Drafts

I have a list of Drafts for this blog. It has a several projects that I have just started, a collection of notes and thoughts; the genesis of an idea before it has taken flight. There are a couple of articles and their research that I haven’t posted, or whose time has passed, no longer relevent in today’s world.

But for one selection: that is a story that will remain unfortunately unfinished. Originally planned as a post for Halloween, and I loved it. It was dark and devious. It was going so well, and then…it wasn’t anything. I was distracted. Distracted by the things that happen; a new job, new responsibilities, new schedule. It was never completed. And I never set out enough of an outline to be able to finish it the way I wanted. So it sits there, a reminder of what almost was, of what could have been. Half a story, a final sentence, and no resolution.

Drafts folders are strange things; they save our stories, articles, ideas. Things unfinished, untouched, almost unremembered. Sometimes those ideas mean something, sometimes they never meant anything. Sometimes those drafts get recycled into something new, into a different idea, or a different post. Sometimes they just sit there, like a trinket on a shelf, gathering intellectual dust until we don’t even recognize the person that originally wrote it.

We should all clean out that folder sometimes. To get rid of the old ideas that we aren’t attached to, to free up the head space, and find ways to move on. It’s good to look through, and maybe be inspired, maybe be embarrassed, maybe even find peace.

Until next time, friends.

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“Yer a wizard…”

iTunes recently had the Harry Potter series on sale, and I went ahead and plunked down some cash for all eight movies. Before long I was two movies in and had the strongest urge to reread the books. I finished the first book in less than two days. I’m being irritated that other responsibilities are distracting me in my quest to do the same for the second.

There is something about the books that I love; the adventure perhaps, the writing is strong, and the stories certainly hold up. But I think the part that I love the most, is the idea that magic is hiding just out of sight.

That behind a brick wall in London is an alley where all manner of magical things can be found. That the strange person you saw out the window of a train was actually a wizard on their way to some endeavor. That the cat prowling through the neighborhood is really an animagus in disguise.

My imagination has always run wild; the idea of flying on a broomstick, casting spells or riding dragons was never far away. To have stories like that at my fingertips is too much to hope for.

I like the good and evil nature of the stories too. Voldemort is the ultimate evil, the Death Eaters  (whose name may as well be a Black Metal band) with their Dark Marks are plainly on the opposite side of truth, justice, and apple pie. Conversely, how much better can Harry Potter be. Or Professor McGonagall or Hermione. They stand in direct opposition, and it is nice in our world to have the simplicity.

It is nice to think that in some corner of our world, that it would be so easy to learn the truth with veritasium. That you can plainly see who the bad guys are with their Dark Marks. That you can tell when someone has committed an unforgivable curse or used underage magic. Or just that you can enchant a scrubber to do the dishes.

The Harry Potter books hold a special place for me, for the same reason as Doctor Who; the strange in the world is just the wonder leaking out. Magic is everywhere, we just aren’t looking hard enough.

Until next time, my friends, good night and good luck.

The Blank Page

As some of you may know, I am currently working on a novel.  That is the biggest reason I have not been posting to the blog recently.  It is going fairly well, and I have completed about 20,000 words, marking one of the longest projects I have ever undertaken, and I’m only about a third of the way through what I have plotted.

Recently, however, I have been faced by my biggest obstacle: the blank, white, empty page.  I know where I need my story to go, I know what my characters are thinking or saying (or not saying, as is often the case), but the words don’t want to come forth.  I have tried the tricks I know, and still, the page sits there empty and taunting.

This is the hardest thing for me, having a story to tell, but not being able to tell it.  To have a blank white page staring back at me, waiting for words and thoughts and emotion to move the story forward.  Feeling stuck, without a way forward, paralysed by options and choices and the entire future of it.

I am starting the end of the first movement, and somehow, this is proving the hardest of all.  But I will continue to write, and try, and push, because this story is too important to me to let it hide.  I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Until next time, stay safe.

Design/Aesthetic

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

Lack of Progress

It’s December y’all.  Which means The Great Dumpster Fire that is 2016 is almost over, and in that we can find some solace.  Although, for everyone hoping 2017 is the bright light at the end of the tunnel, it seems much more likely that it’s just the headlight of the oncoming train.

The last few months have been fairly light on content on my blog; I could complain about an increase in my workload, or other projects.  About the merry-go-round of illness that my little family has been on, or about moving and interviews and all the other parts of life that make it conveinent to not work.

And while those are all reasons that I haven’t been posting, they aren’t the reason.  I haven’t posted because I haven’t felt able to.  The time just doesn’t seem right for the normal fictional drivel that I post.  And the articles that I want to write, just end up bumming me out to an unhealthy degree.

