By the end of the work day, I often don’t feel like writing at all. After staring at computer for the greater part of 10-12 hours, my brain is pretty much fried. I try to grasp any creative train of thought, but I’m lucky if I catch the caboose.
So, what do you do, when you want to write, but nothing comes? What do you do when you’re tired and are missing all the creative juices in your brain? I don’t have any perfect solutions, but I have my own ways of trying to work around it. Key word: trying. Sometimes nothing works, but hey, at least I tried.
– This blog. Yup. Having a blog is a huge incentive to write often (it’s also an incentive to read more really good books). I don’t always have something to share at the end of the day, but it does make me wonder throughout the day, “What should I write?” Just having the underlying question at the back of my mind makes me pick up ideas and look at the them, rather than just letting them fleet through my mind. I love it when something happens during the day and the first thing I think is: “I have got to blog about this.”
– Journaling. The difference between this and blogging? It’s pen on paper, which, for me = private. Just for me. Sometimes I don’t necessarily *feel* like journaling, especially if the day didn’t go so well. I don’t push myself to journal on those days; I’ll write something else, either here or a letter to a friend or just something. Still, I do find that having a good pen and an unlined journal is one incentive for me to journal regularly. I hate small lined journals and prefer to write freely; and there’s just something about a really good pen with fresh ink that makes you want to write. My current journal (see photo) is one of my favorites. A gorgeous hand-tooled leather cover and unlined fresh pages – looking at it just makes me want to write. It was, along with a beautiful ball-point pen, a gift from my boyfriend. I like his taste. 😉 Of course, an inscription from him just for me on the first page adds to the charm of writing in it.
– I also count writing letters, notes, emails and other bits of creative misc. towards the day’s quota of writing. As long as I write and work at it somehow, some way, it counts.
What do you do to encourage yourself to write on days when you don’t feel like it?
As a little kid, summer always meant books. Not school books – library books. I remember walking down to the library, my ABC book-bag in hand, with my two brothers and mom pushing my little sister in the stroller (only four of us then!). Mom would fill out our log books and we’d add a star or some other paper cutout to our streamers for each book we read or a parent had read to us. And then we’d pick out new books and, if you were old enough to write your name, check them out on your very own library card. A last trudge up the hill to home and finally, we’d be home with a fresh batch of books to read in front of the fan.
Yes, summer always meant books.
In the last few days, we’ve gone from balmy 70 degree temps (delicious May weather) straight to 90+ degrees. I know, I know…those of you who live in southern, warmer regions – I can hear you laughing at me (and I can’t blame you – I have to admit to snickering to myself occasionally when I hear that 50-60 degrees is sweater weather for you guys!), but hey, I plead the case of not having air-conditioning in my workplace or in the portion of the house where I sleep.
Warm, sticky…allergies wreaking havoc. Ah yes, it’s summer all right.
Complaining about an early summer aside – summer still does, to an extent, mean books to me. There is just something about the warm weather that makes me want to go to the library and find something new and intriguing to read – or an old childhood favorite. I don’t think I’ll go quite as far back to the 1st grade and Nate the Great, but I just might pick up something by Beverly Cleary. I’m in the mood for a little Ramona Quimby.
Does summertime make you want to join a reading club again? Or are you a winter bookworm, content to read by the fire when it’s too cold to play outside?
After my rambling post about books and a request for reading suggestions, I somehow have ended up with a mammoth list of “to-reads.”
– The Four Loves, Surprised By Joy, Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis
– The Blindside, by Michael Lewis
– Microbe Hunters, by Paul De Kruif
– J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, by Humphrey Carpenter
– Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldridge
I got a four-in-one treasury by C.S. Lewis, as well as The Blindside for my birthday (Thanks, Mr. & Mrs. P!); I love getting books to add to my library. I look forward to seeing how accurate the movie The Blindside was, and you can never get enough C.S. Lewis (at least in my opinion!). The Tolkien biography and Microbe Hunters was picked up randomly at a local discount store for pretty cheap; I’m pretty stoked about how little I paid for them. Microbe Hunters looks absolutely fascinating, just from paging through it.
I also just finished another fascinating book: The Survivors Club, by Ben Sherwood. The Survivors Club is a club that everyone wants to be a member of. We all want to have what it takes to survive a castrophe or crisis; the question that usually bugs us is…do we have what it takes?
According to Ben Sherwood, the three rules of the Survivors Club are: everyone is a survivor, you can’t compare your crises to other people’s crises, and we’re all stronger than we know. And he pretty much then takes the whole book to give you examples of survivors, ranging from survivors of the Holocaust to survivors of plane crashes and mountain lion attacks. Some reasons for survival are tied into science. Some survivors are just “lucky.” And others say it’s God.
