Contributor Interview with L. Dacre Tynan

The full interview with CARDIGAN PRESS’ Jaime Dill! I’m so excited to be part of a 2021 anthology release, by Writers for Writers.
Enjoy!

Cardigan Press

Everyone, welcome L. Dacre Tynan to our Contributor Interview series, a routine blog feature that introduces you to the wonderful writers whose work will be included in our upcoming anthology project.

Be sure to subscribe for email alerts so you never miss new posts!

“What astounds me about L. Dacre is his ability to trail, not just theme and imagery, but powerful metaphor through an entire story, so that when you arrive at the end, there is no doubt whatsoever about the ride he intended to put you on.”

— Jaime Dill, editor for Cardigan Press

[E] Well, L. Dacre, the wait was long, but worth it. You’re here! Welcome to our 2021 anthology team! We’d love to know: what genres/age ranges do you typically gravitate toward in your writing?

A great question! On self-analysis, I find myself sitting (in a writerly fashion), with legs dangling precariously over the cliff’s…

View original post 759 more words

On catching clouds and critical timing

My wife and I walked outside this evening, going for our post-dinner/early-evening walk, as we usually do every other day, only to be greeted by this act of creation happening before our eyes. I quickly raced back inside for the “good” camera. Fiddling with the settings for a moment (still don’t know what I am doing with this thing half the time), and not having the most ideal lens to start with, I was so glad in the end, to catch a sense of what is going on here, and there’s a lot happening.

Stratus and nimbostratus developing in the front of the pack, hiding cumulus in action (rising action – like a perfect plot line). From the direction we’re facing we have an anvil developing, front and center. There is even a cluster of mamatus developing (the bubbles on the lower right hand side).

I took this one, right out the front of my house?!

A lot happening. But it’s just a cloud, isn’t it?

No. Nooooo.

This, dear reader is essentially the best cloud formation I have had the privilege to witness outside my own home. For the whole year.

And of course, the photo doesn’t do it justice (because I am a rotten photographer – my apologies, Peter McKinnon).

The point really is that several minutes later, the shot was lost. This moment appeared and disappeared in its own haste. If we hadn’t headed out for our routine walk, the moment would have come and gone. More specifically, if I hadn’t looked up.

There is an element of discovery I enjoy with taking photos of clouds, and it is this same element of discovery I’ve come to really appreciate with writing.

The moment that appears right in front of me.

I’m not talking about being a Discovery Writer, specifically though – affectionately known in the #writingcommunity as a pantser: [ie someone who writes by the seat of their pants, not knowing in large part what they are writing about as far as plot or story-line] – essentially letting their writing be discovered in the moment. I’m really talking about the immediately recognizable response and reward (and in my case, being a plotter-outliner) of seeing words and thoughts with their intentions and purpose, brought to life on the page.

The Cloud Burst that inspired my current Climate Fiction WIP ~ L Dacre Tynan

It is in those moments of euphoria when I’ve come up for air as it were, in realization that the fresh words on the page have thoroughly and deeply revealed my inner thoughts, or fears or hopes and dreams. Whether they were aspirational for the story being told at hand, or a larger understanding of something deeply personal that has exploded around me. Largely because I was ready, in the moment and attuned to the timing of the exercise. Like catching clouds: stepping out and looking up – it is all in the timing. Large clouds, erupting to life overhead, as particles and vapor materialize into being.

The right place, at the WRITE time ~ L Dacre Tynan

And of course, that’s the take-away. We breathe it in and continue looking ahead to the next euphoric moment in our writing pursuits. We’ll never know when we catch that feeling again, it could be in the very next story, or paragraph, or sentence. Or word. But it will happen, it’s all in the timing.

So we write with readiness. Like stepping outside, we look up, ready to catch the words. Or the sky.

Courtesy of Pxhere ~ pxhere.com
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania ~ L Dacre Tynan

On poetry and teamwork

Age old sonnets, the eventful haiku, a polished lambic pentameter or even a well-timed limerick. They each have their power, holding the reader captive and making their point, knife-edge clear. They are also only but a handful of the myriad of poetry’s forms.

I stumbled upon this quote recently, and it resonated deeply…

Robert Frost ~ American Poet [1874-1963] has been quoted to say; “Poetry is when emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

Until recently, I had always accepted poetry to be wholly an individual’s pursuit; your own emotions and your own words. That was until I had the pleasure of co-writing a narrative piece with an agreed upon theme, the four of us writing a stanza each, and building on the theme of the whole.

You’ve likely heard this little rhyming one-liner: ‘team work makes the dream work,’ and this collaborative process exemplified that to me. Completely.

I was very much reminded of a previous experience regarding song writing in collaboration, fitting within the same mold; song lyrics and poetry, going hand in hand.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The initial thrust of excitement as the opportunity presented itself, with a vague theme being borne along, coming to life as we contemplated a mix of visual concepts: a runner, competition with a sense of “eat or be eaten”, a forest setting…

24 hours later we had a respectfully finished piece, some 3 pages long (my contribution alone was longer than a page…admittedly I’ve never been one to let clean prose get in the way of a good ramble).

