Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle · Writing, editing, editorial, philosophy

Why write? Why not write?

Having been in the writing business for almost ten years (although I’ve been writing for quite a bit longer than that, on a non-business basis), I’ve learned many things. My hope is to impart them to my readers, both to share wisdom and to prevent you from making the mistakes that I did.

When you have something to say, say it. Sharing information is cathartic and if you find someone or some entity that wants to read it, so much the better. One of the lessons that I’ve learned through a significant amount of experience is that you are not the same as the work that you create. In other words, people will like you and not your work. Or more importantly, it’s critical to understand that a lack of positive response to what you’ve created in no way diminishes you. It’s simply the taste fairy thing.

Now that I recognize the value of this medium, I’ll be adding comments much more often. If you want to see more of me and what I’ve done so far, my website is http://www.csscribe.com. Looking forward to hearing from you – Shalom.

 

 

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Variety

Almost daily, I find myself at the mercy of things that I have been doing the same way for as many years as I can remember. Most of these are minor and include the order of actions that I take in the morning after getting out of bed, the way in which I set a table for dinner or the number of minutes I spend on my stationary bicycle.

Recently, I have wondered if it is a good or bad habit to do exactly the same things exactly the same number of times on exactly the same days. Can it be that human beings require this type of ongoing repetitive behavior in order to achieve some secondary consequence?

It may be that we succeed in accomplishing more in any given day if we adhere to a schedule. If I try very hard, I can convince myself that my morning routine is efficient and especially on those days when I am in the process of getting somewhere, it is the most direct method of getting out the door. But I also believe that it’s something else.

Most of us spend our days thinking about concepts that are substantially more important than the methods by which we brush our teeth. If we adhere to routines that eliminate thought processes, we can reserve our brain time for more significant issues. That’s one way of looking at it.

In spite of this efficiency, I find it liberating and occasionally fun to change it up in small ways. If I adjust the way I set the table for dinner, adding something and subtracting something else, it results in variety and a change of pace. The process of changing it up also makes me feel more creative, if only in very minor ways.

My recommendation is that it’s a good thing to stretch your creativity and do things a little differently. Use muenster cheese on your burger instead of American. Add some dilled garlic to your baked chicken and see what happens. Your particular circumstances will determine the size and complexity of your variation from mediocrity. And you may be pleasantly surprised at the results that evolve from your new accomplishments. Shalom.

 

If I may assist you in any of your writing endeavors, it will be my pleasure and privilege to do so. You may reach me at csbutts19@yahoo.com.

 

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Simple logic

A lady we recently encountered reported some of the events experienced by her eight-year old in public school. From what she described, the child was guilty of several relatively minor infractions.

Apparently, the behavior misdeeds were in rapid succession. Because I’ve seen all ranges of mistakes and unfortunate behavior by students, it’s difficult to surprise or shock me. But these were minor – get in line now and your homework was due this morning.

The teacher’s responses were extremely harsh. Now you’ve lost your field trip privileges for the week. Next time you do this, you don’t have any free time for the rest of the school year.

Unlike most of us who reside either in the past or the indefinite never never land future, kids understand only the present tense. Why would you threaten an eight-year old with a long-term deprivation?

If I were the child, I would think, Why should I behave? What else can you take from me? My question becomes, what happened to asking why work wasn’t completed or why are you having such trouble following the rules?

There’s plenty of time for kids to endure sincere hardship and scarcity. Rather than demonstrating power, the teacher might have witnessed more positive outcomes with understanding and empathy.

Yes, I realize that I’m hearing only one side of the story. But the lesson remains: Give children (and adults) as many chances to excel as you can create or promote. The possibilities are excellent that remarkable actions will ensue. Shalom.

 

If I may assist you in any of your writing endeavors, it will be my privilege to do so. You can reach me at csbutts19@yahoo.com.

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Guys

Make a list of all of the world’s injustices and crises. At the top will likely be crime, world hunger, discrimination and the worldwide need for quality education. While I understand that this list will vary according to philosophy and society, my guess is that this covers some of the most crucial. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that the use of “you guys” is among the top ten of issues that I would change if I could.

