Monthly Archives: August 2012

Being Your Own Research Subject for Fun and Profit

I don’t write every morning, but usually I vary between some version of morning pages, Hello, Day, or just plain old data dumping, scribbling down anything that’s taking up space in my head.

It’s always fun – or at least illuminating – to look over my notes to myself from a few months ago.

Reviewing my old notes gives me perspective – not just on the past, but in what’s going on with my current life and options for handling the challenges of the future.

Things I learn about include:

  • How many things I was worried just a little bit ago about that just aren’t issues any more.
  • How many problems seemed unsolvable, and then the perfect little thing came up to fix everything.
  • That I tend to worry about some things in cycles, no matter what.
  •  How my focus shifts from one thing to another – and how a project that was all consuming just a few months ago is nothing but a faint memory now.

More than anything, my notes remind me not to worry too much, how fast life changes, and how many of my dreams become reality. Not bad concepts to have a regular refresher on.

If you look at your life as an experiment, what sort of notes are you taking? And what could your notes tell you?

Returning Home

It’s funny, those things you know, and the things you should know, and how you can end up learning the same thing over and over and over again.

I love to write. I know this.

I love to write fiction. I love to tell stories.

And still, I get tangled up, caught up, distracted by the hustle and bustle and worry about money and jobs and whatever other things fill my head.

Not that money and jobs and all aren’t important. I’m pretty darn convinced of the importance of paying the mortgage on time, and making sure that I’ve always got enough laundry done to be presentable.

But stories fill my soul.

If I forget that, if I don’t make the time, clear out whatever commitments and obligations that spring up like a thicket around a magical castle, I’m lost.

Something will happen where I have to learn all over again. Where I don’t have a choice. When I finally take time to rebalance, to get my feet under me, and to spend some time trying to understand why I feel so miserable, so stressed.

Then it hits me again.

This time it hit hard. I’ve been particularly stressed, wound into a project that is important, really it is. But finally I’ve remembered.

I write stories.

Because I write stories, I know about people.

I solve puzzles and have insight into people’s minds because I am a writer and a teller and reader of stories.

Solving puzzles. Looking at things in new ways.  Finding the least likely path. These are all skills from writing and reading and telling stories.

But I am never as happy as when I am writing.

Never.

Nothing makes me happier than world building and plotting.

I need to remember that above all else, underneath all else, I am a story teller. A maker of worlds with words.

My basic, underlying need is to write.

Stories make my blood and my bones and the air in my lungs.

So, what now?

I’ve started writing again. Building new worlds, dreaming a past and a future. And I couldn’t be happier.

 

 

 

Invisible Progress

These are my boys.

 I’ve talked about them here, as my own little adventures that came in the front door. James is the large creamsicle cat, and Holmes is our little panther.

They’ve taught me any number of things since they’ve taken up residence.

And the most important lesson of all may be about time and progress.

 Everything takes time. More time than you’d think.

James spent the first several months he was with us underneath the bed. Really. Months.

We talked about giving him up to another family because we were worried about his quality of life. He’d venture out briefly, but the instant one of the dogs looked at him, back he went.

And Holmes is a spoiled little thing and kept jumping on James and grabbing mouthfuls of fur. Part of that was a hierarchy issue and part of that was Holmes being a bit too excited about having another cat to play with. Either way, it didn’t help.

It’s been almost two years now. James is still wary of the dogs, but is seldom under the bed anymore. And the boys actually can be found next to each other without fighting.

There’s still a long way to go. I keep hoping that one of the dogs will be able to pass by James without him freezing, or that I’ll catch the boys grooming each other.

But every day has seen progress, even if I haven’t been able to see it.

And these days I’ve got a large, purring cat in my lap when I need a reminder for other projects, that small, invisible bits of progress add up over time.

 

August Break

On this side of the globe, it’s hot. Very, very hot.

At this point of the summer, I’m done with the whole thing. I’m tired of being hot and sweaty. Feeling too hot to go outside and hula hoop. Certainly too hot to go for a ride on the bikes.

I’m miserable. And not terribly concerned about making other people around me miserable. Honestly, they’re already hot, so I’m not sure if they notice.

But this year, I got a little kick in the pants from the rather fabulous Andrea about the August Break project hosted by Susannah Conway.

And it seems like a pretty good way to reset the mood, to notice what is actually lovely around me, even if I’m mildly fussy (or not so mildly fussy).

No promises about the whole daily photo thing, but it’s a nice reminder to look around.

For example, to look, really look, at the fantastic color on these hollyhocks:

 

More noticing to come!

 

We talk about a lot of things here…

Being gentle with ourselves, and the importance of small adjustments towards alignment.

Experiments in happiness and what does adventure mean, anyway?

What can happen when you say "Yes" and what might be waiting outside your front door.

And of course, why pretending to be a pterodactyl is good business.

 

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