Archive by Author

A Jumbled, Blurry Mess

16 Oct

While someone else sees darkness and muted colors

It’s foggy this morning as I write this.

I like the fog.

It’s mysterious, is it not?  Sounds are a bit muted, which I also like.  Shapes are distorted, and I find that interesting as well.

It’s a fascinating phenomenon, really, especially if the fog is really thick.  The obvious suddenly doesn’t seem so obvious. A tree you have passed by literally thousands of times suddenly looks sinister. A mail box, from a distance, looks like a little child.  Our imaginations play tricks on our minds.  What we think we see we actually don’t see, and what we have always seen morphs into something never seen before.

Pretty incredible, really!

“Red is gray and yellow white, and we decide which is right . . . and which is an illusion.”

As a writer I see certain parallels with the fog.  Whenever I try to critique my own work, or do an in-depth edit of my own work, my view of that work is distorted by the fog caused by my closeness to that work.  My logic becomes shrouded.  My analytical skills suddenly lose their edge because, after all, we are talking about MY work, and I am attached to that work emotionally and, well, emotions have a way of muddling the whole affair, or so it seems to me.

What’s the old saying . . . a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient?  It’s like that, me thinks, when trying to critique oneself.  Objectivity goes right out the window and is hauled off with the weekly garbage.

Just random thoughts as the sun burns away the last of the morning fog.

THE SAME MOST OF MY LIFE

I find it very hard to be objective regarding any of my work or accomplishments.  I tend to hold back praise of any sort.  I tend to be the harshest of taskmasters when judging something I have done or accomplished.  Whatever I have done is never going to meet the standards I have set.  Never!  According to a little voice in my head, I never should have published or posted any stories or novels, because none of them were “perfect.” I should still be editing them and trying to find the perfection I chase in vain.

Silly, right?

But at some point I just have to recognize my silliness, bite the proverbial bullet, and publish what I have done.  I have to accept that perfection is a fool’s quest, and I have to embrace the fact that I am a spiritual being having a human experience.

And I don’t have to like that fact.  Acceptance is the key for me, but being satisfied with acceptance is not always possible.

And I’m fine with that!

I’m a jumbled mess, and I’m fine with that as well.

Anyway, the fog has lifted, and it is time to head to the farm and take advantage of this unseasonably warm October we are having.

I wish you all peace of mind and heart this week.  You deserve it!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

 

Simple Complexities

2 Oct

I graduated from Seattle University in 1970 with degrees in Economics and Marketing.  I understand the marketing game.  I just don’t like it.

I make a living as a freelance writer, spending about twenty hours each week writing sales pitches for various corporations.  I’m good at what I do.  I just don’t enjoy it.

There are several ways to look at marketing, I guess, but to me it is manipulative and a bit underhanded.  If I do my job correctly, as a freelance writer, I will use the perfect combination of keywords to entice the buying public to purchase my employer’s product.  That’s my job!  Mind you, I’ve never been within spitting distance of any of these “products” I market, but in the marketing world that isn’t terribly important.  My job is to make those products attractive enough so that people will put down money for them.

Period!

It’s a job I really don’t enjoy, and I find myself turning down more jobs than I accept of late.

AND THEN IT GETS PERSONAL

And then we have the marketing of my own products to consider.  I write novels when I’m not promoting the latest commercial real estate offering or beauty salon, and if I want one of my novels to have a chance of selling, it is necessary for me to promote those novels.

And I don’t enjoy that either!

My philosophy regarding my novels is buy them, don’t buy them, it simply makes little difference to me. I write novels because I love writing novels.  If people buy them then great; if they don’t buy them then great.  Life will go on!

There is no purpose to my mentioning all that.  It’s just a peek into my psyche as a writer.  You probably have completely different viewpoints about marketing and that, too, is great! I wish you well with your endeavors.

ONE MARKETING GIG I DO ENJOY

Oddly, I enjoy marketing the farmers market I am involved with, not because I want people to buy my product, but because I believe strongly in the farmers market movement in this country.

