Growth opportunities, 2020

Hi All,

I know that I already did a post on resolutions this year, but I wanted a chance to explore some recent areas for growth that I’ve been discovering/pursuing.

History

So, I have never been good at history. And like most people who were bad at history in school, I assumed that it was just because I didn’t like history.

Man, was I wrong.

The spark for this little gem of growth is actually, in no small part from my mom. We were talking about reading, and she was encouraging me to read some more things outside of my genre, suggesting that by reading more non-fiction or even just books outside my usual reading genres, I might find new and different ways of thinking that might spark inspiration in my writing, primarily in regards to characterization and emotion.

Simultaneously, I was working on some research, trying to pin down some cultural aspects of a certain race of creatures in my current novel (giant dog people, for those of you keeping track). So in a rather perfect storm moment, I started studying history.

Specifically, to start, Roman history, slavery, tribal history, and, most recently WW1.

Man, has it been life changing.

The primary way that I’ve been pursuing this has been through a podcast called Hardcore History, hosted by Dan Carlin. Man, is that guy smart. Basically what it is is hours long shows where he walks through certain historical events. For example, I listened to one that was a six hour history on Julius Caesar’s conquering of the Gauls in ancient France. The WW1 one that I’m listening to now is probably close to twenty hours of much the same kind of content.

And it’s been amazing. What I like about it is: a. learning about things that I really should know more about, b. seeing broad strokes that point to the very human things that lead to such events, and c. seeing them unfold over hours rather than the few pages you might spend in a book on similar topics. Carlin pulls from many sources–many primary when possible, for these, and by getting both high level overviews and first hand accounts, it really makes a difference. I know in some ways it’s already helped my writing, and look forward to the great leaps it might bring forth for me as a person as well.

Gardening

So obviously now is not a good time of year to start in on this one, but this one has actually grown out of working at my job. At said job, I work a lot with people closely tied to agronomy, crops, and soils. I’ve learned a ton as a result of this, but it’s also made it clear to me just how much I still don’t know. Like most people in my same demographic, I really don’t know that much about the food I eat, where it comes from, how it’s made, etc.

This is an area I would like to grow in, pun not necessarily intended, but fine whatever.

Now, since I know that gardening takes a ton of work and that I have neither the time, space, or flexibility to take something that big on, I think what this would look like for me at this point would really be just growing one thing. I haven’t decided what this one thing will be (mini-peppers? cucumbers? herbs?), but I think, come spring, I would like to try it.

Given how well my last attempt at growing any kind of plant went, with my poor African Violet still recovering in the tender care of my mom, I’m a little worried for whichever poor seed gets stuck with me, but I’m optimistic that with help, I might be able to get something to grow and get to reap something from my efforts!

Getting back to shore

So, this one is a little tricky.

Because what it is, is that recently, I was in a bit of a rough patch spiritually and emotionally, and was just really struggling with a lot.

Worse, I was having a really hard time getting back to and talking to God about it. Now, this isn’t to say that I was doing nothing. And even since the first draft of this post, I’ve actually taken some big strides. But as I was telling my mom, sometimes when you get off course, it just takes you a little bit of time to get back to shore. Or, depending on your metaphor, out of the boat onto the sea towards Jesus or back on track or, well, you get the picture.

Anyway, point is, I was struggling, but now I’m doing better, with great enthusiasm towards getting farther still soon.

Special thanks to my email friend and loyal reader who has been encouraging me through all of this. Your emails and prayers have meant a lot. You know who you are (I hope).

Anyway, sorry for the short post, but that’s what I’ve got this time around. I’ll talk to you all soon.


So, how about you? Any areas of growth you’re looking at lately? Advice for me on any of the above? Let me know in the comments below, and if you want more content like this, feel free to follow me here or on social media (currently on a break from that) using the links below or in the sidebar. Thanks for reading!

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