365 Challenge: Day 157 – Busy

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Busy: having a great deal to do; occupied

busy

Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is ‘busy,’ chosen because I feel like when someone asks me how I’m doing, all I ever respond with is 1 of 2 phrases: “I’m good, you?” or “I’m so busy.” Perhaps another day we’ll cover the former phrase, but today’s all about pushing myself and you to think about what being ‘busy’ really means, especially in today’s society. Let’s start from the very obvious point of view…

There are some basics to being able to survive once you’re born; you need food, water, shelter, oxygen and sleep. From that point forward, it’s about the surroundings you are born into, i.e. are you from a family with money, do you have any illnesses, or are you able to freely exist in that location. Some people are lucky — don’t need to work nor do they have any responsibilities other than those five basic staples. Others have a level of fame which immediately gives them a purpose. And then there are those who simply don’t know any better, or have not been given any choice, other than what they are taught to do at a very early age. Somewhere in the middle are the rest of us, those who must balance our needs and our desires in a healthy way to enjoy our lives.

I often feel two kinds of ‘busy’ — (1) an actual physical one with tasks that truly need to be done, and (2) an emotional or mental one with the reminders of all the things I know I should be doing (or want to do). It’s important to separate these two items, especially if you want to control that painful and scary feeling lurking deep inside, which if not monitored, usually has negative consequences. In the grand scheme of things, that is, beyond our own ‘little’ lives, what’s the point of pushing ourselves to that breaking point where we are so utterly busy, we cannot function? That’s where I’m focusing today, at least for a few minutes in this 365 post.

No one knows it all. Few know every specific goal they want to attain. That’s the point of life… to learn and grow every day. For some, it’s determined by their spiritual or religious beliefs. For others, it’s a personal calling to help specific people or causes. But for most of us, it becomes how to earn enough money to pay the bills to focus on all the things we want to accomplish. It’s a bit like the concept of “let’s make a deal,” especially when most of the activities we want to do aren’t always at our fingertips or able to be completed on our own. It ultimately comes down to truly establishing our priorities and understanding what it is that we most want to accomplish in life.

When I tell someone I’m busy, I am definitely busy. It’s not an exaggeration, though, it feels like I must convey that sense of “it’s all too much” in the conversation. What am I thinking about in those moments? What am I not thinking about? Well — everyone else — for one thing. Because we’re all busy. We are all doing something. We are all trying to achieve our goals. It’s not a competition with friends and family, even if it feels that way at times. It’s a choice we’ve made to hopefully bring about happiness during whatever amount of free time we have available. Maybe when I say ‘I’m busy,’ I’m trying to convince myself that the right steps are being followed in my plan. Or perhaps I’m taking a few seconds to actually realize what it is I’m supposed to be doing. We all need some level of downtime where we’re not doing. And by doing, I mean thinking or doing. I often find myself more exhausted after writing and networking for 8 hours from the bench in my dining room than I do from several at hours at the gym or out running errands.

There are different levels of mental and physical exhaustion to consider when you’re working towards the goals you’ve set. You cannot achieve it all, but you can setup some boundaries and remember not to give that control away to anyone else. Being busy is one of those things we shouldn’t really need to consider or think about, whether it’s to convince yourself or convince someone else. If you need an hour a day to read a book, as that’s what helps calm you down or gives you a sense of relaxation, then make it a priority in your schedule. If you enjoy going to the gym but end up feeling guilty because it takes time away from someone or something else, you’re hurting yourself. Of course we all have priorities: children, jobs, medical things… strip those out where you can (meaning focus on them as necessary), know the amount of time left, then check your priorities. At that point, your time is your time. Don’t load it up so you feel like all you ever say is ‘I’m busy.’

Since I take my own advice here, I’ll lay out an example. I have a publishing contract which means a good chunk of my time over the next year we will need to focus on those efforts. I have to work with an editor, come up with a marketing plan, review designs and formats, update websites and social media profiles and help sell the book. That could be a full-time job. I want to be successful. I would love to be the next big author. Ignoring whether that’s a reality or an unattainable goal, it will only happen if I spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on it. I also have the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, where I get a great deal of happiness either through posting or reading other people’s posts. That takes a lot of time. And I’m 50% done with writing a rough first draft of my second book which also has goals and deadlines (I’ve given myself). That’s another full-time job right now, too. Then I have family and friends, my partner, my dog, my apartment, other responsibilities. I obviously can’t do it all without getting exhausted. And I don’t want to be that guy that stops seeing everyone in-person, and then when I do, I always says ‘I’m so busy.’    YEAH DUDE, WE GET IT.

