Photo by Author

She sits there drinking beer, slumped in my papasan chair, leg bouncing up and down hinged at the knee, while staring out the window in feigned boredom. Some muse I have. I’m stuck with this blank page and she’s more intent on a beer buzz.

Where’s the practiced wave of her hand causing perfect verbs and nouns to spew forth like gold flowing out of a Leprechaun’s bottomless pot? Where’s the creative doyen intent on ordering my thoughts into clever, succinct, and dare I say, sellable prose?

“So what have you written so far,” she says without looking at me…

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Do you do this? What does “bibliomancy”mean?

I’m familiar with the concept, but until recently never knew what it was called. Nor did I realize so many people practiced this in an alternative form. I’ve done this countless times in the past and still occasionally explore new knowledge through this practice, although not in the classic dictionary definition:

Divination by means of a book, especially the Bible or a holy book

The religious practice was (or still is?) to place a Bible or holy book on its spine then let the covers fall to reveal a random page. Then with…

Photo by Paul Blenkhorn @SensoryArtHouse on Unsplash

When I stumbled onto this phrase in some readings and thought about these ideal living goals, the alliteration make me think of Jane Austen. I must confess I’ve never read any of her books, or if I had, they were in high school or college and long forgotten. Perhaps this was partly a subconscious tug to read Sense and Sensibility.

Our noisy world is constantly confusing us through so many voices — true and false, right and wrong, buy this or that, do this or that — conspiring to restrict our innate abilities to judge and choose on our own…

Photo by Adam Chang on Unsplash

On a recent chilly winter morning, I bundled up and headed out for my early morning walk. As I listened to The Writer’s Almanac, Garrison Keillor announced it was Jack London’s birthday. Keillor, in his well-recognized baritone voice, then shared some of London’s hardships during his pre-novel years. I listened keenly and seem to no longer mind walking in the cold. Whether my brisk gait or the Jack London-inspired thoughts help warm me I can’t be sure.

When he was 17, London crewed aboard a seal-hunting expedition to the Bering Sea and Japan. Soon they encountered a typhoon and every…

A recent lesson in the Alive Time Stoic challenge was about creating a daily schedule and sticking to it. And through that effort, enable a routine’s benefits by committing a schedule, fended times/blocks of what/when, to paper.

Like children who respond well to boundaries, adults too can benefit from daily routines. For anyone chasing a creative endeavor, you innately know it’s all about consistency through daily practice. Scheduling time for writing, or sketching, or reading creates an expectation and anticipation for your mind to shift into focus on these activities at these moments.

“We are what we repeatedly do, therefore…

In my dream, I was walking the familiar wooded paths nearby on a crisp, bright, winter’s day. Yet, something was different.

Being the only one patiently walking these leave-covered trails winding through hardwood trees was nothing new. Not hearing any road noise from nearby highways, however, was new.

Soon I stopped to let my mind wander. I gazed out through the tall standing, hibernating trees, silently awaiting nature’s spring command to “leaf forward.” As I stood there in my thoughts, a large, black crow flew down and landed on a limb near me.

CROW: “Caw. Caw. What are you doing…

This phrase may seem like a blanket indictment of mistrust, or maybe just three simple words inferring we should solely depend on ourselves for knowledge or truth. Yet, this enigmatic, timely, in-your-face statement is neither of those. Seth Godin in a two-minute Blinklist podcast episode, attributed that powerful, three-word quip to William Goldman, the prolific Hollywood screenwriter.

What this simple, powerful saying suggests is that in so many areas of life where unexpected change is possible, those we think should know what’s coming, don’t.

No one can foretell the next bestselling book, fad or cultural viral thing that everyone wants…

Studio where I study, create, meditate
Studio where I study, create, meditate
Work zone where I create, sketch, meditate, and stay mentally active.

No, I don’t have a job in an office away from home where I should be. And while I do have the shipping set up in the basement for my online stationery shop, I don’t mean that either.

The current stay-at-home mandate is not stopping me from going to work, because my work is to get up each day and go through my health-supporting routines, then go through the day pursuing creative efforts and mental stimulation. That’s my job in these dark times and it’s a seven-day-a-week gig.

Routine is the right-hand enemy of fear and anxiety, while the left-hand…

Photo by author

”Each time we write, we create a connection between the inner and external worlds we inhabit.” - Ralph Wahlstrom

For writers who think writing is all about connecting with readers, pause to reflect on the above quote from Wahlstrom’s The Tao of Writing. One might even stretch to say that without nurturing this connection, these two worlds may float by each other, rarely providing the other with meaning or influencing our written words. A suitable definition of writing might be to explain, in written word, how our inner world connects and relates to our external existence.

Writing, for me at…

Gary Varner

Writer, sketcher, traveler at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store