Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Prompts for Writers (and other creative types)

How's your week been? Have you been writing like you'd hoped? The A-Z Challenge is over tomorrow?!?! What the what? Having participated in the past, I know how you feel. The LAST thing you want to read about is MORE writing, right?

Or maybe you're a glutton for punishment. A veritable pen on fire! You want more! You crave more! You NEED more! Your Muse is hungry and, like Dorian Gray, it's going to do whatever it takes to stay on top and in the public eye.

OK, hopefully your Muse isn't going to paint a cursed picture of itself and hang it in your attic just to keep itself young. Then again, that WOULD make an interesting writing prompt, wouldn't it? For those of you who need a little jolt to the Muse or who love collecting creative ideas, this weekly prompt post is for YOU!

Happy creating :)

***

original image found on tumblr by dreamanddiscover

He found himself staring into oblivion. Rocks in his pockets, he could Virginia Woolf and be no more. He hand't the guts, the blazing courage to do it. There was a whisper in the waves; they were calling. Did the ocean want him to die? Or was it something else, something glistening in the tide pool just steps from his sunburned feet?

***

USES OF ALLEGORY

Have you ever read an allegory? If you took any advanced English classes in high school or college, you did. If you've read John Bunyan's A Pilgrim's Progress, you most certainly have. Allegories are narratives "in which abstract principles are represented by persons, places, or objects" (White, 3). They are wonderful at illustrating the essence of storytelling. In an allegory, a worthy goal is "fraught with obstacles the hero must triumph over" and they "convey wisdom by translating abstract principles into dramatic incidents" (White, 3). 

Try writing an allegory. Not with publication in mind, but to help your character get out of a rough situation. Perhaps you're stuck and you can't figure out how to move the plot along. Perhaps your character is growing weary clinging to the cliff face while you try to decide how best to rescue him. Give your character a goal he or she struggles to obtain. Make the obstacles blatantly obvious by their names. These obstacles can be represented by people, places, or things. Any noun will do :).

("Uses of Allegory" is taken from Fred White's book, "The Daily Writer: 366 Meditations to Cultivate a Productive and Meaningful Writing Life")

Happy Writing and as always, if you use any of these, please share! 
I'd love to see what your Muse is up to, creepy self-portraits included. 

Cheers!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Violet


Bright colors don't usually make an appearance in our house. Muted greys and blues, greens and the occasional red are an ever-present pallet. But in the garden I adore bright colors. Roses, azaleas, hibiscus, pansies: if it's going in the ground or in a pot I want it to POP! Inside I want peace and tranquility; outside I want to be reminded of the sensual grandeur of Nature.

I grew up with a yard filled with violets. Early Spring to early Summer found the main area of our back yard aglow with a haze of purple. Deep and rich, they peered up at us, reminding me of those flowers in Wonderland. They had faces. I half expected them to talk.

With fistfuls we'd return inside and our mother would dutifully find little cups and bowls into which we could put them. They brightened up dark corners in every room, including the bathrooms. I still enjoy bouquets of fresh-picked flowers. I don't have a small field of violets, but I do have azalea bushes and some blooming garlic chives. The thyme has sprigs of tiny white flowers, more dew drops than cut arrangement. Soon the lavender will bloom and another corner of the small herb patch will breathe in color.

 Once the containers are cleaned and soil is purchased, I'll be sure to add even more color but always purple prevails. Blue and purple, periwinkle and white: all with tinges of those long remembered violets. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Garden Tools


Every Spring I start itching to dig my hands deep into the earth. I need to feel dirt under my nails and squish mud between my toes. Plants begin to peep out of the garden center at Home Depot and inside a small voice whispers, "It's just ONE tomato plant. It can make it until May."