I need to re-set my expectations and priorities. I need to focus a little time on each of these things. And the first book may take longer to get published or find its following. The new book might need more time to be thoroughly flushed out. Because in the end (of me and my life, that is), I want to know I enjoyed it all and breathed in each moment with the right sense of balance. It’s a hard decision to make, but I need my hour each night to read before bed. I want to spend quality in-person time with the cherished people in my life. And that means it’s important to ‘schedule’ those times, know it’s OK with that being part of my goal and realizing it’s not healthy to be busy 100% of the time. It’s about finding the right balance and not feeling those demons eating away for ‘what could have been if I worked even harder.’

So… I’ve rattled on enough about me… what about you? Do you always tell people you’re busy? Could you change it up and say “I’m getting a lot done and so happy,” or “I met one my goals last week, it was fantastic.”

Turn it around. Don’t make it negative. Find a positive in everything you are achieving and stop worrying about what you’re not achieving. Don’t be so busy all the time that you forget about what’s really important to you and your future. A happy and well-lived life.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 156 – Published

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Published: to prepare and issue (a book, journal, piece of music, or other work) for public sale

published.jpg

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you probably know that I am a writer who has been working hard to find a publisher for the novel I wrote last fall. It is with extreme pride (and fear!) that I can announce today, “Watching a Glass Shatter” has taken a giant leap forward in the last few days. I have officially signed a contract with a publisher who is interested in helping me share my book with the world.

While it’s too early to provide any more details, I can safely say the novel should be published before the end of 2017. We are currently in discussions over various things such as book covers, formatting, editing, marketing and timelines. I spent 10 hours this weekend completing some final changes to a few open items with the novel, but it has been sent to the publishing company’s editing team for the first major step.

I would like to thank my friends who have helped make this possible, either through supporting me while I was in the writing process or helping provide feedback as readers and reviewers. Many people deserve some gratitude, and I will be sure to let everyone know about them over the coming months. For now, I want to put out a general note of appreciation to everyone who has provided the support through the book’s current website and the 365 Daily Challenge blog’s growth. We’re almost at 2500 followers.

I have no intention of ending the 365 Daily Challenge blog, but I might have to make some changes to the structure so that I can keep my priority focused on publishing “Watching a Glass Shatter” and finishing “Father Figure” before the end of 2017. I promise to keep focused on delivering high quality content with humor, inspiration, advice and reflections, as you’ve all come to know throughout the last few months. I’m always open to advice and feedback, so please feel free to share anything on your mind.

As we begin to create a marketing and publishing plan, I will start a weekly post on “Watching a Glass Shatter” just like I’m doing on “Father Figure.” If you’d like to get involved at any point, I’m absolutely open to help from friends and fans. Success is not built on one person’s back alone, but on the collaboration of a brilliant team of people dedicated to making a difference.

I will be thinking about all the different social media profiles and angles necessary to market the launch of the book. I am worrying about all the changes I might need to make to put the finishing touches on the words, imagery, perspective and tone within the story. And I’m suddenly finding myself afraid of actual book reviews. After writing 500 of my own, I know how tough a critic can be.

But that’s life… and either it will go well or it won’t. And if it doesn’t, or even if it does, I will learn from it and roll forward with the launch of a second book. It’s my passion and I want to put all of me into it — to give this opportunity the chance it deserves.

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • I am moving to a weekly recommended blogger which will accompany my Sunday “list” posts. Be on the lookout for the next one this coming Sunday.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 155 – Dogmatic

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Dogmatic: inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

dogmtaic

Woof! It’s Ryder and I’m back by popular demand. Out with the old (that’s Jay) and in with the new (that’s me). I thought since last week was my intro, and I’m gonna be doing this every Monday from now on, I better set down a few rules for you all to follow. I mean, so you know what to expect from me in the future, because I like to do things in fairly precise manner at the same day and time each day. I’m a bit dogmatic about it, and since I’m a dog, that’s probably a good thing, right? Today’s all about a few of the things I often do around this joint that seem to cause a little distress for my dads. But I feel it’s important for them to know that it’s just who I am and I can’t help it!

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This is me eating my SLOW CHURNED VANILLA BEAN ice cream. I will only eat it if it’s been slow churned, so don’t try to bring me anything else. I will know if it’s not.

I love food. I can eat all day long. I often take a nap in front of the oven. I like to wake up from a dream with the hope something delicious comes out of it. I usually get to taste every meal before anyone else. My favorite is brisket. But they only make it when it’s cold out. Is it cold out now? I don’t know much about the weather. I’ve got this fur coat on me and it’s always warm. I get that from Jay. He hates the heat, too. I pant most of the time. At least there’s plenty of water to drink. But sometimes they don’t like when I sit in front of the over. Especially when they are putting in the foods or taking out the foods. They say things like “Move it or lose it.” What am I gonna lose? I don’t quite understand it. Once, he kicked me out of the way. Just up and shoved me with his feet. He claims it was because he was gonna trip over me. And I wouldn’t move. And it is a tight space when the oven door is open and a few people are hanging out in the kitchen. But to kick me? That was just rude. His foot just pushed my backside straight across the floor like I was a mop. It didn’t hurt. And he wasn’t mean. He just sorta pushed me across as though I were in his way. Rude.

