Some thoughts on why I’ve wanted to be a monk at various times in my life, another entry in the long blog titles series.

At various times in my life I’ve wanted to be a monk. Specifically to be left completely alone with my thoughts, to contemplate, to just be. I suspect many people have wanted this, just to be left alone.

When Iris Eyes Are Smiling…

Thought One: Why can’t we just be nice to one another? Really, why can’t we be good people, all of us? Fundamentally I don’t understand why people are evil, mean or abusive. It is a great weakness in my writing. It’s hard for me to understand and put myself in that place. I am referring not to a reaction state, as in when someone hits you and you want to hit them back. There are evil people, people who do mean things because that is their nature. People who believe they are better than others.

Where does this come from?

This thought can overwhelm my soul and drive me to the solace of solitude.

Thought Too: I enjoy peace, the place of the tranquil soul on still water. I am sure others, perhaps even you have experienced moments of tranquility. When you the turbulence of your mind becomes the flat still water of peace. I long for this when wanting to be a monk. The place of being in the still moment of nothingness. A place to remain forever. In my youth it was easier to find this place. As I have aged, my tolerance for people intruding on my peace has become nill. In fact I become quite upset. The once still pool of deep waters has become a shallow puddle, easily disturbed, muddied by the merest infringement on it’s edges. The isolation of the monk calls to me, assuring me the monastery can protect me from this.

Thought Three: It’s a lot of work to cultivate the peace desired in my life. I need to book a time, find a space, hope that no one is going to interrupt me. Do I have the tools I want to use ready, a coffee, some music and notepad. A monk is again protected by the abby. There is less struggle to create the sacred space needed for contemplation.

Some people will say I need to learn to meditate, I am not going to argue, but the point of this rambling writing is not just a an injection of daily meditation but a life of solitude and peace.

Living a life were the interruptions of life are birdsong and kettles boiling to make coffee, a dream, a hope.

Be Well… dcd

What is procrastination, let’s talk about it to avoid working on what we should be working on. Part Two of the Long Blog Title Series.

I don’t like the word procrastination, hate it actually. I think it is a ‘cheat’ word, well at least for me it is.

I’m lazy, and lack discipline is what I think in my head when I hear procrastination. Why is it I can’t do what I want to do? It makes no frickin sense. For some of you, you will never understand this. Others will be tired of hearing about this again. It can be so tiring to read about the same issue over and over again. I understand, remember this blog is self-indulgence for me, not you. Move along, there are better blogs for you to read today.

Are you looking at me?

/digression – I was going to write “Why can’t I do the right thing?” But I can’t use that phrase. It always reminds me of Spike Lee’s amazing film, “Do the Right Thing” (1989) If you haven’t watched this film, you should. In my opinion one of the greatest uses of the film/movie art form in the history of humanity.

You may wonder why I commented on the digression I had in my thought process. The title of the blog should explain why, the evil P word. Secondly I’m trying to use the blog as a process to get into the flow of writing. The stream of consciousness writing and not self-edit as I write the blog.

Second digression completed.

Part of this is tied to the concept ‘The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’. Similar expressions are found in Islam and the rigors of the scientific method. I am not a scholar in any of these areas.

A crude analogy would be trying to change the course of a river that has run the same way for thousands of years. The river is solidly entrenched in the path it wants, the path of least resistance. Each erosion of the earth has been made to make the river’s journey easier.

Perseverance, Evaluate yourself honestly, Seek help in writing from others. Those are my answers today.

The problem with each of these answers is they require self-discipline or perhaps in my case, the correction of the easy habits, just letting my life run on auto-pilot. Everything around me now seems to revolve around the concept of how to change.

Dynamite or damming the river can change the course of the river. A little drastic, don’t you think? Some of the pools and eddies in the river are just fine, thank-you very much.

And I have successfully procrastinated, at least I’m good at something…

Cheers…dcd

Some thoughts, about a quote, from a guy, from the second century, involving philosophy.

“Treat with the utmost respect your power of forming opinions, for this power alone guards you against making assumptions that are contrary to nature and judgements that overthrow the rule of reason. It enables you to learn from experience, to live in harmony with others, and to walk in the way of the gods.” (taken from The Emperor’s Handbook -Marcus Aurelius- , A new translation of The Meditations by Scot Hicks and David V. Hicks)

Please note the above quote does not say guard your opinions, but the power of forming opinions. The authors of the translation go on to talk about what controls this power and how The Meditations helps guard against foreign powers from taking over how I get my opinions. These powers can be anything, drink, love, lust, or an actual foreign power influencing you.

