Maybe yesterday was Sunday. Maybe that was it. It’s been a long time since zero (count ’em!) people visited this blog. Maybe readers have come to enjoy my longer than average meanderings.
The purpose of these meanderings is really to warm me up – most of the time. After I get warmed up I write more on my private blog. So yesterday I wrote twice as much on the private blog as I did here.
If something publishable comes from this blog, that’s wonderful. However, it’s not the original intent of these scribblings.
Spellcheck didn’t like the last word of that sentence or, curiously, the first word of this one.
Tomorrow is May. Already!?
Have you been putting anything off? You have 8 more months until the end of 2012 to get those projects completed.
My wife and I got the exercise bike put together yesterday. You won’t believe this. I need to lose some weight before I can use it.
I guess I’ll go take a walk.
After last night I decided to take a peek back to see how many days in a row I have posted and found that I’ve reached 34 days in a row. By my rules I can now take a break and I find that I’m not in a breaking mood.
Sunday morning is a pretty good time to write for me. As long as I’m up early enough. I won’t have to get ready for church for at least another 45 minutes.
I haven’t written a lot about my “inner workings” here, but I’ve decided to take a chance.
I’m remembering some stuff.
When my family moved to Valley Center from Encinitas 36 years ago I was not happy with the decision. Even before we left. I remember not playing little league baseball that year and someone pointed out that the baseball year would end right before we left. I didn’t care. I just hoped no one would stop and think about my decision and point that out.
My dad (and mom?) had made the decision to move and we kids hadn’t even seen the house. In fact, my little sister and I were to go on vacation with my mom back to Illinois and when we came home we would arrive at the new house. Looking back I’m not sure how many families were making those kinds of decisions together as if they were the Brady Bunch. I honestly don’t know how many did that. But it strikes me even now as pretty unusual that we didn’t even get the see the house before we moved there. It’s not like it was across the country. It was about an hour away.
Back then that seemed like a long drive to a kid that age. I’m sure it was probably longer still for my little sister.
We were not consulted about our vote, though we made it clear that we didn’t want to move. At least I did. We were moving from a pretty cool place to out in the country. Not most kids idea of cool. We lived just a couple miles from the beach. I could ride my bike there if I wanted. My brother used to go surfing all the time. As I recall, he had surfing P.E. in high school.
Things didn’t get much better after we moved there. I didn’t like being so remote. I didn’t fully appreciate the land we had. I wouldn’t fully appreciate until after I had moved from there.
What I was thinking of that had me start writing this today was dealing with competition as I got into high school.
In 9th grade I was in journalism class and I enjoyed that for the most part. We went to a journalism convention in San Diego in the spring and that’s when Star wars was playing. Yes, the first one! It had been playing for a while and I finally got to see it and we all thought it was amazing. THAT was fun.
In 10th grade I was in what was called MGM block. I was finally in a class with all advanced students. I wouldn’t find out until later that my mom had fought to get me in there. I don’t remember now if I heard this from her years later or someone else. I kind of think it must have been her, but the years make it foggy.
I had excelled in elementary school and pretty much kept nearly straight A’s in 7th and 8th grade. I remember 8th grade graduation seemed so strange to me. I thought what’s the big deal? It’s 8th grade. In my mind you needed to graduate at least from high school to be accomplishing anything. Little did I know that four years later I would be taking a test to finish high school and my mom would be saddened that I wasn’t going through the ceremony with the rest of my class.
When I got to 10th grade I found that I was not the big fish anymore. I was in a class with some truly excellent students, many of them with parents who had college degrees. My dad had gone to some night school, but he had been an engineer with a high school diploma and now my parents had a flower shop in Valley Center. My wife informs me that I need to take a shower now because our son is going to church with us.
To be continued?
I heard on the radio today from Joel Osteen that one of the best ways to start your day is to notice something you can be grateful for. Then be grateful. Being grateful is a way to start your day in a positive way and it often leads to a better day. Something to consider and maybe not just consider. Be grateful now and tomorrow. Everyday.
Here I am two nights in a row getting started late with this exercise. I’m looking ahead to a few weeks from now when we’ll be on vacation and I’m wondering if I’m going to need to take a break during that time. I’m also wanting to continue doing this every day during this second 30 day period. I’m not sure exactly where I am, but I think this is 26 days in a row.
I’ve written more on my private blog than before and I can definitely see getting two books done this year. Also, if I accelerate the process (and I intend to) I could get done much faster. It feels good to have been writing at this level for so many days. I want to keep it going, especially the streak of days in a row.
I’ve got some insights into my two different alien stories and I’m wondering if my stories of redemption book should be more about me researching the stories as opposed to people submitting their own story. We’ll see.
Today my wife and I went and had lunch with an older friend and she’s got a staph infection and a yeast infection. Her doctor wants to cure the yeast infection first, but the staph infection is in her blood and it seems like the better idea to cure the staph infection first. Apparently you can usually die from a staph infection if it’s not treated. My wife says that happens 80% of the time when it’s untreated. I’m sometimes blown away by the approaches different doctors take. Until now she’s been a pretty health woman in her 80’s and I’m struck by how tenuous life can be at her age. She is quite tired right now and I hope she gets the right help. I’m not a doctor and I’m just trusting my wife’s research. Has anyone ever died of a yeast infection if their immune system wasn’t severely compromised?
Also, our medical system seems so behind the times in terms of record-keeping and transferring of information. I’m still amazed at how much paperwork there can be. Shouldn’t 95% of it be on computers now?
I’m at a loss for words right now. Here’s another reason to do the writing earlier in the day. I’m in the bedroom, but I can hear my wife and son being quite loud in the other room and I prefer it quiet when I’m writing. Exercise or otherwise.
