Safety; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; Foreskin's Lament; The Lover's Dictionary; The Road; The Tao of Pooh; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; A Prayer for Owen Meany; Dune; and Ender's Game.
3. Other favorite writers include Jeanette Winterson, Kurt Vonnegut, David Sedaris, Bill McKibben, Sherman Alexie, Roald Dahl, Etgar Keret, Milan Kundera, Richard Bach, Barbara Kingsolver, Italo Calvino, J.R.R. Tolkien, William Least Heat-Moon, Jane Kenyon, Linda Pastan, E.E. Cummings, and Mary Oliver.
4. I'm also into Buddhist and other mindfulness writings by people like Pema Chodron, Philip Kapleau, Steve Hagen, Byron Katie, Brené Brown, and Don Miguel Ruiz.

MOVIES/TV
Lord of the Rings, Chicago, Rivers and Tides, Buena Vista Social Club, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Lost in Translation, Memento, The Pirates of Penzance, Serenity, Groundhog Day, Stranger Than Fiction, movies featuring Christopher Guest (e.g., The Princess Bride, Spinal Tap, Best in Show), movies by Miyazaki and Tim Burton, and foreign films (e.g., The Motorcycle Diaries; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; City of God; The Triplets of Belleville), and various incarnations of Star Wars and Star Trek. As for TV, I don't really watch it; just select series on DVD/Netflix (e.g., Deadwood, Flight of the Conchords, Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire) or own (Monty Python's Flying Circus, Firefly).

MUSIC
Classical, vocal, piano, jazz, Celtic, bluegrass, Latin, and the otherwise eclectic and unclassifiable. The two best concerts I ever attended were The Tallis Scholars and Bobby McFerrin.
The six things I could never do without
  • capital-A Art in its many manifestations
  • spending time with children and creative, thoughtful, child-like people
  • the mindfulness of journaling and meditating
  • quality time outdoors, whether hiking, exercising, or simply sitting
  • quiet, empty stretches, whether alone or shared with a loved one
  • corrective lenses
  • a library card and access to a good collection (quality used bookstores, too)
  • Internet access (though periods of intentional doing-without are also indispensable)

  • …and breaking silly rules like limiting myself to only six things...
I spend a lot of time thinking about
What most preoccupies me these days is figuring out how to make a real difference in the world while also making enough money to support a modestly comfortable lifestyle.

Although I'm a pretty skeptical person (in the agnostic/atheist/humanist sense), I also practice Zen on a daily basis. I find that I'm more grounded and healthy, more present, when I meditate daily. So while I don't believe in the supernatural, I am deeply concerned with meaningfulness and ethics, and I appreciate that "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
On a typical Friday night I am
I think a better question might be what I do when I have a little time to myself. Reading, journaling, meditating, and running are my self-care core, but I also enjoy going for walks, watching good movies/shows, playing piano, and meeting up with friends.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I like to sniff books. Stick my nose in the spine and take a good whiff. Preferably when no one's watching. Especially new books, but really old books have their distinct bouquet. I swear, I can almost get drunk browsing in a used bookstore.

On a more serious note, I've been divorced for about a decade.
You should message me if
...you are creative, playful, and passionate, while also responsible and mature.

...you're ready for a close, genuine connection -- i.e., you're self-aware, know what you want, and have your stuff reasonably together.

...you'll inspire me to begin learning the guitar, improve my Spanish, and/or work on a new language.

...you enjoy games such as chess, Scrabble/WWF, and Set.

...you love reading aloud and being read to.

...you keep a journal.
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