Again it is not our own prejudices we are guarding, although they are a real threat to living a better life, or so I believe. If we can’t with confidence evaluate how we live our lives and change as a result, we are in far deeper trouble than being manipulated.

Not that reason is the be all end all, indeed, the current modern expression of the scientific method has been co-oped by research grants controlled not by the search for reasons, but by the search for funding. Scientists can only research when there is funding. And funding rarely, if ever, rewards innovative unproven hypothesis to test. Our investigation is derivative. It must be built on something previously proven.

But I digress, the quote is about the individual guarding their own process for coming to a conclusion and forming an opinion. I doubt there is a single course of study providing guidance in this matter. Critical thinking, you say? Critical thinking is by enlarge about thinking, not protecting.

What are your defenses for guarding your process? When you write do you jump on the latest bandwagon, magic bullet for writing? I sadly don’t have an answer other than I try to:

  1. Record what works for me to write and then practise that process.
  2. Avoid ‘triggers’ that put me out of the writing flow.
  3. A space to write in.
  4. Music

Somedays I wish I could wrap myself in bubble wrap. How about you?

Today’s diatribe has been brought to you by the word ‘Trigger’ and I don’t mean the horse.

Be Well…dcd

Back to Blogging

I’ll hopefully be filing the space here on a regular basis to get the flow of typing/writing going again as I try and put some projects back online.

Goal is once a week with a new piece of art or photo for each blog. The focus of the blogs is undetermined at this time. There is a high probability that I will be using them to dump raw scenes or try out ideas that are once removed from a real idea I am writing on.

An example of this might be on writing pieces focusing on minute detail. What is the bird thinking about when eating a shelled seed? How did it shelled? Or ‘It’s about time he stopped putting the the shelled seeds out, aint nobody got time for shelling and thank the lord above he got a squirrel proof feeder finally.’

But none the less some free-style, blah, blah to get going.

Currently I’m listening to A Pattern of Shadow and Light by Melissa McPhail. It’s been a wonderful series. But today I want to comment on the narrator – Nick Podehl – he is amazing and actually the reason that I am listening to the series at all.

I was out of books to read and I want to keep on an Epic Fantasy Theme, because that seems to make me happy on my 36 minute commute. I searched his name and found Ms.McPhail’s series on Audible. While this may seem odd at first blush, it’s not to me. I liken it to watching all the movies by a specific director or actor. He does an tremendous job on all books he voices, which are quite a few.

I have to wonder what his real voice sounds like? Does he ever use his real voice.

Do any of us use our real voice or are we only imitating what we think we sound like? It’s common for people not to like their own voice once recorded and then played back for them. And that’s what this blog is about finding my voice in writing again. A voice that makes no sound but is an integral part of any writing.

Be Well…dcd

Escape Of The Circus Ponies

The whimsy of the song forced a small smile onto his face, despite all attempts to prevent it. For a while he let his head sway to and fro just listening to the song, not letting memories and melancholy of long ago overtake him.

Degas Remembered?

The furtive first line of the song, the hesitation before the escape was simply wonderful. A precis of the gentle bounding to come. Then, rather than a stampede of sound, the composer let a lyrical ride of notes cascade out and run around the listener.

Still he let himself just listen.

Solace.

He found solace in the song. Understanding now why he was listening to this song, this song from so long ago, when he was a different man. Comfort in time of distress. But what sorrowed him now? What was his distress?

He let his thoughts wander and drift where they may, relieved of all control or all purpose. Currents of movement, of where he wanted to be, of where he wasn’t.

“It’s time sir.” His aide said.

Taking in a deep breath, he open his eyes letting it out in a slow powerful, grounding action, his confidence returned.

Taken from: Memoirs Of The General by Aninka Kindly circa 14 N.E

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Escape Of The Circus Ponies is a real piece of music by Liz Story.

Memoirs of The General is a fictional book written about General Tanner Kindly.

Most of the time spent writing this was given over to finding the spelling of the word “precis”.

Degas Remembered? Is a real piece of art created by dcd.

Be Well…dcd

Routine and Writer and a lack of quotation marks.

She explained juggling was simple. He laughed, watching her keep five balls in the air. They fell like a fountain, cascading perfectly into her hand. Cascading, like her hair, her laughter. He loved his muse.

Inhaling her presence of wonder, her every word kept him in rap attention. A juggler, only catches one ball at a time, and throws one ball at time she said. You can catch one ball at a time. You can throw one ball at a time.

