Untethered Dog

An Online Journal

Ideas

Wisdom in Playing the Fool

“If you would improve, submit to be considered without sense and foolish with respect to externals. Wish to be considered to know nothing: and if you shall seem to some to be a person of importance, distrust yourself. For you should know that it is not easy both to keep your will in a condition […]

The Dance

You only need to counteract self-restriction twice: 1. In order to begin. 2. In order to continue. Once you begin to lift or write there is usually a moment some minutes in during which you consider stopping lifting or writing. If you let this inquisition go, if you do not indulge the idea that you […]

Having a Ball

“I know the difficulties of gulping this down right away. You keep thinking of practical problems. Everybody has to play the game of life. You can’t just walk around saying, ‘I don’t give a damn about health or wealth or whether I’m sent to prison or not.’ Epictetus took time to explain better what he […]

De-Fence! De-Fence!

“Don’t be afraid of verbal abuse or criticism. Only the morally weak feel compelled to defend or explain themselves to others. Let the quality of your deeds speak on your behalf. We can’t control the impressions others form about us, and the effort to do so only debases our character. So if anyone should tell […]

Clarity

So little of life comes at you in sensible bits. All these noises and waves and wind and words and shades of light come at you, flow through you, at rate faster than you can possibly comprehend — it’s all too much for the senses to do much with any of it. You can coral […]

Ze Plane, ze plane!

Love — not lament — that people view the world differently than you. The belief that others are wayward is what throws you off your course, not they theirs. You have your own work to do, your own steps to take, your own depth to plumb. Try not to convince others; where they are wrong […]

Character is Crucial

Character is not always easy. To be sure. But it is it’s own reward. The act is the prize.

This Is It

Every day is a microcosm of life. Every day, you could say, is a life. Your day is birthed from death. It is dark. You are cold. Confused. You cannot see clearly. After you get your wits about you, as much as you can, you realize you have near limitless choices before you. It is […]

Momentum

What you do right now informs and influences every moment that follows. To choose to read is to take a path to wisdom. To choose to write is to take a path to understanding. To choose to exercise is to take a path to health. To choose to meditate is to take a path to […]

Unsettled

You aren’t always going to get the sleep you want and you aren’t always going to feel the way you would like and the world events will not always proceed how you would have them and all of that is OK because you can win the day anyway. In baseball, they say the sign of […]

Purpose

Write not to express or produce or — egads — attract attention but rather because when you do you touch the source. When we do what we’re here to do the act pleases the part of us that is tied to all of us.

We’ll See

The moment your plans are interrupted, cancelled, or postponed remember this: it might be for the best. Maybe you would have gotten into an accident on the way. Possibly the problem that caused the disturbance will lead to broader answers, greater opportunities, or the chance for expansion. It is entirely possible the original plan would […]

Eye on the Target

Are you distracted in any way by what happens to you from outside? Then give yourself some free time to learn something new and worthwhile, and stop wandering about aimlessly. But after that, you must also guard against going astray in a second way; for equally foolish are those who have become weary of life […]

Lifebuoy

Recall when you were a boy at The Lake. At various points around the shore, including at the edge of your backyard, near the wooden bridge, stood the water wheelies. Writing is your version of those white donuts roped to the red sticks that stood always for anyone who may need to be saved. You […]

To Start Again

Remember how long you have been deferring these things, and how many times you have been granted further grace by the gods, and yet you have failed to make use of it. But it is now high time that you realized what kind of universe this is of which you form a part, and from […]

The Least Worst

From Merriam-Webster: of, relating to, or favoring blind submission to authority of, relating to, or favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite not constitutionally responsible to the people Democracy is work. It’s messy. It’s being OK with not getting all of what you want. To be a citizen in a democracy […]

(Not Exactly) The Only Thing We Have to Fear

It is one thing to learn that a cause or candidate or specific piece of legislation you believe in has not or will not advance. It is another thing altogether when the principles around which your country operates comes into doubt.

Of course, I am one person. I have modest means. I have minuscule power. What can I do?

The election is, of course, outside my control.
Shall I then throw up my hands and hope for the best?

As meager as my efforts may be in the grand scheme, it seems important to focus on what I can do.

Expand the Problem

I have been drawn of late to the remarks and writings of certain politically conservative intellectuals — contemporary critics guided by principles rather than power or policy agendas. People who do or did identify as Republicans all of their lives but who at this critical time are willing to speak truth even if it means […]

Preparation Not Procrastination

Looking for something to listen to as I dosed off — something that didn’t involve Trump news — I stumbled last night upon close to the opposite: “Roy’s Writing Tools,” a “podcast” version of the Poynter Institute’s Roy Peter Clark’s book, Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. Exactly eleven years ago today tool […]

Attention!

Mindfulness is all the rage right now. Maybe it’s the contrarian in me, but for some time I have noticed a mild but adverse reaction arise inside when I hear that word. This even though I know — even though I have seen in my own life — that locating oneself in the present brings […]