Not so. The truth, at least the truth in Georgia, is if you plant anything before Good Friday it is bound to die in one last ditch effort of Winter. Every single year, February dawns and we have a week of warm, delicious weather. Then it's freezing again. Then March creeps in and the sun shines and we tentatively break out the t-shirts only to have to rush in for coats closer to April. Then, yes, THEN, Good Friday reaches us (sometimes in March, most time in April) and it's suddenly Spring. The time has now come to dig deep, plant much, and watch the world come alive.

To plant a garden we require tools: spade, shovel, tiller, watering can. Perhaps your garden plot is a bit bigger and your tools require gasoline and roaring engines. Regardless of size and scope, gardens require tools and timing.

Kind of like writing.

When I sat down a year ago to pen a novel, I was certain I was ready. I've been writing for 18 years. I've finished six manuscripts. I've submitted only one and that has been rejected many, many times. I went back to school, changed genres, wrote a book in a week this past February. Then I went dry. It was as if that one week of warmth gave me the false hope that I could spit out book after book and edit after edit. I finished that one book and started the next. I floundered.

The time was not right.

Easter came. Warm weather is here to stay. Finally I can walk outside without a sweater. And two days ago I sat down with that aforementioned started book and typed for three hours. Plot development fell into place. Characters were now flesh and bone. The middle and the end tapped me on the shoulder and I had one, gigantic "Ah HA!" moment with them both.

How can we know when the time is right for our stories? It's not as easy as the garden. We have to be in tune with the Muse. There is no "Writer's Forecast". The only thing we can do is show up and write. We'll write crap; we'll write brilliance. The important thing is to write.

And when the time is right, we'll be able to put those seeds deep into the ground, water them, and watch them come alive.

Happy Monday,


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday: Favorite Book Series and Shameless Martin Freeman Fangirling

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Book Cover by fourblackbirds
gorgeous book cover designed by fourblackbirds over at deviantart

Every time I utter the word "Thursday" I always think of Arthur Dent. He never quite could get the hang of Thursdays. Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is quite possibly the funniest, five book trilogy ever written. I may be one of the few people who enjoyed the book AND enjoyed the movie, but i never claimed to be in the popular crowd of any camp. Not even a nerdy one.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a shameless Martin Freeman fangirl. Funny, but no one knew who he was before The Hobbit. I used to talk about him and people would look confused and ask, "Who?" So I'd start with a list:

"Sherlock"?
Blank stares (Yes, friends, I watched THAT before it was "cool" too).

 "Love Actually"? Frowns.

"The Office".
"He's not in The Office".
"The original Office."
"Nope. Still not there."
"The British version!"
"There's a British version!!!"

Now, mention Martin Freeman and people are all like, "Oh, yeah! He's awesome. Loved him for years!"


There seems to be a strange pattern here. I tend to find books, movies, actors before anyone else and then, when the Eye of Sauron the Media gets involved, people swear up and down I never mentioned them before and they know ALL about them.

I'm not bitter, just amused.

Most of my favorite books are discussed in this manner as well. There are several series I'm slightly addicted to that no one I know has ever heard of much less read. Clive Barker's "Abarat" series is one of them. Three of the books have been out for a while and Barker is still working on the final two. It's a deliciously dark, fiendishly clever series filled with Barker's own paintings. They are disturbing and amazing. His vision is twisted but I like it.

James A. Owen has written, in my opinion, the most AMAZING fantasy series EVER. The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica is a series of seven books, the last of which just came out this past November. They are all sitting on my shelves. They are all gorgeously illustrated with Owen's own work. He's an artist who also did the Starchild Series. If you love graphic novels, check out his work!

**Whatever you do, DO NOT read the back of the paperback book or any of the books for that matter. Some "genius" decided to let something very, very important slip into the description that should be left for the final page. TRUST ME! I honestly think if you read this first, it will ruin the experience and the "Holy Crap" moment of the final page of book one. Then again, that could just be me...**

Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy is another of my "Series You Must Read". This one gets a bit of slack, but I'm always one for controversial literature. The first book in the series, "The Golden Compass" was made into a movie a few years back. Believe it or not, they did a fine job of it. A lot of the books deeper themes were left out, but that was actually wise on the producer's part. If you don't mind having your beliefs challenged, your mind blown, and your conventions in an uproar, READ THIS SERIES. Pullman is an exquisite writer, an enormous talent and, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant authors on this Earth today.

