And now, for something completely different

Liberal rants are fun and all, but I want to refocus my efforts here on the original purpose of this blog: whining about my creative efforts.  (Don’t worry—the liberal rants will continue.  How could they not, with so much to rant about?)

To that end, I’m starting a series of posts about the book I’ve been working on, Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy.  You get to suffer along with me.

This series will be a combination of excerpts from the book, moanings about my progress, and meditations on the advice offered in The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, which I picked up last weekend in Athens in my old friend Janet Geddis’ marvelous bookstore, Avid Bookshop.  Really and truly, if you live in the Athens area, you need to make her bookstore a regular stop on your route, because it’s lovely.  (There’s also a surprise about that purchase that I didn’t discover until I got the book home and started reading it; more about that later, much later.)

For those joining us from Facebook, please feel free to leave comments here rather than over there.  Your first one has to be approved, but after that it’s clear sailing.

I would start with some background, but since that’s Chapter 1, I’ll hold off.  So let’s start with the Introduction.

(For the record, this is a very scary thing for me.)


Cover.

(I just spent 20 minutes futzing with this image in order to avoid publishing this post. See how it works?)

Title page.

Copyright page.

Table of Contents:

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Introduction to Lichtenbergianism
  • Chapter Two: Framework
  • Chapter Three: 1–Task Avoidance
  • Chapter Four: 2–Abortive Attempts
  • Chapter Five: 3–Successive Approximation
  • Chapter Six: 4–Waste Books
  • Chapter Seven: 5–Ritual
  • Chapter Eight: 6–Steal from the Best
  • Chapter Nine: 7–Gestalt
  • Chapter Ten: 8–Audience
  • Chapter Eleven: 9–Abandonment
  • Chapter Twelve: 10–The Tenth Precept
  • Conclusion
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Introduction

 

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Dale Lyles.  I am, for lack of a better word, retired.

Before that, I was an educator for 37 years.  Most of that time I was a media specialist, teaching kids how to find and use information both at the high school and the elementary level.  For my last two years, I was the director of the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, a summer high school gifted program where I had worked for most of the 30 summers before that, about half of them as assistant director.

During all that time I was the artistic director of the Newnan Community Theatre Company for 20+ years.  I directed, designed and built sets and costumes, and acted with more than 100 shows there.

I was a choir director for more than ten years.

I sing and I dance.

I paint and I draw.

I compose.

I write.

I design.

I program.  (Yes, I can build and program a FileMaker Pro™ database to do amazing things.)

Overall, therefore, I think it’s fair to say that I am a creative kind of guy.  (I also create cocktails, one of which—the Quarter Moon—ought to be in every bar in America.)

None of this is to say that I’m any good at any of the above (except for the Quarter Moon—it’s really really good, you guys) [1], but that’s not the point.  The point is that I have spent my life both creating and guiding others through the creative process, and I’ve learned a few things.

A lot things, actually.  I’ve learned a lot of things, and all of them point to my main idea here: you can do this too.

Who’s telling you can’t?  Let me give you a piece of advice right up front.  I call it the Lyles Eternal Truth About Actors, and I give this advice to any uncooperative or fearful actor: “There’s no such thing as an actor who can’t, only an actor who won’t.”

So if you want to write a symphony,  who’s going to stop you?  Getting it performed is another thing entirely and is outside the scope of this book, but no one can stop you from writing it.

No one can stop you from writing that novel, or forming a band, or creating a cocktail better than the Quarter Moon. [2] No one can stop you from blogging or taking photographs or painting or landscaping or whatever it is you would love to do but have been to afraid to start.

And the good news is you don’t have to do it today.  Or even tomorrow.  Procrastination is your friend.

By the way, it’s pronounced lish-ten-BERG-eeanism.

—————
[1] The Quarter Moon Cocktail: 1.5 oz bourbon, 1 oz Tuaca, .5 oz Averna Amaro.  Stir over ice, strain into old-fashioned glass over ice with orange peel garnish.  (You may also do it straight up in a martini glass.) The orange peel is essential.

[2] As if.

 

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