It was a quick read for me; I found it gripping and got through it in a weekend. Did I learn anything? I think so. I try to be more aware of my surroundings and trust my instincts more, be optimistic and think of myself as a survivor. And I’m glad to hear that my belief in God can contribute to my survival chances.
And I don’t think I’ll ever fly again without thinking about how I have a mere 90 seconds to get off the plane after a crash (if I’ve survived the crash itself) before dying in the flames. Did you know that you have a greater chance of survival if you sit within 5 rows of an exit on the plane?
Do I think I have better chances of surviving anything now? I’m not sure. I feel slightly better equipped now. And in the end, if anything beyond the ordinary happens to me and I survive, I have a feeling it will be more to do with my faith in God and love for my family than anything else. That’s where my strengths for survival lie – at least according to the quiz. 😉
I didn’t use the good sense that God gave me and wore sandals to work yesterday. After 12 hours in the office, with a significant portion of it involving frequent trips out to the copier on the other side of the building (ours is down AGAIN), let’s just say my knees aren’t very happy with me. Creaky, achy and just a little swollen. Didn’t I learn last summer with physical therapy that sneakers are my best friend? To top it off, I haven’t been consistent with my PT exercises and yes, that has definitely made it harder for the good old muscles to bounce back.
Maybe I’ll learn my lesson this time. Someone yell at me if I don’t. 😛 Stupid chrondromalacia of the patella…I’ve given up high heels for you, I don’t want to give up sandals completely! I promise, I will be good and do leg lifts and wall slides and wear sneakers more often than supportless sandals.
If I were in a very spiritually eloquent mood, I’d come up with a long post about how creaky ligaments and muscles can be examples of our spiritual health. But I’m not…somehow, I’m not the sort of person who finds spiritual lessons to be learned in all the little aspects of life. That just isn’t me. Sometimes an achy knee is an achy knee. And as always, stupidity (of wearing pretty sandals instead of sensible, clunky sneakers) doesn’t pay, especially for PT bills – which I do NOT want to go through again!
Besides, it’s a gorgeous day, not a day for sitting at the computer, trying to sound all spiritual and AMAZING. I think I’ll go rest my creaky knees and sit in the sun for a bit. Toodles. 🙂
Confession: I am a typical girl in many ways. I like the color pink, I enjoy the occasional shopping trip, and I love Dunkin’ Donut mocha iced lattes.
Another case in point: When a mouse scurries across the floor and darts at my feet, I scream.
Yes, I screamed when I saw the tiniest mouse scurry across the kitchen floor yesterday. Mostly because I was certain it was some horrible enormous brownish sort of bug – really, I’ve never seen such a tiny brown mouse before! I screamed and the world–er, all of my younger siblings–came running, too late to see our new friend run under the stove, out of sight.
I didn’t think we’d see our mouse friend again, especially after the rush of the herd of elephants came through and made such a racket, but an hour later, I happened to glance down at my feet. There, just a little more than a foot away was our mouse, nibbling away at a crumb of Oreo from Chocolate Storm Cloud Dessert that we’d dropped while cleaning earlier.
When in need, call a brother. “JON!”
“Just a minute!”
A minute passed by and the mouse didn’t even react to my yells for help. He didn’t react to me stepping even closer. And he didn’t react until after I plopped a glass over him and captured him mid-bite of Oreo. Poor Ralph – he didn’t listen to his mother, I suppose.
Jon took care of the rest of the dirty work; with a trail of kids, he took the mouse to the farthest corner of the yard and let him free. Well, sort of. They put him in the garden and Nate fed him gerbil food. 😛 You can’t say we’re cruel to animals around here. Now the story about Nate giving my mom a dead mouse for her birthday…that’s another story.
For over a year I’ve had a certain song lingering in my head. I turned twenty-four last May and found myself listing the lyrics to a song by Switchfoot on my Facebook and in my private journal. A theme song, if you will:
Twenty four oceans/Twenty four skies/Twenty four failures/Twenty four tries/Twenty four finds me/In twenty-fourth place/Twenty four drop outs/At the end of the day/Life is not what I thought it was/Twenty four hours ago
Still I’m singing Spirit take me up in arms with You/And I’m not who I thought I was twenty four hours ago/Still I’m singing Spirit take me up in arms with You…
And You’re raising these twenty four voices/With twenty four hearts/With all of my symphonies/In twenty four parts/But I want to be one today/Centered and true…
My desire was – and still is – to be that: centered and true, one today and all of me…God’s.
This year, I’m turning a quarter of a century (oh yes, ancient!) and I’m looking for my new theme for this year. I’ve been reading bits and pieces of Madeleine L’Engle online and from her books that are in my small library, and I think I’ve found this year’s theme:
“We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are.”
