Writer’s Log – July 7, 2023

Welcome to “It’s Never Too Late: Uncovering the Magic of Writing After Sixty,” I’m Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Christian nonfiction author and poet. This is my writer’s log for Friday, July 7, 2023. Today, I’m writing about my writing life as a sixty-nine-year-old writer.

In Personal News

I’m continuing to make it to the fitness center twice a daily. Stretching my leg and hip muscles begins each session followed by a 30 minute walk and five minute cool down session. I do this twice a day. The walking has not had an impact on my weight which is staying steady in the weigh too much category. I’m five feet six inches tall and weigh in the 206 pound range with my weight fluctuating between 202 pounds and 212 pounds. 

Trigger finger update – Last time I mentioned I’ve been gripping the treadmill wrong or too much. I have developed something called “trigger finger.” My finger physically locks and I have to force it to straighten out. I saw the doctor on July 6. They still have me wearing a splint and added physical therapy of the hand and a RX for nerve pain. I am still waiting for the pharmacy to fill the RX after 24-hours. I’ll see the physician again on Monday, July 10. Potentially, I’ll receive a steroid shot if the hand isn’t better. So far, it isn’t better.

My new black Sketcher step-ins for exercising on the treadmill are working out fine. I have prescription orthotic in-souls and they’re great. They were a $600 plus investment from the podiatrist. 

In Spiritual News

I continue to spend time in God’s word and attending Bible study class plus attending worship.

My devotional time today was from the Christian Devotions US website https://christiandevotions.us/viewblogentry/21322. The devotion was from Romans 1:12 NIV, “That is, that you may be encouraged by each other’s faith.” 

In Reading News

This week I finished Harry Potter and The Soccer’s Stone. The auto scrolling feature on my Kindle is working wonderfully where I can read while walking on the treadmill. I’m now reading Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.

When I finish rereading The Harry Potter series I will read Lindsay Buroker’s Fallen Empire Series. I purchased the entire series on Kindle eBook this week. I previously owned and read book one in the series. The series is science fiction. Lindsay is a wonderful writer. The cost was minimal. I spent under $35. The books in the series are: 

  • Cyborg Legacy: A Fallen Empire Novel (prequel), 
  • Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1; 
  • Flight: Fallen Empire, Book 2; 
  • Starseers: Fallen Empire, Book 3; 
  • Relic of Sorrows: Fallen Empire, Book 4; 
  • Cleon Moon: Fallen Empire, Book 5; 
  • Arkadian Skies: Fallen Empire, Book 6; 
  • Perilous Hunt: Fallen Empire, Book 7; and 
  • End Game: Fallen Empire, Book 8

I purchased the books to in this series to read on my trans-Pacific cruise in October – November 2023.

Writers need to read. Stephen King and my university English professors taught me this.

In Writing News

You may enjoy Joanna Penn’s podcast The Creative Penn, You can find Episode #701 – 9 Ways That AI Will Disrupt Authors and the Publishing Industry in the Next Decade [2023 Update] with Joanna Penn and Nick Thacker at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2023/07/03/9-ways-that-artificial-intelligence-ai-will-disrupt-authors-and-the-publishing-industry-an-update-with-joanna-penn-and-nick-thacker/ and episode #700 – Using Sudowrite for Writing Fiction with Amit Gupta https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2023/06/29/using-sudowrite-for-writing-fiction-with-amit-gupta/ 

I continue to edit/rewrite my latest book. It goes slow with the “trigger finger” as I have to type primarily with just my right hand.

Pen and journal have also come back into my life as I am using my journal for writing my poetry. It’s a great way to avoid using my left hand.

I did not attend a Zoom or local writer’s group this week.

Writer’s Log – July 2, 2023

Dr Jim Kepler

Welcome to “It’s Never Too Late: Uncovering the Magic of Writing After Sixty,” I’m Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Christian nonfiction author and poet. This is my writer’s log for Sunday, July 2, 2023. Today, I’m writing about my writing life as a sixty-nine-year-old writer.

