Thursday Thoughts / Inktober Day 28: No Thoughts at All…

October 28: Crispy

“Doug Jines likes his bacon crisp.”

If you know where that comes from, congratulations, you are in an elite group. Well, maybe not elite, but less that most people will recognize the reference.

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/


Thursday Thoughts:

 Ever have no thoughts at all?

Some times it’s easy and we don’t even have to try. In the scary version, it sometimes happens when we are driving, and we realize that we haven’t been paying attention to anything and some time has as passed. Often, it happens when we might be sitting and relaxing and we just zone out for a brief amount of time. When I’m running or cycling, I can sometimes enter that state where I’m just…”Am”.

It’s difficult to try too not think when we put that constraint in place. Don’t think of pink elephants. Now that’s what you are thinking about, right?

Many people’s minds will race as they try to get to sleep. That’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? With no other distractions, our mind can take over and process everything it couldn’t because we were so focused on watching “The Masked Singer”* or “The Bachelor”**.

Meditation can be a stress reliever, but it can also be stressful. I don’t try it very often anymore. I have in the past with varying degrees of success. When you are able to be in the moment, it’s a relaxing feeling. It takes dedication. For some, it’s worth a try.

-Leon

*I don’t watch.

**I really don’t watch.


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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Thursday Thoughts/ Inktober Day 21 (Fuzzy): The Last Great Year.

Gen Z. Don’t get it? Ask your parents.

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/


Thursday Thoughts: The Last Great Year?

No answers here, just a whole lot of questions.

Are our lives better now than they were a decade ago? Two? Do we need to go further back? At risk of sounding like the stereotypical comedic grandparent (of which I am not): “I remember when…”

Ask 100 people what the last great year was, and you will probably get 100 different answers. And by picking one, you have committed to a date where everything has gone downhill ever since. The farther back that date is, the longer we have been descending into chaos on a collision course to an uncertain future filled with dystopian nightmares and world wide societal collapse.

OK. That’s way too melodramatic.

Each generation will have their own criteria. Was it a simpler time? Were there advances in science and technology that made things easier? Are we healthier because of a medical breakthrough? Is connectivity an advantage or disadvantage? Maybe there was an event that changed your life for the better—or the worst. Do you wish you were born sooner or later?

Ask 100 people what the last great year was and I’m pretty sure that no one will say 2020 or 2021.


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Short Stories: Minimalist Reading and Writing

I write like I read. I don’t like reading long, drawn-out descriptions of characters and settings, and I’ll often skim the paragraph for the essential points. Always? No, it all depends on the author. This is why, more than likely, that I primarily write short stories.

A writer doesn’t have the luxury of pages to develop settings and characters when writing short stories. The reader has to be supplied with the minimum information and be allowed to form their own vision. We have to trust our writing to guide the reader and understand and accept that there will be some variation.

There is a skill in writing short stories. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’ll let you know when I find out.

Did I plan this to be a short post? You bet.

Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: Ego

I did a post last week on bullying: The Bullying Battle. There are so many reasons for the way people act the way we do; all behavior serves a purpose. I wrote a series of poems about ego, and I thought that I would share one with you.

Ego (Part II)

 An ego is a big cat
 That needs to be stroked
 By you or someone else
 Smaller cats are easy to please
 And the bigger the cat
 The more dangerous it is
 To rub the wrong way 

Sometimes egos are beneficial for people to have the fortitude to forge ahead with their dreams, but in some cases, it can be detrimental. Egos can make someone look like a big jerk, or just confident.

How do you want to be remembered?

-Leon

Music Monday: So Many Genres

Music was the earliest form of artistic creation. It brought together people to share traditions and relay important cultural ideals. Do you know anyone who doesn’t like some form of music? Keep thinking…

Well? That’s right. I think that it is extremely rare. And with so many styles of music to choose from, it’s difficult not to find something that you like. Every style of music has its standouts, and those standouts will differ from person to person. Some will have a narrow range of favorites; others are able to appreciate a wider variety.

My high school buddies and I were into heavy metal. “We’ll never stop rocking out man,” we would declare with conviction. Fast forward and I don’t think there is a genre of music that I can’t find at least one song to enjoy. Some music is a far cry from what we used to listen to.

What do I enjoy listening to? I googled several different genres to see what category(ies) best defines my choice in music. Apparently, according to the Billboard year-end charts, the winner is Adult Alternative. Which means, there are more songs on that chart that I know than on the Billboard Top 100. Not to say there are not some good ones on that one too, The Weeknd, Lizzo, and Drake are there.