So it’s all a bit complicated inside my brain.  Lol  I realize there is a conflict there, and I’m fine with that as well.

SO WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

Well, today is Saturday, and I don’t plan on doing anything about it today, quite frankly. I have chores to do in preparation of winter, so I’ll be heading out to the farm soon to start in on those chores.  At some point I’ll lay down under the trees and watch the clouds float by.  I’ll probably feed some grain to the horses, and most likely I’ll stop to pet the baby goats.

There is no conflict in that at all.

Have a great week and remember, please, to do all things with love.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Don’t Quit Before the Miracle Happens

25 Sep

I see sunshine and beautiful colors

A PLEASANT SURPRISE

I’m still laughing as I write this  . . .  life is truly a magical mystery tour.

I picked up the mail a few days ago, just as I do most every day.  Sorted through it . . . looked at a catalog explaining Teamster retirement benefits . . . thought it was a strange thing for me to receive, thought nothing more about it, went on my way with the rest of my day.

A tickling in my brain several hours later . . . why am I receiving a catalog from the Teamsters regarding benefits?  True, I had once been a Teamster, way back in the late 60s and early 70s, but that was another lifetime ago.

Kept thinking about that; something didn’t seem right, you know?  So I retrieved the catalog this morning, called the toll free number, asked why I was receiving catalogs about benefits, and lo and behold, I am a vested member and I have retirement benefits due to me.  LOL

Who woulda thunk it?  Somehow I accumulated enough hours to qualify under the Ten Year rule, so I have a little paperwork to fill out and then I’ll receive monthly retirement checks . . . and Bev will receive payments after I die.

A very nice surprise, one which got me thinking and reflecting once again . . .

AN OLD SAYING I REMEMBER

“Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens”

That saying was shared with me twelve years ago by a mentor.  I was struggling at the time, trying to give up alcohol, one more attempt at shedding the demons, one more attempt to get my life back.

“Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens, Bill,” Ralph said to me.  “Just hang in there long enough to see the miracle unfold.”

That was twelve years ago and, for this recovering alcoholic, those words came true.  The miracle has happened, and continues to happen each and every day.

So, if you are a writer . . . or if you are anyone going through a struggle . . . don’t quit one second before good times arrive. One thing I know with certainty is that I know nothing about the future.  You know that old joke . . . if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans . . . that perfectly applies for this boy in this lifetime.  I have no clue what is going to happen tomorrow.  As a writer I have no clue if tomorrow is the day a publisher falls in love with my work.  As a human being I have no clue if tomorrow will bring me riches, or heartache, struggles or smooth-sailing.

My job is to be ready, and to never quit trying.

MY DAD

It’s funny, thinking back.  One of my Dad’s favorite sayings was “Always move forward, Bill.  Never give up ground you have gained.”

He and Ralph must have been soul-brothers. Same message, different words.

Have a great day, all of you, unless you’ve made other plans.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Fighting the Demons

18 Sep

I was in a car crash back in 1972.  I was sitting at a stop light, waiting for the light to change, and a gentleman, seriously inebriated, plowed into me from behind doing over sixty-miles per hour.  His car pushed my car through the intersection and my gas tank ignited.

I remember fumbling with my seat belt, which had jammed, as flames started in the back of the car.  I remember the heat, and smelling my hair start to burn, and I remember the sheer panic as I tried to get that damned seat belt to unlatch.

Obviously, since I’m writing about that memory, I survived.  I came out of it with a seriously sore neck, burned hair, and a couple second-degree burns on my hand and neck, but all in all it turned out much better than it could have.

The reason I mention that car wreck is because for months afterwards, when I went for a drive, I would not use my seat belt.  I absolutely refused to use it because there was no way I was going to get caught in that frightening situation again.  Intellectually I knew that seat belts save lives, but emotionally and psychologically all I could remember was that seat belt trapping me while the fire raged.

My reaction then reminds me of the reactions of some writers now who are afraid to publish because they have received negative comments about their writing in the past.  Months and years after receiving a negative comment about some story or article, they are still affected by that negativity and cannot pull the trigger and publish again.

