All posts filed under: The Morning Muse

Inner Peace

[Post #544 | The Morning Muse #13] There’s no outer peace on this side of death. I’ma use these next 5 days of vacay to try to achieve a modicum of inner peace. That was my opening post on Facebook today as today is the first day of a rather impromptu and haphazardly planned/not-quite-planned pre-back-to-school/off-to-college family vacation of sorts. It’s complicated. But nevertheless, while any sense of external peace in this life is nigh-impossible prior to dying, I hope to maybe find a bit of the internal stuff during our little getaway. Of course I don’t kid myself into think it’s very likely, especially given how The Plans aren’t going quite as planned, yet I concede it may be infinitesimally possible that eschewing many mundane daily responsibilities for a brief spell will somehow reward a body and — more importantly —  a mind the reprieve it so desperately needs. Here’s a picture I shot in Niagara Falls, NY from our 2016 vacay. Advertisements

Retreat

~ The Morning Muse #12 ~ Note: This was supposed to be posted a few months ago (mid-October to be exact), but for some unknown reason I let it sit longer than intended. And come to think of it, yesterday’s Resolution: Regain and Retain Attention is a great companion piece to this one, actually. As life and the world become increasingly disappointing, an increasingly cynical fella who once was brimming with optimism for the future now wants to retreat and self-indulge even more than he normally does into books and writing and music — Read|Write|Rock. The key word is retreat, though, not escape. It’s more like a strategic mental regrouping of oneself amid the unending battle in the war that is, arguably, the social (and political) decline. As I immerse myself in books, my goal is to attain a better perspective on human psychology, the ever-perplexing human condition and the ways of the world. As I engage in writing, the goal is to not only to unleash the never-ending flow of ideas and stories that …

Words and Concepts for the Year

~ The Morning Muse #11 ~ HEALTHIER Some things have to change for a better state of living for me, personally, as well as for my family. That can best be achieved starting with nutrition and diet. I need a low-carb diet (and really, lowered calories as well). It’s very hard to stay on this course when the people you live with–these enablers!–refuse to either get with the program or stick with it when we embrace it.  I may have to simply lone-wolf it myself. That’s so much easier said than done, of course. Hey, I’ve jogged a couple times in the last few weeks. And I didn’t die. CONSOLIDATE That concept has been on my mind quite a bit this past week. Given how scattered I tend to be mentally/creatively/productively, I think that has to be a condition of great concern and goal. Also: EFFICIENCY Yeah, that’s really important and goes along well with consolidation. You could probably add PRODUCTIVITY to that, but that’s a given (can’t achieve efficiency if you’re not even productive). And naturally, those two …

The Morning Muse 10 | All the Things

If you’re into astrology, casually or seriously (I’m somewhere in the middle, heh), then you may have observed that those born under the Libra sun sign are often described as indecisive, likely due to a constant imbalance/balancing of their scales, so to speak. It’s true, we do tend to take our time to think things through thoroughly (how’s that for alliteration?), and being inherent intellectuals we are loathe to progress toward a conclusion without weighing as many of the facts as possible. But for me it’s not so much about indecision as it is about being a victim of the macro view of things. I see the forest among a single tree. And I view each and every tree in that forest as unique and worthy of inclusion. So to be clear, my dilemma in what I want to do as a creative human being endowed with certain talents is not one of indecision. It’s simply that I want to DO ALL THE THINGS! At the same time, even, which is impossible. The rub is, …

The Morning Muse 8 | Madness

I’m convinced that the madness of the artist is a real and true thing, indeed.  It’s probably nothing short of an affliction, a psychosis kind of disease that’s devoid of a cure.  The symptoms of said disease are not overtly noticeable.  They are internal, within the mind.  An artist suffering from it can smile perfectly and laugh while in the company of others, but inside tells another story.  What are the symptoms?  I’ll tell you mine.  One moment I can be high as a kite on how I feel about my writing or music making.  The next moment I’m awash with negative thoughts of being a fraud with no right to call myself a writer or musician. The psychosis and plight of the writer is: he most wants to write during times when he is most not able to do so, say like while at work or on the road traveling from destination to destination. It’s madness. And it’s a madness.

The Morning Muse 7 | Love/Hate/Love

For the sake of consistency, if nothing else, I need to fall in and stay in love with my own words and simply endure the fact that, with little-to-no outside validation, I’ll largely be the only one loving those words most of time. Otherwise this on again/off again, touch n’ go, stop n’ go, either/or aspect of my authorship is going to continue and I will not progress. Period. End of story. Pun very pointedly intended.

The Morning Muse 6 | Don’t Stop Believin’

So, as reported in Workbook 3 the other day, I’ve not been a busy boy, at least not creatively.  Other than the reworking of a couple of guitar riffs for my band, there hasn’t really been any progress made on any of the current projects.  Listen, even before I went on vacation for a 4-day weekend, I was already having doubts about the prospects of novel writing given current conditions and lifestyle. However, my writer buddy Nadine Darling (whose hilarious debut novel SHE CAME FROM BEYOND comes out on October 13th), said to me “You need to write this novel!” imploring that I not give up and use whatever tactics and maneuvers I can within my lifestyle to finally accomplish my goal of at least writing and publishing one novel –for fuck’s sake if nothing else. But I’ll be honest, just last night I had such a serious bout of doubt about my prospects as a novelist — for various reasons — that I honestly considered simply throwing in the towel. The negative emotions even manifested themselves into …

The Morning Muse 5 | Warts and All

I generally hate my writing work immediately after it goes into beta reads, whether that be a writer friend, an editor, or call me neurotic, but especially when it is officially published for the general reading public. I’ve been sharing my writing work publicly for nearly twenty years and I still get nervous about feedback and reviews.  Even when I know I’ve done a pretty darn good job, there is sometimes that unsure inner voice.  I’m guessing that it never fully goes away unless you’re a bestselling author with thousands or millions of adoring fans – and even then.  I’ve heard a number of those kinds of authors say they’re still inflicted with this particular disease, this writer’s psychosis or neurosis or whatever it is.  But, really, I mean, how could one not feel complete validation if that many approving minds were in agreement of the quality of their work?  I suppose it could come down to for whom does one create the work? We all say we do it for ourselves, but were that merely the …

The Morning Muse 4 | A Brief Glance Backward

I remember my time in virtual writing workshops and communities years back, most notably in the Zoetrope Virtual Studio.  When I first joined Zoetrope in November 1998, I was quite the novice with maybe a dozen or two finished short stories and a bunch of false-start novels (that to this day are unfinished).  At the time Zoe (as we affectionately called it) was a distinctly literary place filled with MFA writers and Literati wannabes.  In a strange way, though, that’s exactly the crowd I needed to, at first oppose and then join, because the seriousness and attention to craft that crowd makes you adopt can be good for the wayward neophyte scribe, which I kind of was.  Tough skin (hell, Teflon) was required in many cases in that kind of arena.  I was a fairly good student of the craft and I’d like to think I benefitted from my association with that particular group.  Hell, within a year or so I even became a fiction editor (and later a mentor). Yet, by 2002 I had …