Sunday, May 30, 2010

Seven Principles and Seven Desires

Weeks ago I vowed to write a personal declaration of principles. I started writing them today. See below. While writing my principles I stumbled upon a list of desires too. The two are separate, and I'll explain why in a minute.

Some of My Principles:
1. Faith.
2. A mission.
3. Hard work.
4. Persistence.
5. Breathing.
6. Giving.
7. Smiling.

Some of My Desires:
1. Embrace.
2. Money.
3. Food, clothing, shelter.
4. Happiness (not to be confused with smiling.)
5. World peace.
6. Self-improvement.
7. Release.

Principles are those things I have control over. Desires are those things I have no control over that my gods may bestow upon me if they feel like it.

You might wonder why "self-improvement" goes not in the Principles but in the Desires list. Isn't self-improvement a choice? No, it's not. Look around you. Do you see all the people talking about self-improvement? Do you see them getting any better? No. Self-improvement is a gift bestowed on you by your gods, if they feel like it, and if you pursue your principles.

This is a working document.

A mixed review of my tweets and radio show by one bold fan.

This is the most balanced unsolicited feedback from a stranger I have yet received for my writing and speaking.

The feedback which you are about to read came to me via DM (direct message) on Twitter - rapid-fire, unrelenting. It is in response to my pot-stirring, "fence-sitting" tweets of the day - as well as to my radio interview series "The Search for Meaning at the Brink of the Unknown", in which I interview one person per episode about whatever they are passionate about.

The DMs sent to me by this person add up to a full-on letter - so that is how I edited and am presenting them here: as a letter.

The letter is blunt, opinionated, critical - to me, amusing - yet balanced with the proper dose of ego-soothing sugar to help the medicine go down.

Well done, anonymous fan. And thank you. I am listening. Your message may even sink in some year. You know how learning and self-improvement can be. Slow.

Here is the letter:

I love the image of you sitting on the fence, not declaring whose side you are on! I'm glad you know about [inner] division. Just don't divide by 0. It's an absurdity.

In the background, I see a line of barbed wire fences on the horizon. In the foreground, I see an extension of a steel gate - like one guard guarding a driveway. If your contention is that you are not sitting on a barbed wire fence as opposed to a steel tubed fence, then it's just semantics that you jest with. Both cases still present a fence.

Enjoy your "pot stirring." It's a refreshing change to the banal tweets.
(At this point I thanked this person for the metaphorical feedback, assured him or her I would be deciphering it for days to come, and complimented him or her on his or her way of criticizing.)

I feel summarily dismissed. Thanks for the criticism/compliments of me, though I did not ask for it. I really enjoyed Ep 2. [of The Search for Meaning at the Brink of the Unknown]! Good sound quality! Your guest for Ep. 2 [Michael Hill, Twitter handle @michaelowenhill] is very articulate and interesting. Good choice on your behalf. I wish though that you had not interrupted him so much.

I find the majority of your tweets somewhat pretentious and purposefully inciting. I Imagine that is your intention, to be taken tongue-in-cheek.
("Good feedback. Thank you. Dismissed? Bullshit.")

Are you always so laconic? I felt dismissed because you did not address sitting on the fence. It sounded like, "You are a good girl, and now run off."
("Just listening.")

You are quick-witted as well! We all have our areas of conceit; your pride centers around viewing the world beneath your superiority. I don't really know you, and as you pointed out, as authors we have no powers over how others view our tweets. But on the whole, I respect you. I admire you for pointing out our foibles. There are so few willing to be open to ridicule or conjecture.

It is my hope that you will not take offense if I have a different viewpoint. I am a fan and will enjoy listening to more of your shows. I value you.

("Can I use your feedback as a testimonial?")

Please do use it - all.
And that was that.

Now how often does a company or a person(ality) present balanced testimonials to promote their product/show? Not often. That's how superior I am.

Now listen to my radio show. You can find it for free right on my Posterous blog, Look for posts titled or tagged The Search for Meaning at the Brink of the Unknown. Stream or download it freely. I ain't a-scared.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Now available for download: "The Search for Meaning at the Brink of the Unknown" Ep. 2 with @MichaelOwenHill

The next installment in my radio series that asks the question, "What the hell is going on?" With honored guest Michael Owen Hill of St. Paul, Minnesota. I enjoyed our freewheeling conversation.

