Thursday, June 28, 2012
A few months ago I found myself stuck in a malaise. Every day was a repeat; not much happened except the same old same old. In December of 2011, I finished my master’s degree, three years of classes, including three and a half semesters of thesis writing. It was an incredible effort, but I finished. Mentally and intellectually I need some time off, so that’s what I did. Before I knew it, I got stuck in a rut and felt mired in the bland boringness of doing nothing. For a while I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean I knew that I wanted to start writing again and make some headway on my novel. But the thing was, I wasn’t writing, not one word. Well, my one saving grace was this blog. Other than that, I had abandoned my passion. And that needed to change.
I also remember thinking that it was about time I started learning how to play my saxophone. See, I played for a little while back in grade school. I really liked it but had absolutely no discipline to practice. So about two years ago I bought one with the intention of taking lessons. Sadly, no money ever materialized for said lessons and the sax sat in my closet unused. Fast forward to March 2012. Here I was with time on my hands, desire to challenge myself, but still I wasn’t doing anything. How did that happen? Simple, I got caught in a fallacy. I had convinced myself I need outside influences and resources to achieve my goals and follow my mission… but I was wrong.
During a conversation with my brother it came to the point where he said to me, “Maybe you’re not really a writer. I mean, you aren’t writing.” And you know what? I took offense to that, without knowing why. And then it hit me, he was right. Damn him but I wasn’t writing, I was making excuses. And then he said it, the line that resonated through my brain. If indeed I was a writer, “every day you don’t write, is a failure.” Harsh? Yes, but necessary. It was then I decided that I WAS a writer and I WOULD write every day, or at least make the attempt. I also decided that I was going to teach myself how to play the sax, I mean really, what was stopping me except me?
My plan was simple: Write 500 words a day and practice the sax for 10 minutes every day after work. For one whole month I adamantly followed the routine, without fail. I focused on my goals; I prioritized my time, and constantly reminded myself of the failure I did not want to cause. Now I stay focused, and even though I don’t write or practice Every day (schedules and responsibilities do change) I am constantly reminding myself of the price of failure, and refocusing my efforts to maintain as much consistency as possible. Do I fail? Sadly yes, Do I continually fail by not refocusing on my passion? Not a chance.
Every day I don’t write is a failure. Now reword it for yourself: “Every day I don’t ____ is a failure.”
Thanks for reading. Your comments and questions are always welcome!
This wonderful picture came from sitebits. Check them out. The sculpture is The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
So it may surprise you to know that today is my birthday. Yes the conductor of The Inspiration Engine is turning one year older. I like to think of it as turning one year better. Now to be honest, I don’t really pay too much attention to birthdays. It’s not that I don’t care about them; it’s just that to me, a lot of times, it seems repetitive and arbitrary. However, there is a certain value in reflecting on the past year and seeing if you’ve managed to improve, learn, better yourself, and continue to drive toward the goals of your life mission. So in that regard, birthdays are a great thing.
On a personal level I can say that I’m doing pretty well. Now I’d like to bitch about little things, stuff that irritates me, and stuff that continually hounds me even despite my best efforts to irradiate them from my life. And trust me, I’ve got some monsters. Well, such is life I suppose. But I’m not lacking for simple needs and compared to most of the world I’m doing pretty damn well. I can say there are some things I’ve tried over the last year that have not been very successful, although I’ve had a few successes to counteract the negative. And I like and need to focus on the positive, as most of you should too. Some of the most impressive and personally rewarding goals include finishing my thesis and graduating with a master’s degree, taking an acting class (which was hella fun), starting to play the saxophone, continuing to write on my novel, This Blog; actually the list goes on. To be clear, I’m not bragging. So why am I telling you this? Because your list should go on and on too.
I look at life like an unfinished book. Each day adds a page to a certain chapter. And I guess each birthday can mark a new chapter. Each chapter should be as full of detail and amazing experiences as possible. Now I know each page can’t be an adventure story, but it would be great if each chapter was. At the end of my life, I want to look back at my ‘book’ and see that it’s a gigantic story, written not just in one book, but volumes of books. You can’t get that kind of narrative from sitting on the couch and wishing for ‘what if’ or ‘if only’. So my birthday comes once a year and I reflect on what I’ve done and what I will be doing, not ‘what if’ I did something, or ‘if only’ I tried.
So, get out there and start writing your life’s story and make it a long adventure!
Feel free to leave a comment or a question. I'd love to hear what you're thinking!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
-George Bernard Shaw.
It’s interesting how when you open up to people, they reciprocate. It’s amazing how shut in and closed off a person can be if they stop communicating with others. Have you ever noticed that most people don’t like to start conversations? A lot of people feel intimidated and out of sorts if they walk into a room filled with people they don’t know. And public speaking, most people fear that more than death, or so the rumor goes. Why is this? I think it’s because they are shut off from others, sometimes for long stretches where they never challenge themselves to try harder, do more, experience something new.
When you open up to someone, even if it’s only one person, you get a chance to learn about who they are, what they are interested in, and what motivates and inspires them. Just recently I was talking with a guy I know at work. We’ve known each other for a while, but up until now, before I mentioned I was learning to play the saxohone, I had no idea he was musically inclined. Turns out he knows how to play several instruments. None of them are the sax, but still, I learned something, simply because I was willing to offer a little bit of information about myself, and listen to him.
Having friends is a rewarding and enriching experience. The more friends you have, the more rewarding experiences you can have. If you find it difficult to make friends, or speak to those you don’t know, expand your experiences by taking up a hobbie. I took up surfing and the saxophone, and you know what, I’ve met people who are interested in the same thing. What is more, I’ve learned that friends I already have are interested in the same things. Look at it like this; I’m building social bridges with multiple people. The more bridges I build, the more I can cross and get to know more people. The effort you put into expanding your interest pool and simply talking to people will enrich your life in ways you can’t imagine. So, get talking!
Monday, April 9, 2012
I'll admit, I'm partial to the saxophone. Even though I can't play worth a damn, I still have one, and am trying to learn. I would never subject anyone to my playing, except my neighbors and my teacher, but I found a few examples of good old sax playin'. Enjoy!
First up, President Clinton, seriously, he's pretty good.
And then there's this.
First up, President Clinton, seriously, he's pretty good.
And then there's this.
By Doug Clark Head Writer - The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...
Douglas Clark -Head writer, The Inspiration Engine I thought I’d share a little story with you considering I just got another sunburn...
- Marcus Tullius Cicero . Struggles of life There will always be struggles in your life. Things will always present themselves th...
By Doug Clark Head Writer - The Inspiration Engine Hey all, I got published again! This time at Soft Cartel . Read my short Story A S...