Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Pedro Is Still Writing

It's late at night...

I am watching the news... I'm drinking a beer. I'm about to make a huge transition in life.

In about two weeks, I will no longer be employed. I will be self-employed.

OMG!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Quote Of The Day: The Surefire Way To Never Meet Your Goals

This one is attributed to hockey legend Wayne Gretzky:

You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.

This is so true. I have been setting daily, weekly, monthly goals for myself in 2018. I've met some; failed at others. But I'm still shooting.

You have to try, like Gretzky says, because if you don't, you're guaranteed to miss.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Today In History: February 24th - Why Today Is So Dear To My Heart

As you know, I'm on an adventure to reacquire knowledge I have forgotten. So... today I'm looking at history.

If you missed why I'm going on this adventure, just see my post: All The Things I've Forgotten Over The Years: What I'm Doing To Relearn It All Now.

Here I am in my living room/writing area, sitting in my rolling office chair, which is not in front of my computer station. A simple twist and roll behind me and I'm at my bookshelf. Here I remove one of my history books. After reading what it says about today, I reach back and pull out a second book. This will involve more research for a post later.

My 30-minute exercise tonight has given me this Today In History post.

Today in 1786, Fairytale writer Wilhelm Grimm is born. In 1836, American painter Winslow Homer is born.

And in 1500, Charles the V, the greatest of all the Habsburg emperors is born in the town of Ghent. I'll have to go there someday.

Before Charles was 20, he was "the master of more land in Europe than anyone since the Roman emperors, including Charlemagne." It would be wonderful to tour those lands. Add that to my bucket list.

The second book I reached for in my library was one of my Fairytale books. Grimm intrigues me. I have forgotten much. Time to reacquire my Fairytale knowledge.

As significant as the births of Charles and Wilhelm were to the world, today another person was born who is nearer and dearer to my heart. My oldest daughter is 22 today.

What I recall with great fondness is reading Shakespeare together at night when she was still in pre-school. I was a newspaper journalist at the time in Syracuse, New York. I also was teaching at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University - my alma mater.

One day I made it a point to bring her to one of my classes - an impromptu "Bring Your Daughter To Work" day. My hopes were she would learn as a pre-schooler that college was for her.

She was always an excellent student.... and a better daughter than I was a father. This year, she will graduate from Syracuse University... and I couldn't be prouder. Go 'Cuse!


All The Things I've Forgotten Over The Years: What I'm Doing To Relearn It All Now

It's about 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night. I'm sitting rather unceremoniously in a wife-beater and thermal leggings - my pjs for the night - sipping on vodka and water with a touch of orange... in my living room.

My rescue cat, Leppard, is pawing around at my feet. He is near my work table as I sit between my computer desk and my writing/craft/dining room table. A black, rolling office chair makes it easy for me to move from one station to the other.

I'm a fitful worker. The mood strikes,  and I want to type a few words for my blog. One of the books on my multi-use table calls to me. So, I read a few pages. Then, I notice another book on my shelves. I roll over and grab it.

That gives me an idea for my brown journal - the one I often carry in the breast pocket (with a pen jammed within its pages) of my wool Pea coat. I pause as I jot down the words p-e-a-c-o-a-t. I realize that I have forgotten how the phrase goes. Is it all one word? Is it capitalized?

I google it and settle on: Pea coat... if only to get on with it and take another swig of my drink.

Then it comes to me: I've forgotten quite a bit. I'm speaking of knowledge... nuggets that were once ingrained in my memory, which I could recall at will if prompted. I was once a Trivial Pursuit god.

I've come to the conclusion that I have forgotten too much. So.... time to rediscover all that knowledge. That will be my task for the foreseeable future.

 History. Art. Philosophy. Science. Literature. Music.

I dare say that I have forgotten more than some ever ventured to learn in the first place. Many still have outpaced me. All the same... I'm excited to dive back into Greek mythology. And... I just got super excited... I grabbed one of my old grammar books off the shelf and started reading about the parts of a sentence, parts of speech.... Oh, yeah! My skin tingled.

