The Muse

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Calling All Entrepreneurs, or Maybe I’m Whistling Dixie


 

For you Entrepreneurs, I am passing on information I got from one of my favorite writing gurus Steven Pressfield. He borrowed it from Dan Sullivan, a Strategic coach.

 

(So, this is he said, he said, she said.) 

 

Sullivan says that every entrepreneur must make this statement: 

 

“I will expect no remuneration until I have created value for someone else.”

 

(That just says you shouldn’t expect to be paid unless you give your precipitant something of value. It’s doesn’t say you shouldn’t create to give value to yourself.)

 

To further quote: “Create value” is a hard-boiled business term. There’s no art to it. No romance. But you and I, as writers and dancers and actors and photographers, live exactly by that dynamic—whether we realize it or not.

 

“We write a book. It’s got to find readers. It’s got to sell. It has to ‘create value’ for the person who lays out hard American greenbacks for the privilege of scanning through its pages. Otherwise, we’re not artists; we’re artistes. (A person with artistic pretensions.) We’re living in a dream world.”

 

 

For a long time, I have written because I liked being in a “Zone.” That is going with the flow, entering into a no-time space. But if being in the zone doesn’t produce anything of value, then I might as well be meditating. At least not expect to be paid for spewing my thoughts onto paper.

 

This is a hard look at the facts.

 

“Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t” (The title of one of Pressfield’s books.) Not that you shouldn’t write; you should keep doing it until your work isn’t sh*t. That’s his point.

 

 

 

I’ve followed blogs, only to have them drift away, or I got tired of them and just stopped reading. 

 

I know those writers have put time and effort into writing their posts. They are sharing their lives, but readers, of which I am one, have so much time, and where we use it becomes of primary importance. 

 

I’m sure that applies to you as well.

 

I wonder, as a blogger, if I have added value. 

 

Yes, at times.

 

Some say blogs are passe’. I don’t know. Seth Godin, a primer blogger, blogs every day and says that everyone ought to. It’s a process. It teaches us to observe, to think of something every day that we haven’t thought of a million times before. But that’s for our own edification.

 

I do believe that expressing oneself creatively has value to oneself whether anyone sees it or not. Most creatives who are are expressing themselves in some manner, are not out in the streets raising a ruckus. They just love doing whatever they are doing—writing video games, making videos, painting, sewing, knitting, painting, you know, whatever.

 

As a blogger, I’ve been learning, and I am grateful to all the readers who have traveled with me. 

 

I’m at a crossroads. Should I keep blogging, or is it time to move on?

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Blog, June 21, 2022


Is this the longest day of the year? It was on the day I married.

On that June 21, it was Sunday, the longest day of the year, Father’s Day, plus my honey's and my wedding, all rolled into one. My father-law said after three sons, he finally got a daughter.

The summer Solstice is today, the day with the longest amount of sunshine.

 

 

Once in a conversation with a young man fresh out of high school, he was complaining about the plans his parents had for him. In the course of the discussion, I used the word "Liberal."

 

He did a slight double-take. I quickly said that the term was not political in meaning. Perhaps "progressive" or "allowing" would be a better word.

 

Since that encounter, I had wondered when the word "Liberal" became a dirty word. 

 

It's a tainted buzz-word like the word "Evolution," which simply means change over time. (I'm not debating that issue.)

 

I remember a young "Liberal" President who inspired an entire generation of young people to go out and make a better world. 

 

Excuse me if I repeat myself, for this encounter is emblazoned on my brain.

 

Once in an encounter group, a young man, a white kid who had grown up in Africa, among tears, told the group how alone he felt. In Africa, he said, the kids ran together. We put our arms around each other and laughed. He missed that free abandon.

 

From the back of the room came a voice in Swahili. We soon learned that it meant, "Hello, Brother."

 

The kid fell apart, and the people in the room jumped to their feet,  hugging the kid, hugging each other, crying. 

 

The man was Bill Fisher, a dear friend, my writing buddy, and now deceased. (Darn.) He was a Kennedy kid and had been in the Peace Corps in Africa and thus learned Swahili.

 

 This is from Kennedy’s “Liberal” speech:

 

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal."

 

"But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I’m proud to say I’m a "Liberal."