It’s totally illogical, but it is a very real fear.  None of us want to be attacked for what we wrote.  Most, if not all, of us do not like negative comments or mean critiques.  It is only human to want validation and positive strokes.

But we cannot let that stop us.  If writing is a passion . . . if you derive pleasure from writing . . . you need to buckle up and go for a drive again.  There will always be haters.  There will always be negative people.  That’s why God gave us middle fingers.  LOL

TWO WEEKS TO GO

Can you tell I’m excited? Two weeks of farmers markets to go and then I can return to creative writing. I am beyond pumped for that moment to arrive.  My brain is overflowing with ideas. I plan on finishing my current novel, “The Magician’s Shadow,” and then tackling a novel I’ve been thinking about for years, a 60’s memory which is inspired by “To Kill A Mockingbird.”  Stay tuned!

CAN YOU FEEL IT?

I just watched the latest news coverage of that hurricane back east.  The scenes of loss are heartbreaking.  The scenes of neighbor helping neighbor are heartwarming.

Watch the scenes . . . file it all away . . . use it in your creative writing.  This is the human experience, for better and for worse, and writers need to capture the angst and the jubilation that is unique with being human.

Can you feel it? How would you feel? What would you do?

WELCOME TO FALL

I love this time of year.  There is inspiration in the air, a time of change, a sense that something exciting is approaching, something which will affect us all.  The lethargy of hot temperatures is being pushed aside by the winds, and the smoke of burned memories is washed from the air by the September rains.

I love this time of year!

And I love all of you.  Thank you for joining me once again.

Remember to do all things with love.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Peace, Quiet, and Creativity

11 Sep

FROM YESTERYEAR

Back in 1980 we moved back to Vermont . . . previous wife, previous life . . . we rented an old house in a town named Northfield when we first got there, but eventually we purchased a log home in East Calais.

That log home was beautiful!  It was on five acres with a year-round stream flowing through the property (and a waterfall); it had a daylight basement and wraparound deck, and the whole home was heated by a big woodstove down in the basement.

Back then Vermont did not have many people living in it; still doesn’t I’m sure.  And the town of East Calais probably didn’t have more than a hundred or so residents.  I remember there were no street lights at all.  The homes were so far from each other, most tucked into the woods, so that at night there really was no light to speak of.  I could step off our porch and not be able to see twenty feet in front of me.

Now I mention all this because at night, on a clear night, the stars were vivid.  There was no ambient light to ruin the show, as it were, so I swear every star in the sky was visible.  It was spectacular!  Of course, if we turned the porch light on, the stars were harder to see, and if we had a patio party at night, with lanterns and such, it was also harder to see the stars.

The less distractions the better!

The less we interfered with the natural order of things, the better!

Do you sense a metaphor at work here?

JUST TALKING ABOUT ME RIGHT NOW

More naps these days

I do my best writing in a peaceful setting. Too much noise makes Bill a fidgety writer.  Noise beyond the acceptable level makes Bill a crazy man.

It’s just how I’m wired.

It’s the same when I’m reflecting on life, or when I have an important decision to make.  Drop me down in the middle of a virgin forest and I’ll pull up a stump and solve the problems of mankind.  Stick me in a crowded room, or a busy restaurant, with wall-to-wall noise, and I’ll only add to the problems of mankind.

I need to allow my senses to embrace the moment. I need to smell my surroundings, to hear my surroundings, to taste, really see, and to touch it all.  In so doing, my mind is freed of chains, and I am then allowed to absorb it all and find clarity.

I don’t know how you rock n roll, but that’s how this boy enters the creative process.

A QUESTION FROM A WRITER FRIEND

On my weekly series “The Writer’s Mailbag,” someone asked me about marketing and in particular online marketing on social media.  He asked if it was all right to befriend someone on Facebook in order to promote your writing.

To me no, it isn’t.

