Friday, April 12, 2019

Blow up the TV (yay John Denver)

Stacy Stimpson at the senior kegger 1977
Debbie Hedrick, Monty Ostrum & Jerry Jenks
in background.
Bottom picture is Scott Whitman,
same time, same kegger.
Here are some fun photos from back in the day. Remember, this is before digital cameras, so I had a little Instamatic & spent all my money on film & developing. The senior kegger was a good time.

I have since continued to take pictures, but lately I've been focusing on writing. Except...I found I didn't schedule in time for deep focus, no distractions. It was too easy to check email or facebook, play online poker, watch TV. I don't have any streaming services, but ION television can suck you in with an endless stream of reruns.

So, I decided on No Screens Saturday. I check the email & wish happy birthday on facebook, but then I put the phone over on its charger stand behind a coaster for Boneyard Beers, which has a skull & crossbones on it. I set the TV remote upside down next to the tablet, which warns me away from the poker. Besides that, I have the TV under cover of its cozy. No screens until 10 pm. Sunday, I'll do the same morning routine, but I'll lift the screen moratorium at 7 pm, when 60 Minutes comes on.

I can read or walk or do housework or writing or art. No grocery shopping or other lengthy errands. This is a brand new technique, just started last weekend, so tomorrow is only the second No Screens Saturday. How did I do? Well, Saturday was less productive than I had hoped. (I cleared off the clothes tree & did other tasky things. Plus a friend & I used prompts to write poetry & short short stories together, which I then entered into the computer.) But Sunday I got some good revision done on a novel that's been gathering dust & worked on a short story.

So, I'm looking forward to another productive weekend.

Blog alternative:
328. Carve out a bit of screen free time to work on projects dear to your heart.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Holm & Klages Rock the Boat--& the World

Here's a little colored-pencil on a placemat picture.
A self portrait on a foundation of House-In-Order.

I've recently read many brilliant words (& a bunch of so-so words) from a variety of authors, courtesy of the fact that I am reading a short story, an essay, & a poem every day after I do my morning pages. (Part of the Bradbury Challenge.) Okay, so sometimes I cheat on the essays & read part of a nonfiction book. I did that with Walden, by my beloved Henry David Thoreau, breaking it into bite-sized chunks. & I always read more than one poem a day...

I have quotes from two sources to share today.

First from Bill Holm, from the book Coming Home Crazy: an Alphabet of China Essays. Bill Holm was a good friend of my good friend, John Calvin Rezmerski, aka Rez. (R.I.P.) Rez may even have given me this copy of the book. Here is the quote that spoke to me this morning: "Beware the single idea. There is a loaded gun in it, anywhere on earth, pointed directly at your head." In context, he was talking about the translation of a collection of British literature, slashed & burned & reinterpreted & annotated to support the political stance of a particular time in China. But anything will do, if it is the sole guiding force that attempts to force all there is into its own image.

The second is from another good friend, Ellen Klages, from the title story of her collection Portable Childhoods. I reread the book a few months ago & was enchanted anew. But one paragraph stopped me in my tracks, a mother thinking of her beloved child & also of the child she used to be & of the never ending dance of parenting, of life. "Baggage left unattended will be confiscated. Oh, if only that were true."

Wow. I say again, Wow. It isn't automatically confiscated & checked for bombs or dangerous drugs. No, we get the chance, over & over, to see the baggage we've been carrying around, intentionally or not, & unpack it & sort through it &--if we're wise & strong--to actually discard parts of it. Then maybe we can have room for things that actually enhance our lives & the lives of those we love.

Blog alternative:
327. Look through your "baggage" & see if there's something you can get rid of. Perhaps the single idea?