January 11, 2016

More Free To Be

I wrote this to my students tonight:

David Bowie died today and as a human being and a lover of music and art and culture and weirdness and freedom you should care.

You would not be who you are if it wasn't for David Bowie breaking down walls for you. Bowie forced the world to accept him for who he was, and so now you are more free to be who you are, because he made the world less rigid with his love of life and music.

Here is one of his songs, but do some more research and see who he was. (I shared Modern Love)


I just finished writing a little over 2000 words for my YA novel, bringing me past 30,000 words. I had lost my routine with the X-Mas holiday and the excessive marking I had to do last week. It felt great to crank out a scene that has been itching to get out. What’s even better is that I did the writing after a 7KM run and a full day of teaching and now here I am churning out a few more words. Why?

I’ve decided to push my writing to a new level. I want to finish the first draft of the novel this year and these daily writing exercises are helping with the fluidity of my thoughts, and my ability to craft them into different kinds of writing. Gladwell says that to get good at something you have to practice ten thousands hours, so I want to spend my nights click-clacking on these keys and dressing up my thoughts with words.

Earlier in the day, I was in a coaching session with Anne Marie​, our Lit Coach and friend, thinking:

We don’t get better at the things we love by luck. Sure if you do the same thing for years you will get better at it, but on a pretty slow trajectory. If we really want to improve we have to deliberately work and hone our craft. I have been teaching, writing, playing guitar, fathering, taking pictures for years, and yes I feel I am better at all of those things then when I started, but until I deliberately make a plan to try new things, find a teacher, and practice then my growth will be limited.

I’m not sure it is not healthy to try and improve all those things this year, so I have to prioritize. I want to continue work on my teaching as it is one of the most satisfying things in my life. I’ve already mentioned the move to focus on my writing by finishing the book and these daily writing exercises. But with the teaching I have a coach and a plan I am working on. I feel I might need a partner or some direct help to improve my writing. But where to find the time?

That’s the thing about passion, if you are trying too many things at once, you begin to dilute them.

Anyway, I have the rest of my life I know but I want to be a better: writer, father, teacher, guitarist, singer, runner, husband, filmmaker. That’s the list for now. I wouldn’t mind learning how to cook better, run a garden, design, draw, create art, and maybe play in a band.


Every morning I wake up at 5:50am and in the dark of dawn, with my still sleepily stingy eyes, the first thing I do is grab my phone and see what you all are up to in the darkness. I skim Facebook, read some links, do a quick run through Twitter, recently I have been checking Time Hop to see what the hell I said six years ago. Some days it is pleasant, but today after I saw all the pictures of you with your kids, a few of the other links wore me down.

Maybe social media first thing in the morning is a bit too heavy. Maybe I can spend that time in a quick quiet mediation, or brewing a nice cup of tea. The problem is that I feel if I don’t check in the morning that I won’t get a chance to check in for the rest of the day and then the thread becomes too long and I might miss somethings and we all know the world will end if that happens.

My point being that maybe after so much time, I might need to alter my social media consumption in a way that doesn’t load me up with so many thoughts first thing in the morning.

Lesson Learned:

  • David Bowie was a huge cultural necessity for all of us who needed freak heroes. 
  • Getting better takes more then time. You need focus and deliberate intention. 
  • How you wake up affects the rest of your day, treat those first few minutes with care. 

  1. Use this space to share your Bowie stories. 
  2. What do you want to get better at? How do you do it? 
  3. What’s your morning routine? 

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