I am using the Daily Prompt today.  A quick and easy post to help keep other projects moving.  I’m also drinking a Honey Tea Bowl to try to keep the sickness at bay.  Not sure either is going to work.

I am working today at a noisy coffee shop called Scout.  Actually, I suppose it is technically called Scout 2, but I digress.  I like working in coffee shops; the energy and rhythm of the place provides a nice kinetic movement to my mind.  If things are too quiet or too still my mind finds it fairly easy to wander.  Both Scout locations have a very definite design mentality; clean lines, a farmhouse feel, a little bit of the outdoors brought in.  And coffee.  Lots of coffee.

What defines the looks and feels of what we are comfortable with?  What makes us say, we like this, but not that.  Design speaks to us in ways we may not fully understand and helps us to make sense of our world.  We have all encountered bad design, we notice it and stop.  Bad design is that intersection we hate getting to because you can never quite see around.  Bad design is the outlet that is six inches too far, or the tool that hurts your hand to use.  We feel bad design.

Good design though, we hardly notice.  Good design blends in, precisely because it is a good design.  From the light switch that is where you know it will be, to the perfectly balanced utensil.  Good design fits in its environment, and makes the world an easier place to live in.  Aesthetic, however, can be so much more than that.

Aesthetics allows us to find beauty in art, in a sunset, in a smile.  It helps us to describe how something can have beauty, even in just the eye of the beholder.  It shows us how to create beauty from nothing, how to turn our dreams to truth.  Aesthetics can help us to understand why we decorate our homes a particular way; how we put our personal aesthetics over the design of a space.  It is why we continue to go to places that make us comfortable and happy, and avoid those that don’t.  Aesthetics can help shape good design.  It can go deeper than just a physical design though.

Look through any photo sharing site; every photo was taken by an individual, with their own insights and feelings.  They each had a viewpoint, and took the picture that reflected their world, edited it and adjusted colors and saturation and focus, and then posted it for the world.  No two people will take the same picture.  No two people will document their lives the same.

Each of us have designed our lives to reflect the world as we see it, and the way as we wish it to be. To reflect how we wish our world to be.  We find ways to recognize and create beauty in our own lives.  We tie our lives together in ways that blend into a larger canvas.  And we don’t even see it happening.

That is a great design.

Until next time, stay together friends.

via Daily Prompt: Aesthetic

Well, a happy new year to you too…

My new year has started off with a bang…almost two weeks of a strangely powerful, yet mild, attack of Depression.  I’m fine for hours, days, then all of a sudden my brain chemistry goes all to pieces and I can feel my soul being crushed.  Nothing in particular started it, and so far my usual fixes haven’t worked to stop the cycle. I just feel…bad. 

So, I’ve been trying to walk more. To contact friends I haven’t heard from, to check on them. To listen to more music that makes me feel good. To write and work on projects that have gathered far too much dust. I’m trying to enjoy the moments I do feel better. 

At the end of the day, I know I will feel better. I know that my levels will normalize and I will get my life back. I know that I’ve come so much farther, that progress is being made. It just takes time.

In the meantime, stay safe out there. It can be dangerous to walk alone…

…until next time.

What Kind of Year Has It Been

Let’s recap: 2016 was quite the year.

Like every year it has had it’s share of good and bad.  My little family has been able to travel, we moved into a new home, and have been very fortunate in mulitple ways.

Looking back at 2016 on Sword & Quill, I was surprised at so many parts of it; at being able to grow my readership in the beginning of the year; at the varied posts I made, from political pieces to fiction to multi-part stories.  I was also amazed at how many posts I missed; between travel, illness, moving, and fighting bouts of Depression, the second half of the year was inconsistent.

I started the year off with a story in four parts, That Woman.  Then a Letter to My Son.  While I was Travelin’, my friend Krisann from Now Hark This filled in with The New Holland Solution.

Spring brought clear skies and Fear and Loathing in Brussels.  I couldn’t write about every act of terror that took place, but, like the attack in Paris last year, I coldn’t let it go by without some thoughts.  I also shared some thoughts on #Love and My Best Friend.

Summer brought more travel, with another trip to Portland and then to the east coast to visit Baltimore and Washington DC.  But it also brought a couple of lingering colds and a battle with Depression that lasted through the end of the year.  But I did get to share my Thoughts on an Early Morning.

As Fall has fallen, my thoughts turned to the election and what that means.  I asked Who Are We?  And I remembered that Christmas Is Here Again, and then asked us all to Move Forward.

2016 was a hard year, full of contridictions and messes.  While I was privy to moments of love and joy, we were also witnesses to moments of vitrol and hate.  Like every year, we saw highs and lows, but it is how we deal with these moments that matter.

Thank you for coming along on this ride, and I look forward to an exciting 2017.  Until next time my friends, Godspeed and Good Luck.