It’s been one of those weeks where it seems like every question is a hard one, and unfortunately I’ve been designated as the “go to” person for those thorny questions that just don’t have a clear answer. I’m not sure how I got this honor. People say I’m smart, but I think it might have more to do with the fact that I’m not afraid to make up an answer if “I don’t know” won’t do. And of course, it often won’t. Hence, my inventive instincts kick in and alas, the unanswerable continues to come to me for an answer. I don’t know why others aren’t comfortable taking what they know and extrapolating an answer. Maybe it’s my personality. Or maybe it’s because I’m not afraid to do it.
Still, despite my creative instincts, there are still some things that I just don’t get. Don’t call me a “know it all” yet people, because I don’t understand:
1. Why charisma wins popularity but integrity isolates. I know people swarming with friends that don’t do anything for anybody but the almighty “I” and others that give and give, and people tell them it’s never good enough. Real story: I can tell you of instances when I took off work to go to funerals or to visit people when they were sick. “Thanks!” they said, but once they recovered I was relegated back to my place on the Christmas card list while they ran right back to their buddies that were too busy and couldn’t be bothered with “using their leave like that” or dropping a card in the mail. Why was my time out not good enough but their casual “oh, sorry for your loss” when you went back to work okay?
2. Why is it fine for some people to “be like that” but others need to get their act together. This harkens to my last entry about how it seems people like some people and their problems more than other people and their problems. An undependable person that you can’t trust to show up when they say they will is thought of as a “swell guy” because he has that charisma and can light up a room with cheerful banter. “Yea he’s not dependable, but that’s just him!” People say. But his shy neighbor that always shows up when he’s needed is “shady” because “I just don’t know if I can trust him. He really needs to be more open and honest with people.” I tell you; it seems that character doesn’t matter anymore. Why doesn't "swell guy" need to clean up his act and keep his word? And better yet, why do people get angry and defensive if you even hint at such a thing? It seems to me like people pick their friends arbitrarily and they won’t get facts get in the way of what they want to believe.
3. What's up with cliques? Why, people? They’re useless. You don’t have to be in one to have friends. I know because I’m not a group or clique person and I get along with people just fine. In fact, if I ask people questions then they usually tell me things because they know I’m not going to gossip or use it to create drama. Which brings me to my next item …
4. Gossip and drama. OMG. Why even bother? I have enough to deal with without having drama stirred up by people being sensitive and/no nosy. As the saying goes, nobody’s got time for that. At least I don’t.
5. Why are we quick to assume the worst of those we know and the best of strangers? Some people do. Here’s a recent conversation I had:
Them: “There was a bag in my yard this morning! Why would my neighbor throw their trash in my yard?”
Me: “You saw them do it? Why didn’t you ask them about it?”
Them: “No! I mean, it was between our houses. Do you think they pushed it on my side?”
Me: “So you’ve counted out that a stranger driving by might have thrown it out of their car and it blew into your yard?”
Them: “Oh. I didn’t think about that.” Pause. “Could that happen?”
Me: “I’ve seen bags blow in my yard a lot and its windy out today. But hey, you know your neighbor. If you think they did it …”
Them: “No! They probably wouldn't ... I mean, it probably blew in my yard.”
Why were they quick to blame the neighbor and count out a stranger being an igit? I don’t know. And yet, this is a small example of what I see often. People are harsh with those they claim to love and will grant eternity’s grace to strangers. It seems to me it should be the other way around: suspect the stranger, assume the best of the inner circles. But who am I to say? It seems human nature is drifting toward assuming the worst in a lot of cases. We see nefarious intentions everywhere.
6. The weatherman can be wrong 50% of the time (or more) and keep a job. Could you keep your job with a record like that?
7. Why does everybody want Friday off? Friday is my easy, catch up day because of staff shortages and slower calls/emails/mail. I want Monday off. That’s the day everybody comes back and it hits the fan.
8. Yield signs. I saw somebody stop at one a week ago for the first time in I can’t remember when. People ignore them. We need to replace them with Stop signs.
9. Wearing a watch on an airplane when you’re crossing time zones. I learned the futility of this when I went to Arizona. I think I was the only one on the plane wearing one. And yet, I was pestered to death. “What time is it in Charlotte? How long have we been in the air? How much longer till we land?” Why ask me these questions? The watch doesn’t control time and its ability to tell it was compromised. Next time, I don’t wear it or hide it in my carry on. Geeze.
10. Why do thermostats even have settings below 70 degrees or over 75 degrees? You know people get uncomfortable at temperatures outside that range. Choices, schmoices. Build HVAC systems for reality, folks!
11. Why is everybody wearing yellow today? I’ll wear my new yellow shirt, I thought this morning. Then I got here and saw about 10 people coming in wearing yellow. What’s up with that?
I don’t know. These are some of life’s questions that I can’t even hazard a guess. So I suppose my inventive instincts aren’t that sharp after all. But maybe they do still work to a degree, because the beauty of being a writer is that I can pass the questions I can’t answer on to you, the reader, and let you be the judge. Heh heh heh.
