Amazing. Simply amazing.
Profoundly sad, too. Two places on our planet ruined for 20,000+ years.
And profoundly sad. A requiem for a once-great city. I pause as I ponder these images.
Confession time. I hate journaling. I really do.
I wish I were the kind of writer who relished in awaking in the deep dark night to pour profound thoughts onto the page, but I’m not. Instead of writing in the wee hours of the morning, I’m in bed. Warm. Enjoying a restful sleep. To wake up would mean leaving my warm cocoon and entering the frigid world of reality. I’m not doing that.
Besides, I can never figure out what I’d say in my journal entries. “I made a kick-butt date loaf today!” just doesn’t seem particularly important in the grand scheme of things. I know. I could use prompts and mine my mind for diamonds, but seriously… I just don’t think they’re there.
However, I know many writers keep journals. From what I hear, there are wonderful benefits to training the mind to create on demand, to enter the world of imagination without agenda, to document everything from the mundane to the exciting.
But I’m just not like that. And it’s OK.
Each of us is unique, and we writers need to recognize that. Just because our creative processes are as unique as we are, doesn’t mean one method is right, another is wrong.
So… if you’re on the fence concerning keeping a journal, let’s discuss the technicalities of keeping one starting with how (and why) you should you keep a journal, plus an alternative to keeping one? Here are my ideas:
* You can use a journal to record thoughts that you can later mine for “nuggets,” information you could otherwise forget, but may be useful in an article or story.
* You can use it as an inspirational tool, a way to recognize how life always seems to “work out” despite difficult circumstances.
* You can write in a fancy diary-style book, a cheap notebook, napkin shards. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you record your thoughts.
* I just said I don’t keep a journal. I don’t. I do, however, write ideas on recipe cards… the kind I can get at the dollar store. In one fell swoop, I get 100 cards and I’m good to go. I get an idea, I write it on the card, then file it in a recipe box I nabbed at Good Will. For me, it works. For other writers, it may suck.
My point? Do what works for you.
If you’ve got any thoughts, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments.
OK. Life is going well, I’m exercising daily.
I pop in a new Wii game called “EA Active, More Exercises.” Yeah. Talk about a lame title, eh?
But, the new workout is anything but lame.
Towards the end, I was supposed to do 20 “crunches.”
No problem. My weight is down. I’ve been exercising daily for months. I plopped to the floor, laid down and prepared for the inevitable.
As the kind lady on TV yelled, “One!” my head lifted from the floor.
Let me repeat: my head. Just my head.
Not my shoulders. Not my back either.
Just the head.
If I recall correctly, isn’t the body, from the waist up, supposed to raise during a crunch?
Dang. My only conclusion is that I’m still horrifically out of shape.
So… I’m still attempting to “crunch,” without much success after two days.
I’ll keep at it. But, if you’ve got any tips on how to get those abdominal muscles to work better, I’m all ears.
‘Til next time,
It began on a lazy Thursday afternoon. Spring was in full force. Dogs were restless. I was on deadline but exhausted. I kept turning in my writing chair to gaze outside.
The breeze looked cool. The sun appeared warm. Not a cloud in the sky.
Go for a walk.
“Nah. Too much work.”
Now, I often have these inner conversations. Dunno if it’s a writing thing or just plain odd. But that tiny inner voice has gotten me through more successful deadlines, more uncomfortable situations, and more writing blocks than I can count. So, I usually listen to it. But not today. Too much work to get done. Big deadline.
Go outside. You’re just spinning your wheels anyway.
“No. Gotta write.”
Just a fast walk. Day’s burning away. Tomorrow may be cold. Just head out.
‘Yeah… you’re probably right.”
I left the office, snapped a leash on each pup, and headed outside. At the end of the driveway…
I was just about to turn right when I had an uncontrollable urge to go left.
I never go left. That’s the boring route. But I paused, then decided left would yield an acceptable walk.
I proceeded straight to the end of the street and was just about to turn right when my intuition urged me forward, through the park, and veer towards the railroad tracks.
Now, I never walk the tracks alone. We’ve got wild animals out here. I dislike walking the path parallel to the tracks because when a train zooms past, it’s loud, scary, and exceedingly uncomfortable standing a car-width away from that massive mass of steel, strength, and sound.
But the sensation urged me on.
“Perhaps I’ll veer right and walk the tracks to the end of town and then head onto 7th street.”
Nope. I hit the tracks an an uncontrollable urge to turn left overtook me.
I turned left and abandoned Kandiyohi. The dogs pranced on each side of me, seemingly unable to believe their good fortune. Good walks (according to them) always start by the tracks.
The general route for this excursion is to follow the trail until we get to the semaphore. Then we turn around and head back.
It’s only a couple mile trek, but the view’s awesome with lot of wetlands, groves, and multiple critters if you look carefully.
I’m enjoying the day, trudging along when reality hits. I need to get back to work. Deadlines don’t get away from the computer. I’m just about to turn around when my thoughts ring Just a little farther. Go the whole walk.
“Nah. I really have to get back to it.”
Just a little farther.
I pause moment then figure, “I’m soon there.” So I keep walking.
Further down the trail, amazed at how that semaphore didn’t seem to be getting any closer. I’m also noticing my breath quicken. I slow down. “I should turn back,” I ponder, “this is a waste of time.”
