That cursed groundhog

I’m not here to comment on seeing or not seeing a shadow. Let’s just put that out there right away.

However, if you’re an American, then you probably know about Groundhog Day. It’s a day completely dedicated to tracking the reactions of an animal that most people run over with their pickup trucks on some forgotten and dangerous back road. Cynical way to look at things? Sure, but it’s the truth, is it not?

Other than Groundhog Day, groundhogs – as a collective species – get a pretty raw deal. For starters, they occasionally go by the nickname of ‘whistle pig’. What does that even mean? They’re not pigs and for the life of me, I don’t recall one ever whistling when I interviewed them by their burrow. Just a lot of clicks and growls was all I got. Where the whistling comes from, I am unaware.

Then there are the other names like, the woodchuck or the ‘land beaver’. Woodchuck could actually make sense. They have gnarly-looking teeth which gives rise to the notion that they do bite and chuck wood. But ‘land beaver’? That sounds like an insult to me. They don’t even make dams, they actually break things. By tunneling holes through the ground and eating up valuable produce, groundhogs destroy much of what they come into contact with. So the idea that they build dams on land is just preposterous. If anything, they are a farmer’s worst enemy. Aside from cow tippers.

And then there’s that woodchuck phrase thingy. Remember that annoying tongue twister when you were a kid? ‘How much wood could a woodchuck, chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?’ Yeah, I wanted to punch all the kids who taunted me with it. Why? Well, because they were without braces or retainers and could actually speak that obnoxious little verse. Me on the other hand? No, I was fully decked out. And by the time I had good teeth, that little phrase was out of style. I know because when you’re 16 and mocking little 3rd graders who have headgear – you understand how feeble you really are.

But let’s get to the main point of this post: Groundhog Day. All things considered above, you’d think that we’re trying to give ‘Phil’ a break by giving him an entire day. Something for him to celebrate and write home about. But when you think of it from the animal’s perspective, it’s actually a day that’s cursed. Why? Well, look at the facts:

1. Farmers hate them.
2. People run them over frequently with their cars. And usually leave their bodies to be picked on by crows (Sorry, that was graphic).
3. They have bad nicknames.
4. They instigate young children to ridicule other young children over a ridiculous phrase – thus, causing irrevocable harm to the child’s psyche.
5. They smell (probably…I mean, they’re underground most of the time and dirt smells bad).
6. And lastly, nearly every other known predator in the Midwest feasts upon them – wolves, coyotes, snakes, hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, bears, even dogs and cats will kill them! Yikes.

So, as you can see, groundhogs have a hard enough time as it is. Now complicate that even further with this – we give the groundhog a day that can (potentially) dictate the next six weeks of weather for us.

Oh, snap.

The entire Northern Hemisphere waits on baited breath for Punxsy Phil to see or not see his shadow. And if he runs back to his burrow upon seeing that shadow, then we know we’re in for it. But if he doesn’t, then our faith is restored in Mother Nature (and Phil, by default).

That’s a lot of pressure though. Everybody is already after him and now he’s got the fate of all weather upon his shoulders? Ugh. That’s gotta be the icing on the “crap cake” for this little guy.

That being said, I feel for ya, Phil. And all the other ‘Phil’s’ out there. Life dealt you a tough hand, but you play it well. And if it were up to me, I’d take the burden of Groundhog Day from you. And I’d replace it with something like, “Groundhog Month”. That way, we could raise awareness for all those negligent drivers out there who just so happen to clip you or someone like you on the side of the road. “Slow down, it’s Groundhog Month” or “Pretend there’s fog, save a hog”. Sound appealing? I think it has potential.

As for all those other things though? Well, I can’t speak for farmers or any of the apex predators listed, but it’d be a step in the right direction. Because nobody should be afraid of their shadow. Least of all a celebrity like you, Phil.

And now for something semi-hilarious

This weather, for starters.

