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I finished The Iliad today. I’ve been reading it for months and as excited as was to get through the tome, I felt right away like something in my life was missing after I finally turned the last page.

It’s like I had made a friend, an interesting and beautiful friend that frustrated me to no end but taught me so much. And now, suddenly, after all we had been through, and just as we had really begun to find our groove and understand one another, that friend has to go away.

We’ve come to the end of our time together though when I am ready I may walk the same path with them again and look and learn again with them if I choose. Sadly, though our time was certainly eye-opening and moving, I know I will not be able to put myself through the great task of loving them again for a long time.

I am grieving for sure, but I’m more anxious than ever to make a new friend of another tale. I had planned to pick up The Alchemist tonight, but I remembered I had 100 or so pages left of Nietzsche’s On the Geneology of Morals. Better to finish it and leave all my reading failures firmly behind.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

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I woke up this morning feeling sure that it was Wednesday and that I had already worked two days this week. I was incredibly disappointed to realize it was only Tuesday when I arrived at my workplace. It sucks to be so far away from the weekend still, but part of me is also happy to have more time to make some progress since yesterday was such a bad writing day.

I’m still struggling to find my writing groove, but it’s getting easier. I’ve started two drafts for Zen and Pi this week, though I’m not sure either fit into my narrower—but somehow still hard to define—niche there. I’m trying not to worry too much about that though. The goal is only to overcome my doubts and unrealistic expectations and learn how to feel good while writing again. For that, all I have to do is write and publish, write and publish, write and publish, again and again.

It’s getting easier but it needs to start getting better if I’m going to get anywhere in 2019.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

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This morning was a rough one. I made a few little mistakes and my anxiety magnified them until I was crushed to tears under the weight of my guilt.

You know, it’s bad enough to obsess and overthink so much of your own life and actions but having anxiety plus a significant other, and friends, and coworkers, and family to obsess and overthink about too is almost too much to bear. It’s bad enough when I let myself down, but it’s god damn catastrophic when I let the people I love and care about down.

Of course, I didn’t really let anyone down. Not the way my mind is convinced I did. I ran a little late in one instance and didn’t pay close enough in another. Both actions are probably long forgiven and forgotten by the people they affected, but I’ll lay awake an extra hour or two tonight thinking of all the ways I can stop myself from ever making such stupid mistakes again.

As if there weren’t a million more ways for me to screw it up again. As if I even needed to try so hard to be perfect.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

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My little brother called me today. He called to tell me about his plans and big dreams and to ask me if I thought they were at all possible. Of course, I told him yes, and, of course, I meant it, and I was surprised to find that all the while I felt like I was saying it too myself too.

I admit, even though he’s younger than me I wish I could be more like him. I wish I had his ambition, his energy, and his positive outlook. I think sometimes I need to hear from him as much as he needs reassurance from me.

(It’s nice to know he still needs me but being the oldest can make you a little bitter too. It’s hard not to have someone to give you the guidance that you are called on to give again and again. Life isn’t fair, but every side of the fence is green in its own way I suppose.)

Maybe as we age it helps to keep the younger generation close, to keep us hoping and dreaming with them. Maybe there is value in youth we lose sight of as we progressively value experience more and more. Maybe there really is something in each of use to respect, admire, and look up to, regardless of age, wisdom, life experience, or lack thereof.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

If We Were Having Coffee // The Longest Short Week

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I apologize for my lateness but I’m feeling a little under the weather today. I woke up with a pounding headache and unexplained nausea. So, I made some ginger tea, took a dose of ibuprofen, and put myself back to bed for the rest of the morning. I woke up the second time feeling much better, but not quite 100%. I have no appetite and there is still pressure in my head.

I’m a little reluctant on the coffee and worried it’ll make me feel worse but I know a headache of another kind will come on if I don’t have a cup or two. Caffiene withdrawl is nothing nice.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’m using the Moka pot and experimenting with using half blond and half medium roast for something a with a little more caffeine that’s a little richer in flavor. Let’s talk about last week.

