Tag Archives: Writing

Eleven Years

eleven-years

This blog is getting old. Already well into its second decade. (Well, into, at least.)

Today is the day, eleven years ago, that I first set out on this blogging adventure. You can read the post here. Many of the August Twenth-Sixths since, I have linked to that first “blog”. It was not of much consequence, but it was the beginning of much thought and heart shared, many stories told and re-told, and generally just life shared with you, Dear Reader.

You’ll note, if you are the observant sort, that the next most recent post here at GregsHead dot net is from the month of June. (At least it is still in the year Twenty-Fourteen…) The writing has been sparse, selective, and even somewhat nonexistent for quite some time. There are reasons, but the main reason of course is my own choice not to write.

Why does that happen? The reasons I mentioned above include excessive busyness, choosing to spend time on other things, feelings of an unimportance placed (by me) upon my writing on any topic, and even sometimes being so beat down by life that, “I just don’t feel like it.”

I have taken some moments to get thoughts out. Perhaps you’ll recall when I wrote about how truly Special God has made each of us to be (not as sappy as that synopsis makes it sound); or two posts [one, two] about our strength being found in our weakness; or maybe you saw the post titled Christians Being Christian, and my aversion to gatherings where those of that ilk are present in greater numbers.

(If not, today might be a nice day to click those links and catch up?)

Perhaps as the Fall begins so many things anew, I will make a concerted (joyful) effort to put fingers to keyboard and once again process the thoughts that constantly churn in my head and heart. I love to share them (and in so doing, refine and learn from them) and I love to hear back from anyone in whom they might strike a similar chord—or a discordant one.

It will resume. The words have flowed for eleven years now. I don’t imagine they will ever cease completely, so long as God breathes his life into me, and there is Internet to share these stories by.

Thanks for reading along.

Content Creator

content-creator

So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27 (AMP)

In my life so far, I’ve always enjoyed creating. Whether it was a song, or a blog post here, or a book of those posts, or even a meal. All the way back to some of my earliest memories of making little books at my Grandma & Grandpa’s house with my craft-loving grandma—I’ve always been a creator.

Lots of times that reminds me of God, the Creator. I know, as the quote from Genesis reminds us above, that we are made in God’s image; we are like him. That probably includes the ability (and desire) to create. We are mini creators.

This can take all sorts of forms. Some create buildings, some create art, some create works of literature, some create new technologies. We are likely all wired, on some level, to create.

I’m guessing there is a hole in this very sweeping premise somewhere, but it does seem like a piece of the core of our being: we are made to create.

Which might be why I feel so restless recently.

For a long while, much of what I’ve been doing with my time is managing the creations of others. Sometimes I do this in my work, managing software and technology created by others, as well as maintaining business accounts and data. Other times it is the current stage of being the father of six incredible mini-creators, which requires much time and energy to sustain them as well as cheering on their creations. And, truthfully, often I find myself managing the dissemination of products that I created at some time in the past. In all of this, I am often neglecting time for my own creating.

(I do still find time for some pretty tasty culinary creations, though.) 🙂

Knowing this is good, and knowing that it’s likely only a season is also helpful, but I do think that there is a serious deficiency for me as a “content creator”. A deficiency that I am hoping to find ways to fill.

One is this blog. I love to write out thoughts. It may be that it inspires thinking in others, or hope, or faith, or action, but even if no one reads it, it does help me to write (create) it.

Another is music. I know that music is a part of my being. Intentionally sitting down at the piano or grabbing my guitar and spending time “creating” music is life-giving to my soul.

I’m also trying to be very intentional in writing a book I am working on (actually, a couple books, but I am focusing on one primarily).

However the opportunities present themselves, I really do believe that I need to be creating. I am made to create.

Are you? What is it you’re made to do? Are you doing it?

If you’re not, I’d recommend—from my current personal experience—to pursue it. Intentionally. Fervently.

I believe it’s important to be in the place you were made to be. May your week be full of chances to be who you were made to be and what you were made to do!

Stillness

Lake Tahoe - Calm Water

Quiet can sometimes indicate trouble. (Perhaps this is most true for parents of young children?)

When someone you love is quiet, it can cause you some concern. “Are you feeling okay? You seem so quiet…”

Other times quiet is necessary. We must stop to process. To think. Ruminate. Cogitate. Meditate.

To pray. Commune.