There are several explanations for the origin of the word “guy.” One is from the French word guier that means to guide. Another explanation is from the old Germanic word that means woods. No matter the origin, the American version of this word is used so often and so disrespectfully (in my opinion), that I have come to dislike being called one of “you guys.”

You hear this term everywhere you go. On the internet, I hear one of my husband’s American favorites use the term at least ten times in each occasion that he posts a video. Likewise, I just heard one from a non-American who has adopted this unfortunate habit, repeatedly referring to his viewing public as “you guys.”

If I could, I would ignore it. Yesterday, an otherwise excellent restaurant server stopped at our table at least four times to ask, “You guys doing okay?”. It amuses but doesn’t surprise that there exists a verb form of guy that means to ridicule. But the term disrupted me far before I discovered that.

My hope is that I don’t unknowingly use the term, especially in the classroom. Students need to be addressed as students or class or boys and girls, never as guys. The fact that we use it so easily and repeatedly makes the term unexceptional and crude.

While I realize that I will have a better chance at correcting world hunger than eliminating “you guys,” I will continue to point out its offensive nature. In a restaurant, I am a guest or patron or client, not a guy. Maybe if I am an example to enough people, I can watch it disappear as effectively as “my bad” or “at the end of the day” or “reach out.” Being a one-man band allows me to select my music, regardless of the size of my audience. Shalom.

If I may assist you in any of your writing endeavors, it will be my privilege to do so. You can reach me at csbutts19@yahoo.com.

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Versatility

Have you ever opened your eyes in the morning and wondered how it would feel to be versatile? Probably not. It’s likely that the chances of that are equal to wondering how it would feel to be a camel.

It appears that we are teaching our children about many traditional subjects, but not versatility. Why is that important, you ask? Quite simply, it’s to reinforce your value to humanity.

Among all the horrible news stories of kidnapping, rape and murder, we occasionally see stories of extraordinary courage. I read one today about a rabbi and father of six who gave his life to rescue an 11-year old student who was drowning. Was life saving part of his rabbinic studies? Certainly not. But he was selfless and versatile enough to save a young life, sacrificing his own in the process.

While I haven’t hired anyone in quite a few years, I always paid special attention to a candidate who was self-describing as versatile. No employer wants a staff member who is too important to make coffee or go to get lunch. Chances are, that person can’t be relied on to write a critical report or attend a last-minute conference.

When we flex, we improve ourselves and those we touch. It’s true in many of our life adventures. If you’re stuck on eating at nine, noon and six, be sure not to travel with me. And if you would rather do a guided bus tour than a walking journey through Florence, your versatility may need to be tweaked.

This is not to say that my way is the same as versatility. My point is that when you begin and end at no particular time, set out to see what you can see, the options are limitless as are the opportunities to do good deeds and change lives. Shalom.

If I may assist you in any of your writing endeavors, it will be my privilege to do so. You can reach me at csbutts19@yahoo.com.

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

21st century adventure

It began as a day similar to many others. We set out to find a business on a busy highway but suddenly found ourselves in the forest, surrounded by the beauty of massive pines and rolling hills.

While we knew that somewhere in this direction was a small town that we wanted to see, there were no road signs other than, “Icy” and “Watch for snowplows.” Useful though these may have been during the winter, they provided no assistance whatsoever in our forest wonderland.

The management at our rental unit had cautioned not to walk the area early in the morning or late at night. Asking what types of wildlife were present, she indicated that there were deer, elk, bear and mountain lions in the vicinity. So it wasn’t as though we were in benign farmlands.

Eventually, our trusty GPS system advised that we should turn left onto an unpaved road. Said road never materialized so we took the next available left turn that dead-ended and another left sent us back in the direction from which we had come. That road eventually became unpaved with no indication that it would ever end.

Having heard about the local wildlife, I imagined that a bear would be in our path at any moment. Is a big black bear big enough to tip over our car? Hoping that it couldn’t, I next visualized a mountain lion growling and appearing on our hood. Maybe it was an overactive imagination or simply the unusual experience of being in the middle of nowhere, with rough terrain and no visible human beings. The only creatures we spied were occasional horses, grazing in nearby pastures.