Finally, I'm going to toss out the "Artemis Fowl" series by Eoin Colfer. I'm terribly behind in this also finished series but THEY ARE WONDERFUL! Colfer has a sense of humor that is unrivaled. Fowl is a nasty little fiend of a main character but, trust me on this, he grows on you. By the end of the first book, you will be rooting for the bad guy. Promise.

(Incidentally, Colfer was asked to write another book in the Hitchhiker's "trilogy". 
It's only fitting that I end with him :))

Why do I mention all of these books? Because I love them. Also because this summer I'm going to dive into and read/re-read them. All. Including another series that I won't yet mention because, well, I just don't feel like it yet :D

I have yet to figure out how this epic re-read is going to fit into the blog. I do know it's going to take huge amounts of time but I haven't had the time to read them again until now. One year after university and I'm just now finding the time to read what I really want to read again. Crazy!

What are YOUR favorite series? Have any of you read any of the books above? Did anyone else LOVE Martin Freeman before his fame as a Baggins of Bagend?

Happy Thursday and...

image from geeksofdoom.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Prompts for Writers (and other creative types)

Good morning! I don't know about you, but do love a good creative prompting. Whether it be for writing or for crafting, I love stumbling across lists of ideas, projects or "challenges" to put me in the creative mood. There are TONS of articles and blog-lists out there that highlight one or many of these lists. What's one more?

I am certainly not claiming that this weekly prompt posting will be a great list that will draw people in from far and wide. But it might be. You just never know! And I'll certainly never know unless I try :) The main reason for doing this is to gather as many creative ideas as I can in one place and share them with YOU so that we both can stay creative, stay inspired, and stay motivated to write and create art.

***

Our first stop on the creative prompt train is the Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you don't yet know what the IWSG is, click HERE for a fantastic explanation. Every Wednesday, there's something inspirational posted to their Facebook page and their website. Today, the topic is TITLES. I don't know about you, but titles either hit me with something amazing or don't come at all! Argh. In fact, I've got a book right now that I'm digging and digging for a title and getting nothing but dirt and worms. 

***

Dream
photo via my Pinterest board, originally found @ Media-Cache

Imagine yourself in this predicament. You're standing around, waiting for the bus, waiting for the subway or the light to turn green. Suddenly, you feel light, buoyant, almost as if you were ... flying. You look down and see the ground several inches beneath you. What do you do? Are there people around you? What is their reaction? Do they even notice?

Maybe your character has this annoying habit of flying at the most inopportune times. Like when he's angry. Or sad. Or when he sneezes...

***

Follow the rabbit trail; see where it may lead:

I swear I never meant for it to happen. I mean, I'm not even sure that it did happen. All I know is one minute Gregg was standing there, jabbing is fat finger in my chest and the next, BANG!, he was gone

***

Got any good stashes of prompts? Found an inspirational site you return to for help? What WOULD you do if you suddenly found out you could fly? And Gregg, I mean, where did he go? Why was he so angry? And what did the other character have to do with his disappearance?

Happy Creating!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Archi(texture)al Salvage

Around the manor...i do so love the way OLD looks and feels.

Good morning all you happy, smiling faces! If I sound REALLY cheerful it's because the sun has finally decided to warm up the good earth here in Georgia and I'm actually warm enough to work outside. Aaahhh...

Here at the Manor, we tend to adopt things. LOTS of things. Inanimate, in-dire-need-of-repair sorts of things. We certainly didn't set out to take in all these tables and chairs and cast-offs. The pariahs of living rooms everywhere come to our House of Healing. It's quite funny really how many tables and chairs we've accumulated over almost ten years of marriage.

