Algorithms

Label this under stuff I don’t like.

I hate algorithms. I loved Pinterest until more than half my feed became, Picked for you.

Yesterday, I searched for red painted chairs. Today, you guessed it, my feed is mostly red chairs. I don’t want another red chair. I have one already, a sentimental ladder back my dad rescued from a junk pile. I love it. But one is enough.

Why did I type red chairs in the search box? Images. I search when I write. I want the perfect red chair to sit behind a computer psychic’s work desk. I want the perfect red chair next to the fireplace in my main character’s log cabin. I have the perfect red chair for me in my own house.

Why does social media insist I’m so meager that I can’t think for myself? What if tomorrow I need to describe yard art? A six-foot, ceramic alligator? Will the Bots-That-Be throw reptiles in my face for a month?

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My Red Chair

Daydream Believer

IMG_2581The post is late today. I’m bankrupt. Not financially, but creatively. I took the morning to sit in a quiet place and percolate with my trusty fountain pen, strong coffee, and anonymity.

Life happens, and I respond. It’s survival instinct. But after fight or flight, I shut down. Also survival instinct. The problem is my world doesn’t allow time for daydreams, so I push on until the well is dry.

This morning, like the Ella Henderson song, I went to the river to pray. For me, that means staring into space, listening for a silenced inner voice, moving my hand across a smooth clean page, indulging in the sound of my pen’s nib etching new ideas.

Will it work? Don’t know. What can I expect? Doesn’t matter. The important thing is to trust the process.

If you want to join me, here’s some mood music.

Flippin’ Eggs and Other Issues of Confidence


flippedeggI’m a good cook. Everyone says so. Bacon is particularly impressed with my ability to crack an egg into a mixing bowl with one hand. He never tires of the trick. I learned it from cooking thousands of meals, not so much because I love cooking, but more because my family insists on eating.

On my best days, cooking is creative. I make cheesecake from scratch in a springform pan. I bake sourdough bread from homemade starter. I’ve seen grown men come to blows over the last square of my toffee-filled brownies. But, despite these Julia Child moments, I lack the confidence to turn an over-easy without breaking the yolk.

My brother George used to coach me to lift and flip. This advice came from a man, who baked only in a toaster oven and made waffles out of jalapeño cornbread mix. He used to say, “It’s all in the wrist.”

It’s not in my wrist. It’s in my head. Precisely at the moment the egg is elevated, I falter. Doubt sets in. I flip and splat! Humpty Dumpty splits on the Teflon.

How can I be so accomplished with the challenging and so clumsy with the trivial? If I knew the answer, I could defeat writers block, stay on a low carb diet, train for a marathon, and keep my house clean. Self doubt gets in the way. Flippin’ eggs is an issue of confidence.

In the Weeds

I don’t know how it happened. Well, I do. I don’t know how I let it happen.

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My garden once looked like this.

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And this.

zinnia patch

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” I guess, I got distracted for a few years. Today, I started clearing the beds. It’s slow work. Each random growth has to be dug out and pulled by the roots. My back hurts.

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My garden is like the book I’m writing. I finished the rough draft a few years ago. I put it aside to flesh out another story. Then life happened. The draft sat in the bottom of my cedar chest. Figurative weeds grew over it. I’m still digging them out. Sometimes, my back hurts.

The only way to weed a garden is to keep digging. The only way to finish a book is to keep writing.