opinion

365 Challenge: Day 355 – Pedestal

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Pedestal: a position in which someone is greatly or uncritically admired, but can also be the structure that will always hold you up

pedestal

As I write this post, I’m focused on accepting that after today, there are only 10 of these left in my 365 Daily Challenge. Choosing words is important, as I want to make a powerful impact on anyone reading them, or on myself years in the future when I look back on my accomplishments. I’ve chosen pedestal today because it’s important that we never put ourselves (or someone else) on one without having the tools to collect and reassemble the pieces when we (or someone else) fall(s) off it. Because it will happen, and there is no shame in it. Life is a series of ups and downs. Sometimes, we’re high above the clouds. Others, we’re stuck in the fog. At the center of it all, there is a support structure surrounding each of us, and it’s our responsibility to tend to this foundation each and every day. We must create the safety net before we let anyone (or ourselves) get too high. {Aside: This is not a metaphor about drugs, by the way!}

Today I sent my second novel to the editor for her final read-through. At varying points in the day, I thought to myself: (1) This is truly a remarkable piece of work — way better than my first novel by miles, (2) You are not ready to submit this to the publisher — there are basic flaws and disconnects and you suck as a writer, (3) Sleep needs to happen soon or you won’t find all the issues — nor will you embed the little nuggets of wisdom and charm you work so hard to deliver in your words…

I put myself on the pedestal several times, then knocked myself off to keep everything in balance across the entirety of who I am.  When I fell a few times, I was not only prepared, but I didn’t fall to pieces — because I don’t ever let myself get too high on the pedestal without realizing there are many others already there. My five (5) thoughts on how to manage your own pedestals:

  1. It is important to create a pedestal so you can tell yourself how proud you are when you accomplishment a great feat. Let yourself glow for a few minutes, but then step down off the pedestal so someone else can have a turn, too.
  2. The air at the top is often hard to breathe, they say. I’m not sure who they are, but I never want to reach the top of my pedestal because it means I’m either done or I’ve over-shot the mark. I want to keep on climbing and growing, but also be available to those who need a help stepping up from time to time. I often need the help to step up on the pedestal, too.
  3. More than one can stand on the pedestal at the same time. Life is not a competition like the Olympics. On my pedestal, I have room for everyone who works hard and does their best. I put people there for different reasons at different times in my life or their lives. It’s never fixed, always fluid.
  4. Be prepared for others to try to knock you off the pedestal. Not everyone plays by the same rules, and when that happens, it’s okay to dust yourself off and get back up again. Sometimes a mistake or blame happens, but what counts is how you respond when you’ve done something wrong.
  5. Your pedestal can change. It may be stone one day and wood the next. It could crumble under pressure or stabilize with strength. First build the foundation so you are capable of always knowing where to find the pedestal again.

***

My words today have lots of meaning, some clear and some as a mixture of metaphors. They may also seem cheesy… sometimes, that’s who I am. But most of all… the pedestal I’m referring to here is different to each of us. And that’s why we all put people on them for unexpected reasons and unusual purposes.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. 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.

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Watching Glass Shatter – Feedback & Thoughts on Change Today and in the Past

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I met a new blogger this week who had provided some feedback and a fantastic review of my book, Watching Glass Shatter. A few days later, she surprised me with a really thoughtful and analytical set of questions about how some of the characters handled change in the book… in particular the growth of Olivia, in how she accepted all that happened around her, comparing it to how someone may have handled it 80 years earlier… These are the types of conversations that make me so happy I took a chance on writing a book and connecting with bloggers around the world. This is a must check-out post. I’m confident you’ll find someone new to follow. Thank you, Michelle @ ReadingMinds. Read more via Book Inspired Musings

365 Challenge: Day 207 – Peanut

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Peanut: the oval seed of a South American plant, widely roasted and salted and eaten as a snack — also a big allergy for many people

peanut

Choosing today’s 365 Daily Challenge word was rough. My mind is not focused on the blog because I received overnight the final cover photos of my book. There may have been a small happy dance at one point prior to my first cup of coffee. And I think Ryder told me to stop and get his breakfast before he barked at me. Oh well… point being… I can’t come up with a word, but I did have an emotion I was feeling. Although the word is ‘peanut,’ it really stands for something different, which I believe will come to light at the end of the post.

