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
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Obstacle Course

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Coco crabbing down the mountain in the Pecos Wilderness.

What’s been the biggest obstacle in your life so far?

When you’re standing on top of a giant pile of rocks, the worst thing you can do is over-think your descent.

One foot in front of the other, slide down without lifting your posterior off the ground more than an inch at a time.

It’s so obvious from the mountaintop. Why isn’t it when I’m at my keyboard? Or planning dinner for friends? Or worrying about my kids’ college fund?

If the only thing to fear is fear itself, then why am I stalling?

Like many Type As, I obsess.

Instead of getting on with it, I choreograph each move, visualize the outcomes, tweak the angle, adjust the frame …

The biggest obstacle in my life is my own irrational fear.

What’s yours?

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.