My general malaise isn’t because of Trump and his (so far) clown car of choices for cabinet positions.  It isn’t Brexit and the gaining of power for UKIP in the United Kingdom, or the general rise of far-right parties in Europe.  In fact, it isn’t because of politics at all.

Or rather, it isn’t because of Politics, with a capital P.  It is because of society in general, and American society in particular.  It’s the rise of Fake News, and memes.  It’s the lack of civil discourse and debate.  The demise of critical thinking and objective reasoning.  The rise of “belief” over “fact”.

There is no ability to have a discussion about the problems in this country and in this world.  We can’t talk about guns, we can’t talk about climate change, we can’t talk about regulations for companies or the environment or income inequality.  We can’t talk about racism or sexism or ageism or idiocracy.  One side is absolutely right, and the other absolutely wrong.  Both sides are to blame for this; the left clings to its ideals just as much as the right.  Their religion of righteousness forces them to hold hardline positions of opposition, and any sense of compromise is a sign of weakness.  But bipartisanship has not always been a dirty word.

The solutions to these problems are not easy or quick.  We need to find ways of working together.  We need to find ways of having civil discourse at a local level.  We need to encourage our elected officials, on both sides and at all levels, to be civil in their remarks and in their deeds.  We need to use critical and objective reasoning in our lives to seperate fact from fiction.  But most of all, we need to stop and think.  We need to not react.  We need to reason and discuss.

But really, we just need 2017 to be better.  Because I don’t think any of us can take another year like this one.

Be safe my friends, and Happy New Year.

The Process

Have you ever had an idea, that seems so evident and complete, that you are sure that it has been done already?  Like Paul McCartney writing Yesterday, the melody was so complete he knew it must have already been written.

I had an idea pop into my head, the rough story of a novel.  It is so clear in my head, so visually evident, that I am doing bizarre internet searches trying to make sure that no one has already written it.

So far, I’m coming up empty, but I can’t imagine that it doesn’t already exist.


The muse has been avoiding me lately it feels.

Or, more likely, I’ve been avoiding the muse.  It is easier to not write, and ignore the thoughts in my own head than to take the time to write it down.

The world has been irritating me.  Not just politics, although that is certainly some of it.  But just my world, has seemed small and petty.  I’ve been very wrapped up in the details of life, and that is not conducive to my general writing process.  My days off have been spent either sick, or caring for a sick little one, or trying to catch up on all the life I missed when everyone was sick.

It keeps me from writing.  Which has the effect of making me doubt my writing, which makes it harder to write.


The travel bug is biting.

Group-On keeps sending me amazing deals on international travels.  I want to visit cities I haven’t gotten the chance to see, and see where that creativity takes me.

However, life is always just around the corner.  Also, it is winter, and who wants to travel in winter?  Unless it is to the Carribbean…then bon voyage!


I have 4 blog posts sitting in my drafts folder.  None of them are finished; 3 are only missing a conclusion.  But I can’t finish them.  Mostly sure I never will.  I am afraid to post them, afraid of the thoughts inside of them and of releasing them to the world.  Rather they just stay in the dark, locked away from seeing daylight.

It isn’t that I don’t think they’re good, I absolutely do.  It is mostly that I’m not ready for the conversation, and for that I will leave them.

For now.  Maybe I will find the bravery to trust and take a leap.


It is almost a new year.  It is time to reflect and renew.  A chance to start over.

And after this year, we need to start over.

God, what a dumpster fire…


My dog has made himself quite comfortable in my lap.  It does make typing on my computer slightly more difficult, but totally worth it.

Completely worth it.


The process of writing is a deeply personal one.  I’ve never asked how anyone else does it.  Perhaps that is why mine is so poor; I’ve never found a better way.

But sometimes you have to purge, to get rid of all the waste that is clogged up to allow fresh ideas to flow.  This is but a taste of what my brain looks like when I sit down to write.

Now, it’s time to get to work.

 

Until next time friends…

Adventure Time!

So we are sitting in Terminal 6 of Los Angeles International Airport, waiting for a delayed flight to Baltimore, Maryland.

This is the first trip we have taken without our son since he was born, and we are both having a little bit of trouble with it. We do fine, right up until the moment he isn’t fine.  It’s a strange feeling to be without the little guy, especially to be traveling across the country. 

We take off tonight at 10:40, although we have already seen that change once, and land at 6:30am, east coast time. From there we head straight to WashingtonD.C.  I’m hoping to get some sleep on the flight, but I hate to do that. 

Flying gives you such an opportunity to work, to write, to think, and to dream. To fly over dark country, to let your thoughts wander as you cruise a couple of thousand feet in the sky. It’s pure magic. 

Until tomorrow friends, keep safe. And keep dreaming. 

On The Road…Part 2

This has been an especially wonderful trip to Portland, and only served to reinforce how much I love this city. From food to transportation to weather, this has been a model trip.

