Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

WMOM Radio – Always Listen To Your Mom!

June 15, 2014

Saturday June 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Here is the first of several posts I made on Facebook in the last week or so. I am posting them here for those that aren’t Facebook friends, so please forgive me if you are and it’s a duplicate. I am just trying to get everyone on the same page, and a lot of things have happened of late.

This is one about my radio mentor, and being able to pay back someone who really helped me:

* * *

Everybody has mentors, and my biggest one in radio without question is the great Patrick Lopeman aka Pat Martin. He helped me get my first job at WMMQ in Lansing, MI in 1990. What a thrill it is to get one’s first morning show, and I won’t forget it.

Since then I’ve bounced around and have worked all over the country. It’s an insane business, with ZERO stability – but I still learned a lot about life and had fun doing it. Not only that I met a ton of really creative and wonderful people.

Management at most radio stations are apes, but the rest of the people are almost always great. There isn’t a station I’ve ever worked at where I am not in touch with someone to this day.

This past weekend, Pat hired me to consult his morning show on the station he owns in Ludington, MI. It’s called WMOM or ‘Mom’. They have a GREAT catch phrase in “Always listen to your Mom”. They were are the age now I was when I started, and it was fulfilling to be able to come back for a day and pass on some of the hard earned knowledge I have gotten in my travels – and from Pat.

Pat is in a word brilliant and is still as passionate about radio today as when I met him decades ago. He’s a fantastic mentor, loyal friend and goes out of his way to help others. That’s probably why you may not have heard of him before. Nice people rarely get the recognition they deserve, and I want to do what I can to change that. If you are a fan of CHR radio, listen to WMOM. http://www.wmom.fm.

It sounds as good or better than any other new music station in the biggest markets, and there’s only one reason for it – the great Patrick Lopeman. Thanks Pat! I appreciate you very much. Your kindness lives on in many – including and especially me.

* * *

I wanted to write this mainly because it’s all true, but I also wanted Pat’s friends and family to see it in print. I know it’s only the internet, but these days that’s as good as what it used to mean to get something in the newspaper or a magazine. I’m not a major publication, but I wanted Pat’s inner circle to see this and it totally worked. I know he did too, and he called to thank me for it.

People like Pat are WAY undervalued in my opinion. He’s considered a borderline wacko by a segment of the radio fraternity because he does things his own way. What they fail to give credit for is that his way WORKS. The guy is a brilliant radio mind, and lives and breathes it each day.

I am in that same category with some as well, so I go out of my way to toot the horn of the Pat Martins of the world. May he continue to live his dream, and I will support him any way I can.

WMOM is a radio station in Ludington, MI that sounds as good as any CHR radio station in America. www.wmom.fm

WMOM is a radio station in Ludington, MI that sounds as good as any CHR radio station in America. http://www.wmom.fm

Tortured Souls

April 9, 2014

Monday April 7th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I’m still feeling sad about John Pinette’s sudden passing. I wish I could say I was surprised, but unfortunately the only surprise was that he lived as long as he did. The man did have his demons, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he was one of the kindest souls I ever remember meeting.

Tim Wilson passed earlier this year, and there was another gentle soul that was a pleasure to be around. I can’t speak for Tim’s personal life, as I didn’t really know him on that level. Most of us as humans have our struggles, but entertainers – comedians especially – are often tortured souls.

Actors and musicians can fall into that category too I suppose. James Dean or Marilyn Monroe would qualify in acting, as would Jim Morrison or Kurt Cobain in music. Sometimes their legend grows a lot larger and faster than they do personally, and it leaves them behind as human beings.

Artists, performers and creative types in general are often loaded with quirks, tweaks and deep seeded issues and are an extremely sensitive lot. I know I am, and have never denied it. Life isn’t easy as a rule, but it seems that the more gifted a creative person is the more problems they have.

I can remember being called a genius by some of my teachers in grade school. I’m not trying to brag or flatter myself – I’m just reporting a fact. I had a twelfth grade reading level by about third grade, and I remember my teacher Mrs. Matthews calling my grandparents to tell them I was one of the most creatively gifted students she’d ever taught – and she’d been teaching for fifty years.

At the time I had no idea what any of that meant. It felt like I was getting singled out, and I was uncomfortable about it if anything. I remember my father hearing about it, and he started calling me “The GENIUS” in such a sarcastic way that I learned to hate the word. It’s still embarrassing.