The thing I like the most about doing this series is establishing multiple beginnings. As the subject matter tends to dart from topic to topic, the podcast is intended to give a glimpse, a menu, a selection of things about the guest.

We aim to expand our mind. Enjoy the podcast and share it freely. Subscribe to this blog to make sure you don't miss any episodes of The Search for Meaning at the Brink of the unknown.

Friday, May 21, 2010

WARNING: This song may be offensive to some viewers. Listeners, on the other hand, will be pants-pissingly delighted.

"Anyone who worships Bukowski needs to sober up. Nuff said." - @jepun

That is the tweet (and new follower) that prompted me to post my song "Judgment Gun," which includes this disdainful reference to Bukowsky:

You smoke to make your voice sound like gravel
So that one day everyone will finally take you seriously
And revere you as the next Charles Bukowsky
Only wiser
And therefore even more of a jackass

WARNING: This song may be offensive to some viewers. Listeners, on the other hand, will all be delighted to the point of pissing themselves.

Track Title: Judgment Gun

Lyrics written and vocals performed by: Will Conley a.k.a. Musclemouth

Original music composed and performed around the lyrics by: Nolan Voss (drums, bass, guitar - I think)

Recorded in Nolan Voss' bedroom studio in New Haven, Connecticut in 2006

Monday, May 17, 2010

Searching for Meaning at the Brink of the Unknown Ep. 2 with guest Emma Alvarez Gibson

Hi all.

I am releasing Episode 3 of "Searching for Meaning..." early because of the great timing. Writer, publisher and brand strategist Emma Alvarez Gibson (@ealvarezgibson on Twitter) discusses today's release of the new magazine Delish Mag (

As the host I also made sure we went off on many tangents and abrupt topic changes to see what we could learn about life itself.

Enjoy and spread this recording far and wide, if you are moved to do so.

- Will

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"The Search for Meaning at the Brink of the Unknown" Ep. 1 with honored guest Jason Thompson (@PotatoFilm)

Here via teleconference I interview movie critic, scriptwriter and author Jason Thompson of Los Angeles, California. I've known Jason as @PotatoFilm on Twitter for many months now. This interview was the first time we ever heard each other's voices.

Topics covered include day jobs, movies, music, John Williams, Jaws, Natural Born Killers, the elements of the perfect Hollywood movie that has not yet been made, the problem of clarity in multiplicitous environs, and much more.

My goal as an interviewer here was to delve into the mind and activities of Jason Thompson to see what we can discover about the larger world. To see the universe in the petals of a flower.

I hope you enjoy this natural, improvised conversation as it meanders its way around the central topic of movies - and quietly wades into deeper waters en route to clarity.

Posted via web from Will Conley's Random Things

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Jump" - A poetry and music soundscape by producer Justin Dullum and spoken word artist Will Conley

Jump by Dullum And Conley  
Download now or listen on posterous
Will Conley - Jump.mp3 (1624 KB)

The talented, innovative musician Justin Dullum and I recorded my poem "Jump" at his studio, D.O. Music, in 2002 - back when we both lived in Minneapolis. I gave Justin carte blanche to do anything he wanted to my poem. I threw him some suggestions - make it "echoey", use heavy bass hits, have lots of cut-and-paste of my voice - that sort of thing.

This was the result.

Listen to samples of Justin singing and playing guitar at

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Brief Review of "Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire" by Rafe Esquith

Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars This was instructional but mostly it was beautiful. I cried. This teacher will blow your mind over and over and over. Read it if you are a teacher, but also read "Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire" if you want to know how to live a better life. I learned - and re-learned - a few priceless lessons. View all my reviews >>

Posted via web from Will Conley's Random Things

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hobo to Will via pic-text moments ago: "Million-dollar view. Didn't cost a dime."

A hobo on social security from Connecticut named Eric passed through Azusa last week, befriended me, set out eastward via bus yesterday carrying only a backpack, a tent, and a duffel bag, made three hundred miles in a day, camped out under the stars who-knows-where, and pic-texted this image to me moments ago with the words, "Million-dollar view. Didn't cost a dime."

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things