In Personal News

I made it to the fitness center yesterday. My goal of stretching my leg and hip muscles and walking 30-minutes on the treadmill was met. 

I guess I’m gripping the treadmill wrong or too much. I have developed something called “trigger finger.” It is a condition affecting tendons that flex the fingers and thumb, typically resulting in a sensation of locking or catching when you bend and straighten your digits. My symptoms may include pain and stiffness in the fingers and thumb. 

The condition is also known as stenosing tenosynovitis. I need to rest the left hand and specifically the “fickle finger” or middle finger on the hand. My father suffered from this condition. My finger physically locks and I have to force it to straighten out. Ugh.

A trip to the Sketchers store bagged me two new pairs of shoes. One was a pain of black Sketcher step-ins for exercising on the treadmill. They replace a pair of SAS athletic shoes at less than one-third the cost. The second pair were light brown (tan) casual shoes for wearing on ship during my trans-Pacific cruise this fall.

In Spiritual News

My Christian faith is important to me. I regularly attend Bible fellowship class and Sunday morning worship at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. I’ve been a member there for over two decades. 

In the worship service this morning, there was a salute to the armed services. The song for each branch of the military was played and members of or veterans of that branch stand and are recognized. 

It is the annual “God & Country” service. Today Dr. Jack Graham preached on “Is There Hope For America?”

You can watch live streaming or a replay of the service at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJXF34u8Xlk

My devotional time today was from the Christian Devotions US website https://christiandevotions.us/viewblogentry/21317. The devotion was from Matthew 5:42 NIV, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

In Reading News

I read another 40-minutes worth of Harry Potter and The Soccer’s Stone. I’ve figured out how to use the auto scrolling feature on my Kindle where I can also read while walking on the treadmill.

By using this feature I don’t have to change pages. I have it set to my reading speed. This allows the eReader to scroll like a teleprompter. Very cool!

In Writing News

You may enjoy the blog post “When Words Changed a Kingdom,” by Maureen  Miller at https://www.blueridgeconference.com/when-words-changed-a-kingdom/.

Maureen Miller blogs regularly at www.penningpansies.com.

You may also enjoy Linda Goldfard’s The Best Writing Life Podcast. This week’s episode is “How Authors Should Create Online Courses with Thomas Umstattd Jr.”

You can listen for free at https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-your-best-writing-life-69198117/.

You can learn more about Linda at https://www.lindagoldfarb.com/ or Thomas at https://www.thomasumstattd.com/. 

Have a good Sunday. 

Writer’s Log – June 13, 2023

The Importance of a Good Writing Area for a Writer: Home Office vs. Coffee Shop

Yes, I’m a Writer

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a writer. Yes, I confess an addiction to put words in an organized manner of a page. I even sell the collections of words I pen.

Writing Areas

For writers, having a dedicated and comfortable writing area is crucial for fostering creativity, focus, and productivity. A well-designed writing space not only provides a physical space to work but also creates an ambiance that promotes inspiration and concentration. 

Home Office or Coffee Shop Advantages

While both a home office and a coffee shop offer potential writing environments, each has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. In this essay, we will explore the importance of a good writing area and compare the pros and cons of a home office versus a coffee shop for writing.

Ownership and Familiarity

A good writing area provides writers with a sense of ownership and familiarity. 

A home office allows writers to personalize their space according to their preferences, with familiar objects, photographs, or inspirational quotes adorning the walls. This familiarity can create a comfortable and reassuring environment, enhancing one’s creative process. 

On the other hand, coffee shops offer a different kind of atmosphere, often bustling with activity and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Some writers find this ambiance stimulating, as it provides a dynamic backdrop that can inspire new ideas and fresh perspectives.

Facilitates Focus and Minimizes Distractions

A good writing area facilitates focus and minimizes distractions. 

A home office offers the advantage of privacy, allowing writers to shut out external disturbances and immerse themselves in their work. With the ability to control the environment, writers can minimize noise, interruptions, and other distractions that may hinder their concentration. However, a home office may present its own set of distractions, such as household chores, family members, or the temptation to procrastinate. 

