Ignition: A time of assessment and reckoning

Warren & Mom 1975

Sunday was the 44th anniversary of that hot sunny day on the lawn in Ripon, Wisconsin, when I was declared a college graduate and released into the wild. I scarcely could fathom what 44 years means. My parents, 52 years of age, 14 years younger than I am now, smiled sadly and let me loose on the world.

This anniversary, any turning of the calendar, and the final pages of a journal – which I’m approaching now – always put me in a reflective mood, even more so than the everyday picking-up of the journal. For whatever reason, it becomes a time of assessment and reckoning: Can you hear me now? Where am I anyway? What is this place? Has anything important ever occurred here? Who do you say that I am? (Jesus asked that last question, of course, knowing full well who he was, but knowing how important it was that others understood.) Continue reading “Ignition: A time of assessment and reckoning”

Fire – aim – ready

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I have wandered through the blog wilderness for lo, these 14 years now. And wander is the operative word here. I’ve been all over the place, writing about what I want to write about and when I feel like it.

Somerset Maugham had brilliant advice about writing when the mood hits: “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at 9 o’clock sharp.’”

I have seen and shared sound advice about the old command “Ready – aim – fire.” It’s extremely important to do things in that order when firing a gun, but when applied to an enterprise, not so much. If you wait until you’re “ready” and you have a clear “aim,” you may never “fire” your enterprise into the universe.

Inspired by folks like Ray Bradbury, who said, “Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down,” many people including myself have advocated a “Ready – fire – aim” approach, that is, go ahead and get going as soon as you’re ready, and adjust your aim as you go along.

But here’s the thing – I never feel ready. I don’t think I’m alone in that. So I’m just going to go ahead with my new idea for my blog and adjust the aim as it progresses, and I expect after a time I will feel ready.

In other words, Fire – aim – ready.

What we’re about to experience starting May 1 is nothing new to you who have suffered my wanderings all this time. The only difference is this time I have a plan, of sorts.

Here it is:

Monday: Potpourri – a little nudge to start the work week.

Tuesday: Hobgoblin Watch – You know what Mencken said. Every week I’m going to point out an example or two (or more) of those imaginary hobgoblins in action. (I picked Tuesday for this in homage to my days writing a column that appeared Tuesdays in the Green Bay News-Chronicle.)

Wednesday: Screenings – formerly known as W.B. at the Movies, because I’ll be writing about what I’ve encountered on the small screen as well as the big silver one.

Thursday: W.B.’s Book Report – What I’ve been reading and what snapped my synapses and/or made my brain explode.

Friday: Uncle Warren’s Attic – Musical gems you may or may not have heard yourself. (Named after the podcast I keep threatening to reboot.)

What about the weekend? Well, once upon a time I tried writing a Saturday Story every week. I’m not ready to recommit to that – oh wait, what did I just say about being “ready”? Hmmm … check in Saturday to see where that thought went. And check in Sunday to see if anything happens then. Ya never know.

Fire – aim – ready. Consider this launched.

Act IV Mission Statement

act iv mission statement

Uncle Warren is at the end of the third act – 22 years growing up and going to school, 22 years in radio, 22 years in newspapers, and 22 years (ish) ahead – ready to move on and having just wasted $13 on lottery tickets that were uselessly destined for the shredder, as he knew would happen even as he turned over the money.

“That’s it!” he muttered. “No more waiting for the ship to sail in. Today I set out on the voyage and seize my own destiny. No more fear, no more procrastination. I shall take the first step in the journey of 1,000 miles – well, no, I have been on that journey for years but have wandered far afield, hither and yon, but it’s time now to get on track and stay on track. Down the stretch they come, and which project crosses the finish line first?”

At the end of each path is: a finished book. I am writing and editing books – good books, worth reading; timeless books, worth preserving; historic books that must be remembered, full of the sights and sounds and thoughts from before we were born that show us how far we have come and how far a journey we still have to travel. (So: Not just books but recordings – audio and video – of a time before this one, when yellowed paper was crisp and white, when the rusty metal gleamed, when the paint was bright and shiny and no one dreamed it would fade so in the sun.) My aim is to brush off the dust, listen to the echoes, and share What Was so as to better understand What Is and What May Be If We Will It.

“What May Be If We Will It” – not “What Will Be” because the future is a blank page today, and not “If We Have The Will” because we do have will and need to decide what to do with it.

The future is a decision.

Let’s see what’s out there!

A time it was

a woman looks at the mountains through a window on the observation tower.

Once upon a time – what does that mean?

Well, it happened once – but how do you get “upon” a time? Is time something you can leap on, like a horse or a bicycle? Or does “a” time mean that it doesn’t really matter when it happened exactly, it was just one of those days? (And I paused just then – did I mean to ask if it was one of “these” days or one of “those” days, if you know what I mean? And if you know what I mean, why am I trying so hard to explain?) Oh, I hope all of this hem-hawing at the start doesn’t mean I’m going to have a time trying to get the story out.

Ah, well, then. Once upon a time – it was a time not unlike ours but long ago – a time when the rulers were arguing among themselves and people heard them argue, rolled their eyes and went about their business, because a person’s got to eat and squabbling rulers don’t feed anyone except the scribes who pay attention and write it all down as if someone cared – there was a girl. Continue reading “A time it was”

On turning 65

on turning 65

Wait. What?

Did you say this is the year 2018?

That can’t be right. That’s the year I’m supposed to turn 65 and, like, I’m supposed to slow down, retire and start taking it easy and all.

And isn’t Pan Am supposed to have been running flights to the moon since at least 17 years ago? What do you mean, “What’s Pan Am?”

This is a very surreal moment, to be sure. Back when I first thought about what it would be like to be 65, it seemed so far away. I expected to be, well, I don’t know – older. Ready to be cast aside and forgotten. Content to sit in a chair and read a book or watch TV – OK, that part has come true.

Eyes and ears starting to wear out, check. Aches and pains here and there, check. Being skinny and unathletic as a teenager, I never figured to be overweight. (Still unathletic, well, yeah, I guess, but overweight?!?!?!)

Ready to be cast aside and forgotten, though, nope, not even close. I still enjoy looking around and sharing what I see and hear. I still enjoy engaging in this life thing and trying to figure out what it’s all about.

If anything, I’m frustrated because so much is out there to study and see and hear and share. It’s all so cool.

Slow down? When I’m just getting started?

Are you nuts?

Please stand by

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There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to — The Outer Limits.