MAYBE NEW DREAMS

Good Tidings — Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.


Ten years ago. Like — 2004, right? It hasn’t been an upbeat decade, I fear … but all is not lost.

Garry Kaity Divot RiverBend

I suppose I need to tell me that my health isn’t going to improve. No matter how sick I am now, it will be worse in years to come. Each ailment will be more threatening and disabling than the one preceding it. You will nearly starve to death as your damaged digestive system collapses and before you fully recover from that, you’ll have bilateral breast cancer.

A couple of years later, massive heart problems will follow. The arthritis and bursitis get worse but everyone will tell you how well you’re doing — and how lucky you. Sometimes, you will wonder what they mean by “lucky.”

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You’ll work hard, but be unable to continue. Too ill. Anyway, the high-tech job market will collapse, so by the time work starts to trickle back, you’ll be too tired to seize the day.

Your book will be praised (you’ll finally write one), but it won’t sell.

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Rewards? You won’t get a Pulitzer or a big movie contract, but you’ll keep on keeping on. Your husband will stick it out with you. He’ll be inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of fame and grow to be the person he always had it in him to be. This will mean everything.

While most old friends fade, a few re-emerge and others will become ever more important. You’ll find new people where you least expected to find them. They will support you when you urgently need it. It will remind you there is still kindness and generosity in the world. A layer of your cynicism will wash away … which is good because old layers of cynicism get pretty crusty over the years.

Life won’t get easier, but you will make the best of it. You’ll finally ride two of the biggest, baddest roller coasters on America’s east coast and it will make you howl with glee. You’ll see the Grand Canyon. Your dogs will make you laugh every single day and smile, even when they aren’t around.

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You’ll learn there are worse things than being alone, realize your own company is better than you imagined. You’ll write a lot and you’ll have a bigger audience than you hoped for. Your photography will keep getting better and you’ll get immense gratification from it.

The Red Sox will win three World Series.

You’ll fight illness, poverty, loneliness, and pain. Successfully, for the most part. You’ll beat back despair with a big stick and battle the Grim Reaper to a stand still.

You will survive and won’t end up living in your car.

Deep in your heart, you’ll always harbor a foolish dream that the big lottery hit will rock your world. Because it’s not impossible, merely unlikely. So many unlikely things have already happened, why not one more? Maybe a good one this time.

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Our dreams change and some vanish. But we are what we are and thus invent new dreams. The canvas on which we paint is smaller, but our brushes are sharper and the colors stronger.

LINES AND ANGLES – BLACK AND WHITE

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Lines and Angles

Lines and angles. Everywhere you look. Buildings lean in at you, closing off the sky and forming strange relationships with the earth below … inhuman but of our own making. Wires stretch across the sky forming patterns and the simple porch of a farmhouse becomes a study in form and shape.

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SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION

A friend asked me why I do this, why I blog. So I asked her why she plays golf.

We do what we do because we love it, need it. Or both. Because, despite the fact the many bloggers pretend they “write for themselves,” it’s untrue. We blog because we want other people to read our words, to connect with our ideas. If we wanted to write “for ourselves,” we’d keep a diary.Garry - Writer Christmas Day

Why are bloggers so coy about wanting an audience? Is it because they aren’t getting a good response, so instead of trying to figure how to bring in more readers and followers, they say they don’t care whether or not anyone reads them?

And then when one of us is moderately successful and popular, they get all squinchy-eyed and moralistic, as if  we’ve ruined the purity of the blogging experience.

Really? Seriously? When did we achieve that lofty spiritual level where we are above worldly concerns … like popularity and success? The hypocrisy of it takes my breath away. If that is how you really feel, you shouldn’t be blogging.

We all care. Anyone who says otherwise is lying — probably to themselves and definitely to us. We all want to be read, to be seen, to have an audience. If we take pictures, we want people to look at our images and say “Wow, that’s amazing.” Because we want to be amazing.

Writing is like breathing. If I don’t write, I suffocate. My friend?  She needs to compete. To play golf. Or she will suffocate.

TELL ME HOW TO WRITE

I can’t begin to count the number of people who tell me they want to be writers, but don’t know how to start.

That they ask the question suggests they will never be writers. Writers write. No one has to tell you how or when. You write and will keep doing it because it’s not what you do, it’s what you are. You may not write brilliantly, but you will write. You’ll get it right eventually. Doing is learning.

I started writing as soon as I could read. Putting words on paper was the same as speaking, but took longer. I didn’t mind the extra time because I could go back and fix written words. Being able to change the words and keep changing them until they said precisely what I wanted them to say was the prize.

I was socially awkward and my youthful verbal skills not well-suited to my age and stage in life. I wasn’t good at sports. No one wanted me on the team. In retrospect, I can understand it, but when I was a kid, it hurt.

Games and other social activities let you become popular, make friends, and do those other things which matter to kids. I couldn’t do that stuff, but I could write. And read. I might be a klutz, but words let me build worlds.

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If you are going to be a writer, you know it. Practice will make you better, help you understand how to build plots,  produce books publishers will buy. But writing itself is a gift. If you have it, you know it.

Writers have words waiting to be written, lining up for the opportunity to be set on paper or in the computer. It may take a while for you to find what you want to write about. But you will write.

Talent comes in an endless number of flavors. If you are a musician, you’ll find a way to make music. The same with painting, photography, drawing, running, hitting a baseball or throwing one so that it just skims that outer corner of the plate at 96 miles per hour. Mathematics, engineering, architecture … creativity and talent are as varied as the people who use it.

Ghost Photographer

ADVICE FOR THE BEWILDERED 

My advice to hopeful writers is simple. Write.

Don’t talk about it. Do it. Write a lot, as often as you can, even if most of it is crap and you won’t show it to anyone. Sooner or later, you’ll find your way. If you don’t write, it’s your loss, but it may also be the world’s loss. You never know how good you can be if you don’t try.

This blog is my outlet for the millions of words stuffed in my head. Yes, I really want you to read it. It matters to me and I see no reason to pretend it doesn’t.

On the other hand, I hate golf. Can’t figure out why anyone would want to walk around an enormous lawn hitting a little white ball. I can’t think of anything more boring, but I know a lot of golfers. They live for it. The rest of the week is just a pause between tee times.

So, if you don’t get why I write, that’s okay. You don’t have to get it. That I get it and can do it and other people read it … that’s fine.

You do your thing, I’ll do mine. And we will all find happiness doing stuff we love.