The Truth is Still Out There

The Truth is Still Out There
The bumper sticker on my car and my computer

It is so much easier shopping for an Apple product.  There is not an infinite number of choices like there seemingly is with the PC.  The biggest obstacle with so many choices is making the decision over what you want or what need.  Like so many computer users I really am not burning up the processor.  I use Microsoft Office products and Adobe Creative products.  Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom may be my heaviest players, and they don’t really require all that much power.  After all I have been using a 7 year old MacBook Pro and an old Dell PC that is equally as old.  Everything works just fine.  Knowing this really sucks the joy out of buying a new kit.  And herein lies the reason most of us buy what we want over what we actually really need.

For me, what I wanted was a PC that will easily last me the next 5 years.  I dabble in Web development and a little C# Visual Studio programming and as such I do feel I have an obligation to be a bit geeky.  So what I wanted was something I felt was very cool.  The PC Gamers of the world live on the edge of coolness, and at the very same time their choice in powerful PCs equally works well in the productivity realm as it does in the gaming environment.  I have been using Dell PCs for 15 plus years and Dell also makes Alienware Gaming laptops.  Alienware laptops are powerhouses, look cool, and meets the marketing requirements for The Big Bang Theory as Sheldon has an Alienware laptop.  Coolness factor ranks right up there.  There was also MSI and Razor computers but Dell offered up my laptop and an exceptional price point.  How could I say no?  How would any other viable solution provide the same thrill?  Computing is logic, except when it comes to purchasing the too on which you will be so logical.  And less we forget, I use the computer for many creative endeavors.  Decision made:  Alienware it is..

The X Files

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Every December I get the urge to dive back online and reignite my WordPress and Website presence and this December is proving to be no exception.  What makes it better this year is I have had a full year of life changing events mostly surrounding my relocating to Nashville, TN and starting a new job outside of the Elections industry where I have l dwelt since 2006.

So, without further delay, I’ll jump right in.

My MacBook Pro has aged 7 years and basically come to the end of its productive life.  This is mainly due to not being able to update the iOS and as such cannot update many applications.  I am ALWAYS trying new apps and must have a means to keep moving my mind forward.  As fate would have it I was also without an old PC to pick up the pieces.

The past month has been filled with making some major computer decisions. I am thrilled with Apple and the M1 Pro chips, but was disappointed when they kept it from the Mac Mini.  I am sure the M1 chip would have met my means, but I was power hungry.  I turned to the PC world and the options are simply mind-numbing.  But I was enjoying working through the challenges.  My fist PC challenge was deciding what processor I wanted, not what I needed, but what I wanted.  For most of my PC life I have selected AMD over Intel.  The news reported that Microsoft seemingly had some hate for AMD and there have been Windows 10 and 11 concerns.  Since I see little chance of sending a rocket into space, I felt I could live with a few inconveniences, if any were to crop up.  AMD means RYZEN and the best RYZEN is 9, which I openly admit is far more power than I could possibly need.  However, I note that my last purchase was 7 years ago with that MacBook Pro, so I plan on having the new PC for many years to come.  Major decision #1 – AMD RYZEN 9 over Intel 10th Gen i9.

Intel vs AMD graphic
The battle continues: Intel vs AMD

This Time Waits for No One

I just logged into my Weblog and a harsh reality struck me. I have posted nothing since the beginning of February this year. The same more than likely holds tru with any updates to my personal website. It is a huge gap, albeit one filled with numerous life changing events. I can’t get that time back, nor would I really want to as I am quite happy where I am finishing out the days remaining in 2021. Perhaps 2022 will progress with my fingers on the keyboard, my mind deep in creative concentration, and lots of digital output!

And You Should Too.

Jesus Saves:  Neon Sign typical of missions.

If ever there is an event that might have you questioning your faith, it is the loss of your data. The mere terror of staring down the cold reality of what once was yours – is no longer is anxiety inducing. Loss of data happens to everyone. And as soon as it happens, our mind goes to its next logical thought. Backups!

From here the group is divided into two types of data lovers. Those that back up their data, and those that wish they had backed up their data instead of simply allowing it to run free and wild. If you are the latter, you hang your head in shame and start figuring out alternative solutions. Just so everyone knows – if you are of the group that does back up your data – life is feeling a little better at the moment.

