I feel strongly about many things in the political arena, while at the same time I won’t espouse my opinions because, well, they are just my opinions. While opinions are valid, when considering the fate of more than just myself, it’s important to base decisions (and talking points) with a focus on facts over beliefs.
That said, I want to take this year and post at least once a week on the nature of politics. On two-party systems, and fair wages. On immigration, Amendment 2, and all the amendments. On Constitutional rights, the judicial system and criminal justice, and on politicians.
I’ve no idea what this will look like, but I know that I want to say some things that maybe I wouldn’t otherwise. And, it seems to make the most sense that I’d write it out here.
As always, it’s work in progress. It’s part of an overhaul I’ve been planning for months, and it’s only one facet. Because we are, at our cores, experimental creatures.
Another week has come to an end, and before you know it the first month of 2020 will be over. New Year not so new anymore? I understand. But here’s what I’ve come across this week.
Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m about half-way through, so it should get wrapped up, maybe this weekend. There’s a familiarity I feel when reading this. I’ve only done one solo hike – the Wicklow Way just south of Dublin – and that was mostly accidental. Much like how Strayed went from concept to hike in, I believe, six months. Becoming found by getting lost is a concept I think many, perhaps all of us are familiar with.
Listening: Let the Games Begin by Aloe Blacc. I heard this at work one day, and it ear-wormed itself into my head so I had to track it down. It’s uplifting while at the same time being catchy. I hadn’t really listened to Aloe Blacc since 2010 and his Good Things album.
Spending time: Watching a lot of Jeopardy. I’ve taken the test twice – once in 2016, and again last year. Neither time I was satisfied with my performance, and, since I’ve not been called by the show’s producers, I’m guessing they weren’t either. But I’ll try again next week, and testing is January 28-30.
The key to all creative thinking is to ask, “Why not?” The most innovative thinkers don’t view the world as it is, but as it might be. And while there are many blocks that prevent us from looking in such a way as to imagine new possibilities, the potential is there all the same.
When investigating a problem, don’t assume something won’t work just because it hasn’t been tried before. Remember to ask, “Why not?”
Again I have some posts sitting in Drafts that need some TLC before I push the Publish button. But I wanted to take a minute and reflect on how the creative process works for me.
I usually walk around every day with a pocket notebook and a pen. My current pen of choice is the Parker ’51 I purchased last year at the antique store. I write anything in the notebook, which includes lists, snippets of prose or poetry that comes to me, songs I like or books I may want to read.
But working my way from the back page forward, I’ll usually have a list of items that I want to look up. These include words or phrases (such as feedback loop or parsimonious); authors; artists; organizations; etc.
Many of these become posts eventually, or they sit in drafts. I don’t know that this matters to anyone, but it’s a glimpse into how I work these posts out a day at a time.
I’m considering the managers I know, and who’s doing good work and where some may falter. A while back I posted on leadership qualities. This one is standing out to me:
- They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”
We’re all teams, and we work in teams. No person produces work alone. I wish all managers thought about the we a little bit more.
I was writing this morning, wondering about how random thoughts (like journal entries) become complete works. I’ve read some of the journal entries of Thoreau, and letters of Alan Watts. But I started looking at which other writers kept journals (many did).
While I cull through the list I’m compiling, I have these rules from Vonnegut for writing fiction I thought I’d share:
Eight rules for writing fiction:
- Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
- Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
- Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
- Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
- Start as close to the end as possible.
- Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
- Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
— Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1999), 9-10.
This was an easy decision to make, but slightly more challenging to put into practice. Some days I easily write four or five posts to queue up. Other days it’s challenging to put a sentence down.
The prompt was Seth Godin’s interview with Tim Ferris on The Tim Ferriss Show (ep. 138). “The first thing I would say is everyone should blog, even if it’s not under their own name, every single day. If you are in public making predictions and noticing things, your life gets better. Because you will find a discipline that can’t help but benefit you. If you want to do it in a diary, that’s fine. But the problem with diaries is because they’re private, you can start hiding. In public, in this blog, there it is. Six weeks ago you said this; 12 weeks ago you said that. Are you able, every day, to say one thing that’s new that you’re willing to stand behind? I think that’s just a huge, wonderful practice.”
I like looking at the world – its working philosophies; the creative industries; environmental concerns and conservation efforts; books and publishing; and many other things that come into my attention. If I’m lucky, I have an original thought about them.
At the very least I have something to say about what’s happening, or maybe I just to shine a light on it.
And the world needs perspectives – of all shades – to be shared.