Quote of the Day: Douglas Preston

Something to remember when writing believable characters, every hero isn’t all good and every villain isn’t all bad. There are degrees of good and evil in everyone.

One of the writing books I have read included a parable. A young man sitting with his grandfather talking about good vs evil. Grandfather tells the grandson, within every person there are two wolves. A white wolf and a black wolf who are endlessly locked in battle. The grandson asks which wolf wins. Grandfather says it depends on which wolf you feed by your actions. Sometimes the white wolf wins, sometimes the black wolf wins.

Far be it for me to argue with Grandfather, however, I would suggest the existence of a third wolf. A grey wolf. A wolf for the times when life isn’t as clear cut as we would like. A way to explain why a person would chose one action over another.

Let me know what you think. Cheers, james

Happy Anniversary: 7 years

Seven years ago I started this blog. Today I have readers the world over and almost 300 hundred folks have chosen to come along on this journey. The past seven years have been a wild and wonderful ride. So much has changed since I published my first post.

Thank you to my wonderful readers and friends the world over. The journey is far from over. Here is to another seven years and many more besides. Cheers, james

Sweet Dreams Roxie,

Yesterday me and my hubby went to run errands. When we left we had three dogs; Roxie, my oldest, Gobby, my hubby’s dog, and Sophie, the dog we are dog sitting for friends. When we came home, we had two dogs. Roxie was dead in front of the couch. 

Roxie, my dear sweet baby, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She would have been 11 years old in May. She has had health problems the last few years. I just didn’t think we would be saying  “Goodbye” so soon.

The picture is from when she was a puppy. She would sleep in under the covers until my hubby would get up. Then she would crawl out of bed looking like she was coming off a three day drinking binge. She never was a morning person. He would make breakfast and share a cup of coffee with her.

Gobby is 4, so he has always had Roxie around. He is picking up on our emotions and doesn’t know why she isn’t in the house or outside. Sophie has been with us since last May, but she doesn’t seem to understand or care that Roxie isn’t around.

We burried her this morning. So tell your loved ones how much they mean because tomorrow is never promised.

Cheers on this sad Sunday, james

Took this picture of a rainbow yesterday coming home. The Rainbow Bridge was open.

Quote of the Day: Inspiration

Warriors don’t always win, sometimes you have to make a strategic retreat. There is no dishonor in retreating. It just means you need to step back and look at the options. Decide if you really have to go over that hill or if you can manuever around it. Because it may serve you better to take several steps back and take another path.

Today will start a new path for me. The war was lost. However, it is time to call a retreat, regroup and look at my options. The closing of a chapter in one’s life does not mean the end of the story. Just the start of a new page and maybe a new story.

Cheers, james

Writing and the Lack Thereof

So I have been trying to get myself back to writing through various methods: The Artist’s Way Morning Pages, Getting back into keeping a notebook, this blog, looking up writing quotes, etc. I sat down last Fall and outlined a werebeast story. Transcribed most of my notes from paper into my computer, and haven’t touched it since.

Owl Story, one of the main pieces I talked about, I have completely lost everything when we moved. Paper version and the thumb drive it was all stored on. Cause I figured if I kept it on the drive I wouldn’t lose it. Ha, the joke is on me big time.

And MEI, Manuscripts, Epiphanies, Illuminated, during a crisis of heart got trashed, because I gave up on my writing. That is one of my biggest regrets. Unfortunately that one never got transcribed into the computer. So that MEI is gone.

So many projects and so many failures and the common denominator is yours truly. The problem is me. And I don’t know how to fix me.

Can I really call this a writing blog when I’m not writing?

I don’t know. Just like I don’t know what the future holds for my writing. I’m not sure if this is a temporary set back or if this is the beginning of the end of my writing. I haven’t been very good at keeping up with this blog over the last few years. But I am trying to get my spark back. Only time will tell if that is enough. Just know I am not giving up. I am keeping the faith, writing has been a part of my life for too many years to give up. So keep writing my friends, until next we met.

Cheers, james

Wearever Vintage Fountain Pen

Back about a month or so ago I was trolling through a website that auctions stuff off. Wink, wink. And found a lovely green marbled fountain pen. This pen has expanded my fountain pen experience. First it needed a new ink sac, then the gold plated nib needed to be straightened cause it was seriously wonkyjawed. For those unfamilar with wonkyjawed it means messed up pretty good.

