On creativity

I want to write fiction.  I want to tell stories. I want to tell tales.  I’ve wanted to do this for many years.  But I have one little problem.  Well, maybe two.

I don’t think that I have any creative “juice”.  I’m a technician by nature, I figure out how things work and make it happen.  Yes, this is a form of creativity, and I’ll freely admit it, but there are fixed parameters around that sort of work.  And, it’s well within my comfort zone.

Another problem is that I just don’t trust myself to write something “worthwhile” to others.  Sure, I can write a 5000 word paper for school, no problem.  I have a framework to work within and a definite goal.  Writing a fiction work seems to be so much more amorphous, slippery, and “wibbly-wobbly” and I just can’t wrap my head around it.

So, I asked for (and got) a set of Rory’s Story Cubes for Christmas.  It’s just nine dice, with pictures on ’em, but the whole thing intimidates me.  It’s totally working without a net, for crying out loud!

Any writers out there have any advice for a rank amateur?

Addendum: The Story Cube roll is below the jump

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Ed Asner explains it all…

You know, I’m actually all for returning to the effective Regan tax rates… Which were much higher overall than they are now. And we were much more prosperous as a nation.



Fall down 6 times, get up 7 times

Someone shared this with me thanks to the power of Facebook.  It is a moving story of the power of belief in yourself.

Never give up!  Never surrender!

After further consideration…

The other day, I posted a question on a couple of related LinkedIn groups that I belong to. The question was, essentially, “where are the entry level Emergency Management jobs?” which came from the fact that most of the jobs that I see call for several years’ experience in the emergency management realm.

I got a number of insightful responses that talked about a variety of possible options, including volunteer work with the likes of Red Cross and working with local Emergency Medical System organizations.  I was also pointed to a University of Washington website article that talked about “Suggested Career Tips for Emergency Management”.

I may find it useful to go back and get an EMT ticket again, and do some volunteering that way. And I need to get my ham license upgraded, I think.

First, the bad news

The Bad news is…

Things are far from being perfect.

The Good news is…

Things are far from being a disaster.

I saw this post this evening, on a website that I frequent. The particular form is something of a support group for people with depression and other mental disorders, within a sub-culture that I identify with. Considering that I am at a place in life that is “far from being perfect” it was great to be reminded that “things are far from being a disaster” even though we are flying really close to the deck.

Things are really pretty hard right now. But, we’ve got enough to squeak by (more or less) and everybody that can work has work, even if the pay is, well, appallingly small. I’m in school for a new field that has growth opportunity, and moderately good income. I just have to finish the next 18 months or so of education to get the BA, then a job in the field. 

One step at a time.

So looking forward to the election happening

It’s only a couple of weeks until the election for 2012. Frankly, I’m glad that it will (hopefully, if there are no shenanigans) be over and we can go back to our regularly scheduled TV viewing.

I’ve decided who I will vote for, at least for the major offices. Tori has, I think, decided as well, though I am not sure, since she’s so completely over the election bull shit. Kristen’s politics are well known to me, so I am pretty sure she’s decided. Kirk, though? Who knows. He’s a teenage boy, so anything is possible. 

I appreciate and understand how important it is to vote and have a say (somewhat) in the election of our representatives in government. I’m just tired of all of the interruptions in the mail and at the door asking for my vote. 

Soon, though, it will be decided, for better or for worse. I hope for the betterment of everyone.

It’s a good day

Yesterday (Well, the day  before, at this point… I’m writing this after midnight) was a good day. I slept well, got up feeling rested, drank a few cups of tea (forgot to make coffee) and water, had a shower and a shave, and went to work. I got in and felt generally happy, regardless of the fact that I’m in retail. Have I mentioned that the support from the management where I work is really great?

I performed my duties diligently and well, and even got ahead of the curve at a few points. I left work feeling good, even though I was (As always) physically tired. My feet didn’t even hurt that much when I got into the car!

All in all, it was a very fine day on Thursday.  Friday was nearly as good.

When I got home on Friday night, I had a message from one of my professors (Research, Analysis, Writing) indicating that the thesis statement that I’ve been working with (with limited success) has finally found an exciting form!  Emergency management professionals can save money, improve communication with the public, and gather real-time intelligence by adopting social media as part of their communication plans.


I think I’m in love…

Ok, I’m exaggerating slightly. But the on-line librarians at American Public University System/American Military University are awesome. Get this: I sent them an oddball question about citation in the APA style at 8:30 PM Central on a Saturday night and got a response with information, details, and additional references within an hour. Then, at 7:00 PM on the following Sunday evening, I get even MORE detail and guidance!

Now, you have to understand that I ask really obscure or oddball questions, often because I couldn’t find the answer myself first. In this instance, I was trying to figure out how to cite a PowerPoint presentation with no named author, that was gathered from the Internet for my research and writing class. Between three different librarians, they were able to square me away completely for this question as well as give me resources that will be helpful in the future.

Then, as a follow-on question at 9:00 PM on Sunday night, I asked about citing what I called a tertiary source (citing one source that cited a second source when I want to use the quote from the second source. Did that make sense?) in my paper. The librarian, Neville, gives me  direction to an on-line resource that answers most of the question (see the part about citing indirect sources) which leads me to another question, which I send back.  He goes and feeds my ego (bless him. :D ) about asking “[y]et another on-point question” and goes on to clarify the situation that is not exactly clear-cut but is not completely off the wall.

I just want to publicly thank Neville for his patience and help with my questions. And I sent an email to the library director about him, too. :D

An hour from everywhere…

Where we live, we’re at least a half an hour from everywhere. Add in a desire to do something that is even a little bit niche and I have to go at least an hour away from home. Video somewhat related. More after the jump.

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Me, my mustache, and relieving suffering…


This is a recent (Aug 2012) picture of me. Pay no attention to the glare in my glasses. or the quality of the image, it came from a webcam.

I took this shortly before I left for my Lodge meeting in August. As you can see, I wear a handlebar mustache. I also wear a bow tie on occasion. I started wearing the handlebar on a whim a little less than a year ago, before I ended up working in retail.

Once I started working in retail, though, I learned something: My mustache makes people happy. More than once, someone has stopped me and said that it makes their day, or that it makes them smile. Little children smile, laugh, and giggle when they see it, whispering to each other and pointing in excitement.

While seeing other people’s happiness at my appearance is great, I can’t help but think that there is more to it than that. The reason, though, is something that ties closely to my faith.

See, I have taken the bodisattva vows. These are four vows that have a large number of rough discrete statements, but the same essence. The version that I follow comes from the Mountain and Rivers Order/Zen Mountain Monastery liturgy book, which is as follows:

Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them.

Desires are inexhaustible; I vow to put an end to them.

The Dharmas are boundless; I vow to master them.

The Buddha Way is unattainable; I vow to attain it.


Without getting too much into it at this point, I have taken a vow to work toward the relieving of suffering for all beings. This is part of the Bodhisattva ideal, to which I am striving.Just don’t ask my wife how I’m doing on that score, because I’m not doing too great, but it is an ideal.

Anyway. Part of the ideal is to relieve suffering where ever in the world we find it. As a householder, I live in the world and have to temper my goals with the realities of real life and responsibilities. As such, I have noticed that my mustache brings happiness to people that I don’t know and will likely never see again. My koan of the moment is, does this minor creation of happiness equate to the relief of suffering?

I think it does.


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