It’s actually not funny anymore when you observe what old Mother Nature has been up to lately. It’s just straight up dangerous. In fact, when I wake up in the morning, I think to myself: “I wonder how cold it’s gonna be today.” Thoughts of food, breakfast, or peeing come second. And I don’t want to move from the space I’m in. I want to stay in bed and remain at a comfortable temperature.

So I pick up my phone and check the weather. Locally, it’s below zero. Regionally, it’s just about zero. And across the nation, it varies but the consensus remains the same: it’s frickin’ cold; just around zero. And it’s predominantly below zero with wind chill no matter where you are. I also notice that schools are closing. Some have even kept students indoors for the night. Steak-um’s for lunch yesterday, kiddies? Well, you got’em again today! I’m sure the kids are digging the massive sleepover, but the teachers? Yeah, probably not so much.

In Atlanta, folks have been stuck on highways for as long as 24 hours; gas run out and going nowhere. One individual left his car and walked 4 miles to the airport, leaving his rental in the sea of cars stuck in the second ice age. Again, wow! Very impressive. If it were uphill, then I’d be even more impressed.

And when I turn on my computer, I see that the top 5 trending items for the day are:
1. Amanda Bynes
2. X-Men movie sequel
3. Justin Bieber mugshot
4. Puppy commercial Super Bowl
5. Justin Bieber vacation girl

Nothing catches my interest so I log out and go about my day. All the while making certain that I don’t wear less than three shirts and two pairs of pants. Remembering, it’s frickin’ cold out there.

But here’s the semi-hilarious part of this post: around 9 pm, I get a phone call from family asking me if I saw the state of the union address.

“What’s that, you say? That was tonight?”

“Yes, did you see it?”

“No. I did not.”

How embarrassing. Regardless of where your political stance lies, it’s hard to believe that the “unnamed Justin Bieber vacation girl” trended higher than the state of the union. What’s more, those other things trended higher on my radar. That’s the really embarrassing part and I’m ashamed to admit that. It’s not even semi-hilarious when I think about it. It’s just sad. Sad that I didn’t seek out something else. And sadder still that I allowed myself to think that there was nothing else out there. Frick.

So here’s hoping that you weren’t like me the other day. Here’s hoping that when you awoke, you did something like this: “Wow, it’s still frickin’ cold out but hey, it’s the state of the union address tonight. I should probably watch that. If nothing else, so I have an idea of what other people may be talking about tomorrow and not be in the dark about really important stuff.”

Yes, that’s much better.

When you’re hit by a baseball…

…it usually hurts.

It don’t really matter who you are. The brief impact, the sudden abrasion against your skin, the force of a round object against you – all of these events are unwanted experiences for your body. And yet, if you play baseball, you’re bound to be hit by a ball sooner or later. Whether it be at home plate, in the field, or in the bleachers – there’s a good chance you’ll be hit at some point. And when you do get plunked, it won’t be enjoyable.

When we increase the amount of times we do something, we also increase the possibility that something bad will occur. Take dating, for example. The more you go out on dates and the more people you decide spend time with, the more liable you will be to have your heart trampled upon. The same can be applied to driving. Drive a car long enough and you’ll probably witness a few crashes or heaven forbid, be involved in a crash.

If you broke this concept down a little further, you may refer to this phenomenon as “probability”. Or rather, the likelihood that an event will eventually take place. Anyone who has ever driven a car knows that there’s an inherent chance that something bad might happen while they’re driving. The engine stalls, tire goes flat, and so on, but we rarely focus our energies on the one-in-a-million situation. We fix our eyes on the objective instead. “I need to get groceries”; “I need to pick up my kid from school”, among others. The goal outweighs any possible fear we may possess.

So why am I drabbling on about this stuff? Well, I got hit by a pitch this weekend and man, it hurt. I won’t lie about it. A 75+ mph fastball plunked me right in my side. If my kidneys were positioned on the outside of my body, they would have exploded. Thankfully, they are not but you get the idea.

