Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Sunday I hardly left the bed. I read for twelve hours straight, except for food and drink breaks; I was so absorbed in the fourth Harry Potter book, as with all the previous books, and I am now onto the fifth book.

From book four, I would be ecstatic if one day a real Pensieve were invented. Can you imagine having a place to put your excess thoughts when your mind becomes too full, to pull those thoughts by way of a magic wand, place them into a basin and examine them later in visual form—I’m dreaming, of course. I am so enchanted with the fantasy world at this moment.

I suppose what I would like is something along these lines, a journal—a magic journal— that you can feed other journals into or single pages of your thoughts and have them organize themselves by theme or in any way you’d like, much like a computer filing system or blog tagging system, but I’d like the journal to have the ability to sort itself out and maybe if I was looking for a particular pattern or patterns, it would be easier to find, rather than going back over documents on the computers that I didn’t name properly, or sifting through old journals that don’t connect easily with other journals unless I start ripping pages out and rearranging manually.

Last night when I was almost done with the Potter book, my significant was going to the store and asked me about dinner. I had a giggle fit and he told me that I needed some fresh air. He was probably right. I had been satisfied with lunch and was still full and because of that I had assumed his eating pattern would follow mine. And before bed, I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I kept thinking about what was going to happen next. I was consumed since I was only able to read the first chapter of the fifth book last night because it’s included at the end of the fourth e-book. The library didn’t have the fifth book available for download, so today I’m going to go in and get the paper copy. I wanted so much to read on, but didn’t want to purchase an e-copy, knowing the library has it.

J. K. Rowling is a master at creating tension and making the reader want to know what’s going to happen next. She’s just an all around gifted storyteller and writer with a vivid imagination. She makes me appreciate and understand how a book can be written successfully scene-by-scene and every question and curiosity that I have gets answered in succeeding chapters.

Rarely do I stick to one book and shut the others out, but I haven’t wanted to break my momentum, and I’m enjoying the journey very much!

This is how I was feeling a few days ago:

I don’t know what happened to the day.
It started out one way and ended another.
Today was fine up until the almost end of it.

Where were my clouds?

Even the mountain was suffocating under the deep layer of haze.

**

I had jotted these small scraps down and let it go. Then I opened my Pages program on my Ipad, which is the equivalent of Word. I had completely forgotten that I wrote that. I do remember the day. I wanted to capture it here—to add to my time capsule.

**

That has passed.

**

Yesterday when I woke up I wouldn’t have envisioned myself sitting in a hair stylist’s chair to have my hair cut short again. But as I started writing and feeling that light feeling yesterday, and thinking of getting ready for work, I realized that growing my hair out was not going to be possible because I don’t like standing with a blow dryer in my hand long enough to dry it, and with the cold weather, this would pose a slight problem for me. I decided to go back to the hairstylist that I went to before, since she knows my hair and she’s nice. I brought a few photos of pixie cuts because she’s a visual person and she is very good at replicating a haircut—at least that has been my experience so far. I was lucky that she had a cancellation when I called. I have a tendency to hope that I can get an appointment the same day I call.

An interesting tidbit that I learned from her is that she had attended a Vidal Sassoon class a few month’s back and said she now felt very confident with the pixie cut. I told her that she seemed quite comfortable when she had cut my hair before, yet in my mind, there was one time, she didn’t get the sides right and it was poofing out. I didn’t remind her of this, of course. She conceded that she was not as comfortable as she came across. I told her I was glad that she now felt more confident. And she did a great job on my hair, just like the photo I took in as a guide.

With my freshly trimmed hair, I’ve gotten the bug to clean out my closets and donate some unwanted clothing. The thing about super short hair, for me anyway, is that it doesn’t seem to pair well on a petite figure with baggy clothes. I have to compensate for the fact that some bit of my femininity is tied to my longer hair and baggy tops that hang drearily on me, seem to make me look more boyish. Hair. What a funny preoccupation it can be! It is such a defining characteristic.

What else? I felt so inspired on Thursday that I cooked pot roast. It was the perfect day for a cold and rainy night.

I’ve been remembering my dreams and jotting snippets down in my journal.

When I was enjoying an unhealthy breakfast at McDonald’s the other morning, I shared with a couple of crows that kindly asked for a morsel. It was a cold day, but I decided to sit at an outside table just the same. In the warmer months I have sat outside and enjoyed the crows that visit the tree outside on a regular basis. I threw a piece of my English muffin to one crow and then saw the other crow in the background and tossed him a piece. I noticed that the second crow had a bad foot. It looked as though it was actually missing and he hopped on one foot. Poor dear. He was in good shape otherwise, except for a feather out of place. He had a hearty appetite. After the first crow finished, he looked up at me and opened his beak as if to say, “more please.” And I gladly gave him another taste and threw a piece to the other crow that was keeping a distance. That was a nice way to start the day.

