Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursdays child has far to go...

Well good morning! It seems a whole week has gone by without my popping in here. When I said things were shifting at work, I had no idea it was more like plate tectonics. Once the ripples smooth it won't be a bad thing - just a bit more hours for everyone and a wee bit more responsibility. That takes some getting used to.

I have been gardening, though, in the wee free hours. The plants are potted and only half are still in need of more soil. The birds are still greedy and demand a full feeder every morning promptly at 7. I got a jump on things this time and dumped a hefty helping into their feeder last night. They seemed a bit surprised this morning to find the seed present and accounted for.

In other news, the slugs seem to have squirtled away and (so far) I haven't stepped on a single one!

Memorial Day was filled with potted plant-planting and hamburger grilling, bocce ball playing and grilled pineapple eating. Yes. Pineapple, grilled with cinnamon and sugar. You should try it. Heaven.

At this precise moment I'm sitting on my back patio trying to chase away the brain fog with a cup of mullein tea and hoping this post doesn't sound so disjointed that you'll be wondering if I left half my brain back at the olde herb shoppe! I enjoy educating others about herbs, but honestly, there's only so many times in a week one can discuss weight loss and colon cleanses before it starts chiseling away at the soul.

I personally challenged myself to re-read/complete reading several of my favorite series this summer. I started this month with James A. Owen's BRILLIANT "The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica" series and I am 3/4 of a book away from completing all seven. I've posted about this series before, but now having read the series in its entirety I can honestly say it is one of the BEST series I have ever read. If you're a fan of classic fantasy, science fiction, pop culture, adventure stories you really should give these a whirl!

That about covers this weekly romp through the crisscrossed wires of my brain. I hope everyone is doing well. Next Wednesday is the Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting. If you aren't already signed up, I hope you'll join us! There is much neurotic fun and heaps of encouragement to be found :D. Even if you aren't a writer, there are wise words to be read from each participate. Give it a whirl why don't 'cha?

Happy Thursday/Weekend/End of May!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Words for Wednesday

Slugs are weird creatures. They don't really crawl; they have no legs. They appear out of no where, silent and transcendent as if they crossed over from another dimension. They don't care you or I exist. They just keep moving forward.

You can see through them, for crying out loud! Their guts are there in all their glory. They're slimy, they're icky, and no one wants to step on one (bleck!).

And yet...

Silver ribbons streak my patio, crisscross the garden path. The sunlight flickers across them and they glitter like Elvish writing on the doors to Moria. Gossamer threads that tell the tale of a slugs journey.

How many times have I felt like that slug? Get up, trudge along, no body cares, no body cares. I do what I do, same as you, and we'll do the same tomorrow. No one's standing there cheering us forward. No one may even be aware of where we're going. Many times WE don't know where we're headed.

Still we move, still we crawl, towards a destination we may only dream of. Giant obstacles block our path and we find we can glide over them. We are an ever moving, constantly progressing force. We feel as if we're making no progress; we feels as if we don't matter.

But there, behind us, trekking backward the journey we're on, are silver linings. They glimmer and glisten in the sunlight and mirror our footsteps in the moon. Wherever we go we leave an impression and it shines a light for anyone who may follow.

Someone does care. You DO matter, and so does your destination. Just keep moving forward :)

***

A big thank you to everyone these past two weeks. I appreciate your comments and the conversations. We've had a bit of a crisis at work (nothing catastrophic) and hours have been shifted, expanded, and scattered. Hopefully by next week things will be settled down and I'll be back on a regular basis. Whew!

In other news, I've been reading like a mad woman! That's got to account for something, right?

Hope your week has been less bumpy and a bit more predictable than mine! Here's to smoother sailing after tomorrow. Cheers!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Scanning and Buffering...


When I returned to college, finally for me and not for anyone else’s idea of me, I was happier than I thought possible. Before me stretched two years of learning, classes to choose from that made my imagination swell, and the idea that anything was possible with the right professor, the perfect pen, and hours and hours of Google.

For the first time my major was fixed and I was content. Since high school (some 18+ years ago) I’d floundered between majors and minors for fear if I settled I’d miss something. Something spectacular. Art history always fascinated me but why did I have to settle on one period? Anthropology was delicious and I gravitated towards folklore and ethnographic research. My degree is in creative writing, though, not history or anthropology. Writing, however, gives me an excuse to research all these lovely subjects. “A work in progress” I explain; working title only.

Strangely enough, I found my haven in the two hardest courses of my entire college career. The content wasn’t hard, just the means to an “A”. Part one and part two of a required liberal education course drove me to madness and the heights of wonder. And it wasn’t a writing or even a literature course.

It was the Humanities.

