Thanksgiving Memories

27 11 2014

In July 1983, my young family and I moved to the Denver area from Southern California. We were actually looking forward to our first winter – wondering what it would be like to “live in snow”. That first Thanksgiving in Colorado we found out, as we experienced not only our first snow storm, but also our first blizzard.

And what a blizzard it was, with about 2 FEET of snow falling in 36 hours or so. For a family from sunny California, it was an eye opening experience, to say the least.

At first, my daughter, wife, and I were delighted by the early arrival of winter. We had never seen anything so beautiful and, for those of you who’ve never experienced it, the SILENCE that accompanies a heavy snowfall is also a beautiful thing. Eventually though, it just became TOO much, and trying to move around town for the next couple of weeks was incredibly difficult.

The entire metro Denver area shut down for days. We pretty much stayed inside and watched movies on the VCR, after trudging through the snow to rent them. (Remember renting movies on VHS tape?) We must have watched a dozen rented movies over that long weekend. And, of course, we also learned about shoveling snow and scraping windshields.

The snow was so heavy that weekend that we actually had remnants of it still on the ground when June rolled around.

Today of course, with the passage and blurring of time, it’s a fond memory of our first “wintry” experience together as a family, one that makes me smile and think “I remember how close it made us feel.”

That was quite a Thanksgiving, believe me.

This year, I hope your family creates a fond memory for you to share some day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 





There are No Random Acts of Violence

18 09 2014

Originally posted on Richard's Ride:

No human being has ever contemplated or taken a random action. Only nature is random. Human beings are at all times willful, while nature is not. Human action may be arbitrary, of course, but their actions may never be random.

Therefore, there can be no “random acts of violence,” or “random acts of kindness” either for that matter, when human beings take action – in any situation and under any circumstances.

Randomness implies a lack of conscious will, not simply a disregard for outcome. It also implies a lack of responsibility for outcome. However, an arbitrary action is a conscious act of will that is indifferent to the results of the action taken, yet the actor remains responsible for the result.

Words have meaning

The “gang banger” who fires a gun into a crowd without regard to whom the bullet hits has not committed a random act, and neither has…

View original 170 more words





What Does Depression Feel Like?

20 08 2014

Depression is something I’ve dealt with for many years, having been diagnosed originally in 1997. Since my original diagnosis, I’ve come to believe that I suffer from dysthymia, a mild but chronic form of depression. With this type of depression, certain situations can exacerbate the situation. For example, I’ve been more than mildly depressed every day since hearing about Robin Williams’ suicide. Yesterday was different, however.

I was working and feeling fine. I finished a project at about 11:30 AM, then poked around the internet for about half-an-hour. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an almost overwhelming feeling of despair hit me. I lost focus on anything external, and could only focus on me, and how I was feeling – which was pretty hopeless.

It was confusing in the extreme, since nothing had happened to spark such an episode; at least not consciously.

I took a short walk. I tried to resume work. I tried to watch the LLWS. I tried to read. I tried to nap. Nothing helped. All I wanted to do was sit down and cry, but I had nothing to cry about.

Episodes like this are unusual for me, which made the moment difficult to process. The good news is, I had no sense that I wanted to harm myself; I just continued to experience a sensation of feeling miserable – of being miserable. The best way to describe it is with a word that is not a word – BLECH!

The bad news is, such feelings tend to force a focus inward, which only seems to prolong the depression. It’s a bit like having a tooth ache, and worrying at it with your tongue until it goes away. It only makes the pain worse, as did the inward focus.

Yet, I simply could not concentrate on anything else.

I draw no conclusions from this. I have none to offer. I am simply trying to describe what happened, in the hope that it will bring clarity, for me, and anyone reading this and wondering what depression feels like.

It ain’t fun, believe me.

 





What is Creative Writing?

1 08 2014

The past two weeks have been extremely busy around here, as I worked more 10 hour days than not; creating fresh copy for a variety of clients, while also working hard to develop a new product to sell to a fairly narrow niche client base. My point in explaining this is two-fold: to explain why I’ve posted next to nothing here, and to share an idea I had recently about “creative writing.”

First, I’ve posted next to nothing here because I’ve been very busy. (There, I said I’d explain that, right? DONE.)

Next, it occurred to me recently (as it has many times before) that the phrases “Creative Writing” and “Creative Writer” are applied by most, and almost exclusively, to fiction and writers of fiction. On one hand I can understand this, I suppose. Fiction writers and/or novelists are definitely creative, even going so far as to create whole worlds from nothing but their imaginations; peopled with characters we will never meet in the real world.

