Wednesday, July 29, 2009

State of Mind

I woke up this morning determined, my mind sent, every fiber of my being focus, ready to face the day and make it bend to my will. I was ready, despite a rather poor night sleep, I was awake and ready to show the world who was boss. I was going to write some of the finest chapters the world had ever seen (or at least that I had ever written). The world within my book would have new life breathed into it this day, and the characters would dance along the pages flowing from my finger tips as they clacked along the keyboard.

Then I got some news which I hadn’t been expecting. Nothing that directly affected me, but it had impact. It stopped me dead in my tracks. And I was disappointed, not in myself, as I said the news didn’t directly involve me, and it had taken place a short while back, so it wasn’t even as if it was fresh news, hot off the presses. I was disappointed in someone else, someone hundreds of miles away, but even hundreds of miles away the news of what had happened, what they had allegedly done, hit me like a brick wall.

Like that my state of mind, which had been so fierce, so focused, like a tiger on the hunt, was shattered. I was a kitten trapped in a tree, the world laughing at me from far below as gravity threatened to toss me to the ground. Sure I could land on my feet, but it was so far, it might hurt. My thoughts scattered, wandering to and fro, still wanting to make the most of the day, but now thinking of the other person, wanting to give them a good swift kick on the backside, shake some sense into them. But knowing that they are hundreds of miles away and not even having a way to reach them, that all such thoughts would be in vain and should be tossed into the ether.

So here I sit, my mind torn in two, trying desperately to regain its focus, and knowing that until I do, I am in no state of mind in which to work on my beloved project. So there it must sit, waiting for me to return, knowing I will, once I have collected my thoughts and can give it all the attention it so truly deserves. Writing must be undertaken in the right state of mind, or what chance do the characters stand, how many would fall needlessly in battle as your mind struggles with itself.

I understand so much more since I started this endeavor. So many things are based on a state of mind. A state of mind which we have so little control over, and is in a constant state of flux. So now I am going to sit, to drink my lovely coffee beverage, and think. Think of ways to return to my previous state of mind, or at least some semblance thereof.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Customer Service...

Does anyone else remember a time when Customer Service used to mean more? Not just putting people on hold, and repeating the same things over and over again, but actually doing something to serve the customer. When people went out of their way to try to make sure every customer was, not only satisfied with the service they received, but downright happy with it. What happened to those days? When did the bare minimum become enough?

As a person who hopes to one day co-own a game store, the lack of customer service in the world lately boggles my mind. Everything from wait staff neglecting tables, to no one asking if they can help in a store, to customer service people on the phones being just plain unhelpful. The concept of customer service, what it really means, is dying, the final pitter patters of its frail little heart are quickly fading away. What has caused this atrophy in the desire to help?

There was once a time when the customer was always right, and maybe that's not entirely true. (I know people who could really milk that one for all it's worth.) Now it almost seems as though we have gone to far the other way, the customer is never right. (No one says it, but come on, we have all seen it at least once.) What ever happened to a happy medium? Maybe the customer is right, unless they're a complete tool.

Why is it so hard to get people, who get paid to help, to help? If I give you every 99% of the details of my account information, why can't you reset an email address for me so I can access my account? If I'm at your table, and it's not busy, why aren't you at least coming over when you can see me looking for you? If I'm pacing in a store, obviously trying to find something, why are you walking right by without asking if you can help me find something? These should be common sense things.

Customer service is such an easy way to make sure more and more people come to your place of business, or buy your product, or order your service. So when did customer service go out the window in place of whatever is easiest?

For anyone in the customer service industry, or in any industry where they may interact with customers, I really hope you are the exception to what seems to be the rule as of late. Only you know if you are, but please, I beg you, as a consumer, take pride in what you do and ask yourself each and every day if there is anything more you can do to help? We need you to save customer service.

Monday, July 13, 2009


So I realized something quite interesting over the last few days. How important it is to take time to recharge your batteries. No, not real batteries (although I guess those are important too). Rather, the invisible ones, the ones in your mind and your heart and your spirit. The batteries that so often, in the hustle and bustle of things, seem to run down and be forgotten about.

I have spent the last week forcing myself to sit in front of a computer, willing my fingers to type, to work on a story that I know is inside me just waiting to come out. In a weeks’ time, I have managed a paragraph. That is dismal by pretty much every standard out there.

