Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How to Write a Blog Entry

     Typically before you know the title of a blog post, you have to do the writing.  And that means you have to be in the mood to write.  Sometimes, it takes a little warming up - maybe reading something you've written before or maybe looking over some quotes or pieces of writing from other writers you enjoy.  Next, the room  has to be SILENT - not just quiet - SILENT.  It is best to write in a room entirely by yourself.  When there is another person in the room, you have to deal with their paper shuffling, their comments and coughs, their breathing.  Very distracting and VERY irritating. 
     When you are writing, you have to read over what you just wrote - over and over and over and over again.  You don't have to read the words aloud (although that is entirely permissible) but you do have to listen to the way the words flow.  Do they sound good?  Do they make sense?  Is there a more descriptive way of saying it?  Is the thought simply expressed?  Are the sentences short?  Are the phrases original or did you go for the hackneyed?  Change things and then change them again and then, yes, change them yet again. Be open to dropping the word or phrase that you just fell in love with ten minutes ago because now you have discovered that the word or phrase doesn't work. Set it aside.  You will use it some other time.  Sometimes you will realize that you started in the middle and you will need to go back and add on the beginning.  No worries.  It happens.  The beauty of word processing - so easy to write the middle before the beginning.  How interesting!
      Don't be too worried about length.  Say what you have to say and then wrap it up.  I usually think I am done and then publish the piece but come back to look at it in a day or two.  Of course, as you might guess, I want to clean it up again -- and that is how you finally finish the blog post - clean it up and move on.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


       These early morning bike rides require me to dance with trust.  This morning I left the house around 5:00.  Yes, I had my red light flashing to alert cars behind me and I had my high beam cat eye to both light my way and show approaching cars that I was there.  Truth be told though, there are very few cars out at that hour (at least not on the roads on which I am riding) and the sun is already rising.  Within 20 minutes the lights are not really necessary and they are pointless in a half hour.  However, that doesn't mean it is a risk free ride.
       Here's the thing.  The drivers who are on the road early are often in a hurry.  I have to trust that they will not see the rural roads as a speedway.  I have to trust that they will graciously concede to me my right hand edge and that they will know that there often is glass on the edge of the road.  I have to trust that even when I stray away from my assumed lane the vehicle drivers will make room for me.  I also have to trust that when they are coming down their driveway, they will give more than a glance to the road.  Sometimes that skinny far right side of a country road can be obscured by trees or brush.  If the driver is looking for the glint of metal or the two big headlamps from an approaching car and not seeing that, I have to trust that he or she will also pause for the instant that it takes to know that there isn't an odd pedestrian or bicyclist coming down that hill too.  It can be tough to trust people but I do it.  It's trusting the universe that really gets to me.
      Trusting the universe (or whatever you want to say) is, perhaps, more difficult.  On my early morning bike rides it means trusting that those deer that I see along the way won't choose to leap onto the road the instant I go by.  So far they either leap away from me or take the plunge while I still have time to brake.  A deer/bicycle collision would not be pretty (especially if Lady Luck were still sleeping and a car got involved too).  Deer are not the only wildlife on the road at that hour but likely they present the most danger.  The other morning something small and furry (a fox?) darted out just ahead of me.  I think I could survive a small animal/bicycle collision - that is, IF a car didn't get involved too.  I truly am trusting nature when the glare from the rising sun blinds me.  There are brief moments here and there (sometimes veritable seconds) when I am riding directly into the sun as she moves into her day.  For that instant, I really cannot see where I am going and who or what might be in my path.  It also occurs to me that if I am blinded by the sun then so too might be the drivers who are rushing off to work.  Heaven help me!
       So why bother with riding with the risk? Because the air is invigorating, the colors are brilliant, the lungs and legs love the workout, and I know I am alive.  The risk in the ride only confirms that my life is happening.  And I suppose that's the thing about trust in life.  If you don't let go and trust something or someone other than yourself, you can pretty much curl up and die for all the living you will be doing.  Not easy to do and full of possible accidents and heartbreak, but what's the point of life it you aren't living it?

Sunday, June 13, 2010


  WalWalls interest me.  The physical walls in the world can be low and decorative, they can be complicated and rich with texture, they can be high and shout , “I dare you to climb over me”.   Walls can keep dogs and babies in, they can give roses and kids a place to climb and they can keep robbers and heartbreakers out.  Walls can be concrete and smooth or can be brick and mortar construction.  It seems to me, if you are looking for protection, a wall might give you that.  Among my father’s many talents and skills, was the ability to lay brick, to build strong brick walls and I can still see him building the wall in our back yard (upon which he once told me that if I ran fast enough on the top of that three foot wall, I would be able to launch myself into flight.  Oh, how I tried!).
    There are also imaginary walls , created in the mind.  These walls can be designed to keep something inside.  They can also be  designed to keep someone away.  They can provide protection for the heart,  a refuge  for the soul, and some breathing room for the mind.   My father was the strong silent type of father.  Child of the Great Depression and boy soldier in the South Pacific during WW2, he saw more hardship than anyone should see in a young lifetime.  When he came back from the war, I think he build those imaginary walls in his mind.  I observed a hard working, responsible, loyal man who kept most people at a distance.  His internal walls were as strong and well built as those brick walls he laid.  I was a kid who watched the world.  Ever cautious, I looked at what the adults in my world did and I followed their lead.  I learned how to build strong walls from watching him.  Overall, they have served me well.m