132 // The Weekend Writing Plan

It was a good writing day, I just wish I’d had more of it to devote to writing rather than to chores.

The goal going forward is to wake up at 6:00 AM on both Saturday and Sunday and give 4 hours completely to writing. If there is anything to do later in the day, that’s fine. I’ll have written for four hours and justified doing anything else at all for the rest of the day. If there is nothing else to do I’ll have hit the ground running and earned a mid-morning nap before beginning again.


These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

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Currently // March 2019: Seeds of Possibility

“March is the Month of Expectation.
The things we do not know—
The Persons of prognostication
Are coming now—
We try to show becoming firmness— 
But pompous Joy
Betrays us, as his first Betrothal
Betrays a Boy.” 

― Emily Dickinson, March is the Month of Expectation

March has never been a month that carried much weight or meaning for me. There are no birthdays in March. There are no major holidays, or none that I am interested in anyway. The only thing that marks the month for me, is the long-awaited start of spring and the beginning of the part of the year when I feel the happiest and the most free.

This particular March was much more stressful than most but somehow turned better than most too. My fiance and I accomplished a lot together and I made a lot of progress on my own though not exactly in the ways I’d hoped. It wasn’t a good writing month, but it was a good learning month and a good planning month. I gained confidence in March and began to practice the art of discipline. March was a start, I hope.

And now it’s time for April, my favorite month of the year. My birthday month and the time when winter’s grip loses its hold, and the air grows friendlier and love buds in our heart as the leaves do on the trees. April is when I was born and constitutes a kind of second New Year for me. It’s when I begin the trip around the sun again and deep and fervent thanks for whatever may come.

But before I do, here is what I am currently…

Writing little blog things. I’m still finding my feet here and still trying to figure out how to revive Zen and Pi, but I’m not giving up. I’m still sharing my daily journals, though I have to stop letting the digital replace the physical, and working on drafts book reviews and personal essays. By summer, I’ll be publishing proper long-form blog posts. I’m exploring submitting to other publications again too and making writing my second job rather than something I do when I feel like it. I’m scheduling time rather than waiting for time and working at the hard parts rather than doing what comes easily.

Making an effort. There are things in my life I have taken for granted and gotten lazy about. My relationships, my goals, my home, my work, and even my health have all been slowly falling into a state of disrepair on account of simple carelessness and fatigue. I’ve let things go and left things half finished telling myself I would come back and when I didn’t I fooled myself by saying there was plenty of time. But when you leave things they do not wait for you to return, they simply fall apart while you are away. Though we may grow weary, there are just some things in life that require a constant effort. Like a heartbeat, if you stop, they die.

Planning a possible NaNoWriMo project! My last NaNoWriMo attempt failed miserably, and I haven’t had the courage to try again since but this year I’m rethinking not only the genre, topic, and feeling of my project but also intended audience and means of publication. Suddenly more possibilities mean more possible and I want to give myself the best chance by starting now. I want to throw my future self the life jacket she is going to need to stay afloat. I’m taking notes, collecting and cataloging ideas, and keeping an outline in mind.

Anticipating another awesome birthday month! Most people I know hate their birthdays. They dread them, minimize them, and treat them like any other day, and for the life of me, I cannot understand it! My birthday is the most important day of the year to me because if I had not been born none of the other things in my life would matter. I wouldn’t be here to love, to learn, to hate, to grow, to experience any of it. So I celebrate not just my birth but every year I have been gifted on this planet because there have been so many times I could have left it. This year I’m planning a big dinner with at least 12 friends in addition to the family dinners and a planned “perfect day” with my wife to be.

Reading Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, still. I expect to finish Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race within days, but Emily Dickinson may take the rest of the year or more since I’d like to analyze and understand every poem. I’ve just finished One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and have to say it was possibly the most beautiful book I have ever read. I had a hard time with it at first but once I chose to trust that Márquez was leading me the right way and that he would reveal the answers to my questions at the right time I had a much easier go. Next on my list is Notes From the Underground and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoevsky and We the Animals by Justin Torres.

Watching American Gods on Starz and Barry on HBO in preparation for the new season premiere this weekend. I’m also watching The Magicians, my new guilty pleasure and Grey’s Anatomy my old guilty pleasure I cannot wait to be rid of. Honestly, though for the last few months, I haven’t been in the mood for TV but I know that will very soon change. Many of my favorite shows are returning this month including Game of Thrones, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Killing Eve, and The Chi. My weekends will once again be spent on the couch.

Learning a lot! I got to attend a conference for work and while I can’t say I learned a ton but I really was inspired and walked away with a lot to think about. I’ve also been making up for lost time starting my New Year’s Resolution to take some Massive Online Open Courses. My goal is to complete 7 for the year and I already have 2 done! Granted, they were short and sweet ones, but I’m already enrolled in 2 longer ones and I’ll start a 3rd next month. To keep track, and to encourage others on their own journey of independent learning I made a new MOOC list page to track all the courses I’m taking and the ones I’ve completed.