I have always loved architecture. Anything connected to art history has my attention anyway, but architecture is such a large format for beautiful design. I love old buildings and all the design elements that go into making an old building unique and inhabitable. Perhaps those vibes project and that's why all this stuff finds its way here!

My husband collects cast-offs from ditches, customers' back yards, and sides of roads. My father used to do the same for my mother. He's brought home wing back chairs, dining room suits, couches, and three legged tables. Those top two pictures in the collage above is what he did with the three legged table. The majority of it became a fixture on the front porch; the other half was fitted with spoons for hooks and now resides in the kitchen. The ladder-now-magazine rack was leaning up against our last loft, waiting for the elements to take it to glory. And that last picture? Well, some friends of ours sent home an old, sage velvet couch. Last night. It needs a bit of TLC, but other than that it's gorgeous. Just what this old manor needs to spruce itself up a bit!

Got any projects lying around YOUR manor to be finished? Do you collect wandering items or is it just an odd disease I contracted from my parents? Do tell!

Cheers! And happy, sunshiny day!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Honored and Surprised


It's a new day, a new week. The sun is shining. The weather is far removed from the week past. I woke this morning to a wonderful surprise. There were COMMENTS on my new, fledgling blog. Suddenly, I was wide awake. I knew the culprit. He'd already informed me something was going on. Alex J. Cavanaugh strikes again! His blog is a treasure trove of music and movie knowledge not to mention a veritable Who's Who of the blog world. His minions roam the Interwebs and give him information on all the newly published authors, those who have started new blogs, those who are struggling and those who are celebrating. He claims he doesn't have clones but, seriously, who believes that?

I know many of you who are now reading this post found me thanks to Alex. THANK YOU for stopping by! There's a bit of a background here I have wanted to share for a while but, until now, the time hasn't been right.

I started my first blog back in 2007. It was sparse but it was mine. Slowly, I added other blogs, changed the titles, changed the addresses. You see, I've spent a LONG time searching for my place in this world and my blogs have served as a sort of public wardrobe for my inner wanderings. That's why I stopped blogging for so long. When I graduated from college last May, I thought I had the answers. Sad, isn't it? A 30-something year old thinking they know everything there is to know about themselves? I blogged but my heart wasn't in it. I felt pressured, pushed by the "powers that be" (whoever the heck they are) to DO something, to BE something, to MAKE something happen. There's nothing wrong with any of those things, but for me, at that particular moment, it just wasn't going to work.

So I left. I shut down, closed shop, right before the biggest blog challenge of the year. The A-Z Challenge has been going strong since April 01 and I bowed out. It was a HARD decision to make. I have made so many great friendships during the 6 years I've been blogging. I didn't want to lose them but I knew if I didn't leave, I'd just keep lying to myself and everyone around.

And after I left, something wonderful happened.

I stopped striving. I stopped looking for "myself" and became myself. I spent weeks and months looking inward and praying and things began to happen. Not because I was doing anything but because I WAS. I'm not sure if that makes sense but, as they say, God works in mysterious ways. Do I have all the answers? Of course not, but I'm confident that THIS is where I belong. THIS is where I've belonged all along. As the days and weeks go by, I look forward to sharing this space with you. I look forward to the projects that are in the works coming to fruition and the ideas I have fleshing themselves out. And I'm here to share it all with whoever decides to wander along with me on this crazy, marvelous, fantastic journey we call life.

Welcome. And thank you.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!



Two days ago the sun was shining. It was cold, but at least the hope of warmth was there. Now, it's cloudy, rainy, and the wind continues to bite. Of course, I could put on a sweater, but it's April, dang it! I'm protesting, wearing Spring clothes and praying that tomorrow morning will dawn warm so that I can wear my new, sleeveless dress without a coat. For the past three Easters, I have bought a sleeveless dress and have had to (thanks to fickle Georgia weather) wear a coat, ruining the loveliness of said dress.