The other thing he doesn’t like me doing is throwing up. Sometimes after I eat too much food, or I get too many table scraps, and they are hot in my tummy, they come up a few minutes later. I run around screeching because I know I’m gonna get sick, but I am not sure where to do it. I worry as he gets upset when I puke on his rug. So I try to run around and hope it doesn’t happen, but I always seem to find the right spot on the carpet again. He gets this strange face, says a few words I shouldn’t repeat here, and then throws me outside. Not literally. He’s very gentle with me. But he isn’t always loving with me when I get sick like that. He says things like “You did it to yourself, Ryder. Stop eating so much.” But then I say back to him, “Who gave it to me, Dumb Ass?” He doesn’t like when I say things like that. Calls me potty mouth!

Speaking about potty… we had a little incident this week. I probably shouldn’t tell you, but I feel like I have to explain myself. You see… when I go for walks, I like to pee on things. Fire hydrants. The poles that hold up scaffolding. Flower beds. So we went for a walk yesterday when I went to the groomer. Oh, I’ll tell you more about that later. So… then I came home and went onto the terrace. They put up this arbor thing for the wisteria plant, which I don’t like. Those vines are so long, they are trying to capture me. I know they’re gonna pick me up one day and eat me like that plant I saw in the Little Shop of Horrors. Oh, nightmares! Anyways, I decided to teach that arbor a little lesson of its own. I lifted my leg and was about to do my thing when all of a sudden, one of the daddy’s yelled at me. The nerve of him! “Don’t you do that, Ryder. NO! Bad Boy!” Seriously, that’s what they call being bad around here? How am I supposed to protect myself when they leave the house and that damn plant comes after me? Ridiculous, I tell you.

So anyway, I come home from the groomer and there’s lots of loose fur all around me. I tend to shed a lot. It’s the summer. I can’t help it. And here’s the weird part. They tell me how much they love me, how cute I am and how it would be fun if I could have little puppies one day, but I can’t. Someone pulled a really nasty trick on me when I was a little boy. They snipped me. And now I can’t make little puppies. Very upsetting. I can’t talk about it. What was my point? Oh yeah, so after I get home from the groomer, I like to shake a lot. And all the fur flies off me. It’s like hundreds of little baby Ryders are running around. But they get so upset about it. Jay follows me around with a brush and claws at me with this giant wire thing. W just laughs. Jay then collects the little Ryder babies and throws them out. How could he even think about doing something like that? It’s quite a routine. He’s the dogmatic one. Not me.

That’s not me, but that’s about what I try to do when the vacuum comes out!

And when he’s all done, then he takes out this giant sucking machine. Which I hate. It chases me around. And tries to suck me into it. He calls it a vacuum. But I think it’s some form of alien. So I bark at it. A lot. It still makes a giant whoosh sound and comes after me. He’s always cleaning that carpet, trying to get rid of every last trace of me. I thought he loved me, but I think he loves the carpet much more. So one day, I tried to understand what it was all about. I mean, he’s upset when I get sick on the carpet. He is upset when my fur gets on the carpet. What gives? So I decided to scratch at it. Like I was digging to Japan or something. My psychiatrist (one of those hedgehogs I told you about last week) thinks I’m trying to find my way back home. He’s a little cuckoo. I was born in Ohio, that’s my home. I just happen to originally come from Japan, or at least my ancestors do. Anyways, I scratch and scratch on the carpet and can’t seem to go anywhere. And every time Jay catches me, he tells me to stop. He’s got a thing for that carpet. Not sure why, but it doesn’t do anything for me.

Well, I’ve said enough for today. I hope you don’t think he’s a bad dad because of all this. Both he and W are very good to me. They give me everything I need or want. Except enough food. But let me tell you one thing… as much as they love me, if they even think about bringing another dog into my house, I’ll treat it just like I treat little children. I will tell you all about that next week. Water and children. My two enemies. It’ll be a fun post. Catch you again soon. Woof!

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Check back tomorrow… Ryder doesn’t know the other bloggers all that well, so he won’t be recommending anyone in the future. Jay will once he returns.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 154 – College Jobs

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College Jobs: jobs I held during college years to pay for tuition and have some spending money

college.jpg

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived

The current set of 5 Sundays covers the major groups of roles / jobs / positions I’ve held over my career. Though I have had about fifteen titles over the years, when I broke it down into smaller groups, week two is all about the jobs I held during college.

