Monthly Archives: May 2016

Do You Really Matter?

To think Drawing of the earth globe held in a are not what God says you are, or to think you are less than He says is not humility or modesty, but is actually a form of arrogance. It is you saying that you are right and God is  wrong.

“Who is more likely to be right, the voice that speaks for the Creator of all things, Who knows all things exactly as they are, or a distorted image of yourself, confused, bewildered, inconsistent and unsure of everything?” To say you are not what he says is not humility of any kind, except for perhaps a false humility. Like it or not, every person has at least important part to play, no matter how small they may consider it to be. If you learn to follow his voice you can be important. Never forget that the small details are just as important as the big picture. Someone needs to help with all things, both small and large. It is not up to us to decide or determine what is important, what is big and what is small.”


Old Dirt Road

How and Why This Blog Started

pocketwatch classic and antique-book

It was time. The book was ready to be written. Counting the ones never finished, I suppose it would be my fifth. This time, however, was going to be different. I read the writing courses, studied the rules, studied the material of some of the most successful writers, and better yet took a course by one of the best editors who had edited some of the best authors ever. All my typed notes on how to write a commercial success needed a two-inch notebook to hold them.

Character creation, the story arch, tension, plot types, turning points, plot twists, and classic story outlines; hours had been spent doing the exercises. The lead female character that had all the proper elements. She and all the supporting characters were created with a template created from the fusion of some the best character creation methods. After months of study and work, everything was down to following an outline, and filling in the details. The surprise would be in the details

Then suddenly, the inspiration vanished. Who wants to follow a bunch of rules and fill in blanks? Still, that was what needed to have any chance of even a small commercial success. I put the folder with the printed outline and carefully constructed characters in my basement.

Maybe I was actually more interested in what I wanted to say and write than to entertain as many readers as humanly possible – that was the first rule to be broken. The action is another rule – there must always be action and conflict in every scene of a fiction novel, and especially in the dialogue. No one wants to read long narrative typical of the 19th century anymore. Not having enough action is to bring certain death before the work is even published.

It’s one thing to not know the rules and write not using them from lack of knowledge, and another to break them once you have learned and practiced them. That is when the idea for “The Old Dirt Road” was born. It was an idea for a completely different book than the one that was outlined, the one down in my basement. Hell with the rules. To hell with successful formulas.

Life is about exploring deeper and more meaningful things. So what if only 100 people ever read this new work it and the reviews are bad. Another rule was broken – Do not write what you like, rather write what the readers want and like. Don’t we have enough of that already? Think how many follow those people following the so-called rules fail anyway. There is never a guarantee.

Life is too short. Time is running out. We need to do what drives us, or makes us tick and not just jump through hoops for the approval and money of others. With a blog, a person can write whatever they wish, work out ideas, their values, explore the purpose of existence, reflect on the import things of life and even work out book ideas. And if the book is never done – so what?

Paul Nieto – The Old Dirt Road

Pulling Out Life’s Weeds

As I pulled weeds listing to an MP3 on Forgiveness this morning, I realized how much working on yourself is like pulling the weeds, They are both something you would rather not do and perhaps only do if and when it is absolutely needed. Yet if you do not work on these things, the weeds will overrun everything and eventfully choke out most of what may be considered good.

The best time to work on weeds is after a good rain. There usually isn’t much else better or more fun to do outside so this is an ideal time. The ground is softer a big storm, even so in life. After a failure, after the end of a marriage, or the end of a relationship, for example, is a good time to work on life’s weeds. Your foundations are shaken. They are softer. You are more willing to do the difficult work. And certainly, no one wants to work on such problems when the sun is bright and all is well. It just doesn’t seem so important.

Some of the more shallow roots come out  very easily after a good hard rain. It takes very little effort. The same weed on a sunny day would be extremely difficult because the ground is not ready. The ground firmly holds the roots in place and almost every weed simply breaks off at the root. Everything looks good for a short time, but soon the weeds, and even more weeds, appear later.

Some of life’s weeds have very deep roots, even the small weeds that don’t look like much at first glance may be like this. If you use the right tool to pry into the soft earth, a root the length of a carrot my come out. Other roots are like an octopus, spreading their tentacles everywhere and in every direction. If you don’t get these roots out, even more weeds bigger than the first will appear. Eventually, over the years, you will never be able to win as the roots become so embedded that nothing can be done sort of poisoning both the good and the bad. Year after year, the weeds simply return.

Picture of thislte weed
Pulling life’s weeds can be tricky and painful.

Having the right tools is important. First, I like to use an old shower curtain to sit on. It may be filthy but it keeps me dry. The most important tool, however, is some kind of weed tool for prying at the roots. I got a very inexpensive one at Lowe’s. With the right tool, the weed and its roots come out in one big piece with much less effort. Without the right tool, the weed simply breaks off.

What are the right tools for life’s weeds? A surface tool might be a self-help book or weekend conference. Those things may help with the more shallow weeds, but bigger weeds will only break off. Things may look better for a short while, but not long.

Another tool may be some sort of therapy. I prefer really deep study to therapy. After reading enough books to stack up over 6 feet high, you will understand why. You will see how therapy often makes a person simply feel better, often without much change. Even some therapists admit this. The Great Dr. Berne even coined what is known as “The Therapy game.” Face it – Most people, however, prefer the easy way out – even if it costs them dearly. They don’t really want to get to the root of things at all – they are just too lazy. They simply go through the easier motions and
settle for sniping the weeds at the stem so things look better for a while.

Another overestimated tool is communion with God or your higher power. This is often overlooked. The reading, the prayer, and meditation combination have the most powerful effects. Again, this is not for the timid or the leisurely.

Granted you can pay people to weed for you, but they seldom will do as good a job as you will, if you care to do a good job. It would cost a lot of money to have someone pull weeds well. A person not paid much, say minimum wage, is not likely to care if the weeds break at the root or not, but it sure looks nice for a short time. An expensive laborer may do a much better job, but often an expensive laborer is no better than the lower paid one. Yes, there is no way around it if you are serious and want things done right. Eventually, you have to do the dirty work yourself.

Paul Nieto
Old Dirt Road

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