I realized late last night that what I've been saying here is not so different from what MAB says in many of his very instructive, informative threads and posts. Build relationships and make connections..he may have been talking more about how to become successful in Nashville, but his ideas apply anywhere and with everyone and in most situations in life. Plus, doing those things are their own reward. He wasn't saying "use people to build a network that will help you get ahead" --he was saying be a genuine person and get out there and if there's talent there, the ball is then rolling.." --more something like that.

MAB and I come from very different walks of life, but have both walked the walk, and come to arrive at some of the same conclusions about it..

I completely understand the concept that a "stranger" has no investment and his/her comments can potentially be more objective. But I think every one of us was taught early on to "not take candy from strangers." And so there is much resistance to the idea that perhaps, in some instances, taking that candy, whether sweet or harsh, might be an okay thing. I agree with Marty's comment "I look at the remark and decide if there is merit to it. If there is, I catalogue it." So perhaps a case-by-case basis is best and it is less good to abide by some generalized rule.

I completely understand that for some folks here, the perc of possible friendship with members is nice when it happens but no big deal. Still, I believe there is a path not unlike MAB's of building and showing character and being a vulnerable, real person, and open to growing relationships in life and on sites like this that are "life-in-miniature" that is healthy and can add much joy to the work. And "trust" and building relationships are a big part of the fun. Certainly if one has been here years and has remained a "stranger" to everyone, one would promote, basically, "taking candy from strangers."

The thing about confidence, to me, is...there's a lot of folks in this world not as blessed as to be able to use that confidence as a shield from the harshness of the real world. There are many, many, different kinds of people walking around, and everyone of us fits a slightly different profile. In the Darwinian scheme of things, many of these folks who should have made it--didn't..and precisely because the harsh world swallowed them up. I get it.

And I feel sorrow for those folks..cuz for many, many years I was one of them. Drinking until I blacked out most every night, throughout most of my twenties and thirties. I was an honor student who somehow ended up in Reno, Nevada, working as waiter at the age of 18, and then the next 25 years or so as an underpaid shift manager at various Tower Record stores around the country. I took enough time to study music and psychology but got no degree, and pretty much drifted through life for a long time. I am reminded of an Eric Bogosian skit where he plays an aging rock star who is supposed to be talking about how bad drugs are, and obviously still has mixed feelings about them..he says at one point, "I was having so much fun, I didn't realize how miserable I was" --until of course the day that inevitably comes where it stops being fun in any way, shape, or form. I am lucky to be alive, really. If not for the grace of God..

But looking back at that lifestyle..it is as if I was asleep for 30 years, then woke up after I started taking care of my mom who became bedridden..and emotionally it was too much for me..until I changed my lifestyle sometime around 2005-7 (been sober for over a decade now) and focused on doing good work, taking care of her. Now having and building character (and relationships) is important to me, and being someone real..is important..and being vulnerable is too..and probably because this is something I just can't escape being--I never had enough confidence for it to be a rock solid shield from the machinations of strangers with candy.

And so I arrive at a place not so different from Marc's. He says "relationship" --I say "friend" but what follows is pretty much the same. And this way feels right for me. I feel like a real human being now..took a long time to get here..

Non-sequitur...I miss Midnite Bob (Robert Gustafson)....you would read three posts by the guy, and you felt like you knew him. He was so damn personable..he was a really lovable cat whom I miss seeing here very much. This is how little I use Facebook..I should go say hi..

Lastly..back to "strangers with candy" LOL..They can certainly be objective, but there are layers of psychological barriers that prevent what they say to mean as much as that which comes from a friend. Yes, friends can opt for the safety of giving a pat on the back, when they could have added something negative to their positive, but that's on them, and I believe in the real world, it actually benefits friendship and makes the possibility of that friendship growing deeper and become stronger. I guess it's about deciding what you want from a place like this, and more generally from life--if you are okay with static friendships or want something more dynamic with the potential for growth.

I say beware of slogans and generalizing. Strangers and close friends? I would say most of the relationships here are at various points in between these two poles-- "strangers" on the left and "close friends" on the right-- It feels good, in most relationships, when we can feel them move right.. smile

I think making friends is a nice perc of being here and of being open and sharing. A certain amount of discomfort is inevitable, but I know for a fact none of us are here with the intention of making each other's live's miserable..


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 03/31/19 08:39 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)