I’ve noticed recently how much can go wrong with human beings physically. Arthritis is just one example. I don’t know how many people realize that if we put different stuff in our bodies we can usually create a better “atmosphere” that doesn’t lead to arthritis. I realize that that isn’t true for every single kind of arthritis, but people should know that they can do something about it – especially before it occurs. I remember my dad talking about arthritis running in the family and I assumed that I would get it. Gout, being a form of it, came into my life about two years ago. Had I known then what I know now I never would have gone on and off the Atkins diet so much. It helped create a more acidic environment in my body.
I’m experiencing something else at this late hour. My fingers aren’t hitting the right keys as often as I would like.
Tomorrow is Sunday and I hope I feel well. I expect to, but I was surprised last Sunday by a lot of pain and didn’t end up going.
Since we’ve moved to San Marcos we’re about 35 minutes from church and it seems that if we’re on the fence we don’t go as often. It does seem like a different world here. More remote. We were not as close as many of the members for years, but it was always about 20 minutes away if there was no traffic. What a difference 12-15 minutes makes.
I look forward to seeing my friend, Emmanuel ofosu Yeboah, tomorrow after the service. If you don’t know who he is you can Google him. You can also check out EmmanuelsGift.com. A couple years ago I got to know him and realized that I had seen him give a talk a couple years prior and somehow I didn’t realize that he attended our church when he was in the U.S. and not home in Ghana. Now he has legal residency so we’ll get to see him more often.
Emmanuel has been an inspiration to his country and to people around the world. He was born without a femur(?) in one leg and his father told his mother to leave him in the jungle. Apparently they do that typically over there. His mother refused and his father left them. He ended up going to school because his mother carried him and when he got too big for her to carry he hopped to school. He didn’t want to beg, so he shined shoes to make money and went on to do something that no one in his country thought a young man with only one good leg could do. Check out his story. That’s all I’ll say for now about Emmanuel, except that he has a strong faith.
I am not sure where to go on this page now. More noise from the other room. At least they’re having a good time. Now our son has come in our bedroom to tell me that he beat his mom in this card game called Rat-A-Tat Cat. Looks like she’s going to take a bath before bed which should give me time to finish as many words as I would like. Except now she’s recounting how he came from behind to win. Apparently she was ahead 5 games to 1 and he came back and won 6 games to 5. Both of them told me the story. No wonder it was noisy!
It is a fun game, but she wants me to play almost every day. I do most of the time, but to be honest, I’m getting a little tired of it. It’s fun for a time, but for me, not every day.
When we got home today I brought in some groceries and then went right back out to get some gas. She knew I had some stuff to do and we had spent hours with our friend Linda in San Diego. I don’t know if I am unusual in that I really entertain myself a lot.
Maybe I had to do that as a kid and got used to it. I don’t know. But I can entertain or occupy myself for days. I don’t see that as a problem, but I think she prefers if I entertain her. I’m just not sure that that is the way things are supposed to be, I guess.
To me, reading is a great way to occupy yourself and you might actually learn something depending on what you read. I have no problem reading while she reads and in fact, we used to do more of that as a family when our son was younger.
We used to regularly go to Barnes & Noble and sometimes the public library, and we would each read a book for an hour or two. Not so much anymore.
One challenge is that Barnes & Noble has gotten rid of the more comfy chairs. I don’t know how it has affected their sales. We used to have a membership card and now we are more likely to buy from Amazon. I would have bought more books from them if they simply kept the chairs they used to have. Now we’ve got a Kindle because it’s cheaper when you buy through Amazon for as many books as we buy in a year. So B&N has lost a lot of our business forever.
They missed out on something that a lot of businesses miss out on. Customers aren’t just looking for books. Don’t get me wrong. Some are. But most are actually looking for an experience. For us, part of that experience was going in to the store and finding those comfortable chairs usually available and sitting and reading and usually buying a book when we were done. To be sure I once read a book all the way through on four or five trips to Barnes & Noble. But that was the exception.
I was looking through our bookshelves today before we went to San Diego for books to read while my wife played cards with our friend. I am sure that I have more than a dozen books that I have bought over the last several years from B&N and I haven’t finished them. Days like today are often the perfect chance to catch up on some of that reading.
But now they do things differently there. The chairs aren’t as comfortable and there aren’t as many. As I said I don’t know how their business is doing these days.
Recently she and I went to a burger place that I think is doing it right. The customer experience thing. And I know it’s not for everybody because some people would find it a little too pricey. But if you’re interested in healthier eating, Elevation Burger is serving up organic beef. And it is good. Very good.
You get two patties on their standard burger. If you’re like me you get concerned when you find out that more cases of mad cow disease have been discovered. I just read this week that they found mad cow in California.
For me it’s a matter of risk vs. reward. The thing about risk in this situation is that even though the risk is small, it is incredibly painful when it happens and there is no cure. My niece did research a few years ago about mad cow disease and what she found is that if you had mad cow you would gladly change places with a cancer patient in a heartbeat. Again, you can Google this stuff. Mad cow disease is from something called a prion. Prions are not living things. There is no way to get a prion out of your body.
Mad cow disease is excruciating and ends in death. I think you can be driven insane before death occurs, but don’t quote me on that.
So even though the risk is small, the terminal nature of the outcome is a big concern. And the pain. I’ve often said that it’s not death that bothers me. It’s the dying. The getting there. Fall out of an airplane and you might have severe panic for a few minutes and if you don’t have a parachute you might actually pass out before you hit and are, essentially, obliterated. So there are worse ways to go and mad cow disease (not the scientific name) is one of the worst. Maybe top five or better.
So if I can drastically reduce my odds of exposure to mad cow by eating organic beef, I will.
Trader Joe’s had good organic beef and so does Costco.
Since I’m not actually selling you any products right now maybe you’ll be more receptive to this next sentence or two.
What’s your health worth?
What’s your life worth?
Eat organic beef only and if you can get it, New Zealand beef.
OK. Now I’m getting really beddy-bye tired.
I don’t think I’ll have a problem sleeping tonight.