Feeling very tired. March might not have been important, but it sure was busy! We had my brother’s wedding; we made progress in planning our own wedding, and we spent a lot of sleepless nights stressing about both. Some of my family came to visit and my fiance was out of town for nearly a week visiting her’s. I already mentioned the conference plus we had spring break though we both worked through it. The city shut down for 2 days because of a blizzard and my fiance had 2 photography jobs to work and edit for. March was packed and I am in desperate need of rest though my expectations for relief in April are depressingly low.

Reflecting on this episode of The Partially Examined Life on Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. I had heard the name Hannah Arendt before but I never knew how influential a philosopher and thinker she was. I’m intrigued by her argument not that evil is common in the world, but that each of us is capable of doing great evil for no other reason but that we are stupid, strongly inclined to follow along, and far too eager to please. It’s far easier to fall into committing or enabling cruelties to occur than we are willing to accept and this is why we will go on committing and enabling them. She believes only through acknowledging this weakness can we prevent future mass atrocities from happening.

Fearing the next election cycle. I know it’s a bit early to be anxious but looking at the scandals rocking the current administration, the unwavering support of the far-right, the ever-widening field on the left, and the rise of hate and violence all over the world, things are starting to just feel bad. I don’t predict the world will end, but I do predict a lot more turmoil and a lot more lives lost. The scary part is when you look at who is being affected and whose lives are being lost you can recognize your own face in their place. I’m afraid, not just of what will happen to me but how my character may be tested too. I’m afraid for my loved ones, and for a future time when we will all be judged by subsequent generations. 

Hating the American healthcare system. If you’ve been following along, you know that I have struggled through the month of March to change from one medication to another to treat my ulcerative colitis. Because the medication is so expensive I have to apply for financial aid through drug companies, each with a different set of requirements and each with a different procedure for reimbursement. This time I had the added stress of my insurance provider putting a hold on my request so they could decide if they wanted to pay for it and all the while I’m slowly slipping into a flare. I’m happy it’s over, and I know it could have been worse, but I still hated it. It was still frustrating, stressful, and scary. The American healthcare system leaves you feeling powerless, confused, and afraid.

Loving my fiance. I love her every day of every month but this past month we’ve really had to come together as a team, support each other, push each other, and comfort each other through a lot. I don’t talk about everything here, some stories aren’t mine to tell, but I can tell you that I know I am one of the lucky ones. No matter what life throws at us, no matter how uncertain the world gets, no matter how much we fight amongst ourselves, we know there is somewhere where we are always safe. That love and safety has been crucial to my healing and enriched my life beyond words. 

Needing nothing but to believe in myself. The more I look at my life the more I see I’ve come quite accidentally to live nearly the life I want and need to live. I am lucky not just to have love, and work, and passion, but to have such small and quiet aspirations that can easily be pursued even if they cannot so be easily achieved. I just need to know I can do it. I need to quiet the doubts, silence the self-hate speech, and stop trying to divine what other people think of me. I have everything I need to be who it is I am trying to be, including the strength. I only need to believe it.

Hoping that more and more of our schools become places that are welcoming, supportive, and safe for our children. This month I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation on the benefits of moving toward a reflective and restorative based disciplinary system in our schools. Our current disciplinary system doesn’t teach kids to be disciplined adults, it teaches them to be compliant and complicit adults. I want to see more social-emotional training that teaches kids how to process emotions, build relationships, and connect with their communities. I’d love to see more schools, smaller, poorer schools servicing the most vulnerable youth being given the political and financial support they need to teach children not just how to pass tests, but how to live in this world, together.


So, yeah, all in all, March was a month of many things. It was busier than the two that came before and I have a feeling that while it doesn’t feel like it meant much now, come the end of the year I will look back and see that seeds of possibility were planted here.

But what about you? How did March treat you? Did winter hold tight til the last? What good did you do? What trials did you meet? Are you excited for April?

Let me know in the comments.


The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love

Photo by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash

040 // An Early Valentine’s Day Celebration

I woke up with a lot of anxiety. There was so much to do, so little time to do it in, and what little time there slipped away from us and the next thing I knew we were running late, or so it felt. I was tense, I was frustrated, I was angry, and suddenly, everything turned out just fine.

We made it to our early Valentine’s Day brunch even earlier than we’d planned. We opted to drink an entire bottle of champagne’s worth of mimosas between us which was both a very good idea and a very bad one. After brunch was over—and still with plenty of time to spare—we walked over to the Opera House for a very fun Colorado Ballet performance of The Wizard of Oz

Afterward, we headed home to spend the rest of the day doing nothing but lounging on the couch and watching stupid movies together until we can’t keep our eyes open anymore. We can’t hold out as long as we used to. We’re getting older now and busy days and late nights have become mutually exclusive.

So, we’re calling it a night and heading off to bed early feeling very much in love.


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

039 // Writing Has to Be Work

I may not always like the things I have to do. I may be tired and grouchy a lot of the time, but I pride myself on always doing my best work regardless of where I am emotionally.

