Enough shouting in anger and indignation and oh so outrage. Enough, sez I.
Enough woe is me I wish life were easier.
Enough crying how dark it is out there.
Enough, enough, enough.
Yep, we’ve all heard enough angry partisans to last us a lifetime. I’ve heard enough indignant mutterings to know you’re indignant. I’ve heard enough outrage to understand some people would rather be perpetually outraged. Enough crying in the dark to see some people are more comfortable in the dark than doing something to turn on a light.
It’s too tiring and draining to be angry and outraged all the time.
I’m going to break out in pursuit of peaceful voices, acceptance, understanding, and laughing. Definitely more laughing needed around here.
We laughed at the sixth or seventh TV ad, all of them for different products or services, all of them nearly identical, and we haven’t stopped laughing.
They start with a somber solo piano … and then the announcer says …
“In these difficult times …”
“We’ll get through this …”
“… because we’re all in this … together.”
OK. We get the message. I disagree.
Not with the “we’ll get through this together” part. The first part.
What’s so much more difficult (or “challenging” or even “unprecedented”) about these times?
In fact, these times are pretty easy in comparison.
Surviving day to day has always been difficult. It’s always been challenging. But modern medicine, food supply chains, communications, and a plethora of modern conveniences make surviving day to day a whole lot less difficult.
These times may be more uncomfortable than they were before someone decided that locking down the economy might be a good way to stop the spread of a serious virus (how’s that working out, by the way?) — but difficult? challenging? Unprecedented? Are you kidding me?
I’d rather be alive in 2021 than in 1941 or 1931 or 1861 or 1721 or 1621 — Now, THOSE were difficult and challenging times!
As I write this, the sun is shining, it’s a mild winter day, the house is warm and comfy, and life is full of promise. I’ve known a lot more difficult times than this, and if you think back, I’ll bet so have you.
The next time you hear somebody say those magic words, “these difficult and challenging times,” laugh out loud and get back to enjoying this wonderful life.
A decade ago The Secret was all the rage, with its Law of Attraction that if you decide you want something hard enough, the universe will shift in ways to make it so.
As I poked around I learned that this idea was not exactly new; in fact variations on the theme were being advanced a century ago and more.
“The aphorism, ‘As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,’ not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life,” philosopher James Allen wrote in 1903. Later in the 20th century Earl Nightingale said “The Greatest Secret” is that “a man is what he thinks about.”
The idea is encapsulated in the aphorism attributed to Henry Ford that whether you think you can do something or you think you can’t, you’re right.
The best short books or essays that I found about the concept were Allen’s “As A Man Thinketh,” Russell H. Conwell’s “Acres of Diamonds,” and Wallace D. Wattles’ “The Science of Growing Rich.” In my early days after discovering print-on-demand and independent publishing, I assembled the three in a book I titled A Little Volume of Secrets.
I’ve put a new cover on the little volume and re-released it for sale by discerning retailers everywhere. Entrepreneurs and independent thinkers are no doubt familiar with these works, and the goal is to have them all in one place for your re-reading and gift-giving pleasure.
“when we create, we are creating the world. remember this, and commit.”
— Nayyirah Waheed
On Friday morning, I crossed the 10,000-word threshold on my novel tentatively called Jeep Thompson and the Lost Prince of Venus.
Those are as many words as the average Myke Phoenix novelette, and it’s already the longest stretch of fiction I’ve written since 2014, when I hunkered down and banged out 10 novelettes.
I am having a blast. You know all those writing gurus who say writing is fun once you get out of your own way? Oh, man, they are right.
I was going to call this post “A report from the battlefield,” because, you know, it’s “the war of art” and creative types supposedly are always struggling to do the art. But if I’m honest, when it’s going well, it’s like watching a good movie. And watching a good movie is fun as hell, not a struggle.
I designed this cover more than a year ago, as a way of envisioning a finished product. It may or may not be what the actual book looks like, or its title.
But it’s coming along, and I am stoked, and I am committed. This is a cool feeling.
My advice to myself is not to be too pleased with myself, just keep going. But 10,000 words is a milestone, and so I pause to celebrate — just for a few minutes.
I did not make a new year’s resolution to publish two books the first weekend in 2021.
But I recommend the experience to anyone who has been sitting on the cusp of doing something.
And that’s where I was:
I had dozens of blog posts collected for a book of optimistic celebrations, a deliberate counter to the doomsayers who flood the airwaves and social media every minute.
And I had exactly two dozen bits of flash fiction set aside for an ebook.
On Thursday, New Year’s Eve, I kicked my procrastinating self in the britches and pulled the trigger on Gladness is Infectious.
The official short description:
We have two choices each day: To add to the beauty or add to the despair … to ride the light out of darkness and live in peace, striving against the discord … to celebrate our best angels, not our worst instincts. Here’s a warm blast of optimism.
And Sunday, with momentum on my side, I created a cover for the ebook and launched 24 flashes into the ether.
The official blurb:
If you only have a minute, 24 flashes is for you.
This little book contains 24 very short stories, most of them fewer than 1,000 words, which fits many people’s definition of flash fiction; hence the title.
You’ll find fantasy, romance, science fiction, horror, suspense, maybe even a thriller, all in the time it takes to read this blurb.
We are probably not the only species that marks time; we just aren’t smart enough to figure out other species’ systems.
Here we are, trading in one set of markers for the next — 366 days gone by this time around, and we return to the standard 365. Enough leaping for one quadrennium, says I.
It’s good to have a timeline to see where we’ve been and project where we might be going: I was born then, I graduated that year, met my mate in this season, found my dream job in that time and place for so long …
Just as long as time does not become a trap — “Just wait until 2021, it’ll all get better then.” (Why not today?) or “I will fulfill my destiny when the clock strikes midnight on such and such a date” (Why not now?) — but rather a challenge: “Can I pay off that credit card by this date?” “Can I finish my project by that date?”
The calendar is a tool, not a prison or a sentient being. (Enough with the “go away, 2020, I hate you” — the calendar didn’t cause all that.) It’s a reminder of how our days and months and years are linked, a reference point to past, present and future, and a compass to help determine where we are and where we’re going.
We free ourselves when we tell the calendar what to do, and not the other way around.