Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Being lost in a place full of maps...

There are times when being lost is a good thing.  When I lived in England, I would often take roads that I had never been on before just to see where they went; I discovered some of the coolest things by doing this.  I have done this while traveling in Italy, France, and Germany; I have done it while traveling in Canada and the United States; and I have done it when hiking or climbing in the mountains where I lived when I was younger.  I find not knowing where you are to be somewhat exhilerating. The fact is that not knowing where you are leads to new things and new experiences, which makes life that much more pleasurable and happy.

When we define ourselves, if we bother to try, we usually look back at our lives and use our past as a sort of rubric or template by which to base our definition of self upon.  In many ways this is normal and natural.  Plato believed that we are the sum total of all of our experiences.  In other words, we are who we are because of what we have done, or haven't done; because of the choices we have made, or haven't made; and because of the way we have reacted, or have not reacted to the choices that others have made.  I have said this before, and it is something that I will say again because I strongly feel that it is true.

However, having said all of this, there are times when being or feeling lost is not what we want to feel, or be, but it is what we are.  There are times when the vagaries of the world combine against us and force us out of places we feel comfortable, into places that we don't.  Although there may be exhileration connected with discovering that which is new, there can also be sorrow or fear.  There are times when not knowing, or seeing the way can be frightening, if not terrifying, and if this happens too often, the feelings associated with things that are new may not be positive or happy.

We all feel like this at times.  It's true... we all do.  Even those people we look at and think have it all together, even those who seem in control, and even those who we turn to for comfort and guidance have found themselves lost and afraid.  It often happens when there are maps and signposts all around, but we have, for some reason, lost the ability to read them clearly.  However, the wonderful thing is that these times do pass and we find ourselves again, or we find the joy in being somewhere new, and we move on.  It's like traveling through a field of roses.  We see the beauty before we enter the field, we experience the thorns while we are within the field, and when we have left and look back, we once more only see the beauty.

Life is good, even when it isn't.  This is because, like Bilbo Baggins, we go 'there and back again', and we are never the same person when we return as we were when we left.  New places, new things, and new experiences shape us, and grow us, and teach us, and I believe that this is good.

Monday, March 15, 2010


One of the primary reasons I started this blog was to discuss matters of writing.  I find it interesting that I have posted more entries about non-writing topics than I have actually posted about writing.  However, I also believe that any form of writing, be it blogs, novels, short stories, poems, non-fiction, or whatever has a life of its own.  That is, it goes in the direction it wants to go in.  There have been many times that I have begun writing a post for this blog and what came out was not what I intended, or more accurately, I often sit down without any intentions at all and just wait and see what comes out.  Today is no exception.  I believe that what we write is what we need to write, even if it is not necessarily what we want to write.  When we fight this tendency our writing suffers, or more to the point, our ability to write suffers.

Since I have been involved with tools such as twitter, this blog, etc, I have become even more aware that there is a vast population of writers and would-be writers out there.  I always knew that, but now... well, let's just say that I am, as previously stated, even more aware of them... or should I say us...

I have found that, interestingly, many people who write often find it hard to understand those who do not, or cannot write, and it is also very much the other way around.  Non-writers don't understand the need that we writers have to write, nor do they understand the feeling writers get when they do write.  It is also something that is very hard to explain.  In fact, it is much like describing the taste of salt without using the word salt, or salty.  The best way to see into a writer's heart, mind and soul is to read what they have written since this is the way that writer's express themselves.

I, like most writers, have always written.  I can remember no time in my life when I have not written.  A while ago I was looking through some boxes of stuff I have from childhood and I found stories, or ideas for stories that I wrote so many years ago. 

The fact that many writers do not publish does not make them any less of a writer than those who do.  Some people write solely for the sake of writing, and not for fame, or financial reward... not that there is a lot of that for most writers...

So, those of you who write... keep writing... no matter what.  Don't give up because you aren't published, or because no one gets or likes your writing.  Write because there is that spark within you that demands to be released.  Write because the thought of not writing is unbearable.  Write because it is what you do and who you are.  Write because of the sheer joy it, and finally, write because the world needs writers... it really does.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ponderings and mental wanderings...

I haven't blogged for a little while, so I thought that I should do so now.  It has been a very strange time in the world during the last month.  We have had earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, storms all over Europe, a death at the Olympics, and a death in Vancouver while the Olympics were taking place.  With all of these sad things occuring, it is good to see that there are many not so sad things taking place as well.  It was good to see Canada break two Olympic records.  The first, never having won a gold while hosting the Olympics, and second, winning more gold medals than any other country who has ever hosted the Winter Olympics.  From famine to feast, so to speak.

I was thinking about the earthquakes, and storms, and deaths; and I realised how blessed I really am.  My children have enough food to eat, they have clothes to wear, they have a roof over their heads, they have each other, and they have two parents who really love them.  I have a wonderful wife, and again, my children are awesome.  I have a roof over my head, a job (for now) that I love, and talents and opportunities galore.  Are there things in my life that I wish weren't there?  Yes.  However, my focus is on what brings me joy and gives me hope, life would be too unbearable otherwise.  We all have a measure of both good and bad in our lives, and although that measure is not often very equal, we need to realise that everything is cyclical, and that there will be times that our measure of good will outweigh our share of bad.

Happiness is a choice.  Sometimes it is a very difficult choice, but it is still ours to make.  It becomes easier when we focus on the things in our lives that are wonderful, joyful, and positive.  This doesn't mean we ignore the sad or hurtful things, it just means that we relegate them to the appropriate shelf and deal with them as they deserve, never forgetting the things in our lives that make life worth living.

Exult in all that you love and enjoy, take pride in your accomplishments, and remember that good things will happen, even in the midst of great sorrow.  Be happy, no matter what...