John F. Kennedy, Acceptance of the New York Liberal Party NominationSeptember 14, 1960

 

"Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process."-JFK

 

From JFK’s same “Liberal” speech:

 

I believe also in the United States of America, in the promise that it contains and has contained throughout our history of producing a society so abundant and creative and so free and responsible that it cannot only fulfill the aspirations of its citizens, but serve equally well as a beacon for all mankind. I do not believe in a superstate. I see no magic in tax dollars which are sent to Washington and then returned. I abhor the waste and incompetence of large-scale federal bureaucracies in this administration as well as in others. I do not favor state compulsion when voluntary individual effort can do the job and do it well. But I believe in a government which acts, which exercises its full powers and full responsibilities.

Monday, June 13, 2022

We Can Do It!


 


      I've been consulting with Prince Charming, our neighborhood peacock this week. He concurs.

 

 

When I thought the Covid 19 Pandemic was nearing a close, I blogged the question: "Have we learned what this Pandemic came to teach us?"


Have we?


Maybe it had nothing to teach us. It was just an event. Man-made or nature-made—you choose.


Maybe its purpose was to bring about diversion and discontent and kill off a few million people.


Or, it could have been an opportunity to learn something about human nature, pulling together, or our shared fears and hopes for the future.



"For in the last analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."

--John F. Kennedy



I've often wondered why the US has become so polarized, and not only the country, but it has trickled down into families. (Hey, I saw The Sound of Music, where Rolfe was willing to expose the Von Trapp family to the Nazis. And that included the girl he had been courting.) 


That's how strong ideologies are held.


Reading one side of the diversion will lead you down one rabbit hole (a phrase that pops up frequently now.) If you read the other side, a different rabbit hole appears. And I don't know if those rabbit holes have bottoms. I know, though, that if I followed what you have observed, I would probably think as you do. Ones who think kindness works use kindness. One who thinks violence works use violence.


We must place a governor on out brains, for if we don't monitor what goes into it, someone will program it for us.


We can't help being programmed. It's a part of our nature. Repeatedly tell a person a lie, and they will start to believe it,  even if you tell them it's a lie.


What if, while we are squabbling over here—something more important is happening over there. For example, I saw how more intense hurricanes are occurring in Puerto Rico because of global warming. And residents whose homes have been left in rubble, they can't personally clean up, are preparing for the next big blow. 


I saw how miles of sand dunes are fun to surf on but are becoming more widespread on our planet. 


I see a view of the earth from space and am alarmed that the thin layer of atmosphere that envelops our beautiful blue planet is only 60 miles thick. If I travel up to a elevation of 10,000 feet, I feel the effects of less oxygen, and that's only 10,000 feet, easily climbable in a day. If you hike the tallest mountain on earth, you will need to carry your own oxygen. You can breathe-barely-but it's unlikely you will have the strength to climb back down.

 


The clear stripe is our Earth's atmosphere.


And, of course, you know about the melting icebergs and how that is changing the ocean (an abundant food source) and wildlife (who have as much right to life as we do.)


Forbes, Science:

"The preponderance of evidence points to humans as the cause of global climate change."



Perhaps we squabble because we believe the big challenges are more than we can handle, or too frightening to consider. For example, there is a RULE OF THREE regarding our need for food, water, and oxygen. Without them we will die.

 

3 weeks without food. (Longer without food, if water is available.)

3 days without water

3 minutes without oxygen.


Instead of facing the big issues, we focus on how we are being controlled, how we are being done wrong, and how we can't trust the people in command.



Hey, We're The People. 

 


We could find ways to grow healthy food for the entire earth, study how much humans are contributing to global warming and how much is a natural cycle, and make damn sure our air, air water and food are clean. 


Yes, we know courageous souls are addressing these challenges. And we know there are those fighting to make us healthy. (Another heated discussion.) Yet we will spend more money fighting each other than cleaning our own bed.



I know that when Kennedy said we will send a man to the moon and bring him home safely by the end of the decade, joint efforts rallied and accomplished his directive. (Now, some think the moon landing was a fake. See, we don't know what to believe anymore.


Yes, and aliens are abducting us, there are colonies on Mars, people are drinking children's blood, and a woman became pregnant by a bullet that traveled through a man's scrotum and hit her in the belly.)


Have we failed to trust our intuitions? Have our eyes seen, and ears heard so much that we can't hear the still small voice inside us anymore? 



Daughter dear had a great analogy regarding this division. We are thinking specifically when we ought to be thinking generally. Thinking generally allows a person to stand back to view the challenge. It will enable a broader perspective and thus a clearer head. Then we can approach the problem from a saner position. Thinking specifically is arguing about how many angels can stand on the head of a pin.


