Decorating the mind…

A dear friend of mine shared a tweet that got me thinking. I’m sharing the tweet as I’ve tracked down the original author and followed him and his friend he mentions. It’s, to me at least, a very powerful way to look at two of the arts.

For myself, as I have trouble drawing stick figures, and my musical talents were left behind in high school band, I thought, how does this apply to me?

The answer became clear quickly. Writing is how we decorate the mind. Writers take a complex idea, and distill it down into words that, when ingested, fill a room within your mind, even if only for a little while.

Some of these keep these rooms throughout our life and they form a part of who we are. Perhaps they help us deal with a difficult or painful situation. Maybe they form a basis for how we react to something in our lives, or how we perceive justice or what we consider our moral right.

Writers entertain us, inform us, and, if we let them, teach us something. These lessons may be about our world, or just their world. But either way, they can leave this room within us, decorated with their words. With the emotions and images they co hire within us. These rooms are just as powerful as a master’s painting, or a composer’s magnum opus.

So if you’re a writer like me, don’t give up on your creations. Someone out there is waiting for you to decorate a room in their mind, whether they know it now or not.


2016 is here…

Hello Gentle Readers. I thought in the midst of everyone’s New Year Resolution posts I would just add my own commentary.

2015 was a rollercoaster mixed with a hurricane. It came and left in a hurry. My literary and blogging goals stalled out for much of the year. I did manage to put a novella into the hands of a new friend for editing. She also took a look at my first novel and found some much needed grammatical and word usage problems that have made my work better. I failed to participate in NaNoWriMo, but that’s alright. The pressure would probably make me give up anyway.

On the fatherhood front I assisted my son’s baseball team and coached football. Coaching sports when I am clearly not a sports person was an experience in learning. The kids all seemed to have fun and we made it through the season without too many problems. My family will also be welcoming a new addition sometime in late April (if all goes according to plan). The prep work on the nursery has been tiring, but in a good way. My wife and I have decided to not find out the gender until the birth. This appears to be a growing trend according to our doctor. This new chapter in my journey as a parent is overwhelming at times. As of December 31st, we had “crossed the finish line” as our doctor says. Now if there is any premature labor, the baby is viable to survive. That means my family is definitely going to have an 11year old, and a newborn. The greatest part of these doctor visits has been hearing the heartbeat of a little person I helped create. We are also far enough along that I can feel the baby move and kick.

I have become obsessed with the Mackelmore and Lewis song, Growing Up (Sloane’s Song). I usually start my drive to work with it on and it is the last song I play before I pull into the drive at night. It has been my motivation to become a better person for the sake of both of my children. This means working on my temper and getting myself in better shape. I know, everyone makes resolutions to be healthier in the new year. However, I have managed to lose just over 30 pounds in the last 6 months. My goal is another 20-30 the first 6 months of this year. This will put me lighter than I have been since junior high. I have been quite pleased with my self control because I was warned that husbands typically put on some “sympathy weight” when their wives are pregnant. I have managed to stay constant the last two months.

I am also ecstatic over the new home office I am setting up in a spare bedroom in my home. I just have a carpet remnant to put down, and a corner shelving unit to buy or build (pending approval from my wife on design) and then I can really get to work on my literary endeavors. The space will be conducive to working on any project requiring some privacy and space to spread out notes/reference materials. There is even a section where my son (and future children) can work on homework or arts/crafts, without interfering with my work.

I suppose it is time for a few goals and resolutions for the year.
1 – I want to finish the rewrite/editing of my first book so that the improved second edition can be released.
2 – I want to self pub my novella (still in the editing phase).
3 – I want to finish, edit, and self pub my the second book in my Family Heritage series this year.
4 – I would like to make some major progress on my high fantasy (think Tolkien) series. I have the skeleton of a realm, deities, antagonists/protagonists. Just have to finish plotting and then get to work fleshing out the stories. I haven’t quite figured out if it will be a series of short stories/novellas, or if each set of characters will end up in their own full blown novel. Since they will also overlap I have to make sure my outlines are complete for consistency.
5 – I plan to get myself down in weight before summer. I have at least the 20-30 to lose that I want to, so from there I will evaluate what I still can lose healthily.
6 – I want to blog at least once a week, if not more often. I will be looking for topics to discuss. As part of this I want to do at least 2 book reviews a month. I need to get a submission page setup for anyone interested in having me review their work.
7 – It would be nice to put together a book of poetry as well. I have a notebook almost full and a thumb drive with a few dozen from when I was younger. Just not sure if I have enough that would be of interest to others. The ones I have blogged here have received favorable reviews so perhaps there is potential in others as well.
8 – I want to bring down and gain a better handle on my temper. I am not a homicidal maniac, but there are times where a cooler head would be a better face to present. I have noticed my son picking up some of my habits and I hope that if I can break my cycle, I can help him to not struggle like I have.

