Strawberry Moon

On June 17th I witnessed what was called a strawberry moon, when the moon rises in a red hue. Unfortunately my camera only captured this out of focus!

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But that is life-Keep observing, and always

Keep writing!

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What profit is there, Or the Meaning of Life, Or Have Joy!

What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?
Ecclesiastes 3:9

Sobering words of the Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes, a book seen my many as an enigma, a depressing reflection on the futility of life. Sad, because it is actually an attempt to live life the way you should-by seeing the end always before you. There will be an end to life, avoidance only waists more of the precious time we have been given on this earth.

I have been thinking a lot about writing, living and yes by extension the meaning of life. As a Christian I have no trouble with the Why’s of life, it is the daily What’s that get in my way. Solomon addresses this in Ecclesiastes with leveling all activity out-it will be forgotten. That’s a very hard thing for a writer, teacher and parent to grapple with, but it is definitively the reality of being alive. We will all be forgotten.
In David Gibson’s book Living Life Backwards he quotes Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf,
“Preach the gospel. Die. Be forgotten.”
Stark and sober to be sure. What has this got to do with being a writer? Everything, because it has to do with being ANYTHING. The biggest criticism of Ecclesiastes is it seems to cast all in a light of futility, but in reality it give us answers.
The preacher sums working life up like this:
“I know that there is nothing better for them (meaning all of us) than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is a gift from God.” 3:12,13
Writers should be finding a great amount of meaning and joy in their writing, not depressing negativity. They should be happy to write, and if they see a profit from it then rejoice to God that you are so fortunate. When Ray Bradbury, whom I have been, for the umpteenth time been reading through his Zen and the Art of Writing says:
“Everything I’ve ever done was done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it.”
Sounds like a man who was blessed to have written with joy in mind. Yet he, like Solomon, is very rational when he writes:
“Life is short, misery sure, mortality certain.”
He is one who says work with joy, and I fully agree with this idea. This is why I am writing this blog post, to reflect on whether or not I have been writing recently with joy or not.
The truth is, in the middle of any novel project, I can fall victim to what appears to be ahead. What do you mean Nathan? I mean I know the end, but it is the daily writing, the daily work, that gets slowed to a crawl and I loose the rush, the vigor of the story, but still know there is much work before the project can be given to beta readers and then further polished. The diamond is still surrounded by coal which must be chipped away.
This makes me doubt whether being a writer is a good use of my time, though believe me I see it as a good use of my time, it’s just the TODAY that gets in the way. I need to take the advice of Solomon, sprinkling on a little of Bradbury’s gusto and vest, look at the work fresh faced every day and realize this is not all there is to life. I should be enjoying writing. I should also be enjoying being a father of a little girl, a teacher to many students, a member of a local church who should be given to encouragement and support. Joy in knowing that the end is secure and today is important in the living should guide me to be positive, not blue.
I’ve hit a wall you see, but walls are there for a reason. They teach us if we listen. If we put our ears up to the wall and strain to hear past the washing ebb of our own heart beats we just might hear the people cheering on the other side of glory. We just might realize walls are there to be broken through, but the pieces of the walls become the building block of our character. They are the parts that become our strengths later on.
Is my writing worth the time I invest into it? That is not for me to judge, but I pray that it is. Just as I pray my teaching and my parenting will somehow push a few paces ahead of me after I’ve exited this life.
May you all see life a little clearer, or at least think of life in a different light as you sit down to type a blog post, write a letter to a friend or just a note to your spouse. Words do make a difference, they can either give something back to those around you or cause pain. Seek to encourage over enrage.
A long post, and one a long time coming. May you all be writing with joy today!
Keep writing!

Use It or Lose It

I have been pushing things out of my closets this day in an attempt to really get down to the bare necessities. This even included checking wedding photos, backing up and tossing old copies of photos, and junking things that have been taking up space. Chief among electronics going in the trash are my two Alphasmart typing pads.

Wait a second Nathan! I can almost hear my mother saying this with an inhalation of breath, the shock, the surprised eyebrow raising look in her face. Well it boils down to my Alphasmart Neo becoming more and more unreliable over the past year to the point where I stopped using it in favor of my typewriter. I am not looking back, I loved my Neo, it was the single biggest typing device in my arsenal, but life is about getting things done and I need to move forward.

I chucked framed photographs, some old novel outlines, CD’s and DVD’s and out of date programs. I threw away my Kindle (!) because it is dead, it died the death of a thousand Kindles from overuse. I use my SamSung tablet now instead-not the best substitute, too back Amazon jacked up the price of the Kindle from $49 to $79, so I will just use what I got. Again, use it or lose it. Time to eject the flotsam folks.

Which brings me to the toughest question, one I have been formulating recently:

Could you fit everything you really needed in a big bag and leave by tomorrow?”

Or

Would you be able to drop everything and leave your present life in 5 days?”