Before we could rest on our collective laurels however, it became apparent that this piece needed to be edited down to no longer than 30 lines, for the whole poem. Divided among 4 writers (for those playing at home, we divided this so 2 writers got 7 lines each, and the other 2 got 8 each).

A lesson in teamwork, in enunciating the clarity of theme and in telling a shared story.

And it was glorious! The experience, that is (I’m expecting the poem to be pretty solid also, if I may say so). We edited our own contributions (recall I had the rambling page-long diatribe… ), compared each others’ stanzas for flow and connection to the whole and came away with something stronger than any one piece, on its own merits. Although, I do have to say, I was very fortunate to have been a part of this submission opportunity with three amazing writers! Hopefully, just hopefully we come away with a little shoutout for our efforts. As the opportunity arises, I can share our piece with you soon, too.

But there’s more…

Coming away from the process with two new feather in my cap.

I can collaborate on more than just music!

And most importantly, I can feel like a writer around other people, which feels amazing. So my suggestion to you, fellow writers ~ if you don’t already write with others ~ try it!

You just might make yourself feel more thoroughly like the writer you are….

Photo credit by author: L Dacre Tynan
Trusting that you are a writer, is 85% of the battle. The other 5% is putting the words down*.

[*10% automatically deducted for coffee]

…and that WILL make the dream work.

On Writing:

Snippets of drafts, concepts, and ‘works in progress’:

Today I wanted to share a piece of writing with you, largely inspired by a longer MS that I am currently outlining and writing [one excruciating word at a time]. This flash-fiction piece is reflective of the themes, characters and setting, concerning the story in progress…

Bic looked on – his eyes filled with fearful hesitancy – Sandler, his best friend, wore an expression of adventurous delight. Their combined attention drawn to the silent maelstrom developing overhead. They stood side-by-side as brothers in arms, but observed the maturation of the severe storm event happening above them, from completely different perspectives. Heralded by fears and expectations, they were in this moment, each contending with an emotion and a reaction that sat at polar opposites to the other. Bic, flight. Sandler, fight.

“Bro, we gotta get closer to the action. Set up the drones here, but get over there,” Sandler offered pointing in the general direction that Bic was well and truly happy to be moving away from.

“The reason we have the drones, Sands’, is because we don’t need to be there…” Bic answered, as he keyed in the take-off sequence for the drone tech. “We’re close enough, here.” The three drones buzzed to life, sounding like a robotic swarm, heading skyward for the dark storm cloud growing in animosity above.

“Yeah, but this isn’t the death zone. There, is,” Sandler opined, almost in a whispered sulk.

If Sands’ could hug clouds, he would. Hell, he wanted to be in the cloud, just like his childhood hero (Lieutenant Colonel William Henry Rankin – the only known person to survive a fall through a cumulonimbus thunderstorm cloud – taking all of forty five minutes to reach solid ground). That’s not say Bic didn’t love severe storm events, he did. Perhaps even more so, than his best friend. Sands’ would hug a Grizzly, if the opportunity arose, but that wouldn’t stop the bear from tearing his face off, if given half a chance.

Bic knew what a cloud burst event could do to anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves below one, when they dropped.

You’d take death-by-bear-attack every time, if given a choice…

Bic was happy to accommodate Sandlers’ adrenaline-junkie nature, however. That’s just what BFF’s did. “Judging by the numbers, if you set up over there,” {a different ‘there’, from the aforementioned death-zone, ‘there’} Bic said, “you’ll likely cop some of that early, solid-mass fallout, you love so much.”

“Oh hail, yes,” Sandler replied, eagerly. “I’m in!” Rummaging through the back of the van, he retrieved his trusty ‘survival set’: His backpack, a bucket, a golf umbrella tucked under each arm, and sporting a full-face motorcycle helmet. He looked liked a shaggy haired biker wielding dual jousting sticks. A flowery knight. Once saddled up, he ran headlong for the alternative-there, location.

With a nervous laugh and a shake of the head, Stevie marveled at the daredevil lunatic racing down onto the flats, closer to the atmospheric tempest brewing, equipment in hand and helmet on head. “Can you believe this guy, Bic?” She asked.

“I certainly can,” Bic laughed back. “…he’s your brother, after all.”

“…Don’t remind me,” Stevie deadpanned.

Bic focused on the primary digital read-outs: Bay’s secondary laptop was live, the digital signals clear. The three drones were in synchronicity, headed for their preset triangulating positions around the now-stationary single storm cloud. Sandler was in place, ready to collect hail, and basically enjoy the party. Bic took the moment in – as if they were just moments away from tip-off on a basketball court.

It was game time.

“Stevie, you better take the van up to the ridge line. You got probably about 120 seconds,” Bic said.

She didn’t need a second reminder. Stevie gunned the engine, and took off for safety.

