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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

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Observations

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about chances…..

…….and its cousins, opportunities and risks.

We go through life making choices that present us with one or all three.  It’s up to us to decide whether or not the outcome is worth it.

There’s a lot of fear that goes into making that choice and that’s okay.  Fear of the unknown is what helps us be alert to red flags or, in extreme situations, keep us from harm.  And fear is a good survival instinct.  It lets us know that maybe there’s a situation out there that’s too much or too dangerous for us to handle.

But you can’t let fear be the ruling factor in your life.  Stopping before you even start or because of thoughts of failing is fear.  You can’t let the possible negative outcomes determine your choices.

If you have a dream to write a novel, go write it.  Don’t let your real-life responsibilities slide, but do make the time to write every day, even if it’s 20 minutes.  Set a time and just do it.  Same thing goes for any other creative form.  Or if you want to add to your skill set in your field, if it’s medicine or law or cooking.  Add to those skills.  Make the time.

You have a dream.  Accept that there’s fear in making that first step and push through it.  There will be failures and false starts and rejection and obstacles.  Stick with it.  The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

So, it’s March 9, only eleven days or so until spring……

……..but the temperature suggests that it’s actually the middle of summer.  I’m not someone who enjoys hot weather – I can barely move when it hits 80.  Don’t ask what it’s like when it hits triple digits.

Just know that it isn’t pretty.

I love cold weather and rainy weather, especially if I don’t have to go out in it.  If there’s no reason for me to leave the house, then i’m more likely to go out for a walk and enjoy the rain as it patters on my umbrella.

I recently took a trip to Morro Bay and, while I knew it was going to rain, it ended up being more of a storm than I was expecting.  I ended up staying an extra night – I don’t like driving in the rain to begin with and the storm that was coming was pretty bad.

Still, I loved it – watching the surf pound the breakers, the bay churning and the wind fighting with the birds about who had dominion.

Yep, I’m definitely a cold weather person.

Stormy morning on the bay.

So, it’s the first day of March……

……..and it got me thinking about how the word ‘march’ is not only a noun, but a verb.  It’s not just the name for a month (or a person), but it’s also an action.

The month of March, therefore, can be interpreted as a month of action. I know what it is to be stuck, to not know what direction to go in. What’s difficult about it is that there are so many choices, that we often freeze. We feel paralyzed and panicked and end up staying in the same spot. We are so scared of making the wrong decision that we end up not deciding, which in itself is a decision.

The only true wrong decision is to not decide and remain stuck.

So make a decision and move forward. March forward.

If you realize the path is wrong, change direction. Just keep marching forward.

Eventually, you’ll find your way. You’ll find that the panicked and stuck feeling will fall away and you can breathe easier. You’ll feel lighter, more buoyant. Your energy will come back and you’ll find excitement at your favorite activities that only a few weeks ago, felt dull and routine, boring and stagnant.

Pick a direction, make a decision and go forward. March forth towards your goals and dreams.

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So, I’ve been working on my Patreon page……

……….setting up posts so that when I’m finally ready to officially launch it, there will be things already in place for subscribers to enjoy.

It’s not quite ready for the public yet, but I’m excited about what I hope to accomplish. There will be a serialized story or two, one of which will have multiple choices to drive the plot forward. It will also have general posts open to all patrons, an occasional one for the public and some art work to go along with the writing.

It should be interesting.

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So, I worked at a small farm for a couple of days…..

…….packing fruit.

Tangerines, specifically. Well, smaller than tangerines, if you can believe that. I don’t remember the name of it and probably couldn’t spell it on a dare. I was able to sample some of the tangerine family fruit and it was pretty good stuff. Fresh off the trees, just like nature intended for fruit to be.

It wasn’t an intellectually demanding job – you had to cull out the rotten fruit and sort out the remainder for orders to ship and farmer’s market. Once you got the knack of what to look for, it was pretty easy-peasy.

It wasn’t a job that was hugely physical, either, except in picking up crates of fruit and carrying it over to the sorting table. If you were early enough to nab a chair, you could sit or stand during the course of the day as you worked. It helped, but I was still exhausted after my first day. I just wanted to go home, crawl into bed and go to sleep until I had to be up the next day and do it all over again.

But I enjoyed the experience and will probably have some use for it in a story. I’m thinking the Narrator in my current Novel in Progress might have worked at such a citrus ranch. It’s seasonal work, so it would make sense to have her come for a month or so, then disappear. It happens in some situations and it did on this job, whether by conscious decision or an injury.

I’d definitely recommend getting out there and having an experience like this, whether it’s a citrus ranch or a cow ranch. Life experiences enrich us and help us grow. They also inform our creative work.

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So, I’m just gonna keep this post short…..

