First Draft Blessing

**Note – I’ve got a GoFundMe drive going to make some updates and improvements to my music studio and live sound rig. If you’d like to know more, click this link. And thank you for checking it out! Now, let’s get on with the fluffy goodness!**

Creative folks know something that the rest of us don’t – the blessing of the first draft.

(Ok – “blessing” might be a bit of a stretch. Maybe words like “agony,” “struggle,” or “circus of doubt, gloom, despair, and general angst” might be more appropriate.)

But in my slogging, limping, stuttering, inconsistent creative life, I’m just starting to see the blessing of the first draft. And it only took me 58 years to get there.

Woo. Yay me.

In writing, remembering that the first draft is ugly, imperfect, incomplete, and should never see the light of day, is key to keeping one’s sanity.

Not that any creative human person is sane. And since I believe that everyone is creative, well, y’all all cray cray up in here. *raises hand in three finger movie franchise solidarity salute*

The rule of the first draft is just get the dumb thing out there. Get it out of your head and into some sort of place that doesn’t vanish the second you look at a squirrel. Or a puppy. Or anything on the interwebthingie anyplace. Get whatever it is out of the seething chaos of your head and into some sort of tangible mess that you can play with. Get it out there.

Which is why the first draft really isn’t meant to be seen by anybody else. Nor all the angst, eye rolling, hair pulling, moaning, or other self-inflicted behaviors engaged in when you compare this *thing* you’ve brought into being with what you thought it looked like in your head.

Ew. To da max, man.

So, slowly, I’m coming to believe in the first draft – even though the process leaves me cringing and sobbing. Getting something – anything – out of my head and into the world really does help.

(After all, there’s only so much room in my ol’ upper room. More like a upper closet, actually. And not one of those walk-in, deluxe dealios – I’m talking barely enough room for nothing. That’s me, baby.)

And I’m learning that there are many, many things in life that are “first drafts.” Indeed, life itself is a big ol’ first draft. The good thing is that first drafts give us opportunities to edit, to refine, and to slowly make what exists in this world come closer to what it looks like in our minds.

The bad thing is that most of the time, this first draft of life is lived out in front of a live audience. #wellthatwasawkward

No opportunities to do all our hand wringing and eye rolling in private. No chance to wander around the house, questioning our vocation, our calling, or our very existence, without someone wanting to get some concerned professionals involved. Our first draft gets lived out right in front of everybody.

So, maybe, we ought to cut others a whole lot of slack. After all, it’s just a first draft. It’s beautiful in places, it’s more than we could have ever dreamed in places…

And it’s bug ugly in places. Many places. Many, many, many places. It’s a first draft, folks. Beautiful, ugly, unfinished, raw, and real. Give grace to others, and grab some for yourself as well. Believe me – it will get better. Time and work – that’s all it takes to turn a first draft into something else…

A masterpiece.

** And yes, there was indeed a first draft of this little piece of fluffy goodness. And yes, some editing and general crapola removal did occur. And yes, the stuff that’s left is better than what I started with. And yes, that is pretty sad when you think about it. **

What If? (You Were Meant For Something Less)

This is what I’ve been referring to as “The Dark Blog Post.” It’s introspective, negative, and could scare the underoos off family and friends alike. Be at peace, dearhearts – this is not the final word on the matter. “The Medium Blog Post” will follow, as will “The Light Blog Post.” Journey with me, and don’t get freaked out. We’re ok.

 

“… There was never any other meaning than the obvious one.” – Peter Yarrow, Peter Paul & Mary

What if, in our “find your passion, follow your dreams, look for more, don’t settle for less, live life to the fullest” world, there are those of us who aren’t supposed to do that? What if there are people to whom less will be their more – or even their most? Their world is overflowing with what some of us might call “mundane” or “ordinary.” Work, eat, sleep, serve in church, love family, be faithful. Nothing more. (And for the record, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. For certain people, with certain lives, this is all there is and that’s alright.)

And what if you’ve always been one of those people, but never realized it (or never believed it), so you’ve spent years and years trying to find what your calling is, trying to fill the aching emptiness (or what you think is emptiness) in your lonely life, and trying to find that “something more” or “deeper purpose” that’s out there, when in fact there really isn’t anything else? Not for you, anyway. Read more

This Is NOT A Test…

“Here Comes The Sun, and I say, Rowf rowf rowf!!!”

Dear Fellow Michiganders,

(Though applicable to other northern climes, I’m specifically addressing my fellow sojourners in the Land of the Hand and da UP, eh?)

Please proceed to the nearest window and observe the outdoor situation. If the same old ball of grey and dismal greets your optical perception, disregard, head to your kitchen, grab snacks, and carry on.