  • Day Care Worker
  • Waiter
  • College Department Office Clerk

First semester students were not permitted to work in lieu of having time to adjust to being on your own, away at a college campus. It’s probably for the best, as it not only gives you the ability to sort out your friends, schedule and identity, but it also lets you focus on looking for the the right kind of job. When I enrolled at Moravian College, I knew I wanted to major in English and Education, so I talked to both departments. The Education Department had already hired someone for the spring semester, but the English Department wanted to see how I did in the first year writing course before I started in the Writing Center as a tutor. I needed a job! I had a phone bill to pay. And needed cash to go on dates. To buy books. Whaaattt??

By luck, I met and chatted with the Catholic Chaplain at mass each Sunday, as I went to church back then. Father Pete was a great man. We talked for hours about life, pursuing hopes and dreams and figuring out our connection to God and others. I worked in the on-campus seminary office for a few months, helping as a clerk with various responsibilities until he moved on in the beginning of my sophomore year to a different school. I chose not to return to that office as a student worker, as the only reason I had taken the role was the friendship with Father Pete. At that point, the English Department hired me as a tutor for 10 hours per week.     Thye sed i culd right wel!    I worked with first year students to offer advice on papers, help them understand basic grammar rules and provide guidance on research options for their course topics. I was also offered 10 hours in the Education Department, helping to coordinate the senior year student teaching program with all of the local schools. Both were fantastic jobs, but I had to quit the Writing Center position in my junior year because the Education Department’s office manager had become sick. She was taking a 3 month leave of absence and the Department Chair hadn’t wanted to hire anyone else. I ran the office with another student, taking on about 25 hours per week, which was the maximum for any student worker.

All of these experiences taught me essential and critical office and business skills, eventually preparing me for my future in post-college jobs — an upcoming post. I made several great contacts, learned the art of negotiation and developed ways to build relationships and trust, beyond that of a professor and a student. It also helped push me towards obtaining teaching certification, which I ultimately stopped just before the final stage. After a year of student teaching, I had realized that if I taught children all day long, I might not be such a great parent at night, needing a break from it and wanting the opportunity for adult conversation. Ultimately, though I love the concept of teaching, I would not handle the politics in grammar and secondary schools these days. I finished out college with a minor in Education, added in Spanish and Business courses, and obtained a degree in English with two concentrations in writing and literature.

While school was out for the summers, or had minimal classes, both departments cut hours for students, which was fine for me. I ended up searching for jobs and took one related to my field and one unrelated to my field. Let’s start with my job as a waiter, perhaps one of my favorites. My father’s cousin owned an upscale Italian restaurant and hired summer workers. I had been there a few times, helping her with setting up menus on the computer and the screens for the cashier registers. She gave me a chance working as a waiter on the lunch shifts, a sort of test run to see if I could hack it. Apparently, I could! She soon put me on the schedule for Friday and Saturday nights. Despite being shy, I had a different persona when I was a waiter, one in which I was super friendly, slightly flirty and extremely attentive. I never dropped any food or drinks, rarely got abused my rude customers and usually came home with a really good amount of tips. I learned a lot from the kitchen staff, how to order food from suppliers and how to make drinks. Another great set of skills to pick up when you are 19 / 20, as I did this for both the summers after freshman and sophomore year.

Additionally, during my sophomore year, and then again during my junior year summers, I worked for 35 hours per week at a day care nursery school. I was assigned the first year as the helper in a room for two-year-olds, and then I was given primary responsibility for a room of 3-year-olds. Knowing the kids were much younger than I planned to teach, it wasn’t a perfect fit; however, it was much better than working inside all day in a job that felt claustrophobic over the summer. I had two fifteen-minute breaks, plus 30 minutes for lunch. We took them to the gym for 30 minutes each day, plus 30 minutes outside for a walk around the property. We played games, read and tried to teach a few things around nap schedules. It was a really fun job, as I love children. I’m usually the one crawling on the floor, acting like a child myself.

It was a little awkward at first, as some of the two-year-olds needed their diapers changed, which although not something new for me (I had tons of younger cousins I often babysat), it felt weird to do that in public in a room with other kids and adults, knowing I was the only guy in the entire school. I think I might have been a ‘diversity’ hire — I mean no offense by that in terms of race or ethnicity, simply a little humor in that the owner was overly-thrilled I wanted to work there but also nervous what the parents would think. I wasn’t out to anyone during college, nor very obvious, but they must have known. Some of the girls flirted at first, but either I gave off signals or they realized their bark was climbing the wrong tree! I had to go through an extra interview process to meet all the parents at a drop-off and pick-up prior to being approved in the classroom. It was right at the height of all the laws changing to be more protective of children (rightfully so) and still at a time when it wasn’t quite normal for a guy to work in that field. It probably helped that at 20, I still looked 14 (just like at 40, I still look 18 21 27 33, and keep your mouth shut if you feel the need to say anything else), and although I was quite smart and adult-like in everything I did, I always came across as quote young and innocent.