I do this for my day job easily. When the work is hard or frustrating or unfulfilling it doesn’t I put a smile on and do everything I can to exceed all expectations, even my own. It’s my superpower, one of many but I need to learn how to take that same attitude and apply it to writing.

I need to be able to do it when it’s difficult, or frustrating, or unfulfilling too. I want to sit down, exhausted and out of ideas, put on a smile and exceed all expectations, especially my own. I think writing has to become a job for me, even if it is only so in my imagination and not on paper.


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

If We Were Having Coffee // Strong Enough to Examine, and Change

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

Waking up was a little easier today than most Sundays. I think knowing that I have an extra day away from work tomorrow makes it easier for me to get this day going. A three-day weekend really makes it clear how much a four-day work week would do for the human psyche and soul.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining and the temperatures are rising fast. It’s going to be the warmest week of the day and I plan to get out and soak up the sun while I can. So, quickly now, let’s talk about last week.

“Presently the small of coffee began to fill the room. This was morning’s hallowed moment. In such a fragrance the perversity of the world is forgotten, and the soul is inspired with faith in the future…”

Halldór Laxness, Independent People

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was good, I think. It was certainly not bad, but it was long and tiring. I’m beginning to believe the problem is with me and not with work or the world. I’ve been feeling especially tired for weeks now and as someone who has a chronic illness, I have learned to pay attention to my body and to take action when something is wrong. Better to make a few appointments and run a few tests now before things get bad.

I’m at the halfway point between last months infusion day and next month’s. I’ve had a theory now that my infusion days are set too far apart and that I would do better at six-week intervals rather than eight. This month I’m tracking my symptoms and energy levels so I can present my case to the powers that be and get my treatment plan revised.

In the meantime, I’m taking one day every week to simply rest. I got the idea last week from Eclectic Alli’s Weekend Coffee Share post and gave it a try myself yesterday. I talked about it a bit last night already but I want to say again to anyone that needs to hear it, acknowledging that you need to rest, giving yourself permission to do so, and even seeking a little reassurance from loved ones as I did with my fiance, can really go a long way.

I was able to rest without anxiety and without guilt. I was able to really rest.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week was an okay writing week. It was better than last week, but I’m still struggling to finish the drafts I start and I still haven’t begun work on my larger projects. This coming week I’m going to keep on doing what I am doing and trusting that I will keep getting better as long as I keep stringing words together either on the screen or on the page. I have to trust in the long run and broaden my focus from the day-to-day.

I’m not really disappointed though because even though it might have been a less than ideal writing week, it was a stellar reading week! I finished both Homer’s The Iliad and On the Genealogy of Moral by Friedrich Nietzsche, two books I had failed for months to get through in 2018. I started The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s very different from my last two reads but I think that is how I proceed best through books by jumping from one genre or time period to another radically different.

Next, I’ve got The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, then a couple of volumes of Saga comics, and then The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that we’re over halfway through Dry January and I am finally seeing some benefits. I’ve lost weight, a surprising amount of weight and I do feel like I am sleeping better through the night than I have in a long, long time.

I’m starting to think now of if, and how, I will return to alcohol once the month is over. I’ve broken my dependence on the need for alcohol to trigger a relaxing response after a hard or frustrating day at work. I no longer need to come home and pour a glass of wine or make a margarita on those especially hard days. I no longer feel that social gatherings or events require alcohol to be fun. I feel like I have a little more choice about when I drink, and I don’t want to lose that.

Going forward, I will regulate alcohol to the realm of “special occasion”. It will be a once a week or less indulgence. When I purchase alcohol I will buy in smaller quantities so that I don’t have so much to “get through”.

Drinking alcohol isn’t inherently a bad thing, and while I did indulge regularly, I didn’t and still do not, consider my relationship to alcohol to be problematic. It’s like sugar or fast food, or coffee even, it just became a habit and I want for all my habits to be a little less automatic. I’m proud of myself for being strong enough to examine and change.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I enjoy chatting with you the morning is moving on toward midday and I’ve got shopping to do and maybe a lunch date with my lady if I can leave soon enough.

I hope you had a wonderful week. I hope you made some progress and if you experienced any setbacks; I hope you know you can start again as many times as you need. Get out and see the sun if you can, and rest without one iota of guilt if you can’t, okay?

Until next time.


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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

017//365

It was a bad writing day, but it’s okay. Tomorrow is Friday and this weekend will be three days long and knowing that makes everything a little bit brighter.

I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to this long weekend from work. The days since we’ve been back from Christmas break have been so long and as time slows, the stress grows, or maybe it’s the other way around?

We have an appointment to tour a wedding venue and I plan to catch up on some reading and finish up the drafts I started this week. We might try to find a project to do around the house, or maybe run some long neglected errands but I sincerely hope not.

I don’t want to do anything but settle into my “creativity room” for a few days and force myself focus long enough to finally feel like I’ve gotten somewhere this month.

I’ve just got one more day to go. One last day to do it right, and then plenty of time to make up for failing.


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

015//365

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