From her vantage point along the ridge line, the last member of their storm chasers’ party – Bay Nguyen – looked on. Neither fearful nor excited, Bay trusted both boys: Bics’ fearful resilience, and Sandlers’ cowboy charisma. – neither of them would be distracted easily – distractions equaled disaster. Her concern was the numbers. Always the numbers. This field test could be the final data-retrieval session: if it all went well, if they got their numbers. The worlds meteorological departments would be propelled forward by at least a decade.

State of the art drone-tech, that could predict the causality and nature of the mysteriously developing ‘cloudburst’ events? Who wouldn’t want in on this.

Bay, saw Stevie heading towards her, bringing the van with the rest of the tech gear out of the wider impact zone. From this moment on, this was no longer an academic exercise.

Running with the bulls in Spain, cage-diving in Shark Alley, biking down Death Road, in La Paz, Boliva… after today, you could add ‘sequestering cloud-burst events at Mount Shasta, California’ to the list.

Bic, Bay and Sandler went live with head-cams and digital mics: “Come in Sands’, Bay. You got me?”

The line cracked to life. Bay replied to the affirmative. Sandler, ballyhooed: “Sweet Helvetica!”

“Alright, we only got one shot at this,” Bic replied quietly. It took all of his efforts not to turn and run. He would have loved to, of course. But the booster-signal unit for the drones was as far as it could be, in relation to the drones’ distance from the cloud above. Any further and the drones would go offline. It was the last bug to be worked out of the L.I.F.T program. Until that was fixed though, Bic had to be right there. Too close for comfort.

“Sandler, what are you doing down there?” Bay asked, from her vantage point.

“It’s a blow-up raft,” he replied. “You know. My escape route.”

Bay shook her head, “you can’t help yourself can you, Davey Sandler.”

It was an interesting sight to behold. Sitting in a bright yellow raft, in the middle of a wide open field, was a big-boned, shaggy haired, basketball fanatic, with a bright red bike helmet strapped to his head. The golf umbrellas, adding the perfectly complimentary, finishing touch.

Bics stammered into the mouthpiece: “You look like a giant pina colada, out there, Sands’!”

Laughter echoed up and down the ridgeline.

Stevie, the new-comer to the storm chasing events, was more than adequately accustomed to her brothers hair-brained merriment. She listened in quietly, trying to help out where she could – they needed the extra set of hands for the set up. But the situation now, was completely lost on her. “What are you doing Sandler?…What’s he actually doing, Bay?”

Bay remained silent momentarily. But Stevie needed to know, she should be told. Even knowing what was about to happen, before it happened, still made it unbelievable to witness.

“You ever, accidentally tipped a whole glass of water over, like this?” Bay asked, pouring a water bottle out, onto the ground in front of them.

“Yeah, Sandler knocks a Dr. Pepper over all the time,” Stevie answered.”

“Well that. That’s whats going to happen here. Image the largest glass of Dr. Pepper you could. There is going to be Dr. Pepper, everywhere.”

“Oh…”

Sandelrs mic crackled to life: “It’s okay sis, that’s why I have the lift raft.”

“Sandler..,” Stevie was floored.

Bic jumped in, mustering up as much courage as he could for both of them: “Honestly Stevie, Sandler will be okay. Enjoy it. It’s going to be phenomenal.”

“Yeah sis, you’re about to watch an ocean fall out of the sky!”

There was a passionate cry of ‘Comic Sans’, from Sandler.

There is nothing quite like the gushing sound, caused by metric tonnes of air being forced violently, to the ground. The cloud literally poured itself out, to the ground below.

The event was over in moments. A foamy mist hovered over the extended area of the lower field, shrouding Bic and Sandler.

“Boys, come in… Bic, Sandler, do you copy?” Bay tried not to show rising fear. Stevie looked at her, and then back towards the flatland hidden from view. Masked by the mists of 400+ tonnes of

The line crackled, but no response came.

An agonizing minutes passed. “Do we need to drive down there?… We probably need to drive down there.” Stevie turned the ignition, firing up the vans’ engine. Bay jumped in the passenger seat, calling a second time. Again, no reply, the line crackling with muted suspicions.

As they came around a line of trees, and straightened up, the impact zone came into view, below the hovering mist. Desolation. Mud. Ahead of them, they saw Bic. Collectively they breathed a sigh of relief: at his feet was a bright yellow raft, with a completely drenched, and umbrella-less Sandler.

“Hey bro, we got it didn’t we,” Sandler said. “We got the final data-pack with that one?”

“Absolutely, we did,” Bic said, helping his best friend up out of the raft. They turned to see the van headed for them, the horn blaring in salute. They could just make out the girls’ expressions. Even Bay was smiling.

“Hey I brought something for us, to celebrate,” Sandler said turning back for his backpack.

He unzipped the bag, taking out a smaller waterproof satchel. “Here you go, my bro. Congratulations. I knew you’d get the data.”

Sandler presented Bic with a chilled Dr. Pepper and a pastry – a bear claw. “Here’s to riding the cloud burst.”

Phoenix Suns | 2020 Draft | Oct 16th

~ Scenarios/ options and general musings ~

Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

By way of a follow up, I wanted to discuss 3 players that would make for great options to add to the Suns roster.