There should be NOTHING to worry about. You back up your data regularly and of course you test those backups regularly so you can rest assured all will be well in a data loss scenario. You did test your backups didn’t you?

Of course not, for most of us. Why would you test them, and how? Testing requires a test environment which we probably don’t so easily have at our data inputting fingers.

Yesterday -My WordPress blog died. After a lot of questioning why, and a few failed attempts I found myself looking at my backups. Yes, I have made them, sporadically though. Yes, I do not use the backup to the cloud automation so I must manually download any new backup. Yes I save them in a nice tidy folder.

All that was missing is knowing the quality of my backups. I never tested restoring one. Why would I overwrite a perfectly good WordPress blog?

I crossed my fingers and restored. It did NOT fix my problem. I did resolve my issues, it was a Permalinks issue. But I was made fully aware of how much I want my backups to actually be able to help me out of a data loss event. My backup did restore properly. I know that going forward.

Save your data. Test your backups periodically too. It can save a lot of praying over something we should have known better about – backups.

The Greater Gatsby

Book cover of The Great Gatsby

I cannot remember the circumstances surrounding my not reading The Great Gatsby in high school.  Maybe it was on a list of books that we had to choose from, and I chose not to read it. Perhaps it was required reading, and I chose not to read it. In any case, I recently listened to The Great Gatsby while driving up and back to Pennsylvania; a trip back to my hometown to visit with my mother.

I enjoyed the story and enjoyed the writing.  It is not my intent in this writing to create a book review and one will not accidentally occur. My intent, and now that I have written having intent, must provide one.  What I wish to express in this blog post is that my recent dedication to reading classic works of writing is being done so with the intent of learning how to write better than I am currently capable of doing.  There were plenty of great sentences within the book.  Fitzgerald created a masterpiece, though I have learned many readers were not all that impressed with the book.  For me – I loved the story, both for its excellent writing and beautiful sentences and for the pure pleasure of the story.

In discussing my enjoyment with another that did not enjoy the book, even after reading it a second time, I stumbled onto what may make the difference.  They read the book in high school, presumably when it was assigned to them.  While I agree that the book contains excellent examples of writing the story seems to me to be most questionable relevance to a young reader that may not yet experienced a number of love relationships. That is my answer to the difference in the enjoyment of the story.

I am no teacher of literature.  I am merely a person that once was a student that did not read classic literature in high school.  I now am fast becoming an avid reader.  For me, there are two parts to every book.  The story, and the writing that makes up the story.  Great writing in of itself does not create an enjoyment when the story is not able to be properly consumed.   Easy stories without great writing is not the answer either.  Teachers of young adults need to find a greater solution.  It should be their calling to do so.

For me, The Great Gatsby is a greater read (or listened to in this example) because I read it at I time where I could bot appreciate both Fitzgerald’s writing and his storytelling.   And I am thrilled that it came to be in such this way.

– Rick

It’s Only Natural

Years back I had the opportunity to participate in a photographic workshop up in Vermont. It was a weeklong adventure immersed in the woods with a dozen or so like minded, black & white, large format photographers. In one of the lectures, the speaker asked the group – how many of you have purchased a fine art photograph? Sadly, very few hands were raised. To the speaker’s point – he then said, how can you say you love photography and you are a photographer yet you have never been emotionally moved enough to buy a photograph, any photograph, one and get it up on the wall within your house. Ouch!

The above probably reads a little harsher than intended. But it does make sense to me. Yes, we are all restricted to some economic barrier, yet there is always something we can manage to purchase to satisfy our desires. Readers buy books. Musicians buy music. If we continue the trend; photographers buy photographs.

It is Fall. My camera pulls on my heart’s desires. It wants me to get it back out into the woods. The woods and fall do go hand-in-hand. However, today’s personal events along with the poor quality light kept me and my camera out of the woods of central PA. Maybe next weekend?

My photographic desire is strong these days. Though I admit that I have not passed by a photograph that I just had to own. Noting you don’t have to purchase an original Ansel Adams photograph to get your fix. There are posters, and prints and photographic books available. A great old postcard at a yard sale can be as equally rewarding.