Ultimately, we found ourselves on a major county road with other vehicles. The scenery wasn’t nearly as magnificent, and it was well-lit and signed. Our New Mexican wilderness exploit was at an end, happily without incident. But to the next person who advises that our state is flat, brown and covered only with cacti, I suggest that you explore further, especially on those paths less traveled. Shalom.

If I may assist you with any of your writing endeavors, it is my pleasure to do so. You can reach me at csbutts19@yahoo.com.

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Fair

What’s fair? Sometimes, it’s one level below average and two below good. In another context, it’s not fair that student Bob gets to carry the lunchboxes two days in a row and I never get my turn. And during the summer, some of us are able to attend the state fair.

This is one of those interesting and provocative words that has multiple meanings and interpretations. We all learn the word “fair” at a young age. But what’s missing in many cases is the reality that sometimes, life just isn’t fair.

For instance, it isn’t fair that a small child falls a great distance from a cruise ship. We can call it negligence on the part of the cruise line for not having windows to prevent falls. Or we can call it irresponsibility on the part of the grandfather who wasn’t paying sufficient attention to the toddler’s ramblings. In either instance, it isn’t fair.

Regrettably, we use the designation of fair as an excuse or superficial interpretation. Is it reasonable to expect that life is fair, regardless of the situation? When we hear from our children that this or that isn’t fair, I’m thinking that we haven’t done a sufficient job of educating on the realities of life.

It isn’t fair that we lose our parents when they (and we) are young. It isn’t right that children are struck with leukemia. Likewise, it’s not appropriate that there’s an accident on our path to an airport for a flight that we could miss.

Why is it that we continually pursue fairness? Maybe it’s because we want to see the world as inherently good and just. It may be that we want to think that good things happen to good people and when that doesn’t happen, it’s an aberration or unfair.

As an educator and a writer, it’s my responsibility to educate that life and fair shouldn’t be used in the same sentence. If life is always fair, why should we do good works? But as I always point out, we’re not in the contingency contracting world. Doing something commendable and generous doesn’t always result in positive consequences.

Doing good deeds is right for both parties involved. In those cases where a corresponding outcome is only going to be fair, we’re simply on the wrong track. Shalom.

 

It is my privilege and pleasure to assist with any forms of writing. If I may help you with any of your writing needs, please contact me at csbutts19@yahoo.com.

 

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Make it matter

During my quieter and more introspective moments, I ponder the recommendations that I have for those near and far away –

 

Make

as many minutes count as are deserving of recollection.

certain to tell those close to you how much they enrich your life.

all of your affairs orderly and understandable. The future is always                                     uncertain.

more love than hate.

peace with those whom you have wronged or who have wronged you.

more friends than adversaries.

at least as many compliments as criticisms.

a difference for as many people as possible.

an effort to do acts of kindness on a daily basis.

it a habit to be grateful for all of your gifts and advantages.

others feel good about themselves as often as possible.

your parents proud.

your children and grandchildren proud.

it a point to withhold negative remarks about others.

more smiles than frowns, more laughter than tears.

 

And most importantly, you have the ability to make the world a better place.

 

Writing and editing projects are the most gratifying work that I have ever done.

If I may assist you with any of your writing needs, please contact me at csbutts19@yahoo.com. Shalom.

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Observations

Is there a difference between making an observation and complaining? Take the following statement as an example: It seldom rains in New Mexico. Is that an observation or a complaint? Seems to me, some of it depends on the person receiving the remark and the tone with which it’s delivered.

For the most part,  the subject is the primary determination. If I mention daily (weekly, hourly) that it seldom rains in New Mexico, you can construe that as a complaint. If I emphasize the word seldom, that may also render it as an objection rather than a statement of fact.

The reason I mention this is that most of us neither want to listen to complaints nor be the subject of those complaints. When you are talking about something that I do or believe, the likelihood is that the word “always” will render something as a complaint rather than an understanding.

You are always buying something. You always take her side. You always leave the dishes in the sink.

Again, a great deal depends on the subject being discussed. You always think of other people ahead of yourself. You always buy me presents.

