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Inspiration?

“Oh, I want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distractions, a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

There's noting better than a nice walk through a scenic landscape, such as this boardwalk loop at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. Some of my best ideas come to me on such walks. --  Photo by Pat Bean

There’s noting better than a nice walk through a scenic landscape, such as this boardwalk loop at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. Some of my best ideas come to me on such walks. — Photo by Pat Bean

Or Perspiration?

            I’m always being asked where I get my blogging ideas. A good answer would be everywhere.

Or how about this boardwalk trail outside of Galveston. It, too, would make for a good idea walk. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Or how about this boardwalk trail outside of Galveston. It, too, would make for a good idea walk. — Photo by Pat Bean

But I have noticed that they mostly come when I’m sitting still, perhaps drinking my morning coffee on my balcony, staring out at Mount Lemmon as the day comes to life, or when I’m soaking in my bathtub, thinking of nothing much but shaving my legs.

I also get ideas in my dreams at night – but unless I write these down immediately, they disappear before I sit down to drink that first cup of coffee.

The funny thing is that when I do sit down in front of my computer – the perspiration of writing – to put an idea into words, it’s not unusual for a slew of other ideas, usually better ones, to take over my writing fingers.

So I guess the best answer to where my ideas come from is my butt – when it sits itself down to write. I guess that’s why “Butt to Chair” is the No. 1 writing tip of all times.          

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat: Zen Pencils http://tinyurl.com/mq5lqdp  Funny cartoon with great message. I loved it.

Instant Friendship

    “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” ― C.S. Lewis

The bond that cements these friendships is that we're all writers.

The bond that cements these friendships is that we’re all writers.

The Bonding Moment

Twenty three beautiful women, way past their beauty-queens days, met for lunch and margaritas and fun yesterday here in Tucson. I was blessed to be one of them.

And the bond for these friendships was a wild and crazy two years in Twin Falls, Idaho.

And the bond for these friendships was a wild and crazy two years in Twin Falls, Idaho.

My left table neighbor was a delightful woman who kept interrupting me. I absolutely loved it. Most of my really good friends are people who do the same thing. They get so enthused about an idea that pops into their head that they just can’t wait for a polite interval to express it.

I’m like that. But to be polite and not annoying, I’m always trying to keep my enthusiasm in check, which means I’m the only annoyed person

So to meet a woman who didn’t mind interruptions, and who could continue to carry on a conversation through them, felt great.

And when my new found friend, aware of her propensity for talking a lot and interrupting people, apologized for her behavior, I could only laugh and tell her I felt that I had been doing the same thing.

It was a friendship-making moment.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Eye-Dancer http://tinyurl.com/p325wng Revisiting the Wizard of Oz – as a writer.

            “I love playing. The keyboard is my journal” – Pharrell Williams

            “I think the word ‘blog’ is an ugly word. I just don’t know why people can’t use the word ‘journal.’” — Moby

Should I write about the butterflies I saw at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix for my blog or my journal? Does it matter. Does anyone care? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Should I write about the butterflies I saw at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix for my blog or my journal? Does it matter. Does anyone care? — Photo by Pat Bean

What Do You Think?

            I’m reading Dinty Moore’s book, “Crafting the Personal Essay.” It’s good. Really good! I’ve been reading a chapter every morning with my coffee – and taking lots of notes.

Mother Nature's wonders, I believe, are meant to be shared with the world. So I guess that means they belong in a blog and not a private journal. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Mother Nature’s wonders, I believe, are meant to be shared with the world. So I guess that means they belong in a blog and not a private journal. — Photo by Pat Bean

This morning’s session, however, cost me.

Dinty thinks it is important to write things readers might care about and be interested in reading; and I realized that what I had written didn’t sound interesting – even to me. Well, except for the quotes, which I do find thought-provoking.

My first draft of this blog, however, was taking too many words to say simply that. Thankfully, I have learned that the delete key is often the best editor.

