chapter titles for all your days

for the love of chapters

When I was in eighth grade, I chose all the titles for the chapters in the novel Johnny Tremain. Granted, Esther Forbes wrote the book in the 40s (I wasn’t born yet. My parents weren’t even born yet.), and she was never informed of these chapter titles. Nevertheless, they were inscribed in my paperback copy beneath each of the large, centered chapter numbers.

It was because of Mr. Perry, our small-Christian-school’s middle school literature/P.E. teacher. Consequently, he wore wind pants most days and the corded whistle around his neck. We didn’t hold it against him. We liked his unconventionalities. He was the easiest to convince to take us out and sit on the grass when it was warm.

After reading a chapter, he would let us name it what we thought it should be named based on the chapter’s content. And we loved it. I still have that copy, and I still remember to this day that I named one of the chapters “Burnt Flesh” (It must have been the chapter where Johnny burns his hand in the silversmith’s shop, which alters his entire destiny.).

Shop in Old Salem

We love chapter titles, if we’re completely honest with ourselves. The titles often foreshadow what is going to happen. They’re sorta like clues dispersed throughout the story, and each clue leads to the next.

challenge

Start a blog that is journalistic in nature. For each entry, describe what you would name your day if it were a chapter, and explain why. Include events and memorable details of the day.

possible blog names

  • FortheLoveofChapters
  • BytheChapter
  • DaysTitled
  • ChapterandVerse
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needless guides for miscellaneous tasks

the need for needless guides

I make my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the same way. Every time. Put the bread out on a napkin. Spread the peanut butter over the piece on the left side (Why the left side? I don’t know.), avoiding the very outer edges. Plop the jelly (Well, I prefer preserves really.) in the center of the slice on the right, spreading it out but still leaving the majority in the center. Merge. Consume. The true test of if I got enough jelly or not is if some falls out while I’m eating. If it doesn’t fall out, then I didn’t put enough jelly.

Sandwiched between the “big” and “important” things we do each day are the small, almost trivial tasks, along with the small decisions about how we will perform those tasks. Whether it’s making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, selecting a table to sit in at a restaurant (Booth or not?), naming your pet Bactrian camel (Bactrian camels, as opposed to dromedary camels, have two humps.), getting lost effectively, cleaning out the multicolor-fungus-infected leftovers in the back of your refridgerator, or holding an olympic pillow fighting tournament, you have your own way of doing things. And some of us need your expertise. But maybe there’s also just a joy of analyzing how we do the small tasks.

I like booths better, and I'm becoming pretty effective at getting lost.

challenge

Start a blog of needless guides for the miscellaneous tasks that fill your life. Maybe you’re a writer or a computer geek or an equestrian. Give guides for those skills you have. Or maybe you have no specialty, but you have cute, peculiar ways of doing the random. Or maybe you want to learn new and interesting ways of doing things. Or maybe you’re an excellent people-watcher and you can simply record the ways that you see people doing things or even let the blog be a documentation of sorts of what people say when you ask them how/why they do these small things.

possible blog names

  • AndOtherNeedlessGuides
  • HowtoDoSmallThings
  • ThisisHowYouDoThat
  • GettingLostEffectively
  • BigSmallDecisions

the distractions we call life

the distractions we call life

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live one day without a single distraction? Peaceful. Relaxing. Productive. Or maybe . . . boring.

It’s been a lengthy fifteen days since my last post. 15! That’s unheard of for me! If you read my earlier treatise on the “best practices” for blogging (now kept readily accessible on the “Ready” page of the site), then you would know that I advised first-time bloggers to be consistent. Specifically, I encouraged them to blog 2-3 times per week. And here I am, a blogging hypocrite. Can it be!?

But, I have a confession of sorts. That is, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these 15 days. Yes, I’ve been distracted by many things. By writing, laundry, late night talks, last minute errands, unexpected visits, sickness (two-week cold) and health (I’ve been able to celebrate our occasional warm days with outdoor running!), assignments, music, emails, studying, working. My personal  favorite distraction = people.

I used to always begin deep and thought-provoking conversations with my roommate in the middle of her homework sessions. She’d be hunched in her corner, writing an essay about contribution by lamplight, when I’d break in with random comments about life. For this, I apologized. But she responded, “I welcome distractions.” It’s always stuck with me.

And I myself am coming to welcome them even more, because it seems to me that life is a long string of distractions. Perhaps so we can constantly be reevalutating what’s actually necessary. But sometimes the distractions themselves are the necessary, so if we had done what we intended to do, we would have really been distracted from the needed distraction.

I don't look like someone who would be easily distracted, do I? (This photo was taken during a "study session," and that is a blanket on my head.)

challenge

Start a blog about the distractions that make up your life. Analyze particular days when what happened was so contrary to what you had planned. Write about all the moments that seem “unplanned.” Write about the times when it seems like you are running late, only to be just in time for something.

possible blog names

  • TheDistractionCalledLife
  • LifeDistracted
  • IWelcomeDistractions