(sigh) …

In a tribute to the late poet, Mary Oliver, Maria Popova re-posted in last Sunday’s BrainPickings, an essay Oliver wrote — “Of Power and Time.” In it, she writes about how “creative work needs solitude … concentration without interruptions.” It really resonated with me, because I’m so easily distracted these days. It wasn’t always thus, but it’s been a problem for a while now.

Thankfully, my “paid” work isn’t affected. I have no problem hunkering down and getting client projects and articles written — getting right to them, staying focused and meeting the deadlines. But my personal Continue reading

As the year draws to a close …

I was introduced to Pema Chödrön, the American Tibetan Buddhist nun and teacher, back in 2014 on an Oprah Winfrey show, Super Soul Sunday. I  was instantly enthralled, just loved what she had to say and have been following her ever since, although not religiously (no pun intended).

Last Saturday she showed up in my Facebook newsfeed. She was the subject of a story from a Brain Pickings newsletter.

Brain Pickings, which I’ve been subscribing to for several years, was founded by the writer and MIT Futures of Continue reading

Day 294. Frequency Works

Just last week I wrote about the challenge I gave myself about ten months ago. Specifically, starting a blog, this one in fact, where I would write something new calendarflippingeveryday, for a year. At the time I had no purpose other than to see if I could do it. If I’d stick with it. If I’d be able to come up with an idea to write about each day.

Thinking about it now, I’m not sure why I thought daily writing was a challenge I needed. I’ve spent my entire career in the advertising industry. Where I wrote copy every day. Not that I do now that I freelance, though.

Even if I did, this (blog), of course, is somewhat different. It’s not copy I’m writing here. There are no clients involved. I’m not selling any products or services. But what’s really different is, with the blog I’m not writing in

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Day 274. Writers’ Pets

James Joyce, Gay Talese and T.S. Elliot were inspired by cats.  While Rupert Pole, one of Anais Nin’s husbands, was inseparable from his beloved spaniel, Tavi.  He petswas so devoted to the dog, he (the dog) was the subject of many letters between them.  He (the husband), and the dog, lived on the west coast, while she was in New York.  Actually she was a very naughty girl.  She had two husbands at the same time.  Pole was one, Hugh Parker Guiler, the other.

Dickens had a raven named Grip, who sometimes showed up in the writer’s fiction.  Unfortunately he (the bird) swallowed a paint chip and died soon thereafter.

There must be something to it, because I write about my cats often.  And God knows, I’m devoted to them.  I’ve been called “crazy” more than a few times, I should tell you.  But reading “Literary Pets:  The Cats, Dogs, and Continue reading

Day 149. Our ‘Schtick’

I’ve never given much thought to my writing habits. Have you? Then the other day a former colleague posted a really interesting piece , from Brain Pickings, on writingschtickFacebook. The particular story I’m referring to, is about famous writers’ daily routines.

Ray Bradbury, for example, wrote everyday. And he wrote everywhere. He didn’t care where he was. He could be wrapped in total silence, or the radio could be blaring. It made no difference to him. He was oblivious to all of it. On the other hand, Jack Kerouac wrote by candlelight, with a drink close at hand, from midnight until dawn.

He also got down on his knees and prayed before getting started. I think most of us say a little prayer, every time we look at a blank screen or sheet of paper. Even if it’s a silent plea, and we do it from the comfort of our desk chairs.

Hemingway was very disciplined. He woke, every day, at 7 am and he’d write between 500 to 1,000 words. Every day. He needed a schedule. And did you know? Supposedly because of a leg injury sustained in the war, he wrote standing up. It’s said (not by him) it increases productivity, fights fatigue, stops you from wanting to nap and helps you ignore distractions.

Just sounds bloody uncomfortable to me.

Do you know who said, “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a

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