#SoCS – 06/17/2017

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Sign

I’ve never really believed in fate. Never believed that something that happened could be taken as a sign. I’ve always thought that we make our own fate through hard work. I guess that shows you where my head has always been – my work, my career. Never really on personal relationships except in the most tangential way. Even though I’m loathe to admit it, I suppose that’s still true. There was a time, early in my career, I was convinced I could have it all. Fulfilling personal relationships and at least one successful career. Wrong. I was really wrong. At least as far as I was concerned. Not possible. Maybe it is for some people. I chose career, but by then, it was too late to make any other choice.

Back to signs and fate. I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that people believe that if one thing happens it means, in the vast space that is the universe, something else is going to happen, something random. That they just have a “feeling” it is going to happen. That the first thing is a “sign.” What is that? That “sign?”

I surely see connections between things, even random events. But fate? Signs? Too random for my taste. I prefer to call it logic. I have made some huge mistakes in my life. Some would say there were signs that those mistakes were going to happen. I can look back now and I don’t see signs, but I do see logical reasons that my actions caused my mistakes. Is that the same thing as a sign?

What do you think?

#SoCS

 

 

 

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#SoCS – 6/10/2017 – US Political System

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I am tired of our political system in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not tired of our democracy. I’m not even tired of capitalism. I support both. I am tired of politicians refusing to admit their real positions on issues and what they have really done. I am tired of lies and deceit in politics that are destroying the U.S. political system.

Although I am a news and information junkie, I’ve started tuning out the news as I listen while I work each day. We have no idea what the truth really is. We can’t even believe politicians as they testify under oath because they have no respect for the oath.

There are two things, and two things only, that give me hope. As I’ve listened to the hearings, I have heard just a few young politicians question witnesses. Not the rich, older, white men we are so accustomed to but some new names and faces. New and young politicians from both sides of the aisle. They have seemed sensible and not yet jaded. Perhaps they are our hope for the future?

My second source of hope is the American people. My own opinion is that we got it wrong during the 2016 election. I think I am backed up by the polls since the President only has an approval rate of around 36%. That leaves a huge percentage of the American people dissatisfied. Perhaps in 2020 one of the fresh young faces will run for office. Even if they don’t agree with my point of view, they will be steeped in the ways of government. Perhaps we can reclaim our position in the world and in NATO. Perhaps the checks and balances of our political system, wisely put in place by our forefathers, will work during the next three and a half years and too much damage will not be done. Maybe one of those fresh young faces can re-establish some sense of political sanity and dignity to the U.S. political system and get Russia out of our affairs forever.

#SoCS – 06/03/2017

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Donald Trump, Weather, Climate

It seems coincidental to me, Linda, that today’s #SoCS prompt is weather. Why? Two reasons. This week, our President decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. The second reason is that hurricane season in the U.S. started June 1, 2017 and runs through November 30, 2017. Mr. Trump has appointed no new director of either FEMA or NOAA, the two agencies that deal with disasters such as hurricanes and that forecast and track hurricanes. Perhaps this is an oversight. The people that a hurricane will affect who live on the Atlantic Seaboard, the Gulf Coast, and every part of Florida will suffer due to such an oversight.

The Paris Climate Agreement. Mr. Trump apparently does not understand the Paris Climate Agreement. If he does understand it, then his withdrawal of the U.S. from it is particularly hateful. He seems to think that polluting the environment of the U.S. will lead to job creation when all it will lead to is more pollution and the continued killing of our planet. The U.S. is well on its way to reducing the use of fossil fuels, like coal, and reducing the greenhouse gases we emit. Mr. Trump is trying to set us back 50 years. Instead of supporting the efforts to develop wind farms and solar farms, for example, he wants to go back to mining coal. Coal miners can and would be trained to work in the clean energy industries. One such industry has already relocated to an area where coal was previously mined. Many of our 50 states vehemently disagree with him and are going to follow the Paris agreement on their own. Many large corporations are going to do the same.

Why is all this happening? Mr. Trump is feeling desperate. With low ratings, he is trying to do something that, during the campaign, he told his base he would do. He told them he would drop environmental regulations in the name of job creation so that’s what he is doing. He has found government too complicated to do much of anything else. So he is pursuing his nationalist agenda by turning his back on the environment. It particularly pleased him because he could turn his back on Europe at the same time since he desires to be an isolationist. In just the short time Mr. Trump has been President, we have lost our position as leader of the free world and either China or a European country will assume that position.