We read this morning from the book of Mark that when Jesus was most sought after by the throngs, he was off by himself. Remote. Distant.

Quiet.

There is silence here for the moment, for a variety of reasons. It’s somewhat peculiar that last calendar year was one of prodigious production for me, literarily, and then since late in twenty-thirteen, there has been naught but silence on these digital pages.

Are you feeling okay?

I am a child of God, loved more deeply than I can ever fathom. I am more than okay.

For now, I have no plans to resume publication of my thoughts, ruminations, and rumblings (or is that… grumblings?) but the archives beckon, no?

Peruse previous entries by year (2013, 2012… even 2003?) or by category: family, life with God, personal, government, or even tags like science and “Things That Are Weird“.

If you are in a season of silence, I pray it is productive. Don’t rush it. Enjoy and allow it to season you properly.

And remain—abide—in the stillness until life quickens once more.

Inviting Conversation

conversations

I recently read that from the inception of the blog, one of the best metrics of this communication medium is the community they generate.

To a degree I have experienced that, too. It’s always interesting to read and offer feedback to an article I’ve read around the net, interacting with the others who have done the same. (Note: Sometimes “interesting” doesn’t quite cover the experience, does it?)

Even here at GregsHead.net, it’s always interesting to hear stories sharing similar opinions or thoughts to what I reveal here from the inner workings of my cranium, as well as to hear differing opinions or questions.

Conversation is good. Especially when there is no agenda, just honest discussion of thoughts and opinions.

To that end, I’d like to invite you to jump in. I feel the nudge to start devoting time to writing out the things I’ve only been drafting for a while. (Do you realize there are a full eight-five, sad, forlorn draft posts waiting for me to give them figurative breath?)

I do not plan to check the stats to see how many people have viewed the various (though that can be interesting, too), nor will I check back to see if the post was “Liked” on Facebook or “Tweeted” on Twitter, etc. (Though that, too, can be interesting to monitor… apparently some of my more “Like”-able content has been this and this.)

What I do hope is that you’ll join in. There is a community of folks whom I hear from regarding these various and sundry ramblings posted to the hallowed … halls? of GregsHead.net. I’d like to encourage you to take a moment or two of your day and respond to the postings, and perhaps begin a conversation with other readers that way.

I will continue to publish my thoughts here, whether you are able to chime in, or not. Do you also know that this August will be the 10th anniversary of this blog. Nearly three quarters of a million words published (plus three books published from the writings first published here) … and several interactions along the way, too.

Let’s make it more.

I’m glad you’re here. I hope to hear from you more soon.

🙂

Communication Curmudgeon

texting-classI think I’m becoming ‘That Guy’. The old guy who laments the passing of the glory days of yesteryear, and lambasts the continuously degrading patterns of behavior exhibited by each successive generation. Yep. Sometimes, that’s me.

For example…

I find myself frequently commenting on my son’s tendency towards wearing his hat backwards, purposely wearing socks with plastic sandals, and other such “fashion trends”… (though, regarding the hat, I may not have a leg to stand on there, since I might have donned said headgear, in such a fashion, in my younger years.) 🙂

And perhaps the thing that most irks me of all the current trends in our culture (led predominantly by the younger crowd?) is the proclivity towards shortening phrases into acronyms or initialisms that somehow become words to all who are willing to accept such communication.

LOL is not a word, contrary to that very assertion by the Oxford English Dictionary!

My son has really taken a shine to expressing his creativity through writing. He’s always loved to read, and has an off-the-charts creative, outside-the-box mind, and lately he’s found an outlet for all of that in fiction writing. He’s working on several novels currently, and has completed a few short stories (including a Christmas-themed story just completed this week).

Good for him! He is definitely creative, full of ideas, and expresses himself fairly well for his young age. And he seems very willing to learn, receive instruction, and work towards bettering his technique and improving his craft.

One way he has chosen to do so is to connect with other writers in his age range. About a year ago, Ian invited several people he knew, as well as send out an open invitation via certain select channels, to gather monthly for the purpose of discussing current projects, receive honest/thoughtful critique, and also simply connect/network with people of a similar ilk. A small group of writing enthusiasts has formed and been a fun part of Ian’s and our life over the months since.

But, in that this group is comprised of youngsters aged 11-19, there have been occasions where the integrity of the English language has been somewhat compromised.

(Can you imagine?!)

