… & then…

           Once again, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything here. Not because I haven’t been writing, not the case at all, in fact I’ve been doing more writing in the past few weeks than I did for the month or two prior! But, the writing is just of a different sort, genre, topic… what am I trying to say…. alright it’s “professional” writing- all proper like. I’ve started 2 blogs for work, one being a basic “Insurance for Dummies, or Insurance 101” if you will (Insurance Made Simple(r)), and the other being for work as well, but focused on some of the amazing craft breweries here in the Northwest that also happen to be clients at work (What’s Hopp’ening)! If I haven’t forced you to check either of them out already, you should do so – they’re definitely different than the writing (read: venting) I do here, in my “voice” but works that I’m proud of all the same…

           I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time on my attempt at a historical fiction novel. After much struggling with myself, and Agnes (my inner editor – for more on her check out my earlier blogs) over whether to completely steal the life of an actual person and by doing so have to adjust my entire ficticious world to fit with what is real – or to simply steal a few of his real life tidbits and apply them to a character all my own, in that world of my own creation.

This  has been one of the sticking points that has (sadly) left me completely unproductive for long periods of time… simply sitting at the laptop arguing with myself in my head on what I can & can’t do. It wasn’t until just a few days ago that I had the realization that this is MY story, MY book, MY project, and I can do whatever the hell I want to with it! So, it’s been decided (Agnes be damned) – I’m writing “A Historical Fiction Novel; Loosely based on true events”…*whew* – you have NO idea what a paradigm shifting relief it’s been to have that decided & realized. I feel like I’ve reached the top of my first big mountain peak, am enjoying the view, the moment or two of tranquility and success, and looking out ahead of me at the remainder of the mountain range lying in my path.

And thus I move forward, onto the next comfortable valley before once again facing a challenging peak.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

Advertisements

Hitting ReSet…


I can’t remember the last time I was able to take a full hour & escape to the park by myself. Today, I was able to do just that, and those 60 minutes were utter bliss. Somehow the stars & planets aligned perfectly, and I found myself without excuse.

It’s early July and the weather is finally showing signs of summer, 73 degrees, sunshine and a cloudless blue sky. At first I assumed the park must be closed, and the staff had simply forgotten to close the front gate across the long gravel driveway entrance. The parking lot, usually filled with cars, was bare. The fields and picnic tables, usually bustling with children, families, picnics, and animals, were silent. As though the park was mine alone. The silence and space mine for the taking. Choosing my picnic table wisely, close enough to the looming red barn to eavesdrop on its feathered inhabitants but just out of reach of its massive shadow.

Closing my eyes for just a moment, I realized that I’d taken the empty parking lot for granted, I wasn’t alone after all, the park was overflowing with it’s residents and their own daily conversations.  The rustle of the wind through the leaves of the foliage, the incessant clucking of the hens, so like an elderly Jewish woman, anxiously pushing her own life lessons onto anyone who’ll listen, always busy and moving about. The proud crow of the rooster, a college athlete long past his prime but still insistent on announcing his presence for all to hear. The eager duck, testing the water in his small pool, so like a naive child, instructed to use just his toe but unable to control his excitement, running full speed into the water instead; splashing any adults standing near for his protection.

I wonder why I’ve neglected this amazing place for so long. Allowing myself to become so absorbed and overwhelmed with the rush of everyday life that I’ve nearly forgotten the sensation of just being. Sitting still and inviting nature to exist around me, not needing to be in control, but instead relinquishing myself to something greater than I am, than I can ever hope to become. Appreciating the little things. The birds, the sun, the grass, the breeze…

Almost akin to hitting the reset button on one of the many pieces of technology managing my day-to-day life. Seeking out and finding that small button, the one hidden within a crevice in the man made plastic box, using an unwound paperclip to sneakily press and grant myself & the machine 30 seconds of reprieve before returning to whatever menial yet urgent task lies at hand.

I need to do this more often, I tell myself this, just as I have every time before. When I’ve depleted my own reserve of relaxation and peace, and have stumbled back to my roots, to nature for a refreshing reset, a dose of quiet, and a reminder from Mother Nature that she hasn’t gone anywhere. She’s here waiting for me, if I’ll only make time to remember her.

*tap tap* Is this thing on?…

Last night I attended and read at what’s officially my first ever public open mic night reading. I’ve read a handful of pieces before in smaller, intimate groups at different writing conferences I’ve attended. Always surrounded by people that I know in some facet, even if only for a few moments, but always enough so that I know they’re going to be… nice? Last night though, was different… I arrived early in hopes of finding like-minded strangers interested in conversation… instead I sat alone, gripping my few printed pages and watching the podium and microphone in front of me as it grew a tail, fangs, horns, and leering yellow eyes… A group of strangers began arriving, gathering in the lower level of a local bookstore, all of them chattering eagerly with each other, making the monster before me grow even larger, and the knots in my stomach tighter, as I realized these people all knew one another. They knew each others style, voice, thoughts, opinions, and humor – whereas I, a tattooed trollope, had wandered aimlessly, naively into their lair, stupidly thinking that I might fit in.

