Sep 27 2016

Wait! It’s September?


My favourite poem is the one that starts ‘Thirty days hath September’ because it actually tells you something.

Groucho Marx

Where did this month go?

I mean, seriously, didn’t I just get back from the beach? You may recall that I mentioned our beach trip in passing.

I had goals for September. I still have goals for September. Just ask my neighbors who stare out their windows and look at my yard.

True, there’s little I can do about our recent rains.

I haven’t been a slacker in September. In fact, I’ve been quite busy.

I went to my high school reunion. I directed my first, post-college, production. I set up and attended four board meetings for the day job, and in my free time I’ve worked weekends at the amusement park.

But no, the script, and the novel, are not finished.

I’m shifting gears a bit as my recent round of auditions resulted in an 0-4 record.

Dance 10. Looks 3.

Story of my life.

But, that’s okay. These things come in seasons. This is just not my season to be on stage.

I will admit that having a…what was it…eighteen month run of being in rehearsals, performance, or production every day that shifting the focus isn’t exactly easy.

But, I’m doing it.

I don’t necessarily think that I lost September. After all after today there are three more days.

Those days will not see the completion of the script, or the novel. And if the weather report as of the time I’m writing this is to be believed, those days will also not see the redemption of my yard.

Still, I refuse to let it worry me.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t refuse to let it give me something to write about.

I’m just not going to get bent out of shape over deadlines. Maybe if I was ignoring them, if I wasn’t working toward them that might be a problem.

The point is not to stop.

I will always have deadlines and projects, and for a while anyway, a yard that needs attention.

Even if I don’t get to them until…next September.



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Sep 26 2016

Don’t Know Much


Where is all the knowledge we lost with information?

English poet, playwright, critic, and Nobel Prize laureate, T.S. Eliot, was born on this day in 1888 (died 1965).

And just think, Eliot said that before the Internet.

People used to know things.

Now we just go to Google.

People used to read a lot.

Now we just go to the television. Or Facebook.

I’m not being smug, I’m right there with you. After all, I’m hoping you’ll read this on the Internet.

I don’t think that we’re necessarily less intelligent than those of previous generations. I do think that we have a severe case of information overload and that sometimes we just think “I don’t have to remember that. I can look it up.”

There’s a lot to be said for knowing how to access that information.

Some of us remember writing those term papers where we had to use the library card catalog and cite the sources just the right way at the end of the paper. We even had to write it legibly or type it on a manual typewriter. There were no websites to search or spell checks to see if we were doing it correctly.

I haven’t written an academic paper in years, even though I keep seeing adds for content mills who want you to write them so students can buy them rather than doing their own work, so I’m not really up to speed on formatting. I just hope it’s still being taught.

For a brief while back in school I actually knew most of the formatting rules. But I don’t use them today and yes, I rely on the tools that technology provides.

I have a style manual on my desk, and my aforementioned English teacher wife. But I try to get it right by myself before I go to them for help.

On a side note my current struggle in the day job is the dreaded two-spaces after a period. The standard is now one, but it’s a hard habit to break. Mrs. Jamison taught me two spaces on an IBM Selectric over forty years ago.

I got an A in the class. Thankyouverymuch.

And let’s not even try to figure out how long it’s been since I’ve been to the library to research material. I do writing research all the time, but I rarely, if ever, leave my desk. I will occasionally read a book on a particular subject for background writing research. More often than not it’s just a search on the web.

We’re addicted to our technology and it’s made us know less. It’s made us learn less. We just don’t have to. Everything we need to know can be found right there in our smart phones. That’s a little sad.

I know that I would need to have my phone surgically removed should the occasion arise.

But let me just say, as I observed over the weekend, if you’re standing in the men’s room with your appendage in one hand whilst you’re texting on your phone with the other, you’ve got a bit of a problem.

At least wash your hands when you’re done. And your phone.

That’s a true story, and I swear he was standing in the middle of the doorway whilst I tried to leave the necessary room.

I was awed to be in the presence of such great importance.

Lyndon Johnson used to talk to his staff while he sat on the toilet. He was crude, but he was the President.

This was not Lyndon Johnson.

I digress.

Centuries ago the wife and I were asked to sing Aaron Neville and Linda Rondstadt’s “Don’t Know Much” at a wedding. We politely declined and sang something else. They’re still happily married, by the way.

And I didn’t even have to look that up.

Also born on this day in 1898, American pianist and composer, George Gershwin (died 1937)


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