Oh. Here’s another suggestion. Eat less beef. I’ve actually started going without meat probably 8-10 days a month. I highly recommend it.
What to eat? You can make yourself a nice greek salad with Feta Cheese. Or if you really aren’t into that you could put some shredded cheddar on it.
What else? Simple banana pancakes. Put one banana and three eggs in the blender and pour it onto the griddle one at a time. Good stuff.
This idea will probably save you money overall, too.
Eat well. Live longer.
It’s Friday night and my wife is out with friends from work (I’ll get back to that later) and I’m not sure where our big fat cat Ed is. I let the cats in for a while to have free roam of most of the house and I made the mistake of leaving our bedroom door open along with the door to the adjoining bathroom.
I’m sure I didn’t let him outside. Right? What I really do not want is for my wife to come home and after we go to bed and finally fall asleep we hear a noise. Once a long time ago we found the cat in the closet or something when he started meowing after midnight. I really don’t want to discover him at 3 am. I’m sure I didn’t let him outside. Did I?
He’s really gotten big. We have cat food that is supposed to help cats lose weight, but I don’t know if it’s working. He’s so fat that if you look at him from behind he seems incredibly well-endowed. I think he might be losing hair on the inside of his back legs because they rub against the fat. Ed’s gotten much better behaved in recent years and he and I are more affectionate than we used to be. A few years ago he would either ignore me or hiss at me mostly. I think he finally figured out that I’m not the same as the dog.
We inherited cats from my late mother-in-law and I have never been completely comfortable with that. Her cats were mentally ill as far as I was concerned. I did see something on PBS one time about how living with cats indoors will usually make them mentally ill. They just don’t have enough room to live a healthy cat life in most people’s houses. Probably you need something like 4000 square feet per cat. Most people expect cats to simply adjust to our lifestyle.
In my family we had cats that lived both indoors and out. (There goes the cursor jumping around again. This time I really don’t think that I accidentally hit the wrong key. Anybody know what that is yet?) When we lived in Valley Center we had three cats. We had the mother, Christina, and her sons, Ferd and Tiger.
I think my oldest brother named them. He really liked the name Christina and later he named my first niece that. Ih don’t remember where the name Ferd came from, but I’m pretty sure he was adamant that it wasn’t short for anything like Ferdinand. Just plain Ferd. I’ve felt for a long time that we were spoiled by those cats. They were not mentally ill. They might not have lived as long as some, but they did last several years. Eventually they got into a losing battle with either a car or a coyote. Spending my teenage years in the country I just saw that as the natural order of things.
My wife’s family, who lived in the city of San Diego, definitely wouldn’t let the cats outside. That’s what started their mental decline, in my opinion. Ed used to let you rub him or scratch him until he purred and then he would bite you. I’ve had enough cats (and puppies) to know that not all bites are created equal. I understand that many bites are play. But when the animal tries to sink its teeth into the bone, that’s not play. If it is, well, that’s simply not acceptable. I’m only going to make so many allowances for the behavior of animals. If they want to rend my flesh and open a nice gash, that doesn’t work for me.
Marianne, my wife, said that Ed was normal as a kitten and then had something that gave him a high fever and that he was completely changed after that. I guess the fever fried his brain. The good news is that he doesn’t seem to go straight from purring to attempting to sink his teeth into you anymore. At least he doesn’t seem to do it with me. He really likes to lay next to me when Marianne and I play cards and rubs up against me until I scratch that area near the tail that the late George Carlin called the “ass button”. You’ve probably noticed this phenomenon with cats as well. He practically gets up on tippy-toes when I scratch right in front of his tail. Not too hard and not too soft. Just right. Sometimes he’ll even lick my skin like it’s his own.
Well, that’s the cat that I don’t want meowing at 3 am later tonight. There’s no way I left him outside. Is there? Maybe I should let the dog roam all around the house and the garage. He’s bound to find Ed.
Now about what I mentioned at the start of this: my wife is out playing poker. She sometimes gets together with friends from work. All of them are women and most of them are teachers. The play for really low stakes. I think the most anyone has ever lost in a session is three or four dollars. I’m told that often they don’t play that many hands because they stop to talk so often.
Tonight it occurred to me that this might be a pretty unusual situation. How many husbands are at home while their wives are out playing poker with buddies on a Friday night? I don’t begrudge her this at all. God knows I’ve played more poker in my lifetime than maybe 99% of the population of the planet ever will. And even though it’s after 10 now and she’s still not home, I’ve played past midnight on too many occasions to keep track of. I just don’t play nearly as much as I used to. The other day she encouraged me to play in a tournament that started at 7 pm and I finished in 22nd place out of nearly 500 entrants and I didn’t get home until after 1 am I’m pretty sure. So this is no big deal. I would be curious how many women ever do this though.
Today I made a greek salad and took it to her after her school day so she could take it to the poker party. Someone asked me if I was a chef and I wondered what kind of men she has in her life that would cause her to assume that I must do this as a profession. Don’t most men make a salad for their wife if she asks? I’m sure some do even if their wife doesn’t ask. Or maybe I’m reading to much into her question.
Though I do run into what I would call very conservative people around here sometimes.
I remember a few years ago I had a friend from Toastmasters who had attend my club even before I did. He had a religious conversion and then went to a high school reunion where he saw a woman he hadn’t seen in years. She was surprised to see that he had become a born again Christian and they started dating and after not too long they were married. Soon he wasn’t allowed to come to Toastmasters because there were so many women there. I was blown away. He’s a good guy and I know he really enjoyed Toastmasters and got a lot out of it. He was not even close to what you might call a promiscuous person. Quite the opposite. He was glad to have found a wife at this fairly late time in his life. I don’t think he had been married before and he was probably early 60’s or at least late 50’s. His wife laid down the law and I haven’t seen him at Toastmasters in years. I ran into him a few years ago in the supermarket and he couldn’t stay long. He didn’t seem that happy.