Sell off, gift/give off relinquish everything you now have and set off into the sunset? No, I can’t and though I am not saying literally that I would do this, it is a begging question because it is the difference between being tied to things, dragging an anchor you don’t know how to pull up on the boat or cut through the links and set yourself free. For me it is about being in the moment, in the now. I want to be unencumbered so I can live more freely. This goes against the grain of societies, while at the same time feels the right thing to do. I am 43 years old and a lot of people my age are either evaluating or accumulating. I want to be evaluating, the only thing I want to accumulate is experiences in my life and my family. That is what really matters in the end of my time here on earth-are my impact on the lives of others. I also don’t want to be stress for someone else after me who has to weed through the junk I left behind.

So like I said, I’ve been keeping my eyes open and critically peering into every closet! Ah-what a life. And I am writing about it too!

Keep writing!

Celebrate Good Times and a Free Book!

Celebrate good times folks, this coming weekend I will be offering one of my books for free on Kindle, please check it out, read them through and if you could review them I would be extremely flattered. I will start the free books from this Friday! The free book from June 15 for three days is:

Gold River City 100

(I wanted to offer more books, but Kindle Direct Publishing sight had some troubles and I am sorry it couldn’t be more)

Why am I doing this? I am coming up on 700 blog posts and I think it is important to celebrate (don’t you?) so share the love, give and don’t hold back, some things in life are free! And thanks also goes out to all of my followers, thank you so much for your likes and comments. Wow, over a hundred people I really do appreciate you all, hang in there, more books are on the way!

Keep reading-and Keep writing!

Why I Write

The story of how I started on this writing path is one of many twists and turns, but it might boil down to one major change in my life. When I finished college I moved to Japan, eventually got an apartment and lived for three years without a computer or TV. I didn’t even have a radio for much of that time.

The vacuum created by being in a non-English environment, coupled with the proximity of a library which just happened to have a United Nations English Library section within it, brought books as entertainment back into my life.

I liked books, but they had taken a back seat to TV since my teen years. Otherwise books had become the information sources for my college reports and projects, but not entertainment. It was a necessity to use books in school, moving to Japan made it a necessity to fill the void left within my head.

At the same time I started writing my daily thoughts down in note books. Usually I would go to a coffee shop before, or after, my teaching job and write anything that came to mind. Poetry, paragraphs of ideas, short dialogs, the bubbling pot of my creative muse was starting to drain out in brown gel ink onto spiral notebooks. I spent a lot of time observing the world around me, taking pictures with a camera and with my pen.

When I got married an idea sprung up and I started to really formulate a novel. This became a 50 page outline, then a full manuscript. Eventually I gave copies to my coworkers who seemed impressed with it. Finally Kindle made it possible for me to offer my first novel, The Intelligent Octopus, to the world. But the flood gate had been opened and other stories started to rush out at me.

Does this answer the blog title today, well no, not exactly. I write because I must write. I know it is something I can do, and do well, I take pride in writing well. It is a task and I desperately want to step up to the task every chance I can get. So I write, and often. Now I have 9 books under my belt. It is both an encouragement and a needle to keep me going forward.

With writing you can always get better, always learn a new way to express your ideas, always push yourself a little bit further. There is no ceiling in writing, it is a wonderful thing to think I can never stop learning about a thing I love!

I hope you all are writing because you love to write, because it is part of who you are, who you want to be. Publishing books and writing stories has really opened up my life, to help me see other people and the world around me with interest and wonder. I am more interested in things now that before, because I want to reflect life in my writing, and in the process live life better.

Thank all of you who are following my blog, it has been a big encouragement to me. As I near 700 posts I want to remind you many of my books will soon be available free on Kindle for a limited time in celebration of a writing milestone. I want to share my writing joy with all of you.

Until tomorrow, Keep writing!

The Brown Chair

reflectionsbrownchair

Many years ago, when I was still using film I took an old brown vinyl chair and lugged it around taking pictures of it. I wish I could find the prints, mainly back in the States in a box I assume, all shot on a Mamiya 220, in 120 film stock. Love those days, but love my days now even more!

Keep writing!

Back to My Back

About a month ago my daughter snapped a picture of my at my computer. Looking at it told me all I needed to know-I’m a hopeless hunchback!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Or am I? Recently I had avoided muscle training in favor of cardio and the desire to slim down. This has kept me from doing back exercises which would keep me more upright and straight. With some advice and a desire to bring things back in line I have been working on forcing my head up and my shoulders back.

I saw a recent YouTube Video that had good advice, some of which I am working to follow at the gym and at home.

I have also been doing wall sits, which are a good exercise all around, but keeping my back straight is one of the focus points for doing it (along with making sure my legs, hips, groin are gaining strength to protect against injury).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Is it helping? I think making a conscious decision to work on a physical issue can yield results if a person is consistent, so I hope to keep it up. Sure I want to be a writer, but I don’t want to be a hunchback. That and the long term impacts of such a posture may lead to chronic pain so I aim for the ounce of prevention over the pound of problems!

Sit up straight writers, and write!

Keep writing.

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