SHORT STORY: Let me tell you about the future

ME: “Let me tell you about the future, the future doesn’t exist, stop trying to reach that place, because the regrets of your past will not allow you to even notice where you are getting to”
YOU: “But”
ME: “Let me talk, if you spend your life looking to that future, the regrets of the past will hunt you, will remind you everyday of how you failed to pursue the real stuff. You are worrying, stop. Worrying about that future that do not exist, will ruin you, will make you miserable, the white elephant in the room does not exist, stop pursuing that”
YOU”: but”
ME: “I told you already, let me talk, we don’t have much time, and I am trying to give you something important. I was fifteen when I begin my path to be rich, I begin working all the possible hours, when I met Stella, I knew I had to make a decision to pursue that future or a better one. I choose poorly, even that Stella kept on my side, I choose poorly. When John came, a year after I married Stella, I knew I had another chance to choose better, but again I choose poorly, when Mark, your father came, I had another chance, and you guess right, I choose poorly”
YOU”: but grandpa”
ME: “Let me finish. I was able to provide them a dreamed future full of money, they travel, they enjoy many things, while I worry about the future. In the process I waste any opportunity to connect with John and Mark. Do you know how many times I went to one of their important activities?”
YOU”: no”
ME: “Three times for John and four for Mark, for your uncle John I went to Baptize, Marriage and his funeral, for your father I also went to the hospital to meet you”
YOU: There was a long silence in the room,  tears from two pair of eyes, and then he continue
ME: “I was always working, Stella told me many many times to really stop, and enjoy them, but I couldn’t, it wasn’t until many years later when Stella died that I noticed that I had lost everything that I finally stop and make the only good decision I had ever made, meet you and try to be what I was never able to”
YOU”: grandpa, you did well, you may have not done it for dad or uncle John, but you did it for me”
ME: “Mark, stop pursuing the future, pay attention, I pursue the future all my life, the only thing I obtain from that was that the regrets of the past have hunt me everyday and instead of paying attention to what it was saying, I was sure that the future was going to be better. Dear Mark, stop lying to yourself, the future may or may not be better, the past was or wasn’t better, people never take pictures of the crappy moments, people remember the good ones. Stella had boxes of pictures, full of good moments, full of smiles, full of incredible things, I only had the regret of the past, and a waste hope in the future.”
YOU”: but”
ME: “Don’t tell me but, stop living on that future, you will only had the regrets of the past, begin living in the present, begin living now, now is the only time you will have”
After he finished writing the letter, John’s nurse close the envelope, and addressed to Mark Jr. He knew that no one will be there for him in the way he was for no one, he was in the office when his son John died in the hospital with a heart broke, he was at work when his son Mark died in that car accident, he was busy in the office when Stella felt the stairs and break her neck, he was in the office every time Mark Jr. want it to see grandpa.
He knew that the nurse called Mark Jr., to his office, he said he will be in the hospital shortly, grandpa had been dying there for two days, and sadly he wasn’t surprise that Mark wasn’t able to get here, he would not had done it.
On Thursday, at four in the morning, John stopped breathing, alone in a bed. That afternoon Mark Jr. Assistant pick the letter.
It was a week after, when a Sunday afternoon Mark Jr. Working in his home office found John’s letter and open it.
He didn’t cry, he was use to live with the regrets of the past, so he stand up, pick the phone and when out. Three years later, he was playing in the backyard, with the present, not worrying about what the future will be, and without any regrets from the past, proud to get a message that Grandpa had leave him before he left.
 

