I keep a writing journal.
It is not for public consumption. It is an unedited mix. Sometime diary, catch all for articles that capture my attention, blog posts, personal correspondence, recipe’s, etc. (It is several hundred thousand words long at this point.)
I’m currently reading through Louisa May Alcott’s personal journal. It’s one of the ways I unwind at the end of the day. I usually only read a couple of pages at a time, but for some mysterious reason, her journals have a way of grounding me…
Anyway, in reading through my writing journal yesterday, this entry caught my eye, and I decided to share a portion of it.
Pompous writing experts
…I am liking keeping a writing journal.
It taps into a different “voice” than when I write blog posts. There is definitely this creative pulse I feel inside that wants to escape. I would love to hone my writing skills and yet @ the same time am not interested in getting feedback from people like S. H. or especially M. K. who ripped a rough draft of my first book I shared with him several years ago.
Those two well meaning “writers” were brutal and deeply wounded my spirit, causing me to second guess anything I would write….
Now I get it…writing well is definitely a craft and like teaching, there are some fundamental principles a person wants to master to be effective.. The trick is who is giving the feedback and in what spirit.
I want to learn how to write clean, crisp, honest, work. I really do, and I know I have the humility to learn…I’ve proved it in other areas of my life. Just give me a teacher filled with Grace – like Brenda Uhland. I would LOVE to have sat under her mentoring. In the mean time…I will continue to learn. No more pompous writing experts for me.
I would rather go to my grave with just this journal I’ve written for my own personal pleasure than listen to fools tell me what I’ve done wrong….
At this stage of my life, I have no interest in telling someone else how to live their lives- whether how they raise their kids, grow a garden, tend honey bees, or whatever- I aspire to live quietly, to work with my hands, be dependent on no one…. Period.
Ruth Stout is my role model for mentoring others… She had it (deep mulch gardening) figured out. She did not want to be put on some pedestal. She just did her own thing and then reported the results, and let people make their own conclusions.
One more thought. While this entry is mostly about being mentored in writing, it can really apply to any area of life. I’ve seen it played out with gardening, raising honey bees, guns, carpentry, small engine repair, computers, parenting, marriage relationships, money management, fermentation, etc. etc.
Good mentors are hard to find.
If you have one, I’d encourage you to let them know how much you appreciate them.
Just a thought.
I mentioned an hour ago, my mind is a tangled up mass of thoughts. There’s a song in my heart so the tangled up knot is not stress related. (For which I’m thankful) 🙂
Thirty minutes later, I was out in the orchard picking up branches. My mind went to a comment I’d left on a Dave Ramsey facebook group this morning. (Dave Ramsey in case you’ve never heard of him is a money management, get out of debt author and speaker)
Someone on the group asked the question:
Where would you love to retire?
Out of the 82 people who answered, only one person mentioned they loved where they currently lived, wouldn’t mind being able to go somewhere warm in the winter, but 81 of them said something other than where they were.
While I rarely leave comments on an open forum (except with those of you I know via blogging, I decided to say something….
Love what I’m doing, (I’m a carpenter) as my dad was fond of saying “retirement” is not a word in my vocabulary, so plan do keep doing some variation of that as long as I’m physically able.
Secondly. Love where we live. Plan to stay right where I’m at, as long as I have any say in the matter.
Years ago, when my life was spinning out of control with too many commitments, small children, work, financial stress..you know, the normal every day, stuff all of us deal with, I remember wishing things were different. I remember saying to someone, “Peace and contentment are entirely under rated.”
What I wouldn’t give for a more peace filled life.
Here’s a picture I’ve shared before from that season in my life… I taped it to the wall to remind me business does not automatically equal progress:
When I read later about Henry David Thoreau tromping off to the woods to live on Walden’s pond, I remember thinking to myself, why did he only stay there the better part of two years? Why not stay there long term? I made up my mind at that point, to do just that…create my own version of Walden. I hate water, so I didn’t need a pond 🙂 (I can’t swim, don’t have the patience to fish, plus with standing water you have to deal with mosquitoes).
And so, since 1995 I have been slowly moving in the direction of a life that I don’t need to take a vacation from. Here’s what it looked like in 1995:
…an old run down acreage with a set of 100-year-old farm buildings. Curb appeal it did not have. The house and out buildings hadn’t been painted in 50 years. Nothing appealing except that it was 4 miles from town, and the foundation on the house was still solid.
I have been slowly carving out my own version of Walden here ever since….Laying hens, apple trees, honey bees, lots of flowers, garden beds, a dog, no TV, lots of books to read.
My vision of Walden would probably looks different from yours.
But I would suspect it would be built on the same foundation stone.
The stone of living life intentionally.
Talk to me about living life intentionally. What does that mean to you?
It is never to late to start.
Take care. DM
My brain is a tangled up knot of thoughts this morning and has been for several weeks. Ever cut open a golf ball? A tight mass of rubber bands. Yep, that’s my brain.
Job related thoughts.
Honey extracting thoughts.
Ordering Your Private World thoughts.
Early morning thoughts when I hear crows talking to each other in the distance.
Henry David Thoreau thoughts.
Louisa May Alcott thoughts.
Older parent thoughts.
