The Muse

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Links, Dogs, Writing, and Houses

My heavens, I thought as I read a post I had written on June 28, 2022; I do not remember writing this. 


It came back to me as I read it, though—I'm not entirely out of touch with reality.


Bless the heart of the blog reader who reminded me of it and thus gave me the link. How they found that post is beyond me, but I am so glad they searched and commented. Thank you.


As I mentioned in the last blog, I've been reading Steven Pressfield's weekly blog, "Writing Wednesdays."


I wanted to talk more about the Wilderness. You know, by The Wilderness, we don't mean the forest or running off to Alaska. It's that place we wander before finding our true calling. Or, there is another possibility: We know our calling but refuse to answer it.


All stories are about the Wilderness. (Good ole Joseph Campbell wrote The Journey of the Hero long before it was made famous by George Lucas in Star Wars. Lucas said that without Campbell—renowned mythology researcher and writer—there would be no Star Wars.)


The Wilderness is really the second step for the hero. After the hero finds his calling, he usually wanders for a time. (Maybe he wanders alone, worried, dejected, depressed, resisting, or procreating.) It could be that wandering has value, for he is composting, gathering data, letting it perk until it is ripe for the taking.


Even Jesus went to the Wilderness and was tempted. As did Buddha, Ulysses, and Bruce Willis in Die Hard, and Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. All stories contain the Wilderness.


We resonate with it. It reminds us that we aren't the only ones who have wandered.


Now advisors remind the wanders to "Find yourself." Do they know what that means? Do we?


And which self are we finding? Pressfield's "Find" is the calling of our soul to express ourselves. The meta-physicians might say it is the soul's calling to find our core beliefs, the ones that run us, and check to see if they still serve us. There are probably a few hundred more possibilities. 


(I wrote a small story once called Where the Tiger Belches, where a young woman sets off in the jungle to find that spot that is her calling. She believes it will be where a tiger belches,) 


I have noticed that the infamous "They" do not discourage people from being doctors, teachers, computer programmers, preachers, researchers, inventors, or other tech people. However, in the field of the arts, it is another story. "You will starve." "Get a real job." 


Aren't you glad some don't listen?


So, get out there and express yourself!


Love from Jo


P.S. Some say that dogs, too, like to have a job. (A calling?) Sweetpea's job is to sit by my feet while I am writing. She pushes me, too, to go to work. When I say, "Let's go to work," she's ready. That means going to the Wayback to my office. 


And then there is Dog Blog By Peaches, which someone commented on. Daughter dear told me that Peaches should write more on her site, as she inspires me to be happy. She's been silent for a time as she wanders around heaven.


Intro to Peaches' Blog: 

"My momma says that everybody and their dog blogs. I wasn't writing a solitary thing, but I'm correcting that right now. When momma got me, she named me Peaches The Pink Party Poodle for Peace. Now I'm Peaches, The Pink Party Poodle for Peace Pontificating. My pontification of the day is to tell you that the purpose of life is to have fun, hee, hee, and chase lizards. I love to chase lizards--never catch them, though, they taste like rotten toes."


P.S.P.S. And I finally got the search engine to our Real Estate Website--it only took a month.


                                                                 Our business card.



   Note, the "menu" is a list at the bottom of the page.


Monday, January 16, 2023

The Wanderer


I have often quoted Steven Pressfield, author of “Put your Ass where Your Heart Wants to Be.” 


For a writer, it's writing. For a musician, it's making music. For a computer programmer, it's programming. That is if those things are where your heart wants to be. 


Now I know a person must make a living—that is, pay the rent and buy groceries, but there is a desire to do the thing that feeds our spirit.


I’ve been paying my dues to become a Real Estate Agent, and I like houses, helping people, and making money, but what I really want to do is write.


See, I’m writing now. 


Most of today was sucked up with taking an Ethics Course required to become a REALTOR and a member of the Multiple Listing Service. It required study and taking ANOTHER FINAL EXAM. I thought I was complete with those. 


I’m fried.


It was nice to think that someone (William North in 1913) wrote the Code with 16 Articles (plus ten million “Standard Practices”)


Before that, it was “Buyer beware,” for there were many unscrupulous characters out to fleece the public—Multiple First mortgages, get-rich schemes, and the attitude of “Public be damned.” 


The idea behind the Code is “Under all is Land.”


The principle is that in a democracy having many people own many small parcels of land is strength. 


Big land barons controlling great amounts of property suck the strength out of a society.


Kinda makes you want to run out and buy a piece of land, doesn’t it?


But I’m here talking to you, and my fingers and brain like it. I can settle down. I feel calm. I’m writing. It’s the thing I want to do.