In contrast, a coffee shop can provide a semi-public space that naturally limits distractions, as the writer is less likely to be interrupted by domestic responsibilities. The ambient noise in a coffee shop can also act as white noise, helping some writers enter a state of focused flow.

Productivity and Creative Output

A good writing area influences one’s productivity and creative output. 

In a well-organized home office, writers can have easy access to all the resources they need, including reference materials, books, and research documents. This convenience can streamline the writing process, allowing for efficient work and quick reference checks. Additionally, a home office eliminates the time and effort spent commuting to a coffee shop, providing more dedicated writing time. 

Conversely, a coffee shop can offer a change of scenery, which can be especially beneficial for those experiencing writer’s block or feeling uninspired. The lively atmosphere and the presence of other people can inject a sense of energy and motivation into the writing process.

Home Office or Coffee Shop Disadvantages

While both a home office and a coffee shop have their advantages, they also have some drawbacks. 

A home office, for instance, can sometimes become isolating, lacking the social interaction and sense of community that a coffee shop provides. Additionally, the solitude of a home office might result in feelings of loneliness or hinder collaboration opportunities. 

On the other hand, coffee shops may have limited seating availability, noisy patrons, or inconsistent Wi-Fi connections, which can impede productivity and concentration.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a good writing area plays a significant role in a writer’s creative process and overall productivity. Whether it is a home office or a coffee shop, each option offers unique benefits and drawbacks. 

A home office provides familiarity, privacy, and easy access to resources, while a coffee shop offers a dynamic atmosphere and the potential for inspiration. Ultimately, the choice between a home office and a coffee shop depends on individual preferences, working style, and the specific needs of the writer. 

Some writers may thrive in the solitude of a home office, while others may find inspiration in the lively ambiance of a coffee shop. 

The key is to find a writing area that cultivates focus, minimizes distractions, and ultimately fosters a conducive environment for the creative process. 

My Writing Areas Over Time

Starbucks 2023

Jim Kepler in hat at Starbucks
In this photo I am sitting at my writing area at Starbucks.

My writing area at Starbucks

Home office 2023

This is a tour of my bedroom office in The Colony, Texas in June 2023.

Home office 2013

This is a tour of my bedroom office in The Colony, Texas in August 2013.

Writer’s Log – June 4, 2023

🌟✨ It’s a spectacular Sunday! 🌞💃 The date is June 4, 2023. I always write the day, date, and year just to make sure I’m on track, haha! 😄

Yesterday was a scorcher! 🔥🌡️ The weather person predicted 82°F, but we soared up to a humid 88°F! ☀️💦 The rain was dancing around everywhere except where I was. Today, they’re saying we’ll have upper 80s with a lower chance of rain. Fingers crossed! 🤞🌧️

Exciting news! 🎉🛫 I just booked my flight back to DFW and the USA from Sydney, Australia! 🇺🇸✈️ I’ll be spending five amazing nights in Sydney this November. After a month of exploring Hawaii, French Polynesia, Tahiti, Pago Pago, American Samoa, and New Zealand, my trans-Pacific cruise will end in Sydney. I can’t wait. It is a #bucketlisttrip! 😍🌏

Last night, I had a blast watching hours of YouTube videos about Sydney, Australia and all the fantastic things to do there. I feel like I know so much about the city, yet there’s still so much more to learn! Seems they have beaches, museums, parks, and lots of food.📺📚

Guess what I did this morning? You got it! After showering and washing my hair, shaving, dressing, and taking my RX’s, I hopped in the car and drove straight to Starbucks for my much-needed dose of coffee and writing time. ☕️📝 Gotta get that word count in before church and Bible study! 📖🙏 Currently, I’m jamming to the Precious Memories Collection by Alan Jackson. 🎶 For those who don’t know, Mr. Jackson is a fantastic country singer, and this collection consists of those classic church hymns that still give me goosebumps when we sing them at church. 🎵❤️

My agenda for today is packed! I’ll be attempting to apply online for my travel visa to New Zealand and Australia. 🌍✈️ No time like the present to get it done, right? I’ll also check in on NASCAR because, let’s go #8 Kyle Busch and Richard Childress Racing! 🏎️💨

Getting my steps in is a must today. When I don’t hit my 10,000 steps, I tend to gain weight instead of maintaining it. As the doctor says, “Eat less, exercise more!” 💪🥗 And as the Apostle Paul says in the Bible, “The things I know I should do, I don’t, and the things I know I shouldn’t do, I do.” 🍦🍿 Bad ice cream and tempting popcorn, why must you be so delicious?