However, if your optical sensors are assaulted by blinding fiery brilliance, the likes of which you have dim memories of ever beholding, Do. Not. Panic. This is not “the big one, Elizabeth.” (Bonus points if you heard that in Redd Foxx’s voice…) This is not the End of the World as we know it, and I’m feeling fine. (Or however the song goes…) We have lived through this before, and we will do so again. Please take the following actions:

1)  If the outdoor temperature…
     a) is 35°, please dress in jeans, and either long or short sleeves. Sweatshirts are optional, depending on your body fat percentage and metabolism.
     b) exceeds 40°, sweatshirts are not an option, and short sleeves are recommended.
     c) exceeds 45°, short sleeves are mandatory, t-shirts are highly recommended, and shorts are very appropriate.

2) Immediately proceed outdoors. If you are at work, simply inform your supervisor that the sky is on fire and you want to spend your last moments with those you love. They will immediately understand and may even do the same.

Maybe.

Go with your families – your sons, your daughters, your wives. Go with your slaves and servants. Take your flocks and herds, your belongings and your goods. Take with you all the spoils of Egypt that the Lord your God has given into your hands…

Hold on… We’ve just gotten through Exodus in the Daily Audio Bible. I think that might be influencing me a tad. Sorry. Take everybody and go outside – just that. #wellthatwasawkward

3) Stay outdoors while the fiery orb remains above the horizon. If your skin begins to turn pinkish or becomes sensitive or painful, seek some shade, but do not, DO NOT retreat indoors. Remain outdoors – this is for your good, and will encourage those around you.

4) Take pictures, especially selfies of your clan, reveling in the brilliant glow outside. Go to the beach, go to a park, go downtown – go anywhere as long as it’s outdoors. If wearing shorts, be sure to take plenty of pics making note of that fact. Frolic, eat foods, play, dance, engage in tomfoolery, and generally be silly.

5) Post many, many pictures of your outdoor escapades on all social media outlets. If the temperature has not exceeded 50° yet, be sure to make note of this, emphasizing your lack of insulating layers and exhibiting your proud northern spunk and hardiness. Huge bonus points if you tag friends and family living in southern regions who have been rubbing your nose in it all through the dark frozen wasteland of the last few months. Make sure they know you’re running around in shorts in temperatures that would cause them to weep. This is your moment. Make the most of it. Break whatever commands necessary to make them ever so slightly envious. And remind them that this is just a small glimpse of what the wonder of a Michigan summer will look like…

When it gets here in late June.

Now get out there and make it count. Godspeed, my brothers and sisters.

Breathing Again!

And, as the Lord tends to work things out, just as I posted my “Lessons Learned” list., I discover I’ve had the honor of being published on the Breathe Christian Writer’s Conference blog! Oh my heart – it’s always such an honor to be among writers who I admire, and whose sandals I am unworthy to untie.

But I’d totally refill their coffee cups. ’cause I can do dat, yo.

Anyway, if you’d like to check that article out, head here: When We Speak by Cal Olson

Wowsers.

What Calbert Learned Lately

"Life, schmife - if I ain't getting doggy bacon strips, something is seriously wrong, my friend."
“Life, schmife – if I ain’t getting doggy bacon strips, something is seriously wrong, my friend.”

You know how life shifts, and suddenly takes over, and you’re left wondering what just hit you, and if it left a mark, and if it matches your shirt or will you have to change, and your wife will ask you why you didn’t come home and pre-treat it, because that blood stain will never come out now?

Or is that just me?… Probably just me.

Anyway,  you realize that the summer just vanished, you’ve not touched your corner of the interthingie since last spring, and you’ve just been moving from point A to point B while getting hit by bus C and recovering in ditch D.

Ouch.

So, here’s a few things Calbert learned along the way… Read more

Hi, Breathe Peeps!!

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A truly competent blogger would have had something in place when a post he wrote got published on another blog.

A truly competent blogger would have had something ready, to say HI to folks who stop by to check out the weirdness and fluffy goodness from this dude over here, and to invite them, in the immortal words from the Beverly Hillbillies, to “Y’all come back now, hear?”

 A truly competent blogger and writer would have had a post more current than the Third Age to greet those folks when they arrived.

*sigh* And a truly competent blogger I are not. Bad Calbert. Bad, bad Calbert. Read more

You Have To Believe

If you create, at some point you have to actually believe in what you create.

A long while ago, a friend asked me to consider writing a post for a blog. And at first, I was totally thrilled that they would ask me, then besieged with all manner of ideas, then actually began writing three different posts from little idea seeds that had sprouted…

And then the whole thing died a lingering, slo-mo death. Read more

The Other Side Of The Door

In the morning… 

(Well, “In the morning” not really having any relevance, since by the time these words wander their way into the world, the morning will probably have passed. Or even the day. Or a couple of days. Or weeks. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey, spaketh the Doctor.)

*ahem*

In the morning, my beloved will be heading to the hospital. Read more