July 17, 2022 · 7:38 am
Recently, someone asked me if I ever have a day when I don’t feel like writing. The answer is absolutely yes.
Even though writing is my reason for jumping out of bed in the morning, it is possible to have an off-day.
To put things in context, I’ve known for at least fifteen years that writing was my calling. Writing is one of the activities that I can count on that gives me energy rather than depletes it. Writing relaxes me. Writing makes me feel whole. Writing makes me feel like I am connected (and connecting) to something greater.
When I create something that has never been written before, I get a sensation that feels like a runner’s high. Writing gives me a sense of euphoria. This is what keeps me going.
Also, I am very fortunate that in the back of my mind, ideas are constantly churning, blog themes are constantly being pitched and my fictional works are evolving and maturing.
For these reasons, I never lose interest.
But do I ever wake up some mornings and not want to write? Sure, but I don’t question it. Even the most passionate of writers can have an off day. Continue reading →
Filed under Lists, Writing
Tagged as art, best practices, block, characters, community, creative, creativity, ideas, process, screenwriter, story, storyteller, tips, tools, writer, writers, Writing
August 9, 2020 · 10:58 am
One of the biggest ironies about moving to the country has been the surprising shift in the way I look at weather forecasts.
Back when I lived in the city, I was not a fan of rain nor snow. The reason was pretty simple: commuting.
After our work team was relocated a few years ago, I had accepted that taking the car to this new location would always be faster and more efficient than dealing with buses or our emerging light rail system. After being a bus commuter for 35 years, I felt justified in taking that decision and in having done my part for the environment.
I occasionally questioned that wisdom when a major reconstruction project on a major artery kept adding time to my commute, but I still persisted.
But when the highway was narrowed not only from the construction itself but from vehicles breaking down in the construction zone like it was the Bermuda Triangle, my patience started to wear thin every day that lanes would be blocked, adding to the commute time.
But when you incorporate precipitation into the mix, whether rain, snow, or freezing rain, it became impossible to predict just how long it would take to get to work. Let’s just say that I restrained myself from drinking too much coffee just in case I’d be stuck in the car on the highway (between off-ramps) for lengthy periods.
Back then, whenever I looked ahead to a forecast with several successive days of rain, I would already start the week with a bit of a frown.
But now living in the country, in the Covid-19 era, where I have been working from home and haven’t had to commute in almost five months, I have had good time to recuperate from idiot drivers, construction, precipitation and stressful commutes. Continue reading →
Filed under home, Humour
Tagged as agriculture, community, country, drought, food, home, house, rain, rural, snow, water, weather, well
December 1, 2019 · 9:13 am
Like most of the people I know, through most of my adult life I bought pens by the dozen and never gave it much thought. I confess that I did develop a short list of favourites and bought some brands over and over, but I never really gave it much thought.
And truly, the only real criteria that ever dropped a certain one from my short list was if the pen repeatedly skipped, leaked, smeared, spit gobs of ink, or scraped the paper. But beyond that, I never really gave it much thought.
When my aspirations as a writer started surfacing, surprisingly, my position on pens never really changed even though I started going through them like tissues. As long as they were well-behaved and got the job done, why should I give it more thought?
True enough, much of my writing is done with a computer these days anyway, but there are times when I still enjoy the tactile experience of feeling like the writing instrument is an extension of the human body. And some of my notes still get entered in journals so writing tools are still an essential.
I forget what I was randomly Googling one day, but one of the suggested links provided was “ballpoint pen reviews.”
“That’s a thing?” I asked myself. So ever curious about tools for my craft I clicked on one of the links and started reading. This led me to another link… and another… Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Writing
Tagged as arthritis, ballpoint, blog, blogger, blogging, community, cursive, effort, experience, fountain, ink, journal, options, pen, penmanship, pens, picky, preference, preferences, pressure, process, refills, sensitivity, stationery, supplies, tips, tools, writer, writers, Writing
September 2, 2018 · 7:49 am
“Could I help the next person in line?” the cashier yelled as she opened her checkout line.
I was the next person in line.
But before I had time to take my three small items off the conveyor belt, the two people behind me had scurried over to the new checkout line like rats running with a slice of pizza in a New York subway.
I had no opportunity to take my rightful place in the line of the new checkout.
Still, I stood there horrified. Compounded by the aggressiveness and determination with which the two people behind me jumped over, I wasn’t sure if I was witnessing a scene at a grocery store or a National Geographic special featuring lions closing in on their prey.
Back when I was a kid, that offence would have been worthy of a time-out and one or two weeks’ allowance. As well, it would have been compounded with a guilt trip started by a long glare with disappointed eyes and a suspiciously calm, “Didn’t I raise you better than that?”
I’ll never forget those times… wonderful childhood memories!
But also, important life lessons.
Yet, on a daily basis, the underlying “Me first, and screw everybody else” self-entitled attitude bewilders me. I see it on the roads, I see it in malls, I see it on vacation… I see it pretty much everywhere. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, Inspiring
Tagged as civility, code of conduct, common sense, community, courteous, courtesy, decency, dignity, etiquette, fashion, gracious, humanity, integrity, kind, kindness, manners, people, polite, politeness, raised by wolves, reason, respect, respectful, rude, rudeness, self-entitlement, society, style
October 8, 2017 · 8:15 am
Ever since I turned 50, not a day passes that I don’t consider what I might want to do in retirement.
It is kind of funny because for the first half of my career, it was all about mentally preparing for the next work assignment and the next career step, hoping to strike to right balance between something I can be good at, something lucrative and sustainable, and something that will keep me happy.
At this stage in life, the hunt is still on, but not so much about the next career step as it is for activities I may be interested in pursuing in my next chapter.
Of course, there is no rush. As I suggested in my post about my retirement “gap year”, sleeping, recharging my batteries and writing for the fun of it will be my top activities in that first year. But at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking note of the activities that make me happy and which hold particular meaning to me.
Volunteering is one of those activities.
Much like with one’s career, I think it is very important to pitch in not only where the need exists but also to volunteer for causes that are close to one’s heart. In doing so, the time spent volunteering should be more fun and energizing rather than draining.
This is what I tried to explain to my dad many moons ago, when he objected to my volunteering just as I was launching my career. In retrospect, I certainly understand his point of view in that it was important to focus my full energy to my burgeoning career. But early on, there were days that I felt that my job was not tapping into my full potential, especially from a creative perspective.
That is why I was looking for other outlets. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Cats, Inspiring
Tagged as accomplishment, activities, animal, care, career, Cats, chapter, community, contribute, dogs, energy, heart, ideas, in the moment, joy, mindful, mindfulness, opportunities, pay it forward, pet, pets, plan, rescue, retirement, retirement planning, shelter, shelters, step, volunteer, volunteering, volunteerism