I wish everyone else luck with their goals for 2016. This year has an extra day in it (Leap year and all). I think I am going to need it. HA HA! Until next time Gentle Readers.

Rant – Stolen Purse Story on Facebook

I should have known better. I should have just scrolled on past the article on my Facebook feed. The picture wasn’t that great. I honestly thought it was a picture of a pair of cut off jeans or something. Then I read who it was from (a news outlet) and linked by a good friend of mine. I also see over 25k likes and thousands of comments. Curiosity sparked.

So I read about this woman who had her purse stolen while she was at a dog park. Turns out what I thought was a pair of cut off shorts, was a purse made from her boyfriend’s army pants. A soldier who died doing his job of serving our country. This touching reminder to the soldier she loved was STOLEN OUT OF HER CAR. I am using caps on purpose. I have a few things I need to say about this, because it gets worse than just having her purse stolen. I say this knowing that the people I am referring to will not likely see this, but I need to get it off my chest anyway. That is what blogs are for right?

Firstly, to the woman robbed of her property, I am very sorry for your loss. There are few things like being robbed to violate one’s sense of security. Obviously we can all think of worse, but that isn’t the purpose of this rant. Ma’am, I am not much of a praying man but I pray that you get your property back. My little brother was in the Army and whenever someone does anything disrespectful regarding our military it boils my blood. The sacrifice your boyfriend made for this country is one of the most under-appreciated events these days. It is shameful what this scumbag did.

Secondly, to the scumbag who stole this purse (and perhaps committed any of the other recent thefts in the area), I hope Karma catches up to you quick you piece of dirt. Actually, that’s an insult to dirt. Any food you buy with the money from your ill gotten gains, I hope it at least tears your stomach to shreds, if it doesn’t cause you to choke to death. Any drugs you may purchase, let’s hope for an overdose. You are a despicable creature. I know at this point, some readers might say, “Hey, that’s a little harsh don’t you think?” No, it is not. We should be able to feel secure with our possessions in this country. The fact that we cannot, is a disgrace to this country. I am not going to get religious or political in my reasons that stealing is wrong. Just this, as a human being with any amount of self respect or decency, Why do you take something not belonging to you? There is always another way, another path. There is NO REASON to steal from your fellow man.

Thirdly, and this further proves my point of the decline of society, goes out to the commentators who felt it proper to blame the poor woman. Her purse was in her LOCKED VEHICLE, tucked on the floor board. What part of that means she was asking to be robbed? You people need to remove yourselves from this country, and at least the gene pool. Your sense of humanity is so flawed, it makes me wonder what you do in your daily lives? Are you the kind of person who passes a parked car and thinks, “Oh, lets smash this window and take that purse, because I feel like it. If the owner wasn’t asking me to rob them, they would be in the car, or not parked in this lot.” The type of person who would commit ‘victim shaming’ (to steal a buzzword) is about as low as the person who did the crime. Anyone who tries to justify and support these lower life forms can join them somewhere else. Perhaps we can find a nice island for you all. Somewhere tropical. Then we can hit it with a hurricane.

So, I feel loads better having gotten this off my chest. You may now return your regular scheduled programming.

Poem – American Heart (Unfollowed my first blog today)

I have had many many positive experiences discovering blogs since I joined WordPress a year ago. This morning I had to unfollow a blog for the first time. I consider myself very open to criticism, as I know that none of us are perfect. However, a nerve was touched when this person said that American poetry was dead. I did some looking around on their blog and from what I can tell this person has never lived in the United States. I have read many wonderful works of wordsmithery (I am sure that is not a word, but I heard it somewhere and think it is fitting) on other blogs and I think this person just has no clue. You cannot judge the heart and soul of a country’s literary works by the loudest voices. You have to listen for the small still voice that is closest to the heartbeat. I have read and met many wonderful people on here from America and other countries. I hope you will forgive me for this little bit of pride in my country. Anyway, I ended up writing something poetic about it. Enjoy my friends.

