Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.



i hear the voice

i hear the voice
it’s yelling at me
i hear the voice
but i don’t agree
to argue is pointless
our words are in vain
i can’t understand
and you can’t explain
can we sit and be calm
and maybe break bread
i’ll listen again
perhaps i misread
and i hear the voice

i hear the voice
calling me to speak
i hear the voice
to say for the weak
is anger so righteous
that respect doesn’t matter
our cause is just
it’s yours we must shatter
walk with me now
let’s talk and be friends
to find the true answer
we must make amends
and i hear the voice

i hear the voice
telling me not to fear
i hear the voice
saying peace is still near
the strife of the world
is now and has been
and will be tomorrow
again and again
so let’s stand for the lost
and fight the good fight
but let’s do it together
for that is what’s right
and i hear the voice

i hear the voice
it’s soft like a dove
there’s no sound that i hear
does it come from above
i hear the voice
and you hear it too
let’s listen together
there is so much to do

copyright 2017, joseph e bird

We need to talk.

a glance of the eye, the innocent look
the curl of your lips, was all that it took

That’s the first two lines of a song I wrote a few weeks ago. The narrator is beguiled by a look, a smile. It’s a wonderful thing, even if upon reflection, it seems a little superficial. Though the moment may come and go, like so many moments in a lifetime, it might be the beginning of a relationship.

we talked without words, there was so much to say

In this case, it was just the beginning. They moved beyond the magical, natural physical attraction, and they talked. They had a real relationship. Because the conversation is the relationship.

In the case of the song, it was a romantic relationship. But the conversation is also the platonic relationship. The familial relationship. The business relationship. The political relationship. The faith-based relationship.

If you want a relationship, you need to have the conversation.

Years ago I had a friend with whom I had one thing in common: our faith. We had long conversations about the fundamentals and the subtleties of our faith. Because of that, we were friends. Our situations changed, however, and he moved away and we lost contact.

Twenty years later, the contact was restored. I quickly learned that we no longer had common ground regarding faith. But there were other things. He was (and still is) an excellent writer. So we had conversations about writing. The relationship was maintained. But over the past few years, we have come to realize that our viewpoints had diverged too far to maintain meaningful conversations about anything. Neither of us said it, we just quit talking. Which is ironic, because he was the one who first articulated that fundamental truth to me. The conversation is the relationship. I still consider him a friend, but we no longer have a relationship.

That kind of thing happens all the time. Maybe Chauncey Gardner was right. Maybe it’s seasonal. Spring, summer, fall, and finally winter, when things go dormant.

And then there are all of you out there in internet land, most of whom I will never meet. At various times, we have joined in conversation about many things: music, writing, faith. Any given exchange may be only one or two sentences, but over the course of weeks, months, and years, we get to know each other because we talk. Sure, it’s in bits and pieces, but we talk. And because of that, we have relationships.

Weird how you can have friends, yet never sit across the table from each other. Never see an expression of surprise or concern or contentment. Never know what their laugh sounds like. Never hear the sound of their voice, even while you’re having a conversation.

Maybe it’s not weird at all. It’s just good.

Here’s wishing for more of the same in the years to come.

Footnote: The author Susan Scott is credited with the concept of the conversation being the relationship. In her book Fierce Conversations, she discusses the importance of the conversation in all relationships.

Ten Rules to be More Interesting

Author’s Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are opinions and as with most opinions, they cannot be verified by any supporting factual evidence, which is especially true in this case, as the author has absolutely no experience in being interesting. In fact, if he wanted to be factual, he would change the name of the article to Ten Rules for Being Uninteresting, and just describe himself. Maybe he should take that approach and reverse engineer this whole interesting/uninteresting phenomenon.

Here we go.

Rule One: Don’t talk in terms of reverse engineering and don’t use the word phenomenon.

Rule Two: Be the kind of person other people like. There is no how-to for this rule. You either got it or you don’t. But we’re not talking about winning a popularity contest here, we’re talking about being interesting. Apples and oranges. Or at least clementines and tangerines.

Rule Three: Don’t read books by Ha Jin. Or if you do, don’t tell anybody. You’re better off if you know who Doosledorf is. Doogledrone. Dumbledore. I had to look it up. (Google Harry Potter.)

Rule Four: Learn to fish. Talk about small-mouth and walleye. This only works with certain people.

Rule Five: Travel extensively. Trips to Wallback and Big Ugly apparently don’t count.

Rule Six: Shop at Kroger, or whatever big, overcrowded supermarket is in your area. People love to talk about their horrific experiences while being forced to shop at stores with great selection and low prices. Relating your own experience will make you more, well, relatable.

Rule Seven: Shop at Walmart. See Rule Six. Same, but different.

Rule Eight: You know, maybe there’s just seven rules.

Rule Nine: Oh, I thought of another one. Ask people about their favorite restaurants. People love to talk about eating and they will appreciate your interest in their dining habits. Don’t tell them that you think Wendy’s makes great baked potatoes. It will destroy your restaurant street cred.

Rule Ten: When it doubt, play like Chauncey Gardner. “In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.” Ahhh. Very wise man. Except he really was just talking about gardening, because he was, after all, Chance, the gardener. Peter Sellers in Being There. Stick to Harry Potter.

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