Gore Vidal Said

Recurring Topics

I was thinking about my recurring topics as I walked today. My blog and posts are mostly about me, and so is this post.

I have several recurring subjects. Daily theme music and catfinitions are my most consistent offerings. The first came about because I stream music in my head quite often. That’s my way of saying I remember music and hum or sing to myself. Memories of where I was, and who I was with are frequently affixed to the music, so the music trigger speculation about life.

I also stream music in my head when I write. Not all of it is pop/rock, folk, rap, etc. Some classical music seeps into the streams. I don’t use it as theme music. I always wonder with this, am I alone in streaming music in my head? No, I’m certain I’m not. It’s probably part of a condition. To be sure, I encourage it because I think it stimulates my imagination.

Catfinitions were born from perceptions. I have four cats. They all came to me as cast-offs from others. We know the background to two of them. One, Quinn, came running to me one winter night and then refused to stay with his people after they took him home. He preferred us. The other, Papi, belonged to a neighbor. So skinny, we always saw him outside, learned that his people didn’t let him into their house for reasons that weren’t disclosed, and fed him and took him in to keep him safe, warm, and healthy. They moved away and left him. End of story.

The other two, Tucker and Boo, showed up, hungry and hopeful. They were fed, so they stuck around. I tried finding their owners. Nobody confessed, so the cats are mine, now.

Living with these cats always provides a reason to come up with a word to help describe our relationships and cats’ behavior. Like today’s catfinition, cateral. My wife left the bed this morning. I stretched out. Cats joined me. They, too, stretched out. I got up to pee, and then decided, twenty more minutes in bed. Except, I could not return to bed without shifting two cats. Instead of doing that, I found a different position. Cateral, I realized, as I lay parallel to their positions, chuckling. I easily amuse myself. Several readers like the catfinitions, so I keep doing them. They’re fun for me.

Writing quotes is a favorite category. I started sharing them after encountering quotes on others’ sites. I think people in every occupation are unique to that occupation. Some occupations have people who are more unique than others. Most people are fortunate that they work alongside another person from their occupation. They understand one another. This gives them comfort and strength, but also gives them a baseline for comparison.

Writing, though, is often a solitary pursuit. Non-writers don’t want you to talk about your writing, and I don’t like talking about it, because I think it saps the writing energy.

I end up having conversations in my head. Sometimes I’m speaking to myself. Other times, I discuss things with the muses or characters. The question is, are these three categories actually separate, or are they all just me?

Part of writing is that it is a different process and experience for each of us. It’s a very individual and personal effort. We may share some methodologies and styles, but so much of writing comes from our private baggage. So many of us struggle in our solitude, and we wonder, is it like this for everyone, including all those who are the greats, and those whose words and ideas awe and inspire us?

So I look for quotes to reaffirm and remember, yes, all those terrific writers out there, in every discipline and category, endured the same damn self-doubt, criticism, and frustration. The only way past it is to persevere. That doesn’t guarantee anything, but you can’t be called a failure if you haven’t stopped, and as it’s often reiterated, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t write. Even garbage can be edited.

I post about bumper stickers frequently but less often than the first three subjects. Those are bumper stickers that I see on the passing cars that strike me as humorous or interesting. Sometimes, I just don’t see any new ones, not surprising, because this is a tourist town and a college town. The students usually don’t have cars, and the tourists only come during certain seasons. That’s when I see new bumper stickers.

My personal favorite posts are about writing like crazy. These vanity posts are about my writing progress, writing success, lessons learned, and struggles. I like writing them most because they help me think through things that I’ve noticed about my efforts to write. It’s therapy, and I share, because sometimes others comment.

Last are the dreams. I dream so often. I like dreaming. I like remembering them.

My dreams don’t always make sense. Hell, they don’t usually make sense. As a writer and human, I want to know what they mean and why I dreamed what I dream.

So, I write about it. Some of those dream writings are published as posts. One, I’m comfortable thinking while typing. Two, writing and posting about my personal dreams helps me overcome my wealth of self-doubts and anxieties. Putting myself out there helps me think about words and their meanings, but it also helps me develop a thicker skin, which I desperately need.

Those are my usual subjects. There are also sometimes minor and major rants, but they’re a spur of the moment thing. I also write once in a while about current events, food, beer, coffee, politics, walking, reading, movies, travel, Ashland, and my Fitbit, but they aren’t my usual subjects.

All this comes up now because I started writing this blog in May, 2016, so it’s been two years, if my math is right. (If I was a cat, I might call this my cativersary. Sorry.)

So, thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for reading and liking.

Thanks for commenting.

Thanks for the posts that you share. Your talent, knowledge, experiences, humor, stories, and courage amaze and inspire me. Keep it up.


Learning From Writing

I’ve been working on the yard this week. It’s a personal Möbius strip. Cut the front grass, edge, weed, trim. Cut the back grass, edge, weed, trim. Weed, trim, and edge the side yards. Trim back the neighbors’ trees and bushes. Begin again.