The burden of being cold-natured. Le sigh...

Regardless of the weather, here or there with you, Dear Reader, I wish you all a very happy Easter, a wonderful weekend, and an early, warm Spring! If you're traveling, travel safe. If not, eat an extra chocolate bunny for me and indulge in some nice, creamy tea. Oolong perhaps with a dash of vanilla?

Cheers!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

On the road to the craft store with NPR

found via Pinterest :)

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is playing. What, I'm not certain, but it's not Wagner. If it was, it would be a more appropriate soundtrack to my journey to the craft store. To get behind the wheel here in metro-Atlanta is to go into battle. "Flight of the Valkyrie" would be most appropriate.

NPR and I are on cruise control. Even our new-to-us car knows where the craft store is. Somehow, this happy little vehicle that so serendipitously came into our possession knows where I'm headed. Perhaps, dear reader, this IS the Matrix and I and the car are one. Hmm, would that make car payments easier to deal with?


I needed paint. The declaration fell on no ones ears but my own. I scooped up my purse, grabbed a sweater, and off I went. The sun shone deceptively; it's still cold. As my mother always said, you can't bank on Spring until after Easter. Thank goodness tomorrow's Good Friday!

The battle began in the parking lot. The Berlin Phil heightened. They knew I entered a Red Zone. Thankfully, without incident, I maneuvered into a space. This, of course, was after I swerved into the empty spaces to my right as another vehicle decided it was appropriate to drive on the wrong side of the lane. Perhaps today was Drive Like a Brit day and I missed the memo.


A beacon shining in an otherwise insane world! Or maybe that's just my opinion of anywhere that people are allowed to drive AND walk. The paint was selected, the brushes too, and I even managed a bargain box of candles for our naked holders. I hate empty candle holders. Every time I look at them I get that nasty feeling that I'm missing something important. Of course, I usually look at them at night when it's too late to do anything about it.

Whether the Berlin Phil was playing when I left or not doesn't register when I leave. The opposing army is out en force as I play inch-war with another vehicle that thinks its being able to see around me will allow it to go first. Obviously, the drive failed to realize that if I can't turn right he certainly couldn't turn left! Oncoming traffic prevented that. Thankfully, I was able to inch out further. I frustrated him considerably before pulling out into the mad race for home.

The drive way came into view and I did a small victory dance in the seat. Seriously, am I the only person who equates going ANYWHERE to a minor war? Yet again, I emerged unscathed and when I got back into my workshop, NPR was still playing and I could finally focus on something other than yodeling my disdain for the driver next to me.


Tell me: how's the driving where you're from? Is it as insane as it is in the Atlanta area?  Are you one of the lucky ones who gets to live where you don't have to drive everywhere you need to go? Do you thrive on road rage?

Happy Thursday, dear reader! Oh, and if you're curious as to why I needed paint, stay tuned! That's another post for another day. 







Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Potatoes...mmmm

We eat a lot of potatoes in our house. I mean a LOT. It could have something to do with my ancestors being Irish; or it could just be that they are inexpensive and versatile. We'll say it's a bit of both!

I'm notorious for creating dishes and not writing them down. Cooking on the fly suits me. Open the pantry or fridge, take out some ingredients, throw them together and, voila! Delicious on a plate. Then again, when the time comes to recreate those dishes they never quite turn out the same way again. They don't turn out bad; they just aren't exactly as I remember them.

This post is for you, Handsome Husband, who asked me to start writing down in recipe form the things I cook. I plan to post a recipe a week. I'll stay accountable in my promise to write down recipes and you, dear reader, get a new recipe to try! Of course, I'll also post recipes by others. I mean, I'm not THAT good! I don't make up everything we eat :).