– Madeleine L’Engle
Sometimes life requires me to brave in ways that most people wouldn’t consider brave. For me, it takes bravery to speak up and say what God is nudging me to say to an unsaved co-worker. It takes bravery for me to send another short story or article to a magazine (I guess you could say fear of rejection is one of my weaknesses). It takes bravery for me to face fears and do something out of my comfort zone.
This year…I want to be braver than ever and do things that God knows I can do, even if I don’t think I can. I want to be more His than mine. It’s exciting and it’s terrifying. It’s something like an adventure and for this girl who hates stepping out of her comfort zone, it’s hard to fathom an adventuresome me.
I’m game though. Let’s see how brave twenty-five will be. After all, a quarter of a century – that sounds adventurous in itself. To use a cliche: Bring it on. 😀
It’s been a long week and I’m tired. The funeral is tomorrow. Needless to say, I won’t be working. As awful as it sounds (seeing how the day off is to go to a funeral), I’m glad for the respite from the office and the stress of it all. You know the movie Groundhog Day? That’s I feel at work sometimes; the problems just linger and when you get up in the morning to go to work, nothing has changed. It’s the same thing over and over again, rinse and repeat.
I need to stop talking about work. I spend so much time there these days, it tends to be the main topic in my head, especially since I’m currently trying not to think too much about other things, otherwise I just fall apart and cry again. And so I ramble on about quirky co-workers and kvetch about the latest development with problems and…yeah, I think I’ll stop for now. Subject change!
I have been reading bits and pieces of Elizabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity. I think I have a slight hate/love relationship with that book. She says a lot of good things, but at the same time, rubs me entirely the wrong way. I’m still trying to pinpoint exactly why; perhaps it’s her black-and-white way of writing things. Perhaps it’s because she comes across as always so self-assured and certain in her journal entries. She talks about struggling with impatience and with trust, but at the same time, there never seems to be a wavering in a desire to trust. Plus, she and Jim just seem a little too…perfect.
Maybe I’ve just picked the wrong book of hers to start with. Any other suggestions? Or, if you aren’t an Elizabeth Elliot fan, do you have any non-fiction suggestions? Something that isn’t too heavy, as my brain is usually fried by the computer screen by the time I’ve gotten home for the day and have time to pick up a book!
My great-uncle Frank used to keep a bathtub full of shiners in his backyard. It always fascinated me and my brothers when we were little. Whenever we stopped by the house to visit, invariably Uncle Frank would take us out to the garden for fresh produce – cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce – and invariably, we’d run to the brook that fed the bathtub and watch the small silvery fish darting back and forth between the tub’s porcelian walls.
That wasn’t the only draw to going to visit Uncle Frank, however. The cellar was his domain of the house, where he’d can fresh vegetables from his garden, brew home-made root-beer and butcher moose or deer he’d bring back from hunting. And always, the fridge would be stocked with old glass coca-cola bottles full of home-brewed root beer for us kids. We sit around the table and drink root beer out of shot glasses (I didn’t realize this until later – I always thought he had special small glasses for us kids!) and munch on cheesy crackers and dried apples.
Sometimes he’d stop by our house with barely a moment’s notice and take me and my brothers out for the morning, just to give mom a break. We’d go for drives out in the country and look for animals on the side of the road. Blueberry picking. Mushrooming. Walking out by the Quabbin. Getting to pet a real life orphaned fawn. And often, we’d go fishing. I caught my first (and last, so far) salmon out on his boat. Sometimes we’d get ice cream on the way home…
My childhood is full of Uncle Frankness. And I love the memories, love the fact that the best great-uncle on earth made himself a part of me and my siblings’ lives. I would never change a bit of it, even if I never did like fishing that much, even if I didn’t even like eating fish – I just loved spending time with him.
My great-uncle Frank died yesterday. He’d been sick for awhile and was so tired; it wasn’t a shock, but it still hurts and I’m trying to rearrange my mind around it all, trying to get past the numbness. I’ll never see him again. I’ll never drink a glass of his home-made root beer again. Or reminisce about fishing with him again. He’ll never show up at our house out of the blue with fresh garden veggies or dried apples again. I’ll never sit at the oil-cloth-covered table in his basement with him again. I’ll never be able to give him a good-bye peck on the cheek again.
It’s the never again part that hurts so much. Never is such a long, long time.
I love you, Uncle Frank. Miss you so much. I’ll never forget you. My future kids will hear stories about you one day. Stories about fish and bathtubs and root-beer brewed in your basement. Thanks for being the best great-uncle a girl could ever have.