by Dave Markwell

I just finished reading Keith Richard’s autobiography, “Life”. I love reading these books. Sex, drugs and rock and roll are always interesting. While I always look forward to the graphic and detailed chronicles of grotesque sins being committed, I am usually struck by how philosophical and insightful the sinners are about not only their sins, but other things as well. An artist prolific enough to enjoy a best-selling biography has some interesting stuff to say.

A mass of contradictions lives within great artists. (and probably the rest of us as well.) It seems that for every subhuman violation a rock star degenerate commits, a contrary brilliant and kind act happens as well. The well of humanity is a deep one and perhaps even deeper and maybe muddier for some of us than others. This is not a bad thing for I believe that the capacity to feel strongly about something is the most vital of human characteristics. It brings our greatest joys, but can also blind us to our own stupidity, too. Nonetheless, I will take a passionate sinner over a boring saint any day of the week.

Here lies my attraction to sordid rock star tales: they illuminate the best things we have; a special awareness occurs in the rare and beautiful moments of focus that can only happen when we do something we love. This love is contagious and is why I enjoy reading about “great” people. They are passionate about something. The subject of their interest is almost incidental. If someone believes strongly about something it is nearly always interesting hearing about it.

I find this idea reassuring. It allows me to not feel too bad about not caring about the things I don’t care about. Passion is what sells. It cannot be faked or contrived. True conviction moves mountains and asses. We move when inspired by the little voice, heard by us alone, which wakes us up early to dance with our idea. This idea is the truth. In a world of much that is less than the truth, a simple truth is powerful.

While blowing the leaves from my driveway today, I explored my own truths. I blew leaves and enjoyed thoughts about my own life. The thoughts I think when I don’t have to think them are truths. I pondered big ideas about my future, my past, and my now. I played with my dreams and blew the soggy leaves with passion in my heart.

Following my brief little side-trip to fantasyland, I walked into my house to find my daughter crying, my son hiding and my dog stinking. It was a pretty typical afternoon. And I wasn’t too bothered by any of it. Such is the power of a dream. They change us. They light the sky and give us strength when we feel weak. They make all things possible.

Hope and possibility are the vehicles that take us to the special places. Places where even screaming kids and smelly dogs can’t shake our tree. Places that liberate us and make us smile. And freedom and smiling are two of the best things living on this planet and within us. For this reason, I will read books about passionate people, possibly (hopefully) containing a shameless tale of a well-choreographed orgy, and try to grab a stray moonbeam from the shining stars of our world. Passion is contagious and we can share it when we have it. This is perhaps the best gift we can give and during this season, a good gift is to give is nice to have in our back pocket…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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