I will make mention of the new novel I’m writing from time to time, but that’s only because some people want to know about my progress made.  I actually don’t care if anyone buys it in 2019 or not.  I’m certainly not going to ask anyone to buy it.  I write my novels because I love to write.  I love to entertain people, and I love to toss out my thoughts and reflections about life in a way which is less overbearing.  If people purchase those books that’s nice; if they don’t, that’s nice as well.

It’s all good, folks!

And with that I will bid you a fond farewell for this week.  I wish for you peace of mind and heart this week and beyond.  Treat yourself, and treat others, with compassion and love.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Good Luck, Bad Luck, No Luck at All

4 Sep

CONTINUED RANDOMNESS

Way back in another lifetime I (we) owned an Arabian mare.

She was a majestic creature, unbelievably beautiful, and one seriously willful animal.

On early mornings I would grab a cup of coffee, go out into the pasture, and sit on a stump to enjoy the peacefulness of it all.  I could always count on Regal walking over to me, air pluming from her nostrils, the sun slowly rising in the east over the fir trees, the sounds of the countryside rising in volume, and I would reach into my pocket and pull out an apple for her. She would then nuzzle my shoulder, man and animal, joined together, finding a common bond of trust . . . great memories!

I’m reminded of those times every day now when I got out to our son’s farm to feed the chickens.  They have three horses there, plus about fifty goats, and there is always someone seeking attention from this human.  It’s real hard not to smile when I’m at the farm . . . I don’t even try to frown.

I like the relationship between farmer and farm animals.  We really get down to basics . . . I will feed you and provide shelter, and in turn you will provide what I need, whether it be food, fibers, meat, or just companionship.

I’m a lucky man!

ABOUT LUCK

Some say there is no such thing as bad luck or good luck.  Others say you make your own luck by the choices you make.  I guess I straddle the fence on that one and take the road less traveled. I don’t like the word luck.  I think we greatly affect the outcome of an event by doing the necessary work in advance and yes, that applies to a writer and his viewership/sales.

Most of you, I’m sure, will agree with me when I say writing a book is the easiest part of selling that book; without marketing and determination, sales will be limited to family and close friends.

And maybe that’s fine with you.  It is with me. I have no illusions of great sales, no expectations, and no dreams.  If it happens it happens; if not, I’m secure and happy in my life. And I find that to be a very cool place to reside.

So I don’t much need luck as much as I need the wisdom to continue doing what I’m already doing.  Why rock the apple cart when the pavement is perfectly smooth?

THE MAGICIAN’S SHADOW

It’s been a year!  It really is hard to believe I’m even typing those words.  It’s been a full year since I worked on my latest novel, The Magician’s Shadow.  As many of you know, it is half-done, and it has been patiently waiting for me to continue for twelve long months now.

That time is now four weeks away.  I can feel the creative juices flowing in my veins in anticipation.

Here is the prologue to that novel:

“Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow.”

He sang as he continued with his work.  He considered it vitally important that a person enjoy his or her work.  How boring it must be, he thought, factory workers who do the same thing, day in, day out, week after month after year, mind-numbing work, spirit-breaking work, and at the end of their fifty years they receive a plaque, a series of handshakes, and the heart attack follows shortly.

That would not be his fate, for greatness does not fade into oblivion.

It began, for him, shortly after his tenth birthday.  A dream had come to him, and in that dream he was The Magician, not a magician as in a description of his craft, but The Magician, the greatest ever, a man of such incredible talent as to defy all laws of nature, to defy all logic, a man who could not be described by mere labels such as “illusionist, enchanter, or conjurer,” for how does one describe the impossible?

He stood on the shoreline and looked at his latest work of art. It was perfect in every way.  The young girl was exquisitely staged.  The authorities would come to the scene in a matter of hours. They would look for evidence.  They would hold countless meetings where they would share theories.  They would hold press conferences and assure the public that the case would be solved soon, but to themselves they would admit that they were stymied, completely in the dark, for how could such a thing have happened?  And how could it happen three times?

They would call in other experts, and more theories would be postulated, and more meetings held, but still no answers would arrive, (for the impossible has no explanation), and then their greatest fears would be realized.

It was all perfect in every way, but he expected nothing less of himself.