The premise for discussion I have is…

These 3 players would realistically be available with the 10th pick, and will fill a need on the team {as I see them, at time of writing}.

Part of my viewpoint here includes how I envision Phoenix will run their game next season, which is largely based on exactly what transpired during their amazing 8 game bubble episode, featuring a traditional big/traditional point, supported by three dynamic wings: Plenty of cuts, plenty of ball movement and a whole lot of disruption!

I’ll try to provide clear reasoning as to my thought process and where/how I see them fitting into the playing roster and so forth.

I would love for the conversation to continue around this 10th pick, for the Phoenix Suns so please provide your answers here, or even on Twitter! http://twitter.com/Elbow_Jumper

HERE WE GO…. 3 PLAYERS TO DRAFT WITH THE 10TH OVERALL SELECTION ARE:

SADDIQ BEY – VILLANOVA

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Essentials:
Height ~ 6’8
WS ~ 6’10 wingspan… (not ‘with shoes’)
Age: 20

Saddiq Bey comes out of Villanova’s surpassing program with a game not unlike Kelly Oubre Jr: Energy, leadership and a solid all-around game. He will likely fit into the mold of a “3&D” player, adding his own elements of style and hustle. Bleacher Report have Saddiq positioned at number 11 on their current draft board, so I would love to see the Suns get him with the 10th pick (you know if San Antonio get him at 11, he’s going to a bonafide stud!)

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2905168-2020-nba-mock-draft-which-lottery-team-lands-lamelo-ball

Bey did several things consistently during his two years at Villanova: Attacked the defense with strong plays to the hoop and moved around the court. A lot.

Defensively he disrupted passing lanes and offensively moved around the perimeter into open spots so his teammates could find him. He repeatedly worked along the perimeter and found openings along the 3-point line (45% on the season from three), showing his ability to catch-and-shoot and lost defenders for cuts to the basket, if they over-played him.

Note the link below for references.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLg3L9uAM8k

His style of play would fit seamlessly in with the methodology and approach the Suns are using under Monty Williams. He would bring defensive length, as a player to back up Bridges/Oubre on the wing. Of real note, is that from 2018-19 his minutes increased from 29.6 to 33.9 (+4), but his scoring doubled from 8.2 ppg to 16.1 ppg (+8). Having had the ball so much more, his assist numbers went up nominally (as did his turnovers), showing potential as a play-maker in terms of moving the ball, and working with the free-flowing Pass-Centric offense in Phoenix.

Elements of his game to consider? Free-throw percentage, turnovers, and fouls. Improvements in these key areas will enable, Saddiq Bey, to see plenty of court-time over the course of his rookie season in the NBA.

Position on the Roster

C Ayton / Baynes / Kaminski
F (read wings:) Saric / Johnson
F: (read wings) Oubre Jr / Bey
G (read wings:) Booker / Bridges / Carter
G Rubio / Payne / Jerome

Based on player health/who’s available and would slot in at either the traditional small forward or shooting guard positions, Phoenix will run a line up that features a traditional big/traditional point, supported by three dynamic wings. Bey’s skill set and intangibles would allow him to fit in the mix within that format, defending the modern games’ 4, 3, and 2 positions.

I would love to see Phoenix draft number 41, Saddiq Bey.

KILLIAN HAYES – RATIOPHARM ULM (Germany)

Essentials:
Height ~ 6’5
Weight ~ 185

He brings an intelligent mind on young shoulders, he plays a position the Suns surely have a need at, and his name sounds like a superhero. Say it with me; Killian Hayes.

Several mock draft boards have him as high as the 4th pick (Chicago), but he has projected right at the number 10 spot also, and really this underscores the perfect choice Killian would be, for the Suns. He would fit in perfectly with an uptempo ‘second unit’, and could be in an ideal position to learn from Ricky Rubio, as an NBA helmsman.

New York Knicks, Killian Hayes

According to his agent, Yann Balikouzou, the PG has been interviewed by the New York Knicks, so there is already some heated attention here – the Knicks have the 8th pick – so things would have to really line up for the Suns to pick him.

Hayes would bring that ‘pass-first’ mentality to a Suns team that thrives on making the extra passes, breaking down defensive formations but doesn’t shy away from putting shots up. He shot 45.5% from the field this season in the Eurocup League and his 39% from three-point land makes him a threat if the defense are trying to back away and block passing lanes, albeit not at a high volume.

There have been comparisons to D’Angelo Russell, and the Suns would be absolutely cheering if Hayes develops in the same way Russell has. Irrespective of who/what he may become, the things he brings are clearly obvious: Top level lead-guard play and a high IQ.

Thanks to Swish: https://instagram.com/swish.insta?igshid=1c70ky84oss08 for this terrific mixtape!

Elements of his game to consider? Can he attack going right, and will he be able to defend the bevy of athletic guards that are on every NBA roster, over the course of his rookie season in the NBA?

