Day 187: My Bride Paints Octopuses

Fun fact, in English the plural form of octopus is octopuses, octopodes is the old Greek plural, and octopi is simply incorrect all around unless you yourself are an octopus because it’s inclusive. There’s your random bit of trivia for the day!

My bride is an artist. A pretty darn good one in my opinion. We’re both animal lovers but I’ve got a passion for weird and wonderful creatures. Octopuses have been something of a running joke with us that’s now transcended humor to become a symbol of happiness for us. Once we decided to move to an island my bride painted an octopus. It hangs on the wall of our living room. Our conversation this morning over breakfast and coffee turned to the painting and the others around it. She thinks of octopuses when she thinks of me and is painting. I’m flattered.

Her painting is the header image for this post.

My Bride Paints Octopuses

Day 169: The Osprey’s Identity

We have an osprey who’s territory overlaps the land next to our home. Every now and then we spot him hunting or surveying his domain from a branch or light pole. Gorgeous raptors. They have a crest of feathers on their head and dark markings around their eyes, which got me thinking about crowns and masks and identity. I doubt the osprey much cares what we think about who he is, but what paradoxes do we carry in our own identities and why?

The Osprey’s Identity

Day 153: Pressure to Perform

I am a writer. I write poetry and novels. Stories are my passion. Have been since I was a child.

I use pen names, pseudonyms, as much for marketing as to allow myself freedom to fail and be detached from my work. I’ve been taking steps this year to remove myself from that fear-driven mentality. I don’t think that I’ll ever give up pen names–as a self-publishing author they’re useful for brand recognition and marketing–but there are many ways to handle them and mindset matters.

Those thoughts got me thinking about other kinds of performers this morning. The strength that some of them generate by virtue of having to face that pressure to be perfect and doing their jobs anyway. What if they didn’t have to? Would they, and we as those who enjoy their performances, be better or worse for it?

Pressure to Perform

Day 90: The Rebel’s New Cause

I was talking to my bride this morning and she told me about how a nutritionist blogger’s post stirred up a powerful emotional reaction in people. One of the most common responses to her post, apparently, was some variation of “don’t tell us what to do.”

That’s the battle cry for every US citizen, isn’t it? We are a nation of rebels and independent spirits–this is the cornerstone of our cultural identity. It’s why the American Revolution is such an all encompassing focus in our history classrooms.

The newest generations born into this tradition have an absolutely wonderful problem: “What do we rebel against?”

For all of its many problems and our nostalgia, the world has never been a better place and it’s getting better. It’s not perfect, but it IS improving. American citizens born into this world have less to struggle against and with no clear opposition or enemy, many turn upon each other and the previous generations, with whom there is a growing technological and cultural gap.

It is not my intention to villainize the younger generations–far from it. I sympathize. Ours is a nation of rebels, we bring our children up to be rebels, and there’s no clear enemy to rebel against or cause to fight for. The quest now is finding our cause, and it’s not an easy one because finding a cause to truly believes means finding yourself.

The Rebel’s New Cause

Day 69: Empty Word

Thinking today on communication again, on words and writing and the ideas and concepts that give them meaning. Didn’t intend to go into labels with this poem, but it sort of sprang up. It seems to me a natural consequence of what happens when we embrace symbols while abandoning their meaning.

Empty Word