Posts Tagged ‘writing ideas.’

Ignacio is a crusty old bastard.  Or so everyone told me after I met him for the first time.  He was one of those mixed breeds of men, a blood line blended from all the major human food groups.  He had a look of an old warrior, eyes that could penetrate the soul of any man and a laugh that was contagious as any I have ever encountered.

I met him that first time a number of months ago when I asked him to share my table at one of the many over-crowded greasy spoon diners that permeate the Midwest landscape along Interstate 90.  He had an air of “I don’t give a shit” and another one that said “Don’t fuck with me”, yet he seemed amiable enough when he sat down and nodded a thank you in my direction.

“How be ya, son?”, he asked me in an accent that had that a twinge of that “Downeast Mainah” thing going on.

“I recognize that accent.  You from Maine?”, I asked.

“Ayuh” he chuckled as he exaggerated the word, “Born and raised up around a place called Millinocket.  The gateway to nowhere.   Left there to join the military back in 71 and never looked back.  Get up that way to visit once in a while, but wouldn’t move back to live. Pretty country but the politics sucks.  Too many educated idiots making too many regulations to live by. 

“So, what brings you out this way?”, I asked

“Hell, this is probably just another stop along the way, although a longer stop than usual.  Since Vietnam, I really haven’t stopped moving.  I like variety, both in work and in location…..and in my women.” He added with what looked like an innocent grin though it was difficult to tell under his shaggy, salt and pepper beard. 

“Quite the gypsy.  Sounds like you have had an interesting life.”, I said

“Had?…Shit, man…I ain’t dead yet.” He laughed as his plate of home cooked beans and steak was dropped in front of him.  He looked up at the young waitress.

“Thank you, Emma.  Looks and smells great.”

“Any time Roach.”, she said as she walked off.

“Ok. You’re not dead yet.  Any plans for the future? I asked, hoping that it would lead into a longer conversation.  His demeanor and his attitude created this certain curiosity.  There might be a story somewhere inside this man’s life. 

“What was Maine like…growing up”? I asked. “And…Roach?”

He just looked at me with those black eyes of his and said something about Roach being another story.  I accepted that graciously and commenced to eating the greasy cheeseburger I had ordered, along with the greasy fries and my weakness…chocolate milk.

“Growing up in Maine?  Probably like any other backwoods country place during the 50’s.  We never locked our doors; we raised our own meat and vegetables and hunted when we needed to.  Were we poor?  My dad worked hard for little money, but we never were cold or hungry and we enjoyed ourselves as much as any kids of that time.  So, no, we were not poor by those standards.  Using today’s elitist criteria for measuring “poor people”, I would have to say we would probably be called poor today.  God damned government idiots.  Have to put a label on everything, based on unrealistic statistics, just to validate to themselves that they are important and that we are too stupid to take care of ourselves without government assistance.  Shit, what I carry in the treads of my boots has more value than most politicians.”

“Problem with today, son, is the government is running scared.  Politicians are scared of losing their ill-gotten and undeserved benefits and their status with the people is lower than whale shit.  Government agencies have infringed themselves into people’s lives without permission and they are now beginning to understand that the citizens of this country are becoming extremely pissed off.  Rules, regulations, licenses, fees, taxes, spying and a whole shitload of other unnecessary crap.  Ain’t much that does get me riled except the fucking government, religious fanatics….. and thieving insurance companies.” he added with another grin.

“So, who the hell are you”?, he asked.

“My name is Bruce Swanson.  I make my living by writing and photography.  Nothing special, but it pays the bills.” I answered him.

“Shit, that is all that counts.  Doing something you like and earning enough money to get through life.  More people need to follow their dreams but don’t have the cojones to do so.  Be a lot less bitching to listen to if they did.” He said as he finished his plate.

“Anyway, thanks for the chair and have a good one.”,  he said as he pushed his chair from the table, dropped a couple dollars for a tip and headed to the cashier.

