Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship: (n) the skill possessed by a craftsman

 “Oh…are you still writing your little blogs?” she asked me, having obviously just taken a fresh batch of condescension out of her oven.

I simply replied, “Yes.”

It’s not what I wanted to say. funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I yearned to tell her the number of people who were stopping off at my blogs, and even fudge the figures a little higher.

I wanted to point out the power of the written word.

I certainly had an impulse to make her feel smaller—that she was unable to do what I could do.

But I recently have realized that if you’re ashamed of what you’re doing or how small it is, then you’ve reduced your life to a trickle of envy.

I am not envious. Matter of fact, every day when I sit down and write to you, I think about two things:

1. I want to be content with my content.

I want to make sure I’m telling you things that will exhort your journey instead of further exhausting you.

2. I want to honor the craftsmanship that goes into forming a sentence, completing a paragraph and promoting an idea.

I don’t want to sit around and argue about my style or my syntax. Instead, I want to admit that my ideas can always be better presented, with tighter structure and fewer words. It is ironic that the greatest lesson a writer learns is to write less, and then edit even more.

What is the shortest distance between two points? Let me give you a clue. It isn’t a run-on sentence with lots of purple prose. It is finding a way to say it that is easy to comprehend, but still lights a candle in the brain.

It is craftsmanship.

It’s when I watch the plumber working on my toilet, and he’s in the middle of completing the project when he pauses, looks at it carefully, disappears, and then comes back from his truck with another piece. And then he turns to me and says, “It would have been fine with that bolt, but this is going to be much better.”

Goddamn it, if I don’t want to hug him.

So my dear friends, I continue to write my little blogs, and I do it in the pursuit of craftsmanship.

For at 10:42 P. M. every night, this pursuit grants me great peace of mind.

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Collage

Collage: (n) a combination or display of various things.

I have a “collage education.”

I have taken misshapen, unpredictable, often dangerous, meaningless, joyous, sad and uncertain circumstances and molded them
together into a life, inserting my face.

It doesn’t come with a sheepskin diploma. Matter of fact, being sheepish in any way keeps you from forming a good collage for your education.

It is that moment when you realize there’s only one thing that stops any of us from achieving joy: fear.

A young man asked me, “How can I become a good writer?”

I responded, “Stop writing. Express yourself. Stop worrying if it makes sense. Matter of fact, stop being concerned about forming sentences. You can always come along and edit later.”

Do what you do without doing it in fear.

Don’t listen to people who talk about mental blocks. Turn your ears off when people are full of warnings more than encouragement.

Life is a collage, and therein we find our education.

And we receive our graduate degree when we take our collage and use it to tutor others.

 

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Chapter

Chapter: (n) a division of a book

There are two reasons for being different–and there’s a symmetry to this.

Reason one is to make sure that you’re not the same.

Reason two is noticing that something is not as effective as it once was and deciding to evolve.

When I started writing books years ago, most of them were no more than pamphlets. They were desperately in need of editing because, like most ‘scribers,’ I overwrite. But I often did not edit them, being young, immature and contending that each word had a divine right for existence.

You see, that piece of difference was nothing but different. It wasn’t helpful, and sometimes my readers got caught up in the confusion of one of my sentences, and found themselves begging for a clause to rescue them.

But one thing I did accomplish was renaming the chapter. It had a long and storied history in literature, but it was ready for retirement. So I asked myself, what are people doing when they read a book? The answer came quickly. Normally, they’re sitting.

So I changed “Chapters” to “Sittings.”

It was a small thing, but I think folks found it endearing, and some other writers have since taken up the banner.

You see, it’s not that my new name is better than the old name.

Sometimes all that matters is that it’s new–instead of being so damn old.

 

 

 

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Bored

Bored: (adj) feeling weary because one is unoccupied

With those who have communion wine running through their veins, I would probably get in trouble for suggesting that there are parts of the writ of Holy Dictionary BScripture which could certainly use a good edit.

As a writer, I edit myself all the time. Matter of fact, if somebody pulled out an article I wrote seven years ago, it’s possible that I might need to apologize.

So as I look down the list of the Seven Deadly Sins (which I shall not mention due to space and out of fear of immediately falling under conviction) there is one obvious absence, which should either be inserted to replace one of the existing choices–or maybe as just a header, to describe what causes all seven.

Bored.

When we are bored we are capable of everything from stumbling to atrocity.

I do not know where we got the idea that life was hatched in the mind of the Creator with the intention of constantly entertaining us, but part of maturity is certainly realizing the importance and inevitability of “down time.”

For instance, nothing is more annoying than a seven-year-old child telling you that he’s bored–especially if you’ve just returned from the park, a movie and Baskin Robbins.

The need to be entertained is what motivates both sluggard and murderer.

I always feel I have achieved the best of humanity–and made the Good Book sensible–when I finish my day without ever feeling bored.

 

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