I think creative types often get squelched early, or at least they’re not encouraged to get inside their own head and see what’s under the hood. My grandmother never wanted to see me pursue any kind of creative endeavor. She wanted me to be a clerk typist like my uncle. How torturous that would have been, and had I been forced to do that I would have eaten a bullet lunch by now.

Unfortunately, creative types are human beings as well, and human beings as a rule want to be “normal” – whatever that may be. We just want to fit in, and be part of a family. I know that’s all I ever wanted, but I never had it as a kid. That caused me to stifle a lot of my creativity at certain times, but it runs so deeply that I couldn’t do it very long. It’s just who I am and I can’t help it.

John Pinette was that kind of person too. I’m not sure if he was left handed or not, but he sure had all the attributes. He was brilliantly creative, but unfortunately much of the public only saw him as “that fat guy”. Chris Farley had the same label, but he was a lot more than that as well.

I really could relate to a John Pinette, and I liked the guy a lot. I know what made him tick, and all he wanted was to be happy and see everyone else happy too. He gave his life trying to make it better for others, and I’m trying to do the same. Sometimes it feels like I’m spinning my wheels.

The word 'genius' is often misunderstood.

The definition of ‘genius’ is often extremely misunderstood.

All too often those that are have demons to go with it. It seems to go hand in hand.

All too often those that are have demons to go with it. It seems to go hand in hand.

Speaking of hands, a lot of genius types happen to be left handed. Why? Who knows?

Speaking of hands, a lot of genius types happen to be left handed. Why? Who knows?

Lost In Cyberspace

February 18, 2014

Sunday February 16th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Isn’t technology miraculous? It can be. But not today. I am just about ready to take a Louisville Slugger to my laptop, but what would that prove? I’d have a big mess to clean up, and I’d still be a foaming at the mouth maniac like I am now. I am beyond frustrated, and I’m ready to explode.

I have never claimed to be a computer geek. Oh, I’m a geek – but not in that way. Well, I guess I would be considered more of a geek/nerd hybrid. Would that be a ‘neek’, or a ‘gerd’? Whatever the case, I’m on the wrong end of geekdom. I get all the mockery without the techno superiority.

What set me so far off today was a document I was working on for my friend Eric Feinendegen who asked nicely if I wouldn’t mind looking over the script of a Toastmasters speech he is trying to get ready for a contest. It never bothers me to do that, and in fact I actually enjoy it. It’s a great opportunity to exercise creative muscles, and also help a friend. I’m flattered that he even asked.

I made some time to go over the speech, and added my input as I had any. It’s smart for anyone to have ‘fresh eyes’ look over any creative project, and I’m not unfamiliar with the process. I like punching up scripts, and I know there are people in Hollywood that get paid big cabbage to do it.

I’ve never been able to find the in on that gravy train, but I know I could pull it off if I ever get the chance. I just like doing it, but I think I have a flair for it as well. I spent about two full hours on Eric’s speech, and I thought I had some solid additions. I worked really hard and give my all.

But when I tried to save the document, it just disappeared. Poof. GONE. I don’t know how that happened, but it absolutely did. I don’t deny for a second I’m a textbook techno idiot, but I think I know how to save a document at this point. “Do you want to save the changes to…” Uh, YES!

It’s not that difficult – or at least it usually isn’t – but for whatever reason today it just vanished into thin air. First I was puzzled. Then I was livid. Then I graduated to something of a hybrid mix of bananas and berserk. Then it became rage. Then fury. I called Eric, and he tried to get it fixed.

It was to his benefit to help me find it, as the notes were for his project as per his request. I was happy to do it for him, and all I wanted was to let him look at what I had spent so much energy to complete. It would be impossible to duplicate it exactly, and panic set in as I knew I’d been had.

I tried every trick I could think of to find the document, and Eric tried to talk me through all of the ones he knew but that made it worse. Talking to someone over the phone without being there just makes it more insanely frustrating. I have ZERO patience for things like that, and I was raw.

I knew I’d have to do it all over again, and I resigned myself to the fact. I tried my best to get it as close to before, but I knew it wasn’t. Then I tried to save it again, and AGAIN it vanished into thin air. Now I was ready to hunt down Bill Gates personally but what could I do? It was too late.

I sucked it up and did it again yet a THIRD time, but this time I copied and pasted it to a blank document on my computer and of course it worked fine. What was the trouble? I haven’t a clue, but it made me blow a gasket. It’s over now, and I hope Eric wins his contest. I need a sedative.

My friend Eric Feinendegen asked me to look over his speech for a Toastmasters contest.

My friend Eric Feinendegen asked me to look over his speech for a Toastmasters contest he is entering.