Just as I was reacquainting myself with the nearest exit route I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to find a familiar face. The face of a friend from high school, 12 years ago, recently reacquainted, there to show her support for me. *sigh* You know who you are, and you both rescued me from a night of awkwardness suffered alone, and at the same time cemented the fact that I could not escape. I now had no choice but to follow through on my commitment to bare my still naked and quivering soul to these judgemental strangers.

I was further down the list, allowing me the opportunity to fully commit to my nervousness, and to lose myself in utter confusion at what appeared to be a night devoted fully to poetry written quite eloquently in Klingon, while I waited for my name to be called. Eventually it was, and as is my habit I made excuses for the piece of writing I was going to share before even daring to make eye contact with any of the rabid beasts in the crowd. No doubt at the point, already having noticed that I am a stranger, and not one of them. I read my piece, a short story, my first ever attempt at fiction; a piece that I recently shared at a small writers conference I attended to good response on the validity and thoroughness of my “voice.” Last night however, the room was silent, and I lost my place on a few occasions simply because I wasn’t sure that I was actually reading aloud to the room, or if I might be awkwardly standing there, in front of the crowd, making no sound at all – simply rereading the words to myself in my own inner monologue. When I finished there was a quiet whisper of golf clapping as I zeroed in on my destination, my empty chair 3 rows from the back of the room.

Luckily, these strangers must be used to having a newbie such as myself mistakenly wander in off the street on occasion, because they were careful to refrain from eye contact, or any other form of communication that would require us to speak. And before I knew it, another poet had taken the stage, sharing a rhyme about topics I still have yet to realize. And then another, this one speaking of anger, loss, rage, and abandonment. A mere moment passed, and just like that my voice had been forgotten. With that, the evening was over, and with my single friendly companion in tow, we hastily made our way to the exit. Bursting into nearly maniacal laughter the moment we made it back out, safely, into  the world we knew.

It’s my turn…

As those of you close to me may know, my recent ghostwriting opportunity wasn’t meant to be. Which is a nice way of saying that we went back and forth a few times negotiating numbers and whether I would be able to use the finished product on my resume at all – and in the end, we were unable to come to a mutual decision. I was definitely disappointed that things didn’t work out, but proud of myself for sticking to my guns on the few small things I felt I needed in order to make the project really worth my while.

Within a few days of realizing the ghost writing project wouldn’t be happening, I found myself slightly stumped for a writing project to drown myself in, especially since I’d just spent the last 3 weeks reading up on everything I could as far as fiction writing for dummies, character development, and setting a scene that already exists perfectly inside my head. As fate may have it, I stumbled onto a topic that’s held some intrigue for me since I was much younger, and almost instantly, in my mind, I could see the character that belonged there, her life, her traits, her flaws, her desires, and what would eventually be her demise!

At this point I’m 100’s of pages of notes & research in, and about 500 words deep into chapter 1 of what I feel could be the next big historical fiction novel to hit the shelves! Hopefully sometime soon – say 2013ish, assuming of course that the rest of the book/story tells itself as quickly and painlessly as things have fallen into place thus far. But whatever happens, however far I get, this is MY story – wholly and completely – and it feels EFFING AMAZING!!! 🙂

So, friends, family, and faithful blog stalkers – please accept my apologies in advance if I seem to be distant from the blog – and I do promise I’ll try to keep at least a few posts a month gracing these pages… Wish me luck!

~ m 🙂

Devastation & Celebration

There are few situations where we find ourselves so harshly torn between the emotions surging through our bodies, as in a time of mourning the loss of a loved one. This afternoon I attended the funeral of a good friends little sister. Sadly, premature deaths like this are nowhere near as rare as they should be. And, more than anything it urges the questioning of ones own mortality, and the unknown of when our own journeys will end.

The family and friends that joined together today, seeking to celebrate and remember the vibrancy, independence, and success of this amazing young lady were also brought together by their confused respect for a girl who struggled in silence with choices made, lessons learned, and adventures yet to experience. One of her sisters shared a poem that really struck a chord with me. It depicts so well how each of our paths is unique, and the wind or breeze that will move us in our right, and intended direction, can’t be summoned or commanded by our own selfish desires, it’ll only commence when the universe knows we’re truly ready.

If only this adored young woman had been able to hold on for a moment more, and seek out a confidant to help her brave her storm. She will be missed, her memories treasured, and her inspirational yet short life remembered as one of creative milestones, room brightening smiles, and all knowing eyes. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you steadfastly march onto your next adventure, as well as with your family and friends here as they struggle to find a new rhythm and make sense of their lives without you here. Your body may be gone, but your spirit will never be forgotten.

Raven, teach me to ride the winds of change

Perch where the wind comes at you full force.
Let it blow you apart till your feathers fly off and
you look like hell.
Then abandon yourself.
The wind is not your enemy.
Nothing in life is.
Go where wind takes you
higher lower
backwards
The wind to carry you forward will find you
when you are ready.
When you can bear it.

— Margaret Wheatley