“Words” such as ‘BTW’ and ‘LOL’ are frequently employed, when, I know on good authority that these young folks could certainly find much better ways to express their thoughts, if only just actually writing out what they are “saying” via the initialisms chosen. (Is it that hard to write, “By the way,”?)

I began this linguistic integrity campaign when my oldest son was first given access to a computer, set up with an instant messaging account, which he would use to communicate with me during my work days. (Interestingly, he’d message me at my desk, which is only two floors above where he was, in the same building…) I would remind him to use proper grammar, spelling, and sentence structure (as much as he knew), including capitalization and punctuation. There would often be do-overs, as well as instruction, and I think it has helped him form good writing habits.

And yet, ‘BTW’ is slowly becoming part of his lexicon. (By definition, can initialisms and acronyms be part of a lexicon?)

But I digress.

Here’s my main point: Words matter.

Should we care that texting shorthand, as well as probably all social media platforms, are pushing “words” like LOL, BTW, TTYL, BRB, etc into official English language dictionaries? I believe so. I know it’s probably overkill, overreaching, overreacting… over-everything. BUT, it seems to me that technology has made us lazy, and ignorant. I’m not suggesting that all who use popular slang acronyms/initialisms are ignorant; of course they are not. (Lazy perhaps, but not all ignorant.) So, with that knowledge, other than the obvious limitations of a device for informal communication—a cellphone with only a numeric keypad being one example—why would we use such ‘terminology’? (I use that word loosely.)

It surprised me to discover that such terms are actually being accepted into a respected, authoritative English dictionary. Insomuch as they are not actually words, rather a “word” created by using the first initial of a string of words (acronym/initialism), it seems paradoxical to include them there.

But, there they are. And I’m not sure anything I post here, will slow down the momentum of our technology-driven society towards “r” and “u” and numerals in place of their homonym (4, 2, 8, etc), and, the Oxford English Dictionary pronouncing “BFF” a word in the English language. One hundred forty characters, small (mostly unusable) keyboards, and instant communication leads us on towards a much lesser language, in my humble opinion. (Oh wait, I could just say, “IMHO”.) 🙂

An interesting observation in favor of embracing the evolution of our language was made in an article titled FYI: English language continues to evolve – OMG!, linked below. Here’s an excerpt from that:

The old fuddy-duddy in me wants to object to the inclusion of the likes of BFF and wassup (yes, seriously) in the most canonical record of the English language in existence. Meanwhile, the modernist in me recognises that language must always be a fluid thing. Where would we be if English was locked in a fixed state without the ability to introduce new words while others fall quietly into obsolescence? How would we describe PCs and CPUs? What cumbersome form of words would be required to explain the internet? Or a blog?

Indeed, such is the pace at which our inter-connected world changes, that it should be no surprise that our language continues to evolve with similar alacrity. New words and expressions should be cherished not cursed. After all, that William Shakespeare fellow invented new words – or converted verbs into nouns (and vice versa) – with regularity to serve his own purposes, many of which still exist in our contemporary vocabulary. It is thought that over 1,500 common words such as assassination, auspicious, bloody, fitful, invulnerable, obscene, road and suspicious were first used by the Bard. Not to mention expressions like ‘brave new world’ (The Tempest), ‘for goodness’ sake’ (Henry VIII), ‘hoist with his own petard’ (Hamlet), ‘star-crossed lovers’ (Romeo and Juliet), ‘pound of flesh’ (The Merchant of Venice) and ‘what the dickens’ (The Merry Wives of Windsor).

If it was good enough for Shakespeare, it’s good enough for me.

Certainly, as the world changes, new words are invented. However, shouldn’t they actually be words? Not unpronounceable initialisms? (One fine example of a new word from an acronym is the word laser, which was the shortened/simplified way of labeling the new technology Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.)

OK, (Uh oh! Another not-real-word!) enough curmudgeoning for the day. I do hope that you’ll take some time to browse the articles I found on this subject, listed below. I found them to be interesting, thought-provoking reading. And, of course, I will continue to strive to preserve the integrity of our language (both in verbal and even more so in print) despite cultural trends.

I guess that really does make me a Communication Curmudgeon.

Maybe I’ll make myself a t-shirt…


Related reading:

How To Write Good

There is no shortage of sharing these days thanks to the wonderful world wide web. I receive many forwarded emails from my dads, and I see many friends posting via Facebook and other such media various content created by others.