I don’t think I could or would do that job again now. Not because I don’t love children, but because parents and schools are nightmares when it comes to all the do’s and don’ts in the classroom. I understand the policies and different teaching methods, but I have little tolerance for all the BS politics. I also probably wouldn’t want to be a waiter again, not because of the tasks or the duties, but because people are so rude on their cell phones to wait staff, it doesn’t feel worth it anymore. Whenever I’m a patron in a restaurant, I ensure I know the server’s name and find a connection point to keep dialogue moving throughout the time (s)he is serving us. That’s sorta the issue for me… they might be ‘serving’ us for that 90-minute period, but seriously, let’s all be friendly and open-minded about it. If the waiter is a jerk or difficult, then I just let them be cold and distant and won’t connect. Always their choice in the beginning…

How about you? What did you learn from your college or summer jobs after graduating from high school? Or what are your kids thinking about doing?

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Karen @ Run Wright. I don’t exactly recall how or when Karen and I connected, but it was a good thing it happened. She’s a published author, has a fantastic personality and a bit of a fun quirky humor in all our conversations. We’ve chatted about everything from TV shows to running to what to do if your date showed up wearing a romper or a jumper matching the one you’d chosen. Yikes! We both live in NYC and might meet up one day, which could just blow the whole blogging world up — as there are many of us here (I already met one lovely lady). We could all start a club. Karen is a delight to chat with, interacts frequently and always pushes you to think outside the box a little. I’m very curious to see if she’d take over a 365 post one day, simply to see what kind of angle she’d pursue. I’m also very curious about this accent she tells us about. When I read her comments, I try to think about her typing it out on a mobile phone while hopping on the subway three cars down from me — wouldn’t that be ironic! If you want to learn more about her, check out the below blurb from her About Me section and then go visit the site yourself:
    • “I’m Karen but people who know me through the blog now call me Run Wright. It’s always funny for me to hear that but I love the validation.I’m a published author and my collection of stories, It’s Complicated: Short Stories About Long Relationships is now available on Amazon. I’m Jamaican but I’ve lived in New York City almost long enough to have lost my accent (not really)… My accent is most distinct when I’m excited (at least once a day) and always when I talk to my mom. I love running even though I’m not very good at it. I am a Chemical Engineer by training but my true passion is writing – it’s how I express myself best and it’s how I share my dreams with others. I write fiction, poetry, articles, short stories and I have a several novels on my computer that are almost ready to be published. I blog about running, fitness, goals, lessons learned, books, food and balanced living. I’m passionate about being a Christian and live to reflect God’s character.”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 153 – Routine

Posted on

Routine: a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program

hhj

A conversation recently held by someone I know:

  • Setting:
    • New York City, East Side, 12th Floor of Apartment Building, 8:30 AM
    • Living Room Couch
  • Characters:
    • Jay #1: Type A Personality, People-Pleaser
    • Jay #2: Old, Sleepy & In Need of a Vacation
    • W: Significant Other (either J1 or J2, still undetermined)
    • Ryder: almost 10-year old shiba, AKA the food whore

 

J1: OK, what’s on tap for this morning? Daily post. Check messages. Breakfast. Finish edits to Glass novel.

J2: Sleep. And shut up, I’m not ready to deal with you.

W: Did you want yogurt for breakfast?

J1: Yes, please.

J2: Grumble. Don’t speak to me. Not conscious yet.

Ryder: I’ll have some. <He jumps off the couch on W’s side, stretches on the carpet, jumps up the couch on J2’s side. J1 is in the middle trying to come up with a topic for the 365 Daily Post. >

J1: There is no yogurt for Ryder today. He needs to have a non-human food day.

J2: Shut up.

Ryder: I don’t speak with J1 anymore. Only J2.

<Yogurt arrives hand-delivered with more coffee, too.>

J1: Thank you!

J2: I need my bed.

W: Did I snore again?

Ryder: I’m waiting. <A paw reaches out and scratches J2’s leg.>

J1: I can’t decide what to write for today’s 365 Daily Challenge.

J2: Put a picture of me sleeping with a sign that says “out to bed.”

J1: I don’t need this from you.

J2: So write your post and leave me alone with my yogurt and my Ryder.

J1: What about W?

J2: He’s already done and getting ready for the gym.

J1: Don’t we have to go to the gym?

J2: Yes, you do. I don’t.

J1: How is that possible? We’re the same person.

J2: Nap time.

W: I’m going to the gym.

J1: Go for me, too?

Ryder: Um, you gonna eat that? <Paw pushes empty container across the end table to the floor.>

J1: Did you just take my yogurt?

J2: Zzzzzzzz.

Ryder: Lick, Lick, Lick. I prefer the honey flavor, not this strawberry one. Aftertaste.