Position on the Roster

C Ayton / Baynes / Kaminski
F (read wings:) Saric / Johnson
F: (read wings) Oubre Jr / Bey
G (read wings:) Booker / Bridges / Carter
G Rubio / Payne / Hayes

He might not get a great amount of court time early on, unless there are a few blow-out wins in store for the first few months of the season (and I surely hope there are!), but under the Phoenix Suns philosophy; with Ricky Rubio as head teacher, and if Elie Okobo takes him under his wing – they share a French connection – he may be the point guard that finds his feet within one of the tightest ‘families’ in the NBA right now, and fills out a need in the roster sooner, rather than later.

I would love Phoenix to add Killian Hayes with the 10th pick if they have the opportunity. Go on, say that superhero name again: Killian Hayes!

DENI AVDIJA – MACCABI TEL AVIV (EURO)

Pallacanestro Acqua San Bernardo Cantù – Virtus Roma Legabasket SerieA 2019 -2020 Desio, 10/11/2019 Foto Ciamillo-Castoria/ Claudio Degaspari

Essentials:
Height ~ 6’9
Weight ~ 210

There is a lot of pressure on Unicorns these days, they are in every kids bedtime story just about… and on the basketball court, teams CRAVE them.

Great size, can shoot, can pass; look up unicorn and there is a picture of him just below Kristaps Portzingis. Let’s get the basics out of the way first:

Pronounciation: ‘deh-NEE Arv-EYE-ha’

What is really interesting to me – and really shows that this years draft is a real mixed bag – is that his name is spelled incorrectly OFTEN. And it will be a household name in the not-so-distant-future, so I am on the Avdija train now, nice and early.

Watching Dario Saric break down big men with his passing, scorch smaller defenders with his shooting touch was lovely during the “Bubble-run”. Having a protege` in Deni Avdija would be absolutely marvelous if he is available with the 10th pick in the 2020 draft.

At times Phoenix ran a lineup that had Dario or Frank Kaminski as the sole bigman on the floor. Such a lineup with Deni would be very realisitic, as he would bring a similar playing style as both of these capable veteran bigs. Deni has international experience and would bring knowledge in as a rookie, with passion to the court and a solid ‘mixed-bag’ style.

IE: UNICORN POTENTIAL! Note the reference material below from nbadraft.net

https://www.nbadraft.net/players/deni-avdija/

Position on the Roster

C Ayton / Baynes / Kaminski
F (read wings:) Saric / Johnson
F: (read wings) Oubre Jr / Arvdija
G (read wings:) Booker / Bridges / Carter
G Rubio / Payne / Okobo(?)

The Suns have pieces that fit in and around the point and centre roles, and with their cutting/shooting and team-rebounding/leak-out style, Arvdija fits right in – several draft boards have him in the top 4, others have him 6 – 9 and he could go anywhere in the mix. A young but experienced player makes for a great gift to the Suns – and who wouldn’t want a unicorn for a gift?

I would love for the Phoenix Suns to draft Deni Arvdija with the 10th pick in the 2020 draft.

IS THERE ANYBODY ELSE?

There certainly are other players that would fit into the Suns roster – the 2020 draft will contain an ‘unknown’ element, even more so than drafts before it, due to COVID-19 and the limitations in game play.

Other players I have been impressed with and have shown a great skillset across highlight videos and other reporting include:

  • Aleksej Pousevski (F/C) think Toni Kukoc… and the guy, Dragan Bender, was meant to become
  • Devin Vassell (G) think wing player/3&D guy…whats better than 1 Devin? 2 Devins!
  • Tyrese Haliburton (PG) A great lead guard to learn off Ricky!
  • Tre Jones (PG) See the notes on Tyrese.

Thanks for reading! So tell me – Who should your favorite team take with their pick in the upcoming 2020 draft?

Bright Side of the Sun

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The National Basketball Association achieved run-away success by hosting an 8 game (not including exhibition matches nor the playoffs; being conducted as we speak) ‘conclusion’ to the 2019-20 regular season. 22 teams out of 30 hand-picked, if not mathematically so, to face off for either playoff seeding, or in the case of the Phoenix Suns, to get INTO the playoffs.

There were some terrific modifications (the do-or-die play-in game (s) for the final two teams – which eventually became Memphis and Portland – to battle it out for a 9th/8th seed play-in for the Western Conference), and well thought-out elements (the ‘bubble’) to wrap up a regular season fraught with unanswered questions, extended stoppage in play and general chaos, fitted squarely across the shoulders of the monstrous plague known as Covid-19.

Photo by tommy boudreau on Unsplash

But we’re not here to talk about that in such broad terms, and there are many more covering the sheer success of this on-the-fly format.

I’m here to go ‘in to bat’ for the Phoenix Suns (and to mix metaphors, of course).

8 – 0

To say that the Phoenix Suns were on the outside looking in was an understatement. They weren’t just on the outside, they were across the road and blindfolded, facing the wrong direction…

…But they accomplished the unbelievable. The mathematically improbable. Each team outside of the TOP-8 had the opportunity to play in eight games

But this is ultimately why the games are played: there will always be a chance, an opportunity irrespective of what the odds are supposed to be. And ostensibly the Phoenix Suns put themselves on the NBA map.