The ironic thing about all this is how I had just been thinking that I hadn’t been hit by a pitch for a while. Honestly, it’s been about three solid years since the last time I’ve been hit. And for a guy in his late 20s who still plays on weekends, that’s not bad odds. Historically, I get out of the way pretty well, but on Sunday I just didn’t. So as I took my hit to the side, grimaced and threw my bat down, I couldn’t help but think of my earlier thoughts that morning.

You know, I don’t think I’ve been hit by a pitch in a while. That’s not bad.

And from that moment on, I was doomed. I’m sure most people can relate to this. The instance we recognize a glitch in our universe, that quick observation of our own extended bliss; we send an open invite to agony so it can return to our doorstep.

But here’s the reality – agony returned because I got lax. I was comfortable with my circumstances. Rather than keep my guard up, I was content to “ride my good fortune out”. Like I was somehow immune to being hit by a ball again. If I were really watching carefully, on guard and ready for anything, I may have dodged that ball and this blog post would have never happened. But on the flip side of that thinking, I could have reflected upon how I’ve kept my mind sharp. Not being content to let a baseball smash into me after so many years of avoiding a wild throw or errant pitch.

I didn’t though (as you know). I got comfortable. Such is the way with most people. However, I find myself not wanting to be like most people. I’d like to think of myself as someone who challenges himself daily. Moment to moment, second to second, with the understanding that I can change things as they are happening without having to sit idly by. Because if I sit idly, then I’m sure to be caught in that familiar “Hey, that hasn’t for a while, has it?” And we all know what comes next when you have one of those silent epiphanies….

You get hit by a baseball.

Why I will gladly be in your wedding party

Two friends of mine took the plunge last weekend. They got hitched; they exchanged vows; they received their license to wed; in essence, they got married, folks. That’s cool stuff all the way around.

Weddings have historically been a great experience for me. Granted, I’ve never been a groom, but I have been one of the groomsmen on several occasions. And I’ve also had the honor of being the best man for my best friend. The entire experience that a wedding brings is really phenomenal. At no other event (save funerals) do friends and family gather in such large masses. People will fly halfway across the country for a wedding if they are able and even if they aren’t, someone will usually shell out a few extra dollars to help pay for plane fare just so they can get there. Heck, decades-old grudges step aside for weddings. Uncles, aunts, cousins – anyone who has a beef with someone else will still find a way to get to the wedding for the sake of being there.

They may be only be going because they want to see if their adversary gained weight or lost hair, but hey, they are coming all the same.

But what is it about weddings that are so attractive? Why do so many people attend them? Well, there’s lots of reasons, but if you ask me, it comes down to one simple thing (and I promise not to be sarcastic here) – the beauty of the moment. That’s my honest opinion and belief.

Never again will we see a shimmering bride, walking down the aisle to her groom, in the same way, at the same time, in the same fashion. Yes, people do get divorced and remarry, I am not oblivious to this fact, but never again will it be like this time. The bride and groom may take vows again in future years, but I’ve said already – it won’t be the same twice. For in the moment the bride reveals herself to the groom – who is standing at the front, next to the men he has chosen to share his day with – nothing will ever be exactly like this time, this place, this experience.

When it comes to human beings, we like to be there for the “big moments”. The times where we can say “I was there, were you?” There’s an element of awe that we take great delight in with one another. And if we aren’t there for this big to-do, we have a sense that we missed out on something really spectacular. Getting to watch a video recording just isn’t the same. We have to be there in order to enjoy the wedding in all its splendor. That’s how I perceive weddings at least. A fleeting beauty that forever etches itsleef in the minds and memories of all who attend.

As I stood next to my five comrades (aka the other groomsmen) this past weekend, I couldn’t help but get the sense that this wedding was truly beautiful. As were so many others that I’ve been a part of. That level of emotion really stays with a person. And when it’s all said and done, you find yourself wanting more of that feeling if you can manage it.