As for me today, I reinstated a contribution that I had allowed to lapse many teas ago. I am once again a supporting contributor to The Nature Conservancy. I love the forest. While not owning a piece of it – this will do just fine for my love of photographing out in nature.

Do you claim that you love nature?  If so, please consider giving a little support to one of the available nature charitable organizations.    – Rick

The Nature Conservancy Logo

Twilight Zone Vocabulary

Yesterday I rambled on a bit about words and my shortening vocabulary. A few months back when I should have been writing I chose instead to binge-watch the Twilight Zone episodes of years gone by. What struck me immediately was the language. Words used in a TV show that I just don’t hear nearly as frequent these days. Of course one might say I need to watch better programming.

I began to write down words that seemed to be a bit absent in today’s movies and TV shows. Granted some of the words did become outdated. Also, you will find many of the words you do know, but if like me, don’t find yourself using them regularly today.

Attached is a PDF of the words I captured. As for me, like the Powerful Words from yesterday’s blog, I will read this list over and over in hopeful attempt of refreshing my writing vocabulary. – Rick

Twilight Zone Vocabulary

Blow Up Your TV!

From Spanish Pipedream …
Blow up your TV, throw away your paper.
Go to the country, build you a home.
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches.
Try and find Jesus on your own.          – John Prine


The past few evenings I have been completely focused on improving my website. It amazes myall the details involved in such a process. After two solid nights of effort, I felt happy with what I had accomplished. I was not finished, but I saw improvement!

Then it hit me – I had not had the television turned on the past few nights. So no TV equals actually doing something that in my case was fulfilling. I felt no remorse over not watching TV. It seems rather simple. Yet that wonderful technology that has helped us to watch instead of create, that once demanded we get up out of a chair to turn it on or off or switch the channels, the blob it has helped me become will probably still reach out to me and seduce me back into non-existence.

Well not if I blow up my  TV first!   – Rick

Now I Understand – What You Tried to Say to Me

Now I understand what you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now.
                                                   Vincent – by Don McLean

Art, no matter in what form has always existed as a means to communicate what the creator desperately is trying to say to any and all that are willing to listen.

The next time you view a painting, photograph, sculpture or perhaps read a book, take a moment and stop to go one step beyond the pure enjoyment of the art itself and ask, what is the creator trying to say to the viewer?  I promise you that there is always a message behind the art. Always.

– Rick

An Incomplete Education

An Incomplete Education book cover

I have known about this book, An Incomplete Education, for many years. I need to look and see when it first was published. I believe I once had my own copy of it but it is no longer on my bookshelf. It is possible I had it in audio format; I have listened to audio books for over 25 years. I am not sure if I had the book in either format or just wanted it. In any case, I have the latest edition of this book on my desk. I love the title of this book as I believe education is a life-long endeavor. As such, all of us have an incomplete education at some level. I love learning things! This is a book that has 3,684 things you should have learned but probably didn’t. How exciting! Pick up your copy of An Incomplete Education and learn some what you may have missed.

I have yet to crack the cover of this book. I believe I will not read the book straight through but divide it up into many one-day segments. There are 678 pages in what looks to be about 20 sections. That would average out to around 34 pages per section and could be read at a section a day, assuming I could digest the information at that rate. I believe I will forgo the sections and read x number of pages a day. I have no urgency for the reading of the book. So I believe it will best suit me to read An Incomplete Education in smaller doses.

I will write an update to this blog whenever I do actually finish read An Incomplete Education. Until that time I hope we all continue to learn each and every day. Here’s to creating a smarter 2021!

Link to Goodreads

“If You Really Want to Hear About It”

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

The past few weeks I have focused much of my writing efforts on the great opening lines in great books.  It seems it is there in those beginning words and sentences that the author quickly grabs the reader’s attention and desire to read onward.

Call me Ishmael.
      —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.
     —W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge (1944)

All this happened, more or less.
    —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

Elmer Gantry was drunk.
     —Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry (1927)

There are so many excellent examples of great beginning!  The reason is obvious and as such should be considered a requirement in writing. My favorite beginning, though the subject of the book is highly controversial,  is Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth.
Lo. Lee. Ta.