Now, I have a theory on this, I hadn't realized my batteries were low. Between running kids around, last minute changes to plans, every day things that need to be taken care of, and way too many late nights (trying to figure out why I couldn't come up with anything to write) my batteries had drained down to an abysmally low level. Then, on top of it all, since I was trying to force myself to write something that just wasn't there at the moment, the writing was turning into work, not fun. And we all know that work can be a horrible 4 lettered word sometimes.

I realized this afternoon, as I was sitting behind my computer desk once again trying in vain to write, but with my chin resting on the window sill, staring longingly out the window into the yard beyond, that I didn't want to be cooped up inside at a desk when this is the first beautiful Monday we have had in god only knows how long. I realized that it was time for a change in perspective. I would still try to write, but I would do it on my terms. Out came the laptop, and my trusty jump drive, and I was off to the hammock. Within 30 minutes, only 30 minutes, I had over 1000 words filling the screen which had previously been threatening eternal blankness. I had recharged my batteries. I had found what I needed to do for myself, to appease the creative muses and lure them once again to my side.

Will this work every time I am at a loss? I highly doubt it, that would be far too easy. But it worked this time, the words flow once again. I can write my story, I can write this blog, I feel like my old unstoppable self, ready to take on the world. Ok maybe not the whole world, but at least a chunk of it.

No matter how busy your life gets, no matter what you HAVE to do. Take a few minutes and recharge your batteries. Change your perspective, do something a way you wouldn't normally do it, mix things up a bit. You never know it might be just what you need...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good, Evil, or Somewhere in Between

Right or wrong, good or evil, no matter what you call it all people of sound mind know the difference. We are taught it from a young age and if we are lucky we are able to walk the path that we choose with little deviation. Yet what happens when our choices fall on the wrong side of the moral line. Or maybe our choice was what we thought was right but for others it seemed wrong.

In this world of expanding grey morality, where do we draw the line of right and wrong? What is the point of no return, the point where one passes from moral ambiguity into one extreme or the other.

Well it could be said that passing to good and just, is a noble thing, a good thing, something to be strived for with every step. Yet, those who spend all their time focusing on being good, often end up tyrants, attempting to force their will, and their ideals on others. In such actions they fall from their noble path and tumble back past moral ambiguity and into the more sinister side of things.

True good, seeks not to make others good, but to help those in need, without praise or acknowledgement. Good, does not seek reward, for good is its own reward. True good is a hard lifelong path which holds no glory and in fact quite often holds endless hardship. It is a thankless path, where sleeping well at night and being able to smile at yourself in the mirror each day are often the biggest rewards you will find.

Evil is so much subtler, it is the easy path. The way that seems to fall smooth and clear in front of your feet. It holds glory, power, and ease. It is as simple as looking out for yourself, above all others, doing what is best for you regardless of what might befall those around you. Nothing more is required then to dismiss the needs of your fellow man and creature.

So what may you ask, brings on the more philosophical topic today. Surely something as in depth as good and evil shouldn't be the topic of a random blog. Well, here is my question. How many of us consider ourselves to be good people? Maybe still in the morally grey on some things, but all in all, good people? Would you give a homeless person money, or your coat, or some food if they were hungry? Would you help a neighbor in need of assistance? Help a lost child find their parent? What about a fire, would you go in to a burning building to help someone trapped inside? I think many would say yes, to at least a few of those.

But those are all goodness toward your fellow man, those should be the easy ones. What about more subtle things, things where no one would know if you took the easy way? Would you care for an animal, feed it, help it if it was injured? Do you slow your car when an animal runs across the street in front of you? If you hit an animal, do you stop to help it, or find it's owner? Do you even stop to think about it?

Many people don't even think about this one, they drive on as if nothing happened. To the family of the animal you just injured or killed, you are now evil. In one second your lack of action has taken you from however good and pure you may think you are and thrown you into the depths of depravity. They are not merely animals to their families, they are family members, in some cases they are the only family some people have, and you have become a murderer in their eyes. Have you ever stopped to think about it that way? Will you now that it has been put before you as plain as day?

Yes, it as simple as inaction and you can become evil in the eyes of others. It is as simple as not treating others with the care and respect you would want to be treated with.

So I ask what path do you tread? Good, Evil, or Somewhere in Between