Thoughts of a Neophyte Guitarist


I’m in love with a six stringed lady.

I jokingly call her my “mistress” to my spouse.

She’s got a rosewood fretboard and a mahogany body, with a rather battered wine red finish.  She stays in tune, more or less, and has only a little fret buzz.  She has dual humbucker pickups, being an Epiphone copy of the Gibson design, and sometime I’ll get an amp for her instead of plugging her into Tuxguitar on my Linux system through an adapter left over from my flying days.

I named her Rosie.

Starting over twenty years ago, I had a recurring dream about buying an acoustic guitar and just knowing how to play it.  The dream came and went but the desire never completely went away.

Now, only a year and a half from the magic number forty, I’ve decided to cross this item off my “Bucket List.”

Time’s wasting, and my fingers won’t get any more limber.  So I got this guitar, “Juke Box Hero” and “Summer of Sixty Nine” running through my head all the while.

I happily welcomed the sore fingers.  I don’t mind playing endless scales or doing the finger exercises my guitar Sensei has assigned me.  I am doggedly trying to learn to switch between C and G chords without interruption or muffled strings.  I practice at least twice every day.

However, the guitar has already brought me so much.  I’ve had great talks with people who love the instrument as much as I do, found tips on playing, learned so much. It seems like every other person I meet plays, or has played.  Several people have started up again after talking to me.  It’s like my enthusiasm has reminded them of a love they half forgot.

When I picked up this style of guitar for the first time, it fit in a way I can’t describe.  My hands knew where to go, and it just felt so right.

Right now I have a goal of just practicing every day, building up my new calluses, and seeing where it takes me.  I’m enjoying the journey every bit as much as the destination.  I think that’s something I couldn’t have done when I was younger, because I didn’t have the support network I do now and I hadn’t yet learned to see practice as fun.  Because it is.

Nobody told me practice would be fun!

I expected it to be drudgery.

“I want to learn to play…. ____.”

“You’ll have to practice a lot!”

I know – but it’s so much fun.  It’s meditative and stress reducing.  It makes me feel better.  I can’t be anxious or sad when I’m concentrating on making the notes sound right.  I relax.  And that’s all before I have even learned one song beyond “happy birthday.”

If you have something on your bucket list that you haven’t gotten to, or never thought you could get to, something creative like art or music or writing, why not try?  I did, because I hadn’t realized an electric guitar would be so affordable, or be quiet enough to practice in an apartment.  Once I learned that, it opened a bright, beautiful door that had always been closed before.

I wish you inspiration and joy.

What’s up with calling people Ginger?

I clearly remember a time when people with reddish hair called themselves “redheads.”   If others were being a bit rude to that redhead they might call them “carrot top.”  If I saw a cat of a generally marmalade shade, I’d say “that’s a cute orange cat!”  Or “will that darn red tabby stay out of my bushes?”

Now it’s all gone to “ginger.”  I know there are some places in the world where this term has always been common.  It seems to be spreading though.  “Ginger” is simple and a lazy way to describe something, giving almost no real information.  I’d rather be more descriptive.  I’d rather say “redhead,” “copper haired,” “strawberry blonde,” “russet,” “red,” “orange,” “ocher,” “auburn,” “fiery,” or any number of other descriptors than simply “ginger.”


Here’s a bonus tip for authors.  If you use more precise descriptions, not just going to the most commonly used but non-informative word, your writing will have more life in it and engage your audience better.  Dare I say, your writing will have more color?



How long will it be until I stop hearing about blood bay, strawberry roan, and red chestnut horses and start hearing about ginger horses?


Besides, though ginger is one of my favorite spices, and is really, really tasty, it’s not red in any way.  So why not “cinnamon?”  It’s reddish, at least!

My motives aren’t hidden

…not like this cat is, anyway.  She does such a good job of blending in!

I’m taking a bit of time here to explore the goals of this blog, because everyone who follows should have access to my thoughts about why it’s here.  What’s going through my head, what my plans are, all of that.

Mindflight is ultimately for people who create, or who would like to create but don’t think they can.  As a blogger, I want to avoid anything that doesn’t help the reader in some way.  I want to share stories that might inspire or educate, share skills that empower, give tips and pointers that help my fellow artists, and maybe cause a reader to think outside the box once in a while.  I think that everybody has the chance to be a better person than they were yesterday, and have some fun in the process.  I think that goes beyond creed and philosophy.  If I can help an artist think about something in a new way, or a writer try something they never thought they could, I’ll be happy.  In the process I find myself learning a lot too, and that’s a great thing!  Like the site says, “together we soar.”

My “three pillars” are:

Inspiration, Development, Empowerment.

Each entry on this blog tries to do one of the three and that’s my pledge to you.

Hope you enjoy!

Here’s a better shot of Saia, the would be bobcat, exploring her “savannah.”


Stripes 1200

Mental Snack

Sometimes it’s nice to have a little bite of philosophy to go with the rest of your day, much like a savory snack to get you to your next meal.  It’s an interlude, a bit of added flavor, perhaps an enhancement to life.

