Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 356 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis


Yesterday I went on a bit about the advantage of carrying a camera with you to capture those moments and places that pass through your world and might be useful or inspirational later. I was wondering what to follow it up with tonight when it occurred to me that sharing what I fill my surroundings with might give you a better impression of how my mind works. In the background right now is the Impulse recording of Charlie Mingus, MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS. Last night, while I was writing and posting, I was listening to Miles Davis, KIND OF BLUE. Both of these albums are powerful displays of jazz musicianship and make a great soundtrack for my thoughts. On the shelf above my desk is a large collection of blues, folk and rock.
As you might guess, I'm surrounded by books. The latest acquisitions are comprised of some that came as Christmas presents, others that were bought in second-hand shops, and some borrowed from the local library. I received my very own copy of the CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE, 16th EDITION, from my darling Editor-in-Wife for the holiday, and yes, I'm actually reading my way through it. Also in the office right now is WORDPRESS ALL-IN-ONE FOR DUMMIES, ASK THE DUST by John Fante, THE AGE OF REASON and NO EXIT AND THREE OTHER PLAYS by Jean Paul Sartre, several Buddhist texts and scholarly works (Mahayana and Theravada), and any number of writing 'how to' references. I have a Kindle which has everything on it from the ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION BIBLE to THOMAS PAINE, ULTIMATE COLLECTION and BEAT TO A PULP, an anthology of pulp fiction.
There are several sketch pads in different sizes and paper types and a cabinet full of pens, coals, pencils, chalks, pastels, cray pas - You name it. Of course there's my camera, which was out beach walking in Carpenteria today - a short twenty minutes and a great breakfast up the coast. Guitars and percussion instruments are on the walls and shelves around the room, and that most eloquent of instruments, my computer, is at the desk. The muse cat wanders in and out and reminds me to take breaks and pay her homage about every forty-five minutes.
There are photographs and art throughout this room and the rest of the house, some of it mine, some of it other's work. You can't wander five paces, it seems, without coming on another stack of books, magazines, and works in progress. Outside there's the gardens (I need to get the next round of vegetables in), flower beds, the Editor-in-Wife's roses, an herb garden (the culinary type), and my bonsai trees and shrubs. There's a fairly well supplied workshop in the garage which helps hold the place together and turn out the occasional piece for the house or a gift.
Where's this eclectic ramble headed? Right to that point. It's all about eclecticism - about stretching your mind and horizons beyond where they want to sit and stew. It's about insisting your brain go outside and play every now and then. (It's good for that blob of gray matter's health and the sanity you so tenuously house inside of it.) As you come to the end of another year, tell yourself that the very next suggested reading list you come across is the one you will make your way through completely before the year 2015 arrives. You will go to the local craft store and buy those watercolors or oils and finally start learning to use them. You will buy the complete Beethoven and listen to it from one end to the other.

Oh, and you WILL stop obsessing about the next thing you're going to write and just write it. It will be what it will be - and every word you commit to paper will grow and improve because of the words before it. Success or not is as much a matter of luck as talent. So, make your wager and roll the damned dice. Lucky seven or snake eyes, it's all a matter of the odds.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis

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