Go ahead. Groan. I’ll wait for the eye rolling to stop. I know people who hated their humanities courses and, from what they've told me, I blame their teachers. I also know people who have no clue as to what “humanities” even are. The best way I can describe the study is this: The Humanities are the study of the human creative condition.”

For me it was one big research fest! One day we were studying the Venus of Willendorf and the next we were focused on Sumerian statuettes. The next week we were roaming through the pyramids, followed by a clandestine meeting with Zeus. I read excerpts of classics I didn't know existed. I viewed art work that made me reconsider oil painting and I listened to musical pieces that brought tears to my eyes. Science and math married art and literature. I was a member of an exclusive Parisian salon just prior to the Revolution. I hung out with the Bloomsbury Group and sipped coffee in cafes eavesdropping on conversations by the Lost Generation.

I’m a scanner, a lifelong learner. College was an exercise in self-control. If money was no object, I’d still be at university, gathering courses like children gather dandelions. I’d string them together and wear them instead of diamonds. My handbag would be filled with tattered copies of course catalogs and instead of hair pins I’d keep my bangs in check with book marks.


So that’s why I’m still sitting in my writing room, staring at the bookshelves wondering what to write. I know once I choose I’ll bury myself for weeks and scurry off down rabbit holes with no ends in sight. It’s really not such a bad thing, unless, of course, your main goal in life is to type “The End”.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Let it Burn...

May I start off by saying Thank You for your LOVELY comments on my last post. I do tend to wax nostalgic when I daydream about Savannah. Thank you for your kind words (and for your patience. This week has been a doozy!)


There have been several instances where experience took me back to remembering. "I've been here before!" I thought. When rummaging through thoughts, I tend to find that when I'm lost in "doing" and "being" there is a past that whispers, "See? You DO belong here."

Many times we let things go. Desires, passions, dreams. I'm guilty. Probably the worst. We tend to do something for a time, enjoy it, then convince ourselves it's "just not practical". So we move on, try something else, a suggestion from someone who knows better. Deep down we know what we should be doing. And, if we're lucky, those desires smolder and stay warm beneath a mountain of coals.

Suddenly, like the sun between savage snow storms, it dawns, "Wait. This is what I always wanted." And we do, become, sift, and extract a still bright coal. Amazingly, it burns when we fan it, sets paper ablaze when stoked and soon roars to life. We're befuddled. "But it's just ___. It's nothing important." 

Says the masses. Says the naysayers. Says the media and marketing and, as Madeleine L'Engle called it, Madison Avenue. But we know. We KNOW. Whatever it is - writing, oil painting, brain surgery, doodling on canvas- we were born to do THIS, NOW.

What are you waiting for?

***

“What is a self-image? Who started talking about one? I rather fancy it was Madison Avenue. Picture Satan in a business suit, with well-groomed horns and a superbly switching tail, sitting at his huge executive's desk, thinking, 'Aha! If I can substitute images for reality I can get a lot more people under my domination.” ~ Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, May 12, 2014

Memory's Missed Stops

If only...

The sun shone bright and already it was hot. The drive to my appointment would take only half an hour so I settled into a radio station and tuned out as much of the rest of the world as I could. I'd driven there so many times the car could get there on autopilot, if I had such a device.

Thoughts began to pile up, most specifically about Savannah and my former life there. Sometimes I wonder: why did I ever leave? Ever since I moved back to Atlanta, all I've done is try to find a way back. A way back home.

The trees over-lapped the road and I remembered live oaks, draped with moss, lining the streets heading into the historic district. Traffic was congested, even at 9:30 am and suddenly the sun dappled streets of Abercorn and Victory, Broughton and Bay crowded into my mind and whispered, "Wish you were here."

I imagined myself back, driving into the squares surrounded by stately homes and towering cathedrals. I smiled and I thought, for a moment, I could smell the sea. Cars zoomed past but I didn't care. Let them zoom! My mind had taken me back to where I belong, where the pace is slower and the air is sweeter. Many might quip about the grass being greener; the grass in Savannah is nothing special but the town itself, ah, it is sweet indeed.

My turn appeared and I eased off the main highway onto a tiny street tucked into another time. Trees shade both sides and there are bizarre little stop signs that make you pause when you approach a church and an abandoned parking lot. One house in particular has been added onto so many times it stretches for what appears to be too far back onto the lot on which it sits. The porch is supported by wooden beams. I smiled: that's what the houses on Tybee Island look like. The closer to the ocean, the higher up they sit in case of flood waters and hurricane high tides.