He was, after all, The Magician!

############

As you can see, this will be another lighthearted romp through the mind of a serial killer.  LOL

I have to run. There’s painting to do outside while the weather is still cooperating. Have a great week of being human.

Bill

Complex Puzzles to Ponder

28 Aug

More naps these days

I’ve been told, by some, that I have very little patience.

It’s not true!

I have very little patience with incompetence.  I have very little patience with laziness.  And I have very little patience with rudeness/disrespect.  Other than those three things, I’m a pretty laid-back kind of guy.  Is it my fault that so many people are either lazy, incompetent, or rude?

LOL

I’ve also been told that I look grumpy all the time.

Also not true!  I don’t smile that often because I don’t like my teeth, so rarely will you see an openmouthed smile or laugh from me.  But I do smirk quite often.  Someone once said I have a RBF . . . if you know what that means then you get it . . . if you don’t know what it means, I can’t say it because one word is a bit insensitive.

Oddly, if you listen to me talk, you’ll notice that my voice sounds friendly and happy, in contrast to my resting face.  Someone also told me I have friendly, loving eyes, so toss that into the mix.

And what is this all about?

Complexity!

We are complex creatures, and I always try to remember that when creating characters for a novel or short story.   Characters need to seem real.  They need to seem human, and in order to achieve that, they must be as complex as real human beings.

Just something to ponder as you go about your week of writing.

A former middle school student of mine, from 2012, just got married this weekend.  I cried when I saw the notice.  Complexities . . .

I CAN’T WRITE POETRY

I’ve said that many times, but actually it’s not a true statement.  I probably could write poetry if I chose too.  I’m not certain it would be any good, but I could manufacture something if the spirit moved me in that direction.  Heck, I could write song lyrics if I really wanted to do so.

But I don’t!  I love creative writing.  This is what I’m good at, and I suspect part of the reason I’m good at it is because I love it.  Since I have a limited number of years remaining, I see no reason to venture down a brand new path and attempt poetry.  I think I’ll just try to become the best damned creative writer  I can be in the time I have remaining.

TED BUNDY

I was watching a documentary yesterday about the defense lawyer who represented Bundy in the late 70’s, John Henry Browne.  Several times during the show, Browne called Bundy pure evil.

As many of you know, Bundy was our paperboy when I was growing up in Tacoma, Washington.  He has always fascinated me . . . this concept of pure evil fascinates me . . . people do evil things, for sure, but are they pure evil?

Complexities!

Many people believe Evil exists. Some call it the Devil.  Some choose to not name it.  Many do not believe in it, choosing instead to believe that man is capable of evil, but it is silly to believe in a malevolent being.

Complexities!

Just something to ponder as you go about your work week.

THERE IS NO SUN TODAY

While someone else sees darkness and muted colors

Forest fires from British Columbia . . .the wind is coming from the north, so today’s clear day is anything but clear.  The sun cannot be seen . . . the mountains cannot be seen . . . and the air quality is downright unhealthy as we are under a health red alert in this area.

Times they are a’changin’ . . . complexities!

“Don’t let the sun, catch you crying” . . . thank you Gerry and the Pacemakers . . . “The sun ain’t going to shine anymore” . . . thank you The Walker Brothers . . .

More random musings from an old man thinking about what it once was like, what it is now like, and what it could be like.

You can hear John Lennon singing “Imagine” in the background.

John McCain died.  Old school politics dead and buried soon, the politics of compromise and integrity . . . random musings . . . complexities of life.

Time for me to get busy. . . . I have chickens who are more complex than some politicians I know.  Have a great week!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Defining Success

14 Aug

I read an article the other day about ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.  In it the author debated whether McCartney should be considered among the greatest of solo artists since the Beatles disbanded.

The debate went something like this: on the one hand, there can be no denying the body of work McCartney has produced since 1970, nor can there be any debate about records sold.  For forty-eight years now he has been one of the most productive writers/performers on the planet.  The other side of the argument, though, had to do with the quality of his work, its pop status, and the relatively weak lyrics.

