Random Olio is just a few weeks shy of its 4th birthday, and yet today is my 1,000th post. Shocking. I can hardly believe that I have found 1,000 different things to talk about in those 4 years. How is that possible? Of course I often have rants and ramblings about women’s issues, creativity, family, life, and of course books and food.
There are days when I get ideas for weeks full of blogs and others where I think: “I do not want to even try to think about formulating a sentence.” Other times I wonder who would ever care to read a specific post on a topic I might find odd, or a bit off the wall, and then I receive a heartfelt comment that makes me so glad I listened to my gut and put my fingers to the keyboard.
Chris has been incredibly patient through all 1000 blog posts. There are times when the last thing he wants to talk about is my blog. Or, I wrangle him in to make a “Random Recipe” (hey, he gets to enjoy the bi-product in his tummy). It has taken countless hours of our life to design and redesign the site, let alone writing all the content. Earlier this year, Chris asked me if he could be surprised with the post each morning like everyone else. However, with pregnancy brain I need him to point out my careless typos and tell me when something does not make sense.
I am not sure how Random Olio will unfold in the coming weeks and months and if motherhood will inspire me to write more or less. Regardless of the next stage of Random Olio — I appreciate each and every person that has read, contributed, shared, and been apart of the randomness.
Write, write, write. I continue to find books, articles, and blogs that discuss creativity and the urgent need for so many individuals to write. I am always instantly enamored with reading more on this topic. Writing to me is the way that I make sense of the world. There are always so many ideas happening inside my head that often writing them down allows me to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
A recent article (it is long but worth the read) shares many ideas from well-known authors called “Great Artists Write” by Paul Jun says:
“It helps us not only gain new ideas, but also articulate them. It untangles the messiness in our lives and allows for clearer thinking.”
and later he says:
“The psychological benefits are like the slow and steady benefits of exercising. You may not see the gains yet, but the transformation is happening underneath: dots are being connected, ideas are crystallizing, and feelings are not merely passing through but rather examined and questioned.”
There are many times each week when I sit down to write a blog, or endeavor on a piece for work where I have no idea what to write. Usually as I allow my thoughts to open up the words come out, sometimes in a trickle, and sometimes with a flood of words. That does not mean that every piece that comes out is ever seen by anyone else — plenty stays on my computer — but I know when my fingers are ready to go and the words come forth.
If you write and want to feel inspired, are curious what writing could add to your life, or are just trying to process and resolve a jumble of ideas in your mind take some time out to pick up a pen and paper, or your computer and let the ideas make themselves evident. You never know what you might learn.
I have always put pen to paper. For as long as I can remember I have loved words, stories, and the connection and meaning they have on our lives. In elementary school, writing stories came naturally to me. Maybe it was because the crazy amount of books I read. The books inspired me to write and create my own version of reality. Writing for me came in a variety of forms. I often wrote in a journal and recapped my world, my questions, my painful moments, and sometimes the happy times. Although often I found I was lead to write when things were not good, as it was a way to process and formulate my thoughts and feelings.
For a few years in elementary school, I was the class representative to go to a Young Author’s Conference in my town, where you would bring your handmade book and had to read it in front of a group. If I remember correctly there were even finalists from the conference that went to a state version. In fourth and fifth grade, there was the “Little Hoosiers” writing contest, where we were to write about someone in our life that had grown up in Indiana. One year I wrote about my Great Aunt E’Beth, someone I had interacted with only a few times. She was related to us on my grandmother’s side of the family and had an interesting life. I researched her and her husband’s impact on my hometown in the early 1920’s. It was interesting to learn how integral and active they were in the community, and I found out later that I had won second place in Indiana for my essay on Aunt E’Beth.
Short stories, research/historical writing, and journal writing… there were so many ways that words inspired me. Then something happened. Life got crazy taking care of my mom, college, and then taking care of my grandma. Other things consumed me. I stopped writing and processing a world that sometimes did not always make much sense. Eventually I began to write in a journal almost daily. I made notes of quotes that inspired me. I made sure to spend time every day writing. But nothing like I did as a child. I wrote for me, but never really went back and explored the short fiction writing that I did as a kid. I think about it often and even dream about what it would be like to have a book pour out of my fingertips.
If you write, are a writer, or have that urge to let the words flow, I encourage you to write just a little bit everyday. There is something inside me that wants to go back to being that little girl and write all the crazy ideas that came into my head. I know one day my mind will quiet enough to let the words inside come out. For now, and over the last 3 years my writing has morphed into this blog, and I hope the ideas that have escaped my mind have inspired and uplifted those of you that read random olio.
Yesterday I wrote about my treadmill. I love it, with one exception it does not have a book holder. It has a tiny ledge that fits an iPad or eReader. Here is my dilemma: I am old school. I still check out books at my local library. I have investigated and most of the books that are on my list are not available on the eReader app available from my library. So I started the exploration of other paid eReader apps. Here is what I found:
Amazon: You have to own a Kindle ($59 and up), then you can pay $9.99 a month for their Kindle Unlimited Library, but most of the titles that I am looking for you must have an Amazon Prime account ($99 a year). However, you can only check out one book a month with Amazon Prime. If I am already paying $9.99 a month, and their better selection is with the Amazon Prime eBooks, then how is this a good deal at all? Here is a good recap of what they offer.
Oyster: I signed up for a free trial (caveat: their website says the free trial is 14 days, once I signed up the site emailed me and said my trial was only 2 days). It is $9.95 a month, but most of the titles I want to read are not available in their app.
OverDrive: Part of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium, it is free to me, but again the selection is slim to the list of books I want to read.
3M Cloud: Part of the Multnomah County Library, it is free to me, and the selection does not have the list of books I want to read.
I struggle with my dilemma. If I can go to the library and check out a book for free, why is it so hard to find a good selection of free eBooks? I have a hunch if I want to keep reading while I run, I will have to either have Chris rig some sort of book attachment, utilize at least 5 different eBook apps in order to find the book I want to read, or start to pay $$$ for each of the books I want to read. If I can find almost any song I want on Spotify for $10 a month, why is it so hard to do the same for eBooks?
What do you do? Do you have any ideas for me? My goal is to continue to read my average of 10 books a month, cheaply and easily, and potentially now on my iPad. Help!
Summer. While in some ways it is still in full force — warm weather and sunny days — it is also on its way out. My company has half day Fridays during the summer and we only have 3 left for this year. Somehow that makes me want to slow down the clock and enjoy every moment of every half day Friday. Once Labor Day hits, we return to a full five-day work week, and it just makes life different. Those extra daytime hours you get back during the summer makes things that much brighter, shinier, and it feels like a longer weekend.
Our summer has been mellow and yet full of change and growth. In my opinion, it’s just how it should be. We have completed a ton of projects around our house and yard, strategized for which upcoming projects have a higher priority or what we should shell out some green in order to proactively fix or repair certain things. We have sat in the sun, done our fair share of grilling, eating seasonal berries and tomatoes, exploring artisan fairs and farmers markets, oh I could go on.
Summer is my favorite time of year. The days are long, the sun is out, it is warm, if not just downright HOT. Freckles begin to populate on my arms, face, and back. There is just a healthy glow that surrounds everyone, not to mention the happiness that exudes almost everyone (especially in Oregon where sunshine is in shortage for nine months out of the year). During the winter I burrow inside and read a book. In the summer I bask in the sun while I read and take cat naps between chapters. What is not to love about that? As with any season of the year, summer is a time of transformation, and I appreciate all the precious moments I have had this summer with Chris, at work, with family (even if it is via text or Facetime). Life is good. I have no complaints.