Blog Posts

Week 6 2016 – The Divinity of Ants

 

IMG_0433There’s an old saying here in the south, “if you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.” I make God laugh all the damn time. It’s not a divine giggle, not a holy snort, but deep, side-splitting laughter that has been known to disrupt the space-time continuum. .

I made God laugh so hard once that the Dark Ages kissed this millennia, dropping off a few of its barbarians, a couple of tyrants, and diseases. I am telling you, Einstein’s theory of relativity is nothing but the scientific explanation for what happens when the mighty universal creative force laughs at us insignificant ants.

 

gravitationalwavesBe happy I don’t tend to plan a whole lot or the momentary tear in the space-time continuum would pull velociraptors out of the Jurassic period. They would end up running about eating politicians and energy efficient cars. Not that this would be an entirely bad thing. Just saying.

velociraptor

In order to have a more coherent blog, I jot down possible themes for each week. So far, not one of those ideas have become an actual blog. Which is why so much of this is gibberish. I should stop making plans before someone really gets hurt or disco makes a come back. I’d much rather deal with the velociraptors than go another round with Saturday Night Fever.

 

The plan this weekend was to have the blog done by 3:00 PM Sunday. That didn’t happen. I meant to revise my query and synopsis and organize my next round of queries in case my other requests and this R&R go belly up. That’s not what happened.

 

I ended going to see Deadpool with my brother and nephew. The best things in life are always unplanned. They just are. My daughter, my pug, and going to see this movie today. All happy accidents. A movie hasn’t made me laugh this hard in well, never. Funniest movie ever. If you have a strong stomach and are not easily offended, screw your plans and go see this film. You could use the laugh.

That is not to say, nothing should be planned.  A strategy is necessary to accomplish anything. I am on course to become a fully functioning, successful writer, but it’s not the course I originally set out on. Don’t be too upset when life blows your plans up. Yes, we are all ants in the eyes of Eternity, but each of us, in those unplanned little moments, where we are forced to abandon a plan and react, when we just let go, there’s a bit of something divine in each of us. And it’s that little bit of divine spontaneity in us that makes us create, change, learn, evolve. So let God laugh. Velociraptors and disco are small enough prices to pay.

 

 

Week 5 2016 -Frankie’s Bookshelf

FrankieBookshelfIt’s not been what you would call an organized week. Or life. It’s mostly been like Frankie’s bookshelf. This is the shelf next to the back door with the basket with all of Frankie’s junk; her leash, her collar, her treats, spare toys, and what have you. It’s also one of several bookshelves in the house.

Aside from Frankie’s basket which has earned its place due to convenience, nothing else on my bookshelves are guaranteed their spots. I have never organized books or knick knacks, not by genre, author, or anything else. Not even by series. Books wander about the house freely so they are able to explore various positions on shelves, in the pile next to the bed, in boxes, in bags, in closets, and other dimensions that transect with my living quarters. I really should get more bookshelves.

IMG_0398 I like the chaos. It suits me. Except when I am looking for that one special book and have no idea where it is. That about describes my life. I have all the stuff I need, but it’s never in a place I can find it when I want it. I am pretty sure this is what happened to the pet Scotsman I have always wanted. He ended up on some shelf and I have no idea which one.

I get the feeling my pug knows where any book (or Scotsman) is at any given time, but she’s not going to tell me. In fact, I suspect she takes books out in the night and moves them. She is a very well-read pug. And she definitely does not want to be usurped by a Scotsman so I fear the poor fellow has been sentenced to some parallel universe where we will never meet.

That’s about the story of my week and my life. I seldom get what I want, but I almost always get what I need. Isn’t that the way the song goes?

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”  – The Rolling Stones

 

Week 4 2016 – Lost in the Labyrinth

TheRoadNotTaken-Poem

That Robert Frost knew his business. That is one pretty poem, and it’s hard to forget. I am a lifetime out of high school, and I still remember it chapter and verse. Of course, I am older and wiser now, and embarrassed at how badly I misinterpreted Frost’s words. I quoted this thing in my high school year book (and I bet a good many of you did too).

