Quote for the day

If you live only for yourself you are always in immediate danger of being bored to death with the repetition of your own views and interests.

– W. Beran Wolfe

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.

– Hannah Arendt

Writing Prompt: Origins

I’ve moved around a lot over the years.  The cities I’ve lived in have helped form my impression of life, given me new friends and allowed me to see the world from different points of view.  However, as much as I rave about my favourite places, like San Francisco and London, I never talk about the place where I grew up.  Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life trying to get away from it.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that I had a bad childhood, quite the contrary. It was just a claustrophobic place. The city itself is part of the largest county in the US, but everything from the shops, to the restaurants, malls and parks seemed so enclosed, as though there was everything and nothing beyond the city limits.  It was that desperate feeling of  drowning and living and dying in a place like that which prompted me to do everything I could to get away.

When I look back now, I suppose it wasn’t so bad. It was just like living in a sheep’s pen. The people in it where contented enough, living from day to day and very few of the people I knew then ever left. The sad thing is that I can remember small independently owned shops on the main street and big brightly painted schools with giant football pitches, but last time I drove through, my old school was fenced off and looked like a prison, complete with metal detectors. The little bakery, flower shop and furniture store I passed on my way to school each day are boarded up. The mall is a gang haven… Looks like I left just in time. When I drive through southern California, each town resembles the next, all blending into each other.

It’s important to look back on where we came from to try to understand who we are, why we think the way we do and to figure out where we’re going.

Describe where you grew up, for better or for worse. above all, be honest about how you feel about where you hail from and see where it takes you.

Writing Prompt: Origins

Writing Prompt: Happy New Year?

It’s 4:16pm on the last day of the year and I’m still at the office. Everyone with any sense has gone home to get ready for whatever festivities they have planned for tonight. Yes, I’m going out too, just not until later. However, as I sit here I wonder, what’s all the fuss about? The Earth made it once more around the sun, but what’s changed?

When I look out the window, the streets are closed off for the Edinburgh street party.  I’ll be there later, trying to avoid scary drunk men in kilts.

Aside from the office being quiet and getting more sleep than usual, I feel nothing during this time of year, but the impatience that comes with waiting for something extraordinary to happen when the clock strikes twelve.  It’s dark outside and the lights above the castle are lit.

I’ve spoken to a few friends this past 48 hours and there is a universal sense of anticlimax about the New Year’s festivities. Is that a sign of age or a symptom of a disillusioned society? No one has said anything optimistic or shared any goals for the new year with me, they just want the year to be over…I have a list of things I want to do, but that list never changes, only reaches certain degrees of completion as the years go by.

I don’t mean to sound so miserable, but I keep hearing people say that they can’t wait for the New Year to start. Are they going to be different people when it’s the 1st of January? Will their circumstances have changed from one day to the next just because it’s 2009 instead of 2008? I somehow doubt it, yet people have a tendency to put goalposts and deadlines on the start of a new year. If you really want to change something, what difference does it make whether it’s the 1st of Jan or the 18th of June? Just bloody get on with it.

I’m the same, and I know it. I have endless lists of things I want to do before I hit mid-30’s as if I’ll have failed in life if I don’t beat the clock. The thing to remember is that its about getting it done, moving forward, staying inspired every day, regardless of the date. I know it’s hard to stay focused, that putting something off until you hit a nice round number you like or a date or a time is easier, but that mentality leads to stagnation.

So, what am I trying to say? I guess that I hope everyone has a nice time tonight, but New Year’s Eve shouldn’t be an excuse to celebrate, to wipe the slate clean and start again. That should be every day. Have fun and do stuff that makes you happy regardless of what the calendar says…

Writing Prompt: Happy New Year

Writing Prompt: Random

My mind is going in a hundred different directions. It drifts to work and some intense meetings I had today.  I’ve been thinking about next year and the things I have to do to make it successful. I’m excited, but it’s going to be busy.  I have so many plans and ideas and there are so many people I want to share them with.

Thoughts have wandered to my family back in California and for the first time, I understand that if I wished it, I could leave and go back there. It would be hard, it would take a few months to get it all sorted, six at least, but I’m free to go when I choose.

I thought about Wanda, one of my dearest friends and how much I admire her independence. I wonder if the guy who invented paperclips still gets royalties. Titch is on the sofa with me asleep and although I know this is a long way off, just the thought of not having her with me makes my throat constrict and heart beat a little faster. The Terminator is on TV and I remember where I was when it was released in the cinema and how scary Arnold Schwarzenegger was to me at that age.

I feel restless and I wish my mind would sit still for just a minute. I’m hoping that by having a bit of a stream of consciousness brain-dump, I’ll feel better and have a chance to sleep, an activity that has avoided me for some nights now.

When I feel like this,expressing some random thoughts sometimes helps. I use this exercise in the morning sometimes, when my mind is still working, processing my dreams and trying to push them back until they’re nothing more that an indent on my pillow, waiting for the night to come again.

Try this, just write freehand for 30 minutes. Don’t edit, don’t stop. Just let your mind wander and see where it takes you.

Writing Prompt: Random

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