July 4, 2023

Notes to My Younger Self

A project of a lifetime! NOTES TO MY YOUNGER SELF is a look back at how I wish I had looked forward in life. (Clicking the link will open a harmless little PDF in Google Drive. Open to the public. No admission fee.)

What's that? Oh, you want a sneak preview, do ya? Well, here's the first page and some other snippets.


In the beginning God created the Clark.

The Clark was formless and void,

and the Spirit of God was moving over the Clark.

Although not without matter and energy, I do look back upon my younger self and I can still feel that formless and void comprehension of life. This little screed is me pulling up a chair next to young Clark, sometime in my early 20s, and saying "Buddy, it's going to be alright, but you've got some work to do." I was intelligent, creative, gregarious, stubborn, and cynical. Those were the raw elements that God intended to develop into something useful for mankind and someone who had peace.

This is the most useful form of an autobiography (a cautionary tale, if you will) I can provide – an attempt to construct a better me. Some of my notes are strictly personal storytelling, but I lean toward sharing what may be helpful to other formless and void characters.

A great way to set up Notes is to take you onboard The African Queen – a thirty foot coal-fired steamboat hauling supplies up and down a branch of the Congo River. A grouchy alcoholic, Charlie Allnut, has just rescued a prim, proper, and pious missionary, Rose Sayer, whose mission field was slaughtered and torched by Nazis in the quest for world domination. Neither Rose nor Charlie are happy about the immediate situation, but, well, desperate times…

Rose is in no mood for Charlie's vulgarity, humbuggery, and unreconstructed behavior. Charlie is in no mood for Rose's mood. Charlie gets lickered up and Rose continues pecking at his comportment.

CHARLIE: Feller takes a drop too much once in a while. T's only yoomin nyture.

ROSE: Nature, Mr. Allnutt, is what we are put into this world to Rise Above.

That's it. That's the essence of life on earth. Do we live out our formless and void Nature, or do we Rise Above and live a life with purpose, meaning, and consequence?

Our Nature is composed of our raw elements and energies coming out of the womb – our personality, giftedness, natural ability, and inclinations. Once born, Nurture is the process of molding our Nature into what life will look like to ourselves and others. We can only make weak guesses about the Nurturing of Charlie and Rose through life, but in the movie moment, we can see that Charlie had a thin, flat, self-serving, and desperate existence. Rose was living in sacrificial service to others in hopes of Nurturing them to Rise Above.

You can see where this is going? Good for you. This will be fun.



Do Not Be Conformed
"Why does it even take up the ground?" Jesus
The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. Dennis Prager
Joy is the reward of time well spent.
People tend to be unattractive in their area of greatest need.
Utilize your margins of time. Ethyl Peasgood
Gaining wisdom is the greatest utilization of time. paraphrase of Solomon
A man is rich in proportion to how much he can let alone. Thoreau
Borrow peace from the future.
Don't hide behind your Nature
Avoid the Avoidable / Don't be annoying
Have a sense of the history of the world 
Know your number!

Enjoy all these quips and many more in this 50+ page screed of aphorisms, euphemisms, unauthorized photographs, and painful life revelations. From the  classroom to the boardroom, I take you behind the tall velvet curtain of my life and show you what did... and what didn't form my void. Spoiler alert: There are no actual boardroom scenes so I doubled up on the thrilling classroom action.

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