Posted tagged ‘writing’

Not Just Words

September 7, 2022

wordsThis morning I was writing in my journal about the beauty in the world on one hand and the pain and ugliness on the other.   Yeah, my journal sometimes wrestles with heavy issues.   Anyway, I wrote I don’t know how to ______ the good and the bad in order to believe, as I prefer to, that the world is basically good, leaving a space for the Perfect Word that danced tantalizingly on the tip of my tongue but refused to make an appearance.   I love words and I am used to finding the right word because I have, if I say so myself, a considerable vocabulary.  Some, on the other hand, say I’m pedantic.  Pedantic is, by the way, a self-fulfilling adjective because using it in a sentence qualifies you as being just that.   Unfortunately, as I push toward the end of my seventh decade, coming up with the Perfect Word more frequently brings me to a halt.    For some reason, I always think I know the first letter of the word … this morning I thought the word I sought stated with C.   If I can’t come up with it, I can usually come up with half a dozen other words that are similar in meaning, or I can phrase the word’s meaning in a sentence.  One by one, I Google each of these … and eventually, the Perfect Word shows up.  This morning’s missing word was (not starting with a C, by the way) Reconcile.  I don’t know how to Reconcile the good and the bad in order to believe, as I prefer to, that the world is basically good.  Perfect.

Let me offer some additional Perfect Words, while I can still remember them.   Melancholy … a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause … a word that just aches with longing.   You don’t even have to know the word to know that it’s about sadness.   Another one is Poignant … arousing deep emotion, especially pity or sorrow.   It could be a sad memory, a touching memory, a bitter memory.   But only a Poignant memory captures the pain of something beautiful lost.  I like Mellifluous … the perfect sweet-sounding word for something pleasant to hear.   Obsequious is a Perfect Word for one of my least favorite human traits … showing servile obediencecrystals and excessive eagerness to please.  I love the term Synchronicity, coined by Psychologist Carl Jung to describe the meaningful (or even miraculous) coincidences that occur in your life.   I even believe in it on my good days.  I’ll close with Crystalline, a word so perfect that you can almost see the sparkle between the letters.

How about you?  Do you have Perfect Words you love to use?

Perfect Words

February 19, 2021

This morning I wrote in my journal, as I do most mornings.   This habit is what remains of something I started 25 years ago called Morning Pages, a practice invented by Julia Cameron, author of The Artists Way to help revive your creative self.   As she describes it, Morning Pages are three pages of stream of consciousness writing, putting down whatever comes to mind without concern for grammar, form or content.   As you might imagine, it is a practice that leads you down some passages you didn’t know existed.  It also teaches you to write without interference from your Inner Critic, that nasty fellow prides himself on telling you that your writing sucks.  These days I’m down to two pages most days, and sometimes I run out of patience with the process and stop after one.  The philosophy gets pretty heavy in my pages some days, as it did today.   I was writing about the beauty in the world on one hand and the pain and ugliness on the other.   I wrote I don’t know how to ______  the good and the bad in order to believe, as I prefer to, that the world is basically good.   The blank was the space for a Perfect Word, one that danced tantalizingly on the tip of my tongue but refused to make an appearance. (more…)

What To Do

March 28, 2020

In case you don’t know, as we get older we become more attached to our routines. In case you are new here, I am 75 … and VERY attached to my routines. Since we moved to Utah in December many of our routines have been shattered, in particular those connected to particular places and particular people. Now this, this being the COVID-2 pandemic and whatever degree of shelter in place (in my opinion a really dumb terminology) you see as prudent. Ours is probably not as strict as the most rabid would advise but it keeps us in the house much more than we are used to, particularly since we decided to limit our visits to the grocery stores. I had been using the stores to get my steps in each day when it’s cold (and almost all Utah days feel cold to this former Californian), so now I’m bundling up and walking outside. It’s actually better to be in the fresh air. But I get stir crazy being in the house and stir crazy leads to boredom and, for me, boredom leads to mild depression and depression leads to loss of interest in things I enjoy. Ouch. So it’s important for me to be conscientious in finding things to do. Here are a few that help me stay sane.