My iPhone Home Screen

I think it was Patrick Rhone or Mac Sparky who inspire me to change the home screen on my iPhone home screen from a page full of folders to only the most use apps.
Since the inclusions of folders on the iOS I went from have a page for certain kind of apps to have folders for certain kind of apps. The problem was that even that I have some that I love and have no plans to remove form my iPhone or iPad, they are not use often enough.
It was when I think When I read from Patrick Rhone or Mac Sparky about having on the main screen only the main apps. I wasn’t sure, but decide to keep on the first page only those apps that I use at least once every two days, and move all my folders to the third screen. I have a two and a half year old that own the second screen.
My current iPhone Setup:
Launch Bar:
– Phone
– Whatsapp (This application allow me to send text, videos and images for free worldwide, since I have friends and family abroad is fantastic.
– OmniFocus
– ToDo Tomorrow (This little app works like a 3×5 index card, when I need to focus, this is what I use instead of open OmniFocus. I use to have an actual Index Card, now I use this,)
The Main Page
– Notes (Sync with Mobile Me)
– Clock
– Calendar
– The Weather Channel (Since we move to Indiana, this is a key app)
– Maps
– iPod
– PodFinder (Is app broke on the last update, and I hope they fix it soon, but basically look into my podcast and notified me if there is new episodes, this way I don’t need to connect to iTunes)
– Samurai (I use to have Chess here, but my opponent request a change of game, so now we are playing Samurai)
– Carcassone
– Scrabble
– Messages (Because you can always get for people that don’t use Whatsapp)
The Second page is full of apps for my daughter, and the the Third Page has all the rest of apps. Even that I delete many of them, I have manage to accumulate many of them, some that I love more than others, but the ones that are in the iPhone are the ones that I continue thinking bring some value.

41.123692-85.049768

Where is your map? Have you check it lately?

Over the years I have learn that ‘if you are not checking the map, you risk never reach your destination.’

Reaching a destination, is as much as to get there as it is to enjoy the journey. The problem is that there are moments that you will feel that you are lost, that you don’t know if you are going towards the goal, or away from it. There are moments that you really don’t know, that your instincts failed to tell you if you are in the right direction or not, that feeling of despair and frustration. That is the moment we should check the map, to make sure we can reach our destination.

As important as it is to check the map on those dark moments, is to do it on the high moments, on those moments that you feel you can take over the world, that you can accomplish everything, that you feel the world is too small to contain you, those moments, you need to make sure you check the map, to make sure you are taking on the right things, and moving your dream in the right direction.

Sadly, in my experience you and I tend to fail to check the map on both occasions,we failed to make sure that when we are in our high moments we are aiming into the right place and that when you are feeling low, you continue moving towards the objective. My question is why?

This is where this stop being useful, because honestly I don’t know. I don’t know why, I have no clue why I didn’t check the map the last time I was feeling that I could take the world, or why I didn’t check it the last time I was in a low, but on those occasions I didn’t.

The last time this happen to me, I failed to check the map, I even forgot I had a map, was like someone had stole the map. I wish to tell you that next time I will check the map, but you and I know that next time, we will forgot about the map again, and will over shoot the objective or feel like we are never going to reach it.

How well do you know the Tool you have?

Yesterday, I wrote about having the right tool for the job, and later on, via Twitter @thinkip bring to me the next question: How well do you know the tool you have?

This is an interesting question, that for a lot of people I know, the answer is: ‘not much’. That it is exactly the reason they need to get the new tools, the powerful ones. Most of the real power users I know, use old machines, not because they can’t afford new ones, but because they know there is more horse power left under the hood of the current machine.

To this day, I am always impressed how little people understand about Microsoft Windows, the operating system most likely they spend all day, or if you wish, how people can’t type, considering that they spend most of the time sitting in front of a keyboard and typing most of their day.

Knowing your tools is key in order to be able to define if you need more or less of them, if you need more or less power, for example, I have been a big proponent for people to upgrade to Windows 7, not because I think is great, but because is faster and run better on older machines than Windows XP or Vista. Most people I know, don’t need a new computer, they just need more Memory Ram, guess what, people will get a computer, because the one they have is slower. The reality is that if the old machine is old enough, will have more memory, what they need to begin with.

I understand that the reason this is reserved to a few, is simple, there is a whole industry to keep alive, that was part of the reason Microsoft, force a lot of us to upgrade machines for Windows XP and Vista, the reason new and more powerful video cards come every three months, the reason game makers are looking for new and more powerful machines, and the reasons technologies like Display Link are coming to disrupt everything, with that technology, you don’t need more power, their technology is design to expand the possibilities of your current machine.

