All posts filed under: Journal

Inspiration

You don’t need inspiration. Being creatively stimulated is… well, it is necessary. But some people believe they should wait for inspiration before they begin writing. Inspiration needs to be stoked, prodded, and probed. It should not be your muse. Inspiration should be your therapist. Go to it for answers or, at least, for a sounding board. If you find yourself waiting for inspiration, then you should stop waiting and begin your search. Provoke your creativity. Work–that’s right work–at being inspired. Otherwise, you will always be at the mercy of inspiration. This can’t be because you will feel like you don’t want to write. And you have to write. Inspiration is beside the point. Don’t let it have power over you. A writer should always be able to sit down and put words on a page. Think of it as breaking a wild horse. Tame your inspiration and bring it under control. Then, go galloping through the fields. The point is that inspiration should be something you ride into the sunset. Don’t let it ride you. …

Space

When it comes to organization, space is essential. I mean space in the same way that the artist refers to white space. I’ve never thought of it this way before, but organizing a home could be⁠—at the risk of sounding extreme⁠—like curating a museum. There are probably people who would abhor this idea and have flashbacks to their childhood parlor or receiving room where nothing was to be touched. These spaces were sterile and unused. Instead, I’d like a home where I use every room, and I want each room to be filled with furniture and decor that is both functional and comfortable. So, maybe something a less cluttered IKEA than a museum—much less cluttered. Speaking of IKEA, space is at a premium in that store, while museums are intentionally open. I can have openness in a home where space is at a premium as long as I live with less. The key to my organization system is owning what will fit within my four walls (multiplied by the number of rooms in my house). …

Flash

Writing flash fiction was one of the ways I trained myself to write a book. I made a few attempts at writing a full-length novel just over ten years ago and failed on multiple occasions. The problem was I hadn’t fully prepared myself to write a book. First off, I hadn’t created an outline. Secondly, I didn’t know my characters. I just knew that I wanted to write a book, so I dove right in. I don’t necessarily think this was a mistake. The alternative may have been to continually talk about wanting to write a novel without actually sitting down and doing it. Instead, I envisioned the first scene, had a general idea of where I was going and proceeded to fail miserably. A couple of years after my first attempts, I encountered flash fiction and sat down to write a novel-length work of microfiction. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the perfect training for writing novels. I got to the point where I could write about 1,000 words (or …

Murakami

The interplay between mood and tone is what always brings me back to Haruki Murakami. I can see how some might complain that it makes his books too similar. But I don’t see a whole lot of people complaining about his writing. I admire the fact that the work carries a similar attitude throughout his extensive bibliography. I have to imagine that a body of work that shows consistency and growth would be an author’s dream. I came to Murakami like most—through Norwegian Wood. Since then, I’ve read just about everything else. I think A Wild Sheep Chase is my second favorite work he’s produced. (That may be, in part, because of what I know about how it was written.) My favorite book by Haruki Murakami is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I’ve actually only listened to it on audiobook, but I’ve probably heard to it a dozen times because, for a time, I played it repeatedly while jogging. The book details Murakami’s journey as a marathon runner. But it includes some reflections on his …

Cardio

At present, I’m trying to work HIIT (High-intensity interval training) back into my regular workout regimen. I’m currently in the “failing up” stage. In other words, I’m failing to make it a habit but getting closer with each attempt. In the past, my workouts involved a bit of jump roping and a few sprints a session. But a desire to be a little more well-rounded led me to run longer distances. I wound up jogging three miles on a pretty routine basis. However, there was another little goal at the root of this change. I wanted to run a single mile in a respectable time, which I believe puts it back in the realm of HIIT. My current plan is to run short distances a couple of times per week and work in a couple of short sessions of HIIT on my off days. I’ve added a little bit of jump rope back into my routine already. (In fact, I went so hard the first day that I couldn’t walk for a week.) Meanwhile, I’ve …

Tea House

I think I’ve been fascinated by Japanese gardens ever since I first laid eyes on one. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more and more enthralled with the idea of building my own one day. And if I did, it would have to include a tea house. The primary problem with this dream is that my future home may not be in a style that would be conducive to a pond, stream, or stone lanterns. A Craftsman with a tea house in the back would just look a little funny. So, lately, I’ve been thinking about a Japanese-inspired garden. Perhaps a tea house that doubles as an office. I could still, maybe, have a small pond and a few coy, but that depends on how many mosquitos it would bring to my back yard. I imagine pebbled walkways and a Japanese maple, cherry tree, or possibly the few pines that already exist in my piedmont setting. I also envision a circular path that leads to the tea house—for walking and thinking, of course. My tea …

Expiration

In my household, there’s a big basket full of remedies for common ailments (Aspirin, antacids, etc.) and another one that my wife uses for baking supplies. In the pantry, there are more storage boxes. There are even a few bins in the fridge. The exception may be our spices, which we keep on a lazy Susan. Almost everything in these baskets and boxes (and the lazy Susan for that matter) has an expiration date. And the only way I’ve found to make sure that the containers remain uncluttered is to check the dates on an, at least, semi-routine basis. I do that by creating an event on my calendar that prompts me to check the dates every two or three months. Otherwise, my household winds up with a lot of spoiled food and medicines that have lost their efficacy. When I get that calendar reminder, I find that it’s also a good time to do a deep clean of the fridge, which shouldn’t require excessive effort because I also try to discard food that’s past …

Faith

If faith is as simple as having confidence in God, then it’s fair to say that my confidence has been shaken. In other words, my faith has been strained. I’d like to change that, but I’m afraid it will require working through numerous issues from the past as well as a few from the present. For me, it comes down to some of the finer points of faith. Can I really trust God with everything? What about my personal well-being? My financial well-being? Health or money? The answer is no because these things fail. It seems the only expectation a Christian should have is assurance in salvation, which is a painful lesson. My mistake may have been a belief that the gifts of God would include purpose and, perhaps, meaning. Both of these things may very well be gifts from God, but I’ve found that purpose is often separate and apart from one’s ambition, and the derivation of meaning is usually less than comfortable. Of course, this is the natural course of the Christian journey. …