Which is precisely why I try to make as many friends as possible. It may be selfish of me (you can say it is if you want though), but I want to be in more weddings than I can count. What better way to enjoy life than to be present at one of the happiest moments in another person’s life?! That’s how I like to look at things. So far, I’m up to 5 apperances (four in a groomsmen outfit and 1 as a reader). I figure I’ll squeak into another one or two in the near future, but consider this as an open invitation to any/all who need groomsmen. I don’t charge anything but I will require that my date be allowed a seat close to the bridal party. That’s all I ask in return. And hey, since I’m a writer, I may just share that experience in a book someday too.

I wouldn’t want anyone to feel slighted, so expect an invite to my own wedding if I’m in yours. It’s only natural to return the favor, is it not? I won’t claim my wedding to be the most spectacular you’ll ever behold. But can you imagine a lineup of about 30 groomsmen and bridesmaids on either side?

Yeah, that’d be a once in a lifetime experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

What’s the deal with drivers these days?

Maybe it’s just me, but hey, what’s the deal? Seriously. It seems as though every time I hit the road, I’m encountered by one of three things:

1) Tailgating (driving too closely behind)
2) Speeding (driving too fast)
or
3) Slow Drivers (this one is self explanatory)

It’s as if everyone I meet out there has a personal vendetta against me and my car. I’m not really sure why – I just know. Whether I’m sitting at a stoplight, driving on the highway or just leaving my garage, I can feel a certain disturbance in the Force that says, “watch out”. Just the other day I was waiting at a four-way light when I noticed a car behind me come streaking up. The person stopped abruptly behind me, within inches of my back bumper, but instead of moving backward, this person crept up to me even closer! What’s up with that?! This person was so close to my backside I couldn’t even see their headlights any longer. When that happens, you know that the distance between you and the front of their car is mere fractions of an inch.

But why do that? I mean, the light will eventually turn green. We are both aware of this (as fellow operators of motor vehicles) and we are both in the knowing that when that light turns green, I will proceed forward. So why the lack of personal space? Better yet, why the need to be so close to my hind end? But what’s even better (if you can sense my sarcasm) is the reaction I get after I start my car when the light changes – anger. Not from me, but from the person in back who is apparently upset that I didn’t hit the gas like a bat out of hell when the green signal came on.

Ok, I’m not a violent or angry person by nature, but come on. Really? Unless you’ve got a pregnant wife about to go through labor in your backseat, I don’t see the reason for such a response. Moreover, if I can see that you’re ticked off at me for being “slow”, then chances are I will continue my “slow” behavior throughout the duration of time we spend together on the road.

It’s times like these that really test my patience. Not so much with the other person; just my own. I know I shoudln’t be looking over my shoulder constantly or be overly concerned with the person trailing me a mere six inches away (at 60 mph, no less), but for whatever reason, I can’t always help myself. I wish I could. And I’m sure so many others are in the same boat.

By some strange circumstance, driving a car has become a very personal experience for people. Our car – its make, model, etc. – are all reflections of ourselves. But even more so, they’re like statements to all who observe us. How much money we make (or are willing to spend), what we like to drive (gas-guzzling giant or mini-mileage machine), and where we are in life (single with a sports car or married with three kids and a minivan). It’s the very reason cops have a tendency to pull bright, red sports cars over more than any other vehicle. Red is a color of attraction and additionally, it fits the stereotype of someone trying to make a statement. Sorry all you red-car drivers – it’s just statistics talking.

But there you have it. Driving is as personal as walking down the street and seeing a stranger on the sidewalk. You exchange glances, maybe nod the head, and then you go about your business. Nothing crazy, just a simple gesture before you go about your day. The only difference is that a car places about a ton of metal and plastic between you and another human being. And because of that fact, we think we can push the boundaries of personal space. We press up real close, become agitated over another’s slower-than-snail’s pace behind the wheel, and we blurt out expletives best left for a Tarentino movie. Forget those bumper stickers that say “Baby on board” or “How’s my driving?” – nobody cares about that anymore. They only care about where they’re headed and how long it’ll take them to get there. That’s about it.