I lost the document I worked on for two hours, and it sent me into a rage.

I lost the document I worked on for two hours, and it sent me into a rage.

You've got mail!

You’ve got mail!

Hat Tricks

January 30, 2014

Tuesday January 28th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

As the first month of 2014 draws to a close, I have to make sure I maintain a steady rotation of change in the hat department. Anyone self employed has to play a number of roles, and there is a hat for each one of them. Some fit better than others, depending on the person wearing each one.

There’s one for sales and another for marketing. There’s one for product development and also one for customer relations. There’s one for taxes and accounting, and that’s one few like to wear. I never have, but it’s a part of the big picture so I want to make sure it stays in a prominent place.

Taxes and record keeping aren’t sexy, but too bad. Even the sexiest supermodels have to shave their pits. It’s much easier to tend to it once a week rather than let it grow wild for an entire year and deal with it then. That’s a pretty gross analogy, but I find it accurate. Taxes are gross to me.

I don’t enjoy doing any of it, and no matter how much I try to fool myself I know I never will. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep improving though. The more proficient I’m able to get, hopefully the less effort I’ll have to put in in the long run. It’s a hat I only wear when I have to.

In contrast, there are others I don’t like to take off. The creative hat that searches for ideas is an especially well fitting one, but I have to make sure I take it off once in a while so others can get a little top of head time. I spent all kinds of time wearing that hat the last few decades, and it was a big mistake. I let a lot of other duties lapse, and that’s why I find myself in my current position.

My sales and marketing hats laid around collecting dust, and I can’t afford to slip back into that old habit. I need to make sure they get some quality time, and plenty of it. It will be a major drain on the ideas and product maintenance hat time, but too bad. I need to produce different results. If I don’t make time to sell what I’ve already got, creating anything new is a futile waste of time.

Getting a newsletter out this month was nice, but that’s only the start. That’s going to be a BIG eater of time and energy, but it’s a must in my opinion. There are still some glitches that we need to work out, and almost half of our starting emails list either bounced back or were no good. That isn’t good, but it is a start. We did manage to have several hundred people open it so that’s a win.

There was quite a bit of positive feedback and that was encouraging, but it came from people I already know. The eventual purpose of the newsletter will be to develop relationships with those I haven’t met. There are more than seven BILLION possible recipients on the planet, so we have our work more than cut out. I’ve only got under 1000 in the fold so there’s big growth potential.

There’s also the hat of teacher. I really do enjoy the teaching and mentoring process, but that’s a lot of time and effort as well. Lining up classes is something I enjoy about as much as keeping tax records, but it’s also a necessary part of the process that needs to be done. I’ll gladly turn that hat over to someone else, but last time I did that guy stole money. For now, I am still wearing it.

And the biggest hat of all is the crown of the King of Uranus. I still believe there’s a gold mine under it, and with proper time, effort and input from business people it will be a home run. I have too many other hats to wear to give it the time it needs, but that’s how self employment works.

Everyone that is self employed has to wear a lot of hats - like it or not.

Everyone who chooses to be self employed has to wear a lot of hats – like it or not.

And then there's the royal crown worn by the King of Uranus.

And then there’s the royal crown worn by the King of Uranus.

Radio Rage

September 21, 2013

Friday September 20th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I had breakfast with my web designer Mark Filwett today. He did outstanding work on my site http://www.schlitzhappened.com and he’s about to redesign my personal site http://www.dobiemaxwell.com as well. If you know of anyone that needs web help, contact him at http://www.lakecountygeeks.com.

Mark is nothing short of brilliant in his creativity, and he and I have developed a solid synergy since we’ve been working together on web projects. I must admit I was a bit reluctant to hire him at first, as we were friends from having worked together in radio for years. That can be a minus.

I have often found it’s best to hire a total stranger, as then if there’s a problem sugarcoating it is not an issue. Doing business with friends can be very delicate, but we’ve had no problems and I don’t foresee any. I’ve paid up front to date, and even though it’s not as much as I’d like to be able to pay he gets it and has done stellar work in my opinion. I’m very satisfied with everything.

What neither of us is satisfied with is how poorly the radio business operates and why we have to do other jobs to scrape together a living in the first place. We both have paid our radio dues in full, and have roamed all time zones in America learning our craft in strange cities and towns we likely never would have set foot in had we not had the sick inner compulsion to be on the radio.