Goofy smile plastered firmly on face, I hummed a little tune. Yes, when we move back I won't need a car for every errand. Bikes are an acceptable mode of transportation there. People understand that and they look out for bike and pedestrian alike. As I was daydreaming I looked to my left and slammed on the breaks. Savannah had so successfully pulled me out of the present that I watched my stop cruise past me. No one was behind me so I reversed and pulled into the lot, hoping no one saw me. They know me in there; I'm sure they'd wonder at my sudden forgetfulness!

Memory is a powerful thing. I transports us and blocks out the present. I laughed as I turned the car off. I've never missed a turn because of live oaks but that morning I did. And when I got out of the car, I thought, for a moment, I could smell the sea.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group


Good morning! It's been a while since I posted to the IWSG. It's good to be back! If you don't know what the Insecure Writer's Support Group is, click HERE to go to their website or HERE to go to the site of its creator, Alex Cavanaugh. If you haven't already joined, you really, really should. It's a wonderful, fabulous community of writers who are ready, eager, and willing to encourage any and everyone! Seriously, these folks are great :)

I did a lot of thinking during my blog hiatus. Most prevalent were the thoughts: "Why do I blog?", "Why do I write?", and "What on earth am I doing here?" Now, aside from the last one, these aren't too painfully existential. They did, however, need to be confronted and considered.

"I blog because I enjoy it!" I argued. "I write because I enjoy it!"

"Blogging and writing connect me to a larger community, a greater plan than just sitting in my living room watching episodes of Dr. Who."

These answers are true, but they didn't help the disconnected feeling I felt every time I turned on my computer or stared at a blank sheet of paper. The thinking turned to brain fog and I walked away from blogging for a time.A new question emerged:

"If blogging and writing are so important to you, if they connect you and revitalize you as you say they do, WHY don't you do them?"

Ugh. Thus striketh the Muse. And he was aiming below the belt that day, and every day since. Up until I started this blog, re-signed up for the IWSG AND developed the premise for this post. It's not a pretty premise and, I'd wager, it's something many of you will find familiar.

Are you ready?

I don't blog and write and create as I should (as I know I'm perfectly capable of doing) because...

I'm...

LAZY.

*pause to let that sink into my stubborn, thick skull*

This isn't a pleasant confession. I'm not at all proud to be letting this out of the basement. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this was truth and it was a truth that needed dealing with. Blogging is HARD WORK. Writing is HARD WORK. They are! Don't let anyone disillusion you into believing you're going to wake up every morning, a brilliant post at the forefront of your brain, glide to the keyboard (coffee in hand) and type out genius. It's not going to happen. And, strangely enough, that's exactly what I expected of myself.

Every post had to be perfect. Every word I put on the blank slate had to be exact. There was no room for error. The idea of editing wasn't foreign to me; I have a degree in writing, for crying out loud. I KNOW what it's like to edit, re-edit, edit some more and STILL have a professor tell you, "Eh, it could be better." But this is real life. This is my life, and there are no professors hovering over my shoulders to read everything I put down.

And THAT was extremely liberating.

The freedom of writing is saying what you need to say, what you want to say. The freedom of blogging is finding a group of like-minded people to whom you can say it. And the freedom of the art, the craft, the WORK is this: NO ONE IS THERE TO TELL YOU NO. YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR WRITING AND YOU HAVE AS MUCH TIME AS YOU NEED IF YOU'RE WILLING TO TAKE IT.

I'm not writing for deadlines yet. I'm not writing for grades any more. I'm writing for myself, because I have stories that need to come out, characters that need answers. I write because it's the art form that chose me, not the other way around. (Seriously, who would choose writing over pottery or macrame?)

The point to this whole, rambling post is this: writing is WORK and if you aren't willing to put in the hours, you will not reap the rewards. Those rewards vary: a finished project; a self-published collection of essays; a poem for a loved one; a recipe. World wide fame is a nice dream, but it's not necessary to getting words on paper and words into the wild. There are so many opportunities out there for writers and artists of all kinds. They are there for the taking!

All we have to do is be willing to put in the hours and days and weeks of HARD WORK and then set our children free. They won't let us down if we are willing to do what it takes to get them there.

Happy Wednesday, all! As I mentioned yesterday, I'm working a weird schedule this week and next; if I'm late in responding to comments or visiting, that's why. I promise I'll make it 'round! It will just take some time. Besides, after this post, I know exactly what I'll be spending my down time doing: writing.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ever Encroaching Mint


The parsley has been reaching toward the sky for days. Trimming it requires scissors now; my fingernails aren't enough. The lavender, however, is like a soft, purple cloud, spreading wings over its corner in a half sphere of memory. Memory of my mother's soap, the drawers of her dresser, the potpourri that is always in bowls tucked 'round the house.