ForestRoadsI was determined to take that road less taken, ignoring those pivotal words “Though as for that the passing there had worn them about the same“.

A “different” drummer pounded in my head. I was going to stand out, be different, and there I was a rebel without a clue.  I saw myself a best-selling writer by 21, the first girl to play football in the English Premiere League, and a good many other fantastical musings. My life went a different way despite that imaginary fork in the road. I imagine most end up in bear’s belly taking a road not taken in a forest.

As this 4th week of 2016, the end’s very beginning, reminded me, there was never that neat, peaceful little fork in the road in that somber forest. It’s a bloody labyrinth and here there be monsters and possibly a worm. If you are very lucky that is.

LabyrinthWormThe little benign worm in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth means no harm. He helpfully tries to guide you away from the goblin’s castle which is precisely where you must go if you are to retrieve that most precious to you. I suppose I listened to the worm when I first became entangled in the labyrinth that is my life. I never made it to the goblin’s castle.

Instead, I found myself in something that more resembles  Pan’s Labyrinth than it did the lovely, Jim Henson, Muppet maze.  NOTE: If you have never seen Guillermo del Toro’s film, Pan’s Labyrinth, do yourself a favor. It is frightening, beautiful, sad, glorious, and a true piece of art in film.

PansLabyrinthI fought against the labyrinth of my life for years, never stopping to gape at the wondrous beauty nor recoil from the horror of it, just wandered trying to get back to that lovely fork in the road. Those crossroads that never offered any choice at all because it was never this or that. Life is a million decisions and encounters, and twists and turns, words and deeds, nuances too subtle for the naked senses of man to perceive. It is truly a labyrinth.  Now, I embrace the unsolvable maze that is life, curious as to what lay around each bend and turn. I turn back at the dead ends, and sometimes sit entrenched in the beauty despite the horror.  This week there was a dead end, overgrown, uncared for, and so I turned around. There was another way to go.

 

Week 3 2016- Ducking the Blizzard

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I am stuck in a conversation with the universe’s oldest trickster. That’s where my revisions are at the moment. Chapter 25, the critical turning point. It’s about 250 words of text, and it’s stymied me into something like a catatonic state.

A small dusting of snow caused work to let out early on Friday. North of us got squashed by an apocalyptic blizzard.  Anything frozen sends everyone in my neck of the woods into a frenzy. One flake of snow and everyone is off to get milk and bread and hole up until clear skies and temperatures break forty.  It would have been, in normal circumstances, a great weekend to light and fire and just write. That’s not what happened.

BlizzardNYC2016
New York – A Blizzard

Every time I sat down to write, gibberish came out. Absolute gibberish. I could not for the life of me construct an active coherent sentence. I know exactly what my book needs, but somehow my fingers touching the keyboards are not doing the job. I am in writer’s limbo. And it’s making me grouchy.

I am just going to blame it on the blizzard ignoring us, as blizzards are wont to do this far south of Hell. It’s either too cold with no snow or too hot with no rain. I can abide freezing if there’s snow outside, enough that no one can get to my house and I can have a fire, coffee in the day, and a good beer at night. I am an oddball that requires total solitude to really write. I don’t know what that is. I wish I could get over it, and simply be rude, and ignore all my visitors be they family, friend, or lost soul. Instead, I cook for them. Clean. Play games with them. Share the pug with them. And there were many guests, family, and friends this weekend. So less writing. IMG_0299

For the last four days of this week Janet Reid was ill and right in the path of that terrible blizzard. No blog. My, we the Reiders, are so worried.  Many of us started perusing other blogs from inside our little community. I read a few dozen, and I found some great stuff. I was particularly drawn to Lucie Witt’s Post on Editing as this is where I live right now. Another post I found most interesting belonged to Donna Everhart about reading being part of a writer’s job. I feel guilty both when I read (because I love it so much) and when I don’t read (because I should be). I can’t win.

