Worth repeating: ‘Because I am alive’

[I wrote this just before the calendar turned to 2017, and three years later it still feels worth saying.]

Quite a few famous people have died in 2016. Quite a few famous people die every year; one of the regular features of the Academy Awards is a review of all the great actors and filmmakers who have passed in the previous year, and it’s always overwhelming how long the list is. Continue reading “Worth repeating: ‘Because I am alive’”

Make your life a page-turner

page turner

This is the dawn. This is the turning of the page. This is the new beginning, halfway through or three-quarters through or one-third through or re-doing after a false start.

Don’t worry if you have turned the page before and here we go again. Do you know how many pages are in a book?

A compelling book is called a page-turner, right? Keep turning the page until the story has hooked you, until your story is so compelling we can’t put it down, and you can’t put it down.

Turn the page! Let’s see what happens next!!

It’s all in the attitude

3244 fearless love endures

Oh, bother. Oh, woe. Will inspiration ever strike? It’s so ha-ard to sit here and try to write. How am I going to get my characters out of this mess? It takes so long to work it all out. I don’t want to sit at this desk and try to concentrate on all this.

“Isn’t this great?!”

What? No. Are you crazy?

“Only crazy about how much fun I’m having. It’s so great to take a little time for inspiration to strike.”

You call this fun?

“Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s so much fun to just sit and try to write. How am I going to get my characters out of this mess? I can take my time to work it all out. I just love to sit at this desk and concentrate on all this. I’m living the creative! Wheeeeeee!!!”

(Guess which attitude is more fun – and more productive.)

Be a gardener

be a gardener

The delight in this quote comes, to me, not from what it says, although it is delightful, and not from who wrote it, for he wrote many delightful things, but from the totally unexpected place where he wrote it. Delight can be found even in the darkest places and times.

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Gandhi’s personal mission statement

78861-gandhi1929Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
* I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
* I shall fear only God.
* I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
* I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
* I shall conquer untruth by truth.
* And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.
— Mahatma Gandhi

3 journal fragments: What time is now

willow 12-21-2018

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”

Life as a fantasy

winter sunset through the windshield

“Life, to the believer OR the agnostic, is a pretty wonderful affair. I mean wonderful in the sense of true wonder, awful in the sense of awe, stressing the IM in impossible. It is truly a miracle that we are here at all, to sleep, to rise, to down quick breakfasts and run for trains and be on time or late, as Fate decides.”

— Ray Bradbury, from the Introduction to Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow

July 1, 1951