Posted in God, Life

The Day of the Bunny Pants

I have declared today, The Day of the Bunny Pants. I love my bunny pants. There is something about them…I sort feel like whatever life throws at me, at the end of the day, there’s nothing that can’t be cured with my bunny pants and Netflix.

It’s been a stressful month. A stressful last couple of months, if I’m honest. From the personal aftermath of Hurricane Harvey (yes, we survived, but that was about it)….to an elongated and messy break up, and finding a new job, just to name a few…life has dealt me a pretty random hand this fall.

And I think my choleric nature has gone into overdrive. It screams daily that I need to spend every free minute cleaning up this mess. Every moment must be spent being productive, pushing my life forward. And, at this point, I think I’ve forgotten that I am not a worker bee. I am a free, independent person that deserves to have fun, happiness, and simply bask in the raw joy of living.

I read one time about how the colonial Puritans are responsible for the work ethic behind the American dream. They believed strongly in the Scripture, “If a man doesn’t work, he shall not eat.” That’s good thinking, but like any Scripture or teaching, it can be taken too far. The Puritans were certainly guilty of this. Since they were largely responsible for the foundation of American ideology, that sort of “work until you drop dead,” became a building block of our cultural thinking. And we have taken it to heart for the last two hundred years.

Culturally, we disdain those that inherited privilege, and admire those that worked from rags to riches. We love phrases like, “working their way up,” or “paying dues at the bottom.” And this all comes from our fundamental Puritanical paradigm.

But, is that paradigm right? Is that paradigm Godly? I head a story one time, I don’t know how true it is. But, apparently there are historical records regarding Jesus’ stepfather Joseph. He was commenting on his work ethic there in the carpenter shop. He called Jesus lazy, saying that he spent all his time talking to people. Jesus would purportedly give products away, making it hard for the shop to make money. I don’t know how true that story is, but it makes for interesting thought.

Is our Puritanical work ethic Godly? Certainly God intends us to work. He explicitly frowns upon laziness, and there is Scripture after Scripture about the Godliness of labor and toil. So, certainly we are to work. But, beyond laziness, I don’t think God intended for us to spend our lives working to pay for our lives. Perhaps that is a product of The Curse. Perhaps in God’s natural order, we are to simply enjoy life. So, I think, that as a redeemed person in a fallen world, we should strive to have both. Both joy and work coexisting in balance.

So, this is why, today, I am declaring it The Day of the Bunny Pants. Nothing productive will go on here today.

Posted in Life

Broken Soul

When I found you, you were a broken soul– a shell of a man in fragments and pieces, laid ruin by secrets you’ll never tell. What all those lies and whispered secrets hidden in the dark, did to the tender spirit inside you–I’ll never really know.

I’m no fool to think I’d ever understand, although I tried in those brief moments when I fancied you mine. But you were no one’s–not even your own. And I had no way to fix it, but by love. And when that wasn’t enough, what was left?

Posted in Writing

Stuck in the Mud-5 Ways to Get Your Writing Day Going

It’s not quite writer’s block. Writer’s block is usually a lot more severe. But we have all had those mornings, when you sit at your computer, with all you can think of to do is ANYTHING but write. But the clock is tick, tick, ticking your workday away from you one tiny beat at a time. Every muscle in your body tenses, and you force yourself to type. You type two sentences, and it’s terrible. Just terrible, and you wonder who in their right mind hired you to write.Calm down. This happens to everyone. For those days, when you just can’t get it going, here are few things you can do to get your writing groove back.

  1. Art Therapy

Many times your creative blockage is because you’re trying too hard and damming up the creative flow. If you switch to another art form, your brain will relax, and the pent up creativity will come rushing out so fast you won’t even be able to tame it.

Adult coloring books are all the rage, and maybe a bit cliché, but they work at relaxing the brain. Set a timer so that you don’t get lost. Twenty minutes is a good rule. It’s just enough to relax your brain, but not enough that you can get lost wasting time.

Have fun building a stock of markers, and spice it up with a cup of hot tea. Then, turn an instrumental playlist. Experiment with different music types—celtic music can make you feel energized. Piano music can soothe frayed nerves. Classical music can make you feel pensive. Then, there are nature soundtracks that can various effects as well. Turn the music as loud as you dare, and let loose. Don’t think about work or writing, just color.

Change of Environment 

Creativity is a fickle mistress to serve. We who make our livings on it, only do so because we understand enough about it to know how to handle and respect its power. As such, there are a few somewhat hooey-gooey concepts that all artistic types must acknowledge at some point or another. You can call it, if you will, The Principle of Creative Energies. The concept is that the creative energy in any given space, is finite. Every time you create in that space, you draw upon that creative energy, until it is depleted. Fortunately, it is a renewable source. It just has to have time. In the meantime, you can write at coffee shops, libraries, parks, wherever. So, if the creative energies in your space are depleted, write somewhere else for a few days.

Physical Activity

There is a link to physical activity and the brain. It gets your blood moving, pumping and feeds your brain cells. We writers spend a lot of time sitting at our computers. The human body wasn’t made to be in any one position for too long. It was made to move and change. A jog around the neighborhood can get your serotonin levels up, some fresh air, and the sights and sounds of the street can give you inspiration as well.

If you’re alone, the power of plugging in your earbuds and busting out your dance moves hardcore Napolean Dynamite style should never be underestimated.

It gets your blood moving, and gives you enough distance to open those creative portals. Plus, consuming an art like music, can unconsciously jumpstart your creativity.

Get off the Computer  

Modern writers are trained to compose on their laptops. But, sometimes, our digital lifestyle can work against us. The familiarity can lock our brains up, or we can overthink the piece. Sometimes we are so passionate about the piece, or we have so much riding on it, our need for perfection throws us completely out of the game.

To beat this, try writing in a different medium. Raw drafting in a leather journal, for example, can help. It tells your brain, “This is not the final draft,” and releases you from the paralyzing pressure of “writing the piece.”  With a simple pen and paper, just tell the story, or explain the concept. No big deal, just you and the reader. Once you build momentum, then move to the computer.

This also works with dry erase boards, and you can have fun experimenting with windows and mirrors. You can even enjoy creating your own drafting space by staking out a wall area to cover with chalkboard paint or dry erase laminate. Typewriters are trendy these days, but if you’re blocked on a deadline, they may just slow you down.

  1. Watch a Well-Written Show

Reality shows and formula genre movies aside, there are some really well-written shows out there. BBC’s Sherlock, Arrested Development, Downtown Abbey, among many others. Watching those shows from a writer’s perspective can actually be really good for your writing.

Try to figure out what the scriptwriters are doing. Listen to the dialogue and watch the plot devices they are using, just like in English class. Imagine the scriptwriters, and think about how they aren’t that much different than you. Think about how really, with some more practice, you do the same things they are doing. Then turn off the TV, and decide that you can.