However, discovering these new blogs  enriched the week, and tempered my editing angst with some new knowledge, a little solace, and more than a bit of inspiration. In fact, I will go out on a limb and recommend exploring other blogs when you’re feeling stuck or uninspired. There are some truly remarkable voices out there.

 

Week 2 2016 – Mostly Migraines

 

IMG_0330Only 2 weeks into 2016,and I barely made it though the last week. Winter is here and kicking my butt. It started with a Migraine last Sunday, followed by all sorts of cold and death. David Bowie and Alan Rickman both died. Cancer blows, and it has robbed us of two great and inspirational artists. I will let others write their dedications more adequately than me. 

I was much distracted this week, not just by the migraine which kept creeping back over the week, but by the oppressive cold. I really want to hibernate until this winter foolishness is done. 

My daughter and I stopped for coffee this weekend at a wonderful place called the Land of 1000 Hills. This was the ending and bright spot of the week. My daughter visited and we went for brunch, a little shopping, and coffee at the nearby Atlantic Station. I got a cappuccino and the barista created a remarkable bit of art in the foam. With one sip, the lovely swan faded and disappeared. Such a delicate and beautiful thing this art in my coffee. Life feels like that now, just a single delicious taste, and it begins to grow cold and mutate. I feel old. I feel time slipping away. I feel I need to write faster before my whole world fades away like a swan drawn in the foam of a cappuccino.

 

Week 1 2016 – Dragon’s Milk

IMG_0166The theme for the first week of 2016 is Dragon’s Milk. It’s a mead that mixes well with winter and enhances your desire to hibernate until spring.

In a nutshell, here’s what went down this week in my little writing world.

  1. 1. Revisions – yes. They are proceeding- worked on them Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. About 20 hours total. Getting closer.

2. My exile to Carkoon is now over. I hope it lasts. Refer to Janet Reid’s Blog to see if I run afoul of the great shark again.

3. Wrote some blog posts, this blog post even

4. Wrote a bit on other works outside my current revision. That helps keep me going when my invisible friends stop talking to me. I just make up new friends and problem solved.

5. Entered a flash fiction contest. This will seriously help your writing, even if you happen to write epic fantasy. Try it. Don’t worry about winning. Although, it’s very cool to win. I won back in October. It was very exciting.

Now there is Mead and winter is coming. No, I am not talking about Game of Thrones. I meant that literally. I am actually considering hibernation. Go have some Dragon’s Milk and get back to me. If you can still stand after.

Putting Away The Past

FrankieWithToy
Frankie with her Christmas present

I took down the Christmas tree today. It’s like putting away my past. Every year since my daughter was born, I have obtained two ornaments- one with the year on it and one that is associated with some memory or other of that year. It was a pug ornament this year, a standard baby’s 1st Christmas the year my Kate was born. She is a December baby. We have been on our own since she was a baby, just the two of us in a crazy world.

Books and stories helped us survive, and the mundane pace of everyday life faded into great adventure. It is all there on our tree every year. There are Harry Potter ornaments, ballet slippers, Mickey Mouse, snow globes, etc- a recounting of the years.

All the petty things that life threw at us were countered by dragons that could be slain (The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien), a boy raised by a sorceress to slay an evil god (The Belgariad by David Eddings), a boy kept in cupboard under the stairs who was really a wizard (Harry Potter by JK Rowling), a genius boy used by his government to wipe out an entire alien species (Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card),a little hobbit entrusted to overcome temptation and destroy a great evil (Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien), wardrobes with whole worlds within (The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis), journeys back in time with vivid descriptions of the Dark Ages (The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis), witnessing the building of Canterbury Cathedral through imagination blending with history (Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet), and hundreds of great tales on pages of black and white. How the world expands when we read and when we write.

My daughter is traveling back from spending New Years in New York City. In May, she will graduate from college and plans to move to New York to find and follow her dreams and make her own stories. I think 2016 will feature some sort of NYC ornament. Of course, it is impossible to know what will happen next. Still, it is time to put away the past and look forward. Always, there will be more stories to tell, to read, and to live. Each year I spend here in this time and place will yield another ornament with its own tale to tell. So until next year, the past is put in its place.