True, the Suns didn’t make the playoffs. Again missing out… making for 10 consecutive years now, for those keeping score at home. But the effort, the teamwork and the work ethic on display was nothing short of brilliance. A white-hot fire, the Suns showed over the course of winning those last 8 games, giving themselves the absolute best chance to break that playoff drought streak. They could have hit the wall, dropped the first game and that would have sealed it. Done. Over.

They were missing key players in Aran Baynes and Kelly Oubre Jr but their approach to the process, their coaching (the philosophy of ‘we get to, not we got to’; experiencing some normality as professional hoopers) and the ‘sleeping dragon’ that is Devin Booker wouldn’t allow it.

It was simply the most clear example of will-power Suns fans have witnessed since the halcyon days of Steve Nash (or perhaps ever) and it was glorious.

Logo awesomeness courtesy of
https://favpng.com/png_user/hosteko

Next Season begins now

Where the NBA timetable adjustments are now, is anyone’s guess. The Association are no doubt looking at the big picture; what next season may have to look like, where games are to be played – all those things.

The NBA draft for incoming rookies is held each year, towards the close of one season and prior to the beginning of the next and right now Phoenix will look to build on the momentum of this marvelous run.

What’s next for the Phoenix Suns?

Exploring the opportunities with the 10th pick in the draft.

A draft unlike many others, as players from the NCAA system and abroad haven’t had the opportunity to rack up hours and hours of game time. Players haven’t had their perceived weaknesses and strengths scrutinized within inches of their estimated values or costs.

This team will be incredible come next season… truly a statement that hasn’t been accurate in previous years. In fact, my entire married life!

How do Phoenix approach this going forward?

Suns fans have been clamoring for depth at the point guard position and Monty Williams and James Jones will obviously consider players from a positional point of view with the 10th pick.

BUT…

…Phoenix has demonstrated a pairing of clearly identifiable traits as a ball-club.

(1) Ball movement: This team lead the league in Assists per game (APG) with 27.2

(2) Free Throw Percentage: .834% Not only did they lead the league with this stat, but this is the HIGHEST SINGLE SEASON FT% OF ALL TIME.

The list of statistical lines are endless… or just about. But recognizing the strengths this team has shown goes a long way to evaluating the kind of player they look for in the up coming draft.

What kind of player would be the ideal pick for Phoenix? The kind of player at the top of my ‘wishlist’ would need to be…

  • “High IQ” player: Someone who keeps moving, finds gaps, runs to lanes or runs to corners. The motion offense that Phoenix runs is predicated on this philosophy – they don’t so much as follow a playbook (yes they have a set play structure, but they are even more dangerous when the collapsing/sliding defense breaks down) as much as they understand the nuances of cause and effect.

  • Can draw fouls and hit FTs: This skill makes capable players dangerous and makes efficient players lethal in the modern game.

  • Someone who loves to pass: This doesn’t even mean they are a point guard. A lot of point guards aren’t “pass first”, and certainly don’t love to pass, but a player, irrespective of position that is a willing passer, moves the ball freely and moves themselves’ around the court makes for the best addition to the Phoenix Suns currently.

Yes, with the 10th pick (if the Suns feel that retaining this pick is going to give them this kind of player) this is the ideal player-type to add to this current roster. They don’t even have to be a point guard, in the true sense of the word.

WHICH PLAYERS IN THE DRAFT FILL THIS PLAYER-TYPE?

Well, you tell me. I would LOVE your thoughts.

In the next post, lets discuss 3 POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR THE PICK AT NO. 10 BY THE PHOENIX SUNS

For reference, here is a link to the current mock draft at nba.com.

https://www.nba.com/article/2020/08/20/2020-consensus-mock-draft

Here is the Bleacher Reports’ latest Mock draft also:
https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2905168-2020-nba-mock-draft-which-lottery-team-lands-lamelo-ball

FOLLOWING THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD: a blog series

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‘The Yellow Brick Road, to Oz’ is was never a straight path. As in life, the journey forward has so many left and right turns in the road, you would of thought a compass and a map would be a common staple, when your sparkling new family signed out of the delivery room.

“Here you go Mr & Mrs, your bouncing bundle of baby joy! Young Gus here, is going to need this, and this.”
The good doctor hands a very confused looking new parent all the tools for an orienteering exercise, “May I get a signature here, and here before you all head out? Thank you. And don’t forget, North is this way… no this way. That’s it.”

This entry is about the simple rules in life that help you get from A to B.

In fact if you apply them correctly, they get you from A to Z (and back again?). Some of them may come as a surprise entirely. Some of these nuggets of truth may be something you already knew, but didn’t realize how valuable they are, that is, until now.

So enjoy! Feel free to share your comments ~ feedback is always welcome.
Welcome to my Perspective blog, on following the Yellow Brick Road.

Let’s begin! Our first chapter is entitled…

Correcting every poor decision you’ve ever made

…Starts with this turn-around.
You’ve heard it all before I’m sure. Life rules. We get them very early, and they keep coming.
* Don’t run around the pool.
* Eat your dinner, don’t play with it.
* Stop pulling your sister’s hair.
* Don’t eat the dogs dry kibble.
* Don’t drink and drive.

