Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

As has been the trend for me the last five years, I have a lot to be thankful for. The last year has been interesting for many reasons, one being that I was aware of impending change, and patient enough to let it happen as I tried to do the right things to facilitate it. That's growth for me. That's not really what's on my mind tonight, though. Tonight I'm feeling grateful for the desire to create.

I love creating. When I was a young boy I loved to draw, and had some talent at it, but never really pursued it and tried to learn and improve. As I got older I began to write, very sporadically over the years. Somewhere along the line I lost the drive to create, and didn't draw or write much. Then later, about 6 years ago, I started writing again. The only problem was, I was too drunk most of the time to ever become good at it. The spark to do it was there, though.

Then, four and a half years ago when I got sober, I started writing again, with a purpose this time. It started out as just an idea, to see if I had the tenacity to write a novel, as I'd always liked to think I could. I started it and was serious about finishing it. The desire to create was back, and I was sober enough to stoke the flame.

So I did it, and learned a lot along the way, and now I want to take it to the next level. The first one was an education. My skills have improved, I have a clue what I'm doing now, and the desire to create is burning. The flame peaks and dwindles but it is burning.

I'm almost to the halfway point of the new WIP, creeping up on the pivotal scene, ready for all hell to break loose. I think I've done a good job of setting it up, though I have a concern the first half might need more tension. When it's complete, if I think I need to somehow ratchet up the tension in the first half, I'll have a better idea of what and where.

I'm grateful that the desire to create sparked back to life. There's something spiritual in the creative process, and it syncs well with my desire to grow spiritually and apply my spiritual growth to all facets of my life. The creative process of writing - from the conception stage, through the revision stage, to the fine-tuning and polishing stage - has the feel of a spiritual journey and gives me insight into myself and my view of the world.

I'm taking new strides in my pursuit of spiritual growth. I had a lengthy conversation with a friend in the AA program today, a man I've admired since I've been in the program. He's been sober about twenty years, and I'm intrigued by his spiritual beliefs. Today I asked him to be my sponsor. I have two sponsors already, and they serve different purposes. This guy will be more of a spiritual sponsor, someone I can bounce ideas off of, because we share the same curiousity and desire for greater self-realization. I'm grateful for this also.

So, tonight I'll pound out a few more paragraphs. Keep the flame stoked. Peace and may all the good people feel grateful today.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I've been making pretty decent progress on the manuscript in the last few weeks. The progress is slower than I'd like, but I feel like the writing is solid and I'm not leaving open any plot holes. That's the thing that's slowing me down, I don't know the whole story yet. I kind of like it that way because new ideas have time to form before I get too far down a particular path. But the downside is sometimes I feel like I'm barely moving at a crawl. So be it. I'm in it for the marathon.

One of the saddest things I've seen recently. There was a small article in the paper about a 15 year old girl who was hit by a car while in the road checking on an injured dog. She and an older man had seen the dog lying in the street, pulled off the side to see about it (it had apparently just been hit by a car). A 23 year old kid was driving by, saw the car and the man and swerved to avoid them, didn't see the girl and she was hit when he swerved. She died on the scene. No charges were filed, evidently it was just a tragic accident.

This happened yesterday, about 30 miles north of here. The paper didn't say if the older man was the girl's father, but I got that impression. How very awful. The girl is killed and her family is devastated, and her father, if it was him, had to witness such an awful thing. The family must deal with the loss of a young girl who cared enough about an injured dog to stop and try to help it. The young man, 23, must be just wrecked by it. I try to put myself in his place, the realization of what he's done, the questions he must be asking himself, and it makes me sick inside. The sadness and guilt, even if there was nothing he could do to avoid it, must be overwhelming.

I get numb, sometimes, from all of negative news on TV and in the papers. The body count loses its significance because another suicide bomber has killed 14 or 32 or 53 just about every day, and my life goes on.

I get up every day and go to work, go to the gym, hang out with my friends, and go about my business and another murder takes place in Jacksonville. It's probably 80% black on black crime here, and it's tragic. These kids, mostly, are killing each other over drugs, territory, and street cred. Day after day, they all start to blur together.

I can't stop to grieve over every one of them. It would be paralyzing to acknowledge and mourn every death and murder, so my mind ignores the pain behind the numbers.

Every once in a while, something stops me, grabs my heart and wrenches it, and I have to grieve. For them. For me. For all of us.

Then I take a look at the loved ones in my life and say a prayer of gratitude. And try to shake off the melancholy and get back in the stream of life. Do what I can to make my little part of the world okay for today.

Peace and God Bless the family that raised a 15 year old girl to care about an injured dog...