Why Mostly?

Twenty years ago, when I came up with “Mostly Bright Ideas” as a name for my publishing business, I was being uncharacteristically boastful. Friends and family wondered why I didn’t call it Bright Ideas, which, they supposed, would sound confident and attract attention. But I knew the truth. I live primarily inside my head, juggling countless conversations, debates, and questions that no one will ever hear. I spend much of my time mentally testing ideas: Has anyone ever tried this? Maybe we should try that. What if we combined this with that? Of course, most of these ideas are bad. Many are unworkable. A few are pathetic. Quite a few, actually. Occasionally I’ll come up with something worth pursuing, but those successes are few and far between. So while the name of this page may appear to reflect modesty, it is really an exaggeration. Mostly.

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68 Responses “Why Mostly?” →
  1. What a fantastic blog! I’m so glad you stopped by my blog, if only so I could read your thoughts here. I’ve really enjoyed every post I’ve read–your vegetarian post was wonderful. I’m the opposite of you, I think. I don’t eat mammal but I still eat chicken and some (very little) seafood. Yet people refer to me as a vegetarian. Although vegetarianism is my ultimate goal, I’m not there yet.

    Your posts are interesting, thought-provoking and humourous. I’ll definitely be back to read more. Thanks for making me smile and think at the same time.

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    • Vegetarian is one of those fuzzy words. Some people can’t believe I don’t eat fish, while others seems surprised that I eat cheese. Why did you decide to become a vegetarian? Are there specific reasons? When people ask me why I stopped eating meat, even after all these years, I can’t come up with anything other than, “I just didn’t want it anymore.” (That’s probably not good enough for them, but it’s good enough for me.)

      Thanks for the very kind comments. The feeling is mutual, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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      • I am not 100% certain if this is completely accurate, but it’s what I’ve been told. My understanding of the terms, vegetarian and vegan, are as follows:

        In the olden days, all were called vegetarians who did not eat red meat or poultry. Those who were strict vegetarians ate only food from plants. Their diet had no eggs, dairy, or fish. Qualifiers were added in front of the term vegetarian if other non-planty (is that even a real descriptive?) foods were consumed: lacto for dairy, ovo for eggs, and pesca for fish.

        Since then, the term vegan has come into being, and poultry has been granted the this-meat-isn’t-meat category so long afforded only to fish. While the use of the word vegetarian is still basically the same, the term vegan takes it one step further. It is my understanding that to truly qualify as vegan, one must adopt a total lifestyle that is void of any animal product, whether consumed as food or used as material and seems, to me anyway, to be less about healthy eating and more about being an animal rights activist.

        Personally, I’m a happy little (well…maybe not quite so little) carnivore. As Jim Williams stated, “Vegetables are what food eats.”

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        • Eleven months. This must be a new record for lateness in answering a comment — for me, anyway.

          I agree with your interpretation of those terms. I’ve always wondered why some people call themselves vegetarian, yet continue to eat chicken and fish. My brother once told me that he doesn’t consider fish to be animals because their brains are so small, and have virtually no memory. I still eat dairy, because I don’t think drinking a cow’s milk is the same as eating the cow — although drinking another mammal’s milk does seem weird. And eating eggs is even weirder.

          Thanks for the comment.

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      • You have a great Blog! I am new at this and am enjoying checking out all this blogging stuff has to offer. I’m a vegetarian as well and when I read your response when people ask you about being a vegetarian I laughed! I have never eaten meat. I just don’t like it. Do you know how many people are not satisfied with that answer? I can almost smell the disappointment oozing from their senses as I explain that no I do not miss eating hamburger. I’m from meat and potato country so I often like to turn the tables and ask in return why they don’t eat their broccoli.
        When I was growing up, no one upon no one in my life was a vegetarian. I remember scraping the toppings off the school pizza at lunchtime and the other kids fighting over who was going to get it. I was so popular. In high school, the fabulous lunch lady named Martha would put corn and rice in my tacos for me on taco day. It’s the little things in life.
        Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world-it’s nice to know there are “others’ like me.

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        • Emily, I usually reply to comments much more quickly, but I never saw this one until today. I’ve also met some people who aren’t satisfied with my explanation for being a vegetarian. Maybe they feel my decision is a condemnation of their eating habits? I don’t know. I do my best to avoid the conversation now.

          Thank you for writing to me. I hope all is well.

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  2. Ah – someone else knows about life as a mental juggler! I can’t wait to get back and poke around in here – a delightful site!

    My favorite category here? Still Human After All These Years Just wonderful.

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    • Thank you. I was happy to find someone else who isn’t afraid to write long posts. Actually, I chickened out and made “Zabaglione” a separate page. Now that I’ve visited your blog, I’m not sure why I felt the need to do that. I’m still new at this, so I’ll be looking to you for more guidance! Meanwhile, I appreciate the effort you put into your blog — the words, the pictures, the texture, everything. I’ve already told several people about it. (And you’re a “Honeymooners” fan!)

