Focusing on the Positive

An unsolicited recommendation brightened my yesterday and touched off this post.

Everything outside the metaphysical construct of Me piles on the crap day in and day out. At least that's how it feels some days. The feeling that some deeper life exists just under the surface itches in the back of my head, and I feel powerless to capture the infinite possibilities passing me by. The unconscious conspiracy aligns the world against us, as if there's a universal Them tasked with making us miserable.

Perspective for one, no waiting...
But here's the Capital-T Truth:
Nobody conspires against us except us.

Nothing brings that into focus for me like getting unexpected good news on an otherwise bad day. That jarring bit of sunshine makes me look at the mire of the day and start singing along to the Indigo Girls, "It's only life after all." It provides perspective and offers a choice.

My life comes from my experiences, and experiences only happen through what I perceive. Therefore, my life comes through my perception of the world. Just as I can block someone on a social network or change the TV channel, I can choose what I perceive. "Perception Is Reality" lies at the heart of Schrodinger's Gun GMing, but it works in life as well as in games.

I watched "This Is Water" yesterday, which comes from a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace in 2005. It covers this idea in short film form quite well.



Do I want every tedious situation to sap my life in a stupid internal me vs. the world default setting? This is water. I need to remember that I have a choice. This is water. I can dwell on the negative and feed my life to the darkness, or I can focus on the positive and live in the sun while I can. This is water. This choice happens every moment of every day, and in the words of Rush, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." This is water.

Found at Healthy Blender Recipies.
I edit. I am an editor. I want to edit for a living, but right now it's a side job I use to improve myself while improving small corners of this RPG hobby I love. I fear jumping into it with both feet, mainly because I have a family that I need to provide for and with whom I want to spend time, and partly because the psychological and financial pain of past businesses failures still lingers. I don't know if I'll ever get past those fears, but I hope to. In the meantime, I'll work at it when I can.

Here's the thing: I'm good at editing. Sure, I'm still running on intuition at this point, but I notice my toolbox filling up with new skills on every gig. Part of me still fears the Fraud Squad, but that fear diminishes every time a creator wants me to work on a new project. I'm still working on ways to deliver criticism that don't make authors automatically reach for a pack of razor blades, but I'm learning with every new manuscript I read and piece of feedback I write. I can see the path I'm on rising up the mountain, and I'm looking forward to the climb.

An out-of-the-blue recommendation for my editing work tells me I'm doing something right, or at the very least that someone else thinks I'm doing something right. You can't pay for that kind of validation because asking for it cheapens it. These moments shine like gemstones in shale, and I am so thankful for them when they happen.

Thank you to Christina Stiles for thinking of me, for taking the time to respond to a G+ community thread, and for lifting yesterday out of the grey ooze of mundane drudgery with nothing more than four words and an acronym.

If you need more words of wisdom spurring you to do rather than just dream, I give you the "Make Good Art" commencement speech from Neil Gaiman.



I have a path. It's slow going, but I have a path.
Much as my mind resists the idea editing is art, and I make good art.

Now to continually steer my mind toward the light and keep walking my path.

This. This is water.

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