Thursday, December 9, 2010


 I know, last time it was all about doing nothing. Now, here I am proposing the other end of the spectrum -- THE IMPORTANCE OF DOING SOMETHING.

Yesterday I was dinking about the internet as I am prone to do and stumbled upon an acquaintance’s writing. It had been awhile since visiting her site, so off I went for a reading reunion.

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin is delightful fare. Her premise is that for a year, she documented following the advice of many well know, and some lesser known, “authorities” on how to be happy. As she puts it, her writing focused on time “spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy--from Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah.”  Lady, I like your style.

In a recent article, GR wrote on Huffington Post, she writes about being creative and suggests that sometimes you have to force the issue when you hit the proverbial wall. Periodically, you need to go guerilla. A book that was out a few years ago, The Artists Way, was of some assistance to a friend of mine whose well had gone nearly dry. I do not have a lick of experience with it, but she swore by it.

With writing, one method I learned years ago to battle writer’s block is to write badly on purpose. That is right, write badly. You can only keep it up for a length of time before it becomes better. It did the trick when I worked on contracts specializing in keeping the Russian army from your front doors. I dare say that it was successful, although limited in the creative department. If anyone is out there with an unexpected tent in your backyard emblazoned with a hammer and sickle, please speak up.
One of my last 45s: Instant Karma
(On a totally unrelated point, but a clear demonstration on the associative powers of my brain, please allow me to brag.  Years ago, a military friend gave me a chunk of the Berlin Wall. It is in my desk and I look at it every day. Okay, it might be a forgery, but, as they say in Pittsburgh: “I don’t EVEN care.” It is a reminder of reaching success if you keep trying. Hey, maybe there is a relationship after all.)

Back to doing something: There are clearly points in my life when doing nothing is the order of the day (and usually a weekend at a monastery). Given that, there are more times when I really need to be all about doing something. Something particular. Something that makes me a better Scoop Murphy. Something that engages me and makes me a better person.

My friend Kate has a beautiful singing voice. Although it has been years since I have heard her, she is fully engaged in the practice. She is in a powerful choir and sings regularly, putting on stage performances with her friends. Another friend, Joe, is deeply involved with his church choir and their weekly mission of practicing on Wednesdays and magnifying the Lord on Saturdays. Angela dances competitively. This, too, I wish I had started earlier in my life. It is a difficult art form being deliberate about physical movement like this. I can do a great “white person’s gyration” but it takes effort being exceptionally graceful.

Another friend, Sandy, has a wood working shop in her basement that is enviable. So are her skills. As if that is not sufficient, she is now taking serious cooking classes well beyond Betty Crocker. Ted plays his instrument like a professional. Get out of the gutter. They are musical instruments. His flute graced my daughter’s wedding. Robbie is a naturalist in the outdoors. Yes, she keeps her clothes on. She is the most well versed person I have ever met on the environment and the great outdoors. It is impossible for her to see a bird and not identify it to you. Launching into an explanation detailing indigenous plants and geography during a completely different conversation is second nature for her, if you will pardon the expression.

What drives these people to do their something? I am going to guess my thing is writing. I might be flawed, but I thoroughly enjoy it down in my marrow. Louisa May Alcott inspired me as a wee tyke sitting on my grandmother’s front porch swing. To do what she accomplished and still drives home is so impressive. Perhaps I will not reach her heights, but I can keep trying.

Therefore, I am going to post on a daily or nearly daily basis, if only to turn the faucet and keep the water main of creativity flowing. It may end up being a trickle or the main just might burst.
Either way, it will keep me writing my other stories and attempting to reach out in print.

Wish me luck and let me know what you may do in this area yourself. Check out THE HAPPINESS PROJECT for some inspiration to call your own.

1 comment:

  1. So........ Ted made an honorable mention and the Madonna and I didn't?????????
    Don't we do SOMETHING printworthy??????????