That’s all today. Happy Friday to you. Have a great weekend.
I had to go in yesterday to get the bloodwork for my annual physical done yesterday. Test, bah. I know what’s wrong with me, and I don’t need to be picked, probed, prodded, scanned, or sampled to figure it out. I have PNP - Post Novel Paralysis. I haven’t been able to write anything new since I published Move and Feathered Frenzy. My muse is worn out. This isn’t uncommon after finishing a major project, and considering that I had 2 writing projects in progress for a while, well, I probably drove my poor muse near death’s door.
Most people call it “writer’s block,” but this is different. This is a kind of block that comes when you drain the well dry, and it’s time to find a new approach. All stories are about the protagonist coming under attack and having to change, but I think I’ve beat the “forced life change” thing to death. Of course, that’s been a theme of late because my life was rearranged a few years ago. But that’s all over now and things are rolling along again. I’m back into the mundane details of day to day life and, I suppose, need to remember how I found inspiration in that before. I know I did it. Battleground Earth, Quarantine, Resonance, Blurry and Anywhere But Here were written prior to my job/life shift in 2010, as well as several devotionals and a few short stories that got some attention online.
Not that I’m asking for more drama, chaos, or life kicking me in the rear. As the saying around here goes, “nobody’s got time for that!” Really, who needs it? My paradigm has shifted, rearranged, changed, moved, and now the foundation is set. The bruises from where life kicked me in the rear finally healed. I worked harder than I knew I was capable of to get the “sucks to be you” out of my life. Let that crap keep moving right along out of here, thank you very much.
The truth is, there’s drama in the mundane. You don’t see it when you’re going through major changes or a crisis because you don’t have the time or energy to worry about it – and frankly, the consequences of bad decisions are aggravating as hell and nothing but an unwanted nuisance when have to change your life. I suppose that once the storm has passed then it takes a while to open your eyes to see the smaller details that are moving everyday life along. That seems to be where my issue is.
I know it seems silly, and certainly you don’t have any business getting involved in other peoples’ problems. It’s also not wise to get bogged down in the minutiae of everyday aggravations in your own life. But these things can have meaning and lead to growth too; not the big spurts or paradigm shifts I spoke of earlier, but in the slow, almost imperceptible movement of everyday life, like sand washing off the shore. This is where the inspiration for my renewed venture into short stories will come from, and this is where I must learn to regain my vision and my inspiration.
So that’s my explanation for how I can travel from Myrtle Beach, SC to The Grand Canyon in Arizona in a months’ time and still have bumkus for inspiration. I have Post Novel Paralysis and those things were too big for me to put into the perspective of a fiction context now. I have to reflect more on the everyday details, and this is a lesson that only comes from the day to day grind of life.
That’s all today. Have a great rest of the week.
A recent outbreak of drama led Rick and I to ponder the source of problems recently. We realized that the totally out-of-left-field things that hit you without warning and turn your life upside down are actually pretty rare. In fact, as I look over my own life, I think I can only think of 2 or 3 instances when my life was smashed to smithereens and there was absolutely no avoiding it. At 37 years old, I think that's a testament to how rare the "rebuilding your life" seasons are. Thank God, too. Because if such things happened frequently then I'm not sure there would be a single sane person on planet Earth over the age of 30.
The thing is, it seems like people have problems all the time. I mean, it's never ending, and there are some that live in a constant state of drama. Life is one series of battles after another. Well, if the turning life upside down occurances are rare, then what is it that creates all this drama? The answer is simple, and it's none too flattering. All that drama boils down to one thing and one thing alone:
People making bad decisions.
Yep, that's it. Most of the problems we face on a day to day basis boil down to a simple matter of somebody making bad decisions. Even some of the most complex problems can be drilled down to the fact that somebody, somewhere, made a bad call. Sometimes it's that we make bad decisions. We don't plan ahead. Or worse yet, we make our decisions based on the #1 worst decision maker in existance - our feelings. We know what's right, or what we should do, but it's trouble, or it's a hassle, or we just don't like it, so we don't do it. Emotions get people in more trouble than anything else on Earth, and I'd be willing to wager a large percentage of what I have that most of life's problems stem from doing what feels good instead of what's right. I could write a doctoral dissertation on this, but fortunately for you, dear reader, that's not my purpose here. My purpose is to address this at the simplest and most basic level.
Sometimes the bad decisions are made by others, and you suffer for them. I've often said the greatest injustice is suffering for other peoples' mistakes, and it happens way too much. If you have any kind of relationship with other human beings, you know what I mean (especially if you work). Other people do something completely senseless, or don't plan, or create emergencies and they call on you to help fix the problem. These situations are not only annoying, but they destroy relationships too. And even if the relationship isn't destroyed, it's severely wounded to a point that it will take longer to recover than anybody is comfortable admitting.
