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(Ex-Joy Project) The Mother of Reinvention

April 5, 2011

…And you the mother.

Your kind, insightful and encouraging words in response to last week’s post  (The Joy Project At A Year, Or: Don’t Know Much About Blisstory) are helping me rededicate myself to this blog as well as to transition to its next phase.

And here’s where I can frankly use your help once again. The Joy Project title clearly needs to be retired, and I need a new one to take its place.

Any suggestions?

Here are some of my own. Feel free to register any strong reactions one way or the other; I’m not wedded to any of them…

Getting Here

All of Me

Inside Out

Pulled Down Backwards

The Fertile Void 

Over Here

Just Me

From Here On Out


And then there are the others noted below.

If you haven’t seen some of the comments from last week, you ought to. One of the beauties of this project is the strength and depth of the responses it attracts.

Diana, a friend I haven’t met yet, writes, “Feel like you just arrived at the starting line and have discovered there’s no race there! Congratulations. Keep writing. You could get a bit more terse and call it the ‘Oy project.’ Step over the line. A whole new set of challenges, joys, sorrows, awaits in the next phase.”

Rob, a wise man disguised an a health care practitioner, points me to…

“…radical acceptance…”


“…the necessity to recommit again and again and again to what is truly authentic to you now…”

Dan, who’s a creative genius, says, “…to be honest I just love your voice”. Wow. (I responded to him, asking if this means I can sing on his next album, but he hasn’t replied.)

Dr. Laurie, an old friend and gifted writer herself, suggests I call it “The Honesty Blog.” (Hey, you think reaching for true joy all the time was hard…).

Ellen, a published writer many times over, suggests I stop pursuing joy and simply be the seeker she says I am. Hmm, I never really thought of myself that way, but I guess she’s right.

David, a poet and lifelong teacher of NYC youth, suggests that the worthy pursuit is not of joy but of truth. Many of you agree.

Ed, a man of letters and one who is apparently both perceptive and insightful, says, “You’re a terrific writer…”

Dan, (yes another Dan) who’s my nephew and is 21 going on — well, you tell me, writes,
“I would change the ladder graphic to another one, like a wheel. If growth is what you seek, the ladder is a stressful analogy. The ladder implies that the way to go is one direction. It is a moving away from earth, and the steps are set. And you can fall off.”  He’s right. The graphic represents the inate problem of Chapter One of this blog, and I’m now ready for Chapter Two.

And then there’s Eliezer, also a published writer, who I’ve known half my life and who loves poking and prodding me. He says, “…I told you when you started a year ago that the title was going to trap you. At the time I suggested you call it the What Is Project instead, which is similar to The Honesty Project someone suggested above. But the title doesn’t matter, it’s really the Charley Project…”

That’s it! That’s how I can drop my ego — I’ll call it the Charley Project!

And finally my friends Robin and Ian, two men who are truly dedicated to their own growth, wrote me such encouraging words as well.

So there you have it. Sometimes I really wish you could all meet each other. But I guess you all do…here.

Please help me reinvent this blog by letting me know what you think about any of the above title suggestions.

By the way, two days after I posted the piece, Shelley and  I went for Chinese food and we read all your responses over dinner. This was a post, remember, where I laid out my feelings about “…not being up to the task [of writing about joy or being joyful]…” After the meal, I got a fortune cookie. It read,

                        “Perceived failure is oftentimes success trying to be born in a bigger way.”

Imagine that.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2011 11:16 am

    Suggested new name: “Are we there yet?”

  2. Liz permalink
    April 5, 2011 11:58 am

    Good morning Charley,

    Always honest, always a delight, always my joy to read your blog….

    Here are some of my ideas.

    The dancing mind

    Thoughts and… other stumbles

    Life…and other stories

    Living in kindness

    with love,


  3. April 5, 2011 12:05 pm

    How about “Charley Unteathered” or “Charley Unleashed” or some variation on this theme? This way the title doesn’t bind you to anything other than what you are experiencing and wanting to write about.

  4. Laurie permalink
    April 5, 2011 12:49 pm

    I think any one person’s story, if authentic, has elements of everyone’s story; also, I think the blog has more potential for going viral if it’s not taggeed with a (relatively) unknown author/blogger’s name. I’m playing around with the words “Trying” and “True” – to integrate the themes of seeking and truth, and Charley’s love of double entendre. “Trying and True”? (Heaven knows Charley can be trying…)…”Truth to be Tried?” What about just “Truth to Tell?”
    Whatever you end up with Charley, I’m glad you’re soldiering on!

  5. Joe permalink
    April 5, 2011 12:49 pm

    The Authentic Life Project

  6. Diana Slattery permalink
    April 5, 2011 3:45 pm

    Of all listed so far, I like The Charley Project. Ironically, naming it after yourself, gives you a step back from the ego/persona, a step backwards from self.

  7. Rich permalink
    April 6, 2011 3:05 am

    I really like “The Fertile Void”, as I like paradox, especially existential paradox, and this captures that. It also makes me (as a reader) go “Hmm, what IS that?” It also seems to capture your style. Plus it has a bit of humor to it, and it makes me think the blog will as well.

    As a writer, I’d be reluctant to call a blog “The Charley Project” for three reasons: One, my name isn’t Charley. Two, blogs often have an air of narcissism, and I think such a title could be off-putting to folks who don’t know you. Three, I don’t read the blog because I want to know about Charley (although I do); I read the blog to see how Charley’s journey will resonate with mine.

    I actually like The Joy Project. Why else be a seeker? Why else struggle? Why else peel away layers to get to the truth? I’d like more joy in my life. I’d like to know I’m not alone in feeling it can be inaccessible at times. I’ve gained wisdom and skills over the years to increase joy, but I’d like more of both. You don’t need to be an expert on joy to call your blog The Joy Project; you just need to be on the path. You’re even allowed to fall off the path and realize you’re on the wrong one at times. Trust the inspiration which chose that title.

  8. April 11, 2011 1:57 am

    Of the titles you listed, I like “Inside Out”. Of the titles your readers suggested, I like “Charley Unleashed”. I suppose I see your project along the lines of Walt Whitman’s “expressive individualism”.

    By the way, I don’t think there has to be a conflict between truth and joy — in fact there’s a long tradition stretching from Plato to Nietzsche that identifies the two. For Plato, truth, goodness and beauty are one and attaining them brings happiness (as in a blissful, peaceful peak experience). For Nietzsche, the truth is that the world is a perpetual process of creation/destruction, so the truth is both joyful and painful (as in the birth process). But for both, truth and joy are interconnected. It’s only the modern scientific, positivist view of truth that separates it from the pursuit of joy.

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