There are only a few ‘naturals’ I’ve ever heard on the air, and Mark is one of them. He’s full of both talent and passion for the business, and I always saw him as a big market personality had he chosen to do that. If I owned a radio station, he’d be one of the first people I’d hire to be on air.

Mark put more effort into his shifts than anyone I’ve ever seen. Once in a while I’d be hanging around the station doing something when he’d ask me to be a caller or help him put together a bit of some sort. That always impressed me, and it still does. The guy loves to be on the radio, and it shows. The sad part is there are a lot of Mark Filwett types who aren’t working, while idiots are.

Radio is the one industry I’ve ever seen where the biggest non talents can keep their job for far too long. In comedy, if someone stinks it’s very evident by the consistent silence from audiences. If it’s not working – everyone knows it. In radio, people can sit in a room and not have to see the audience as it’s scattered all over. One may think he or she is doing well when in fact they aren’t.

Any entertainment field is full of insecurity, but radio is the cake taker. I’ve never seen such an insane bunch of self important backstabbing liars, but often they’re the ones that are able to keep their job for twenty years while fresh creative talents get shown the door. Why? They’re a threat.

I could name a long list of dolts, but I won’t. Mark and I listed quite a few at breakfast, and we were both nauseated to the point we could barely finish eating. The only talent these snakes have at all is managing to keep their jobs as long as they do. It’s not right, but it’s common in radio.

There’s no reason Mark or I shouldn’t land a solid job at a major market station other than both of us are more concerned about doing a quality broadcast than impressing an idiot nipple tweaker in charge who has two first names like ‘Mike Michaels’ or ‘Steve Stevens’ and couldn’t produce an original creative idea with a funnel and a magnet. Bitter? A smidge, but we’ve earned a right.

Need computer help? Call Mark Filwett. He's not half as geeky as his logo.

Need computer help? Call Mark Filwett. He’s not half as geeky as his logo.

The Pendulum Of Momentum

August 5, 2013

Sunday August 4th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   A maddening part of the creative process is the constantly swinging pendulum of momentum a creative person has to endure. Sometimes we feel like we’ll design the cure for cancer but others we feel like sucking a bullet. These swings can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

   When I’m in my creative groove, watch out. Ideas come flying out of the sky, and I can’t keep up with them all. Sometimes they hit me in the shower, or on an exercise walk. Sometimes when I wake up from a nap or night’s sleep they shoot out of my brain like fireworks and I have a hard time jotting everything down. I have learned to keep pens and notebooks handy everywhere I go.

   When I’m off my game, life itself is a living hell. I don’t feel like I can do anything right, and I don’t want to keep breathing when I’m in one of those ruts. Maybe it’s schizophrenia or a bipolar diagnosis, but a lot more people than me struggle with this. The creative spirit is very sensitive.

   I wish I knew more how to control it so the ups stay longer and the downs aren’t as low, but as I think about it that seems like what illegal drugs are used for. I’m not talking about that. I’ve not chosen that route, and have no plans to in the future. I’m facing this crazy world dead on sober.

   What I’m talking about is that unseen power source that all creative types find the way to plug into as they’re cranking out their best work. It comes and goes, but when the tide is in it’s a thrill to be in the moment. Everything flows smoothly, and falls right into place. I’m there right now.

   Things have been popping extremely well of late as far as my creative side goes, and although I couldn’t be happier I know it will eventually swing the other way. It now becomes a frantic trip to the finish line before the tide goes out again, and I plan on working day and night until it does.

   There’s something magical about giving every last bit of energy to a project, and the times I’ve done it have always produced a magnificent feeling of satisfaction I don’t think could be attained in any other way. It only comes from hard work, and there will never ever be a substitute for that.

   My problem has rarely if ever been the willingness to work. Where I have trouble is narrowing my focus down to a number of projects I can handle. I always seem to bite off way more than I’ll ever be able to chew, but I happen to like a lot of things and have a hard time trimming anything.

   There’s a feeling of pure exhilaration that comes with creating something from utter zilch, and I can’t see myself ever getting tired of it. What kills the buzz horribly is having to waste one iota of energy on mundane things like paying bills or keeping my car running. It weakens the thrill.

   The tendency of all humans is to avoid pain and seek pleasure, and there’s where my problems tend to repeat themselves. I’ll blow off the mundane yet important things to ride the wave of the creative high I happen to be on, and then it comes crashing down and my life is in total disarray.

   But it feels SO good to be in that groove, it’s almost impossible to stop. I don’t want to think of anything other than creative ideas, and they’re flowing like water right now. I’m tapped into that higher power source, and I don’t want to let go. Why isn’t life like this all the time? Who knows?

