On Journals and Whatnot…

I’ve been keeping a somewhat regular journal/notebook since around 2003. Coincidentally, that’s about when I started blogging (but not nearly as regularly).

Anyway, I’ve never been real sure about how to format my journal, what to include and leave out, pencil or pen, computer or whatever. Somewhere along the line I came to the conclusion that what I have is not a journal in the classic sense, but more of a commonplace book that includes all kinds of stuff.

Today as I was making my way through the stack o’ stuff in my Reeder feeds, I happened upon this article from The Millions. This part about Lynda Barry helping non-creative people learn to express themselves included this:

I’m turning this over when I come across Lynda Barry’s Syllabus. Barry is a cartoonist, author, and teacher whose recent books are devoted to changing the way people think about their own creativity. Syllabus is based on a workshop Barry teaches called “Writing the Unthinkable.” The main course requirement is keeping a notebook—and not just any kind. Each day’s hand-written entry must contain these items: 1) a list of seven things you did, 2) a list of seven things you saw, 3) something you heard someone say, and 4) a sketch of one item from the “saw” list. Don’t even think about skipping the sketching step.

Much like , this approach has been bouncing around in my brain this morning. I think I’ll try it. Here’s my hack, though. I’m going to try to start each day’s entry with Barry’s list, and then keep using the same book for the commonplace items I come across throughout my day. We’ll see.

Daily Resurrection…

I’ve given a couple of copies of Every Moment Holy as gifts, but never got around to getting one for myself until one came bundled with a new Bible. This collection of liturgies creates a new perspective on the everyday occurrences of life.

I’m especially grateful for the one about coffee. Ned Bustard‘s illustration of the phoenix in the coffee cup is the perfect accompaniment to Douglas McKelvey’s text: the resurrecting power of a new day and the ritual of coffee that makes it so.

Happy Friday, Y’all…

Random dark and early Friday thoughts rattling around in my heart and head…
  • The only reason I’d even consider living some place that gets colder for longer would be so that I could enjoy a fireplace. But then again, the first year we lived here, we used our fireplace, and I seem to remember it was a mess and a chore to keep a supply of wood. So maybe, just maybe, “enjoying a fireplace” is not exactly a good reason.
  • I wonder if I could get paid to be a professional hermit, where I could sit around, drink coffee, read, write, and listen to music, with minimal interaction…I mean…interruption!
  • That said, there’s something about seeing people you haven’t seen in a while, especially when one of those people is a little reddish-blonde boy who is unstoppable!
Happy Friday to all!

Starting a New Streak…

Photo: Joestpierrephoto.com via Flickr

It’s now been more than two weeks since my everyday blogging streak ended. That didn’t take   long, did it? Time to start a new streak. Not because I have anything particularly interesting to say, and not because I have to follow some rule. But maybe it’s because when I was consciously writing something in this space every day, it gave a sense of purpose to the early mornings. It helped me feel more on-target. And I enjoyed the practice of writing.

Maybe the practice is the most important part.

Anyway, let’s begin again, shall we? A great place to start a new streak would be to unpack those links I began saving here in anticipation of having a daily store of prompts. In a way, the very collecting of the links for later reminds me of how some animals start hoarding food for the long winter ahead, as Bradley Birzer reminds us in this paean to October:

Understood properly, October purges us of our follies and reminds us that death hovers just in front of us. It reminds us that we always stand in time, but at the very edge of eternity. Sometimes, we peer over the edge into the abyss, and sometimes we glimpse the glories of the heavenly realm. But, we always stand on the precipice of eternity, moments and steps away from true reality. Any moment and any step can lead to eternal glory or eternal damnation.

Take a break, idiot.

I know the cure: work less! Take a break! Stop doing things and do even fewer things than you think you ought to! Take a week! Take two! Stop all forms of work, go exercise and write, go learn how to do something entirely else. But each time I forget my own advice until I’m at this point, where I am now: basically useless.

Who needs fairy tales? 

Don’t be fooled about who needs fairy tales: every adult who has forgotten what real things are like, who has been a tad snappish lately, who has felt faith slip. Every one of them needs fairy tales—I do, certainly.

Hobgoblins of the extreme left: On “climate change”, “racism”…the whole lot.

It’s all part of the rich comedy of American political life, to be sure, but when the media, instead of reporting on that comedy, lends itself to the propaganda effort of the state by exaggerating the dangers that only the state is supposed to be able to save us from, we are well on our way to a much more serious danger than anything that either the climate or viruses can throw at us: that of a tyrannical one-party state.

Seven fears that kill your joy.

Sunday Night Unwind, 10.02.22…

Welcome to the first Sunday Night Unwind in a looooooooooonnnnnnnng time! For both of you dear readers out there who may have forgotten, the Sunday Night Unwind used to be a regular feature in this space. It was usually tapped or scribbled out after our evening services at church (when those were a thing!) and usually included random lists o’ links.

This Sunday evening, I’m thinking of things that are neat about my perfectly imperfect, extraordinary ordinary life. In no particular order…

  • Turning 62. It’s not 39, but it’s not as bad as they’d have you to believe. Especially since a whole lot of folks don’t get to make it this far.
  • The lovely and gracious MrsCharphar.
  • The Boy and The Girl.
  • Grandsons.
  • And great-nephews.
  • My best and favorite big brother.
  • Homemade peanut butter.
  • Good coffee.
  • Darjeeling tea.
  • C.S. Lewis.
  • Pencils, pens, and good notebooks.
  • New friends from strangers.
  • Old friends who’ve stuck around.
  • Christmas music after Labor Day. Irish Christmas music, even!
  • October.
  • October baseball that matters.
  • Naps, planned and otherwise.
  • The uncanny ability God has to forgive even though I have the uncanny bent toward justifying my own sin and failure.
  • Clean cold water.
  • King of Pops orange cream.
  • Quiet afternoons.
  • Real books.
  • Birthday buddies, near and far, famous and not-so-much.

That’s only a smattering of October goodies for which I’m grateful on this first Sunday of my 62nd trip around the sun. Peace and to all a good night.