For some reason, I liked the coot.  He was opinionated and sometimes vulgar but he was the genuine article.  He wasn’t like the many people I have met that offered little, if any, transparency of their life.  Always trying to impress with exaggerated innuendos of how great they are.  This guy didn’t care one bit if you liked him or not, had actually lived the political history of the social upheaval of the 60’s, of the hippy movement with their “Peace, love, dove and pass the joint” philosophy and the vulgar events of Vietnam.  And due to his long history he could definitely understand that the recent raping of the Constitution by our so-called leaders is a serious problem that would eventually come to a head.  I needed to learn more about this guy.  What actually made him tick and how he faced life with patience, understanding and a slightly off kilter perspective that might make for good reading.  Now all I had to do was figure out a way to get to know him without pissing him off.  This type of guy you don’t piss off.  I needed a plan……(con’t)

Fish Pond, Northern Maine in autumn.

Fish Pond, Northern Maine in autumn.


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I have replaced crowds of people with the gathering of the trees and grasses.

I have replaced the noises of traffic with the relaxing sounds of birds and wind.

I have replaced the haze of pollution with skies dripping blue and splashed with gossamer splashes of white.

I have replaced the harshness of city lights with ruby colored sunsets releasing star flooded night skies .

And I have replaced the quandary of existence with the wonderment of living….

Powder river

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Being that it rained all weekend, and this should not be misconstrued as a complaint as the mid-west surely needs to moisture to placate last year’s drought, I spent some time completing a small goal.  I completed a PowerPoint and a PDF called “My World”.  It consists of photographic compilations and words.  Some words are mine, some are not.  The compilations are my attempts at creative artistic liberties.

We listen daily to the ugliness of the world and sometimes it seems that this ugliness has take precedence over all that is good and beautiful.  Here in this PDF, hopefully, is a tiny respite.

Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops

Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars

And reach for the heavens and hope for the future

And all that we “can” be, not what we are…John Denver



My world

PowerPoint presentation (with music) that is available soon….

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I recently experienced one of those uplifting periods where I figured many of my semi-creative and pseudo intellectual brain cells went on vacation, or maybe hibernation. Either excuse suffices right at the moment. After sitting in a fog for what seemed like a few eons, I began grasping at any idea, like a Titanic victim frantically clutching for a life-preserver. If water was present in the place I attempt to string words, I would have drowned. During my panic attack, I began to ask a lot of questions, many irrelevant and of little importance outside my cranial cocoon, but I did manage to experience one of those flashes of yeasty light that presents itself just prior to an epiphany.

What are the most asked questions in the world?‘  OK, not all that original, but, hey, I am drowning here. I did the typical search and was overwhelmed by the large, yet seemingly stupid variety of questions posed by those who populate this planet. I apologize. Some questions carried some merit, but not many.


  1. If a number 2 pencil is the most favorite, why is it still a number 2?
  2. If you are driving at the speed of light and you turn your headlights on, what happens?
  3. Why are hemorrhoids called hemorrhoids and not asteroids?

See what I mean? Stupid, non-realistic that distracts from gaining those prizes of wisdom and knowledge. Yes, they are different. Wisdom is the ability to acquire and utilize information to gain power over one’s existence while knowledge is the unorganized array of index cards that one’s brain formulates. Anyway, then there are those universal questions that humans have pondered over for centuries, and have failed to find a valid answer. For the most part….


  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Is there a God?
  3. Will I get laid tonight?

Here, there is no specific answer, well, maybe for 1 and 2. #3 is iffy. The best answer I read in my journey to absolute wisdom is as follows:

1. What is the meaning of life?….. This is by far the most perplexing question of any on the list. I have studied many religions and philosophies, some very deeply, and I can tell you that if one common lesson, one essential element of life could be boiled down from them all, it would be: Don’t be an asshole.

No, seriously, that’s it. Just about every world religion says at least that much. I mean, yeah, they say other stuff too, but this is the common ground. This is what they all basically say. I wish I had something fancier to tell you, but if there is a universal truth out there common to all of religion, philosophy and social theory that points to a single successful navigation method to get through life, that’s the one. Don’t be an ass. That’s it. So there you go, and you’re welcome. Shadesbreath

2. Is there a God?….. Yes. Unless I am wrong, in which case, No, there is not. Shadesbreath.

3. Will I get laid tonight?…..This question actually gets asked far more often by people around the world than do the two above. However, because the first two get a great deal more consideration by guys with PhDs (mostly because guys with PhDs already know they aren’t getting laid so they don’t ask anymore), I decided to structure the list the way I have. Anyway, the answer to this universally asked and all-consuming question is: Probably not, unless you are a hot chick, at which point it’s entirely up to you. Shadesbreath.

