Tom Kuegler (Tom Kuegler) Advises Us To Write Like We Are Writing Letters To Our Younger Self, But Here I Am Literally Writing A Letter To My Younger Self.

Dear Little Matthew,

You don’t know it yet, but you will write this letter in the middle of a pandemic in 2021, 31 years hence, after Donald Trump (you might not know who he is yet, since Home Alone 2 isn’t out yet) has come and gone as President of the United States. …

Bob Dylan brought back Walt Whitman’s famous words this year, in the form of a song he called “I Contain Multitudes”.

Here Dylan with his grizzled wit and 60 year old poetic persona recontextualizes Whitman’s famous words from his poem “Song of Myself”.

As Dylan would have it, in just one of the playful lines in his song:

I fuss with my hair, and I fight blood feuds
I contain multitudes.

Vanity and false pride coexisting together. Preening in a mirror, and then seeking to destroy enemies.

Whitman’s words resound and resonate through the ages since they are so relatable. Do I contradict myself? Always, or rather, often. Am I too proud…

The 70 year-old “I Didn’t Do It” Kid can teach our own kids how to take responsibility.

President Donald J. Trump has in some ways been a gift to parents worldwide. He has provided us with a daily and dramatic example of how to avoid responsibility for anything at all, to pin the blame on others, and to duck, dodge, and avoid any and all self-reflection and criticism. He is also often blamed for things he didn’t do, to the point where nobody is really sure what he has or has not done. …

This piece I wrote about depression gets highlighted every once in a while:

This was highlighted yesterday:

This hypothesis, along with regular pruning of memories as we grow older, does seem plausible still. Mental states are unknowable to others. Current mental states are knowable, as we are experiencing them, though we may lack the tools to analyze them. Past mental states are no longer accessible, except through memories. Is this some lost undiscovered country that can still be explored? I am not so sure.

I know roughly how I felt at my worst. I know I struggled not to burst…

A typical month.

We hear lots about “income streams” these days. It turns out, an income stream can be about the amount of “a cup of coffee” per month.

I have over 400 pieces on various topics on Medium. I have not made any particular attempt to monetize my writing. I also have not written for quite a long time. I just wrote things for members, and let them out into the wild. I have no particular large platform other than a mid-sized Twitter account that I stopped publishing Medium links on some time ago.

I get paid somewhere between $2 and $4…

Source: CC 3.0.

A Sense of Certainty

Many people claim to be holders of the “truth”. Many claim their words as “truth”, and they speak with certainty, as if there is no possibility whatsoever that their words are not true.

John K. Samson, of the Winnipeg band Weakerthans, sang of “a certain sense of certainty”, and it seems everyone has this certain sense these days.

These days, everyone has an opinion. These days, everyone has a strong opinion: about what is real, what is Fake News, what is the nature of truth itself. WB Yeats wrote a century ago “the centre can’t hold”. Indeed, it can’t. The…

I am 440 pieces in. I have put my thoughts and ideas on Medium 440 times, with no single piece making more than a few dollars. Actually, one month I earned $30. Most pieces earn a few pennies, or less, and that’s just fine. The point was never to make money, although it can be a good side benefit.

The point is to improve as a writer. The point is to put my thoughts out into the world, and see if they get amplified, or lead to more interesting thoughts. The point is to speak my mind. …

Canadians of a certain age might remember “Rock Em Sock Em Hockey”, a series of videotapes sold over the t.v. and chock full of bone-rattling hits, fights, and general mayhem. It was the 1980s, and if you went to a junior hockey team in any town, you were likely to see all-out brawls, with fans seemingly baying for blood. This was before concussion protocols. This was the heyday of the “enforcer”, or “goons”, big tough guys employed basically to take a few shifts, protect the team’s star, and occasionally, drop the gloves and fight.

We know better now. We know…

A while ago I got fascinated with the idea that a given configuration of a deck of cards may never have existed before on this planet. Indeed, 52! is an astonishing number. Francis Su nicely gets at this idea by asking this:

Which of these quantities is the largest?

A. The number of stars in the universe.

B. the number of seconds since the big bang- the beginning of time.

C. the number of possible configurations of a deck of cards.

Su makes a very interesting question out of this. It is an interesting idea to talk about. …

“Threatening strangers with violence in a public forum is never a good idea.”

These are words I considered writing in response to a comment I got on my story “Punches and Kicks Came Down Like Rain: Toxic Masculinity and Encounters With Violence.” This comment was, as you can probably guess, written from an anonymous account with a generic name. This account only had one other comment (an angry political comment).

Here is the comment I received on my article about my own encounters with male violence:

I have redacted the generic account name.

“I should drag you out of your…

Matthew Oldridge

Writing about creativity, books, productivity, education, particularly mathematics, music, and whatever else “catches my mind”. ~Thinking about things~

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