Although my writing project is non-fiction I wish to engage my future readers with the same opportunity that fiction writers have. I want them to be intrigued, excited to read onward, even more so if the subject at first glance may not stir the emotions. So as I make my way toward the end of my rewriting I feel it is good to be considering the beginnings.

Once upon a time two or three weeks ago,
     —Raymond Federman, Double or Nothing (1971)

Here’s to all the great beginnings!     Rick

Just What the Doctor Ordered

What should one do when they have no desire to read and feel like they cannot write?  Look for some easy method of relaxation; a movie certainly will suffice.

I have no clue what brought this movie to mind over the weekend.  It had been years since I had last seen it. I could not find it available to stream via the Internet for free so I had to tithe to the god Amazon, which in a funny way relates to the movie.

Where else can you get a blossoming love store, fighting for the cure for cancer, the destruction of the rain forest and aboriginal actors?  This movie always speaks to me.  In fact it yells.  Go live an adventure!  It was a beautiful Fall weekend.  I have been feeling trapped indoors for much of the summer.  In retrospect, I completely understand why this movie came to stir up my interest.

The older I become the more I miss adventures that seemed so available, so frequent.  And my advice to young and old – never ever stop living an adventure.       – Rick

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
   – Theodore Roosevelt

The Exciting News on Boredom!

Oscar Wilde coined the phrase that being bored is an insult to one’s self.  How could we disagree?  We live in a world of constant stimulation.  In days past a visit to New York City or Las Vegas could suffice for an overwhelming experience of constant stimulation.  These days they compete with the Internet, which is consuming TV into itself.  While our lives go streaming by we are offered many stimulations online.  All is good! Except when we find ourselves still bored.

The past evenings I have forgotten to turn the TV on.  Granted I am getting my fill of entertainment on the Internet, but I am doing so with at least a purpose more rewarding than mindless entertainment.  And yes I do realize there are many educational outlets on both the TV and the Internet, it seems that too often our minds take the path of least resistance or effort. It happens, it is a natural occurrence.  If it were not so, we would have a whole lot more informative and educational programming taking place.

Back to being bored – which is where many people find themselves.  Create something!  Anything!  Just create!   For me it has been the updating of my personal website.  Maybe next week it will be photography.  And as I always hope for, bursts of creative energy put into my writing project.  As mentioned it is not so much what you do as long as you are actually doing something.  Of all the available options, creativity ranks high on the list of fulfillment.  If you have not been creative lately, I ask you to give it a try.  It rarely disappoints.  Draw, sing, play an old instrument, look at art, look at photographs.  Create art.  Do a craft.  Learn a new skill.  Just be creative.

– Rick

Rock On!

Music influences human behavior by affecting the brain and subsequently other bodily structures in ways that are quite observable, identifiable, measurable, predictable and repeatable.

Music therapists use these influences to affect specific behaviors and outcomes because music has the power to strongly influence our mood. Music triggers whole brain processes and functioning, which directly affect one’s cognitive, emotional, and physical functions and abilities. Music can relax us or excite us, make us happy or it can cause us to cry.

The radio industry once ran an advertising campaign stating that music is the soundtrack of our lives. They are correct! But what I find to be most interesting is that it is not your life that creates the soundtrack of music, but the music itself that can create the life you want. If music affects you, and I feel safe in assuming that it does, then it seemingly makes sense that we use music to create within ourselves a most powerful, positive mood enhancement.

Most of us have smartphones that contain our favorite songs. If not the 2GB iPod shuffle works fine at next to no cost at a yard sale. Create a playlist on your phone or use a Shuffle type MP3 player to create a compilation of 10 – 20 highly positive, motivating, heart racing, dance, workout, or sport theme songs that gets your motivation peaked! I have found certain songs trigger a response in me that gives me an emotional boost of energy. I am sure you have some favorites that do the same for you!

The music I select will differ from the music you will select. The only rule, if there is to be one, is that the music should be positive. For me, a great way to start my Monday morning is listening to Rush’s Tom Sawyer.

Exit the warrior today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets high on you
And the energy you trade
He gets right on to the friction of the day.

Before starting training events I liked to listen to Bob Seeger’s Turn the Page.

Out there in the spotlight you’re a million miles away
Every ounce of energy, you try to give away
as the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play.

