Little Joys Ch.45

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

February 14th, 2020

Sometimes we forget how incredible our technology is. Much of it is a mindless waste of time, but there is so much that is truly wondrous. As I was flying from Vietnam over to Bali, I realized how unappreciative I was of the fact that I was flying through the sky in a giant machine. It really is amazing when you think of it.

We all need to work on our mindfulness and appreciation of all the amazing things we get to partake of in our modern society, flight being one of them. What used to be impossible or take months or years now takes only hours, with a tiny percentage of the risk those travels used to take when we went by foot or boat.

It is a joy to fly.

And a joy to land safely, because I am terrified of heights.

Double win folks. Remember, stay healthy and let your geek freak fly.

Little Joys Ch.38

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

February 7th, 2020

The moment you realize that there is an easy fix for something that has been bothering you for a long while is a happy occasion.

Sometimes we are so fixated on being annoyed by something or someones apparently lack of perfection that we fail to see that the way to solve the problem is right in front of our face.

Take a deep breath, and the answer will most probably come to you in time.

Little Joys Ch. 37

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

February 6th, 2020

Passion is a fascinating thing. When it hits someone, or a group, it can help create the most beautiful, weird, awesome works that we have had the pleasure to see and hear in our lifetimes.

As I was re-watching whisper of the heart yesterday, one of studio Ghibli’s films, I was caught up in how beautiful every scene was, the attention to detail, the care put into each characters development, even if what they did or said was quite silly.

It was a double hit to the soul really, as the main characters of the film are two young children who are embarking on separate journeys in which they are discovering their passions and what they enjoy doing. For one, that is going to Italy to learn to create violins, for the other, it is becoming a writer, and developing her own story for the first time in her life. Intertwined through it all is a focus on discovery, on pushing themselves to see what they can do, to see whether what is in their head and hearts is real.

For many of us, passion ebbs and wanes. It is hard to maintain sometimes, because of the monotony of the daily grind, issues with family and friends, relationship woes, sickness and fatigue, the list goes on and on. We forget all about that joy of discovery we had when we were younger, when it was all about the journey, about testing our limits, seeing what we were capable of.

Part of my leaving home and traveling around has been a giant test run. To see if I was able to do this writing thing. And it’s been a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, moments of furious creativity, followed by weeks and months of listless energy and a void in my mind so vast I felt like I was falling without end.

But then I come across something like whisper of the heart, and I remember why I started this, what the whole point of it all is. It’s the discovery, the journey, the beauty of trying to find a light in all this chaos.

One step at a time.

One little joy at a time.

 

 

Question of the day: Can book series get too long?

As the years have come and gone, I have had the pleasure to read a wide assortment of series. From fantasy to sci fi, action to philosophy, I have read and read.

I sometimes wonder if authors get a little carried away sometimes. They fall too deeply into their stories, and a series that should have been five books ends up as 13.

We all hear about this in relation to tv series, and films of course. But the same case can be made for a variety of book series that simply lose themselves in the minutiae of the world and forget the reason the story came into being in the first place.

Probably the best example I can think of is a series that I have to say is in my top five favorite novels of all time, and that is the wheel of time series.

Robert Jordan’s books are one of the greatest stories to ever be written down, ever. That being said, around book 8 it really, really starts to drag. Characters that serve no purpose start getting dragged into the light, main characters are pushed aside or simply put through similar situations that do not cause any significant character changes or development. Robert became too invested in the world, and got stuck.

Now as I said, I still consider the series to be one of the best there is, so it isn’t like there was anything particularly bad about what he delved into in the later books, but at the end of the day it did detract from the focus of the main characters, who were already quite numerous and needed a lot of time to develop due to the complexity of the story line. So adding more detail to other people and aspects that added little value to the overall plot became annoying, and I found myself skimming through parts on my second to third readings of the series because they seemed like nothing but filler.

I find this to be a distinct issue in series that have more than 2 or 3 main characters. Once you start expanding past that point you get really bogged down, and there are very few authors who have the capacity to handle so many perspectives, much less for 15 novels, each over 500 pages long.

Being in the process of writing my own novel, which at this point only has two central characters, I am truly amazed at how Robert was able to handle so many, so I don’t want this to come across as thinking I can do better, I definitely know I am nowhere near that level.

But I really wish that other authors would take this into account, more is not always better. I love complexity, I love deep, fleshed out stories, but slogging through an extra book or two that really didn’t add much to a story is not the best use of creative talent.

I am not sure exactly where I wanted to go with this rant, except to say that as a book lover, I am sending all the good juju vibes I can to authors out there and I hope anyone reading this takes it as constructive criticism aimed at making a big undertaking like a series of books and making it a little easier by adding more simplicity.

A minimalist approach often works wonders for big projects because our brains can get a little windy in their old age.

Food for thought.

Little Joys Ch.32

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

February 1st, 2020

We have created a culture where working ourselves to death goes hand in hand with laziness on a scale unheard of in the past.

People are either at their jobs, feeling miserable for 60 hours a week, or spending day after day staring at their phones and computers, watching pointless videos specifically created to waste our time and keep us hooked to the screen.

Finding a balance is hard.

If you happen to be someone who is aware of the dangers of both of these areas, then you’re probably doing your best to work in a way that is fulfilling, keep yourself in shape physically, stimulate your mind, and also have time to be with friends and family.

But even that endeavor can feel like a chore sometimes, because then you start shitting on yourself if you don’t manage to get a certain area of your life into a perfect flow. It’s a never ending stream of judgement and negativity.

These last two weeks, I have had a great flow. I have worked every day, written for myself and the website, trained almost daily, taken long walks, hung out with people.

I have hit every marker, yet as I was walking towards one of the nice views here in the city of Da Nang, I realized that I was exhausted, head was splitting from the sun, and I really, really needed to go to the bathroom. But alas, I had set myself the goal of walking down the whole beach, up that damn hill, and seeing the lady Buddha statue.

I was making the mistake of investing my plan for sightseeing with the same importance as my other weekly goals, which had purpose and meaning. This is the problem when we become too goal oriented, we end up attributing meaning to things that have no business being in that category, and we push ourselves even when all our body needs is a genuine, well deserved rest, and in my case, a potty break.

Does that mean I sat down and stared at my phone and lazed around for the rest of the day? no!

Each of us has to choose what we consider to be a proper way to re-energize ourselves after a long week. For me, it was taking a grab back to my hotel, taking a two hour nap, then taking a nice walk along the beach, followed by some writing and reading, and another walk, oh and I ate 5 meals and some snacks.

My body needed food, and rest, and gentle movement, and it needed to just unload some of the burden off, so I wrote some poetry. That worked for me. That made me happy.

Everyone needs to decide what their happy place is, what little things, little joys, they can add into their day that will stimulate their mind and body without destroying it.

Think about it, then do it!

Little Joys Ch.31

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

January 31st, 2020

Sometimes you just need to be happy about the simple pleasures, and there are very few things as pleasurable as food.

With the Tet holiday finally coming to a close, most of the restaurants that have been closed down for the last week are coming alive again.

Which means that my favorite burger spot in Da Nang is opening again, and I just cannot wait to munchy munchy and go crazy with their french fries.

Life is good when your belly is happy.

Burger bros, check it out if you’re around the area folks.