Same dream; new plan

I’m a planner, as you may know. I like to keep things organized and to get a lot done each day. This year, I decided to put aside a busy life and have just one thing on my list: write a sequel to my Gunny Malone novel. In order to clear my list, my plan was to travel and write-in-place. To be inspired by the places I was writing about including rounding Cape Horn on a ship. To write as I followed the trail west from Virginia to San Francisco. To write as I spent time in Alexandria, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Charleston, South Carolina. And to write while living for a month on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.

I had worked on my plans for about a year. I had an over-sized map on my wall with places I wanted to go, things I wanted to see, and people I was going to stay with. I got camping equipment and a new car for the journey, one I could sleep in if necessary. I quit my job. I sold my house. And I hit the road on February 26th. Continue reading

Why don’t I?

I love when you find and make time for high energy projects whether it’s work you’re paid for or work you choose to do on your own. And I deeply believe that when you get organized you do your best work because you’re choosing how to spend your brief time here on Earth.

Luggage for today

The rubber is literally hitting the road for me as I write those words and begin a seven month journey to get the rough draft written for the sequel to Gunny Malone. This is high-energy, driven work that may make no sense to anyone but me. But I heard the call to head off on a Quest, so off I go. Today is Day #1 of the journey as I fly off to Chile, our base to head out on a Viking cruise around Cape Horn. When I get back, I’ll start a US cross-country trip from New York to Virginia, then west along the old Oregon trail ending up in San Francisco. Then I’ll spend time back on the east coast working on parts of the story in Charleston and Maine and  wrap up with a month writing on the west coast of Ireland. These are all places where the sequel happens, but it starts in 1861. So I’ll also be time traveling! What does one efficiently pack for time travel? 🙂 Continue reading

Connect

I’ve been part of a number of in-depth conversations over the last couple of weeks about how important community is, and how it can be so hard to grasp these days. The topic came up at work, in a book group, in an Eldering discussion group, at the Democracy Cafe, and among a circle of friends. Have you ever noticed when an idea bubbles up in your life that you hear it over and over?

Here’s the core of the thinking. Humans are tribal. We evolved to live and work in tight communities with shared experiences and shared work. But we live in crazy times where few of us live near family or old friends. Many of us live in houses or apartments that are tucked away from everyone. We drive in cars by ourselves. And many of us put on a face when we’re at work or school. Do people even know us? Continue reading

Make Time

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to get and stay organized. My latest inspiration is Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. These two Silicon Valley fellows found themselves swamped with work and while they had interesting careers, were unhappy with the amount of time they had left in the day to do work they loved. Part of the work they loved, of course, was writing a book about doing the work they loved… :).

Here are their four big take-aways: Continue reading

Two Old Women

A friend at the library recommended I read Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. This is a tiny book and a quick read, so I picked up a copy and settled in for a bit of time travel back to ancient Alaska. The cool thing about working in a library is that you’re exposed to so much knowledge on a daily basis. Here’s some of what I learned from this gem of a book. Continue reading

Are you a Stranger in the Woods?

I just finished listening to The Stranger in the Woods; the Extraordinary Life of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. This is a non-fiction account of Christopher Knight. At age 20, Chris ditched his car and walked away from an apartment and a dead-end job, preferring to live by himself in the Maine woods rather than conform to the demands of a society he did not feel part of. When Chris fled to the woods it was out of a desperate need to be alone. To have the quiet to contemplate. To be outside. Twenty-seven years later, he was arrested for burglary and sent to jail.

There is so much interesting thinking here for anyone trying to craft a life that fits with who you are. And the book reminds us that we are all different, that what works for one person does not work for all. This includes a conventional education path, climbing a ladder, to-do lists, and that ever-present push to “succeed.” If that makes you happy, great. But if it doesn’t, what then? Continue reading

Creating a vision of the future

I wrote this post last Wednesday. Then we had a massive wind storm and lost power for two days! I have a generator but we had no internet so I just did art stuff for two days. Sometimes it’s fun to be forced offline. But now back to my previously planned thoughts… :).

If you’re looking to make a change in your life, it helps to be very specific about what you’re looking for. At times in my life, I’ve desperately wanted someone else to make a decision for me to help me head off in a new direction. And you know what? That never happened. When I’ve made big changes it’s because I pondered them at length and then came up with an action plan. Continue reading