W: Get your own next time. Wait, why does he have your yogurt cup?

J1: Zzzzzzzz.

J2: Zzzzzzzz.

Ryder: Zzzzzzz.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Yes, this is an example of a normal Saturday morning routine in my apartment. I like routines. They are comforting. They help me keep everything moving along in the right direction. Some routines are good. Like working out. Eating yogurt. Sleeping. Some routines are bad. Like letting Ryder eat dairy.

Another thing that’s become a routine is me talking to myself as if I really am two people. It used to be a silly joke or expression I’d say every so often. Now I’m beginning to believe it’s actually true. And so while I thought the word of today might have been “prolific,” or “congratulations,” or “sleepy,” I decided to type out this morning’s conversation as best I could remember it.

Hence why today’s post is a non-routine one… instead of something witty and informative about me, you’re getting a glimpse into a guy who’s written so much fiction this week, he had little energy to dream up a routine post. Don’t yell at him too much. J1 can only handle so much stress. And J2 (that’s me, closing this one up) is not in the routine habit of cleaning up his mess.

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Mama Cass @ Aspen Trees Book Review. We met online a few months ago over a few different book reviews but it quickly turned into frequent discussions on each other’s posts. For some reason, she calls me Superman and throws quiz questions at me about things I probably should know but do not. In turn, I do my best to confuse her on tricks in the WordPress world of blogging. But the honesty and depth of thought in her reviews is quite good, which is reason enough to check out her book reviews. And then peruse the entire site. Between our shared love of 80s music, the Stephanie Plum series and several TV shows, we always have fun chatting. If you have any of those in common with us, you’ll love her, too. If you’d like to learn more about her but not from me, check out what is on the site’s About Me section:
    • “I have been reading since the time I could walk.  50 years later and I read approximately 150 books a year.  I want each author to take me to a land, a time, a place of their choosing.  I am merely along for the ride.I read many different genres of books, because I love diversity, sociology and culture. So, that being said, you might find books about African American literature, books about Buddhism or Muslim, or a gay or lesbian love story.  I don’t believe in just reading what is familiar, that’s a good way to miss out. I recently started reviewing books and am happy to start blogging them. I live with my family in Colorado and we all enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  I love nature and all animals.  I believe in spirituality and diversity in all things. Enjoy cooking, hiking, bicycling and healthy living.  Learning Tajifit.  Thank you for being here.”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Novel: Father Figure (Week 6 – Friday, August 11th, 2017)

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Writing a book runs the range from easy to difficult. At times, the words are exactly as captivating as you need them to be. In others, the words feel more stilted than one could possibly imagine. First drafts are only meant to be the initial release of the story in your head. I encountered both extremes during the course of the week, but in the end, it all came together quite nicely. I’m still baffled how six weeks ago this was barely a figment of my imagination and now here we are with 40% of the first draft written. I present to you Father Figure’s weekly status:

writer

Status:  Friday, August 11, 2017 – Week #6

  • Research
    • Let’s not discuss.
  • Chapters 1 thru 6
    • Editing went well. I cleaned up a few grammar issues. Dropped in a few connections for surprises in later chapters. Overall, there are moments in the story where I find myself a bit teary and at others excited. I should be ready to share two chapters with the beta team before the end of August.
      • Describing the onset of a winter blizzard in the deep fields of a small Ohio town has been intense. But some of the descriptions I’ve included feel like a few paragraphs of my best writing.
  • Chapters 7 thru 9
    • I committed to drafting three chapters this week and I’m happy to say I met the goal. I’m finally back down with a count around twelve pages per chapter, which is what I had planned. I feel good about not being too wordy, and I’m inclined to think the initial chapters have some backstory and/or descriptions which might be pushed forward a bit to balance out the page count and keep the interest in the action growing more fervent.
  • Chapters 10 thru 11 (BONUS!)
    • Ever the Type A personality, I wrote an additional two chapters this week. I have not edited them, just let the words fly from my fingers to the characters on the laptop screen. I’ll decide next week if that was a good idea or a bad one based on how well written they seem after a few days distance. But… it was important to push myself if I want the entire first draft complete sooner than the original plan.
      • TIP: Sometimes writers get caught up in details along the way. I wanted to name a specific music artist or song in a paragraph, but needed to research the perfect option. I had a choice: (a) take 15 minutes to find it and get lost down a rabbit hole where I lost the momentum or (b) add a “____” to be filled in later. Always add the line, you will get more done in the end.

 

 Next Steps: Plan for Week #7

    • Edit Chapter 7 thru 11 to match tone and voice of earlier chapters, include additional details and check repetition in words or phrases
    • Write chapters 12 thru 15 with a target to end up in total at ~ 210 pages & 65K words
      • At that point, I’ll be 55% complete with a first draft
      • At that rate, with 5 more weeks to finish the remaining 45%, a first draft needs to be complete by 9/16 when I leave on vacation. It will sit untouched for 2 weeks to let my mind process in the background, then I can begin editing in early October upon my return home.