Isn’t this unusual? It seems to me that most people – even people who think of themselves as conservative – would not object to their spouse going to a group like Toastmasters. I don’t think most people would even think they had the grounds to demand that their spouse stay away from it.
I am amazed by some of what people believe sometimes. Come to think of it I still have a good friend from high school who lives in Michigan and unless he has changed his opinion, I don’t think he thinks women should be allowed to be ordained. I’m not sure whether he thinks it’s ok for Christian women to hold elective office. I think he might simply accept that it happens in the world, but maybe he would advise a woman against it. I’m going to ask him about that when he’s in town again.
Today I saw something about a study done about rationality and religious thinking. What they seemed to be saying is that people who think rationally have less faith in God. They found this to be true even for people who were religious to begin with. I’m not sure that I agree with the methodology of their experiment, but I think I understand what they are getting at.
It’s challenging to see so much in the world and not wonder how to explain things about religion. I find it difficult to explain why the bible seems to say that the Earth was created in such and such a way and in a certain span of time. I remember an interim pastor we had who said that the book of Genesis, which contains the account of creation, was not so important when it came to how we were created. He said it was more important that we understand the why from the book of Genesis. I liked that, but I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t be satisfied with that answer.
I’m not sure that we can give a fully rational answer to every scientific question when we try to address it from faith-based writings. I’m not sure that that is the function of sacred texts.
Besides, many years ago I came to the conclusion that the most important thing about Christianity is the death and resurrection of Jesus. In fact, Paul basically says that if it didn’t happen, then what are we all doing? His point is that if Jesus didn’t really do that, we can all just pack it in and go home.
And I know that that approach won’t satisfy everyone either. But I do think that it’s a better place to start than in the account of creation.
Now I’m tired and I didn’t actually expect to go here when I started this tonight, but what Jesus said I do think is very important.
He was asked about what was really important. (I’m obviously paraphrasing mightily here.)
Jesus said that we can sum up all the commandments in two.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
Now it seems to me that this is much more difficult to argue with than a whole lot of other stuff and this is what Jesus said was the nitty gritty of the commandments.
I’m not sure if this is where someone asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
When that person asked that question I do know that Jesus responded by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. If you’re not familiar, well, Google it.
That story illustrates that even though someone might be very religious and righteous or they might be socially or politically very important, that if they were not concerned with the welfare of their fellow man, they weren’t really behaving as a neighbor. And, just because someone happens to be low on the social, political, or economic spectrum doesn’t mean that they aren’t very able and willing to do a great job at being a neighbor to someone. They can even be a pariah and end up treating their fellow humans the way God wants us to treat each other.
If you Google the story you’ll see a much better picture of what I just tried to say.
Have a great weekend!
Yesterday I wrote more on my private blog than I wrote here. I think it was the first time that that occurred. I intend to have that become the rule instead of the exception. These posts will become shorter, but you’ll know that I’m posting more to the private blog because that’s where my novels are developing.
Some people might look at this and wonder why I don’t just write there.
There is more than one reason for me to write here. Simply writing what comes out helps me get in touch a little with my unconscious. Also, this can be an example for those who want to do this themselves. After I’ve got the books published this will make more sense.
But the key is that you do not judge what comes out in this type of exercise. You just do it. So I am.
Today I was talking with my son about the band Sparks. Their biggest hit was Cool Places with Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go’s. Here in San Diego we had one of the most progressive alternative rock stations in the world in the early 1980s and we listeners were well aware of Sparks long before they had that hit. They had songs like Angst In My Pants and I Wish I Looked A Little Better (I don’t remember if that’s the title, but it’s a prominent lyric) as well as one I posted on my Facebook group today. You can check that out here. Eaten By the Monster of Love is the title of that song and it was in the movie Valley Girl.
My group is called My Unexpected Song Selection.
Have a great evening!
Wow. I’ve written some on my private blog earlier and I plan on doing some more. Yesterday I wrote over 2000 words and I’d like to keep that up every day that I write now. AND, I get to see how I do when I’m this tired. I could fall asleep in the next half hour easily and I just need to stay focused on this writing before I do that tonight.
Someone from New Zealand sent my alien buddy a note on Twitter today telling me how much she liked my blog and encouraging me to keep writing. Amazing that just one person can be so encouraging to another with some kind words.
Maybe we should all do that for each other. Of course, I am biased as in my spiritual tradition I have the gift of encouragement.
Another part of my christian tradition is that many characteristics or behaviors are to be put into practice by all of us. No matter whether someone’s gift is encouragement we are all supposed to encourage one another.
I hope this blog encourages you. Over time I expect that it will. I expect to persevere.
So in a year or two when someone sees that I’ve posted 275 times or more in one year I want that person to know that they can do it. Or maybe they’ll be the type of person who thinks “If only I can do this half as much as this guy then I’ll write over 135 times a year or so.”
As long as you think you can do it. That you can go on.
Even though my arms are tired from weeding today I am determined to do this exercise tonight.
I am encouraged by my perseverance. That is one of the things that does it for me. When I have already done something for a week I want to keep going. Then two weeks and three weeks! Many people say that 21 days is the magic number for changing a habit. I hope that works for you and I know it does for some. But for me I believe the number is 30 days. That’s a month – at least most of the time it is. Remember that saying, “30 Days Hath April, June & September. February has 28 and all the rest have 31.” Actually, I am definitely missing part of it where I think it rhymed, but you get the idea and it’s a pretty easy way to remember which months have how many days. My mom used to recite that to me when I was younger and I can practically hear her voice saying those words.
When I have lost weight (or dropped pounds as some like to say) I have looked at the same signs for encouragement and first it’s one week, then two and so on. Whatever discipline you’re using, stick to it and the more you do, the more you want to because you don’t want to spoil your record. I remember going without caffeine once for 152 days. Or was it 162. Either way it was a long time and I was fine except I felt tired.