   What I do know is that this has been the single most productive year of my entire life and that’s what I set out to do in January. It’s not over yet, and momentum is in my favor. I feel something positive is ready to pop in my direction, and I’m ready for whatever it is. I’ve waited a long time.

Sun Ra

May 23, 2013

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Today would have been the 99th birthday of one Herman Poole Blount – aka “Sun Ra”. He was born in Birmingham, AL but claimed to be from the “Angel Race” – not of this planet. That alone makes him one of my all time favorite entertainers, but his showmanship is what I admire most.

   He was the leader of a huge band that he called his ‘arkestra’, and the name of it changed about as frequently as his musical directions. There was the ‘Blue Universe Arkestra’, the ‘Heliocentric Space Arkestra’, the ‘Solar Myth Arkestra’ and many many more. He was an eccentric fellow.

   There’s good weird and bad, and he was very good. By all accounts, he and his band were drug free and upstanding members of the community wherever they happened to be living at any time. They were based for years in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, where Sun Ra died in 1993.

   I never got a chance to see him live, but I’ve seen some very interesting video that puts me in a fun mood every time I see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7_JUShK4n8&feature=related is one link. There’s also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMMWNwVhq5k&feature=related

   Sun Ra was a true original, and those are difficult to find. George Clinton borrowed a little bit from him and also set up shop in ‘outer space’. The whole ‘Mothership Connection’ concept and costume came out of Sun Ra’s shadow and I freely admit that’s where I got The King of Uranus.

   I remember the first time I saw him on TV when I was a kid. I didn’t know what I was seeing, but it captured my undivided attention as I watched it with my grandparents. Gramps looked like he got it, but my German grandma wanted to take a rolling pin to either the TV, Gramps or both.

   Grandma was not very open to anything new, different or artistic. If it wasn’t a Lawrence Welk ditty or a polka, she didn’t want it within five miles of her. Seeing Sun Ra and his ‘arkestra’ sent her farther into outer space than Sun claimed to be from. The greatest ones are loved and hated.

   I loved the fact that he incorporated outer space themes into his music, and that made me want to know more about him as I got older. He was a remarkable personality to say the least, and his claim of being taken by aliens to the planet Saturn made me like him more. He made that claim a long time before UFO abduction stories were popular, and he stuck by that story his entire life.

   I don’t know if he was from Saturn or not, but I do know he was an underappreciated artist and too eclectic for the masses. He was a recording machine, and it is said he’s the the 20th Century’s most prolific musical artist with over 100 full length albums. Wow! That alone is one major feat.

   It’s also notable that he’s a ‘22’. According to numerology, people born on the 11th and 22nd of a month are allegedly the strongest personalities and most influential people. Sun Ra was born on a 22nd, as was George Clinton (7/22). Rodney Dangerfield was too. (11/22) There are all kinds of entertainers, politicians and celebrities born on 11s and 22s so there may be some truth to that.

   I’m not a ‘22’ or an ‘11’ unfortunately. I’m a ‘pi’ (3/14). I don’t know if any of it means a dang thing, but I do know I am a fan of Sun Ra and not nearly enough people know who he was to pay tribute to a unique performer who had the guts to follow his creative vision for decades. That’s at the top of my list for people I admire most, and he’s up there with the very best. He spent his life entertaining this planet – whether he was born here or not. What better way to invest one’s time?

Sun Ra

Sun Ra

The King of Jupiter?

The King of Jupiter?

 

One Cosmic Cat

One Cosmic Cat

Facing The Music

May 15, 2013

Monday May 13th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL  

   Here’s another major life’s regret to toss on my ever growing pile: I never made the investment of time and energy to create music. I really wish I would have taken an opportunity at some point to at least learn the basics of music so I could have added it to my repertoire of creative outlets.

   I’m not saying I would have made a career of it or even attempted to, but I really think it would have added all kinds of interesting angles to everything I’ve already done. It would have been the perfect fit for my already ‘out there’ left handed creative mind set, and I think I missed the boat.

   I can’t sing a lick, and I know it. That’s just not in me, but I think playing some instrument and especially writing songs would definitely have been for me. It’s a craft and art form just like joke writing is, and I think a lot of the same brain cells are used to create each. I live for that process.

   I remember reading somewhere that Steve Allen had written thousands of songs throughout his life – even though I can’t think of even one hit. It doesn’t matter I guess, the process is rewarding if nothing else. It can be financially lucrative too, I suppose. Hit songs are what pay royalties for a lifetime. People want to hear them over and over and over again. Who ever wrote a ‘hit joke’?

