The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Friday, May 31, 2013

What To Do When You Can't Focus

A photograph of a Massachusetts Bible Society ...
A photograph of a Massachusetts Bible Society colporteur from the MBS archives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What To Do When You Can't Focus

       The answer is simple.  What do you do when you can't focus?   You ramble.   Of course--why not?  Sometimes you just want to sit back and flip through the channels and not watch anything in particular.  Not me, but you.  Okay--me too.  I'll admit it.   There are just those times when I can't seem to focus and my mind is everywhere but in the here and now.

In a Hurry

       On my desk I have a Random House dictionary and a Bible in a small stack of books.   Both of these books are similar in color and size.  One recent Sunday morning I was heading off to church and--you guessed it--I grabbed the dictionary instead of the Bible.   During church I wasn't able to keep up with the Bible references in the pastor's sermon, but I did learn five new vocabulary words.

Planning Ahead

         I was thinking about preparing all of my blog posts including A to Z posts for the next 5 years.  Oh, great!  Now I'll never get any writing done.  If I kept doing this though and scheduled everything far in advance, I could die and no one would even notice I was gone.   Of course I wouldn't be commenting or responding to comments, but maybe everyone would just assume I had become senile and rude.  I guess it would look kind of suspicious though.   Would you keep reading and commenting?


       The Covered Bridge in Philippi, West Virginia was built in 1852.  I used to drive through it now and then when I would travel that part of the country.   I'm not sure why I suddenly thought of this, but isn't it strange how random thoughts will enter your head, seemingly from out of the blue.  Maybe some of those thoughts are like bridges spanning from one thought to another and those weird little thoughts don't mean much of anything unless you start dwelling on them.  I guess if you end up writing about those random thoughts it's kind of the same as dwelling upon them for a brief period.   And since I brought the subject of the bridge up I guess that deserves a picture.

The Philippi Covered Bridge (1852) spans the T...
The Philippi Covered Bridge (1852) spans the Tygart Valley River at Philippi, West Virginia, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What's in the News?

One of my recent blog posts was featured at NewsOK, the digital edition of the Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City.  My thanks to Darla Lindauer for the recognition.

Have A Nice Day!

        Isn't it kind of weird when someone says to have a nice day on a blog?   What if you're reading this at night?  What if things have really been going bad for you and then you read some weird blog post?   Then the blogger says, "Have a nice day!"  Maybe you just want to reach into cyberspace and wipe that "Have a nice day!" smiley face grin off my face.  Oh yeah!   Well maybe I'm not smiling and I'm all grumpy and stuff.  Or maybe I'm just typing obliviously away and thinking of bridges in West Virginia and other such strange nonsense.

        Maybe I'll just stop here.

         What do you do when you can't keep your mind focused?   How many Bibles do you have in your house?  How many dictionaries?   What's your favorite bridge?   Have you ever crossed the Philippi Covered Bridge?   If not I guess you'll cross that bridge when you come to it.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Taking the dictionary to church is funny. Glad my Bible is my iPad. I guess that means I take both when I go, as it has the dictionary on it as well.
    I think we'd notice if you were gone.
    Never been on the bridge.
    Time to go flip some channels. Have a nice day!
    Just kidding - I never say that.

  2. Hi Lee, taking the dictionary to the church was hilarious, but then you learnt five new words (that is good).
    I don't plan my posts, sometimes it gets written at the last minute.

  3. I was so thrilled that I was the first one to comment, but Alex beat me to it :(

  4. A wandering mind is one of my biggest problems. I tend to make lists and focus on reaching goals, which at least gives my rambling something to aim at.


  5. Hilarious, Arlee! What you have written is actually something quite modernistic called Stream of Consciousness Literature, a device used "to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind." And you thought you were just sharing random thoughts! LOL! Thanks for the chuckle this morning!

  6. i think i need a too-do-list... much like when kids get gold stars for doing a choir. i make list, then add to it and i never finish as i write my crazy ideas all over the page.

  7. i even send before i finished this thought... i think that was the point... great post.

  8. I think four dictionaries and more than 5 bibles. When you can't focus find something to do, don't lay around. Rambling is a strange option but you did it well. Funny you accidentally taking your dictionary instead of your bible. Planning ahead is important but I'm a chronic pantser. Great idea planning your A-Z posts ahead, but five years? Best of luck.

  9. Funny post, Lee! I get nervous when I can't focus. A friend told me once, "When you don't know what else to do, sweep the floor." It's amazing how that works!

  10. Thanks Pam for the ID of Random Writing...Stream of Consciousness Literature. Aren't you relieved, Arlee, to know it's not an unknown affliction and you are not alone...I know I am.