Roasted Potatoes with Herbs
(I used small, red potatoes for this but you can use whatever type of potatoes you have in your pantry)

a pound or two of small, red potatoes
(eyeball this: you know how much your family will eat)
two tablespoons of olive oil
teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper
a good tablespoon of fresh chives (if using dried, cut the amount in half)
a tablespoon of fresh herb of your choice
(rosemary works wonderfully with potatoes! Again, if using dried, but this amount in half. you don't want the potato to become a deliver service for rosemary:))
two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
half a stick of butter, diced and melted

preheat oven to 350*

wash and pat dry your potatoes.

slice them in half, then slice the halves into several "half moon" pieces

(like so)

put the potato slices into a baking dish and drizzle the olive oil over top

salt and pepper liberally

if you're using fresh herbs, go ahead and chop those up. toss all herbs into the dish.

using your hands, mix the potatoes, oil and spices together until all the potatoes look as if they are covered in something delicious.

melt the butter either in a sauce pan over medium heat or in a microwave proof bowl. once melted, pour over the potatoes.

sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and put the baking pan in a 350* oven.

bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the potatoes just begin to turn brown. if you like crispy potatoes, let them go for an hour or more just make sure you check them periodically to ensure they aren't burning!



ta-da! delicious, buttery, salty goodness ready for the table, your plate, and your enjoyment!

Cheers!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Living Green


Green were the hills and green was the air; she turned and saw surrounding
nothing but green. "I'm home" she sighed, "at last, I'm home." (JSC)

"Green Living" is all the rage. Everyone touts "going green" as a revolutionary way to save the planet. It's wonderful, really, people turning left and right and seeing ways they can better care for the planet. It is, after all, the only one we have for the moment.

Recycling. Solar power. Turning off the lights when you leave the room. Important, yes. Little steps to, hopefully, help a much larger problem. But what does "green living" mean to us, to you, to me personally?

I've been living green my entire life without knowing it. I was raised by parents who loved gardening, a mother who still picks fresh lemon balm and brews it for afternoon tea. We made clothes and party decor; my father built tables and cabinets and my mother wove baskets and knocked down walls to widen the small house we inhabited. Nothing was wasted. Dad would bring something home from work. A cast off, he said, found on a lady's front porch/in a drain ditch/tucked behind the wood pile. Mom took it all in, cleaned it, painted it, repurposed it. My sister and I never thought we were raised in anything but a normal house.

Now those very things are championed as Green. My husband brings home cast offs. We turn them into wall hangings. We adopt branches and bricks; we curate odd art from Goodwill. Books follow me home; I'm a Pied Piper of the printed page. I turn old books into decor, old cookbooks into wallpaper and am currently working on a series for this blog about using a stack of old magazines that I've magpied for the past 18 years.

Living green shouldn't be about band wagons or political propaganda. It shouldn't be a catch phrase to get an article published. It shouldn't be a fad that comes and goes with the breeze. It just makes sense. It's what I do, what I've always done, and what I hope will soon become not just my passion but my livelihood.

What kind of green living do you do? Upcycle old tables or old T-shirts? What about repurposing books or silverware into home decor? Anything old in the garden that you could spruce up, turn around, resurrect? I'd love to hear from you: thecupandpage (at) gmail (dot) com.

Happy greening!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Unplug 2.0

i finally stopped pursuing things and began devouring them.
i let myself be and returned to myself (JSC)

Before dinner we sat on the veranda and enjoyed our freshly cut yard. The breeze was warm and the chimes sang of the approaching rain. Simple, delicious: cheese, carrots, hummus with pine nuts and roasted bell peppers. Hard cider with ginger. A lit candle, until the wind snuffed it out. These simple moments are what my husband and I live for. An hour before supper and we were sitting outside eating cheese and hummus while the world rushed by in a muted roar from the highway. We laughed; we talked about movies, about music, about friends' posts on Instagram. We were connected to each other and to the world.