Those who know me well know that I don’t do well with complaints nor do I like being accused of complaining. When someone wants to complain about something I’ve said or done, I immediately remind them that the complaint department is on the sixth floor. (Does anyone remember when the customer service area was referred to as the complaint department?) At the same time, I don’t like to be told that I’m complaining, especially when I do everything in my power not to complain about anything.

If you’re asking about the point of all this, it’s simply to be thoughtful about accusing someone of complaining. We can’t change the weather so it’s pointless to whine about it – whether you are the whiner or the whinee. And if I observe something that typifies or characterizes you, don’t assume that I object to whatever it is.

Without input from others, we all live in a bubble. While I admit that it’s difficult to be dispassionate about negative commentary on my writing, I am getting better at using the information to my advantage and the client’s. But if you are seeking change from me or anyone else, phrase it as a suggestion instead of a complaint and you’re likely to see a much more favorable response.  Shalom.

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Memories

One of the worst realities of aging is what that process does to your memory. Somewhere I remember reading that there’s a part of the brain that is affected by age, resulting in memory loss. My experience suggests that this condition is irregular, unpredictable and beyond frustrating.

It’s not a lightning bolt realization that I am getting older.  As I point out to people who incessantly complain about aging, it’s much preferable to the alternative of not aging. Here’s the problem. While it’s difficult wanting to recall something, important or otherwise, what makes it worse is when those around us exacerbate the problem by prefacing the process with, “Don’t you remember?”.

If I could remember something, I definitely would. Part of what consoles and replenishes us is the ability to recall and celebrate the bright spots in our pasts. Usually, the births, graduations, weddings, anniversaries and other festivities are more easily recovered than the less significant events. Many of the rest of our recollections require a struggle. Sometimes we recall after a while but occasionally, it’s fruitless.

Of course, memory loss is not specific to the process of getting older. Some diseases result in multiple compromised processes, including memory. Having a loved one in advanced stages of dementia, I am certain that she will never know me again, a reality that is beyond tragic for me.

My recommendation is that you spend time with an older member of our society, it’s much more useful to say, “Do you remember?” than “Don’t you remember?”. It sounds minor but it’s much kinder. In addition to having trouble with memories, that person may also have the reminders of aching joints, a variety of ouches and discomforts and a general sense of inability to complete many tasks.

Love and kindness always work, with young or not so young. Baby Boomers are no longer the majority population, but we have many of them to thank for the many achievements for which they were and are responsible. Shalom.

Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle

Right things

Late the other night, I began thinking about the various people who owe me money for editorial services I have delivered. In several cases, I know that I will never see the $2000+ for which I have completed various types of writing and editing jobs.

In most cases, I performed the work that I did with the understanding that my client would reimburse me when the work was delivered. In retrospect, I wonder if that was the best methodology. While I suppose that I trust my clients until they give me reason to believe otherwise, I sometimes wonder if I should conduct my business in the manner of so many others – pay me and I’ll send you what you want.

The thought that followed my feeling of injustice was the process I have historically employed – I dedicated a great deal of time and effort to your work and feel strongly that you should compensate me. Upon further reflection, I realized that this was ridiculous. When these people hired me, they did it with the assumption that I would approach the work with diligence and professionalism. Otherwise, why would they have hired me?

Have we lost our sense of doing the right thing when it comes to those who provide services to us? You wouldn’t hire a landscape company to take care of your property and then state, “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t have any money.” The landscaper might very well erect a tent on your front lawn and take up residence until the money appears.

We don’t visit doctors without the intention of paying for those visits. Likewise, we don’t select groceries with the idea that the stores will donate that food to us because we are good people. My latest no-pay client stated, “Oh, we wrote that work ourselves. Thanks anyways.” In this case, it appears that their decision to do the work in house eliminated the debt owed for my one or two hours spent on the project.

No, I don’t intend for this to be a complaint section. But as I have said in previous blogs, it’s crucial that we keep promises. Clearly, those who don’t pay me what they owe will not receive new work without paying in advance. That’s not the point. Do what you say you’re going to do – if your word isn’t sincere, what is? Shalom.