I’ll listen to orchestral music quite a bit. You’ll notice I didn’t say classical music-that’s an era of music (for you nik-pickers out there) which I do enjoy along with renaissance, baroque, etc. My nylon string (or classical) guitar compositions, while technically are 20th century “classical” music, are strongly influenced by two widely separated eras: renaissance and modern minimalism. Anne Southam and Philp Glass come to mind. My steel string acoustic pieces have country, folk, and Irish influences. Sunday morning is a good fit for listening to choral concerts.

I really enjoy some of the traditional Latin songs, to the Latin pop that has exploded onto the North American scene in recent years. And yes, I was listening to it before Despasito.  I can do country, when I am in the right mood, some hip-hop, and when a song from the 80’s comes on, I can usually sing most of the words.

There is not a genre that I dislike. There are however, songs within those genres, that I will turn off-or just don’t get what others hear in them, but that goes for anything, doesn’t it.

Music has played a large role in shaping my life. I am grateful for it. Music makes me happy, but it can also make me cry. My feelings and emotions flood out when I am listening, playing, or composing. Songs allow me to travel back in time to recall events in my life. Sometimes, a new song will remind me of a past experience because it just seems to fit.

What would I do without music? I don’t even want to entertain that notion.

Thursday Thought: Why Aren’t People Polite?

I suppose I should say, why aren’t people more polite, because there are more polite people in the world than not, right? I hope so.

Politeness is an art. It is a skill. It is a learned behavior. Ahh, that’s the root, isn’t it? Politeness is learned, and like anything, you must choose to learn it. And practice it until it becomes second nature. Ever try to learn something that doesn’t interest you?

Think back to your school days, or if you are still in them—listen up. Didn’t like math? You probably got a B or less. Think that Language Arts is boring? Well, you won’t be writing any novels, will you? Dreaded Phys. Ed? Squeaked by, didn’t you? But if you try to do better in something, you will improve.

All behavior serves a purpose. If you can get what you want without being polite, then why be polite? If it makes you feel good to open a door for someone or say “Excuse me” if you bump into someone, then you are going to do it. If you can make someone’s day by being polite, isn’t that worth it?

You are not going to injure yourself or feel bad by being polite. Will it inconvenience you? Probably not, but it might in rare cases. Is doing the right thing worth it? I think so, but if not, it’s still the right thing to do.

-Leon

The Changing of the Seasons

Repost from 9/29/2020 – I thought I would add this before the snow fell. I looked out my window this morning. Too late.

As I sit here writing, I can see the leaves—that have already changed color—falling in a cascade of hues, from brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows. It makes me think about the upcoming months.  
 
Not everyone experiences the changes in the same way. I suppose that, in a way, I’m lucky. I get to see four distinct seasons, each with its own charms and annoyances. There is something about a cool fall day, with the sun providing a wave of warmth, once the wind dies down, that makes you feel that the year is winding to a close. Fall weather feels like fall weather. That is, even though the sun is over the same latitude as it is in spring, it seems just a little bit cooler. Probably because we have gotten used to the warm/hot summer temperatures. In the fall, temperatures that force us to don long sleeves are the same temperatures in the spring that make us stand in the snow with shorts and a t-shirt.
 
If you live in the higher latitudes, you get those wonderful long days of summer, when the sun stays up late and outdoor activities seem to just keep going. Ever go golfing at 9 PM? It’s pretty sweet. Going to bed is often a challenge since the lingering twilight can mess with your internal clock. Whether you are a night owl or a morning person, those twelve-plus hours of daylight are going to make you happy.
 
Spring always has that sense of renewal or rebirth, as it awakens from its hibernation. Humanity seems to creep slowly out of its shelters, pallid faces soaking up the sun’s rays. There is nothing like seeing the new leaves and flowers bringing color back to the world. My one annoyance about spring? Pick up your dog’s poop, people! I even see it in its little bags, tucked into snowbanks. Oh, and the slush.
 
I have written several poems on the environment, so here is a poem from my book, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures:
 
Cycle
 
The first snow covers up the grime
The dirt fights through a bit at a time
 
A battle of earth and sky
Who will win and who will die?
 
Spring washes the battleground
Rain washes the warrior found
 
Summer pushes up the green
Blanketing evidential sights unseen
 
Fall sheds the season’s growth
Leaving skeletons, nature’s ghosts
 
 
What about winter, you ask? Well, ask me to write about it in January…-

– Leon