My Lunch with Melanie

We met for lunch at Café Red Onion. She ordered the spinach and goat cheese enchiladas. I ate the usual pupusas revueltas—fat cornmeal pancakes stuffed with shredded pork and other good things.

We talked about writing. Since that topic encompasses everything else that we both live and breathe, the conversation covered a lot of ground.

MelanieShe talked about inspiration and the nocturnal activities of her particular muse. There was a voice that came to her one night to dictate notes for years’ worth of writing projects. I speculated about the creative unconscious, the unknown workings of the mute machinery of our brains that collects, organizes, catalogs, and stores images, sounds, smells, emotions, and abstract ideas and then assembles them into dreams, long-term memories, and all the wonders of fantasy. I wondered why she was so eager to give the credit for her brilliance to something outside herself …[MORE]

Give It Whatever You’ve Got

The July Project: Day 26

A very late start—delayed by rain, I didn’t get to the park to start my walk tonight until almost 7:30. Afterwards, I made a long-overdue trip to a couple of grocery stores: first Whole Foods for coffee, then to Kroger for everything else on the shopping list. By the time I drove home, cleaned myself up, put the groceries put away, and had a bite to eat, it was nearly midnight.

Instead of trying to write a substantial blog post, I decided to use what energy I had left to look around online for a few more images to decorate the header area of this site. There’s some wonderful free photography out there. I found all of the images below (and many more) at public-domain-image.com:

Cactus flowerOld wall textureCactus nectar bloomJagged leaves

I’ve added about a dozen new images to the collection of photos that are displayed at random in the header. If you visit enough pages of the site—or click the header bar to refresh it enough times—you’ll eventually see them all. Click on any of the thumbnails above to see a larger, uncropped version of the image.

When you don’t have the strength to do a lot, do a little. Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, find a way to make progress any way you can.

Go Ahead, Play With Yourself

The July Project: Day 19

I’ve written elsewhere about my exercise rules and about the idea of making a game out of achieving goals.

Scoreboard

I play a lot of games in my exercise routine. I make up arbitrary rules and give myself extra points on an imaginary scoreboard for achievements above and beyond the normal daily routine. I’m not always sure whether these tricks help keep me motivated, or just give my idle mind something to do.

Here’s a rule I made up tonight:

  • Extra points are assessed for walking on a day so humid that you finish the outing dripping wet from head to toe …[MORE]

The Practical Effects of “Everything Counts”

The July Project: Day 16

I’ve written a couple of times before about Rule #2: Everything Counts. Today will be one of those days when I invoke Rule #2. I put in a long work day, then packed my bags and took off for Galveston. I didn’t get here until after 10 p.m., ate a late dinner, and then settled in to write. As soon as I publish this post, I’ll go for a walk. It’ll be after midnight, so I only plan to walk the four blocks down to the Seawall, then maybe a few blocks along the beach and back. That’s okay, because in this game of getting some exercise every day, everything counts.

I don’t entirely grasp the psychological mechanisms at work in Rule #2, but I know that it works …[MORE]

You Can Make Up Rules, Too

The July Project: Day 9

A few days ago, I mentioned the rules of the exercise game that I’ve been playing:

Rule #1: Do something every day.
Rule #2: Everything counts.

On Wednesday, someone who’s been reading this blog lately said to me, “I just can’t exercise every day.”

I replied, “I’m not saying that you should …[MORE]

Make a Game of It, Then Play to Win

The July Project: Day 3

The first time I got serious about exercise, I became a member of the YMCA in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. The Y offered an incentive program for runners. They gave out 6 x 9 index cards on which you could record your miles by inking in a grid of 500 tiny boxes. When you filled the card, you turned it in with $5 and got a downtown ymca 500‑mile club T‑shirt.

I filled up two cards, so I also got a 1,000‑mile club T‑shirt before I left Knoxville. I worked hard for those cheap T‑shirts. Even though the card program relied on the honor system, I scrupulously discounted fractional miles and pushed myself harder every time I neared the end of another row of boxes.

Fast-forward to the summer of 2004 …[MORE]