American Heart

I read somewhere someone said
That American poetry is dead
No leader or soul to speak of
How dare you judge as if above
The struggles and triumphs of our heart

You who sit in a foreign land
Feeling superior with your pen in hand
Speaking of things you can’t experience
Go on living in your gross ignorance
of the power in an American heart

Each culture has its own outcasts
The voices loudest that always lasts
Loud and proud these voices can be
But some don’t speak for us all you see
For there is beautiful diversity in our heart

So throw your stones from your glass house
And think us mild and meek as a mouse
But when you poke this sleeping bear
Be prepared to face us once we are aware
Of your insults to our American Heart

Under the weather…

My logical brain says that it is merely coincidence, but the more irrational me is blaming Mother Nature for my current condition. Stuffy nose, sinus pressure. coughing, headache on the horizon. She did this to me with her freak late March snow storm. Stupid snow. I delight in its fate as it melts and runs into the sewer drain. That will show that snow. Once it is gone maybe I will feel better. I know it is the cause of my torment.

Why Mother Nature? Why do you inflict this upon your humble son? What offense have I given to you? Speak to me the whole of my transgressions so that I may pay some other restitution than this agony you have inflicted upon me.

She is silent. Leaving me to face my ailments with no glimmer of hope. What a cruel mistress she becomes in times like these. Perhaps she cannot help it. Her moods as wild as the weather we see upon the land. Is she a prisoner of her own power? Mayhaps that is the crux of the problem.

Bound by the weapons she wields. Trapped within the tendrils of her strength like prison bars. The more she pushes, the firmer they become. Pressure building until it explodes like my nose when I sneeze. Mother Nature and I are both prisoners under the weather.

Inability to Follow Directions…

For anyone in a position that they have to give directives (supervisors, managers, coordinators, or like me, a dispatcher); we rely on people to follow our instructions. If you tell someone, hey, this is all the work I have until after 9am, so start accordingly, you expect them to plan as such. Apparently that is too much to ask of some very entitled people. They just expect you to shortchange the other members of the team in order for them to do whatever they want. How have we ever allowed this type of behavior to continue? And, when said person who cannot follow simple instructions calls; They feel they have a right to be belligerent to the night dispatcher who is following the directions they were given. It is enough to raise a person’s blood pressure to an unhealthy level. Perhaps I should have just left them home instead of making an effort to put some money in their pocket? Sure, it may not be a gravy day full of awesome high paying loads, but I am sure it is better than a day spent holding down the couch. I doubt these entitled individuals ever thought about that.

I try to be fair an upfront with every single one of my drivers. I pride myself on not playing favorites even though there are drivers who will take the bad with the good and those who feel they should only get the good while everyone else suffers. Sadly it seems that my efforts are wasted on a few.

/end rant

Poem – A Life Mistaken

I try to not get too political (or discuss religion much for that matter), because it is usually such a volatile topic. I abhor the drama and nonsensical mudslinging that usually is centered around anything to do with government or politics. However, in my caffeine induced writing frenzy today. Something sparked in me regarding all the upheaval after recent police shooting deaths. First I want to say that I support equal rights in every sense of the word. I also support that if you attack an officer of the law, be it unarmed, with a knife, or a gun; then you deserve a bullet. Even if the arrest is for something you are innocent of, that is why we have a court system to assess your case. There is absolutely no reason to respond with violence towards a police officer. If the officer is in the wrong, then that will come to light during the investigation that occurs with any arrest, and especially after all police shootings (as I understand it). Any wrongdoing on the part of the officer will be punished as is allocated in our laws. Anarchy, rioting, burning and looting are the acts of uncivilized, unintelligent people. Do not stoop to that level as a way to seek justice in any disagreement. It merely paints a bad picture to the rest of the world of just who you are. All lives matter. There are always three sides to a story like these; the victim (who sadly cannot tell us directly sometimes), the officer’s, and the absolute truth. Never assume that news and media outlets are going to tell us anything except what will inflame your consciousness and get ratings. That is their job. Oh, once upon a time it was about information exchange and educating the public, now it is all about ratings and profit. That is for another Rant someday. Anyway, here is a poem to go along with this long-winded ramble.

A Life Mistaken

What do you say about a life mistaken?
Mother and Father left with their hearts aching
Fools rush in screaming injustice
Family and friends their loved one miss

Some cries of outrage are justified
In some pure malice does hide
Using tragedy to further their own ends
No empathy for the lost life’s friends

If only we could all stop and think
Before plunging head first off the brink
Cooler heads would be better served
To assure the wrong get what’s deserved

Riots do nothing but feed a fire
Helped along by those who desire
Division, Chaos, and Misdirection
In the wake of a life mistaken

Now, I just want to assure everyone reading this that I know the meaning of the word mistaken. But if you read it with an open mind, you just might catch my play on the word. Happy reading and keep fighting the fight folks.