Now I actually have no horse in this race, and I really don’t have a strong opinion one way or another, but I did find the whole discussion to be interesting.  I know I’m always picking on James Patterson, but I’m going to return to him as an example of this debate.  There can be no doubt that Patterson has been wildly successful and prolific, making him one of the most successful authors in the last thirty years, but is he a good author based on the quality of his writing, or a successful writer based on his sales?

Just something to think about!  I really am just tossing it out for something to think about and talk about.

TURNING THE PAGE (does anyone remember the song by that name by Bob Seger?)

And then I was watching a YouTube video of a “release party” by Jason Mraz, who happens to be one of my favorite performers.  He’s releasing a new album, and he was talking about the process of writing songs, and he mentioned his muse usually takes him in directions he never planned during the writing process, and I’m sure most of you can relate to that.

AND TURNING ANOTHER PAGE

And then I was thinking of a musical group out of McMinnville, Oregon, called “We Three.”  They are currently competing on America’s Got Talent, a sibling band, two brothers and a sister, and their music has touched me in a way I am not often touched.  It’s a bit odd because I’m not sure why.  Is it the arrangement of the music, or their voices, or the lyrics?  Is it their charming personalities and their obvious humility?  Or is it a combination of all those factors.  Give them a listen if you get a chance. I’d be interested in what you think.

Relating that to writing, I often wonder what it is that attracts a reader to a particular book, or why one book is considered a classic while another will never be . . . there are so many factors which play into success . . . and the conclusion I came to is that it is random and it is particular, it is ethereal and it is visceral . . . toss in random luck and a kiss from fickle gods, and you just might find success.

Have a great week!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly

“When I’m Sixty-Four”

7 Aug

More naps these days

Someone asked me the other day what they should do if they run out of synonyms.  They were referring to the color blue, and they had already called it indigo, aqua, and cobalt.

It’s a pretty common problem for writers.  You certainly don’t want to keep using the same word over and over again, thus appearing as though you have a limited vocabulary, but you also don’t want to take a long walk down Synonym Lane because, well, it seems a bit contrived if you know what I mean.

I suggested to that person, and I suggest to you, that you use similes and/or metaphors to reach the same goal.  Instead of saying a person’s eyes were blue you could say her eyes reminded you of robins’ eggs in a nest on a brilliant morning, or you were lost in the tide-pool depths of her eyes.

Just a suggestion . . .

GOING BACK

I spend the last hour of my evenings reading, usually a novel by one of my favorite authors, but this past week I’ve been reading my second novel, “Resurrecting Tobias.”  I guess I wanted to see how I have evolved as a writer, but I also wanted to revisit my own personal favorite and try to recapture things in that book I was proud of.

It’s an interesting exercise and I highly recommend it.  If you don’t write novels then go over some of your old articles.  Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also can be beneficial.

Oddly, parts of that book made me question whether I had grown at all as a writer. Some passages were better writings than I’m doing right now.  I’m not sure what to think of that.  LOL  There were some passages which seem poorly written now, and I can see what I should have done instead, but we all know that hindsight is a luxury none of us can act on in the present.

So we move forward!

MEMORIES

I was thinking back to when we were kids, and the things we did, without parental supervision, which would today be considered almost frightening.  My parents usually sent me out the door to play with two words of advice: be careful!  Of course I paid zero attention to those words.  We had snowball fights with rocks in the snowballs, just to spice it up a bit.  We played dodge ball with the hardest balls possible because, well, it was really cool to nail a kid in the head with a high, hard throw.  We loved to jump off roofs, and we climbed trees like we were spider monkeys, never giving a moment’s thought that we might fall down and break a bone.

“Be careful”….no chance, Mom and Dad, but thanks for caring!!!

And then we got older, and with age came an oppressive wariness, and our risk-taking adventures dwindled to nothingness, and honestly I find that a bit sad.

I haven’t climbed a tree in a very long time.

I miss doing so.

