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Sunni's Salon, August 2005

Year after year, I find that my mind wanders its dusty halls of memory as certain anniversaries roll around. I think that, because happy occasions are often celebrated, their memories don't get resurrected with the same intensity. Despite three family birthdays falling in this month, including both of the snolfs', my mind has focused instead on the end of my romantic partnership with Don Lobo. A year ago what had formerly been the happiest month of the calendar for me sprouted sharp teeth and clamped down hard ... and, in large part because most of the other elements of our partnership were not dissolved last August also, it's been an extra-tough year of reflection.

Painful? Sure. It would be even more so if I didn't try to learn from the mistakes we both made that led to this outcome. I've learned a lot in the past year, and despite the fresh tears in old wounds, they're small ones, and have offered important insights that make the difficult process worthwhile. I'm definitely wiser ... not as sad as I was ... and I hope, a better lover for all the time invested in rethinking my mistakes.

Now, I'm not a sadist or a masochist, but I firmly believe that pain and fear are two of the most effective teachers humans can have. Both offer rich stopes for self-improvement mining ... but, because these emotions are often considered negative and/or unpleasant, they tend not to be deeply explored by many people. Yet, rethinking past actions and asking tough questions about one's choices and feelings -- and, most importantly, giving oneself honest answers to those questions -- is the best way to ensure growth, and the ability to avoid a repeat performance of some mistakes.

There's no going back -- no way to undo history -- the only possibilities are stopping, or moving forward. Stopping, whether permanent or not, doesn't seem an option for me; I love life too much not to try to make the most of it. At about the same time last year, I discovered that sometime prior, my freedom activism had also stagnated, with predictable results. So, moving forward there too, I find myself a year later looking back with sometimes tear-filled eyes, but in a much better place, both personally and professionally.

It's damned hard work, working through pain or fear to make oneself a better person, but for me so far, the rewards have always made the journey well worth it. And this August, even as I look back, I'm also celebrating the improvements I've created in my self and my life over the past year.

Celebration is also the focus of this month's interview. Ten years ago, my very dear friend Chris Sciabarra published two books that catapulted him into the sometimes-harsh spotlight of Rand scholarship. Our long, sometimes intimate conversation wanders through various elements of Objectivism/Randianism, music, and much more. T'was great fun to celebrate with him. My musical selections echo last year's pain, but include an upbeat alternative for when one's finished exploring the darker elements of the human condition. Despite turning inward, and traveling with the family, I've still managed to browse the web a fair bit and have some good pro-freedom recommendations in my webby wanderings. After last month's glut of book reviews, though, I've only one this month: I delved into The Traveler and share my impressions. The paucity of reviews might be short-lived, however, as I've decided to whore my mind to pro-freedom authors. Yes, payola has come to Sunni's Salon!

Tom and I are very pleased to welcome you back to Sunni's Salon, where the ambience is more convivial than my words above might show. Cantaloupe sorbet is available to help you beat the heat, and the grill's always fired up for tasty, easy dinners. Please, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy life for a bit with us. If you've a mind to, sharing your thoughts on what you explore here is welcome, too.

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