We are implored to stay in school, do our homework, and don’t do drugs.

Who would have thought pet-food was a gate-way drug?

Putting all this aside for a moment now though, because these are appropriate directions along the Yellow Brick Road of Life, and there is a single piece of knowledge that can set you up for greatness and restore your inner essence.

Jedi training doesn’t bring balance to the Force, this does. There is one simple thing that everyone, who is someone, does the right way. Every. Time.

Do you know what it is? Would you like to?

I am going to share it with you here, for free.

It is this: Washing dishes. The correct process.

Forget laying in bed suffering from sleep-deprivation because of the gamut of wrong choices you’ve made to this point. A key step to walking back every other poor life-choice begins with this moment. You turn this aspect of your life around, applying this sage advice, and you will restore your inner harmony. You will acquire a balance and a strength to your life you didn’t even realize was out of reach. Until now.

Get ready to Cut&Paste kids: the rest of your beautiful life starts now.

Washing the dishes correctly.

BAM! That’s it. The complexity of understanding is only limited by the simplicity of this golden lesson, hiding in plain sight.

Ideally, your kitchen has 2 sinks (one for rinsing), and a space for a drying rack. You may make-do with a single sink and a separate clean surface, and a clean towel placed flat for placing washed items on.


What do I need?

Where do I sign up?

Does this require 9 part payments of $13.95 + p/h?

Hardly!

Let’s break it down to 2 very simple key areas:

1. Hot water, and I mean hot water. The water needs to be hot enough, that your dishes can air-dry effectively. Hot enough that you need gloves to be able to reach into and out of, the water. None of this ‘token-rinse’ business here, Samuel.

(only add a small amount of detergent, you’re not operating a car-wash, Adrian)

2. Follow the washing order: That is correct, you’ve read that right. There is an order to washing successfully.

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash


Wash your dishes in the following order:

* Glassware

* Mugs/Cups

* Cutlery / utensils

* Plates/lids

* Pots/pans/other

The practicality of this process is astounding. By washing up, in order, on a scale of “least-greasy to most greasy” you will cut down your washing process drastically. The likely-hood that you need to change the water is greatly decreased. You will become so adept at this task you could practically add it to your resume. You will have friends, and strangers alike wanting you to post the secret to your awesomeness in a YouTube video. That work colleague you’ve had a crush on for five months will call you.

Yes – The benefits are immediate and rewarding.


* Save yourself time for the more important things, like writing that memoir, playing the bassoon or tending to your bonsai collection (or playing Fortnight, if you really must).

* You will please any new love-interest you may be courting. They will connect your understanding of this aspect of life, knowingly or unknowingly, as being a major cog in the wheel of winning. Winning at life. Winning at existing.

You don’t honestly think Jay-Z got Beyonce, because of his money, do you? No. He KNOWS, you pre-rinse prior to washing. Use hot water to wash, and use a clean sponge with scourer or brush. None of this ‘slosh’ business…

Why do you think Taylor Swift hasn’t found lasting love, in life? Sure, she has seen all the pretty faces and deep blue eyes you and I only dream of. But if they are a dud at the sink. They just plain stink…

Cher once asked, ‘How do you know, if he loves you so?’ Her answer: ‘It was in the kiss.’ Sure. That has merit. But if you want to know if you’ve truly nabbed a gem in life (or if by chance, it is upon you to prove your awesome Human-ness to a possible (or current) significant other?

Refer to the dish rack. Exhibit A.

Yes, friends, may this single piece of advice be the key that unlocks the door to all your future successes, may you become all that you have the full potential to unlock!

Gus, we wish you all of life’s blessings …And for Pete’s sake lay off the pet food.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

“It takes patience to appreciate domestic bliss; volatile spirits prefer unhappiness”

George Santayana

i love the smell of possibility in the morning

For those keeping track, let me just jump straight in with the following update:


I washed the windows, planted the parsley and completed the other pertinent chores off the ‘to do’ list.

Thank you, appreciate that.

Ostensibly, the only way to begin the process of becoming productive with the ample amount of ‘house-bound’, self imposed and event of self-isolation (and the restrictions that go along with that) is to start. TO begin. That’s the only way.

However, the right mindset is necessary and a plan of attack helps also. So, it’s with this multi-faceted/dual-pronged approach that a blog post has been proffered. In short order at that.

And this is essentially how progress is made. You begin firstly, at some designated point in time. Here and now, works. But then you repeat.

Sure, it looks like a repetition at first but if you add to your beginning, build from it, it takes on more of a “middle” look. Something that looks less like a beginning and more like something a little after the beginning. Certainly once you step back slightly and review it from the perspective of afar.

You’re in it! You are in the process.

So, start with that. Start with the simple things. Make a cup of coffee, make your bed, make your mind over!

Begin… and so that we both build on a starting block, we’ll check in shortly.

A drive-by writing.

