About a Human Career:
I’m a writer and psychotherapist striving to help independent-minded individuals to find a path and thrive in their chosen field(s). I do not focus on conventional success – there are books and blogs enough on that subject. My aim is modest – to help others gain money enough to preserve one’s dignity and work unhampered; enough to be generous, frank and independent.
I do not work with those who need immediate answers. Sometimes a single session, a few pointed questions can lead (unexpectedly) to a simple and elusively obvious answer. But if your difficulties are such that you are actively seeking out help, then the answer probably is not a simple one – not something a computer algorithm can spit out, or a short conversation resolve. This is a lifelong journey – the journey of discovering your strengths, of pinpointing the relationships and the people that bring out the best in you, of creating something beautiful out of what you have been given.
I am not a “helper” in the traditional mold. The focus is not on the “future”, but on the here and now. It is on what is going on in the room as we speak, it is on enjoying ourselves in the moment, not drifting off into dreams about the future which may or may not come to pass. Paradoxically, this focus on the present moment is what leads to growth, and the natural movement towards your desires. First comes pleasure, and out of that pleasure comes the internal resources needed to overcome the challenges of life. It is an outgrowth of the unique counseling relationship. As such, the mix of personalities between myself and client is important. So check me out every which way. Let’s talk and see where the road takes us.
I grew up wanting to be a writer but got discouraged when I struggled. I then drifted for years in jobs I disliked before finally deciding that I was going to figure this out – so I enrolled in a career counseling program. Of course I wanted to help others and have always been intrigued by psychotherapy, but if in the process I could help clarify my own direction all the better.
I graduated from that program last May. Through that experience I re-realized my writing ambitions and my indifference to conventional success – which was incredibly freeing. I hope that some of what I write and collect here will connect as much with others as that did with me.
I believe it’s the responsibility of writers not only to write but to share good writing, and so that occupies a prominent place here.
Genesis of the Project:
I started collecting quotes as a sophomore high school student during my ill-fated stint as a mall market researcher. By market researcher I mean I stood outside some shops with a clipboard and asked people to take surveys.
And lord almighty I disliked asking people to take surveys. Partly because of my disinclination to ask for help and partly because of the suffering I was inadvertently afflicting on those who agreed. Indeed most of the survey’s I conducted were the most inane collection of mindless, boring and repetitive questions imaginable. I was both grateful and pitying of those who agreed – and therefore felt like a bit of an ogre myself for asking them for it.
It’s funny that all these years later the two things come together – work I hate and quotes. I should have quit that job as soon as I realized how much I disliked it. But I was raised to know that work was not supposed to be fun – it was something you put up with so you could get on doing the things you really wanted to do.
One side effect of this however, was that I became an expert at avoiding my job. And by expert I mean I simply began spending most of my time at work wandering about the mall, and especially in the book and record stores. It was during these forays in the book store that I first came across a book of quotes, firmly planted in the discount section (I was quite thrifty in those days). I lost all sense of time when reading it, and would find a comfortable spot in one of the empty aisles towards the back of the store and read it.
I read every quote book they had in the store. I started noticing certain patterns in what I liked, certain authors, certain paradoxical turns of phrasing. Oscar Wilde, H.L. Mencken, G.B. Shaw, Ambrose Bierce, and Mark Twain quickly emerged as my favorites. And, surprisingly enough, this led to my first sustained contact with “serious literature” and serious thought.
Up until that time, my contact with books, while quite frequent, was mostly with Hardy Boy books, Science Fiction, and reader’s digest editions of the classics. Here I started reading some of Mark Twain’s nonfiction works, The Picture of Dorian Gray, H.L. Mencken’s collected writings, I remember reading Man and Superman by Shaw on the bus on the way to work. My parents bought a word processor and I started buying books and quotes and copying them onto a floppy disk.
Some months later, in the same Mall, I bought a Casio Cassiopeia palmtop computer at Radio Shack, the display model on sale 75% off. This was 1998, and it had a full keyboard and a touch screen. It also (barely) fit in my pocket, and I began taking it everywhere. I wrote unsent love letters to the girls I became infatuated with. I played solitaire. And I began collecting quotes.
And I loved collecting quotes. Almost as much as obsessing over girls I never had the courage to speak to. I read voraciously and copied down every passage I came across that made me laugh or think, and preferably both. I didn’t care how long it took to tap out, miniature key by miniature key. Retracing those perfect sentences was an education in itself. I loved looking at it afterwards, in its perfectly organized file, in its sub-folder and sub-sub folder and sub-sub-sub folder. You see, I would no longer simply throw a quote, regardless of its subject matter, into a single undifferentiated file. I had become organized. I remember not how I organized them, and bare traces of the specific content it contained, but the idea of that perfectly ordered collection of wisdom stays with me. Whatever I wanted to reference, I had some of the greatest mind’s thoughts on it in my pocket. That was an incredible feeling. A feeling of power, almost.
That feeling of power died a few years later when the memory was spontaneously wiped. I don’t remember the circumstances under which it happened – I’ve probably repressed the shit out of all of that.
I kept my sweet little Cassiopeia for many long years after that incident, hoping to one day hire someone to try to resurrect all those years of work. It sat forlorn in my parents basement as I stumbled my way through my early twenties, and stayed there as I went off to college at the late age of 26. Somewhere mid-way through college, during one of the breaks, I came home and began looking through my old shit. And, dear reader, I came across my Cassiopeia. She still worked, all these year later. But her heart and soul were missing.
And in my mind I was over her. I was off to better things. I was going to be a sociology professor, and this old old life was something I needed to leave behind. I must move forward. I was still poor, and couldn’t really think about it in a sustained enough fashion to do anything instrumental about getting it back. You see, my heart was still broken.
So I threw her out.
This is my first foray in collecting since then
Feel free to reach out should you have any comments or suggestions.
tberry.inbox [at] gmail.com