Happy New Year!

An old chapter closes, a new chapter begins.
So what is it about a New Year? You may have celebrated too much, too little, or just right. It’s nice to start the new year with a holiday!
Nearly every culture marks the passage of time in a unique way, either by celebration, religious observation, communing with family and friends, or eating special foods. For example, it is the most important holiday on the Japanese calendar. The country, basically, shuts down for three days! 
Believe me, I can remember way back when — walking the streets around Tokyo’s Ginza at Midnight of the New Year and you could have rolled a bowling ball down the middle of the street and not hit anything for many blocks. I never saw the streets so deserted. Everyone was home with family and loved ones — or at a great party!
Shogatsu – New Yearsis a three-day event!

TokyoNewYearThis video clip shows some of the sayings and customs around the holiday. And there are many traditions surrounding the holiday – starting off with deep cleaning the house in time for midnight January 1st! But some traditions endure, such as eating a special food item, gifts of money, and the year’s first visit to a temple or shrine is in order as well.

I took some time off from Brave New Deadline. I retired from journalism – but not from observing the world around me. It’s interesting times, indeed

I’ll be back on a somewhat regular basis in 2019, sharing what I see.

And remember – comments always welcome.

Til next time….

 

The Electoral Count as it stands; buckle up for the final week, and if there’s a 269-269 tie…

Food for thought…

WestView49

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-14-53-amSee total electoral counts for each candidate below.The darker the red, the more certainty there is that the state will go for Trump. Over the coming week, pay close attention to polling in the light blue and pink states.

In putting this map together at RealClear Politics, I took into account a combination of multiple recent polls for each state, historical voting patterns and current trends for each candidate. Dark blue indicates solid support for Clinton; dark red for Trump. While this map still projects a Clinton victory on November 8, her margin is tenuous – 288 to 250. Under this model, while Clinton could afford to lose either Colorado or North Carolina, she could not afford to lose both. Pennsylvania remains, essentially, a must win.

Meanwhile, Trump’s path to victory has significantly improved in recent days. He would need to hold his leads in all the pink states (in…

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Diligence is the word

I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order and thdiligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.
– Charles Dickens

Some writers can only write when inspired. Some suffer from writer’s block. Other’s cave in to popular culture or conventional wisdom. So, when they get around to writing words, they write words that are false, sentences that are flat, stories that are dead the moment the final period is placed on the page, then wonder why their their writing isn’t up to scratch. These writers become dejected, and repeat the process again and again. I know I have.

I think this because for writers, even young writers, the enemy is time. We are all guilty in luxuriating in the nonsense that is ‘waiting for inspiration’ or ‘ I need to research this in order to understand the subject’ or ‘when I accomplish ___________ then I can REALLY get down to writing.’

My first notion of writing a story came at 6 years of age. I wrote my first story at  10.  By age 14 I had written, in large print, on white ruled paper, nearly 100 pages of forgettable juvenile nonsense. I knew I had writing deep in my bones, but allowed interests in other things to overwhelm me – I lacked punctuality, order and diligence to keep at writing regularly.

And when I acquired a modicum of those habits, I really had no idea what to do with them, so far as writing went. Because I had no sense of urgency. I still believed I had time on my side. Then I turned 40. Time had slipped through my fingers, and I had nothing to show for my efforts but notebooks and short stories and a life contemplating writing without really doing anything about it. So I set out to write what was in my heart and on my mind. I resolved to be published in my 40s and earn my living from my stories  by the time I was 50.

I’m 58. Things are just now starting to come together.

It’s inevitable that one’s life takes over one’s art, unless one’s art is one’s life. I’m not talking about earning a living, raising a family, or being a productive member of society. It’s making time to write, or paint, or compose, or build, or cook – whatever it is – because, as every athlete or musician or painter or writer knows, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. And that takes habit, punctuality and diligence.

Jeff Goins says writers need to focus on resolve: that a write needs to commit, to develop new habits. I agree.

Still, I think Charles Dickens said it best.

Time to get back to it.

What about you?

To download a copy of my Shig Sato mysteries, click here for  The Gangster’s Son and here for The Thief’s Mistake.

See you soon!