Unplugged

I don’t have a Facebook account. Or rather, I do, because you can never truly cancel one of those things completely out of existence. There’s a Faceborg Chad Olson that still exists somewhere in cyberspace, and maybe the account will achieve consciousness in 2075 and live an alternate life for me. There are many universes, after all. “I dream I am a butterfly, dreaming I am a man, lying under a tree.” That’s my loose translation of the I Ching. Thanks, Chinese Lit! Continue reading “Unplugged”

Defining Success

Because I’m thinking about goals and objectives at work right now (both for myself and my employees), defining success has been on my mind of late. It strikes me that you can get pretty far in life and not have defined success for yourself at all. It would be interesting to find out what percentage of the human population never defines it, just has “success” in their minds as a nebulous quality of having “made it” or “getting there.” I think the percentage is likely high. And then, when “it” never really happens and “there” seems as far away as the peak of Mt. Everest, disappointment and envy settle in.

Is the most difficult thing in human life defining your goals and sticking to them? Does discipline separate those who are satisfied with their lives from those who aren’t? I’m not sure. I think there are plenty of content people who haven’t ever defined success for themselves but do end up feeling satisfied with how things turned out. This may even happen at a biological level. Because the human organism prioritizes itself over others (whether this is eating the choice cut of meat or knowing at a cellular level one’s way of thinking about things is superior to someone else’s) and because as you age, you mellow out. Biology and the human process of aging mean you’re “ok” as the twilight years come on. The passions that drive the young to goals fade away. You find yourself on a porch, rocking, hoping that your kids stop by to play Uno.

All that said, I wish I had defined success earlier for myself, and constantly struggle to stay focused on what success means for me now. I recently watched a few interviews of Jordan Peterson, and participated in a future planning course. It is arduous and easy to let the goals you set up slip. At least it is for me. But I’m glad I did it – I’ve accomplished more this year (with it being the end of February) than I would have if I hadn’t done the program. Over and over the message rings out – define your success. If you don’t, well, you may be content, but you may also never know what you could have done.

I’ll keep revisiting this idea, whether at work, with writing, or at home dealing with my kids. This post is as much for me as anyone reading it. Success- define and achieve, define and achieve. Rinse and repeat.

Voting for Trump

To me, it’s not complex. It’s about voting to maintain my nation, versus ceding total control to a global elite that doesn’t answer to me or any other American.

I hear a lot of people saying that Trump makes them uncomfortable because of the things he says. He’s a loose cannon! Don’t let him near the nukes!

My answer to this, again, is simple. One candidate loves this country and wants to make it great again. The other wants to change it to fit her, and her minions’, view about what is “better.” I am convinced Trump loves this country and his decision making would spring from that.

Let me ask you, if you were thinking about dating someone and considering them for a long term relationship, would you want the one who was going to support you and allow you to spread your wings to be the best that you can be? Or would you rather have a hectoring nanny telling you all the things that are wrong with you, and who plans on instituting rules (down to who goes into your bathroom!) so you are “bettered,” whether you like it or not.

I know who I’d choose.

Goodreads Reviews on Stung

Check out some reviews of Stung here.

Stung is my first book and it is amazing how much of a charge a positive review can give you. I read any review, whether it is negative or positive, with a feverish intensity, gleaning the salient points, and then it’s over so quickly. Did I take anything in really? Well. I must reread it. What did this word mean? Do I know this person? What can I learn from this? More!

I’m slightly addicted, but I think it’s good to use the positive feedback to push you to write, write, write some more.

You can get that charge again, Chad-the-writer, but only if you do the work!

Reading Ender’s Game with My Daughter

My daughter (10) has outgrown me reading to her. Man, one of those dreaded transition times has hit. I get that same sad/happy feeling all parents experience in those moments as the child disappears and the young adult begins to emerge. She also asked recently to stop going up to the front of the church for children’s message. I tried not to show it, but ouch.

We finished Watership Down at the beginning of summer, and I had started reading The White Dragon to her by Anne McCaffrey – a favorite of mine from around eighth grade. But it was a slog. Busy schedules, mine with work travel and hers with being a typical ten-year-old meant that we had a hard time finding the time and there were big breaks between readings. Finally, about half way through, I asked her if she was over this whole “Dad reads to me” thing. She’s a sweet one, so she tried to break it to me gently, not looking me in the eye, she said, “Well…” I wanted to save her from her awkwardness so I told her it was fine, that whatever she chose was not going to hurt my feelings. The answer was she was done.

But she’s a book nut, like me, and I wanted us to keep that connection fresh.

So, I’m currently conducting a little experiment that I’m enjoying and so is she. We’re reading the same book together, and I’m preparing discussion questions on the latest couple of chapters we read, and we are discussing them in the evenings. I’m also listing a few vocabulary words because I don’t expect her to know the word “fastidious” at this age and because I want her to remember me fondly always.

The book I chose is Ender’s Game, a favorite of mine from around the same time I read The White Dragon. Fun fact, I was once in a play with Orson Scott Card‘s daughter when I was acting in LA. He came to a performance and I geeked out.

Like I said, she and I are enjoying this little experiment so far, and she’s had some thoughtful answers to share. One of her most interesting answers involved bullying. I asked her what she thought about how Graff and the other adults in the novel allow Ender to be bullied to the point that he gets in situations where it is either kill or be killed, and how our current school system is vastly different. I followed that up by asking if our current school system, with its zero tolerance policy to bullying with adults constantly intervening in situations, would ever produce a child like Ender. She said she didn’t think so, but that that wasn’t necessarily bad. She told me, “Sometimes you should get the teacher, but mostly you should try and work it out yourself.” I asked her if we would ever need someone like Ender, someone ruthless who was able to do whatever needed to be done to save himself and the people he protects. She wasn’t sure, but her wheels were spinning.

Here are a few more of the sample questions.  Continue reading “Reading Ender’s Game with My Daughter”

Stung is out and available for purchase!

My first book is out and available on Amazon. You can find it here. Check out some of the reviews:

“If you like Koontz, you will LOVE this book! Full of fantasy and supernatural! The relationships between the characters was complex and made the story more appealing. I can’t wait for Olson’s next book!”

“Now that was a great read. I was so wrapped up in it that I wound up finishing it in a single sitting. Started at roughly 9pm, closed the Kindle and realized it was now 4:00am!”