I study Ray Bradbury because I wish to convey joy and wonder the way he does with his words … or Paul Harvey.
I’ll always remember Paul Harvey describing the amazing car of the future, rhapsodizing about its many features and technological wonders for three or four minutes, and then revealing he had just described his new Oldsmobile Toronado.
Ray Bradbury and Paul Harvey were so good at using words to create that excitement in your chest as you breathe more rapidly because what you’re seeing is so wondrous … to call the reader or listener’s attention to the miraculous right before your eyes … Continue reading “Our lives are magic”
“Lord! he said. “When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell him just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humor and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book I mean. Jiminy! If I were the baker or the butcher or the broom hustler, people would run to the gate when I came by – just waiting for my stuff. And here I go with everlasting salvation – yes, ma’am, salvation for their little, stunted minds – and it’s hard to make ’em see it. That’s what makes it worth while – I’m doing something that nobody else from Nazareth, Maine, to Walla Walla, Washington, has ever thought of. It’s a new field, but by the bones of Whitman it’s worth while. That’s what this country needs – more books!”
— Roger Mifflin from Parnassus on Wheels (1916) by Christopher Morley, talking about his rolling horse-drawn bookstore.
“A real book, I mean” – even in 1916 there were books and then there were real books.
Feed a man a book and blah blah blah – but offer him a book and you give him a time bomb that may sit on a shelf for weeks, months, years, a century, waiting to make a brain explode with images, adventures and the most dangerous incendiary of all: ideas.
Photo © Aliaksandr Mazurkevich | Dreamstime.com
Almost a month into my Year of Finishing, and I haven’t finished anything yet. Even the schedule of what to finish, and when, isn’t done. What gets finished first, hmm?
What time is now?
I’m amused by the new bosses who have spent the last eight years screaming in the faces of elected officials that their policies are shameful and hurtful and mean, and now, having succeeded in winning significant seats from those they have treated as mortal enemies, now call for civility and bipartisanship. Where was civility when their duly elected opponents were passing their legislation? Where was civility when they were shouting from the gallery and fighting to have courts declare their opponents’ laws illegal and immoral?
What time is now? Is it time for civility and bipartisanship – the latter a code word for “cave to my demands” – or is it simply time to resume the battle, with the battle lines redrawn? Continue reading “3 journal fragments: What time is now”
In the time of the great empire, when the people were hypnotized, when the air carried a hint of smoke wherever you journeyed, when birds sought shelter in concrete conclaves and rusted steel, when standing solitary to celebrate one’s self was an act of bravery hated by the crowd, when despair was life’s default setting …
SomeOne sat alone, and then stood.
“May I have your attention?” SomeOne said to the crowd, which gave no attention. Continue reading “SomeOne steps forward”
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese proverb
The best time to write a novel was 40 years ago. The second best time is now.
The best time to apologize to your friend was right after it happened. The second best time is now.
The best time to switch careers was when you were X years old. The second best is now.
Fear not that you missed the best time to do anything worthwhile, because the second best time is right here and now.
“I don’t have time for all this!”
Yes, you do.
A person is what she thinks about. As a man thinks, his thoughts become him. If she thinks she will fail, she will. If he thinks he can do it, he will find a way. It’s that simple, and it’s that complicated. Because thinking is step one; now comes the doing.
A person does what he thinks about. As she works on the task, her thoughts determine the outcome. If he thinks he’ll miss the deadline, he will. If she thinks she can make it, she will. As Mr. Ford (or whoever) said, whether you think you can do it, or you think you can’t, you’re right.
Break it down so you can see the possibilities. Can I plot out a book in X days? Sure, if I invest Y minutes or Z hours a day. It’s like the person who wants to stop drinking: Can you go without a drink for this minute? Good. Now, how about this next minute? And the one coming after this? Pretty soon you’ve gone without drinking for a half-hour, then an hour, then two hours and four hours and eight.
Don’t have time for all this? Can you focus on doing it for one minute? Good. Now, how about this next minute? And the one coming after this? Pretty soon you’ve made the time and it’s done. Try it.
Think outside the box, because there is no box. Not really.
The box is the little cube where you store all the ways you have done things as they always have been done, the ways you have done them, and the ways everyone says they’re supposed to be done.
But you know there has to be a better way. And what you may have forgotten is the box is not there. It’s just a mythical construct created to memorialize the routine.
The routine is easy. The routine gets the job done. But is it enough? Does it get you to the goal? More important, does it get you to YOUR goal? Does it fulfill you, or is it just a paycheck? The paycheck is even sweeter when the work fulfills you.
Imagine how it could be done if you weren’t in this box. Because remember, there is no box. It’s a convenient structure you and your colleagues built to get the job done. It you poke your hand at the walls of this box, it will pass right through and you may be on your path to a better way.
So: Imagine what could be done outside the box, because you’re already outside, because there is no box.