    I go Junkin' with a camera to get focused...pun intended. Five Bibles and looking for a sixth...uneven numbers makes me ramble. One 1965 Edition keeps me focused on The Good Ole Days. Todays Edition...thanks to Google. I do cross bridges as I come to them.

    Enjoyed this post, Arlee.
    Sue CollectInTexasGal~Today's Post~
    Friday Faces...Confederate Cousin

  11. I'm really having difficulty to focus nowadays. So I saw the title of your blog entry on my reading list. And yes, I ramble! I also plan ahead but I'm a big procrastinator, too. More often than not, I can't stick to my schedule.

    What strike me most on this entry is that writing a 'have a nice day' at the end of a post. I'm guilty I usually do. Your commentary on it made me think if I really should include 'have a nice day' on my next posts...

  12. You and Alex both cracked me up today. Lee, when I can't focus I do what you did here, allow my mind to ramble. Only you captured your rambling beautifully. Mine usually occurs when I can't sleep at night.

  13. Alex -- What's an Ipad?

    Rachna -- You were first in my heart. Alex doesn't count--he's got clones helping him.

    Mooderino-- My lists can help if I ever get focused enough to make them.

    Pam -- I live a stream of consciousness life.

    Jeremy -- I write up lists and put them into piles of things to do someday.

    Sheena -- I don't whether I'll get to one year in advance let alone 5 years.

    Karen -- Sweep the floor eh? Nevermind--I'm focused now.

    Sue-- I read somewhere that the average American home has 6 Bibles in it. You need to find the other one so you can be average.

    Maria -- Schedules are meant to be broken. Have a nice day!

    Karen -- Rambling dreams are okay, but to be kept awake rambling is the worst. I've been there too.


  14. I have three Bibles: an illustrated children's Bible, a pretty white Bible from my grandparents for my First Communion, and I still have the Bible all students had to get for religion classes in high school. I have three dictionaries: the classic Merriam-Webster, a M-W pocket version, and a flip dictionary (look up the definition to find the word you want). I've never confused any of these, though! They're all completely different in shape, size, color, and texture.

    Have a nice day, Arlee!!! ;)

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  15. For me, if I can't focus, it means I need sleep, so that's the thing to do. Lately, I need it, since the cat has been impolite in the middle of the night, lately.

    Do you really not know what an Ipad is?

  16. Laura -- I checked another source and they say 3 Bibles is the norm for the typical American household. I guess you fit into that survey sample.

    Andrew -- I probably do need more sleep. Then again if I factor in my daily naps maybe I'm getting too much sleep. Just joking about the iPad. Well, I basically know what it is though I've never used one or anything. My mother received one for Christmas and she loves it. I didn't think she'd ever figure out computer related stuff and now she's on Facebook and playing games all day. Pretty good for an 84 year old woman.


  17. I love the idea of just rambling when you don't feel like you can focus. One thing that crossed my mind though was that maybe you could write up a guide post, maybe as part of your advice series for what you do when you feel like you've lost motivation for blogging and even to an extent commenting and how you manage to carry on? I'd love to see that Lee because you're always so consistently impressive. Also congratulations on the recognition too Lee, that's an awesome achievement.

  18. What do I do if I can't stay focused?
    I sit and listen to Daniel and think about a special day In LA last year,


  19. Funny thing to do Lee. I know just what you mean about a rambling blog, I do that occasionally. I always tell people to have a great day, maybe I'd better stop doing so.


  20. Hey! I debunked the clone rumor in my guest post today.

  21. Yeamie -- Be sure to check my post next Wednesday. I'll be kind of talking about that very topic.

    Yvonne-- Good memories are nice to focus on.

    Jo -- Don't stop saying "Have a great day", it's actually a nice gesture.

    Alex -- You've even fooled yourself into believing you have no clones. Your clones have taken over.


  22. My mind wanders all the time. Amazing how you so expertly put it down without being a mangled mess. Care to share those five words? Is West Virginia worth visiting? Interesting thought about having an endless stream of posts far beyond when you are gone. I think we would catch on right away unless you trained a virtual commenter to write in your voice. Easier said than done I believe. Congrats on being featured, too. I have issues with Friday posts. Sometimes I write have a nice weekend, but with if they read it on Monday? Have a nice weekend, if you read this comment on the weekend!

  23. I tend to start cleaning up around my desk, making everything neat and dust free.

  24. Arlee, I think a LOT of people would notice if you were gone.

    Off the top of my head, we have 7 bibles and 6 dictionaries in our house.