The good news is that there's a simple cure to this. If problems are caused by bad decision making, then what's the logical way that they're solved? Say it with me, kiddies: "Doing what's right." Wisdom and discernment can help you work your way out of a pickle AND has the added benefit of preventing future drama because you learn from your experiences and don't make the same mistake twice. It harkens back to the old saying "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." You just have to be able to look at the situation in the face of the reality it exists in, determine what the right thing to do to fix it is, and do it. Three step process: analyse, assess and act. I even used some handy alliteration in there so it will stick to the memory.
I think it's worth pointing out that The Bible has an entire book called Proverbs that's dedicated to the virtues of wisdom. It's no joke, folks. Wisdom is often overlooked as a virtue, but it's probably the most important thing we can have besides our health. I'd even go so far as to say that wisdom will get you further than intelligence.
As for me, I know how to deal with the drama. When people start freaking out, it's worth remembering that the world hasn't ended yet due to peoples' problems. No, this old rock hasn't seen an armaggedon mistake yet. And to borrow a line from Nick Fury in The Avengers - we'll continue saving the world from until such time as the sun stops rising. Or something like that. Heck, I'll be able to tell you next week when it comes out on DVD, BlueRay, streaming video and all those other fun formats for the home.
And for all of you dealing with drama or problems in any way, shape or form, below is a silly video to help cheer you up and put it into perspective. Enjoy!
That's all today. Take care.
5 times. That's how many times people have almost hit me in traffic over the past 2 days. Traffic wasn't bad. They had no passengers. They weren't on cell phones or texting. They just weren't paying attention.
You want to know the worst part? I only work 10 minutes from home, and I ran 2 errands in that time. And I almost had 5 people ram into me. One lady came barreling into my lane this afternoon. She looked sheepish when she discovered we aren't in jolly old England.
On second thought, that's not the worst part. The worst part is that this happens this time every year. People get stressed, people get in a hurry, and people aren't paying attention. And that's dangerous when operating a motor vehicle. It can lead to problems and consequences that can stain your holiday and cause problems (and a rising insurance premium) long after the most wonderful time of the year is over.
Ladies and gentlemen, I completely understand having too much to do with too little time and a HUGE date in red approaching - but please, take a deep breath, calm down, and take Yoda's advice: Pay attention to where you are and what you're doing NOW. Not on what all needs to be done, or your frustration, or the ticking clock that runs too fast, or the endless to do list, or traffic, or parties, or the fight you had with the drama queens in your life that always crawl out of the woodwork this time of year (OUCH! How rude and awkward of me to bring up that inconvenient truth in a public forum!).
I know it sounds terribly adolecent, but the advice we give teens learning to drive applies to each and every one of us with a license: Driving is a huge responsibility that is not to be taken lightly, and you must be 100% attentive to it. I don't care how long you've been driving - distractions lead to errors in perception and judgement no matter how experienced you are. So please, if you don't want to become the grinch that ruins Christmas for yourself and some innocent person, put your entire attention and focus on driving when behind the wheel of a car. Turn off the radio, if you must. Plan your route and use a GPS system, if you're traveling. Partition your brain so you can put driving mode in a seperate area from chaos mode. Do whatever you must to pay attention to operating a motor vehicle while you are operating a motor vehicle.
And please, feel free to stress, fret, and have all the panic you want once you're parked.
Hi folks; I hope you're having a good week. It's been really busy the past couple of weeks, and not just with writing. It seems everything in life has exploded recently in every area. It's like that sometimes, and I should have figured. The summer was relatively sedate - as sedate as it gets in my life, anyway - so I guess it was bound to happen.
*Sigh* It seems that the older I get, the more complicated life gets. Everything keeps growing. Don't get me wrong - of course, we all want to see the fruits of our labor and to see things grow in our life. I'm very glad to add "independent author" to my life, and I've worked 10 years for this, and hope it keeps moving forward. That's the whole purpose, after all. Life in the 21st century seems to be a complicated web of activity. Everything's always in motion.
Or perhaps that's just the nature of life. Maybe it's always been that way.
The ironic thing is; I don't want to give up anything..(Well, if my writing did well enough to not make a full time job necessary, I'd gladly let that pass out of my life :) But seriously, my point is that I wish everything would take it's proper turn. It seems everything happens all at once. Does my work schedule HAVE to fill up with meetings right when I'm trying to get publicity stuff done for my writing? Do things have to take off with church committees when friends are coming in from out of town to visit? Do people addicted to drama have to start acting up (or rather, acting like themselves) when all of this is going on at once? Does Chloe's neck spasms have to start back up when there are things at home that need immediate attention?
And yet again, I say it's probably the nature of life. I hear others complain of this problem. The fact is that the world keeps turning, and it doesnt' stop because it would be convenient to hit a "pause" button for a while. Each and every one of us must find a way to cope and to keep on moving. Because life does, whether we feel like it or not.
So I suppose the point of this blog is to say that my life is rolling along, just like everybody elses'. Life on Planet Earth is progressing as it always does. We're all still here and alive, and by the grace of God, we'll make it.
That's all today. Happy Friday to you. Hang in there and I hope you have a great weekend.