Alright, I can probably assume that the next most important question here is: What the hell is a Shadesbreathe?….. As I am falling back into a self-induced attempt to limit my words, here is the Answer

So, what is the major point to this entry? Damn, there I go again, another question. Actually, there is none. I am filling the time-space continuum so it will not collapse back onto itself,  adding irrelevant content so as not to disappoint my 3 loyal readers and exercising my fingers as I have been told I need to “get some exercise”, which I can now say, I complied with. The left brain is arguing with the right side and I am not going to engage in their petty debate….So, I guess I will just go out and mow the lawn….

I usually throw in a photo, painting or something that adds some value…..


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Ever wonder why so many of us begin this endeavor to blog and then continue to spend countless hours each week concocting our opinions, experiences and vents into semi-readable paragraphs? For some of us, it is all about practicing a dying skill of writing well. Creating with words what artists create with oils and pastels. It is a place to vent our growing frustrations over life and living and it is a platform to our attempts to entertain, critique, rant and rave and learn and educate. We validate our attempts by who and how many actually read what we have sweated over creating and what we think is important. Some of you earn a couple of dollars from blogging to cover the cost of our addiction to the internet and some of us just do it because we enjoy the challenge.  That is my excuse for not being one of “those” who are earning a couple of dollars…

So what really are the most read blogs out of the hundreds of millions of these cyber writing pads and what are the most popular topics people read, write and follow? This unscientific list was developed only because I would like to write something that people would actually read. I understand that even though the topics are popular, writing a blog entry about such topics is still a continuing work in progress in regards to refining one’s alleged talents. So, what are the most popular to spew onto the net? The following are the top leaders.

1. Where’s the Money? Writing about money, how to earn money from blogging, how to invest, save, steal and swindle money is one of the most popular topics there is out here in cyber dreamland. What with all the greedy bankers, corporations and financiers taking the largest share of disposable income from us workers and a government who hasn’t a damned clue on the definition of fiscal responsibility, many of us need to find a way to supplement our financial existence if we are to survive this sluggish economy.

2. Where’s the love?

Another hot topic, second only to the almighty dollar is that mind-boggling, emotionally filled thing called “LOVE”. This thing that turns male and females into babbling idiots and is the reason we begin thinking and choosing, utilizing those other parts of the body instead of the brain. We all dream of being the knight who saves the princess or being the princess who stares out of her tower searching for her knight in shining armor. So, do you know love? If you have met this mysterious thing, write about how to find that perfect companion (for other people) and how to keep the fires burning if you have this mysterious phenomena.

3. Where’s the success?

We all want to feel successful in our ventures in life, in our relationships (see #2) and in our employment. Problem here is that the definition of success has a personal and variable definition for each of us. Do you think you have achieved success? If you personally know success, write about it and help those who are still searching for this elusive animal and help them to connect and become successful.

4. Where’s the health?

Weight loss, six packs, calories and exercise. We are continuously bombarded by advertisements promising a return to youthful wellness. People spend approximately 34 billion dollars every year to postpone the advance of weight, age and saggy skin. Observing that people spend this amount of money, you can bet this is a popular topic to write about.

5. Where’s the answers?

Personal problems. We all have them and most of us can not wrap our brain around these daily conundrums long enough to discover how to fix them. Financial issues, irritating co-workers, everyday hassles and a 1000 other daily problems that make the day drag is the norm today. And as we progress towards the next century, these daily problems will increase. 20 years ago we needed to deal with an average of 3 changes to our daily routines, but now, research shows we deal with an average of 29 changes. What the hell happened? Life has changed and we are playing catch up. If you are good at giving “good” advice, you can assist others in finding those evasive answers.

6. Where’s the food?

The word “recipes” is search for 1.5 million times every single day and “cooking” is searched for over half a million times. Have a favorite recipe? Or Grandma’s secret recipe for molasses cookies? Share it with the world. Write about your unique cooking style or your mouth-watering gourmet truffle soup. You could even make a few bucks.  I would attempt this but micro-waving a frozen clump of pseudo-food isn’t in high demand.

