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We Are Not Machines


We’re Not Machines

Ten years ago I used to journal a lot. A therapist got me started with the practice as a way of putting my feelings on paper to make them permanent and me accountable to them.

But over the past decade I traded pen and paper for a keyboard and computer screen.

It’s not the same.

(I think it’s time to pick up the pen again)

I read this quote:

“The meaning of life is to live as if life were a work of art, you’re not a machine.’

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Last night Kathy and I went to the movie “The Fabelman’s”. (Highly recommend it) It’s a story loosely based on the life of filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

I’m at this place in my life where I can tell something is about to change. I’ve been doing this thing called life for 63 years so the first signs of change are more easily noticed to us old guys.

Yes, change still happens in the 60’s and I hope in the 70’s and 80’s as well.

In the film there’s a point where a character is talking about the pain of settling and not living our your life as an artist. People like to call art a hobby. So the character pinches the boys face really hard and says remember that pain when someone says that and go find your art and live it.

Recently we visited Southern California and ended up at a couple of renowned art museums. I’ve never been a “Museum Guy” but we were with our new in-laws so I went along with the plan.

What I discovered is my interest in modern art.

Doing something I really didn’t care about opened the door to something buried deep inside me.

We went to the Huntington Museum and gardens and even in the gardens I saw works of art.

Then last week I found a story of an artist, Richard Gorsuch, that I shared with my audience. Someone found his phone number, I called him, he and his wife are coming on the show Tuesday night.

20 years ago Richard told me to find the thing that makes me come alive and do it and here is is back in my life.

In the movie last night Spielberg meets director John Ford. Spielberg is 16 years old. Ford shows the boy some paintings and says “When the horizon is on the bottom it’s interesting. When the horizon is on the top it’s interesting. But when the horizon is in the middle it’s boring.”

How many of us spend too much time living with our horizon in a manageable place like the middle?

Maybe we’re too comfortable with the worlds mediocre view of life and need a more artistic approach to living.

Perhaps life is meant to be lived outside conventional borders, cultural walls or lines of control.


To cap off the evening Kathy and I visited a new speakeasy in Helena (new to us) called Speakeasy forty-one. We sat at the bar sipping a delicious beer, when the live musician (who was very good) starting singing our “moving to Montana theme song” “Starting Over” by Chris Stapleton.

This morning I picked up an old journal and reread my thoughts from ten years ago.

I picked up my pen and started writing my thoughts, ideas, hopes, questions and my dreams on a piece of paper.

Words are my art. Phrases and ideas are like mixing colors and paper my canvas. Perhaps it’s time to start writing that book, a book or do something literary to give some permanence to my ideas.

My interest in the internet is waining.

Oh, I like sharing with you guys but the toxicity mutes the colors.

The anger dulls my curiosity.

And like the character in the movie last night, pinching the cheek of the young artist, the pain is real, it’s non productive and it’s reminding me of the artist hidden inside.


As I sit here in the Montana sunshine, watching the purple glow just before the sun peaks over the “Big Belts” I’m reminded…”I’m not a machine, I’m a work of art.” Have a great Sunday.

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