Whether or not our President can or will pursue an agenda that appeals to more than 38 percent of the American people is still a mystery. From what we’ve seen so far, his priorities lie somewhere besides where the priorities of the majority of the American people lie.

#SoCS – 05/27/2017

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All that seems to be on my mind these days, and just about all I’m doing, is working on my novel. I’ve been reading about writing a novel as much as I’ve been writing. I’m not a novice writer, but I am certainly a novice novel writer so I’ve been trying to learn as much about novel writing as I can learn.

In order to give depth to the novel and the characters, you have to use the characters’ senses to paint the pictures in the book that you want your readers to see. One surprisingly sense that I, in writing my novel, have found particularly effective, is the sense of smell.

If your character takes a walk in the woods, for example, and the wildflowers smell sweet and lovely, that sets a scene in the reader’s mind of a beautiful day in the life of the character. But if those same wildflowers smell cloying and too sweet, the scene is interpreted by your readers as something completely different.

In novel writing, smell can be a very powerful sense for the writer to use for the purpose of illustrating a scene.

The example I’ve just given is a very subtle example that a writer can use to set the meaning of a scene in a reader’s mind. Of course, there are examples of smell that are far more obvious. The smell of asphalt on a highway. The smell of different types of food. You get the picture. If you are a professional writer or have aspirations to be, develop a file of all the different types of smells that you find that you can use in your writing and that information will serve you well.

#SoCS – 05/06/2017

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I have friendship on my mind today as I have recently made some new friends, revived some old and cherished friendships, and continued some very valued friendships. I’ve also lost some friends. You also never know, until it’s usually too late, when you’re dealing with fake friends.

Friendship is one of the most fulfilling interactions one can have. I feel that friendship is just as important as love or marital relationships. When I decided to live a portion of each year in Florida, I worried about losing friends here in Kentucky. I could only hope that my Kentucky friends would put up with my months’ long absences. I knew that true friends would. I have some old, cherished friends in the Kentucky and Tennessee area. I’ve also been able to revive two important friendships recently. I’m thrilled that both were able to be revived as the two pjeople with whom I’m friends were and are very important to me.

I’ve also lost two friendships. I’m sad about both, but I feel that there were perhaps reasons that the loss of these friendships happened and perhaps it was for the best. Sometimes, people just aren’t meant to be close.

It seems as we get older, we don’t see our friends as much. I know I don’t. Why? In my case, life is too busy and I’m too tired. By the time I finish with each day, I am ready to fall into bed! There are some days I have time and energy to see friends but not every day. I’m still working part-time and taking care of a house. I’m writing a book which is a massive job. Don’t you wonder how we ever had time to work full time? I know I do. I would like to spend time with each and every friend every week, but that is not to be.

I tend to make long-lasting friendships. Friendships that last a lifetime. I don’t boast hundreds of friends. I think if you have a handful of real friends in your entire life, you have been very lucky indeed.

I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to make friends at my stage in life. As you get older, I think you are less open to friendship, probably more suspicious and less accepting. In my new home in Florida, I’ve met really nice people and am starting to make friends. I’m really happy about that.

Do you ever consider the concept of fake friends? People who say they are friends but they are not. People who pretend to be friends but are anything but. People who just want to mine you for information for their gossip and they are not friends at all. Watch out for these people.

I’m thankful for all my friends. My  friends who I’ve had for a lifetime. New friends I’m just starting to get to know. There is one thing about friendship. You have to cultivate it and then shelter it and take care of it like a carefully tended plant if you want it to be successful.

Friendship, to me, is one of the most fulfilling of all relationships.

#SoCS – 04/15/2017

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Memories and Dreams

When I lean over the railing of the pier and look into the Gulf of Mexico, the surface is ultrasmooth. What I see is the reflection of my memories and the mirage of my dreams. They overlap as the water moves and it becomes hard for me to tell what is a memory and what is a dream. I think some may be the same. I hope not. It’s time to unpack my baggage, as a friend of mine would say, and move past the memories. Try to make my dreams happen.

I have to ask myself if it’s too late. Is it too late for me emotionally? Are the emotions that support those dreams used up now? Maybe it’s just too late physically. Maybe I’m too old to have the dreams of a younger woman. I’ve never thought that before. It’s not like me to think that. I seem to be feeling my age recently, whatever that means. That’s also not like me. It’s worrisome.