I wanted to talk to you about the “Wilderness” that Pressfield talks about.

No, it isn’t a piece of forest such as the land I was talking about. His “Wilderness” is that time when you are avoiding your calling. 


Many people wander around in the Wilderness for months, years, or their entire life.


Many excuses exist: “My dad wants me to be a doctor when I want to be a pilot.” “I can’t do it; I’m not smart enough, good enough, beautiful enough, talented enough,” or other not-enoughs.


“You can catch the ride early or catch it late,” writes Pressfield. “But, like it or not, you were born with your ticket. Sooner or later, the conductor will call, ‘All Aboard!’ and the train—with you on it—will pull out of the station.”


Some might object to the use of the word, “Calling.” I believe, for some, it is. For others, it is a deliberate decision that can grow into a want, desire, or dream you desperately want to fulfill.


Pressfield talks about a friend who is into a “Shadow career.” He knows his calling is out there, but he's still in the Wilderness, and it will be no surprise to learn that his social drinking has taken a dangerous turn. 


Pressfield wandered in the Wilderness for years, basically being a bum, until he pulled himself together and sat down at the typewriter. (He put his ass where his heart wanted to be.) Now he is helping other writers get their act together.


I don’t know if I am describing him accurately, but that’s the gist of it.


I guess we can have a “shadow career” to eat and keep from freezing to death while also pursuing our calling. I’ve heard of people getting up at 3 a.m. to do their writing before going to work. They sneak it in. They practice. 


So, I guess, what I am doing here, is to say. “Go for it.” I know I’m a wanderer, but I do it purposefully, as in the search for the berries, find ripe fruit, go for a swim, to sit under a waterfall (a little one) and wear plaid with stripes.





Movie of the week Lilies of the Field, 1963,  with Sidney Poitier, who won an Academy Award for his role. I remembered it, staring Poitier, with nuns, and singing Amen. That was it. Watching it again was a delight. What a charming film.



Tuesday, January 10, 2023

  How Can They Ruin Bacon?

Occasionally my husband and I go out for breakfast, and my usual order is bacon and eggs. However, of late, I find bacon to be terrible, I skip it. I did find a good source last Thursday on our trip to Portland. I only ordered it because my daughter said it was good, and it was.

After I washed down the cupboards around the stove at our house, I don’t want to fry bacon anymore. Made as Hors d’oeuvres in the oven, that’s okay.

Why am I talking about bacon? I don’t know. It popped into my head as I was driving to the store. Trivial, I know. I have other questions rattling around in my head. Like why are we, as a society, so concerned with growth? Not the sort of growth that advances our souls but businesses. You could say that the shareholders need to see growth. However, I remember an owner of a motorcycle factory in Italy when asked why he doesn’t grow his business, answered, “Why? It’s steady. I make a good living. I pay my employees a good wage. Why should I change it?”

Probably he sleeps well at night too.

Would you invest in that company?

I began tthinking about this because as a fledgling Real Estate Agent, (incidentally, my search RMLS (Regional Multiple Listing Service) for home listings is not attached to my site yet), I saw that there are more Real Estate Agents than there are houses for sale. And they warned us about sharks. Meaning other agents that want the job.

I’m a guppy—much too small for sharks to bite. Our Brokerage has a Pink Flamingo for a mascot, for heaven’s sake. We must protect our delicate legs, and as with Flamingos, we can fly; sharks can’t. We want to be light and have fun and care for customers. Statistics do not apply. Put wonderful people in a beautiful house—that’s a good plan. Give them good service. And I heard from someone last week that her landlord keeps raising her rent, so she will be looking for a house. As house prices come down and rent goes up, I expect the tide to shift.

And maybe restaurants will smell the coffee and start offering good bacon again.

Once as my daughter and I drove up from Southern California to Oregon—that California state is a long one, folks—we stopped at a Denny’s Restaurant for breakfast. They were advertising their bacon— bold signs extolling the virtues of bacon appeared in every window. Now, Denny’s used to have good breakfasts. Did you know they used to use real butter to fry their hash browns?

Not that day.

That was the worst food we had ever eaten. It was tasteless. Daughter Dear said, “How in the world do they suck the taste out of food?” Rattlesnake meat was terrible, but it has a taste. (I only had a micro-millimeter piece.)

It kind of makes me think that the more something is hyped, the worse it is. And we have never eaten at Denny’s since.

Isn’t that as though Denny’s shot themselves in the foot?

I wonder if the more often you tell people something, even if it is a lie, the more they will believe it.

I don’t believe we are the masses. However, the masses are out there. And I don't want to separate people or think less of them, but our recent step back in time has caused a blip in my optimism.

Do you have any words of wisdom for me?