Let me clarify, that the geek in my heart is not saying ‘do not upgrade’, don’t be fooled, I love a shinny gadget, and have bough my fair share of toys that end up in eBay, goodwill or in the hands of a lucky person, from iPods, to NetBooks, and a lot of junk in between… What I am saying is that in order to know if a tool will work, you need to know how to use it.

I was a mac user until 2004, at that time, I got a job selling PC software to Latin America. Virtualization wasn’t really possible, you could run stuff, but there were not real power, so I got a PC, the shinny object then, a Tablet PC. I love my tablet, use it for years, and finally sold it to a person in 2010 that to this day he is using it. (It was running Windows 7, the best OS that machine ever had). I Try to jump back to the Mac in 2007, and because, Mac OS had change so much in three years, (and the poor planning on my side) I end up going back to a PC and trying again the change to the Mac until 2008. The reason I failed to move from a PC to a Mac in 2007 was simple, I didn’t know or understand the tool. My knowledge of the tool was four years old. If I move to a PC tomorrow, (unlikely, really unlikely) I will need to begin to learn again Windows, but if the next Version of Windows ship, that will be know a key component of my success, since my knowledge will be so Windows 7 (or old knowledge if you prefer), I will be able to function, but to be fast and proficient,I will need to learn How to operate in Windows again.

I remember when I got my first iOS, an iPhone first generation. I was coming from a Palm Treo, that I could use with my eyes closed, the change was hard. For a while I carried both, the Treo and the iPhone, took me learn how to use the iOS to leave my Treo behind. If I decided to migrate from the iPhone (Highly unlikely too) the first thing to to is to learn to use the new device, the new tool.

In a production environment, (and you are in one, even if you haven’t noticed) you can be only as fast as the bottle neck or weakest link, the bottle neck is Always the Slowest part of the machine, type 25 words per minute, that’s your bottle neck, learn to type 45 to 60 and you will discover a new bottle neck, is for that reason that David Allen says: “The Better you get, the better you’d better get”, a quote that I really love. In case that you are not aware of the last idea, the idea that you are a production environment, the great Peter Drucker defined you as a knowledge worker, but what you are is a production unit or environment, regardless if you work for a small one person firm or a fortune 1000 you are a production unit, and the more you know your tools, the better you do, the more smoothly and efficient is the production.

I share in this blog before, that I was going to ditch my iPad, until my friend suggested that I should instead of complaining about how bad was my on-screen typing, learn to type. I download the software, and have been practicing daily. I am not typing as fast as I can type on the physical keyboard, but guess what I am typing over 50 words per minute, and improving. Also guess what, since I am learning to use the tool better, I am working mostly exclusively in the iPad, but I can work now anywhere. I am not carrying the external keyboard, and I am not feeling that I am loosing productivity, on the contrary, I am more productive, because I can work really anywhere carrying only the IPad, I don’t need the MacBook, or the External Keyboard, and I am typing fast enough that I don’t feel I am wasting my time.

Knowing the tools you use, is key for productivity, doesn’t matter if you are a writer, a sales person or you design machinery. The better you understand your tools, the more efficient you can be with them, and the more you know them and the more you understand them the better transition you can do when/if you choose to change them.

Are you using the right tool?