There are always people in your life who are small-minded, petty, and jealous. I spent many years of my life avoiding those people. In the last few years, I forgot what I knew to be true. I cannot deal with such people and I let them back into my life. I have learned my lesson.

I still have dreams. Big dreams, in fact. I also have memories and, often, they get in the way. My memories that get in the way really have nothing to do with my dreams. My memories are of emotional things. People, places. Failed relationships. My dreams for the future are not about people, places, or relationships. They are dreams just for me. Successes professionally are my primary dreams. How can my memories of people and failed relationships possibly get in the way of professional successes?

I’m sure I don’t have to explain that to most of you. Repeated emotional failures can break down self-esteem and self-esteem affects every facet of your life, including your professional life. I have always had the ability to put emotional failures away in a box in my head and heart and go on with my life, including my professional life. As I get older, that ability seems to be escaping me. I find that very distressing. Exposing myself to small-minded people did not help me, but I have fixed that problem now.

Memories and dreams. Where do memories stop and dreams start? Is there really a clear-cut, definitive line?

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#SoCS – 03/25/2017

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What is it about eccentric personalities? I’ve known my share and liked most of them. When I met a person once who was to become one of my best friends, he didn’t immediately strike me as an eccentric. It was only over time that I found he marched to the beat of a different drummer. I admire people who can do that and get away with it, but having known many people with eccentric personalities, I’ve found most don’t really get away with it. They may march to that different drummer, but they pay a price for it. They get to maintain their marching beat, out of time with the drum major, but they are looked at with skepticism by their community at large. Whatever that community may be. They seem vaguely suspicious to everyone who values marching in step. You might even say they can be the outcasts of society.

Some professions welcome eccentric personalities. Why? They tend to be original thinkers and come up with inventive ideas. Academia is one such profession. Original research is required in academia. Inventive ideas are a necessity in order to excel and even to keep one’s job in all but the smallest of colleges. Even there, inventive teaching ideas are welcomed. That slightly (or not so slightly) out of step marcher is welcomed. Think Stephen Hawking to call upon an extreme example.

Some industries, at least those that actually invent products which are rare in the U.S. these days, welcome eccentric personalities as they tend to think big and develop the products that are cutting edge. Think Steve Jobs and Apple Computer. Steve Jobs was certainly an eccentric and imagine someone never having conceived of Apple products.

I haven’t seen that churches particularly welcome eccentrics. Church goers seem to enjoy like-minded people. There hasn’t ever been much room for different ideas or ways of looking at things in my experiences. Or for people who march a bit out of step.

Artist’s colonies. Eccentrics with tendencies toward the arts – writing, painting, sculpting, theatre – are often comfortable in artist’s colonies. There are some artist’s retreats to be found and even some permanent artist’s colonies. Fewer and fewer that I see.

There are Stephen Hawking’s and Steve Job’s everywhere you look. Many people just don’t give those who march to the beat of a different drummer a chance. They laugh at them. Pretend to look down on them when they may actually envy them for going their own way. Even try to make them throwaway members of society for not fitting into the cliques, clubs, and gossip circles. All because their marching speed or steps are a little different than theirs. Think of what others may be missing by not knowing them. Think of what the world may be missing. Shameful really.

Copyright Rosemary Carlson 2017

 

#SoCS -3/11/2017

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A lot on my mind today, though I won’t write about all of it. Too much. Still getting ready for our move to the Southwest Gulf Coast of Florida. We’ll live there six months of the year and at our home in Kentucky the other six months. I’d rather be in Florida! It’s hard to live in two places and harder still to pack up about one-third of my house to make this move in late March. Time is short. I only have about two weeks until it’s time to leave.

We have a very small place in Florida. Really it is just a base camp until we find a house to live in. It’s enough for now. It has virtually no storage and very little closet space so I’m going crazy figuring out what to take with us. Anything we take, we leave as we will go back in the winter for our first six month stay. We won’t start looking for a house immediately. We want to spend several six month time periods there to see how we like it on a long term basis and through several seasons.

I’ve been under so much strain that I’ve been grinding my teeth in my sleep and have developed TMJ! M;y dentist is making me a mouth guard that I have to wear when I’m sleeping. Isn’t that crazy!? If we can ever get moved and get settled, it will be wonderful to live on our island on Florida’s Creative Coast.