The “Harry Potter” series jumps most quickly to mind, though “The Sword of Truth” series and “A Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones” are not far behind. These series’ of books were, and are, stunningly creative and exceedingly entertaining. I could name many others, but these will do for now. I find myself envious of the authors, JK Rowling, Terry Goodkind, and George RR Martin for the creativity and inventiveness they display, as well as the sheer talent for expressing themselves through the written word. Not to mention the perseverance required to create such massive works. BRAVO!

And yet, I find myself compelled to argue that what I now do for a living is also creative writing and, though the writing I do is most certainly not fiction, to defend it as such. Need proof? How about this for an example?

Non-fiction writing is creative writing too

Imagine yourself sitting down every week to write two pieces of about 500 words each on a single subject, say coping with stress, for a particular client – the same client and the same subject every week – for FOUR YEARS. That equates to 104 blog posts and articles per year, and 416 of them over four years. That is also some 52,000 words per year, and more than 200,000 words in four years – all devoted to a single subject – coping with stress – for a single client. This implies a regular audience who have seen most of what you’ve written over those four years, so your writing had better not be repetitive. You must find a new approach to the subject every week, every month, and every year.

Would this require creativity? If you did that, would you call yourself a Creative Writer?

Well, that is what I do nearly every day. I try to creatively describe what it is that my clients do, or value, or wish to promote, in clearly defined, well-written terms that allow their readers to appreciate more fully the things the client has to offer. I educate and illustrate; I explain and proclaim; I praise and promote – all in my clients’ name – and in my clients’ voice. Is this “Creative Writing”?

My clients include medical doctors; psychologists and psychiatrists; therapists and counselors; health coaches, nutrition coaches, fitness coaches and business coaches; attorneys and realtors; website designers, screen printers, and IT support companies. I write about coping with stress, anxiety, depression, suicide, the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, and divorce. I write about feet: healthy and unhealthy feet, and about how to maintain healthy feet or how to repair damaged feet. I write about weight loss and dieting; about dieting fads and scams; about healthy nutrition and juicing for health, as well as exercise and healthy living. Can anyone deny that what I do qualifies me as a “Creative Writer”?

Hey, I even write about writing: website copywriting, sales copywriting, writing for SEO, article writing and blog writing, eBook writing and eBook ghostwriting. Do these fulfill the definition of “being creative”?

It may be simply a matter of semantics to most but, to a writer who must use all of his creative power to continue making a single subject interesting, informative, and original on a regular basis and over time, it is far more than a semantic argument. In fact, it’s the very essence of what that writer does, how he views himself, and how he values his work. I may not be a Creative Writer (with caps), but what I do is most definitely creative writing (lower case).





THX…

29 07 2014

Thanks again for the ongoing support. (You know who you are.)

Richard





Thank you

23 07 2014

I would just like to say a quick “Thank you” to those who were kind enough to help out so far. I’m very grateful for your generosity.

Richard





Why My Summer Became a Bummer

22 07 2014

In my family, we were raised to be proud, of our family and ourselves, even of our family name.

There certainly are things I’ve done in my life about which I’m proud, just as there are things about which I’m not. This does not make me unique, of course. Time and experience present all of us with challenges. Some we meet and overcome, leading to a sense of pride, and some we don’t, leading to the opposite.

Today, I seem to find myself in one of those “don’t” times; presented with a challenge I’m unable to meet. Not proud, but embarrassed that my situation has gotten the best of me.

Coming from a proud family as I do, I’ve also found that swallowing my pride has always been one of the most difficult challenges I can be presented with. I have trouble asking for help. Doing so hurts, and has a powerful effect on my sense of self, as well as my sense of pride.

Yet, here I am, struggling to succeed with my writing business; struggling to pay my bills; struggling with the need to ask others to help me.

Without going into too much detail…

Early this year I took in a roommate to help cover my rent and living expenses. After one month however, he disappeared and I had to find another. Needless to say, this put me behind the eight ball and, since then, I’ve been struggling to catch up. With the annual downturn in business that hits every summer, I now find myself unable to meet my obligations.

So, I’ve decided to swallow my pride in public, and ask for help from my online family and friends. If you are able – and willing – to offer help, please use the “Donate” button on this page to help out a silly old man who just can’t seem to get it right sometimes. (PayPal account not required.)

I will be more grateful than you can imagine, and promise to do my best to keep my pride in check, and to never need this type of help again. I also promise to “pay it forward,” as soon as I am able.

Thank you,
Richard

 








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