Maybe we should all go back to riding trains again? Or mandate that everyone take the bus to work? I’m sure this would give plenty of people a job considering the amount of buses and new trains we’d need to be operated. That’s a plus, right? And maybe by way of making people share space with others just down the street from them, they might actually get to know who lives near them. This is, of course, a very unrealistic idea – especially considering how people are less apt to want to spend time with other people nowadays. But hey, I’m just spitballin’ ideas here.

In the good ol’ days of driving, cars were as much a novelty as they were a means of transportation. Owning a car was a sign of status. If you could afford a clunker that went a little over 30 mph, then you were a high roller. And when the auto industry started upping the ante on horsepower, cars became a science experiment. How fast can we make them? How sleek can they be without being too sleek? These questions were raised and we answered each one with a “yes, we can make them faster and yes, we will make them sleeker”. Then, at some point, cars stopped being a sign of status. And they stopped being a neat science experiment.

Naturally, I’m talking about today’s cars.

With a decent enough credit score and a monthly payment that can be paid off in 30 years, Joe Smith down the street can afford a $25,000 sports car just like anybody else. And what’s more, that car will have enough giddy up to compete with just about every other car on the road.

So where’s the fun in that? Suddenly, I’m upset by this debacle. I thought we were supposed to have some diversity out there among the masses, weren’t we? And speaking of diverse selection, have you seen the 2013 models vs. their 2012 counterparts? Aside from a few changes in headlights, I don’t see much difference. So why would I buy the 2013 model if the 2012 is pretty much the same thing? Bleh, now I’m just irritated.

Well, wait a second here. I find myself unusually perturbed right now. Why is that? Am I ticked off at cars in general? Is that my issue? Is the guy behind me not really angry with my driving, he’s merely upset that his car is as generic as mine? Hmm. Could be, I suppose. Perhaps that’s our problem nowadays – everything is too much the same. Or maybe our isolation in the car keeps us from remembering that yes, there are actual people driving and sharing the road with us out there. They’re not robots or some scourge of the Earth meant to make us late to that meeting we didn’t properly prepare for. No, these are actual people. And if we are never to know these people, then why bother with caring about who’s behind the wheel in the first place? I suppose that may make the most sense of out anything in this rant.

Or maybe not. I guess that’s just another thing to ponder as you’re out traversing the highways. But if you could (and I know some people will do the opposite just to spite me), please try to stay back a few feet if you can. I promise you that the light will turn green, I will begin moving forward, and wherever it is that you are going – I promise that it’ll still be there when you get there.

And if it isn’t there, then I’m sorry. I have no other words than to take the bus if you’re so worried about being on time. Maybe you’ll meet someone interesting on the way there. Just saying.

Just Some Updates Here and There

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The picture is not representative of a new book I wrote. And I apologize for the semi-grainy picture quality. It’s actually a copy of The Price of Honor, by John Kandah; a guy who happens to be a friend of mine. The book tells his personal story of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County corruption scandal and how it’s affected him and so many others. I look forward to diving in soon. My list of books to read this summer is quite long so I’m trying to take it one at a time and see how that goes. Key phrase there is “see how that goes”.

I got the book by attending John’s book signing event, which took place just last Friday, the 10th of May. It was cool to see John’s book on display and have complete strangers come by to see just what he had done. All things considered, it appeared to be a very positive experience and I know he hopes to do more in the future.

One of the perks I’ve been experiencing as a writer (that I did not anticipate) is the sharing of other writer’s accomplishments. That’s been very surreal. It helps a person like myself keep moving forward, even when life seems to get in the way of things.

And on that note, I guess it’s time to get back to it. I have my own book signing to organize as well as a 24/7 job to spread the word about this recent release.

If you want, check out John’s work online via most of the major distributors: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

Till next time.