The Willamette River here in Oregon used to be so polluted that the fish died, and if anyone swam in it they would be risking their lives.  When companies stopped dumping waste into it, it cleared. Now it is filled with abundant fish, and sings its way down the mountain.



"Our problems are man-made--therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable--, and we believe they can do it again."—John F. Kennedy.

 




Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Mark Twain's Tips For living a Kick-Ass Life

 

 

I wanted to quote Mark Twain in my book The Frog's Song, but the editor kept taking them out.

 

Publishing companies must be cautious about quotations and have permission to use them. I thought that Twain had been quoted so many times he was public domain. 

 

Nope. Only books before 1923 are public domain. 

 

After that, one must have permission to quote them. (I guess Hal Holbrook acquired special permission to do his one-man show on Mark Twain.) Twain's quotes are all over the place, but not from the book MARK TWAIN IN Hawaii, Roughing It in the Sandwich Islands. Hawaii in the 1860s. It was copyrighted in 1987 by A. Grove Day, and thus was off limits for quoting.

 

 

The book MARK TWAIN IN HAWAII was compiled from the series of 25 articles he wrote during his four-month visit to the islands. He was 31-years old when he got off the ship in Honolulu on March 18, 1866, and had only recently adopted the pen name Mark Twain. Twain was not a novice but not famous either when he landed the exotic assignment of writing a series of articles for the most influential newspaper in the American West, The Sacramento Union. 

 

  

In a letter to his friend Charles Warren Stoddard in Hawaii (Octobers 26, 1881, Twain wrote: "If only the house would only burn down, we would pack up the cubs and fly to the isles of the blest, and shut ourselves up in the healing solitudes of Haleakala and get a good rest; for the mails do not intrude there, nor yet the telephone and the telegraph. And after resting, we would come down the mountain a piece and board with a godly, beech-clouted native, and eat poi and dirt and give thanks to whom all thanks belong, for theses privileges, and never house-keep any more…what I have always longed for was the privilege of living forever away up upon one of those mountains in the Sandwich Islands overlooking the sea."

 

I considered that book to be such a gift. I often wondered if the previous owner left it behind by accident or design. I found it in the Macadamia Nut processing shed behind our house. We processed no macadamia nuts during our stint. The only macadamia nuts I saw on the property we bought at the store.

 

We used the shed's wire shelving, meant for drying macadamia nuts, for storage, as we had moved from a large house into a small one. The much-needed extra space was a godsend, as our two washing machines (daughter's and ours) and one dryer stayed there the entire nine months of our stay. We preserved electricity (solar power) for more important things, like lights, the water pump, computers, and watching DVDs at night. Daughter and I, with little grandson in tow, used the Laundromat, where water and electricity wasn't an issue, and my little grandson watched Finding Nemo for the first time. 

 

We have a washing machine and a dryer in the house now and abundant water and electricity. Oh, happy day!

 

I've told you all this before? Oh, sorry. It all came back to me this morning as I sorted papers and found Mark Twain's Tips for Living a Kick-Ass Life, by Henrik Edberg, dated May 16, 2008. 

 

Edberg dated his article, May 16, 2008. That was before we moved to Hawaii in December of 2009, when I had no idea Twain had written about the islands. Neither did I did not know that his 25 articles are the very best ever written about Hawaii. Finding such gems as Edberg’s article is why I need to attempt organization once in a while.

 

I won't copy everything Edberg wrote, but I will list the tips.

 

Approve of yourself

"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."

Your limitations may just be in your mind. "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

 

Lighten up and have some fun.

"Humor is mankind's greatest blessing."

 

Let go of anger. 

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured."

 

Release yourself from entitlement.

"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."

 

If you're taking a different path, prepare for reactions.

"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."

 

Keep your focus steadily on what you want.

"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles...by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it."

 

Don't focus so much on making yourself feel good.

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."

 

Do what you want to do.

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." 

 

Check out Aloha tee-shirts on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFrogsSong

 


 

 Aloha.

"Hello, Goodbye, I love you."


"Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy."









Humuhumununakiapua'a, Hawaii's state fish. We practiced a lot trying to pronounce that one.

After an 8-year term he was demoted for a time, but has been reinstated. Now he swims with stately vigor.




 

 

 

 


 This notebook will lay flat which means it won't fight you by closing the pages as you are placing passwords of whatever on the lined pages. I like my "Chirp" notebook for it has quotes, but I prefer a spiral binding. This notebook has a lined interior, no quotes, and is available on Etsy.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFrogsSong

Aloha,

Jo