The whisper of the stream

In the forest is a stream that carries all my fears away.

The water grips my open hand with promises of yesterday.

The promise of a time before the world became a lonely place,

to days I stood on muddy banks and had eternity to play.

The water takes my pain downstream, immune to all the hurt I’ve seen.

Patiently the stream collects, and filters out my past obscene.

In times of grief and times guilt, the gentle flow is of a dream.

The symbiotic link we share is torture, for a mind serene.

If in your search for solitude you stumble on a coppice clear,

continue on until you find wear fauna swill

For in the forest is a stream that carries all your fears away,

the whisper of it can be heard, the closer to its’ edge you stray.


oops, I did it again

It has recently been gnawing at my brain like a slow, but increasingly painful memory. I have not written anything down in months. Not that I haven’t thought about…oh my how I have thought about it. But it seems that every time I get just a little bit excited about something, a switch flips in my head and I suddenly and inexplicably have zero interest in it. And I am talking about things that I love. Not chores, work, or social commitments, but things that I enjoy doing. I was just having a conversation with my wife about this very thing tonight.

So I have been slightly disappointed with myself for several weeks now as the realization has set in that I have been sitting on this website waiting for magic to happen without a single shred of effort from me. Not one key stroke, not a sentence, not even “research.” And all of this time, I have had access to a computer and smart phone, the internet, and free time (although that last one has admittedly been inconsistent at best). But there is a silver lining to all of this wallowing. Not the one I would have chosen, but a kernel of wisdom none the less…Your’ success is directly proportional to the amount of effort you invest!

Now, I realize that this is not news to most, if not all of you beautiful people. Heck, it’s not even news to me. But I was humbled when I realized that I had spent the better part of the last two months hardly cracking open this laptop. I mean, I didn’t even really open it to play around on the internet or anything. I kind of just avoided it all together like it was a tax form or something. And that isn’t even really the amazing part to me. I am most shocked by the fact that I really enjoy writing. I can write about nothing in particular and still feel like it was not time waisted. But then the problem never really was the writing was it? No. The problem was, and is, personal expectation.

You see, no one is perfect. We all know this. But what myself, and others like me tend to do, is use that fact as a wall instead of a staircase. What I mean is, I set very high standards for myself. I always have, and I probably always will. And so instead of acknowledging that I am not a subject matter expert, and taking that as an opportunity to learn and grow in my craft, I decide that if I can not put out a perfect product I just won’t put out a product. I don’t do this for “wrong” reasons per se. I really don’t want to waste anyone’s time with a sub-par blog or story of any kind. But as proof of my commitment to change, I am going to start by only proofreading this as I go. I know it won’t read right to some…or all of you. But it is here. It exists. And it is only the first step of many up the staircase.

What hurdles do you build for yourself? Are you like me, and struggle with the thought that something is not worth doing if you can’t be perfect, or do you have a different demon that kills your passion? I would love to hear from anyone reading this, if you have the time and desire to share that is. I hope whatever hurdle you are facing today, that you can take step back, and look for your staircase.

Where does the time go!

I spent the majority of this chilly evening mulling over theme templates and titles. I think I found one I like, but it had an unintended consequence. This new format makes it plain as day when I post and when I (ahem) don’t post. Needless to say, it has been over two months since I last jotted down my thoughts, which is unacceptable. I set out to write as close to weekly as possible if not more frequently than that. Of course the holidays have just come and gone, and while everyone settles in to their new years with what is hopefully optimism, here I am.

The funny thing to me is that I have had several thoughts, or chains of thoughts run through my head that I would have liked to have expanded on in greater detail. This has led me to conclude that my desire to write will be a daily struggle until I adjust my habits. “If you want to write, just write.” I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard that exact phrase, and I’m not sure I want to. It is true, you can not be a writer if you do not write, but that phrase is lacking so much substance. What about good writing habits? What about setting aside time and/or location to give yourself the freedom to write?

Nothing can duplicate the value of writing until you are “numb in the thumb,” (I think I just made that up, but maybe not) but there is more to it then that. I suppose most people who say that to an aspiring writer say it with the best intentions, but if the good habits do not accompany the initial surge of motivation, it will be a much shorter journey than anticipated. You say just write, I say just form habits.

When I served in the Army, one of the first things I was taught was marksmanship. This is, of course, because one of the most fundamental and necessary soldiering skills is the ability to effectively fire your weapon. But before a single round was fired…before a single target was acquired…we took apart the weapon. We learned how the parts fit together, how to load the magazine, how to clean it (boy did we clean!), and how to protect it from the elements. We then learned proper aiming and target acquisition. Mind you, all of this was being done without bullet being fired. The long and the short of it is, we developed habits.

When we finally went to a shooting range, we know our weapons inside and out. Those of us who paid very close attention could usually find our weapon (without looking at serial numbers) in a stack of 10 or more. All the techniques and habits for effective shooting were developed long before we ever loaded a bullet in to a magazine, but when we did the shooting came more naturally. Of course each soldier shot to his or her own proficiency, some people are just more talented shooters.

The point I am trying to make is that once the habits were in place, the act of shooting just felt like a natural extension to everything we had learned up to that point. Writing can be a gateway to any type of world you can think up, but it will be much easier to get to that world with good habits. Don’t stay lazy. Don’t put it off. Find the time to develop a strong back-bone in the discipline of writing…and then just write.