Connection has become a catch word. We are always "connected". Phone, computer, tablet, TV: all remain plugged in to constant information, updates, and news. "Did you hear about Steve?" your mother asks. "It was all over Facebook." "Carol got the job!" your sister cheers; she saw a picture of your cousins new office on Instagram.

It's neat, really. We can see into the lives of our loved ones any time they decide to share news or photos. The good, the bad, the ugly are instantly accessible whether we look for it or not. We "know" about the lives of others, but do we really KNOW others?

The more we connect via satellites and hash tags, the more we disconnect from human emotion, human touch. We can text :) but can we really remember the way our friends eyes crinkle when she smiles? The way he rolls his eyes when we tease?

I love Instagram and Pinterest. I enjoy creating online communities. I blog; it's obvious. Technology has allowed us to reach out to people we may never meet in person, who we may have never met at all and cultivate a community of friends and kindred souls. We have blog block parties and email each other encouragement when something doesn't go according to plan. I love that. It's my job and my enjoyment.

But...

for a moment, step away from the blog, from the social media for an evening. Invite someone to dinner, to hors d'oeuvres. Have a friend to tea, a parent to lunch, a sibling for finger foods, beer on the back porch. And listen. Watch. Remember. Remember the taste of tomatoes picked from your uncle's farm. Remember the wrinkles on your fathers hands when he'd hug you goodbye. Remember the laugh of your mother, the smirk of your friend, the way your spouses hair flutters in his eyes when he's lost in thought. See it. Record it and stockpile these moments. 

Yes, we can always access the pictures afterwards but the feelings, the emotions, the touch, the scent...those things will never have a technological substitute. They are sacred.

Enjoy your Monday,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Unplug


Do you see that? The bright reflection in the screen. It’s coming from behind you. Unlike the glow coming from your computer, television or phone, the light is warm, inviting, and it is calling. Calling you to shut down, log off, and unplug.

Come outside, it beckons, in the chill of new spring. Come outside and feel the wet, cold grass stick to your toes. Let the pollen cake in your toenails and tickle your nose. Sneeze, breathe, let the shuddering sunlight tingle your fingertips and knees. Sit, linger, watch the birds peep and cheep and crack between beaks the bagged food you tossed out yesterday afternoon.

Don’t be intimidated by the mud and muck. That’s just leftovers from the washing. Turn your face to the sky and let the rain wash away the winter dust. There’s no shame in crying; spring is about cleansing, inside and out.

Unplug, unwind. Allow yourself to breathe. Give your limbs a place to sink, to take root, allow your soul to grow. You can share the experience later. Memory is a wonderful thing. But first, experience.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fresh Start


The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me?  ~ Ayn Rand

We all desire something new. Something fresh to get our blood pumping and our imagination running wild. Creative juices flow and our hands itch to make something -anything!- that we can show off.

What is it YOU desire? What is your fresh start? It could be something as simple as a clean house. I spent all last week cleaning and reorganizing. I even took an old truck, repainted it and it now stores all our records and CDs. Perhaps you crave adventure. Try something new. Start simple. Eat at a new restaurant. Visit the north side of town.  Go camping.

Maybe what you want goes a bit deeper. A new career. A new home. A new life. Those things are not impossible. They take a little longer, a bit more commitment than finishing Moby Dick. Whatever it is you're craving, don't doubt yourself or your ability to create the life you crave. You have what it takes, right now, to start fresh.

Want a new career? Do some research. Spend a little time with Google and see what you can find. Maybe you need to go back to school. Maybe you just need to finish knitting those socks and put them up on Etsy. If a new home is calling you, brew some tea and do some virtual travel. Get a taste of the culture, the community by reading all you can about your location of choice. Start cooking French cuisine. Take German at the community college. Find an Indian restaurant and get to know the owners by becoming a frequent customer.

Nothing is impossible. Whatever you desire, wherever you want to be, start with what you have. You  never know where it might take you.