I’ve got some extra editing to tackle today. I’m a bit behind on my goal of completing the recommended edits, but I’m determined to catch up. The book on Hope is still set for release this month, as long as I finish up and send everything back to the publisher. 📚✍️

Somewhere in my busy day, I’ll make sure to dive into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. Just ten to fifteen minutes a day to get lost in the magic! 🧙‍♂️📖

This evening, I’ll have a tough choice to make: swimming or visiting with “she who can’t be named on the Internet.” 😄🏊‍♀️👵 I’ll probably end up visiting her son, daughter-in-law, and adorable grandchildren. Can’t resist family time!

What are you doing to make your Sunday spectacular? Don’t forget to include the Lord in your day! 🙌❤️

#SpectacularSunday #June4th2023 #BlessedSunday #SydneyBound #CoffeeLover #SundayAgenda #FitAndActive #WritingGoals #NASCARFan #Bookworm #FamilyTime

Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee

By Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written in Amarillo, Texas
March 14, 2023

I see headlights of white
And red taillights, too
Suddenly brake lights glow bright
Avoiding running into you

And I say to my Lord
“Thank you for another day of life
And for the guardian angels, too.”

The skies are black
The clouds steely grey
And the cold, snowy night
Has two hours before day

And I say to my Lord
“Thank you for another day of life
And for winter departing for spring.”

The hot, steaming brew
Calls my name
And I shuffle to the coffee house
People pay too much without shame

And I say to my Lord
“Thank you for another day of life
And for the service workers, too.”

The baristas endlessly work
Robotic, with a smile on their faces
And they never complain
They’ve found their special places

Yes, I say to my Lord
“Thank you for another day of life.”
And through the windows,
I watch the sun finally rise.


Photo by Zeeshaan Shabbir: https://www.pexels.com/photo/unrecognizable-person-crossing-snowy-road-with-cars-on-dark-street-6872932/


Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate. If you purchase using the links in the article I receive a small commission.

Books: Click on BOOKS to see some of the books I’ve written or where I’ve been a contributor. 

Why You Shouldn’t Worry

Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?

Here’s how can know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and be sure heaven is your eternal home. Click the link to read my personal story of accepting Jesus – Jimmie’s Story.

Starting High School

Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967

 

Starting High School

In San Francisco, it’s the summer of love,
Long-haired hippies, peace signs, and doves.
In Vietnam, the soldiers are dying,
Back home their families are crying,
And Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.

Jim wants to “Light My Fire,”
While Grace’s rabbit only flies higher.
The evening news shows the war isn’t cool,
This week I started high school,
And “All You Need Is Love” is what The Beatles say.

Written by Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Schertz, Texas, August 1967

Grace Slick today at age 79


The photos are of Grace Slick. She is an alumna of Finch College where she majored in art. She is an accomplished artist. The artwork is hers.


Note: This is the oldest poem I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me a few months before she passed away in 2014. Aren’t parents great about keeping things and then later in life returning them?

I wrote this poem as a freshman at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. Samuel Clemens High School was two miles outside the main gate at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Impressing, my English teacher was challenging. The assignment was to write a paper on “What I did on my summer vacation.” Instead, I wrote about what was happening in popular culture. Instead of prose, I wrote a poem. I failed to follow the rules. She called me a “beatnik hippy poet weirdo.” I viewed her insult as a compliment! I gave in, complied with her orders, and wrote five pages of drivel avoiding a grade of “F” on the assignment. I wrote about hitchhiking to the San Francisco, California and the “Summer of Love.”.

“Starting High School” is from the forthcoming book “Jimmie Aaron Kepler: Selected Poems” from Poetry and Prayer Press.

