Sunday, May 3 – Journal Snippets

A bit late this week. Been some churning in my mind about how much I want to share here, so delays on posting.

Sharing these unedited journal bits helps keep me encouraged to journal most days and think more deeply. These Sunday posts also give me a concise weekly review of the more impactful journal moments.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
– Lao Tzu

 

April 26 – These times are such an amazing opportunity that I must take full advantage of and must ensure that when things normalize again and roaming is possible, I want to look back and be pleased both with the progress and the body of work produced.

 

April 27 – So many tasks and thing to do all of a sudden it seems. Need to relieve the pressure a bit and through routine and focus in zones during day, should settle things. Things are jelling to what’s important and what should go away or slow down.

 

April 27 – But my reading list is gigantic! Maybe Blinkist can help on some of the B reads. This is why I need two hours dedicated to reading every day. Plus, more pure sit and think time. Maybe my coffee drinking should that reflective time and not while online or eating.

 

April 28 – Good sessions albeit split this morning due to necessary Trader Joe’s run. But wrote one new poem, tweaked another, wrote/posted on blog, and a draft of a good essay on minimalism for Medium this time. May excerpt back to the blog on it.

 

May 1 – Missed morning habits and may tomorrow. How does that make me feel? A bit of an imposter on my goals, but needing to give the body more sleep for now. Seems to be more important.

 

May 2 – My thoughts are like shifting sands. One day treasures unearthed to awe and surprise, the next only the windswept waves on the dunes changing a landscape of sameness. Such is the churning of thoughts in my mind lately.

 

Are you journaling in these dark times? Let me know if you are in the comments, or if you’re just starting and have questions.

Sunday, April 26 – Journal Snippets

Sharing these unedited journal bits helps keep me encouraged to journal most days and think more deeply. These Sunday posts also give me a concise weekly review of the more impactful journal moments.

“Accept what comes from silence.”
– Wendell Berry

 

 

April 19 – Early rise–I really enjoy days when this happens–and already feel very productive. Trader Joe’s day so the stark reality of what’s “out there” will be felt this morning.

 

April 20 – My reaction on media noise is a bit off target. The stoic in me knows “the obstacle is the way” so being uncomfortable with news and then ignoring it is not ideal. Pick & choose, read what you need to, but find a way to handle it and stay sane at the same time.

 

April 23 – What is home to me? A place that holds my worldly goods…also a refuge, one neat & tidy, organized to my ways and quirks. Safe from weather, quiet, able to open to fresh air, warming sun in the winter. And yet, I’m drawn to wander from home to explore new areas see nature, spend time in reflection….Where is this fabled, ideal home? Complicated.

 

April 24 – What is it (or them) that I really want to do? Perhaps a better framing to start with is how do I want my days to flow and what do I want to emphasize, compared to avoid?…I’m pretty sure what I want to do. No sense continuing to write about it here. Been the same for a long time now.

 

April 25 – Finished watching Maria Popova’s Universe in Verse. Fanned more flames in my growing interest in poetry. Learning that poetry can touch me in three ways:  not at all, enraptured through the language and word art, or profoundly, as though, like back when I remodeled my 1029s bungalow house I’d peel a layer of paint off the wall to reveal a previously unknown, yet interesting and telling, layer beneath in colors and hues not imagined.

nota bene:  Quote heard spoken from Krista Tippett:  “Poetry is language that lands in our bodies.”

 

Are you journaling in these dark times? Let me know if you are in the comments, or if you’re just starting and have questions.

Sunday, April 19 – Journal Snippets

More unedited bits from my journal this week. Sharing these helps keep me encouraged try to journal something every day. These Sunday posts also give me a concise weekly review of the more impactful journal moments.

 

April 13 – Nights, and bed times, come sooner when my day begins at 5! If this were indeed a monastery, my day would begin even earlier and in bed before dark. Not much different to what’s now.

 

April 15 – More strange, conflict dreams last night. They say dreaming increases during a crisis like this, with mostly restless bad dreams. But I contend my increase in embracing a stoic philosophy may simply be removing opportunities for negative thoughts, thus they are coming out more in my dreams instead. Eh…it’s a theory.

 

April 15 – Work ahead is necessary to settle direction and foundation. Past the “wonder when” phase and feel it’s now starting the “be like this indefinitely” phase.

 

April 16 – Walk today bubbled up some good thoughts about an ideal day’s structure for me:  mornings creating (writing), afternoon mechanics, evenings relaxing, reflecting, reading. Whether this is doable and sustainable remains to be be seen.

 

April 17 – Day by day mentality still working well and filling time with productive, relaxing, and reflective moments.

 

April 18 – Outside on back patio with sunshine! Yesterday a blizzard, today sunshine and blue skies. Michigan spring, I guess.

 

Are you journaling in these dark times? Let me know if you are in the comments, or if you’re just starting and have questions.

Journaling is not only cheap therapy and a useful (and safe) place to rant, cuss, blast this or that person…or it can be a great way to encourage your own actions and behaviors. Doesn’t matter how or in what. Some like journaling at the end of the day to capture what you did, what you thought, etc., others start their day journaling.