Using the right tool for the job, is one of those thing that are incredibly important. Not all tools works for all task, and not all tasks require the same tool.
For example, to write, I prefer my iPad over any other tool, including my MacBook. The reason is simple, it’s the focus. I can focus in the iPad in a way I can’t in the MacBook.
I have share with many of my friends, that in a way I get remind of the early nineteen nineties when the laptops began to get used by regular people. You had a powerful desktop at home, if you had a laptop, the laptop was to do the lightweight work. The interesting thing was, that the computer industry convince us that we need powerful machines, more and more power, not only in our laptops that for many of us morphed into our main machines, but in our smartphones, we need more screen size, we need more space, more speed, more for the simple reason that we could have more.
In May 30, 2007, one month before Steve Jobs announce the iPhone, Jeff Hawkins announce the Palm Foleo, basically a dumb terminal for your SmartPhone, at that time, for the Palm Treo, one of the most versatiles and advance smartphones then. The world laugh at him, and Palm sadly cancel the project three months later. The Foleo was based on the principle that the average smartphone had enough power to be your main machine, and for most people in the go, he was right. If instead of the iPad you give me a good keyboard, a 10 inch screen that will connect to my iPhone (yes like the Motorola Atrix, that is an Evolution of that old Foleo) I will not need or use my iPad, and if it’s not because I like the form and function of the Apple iOS and don’t like Android that much, I will consider getting the device and getting rid of my iPad and iPhone in the name of one device.
But going back to our topic, and leaving my rant behind, are you using the right tool?
As I said, I have a MacBook, that honestly I don’t use, it’s use for posting blogs with images (for when I write in Mind Like Monkey), keeping iTunes, so I can see all the movies in our Apple Tv in our room, Skype and FaceTime when we do it all the family, and final edit and book creation, for anything else, between the iPad and the iPhone I am basically covered.
That means that I may keep the laptop, but also means that the need to have multiple laptops is disappearing, I see in our household than when time came to upgrade computers, we will get iPads and a common computer. This days with the iPhones, most of our computer needs are cover, in my case I keep the iPad to write and read, while my wife loves to read on her color Nook. The laptop, is in a table, barely used.
The other cool thing of having the right tool, is that you discover that you need less, long time ago, I use to travel with two Laptops, and had a heavy and versatile rolling case, I now carry a bag that fit only my iPad, and most of the time, I only need my ScotteVest.
 
When was the last time you honestly revise your needs, that you honestly check that you had the right tool, and that you were using the right tool. When was the last time that you replace a tool, that honestly didn’t need a replacement.
 

SHORT STORY: On the Gun sight

“You are right Andrea, two million dollars is without a doubt a number interesting enough to be considered, but I want to be clear that this is the last job and to be totally honest with you, I don’t like the fact that we don’t have information about the victim. I don’t like the fact that they are picking the hit place, but I understand that they are paying well for it and I hope that all the precautions that you are taking are enough. I don’t like that all that we know is that is someone from a Bank, that doesn’t help, so little information make me vulnerable.” With that Sidney Seahorse stand up from the table that he and Andrea were drinking coffee and begin to walk towards the north of the city from were he had come some hours ago. The morning was cold, you could feel it deep into the skin, it was an unusual morning in Manhattan Beach in witch the humidity level can be felt, one of the nicest things about Manhattan Beach is that you rarely feel the humidity.
Even that Sydney wasn’t that far, Andrea told him clearly so there wasn’t any doubt that it was an order, “Tomorrow at the fifteen hours, be in position, they will tell you the information so you can proceed.” Sydney didn’t stop, but he got the message and based on his perception of the risk and the unsure he was about this job he decided to so something unusual, but something that regardless the future, he wasn’t going to regret ever.
Officially Sydney Seahorse was a software consultant, in reality he was a high paying killer, half a million per head. In this case they were offering him two millions because the risk was really high and he will need to listen to live instructions, if this job would not had come from the hands of Andrea, most probably Sydney would had say simply no. Andrea and Sidney had been working together many years, between the two had make more blood steams than the water of the Nile and for a long time, Andrea was the closest thing to trust that Sidney knew, Andrea had been the brother that Sidney never had or never knew, until that tragic afternoon in Paris.
Sidney had just finished a job in in the suburbs of Paris and was getting ready to take a plane to return to Los Angeles, when he met Antoinette. Until that moment, Sidney didn’t knew what love or trust was, after three month of romance in Paris and with the arrival of the winter, they decided to move together to Los Angeles, now more than six months together, Sidney was ready for retirement and ask Antoinette in marriage. It was the moment to change his life, but this last job was going to give him the security that he needs, seven million dollars, deposited in eight accounts around the world, each one with a different identity, Sidney had during many years plan everything so he could disappear.
The afternoon before his last job, Sidney walk around with Antoinette, they walk barefoot in the sand, eat in the beachside, drank wine in the dusk, and they give into each other until dawn.
The next morning, Antoinette woke up and went to the bank she work, Sidney took his vehicle and drove to the house he use to hide his sniper rifle, his clothes and the rest of the equipment. He took a disposable cell phone and a bluetooth headset. There was something weird, something was telling Sidney that this job wasn’t worth what he was getting paid for, regardless he prepare himself completely.
It was three o’clock, Sidney was in position, his sniper rifle loaded, from the gun sight he could see people drinking coffee, at three fifteen, he received the call, the voice on the other side simply said: “Your objective had a red shirt and is sitting on one of the tables on the west side, with a person with a yellow shirt, the job should be clean, any questions? Confirm the Objective”
Took less than a second to Sidney move the gun sight and aim directly in the head of the victim and for the first time in fifteen years he could not make the mortal shot, he said back in the headset: “Please provide additional information in the Objective”
The voice on the other side said: “The server is leaving a Coffee cup in the table at this moment”
There was a silence, Sidney look for other coffee with desperation and without stop looking on the gun sight, there was no other red shirt, the only red shirt was Antoinette who was drinking coffee with someone in a yellow shirt. The desperation got into Sidney’s head, the fear took over the trigger, finally, he close his eyes and did the only thing he knew how to do, a direct shot in the head.

