Back to the still point

Students sparring, back in the old days

When I was working security, I had a nightly one kilometer patrol I would do every forty-five to sixty minutes. The site was eighteen acres, and the one kilometer route was roughly the perimeter. The front third of the site was mostly a vast expanse of asphalt, the back two-thirds a mess of trucks and concrete plant fun fronting up on the Fraser river.

I used to play a game with myself. I'd start my patrol, walk a bit, and drop something shiny or noticeable on the ground. Then I'd walk my whole patrol, changing things up, poking into dark spots or saying hi to the owls. But when I'd walk back, I'd overlap my start by a little.

And every damned time, I'd wind up right back, to the inch, next to the mark I'd dropped. Every damned time. Humans are built for predictability and repetition.

Every time I sit down and write, I get to a point where I think, "Wow, I must be getting close to my 600 word goal today. Wonder how close I am?" It's always 477 words. Exactly.

Life gets a lot better when you understand your own drive to this kind of pattern of consistency. It scales all the way up and down, and everyone else does it too.

What brought all this to mind was doing a bit of work on all the old blog posts. To fit into this new hosting software, I have to re-do all the tags. And the only way to do that is to open up and edit every single post. I'm glancing over each post. I'm learning a lot about what matters to me, and what sort of things I really want to discuss.

It's interesting to see how that translates to my fiction writing. Much to learn, much to improve.

Randy Packer

Randy Packer