My significant other took me to see The Lion King at The Orpheum Theater. I admit that I had my doubts. Even though I love music and enjoyed the Disney movie, musicals are not my favorites. However, to my great surprise, The Lion King took my breath away many times over throughout the play. It was the most beautiful, stunning, creative, heartfelt performance, with set designs and costumes that left my visual senses simply in awe. I absolutely loved it!

november morning
crisp, brittle
angel kisses blow
sharp air
through peacock
feathers.

There is a void inside of me that I cannot fill—and just as soon as those words escape, the ache lessens. I’m a seeker without a clear direction, not having found her way in this world. At most times content, satisfied, knowing there is more—there always is—knowing that on one hand she’d like to have her dream job; on the other hand she doesn’t know what that is.

She recognizes—now from a great distance—that her mother showed these same tendencies. Pouring themselves into each other? Pouring into something, fitting all of their desires and interests together like a great moving puzzle that is never complete—that eludes the present moment.

There is a hunger that ebbs and flows through tidal cycles, pulls the soul along, laying a path of bright stars and spinning planets. Hers is a path about wholeness, about bridging time, connecting stars, finding their center within the great chasm; and in that center is a mother and daughter—two selves connecting through time and space into a galaxy of—

When I stepped out of the office yesterday around 4:30 p.m., I was immediately wrapped in warmth. I hadn’t realized how nice a day it was outside. It’s customary for me to take a short walking break, to soak up the fresh air, to look up into the sky, searching for picturesque clouds, scanning the trees and wires for crows and other small feathered friends.

But somehow I was caught up in the work of the day and hardly stepped outside until much too late. As I continued walking, on my way home, I allowed the warm air to settle on me and what I saw and felt in my mind’s eye was a lovely white bird, holding the sun between his feathers and fanning me with the glow of his light. I was like a small fire that the mighty white feathers were kindling—a beautiful warm air blowing on embers to reveal a golden glow. All season I haven’t felt the air in quite this way. It was magical and I won’t forget it—I don’t want to forget it.

The Harry Potter book’s entered my world or rather I entered their world or her world…I had no intention of ever reading the books. It could be that when it was quite popular, I lost interest. I had seen the first movie and I can’t recall if I saw the second movie. I think I may have tried to read the first book many years ago and wasn’t in the mood. But recently, I started to read A Wrinkle in Time so that I wouldn’t miss this young reader classic; this, and other small things, conversations, other reading, led me back to the Harry Potter books. I set aside A Wrinkle in Time, checked out the first book in the Harry Potter series, and to my surprise, I was immediately hooked.

I started on Friday night, but couldn’t keep my eyes open past page 50. Saturday morning came and I finished. I wasn’t planning on reading all seven books and I haven’t yet—but I did rushed to the library on Saturday late morning to checkout the second book. I finished that on Sunday and proceeded to check out the third book. I checked the library’s e-book catalog this time and lo and behold, they had the books for downloading to my Kindle. I finished the third book on Monday and downloaded the fourth that same day. I can only say that I’m enjoying the books immensely and we’ll see how I do on book four. It’s 800 plus pages compared to the first three books which were in the 300 page mark, so I’m glad I’m reading it on Kindle; otherwise, my arms would be in pain. Who would have known that right now in the month of November these books would open themselves to me and that I would gladly enter?

I do hope to get back to Wrinkle soon. Things were starting to get interesting.

I have tried diligently to record the title of each book I’ve started to read and the date I finish it in an App called Evernote. I used to do this in an Excel spreadsheet and also include a column for recording my thoughts about the book, but for 2012 I had not transferred the titles over to it. So, last week I decided to take the titles that I’ve been recording and start entering them with my summary/reaction into the spreadsheet, starting with the first book of the year. I did this for a bit in the morning on two days and thought I’d tackle writing my reaction for ten books each day. I wanted to do it everyday, but I got sidetracked. I’ve enjoyed getting back to that spreadsheet. It’s been interesting to recall what the books have been about and how they affected me. One book in particular I hardly remember; some have been left unfinished to come back to; and so many others I remember with great affection.

It is not uncommon for me to be a bit moody; and it’s also part of my personality to sometimes get excited about something, throw myself into it, and then reach a point where I’ve become somewhat unexcited and exhausted. Enjoy the journey, I remind myself.

