Tuesday’s Theme Music

I’ve been feeling a change in energy for some months. We’ll see whether this woo-woo sensation of being inordinately optimistic and hopeful is founded in reality or the first stages of dementia or senility. After a particularly rousing dream set, the sensations were sharper today, leading to lyrics from the Spacehog song, “In the Meantime”.

And in the end, we shall achieve in time
The thing they call divine

When all the stars will smile
For me
When all is well and well is all for all
And forever after
Maybe in the meantime wait and see

h/t to Genius.com

In the meantime, my mind proceeded to bring the song fully to stream. I hope you enjoy it and find a worthy choice as theme music for this Tuesday morning in 2021. Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and vaccinate. Cheers

Another Writing Dream

This one was long, complex, and layered. After thinking about all of it (an exercise in itself), just sharing a few segments.

I was at a writing retreat on an island. At one point, I was in a room with other writers. We all stopped to take a break. Many were out on the balcony in sunshine, watching fog roll in. Thinking about joining them, I went to the refrigerator to get a beer. The frig was fully stocked but I decided to pass and went back to writing.

Later, I took a break from writing, left my room, and went running around the island. It wasn’t a big item and writers were everywhere. I realized that’s how I’d been spending my time, writing, with breaks to run/get exercise and sunshine, and I was enjoying it.

I decided it was time to leave the island. I was almost done with my work in progress and decided I’d finish it elsewhere. After making initial arrangements for my flight out, I followed up at the front desk. An old but big white man, who was the owner, worked the desk. He asked me if I wanted food for my trip out. He spoke in a low, garbled voice. I was constantly asking him to repeat himself, leaning forward to hear him. He shoved a piece of paper at me and a new yellow pencil. “Fill this out!”

Looking at the paper, I answered, “Fill what out? There’s nothing there.” After pulling back the piece of paper, he realized that a form that was supposed to be attached was missing, found one, passed it to me, and then turned to helping others.

I couldn’t complete the form because the pencil wasn’t sharpened. New, it’d never been sharpened. Instead of trying to get the old man’s help, I found a used pencil. As I filled out the form, I discovered the food I was ordering would cost $1500, an amount I found shocking. I asked the old man, “How long is this flight going to take?” He didn’t answer. I decide in the dream that it takes a lot to leave writer’s island.

Paperwork done, I walked out of the office and down an outside walk. A young female writer, white, short dark hair, short in stature, came up and put her arm around my waist. I reciprocated with an arm around her shoulder. She and I walked like this, with her telling me how much she liked my writing and admired me.

There’s a period of driving around. I’m a passenger. The young female writer is the driver. She keeps going the wrong way down streets, concerning me. It’s only after the dream that I wonder how there’s so many cars and roads there when the retreat was originally a small island.

I realize I’m carrying half a book. A classic, it’s literally torn in half, with the final half missing. Someone asks about it. I explain that it was a gift from a friend, a joke. He told me that whenever he asks me how I’m doing, I always answer that I’m about half finished. He thought it was finished to give me half of a published book.

Later, I’m worried. I don’t remember packing my clothes, computer, etc. I’ve already checked out but we’re back by the office. I stop by and ask the old man if I can check my room to see if I left anything behind. He gives me the keys and says, “Help yourself.” I go to the wrong room. Realizing that my room number was six, I find and enter it. It’s still the wrong room. I remember that my room was up two flights.

I go up to the right room. My baggage is there. Everything is packed. As I’m walking around, looking, just to be certain, another writer enters. We chat while I’m searching the room. I find a large cache of papers behind the desk. They appear to have fallen there. Drawing them out, I realize they’re old and handwritten, and they’re not mine. As I comment on that, the other writer starts crumpling them up and throwing them away. I ask him why he’s doing that, and then follow up, “Don’t you want to read other writers to see what they’re doing?” He stops trashing the papers and begins trying to uncrumple everything, which makes me laugh.

I decide to shower and change clothes, but I leave the room door open. After leaving the shower, while I’m toweling off, I discover a young doe in the room. It’s missing the top half of its head. It’s bloodless but like its head has been sawn off above its eyes and its brain scooped out. Friends enter to tell me good-bye. I wrap a towel around my waist. I’m about to warn them about the deer when one friend mentions it, making a joke. I’m surprised; the deer is completely whole and fine. I wondered why I thought it was missing part of its head, and then decide I’m always looking for the worse, even when it’s not there.

That’s where the dream ended. As mentioned in the beginning, it was complex, and offered a lot to unpack.

Perspective

He said, it’s just an accident, it’s just a death. Nothing to worry about, not worth the mess.

He said, everyone gets sick, it’s nothing to fear. Nothing to worry about, it’ll all come clear.

Then, when it was his own family who died, he said with a sad face, who could’ve known that this could take place?

Puzzles and Writing

Okay, here comes a little humbragging.