The Craft of writing or the Story I am showing

I was discussing with a close friend of mine a couple of days ago, about what to write in this blog. In a way, this is the place people that reads my book (coming in the next weeks) will come and stop by, so I should write for them. In other way, I should write about this craft that I am learning, not only to learn more, but also to understand better about it. In case you have doubts, I continue looking for writers that had learn all they need to in the craft. If you find one, let me know, most likely I am not interested in read them anymore.
We spend some time discussing this, and my friend was in the position that anything that it’s write in here should be about the story, this was not a page about the craft, therefore there were no place for it. He make a good argument here, no question about, and I think the answer lies more in a balance.
I am a writer, and I love to the pages of those writers that I like to see what are they writing, and love when they talk about the craft. I am sure, if I would not be a writer, I will be less trilled, but in that case you can choose to rad the next one. There is the trick. The Balance. I need to work into publishing something for other writers, and something for those that are only readers (I appreciate both). Based on that, I decided to take it that way, I don’t know yet the proportion that I will write fro readers and for writers.
I had quit this blog twice in the last months, because I wasn’t sure were this this was going and I was trying to focus my self on finishing the book, but lately I am looking forward to be here, to develop this, and to make this a nice place to come and play, with others.
Would you prefer to read only about the craft of writing or you will also like to see the story, how the story is coming, how the story is showing. I think I like both.
 

The iPad as a Writer Tool. Editing the first Daft

I am working on editing the first draft of my next novel, or novella if I decided to kill a part of it. I do this in the iPad, this allow me to read, edit, add and modify all the text I wish. The only problem with this approach is that if I want to know the exact changes is a two step process.
To my knowledge, there is no software in the iPad that allow you to track changes (plus I use text files), therefore if I made changes those are final. To work with this limitation, I made a copy of the ‘Original’ first draft and work with a second set of files, so if I want to visit a part I can, and it’s not impossible.
This allow me to work into the draft, edit, add, change delete and more without worry. If I need, I can always access the original text file using DropBox. If I have no internet, I can do it using my iPhone, as a second screen.
Editing in the iPad is fun, since you can get the full screen, you can also get the full reading experience that your reader will get, but you also get the ability to work into the file.
If everything goes as planned, this book should be revised in the next couple of weeks, and then shipped to the editor. We seem to aim to the end of may for this. Wish me luck.
 

How to fail as a Writer. Let the fear win.

