Gerbil Brain, Mental Exhaustion, Backlogged Output

The Dreaded Trickle

The Dreaded Mental Trickle

I don’t understand or relate when people say they are “bored.”  Maybe they mean “ennui” – a perfect word for listlessness, compliments of the French.  Now, THAT I have suffered from, a sort of existential dissatisfaction.  But my ennui stems from intellectual overload.

My problem is not a lack of interesting things to think about and write about… rather, there’s an overload of ideas.  I have them stacking up and backing up.

It’s not writer’s block.  It’s more a case of having a hyper gerbil loose upstairs, scampering around first on its wheel, spinning, spinning, spinning, before leaping off and thrusting its nose into every nook and cranny it can find, not staying in any one spot for too long.  And that’s what is maddening: it has proved too elusive to capture and contain.

So unfortunately, instead of a geyser of output, I am suffering the dreaded mental trickle, where output has slowed to the pace of a drought-plagued stream.  In continuing my gerbil-brain’s current mixing of metaphors and ideas just in this post, I feel like I’m looking over a box of chocolates, and there are so many choices that I’m exhausted from the very effort of trying to make a decision and need to lie down.

Any ideas for harnessing the gerbil, settling down and getting that output flowing again?

Fun, Entertainment, and Sleepy Hollow

Last Friday the 13th was the launch of a collaborative effort, It’s a labor of love that was dreamed up by three of the four members of my writers’ group–the three of us with a taste for dark tales.

While releasing anything onto the internet is like shedding one tear into the ocean, we’re all pretty excited about our endeavor. I plan to have fun with it and enjoy the opportunity to connect with readers.

Tonight, I’m looking forward to the series premiere of “Sleepy Hollow.” I read a less-than-stellar review, but I have to be honest: I’m not looking for Masterpiece Theater at 9 o’clock on a Monday night. I’ll settle for pure entertainment.

How about you? Thoughts on “Sleepy Hollow?”

Drumroll, please…

I’m trying to contain my excitement, but good luck with that.  I want to announce the launch of a new website to be launched on September 13th — that’s Friday the 13th! I am lucky to have met two wonderful writers who spur my imagination and challenge me to s-t-r-e-t-c-h my creative leanings… and this will be the ongoing result.

Here’s the info — I hope you’ll check us out at!

Waterfront Writers

Prepping… What’s So Funny?


Image courtesy of Victor Habbick /

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick /

I attended the Mid-Atlantic Emergency Preparedness and Survival Expo over the weekend. I’ve read many articles and online comments about preppers, and there are a few common reactions: respect, a knowing wink, or an outright insult and dismissal as a bunch of crackpots.

It may be the use of the term “doomsday.” It has Hollywoodesque connotations of unreality. Or, maybe it’s the seemingly excessive lengths that some preppers go that may induce eye-rolling, such as the building of bunkers. It’s too easy to look at recent history, when folks in the 50’s built nuclear fallout shelters, and judge them as excessive because we know nothing happened to require their use. So anyone building a shelter or bunker today is seen as over the top because there is seemingly nothing to warrant such extravagance.

Who’s to say? Just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it won’t, but it’s all a matter of personal taste.

While any pursuit can be taken to an extreme, learning skills that promote independence and the ability to take care of yourself and your loved ones is inherently a good thing. I don’t think you need to throw the baby out with the bath water and cut all ties to society. We are still social creatures, and working together to prevent “doomsday” scenarios from occurring still makes sense.

Besides, it’s all fun and games and mockery until the unexpected hits. It doesn’t have to be a complete collapse. How many people have experienced the inconvenience of a power outage? I can’t get water from my well when the power is out–talk about feeling helpless. It takes little inconveniences like that to make you realize… I’m really dependent on a system that when it works, great. But ask the people who lived through Hurricane Katrina what the system was like there. Can anyone forget the people stranded without drinking water?

My favorite snarky comments I see with prepper-related articles (isn’t the comment section one of the liveliest bits of any article?) are those that say, “I’ll just go take a prepper’s stuff if need be.” If that isn’t a classic case of entitlement, I don’t know what else would qualify. The funny thing is, the commenter probably relies on GPS and wouldn’t be able to find a prepper, so maybe they’d better think of putting some gallons of water by instead of thinking they’re going to turn into Mad Max. Better to focus on developing Mad Skills, baby.

The speakers at the Expo were a diverse group with a range of background experience. It was with passion that they shared their knowledge. Some might look askance at the fact that they each had something to sell. I can’t fault anyone for packaging their knowledge or creating products and selling them. It’s still the American way. And, it didn’t seem like anyone was trying to bilk the crowd or getting rich off their endeavors. People plunk down money for things of far less value, and anyone willing to pay for knowledge or practical products has probably made a wise investment.

I took pages of notes and look forward to sharing tidbits over the coming weeks. But first, what do you think about the prepper ‘movement’? Folly, or foresight?

Man of Steel: Have All the Good Stories Already Been Told?

Last Thursday was my son’s birthday, and he wanted to go see a movie. In a theater, not in our house. I could only dig in my heels slightly when he said he wanted to see “Man of Steel.” After all… it was his birthday, so I had to be a good sport and push down my desire to use my last-resort trump card: no, because I said so. Instead, it was with gritted teeth and a grimace that I replied, “Yes, little darling… it is, after all, your day.” 

I was pleasantly surprised… I really enjoyed it. Tears, laughs, completely plugged in… who’d have thunk it? 

My initial gripe was that, here we go, Hollywood is regurgitating the same storyline over and over… and did I mention, over, again? In the name of all that’s creative, can’t they produce something fresh, new, original? Or have all the good stories already been told, and this is why we revisit the same thing, even if it is in new incarnations?

As I watched “Man of Steel,” I realized that all the good stories have already been told, and we will continue to see the same stories over and over. They will come as remakes of the same thing bringing a new twist and visual effects, or they will be those fresh, new, original stories we year for. All stories resonate with us because they share in common the same mythic structure: heroes and heroines, villains, mentors, challenges, tension, resolution.

All the good stories have been told and will continue to be told, packaged in the structure that makes them reach into our human psyche and touch our hearts.

What’s your take?