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It snowed early this morning, but the dogs insisted on a walk anyway. We made the usual rounds in the neighborhood, sidestepping puddles and ice.

Sunshine glinting off pockets of snow peppered the distant mountains. Dark and light grey clouds hovered overhead. There was a chilly but invigorating breeze.

Artwork by John P. Weiss

My love affair with handwriting, stationery, and the epistolary arts has been an obsession bordering on mental illness.

I have my father to thank, or perhaps blame.

Growing up, I often found Dad at the family room table, writing legal decisions with his Parker 21 fountain pen in perfect, copperplate cursive.

Legal pads filled with Dad’s exquisite handwriting were stacked beside his leather attache case. There was always a bottle of Parker “Quink” ink to refill his fountain pens.

Other times, Dad would be at his bedroom desk, inking letters to family and relatives. …

Artwork by John P. Weiss

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar. You and your honey decide to spend the evening watching a Netflix movie. But then you spend forever browsing through selections and trailers, and now it’s time for bed.

According to the author Pete Davis, you fell victim to “Infinite Browsing.” We are so attached to the idea of keeping our options open that we never commit to anything.

Davis’s book, “Dedicated: The Case For Commitment In An Age Of Infinite Browsing,” invites readers to join the “counter-culture of commitment” rather than forever keeping their options open.

The problem with options is that…

Painting by the author

The pathway began at the edge of our backyard, leading into the shadows and solitude of the deep woods.

It was nothing more than a well-trodden deer trail, yet it became an escape route from the frustrations and uncertainties of life.

The path opened up to a cluster of tall trees. I was ten years old when I first ventured down the trail and discovered them. They swayed in the breeze, trunks creaking and groaning like old men steadying against the wind.

Twisting limbs jutting skyward blurred into the broad canopy of foliage high above. Was it my imagination, or…

Photography by John P. Weiss

I blame it all on the evening breeze.

If not for that late afternoon gust of wind, the note beneath my driver’s side windshield wiper would never have flicked up, catching my attention.

I would have driven home, and the rainstorm that arrived later that evening would surely have disintegrated the note’s flimsy paper. I don’t believe in fate and I hope things don’t happen for a reason because the note altered my view of life.

Had I not worked late that day, maybe the note would never have found its way to my car’s windshield. …

There are three words I see all the time online that make me want to stick a pencil in my eye.

The reason I dislike these three words is that they prevent people from growing creatively. What are the three words?

The dawn of social media birthed the arrival of influencers, online audience building, laptop lifestyles, endless life coaches, and get-rich-quick schemes. Some of it has value, but most of it is piffle.

I know it has become fashionable in some quarters to bash social media. I won’t go that far.

Platforms like Facebook connect family and…

Photo by Fabian Blank

Just when I was about to retreat to my library and swear off any more uninspired Hollywood films, along comes a movie that restores my faith in originality and creativity.

So many of today’s movies are formulaic, rely on CGI at the expense of great story-telling, or want to tutor me with a political agenda.

Sometimes I just want to escape into a gorgeously filmed movie with an original story, fascinating characters, and philosophical offerings to rock my world.

What’s the movie that did all that for me?

Don’t let the minimalist movie title or the seemingly absurd storyline…

Artwork by John P. Weiss

The quickest way to spot dead people is to look at their eyes.

There’s a vacancy. When they blink back at you, there’s no luster. No hope.

If our eyes are windows to the soul, why have so many of us permanently drawn the shades? Maybe because we’re trapped in a kind of default setting.

I was a cop for over 26-years, and I met a lot of dead people. Some of them were my colleagues.

I’m not talking about bodies with toe tags in the morgue. I’m referring to the living dead. …

Artwork by John P. Weiss

Last year I almost made a major mistake with my website blog.

As a full-time writer and artist, I look for ways to simplify and streamline my creative process. Accordingly, I considered axing blog comments from my website.

Poking around the Internet I noticed a lot of top bloggers who don’t include comments from readers. Bloggers like James Clear, Michael Hyatt, and Seth Godin.

Best-selling author and marketing guru Neil Patel wrote a whole blog post about the pros and cons of blog comments. Stuff like social proof versus spam, and reader engagement versus moderation time.

In the end, I…

Artwork by John P. Weiss

When I was ten years old, something in the backyard knocked on the window to my bedroom.

It was around midnight, and it startled me awake. I scrambled out of bed, ran down the hall into my parent’s bedroom, and shook my father’s shoulders.

“Dad! Something’s outside my bedroom! It knocked on the window!”

My father, groggy-eyed, squinted at me and said, “Oh Johnny, it’s probably just a dream.” He crawled out of bed and walked me back down the hall to my bedroom.

John P. Weiss

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