I love to write, even that every time I write, there is this fear that try to get control. I love to write. I have love it for a really a long time, but I let the fear and the ideas of others get between my writing ideas and the actual action of writing, so I simply stop writing. I decided to agree with all those that said it was impossible to make a living as a writer, you may fail, you should try the secure stuff and instead of do it, I decided to stop writing.
For me, stop writing make it all impossible, impossible to make a loving as a writer & impossible to fail, you can’t fail in something you are not doing, but for me not writing make me fail on more than that. I try the “secure” way, it was fun, but not what I want it. I am a writer, not because I can’t succeed in the “secure” stuff, I am a writer, because even on Theo worst days feel better to have written today.
For me writing, make possible other stuff, make real other things, but I can be a writer unless I show up,showing up is what make it real for me. I show up everyday and write, I will never be the kind of writer I wish unless I show up. In the way I see it, I failed, all those years that I was too afraid to type, to afraid to write, to afraid to tell to the world that I was a writer, those were the failures years, or the preparation years as recently a friend of mine remind me, but now I show up, regardless of anything else, I am succeeding, success is being a writer, success is sit and write, is bring the stories inside outside so the world can enjoy it, success begin when I write.
I love to write, somedays when is hard to start, I fantasize on being written instead of writing, regardless of how much I love writing, there are days that I just want to be written and done.
But writing is an everyday exercise, you need to show up in the days you are inspired as well as in the days you wish all had being written before and you should not be doing this.
I love to write, and like any other writer, the people around you is afraid of what you are doing, they think is crazy, impossible to make a living out of it, and afraid that you failed. Next time consider the following: What is impossible? What are you failing in? Why not try it? They said is impossible make a living as a writer, but there is many many people doing it everyday, you will fail because no one will read you and no one will know who you are, people most likely don’t know who you are today, in the worst case scenario, nothing will change, and no one will ever know, but you will be a writer. There is a really long list of great writers, that were discovered after they died, I am not wishing that to you, or me, or anyone, but what you prefer, get to your dead bed and wish you had written, or smile because you did. I choose the second one.
I wrote last year a novel, “The Writer”, we are in the last stages of getting it ready to publish in Amazon, SmashWords and more. I will say soon, I have Written, and the world will if they choose to acknowledge, but if not, I will continue writing, because if I may fail, let me fail while I am writing like crazy, let me fail while I let a trace of words that if I am lucky will touch some day one heart.
 

The iPad as a Writer Tool. Focused Writing

The first software that I remember that I use in my Mac to focus myself as a writer was Pages. I got Pages because it has a button you can hit that makes it look full screen, and remove any other distraction from the screen. I use that feature so much, and I really enjoy it. Later I discover that Scrivener, also has that feature, and have try to use it too.
The problem is not the existence of that, is that I know that under the black screen there is all this little things that I can tweak, so I get distracted and instead of write, I play.
Comes the iPad, and the first application I put to accomplish this was Pages. Even that the pages version of the iPad doesn’t have as many things as the full desktop version does, it has enough to keep me distracted and unfocused.
I said before, that I discover text files by mistake, and the Resistance (capital R as defined by Steven Pressfield) try to convince me that you could not work well on text formats, because you could not do many things and have many option to make things look good. After I pass the initial effect of the Resistance, and continue typing, and type even more, I have come to enjoy not only the writing in the iPad but the writing in text files for later editing.
Removing all the distractions from the environment, read, all the things that can make me waste time, instead of use that time to write, had been incredible,
I use my iPad for focused writing, if I need to, I can always go back to the MacBook and edit, change fonts, colors, bold and underline the text, and waste an incredible amount of time, but all that happen after the text is done, all that waste of time, is done after the original creation is finish, after I had done the first part of my delivery.
I began writing in the iPad because the possibilities of unconscious surfing, and wasting time got immediately reduced with it, if I quit this app to go to the web, there are enough things to give me the clue that I am going to stop writing, as I said before all those same clues in the MacBook are more unconscious or as a friend of mine said, my brain had them block so took me longer to notice them, in the worst case scenario, if catch my resistance in the MacBook sending me to the Web, her answer is let’s change the font, ad bold that word, in the iPad, for now, the answer is silence and I can get back to be focus on my writing.
I have learn that the less distractions and the more I can focus in the writing and not in the tool the more I write, and that for a writer is a good thing, the iPad has remove the friction, and allow me to focus more on the writing and less in the distractions.