“The worst coffee I had ever tasted, but it was hot. I drank three cups and sat there an hour, until I was completely dry.”

Charles Bukowski, Post Office

If we were having coffee I would tell you that our first week back to work was very long and quite stressful, and we only had to be there for four days, not five.

All around me there were talks of budget overages, overtime cuts, and management shake-ups, all while we deal with a continued staff shortage. I did my best to avoid the circles of gossip and negativity. I did my best maintain perspective. I reminded myself that these problems were well above my pay grade and that as long as I showed up, ready to work and show these kids positivity and compassion, I was doing all that I could and all that was being asked of me.

I’m proud of myself for getting back to my morning routine so well…mostly. I wish I had stuck to my usual sleep schedule while I was on break so it wouldn’t have been so hard, but I managed to wake up on time every day and to make it to work on time despite the sudden change. I’m still struggling to go to bed on time, though, but it’s getting better.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that while it wasn’t a particularly good writing week, it was definitely a good reading week.

I am very close to finishing The Iliad and I love it more and more the more I read. It’s so sad, so full of death, and pain, and grief but being a good book doesn’t mean being a happy story. I feel all that pain and grief, and fear and bloodlust myself and that is what makes it so good. This week I was even brought to tears while reading and I don’t know exactly how any other book in the future will make me feel this much again.

At the same time, I’m ready to move on from Troy and the Greeks and read something new. I have about half of On the Genealogy of Morals by Nietzsche to get through and Emily Dickenson’s poems have been waiting patiently for months on my nightstand next to The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Today my girlfriend brought home The Alchemist to cheer me up and I’m two more Saga volumes behind!


If we were having coffee I would tell you that Dry January is getting easier and easier every day. I don’t feel so bummed out by not drinking and my first thought when I come home from work is no longer on a glass of wine or bottle of hard cider. It’s getting easier to handle bad days and to imagine having fun and being social without alcohol.

I’m a little hurt that my friends have postponed most of our get-togethers until February. What if I decide to continue not drinking through February and beyond too? It seems that I don’t just have to change my own thinking around alcohol, but drag my friends along too.

This weekend I was particularly worried about sobriety cutting into my fun after I got tickets to an “M. Night Shyamalan-athon” at our favorite movie theater. We were going to be sitting through three movies—Unbreakable, Split, and his latest to round out the trilogy, Glass. We usually drink at these kinds of film events and sitting through three movies without a celebratory cocktail sounded like a real drag.

We did good though! and we had a lot of fun. I was a little jealous watching the table next to me order round after round of mimosas and beers so I ordered a peach Italian soda and a Mexican milkshake to feel a little fancy. We had a great time and didn’t go home disappointed in ourselves.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that the movie marathon was absolutely amazing!

Unbreakable has always been one of our favorites and watching Split again but this time on the big screen made me realize that it was also quite the masterpiece. Glass brought me to tears and it ended the only way it could have.

What I mean is, if these characters belong to some other writer and director beside M. Night Shyamalan, then maybe it could have been different, but these characters are part of his universe and story and if you have seen many of his movies you will understand that this is the way the story has to be told.

The reviews were harsh, but I am encouraging everyone to ignore them, see the film, and let it sit with you before you make up your mind.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that the sun has sunk below the horizon and the smell of delicious eggplant parmesan coming from the kitchen let me know it’s time to get going.

I hope that you had a good week and that the new year continues to find you well. I hope that your resolutions are still going strong. If they aren’t, I hope you know they were not failures. You simply weren’t ready and the time simply wasn’t right. I hope you know you can start again.

Until next time.


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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Spent a whole day at the movie theater for an M. Night Shyamalan marathon! They showed Unbreakable, Split, and his newest film, Glass. Unbreakable is an absolute masterpiece, and I walked away with a greater appreciation for Split. Glass was amazing and I cannot for the life of me understand the harsh reviews. Ignore them and go see it.

Before the films, there was a Q and A with the big man himself live streamed in the theater. It was a great session where he talked a lot about his own mistakes and lack of courage with his art. There was one answer he gave that really struck me.