This will be an adventure. Why not? What else am I doing? What else are any of us doing? Living the same routine day after day. Why not shake things up? Why merely exist? Why not broaden our experience by reacquainting ourselves with our past passions? On this adventure... I M -A -Y even look at subjects I ignored or found distasteful growing up. Math... Ewwww. A subject I wish I would have paid more attention to: Physics. Ahhh... it fascinates me... but... darned math gets in the way again!

I dare say that deepening our knowledge would make us feel more poignantly about our everyday experiences. I'll keep a journal of my progress... of my observations. If you want, join me. Journal and share your experiences.

OK... my glass is empty... and another book on my shelves has caught my attention.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My Quote For The Day: Get Out Of The Shower

So last week I shared a quote that dealt with sweat - as in doing the work to get things done. Today's quote touches upon the ideas we sometimes have in the shower, or more specifically, what you do "Getting Things Done" post from last week. I came across today's quote while reading Melissa A. Schilling's book, "Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World.
Ferris Bueller in a classic shower scene
afterwards. The quote builds on my

Everyone who's ever taken a shower has had an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference. - Nolan Bushnell
C'mon... the intro scene to Ferris Bueller's Day Off is classic!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KFVLWX7eEY
My previous Quote For The Day: Sweat

Sunday, February 18, 2018

What I'm Reading Everyday

Yes... another acronym: WIRE.

But it works for me. So.... I've learned a lot the last few days. Here's what I've been reading this week:

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All The Facts, by Annie Duke.

Listen Up Or Lose Out: How To Avoid Miscommunication, Improve Relationships, and Get More Done Faster, by Robert Bolton and Dorothy Grover Bolton.

Thinking In Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All The Facts, by Annie Duke.

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, by Alex Hutchinson.

Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World, by Melissa A. Schilling.

These were among the books that Success Magazine recommended as Must-Reads for February. So... I'm reading them.

In case you missed it:

What You Must Do Every Day To Find Stories To Write About. If you want to be a writer, this is a must. Very basic advice, but something we don't really do... if we're being honest.

Trying to keep going even when your body doesn't.

An observation exercise on Valentine's Day. What do you see as you go about your day?


Friday, February 16, 2018

What You Must Do Every Day To Find Stories To Write About?

It starts with one word: Observe.

A simple Google definition: notice or perceive something and register it as being significant.

The hard parts are at the beginning and at the end. We must first notice. Then, we must perceive what we notice as significant.

I'm sorry to say that most of us plow through life without noticing or perceiving. I might include would-be writers in that category. But... you are different if you choose to be. It's your choice.

You think you can write? You think you have a short story, poem, novel in you? Maybe. What's stopping you? There are many answers to that question. I will only address two in this post: writing a short story or novel.

Truly.... the barriers to writing either could be a lack of knowledge of grammar, education, experience, or the conventions of fiction, etc., etc.

I'm here to tell you... You can bone up on all that. But... if you want to be a writer, you must first own one skill first. I believe it is the most important skill to master as a writer - granted you have the ability to create sentences. That skill is observation.

A little background here. I studied at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. It is one of the hardest journalism programs to get into. I not only made it as a student there, but I returned as a professor.

Something I have never forgotten, wisdom that has helped me, as a journalist and as a writer of fiction, to this day is this: Observe everything you encounter with the eyes of a child.

The question for you? Why are the eyes of a child more perceptive than those of an adult?
Answer... everything is new to a child. Adults are jaded. Been there. Done that. Nothing new to see here.

Yet... as writers, we must fight that compulsion to dismiss the "ordinary."

Case in point... I was driving to work, as usual, the other day. I take the same route. It requires no real thought to drive out of my apartment complex... onto the road... then to the highways that eventually lead me to my destination.

But.... while I was stuck in traffic the other day, I noticed something. I was observing. I saw something on Valentine's Day that I thought was interesting. Here is my observation of that moment. Is it something? Or nothing? It is something?  As a writer, you can make it something. I say it's something. It hones your skill to pull writing exercises out of random events in life.

Go find your own moments. Let me know what you find. I'd love to hear them.

In case you missed it:

Trying to keep going even when your body doesn't.

An observation exercise on Valentine's Day. What do you see as you go about your day?




Pedro Is Still Writing

It's late at night... I am watching the news... I'm drinking a beer. I'm about to make a huge transition in life. In about t...