Several weeks ago I considered putting together something resembling a daily blog post. Well, I don’t need to tell you a pandemic got in the way and as someone easily distracted once told me, “wait, what was that?!”

In any event, I’ve floundered with having no work (as many others have) but the greatest impact has been having to revolutionize a daily, if not weekly schedule.

My wife, who works in pharmacy, continues to head into work, with the pressure mounting on all fronts. Meanwhile, I am housebound with all the good intensions and getting nowhere. Even as I write, I have a list of productive and “household-helpful” chores and objectives that I wish to tackle, but find ample reason to ignore. I mean, I’ve just stumbled onto a youtube recording of the Game 5 match-up of the 1993 Western Conference Finals; Phoenix Suns -vs- Seattle Supersonics (remember those uni’s?) and OF COURSE I need to see this, over breakfast… and into an early brunch-lunch thing.

It’s the healthy thing to do. Until it isn’t.

Also on the short list: Planting parsley, washing windows (we had a dust storm 9 months ago…), separating chicken schniztel for tonight’s dinner – I PROMISE I will get to that one – and making a greeting card for a close friends’ anniversary (I did that one!).

  • Just on the greeting card idea, I came up with a concept of using our scrabble board to plot out some engagement congratulations to some close family friends, photograph it and then incorporate it into a greeting card design. So that I could add a few brownie points into the mix, I also prepared this little message for my dearly beloved. Now how do I get her to find this…? And more importantly, how many brownie points is it worth – feel free to answer in the comments!

Essentially it all comes down to this: I’ll have to shake off the malaize of ‘doing-nothing-itis’, (which seems to have have become a specific symptom to my personal life) before this becomes an unhealthy habitual trend.

They say it takes 21 days (postulated in the 1960s by Maxwell Maltz), for something to become a habit. Interestingly, it takes the same amount of time to break a habit – because essentially the breaking of a habit is really just the formation of a newer (and hopefully more productive or healthier) one. So I figure at this point I’m just about at ‘bad habit’ ground-zero – time to get back into action-mode – and maybe, just maybe in 21 days time I’ll feel better about not having a job, not using all the time that has been thrust upon me in the most productive of ways and maybe if this 21 day theory rings true, I’ll have even cleaned the windows.

Oh look! A Steve Nash highlight reel!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxmdzrBRa4U

The #LibraryRun

It was the late 90’s, I was 17 and even as I am now, I was completely enamored with words on the page.

I was a fanatical bookish-athlete, particularly when it came to routine; lay up drills, my my choice of subway toppings and memorizing the height, weight and attended college of every NBA player over a 8-12 year span. I was given the unflattering title of being the ‘Leader of the Nerd Herd’ at school but looking back, I see I relished and treasured that, even now. Why?

I had a clearly defined role. A place. Ultimately I wasn’t a lost soul, languishing through their teenage years ~ I didn’t have any enemies (there were some GREAT tussles on the basketball court though) and I didn’t dislike anyone (well…not overly).

It may well have saved my life – who knows? Sliding doors and all that…

One of my many fondest memories throughout those later teen years, involved me and two or three closest friends, driving to a local supermarket on any given Friday night. We’d get a few drinks, snacks and settle back at someones’ place for video games, a movie, hanging out after a night of playing playing basketball at the local stadium for hours [PMBA stand up!]. This routine lovingly became known as a ‘Coles Run.’

If you sit very still… you will see that the words are alive

Ultimately, it boiled down to the same thing for me just about every Friday evening: Basketball, music, best mates in tow, a LARGE pecan danish pastry, video games and Dr Pepper (I should add, once we hit 18, I was pretty enamored with the sweet syrup of Southern Comfort or Kahlua…yes with the Dr).

A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.

For me, this is the perfect combination of strategy and mystery.

A pre-planned adventure…?

Here is where we jump 20 years: Particularly four days ago. I wanted to recreate a sense of wonder, excitement and adventure, very much like the heralded ‘Coles Run’ we created back then.

A literary version, if you will.

I am at my local library A LOT more than I’ve ever been in a supermarket. Daily infact and the idea just sprang to life before me: What could I do to create a regular experience akin to the ‘Coles Run’, (which had taken on almost mythical proportions when my friends and I talk of it now) when it came to my library?

Hence, the #LibraryRun was born ~ I’ve since shared a simple invitation online, wanting to see who has recently had the glorious pleasure and privilege of having a book published in 2019 – other years will be considered as time or oppprtunity allows.

The response has been phenomenal and it may have been this interaction that we’ve shared on social media, that has brought you here.

In essence, the object has been a simple one: Discover as many of your literary gems out there in the world, as I can.

At present I have an opportunity to seek, find and highlight these ‘worlds of words’ you have created and I love that you are along for the ride. The ride that continues beyond publication.

I’ll provide snap shots as books arrive, reserved for me to see first, I’ll link each author back so they can see their little work as they arrive ~ So I invite you along. Follow me on Twitter and join us!

Thank you.

Thank you, and welcome to our Coles Run.

__LT__

@Elbow_Jumper

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