I was reminded of my age the other day.  I was in the hay barn looking for eggs, and a sleeve from a hay bale broke loose while I was standing on it, and I fell down on my side.  Didn’t hurt anything, no permanent injuries, but the realization hit me that friends my age have broken hips and ankles and shoulders by doing exactly that, something seemingly innocent which turns out to be six months in rehab.

It was a sobering moment, a moment of considerable introspection, coming face to face with the inevitable.

I laughed when I first heard The Beatles sing “When I’m Sixty-Four.”  I’m not laughing now.

Anyway, the next day, I went back into the hay barn and climbed to the top of the hay stack because, well, it was necessary for my own peace of mind that I do so.

WHAT’S THE POINT, BILL?

I guess the point is that a day will come when I can no longer produce the way I am today.  I will sit down at the computer on that fateful day and the words simply will not be there.  My fingers will not be able to dance across the keys, and my mind will not be able to dance across the spectrum of our language.

So today I must squeeze every last drop of enjoyment from writing that I can.

And so must you!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Awareness

31 Jul

I see sunshine and beautiful colors

I was talking to someone the other day who suffers from clinical depression.  It was a fascinating talk, for me at least.  The thing is, I have no frame of reference with that particular malady.  I can’t wrap my brain around that kind of darkness of the soul, the almost crippling nature of it, the hopelessness of it.

Yes, I am a recovering alcoholic and yes, there have been days when life seemed cumbersome at best, but I always knew that if I just stopped drinking, if I could find the help to get me started on a clean life, I could turn things around and life would be sunshine and lemonade once more.  I never truly felt like there was no hope for me. I never felt the overwhelming, oppressive weight pressing down on me, leaving me incapable of even getting out of bed on any particular day.

What does that have to do with writing?  It’s just food for the idea gristmill.  At some point I’m sure it will come in handy.  What it mostly is, though, is a realization, on my part, of just how different we all are while at the same time so similar.  We humans are complicated animals for sure.  If you want a lesson in writing tossed in, make sure your characters are complicated as well.

On the flip side, and I laugh when I say this, I can’t wrap my brain around the Pollyannas of the world.  I will never understand the constant good moods of people like that, how they always manage to see a silver lining in the worst of circumstances, and how they are always smiling.  That just doesn’t register with me.  I’m not finding fault in it at all, but when I’m around the Perpetually Happy folks, it always leaves me with a sense that I must be broken, that there is something profoundly wrong with my personality profile.

While someone else sees darkness and muted colors

IS THERE A POINT, BILL?

I guess what I’m trying to point out, in my own circuitous way, is that my muse is always taking notes. She is always observing, and she is always questioning.  I suppose that has given me a valuable tool as a writer.  I do know people who don’t notice things like that at all.  They have very few introspective moments, seeming to be about as deep as a mud puddle with regards to philosophy and sociology and other studies of the human species.  The word shallow comes to mind when I think of them, but perhaps that is a bit too judgmental of me. My humanness is showing again, I’m afraid.  The fact is I simply do not understand them.  It seems odd to me that they wouldn’t notice the things that are so obvious to me, but then I’m sure they find me a bit strange as well.

A NEW GUARD DOG

Out at the farm (Bev’s son’s goat farm where we keep our 100 chickens) there is a new addition, a two-year old guard dog.  Her name is Sasha and she is part St. Bernard and part Anatolian Shepherd.  A big dog for sure, seemingly a gentle giant, but I would hate to tangle with her. I’ve seen her breed in action, on YouTube, taking on a bear.  A BEAR!!!!  And not backing down one bit.

Sasha loves me.  I spend quite a bit of time with her when I’m out at the farm, just rubbing her ears and talking to her.  She puts her massive head in my lap, drools all over me, and more often than not slips into semi-conscious mode . . . but if you pay attention to her eyes, she never really stops scanning the farm looking for predators. She is always on alert.

I pity the next coyote who decides to walk onto the farm in search of a cheap meal.  That coyote is in for a very unpleasant surprise.

And yes, I’ve known people like Sasha.

My muse is a lot like Sasha.  She never takes a vacation. She is always on alert for the next inspiration.

Kinda cool!

Have a great week!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”