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.

Stress (Commentary and Poetic verse)

Stress. Funny how that word conjures up images of anxiety ridden individuals breaking down. Some lash out violently, raging against the ethereal force, or actual forces bringing out the stressful condition. Others lose all will and lie broken upon their beds. Others thrive on it, drink it in like nectar from some unmerciful god. Regardless of how you feel about Stress, it is certainly a topic often discussed the world over.

My day job as a logistical wizard at a fuel hauling company (aka Dispatcher for those that don’t get my joke), can alternate from stressful to almost boring to the point of tears. When equipment breaks down, drivers come up with attitudes about the smallest of things, or customers with unreasonable demands because they simply do not understand how to order fuel for a station they probably shouldn’t own in the first place; things can get tense. The blood starts to course faster in your veins as adrenaline pumps into the stream. Nerves start firing faster in your brain, snap decisions come to you as you solve the problems of the day.

Once the momentary crisis is over however, there is a noticeable drop in energy levels as everything slows down. This let down can lead to feelings of relief, or feelings of self doubt. “Did I make the right call? That seemed to go very smoothly, maybe I should double check my math.” This can lead to a spiraling back up. Those are the moments when you have to take a breath and trust in your knowledge and skills. Sometimes the jolt of adrenaline brought on by stress will last for hours, leading to a state of extreme mental tiredness at the end of the day. Those are the days I want to just go home, kiss my wife, hug my son, and crack open something with alcohol to drink before going to sleep.

A simple five letter word
Silly as three are the same
Chaos bringer to our world
Losing to it brings such shame

It can make you stronger
It can make you weak
Stress enough to make you weep
Or grit your teeth and push longer

Keep your chin above the rising tide
Let it roll from your shoulders son
You can beat i if you don’t hide
You will look back and say “I won!”

A Trip to the Grocery Store

So, I was at the grocery store with my wife the other day, and I said to her, “Oh, by the way, I need some strawberry preserves, I am almost out.” I say it this way, because she doesn’t eat it so would not have noticed that I was low and put it on the grocery list. Similar to there are things she eats I would never know that she was low on if she didn’t tell me. I was just lucky that we were both off to do the grocery shopping together this week. Strawberry preserves is my preferred part of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

As we go through the store, we get to the aisle with the jams, jellies and preserves and she walks right on past it. I stop and say, “Hey, I gotta get my strawberry preserves.” She tells me to just get the strawberry jam. I tell her that they are not the same thing and I prefer preserves. She laughs and says yes they are. Well, I find my jar and bring it over to the cart, where she is laughing at me because I am so particular. Below is a post I stole from some website telling the differences between Jelly, Jam and Preserves. If you have been fortunate enough in your life to experience all three made from the same fruit, I am sure you will find your own favorite.

Jelly, jam and preserves are all made from fruit mixed with sugar and pectin. The difference between them comes in the form that the fruit takes.

  • In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice.

  • In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit (and is less stiff than jelly as a result).

  • In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a syrup or a jam.

Pectin is an indigestible carbohydrate (fiber). It is found in the cell walls of most fruit. When heated with sugar in water, it gels, giving jam, jelly and preserves their thickness.

So, yes wife, I love you dearly, but jelly jam and preserves are not the same thing. Texture wise they are very different.


Our grocery trips together always take another turn for the hilarious side of life, at least according to my wife. This happens when we get to the checkout lane. Now, having at one time in my life gone through bagger training school (yes it actually exists), I know what products go well together in a bag. I have a system based on what is in my cart in order to achieve proper item to bag ratio and to make sure that things like bread and chips/cookies end up in the final bags and do not mixed in with canned goods. Every time we go to the store, I can feel the apprehension from my wife as we approach the checkout line. She loves to try to unload things in the improper order and watch my OCD, as she calls it, kick in and I start rearranging things. It is almost a game to her. I play along because I love her, but sometimes I wonder how she manages to get the groceries home without crushed bread or broken chips when I am not around. Maybe she is just messing with me? If so, I think I just realized I love her even more.