The really neat thing about this pen is how old it is. My best guesstimate is 1940s to the 1950s. If so this pen is in it’s 60 or 70s. My dad is going to be 75 this year. My grandmother was a school teacher and she probably would have used a fountain like or very similar to this one. I love the connection because I really never knew who she was outside of being MeMa. I have some stuff that belonged to her, the seashells she used in class and a piece of her jewelry and all the memories of her.

Once I got the pen back I tried the Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro ink in it. The good folks on Goulet Nation mentioned it was possible for the ink to melt the latex sac. So I cleaned it out and got a bottle of Waterman’s Harmonious Green fountain pen ink.

So far both pen and ink have gotten on well with each other. I think the ink is getting low because when I start writing I get a drop of ink. Bleed it off and the pen is good until I cap it and then pick it back up.

The Leverfill mechanism is interesting and will take some practice. It makes it a lot harder to judge how much ink is in the pen when you can’t see it or feel how full the ink sac is.

Quirks and all I am rather pleased with my first vintage fountain pen and the discovery of a new ink. I can’t say it will be my only vintage or my last vintage, but for right now it checks all my boxes.

Cheers, james

Humble and Honored

Dear Friends,

I am humbled and honored that you have chosen to spend time with me through this blog. I look at the numerious places across the globe that visit me here.

I never would have thought my words to reach to almost all four corners of the world. I have three down solid. I just need to work on South America. Antarctica would also be very cool.

As of Monday, June 29th I have 283 friends that come and hang out with me. And for that I thank you fellow readers. You have hung in there during dry spells when writing was the last thing on my mind. You have celebrated with me when I have reached milestones through the years. My friends please know I hope you are well and safe.

Cheers, james

Artist’s Date: Take 2

So I am reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way. A spiritual path to reawkening one’s creative soul/spirit. This book has been around in one form or another since she started living this way in the late 1970s. She has two main calls to action that she advocates for: Morning Pages and the Artist Date.

Morning pages are stream of consciousness writing when you first wake up in the morning before the ego/censor part of your brain starts functioning. Ouch, I am not an early bird. And to start writing before I even make it out of bed to the bathroom. Yeah. I have had to modify the timing on morning pages and I am trying to get the kinks out.

The second and the meat and potatos of this post is the Artist Date. Basically it is taking your inner creative on an outing for a couple of hours. Some examples were going to see a movie alone, taking a walk, driving down an unfamilar road etc. She wants the “date” to last long enough that you are willing to open yourself up. Kinda like when you go to a kids birthday party and all the adults are standing around stiff as a board. Then something breaks the ice, a favorite childhood game, a song, and they get in the groove. They relax and have fun.

So my first date didn’t go as planned. I originally planned to grill out then make s’mores and watch the stars. Fun, easy way to dip my toes in. Except I couldn’t get my fire started. Over an hour I tried to get it going, I guess the charcoal was damp. I can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of times I couldn’t start a fire.

So I was like okay, let’s regroup and think about it. I settled on spending Saturday reading a book series I have been thinking about. Daniel Potter’s Freelance Familars series. He had the first three books on sale for $2.99 and I love a good bargin. I sorta read all three books in a day and half. They are a fun, witty, take on urban fantasy. Highly recommend them if you like urban fantasy. I’ll do a review of then in the next week or so.

My second date was last week and I spent the day hanging out with Mom. So Saturday night I found a gorgeous pattern for a knitted half pi shawl. I have been looking for an easy introduction into lacework and have a super squishy varigated ball of yarn for the project. Hobby Lobby’s Yarn Bee Rainbow Wrapsody in Teal of Fortune. Beautiful cotton and acrylic yarn, but super fine almost thread size.

So the pi shawl was designed by Ms. Elizabeth Zimmerman back in the 1950s or 1960s. And it is a complete circle that uses the theory of math and pi to make a perfect circle. They are huge, labor intensive, skill intensive, seriously gorgeous projects. I have niether the skills or the attention span for a whole pi shawl. But I think I can do a half pi.

My second date was to start a practice shawl with my regular cotton yarn that I have left over from various projects. I knitted for about three hours in the peace and quiet. Everybody else was in bed asleep except me. I had serious doubts about the pattern and Sunday I frogged (unraveled) the whole thing and started over. I had made a miscalculation on which row I was suposed to knit and which one to purl. This is exactly why I chose the bits and pieces of yarn over my project yarn to do a practice piece.

I’ll see you guys on Thursday and hopefully Saturday. Cheers nd happy hump day. james