rat year

And another book is complete.

Happy Chinese New Year! Welcome to the Year of the Rat!

I’ve written a book. Sort of.

I’ve written close to 400,000 words in 500 and 1,000 word blog-chunks in the past almost 8 years.

A typical novel is about 50-70,000 words … so actually … I’ve produced the equivalent of 6 or 7 books.

Today is blog post #400 that this Man On The Fringe has pecked out since June of 2012.

I bring this up because I’m a guy who notices numbers.

We all notice numbers in our lives…

… our age, our school grade level, the cost of our house and car, the number of kids or pets we have, our height, our weight, our credit card balance. Everything we care about seems to have a number equivalent. In Genesis, the bible says it all began with Three Dog Night singing, One Is The Loneliest Number (you can fact-check that on the Google).

So… 400 is just a number, right? Or is it?

400

400 is the:

  • number of seconds that it takes to properly hard-boil an egg
  • the number of metres around an Olympic track and field oval
  • the number of days in a Mayan year
  • magical temporary illusion in which the Sun and Moon in Earth’s sky appear as if of similar size … the Sun is approximately 400 times the size of the Moon but also is approximately 400 times further away,
  • sum of multiplying 20 x 20 in the year 2020  – if you consumed enough hallucinogen.

But 400 in China is probably a bad thing…. it contains the number 4, the unluckiest number of all.

Why is the number 4 bad luck in Chinese? Because it sounds like “Si”, death in Chinese.

But in my mind, any number, like a birthday count, maybe isn’t as important as what it signifies… some evidence, a message, a passage… a road-map of our days and lives.

And so 400 for me is more a marker of the days, months and years where I’ve transformed from a mid-50’s aged medical lab worker and barely empty-nester into an early-60’s “retiree” with more irons in the fire than perhaps at any time of my life.

I blog, I run and swim, I yoga and tutor, I write and sing songs, I chop vegetables and wash dishes, I cook and play guitar, I read and grow plants, I toddler wrangle, and the list goes on… I could count up the things that I do and give you a number… ah yes, back to a number…

Seven and a half years ago, this blog began as a regular Joe’s viewpoint into a vaguely unique world surrounded by intelligent women in almost all areas of my life, into a chaotic free-for-all look at anything and everything that catches my eye and ear and imagination. As it moves forward it also takes on shades of my own aging process… gulp!

aging

It’s a blog but it’s also a journal or diary, a chronicle and a confessional, a mess and a masterpiece, a diatribe and a rant, a story of a life in weekly fragments.

It’s an internal dive where I discover (or unearth) ideas and beliefs that may have never surfaced save for the notion of sitting for hours in front of a computer keyboard and producing something from a blank screen and a blank mindspace.

Writing, whether it’s in a blog post or lyrics for a song, is a probing flashlight where I find myself … my past, my present and my future.

OK… #400 – I’m leaving behind the Year of The Pig, and transitioning into this Year of the Rat (I was born in the Rooster Year).

The rat is clever and resourceful and takes advantage of opportunities others might not see. Rats are quick, alert, full of energy, and they adapt to changing environments and circumstances.

It will take some ratt’ish energy to get through my next blog and life “book”.

Thanks for reading and encouraging me along this meandering path and may your 2020 year contain no rat traps!

rats2