Either way, the most important thing is to just start and write down your thoughts every day. Consistency makes a big difference between journaling being just a diary and one with more reflective observations.

THE Book to Read Right Now: “Keep Going” by Austin Kleon

BUY THIS BOOK NOW.

For all you short-attention spanners, that’s all you need to know. Go to the links at the bottom and get your copy (and consider buying several to gift to creative friends).

If you’d rather know a little more first, then read on.

I can’t think of a better book to have, absorb slowly, and reread often than this little survival gem by Austin Kleon (a brilliant mind that connects things and calls himself “a writer who draws”). Subtitled “10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad,” it came out last year well ahead of our current fun times. In essence, if you’re a creative type–and doesn’t matter whether hobbyist or pro, or writer, sculpturer, painter, sketcher, reader, gardener, etc.–this book is a survival guide for you.

How much do I love this book? Every morning I read at two books without fail: Keep Going and The Daily Stoic. While the latter is split into 365 digestible bits, Keep Going promise “10 ways…,” but in reality, as I’m taking in bite-size, mentally absorbable bits each day, I’m getting a good 30 days of reminders and tips that are making a difference.

What will I do at the end of 30 days with Keep Going? Start back over at the front. My reading copy is marked up a lot, with many pages dog-eared to remind me of special gems.

Austin probably wrote this in 2017-2018 and published it in April of 2019, well ahead of any knowledge of the weird times we’re in. Yet it’s spot-on appropriate to help get us through these days and continue our creative work, whether simply for pleasure or as our profession.

Do it; I promise you won’t regret it. Grab a copy now via one of the links below (not affiliate links). The second one is for my local indie bookstore. I’ve been shifting away from Amazon and instead buying from Literati. Yes, books are full price there but shipping during the crisis is a mere $1, so that helps. But the extra cost is worth it to me. I want them to be there (or any local indie bookstore) once we’re out of the current phase and into the new normal phase. And that won’t happen unless we dig a little deeper and change our habits and buy from a local indie bookstore.

Amazon link to buy

Ann Arbor’s Literati Bookstore link to buy

Or buy through the author’s site.

Sunday, April 12 – Journal Snippets

Some unedited bits from my journal this week. I’m not sharing them because they’re ponderous or brilliant thoughts, but to make me accountable to keep journaling through the week. These Sunday posts will give me a bit of a review of the week’s thoughts to reflect on over time.

April 5 – Do the work (the voice in my head says).
But what is the work? (I ask.)
It’s that which you must do; that which is why you breathe the air.
But how will I know?
By not asking and just doing.

April 6 – With dawn comes a new day, a new chance for creativity and reflection. Unless you haven’t cleared out the cobwebs and baggage from your head space the night before, do that first, then enjoy a clean, empty mind to contemplate things.

Creative private space/time is more challenging at home without a means to write remotely. Con’t see why I can’t take a thermos, chair, and backpack and head to the woods for a few hours to write.

April 7 – Decided to rearrange room to add an analogue desk – always wanted that. Since I’m going to be in that room the majority of days ahead, might as well make it better, more supportive (encouraging the work). [nota bene: desk ordered; upcoming post will highlight the new studio setup]

April 8 – Enjoyed handwriting several new letters and wondering who else I can write to?

April 9 – Up too early (3:30) via weird dream. Nothing to worry about, buy lying down wouldn’t chase it away. So up and making coffee.

April 10 – I think I have an old, Scottish soul. Else why would I be so drawn to walking travelogues from that part of the UK? Really, most anything British Isles involving country life and quaint villages, and slower, time-held lives that seem immune, or at least, sheltered, from our plugged-in, distraction-oriented modern lives?…Although on my bucket list–an extended Scottish Highlands trip–part of me is afraid I would be tempted not to come back.

April 11 – Thought earlier how I’ve always wanted the solitude & experience of a monastic retreat without the religious rituals. Now I have that opportunity, via being house-bound, if I want to further sequester in to a routine of study & writing in my room.

Sunday, April 5 – Journal Snippets

Some unedited bits from my journal this week. I’m not sharing them because they’re ponderous or brilliant thoughts, but to make me accountable to keep journaling through the week. These Sunday posts will give me a bit of a review of the week’s thoughts to reflect on over time.

March 30 – Up earlier than alarmed for, but compelled to get up and work. These days it’s helpful to have a driver to keep going forward and stay mentally active and busy. I’ve lifted my concern that if not writing something worldly I’m not really writing. BS to that stale, rotting attitude: all wordsmithing and idea-to-paper (even if digital) is part the writing work, the exercise that leads to a better writing muscle.

April 1 – Finding more works long forgotten that I’d like to read, so pushing book orders to local bookshop Literati to help keep them alive to return after the world resumes. Feels good (right) to break from Amazon for book habits.

April 3 – Highlight today of a feel-good moment is getting three [handwritten] letters written….Be curious to see who writes back.

April 4 – The paradox of worldwide suffering matched to personal reflective and creative opportunities makes for strange bedfellows to try to find something useful in this crisis…Is there guilt in seeing the opportunity of sheltered time when so many suffer and so many more currently unaware will undoubtedly suffer?