Now that I use certain products I don’t find that I get tired during the day or if I do I can get a quick, natural pick me up. I’ve been staying up a little too late recently and getting up a little too early and it adds up. It really does for me.
My wife is watching TV right now and I expect she’ll be done in 45 minutes. I’ll hold on as long as I need to in order to get my writing done. How much I write here is not clear to me right now. I do have some more ideas for my private blog.
One thing that I find very helpful about WordPress in writing my books is I can create a new category for a post and that’s what I’ve been doing more of on my private blog. As I get ideas or remember them I can post a little bit about that possible book (or screenplay!) and come back to it later. I just love that I can so easily NOT LOSE it and keep it a little organized. I think I have six or seven categories there so far.
Remember, if you don’t think you’d like to do this writing exercise that I’m involved with PUBLICLY, you can still do it on a private WordPress blog. It is really cool that WordPress if free, too. Amazing what technology and the internet have wrought.
For some though I think it’s distorted their thinking. They think that just about everything should be free.
Artists should be paid for their work. Heck, everybody should be paid for their work.
There’s nothing wrong with doing something entrepreneurial – on speck, so to speak. But when consumer expect and/or require it that’s a different story.
Just tonight I bought Jim Gaffigan’s new album through Paypal and he offers a really good deal even though it’s not free. $5 gets the new comedy album and $1 goes to charity. You get three downloads if you need them and he gives you permission to burn it. So I took a chance and it’s actually downloading as I type this. I’m not sure if it’s my computer or the cable system or both, but it’s taking a while. It’s over two-thirds done and there are 17 minutes left. So I guess I’m getting my money’s worth if volume counts. You can check it out at: JimGaffigan.com.
I thought I was tired before. Now I’m writing with my right eye closed. That’s one way I can tell if I’m truly tired. I don’t know if that happens to you, but if you’re like me your eyes can start to cross when you get this tired. So, by closing one eye I get rid of that problem. Of course, the words start to get a little blurry around the edges, too.
I used to say I could only do two things when I am this tired. I can drive a car and I can play Texas Hold’Em. I’ve said that I can do those two things when I’m so tired that I have trouble walking. I honestly don’t think I’m bragging. It’s just that to me it’s easier to drive because you’re sitting down and as far as poker goes, I have so much experience that I can play well enough to win when I’m this tired. Was it Malcolm Gladwell who talked about being an expert at something after 10,000 hours? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have played poker for over 10,000 hours. I used to get paid to play poker once upon a time and for a couple years I actually had banker’s hours – Monday through Friday 9-5. I’m not sure that those are banker’s hours now, but you get the idea.
One of the things that this exercise is good for if you are a writer is that you can start to see patterns in your writing. I have noticed that I say actually too much, in my opinion. I also probably overuse commas. These are not my only insights, but if you let yourself be open to learning and growing, this can be a profitable exercise for you. And I mean that in more ways than one.
Boy, I am starting to really feel the fatigue in my arms. I’m glad I got some weeding done today and I’m sure that goes double for my wife.
So here I am in the home stretch. With what I’ve written so far here and what I wrote earlier, I just have a little ways to go to get to my goal of 2000 words.
I do believe that I’ll write the rest at my private blog. I really want to finish those books by December. Or rather, to finish them in time to be published by December.
It’s important when you have goals to have mini-goals so that you can actually see the steps that take you to your goal. It’s kind of like algebra.
Last night I was tutoring at Reality Changers and one of the students had a word problem that you need to use algebra in order to figure out. I knew that I was rusty, but not this rusty. At first I thought of it as a three-variable problem and then I asked the student if he had used three variables before and he said no. So I tried to attack it as a two-variable problem and discovered that I couldn’t figure out how to create two equations from it, so I decided to take another look and found that it was a one variable problem, but I had incorrectly identified what I was looking for. I didn’t know what the true goal was until I really looked at it.
That’s how it is with goals. What are you shooting for?
In my case my goal is to have these two books published by December 30, 2012. In order to have them published I first have to finish writing them and editing them.
If I lose sight of that I could start thinking along the lines of having the book finished – the writing that is – by December 30 and that would mean that I wouldn’t reach my true goal.
So remember to look at not just your main goals, but your mini-goals that get you to the main goal.
And reward yourself along the way for reaching those mini-goals and then reward yourself BIG for reaching the big, main goal.
That’s another way to encourage yourself.
I just left the bedroom and I changed positions on the couch.
You can also resort to “tricks” if you want to keep going and you’re tired.
Nothing wrong with the kind of tricks I’m talking about. Change position. Get up and stretch. Take a walk. Taking a walk is really good because it gets the blood flowing more. That means more oxygen to the brain which most of us are using when we write.
So there you have it. There are ways to encourage yourself that perhaps you’ve not been engaging in. There are more.
I’d be interested in how you keep yourself encouraged. And inspired.
Now to the private blog.
On February 23rd I started writing nearly every day as an exercise. I write at least 30 days in a row about whatever comes out and sometimes I also write on my private blog for my upcoming books. I take a break after at least 30 days of writing in a row and my last break consisted of only writing 3 or 4 days out of a week. I have to check my records, but I know that I’m at least in the neighborhood of 55,000 words. If you want to do this, you can.
My main advice consists of two things:
1) Don’t censor yourself unless you think that what you have to write is offensive enough to make a lot of people uncomfortable. If that’s the case I definitely recommend keeping your blog private.
2) Choose to do this at least 30 days in a row and take a little break. Notice that my break did not consist of not writing at all. And it wasn’t that long relative to the 30 day time period. If you mess up 17 days in or 6 days in or however much, start your 30 days over.
If I think of more recommendations, I’ll let you know.
Now I’m on to other thoughts straining to get out of my head. OK, maybe not straining, but I haven’t had to write blah, blah, blah in years. Almost forgot-
Don’t judge the process. Just let it flow. Keep going.