As I’ve mentioned the music that works for me, more than likely is not the same that will work for you. Don’t concern yourself with what’s popular, or how silly a particular song may appear to the rest of the world. This is your brain that you are programming for the purpose of filling you with enthusiasm and positive energy.

Utilize the power of music to peak your emotional attitude and increase energy at any time you feel an emotional boost would be beneficial. Use it while problem solving and brainstorming.

Motivational music is medically better than caffeine and always delivers open throttle results. Why not prepare a healthy dose for regular consumption? Create that playlist today for creating a more energized tomorrow.

Rock on!     – Rick

Can’t Photograph the Forest for the Trees

I made my way into the woods today.  I have been absent from that environment and longing to return.  Like many, I too feel a sense of fulfillment when walking in the woods. Even a short walk not all that far off of the beaten path can restore a sense of happiness if missing.  The woods are both healing and magical.

My companion while in the mountains and along the waterways is my camera.  And I would say it is the reason I am in the woods, for it is this day.  I go to the woods in search of a photograph that speaks of my enjoyment of being out in the woods.  Seems simple enough.  Like many treks, I returned from today’s short jaunt photographically emptyhanded.  I captured no fulfilling image.  The only words the photographs I managed to get are speaking are that I failed to get a good photo.  This is acceptable as a lot must all come together to capture a worthy photograph.  But it also steals a lot from the fulfillment of just being out in the woods.  Lately, I am feeling this inability to photograph what I enjoy most.  I have begun to ask myself why.

I believe I need to head to the woods more often.  Not in search of photographs, but in search of the peace being in the woods provides.  My goal in heading into the wild will be pure enjoyment.  That is almost always obtainable. Snakes and spiders sometimes challenge what I define as peaceful. I will go into the woods in search of peace.  I will take with me my camera.  When I have found peace, I will ask myself what it is that makes this journey so enjoyable.  If I can identify that, I will find a way to photograph it.
– Rick

Living in a Black & White World

There is no explanation that I can submit to you as to why I prefer black & white photography.  While gray is limitless so are the many hues of the world in color. Color has its strong ties to emotion, yet so does black & white.  The black & white image, void of color stands alone on its own. Emotion, if any is derived, is purely in the visual content; the patterns, the light and shadow, form.  It is a purity I truly enjoy.

Color to me is an internal feeling.  I feel red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.  And those feelings are impacted by the color within the day surrounding me.  I have always dreamed of waking up in a black & white world, like living in an old movie. How would the lack of color affect us?  We certainly have depression in our world of color.  Would the clarity I feel is brought on by black & white imagery enhance our lives?  Or would it make our psychological challenges worse?

Feeling blue? Why not watch some gray?  Remember the movie It’s a Wonderful Life is in black & white.  And many more great black & white movies are available to watch, hopefully with a friend.

– Rick

Bar scene from Casablanca

Quoth the Creative Film Director

Make visable what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.  Robert Bresson

Of all the motivators for creativity, being able to introduce to all; some new idea, some new invention, some new methodology, creating something new and never being seen before is the strongest of my personal creative desires.    – Rick

Bach and Weekend Frustrations

Today, like many Sundays I felt time slipping through my fingers. Another weekend this year with little written.  I do seem to keep generating fresh and I believe noteworthy ideas. But I ask, how does cease thinking of new ideas?  And who would ever want to stymie an idea?  Should they be captured for later or be allowed to be a distraction to the task at hand – finishing a book.  Of course another good idea in rewriting could prove to be rather beneficial. How does one rewrite without thinking? This becomes a tug-of-war for my mind. Frustration!

I experience many frustrations in my attempts to finish a non-fiction book that has been in and out of my life for 12 years. I had a major thrust forward at the end of last year and was hopeful the motion would carry into the New Year – which has become this year.

During this past half of year, for reasons I can’t fully explain, my focus has been to better myself as a writer.  I am reading many classic books.  I have become a last-minute student in all the grammar that I failed to care about in my formative years.   I am scrutinizing every sentence, a painfully slow process.  I am not sure if this is taking place to make what I write much more reader friendly or simply procrastination on getting the book finished.