Tile Apr-2019

She threw him one ball, startled, he dropped it. A giggle escaped her lips. Still maintaining the balls in the air she knelt and picked it up.

Now you are ready? Try again, and she tossed the ball he caught it. They smiled. Next time use one hand, she chided him. She threw him another ball, but his hands were full, he dropped the first one and missed the second one.

Silly, juggling is throwing the balls up, not down. Again she picked up both balls. All the while juggling. He knew not to ask where all the balls were coming from. Muse’s were magic, and one did not ask such questions, lest the Muse leave.

He dropped the balls again. She took a deep breath, a wry smile crossing her face. She stopped juggling and the balls disappeared. One ball in her hand she tossed it to him. He caught it and tossed it back.

She didn’t throw it back. Instead, her eyes, the pools of his inspiration looked at him. Now you play catch, with yourself. First with two hands, then with one. Soon it will be routine and you will write regularly.

Write? I thought we were talking about juggling?

My silly human, what ever gave you that idea, this is a blog about writing.


Be Well…dcd

Butt In Chair

Rambling string of conscious blog done at high speed…

The singular most important action you can take as a writer, is to get your butt in the chair and write as often as possible. Good, Bad, Ugly, rambling, off topic, anything.

The habit of writing is an elusive lover, once found, you will cherish and safeguard. But like smoke, will escape in a careless moment, leaving the faint smell of missed opportunity and regret. I

If I had only written every day this week I’d be finished this chapter, story book.

Many people treat writing like a one night stand, fun, mysterious, dangerous…but not a commitment. Commitment, a foreign concept in today’s world sordid social media where many want to spread their hate as fast at the STD rate.

The dirty secret about commitment is it involves accountability. And is anyone accountable for anything today? We have excuses for everything. No one owns their mistakes, and if they do, they are considered weak.

All relationships go through struggles, the ups and downs not involving pleasure. Writing is no different for me.

Like a recovering alcoholic all writer’s need a support group. Find one.

Be Well…dcd

Painting and Writing

I’ve recently started experimenting with acrylic pour painting. Today’s blog focuses on one aspect that fascinates me , people like what I would paint over.

Not the one I was going to paint over.

I’m not going to try and explain what acrylic pour painting is. I’ll show you a couple of examples. If you are interested, a simple search on the ‘u Tubes will show you more than you ever wanted.

The whole fam damily tries it out.

As you can see the results are highly varied and each person likes or dislikes the paintings as they see fit. One of the components of this painting style is, if you don’t like it, you can easily paint over it. This takes us to our point: Don’t paint over what other people like.

I made a piece that I didn’t like. Getting ready to paint over it, my spouse said, “What? That’s beautiful, don’t paint over it.” Shocked I said, “But I don’t like it.”

Then I stopped. Everyone’s taste is different. People appreciate different aspects of abstract painting. I showed it to a second person, who didn’t know the reaction of the first person. They liked it. I can’t understand why these people like this piece. I doubt I ever will. But it caused me to think if I do the same thing in my writing.

Have I scrapped or trashed scenes because I won’t like them in real life? I have a tendency to avoid the awkward squeamish scenes from ‘reality’ tv shows. Have I avoided writing the super embarrassing confrontation because I wouldn’t like it in real life? Even now, years removed from a situation, I cringe at my actions, and naivete. Even though it’s the perfect example of what I’m talking about, I can’t write about it.

From what I have read, and talking to other authors, there comes a time when you don’t like what you’re writing. It’s all garbage, I can’t write, why am I even doing this writing thing? Stop and get some perspective. This may mean giving it to someone else to read, or just shelving it for two weeks until you are in a better frame of mind.

My favorite is, “I hate the PoV, I’m going re-write it.” Next time, consider, maybe the PoV is fine, and you’re just squeamish about having to submit it. Or afraid of being rejected. To the best of my knowledge, to be an author means dealing with rejection from publishers, editors, agents. It’s part of the writing process. Embrace it.

You’re not always right about your own art, at least I’m not.

Be Well…dcd

There are always more anomalies than you planned for – j.townsend 2019

In the mythical world of earth I am a character working in information technology at a company. We recently moved into a new building. Therefore for the last two weeks, I’ve done nothing but work and discover anomalie s . Anomalies require two immediate steps be taken, one is a prompt work around solution to allow the business to function and two, a report sent to allow for the issue to be resolved. Step one requires creative out of the box thinking. Step two requires accurate details to permit the swift resolution. Those of you who have been in this position know that “swift” can sometimes mean 6 or 7 weeks.