Think I’ll just post a quote call it good.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”
Jason, his son Josh and I were building a deck today. As we were having coffee, Jason’s phone rang. I could hear him talking to someone about his birthday. which is this week.
“How old will you be?” I asked him when he got off the phone.
Out of the blue, Josh looks at me and asked “How old are you”?
“No way, he said. I thought you were about fifty.”
Ah, the simple things in life….
There are so many things that can factor into aging well, especially the mental component.
Right at the top of my list is a sense of humor.
About 13 years ago, I cut off the tip of my ring finger with a skill saw. As a large black lady was wheeling me down the hallway to the operating room, we got to talking.
She asked me what had happened?.
“Oh, I cut the tip of my finger off with a saw, “I said with a smirk.
“Oh! Don’t tell me that!” she said.
(I can still hear her southern drawl in my head).
“Yep, one of the guys found it and brought it to the hospital, just in case they can sew it back on.”
“Don’t tell me that!” she said again.
“Yep, and it’s here in this bowl” (I had a metal bowl on my lap with that little chunk of my finger).
“Don’t tell me that!”
A sense of humor can go along way in a medical situation.
Read the following this week and posted it on facebook:
“A well developed sense of humor reveals a well-balanced personality….the ability to get a laugh out of everyday situations is a safety valve. It rids us of tensions and worries that could otherwise damage your health….you think I’m exaggerating the benefits?
Maybe you’ve forgotten this proverb: “A joyful heart is good medicine…”
And finally…work keeps coming in. (Which is why I have not been doing as much writing).
The bee split was a success.
Had our first new potatoes this weekend from the garden.
Decided to re-fire up our Bed and Breakfast for a little extra income. Just about ready to reopen the doors.
95% of the people we’ve had stay, were not looking for the B and B experience as much as just a place to stay.
Well, about time to call it a day.
Thanks for stopping by. DM
I can still remember his name…. Keith. Showed up unannounced with his girl friend one evening 38 years ago. Discovered that night he was a talker. He talked, and talked, and talked, and talked. Gave no indication, he was planning on leaving any time soon.
We had 2 little toddlers, and I was ready for bed.
Suddenly something shifted in my brain. Some filter must have tripped a breaker.
It just came out of my mouth.
“Good night please…”
My wife was aghast, but I had finally had enough.
Saw that picture tonight and thought of Keith.
Come to think of it, I read a proverb this morning that goes along with this meme..
Google it if you’re curious.
Well, time to go and lock the chickens in. It’s going on 7.
Hey John, ( and anybody else who cares to listen) 🙂
This picture caught my eye the other day and I wanted you to see it.
I wanted to plant a financial seed in your minds eye if I may. 🙂
It is the home of Dr Lebron Lackey, still standing after a 250 mph hurricane. Notice his neighbors…
When I was studying early Iowa history one of the things that struck me, (and we never covered in school), was the number of other recessions and depressions that had taken place.
All I had ever learned about was The Great Depression of 1929.
We never talked about the Panic of 1837, that lasted until 1843 – (6 years).
“The Panic of 1837 was one of the longest and deepest depressions of the 19th century. It was a period of pronounced deflation and massive default on debt.”
Then came the the Panic of 1857 that didn’t really turn around until after the Civil War – (7 years).
“…the years immediately preceding the Panic of 1857 were prosperous, many banks, merchants, and farmers had seized the opportunity to take risks with their investments and as soon as market prices began to fall, they quickly began to experience….. financial panic”.
Or The panic of 1873 that lasted until 1879 (6 years).
Since you didn’t bring this topic up, I am kind of reluctant to get too preachy, but knowing what I know, it would be just wrong of me to not say something.
Back in January of 2014, I was at my wit’s end (financially). To use a word picture at the time, I felt like I was flying a 747 and we were about 10 to 15 feet above the ocean.
Yes we were still in the air, and yes we were still moving, but the waves were lapping at the wings, and I was tired. Being self employed, my income can vary a lot from year to year…as much as a 1/3. I sat down, crunched some numbers and realized we had been spending $700 a month more than I was making for a couple of years. Our budget was based on the incomes of better years. Those extra expenses were going fun things like heating bills, medical bills and medical insurance.
We’ve never been big on going out to eat, yada, yada….
So there you go, and it was right in the midst of that craziness that I came across the book by Mary Hunt called Debt Proof Living.
Within a month of reading it, I had hope. Finally had some practical ideas on how to get some distance between myself and the water.
Our income hasn’t change all that much, but (knock on wood) we’ve been able to pay off all of the credit card debt, our car loan, a line of credit loan, and the loan to build that little extension on my shop. Over $30,000 worth of debt, on the same income…we switched medical health insurance coverage that saved us $400 a month, and replaced the 20 year old furnace/ shut off the heat to the 2nd floor of our home and whacked another $300 a month off expenses.
So when I see that picture of the house still standing when the neighbors have all been blown away, I see someone making different financial decisions than the rest of the culture.
Pop culture says, debt is just a normal part of life.
I say we are living in a fools paradise.
Historically, things go in cycles.
We are way past due for another financial $@#% storm.
Get out of debt and stay out of debt.
It is possible to raise a family on one blue collar income.
You can take that to the bank.