You’re almost there. Keep going.
I groan and kept my feet pointed towards my destination. My mind tightened at the thought that I willingly chose two high-energy dogs who need regular walks. My mood isn’t anywhere near happy as I kept moving forward, my intellectual self silently cursing the long route.
Yet that tiny, still voice urged me forward.
I finally got to the semaphore and paused. It felt good. My heart pounded in my ears. The wind brushed my cheeks. Dogs collapsed, panting contentedly, laying in the cool gravel.
I sat on the semaphore ledge and pondered my bad attitude.
It’s funny how this business can drive me batty. When I get in the thick of marketing, it’s easy to forget why I began writing in the first place. When I’ve got a million (or so it feels) e-mails to answer, blogs to update, writing deadlines, I tend to hole myself up in the office and plow through rather than drop the unessential tasks and live life.
If writing is a dream, why do we treat it like a cut-throat business? Dreams are supposed to be nurtured, treasured, prized, not exploited, twisted, and over-monetized.
I pondered how easy it is to take something as beautiful as a dream… a skill you take years to develop… and manipulate it to fit industry expectations until it’s barely recognizable from what you started with.
I reflected on those thoughts, realizing I was approaching my latest project totally wrong. It dawned on me that I sometimes select my projects following entirely wrong criteria.
Rather than follow a path of joy, I often take the road of security. Rather than trust my intuition, I trust logic, thenfind myself in an uncomfortable circumstance of my own making.
Instead of being who I am, I twist myself to conform to other’s expectations.
“Hmmm,” I thought, “this walk may not be a waste of time all…”
With much to ponder, I turned to leave when I saw it, nestled in the grass like a tiny baby. I gasped as my mouth dropped.
It was something completely unexpected, totally delightful, unimaginable.
Laying, glistening white in the sun laid a most perfectly preserved deer skull.
Oh. My. Gosh.
With twelve even teeth, nasal cartilage intact, sinuses unbroken, I stepped towards the incredible display of beauty.
Brittle bones surrounded the doe skull, but nothing else. No soft tissue. No fur. No flies.
Just dry, sun-bleached bones.
I stood and stared at the skull for a while before I touched it lightly with my finger.
Now, I come from a family of non-hunters so this skull-situation felt completely foreign, yet strangely exciting. As a keeper of natural objects, my office is strewn with rocks, semi-precious stones, feathers… each with a unique story to tell. I knew I needed to provide a home for this treasure.
I poked it a few more times (by now the dogs were quite interested with this turn of events so I didn’t have time to dilly dally), to make sure there wasn’t anything “gross” or “moist” attached to it.
So, before Jake and Rudie could nab this perfectly preserved mass of bone, I gingerly raised it from the grass with two fingers and started walking.
As we made our way home, I wondered how long the bones laid there. I also wondered why nobody had damaged the skull as they (apparently) ate the rest of her body.
I wondered how long the skull had laid in that spot and wondered what would have happened to it if I hadn’t found it.
I pondered intuition and its role not only in my life as a writer, but in everyday tasks.
If I hadn’t listened to intuition, I would have stayed in my office, chopping away at that chunk of marble I called a “project.”
Listening to that quiet nudge transformed my day from drudgery to pure magic.
I carried that skull the full mile home with two fingers, swearing to “disinfect my hand” the minute I got home.
I crossed the railroad tracks back into Kandiyohi, and jogged home, still pinching it tight with my thumb and pointer.
As the four of us (by then the doe had acquired a name) scampered up the driveway I dropped the leashes and studied the beautiful skull one last time in the full sun.
I couldn’t believe my good fortune.
Whenever you see this, remember to trust your intuition.
I felt humbled. It was true. If I only trusted my intuition more, I’d keep myself out of so much trouble.
Every time we’ve signed a difficult author to a contract, I’ve known this person wouldn’t mesh with me when I read the initial manuscript.
Every ornery client has revealed himself long before they’ve signed on the dotted line.
Every irritating experience has been foreshadowed by a niggling feeling and/or a still small voice saying, Bad idea.
Logic often trumps intuition… just like it almost did on my little walk… but intuition will always yield far more satisfying results, although the road may seem longer.
Your assignment? Let intuition rule one day this month. If you don’t have a day, give it an evening.
Ask yourself, “What should I do now?”
Let your gut answer. Then see what happens. Notice your mood. Take note of your creativity level.
It’s a fun experiment. And let me know how it goes.
Whew! I didn’t expect to tell this story. In fact, I planned on keeping it private. But something tells me that you have a “skull” of your own to find.
The annual Kandi is Dandy days is in high gear today. The parade marched directly in front of our house and we gathered a half bag (Walmart sized) of candy. That’s what you get when you combine more parade people than spectators.
My favorite? The kite flying.
After the parade, my husband and I ran down to the old elementary school to watch the kite flying competition on the ball field. Jake the Min Pin and Rudie the Doxie Cross accompanied us.
Being part bird dog, Rudie seized the opportunity to roll in any and all bird droppings. Poor Jakie felt a little stiff after a run in with a big, mean Labrador last night. After a quick vet visit and half a pain pill, he’s on the mend.
But Kandi is Dandy days are small town life at its best. Idealistic seminars teaching how to play a button accordion is followed by Irish music, followed by a street dance.
Should be a fun night!