My life isn’t challenging. I retired from the military, so I have a pension egg that comes in each month. I worked for a few startups when I retired from the mil. Tyco and IBM bought them. I made stock off those deals, and my nest egg ballooned. In other words, I’ve been lucky.

Challenges amount to coping with cats, dealing with modern life, helping my wife in her adventures, maintaining things, writing novels, and doing puzzles. Writing novels was a desire delayed as I stayed in the military to retire and have a pension, and then stayed with companies to get stock options and build a nest egg, so I don’t feel guilty now pursuing my writing dream. Puzzles are a pleasant diversion. I do a few online every day, something to pump up my endomorphs so I feel good about myself.

There’s also the jigsaw puzzles. They started in 2019. We were on vacation at the coast. A puzzle was there and we worked on with another couple as a social activity. It was fun. Early this year, pre COVID-19, we decided to do more. They were a pretty diversion during cold and dark January days. My wife likes them in theory but finds herself discouraged by the struggle to find the pieces and make it all fit together. I, though, find tremendous satisfaction in fitting those pieces together and making it all come together. Is it any wonder that I think of novel writing as being just like puzzle solving?

I’m almost finished with the Christmas puzzle. We didn’t finish the Halloween puzzle until November. I then joked that we need to start the Christmas puzzle in November so it’ll be done by Christmas.

Well, it’s almost finished. Four percent remains. It’s a thousand piece puzzle; you can do the math.

While I was doing the puzzle, I was contemplating how much it is like my writing process, and my work process. I used to work alone in my tasks as an IBM analyst and service planner. People would give me problems or ask my opinion, and then I’d work alone, come up with answers, and feed it back to them. I enjoyed those challenges and learned how much working alone entertains me.

With those issues in IBM, I used to gather facts and insights, then walk away from it for a while. The length of time varied. Then, something would come together in my brain and I’d go back, attack and finish it. I also did the same in my final years in the military. Although I’d been in command and control, I was appointed a special assignment as Quality Air Force advisor to the commander for my final two years. A one-person office, I worked alone, setting up the curriculum, then teaching it to the base population while facilitating team building and strategic planning in parallel. It was fun.

That’s also how I do Sudoku puzzles each day. Bring them up, take a look, close it, and walk away. Then I come back and do it later.

The jigsaw puzzle is also like that. Finding an area to focus on, I’ll consider the finished image, where I’m at, and the pieces that remain. Then I walk away. Returning later, I discover that I can fit several pieces together, click, click, click, click.

(And this is where my wife and I have moved apart on working on the puzzles. I have my style, whereas, she tries fitting them piece by piece, picking them up and trying them until she finds one that fits. That’s so counter to my style, it irritates me. But, I’m an easily irritated person. That’s probably why I worked alone, too.)

That’s often how my writing process works. The character is HERE; the story is HERE; what must happen NEXT? Wander off, do tedious chores, wash the car, play with the cats, drink coffee, etc. Then return; sit; type. Walking and my pre-COVID-19 writing process was built around this. I’d walk to a coffee shop, then write, leave, think about what’s to be next, and then do it again the next day.

When it works — with puzzles, computers, analyses, writing, whatever — it is beautiful and rewarding. When it works, it feels like magic.

BUT —

You knew it was coming. It’s not always like this in any of these cases. My success with that process leads to overconfidence. I attempt to manipulate and hurry the process. I think I can force myself to see and do at will. I then end up overthinking everything, losing confidence, and stalling.

I’d learned that before. That’s why I developed my walking and writing routine. But when it was cut out from under me with the pandemic restrictions, I was at a loss. How do I do what I used to do without doing what I used to do? Doing the puzzles helped me understand myself, yet again. Developing that insight into myself was rewarding. Keeping it in mind is yet another challenge. It basically amounts to relax; take your time. Trust yourself. Be patient. And always, always stay positive and persistent. Go back when you fail, regroup, and try again.

Looking back at previous blog posts, I’ve learned this all before. Oh, boy.

Got my coffee. Ready to give it a go and write like crazy, at least one more time.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Today’s song comes as a reflection on 2020 and its events. As I cogitated about what was and wasn’t, and what might be, I thought of how mojo rises and falls. What will the mojo be like in 2021?

All that thinking led me to a Cat Stevens song, “Wild World” (1970). I was fourteen when I heard the song. His singing tone spoke to me as it did a significant swath of my generation.

“But if you want to leave, take good care. I hope you have a lot of nice things to wear. But then a lot of nice turns bad out there.”

Yeah, you never know how things will turn. You can predict and plan, expect, hope, and pray. It often turns without warning, spurred by a sudden wind, a sharp word, a surprise pain, a shy glance, a quick smile, a brief hug. For want of a nail…

Have a good day. Stay positive, test negative, and wear a mask, please.

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