Below is one share that I decided must be shared again!

I’m not sure these rules are actually worth following (I’d say some are definitely not) but most of them got a good laugh out of me, and I think they will you, too.

The original list is longer than this. Google tells me that it was published by Frank Visco in the Writer’s digest in June 1986. I found a version that was posted March 20, 1995. (That’s near the infancy of the Web. Neat!)

Without further ado …

How To Write Good

  1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  5. One should never generalize.
  6. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  7. Be more or less specific.
  8. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  9. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  10. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  11. Who needs rhetorical questions?

To Write

I need to write.

And yet, I let my days go by without intentionally making that happen.

I have myriad reasons for it. Some practical, some less so. Quite often, I might just actually not have a moment long enough to flesh out these thoughts within me between all of the other things and people I am responsible for. Other times my heart is too burdened by the events of the day—and/or the current season of life—to allow the gates to be opened and the contents to spill forth upon paper; or, keyboard and data storage device, as it were.

But somehow when I take the time to pour forth my inner being through words chosen, crafted, formed in my mind and heart… somehow by that action my spirit is buoyed. My heart feels lighter, freer. It is because I am somehow made to be this way. Not just made to do this, but deeper. More true to me, as God fashioned me.

That’s not to say that I am somehow a great wordsmith or have honed any of this “way of being” into a craft or trade (or anything like it). My writing has at times inspired, encouraged, uplifted, even challenged other souls who may come across it, but in their essence, the times I take to write are meant for me. As I work out the thoughts that are nearly constantly “on” in my head, God speaks to my inner being and teaches me as the words form on the screen in front of my eyes.

It’s really quite humbling. Astonishing. Invigorating.

Again, this is more for me—likely—than for you, the reader.

I am also glad you are here, though. Because, even if your eyes should never come across this page… I write to you. I speak to you who listen intently. Who ponder these thoughts with me. Who allow all prejudices and biases and other cages we make for thoughts and realities and possibilities to be absent from this place; you allow your mind to wander with me down ways perhaps less (or even never) trodden.

It’s good to have company. It’s good to not be alone.

I must say, that I find God is recently stripping away façades that I myself have placed on others around me. Not anything of their own doing. Really and truly these are of my own making. It springs from my eternal optimism. (A friend once referred to it as PermaJube. I think he may have referred to me as PermaJube…) I always think the best of everyone, to the point of forgetting that we are all fallen, all broken. And so I hold people to higher standards than they can possibly achieve—unwittingly—until some event, direct or indirect, shows me that they are just as broken, weak, fragile, and needy as me.

And that leaves me feeling alone. Because, even in my brokenness, I know that I am redeemed. I am restored, healed, I have hope. And for the most part, I live that hope. What I’m seeing around me (I believe by God’s great grace given to me) is that so many of us don’t live in that. I’m sure that even though I feel that I am living that way, Jesus will reveal to me more and more deeply the ways that I can live in the fullness of life that is him. But somehow, in this season, I am seeing the frailty of even the people I most cherish and respect.

And again I am alone.

Just Jesus remains. Just he and I, navigating this path of brokenness. He, and I, and words. Words which meagerly attempt to capture the essence of these spiritual realities that my consciousness (and my unconsciousness?) merely grazes the outer edge of a much deeper, greater sea of truth that I can never really know.

But he does. He is that Truth. That Life. That Reality.

I’m so glad I have him. And that he has me. That’s even better.

And so I write. And by writing, by giving “voice” to these thoughts in my head, he reminds me of truth. Of him. I breathe hope. I exhale grief, weight, burden. I breathe him.

I am not alone.

I’m glad you’re here, too. I know you are frail and weak like me. I know we do have days when we feel more sure-footed, but I also know we look in the heart mirror at times and see the full blackness of us. But we have hope. We are loved. Even then. At our worst (or at what we think is our best)… we are loved.

You are. And I am. And we are not alone. We have hope.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. —John 14:16

And, since we have hope, we ought to live in the light. We can be free to be whom God made us to be. So I will write. I will. I must. And whatever it is that God has made you to be, be that.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. —Ephesians 2:10

Be you. As I am able to live in hope and light and freedom, I will endeavor to also be “me”. Thankfully, it’s not just me, but Christ in me.

It’s much better that way. As it was meant to be.