I’ve written when I’m tired and when I’m really tired and when I’m really, really tired. Soon I’ll be ready for really, really, really tired. And yes, I did notice my tense didn’t match in the first sentence of this paragraph. I’m also not doing much editing. Just occasional misspellings and the rest is a quick edit in my head.
I think that part of the value is the ability to get up a head of steam and keep going and let it flow out of you.
When you judge, if you judge, that can get in the way of the flow.
It’s much like brainstorming. Bet you didn’t know there were rules to brainstorming, did you? Don’t judge when brainstorming and just write it down. Don’t make judgmental comments to people who are in the brainstorming process with you. If you are judging when brainstorming you are doing it wrong. And by wrong I mean that it will on average be less productive than if you simply didn’t judge it. I know that can be hard to do for some people. The key is in the not doing it. So don’t judge.
You have to grow, in my opinion, in order to do this. You can run up against some emotional baggage along the way. That’s ok. Hopefully you will learn to use that as fuel.
I recently got into a slightly depressed space for a day. I don’t mean clinical depression, but depending on what you’re exposing yourself to, you can take it on for a short while and end up not so happy a camper. I’m better – much better – today.
Still, looking at that experience of more sadness than usual can benefit you in more ways than you might think. You can use your experience in your writing and you can be more empathetic with others.
My brain is a little tired right now so I don’t know where I expected to end up with what I wrote above. Hopefully that won’t make it less valid.
I’m making sure I do this writing before I go out tonight. Tonight is the night during the school year that I tutor and I absolutely want to make sure that I get this done before I get home tonight.
So planning is important, too.
Julia Cameron’s original idea was/is for something called morning pages. I have found that as long as you get them done they help you become more creative and productive. But there is definitely value in getting them done in the morning.
If I had an emergency come up right now I would have a hard time getting as many words written as I would like.
So please pay attention to any potential scheduling conflicts. I urge you to create the space in your life to do this writing exercise.
Some people think that they are beyond this I’m sure. Well, simply look at your results lately. If you will do that honestly you will see whether or not this type of writing will benefit you.
Others may think that they can’t do it. How can you commit the time every day for 30 days.
It’s possible that some will take some time getting into it.
My efforts here really started more than six months ago when I started reading the 23rd Psalm every day. My goal is still to read it or recite it accurately every day for a year. I’m more than half way there. I’ve recounted this before and I’ll say this again. I took at least three stabs at it that I remember before I got past about 6 or 7 days in a row. I also had to let myself off the hook a little bit when I stayed up really late one night so it wasn’t technically that same day when I said it at about 12:15 in the morning. I decided to not be too hard on myself. How strict do you want to be? For me, the fact that I did it before I went to sleep was enough.
You decide what your standards are. Don’t be so strict that you knock yourself out of the game before you even get started.
Don’t be too easy on yourself either. I honestly believe that the 30 day mark is important. If you can go more than that at a stretch, that’s great. I also believe that more than 3 or 4 days without writing at all can maybe knock you out of that game.
No matter what. Keep writing during the exercise. (Obviously not if the house is on fire.) And keep going day after day. And really, really, really make sure you get back on the horse if you fall off.
Another thing that has really helped me is WordPress itself. I find this typing away in the WordPress format to be aesthetically pleasing. You may prefer something else like Word or maybe even pencil and paper. That’s fine. As long as it gets the job done.
I really hate this about my computer. I really, really do not like what just happened and I am so grateful that WordPress automatically saves the draft every so often. So I only lost about 100 words.
I guess I’m glad I don’t type faster than I do. LOL
I don’t remember exactly what I was saying. Something about 65,000 words being the average size of a novel. We can’t all be Umberto Eco or George R.R. Martin.
Once you’ve written 60,000 words or so you will see that it’s not so hard. So what if not every word is relevant to whatever book you want to write? That’s not the first step in this process.
Once you’ve done it you know you can do it again. If you write 1200 words a day then that’s about 2 months to write 65,000 words. Ok. A little more. If you’re taking a break like the one I took then that about 62 days to write 65,000 words.
If you’re like me, you will have two places to right at least – like my two blogs. I’m writing down the words I need for two different books currently on my other blog.
Today I think I’ll keep going here until I reach 2,000 words. I’ve probably done that once before and come close a few times. So that’s not something that I’ve never done. I simply want to do that everyday. It’s a stretch if you’ve been averaging even 1300 words a day because that’s an increase of over 50%. You may want to be less ambitious – maybe in the 20% range every time you decide to go to the next level.
This is coming easily enough for me by now that I don’t think it’s an unrealistic jump.
So here I am now above 1300 words and I do have to go somewhere, but I’ve left myself plenty of time.
I personally find that some positions are more enjoyable at times. Right now I’m on my bed on my back with this computer on a pillow on my stomach. You may find a different position more helpful.
I feel like I’m flowing some and I’m not letting things get in my way. My son just came in a minute or so ago and asked where the keys to the big car were. No problem.
I had that technical glitch earlier where I lost the words and I’m just going to keep going.
Practice the “keeping going” part. You keep practicing it and the easier it gets.
You’ve been there before and then you know what to do when you see that behavior happen or when you see that circumstance.
Learn to have fun with it and you’ll ultimately get more out of it.
Remember to not judge. Some say it’s difficult to do a negative, but really not judging is just being and being at peace with what’s going on.
That’s where you can let things out of your unconscious that you might have not realized.
I’m considering a different approach to two of my books and I credit this writing process with opening those possibilities up.
Something that didn’t seem viable before all of a sudden seems possible.
You don’t know what’s going to come up and that’s cool.
Learn to love that experience or at least like it.
Your fingers will be moving faster and soon you will just let it out.
Is this a spiritual process? Maybe. It’s definitely a creative one. Just keep going.