Our last trip to Portland was done in by one thing; location!  We originally thought we were booking a place in the North West section of the city, but it ended up being in North Portland.  This time we were much more selective in our choice. It makes a huge difference.  This time we are in the Nob Hill neighborhood of North West Portland, and it is great; a beautiful neighborhood in every sense of those words.

We are using AirBNB for our accommodations, and no matter how you feel about the subject, you have to admit they’ve changed the game when it comes to finding and booking rooms.  We booked about two months in advance, and spent just over $100 per night for a beautiful house, built in the late 19th-century.  More than that, it is right in the middle of great food, shops and feet away from the streetcar pickup.  Which brings me to my next favorite part of this trip.

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and I didn’t have to get back into my car for two days, a full 48 hours, until we checked out on Friday.  We used the Portland Streetcars, and MAX Light Rail. (We avoided busses out of personal preference, not lack of choice). These conveyed us to the Oregon State Zoo, downtown, food carts, a great Farmer’s Market, coffee, dinner, lunches, and home.  We never once worried about traffic, parking, or safety.   It made one of the most stressful parts of a trip a complete non-issue.

Portland has long been recognized as a “city on the go,” with an expansive public transportation system, but if those trains have no destinations, what’s the point? The City of Portland has a lot of reasons for that system; over 10,000 acres of public parks, a world class downtown area, and beautiful neighborhoods, each with their own flavor and mood.

This is my third trip to Portland, and each time I go I find something new and exciting to do.  Portland is an incredible city with amazing gifts.  And I love it more each time.

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Links:
Oregon State Zoo
Elephants Delicatessan
Eastside Distilling
South Waterfront Farmers Market

On The Road…Part 1

The countdown has started.

I am currently five days away from my second big trip this year. We are headed back to Portland for a few days, and then up to Washington State, for a friend’s wedding. Excitement doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Just about the only part I’m not excited for is the drive.  This isn’t the first time I’ve driven all the way to Portland.  It is an all day grind; just over 800 miles, and 12 and a half hours if you do not stop.  And you have to stop.

This is a return trip to the Pacific North West for us.  We were there in March, and are looking forward to exploring some different parts of the city.  This time, our goal is to use Public Transportation as much as possible.  And to eat.

My wife and I have discovered that, when we are on vacation, food is the defining characteristic of our trips.  We are constantly planning our next meal, asking the locals where the best food is, and allowing for places along the way to surprise us.

For this trip, just like our last adventure, we are using AirBNB.  We had no issues finding a great little space a few months prior, and for a very reasonable price.  It is close to all the activities we are looking forward to; a short walk to the metro station, near restaurants, and with a little coffee shop just around the corner.

The second part of our trip is a much more personal adventure; two of my closest friends are getting married, and I get to officiate their wedding.  It is such a wonderful gift, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I will be there to help them begin a brand new chapter of their lives together.

July is going to be a very exciting and busy month, and I have a lot of travels to write about, but August is shaping up to be a huge adventure too.  I can’t wait to tell you about it.

I’m not sure there’s a way to spell, “Arghngh!”

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” 
― Allen Saunders

I was thinking about the people I know today.  All of us have these silly little plans and ideas about how to make life go.  We decide on a route for our lives, and then watch as it all falls apart around us.  So what do we do when we get to these crossroads, these moments when we can change everything?
When we started that new adventure three and a half years ago, we didn’t know where it would take us.  We still don’t.  But we had a plan.  That plan changed in a lot of ways.  I don’t know that we would have planned for it to take us to this point, but here we are.  Life happened anyway.  For the last year though, we have been stuck in limbo, unable to more forward.  Life felt like it was waiting for something to give.  We have felt so stuck.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” 
― George Bernard Shaw

The kind of stuck where nothing is moving; a bottleneck on the freeway of life.  Most of the reason that I haven’t felt inspired lately.  My brain is too full from everything else that is going on to cut out the noise and work the way I need it to.  Full of worry from not being able to find a place to live after looking and applying for 7 months.  Worry about jobs and cars and having a 2-year old and everything else that surrounds a person in our modern world.
Stuck in neutral is no way to move forward.  It makes everything seem tied up.  And the more you try to move forward, the less headway you make.  It takes more effort just to stay in the same place.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
― Albert Einstein

For far too long, I have felt that I am standing still; haven’t been able to travel, haven’t had a place to live, haven’t been able to finish the things that I want to work on.  Finally, after a three-year wait and a seven-month search, we have found a place to live.  We have two trips planned and paid for over the next 6-weeks.  I am writing again.  Life is strange and hard and crazy.  It will keep after you and keep pushing you.  You have to keep moving.
The jam is starting to clear and everything is moving again.  Things are still unknown, and life is still throwing curve balls, but finally things are happening.  And I am so excited for it.