I know, it’s my choice to have a lawn and do all of this. I can hire others. I can zeroscape. I’ve considered both. Or I can let the lawn go to hell.

We don’t use weedkillers or anything artificial on our lawn. The weeds multiply. Out come yellow dandelions. We accept them because bees and butterflies love them. I leave the dandelions when I pull the weeds. Well, mostly. I try to keep them at a reasonable number.

I like the yardwork. In a world where projects take so long to accomplish and we rarely see tangible results, the yardwork provides me with satisfaction that I did something. I also like being outside, and sweating, exerting myself, and feeling the sun and wind. It’s great.

Yardwork also frees my writing mind. Not much thought is required for yardwork, and that lets me think about writing and the work in progress.

I had a surprising epiphany about all of that yesterday. I thought, I don’t understand people. I don’t get their thinking. I struggle to understand their motivations.

I know these aren’t simple questions. Adrenalin rushes and endorphin highs contribute to the pursuit of our fixes. Financial gain, self-esteem, respect, and admiration can contribute. The need for revenge provides some stimulus to people, as does immaturity and warped views and skewed memories. Motivations are complex formulas.

I thought, I don’t understand people, and that’s what I like to write. When I write, I can explore the characters’ inner worlds. I can study their thinking and moods, relationships and memories. My future technology lets them have augmented memories and enhanced communications. Technological capabilities blend with organic skills to blur the lines. Personal scanning technology lets measurements of micro-changes in another person’s temperatures, heart rates, pupils and other biological indicators help detect lies. In more sophisticated people, these things can and are masked to trick others through technology.  Sometimes, it’s like a technological chess match.

Writing about these characters help me learn. From them, it’s reaffirmed that humans are complicated. Matters such as truth and motivation are rarely black and white subjects. Skills like memories, self-awareness, and interpersonal communication vary immensely among people, but also in ourselves. We’re not always the same person today that we were yesterday. Allegiances waver. Certainty wobbles. Hopes sink and rise.

Now, with that cleared up for me, I have my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

A Dream So Real

Do you ever have a dream so real that you’re certain it happened?

I had one of these last night. My eyes were extremely bloodshot in the dream. Looking at my eyes in the mirror in the dream, I thought, wow, what the hell is going on? What caused my eyes to be so bloodshot?

But when I brushed my teeth and saw my eyes this morning, they weren’t bloodshot. I was damn sure that they would be, and shocked and amused when they weren’t. I wonder from that, what other things did I dream that I was certain was real?

Monthly Darkness

I passed through the monthly darkness this week. Darkness strikes me every month. I became aware of it a few decades ago, when I was in my thirties, but I can’t confess to understanding it.

I can’t predict it, either, except it’s a monthly thing. I ended up comparing it to volcanoes this week, because volcanoes are in the news. Like volcanoes, you’re not positive about what’s going on underneath. Yes, a few fissures and tremors can provide clues. But mostly, awareness that something is there is about all that’s accomplished.

Then boom, eruptions clarify the moment.

I expect this every damn month, yet, it’s such a dark, stealthy flow, that it overtakes me and has me in its grip before I recognize it. Everything is touched; nothing is spared. Those areas where I think myself weakness are savaged the greatest. It strikes hard at my self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence, debilitating my belief I can write fiction and my determination to do so. Thoughts like, “What’s the fucking use?” multiply like mosquitoes in a warming tundra. “Just quit. Walk away. Live a normal life of….” Complete the sentence.

Partway through it, I gathered awareness that I was in it. Awareness is probably the most comprehensive tool I have in my set. Knowing that I’m going through the monthly darkness lets me endure the rest, knowing it’ll past.

I must admit, it was a very dark one. I think the stresses of traveling, personal relationships, and visiting with family contributed to the depths. Those activities also limited my writing time. Writing is my primary therapy.

The darkness is gone now. I’m fortunate in that regard. I know my spectrum of moods. I feel for those without that self-awareness, or those whose moods take them more deeply and lovingly into the darkness, holding them down until they can’t breath. I’ve had such darknesses from time to time.

It’s not a fun place to exist.


Cateral (catfinition) – of, or relating to a cat’s situation, position or location.

In use: “She positioned herself on the bed cateral to where her new foster slept to avoid disturbing the tiny fur ball.”

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Today’s music is AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. I heard it on the radio yesterday, reminding me of the problem I have with the song.

Here are the lyrics where my problem with the song begins:

Pick up the phone, I’m always home
Call me any time
Just ring 362 436 oh
I lead a life of crime

h/t to Azlyrics.com

My problem is, how are you leading a life of crime if you’re always home? I’ve heard of working from home, but come on, now. It’d be different if he didn’t go on and state that he’ll take care of things:

Pick up the phone, leave her alone
It’s time you made a stand
For a fee, I’m happy to be
Your back door man hey

If he’s a back door man, he’s not at home, is he? False advertising, that’s what it is. You gotta love that alliteration, though.


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