Like I am now. If you’re wondering about the pool and is it warm enough to go swimming, that’s ok. Talk about what comes up. This reminds me of speaking exercise that’s similar in a book called Be Heard Now. It’s different than Toastmasters. You get to speak in front of group and say whatever comes up and that includes silence. It’s a powerful experience and the organization is called Speaking Circles. You can Google it.
Since when did we reach the point that searching for so many people has become Googling? Just like Kleenex for tissue.
Interesting times we live in.
This is the Creative Age. Did you know that? I did not make that up.
This is the time when people who are actively creating are going to be more financially rewarded than they were in the past.
Before this came the Agrarian Age, the Industrial Age and the Information Age. People may quibble with little differences – smaller ages that I didn’t mention or what came before the Agrarian Age, but make no mistake. We’re no longer in the information age.
In each of these ages eventually that thing that was central becomes less profitable. Consider how much money a man (and his family) can make as a farmer. If you think it’s a pretty good living, well then, take away the subsidies and see how good a family farmer can do. Most people who are family farmers are not making a good living even WITH subsidies from the government.
I won’t go into all the examples here, but at least consider the commoditization of information which happened at the end of the Information Age. It’s still happening. You can get information much more inexpensively than you could 20 or 30 years ago.
How long will the creative age last? I don’t know. Many people still think we’re in the information age, but those who understand the value of creativity in this age will see more possibilities for creating a better living – more income.
How much more enjoyable is it to be able to do something creative and ultimately get paid for it?
Hopefully the computers and/or robots won’t be as creative as humans for a long while!
If you’re a regular reader of my writing on this blog, AOO, you might be wondering about what does this all mean?
Unfortunately for you I am engaged in an exercise to write and keep writing and get to that place where it flows out of me more readily. I learned this idea from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. One of these days I’ll learn more about typing in italics, too, so I can more properly make the titles of books and/or movies standout.
What happens here is more for my benefit than yours. I apologize.
There can be some extra benefit if you want to look over what I’ve written in approximately two months so you can decide if you want to embark on a similar journey. You will be missing some of my writing which is a private blog containing my writing for two science fiction stories/novels.
But for now, tonight, here we are. I’m typing and I keep typing unless I get interrupted by a technical glitch that just happened. Does anyone have any idea why that happens and how to avoid it? I’m just guessing that my fingers are a little too big for this keyboard.
Here’s what happens: I’m typing along and all of a sudden the cursor jumps and often this happens in the middle of a word so I end up typing “going to the movies” as going to the mhistoryovies and then I have to go back and change it.
It just did it again as I started this sentence. The cursor was in between the and mhistoryovies in the sentence above and I just happened to catch it as I hadn’t started to type the next word yet. THAT time it really just seemed random and I didn’t notice hitting a particular key or any key for that matter. But it happens so fast when it happens that it is really hard to know if it was cause by me or it’s some sort of technical or programming glitch that someone has figured out somewhere. Just not me.
I did notice it on an even smaller computer with a smaller keyboard and it happened much more often than it does on this one. That’s partly why I believe it could be related to my big fingers.
Oh well…if you know something, please let me know. Sometimes I laugh about it and sometimes I’m not in that light of a mood.
Lighten up. You must have heard someone say that to you at some time or another.
People talk about being “light” and what I’m referring to is your mood or your attitude.
Sometimes I can just snap my fingers and do this and other times it is truly difficult.
I used to know a man who talked about “getting out of your head” and I think I understand that pretty well AND sometimes it seems to be easier said than done. I don’t think I have the idea down perfectly as I wonder about the need to be in my head in order to write some of the stories I want to write. Perhaps all of them. 🙂
Today I was not “light”. I felt pretty – there it did it again and I don’t think I was touching the keyboard. Please, please let me know if you have this problem sometimes and you’ve figured out how to stop it. I’m trying to recall if my HP had this problem, but now it seems like it’s been happening forever. LOL
I’m also interested in hearing from authors about how many books you sell each year – either by you or other retailers. One of the things that has occurred to me recently is that if you could write two books a year that sold 2,000 copies a year, you could have good to great residual income over time. If one of your works turned out to sell 50,000 or 100,000 copies, you’d be doing pretty well.
Many, many people are working on creating residual income and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talk about that with respect to books. I’ve heard and seen presentations about different products that are sold my network marketing companies. Nothing wrong with that, but writing does allow you more creativity and I find that to be a bonus! Also, if you have the means, buying a property and renting it out is a type of residual income if you are covering the mortgage payment and you keep a tenant in there.
What if you wrote a book about something that you knew there was a market for and it didn’t necessarily strike you as quite as creative as a work of fiction or something you had to research like Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood? Let’s say that you write one book a year that really causes you to “go to the well” of your creativity and one book about say, “How to create a website for your small business using WordPress” or something like that.
When you KNOW that there’s a market for a book and it’s not necessarily your heart’s desire, but a way to make income, maybe you should consider writing a book like that every other book or every fourth book.
I’m sure that adds up over time.
This is not in any way an attempt to kill anyone’s dreams. If you are writing and making the income you want to from writing, that’s great. However, if you aren’t making as much income from writing as you would like, perhaps a strategy like that would allow you to hold onto your artistic integrity (however YOU see that) and create more income so that in the long run you can devote more time to the thing that you really love. I’m assuming that at least part of that thing you really love is, in fact, writing.
You can also do something else to make money while you write completely and utterly the exact stuff you want to write regardless of how well it sells. I’m not saying one way is better than another. Whatever works for you.
Be careful that it actually does work, however.
You are free to choose just like me.
I freely chose to step out in faith a couple months ago and write and then write more and write consistently and soon I’ll be consistently writing more. I do expect to have one science fiction novel published by December 30th and another book about redemption published by the same date.
This process of writing these “morning pages” as Julia Cameron calls them has helped me think about my writing as well. I’m practicing writing without judgement and look at it simply as a way to learn. Insights are a bonus.
If what you are doing is working and you’re not doing morning pages, that is fantastic.
