August 18, 2018 6:13 am
August 20, 2018 6:13 am

I had the good fortune to spend this past weekend at the beach. I read, stuck my feet in the surf, explored a little bit, and otherwise contemplated some of the more lovely aspects of life on this Earth.

My first morning there, watching the sunrise, the word “inexorable” occurred to me. There was the eastern sky, growing brighter, gradually. I knew nothing was going to stop the march of lightness entering my particular part of the world. Or, if something did, it would mean bad news for more people than just me. (7.6 billion more people, really).

It seems the word is more often used to describe human actions or ideas. offers this definition–unyielding; unalterable: inexorable truth; inexorable justice. Not to be persuaded, moved, or affected by prayers or entreaties: an inexorable creditor. Merriam-Webster offers a similar definition, with the example inexorable progress.

And, don’t get me wrong…I’m not praying for or entreating the sun not to rise. It’s definitely a positive, and the alternative, as I intimated above, would not be.

It has more to do with this: I’m feeling time’s inexorable march most acutely these days. And I’m not talking about my aging body, or middle age. Not first and foremost, at least. No, top of mind is my productivity, and my desire to get more done in a 24-hour-period than I seem to be able to.

I’m in the throes of final edits on my second novel, and also drafting my third novel, and neither is happening as fast as I would like. Granted, my deadlines are all self-imposed, but I imposed them for a reason. Without the threat of an inexorable deadline, I’m sure I’d find a way to drag this work out over countless more sunrises and sunsets.

Back to the inexorable sunrise: it rose through a curtain of rain on the second morning, so I opted to sleep in and stay dry. My final day, conditions were favorable for a leisurely repeat viewing. It just so happened that I snapped a photo with the same exact time stamp as forty-eight hours earlier: 6:13 am.

And it occurred to me that sometimes a little perspective is all that’s needed to lighten the crush of inexorability. Because the sun doesn’t truly rise and set. The Flaming Lips sang it best: “You realize the sun doesn’t go down / It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.”

Communicating Distances

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Later this afternoon, I’ll return home to New Orleans from Orlando. I’ve been here since Sunday, attending the Society for Technical Communication’s annual Summit.

I’ve traveled quite a bit in the last thirty days (Los Angeles, New York, plus a few local trips I’ll get to shortly). One remarkable thing is that only this last bit of travel, to Florida, has been for my day job. That’s certainly a departure from years past.

And in another departure, this travel hasn’t been for a trade show. Which leads me to something I’ve meant to mention in this space earlier, but I don’t think I have yet. I’ve moved out of the marketing department and onto a new challenge with the company who’s been good enough to employ me for the past eleven years. I’ve been learning the ropes of technical writing, which is a change that suits me just fine.

Communication has been the focus the past three days at this conference — the 65th version of this meet-up! It’s been eye-opening and very educational. Part of me regrets that it’s taken me so long in my career to turn in this direction; but there’s another part of me that feels like now is just the right time to get involved. There’s been so much change — just in the past few years or so — in how we communicate as a society.

I’ve been thinking of the term “the medium is the message.” When Canadian intellectual Marshall McLuhan coined that phrase back in 1964, was there any way he could have possibly envisioned the vast proliferation of mediums that exist today?

What it all seems to boil down to is this: I don’t need to craft a different message for every different form of media I use. I just need to be clear enough in what I want to say, and fluent enough in the nuances of the different media, to be able to “translate” the message into all its appropriate forms.

Therein lies the rub.

And this doesn’t seem clear at all, but I mentioned above some local trips I made recently. Far be it from me to leave that dangling. In the span of about 24 hours, I made round trips to the following southern Louisiana towns: Baton Rouge, LaPlace, and Ponchatoula. And when that was all done, I flew to Orlando.

In the interest of concise communication, I’ve edited out the reasons for those three local trips, and the incontrovertible timing each bore. If my life were a fiction, I’d try to work in some theme about how the main character (me!) likes to travel, and likes to write, and likes to think about communication. But when they all happen at once, some major conflagration happens, the m.c. overcomes the conflict, and everyone is significantly changed at the end of it all.

But thankfully, my life isn’t a fiction. So I’ll just conclude by saying that I’m very grateful for all the opportunities that have been laid before me these past thirty days, opportunities to do things I find fulfilling. But I’ll also be very glad to get home, stay in one spot, and enjoy the silence for a little while.



New Smyrna, Part 1

Sunrise on July 11

Right now, I’m on vacation with Husband Tim in New Smyrna Beach, on Florida’s Atlantic coast. I’m attempting to unplug from everything, including WordPress. I’ve not been 100% successful at that.

My compromise is that I’ll post a few brief observations today, and save any deeper musings for next week. I still wish, like Bil Keane, I had a Little Billy to sub for me. It’s the only enviable thing about The Family Circus. But far be it from me cast any further aspersions upon that comic strip. Last time I did that, I spurred the ire of my brother-in-law Jim. I was unaware he was such a big fan.

This is our first time visiting New Smyrna. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • Beforehand, I read something about New Smyrna’s “drive-on beaches.” Wasn’t quite sure what that meant until I saw it. Sure enough, you can drive your car onto the beach and park in certain designated areas. We are staying within walking distance to the beach, so we opted to save the $10 vehicle access fee.
  • Famed painter and art instructor Bob Ross was from around these parts. He was born in Daytona Beach, and died in New Smyrna. All the happy little clouds I’ve seen while here now have special meaning.
  • Catching the sunrise yesterday, I encountered a gentleman who told me, “Florida is the only state where you can see the sunrise over the water in the morning, drive across the state, and watch the sun set into the water in the evening.” (I’m paraphrasing here). Thinking about it, I would guess you’d also be able to do this in Hawaii. But I appreciated his observation nonetheless, and it did give me an occasion to reflect upon the geography of peninsulas.
  • The gnats in New Smyrna are thick before sunrise. And they bite.
  • I might be wrong on this, but I think the locally accepted way to pronounce the name of the town is New Sa-Mur-Na. Like Smyrna is three syllables instead of two.

That’s it for now. Just a few more days before I have to plug back in. Gonna watch some more happy little clouds.