The “Lost Pages” of Epiphanies, Theories, and Downright Good Thoughts…

Not everything I write makes it to print. And that’s a good thing. If everything a person wrote made it to the presses, then I’m sure they’d be met with moderate to limited success. Even guys like Mark Twain and Shakespeare cut a few things from their original scripts before their work went public. That’s just the way it goes. As such, my latest book may not be up there with the likes of these great writers (not yet, right?), but I can feel their pain with all the chopping and editing I did before I sent the latest “Epiphanies, Theories, and Downright Good Thoughts…” out the door.

One such chapter that met its fate early on was a short essay on “shaving”. You know, the act of cutting unwanted hairs from various surfaces of the body. Though this may seem like an obvious topic to touch upon when you’re a bachelor, I honestly felt like I’d be losing some of my female audience. Yes, I’m fully aware that women shave too, but to tell tales about shaving beards, shaving chests, or shaving belly buttons to eliminate unwanted belly button lint – yeah, I didn’t see the relevance. But in the spirit of good fun, I decided to pick out some parts of that chapter and put them on my blog.

Hope you enjoy. – J.C.L.

Hair – it’s probably the one thing that will confuse a person greatly as it pertains to men and women. Forget courtship, dating and the pursuit of love – I’m talking about hair here. Guys want it on their bodies when it’s convenient but hate the thought of it on women. Conversely, women like a well-groomed man, but despise the very feel of the stuff on themselves. What a conundrum hair must find itself in. Unwanted, unloved, and constantly poking itself up in the strangest places.
Since I’m a guy, I have a love/hate relationship with the hair on my face. Sometimes I like the sight of my beard; other times, I wish it’d never grow back. And thus, I’d be rid of that strange area by my cheek where only a single, solitary hair grows. Most bothersome if you’re not cognizant of this unwanted passenger. For if a date or a close friend happens to point out the half inch of hair sticking out beneath your eye, you’re sunk. And there’s no going back after that. Embarassment and shame will only follow; as will a quick pluck via a set of tweezers but even that does very little to keep that bugger from growing back in a month’s time. Oh well, I suppose. You do what you can.
And that’s precisely what I do with my own hair – just what I can.
I’ve never been an overly hairy fellow, but I can at least lay claim to having a full head of hair well beyond my 25th year. Some guys I know? Well, they’re about as bald as a cue ball. So I’ve always been lucky in that regard. But what about my face? Now that’s another story.
I don’t think I got facial hair (and I mean real facial hair) till I was about 17. I had small outcroppings on my jaw, under my pits, and naturally in other places (which we won’t go there) but beyond that, I was a naked child. No mane to flaunt around like an alpha lion and certainly no power ‘stache that told the ladies, “Yes, I have plenty of testosterone for all of you.” No, that just wasn’t me. But when I got to college, everything changed. I started shaving once every 3 days (a rarity); then once every other day, and soon, I had to shave every day just to make myself look presentable. The term “five o’clock” shadow actually made sense to me now.
So that’s what it means, I thought. And there it was – I felt like I’d made it. I finally had a healthy layer of hair growing on my face. That meant something, did it not? To a six foot tall, 150-pounder at age 20, yes – it most certainly did.
But, as it can, the allure of possessing something new and exciting will fade quickly into a state of disillusionment if you’re not careful. For as I was shaving my face daily, I was neglecting to see how more hair was gathering upon my chest, congregating in groups and eventually forming a marching band line all the way down to my belly. It was here that my hair stopped to set up shop and once it did, it began another altogether ridiculous project – creating an entrapment device specially designed for accumulating large amounts of lint.
Why? I don’t really have the answer, but that’s what happened. For some reason my body thought it’d be funny to start gathering the loose fabric from my shirts. It was as if my belly button had some hidden objective. One that I was completely unaware of until I noticed a large wad of blue cloth protruding from my midsection.
Honestly, I wasn’t that startled to discover this but when I pulled out the first real ball of lint, I swear I saw my intestines come creeping out. That’s how deep this stuff was.
I resolved to let the situation sit a while until I decided what to do about it. Should I cut all the hairs around my belly button? Or do I just make it a habit to relieve my torso of the lint every evening before I go to bed? I didn’t want to make the hair any thicker around my waist by cutting it constantly, but I definitely wasn’t going the route of waxing either. I’d heard enough horror stories from women to never want wax anywhere near my body. So that was out of the question.
And so, I let it sit. And I removed lint day-in and day-out. Until one day I got tired of the process and shaved the hair off.
In hindsight, this was a stupid decision. I itched like crazy and if I stood in the light at the proper angle, it looked like I had a small sun lying on my belly. Yes, this was not a very nice situation.
Oh well then, right? I had tested the waters and experienced the stinging pain of the result. My stomach hair and I may never be on equal terms again, but I sincerely hope the hair on my head doesn’t hold a grudge for my earlier acts of discontent. I’d certainly like to keep those hairs around. For as long as I can
.