I am managing to get in some writing. I probably shouldn’t be writing as much as I am. Writing soothes me and I do some of my best writing when under stress. Sometimes, when I’m writing, I’m thinking of how I should be packing boxes. I should write something about packing boxes! As I’m sure most of you know, moving is a huge job.

I guess we will sell our RV. We won’t need it now that we have a place to live in Southwest Florida. I am glad we’re going to sell it. I am not much of an RVer!

Something great has happened recently. I’ve been able to hook up with a good friend that I had lost touch with over the past couple of years. Wendy and I have been good friends for years now. We drifted apart for awhile, but she is back in my life and I couldn’t be happier. She is smart and funny and she makes me laugh. I’m so happy that she is back in my life and I hope she will now always be in my life!

Have a wonderful week!

#SoCS

 

The Project of Writing a Novel – #SoCS 3/4/2017

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I’ve mentioned in these stream of consciousness posts that I’m writing a novel. I suspect it is a little like giving birth. This project is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but one of the most fulfilling.

I changed careers in the middle of my life. I finished a career as a college professor after 27 years. I still felt young and strong and interested in the world around me. I wasn’t ready to quit work and retire to my rocking chair. I have been writing since I was a child. My first story was published in the Highlights for Children publication. Then, during my teaching career, I published many academic writings. Near the end of that career, I started writing for a financial brokerage and was writing for them, when I wasn’t at school, on 9/11. Writing about 9/11 gave me some serious writing chops. I was hired to write for the New York Times division, About.com. I was their Subject Matter Expert on finance and wrote, edited, and became the webmaster for their Business Finance website. I held that gig for five years. That gave way to writing for corporations, usually online learning materials for their executives. I also wrote many non-fiction articles for online and offline magazines.

So here I am. With my own blog where I started out writing well-researched non-fiction and I still write some of that. I took some writing classes through Udemy and read authors like Stephen King and Rayne Hall. I’ve studied writing extensively. I, then, started writing some of the fiction challenges here on WordPress which have helped me enormously and I decided to try my hand at my first novel. I knew the story I wanted to tell. I just had to figure out how to tell it, which is a daily process.

A good novel that you plan to hand to a publisher is about 80,000 words. That is long and hard and requires that you study all elements of writing fiction. I’m closing in on the first of three parts of this novel which is a psychological thriller. The first part, indeed all three parts, will be 26,000 words or thereabouts. It’s exhausting and very satisfying work. If you are interested in writing a novel, I’d recommend you read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” first.

I’d love to hear any comment you want to make or any advice! I’m a novice and still have a lot to learn!

SoCS 3/4/2017

#SoCS – 02/25/2017

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Taxes, Moving, Reading, and Writing…and Weather!

How is it that it is already time for me to do my taxes this spring? Every year, about this time, it suddenly dawns on me that I really do have to settle up with the feds and that I need to start working on it. This year, my timetable is even more compressed since I’ll be heading back to South Florida in just one month. My federal and state taxes have to be signed, sealed, and delivered by the time I leave.

I don’t have much on my mind today except the preparations to go back to Florida and get my home set up. I’ll stay there just for a couple of months this spring. Then I won’t go back during the hot summer. I’ll wait and spend the winter there. The people from whom I bought my little Florida home vacate it on March 31. I will use the months of April and May to get it in shape to live in beginning in October or November for about six months. I’m looking forward to my spring stay even though it will mean lots of work putting it all together. Most of the furniture stays, but I’ll supply the rest of it. I’ll also move clothes when I go this spring.

Since I can’t work on the house 24/7, and don’t want to, my second priority is to spend several hours each day/night writing. My goal is to write 10,000 words during April and May on my novel. That is not a lofty goal but one I should be able to meet. I didn’t want to set a high goal and just frustrate myself. I have some paid writing gigs and, of course, my blog to keep up with as well.

Every night, I try to read just to relax. There is an author who I’m sure many of you have read but I’ll share her name with you anyway — Sarah Jio. I have enjoyed all her books.

It’s thundering outdoors right now and I’m almost glad to hear it. It’s been so very unseasonably warm here for February. We’re supposed to have a brief change in the weather pattern and the temperature should drop into the 40sF during the day. That won’t last and it seems the end of February and first of March will continue this as this unusually warm winter in the Ohio Valley. I love the hot temperatures where I go in Florida as it’s supposed to be that way at this time of year but not here. Quite the opposite. Makes me worry about things like climate change and the possibilities of global warming.

I look forward to reading your posts!

This post is part of #SoCS