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  3. I liked your comment on What Gives 365 so I came over to see who you were. Congratulations on a great blog.

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    • Thank you very much. That’s kind of you. I’m going to head over to your blog in a little while to check it out. Hope to hear from you again.

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  4. You’re becoming one of my favorite bloggers. Are you on Twitter? Looks like you got a new theme since I was last here … I like it!

    Looking forward to following you on Twitter ;-), I finally subscribed to the site.

    ttyl

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    • I started a Twitter account, but I never use it. I’m not sure I understand how to use it, or why. Maybe you can enlighten me. Thanks for the nice words!

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  5. partialview

    November 2, 2010

    I like the ease in your expression and words. No matter whether you are feeling it or not, you certainly put the reader at ease. Congrats and great going!

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  6. Charles, it is funny, that you have a page dedicated to the reason behind your title! I was just trying to figure out “Why”, when I stumbled across this page 🙂
    No one can generate masterpieces, every time they write something, and to actually realize that and embrace that thought is great!
    Hope to read more..
    Rachana.

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    • Thank you, Rachana. I’m going to head over to your blog right now to read some of your writing — and to find out why you named it Heart.

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  7. Of all the things in life that exhaust me, “juggling countless conversations” inside my head is the most exhausting. If I try to get myself to stop, it starts countless more conversations in there. I totally believe there is a heaven and the part I look forward to (after gazing upon a loving Father/Creator) is the peaceful, “normal” thoughts and ideas that I know will flow in my mind. It is a burden living inside of one’s own head.

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  8. I stumbled across your blog because you made Freshly Pressed, and I must say I love your writing style. It’s as though you are having a conversation (debate?) in your head, but we can all hear you! 😀 Will defiinitely drop by more often!

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    • The debate almost never stops. And it’s nice to know someone is listening.

      I just visited your blog, by the way, and was impressed. There are people who have been married for decades, but could still learn a lot from you.

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  9. I’m glad to have found you through Coming East! I think Mostly Bright works well..and the others – the not bright … Probably better!
    Chris

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  10. That, Charles, sounds so familiar… Glad I`m not the only person spinning and chasing one to many things around in her head! 🙂 Like your writing style a lot, Charles!

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  11. Every idea is a bright idea when itis used in its purpose. I am a Baby blogger. I just started to get all these thoughts of my head to the world

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  12. This blog is what my ultimate goal is for my blog. I love it, especially the wide range of topics. Thanks for being an inspiration!!

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  13. bladenomics

    October 15, 2011

    Ditto @ Fareeha’s comment above.. Awesome blog and congrats on being FP. Love, the still human after all these years and mildly annoying category..

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  14. Congrats on making FP! I am a very new blogger myself and have jumped in the ring. Still trying to get entire blog look down. Not enough hours in the day. Starting many new adventures. Congrats again.

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    • You have the writing skills; you just need to find the time. And good luck with the book — please let me know when it’s available.

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  15. lovesripening

    October 16, 2011

    really love your blog!

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  16. Your perspective is just like mine, constant thinking and ruminating on mysterious topics of our world is and should be the sublime attempt of the human brain.
    I love to ink down my ideas as regularly as I can but being a college student I don’t really have a lot of spare time. However, whatever I come up with goes right into–>
    http://www.forthosewholiketothink.wordpress.com

    Ive read most of your articles and I like the content and the style of writing.
    Keep up the good work. 🙂

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  17. There is a wonderful book, sadly out of print, that fits precisely your theme. It is The Scientist Speculates: An Anthology of Partly-Baked Ideas. It has a formula for the bakedeness of an idea, on a scale from 0 (totally unbaked, like any of the crank circle-squarers and angle-trisectors) to 1, like General Relativity. We can imagine an extension to GR, especially in connection with an extension to Quantum Mechanics, but not a refutation after a solid century of confirmations.

    I propose that we extend the scale to negative bakedeness, to accommodate Young-Earth Creationism, Global Warming Denial, and Market Fundamentalism.

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    • I’m in the middle of reading a biography of the Hungarian mathematician, Paul Erdos. He seemed to relish the chance to explore half-baked ideas, because often something “more baked” eventually came out of them. In that sense, I would say that even a designation of zero may be too extreme — although I agree that there are many notions flying around that seem to have little or no value.

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  18. Love it so far. So glad you got FPressed leading me to your blog. Looking forward to more.

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  19. Love the explanation of Why Mostly. I live like that in my own head. I just can’t write it out quite like this. Of course, maybe, someday??? I stumbled across your blog on FPressed and in just a few short seconds I’m hooked. I like what you say…and I like how you say it just as much.