If you would like to get more of your creativity out into the world for others to see and it’s not happening in the way you would like, I urge you to do morning pages even if it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
So here I am on a Sunday night and I’ve had a restful day which my wife let me have because I woke up and my bones ached. I rarely take anything and I took some Advil earlier today. I feel better than I did earlier and yet I considered not writing tonight. I knew I could blame it on not feeling well.
Yet I really want to make this happen and I decided to just get down to it a little while ago.
I urge you to have a writing discipline. It does not have to be like mine.
What will work for you? If you’re looking for something and you’re trying different things, remember:
Morning pages are always available to you. Waiting for you, even.
Join the battle!
Today we had my friend Marilynn over for lunch. She’s in from Vienna, Virginia and my wife, son and I had a good time chatting with her and making a good nutritious lunch. It’s interesting to be nearing 50 and have a friend like her in her late 40’s. We went to high school together and she used to go out with a good friend. She was a couple years behind us in school and now she’s an attorney who graduated from UCBerkeley and Georgetown Law.
She is a friend who really has made an effort to stay in touch over the years and I’m grateful. She’s a great person. She’s married with two kids and part of her family is still here in this area. Right now my family lives just one town over from her sister, who lives in the same house they grew up in. It’s nice to see that Marilynn is still the intelligent, high integrity, professional and caring person she’s always been.
I was impressed with her early on. I never looked at her in a romantic way because she was going out with my friend at the time and we stayed in the friend zone all these years. She had a pilot’s license by the time she was 19 or something. Not long after graduating from college, before she got her law degree, she was thinking about running an airport. A real, metropolitan airport. I had not seen myself having plans like those. It was inspiring just to know that she considered herself qualified to do that job.
She didn’t end up going into that field, but as I watched her over the years I became convinced that she could do just about anything she set her mind to. She still can and it will be good to see her again in August when she comes back.
My wife and I (and maybe our son) need to figure out a way to visit her and her family in Virginia (not too far from Washington, DC) next year or soon thereafter.
This year we’re going to North Carolina again as we did last year. We’ll be flying into Charlotte and then driving about 180 miles to Bryson City. It’s not even close to what I would call a city, but that’s part of its name.
We had a good time last year and while my brother is staying at our house I expect we’ll have some more fun river rafting and seeing some deep country life. Hopefully we’ll be getting there right before it warms up too much. Last year we got there before the heat so we’ll see.
It’s nice to be able to travel once in a while and I wish I had done more of it when I was younger. If you’re young and you’re reading this, take it to heart. Get out there and travel now. Especially before you have kids. Yes, you want to share it with your kids when you have them, but it’s not always as easy to do when you have kids. Sometimes that is a financial challenge and sometimes it’s scheduling and sometimes it’s both or something else.
Our family was going to go on a cruise some year’s back and it would have been our first one. Then my wife’s mom got sick and we had to cancel. Technically we chose to cancel, but most people probably would have done the same. You never know what might come up, so make your plans and keep to them while you’re young.
Last year we saw the capitol for the first time and I believe that’s something that every American should see. Unless you’re a crazy person. Otherwise, go and take a night tour bus. And if you have time, take another tour that let’s you see some of the other monuments. I was in awe at the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. I tried to take some pictures and some came out. I should try and find those. Wait. They’re on the old computer. Maybe I can get someone to fix it so I can get at the hard drive.
We all had fun last year and we were refreshed after going on vacation even though we were tired when we got home. We weren’t exhausted – just the good kind of tired.
There was a lot of beauty on the drive from DC down to North Carolina last year. We’re going a different way this year, but I’ll never forget all that green. It was like Middle Earth for hundreds of miles. I told my buddy – the one who used to go out with my friend Marilynn – that I could have driven 2000 miles that way no problem. Beautiful green trees almost everywhere along the highway and really close in during some parts of the drive. We drove through the Great Smokey Mountains for a while as we passed through Tennessee before we turned left down to Bryson City, NC.
Later we came back to Tennessee for a day at Dollywood and we missed a turnoff somewhere on the road back and drove through Gatlinburg, Tennessee. That was an interesting kind of touristy town. You have to see it to believe it. It’s very country-fied is what I’ll say. That’s true for the town where Dollywood is located, too. It’s a place you’ve probably never heard of if you’re not from there or if you’re not a Dolly Parton fan – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. That’s a nice little town.
River rafting was fun and I think it was the first time that I went so we stuck to the beginner-type water. This year I think we’ll step up to intermediate if we go rafting.
We also stayed at a resort where you are really, really deep in the country/forest. I’m not remembering the name right now but what I told people is that you go to the middle of nowhere and you drive 45 minutes and then you’re really in the middle of nowhere.
Being from California I had wondered about the South and I’ve been told that where we were wasn’t the Deep South. Regardless of exactly where we were in the South I didn’t run into any obvious prejudice. I have also been told, however, that my little family is pretty white and so we were unlikely to notice anything like that. I don’t know how much has changed in some places.
I heard of a town that I won’t mention the name of because it’s not impossible that we might find ourselves going through there at some point in our travels. What I heard about that town and prejudice is so anachronistic in our modern age. That’s a polite way of putting it and I’ll leave it at that, but I’m not done writing yet.
Learning more about people is one of the great reasons to travel. If you’ve never been anywhere else, you don’t know what you’re missing. It wasn’t too many years ago that I would have said that I hadn’t been east of Wisconsin. Then we went to Florida and the Bahamas in about a year.
There are lots of places to visit in and around this great land of ours and there are other great lands to visit.
Have you visited friends lately? Are there some you’ve been meaning to see that you somehow haven’t gotten around to?
Find a way to budget it in for next year or the year after if that’s what it takes. Heck, if it takes you five years to save enough it’s worth it.
Maybe you’d like to find your way to California.
Being from here I can tell you it is a great place to visit and a great place to live.
Tell them Charlie sent you.
Do it soon!