Up through the lavender a spear of mint soldiers, excusing and pushing its way among the moss colored leaves. Sweet and savory mix to form an idea: a story, a perfume, a once and future project. Last night we made mojitos and this very same mint - which has taken over an entire corner of the herb patch - was muddled and mixed into a delicious concoction enjoyed by dwindling sunlight. Take, sip, enjoy: simplicity at its finest. 

I find my brain like the herb garden and ideas like the mint. Something will establish itself (lavender and parsley) yet the mind is ever encroaching. How does one focus on the lavender? How do we take care to tend the parsley, all the while the mint marches forward. New ideas mingle with old; roots entwine to create something new, something more. I'm at the crux of that "something more", Dear Reader. I just have to figure out what to prune and what to let blossom.

I'm working odd hours the next two weeks. Thank you in advance for bearing with me!
Have a wonderful Tuesday,


Monday, May 5, 2014

Reflections of India (or It's a Small World After All)

The street in India where I stayed for two weeks...a street with no name

The post that blocked the sun wasn't very thorough. I had to maneuver left and right to find the exact spot the shadow fell. A bit more to the right, hunch over - gotcha! I was sipping tea and thinking, my usual morning routine. Now that it's warm, I do my sipping and thinking on the back porch (or as we like to call it, the veranda). The sun does a marvelous job of banishing sleepy eyes and cobwebbed brains.

While the tea was steeping, I clicked through Instagram and was struck by a beautiful picture taken by a friend of mine who is in India. The colors - golden sun, ancient marble - brought back memories of the two weeks I spent there five years ago. India is a rush of everything unfamiliar. The sights, the sounds, the smells: it's as if your reality was turned inside out and handed back to you backward and just a bit too big.

I remember walking through the streets with my friend. It was a rush of people. There's always a rush of people. Shouting, laughing, talking, arguing. Children rushing up, begging for a few rupees. Vendors shoving their wares under your noses. Piles of garbage two stories high. Cows and chickens and scooters and trucks and....

It is glorious madness.

And it was the first time in my life I realized just how small this world really is. How very small I am.

When you're "here", in your everyday, anywhere else is "there". Other. Foreign. I used to equate India with an exotic dream that was a bit unattainable. But when you're "there", there becomes your here. I realize this might sound a bit too existential for a Monday morning, but reality is a funny thing. When you find yourself in that exotic foreign of your dreams, suddenly your reality IS that Other that was once so unattainable.

And it's not so foreign after all.

Here and now is all we really have, regardless of WHERE that is. That feeling of connection, of smallness is one I try to keep with me. The other side of the world is light years away and, yet, it's happening as I type this. People that I met and learned to love are sleeping, dreaming of their tomorrow - my tomorrow - which they'll see before me. It's a bit like time travel, really.

Makes me even more glad to be a part of this crazy, beautiful world.

Happy Monday,

Friday, May 2, 2014

Twigs


Little things make up the moments of our lives. 

Seconds.

Breaths.

Experiences.

We build a house one board at a time. We build a fire one twig at a time. Seeds go into the ground; molecules of dirt encase them. Every rain drop works together to water the ground and each ray of the sun creates warmth to grow.

One seed can produce a hundred tomatoes, enough for the summer, the salsa, the canning jars for fall.

Enjoy your weekends, Dear Readers, and pay attention to every, blessed minute!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Containers


What holds us together? What binds us, keeps us from leaking emotion and ugliness from every pore? We all have containers: those people and places that hold us tight and, especially when we're feeling less than lovely, keep us from exploding, a thousand black holes into our endless night.

My container is my husband. Today is our Ten Year Anniversary. I've known him for eighteen years. We were best friends for three of those years, oddly enough when I was living 200 miles away. Not only is he my container, he's my joy, my sounding board, my flash of reality and, yes, still, my best friend. He's my partner in crime, the Sam to my Frodo, the Watson to my Sherlock, the Calvin to my Meg.

His name is Jon and he blogs at Audio Treasure Chest. He's a huge fan of music and spends his spare time discovering or re-discovering bands. He's got an ear for more than just pitch and tone; Jon's always been able to see into the soul of the music he listens to, the music he plays, and the music he's mixed for bands in the past.

Here's an invitation to go tell that person in your life-the one that holds you together, that inspires you, brings you joy and lets you settle safely inside-just how very much they mean to you. It doesn't even have to be your anniversary, but if it is, I wish you many, many more to come.

      
from Google search (Sam and Frodo)       found via Google search HERE               found via Google search HERE

PS: why, yes, I AM more emotional, erratic, bi-polar, eccentric, prone-to-finding-rings-of-power-and-doom than Jon is. He's far more stable and looks better in a bowler hat than I :)