As for the difference between blogging and journaling, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the audience.  My journal is for my eyes only, and my blog is for the entire world to read. And I hope they do.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat Are Blogs the New Journal? http://tinyurl.com/mu6lelo This was my inspiration for today’s blog, but the subject matter is one I have pondered now for over a year.

So Many Questions

To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.” —Anne Rice

And Way Too Many Answers

What bird is this. Thankfully, a question I can answer. It's a black-crowned night heron. -- Photo by Pat Bean

What bird is this? Thankfully, a question I can answer. It’s a black-crowned night heron. — Photo by Pat Bean

            Hermione in the Harry Potter series reminds me of my young self, although I was never cute. I was a skinny, freckle-faced brat with unkempt hair. But like Hermione, I knew the answers to all the questions, and my hand was always up when one was asked – unless I forgot to raise my hand and just blurted out the answer.

Is Antelope Canyon in Arizona  a slot canyon, a wash.  an arroyo, or a gulch or all of the above. See. Some questions aren't easy to answer.

Is Antelope Canyon in Arizona a slot canyon, a wash. an arroyo, or a gulch or all of the above. See. Some questions aren’t easy to answer.

The questions back then, however, were easy. What is 12 plus 12? Who is known as the Father of our Country?  What year did Columbus discover America? Of course that was back before I realized America had been discovered long before Columbus set foot upon its land.

My brain, until I hit my 30s, was full of facts and all the right answers. OK, I admit, I’m a late bloomer.

But once I started questioning the answers, I quickly went from being a know-it-all to quite confused.  I became a wonderer, full of questions that seldom had just one answer, and sometimes even no answers.

Why don’t we learn from history? Which is the right path to take?  Is it better to protect the environment or provide jobs so people can feed their children? New questions pop into my head daily. Dang it!

I suspect I’m still going to be asking questions on my death bed. But isn’t it interesting how one can go from being a know-it-all to a know-nothing. Logically, it seems it should be the other way around.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

   Bean Pat: Ghost Bear Photography http://tinyurl.com/ohvthc8 If you like wildlife and wilderness you will love this blog. Today it’s simply a quote that speaks to me, and a fantastic view of the Tetons.

Great Quote – Not

            I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself. – D. H. Lawrence

 Think Again

I suspect even a big old moose could feel sorry for itself if another male won its girl from him. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I suspect even a big old moose could feel sorry for itself if another male won its girl from him. — Photo by Pat Bean

            While I’ve always accepted, as fact, that animals have feelings and thoughts and can grieve, I might once have seen the above quote as simply inspirational. I mean I agree with its philosophy that we shouldn’t feel sorry for ourselves.

Pepper curls up into a ball, eyes drooping, giving every indication that she feels sorry for herself when she knows she's being left behind. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper curls up into a ball, eyes drooping, giving every indication that she feels sorry for herself when she knows she’s being left behind. — Photo by Pat Bean

But time, and my love and observation of animals, have convinced me that animals can, and do, sometimes feel sorry for themselves. Why not? They are, after all, intelligent beings, who clearly display emotions of joy and sadness.

I once had a dog that showed clear signs of depression after my cat, which had been her long-time companion, died. And my current canine companion, Pepper, clearly shows signs of feeling sorry for herself every time she knows she’s going to be left alone at home. As I go out the door, she slinks into a corner, droops her head, and stares, with her velvet brown eyes, accusingly at me.

Thankfully, she’s a dog and holds no grudges — which is more of a cat trait — and greets me with uninhibited joy when I return.

While I don’t know what Pepper does to console herself when she’s in a Pity-Pepper mode, I do know what I do when a Pity-Pat mood strikes me. I simply think of all the people in the world who would gladly trade places with me – and I realize just how many millions that would be.

Sometimes we simply need to rethink things – like D.H. Lawrence’s popular quote.            