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • Building characters is an incredibly fun experience. I’m not certain how other writers embrace the process, but for me, each one lives and breathes with me throughout the day. Let’s take Amalia, the main character, as an example. I know what she looks like and I watch in my head as she walks around a college campus.
    • I know the little flip she does with her curly hair
    • I notice the way the wind carries her perfume across the library entrance
    • I knew the adrenaline markers across her body when she’s afraid of the guy who appears to be following her
  • The campus is remarkably similar to where I went to school merely because I need a setting. I’ll adjust those particulars later as the visualization is about how Amalia behaves. She has a few distinguishing features (no reveals here!) and in order to convey them throughout the story without constantly repeatedly saying the same thing, I have to imagine
    • how her body would walk
    • how it would sit
    • how it would interact when she was intimate with someone
  • I’m not one for fluff, so I need to have a strong sense of not only how her body moves, but how she feels about the way it moves. When I add in the backstory of her relationship with her mother and father, it gets more complicated.
    • what words did her mother use to teach Amalia about femininity
    • how did her father handle his daughter becoming a woman
    • what happens when she goes from small town to college campus.
  • These are things that, at least for this writer, don’t just flow out of my head and onto the page as I’m writing. I need those details worked out in advance, incorporated from the outline into the book at the proper time. It’s a rather organized approach, but at the same time, I feel it brings depth to the character whereas if I just wrote it as I thought of the sentiments, it may not feel strong enough for what I’m trying to accomplish.
  • On a scarier note, I stumbled upon a few potential changes to an event that I’d planned to occur in a chapter I wrote this week. When you have a character with more than one love interest, you need to be careful to clearly show why (s)he would feel attracted to each potential suitor. Though I’d summarized a half page about each relationship in the outline, it didn’t feel distinct when I wrote it. I wasn’t convinced that I’d built a proper explanation or desire to distinguish what each love represents. I have some re-thinking to do which at first made me nervous, but now I realize it will help set up the conflict in a way that readers might not even be sure who they want to be together. I love a good challenge!

Are these tidbits confounding you? Raising and peaking your interest? Or you’re just waiting until I have something more real to share? Thanks for listening.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • One young girl’s need to escape the mundane life she’s grown up in and another young girl’s quest to find her father, unaware of all the circumstances they’ve both been placed in due to decisions and actions occurring nearly 20 years ago and that both women have made in the present. How well do you really know your parents? Do they truly understand you? Can you ever truly escape the past?
  • A contemporary fiction novel set in two time periods with two primary characters:
    • 1998 – Amalia Graeme, about to turn 18, attends college, leaving behind a mother with whom she had a difficult relationship. While Amalia has a boyfriend, she’s secretly attracted to an older professor, Dr. Jonah West. She begins an affair with him and realizes she must come clean to her boyfriend. After she tells the boyfriend, they have a huge fight and she leaves to find Jonah who she thinks can comfort her. Along the path, she’s attacked by a stranger and her life is never the same again. Amalia makes a few choices which will later have disastrous consequences.
    • 2018 – Amalia, going by Molly and living in NYC, sends her daughter, Brianna, away to college. Just like her mother, Brianna begins dating one of her professors, probably looking for a father figure, as she’s never met her real father. Brianna has always accepted her mother’s story that her father was a military man with whom Molly had a one-night stand and later found herself pregnant with no way to find him. When Brianna uncovers her mother’s old journal, she learns the shocking secret that her mother never knew who the father was because it could have been more than one man. As Brianna searches for clues to find her father, she stumbles upon a few facts which could completely change the future. But when the stranger who attacked her mother re-surfaces, not even Molly knows if she can protect her daughter anymore.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 152 – Matchmaker

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Matchmaker: a person who arranges relationships and marriages between others, either informally or, in certain cultural communities, as a formal occupation

dolly

Ever since I saw Hello, Dolly earlier this week, I cannot get some of the songs out of my head, nor the other famous one: “Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match…” All these tunes prompted me to make today’s 365 Daily Challenge word ‘matchmaker.’ At some point in our lives, we’ve all met or been exposed to some form of this meddler, the (wo)man who takes it upon himself or herself to set up other people, trying to bring joy and happiness into a new couple’s life as they meet for the first time. It’s a divisive topic. Some say “bring it on,” while others scream “mind your own business.”