He was asked about how much of him is in his characters. He said he couldn’t be sure. There was maybe some but being a part of your characters, and them being part of you wasn’t the important part at all.

He said, as a writer (or as an actor) you have to be ready not just to understand your characters and their actions, but you have to be ready to defend them. You have to tell the world why and not from a place of neutrality, but a place of pure emotion and bias, even the bad stuff. We have to stand firmly on their side and shout to the world their reasoning and defense.

I don’t write fiction—I don’t write much of anything at all at the moment—but I have always wished I did. Coming up with characters and their stories always felt like impossible tasks but maybe I am not doing enough looking and defending?

P.S. I was good and stuck to my promise not to drink. I’m very proud of myself and I have a feeling that it’s only going to keep getting easier.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

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The snow fell all day. It’s still falling and the hourly forecast says it’ll be falling through the early morning. The inches we shoveled from the driveway have already been replenished by the storm.

Tomorrow we are going to a movie marathon at our favorite movie theater. So that means an early night for us. The marathon begins just after 10:00AM and the roads will be worse than they were today. We’ll have to go to bed early, on a Friday night. I’m excited but bummed too. I like staying up

Dry January is going well so far but tomorrow will be a challenge. We’re going to watch 6+ hours of movies in one sitting in a place we always order a drink in and I don’t know if I can not drink. I know it can be fun without alcohol and I honestly can’t come up with a better reason to be so weak except that things are more fun with alcohol.

Knowing (admitting) this weakness only makes me want to be stronger. I don’t want to let myself down. There will be plenty of opportunities after January for alcohol. If I still want it.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

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For a short week, this really turned out to be a long week, and it isn’t even over yet! Tomorrow is Friday and if I can make it through the unpleasant parts with positivity and make it through the boring parts with focus, if I can manage to hold on to some energy, it can be a good day.

I’ve never been very good at Friday’s though. Everyone gets better as the week goes on, but I always get worse. This morning I woke up late, my stomach hurt bad, there was no coffee to make, and I was nearly late to work.

Tomorrow I plan to simply breathe. I’ll lose myself in my reading, write as much as I can, and keep my headphones in as much as I need. I’ll keep looking forward to our extra special movie date this Saturday, and mark at least one big thing off of my to-do list.

Sometimes the only way to have a good day is to avoid, ignore, and outright deny the bad.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

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I secretly hate that time of night when I must close my eyes and leave consciousness behind for sleep. Those 6 to 8 hours a night are more than I want to give up of my life. For all my brooding and pessimism, my misery and despair, my complaints and cursing, it turns out that my reality (as ordinary and monotonous as it may seem from the outside) has actually exceeded my wildest dreams.

I’ll need to be more imaginative and desirous in my dreams going forward, I know, but just…not yet. For now—a now I’ve clung to for years and a now I hope will last a long, long while more—I’ll allow myself this utter happiness.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

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The day flew by just fast enough. I enjoyed all the good parts and the bad parts were over quickly and with little complaint. Through it all, some words managed to get written and others were read.

I had forgotten just how beautiful The Iliad is. Today I began Book XVI: The Death of Patroclus and lines 184-192 struck me particularly:

“Meanwhile, Achilles strode mid the shelters, giving all
Of his Myrmidons orders to arm, after which they rushed out
Like so many flesh-rending wolves, great beasts unspeakably
Savage—wolves that have killed a huge horned stag
In the mountains and gorged themselves on his flesh till the jaws
Of all were dripping with blood, and off the pack runs
To lap with their slender lean tongues from a spring of dark water,
Belching up scarlet gore and still quite ferocious,
Though now their bellies are bulging.

Every time I read passages like this I’m forced to stop reading for a time. This is why it’s taking me so long to get through the book. I read things like the words above and I just can’t let them go. I can’t move on. I have to let the words roll over and allow my imagination to have its way.

I’ll try to pick it back up tomorrow (I’m reluctant because I know what awaits poor Patroclus and Achilles) and to face my own words again too.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren