Pensive

Contemplating Life

Peace in the Pacific

Where am I going in my life?  After 25 years of thinking about it, I finally took the leap of leaving the comfort and more-than-comfortable salary of Big Law and started my own, little-ole-me firm — the goal being to free up my life while still maintaining an income and taking advantage of the relationships and experience built up over all these years.

But I have no more time than I had before.  My “to do” list still includes a host of action items that come before the one I know my soul wants to do — work on my book.  That elusive book that exists in my head, in my imagination, in my soul but not on paper.

Am I just treading water?  Am I constitutionally unable to end my procrastination and step into my fear and just force myself to give myself time to write?  I find myself contemplating this quandary often, pensively.  I have no answer.  It’s easy as I lay down at night to plan a different day tomorrow.  Scarlett O’Hara still alive and well, living through me.  Tomorrow, it IS another day.  But every day so far it ends up as just another day that the way I spent my time conflicts with the way I say I want to spend it.

One foot in front of another, blog by blog, I will create a writing habit of butt in seat, writing even when I have no thoughts in my head.  I will be pensive no longer.  Contemplative, yes.  But putting the thoughts into curious, excited, motivated, positive action.

ravens


Fact or Fiction?

You’ll see on my Goodread’s sidebar that I have several books on my “reading” shelf and they are a mix of Fact (London: A Biography) and Fiction (The Fiery Cross).  Of course those two aren’t that different — one reason I enjoy historic fiction is that I’m learning about history at the same time as I’m enjoying the story about people living during that historic time.  I enjoy mixing it up — and that’s one reason I joined Ann Patchett’s Parnassus bookstore’s First Edition club.  (I’m in Warwick’s First Edition Club as well, but it almost always features fiction, whereas Parnassus mixes it up.

The Parnassus First Edition monthly selection a few month’s ago was In The Kingdom of Ice: The Grand And Terrible Polar Voyage.  I have exactly no interest in ice or the North Pole or voyages thereto, or even the 1880s time period.  So never would I have picked up that book to read.  But dutifully, and trusting Ann’s judgment, I opened to page one and started reading and soon was enthralled by the courage and preparation and adventurous spirit and attitude of those brave men who went forth to find a sea passage to the North Pole and wound up in a place where Northern Siberia — 1,000 miles away — looked like heaven on earth.  In fact I sometimes pick up non-fiction books more often just to try to up our average, after reading that in general after graduation adults read only two non-fiction books for the rest of their lives!!!  Seriously?  Two?  There is so much to learn, and it’s so much fun doing it, I can’t imagine missing out on all the wonderful non-fiction that’s right at our fingertips, thoroughly researched and beautifully written words of wisdom and insight and knowledge.

But after a non-fiction I’m always ready to just have fun with or be scared by someone’s imagination by digging into a good novel.  I’m glad I can move between the two without having to read just one and not the other.  The answer to the Daily Prompt for me, then, is Fact AND Fiction … one right after the other, learning and imagining and enjoying them all!


10 Minute Challenge

Protecting Myself

Protecting Myself

Go!  But my mind is blank.  Where so many thoughts were only moments ago the immediate pressure to write something NOW for 10 minutes straight has pushed all thought to some hidden recess where it remains out of sight behind a blank wall. It’s getting past that wall — of fear, mainly, of one sort of another — that is the trick of writing something authentic, interesting, meaningful.  And it’s getting past that wall, that I myself, or some part of me, erected, that’s the very hardest thing for me to do.  Even harder than “finding the time” to write.

Time Flies

Time Flies

Where does time go?  It’s always here, always the same, but despite my best intentions I manage to waste plenty of it.  I moved a few months ago to a home that’s 30 minutes closer to my office, thus saving myself at least an hour a day in commuting.  But it isn’t as if I’m an hour more productive, or I’ve “found” an hour that I can now use for my writing, or my errands, or anything else.  Sure I love my new, shorter commute.  But as to what I’ve done with my extra time, I couldn’t begin to tell you.  Despite multiple organizational tools I haven’t managed to better organize myself.  I do make lists to check off, and I remind myself to “Be Mindful” and “Live in the Moment” but so far none of that has helped.  What do you do to make the most of your day?  The most of your life?  That’s what most of us want, isn’t it?  To feel as if we’ve lived the best life we can.  For me, it’s wanting to do God’s will.  To use the talents I’ve been given, whatever those are, to their best purpose.

I watch my newly hatched adult children as they make their way into the world, struggling to know what it is they should be doing, and I cannot help because here I am 30+ years their senior and still struggling with the very same thing.  I have no words of wisdom for them.  Well, that doesn’t stop my from trying to give advice, but I know how easy it is to give advice, and even how easy it is to hear what you know must be good advice and have every intention of living by it but somehow despite those good intentions letting life slip on by without somehow managing to live it the way you really, really intend to live it.  Just making it through the day and giving each moment what you can, even though sometimes you don’t have much at all to give.

Advice

That’s my 10 minutes.  Guess some words escaped over the wall and made it into writing, after all!


600 Seconds to Write

Perfect … read my PostaDay prompt at exactly 6:00 a.m. therefore it will be easy to write for 10 minutes.  Right?  Somehow though it should make absolutely no difference starting at a round number — especially at an hour on the dot — seems organized and round and the perfect jumping off place from which to dive into a project.  Much better than 6:03.

Now that we have that established, what exactly will I write about during my 10 devoted minutes?  Today is Scotland’s Day of Destiny, hence an ideal choice.  Certainly sounds important, and, in fact, it is.  What a difference between the UK and Russia.  On one hand, we have a rather civilized vote where the people who live in the country will decide whether they want to go it alone, as an independent nation, or stay consciously joined as part of the United Kingdom.  Things seem to work somewhat different in other countries which decide to consider a split.  No bloodshed in Scotland, no need for monitors for fear of cheating at the polls.

Of course it was much different years ago, when battles between the English and Scots were rampant.  So perhaps there is hope for other countries, as well.

Jack and I visited Scotland for the first time in June, and loved it much more than we had anticipated.  The literary history and culture of Edinburgh spoke to me.  For Jack, it was the Scottish people he enjoyed the most.  The Royal Mile was packed with tourists but it managed to maintain its ancient charms nonetheless.  The first morning I ran out our door when I heard the bagpipes playing — I wouldn’t want to miss that once-in-a-lifetime experience!  Of course after a day I realized it was more like once-an-hour, as the type of Scotland experience the tourists expect is broadly displayed, especially on the Royal Mile, not wanting to miss an opportunity to take in some tourist dollars.  And the number of pubs releasing those who had way too much to drink onto the cobblestone streets was a little distressing.  Really, how many pubs does one city need?  But the City is magical and charming and a very … whoops, my 10 minutes is up!


Are You Overloading Your Common Sense?

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Information can overwhelm us, seeping in from sources that surround us.  The internet at my fingertips, the cell phone in my purse, the iPad in my messenger bag, the television in my living room and the radio in my car … all pouring out facts and ideas in an endless stream whenever I open them up.  People have been accused of having more Book Sense than Common Sense long before the internet added to the tidal wave of data, though.  You can’t blame the information that’s simply existing out there awaiting your command to be let loose for not listening to what your gut tells you should be said or done (is “body wisdom” the same as “common sense”?) or not doing what experience and life lived thus far tell you should be done (or is that a better way to describe what makes “sense” common?) or whatever it is that is perceived as Common Sense.

Information is there to be used, absorbed, manipulated and turned off or on at your behest.  You can let it overtake you and wash you away, or you can master its rhythm and have a great ride by using it to support but not overwhelm you, by valuing your gut, your experience, and your spirit as well as all of the information in your mind to bring you in a wild, exhilarating ride through life — common sense, book sense, and all of your other senses fully engaged.  #postaday