  25. Haha! Awesome post - I'm always rewarded with entertainment when I come here. Off the top of my head, I think I've got 7 Bibles (kid's illustrated and pocket-sized included) and I believe I have three or four dictionaries.

    This post wonderful distraction for me while I couldn't focus on my writing, too :)

  26. LOL - I so needed this today! Thank you, Lee :)

  27. Buck -- Actually don't tell anyone, but I made up that Bible story after I almost took the dictionary. There were no five words. And WV is lovely and I think well worth visiting.

    Susan GK - Sometimes I do that cleaning thing, but I probably need to do more of it.

    Susanne -- I think that probably corresponds to what we have in our house.

    Amanda -- Glad I was able to distract you for a few moments of your time.

    MJ-- Happy you stopped by.


  28. Okay, I'm one of those wishing folks a great day too, I think especially on those days mine have been lousy. Just the hope someone's day is going well -- means hope all the way around.
    Maybe I'll change it up to have a great tomorrow, after all tomorrow never comes, does it. Still has the hope, but no real set time period.
    Okay, now I've officially gone off the deep end. I allow you to block me from further comments!
    Rambling must be contagious!

  29. haha! I definitely have more dictionaries than bibles in my house! I love dictionaries. I also have a couple of books of quotes and a thesaurus. Plus a set of those old Strunk and White books on grammar and editing...I love books. I prefer real, actual, physical books you can hold over e books.
    Favourite bridge? I've never actually thought about a favourite bride, and Vancouver has soooo many of them! I think probably the Lion's Gate Bridge connecting West Vancouver to's a beautiful looking bridge.
    As far as rambling goes...I'm all about it! If most of my posts are to be believed, (and I think they are) rambling is my natural way of communicating...even if that communication is at times confusing.
    As far as 'have a nice day' goes, I think 'nice' is a weak word...I'm totally guilty of telling people to 'have a great day', which I realize is a lot of pressure...and can also be considered a weak expression.
    Nice post Lee, and have a great day! lol!

  30. What an enjoyable post!! I can't focus sometimes, and my thoughts seem to go from one thing to another...much like your post! Ha Ha Just kidding, your a great writer!

    I own three bibles all the NKJ version, the last one I bought is in larger print! So much easier to read as I mature to a riper age!

    I own two dictionaries and love them both. I have one just to the right of me, they do come in handy don't they? If it is late at night and I don't want to turn on a light, I go look it up in the computer!

    I haven't crossed any bridges physically as of yet, none in my area. I use to cross one a few years back in San Pedro on my way to work, and was always stressed out about it, so much so that I had a panic attack and the guard had to help me out of my car!

    I guess that sums up my ramblings for now! Fun to read your many posts.

    You, "have a nice day" !! Ha Ha I am smiling and laughing at what you said in your post, hope your not growling! Sandy

  31. I have (counts. Loses count) lots of bibles. But only one, very old, battered dictionary. I keep Google for that sort of thing. My favourite bridge is the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It's the only one of significance I've crossed. Can't forget walking across it in the pouring rain with the thrumming of the cars making it vibrate under my feet.

  32. Yolanda -- The wish for a nice day is a positive message and we all need those. You're right that sometimes passing that positive on to another might come back to us when we need it most.

    Eve-- You are one of the queens of rambling so this post could have been dedicated to you. :) I love dictionaries and word books and like you have many. I don't use most of them, but someone looking at my bookshelves would immediately suspect that I was an English major in college.

    Sandy -- That big bridge crossing over to San Pedro is a scary one. I think I heard recently that they were going to tear it down and build and new one to replace it. That bridge is such a landmark that I kind of hate to see it go.

    Imogen -- The Sydney Harbor Bridge sounds like a long bridge from its name. The vibrations underfoot of a bridge can be disconcerting.


  33. I currently have the flu, so yep!! i can totally relate to not being able to focus. Ramble is occasionally good for the soul and your post broughta smile to my face.

  34. Rambling can be fun, never know what can be spun. Yeah being ahead leaves a ton of time too. Usually 100 ahead at my zoo. Never get behind the 8 ball that way.

  35. We have a ton of Bibles but I find myself using online Bibles as its so much easier to compare different versions and find meanings to Greek and Hebrew words and passages.

    God Bless the Internet!

  36. Lynda -- I like bringing smiles when I'm not stirring controversy, and even then I like to evoke a smile if I can.

    Pat -- If you can ramble in rhyme it's all the more sublime.

    Stepen -- I will confess that I mostly use online Bibles and Dictionaries for reference when I'm writing. It's much more convenient.



Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.