Yellow Stickies

August 3, 2017

I have a whole folder of stories I wrote in my I’m Going to Be an Author days.   My brother gave me the idea of publishing a few of my favorites here on Older Eyes.  This light-hearted romance is perhaps my favorite.

stickiesThe first one flutters like a wounded yellow butterfly from the medicine cabinet door and lands face down at the edge of the sink.   I eye it unenthusiastically as I scrape the lather from my cheek, debating whether or not to nudge it into the bowl, letting the steaming water and the dollops of shaving cream wash away whatever ink is hidden on the other side.   Ten-to-one, it says paint the hallway before Thanksgiving, or maybe clean the garage.   Why the hell can’t she just ask instead of leaving these God-damned notes everywhere?   I’ve heard her answer often enough to play it back in my head without asking.

“If I just ask, you’ll forget, and I’ll have to ask again.   Then, you’ll say I’m nagging!”

Shit, I think as I dry my jowls with the pink floral towel taken from an ornate brass ring next to me.   If she finds the towel crumpled next to the sink, she’ll say, How many times do I have to ask you not to use the decorator towels?    I try to fold it into a neat rectangle over the ring the way she does, with the embroidered primrose perfectly centered, but I know I’m caught.   With a sigh, I pick up the yellow Post-It and stick it back on the corner of the mirror, but without my glasses, the words are a blur.   Her meticulous block printing comes into focus when I step back… I am just where I’m meant to be in my life !!!!   The four emphatic exclamation points float like red balloons beneath the words.   “Oh, oh,” I say to myself, “she’s wandering the self-help section of Barnes and Noble again.” (more…)

Uncle Will – A Halloween Story

October 31, 2015

I wrote this story for a Halloween meme back in 2010.   As they say in the movies these days, it is Based on a True Story.  Of course I took a little artistic license.  You know what that is, right?   Lying to entertain. Enjoy if you dare.

We’re going to see Uncle Will tomorrow. I hated those words. Uncle Will was my father’s uncle, a disabled veteran. He lived in one of the ramshackle brick residential buildings at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, which was about an hour’s drive from our house in East Haven. Visiting Uncle Will was worse than boring … it was creepy. His room was painted a pale institutional green but under the yellow light of the single incandescent bulb in the middle of the ceiling, it looked more like pea soup. The hallways smelled of hospital cooking, urine and disinfectant. His room added stale tobacco and an old man’s sweat to the mix. He’d be waiting for us in his wheelchair wearing khaki pants, scuffed military-issue shoes and an A-style undershirt, yellowed at the armpits. He’d force a smile when we walked in. Hi, Frank, he’d nod to my Dad. Hello, Florence, to my Mom. Who’s this big guy?, to me, every time, and I’d have to tell him, I’m Buddy. Frank’s son. As if he didn’t know. He’d extend a hand to shake, skeleton fingers covered with papery skin that I’d try to touch (more…)

Bad Words

April 24, 2015

It is in keeping with the subject matter of this post … and my attitude towards it … that I warn readers that this post contains Bad Words and is also somewhat irreverent.   I’d blame my Inner Curmudgeon but this one’s on me.

bad wordsI am a word guy, that is to say, I love words.   I particularly enjoy the written word in the hands of a master.  I enjoy a finely crafted description but even more, I am a fan of dialog, the kind of gritty conversation that made the novels of Elmore Leonard so enjoyable.  When I was working on my Certificate in Creative Writing, I remember one of the text books noting that good fictional dialog isn’t realistic.  Paraphrasing, the text suggested that we listen to conversation when we were out among the peeps, noticing how disjointed and banal most conversation can be.  The trick, the text continued, is to craft dialog that sounds realistic, like the sort of thing your characters would say but that will hold the reader’s interest.  Not easy.   It should surprise no one that using so-called Bad Words is often part of that process.   A hardened criminal who says, Give me the fucking money or I’ll blow your Goddamned head off, sounds a lot more realistic than one who says, Well, shucks, would you please give me the freakin’ money, right?  So, imagine my mixed feelings when I discovered that there is an app for Android called Clean Reader that edits out Bad Words in e-books, replacing them with empty gray spaces.  Some author spent significant effort on that choice of words being censored. (more…)

Monday Smiles – 4/20/2015

April 20, 2015

ART FORThis post has been buzzing in my head for a week or so, and today, it is determined to get onto the page.  If this wasn’t a Monday, the post would be titled, Art for Art’s Sake, not a very original title.  But it works, even if I use it a way different from the meaning intended by the French philosopher, Victor Cousin, when he said L’art pour l’art.  He meant that art needs no justification, that it need serve no political, didactic, or other endI believe that for sure but it’s not what I’m smiling about on this warm Monday morning, when the skies are hazy with smoke from a wildfire several miles down the freeway.

