Archive | December, 2013

How To Be More Resilient in 2014

31 Dec



“You need to be more resilient,” my girlfriend says to me, in bed.

“I think in my life I have been pretty Goddamn resilient,” I snarl.  And Goddamn resilient in this relationship too,” I add.

We argued before bed which is never a good thing.  She went to sleep on the futon then on the couch and I followed her out there.

“If I’m the one being punished, then I’ll stay on the couch,” I said.

“You always think you’re the victim,” she said.

We went to bed together. Not on the best of terms, but at least we listened to each other a little bit. Sort of.

Relationships are hard. And life is hard. And years are hard.

The Buddhists say “All Life Is Suffering.”  I have thought about this a lot.

They also say, “When you realize that you will never know, and accept it, that is enlightenment.”

I’m no expert on Buddhism or Eastern Philosophy.  But I do know that all life is suffering. I do know that I will never know everything (or debatably anything).

My problem is that I can’t accept that my life is full of suffering. I want jubilance and joy and adventure and peace and harmony and endless sexual favors.  But this isn’t really possible all of the time.  I have to be equally at peace when things are chaotic. Equally at peace when things are tranquil. Equally at peace when things are boring and lifeless.

And this is hard.

It’s hard to be me. And it’s hard to be you. And it’s hard to be that homeless guy sleeping on a cardboard box on the street.  We don’t give ourselves enough credit and we don’t give other people, let me use the word again – RESILIENT – people, folks much stronger than us, enough credit.

So 2013 has come and gone. Today is the last day of the year.

I did a lot of stuff this year and I wanted to brag to all of you, but something about bragging didn’t sit right with me.  If I am satisfied with who I am and what I have done then why do I need other people to pat me on the back?

I guess we all need encouragement. And life is hard.  A lot of people died this year. And a lot of people were born.

And we all died and were born then died again.  We’re like that snake eating its own tail. We’re always shedding our skin and growing new skin then shedding again.

All of the shedding and it’s a painful thing to do and it’s hard.

Film critic and human being Robert Ebert died this year, and his quote about happiness really resonated with me:

“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.” – Roger Ebert

Damn that’s beautiful.

Here’s another one I like. From D.H. Lawrence, from a few years back.

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”  – D.H. Lawrence

So take these two quotes in and breathe.


Because 2014 is coming in a few hours.

It’s not always going to be easy.

But we can do it.

– Justin Maurer, Los Angeles, Calif. 12/31/13



Jimmy Kimmel Live

12 Dec

Hello Friends,

I was honored to be a guest on Jimmy Kimmel live last night as a “sign language consultant” concerning the impostor sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Life throws some curve balls sometimes.

For the record, I am fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and grew up in an ASL household.  My mom and aunt are Deaf.  I worked full time for a few years as a freelance American Sign Language Interpreter in Southern California.  I’m not fluent in South African Sign Language (SASL), but it was proven by a number of sign language experts that the man interpreting at Nelson Mandela’s funeral wasn’t using SASL, Afrikaans, a tribal dialect, International Sign, or ASL.   So I’m interpreting as if the man was signing ASL which of course comes across as total gibberish.  There lies the comedy.  Jimmy Kimmel’s staff were aware of the ASL/SASL difference and wanted to be sensitive to the issues of the international Deaf community and interpreters as well.  That said, this is meant to be funny.  Enjoy.

Hugs everyone and happy holidays!



Thank You New York

5 Dec
The view from Brooklyn

The view from Brooklyn

It was great to read in NYC with 2 of my favorite writers and human beings Sean H. Doyle and Cassie J. Sneider

Love the town and love the people. Viva!

Writer Sean H. Doyle in his natural habitat of Brooklyn

Writer Sean H. Doyle in his natural habitat of Brooklyn

Read Sean H. Doyle’s writing Here (And in his excellent hard-hitting new chapbook “The Day Walt Disney Died”)

Cassie J. Sneider reading with me at Bluestockings Books in the Lower East Side

Cassie J. Sneider reading with me at Bluestockings Books in the Lower East Side

Read Cassie J. Sneider’s writing Here (Also in the new issue of Razorcake Magazine. See her new illustrated coloring book “There’s a weird dude in my bed.” Hilarious and well worth picking up)

3 writers who will kick you in the face with words

3 writers who will kick you in the face with words

Sean H. Doyle reading with me at Bluestockings Books

Sean H. Doyle reading with me at Bluestockings Books