Here is a good one I heard recently.

One character is asking another what the meaning of life is and what God is.  Here’s the answer.


If I take a lamp and shine it toward the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding. Too often we assume that the light on the wall is God.

But the light is not the goal of the search; it is the result of the search. The more intense the search, the brighter the light on the wall. The brighter the light on the wall, the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it! Similarly, someone who does not search, who does not bring a lantern with him, sees nothing.

What we perceive as God, is the byproduct of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light, pure and unblemished, not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe. God looks astonishingly like we do!

Or we turn to look at our shadow, and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose; which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty – and in all its flaws. And in so doing better understand the world around us.


So there you have it, a little food for thought.  In case anyone is curious, that particular quote is from the character G’Kar, from Babylon 5.  His people have decided he’s a religious figure and he’s trying to share some of what he’s learned in his various struggles.




A polished beetle shell

I saw my first Palo Verde beetle for the year.

These are large, glossy black, spiky looking insects, about three inches long not including their formidable antennae. They are gentle creatures, though, despite their looks, and rarely eat anything besides a bit of fruit nectar during their roughly month-long adult lives.

When Palo Verde Beetles hatch, they start out as large, six inch or longer larvae that live and burrow inside tree roots. Once they pupate, they emerge from their root burrows and bumble around looking for a partner, laying their eggs just before monsoon season, to start the whole cycle again.

My sighting occurred outside the laundromat. It was about midnight, and I saw a shiny black beetle trundling along the gritty pavement, occasionally trying to fly. She wasn’t hard to miss, being about the length of my thumb. Every time she took off the breeze would knock her down again, usually into a solid object like a window. Undeterred, she kept going. By the time I came out with my laundry, I saw she’d made it quite a ways – farther than I’d expected. I paused a moment, watching her run her beetle errands, wishing I could communicate with her so I could give her a free lift.

Making that wish gave me a thought. What if there were other beings observing me that were as much more advanced from me as I am from this beetle? What if they understood something of my life, as I do with this beetle, but couldn’t communicate? What if they in fact wished to help me out but there was no common ground between us? It made me think about myself, the value of persistence, and what purpose meant to me. It was a lot to get from watching a beetle.

Palo verde beetles may look scary but there’s a lot to learn by watching these silly, bumbling creatures. It’s amazing that they’ve been around for this many millions of years.

I guess they’re doing something right!






via Daily Prompt: Polish

What would you be before your distant end?

One of my favorite bloggers just posed an interesting question.  Rather than listing five things you would like to do before you die, what are five things you would like to be before you die?

Here’s the post, if you’re curious:

I thought this sounded like an excellent writing prompt.  Thinking of things to do can be useful and great, however actions and tasks usually have an ending and being something doesn’t have to.  I’ve been thinking a lot about who I really am lately, and I’ve been disappointed with the results.  So who would I like to be?  Setting my course toward that so that I can become a better version of me is something I’m working on.


5 things I’d like to be before I die

To be known as a writer and make a good portion of my income from it

To be a far better artist than I am, as good as some of my favorite artists

To be someone who lives mindfully and thinks before every action

To be someone who contains both compassion and strength

To be fit in both mind and body – meditating and exercising daily



There are my five.  Do you have any you’d like to share?



via Daily Prompt: Distant

Not yet the day for detonations

We aren’t quite to the point where everyone sets off fireworks for the US Independence Day, but today is still a day where we honor the men and women who fight for us.

Today is Memorial Day in the US.  For many people, that means the first day of summer, a day for camping and barbecues.  It’s also a day for giving respect to the armed forces.

Most think only of the dead, as they fly flags, lay wreaths and put flowers on the graves of our fallen soldiers.  However, there is another aspect to this day.  Traditionally, the time from dawn until noon is devoted to honoring the living men and women of the armed forces, and only the time between noon and sunset is devoted to those who have passed from this life.

In that tradition, I want to highlight one very special part of the US armed forces – the Marine Corps.

I am not a member of the military, but every Marine I have ever met, even the ones I didn’t like, has been a special person with unique and valuable qualities.

To do their jobs well, Marines must be brave and steadfast. They are taught to think on their feet. They are also taught to never give up and that attitude carries through all aspects of life. They have a drive to make sure things are done right. They value their friends. They are loyal. They make great friends. A Marine is always a Marine, even after they retire.

My uncle is a Marine. He still keeps fit and trim even though he’s in his sixties. I never got along with him but I can appreciate his tidy house, his physical fitness, his success in life, and his sense of mission.

A good friend of mine is also a Marine. She entered in the seventies, and even though she was a female Marine she learned the same Core Values that other Marines learn. She’s brave, loyal, trustworthy, intelligent and dedicated.

My wife is an honorary Marine by virtue of training, and she learned much from her grandfather, who was a Marine. She’s taught me a lot about what it means to be a good person. I value her insights about life.

Today, I want to raise a toast to Marines everywhere. The Corps is the US’s oldest armed force. All volunteers, they’ve protected this country since the beginning. The few, the proud, the Marines!