On the final flight home earlier this week, an airline employee announced prior to boarding that one of the passengers had a severe peanut allergy. No peanut products would be served on board nor could anyone bring or open anything with peanuts on the flight. When we boarded the plane, an attendant reminded everyone again and noted the parent of the small child was currently reading the labels on the flight’s snacks to determine what could and could not be served that day. You can imagine a few of the reactions from fellow passengers. Lots of things crossed my mind, and before anyone thinks I’m being unfair, all I’m noting below are things that occurred to me as I considered the entire situation. Not that I agreed with or supported the thought.

  1. Is it fair to stop other people from eating a snack they like because one person is allergic and chooses that flight?
  2. Should there be a separate enclosed place on a plane for passengers with allergies?
  3. Is it right to expect someone not to fly because their allergy limits other people?
  4. Why would someone get upset over not being able to eat peanuts for 3 hours when it really has very little impact on them?
  5. Can someone really be so allergic that even another passenger 30 feet away eating peanuts could cause a problem?
  6. Why would a parent risk their child’s life on a plane, assuming that all passengers truly follow the rule and don’t open their own peanut snack?
  7. Was this just a preventative warning to limit the amount of exposure, knowing the parent had the epi in case something peanut-related did happen?
  8. How awful must it be for that parent to know they have to always worry about the allergy and put limits on others to ensure the safety of their own child?
  9. What must that child feel knowing they are potentially the reason another passenger is upset or angry?
  10. Is there really any correct solution or answer to this situation?

I’m sure there are more questions, answers, thoughts and points of view. I included only the first ten that popped into my head. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not really about peanuts. It could have been chocolate or dairy or any other food item. It may have been certain kinds of material or animal fur. The ultimate point is where do you draw the line between something being too much of an impact on the person with the allergy/issue versus the people impacted by it? The person with the allergy didn’t choose the issue. I suppose it comes down to good communication, money and alternative options. No real answers in my post, just something to think about without judgment. I’m sure many people reading this either have a similar allergy or care for someone with a similar allergy.

I’m one of those people who would say: For a 3-hour flight, who really cares if I have to abstain from peanuts or chocolate? Even for a 12-hour flight. It’s a minor inconvenience and ultimately prevents a larger problem, so I’d happily keep my peanuts locked in a bag somewhere. But what if it’s about allergies to pet fur and I need to bring my pet on the plane? Then I’m inclined to think that’s impacting my entire travel option, so it’s probably more a responsibility for the person with the allergy to find another way to travel or another way to limit the exposure. I’m not putting the value of a pet before that of a person… ultimately plane travel is for people not for dogs. And as much as I love my pet, people should come first; however, it’s a tough situation.

I had listened to both peanut announcements. W and I briefly discussed it. Neither really cared and we ignored the few groans around us. What struck me most was how the poor parent and child felt about the whole situation, as they deal with it for an entire lifetime. Those passengers dealt with it for less than three hours. How does everyone else feel about the topic?

 

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 106 – Opine

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Opine: to hold or view something’s worth, merit and value

Every so often, my mind is not focused enough to think of the best word for the 365 Daily Challenge. As I ran some errands, ate lunch and cleaned up the apartment, I still couldn’t decide what to blog about. My mood or demeanor have been somewhat quiet and removed the last few days, and I’d rather not post something with a negative or disillusioned tone. Instead, I thought, let’s get out of my own head and into yours…

I’ve cut and pasted below two small descriptions in the first chapter of the book I’ve written and am currently both searching for an agent and contemplating self-publishing. I offer them to you to opine on or weigh in, to see what others think. Feedback is important and it helps to have the thoughts of people who’ve seen your writing before. You’ve seen the 365 posts, and now you’ve got a sample of a few paragraphs from the book. Hit me with the negative, positive, or even in between! Both sections describe the scene and emotions of the main character shortly after burying her husband, who died in a car accident. The widow has not yet learned the secret he’s left in his will.