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  20. aah the thoughts that rattle and bubble in my head, if only I penned down all of it..most will get me in trouble. lot of conversations go on in there, some insane ,some funny but one thing for sure is they inspire me a lot, I loved what you wrote cos I go through the same all the time thinking editing in my mind and sometimes frantically searching for pen,paper or anything lest i forget what just bubbled….

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  21. Anonymous

    October 25, 2011

    Hello Mental Juggler,

    If you begin the task with 1 thought and then add 4 but drop 3 and merge two, what are you then?

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  22. You are gifted writer that is for sure.

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  23. I live primarily inside my head, juggling countless conversations, debates, and questions that no one will ever hear. <——OMG That's me too. I thought I was the only one. Neat-a-rooni.

    Recently I started my 3rd blog. Surprisingly it is not hard at all to do 3 blogs since the topics of each are completely different, the only problem, so far, is a little thing called insomnia. Ah well. I will sleep when I am dead right?

    Anyway..I find that the people in my head (all separate aspects of my personality) like chatting in a constant stream of sharing. It makes me laugh when people say I am being too quiet..if they only knew I was having 3 conversations with myself in my head the whole time they would look at me differently…WAY WAY differently I am thinking. LOL
    B

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  24. You inspired me to write this: http://nectarfish.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/introductions-are-in-order/ (It’s all your fault if they pelt me with bananas) 🙂

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    • I sometimes feel all talked-out before I’ve said a word. Does that happen to you?

      It’s great to meet a fellow insomniac and inner-world dweller. It’s especially nice to emerge once in a while and find someone like you there. I loved that post, by the way.

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      • Ah yes, This happens most often when I am berating myself for things I cannot help. Self-destructive thinking always makes the inner voices cranky. You would think my inner voice would be the one putting me down, but Not ME. No, I have some asian zen master living in my head or something. He likes to remind me that I am human and loveable. The zen master has his work cut out for him, because, I just love to yell at myself for not making enough money, not having all the answers, or just plain not being able to change the facts of situations. These arguments make me completely tuckered out until I just want to watch K drama and not think beyond laughter.

        Thank you for saying you loved that post. I really enjoy your writing voice as well. It reminds me of a more interesting, and slightly more optimistic Charlie Brown.

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  25. Makes me think of that part in aliens. Where the little girl says…”mostly”

    (girl is telling weaver that the aliens cone out at night…mostly)

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  26. So I’m subscribing. And not because Lost in China nominated you for an award or because we’re both in Canada and work in publishing but because we’re WordPress theme twins. Destiny.

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    • I’m honored to share careers, country, and blog theme with you. Thanks for the comment, and for subscribing. I hope you won’t be disappointed.

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  27. http://ishallcallyouthemoon.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/charles-mostly/

    I always write poems for the people who unconsciously become my heroes. My heroes are such not because they are something beyond human grasp, but because they are human in their grasping. They are the ones who give of themselves because there is a voice inside them that speaks because it needs to be heard. They are the ones who hear and reply. Who listen and understand more than was uttered. There are some people in this world you hear speak and unconsciously give more respect to, because, quite without their knowledge, they have shown their inner soul without thinking, and made the whole world love them..because they are immensely human, and willing to stay that way. Thank God.

    Much Love,
    Bekki.

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    • Thank you, Bekki. You over-estimate me beyond all reason, but it’s still easy to appreciate what you say, if only to motivate myself to try living up to your words. And I will. Meanwhile, please keep translating your own beautiful thoughts and feelings into poetry and prose. It’s always a privilege to read them.

      Much love in return,
      Charles

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  28. Charles, I, too, am a picky grammarian and just started to blog. In it, I plan to write about that ubiquitous apostrophe, the misuse of pronouns (subject for object and visa versa) and the rampant misspellings we see. I hope you drop by from time to time….maybe recommend friends. I’m also a former Math teacher….so we have some things in common.

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  29. Loved your latest post about Catholic guilt. Went through Catholic School until high school and understood every word…for a while I thought everything was a sin. You forgot “Beelzebub,” who must be Satan’s cousin.

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  30. Reply
  31. I have book-loads of ‘fantastic’ ideas. I keep a journal bedside because my best ideas come during my morning haze. Then there is the reality – the reading of the ideas while I’m fully awake. Sadly, most of the ideas are unfantastic…but I’ll keep jotting my morning haze down – and always hope…
    AnnMarie
    Have a lovely weekend 🙂

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    • AnnMarie, thank you for this comment, and I apologize for not seeing it sooner. I’ve had the same experience many times, often in dreams, where the lamest ideas seem brilliant. It’s always a disappointment to wake up and have to return to logic and reason.

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  32. Miss you, Bronx Boy. Thought of you today! Hope you’re doing well.

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