7. Where’s the creativity?

Photography, camera & art blogs are extremely popular within internet searches. Sharing your photos, crafts and art works with the world. Maybe you could even sell some of your creative masterpieces, make the world a more beautiful place and become the next Andy Warhol. Whatever your gift, share it and the world will thank you.  We all need a little pick me up…

8. Where’s the mutt?

Pets. They are almost human to many people. People love pets and every other house either has an assortment of dogs, cats, reptiles, arachnids and those little things that swim around in circles in a pint jar. Blogs on pets, writing about pets’ well being, pet health, pet psychology, pet food and pet games always make a lot of money from advertisers and from sales of pet products. Why not you?  $45.5 billion are spent on pets each year….amazing. 

9. Where are the geeks?

Technology subjects are extremely popular with people who either know the gadgets or those people like me who need a kindergarten type manual to even understand the inner workings of the most simple of these technological miracles. If you have a gift of knowing such technological jargon and can explain it in three and four letter words, here is your niche and send me the instructions on how to get the most out of a flip go-phone.

I threw this in here for the hell of it…something to do with attempted creativity…maybe…

Don’t ask…..


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Sunsets, mountains, solitude, a comfortable old rocking chair and a unique companionship.

The next several weeks seemed to fly by. The roof had been repaired and the finishing touches, what few there were, had been completed. Yes, it was small, but the one property of the old man’s dream was a proper front porch, facing southwest and looking out over the distant mountains, softened by distance. The view took his breath away every time he gazed from this spot. He had dreamed of such a vista for many years, and the only thing that decreased the splendor was that it was not shared with the one he thought it would be. Such is life and the unstable roads of living. It is what it is.

He moved his limited possessions into his new home. Some things more important than others, but all holding a special memory or functionality. He placed the several dozen books he had read and reread many times upon the shelves, and then to the rough log walls, he placed framed photos of those who were dear to him. 

One final project to complete and he would be finished for this year. As this task was to move the old wood cook stove into his new home, it would prove difficult due to the heaviness of this particular relic and the placement went slow. He had found this dilapidated stove in an abandoned cabin several miles down in the valley, had purchased or constructed the missing parts, and finished, this appliance would serve it’s purpose most readily. It was an old Atlantic cook stove, white enamel with shades of aged brown and green in color and it not only had a small oven, but a rear tank to heat water. 

“Life is good.” he chuckled to himself as he finally positioned the stove into place. Adding the stove pipe was a simple matter and was completed well before dinner.

“Now, to finally cook a decent meal.” he thought. 

He had long planned what his first meal inside the log cabin would be and relished the idea of playing chef.

“Biscuits and gravy, home fries, eggs over easy, bacon and hot coffee, with a small glass of wine for dessert.” he thought to himself. “My first real dinner, sitting on my porch, and unwinding in the last rays of sunlight.”


Old Wolf, part 1

Old Wolf, part 2

Old Wold, part 3

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I have been visiting the sites of many photographers and have discovered many with talent, different perspectives and exciting visual concepts.  I have encountered and borrowed some ideas that have opened new conceptualities of both style and subject to experiment with.  To those of whom have given me inspiration..I thank you.  But, until I can invent, shoot and post some of my attempts,  I will continue to post some of what I consider “the previous attempts” of the art of “picture taking.”



The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt

Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”
Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.” 


An old wagon wheel lay tired, up against a bail of hay,
with worn and broken lumber, it had seen a better day.

Once it had been a bright new wheel, that had
turned with strength and might,
made for arduouse journy’s under the hot sun light.

Over rugged mountains and across desert plains it rolled,
carrying preciouse cargo, settles, to the new world from the old……….

And the new world beckoned as the wagon wheel forged new ways,
cutting across the grass and sand, it headed for better days.

Over rocks and bumps it jumped for the wagon wheel was tough,
it was made from new technology, made of better stuff.

The wagon wheel made it in each journey, day by day,
every mark tells a story, as it rests on the bale of hay………


Now….I am off to that thing they call “work.”

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