The third aspect of this process is the pristine perfect work, your work, your pride, is often compromised to get people working. And unless you do my job it is beyond difficult to experience the ruination of your own work because of others. Such is my situation. Instead of an impeccable server room with neat cables, I have what amounts to a rats nest of chaos. In fact I doubt whether rats would live there.

Random Cat Picture!

The astute reader will identify this as a metaphor for the writing process. And as someone who is going to send out three manuscripts this year into the chaos of slush piles, I have a lot of pain ahead of me. A writer fulfills all these roles, from owner to architect to finish carpenter to accountant to receptionist to IT guy. (PS – IT people hate being called “IT Guy”)

The result is the next several blogs will deal with aspects of anomalies that have corresponded to events in the new building. It’ll be fun, we’ll laugh, we’ll cry and I might get my sanity back. Hopefully I will get my writing mojo back.

Topics include, More phones than places to plug them in: Bridging your main character until you flesh them out making them a better character and thereby making your story better.

Why is it so cold in the building: Building heat in your story that is consistent with your characters. Not just a tussle in the bedroom.

Dealing with false accusations: How to get the enemy to aid your cause without compromising your values.

All of this will be from my limited perspective as a writer. Join me on the mythical adventure into the real world of my writing.

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More than ever this year, be good to people. Recognize kindness, take time to honestly praise people in front of others. Hate surrounds us, destroying the soul of society do not aid in the destruction.

Be well…dcd

I’m not as good as I think I am…

This is not a downer, woe is me blog. If you’re looking for one of those, keep looking. This about me acknowledging to be a writer and have the good habits of writers, I need to follow the hacks that others use. I am not above them. I need to do, what I tell others to do. This is should not surprise anyone.

As a result, this will be a short blog, were I trick myself into writing more.

pour-01

And now, a short diversion. The year is 1976. I’m in grade 11. At this point in my life I play a tremendous number of sports. A group of traveling athletes came to our high school in rural Alberta. A chance to see National football players was unheard of at that time. I was one of the fortunate ones chosen to compete in a little head to head action in a variety of sports.

All three of the men were currently playing in the NFL. The one I remember was the Center for the Minnesota Vikings. He was a big man. By Big I mean walls got out of his way and said sorry. (They were Canadian Walls). In the three on three basketball competition. We mistakenly thought we could leave him unguarded on the perimeter. Yea, that was a dumb idea. He was nothing but net from the outside. We also foolishly thought we stood a chance in any of the competitions… Ah the stupidity of youth. And in thinking we could win, I foolishly tried to draw a charging call on Mr.Big. It was a great idea.

Somehow I saw what the play was going to be. So I set up where Mr.Big was going to drive the lane. Arms crossed in front of me protecting the family jewels, ready to draw the charge. Mr.Big caught the ball spun and drove the lane to the basket. When he turned, imagine his shock to see me standing there. But it was too late he barrelled into skinny high school smart ass.

I will attempt to relate what I think happen in mirco pieces of time between him seeing me and his contact with me.

First, I believe he understood, well before I did, what was going to happen. Secondly, he tried to drop the ball and grab me to prevent what occurred. Lastly, he felt pain for me. Sorrow, regret. The last he thing he wanted to do, was hurt anyone.

What happened next was simple physics. Force = mass x acceleration. He hit me square in the chest with his shoulder and I launched off the ground like a Saturn V rocket heading to the moon. (Further evidence would show that the circumference of one of his thighs corresponded to my waist.)

Well, I would have reached the moon, but the polite wall didn’t believe in getting out of the way of idiots and therefore it prevented me being the first Canadian in space. In the nano second before I let the wall catch me, I heard the sound of silence. The entire gym inhaled and held their breath. Even the athletes. I could see all three of them, the fear in their eyes that they just a killed a Canadian High School student.

My mother often said, “You can’t hurt a Dear male by hitting them in the head.” Once again Mother was right.

To this day I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I wasn’t hurt. But I know you can’t fly through the air and get stopped by cinder block wall and not be hurt. I know from first hand experience. But on that day, in that place, I was fine. I don’t offer an explanation.

What is the lesson I learned? It took me years to figure out what I learned.

I was wrong, is what I have come to understand. The outcome of the game was never in doubt. My drawing the charge wouldn’t have won the game. But to see the pain and hurt in those grown men’s eye’s as I flew threw the air with the greatest of ease, I don’t need to see again. Even if I was in the right.

Be Well…dcd