BACK FROM THE DEAD

I am not dead, not anymore anyway. My previous blog was October 18th. Around that time I had a medical issue that put me down for over a month. It affected my brain and my legs. Recovery was slow and in truth, still am recovering, but have progressed well thanks to meds, exercise, and diet.

Though I took time off from blogging I used the time to finish my latest e-book for Amazon, though I have yet to push the publish button. Will do so soon.

When your body betrays you many things start weighing on your mind. Like making out a will in which you are making uncomfortable decisions. I want to take everything with me; I still have a ton of unread books and cool collectibles. Why do I have to designate who gets what? Without a radio, TV, or Internet how do I keep abreast of baseball and hockey? Making out a will is like giving up, not only your stuff, but signing away your life. It’s an admission you can’t live forever.

Then other things creep into your mind to weigh in on, like checking on burial vs. cremation by talking with mortuaries and cemeteries. Like how soon will the end come and if it doesn’t come, can I get my money back. Dying is expensive. Maybe I should go into the mountains, lie down, and wait for bears or cougars so I can provide a meal for creatures of the woods and be recycled into nature.

I can joke about it now, but that first month was filled with depression. I hated my body and its betrayal. I only went to the doctors office and the grocery store. I saw no friends. Only took phone calls and communicated by email and texts.

Today I check the obituaries in the newspaper to see if I have passed on yet. For all I know, I could be a ghost. It doesn’t hurt to check the paper to double check.

Besides finishing my book, I started to research my next project. It will require a lot more research. But I have finished the first chapter. So feel good about that.

We all know the end will come, our life will end. But when young we ignore it and rightly so. In order to function, in order to truly live we must believe we are immortal. Death is for others, not me. If we didn’t believe that we’d go nuts.

I’m older now, there are more years behind me than ahead of me. But I still think I will continue to live even with my recent issues. It keeps me going. reader

What You Can Learn From a Confused Lion

In a recent Clint Hurdle blog James Clear told the story about Clyde Beatty, famous lion tamer. He was the first to use a chair and whip to go into a cage with a lion. I had assumed all my life the chair was for protection. It wasn’t. Beaty knew the Lion, seeing the chair with 4 legs in his face, would be confused as he could not decide which leg to attack, so the lion was essentially paralyzed by indecision.

I think we all are faced with so many choices at times that we can’t figure out how to proceed.

In 1999 I bought my first computer. I knew nothing about them, but I wanted one. So I decided to buy one and figure out through trial and error how to use it. The computer was a Gateway, a popular company at the time. I followed the instructions and assembled it which was a miracle in itself as I have trouble understanding instructions. Fortunately the instructions had pretty pictures that showed what to do.

It came time to push start, so I pushed it. I was unaware that their computer, when it came on, would have a series of loud musical notes. It caught me by surprise and I nearly fell backwards off my chair. But I was online and part of the new world.

The point is to make a decision, then figure things out.

Take writing for example. Nobody really knows how to begin because too many people say do this, not that. Too many conflicting opinions. I recall reading books and articles when I first said ‘I want to write’. In the end I decided to trust my instincts. Just start a story. I can change things later, I can edit, I can add scenes, I can take out passages. I just had to ignore the legs of the chair with so many opinions on how to write and just attack on my own.

Trying to learn is good, nothing wrong about that, but in the end, at some point, you take the plunge and go for it. Whatever you decide you will learn more by trial and error because you must get into whatever you choose and learn for yourself.

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One Simple Lesson For A Happy Life

In Travels with Epicurus, subtitled A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life, the following story was told by the author Daniel Klein, who learned it had been told by Aegean islanders for a long time.

A prosperous Greek American was visiting one of the Aegean islands one day when “he comes upon an old Greek man sitting on a rock, sipping a glass of ouzo, and lazily staring at the sun setting into the seas. The American notices there are olive trees growing on the hills behind the old Greek, but that they are untended, with olives just dropping here and there onto the ground. He asks who the trees belong to.

“They’re mine,” the Greek replies.

“Don’t you gather the olives?” the American asks.

“I just pick one when I want one,” the old man says.

“But don’t you realize that if you pruned the trees and picked the olives at their peak, you could sell them? In America everybody is crazy about virgin olive oil, and they pay a damned good price for it.”

“What would I do with the money?” the old Greek asks.

“Why, you could build yourself a big house and hire servants to do everything for you.”

“And then what would I do?

“You could do anything you want.”

“You mean, like sit outside and sip ouzo at sunset?”

The above story is not unlike the old adage about stopping to smell the roses. If you are young, ambitious, want the big house and servants you are unlikely to take the advice. It is only the elders among us, who realize that sitting on the beach at sunset, drinking wine, watching the sun set, that truly appreciate what life offers. Simple pleasures are the great rewards, bringing peace and serenity. Stay calm, enjoy.

Skol!

 

 

Cortes, Burning Ships, Excuses, Writing goals

In Roger Van Oech’s book A Whack on the side of the Head, a book on how to be creative that is still going strong since it was published in 1983, he writes something I did not know about the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes that is, shall we say disarming.

When Cortes landed his ships at Veracruz he burned all his ships. He did this to eliminate one option, leaving his men with only two. You either fight, he told them, or you die. Going home was no longer an option.

Van Oech writes “Sometimes it takes more creativity to get rid of the excuses we put in the way than it does to come up with the idea in the first place.”

I must admit I am guilty of using excuses to get in the way of writing and my excuses are very creative, along the lines of the kid who told his teacher, “The dog ate my homework.”

Cortes took away an excuse about whether to fight or not. His men really had no choice. I suppose I could burn my house down and write at the library with my laptop, but that option would not solve the problem as I would still find more excuses, then have to burn down the library.

The thing of it is, we procrastinators, we excuse makers, know we are avoiding what we should be doing. We are not fooling ourselves.

Van Oech asks the question of what three factors will make it difficult for you to reach your objective? How can you get rid of excuses?

Getting rid of excuses requires self discipline. Take Map Quest or any other app that gives your destination with directions. You follow them-and if they are correct, not always the case-you arrive at your destination. In the process of reaching your destination you took each turn along the path.

Perhaps each writer, or anyone with a goal, should create a type of map with a starting point, an end destination, then fill in the steps to take in order to reach the goal. And if, like the occasional misinformation on the directional map, you run into a burning ship, you adjust and continue your journey; you either fight the fight or your goals die.

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