I was raised by a rational Dad and an artistic Mom, and my Dad’s influence has dominated my professional career with my artistic side relegated to hobbies.  If that sounds dismissive, that is an echo of what I felt for much of my life.  I painted in oil and watercolors, drew in pencil and charcoal and pastels, but never considered myself an artist.  I loved writing and even earned a certificate in creative writing in my fifties.  A short story I wrote in one of my classes was published in a minor literary magazine and I actually completed a novel.  But I never felt like a writer.   My upbringing had taught me that you had to make a living at something to earn the title.  Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog was intended to talk about the experience of growing old(er), the positives and the negatives.  Yes, there are positives, like shedding the notion that to be a writer, I have to earn money or have thousands of readers.  Or that to be an artist, I need to sell my paintings.   The fact that I have posted 1702 posts here is adequate evidence that I am a writer, and while I love Likes and Comments, I write for writing’s sake. I post my photographs here and that makes me a photographer, and when I base a drawing on one of my photographs, I am indeed an artist.  I am happier when I create.


If that sounds like much ado about nothing (another stolen title … I do steal from the best), think again.  It is one of the true gifts of having An Older Perspective.  And it makes me smile.  But you don’t have to wait until you are older to do it.

Monday Smiles – 2/9/2015

February 9, 2015

workingToday is a workday so I could easily skip posting.  That’s probably not unusual on a Monday for those of you with Younger Eyes and regular jobs.  Back in my Big Industry days, Monday was often the busiest of my work days, getting back into the unfinished tasks of the previous week and discovering new ones management had lined up for me.  But these days, with my own company and work rarely full time, there aren’t many times my vocation … engineering … interferes with my avocation … writing.   But this week, we have a quarterly report due and more importantly we have a billing milestone tied to that report.  In other words, no report, no money.  So, this will be what we in the blogging world call a quickie.   That meant something very different in my younger, pre-blogging days, I’d add.


June 25, 2014

GinninKittyJust short of two weeks ago, I posted Taking a Break and I haven’t posted a word since (well, unless you count Facebook, but seriously, who counts Facebook where 20 words is a long post).  That is the longest time I’ve gone without posting since 2009.   I was determined to remain on blogging vacation not until I felt I should post but until I wanted to post.  Should.  My Inner Rebel has always hated shoulds yet my Outer Sensibilities have always believed in doing what I should do.  Don’t you hate it when your insides don’t match your outsides?   So, how do I know I’m ready to begin again? This morning as I sat in our yard meditating, my mind kept drifting from the sweet meditation music and my mantra to the post I was writing in my head. (more…)

Just My Type

May 29, 2014

ten reasons longhand is better from an earlier post

For almost twenty years, I have … on and off … started my day with a form of freeform journaling dubbed Morning Pages by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.  In the early years, it was almost always on … for the last few, frequently off.   I have found it a useful way to slow down the maelstrom in my head and see what’s really going on in there, perhaps even consider what I’d like to have going on in there.  My day goes better when I take the time, yet now, when I have more time at my disposal, I find myself skipping Morning Pages.  There was a time that I took skipping MPs, as I call them, a sign that I was avoiding something and perhaps that’s true.  But I also have a frustrating aspect to my personality that I am sometimes inclined to neglect exactly those behaviors that benefit me the most.   I’ve noted here before that no single activity calms me more than meditation and yet it remains at most an occasional component of my life.   I’ve noticed that I’ve skipped Morning Pages more since I became a regular blogger.  I wonder if perhaps posting hasn’t replaced Morning Pages as my morning write.  I’ll say this … producing a post I like stops the maelstrom in my head and is creatively more fulfilling than Morning Pages but it is nowhere as useful in revealing the thoughts within that maelstrom, partly because some of those thoughts don’t belong in the public domain.   I suppose it’s a possibility that after twenty years, there are no new thoughts within the maelstrom which makes the hour or so it takes to do MPs just plain boring.  Nah. (more…)