Looking back throughout my days, I’ve been setup on a date with someone else a few times; it never worked out. I luckily have no horror stories to tell, as the worst that ever happened to me was that the guy was quite fickle. A friend from high school thought we’d be perfect together, so we all up met up for drinks. The match brought one of his friends (a girl), I brought one of mine (a girl), and then we had the matchmaker (a girl) who brought us together. Date seemed to be going fine, but the girl he brought kept sitting on his lap, crossing the line between very friendly and ‘did you two need a room?’ Though I would usually just ignore it, the entire situation puzzled me, as we were kind of on a date, yet tried to make it a casual group thing. I felt forced to ask the question… explain my point of view… but my words fell into a deep hole, and I’m not sure an “ah-ha moment” ever actually came out on the other side either. Nonetheless, I doubt you care to hear the end of that story. The point being… matchmakers… always trying to meddle in other people’s lives assist their friends.

Dolly is a matchmaker in the 1880s in New York City and Yonkers. She’s a widow who holds hundreds of jobs, always with a business card and a new title for whatever you need. She brings together couples all across the bustling city, ignoring her own needs until she’s simply grown too tired of it all. Enter a somewhat charming and rich older man who is searching for a wife… oodles of antics occur and in the end, many couples are united despite all the chaos that ensues. It’s an overly simple summary of a truly remarkable show, but since these posts won’t be as endless as they’ve been in the past (I hear you cheering — NOW STOP THAT!), it shall suffice. I’d heard of the show before the revival came to Broadway, but had never seen it. My friends were absolute crazed when it came back to life with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce in the lead roles. They insisted on tickets, I shrugged my shoulders. “Sure, sounds fun, do what you will…” I said. They shot me furtive glances, I heard the whispers… “Has he lost his mind, it’s Bette.” Then I watched a performance on the Tony’s and thought, ‘oh, this could be good.’

And yes, the show was amazing, despite the concerns that grew inside my head over the course of the following weeks. You see, some ladies in my apartment building had been gossiping about it weeks ago when we were all at the gym. They sat on a weight bench for about thirty minutes admiring the lovely equipment. I was doing some weird form a squats and lunges, listening in as one does in the gym when seventy-ish women are talking about the show you’re soon to see. “Her voice wasn’t as good as I expected.” “She called out a couple of days and might not finish the run.” I tried to complete my routine, but it just wasn’t working anymore. Not because my life would be over if I missed seeing Bette. But W’s life might be… he had his heart set on seeing her in the show. And I don’t like seeing his heart in a bad place.

And a funny thing about W and me, at least in as far as how he and I met; it was through a matchmaker of our own. I know, crazy how things come together despite what I said earlier. But I promise, there’s no trickery at hand here. This particular matchmaker was quite pushy. Every day I had a message, a reminder, ‘You two should really meet. You’d be good together.” There’d be side-by-side pictures displayed on a phone screen with a few comments dropped to convince me. “You’ve got so much in common. And you live so close to one another.” I believe there were even percentages and blocks being discussed. And then on a weekly basis, a reminder would show up. “You haven’t checked anyone else out this week. Aren’t you forgetting about someone?” You see… our particular meddler was none other than “Match.Com.” Yes, we met through the Internet. And each day, it would tell me he lived a few blocks away from where I worked. Our profiles had 95% in common. And that I still hadn’t exchanged a message with anyone else on the site. But I digress… online dating… perhaps a topic for another day.

Hello, Dolly was all that you’d expect it to be. It’s one of those shows that is unafraid to truly connect with the audience. Certain lines in the show that related to problems in today’s political dramas garnered funny facial expressions from the actors, tons of laughs from the audience. Bette and David took the art of repetition and doing nothing to extremes. In at least 4 or 5 moments, they did zilch on stage for at least two minutes, but it was captivating. Sometimes she was trying to feed him, others she ate food herself while nothing else happened. How many marshmallows can one woman stuff in her mouth? I think they were marshmallows. And every night? Poor Bette, that’s not good for the body. I should know. It’s how I eat my cookies. When I get them. Someone told me I couldn’t have them anymore.

The voices were good, not stellar, but when combined with everything else, it transported you to the setting and you felt absolutely enamored with it all. I knew none of the music, yet it enthralled me. I knew none of the actors other than the two leads, yet I have a few selected to follow to other shows. Though the story took place nearly 150 years ago, it was timeless. The staging was marvelous. The entrances and exits were unexpected yet what we’d all predict if we had a moment to stop being entertained so we could actually process what was happening. It was non-stop shenanigans with a fresh breath of comedic timing and the humor we absolutely all needed. If you’re going to be in NYC, pre-plan as it’s hard to acquire the tickets. But if you have the chance to see the show wherever you are, it’s definitely worth it.

Have you ever seen Hello, Dolly? Been to a matchmaker? Suffered through online dating? Think of the stories we could share…

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • In honor of this lovely show, I am not including a Recommended Blogger to know today. It deserves the spotlight all on its own. We’ll return with regularly scheduled programming over the weekend.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.