How much control do you believe you have?

Photo by Stephen Walker on Unsplash

We sit to read the news because we’re hungry for outside information. We want to confirm our daily biases. We enjoy learning that we’re right. We’re validated when we read that people and things we don’t like are wrong, or getting punished, or suffering consequences.

Most stories are written from templates. The names, dates, and places change, but the arc is the same. We’re numb to the specifics, and we gloss over the generalities.

But every once in a while, a writer will paste a universal truth, tuck it somewhere in the paragraphs, maybe even out of place within the…

photo by Sabrina Greer

What’s a morning good for anyway?

Whatever dreams you had, whatever calm you felt, whatever peace you made;
It’s been reset, and the first ticks of the clock remind you of the gears of time.

Through a shaded window, a laser of light is aimed directly into the middle of my left eyeball.

The sky here is gray but bright, I know without looking.
The routine of the next moments will be much the same. …

A six-step planning method for concise and anxiety-free success

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

The dreaded length requirement for an essay or article.

It can be nightmare fuel for writers that are used to operating within their own flow and structure. It can be intimidating for students who see the number of pages they have to write — they turn pale and get squeamish faced with what feels like an impossible task. It’s an immediate headache if you’re a contractor who has a client with a word count requirement. …

Startup mentality in a non-startup environment

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

My job shifted pretty dramatically last week. It was a result of six months of me clandestinely pushing through an undercurrent of professional responsibilities. I recognized the need for a certain type of work within my company many years ago. I was not alone in this at the time. Any manager that I talked to roughly had the same concerns. But no one ever really had any time to address them.

There were always too many deadlines, too much turnover, and too much changing in the industry to stop to take a breath.

I made the decision, though, for my…

Expectations will gnaw through your soul at the worst times

Photo by Yosh Ginsu on Unsplash

You walk into the local Taco Bell just down the road from your place — it’s the only fast food joint you can get to without crossing a busy intersection — and suddenly you are immersed in a psychic soup.

Right around eye level, there’s steam coming from four patrons, and your human antennae perk up to try to decipher the cause of this energy shift.

There is a description of a situation suggesting you could cut the tension with a knife. Right now, you would have to hack through this stress like you’re pushing a spoon through overcooked beef…

It’s all about the ratio - sort of

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

It’s the dream of a writer who wants to make money by writing to make money by writing. Any writer who can parse that sentence at least has the good sense of humor to take the time to read it twice.

There’s a lot of advice out there. There are a lot of tips out there. There are a lot of lists out there. Writers who have made money by writing tell other writers how they did it, and how you can do it too.

But there’s something missing from a lot of these conversations. And that is the ratio…

Time to stir up some excitement at the old sandlot

Photo by Joshua Peacock on Unsplash

I love watching baseball. It’s the only thing I watch on TV anymore. It’s my nightly meditation. I follow different teams, different players, different pitchers. I love the competition, the strategy, the energy of the game. I’ve been watching for a lot of years now, and who knows how many hours I’ve enjoyed either focusing on the games or leaving them on in the background while I’m doing other things.

But, all things evolve.

Including sports. And watching baseball isn’t as much fun as it has been in the past. Some of the ways that the players and managers approach…

The big hill at Elms Road Park (photo by me, on my walk)

Today I went on the most comfortable walk in the world. I’ve been actively moving toward this for some time. It’s at the end of a combination of efforts.

I walk the same route almost every day. Left out of my front door. Left down the road. Curve right toward the street that goes out of my neighborhood. Straight up past the busy intersection where I’m always on the lookout for people who are not on the lookout for me. Walking under the overpass. Hang a right to walk up the hill in a beautiful park in town. Make a…

I have done this for as long as I can remember.
When the sun goes down, the details around me get fuzzy and dim.

So, flip, flip, flip go all of the switches.

I have lamps with five lightbulbs in them.
All at maximum exposure.
I cried tears of joy when LED bulbs became available and popular.
Those intense rays cut right through the dark clouds that follow me at night.

Flip, flip flip flip.

As there is no one here but me, all of the lights serve a single purpose. No shadows remain. No matter the room I enter…

The world is built for speed,
But there are tracks that make it easier,
Or maybe even necessary,
To follow from where you are to where you have to go.
“It’s fast, baby!” are the words you hear whispered,
From that low-key hum in the clouds,
The long-haired hippie flashing the peace sign.

But slow down, friend, and dig your heels in,
And maybe catch a breath between pauses.
Maybe you can twist, to get around yourself.
Maybe you can do a handstand, to get over yourself. …

Ryan Hicks

All about making art out of words. Background in journalism and music. Currently an audiobook editor. Grows avocado and lemon trees indoors for kicks! :)

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