…….because I’m in a mood. The things I want to discuss are being difficult. Not in writing it down, but writing it in such a way that the salient points get across. There’s no absolute guarantee, of course, but my goal in writing about heavy, serious subjects is to make sure understanding can take place.

I mean, that’s the whole point of writing, right? And the arts, in general? To create a space where understanding happens, whether it’s from as far back as millions of years ago, or as recently as this morning.

Even if it’s wrapped up in bubble gum and a bow. Because sometimes sugar does help the medicine go down, to paraphrase that venerable movie nanny, Mary Poppins.

Gene Roddenberry knew that, which is how he was able to talk politics and social issues in Star Trek. It went by the execs’ heads, but the fans picked up on it and some found a calling in the sciences or other fields.

I could go on, I’m feeling that rambly, but I’m gonna leave it here for now. I’m still moody. And those subjects still need more citing and arranging before I let them go out into the wide world of the interwebs.

Have a good night, everyone. Read a good book, watch a favorite movie, listen to some music that fills your heart.

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So, I neglected to write a blog post yesterday……

…….breaking my resolution (of sorts) to post one a day. I won’t bore you with the details on why it didn’t happen yesterday, but to make it up to you, for today, I’ll post two.

This exercise of writing a post per day has been a challenge (which is partly why I chose to do it), but it’s also been fun. And because I’ve gotten back into the habit of writing something – anything – every day, I’ve been able to go back to my novel and continue editing, revising and re-writing it.

The observation that writing (like any other creative outlet or sport or subject) can only be improved by practicing every day is not lost on me. I’m exercising that muscle, which has been dormant for several months now. Because the topics I chose to write about were random and, for the most part, not planned, I was able to shape my thoughts, provide links where needed and get out what I wanted to say (and, hopefully, with an ironic twist of humor).

A few years ago, a book called The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron came out. One of the exercises she recommended doing was to write three pages, every morning. It didn’t matter what you put down – the exercise itself was about using your stream of consciousness and writing down whatever pops into your mind.

I suppose my blog resolution is sort of like that. And I’m one day away from really making this a habit. I may scramble, wrack my brain for ideas and get it in under the wire, but this has been an experience that has lifted my creative block and I’m going to continue doing it.

Some posts will be long, some will require research, some will be about questions of an ethical and philosophical turn.

It’s gonna get interesting.

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So, this would be the third post…..

……that I’ve been working on under the wire. Depending on how tomorrow works out, there may be another under-the-wire post.
It would appear I didn’t quite plan this out well. Still, I’m putting in the time and committing to getting it out there, so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.

The upside is that I think this exercise of writing a blog post every day had been beneficial to my other writing. I’ve edited a total of six chapters on my novel, which is great. I’ve got two more to go on the original notes, then I need to go back with the new notes and revise again to get it smoother, more active.

I’m feeling more energized about writing than I have been in a long while.

There’s hope.

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So, here I am again…….

……..about twenty minutes away from midnight, this time. I just got home from an event, but I’d been working on a couple of posts about history all day. It’s working out that it’s going to be more than just one post, which is fine, because there’s a lot to ruminate over. I’m thinking there’ll be two posts, at least, but who knows?

It could be more. I am quite loquacious, when the occasion calls for it.

Ah, it’s moved up to fifteen minutes before midnight.

What thoughts do I have, this late?

Random ones.

I went to bed early last night, around 9 or 9:30. I woke up at one in the morning, didn’t get back to sleep until four. I had the weirdest dream about being in a play with a celebrity and having a phone conversation with him about statements two people claimed I made (one named Sarah, the other’s name escapes me at the moment).

I kept having to move around to a different spot, because there was so much external noise from the streets and businesses around me. (It is fortunate that, even in my dream, I had a cell phone.) I put him right, that what was said to him  by those two people was not from me. He accepted my words with gracious humility and apologized.

Then I had to go round up loose horses. None of the equines resembled mine, but the location the dream horses had escaped from was the same spot where I keep my real horses. And later, I went to a local tavern, located in the middle of a national forest. The word ‘tavern’ was in the establishment’s name and a friend owned and worked there.

There were some other random bits (running into an old college class mate, an auditorium and popcorn, of all things) before I finally woke up at 7:30. That’s a lot of dreaming in three and a half hours.

(Five minutes before midnight.)

I’m not sure what any of that means – I had a friend named Sarah once, but we lost touch many years ago. Not even sure about the meaning of the phone call – I don’t know the celebrity in question, nor would he have any reason to call me.

(Three minutes.)

The horses are probably the simplest part of my dream to interpret.

They’re hard to wrangle and they want their treats. Also, they love to be dramatic about their breakfast.

See you anon.

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