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” based on the poem “Christmas Bells”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his wife Fanny Appleton Longfellow. Longfellow is pictured as a younger man without his famous long, white beard. He grew the beard because the facial injuries from the fire that killed Fanny prevented him from shaving. Photo source: https://civilwarbookofdays.org/2011/07/08/henry-wadsworth-longfellow-and-the-civil-war/

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Written Christmas Morning 1863

“Christmas Bells” is a minor, yet well known, poem written by a very melancholy Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas morning in 1863 during the midst of the Civil War. It is an anti-slavery poem as well as a seasonal favorite.

Mourning the Death of His Wife Fanny Appleton Longfellow

The poem was written six months after the battle of Gettysburg where 40,000 soldiers lost their lives. In addition to despairing over the bloody war, Henry was also mourning the death of his beloved wife Fanny Appleton Longfellow. Fanny died in a tragic fire the same year that the Civil War broke out. In November of 1862, another personal tragedy added to his pain. His son, Union Lieutenant Charles Appleton, was wounded in the Army of the Potomac.

Written at Craigie House in Cambridge, Massachusetts

On Christmas morning in 1863, while sitting at his desk at the Craigie House in Cambridge, MA, Henry was inspired to write a poem as he listened to the church bells pealing. Their constancy and joyous ringing inspired him to write “Christmas Bells.” In spite of his sadness, Longfellow expresses his belief in God and innate optimism that indeed:

God is not dead; nor doth he sleep
The Wrong shall fail;
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!

Adapted into a Christmas Carol by John B. Caulkin

Sometime after 1872, Longfellow’s poem was adapted into a Christmas Carol. John B. Caulkin (1827-1905) was a famous English composer who set the lyrics to a gentle, melodic tune that is reminiscent of bells ringing. The carol is entitled “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Alternative tunes have been written for the lyrics but Caulkin’s melody remains predominant.

I lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire from February 1966 – the last day of April 1967. I was in the seventh and eighth grades. My father was in the United States Air Force at the time. As a student at Portsmouth Junior High School, I took field trips to both Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Longfellow was a Bowdoin College graduate and was a faculty member before moving to Cambridge to teach at Harvard.

Classical Education with Understanding and Appreciation of the Arts

We placed great emphasis when I was in junior high school on classical education with understanding and appreciation of the arts including poetry. Only my university and seminary education had a greater impact on me than my short two years in New England public schools.

What If There Were No C’s?

What If There Were No C’s?

What if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s?
What if all the C’s went out on strike?
Tired of being seen by you and me as just average unlike the letters A and B.
Now here is how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

You begin your day with a ‘up of hot ‘offee while in your lap is your ‘urled up ‘at.
Then later you ‘ould take your dog for a walk
While wearing your favorite ball ‘ap to keep the sun out of your eyes
Unless of ‘ourse, dark stormy ‘louds filled the sky.

On to the park where the ‘hildren and ‘anines go to play
Where you li’k an i’e ‘ream ‘one bought from a man pushing a ‘art.
While sitting in the park table’s ‘hair you ‘arefully observe the ‘ars
Driving down the street wondering about the driver’s worries or ‘ares.

A gust of wind makes you need to retrieve your ‘ap that just blew off your head.
Your hair now a mess needs ‘ombed but instead of ‘ombing it the ‘ap you wear
The favorite team’s ‘ap does its job of hiding your unkempt hair.
And you let your dog lead you ba’k to the house.

Ba’k inside your ‘ondominium a box of ‘andy ‘alls your name.
The temptation is too hard to resist so you pi’k a ‘ho’olate that’s ‘herry filled
Get a ‘up of hot ‘appu’’ino and sit on the ‘ou’h.
Then into your lap jumps the ‘at and she quickly ‘urls up.

Finally, resting in his home he re’alls his manners,
And remembers to remove his ‘ap, and loves on his ‘urled up ‘at.
Now you know how it would be if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s
Because you’ve seen how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written for my granddaughter Aurora
Written during November – December 2017


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God