   The creative side of the music and comedy crafts may be the same, but getting one’s chops are completely different. A comedian has to go up and suffer constant pain in front of live audiences for years until he or she learns the ropes. A musician can haul out the old bassoon or piccolo and practice alone in the privacy of his or her own room. It’s still difficult, but not nearly as public.

   As a kid, I don’t remember being around live music at all. Nobody in my family plays anything but the radio, so it’s not like I was born into the Jackson or Osmond clan and given a tambourine for my first birthday. Plus I’m very Caucasian, so that may have impeded my progress as well.

   My natural inner rhythm may not be there from the start, but I bet I could have learned the craft and fit in on some level had I been offered more of an opportunity. I remember farting around on a cheap used guitar when I was around ten years old, and then my grandfather bought a keyboard organ from Kmart for some reason. I aped around on that too, but never had any formal lessons.

   Being left handed didn’t help with any dreams I may have had of becoming a guitar hero. Left handed guitars are like left handed golf clubs. They’re out there, but really rare. I never did have a chance to even see if I liked it or not. Maybe I would have hated it, or maybe I’d be a star now.

   One thing I would have been is eccentric and eclectic. I’m already that now, but it’s not a bad thing in the creative arts. I adore artistic kooks, and always have. George Clinton is one of those, and I mean it as a sincere compliment. He’s brilliant, but out there. Other names that pop into my head that did or do their own thing are Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper and Thomas Dolby.

   I bet I would have written some interesting songs by now to say the least. I have a comic style, and I’m sure I’d have a music style as well. I love a well written song, especially one that tells an interesting or unique story. Was (Not Was) writes a lot of songs like that, as does Bernie Taupin.

   I suppose I could start taking some lessons now, but I think it’s way too late to make any noise on a serious level. I’d be just another half baked hack hobbyist, but I don’t need any more speed bumps in my path. I did what I did, now I have to live with it. Comedy keeps me busy enough.

Balance Is A Bitch

February 18, 2010

Wednesday February 17th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

It finally feels like I’m starting to make some measurable progress clearing off the huge pile of backed up tasks I set out to do at the beginning of the year. Valentine’s Day is past and time is rounding the corner to my birthday. If I keep it up, I’ll be in full stride by then.

All those quips and slogans motivational speakers use are true, no matter how cliché all of it is. Thoughts ARE things, and inch by inch it IS a cinch. We DO become what we put in our minds, and without goals nothing can be achieved. The hard part is taking action.

I spent most of today sorting through the scattered pile of confusion I’ve allowed to get completely out of control. Books and clothing and scraps of paper with comedy notes and phone numbers and receipts and anything else imaginable are laying around like a tornado went through, and there’s no excuse for it. Yes, I’ve been busy, but this is not acceptable.

I’ve never been a neat freak, but I’m not Oscar Madison either. You wouldn’t know that by walking through the clutter where I live, and it’s to the point of no return. I have to get organized very soon or I’ll never be able to get anything done. It‘s to the boiling point.

I really do have all kinds of things going on, and a lot of them are good, but if I can’t get myself into some sort of order I’ll lose whatever positive momentum I do have. This is an inner tweak which is manifesting itself outwardly and I’m just not going to let it continue.

One thing for sure is that my grandfather was SO right when he used to talk about how the most difficult thing in life to achieve was balance. He said it was even more difficult than getting rich, because many who did get rich sacrificed a lot of other things to do it.

Being balanced in all areas of life is the ultimate challenge. Has anyone done it? I used to think Tiger Woods was pretty close, but then he had his little fender bender and all that ended. Who else is close? Bill Gates? Oprah Winfrey? I guess I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are some people who have found a way to balance.

Extreme wealth isn’t necessary, but some degree of it is. Also, physical health, a family, creativity, continuing education, a chance to give back and all kinds of other things are on that list. Who has time to do all of it? How about even some of it? Most of us stumble our way through life, maybe focusing on a few things we do well because it strokes our ego.

How about taking time to really work at what we’re not good at? That takes total guts to even try, but I totally want to do it. If I never get rich or famous but continue to grow for a lifetime, does that make me a failure or a success? It depends who’s asked on what day.

I’d love to have it all, but is it in the cards? Is it even possible? I don’t know, but I put a full day’s work in today and in the short run it meant nothing. In the long run, if I keep up daily improvement I’ll be a much better me in not that long of time. I‘m seeking balance.