I turned to my collection of digital music.  I have favorite music that I choose to play as the soundtrack of my life, and it differs somewhat based on my activity.  Historically I listen to Bach’s Art of Fugue while driving to a photographic destination.  I rarely listen via earphones (ear buds) while actually out and about walking in the woods.  I believe I would prefer to hear and as such more quickly see the bear charging toward. Otherwise I may miss the whole altercation and only be able to read it posthumously.  Besides I would not want to miss the sound of flowing water by the many streams I find myself returning to.

Music today did calm the savage beast in me that has manifested itself as frustrations in my writing ability. Granted I haven’t written much today, but the music has released the tension of failure of the moment. Peace is always a good feeling. Perhaps a better mood will spawn creativity for this day is not yet over. If so, wonderful, if not a peaceful afternoon today holds promise of a better tomorrow. I must always remember the power of music upon our lives, and use it wisely.

Thank you Johann Sebastian Bach!

– Rick

 

Illusions of Grandeur

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re absolutely right.”    ― Henry Ford

I have always been fond of the idea of illusions of grandeur and for the most part feel these three words have gotten a rather bad deal from the world of psychology.

Medically speaking delusions of grandeur is a delusional disorder that is associated with some mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, along with some substance abuse disorders. Delusions are grandeur are described as fantastical beliefs that one is famous, wealthy, or possess superhuman powers. Those that have such delusions are said to have lost touch with reality and are incapable of recognizing that they are delusional.

Non-medically the phrase is often used to describe one who overestimates one’s abilities, talents, stature or situation and not indeed a form of delusion. But why should we be denied an opportunity to overestimate our abilities? Achievement is often born out of the belief, realistic or not, that you can accomplish the presumed impossible challenge. What is so wrong with a little delusion? It may be precisely what is needed to make it happen! It is indeed better than merely giving up.

Too many people have told me that I am overly competitive. They tell me that I must always be right. While it is true I have difficulty giving up (OK I rarely give up), and hence I often win because of pure tenacity, I am not sure, just like having those grandiose delusions, that it is all that wrong. I believe from the beginning that I can win, and I do so within the limits of my ordinary human powers. I have always been aware my reality is that; I do lose at times, I am wrong at times, and I don’t always get things my way. It is actually the reality of my losses that pushes me forward to try and win again. Always believing you can win, despite knowing the reality is a delusion I choose to live with. I assume there is some middle ground between always winning and sometimes losing, but honestly, I am not looking for the middle of anything.

We have all heard the “believe it and you will achieve it” quotes. I do believe these quotes. It aligns perfectly to a Picasso quote I have always liked, “I do the things I cannot do, that is how I get to do them.” I like the combination of believe it and just do it types of quotes.  They possess power.

Empowering yourself to win is not delusional, it is illusional. So yes, I would say I do have illusions of grandeur from time-to-time. Seeing it, even if only in my mind allows me to believe it. Believing it can help make it happen.  Such positive visualization leads to real pre-destination.

Seems rather bizarre when we stop and consider the benefits of the illusions and delusions of grandeur that we would solely think of it negatively – or worse, directly related mental illness. It seems far crazier to deny anyone such a tool for their success.

I believe it is good to believe in yourself and allow for those delusions and illusions of grandeur.  After all, I realize I can’t fly … well not yet!

– Rick

Enter Title Here

The past few weeks I have challenged myself to write something, anything, important, not so important – just write something. I have been true to the challenge and writing this very Blog. The reasoning behind this self-assignment is to improve my writing through repetitive practice.

What I have leaned so far is that better writing is a personal endeavor. No one but you can make you better. You get better by reading good writing. You get better by writing and rewriting. It seems so simple. What I have learned is that it is not so simple.

What I have also learned is that if you look really close you might find that you get a little immediate gratification because you start thinking differently as you write. It may be barely noticeable to you, and not at all noticeable to any reader, but it is there. I know it is. I can feel it.  I have studied great openings, the initial sentences and paragraph of a book and/or chapter.  I have read lists of stroner verbs hoping that I will slide a better verb into what I am writing from time-to-time. This is exciting to me. I have so much to improve upon.

I am up for the challenge. I lose nothing if I fail. I gain everything if I succeed!

– Rick