Googling, recently.

We live in a world where google is an official verb. Don't know something? Google it real quick. Results to our important and not so important questions populate within seconds. Our hunger for knowledge (not to be confused with wisdom) can be easily met. Googling is handy and I like what it can do. Yet I wonder, how does this impact our curiosity and does it lead to transformation in thought and action? Maybe it doesn't matter and I'm weird to be bothered by this thought at 10:30 in the evening.

Anyway, that's a long intro to say, years ago, D.L. Mayfield shared her week in Google search terms and I liked her idea. If you can tell what a person values by peeking at their bank account or their calendar, does the same go for their search history?

Here's what I've been pondering:

  • Do daddy longlegs multiply?
  • Why is a timing belt called a timing belt?
  • Atlanta BeltLine gentrification
  • Ableism and the straw ban
  • Captain Jack Sparrow "opportune moment"
  • How to be a good conversationalist
  • Transcultural and multicultural
  • How to unevenly split rent
  • Naps for 15 month old
  • Christian missions in Japan
  • "You'll Be in My Heart" lyrics

I have heaps to learn and I might burst not knowing how to make new information useful. Also, still not sure about the daddy longlegs, but help—what is it they love about my shower?

A waiting room chair.

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Yesterday a friend and I spotted a velvety chair outside some condos, available to take. We hauled it off to Baxter, my car, and like that, my imaginary living room gained its first furniture piece. I dream of the day different guests might sit there—strangers turning family, little kids with little toes reading little books, mamas who need a minute, siblings visiting on vacation, grinning neighbors and grouchy ones, too.

A place to make my own seems far off and financially impossible. Before the chair-sighting, I'd taken a chance in a meeting and in a conversation, and the answer was yet again not right now. I returned to my temporary home a bit sad and disappointed but also comforted. I'd prayed a lot, asking God to guide this potential housing opportunity. You never know what to expect when your faith is bolstered and you start to ask big asks. This time, I received a no, a wait, and a chair from the dumpster.

One step closer than before.

This is day one.

You are going to have to give and give and give, or there's no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.
ANNE LAMOTT

Beware, these thoughts are trickling in at 9pm on a Saturday evening. I'm giving myself 30 minutes to write, the typical time it takes to craft three sentences at best.

This morning, I meant to sleep in. No plans are rare, not needing an alarm even rarer. Instead of lingering in my dreams or the weekend quietude, I bolted out of bed early and almost automatically, landing in front of the laptop. I opened my drafts, intending to write. Thoughts had woken themselves up and there would be no rest till they found themselves worked out on a page. Eventually, I lost myself to the internet abyss where I continued on in my usual way—ditching writing and clicking dozens of new tabs to inhale others' words and thoughts and creations. 

A few hours, gone. No contributions made. Not even a simple thank you given to this generous bunch—the writers and thinkers and creators before me. I have a digital stockpile of information and little to show for it. I've been taking in and not giving back.

After accomplishing nothing and dragging myself to make a fried egg, I pulled Bird by Bird off the dresser where covers are sorted in rainbow hues. Sometimes I forget they're more than decoration. When I do remember to read, I often get my hiney kicked... like today, by Anne Lamott.

Turns out, I'm darn selfish. 

I've done little with the skill or passion I have in writing. It's not been maintained through practice or challenged through discipline. To deviate from my old, attention-seeking days, I've overcorrected by deliberately keeping words and ideas to myself. Yet here I am, benefitting from what people give to the world, feeling connected and understood by them. Something is wrong here.

The books I adore only exist because their writers were generous. People who risked rejection and gave their time, honesty, resources, and whole hearts to write because that's what they were made to do. People who believed the act of writing was its own reward. I'm not like that, but I want to be. 

Today, September 1st, I'm aiming to write daily for 30 days. I'm curious to see why I'm drawn to certain content—specifically of those internet tabs lined in a row. I'll be asking myself, how will I respond to such and such compelling essay? Why does this art move me? What emotions are evoked? Whose work should I celebrate, thank, or promote today? And how might I learn to be a better giver, through words, and on here? 

That was more like 90 minutes, but hey, the words arrived before midnight. I'll see you tomorrow for day two. Now, I set my alarm for church and rest.