It’s also not uncommon for me to go back and forth within myself and even without myself. I will often reject something first, then I’ll think about it, toss it around in my noggin, and I may come back around to the other side toward acceptance. Or, I simply may still not agree or reject this or that, but I will strive to find some sort of middle ground. I always try to see all the viewpoints that I’m capable of.

And so, as my short story writing class begins to wind down, I want to revisit my thoughts on the journey because I feel that I haven’t been fair and that my feelings have been highly personal and perhaps lopsided.

As a midpoint—and this is a whole separate issue that I could write about separately if I wanted to and I may. I have tried to practice a way of being specifically related to reacting to other’s issues and I am very sensitive to those that try to be fixers and helpers. Sometimes, a person needs to vent—to let out their feelings and sometimes a person wishes to put those feelings to a page. I don’t particularly like when a person reads something as if they need to offer a set solution or as if something is terribly wrong. I have caught myself many times where I have found myself saying, “You should…” or “Why don’t you…” But over the many years, I am finding myself saying these things less and less. I listen, I encourage. But I think it’s important not to use words that take power away from an individual and to be mindful of when we try too much to offer solutions when what a person may really want is an understanding ear to hear the person out, maybe even an “I know how you feel” type of response.

And so that is my midpoint. Let’s not try to be fixers of others but only of ourselves. And granted, some people like being told how they should feel or invite someone else taking on their problems. I do not. I just like writing about them—it’s one way that I can hear myself; and it’s also a way for me to process the rubble out of my mind. And if someone relates—that’s great.

Now, I shall bring myself back to my class. As I looked through the syllabus and the class discussion board last evening to see what the coming weeks have in store, that’s when it really became clear to me that the class will be over soon—in December. I’m surprised that it has moved along so quickly. I took those moments to look at what I gained from the class and I saw that there were two assignments that I’m looking forward to—they are essays rather than short stories—one essay is our account on an author that we went to see speak that had to take place during the course of this class and the other essay is a discussion of a handful of short stories that we’ve read from our book. We also have a few more scenes to work on and another workshop to do. I think we’ll be assigned to a new workshop group, which will be a nice change.

When I reread one of the short stories that came out of this class, I enjoyed it. I was slightly embarrassed at reading it because if I decide to post it here and I may, you might find familiar elements that have come up from certain blogs that I’ve posted.

I think what I have taken from this class—what has really stood out for me—is that I cannot see myself up at a podium speaking about my novel or short stories—I don’t actually have a novel, but I’m projecting myself into the future. That’s not my path. What I can see, though, is me up there at the podium with my children’s book in hand talking to the audience about what inspired this or that story and how I came to write children’s books and had I always wanted to write children’s books. This makes me think and realize that I haven’t ever been to a book talk for a writer of children’s books, so this will be on my list of things to do. I don’t even know if they are as common.

But, just the process is enough. I don’t really feel that I have a desire to publish other things as I once did, except here on my blog.

This class has made me realize that although at first I rejected the scene approach, I’ve actually grown to accept it and to realize and accept within myself that I do best writing short scenes, but sometimes the challenge for me is to imagine the scenes within the whole and to take them further. Sometimes, the singular scenes want to stay just that—a singular moment.

I also love the very first assignment we had which was to write a list of everything we are interested in and want to write about. This would be a list that we could come back to for inspiration and ideas, to add to. It could be a single sentence, a word, a place…as detailed or minimal as we wanted. This list allowed me to explore a moment I’ve wanted to explore for a long time. I did use a few ideas from that list, created scenes and received constructive feedback.

So I guess what I’m trying to tell myself is that I’ve gained more from this class than I’ve allowed myself to realize. My moods have been fluctuating lately and that’s not uncommon in general. I used to be a much moodier person; and I have no shame in admitting that my Cancerian sun Qualities contribute to that, along with my strong Leonian, and Arian influences. I can be a moody lion indeed! Roar!! And then I will scuttle inside my little shell and lick those wounds if there are any to be had. Of course there is also the quick temper that was mostly dominant in childhood. Can you imagine me, running in anger toward the wall and kicking it in, leaving a hole! My brother had upset me that day and I think I must have been who knows how old—younger than a teenager, perhaps right on the cusp.

But I digress…I’m gearing up for my next scene and what I appreciate most about it is we have broader choice in selection this time. On the whole, it’s been a wonderful class and it has reminded me to keep the images of the oak and the bamboo reed clear in my mind because as much as I love oak for all his strength and beauty, I aspire to be like the bamboo reed, bending and swaying through life’s winds—to maintain a sense of resilience and always readjusting along the way.