There’s a Sonnet in Here Somewhere

One of Ronald Reagan’s favorite stories was about the little boy digging through the pile of manure saying “there has to be a pony in here somewhere.” [The full story]

I thought about that the other day as I was going through my daily exercise of writing at least a thousand words a day. I’ve been doing that on a fairly consistent basis since the summer of 2015 when I initially titled the project “How I Wrote My Ass Out of Hell.”

The idea, of course, was that I’d start cranking out best sellers and become a full-time writer.

Just in case you’re wondering. That hasn’t happened yet.

Instead, the project has turned into more of a journaling exercise. Some days I do write profound things. Many days I’m just going over the list of things I need to accomplish. Either that or bitching about the things that happened the day prior. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You can tell from the title that was the initial inspiration anyway.

But, I’ve not published that novel. I’ve not been invited on Oprah.

I did publish my script and have had it produced at least once. And, rumor has it, there’s some interest out there in another production. Don’t ask, you’ll know when it’s appropriate…also when I know.

So, has there been any benefit to this exercise? I think so.

I mean, even on the days when I’m just whining about the writing that I’m not getting done, I’m still sitting at the keyboard for 30 minutes or so creating sentences, sometimes good ones. Just the physical act of hitting the keyboard is progress.

We’re not going to talk about the physical act of hitting the gym. That’s currently on hold due to a minor, almost better, foot issue that prevents me from hitting the pool. More info than you needed, but let’s just say I’ve been here before and all will be well soon.

Back to the writing.

The other thing that I’ve learned through the process is that I don’t want to spend most of my time as a copywriter. I can do that. I may do that some in the near future, again more details when you need to know. That’s not the writing I want to be doing, but it may be the writing that brings an income.

In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away daily at the keyboard and perhaps that Great American Novel (TM) will be written.

After all, with enough time, a monkey sitting at a typewriter could eventually type the Complete works of Shakespeare…right?

My thousand words a day is likely to produce more evidence of a pony. But I’ll still keep going.

One word in front of another. Sometimes in the right order.

I would be remiss if I did not note that today is the day we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You can read my prior thoughts on that here.

And, I would also note that it’s Lobby Day in Downtown Richmond. Thousands of 2nd Amendment activists are expected. If you live anywhere near Virginia, you’ve seen the news and you’ve seen the debates. My state office is closed today for the holiday, but our building has also been closed so we couldn’t go in if we wanted to. Whatever your position, let’s just pray that all goes smoothly and peacefully.

What I’m reading…

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In the Bleak Mid-Winter

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Truth is, it hasn’t been such a bleak winter…yet.

In fact, as I write this, we’re experiencing weekend temperatures in the 70s.

In Virginia. In January.

Don’t lecture me on what that means. I’m old enough to remember Christmases when we’ve been outside in our shirt sleeves. One in particular was a good fifty-plus years ago when we were outside playing with a new puppy.

I’m also old enough to remember warmer winters when we got smacked with winter horrors in February.

All that to say that I’m not setting the houseplants on the porch just yet.

It’s mid-January and I feel like I didn’t get the clean start that I always want at the beginning of the year.

I mean, sure, the calendar turned over, but I didn’t get my usual time to plan and to reflect. I went from performances on January 1st to rehearsals on January 2nd.

I’m not complaining. These are the chains I forged in life.

But I will admit missing my time to sit and watch The Movies or the Rose Parade (I did watch that) with new pens and notebooks and calendars while I spend the time making lists and plans for all the things I’ll not really get to in the coming year.

It doesn’t matter that by April or May the lists will be forgotten or rewritten. It doesn’t matter that the notebooks will be set aside.

What matters is the ritual.

I didn’t get that this year.

Part of me thinks that I can just adjust and kick it off on Chinese New Years.

Perfect, I have a retreat and tech Sunday that weekend.

The reality is that New Years is a man-made construct anyway. January 1st isn’t any more special than December 31st. It’s just another page on the calendar.

When the ball drops in NYC, or wherever you’re doing your countdown, none of us are guaranteed the year to come. Some of you reading this, or perhaps writing this, may not be around to see another New Years Eve.

So, what do we do with that?

We recognize that we get one day at a time. What is important is what we do with that one day.

It’s cliche, but yesterday is gone, and tomorrow never gets here.

We get today. And that’s it.

Every morning we have a fresh, new day in front of us. It’s up to us to decide how we’re going to use it.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to deal with carryover stuff from yesterday. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan or dream about the future.

It just means that we need to make the most of today.

That will vary for each of us.

For some of us, making the most of the day might include that afternoon nap. And, that’s okay.

Even though I didn’t start the year this way, I’m constantly making lists and notes and plans for what I’m going to do.

The point is to keep going. Keep moving forward.

I’ve come to accept the fact that it’s okay if I don’t get to the entire list.

Lord willing, I’ll be able to start a new list tomorrow.

Cover Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash

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