I’m posting today because I said I would…

I’m posting today because I said I would. Unfortunately, the following progression of events have dominated my week. Kidney stones, inflamed old back injury, lack of sleep (see above for why…), lack of apatite and dehydration (again see above), and on the positive side. So in short I got about 25o of the 5000-6000 words I intended done this week. Needless to say the post I’d planned wasn’t part of that… but I do care about my blog and anyone who reads (and keeping the promise I made a few posts ago (back on the blog…) so I figured I should check in).
Have a good week (I hope we all have a better week than the one I had this week…)

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They’re testing me…

Well, I said I was going to be back to posting on a weekly basis and I am. Unfortunately this week has been a bit of a test. Between medical concerns in the family, a friend who’s dealing with the anniversary of the death of her husband (and  crisis issues with her daughter), a brother in law’s thesis defense (that we happen to be the only family in town to go to), a new training that I ‘somehow’ volunteered myself to develop and execute, and no less than two funerals this week; not to mention working on a novella, two short stories and various other projects I seem to be a bit short on time. So no deep thinking blog post this week.

Better posts coming in the near future, but for this week I think I need to focus on putting the dead folks into the ground and keeping the living ones out (unless they’re going into a opal or tourmaline mine with the intention of coming out with pretties (then I’m right there with them!)).

Take care,

See you next week.

What do we add?

Last week I was watching a webinar about authorship and creating the life you want. One of the questions in the chat roll was one of those hard/easy questions that can be fun to explore: “what can a fiction writer do to make the world better?”

One answer that came up is that the world needs entertainment. I think that that is a fair answer, there is certainly a market for entertainment; but, in terms of making the world a better place, I think there is another answer. Fiction writers can make the world a better place the same way that non fiction writers do: presenting, talking about and examining ideas.

In addition to my writer hat I have a degree in psychology (I may have mentioned that already). In the study of psychology one of the things we try to do is describe behavior (and if you’re more daring, the experience of behavior). Fiction is another venue in which we can examine and discuss behavior and the human experience. Actually, it’s a way of examining and talking about the human experience that has real advantages. Sure, it isn’t empirical evidence, but in fiction you can feel safer in exploring the more uncomfortable parts of behavior and experience.

Fiction is fiction, the stories don’t have to be about real live people. This means that you can study the what ifs of the human experience in situations and ways that would be unethical to put a real person in for an empirical study (sorry folks, you really can’t ethically give someone a birth defect on purpose, kidnap them and force them to change religion or subject them to a car crash just to see what happens to them, but you can write a story about it).

you can also talk about things like how science changes lives (that’s called science fiction), politics, history, religion, or just about any other subject that you feel like talking about. Sure, you’re only telling a story (or reading or watching it), but you are also opening up an opportunity for people to think about and discuss ideas.

One of the entertainment draws of fiction is that it gives you an opportunity to be exposed to things outside of your normal experience. That’s a built in gateway to expose people to ideas outside of their normal experience. An old roommate of mine liked to point out that every telling of a story is someones first time hearing it; translated that is… every time we tell a story is a new chance for someone to first experience and explore some of the ideas involved.

Language, words, syntax, the whole business in fact is meant to carry meaning. Language is made up of symbols and ideas.
We can make the world better through the stories we tell. We can present and talk about ideas. We can teach, demonstrate, inform, and discuss. We can open a persuasive dialog and help people make choices and take action in their lives.

No, a story won’t change the world; people do that. Our stories present ideas. Our stories can help people to make the choices that will change the world. It has happened and it will happen again.

Well, that’s it for this week.
Till next time: write stories, draw pictures, make stuff, explore the world around you and know that you can have an impact for good. That has been given to you and nobody gets to take that away from you.

Back on the blog!

Ok, so, I’ve missed writing here for a few months… In that time I’ve celebrated Christmas, visited a lot of family, totally re done the system on my computer (OS and all), ended up with two new assistant clerks at church, and made progress on several projects (including reinventing one from the ground up). None of this actually excuses not writing here; the reality is I got out of the habit, and then got scared about trying to pick it up again.

It’s a fumy thing about habits. Some people feel that all habits are the same kind of self sustaining animal. But, good habits require maintenance while bad ones seem to take care of them selves (sort of like my garden… the ‘matos need to be looked after but the weeds do just fine without me). Also, good habits seem to be scary to try to pick up again when you stop. Bad habits (especially addictions) can be really scary to leave.

It helps to be aware of, evaluate, and manage all of our habits. A habit that some label as ‘good’ can be harmful, and one that they  label as ‘bad’ could actually be helping you (if you’re gluten intolerant the ‘healthy’ habit of eating lots of grains could be poisoning you, on the other hand the ‘bad’ habit of leaving the TV on while I’m doing other stuff helps me focus (by the way who are ‘they’ and what business is it of theirs what our habits are?)). The point here is to evaluate all of your habits and really look at what they are doing for (and to) you; not just to stick them in piles labeled good and bad. Ask yourself: is this habit helping me to achieve what I want to do? If it is, keep doing it and ask yourself can I tweak it to help more? It the habit isn’t helping you, then it’s time to look at the advantages and costs of dropping the habit.

The classic “look at how much money you can save by not (insert appropriate: smoking, drinking, gaming, what ever)” comes to mind, but dollars aren’t the only way to measure a habit. the biggest benefit may be time, or psychological satisfaction/wellness, or something else.

Smokers sometimes get breaks that others don’t. That’s a time or psychological benefit, from a habit that also has a real health downside. Can you work breaks into your schedule without smoking? If it’s the break you want ,make that the habit and leave the smoking behind.

What we are talking about is being in control of yourself; not doing what others tell you. Make choices and take actions because it is what you feel is right and they support what you want to be and do.

This isn’t always easy (sometimes it’s downright scary). It is something that can benefit from the help of others (family, friends, counselors, life coaches, clergy, stray writers… (who or what ever you need as long as you stay away from the unknown ‘they’)). Just remember, no matter how much help you get, you have to do for your self. Those other people come in in helping you figure out what and how to change. They can also support you in doing the changing, but only you get to choose what you will do. That is for you to do and nobody gets to take that away from you.

As for me, I’m back now and this blog will be updated on a regular schedule again. I think it helps me, and you may find something that helps you.

One new wrinkle in this habit, I’m also starting a news letter that will be coming out once or twice a month. It will talk about the things I talk about here, but it will include more stuff that isn’t included here… There’s a sign up form here. I do intend the news letter to talk more about things that commenters/newsletter readers find interesting and important.

Till next week…

2015… Starting up again… Time for more fun!