How Every Writer Envisions His Work

Two of my friends reading my recent book.

Two of my friends reading my recent book.

I’d say that picture about sums it up. I received this photo a day ago from two of my friends (who happen to be brothers) as they were “eagerly” and “anxiously” reading my new book, “Epiphanies, Theories, and Downright Good Thoughts…made while being single.” I didn’t ask them to do this so I thought it was rather clever and just had to share.

The best part is, I feel like that’s how any writer feels when he releases a new book. He imagines people actively reading and engaging the new work like they can’t put it down. At least that’s how I think of mine. If anything, it gives a writer the necessary gusto to keep charging ahead. Wherever that may lead.

To my friends, Tim (brushing teeth) and Brent (sitting on the John), thank you for making my day. And supporting my most recent endeavor. Perhaps I should throw this out as an open submission to any/all who can take a similar and funny candid while reading my book? A prize to go to the winner??

I may have to take some time to think about that one. You know, for what the prize should be and what not.

Hmmm….till next time then.

-J.C.L.

Hard to write when it’s nice out

The weather took a serious turn for the better here in OH and it’s affecting everyone I see. “Mild grumpiness” has turned to “slightly happy” and “fairly hostile” has become “somewhat approachable”. It’s a relief to see people in such good moods all day, even if it’s the result of a little vitamin D coming their way. I, for one, am also relieved. The only problem is trying to come up with what to write about.

When it gets nice outside, I don’t want to be inside. I’d rather be outside; as would most other people I’d imagine. If you’re a writer, that’s a bit of a conundrum to be in. You almost wish that the environment wouldn’t play such a hefty role in your writing process, but guess what, it does. As a child, I liked being outside. Rather than grow out of that phase, it’s stayed with me my whole life. So when the weather goes from chilly to “hey let’s wear shorts today”, I get jumpy and head outside.

And outside means no laptop, no pen and paper, and certainly no publishing of blogs. Granted, I could pop open my iPhone and jot down a quick post, but who would see it? If you’ve been stuck in a cave for 6 months (like the rest of Northeast OH) then you ought to be outside when the sun comes out. Leave that iPhone or Droid at home. Kick a ball around or just run up and down the sidewalk (sounds crazy, but could be fun). That’s seizing the moment, if you will.

Conversely, my time to seize the moment is when it’s too cold to venture beyond my apartment. Sure, I’ll write in the summer – that’s a given – but it may not be with the same frequency that I do in the winter. By spring’s end, I should be enjoying a decent book; not just writing one.

So what do you write about when the sun comes out? Well, nothing really I guess. Just a few short quips on the importance of being out I suppose? That sounds about right.

WordPress Snafu

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Yesterday, my blog had a serious snafu and stopped giving access to my blog post – the one with the picture of my two books. In light of this, I’m reposting the picture. Basically, this is me saying, “No, I will not be denied, WordPress.”

Unless you decide to take it down again, of course.

More to come.

– J.C.L.