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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."

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Observations

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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So, I’ve been having a difficult time with today’s post…..

…….and I’ve got nine minutes to get this one done. I’ve already started three and put them aside, primarily because I want to give them more thought and make sure I source the content properly.

Yeah, it’s that kind of day.

So, I’m going to dash this one off quickly and I apologize for the lateness of it. I had fairly full day – running errands with a friend, tap dance, trivia and horses took up most of it. Then the contrary blog posts and here I am, nearing midnight and this is the one that’s going to go through.

I finished a painting I’d started two weeks ago – I would have finished it the same day I’d started it, from the initial sketch to the final touches, but I needed a specific color that I neglected to buy and then life and play rehearsals happened and there the time went.

Four minutes left.

I hope all of you had a lovely day.

Best wishes to all of you.

So, I was thinking some random thoughts this morning……

……..about life, the universe and everything (the answer is 42). I found myself thinking about Ireland again (it never really goes away, memories of places that claim your heart) and of the two, very different, reactions I got when I mentioned the trip.

Reaction #1 – “You’re going to Ireland! How exciting!”

This was the general response and it would devolve into the minutiae of what I was going to see, when I was going, how long, etc. I loved these conversations because they reminded me of what was to come. I had no idea of what to expect, beyond just getting there. So I learned to not expect anything.

A lot of planning and packing, re-packing and organizing went on in the six or seven months before I left. I like to make sure I’ve prepared for every contingency. Also, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to get started.

Reaction #2 – “I bet you’ll meet someone.”

Or variations of that.

I was always a little nonplussed by that comment. I was going to Ireland, not Mars – of course I was going to meet people.

Invariably, they meant that I would meet a man, a romantic prospect that would add a little sparkle to an already sparkling adventure, with the shelf-life of the trip’s duration.

This wasn’t wrong for them to hope and I appreciated their love for me, in wanting that for me, a little romance to garnish what I already had.

I didn’t plan my trip for any reason other than to visit the land of my great-great grandparents. I wanted to touch the ground they had walked on, maybe get closer to knowing where they may have been born and grew up. I don’t think I’m any closer than I was before the trip, but at least I’m not any further away.

As for love, well, it’ll happen when it happens. I’m too busy with my life to worry about it.

Irish countryside.
Irish countryside.

So, I’m feeling a little bereft……

……now that I’m done re-visiting my trip to Ireland. I’m not sure what course to plot next, but I have some ideas that I’ve started working on. Not necessarily another travel-log, but things that should at least be interesting.

In any case, I’ll try not to mourn the end of my trip down memory lane too much. It was a grand adventure, I feel very lucky that I was able to manage it and I hope to find my way back. Not to repeat it, one can never do that, but to deepen my experience by spending more than one day in a specific place.

That’s the goal, anyway.

In the mean time, I’ve got a novel to finish, a play to revise and a show to act in. Also, it never hurts to plan the next big adventure.

I think I’ll look at Middle-Earth, see if I can convince Gandalf the Gray to take me on one of his quests.

Oh, wait. That’s New Zealand. 😉

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So, I’m always learning something new……

……..even about things that I’ve known how to do for years. Like, constructing a scene more efficiently or embedding links into a post or even about an historical event.

This is a good thing. It keeps me on my toes, it helps me keep an open mind and allows me to adjust and adapt.

It’s not always easy to do, but if you want to do your best and bring out your best work, that’s the way to go. It can be painful, there may be much gnashing of teeth and grumbling, but in the end, you’ll get a result that may surprise you.

And it could even be better than you expected it to be.

This is the goal.

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So, I’m finding this ‘blog post a day’ challenge……

……..er, challenging, to say the least. Not from a lack of ideas, but from a plethora of them, some requiring more attention than others. Which means I’ve got at least three or four posts that I’m working on, fleshing out, trying to fully realize what I’m writing about before I release them into the world.

It ain’t easy.

The initial excitement is starting to wear off and the reality of maintaining it is starting to set in, but I am starting to find a little joy in meeting my daily goal. It’s only day 7 and I have another twenty-four days before this becomes a new, established habit. Par for the course, I find that I’m questioning myself, my self-discipline, my own ability to keep this goal.

Then I remind myself.

I don’t make promises I’m not sure I can keep, either to friends or family.

I should hold that standard for myself.

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So, it’s occurred to me……

……that many of my heroes, male and female, as varied and different and wonderful as they all are, had one thing in common – they had no fucks to give.

This is a huge and empowering attitude. It’s also incredibly freeing.

The opinions of others are like hooks in the mind, designed to keep you in your place, either real or imagined. I’m very familiar with those hooks – the ones that say you aren’t good enough, not talented enough, not worthy. Being trapped by those feelings is painful, but the thought of being free of those feelings is terrifying.

Because what replaces that?

Whatever you choose to put there.

This is not to suggest that you ignore your responsibilities (rent, bills, groceries, car) or any other obligations. We will always have those – they are a part of life and there is no getting around that. But it doesn’t mean you should ignore the hopes and dreams and aspirations you have for yourself. It doesn’t mean that you need to put them aside, neglect them, forget about them.

And for me, that was renewing my interests in drawing, painting and theater. It was choosing to take up the violin, something that’s been on my mind since I was twelve. It was signing up for tap dance lessons, even though the last dance class I’d had was ballet at six. I’m good at the first three, I’ve been practicing those pretty much my whole.

Violin and tap dance are things I suck at, mostly because I’ve never done it before. I’m terrified of sucking at it, I mean, really, who enjoys looking like an ass when trying something new? But the absolute joy in my heart when I strike a perfect solid note on my violin or the endorphin rush after an hour of tap dance are things I want to float on forever.

That means having no fucks to give.

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