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The burial service ended thirty minutes earlier, and although everyone else had left, Olivia stayed behind for her own final goodbye while her memory focused on the somber tones serenading the lowering of Ben’s casket six feet into the ground. Once the skirl of the bagpipes blasted its sorrowful resonance, Olivia, standing a few feet from Ben’s fresh open grave, could no longer thwart the wrecking ball prepared to decimate any lasting strength within her mind. The slow, melodic sound sliced away at the newly loosened threads once tasked with keeping her heart intact and sheltered from acknowledging a widow’s pain. Her battered eyes betrayed any remaining fortitude she’d stored deep within her body and as the chords of “Amazing Grace” resounded from the chanter pipe, the cords of her soul, once intricately woven into Ben, ripped from Olivia’s chest. The flood of tears from her stinging red eyes trailed her cheeks as she walked to the car, leaving behind a single set of prints marking her unknown future.

As she stepped off the cemetery’s grassy path, Olivia pulled the black cashmere sweater closer towards her shivering skin to halt the biting frost that settled in her bones. Ben always told her she looked more beautiful when she wore black and gray, complimenting her on the elegant silhouette against her ivory skin and dark sable hair. She kept her shiny locks shoulder length, usually tied back with a clip, and although gray had appeared the last year, the varying shades were regal and striking on her patrician face. Olivia pressed her palm to her chest and lowered her head until she’d emptied a few layers of grief, a stream leveling off into the ocean.

She opened the car door and slid across the back seat next to Diane. All that remained before her impending post-Ben world began was for Olivia to tell her driver he could leave the cemetery, but uttering those words resembled an impossibility. As if Diane sensed the struggle within her sister, she leaned forward and motioned to the driver to start the car, allowing Olivia a few moments to accept the beginning of her new life. While the car served as a false protection from the reality waiting outside the doors to its passengers, it also evoked an atmosphere full of budding nostalgia.

Olivia recalled Ben’s marriage proposal, when he’d arranged a private afternoon lunch in the southern nursery of Connecticut’s finest botanical gardens. Dressed in a heather gray knee-length chiffon silk dress with sleek embroidered violet straps wrapping around her neck, Olivia meandered the slate stepping stones to a patio shrouded by voluminous twenty-foot cherry trees. Ben waited underneath their cascading flowering branches, shadowed by the umbrella sky of brilliant pink, red and white hues, holding a single sprig of cherry blossom. On the far corner of the patio, before the grafted trunks of the cherry trees met the pristine, freshly-mowed green lawn, a four-piece string orchestra crooned romantic melodies. When Olivia stepped inside the trellised gazebo, she smiled at the intensity of the fresh-cut lilies, reminiscent of the bouquet he’d brought her on their first official date. A waiter poured them each a glass of Dom Perignon, and as she reached for the champagne, Olivia felt the thick edges of the goblet press into her fingers, inhaled the scent of the sweet liquor and shivered at the sprinkles of the bubbly effervescence dancing on her face. The quartet played Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Ben dropped to one knee. Olivia’s hands trembled until Ben took one into his own. As the strings of each instrument blended immaculate harmonies and the musician’s lyrics rumbled in the background, she felt the reverberation through the wooden floor of the gazebo.

Olivia could still hear Ben’s words flutter in her ears the way a butterfly glides with gentle wings… Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife… to complete the picture of the future I have wanted… ever since the day we met at the opera… even in the car moments after Ben’s burial, when realizing she wouldn’t ever again see his face.

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It’s an opinion. You can choose to share or keep it. Never any pressure. But since today I struggled with any other post topic, this is where we ended up. Thanks in advance.

opine

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.

TAG: Unpopular Opinions Book

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Many thanks to Meltingpotsandothercalamities for tagging me for the “Unpopular Opinions Book” tag. If you haven’t yet checked out this blog, I encourage you to take a gander as it is full of content from both a reader and writer perspective. Great ideas and points of view.

book

A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT YOU DIDN’T LIKE:

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. I haven’t read a lot of science-fiction or fantasy, but this didn’t do it for me. I laughed a few times, but it was too over-the-top in a way I couldn’t connect. I am enjoying more fantasy books, and I like Star Trek and Star Wars, but this one… nah… I’ll pass.

hitchihker.jpg

A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO HATE BUT YOU LOVE:

The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow. I’m not actually all that into philosophy, but the story in the first and third sections of this book were fantastic. I had some issues with the second section of the book, and had to turn my head and squint to accept it. I’d say it’s absolutely worth a read, purely based on the story and depth of thought that you come away with.

apprentice

AN OTP (ONE TRUE PAIRING) THAT YOU DON’T LIKE:

Do Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey from “Fifty Shades” by E. L. James count? I love the concept of the story and its characters, but I just couldn’t buy her falling for him, nor him wanting her. They seemed too much of a mismatch. And when I saw the movie, I felt it coming off the screen too. Maybe it’s just me!

fifty

A POPULAR BOOK GENRE THAT YOU HARDLY REACH FOR:

Romance. I’m not really keen on reading all about romance. I don’t mind it being a background sub-plot, but if it’s the primary driver for the story, I’d probably pass! For example, I love Outlander, as I classify it historical fiction with some romance or love angles to it.

anceromance.jpg

A POPULAR/BELOVED CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE:

Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t care much for her… and I was an English literature major who loves classic literature. I try putting myself in her place at that time, but I’m still just not very fond of her approach, style and persona. I much prefer other stronger female characters with vehement conviction who lead their novels.

prideprej.jpg

A POPULAR AUTHOR THAT YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO:

Neil Gaiman. I’ve only read Neverwhere, but I struggled with the way the book was written, the characters and the plot. It’s been a few years since I read it, and I want to try his other things, but I feel like he just may not mesh with what I like in my reads.

A POPULAR BOOK TROPE (OVERUSED PLOT DEVICE) THAT YOU’RE TIRED OF SEEING:

The dead person is not really dead. If done well, then it’s great. Most of the time, it’s not… introduced purely for the shock value, as opposed to it being the best solution for the crime and victim.

dead.jpg

A POPULAR SERIES THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING:

Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather”. I haven’t even seen the movies. It seems too overdone and over the top for me… that many books about the mafia? Too much. One book is enough, or one supporting story-line seems sufficient. But that’s just me!

godfather

THE SAYING GOES “THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE”, BUT WHAT MOVIE OR TV SHOW ADAPTATION DO YOU PREFER MORE THAN THE BOOK?:

“The Hannibal Lecter” series by Thomas Harris. I loved the movies and only read parts of the books. They’re good, but the actors in the movie just push it up a few notches, such that I can watch those movies anytime.

ilece.jpg

I Tag:

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” 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… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think.

365 Challenge: Day 65 – Eager

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Eager: wanting to do or have something very much, keen expectancy or interest

Early on in the 365 Daily Challenge, I chose the word “curious” as a characteristic. “Eager” borders on the same meaning, but I am going to take it in a different path today. Shocking, I know… where is that consistency?

Although the 365 Challenge began as a way for me to bring interesting content to my blog, as well as explore different parts of “who I am,” the way I continue to choose the characteristic word could change with each arc of the challenge. A few examples with the last day of the week words:

  • In the first 5 weeks, it was one of my genealogical origins or ethnicity, which offered an opportunity to comb the internet for the stereotypical traits for that country.
  • In the second 5 weeks, we covered an A to Z list of various things I hate, love, fears, food, and as a hint, this Sunday’s final one will be: places that make me smile.

For the first 10 weeks, I’ve chosen all the words. I’m shocked that it’s 10 weeks on the weekend. It’s gone so quickly! But it’s also been really interactive and enjoyable.

And now… it’s time to turn the heat up a little… and I’m eager to hear some suggestions from all of you.  I’m completely open with where to go next, but the people-pleaser inside of me wants to bring content and topics that are relevant for everyone involved. You don’t have to read these posts, but for those of you who are, (1) Thank You and (2) What do you want to read about?

A few ideas mulling around in my head for choosing the characteristic word of the day:

  • Professions: choose professions I’ve had or want to have and discuss why or who I admire in those roles
  • Colors: choose colors that represent me and explore what it means or says about me
  • Quotes: Experiment with a word in a quote that means something and blog about the author, its meaning and how it applies to us
  • Cities: List the cities I’ve lived in, what was going on in my life around that time and what I loved or didn’t love about the place
  • Open to any other ideas… I just picked 4 that easily came to my mind in less than 30 seconds

I chose “eager” today because I’m keenly interested in not only meeting my own goals with the 365 Daily Challenge, but also taking the content in directions that engage in more conversation, commentary and fun. It may even become less about a “trait” and more a “noun” or “fact” that has some importance to me and to you. The goals are still the same, but the path to get there should never get static.

But most of all, I’m eager to see what brilliant topics we come up with. So put on your thinking caps as we’ve got 5 days to come up with the new twist for next week’s 365 Daily Challenge!

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.