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat:  Janaline’s World Journey http://tinyurl.com/pskalcm I loved this delightful arm chair journey to visit the Temple of Ta Prohm, and now want to go back and watch Tomb Raider so I can view the scenes in which it was featured, just as I revisited the movie, Master and Commander, after visiting, in actuality, one of its filming sites in the Galapagos Islands. Since the world is so big, and my travels are limited by time and money, I’m thankful for being able to view some of them from my comfortable home. Thank you Janaline.

X Marks the Spot

“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” – Flannery O’Connor

The large X Marks the Spot painting that hangs in my living room that was a gift to me from my artist friend Richard Sheppard.

The large X Marks the Spot painting that hangs in my living room, which was a gift to me from my artist friend Richard Sheppard.

A Silly Game

            My mornings begin by walking my canine companion, Pepper, and then returning to my apartment for a cup of bold, cream-laced coffee, during which time I plan my day by writing down everything I want to accomplish in my daily notebook.

A painting my Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose work I love.

A painting my Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose work I love.

The list is usually lengthy – and most certainly undoable. But, since I don’t suffer from OCD, I get pleasure in crossing out anything on the list that I do complete, and accepting that what’s left over makes a starting point for the next day.

Often, as I drink my coffee, I look up at a painting that was a gift to me from my friend Richard Sheppard. It’s titled X Marks the Spot.

My imagination asks me which X represents me this particular day.  Do I feel energized like a red X, happy or giddily like a yellow X, or strong and determined like a black X.? I know it’s silly, but it’s a game I’ve been playing for years.

This morning, as I drank my coffee and looked at the painting, I thought of the opening line of an Indiana Jones movie in which the professor said “X never marks the spot.” But of course it did.

Then I decided that my X for this day would be the biggest black one I could find. It would represent my determination to keep my newly created resolution to write three hours a day. I’ve learned that if I at least mark off this item on my long list, I will feel a sense of achievement that will put a big smile on my face.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pats: Spiced Memories http://tinyurl.com/n3vsf7v  and Wassily Kandinsky http://tinyurl.com/lx9ou9d I liked these two blogs because they sent me on a research mission to learn more. I checked out the photo on Spiced Memories, and found a creative spice commercial that was truly artsy-fartsy. And the second blog introduced me to an artist whose work has now made the list of my favorites, along with the paintings of Homer Winslow, Van Gogh and Emil Nolde’s colorful interpretations of life that goes on around us. The Internet is so much better than the encyclopedia volumes that my curious mind devoured before the world-wide-web became a daily part of my life.

            “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  — Lao Tzu

I just realized this morning that Pepper sort of looks like the dog token in Monopoly, which was always my favorite game piece.

I just realized this morning that Pepper sort of looks like the dog token in Monopoly, which is always my favorite game piece.

Change is Inevitable

            I recently learned that a cat token had replaced Monopoly’s iron token. I don’t know about you but I think it was about time.

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

My iron went out with the first days of wash and wear. Before that, which was way back when I had growing children, by the time I got to the bottom of the basket that held clothes to be ironed, my children had outgrown them.

The change to Monopoly – a game I played for endless hours when I was a child – was a result of a popular vote to eliminate one icon and replace it with another.

It seems logical to me why the iron was displaced, but why not something more new age, like a computer or a space station, as the new token?

It gives us something to think about. So what token would you have replaced, what would your choice have been for a new icon, and which one do you like as your game piece?

I always play with the dog.

But I can’t think of a better choice than a cat for the new token.  If you own the right cat, or  more likely it owns you, as I have three out of four times, I found them to be almost as companionable as a dog. It’s OK Pepper. I said almost.

Change, I’ve come to learn in my old-broad wisdom, is often neither good or bad. It just is. And it’s inevitable.      

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

      Bean Pat: Worthy of Attention http://tinyurl.com/k8qbk8d  We all like compliments. And this blog reminds me to be freer with mine.

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