Spring And Old Loves.

I can only describe my current state of affairs in one of two ways: either I’m following my heart, writing what I’m inspired by and devoting myself only to the projects that I feel I’m supposed to be working on at any given moment, or I’m flighty.

I’ve been listening to the Anne series on Librivox (I highly recommend it, Karen Savage is the best reader, she does all the different voices perfectly, from loving know-it-all Rachel Lynd to the incorrigible and childlike Davy Keith to starry-eyed Anne) and even though it’s been pouring down rain, I have full-on Spring Fever.

In winter I think about concepts. I’m sifting through ideas and sorting them all out, trying to create complicated story lines. Winter is my time for writing adventure and political intrigue. But as soon as spring hits, all I’m thinking about is violets and bluejays and picking blueberries and climbing trees. Complicated story lines have no place in my life when the sun is shining, and though the sun isn’t literally shining right now, it feels like it is.

I started a new story last spring that was unlike anything I had ever written in that it was completely character-driven. I wanted to focus on the characters and the setting more than on the twists and turns I had concentrated on before. This story still had twists, but the twists weren’t the thing, the people were. It was my Jo March moment, like when she quit writing vampire stories and finally took Mr. Baehr’s advice to write what she knew. I don’t know a whole lot, but I know about people, and I know what it feels like to watch a sunset or hear the first frog of the Spring. And as I wrote, I fell in love with the world I found myself in.

Then, horror of horrors, autumn came before I had finished, and as the rainy season set in, I lost steam. I found myself attracted to the complicated stories, not really wanting to continue my spring inspiration in the cold of October. The story was shelved, and I devoted myself to a new story, full of twists and surprises and deception. I worked tirelessly on it (okay, maybe I was tired a few times), but lately I’ve found my mind wandering back to last spring, missing my characters and wishing I could return to them again.

And whether it’s for good or ill, I’ve listened to my heart and returned to my old love, hoping this year I will finish before autumn sets in. (I can’t see why I wouldn’t, but you can never bet on the future.)

Either way, I’m wondering if this makes me an artist….. Or if I just have commitment issues.

The Day.

I am single. And yet, I quite like Valentine’s Day.

I know you were probably expecting me to say it makes me depressed, but it doesn’t. No boyfriend is buying me earrings or chocolate, but you know what? Deep inside, I kind of prefer it that way.

Right now I’m a young adult. I am discovering who I am, living a divinely selfish existence. I don’t know exactly who I am or where I’m going yet, but I’m learning, and I love this stage of my life where I’m finding it all out. I’m learning that I love myself, and even more, I like myself.

I’m enjoying these years of selfishness because they’ll be gone all too soon.

Maybe somewhere (way, way, way) down the road I will have a Valentine, but for now I am having too much fun being my own Valentine.

To celebrate, I bought myself flowers.

I hope you all have someone who loves you, but even more, I hope you love yourself. :)

Cleansing and Crying.

Cleanses are no joke. I haven’t had junk food since last Friday, and let me tell you, I’m more addicted than I thought.

I have a few theories and scenarios that I mull over from time to time. One question I ponder a lot is ‘if I had the chance to experience all the pain my life will hold in one second and then have a pain-free life, would I do it?’

It’s a tough question, and it’s kind of a Schrodinger’s Cat scenario. One would think that all that pain would leave scars, but then, if you had already experienced all the pain of your lifetime, it would be impossible to have any unpleasantness left over. 

But the good times wouldn’t feel as sweet without the memory of the bad ones, so what would be the point of the good moments without perspective? 

Like I said, it’s a scenario that I turn over in my mind, and I still haven’t come to any conclusion, but right now (being sugar-free) I’m feeling so gross that I’m sure I’ll run out of icky feelings soon. And having saved up a lot of good ones, it’ll only be uphill from there. Until then I don’t think I’ll be having any thoughts deeper than, “Is that ice cream?”

Withdrawals And Washington.

A few things:

1. Starting a cleanse the day before your team plays in the Superbowl is the worst idea I’ve ever had.

2. Quinoa gets old. Fast. Especially when all you want are cupcakes and skittles.

3. So does celery. And Brussels sprouts. And hummus. And lettuce.

4. Sugar withdrawals are the real deal. Contrary to reports, fruit doesn’t fill the void.

5. Goooo Seahawks!

Smoke and Memories.

The aching in her stomach wouldn’t stop. She sat in a lawn chair and stared at the sky, breathing in the frigid morning air, watching the horizon for signs of the rocket.

The sky was blue, pure azure. Not the brilliant indigo of May or the faded cornflower of late summer, just January blue.

The twisted throbbing in her abdomen continued, like poison butterflies had been let loose inside her stomach. She wrapped her jacket snugly around her neck to ward off the chill air and compartmentalized her feelings. Why was she so on edge? She couldn’t find words to describe it or to explain the dread wrapping its tentacles around her subconscious. She closed her eyes and took in the quiet of the morning, trying to calm her beating heart.

A low, resounding rumble took the place of the silence. She shouted over her shoulder toward the house and he came outside to join her, glancing away from the sky momentarily to look at her tight face. ‘You alright?’

She nodded, took another deep breath. ‘The smoke looks different this time, don’t you think?’

He shrugged. ‘Looks like smoke to me.’

They watched for a minute longer; they had always liked to see the launches together. He said it was part of the fun of living in Florida, to see history being made, though a history they never expected was waiting to take place.

Next all they saw was that fire. The instant, deadly tongues of fire shooting out of the shuttle. It wasn’t the fire of the rocket boosters she’d seen before, those had been different. ‘What was that?’ He asked, but she couldn’t hear him. Now smoke was pouring out, materializing out of thin air, engulfing the entire scene and blocking the shuttle from view.

Two streams of smoke continued in their trajectory, tracing across the sky, but something was arcing its way back down to the ocean.

With a start, she comprehends what’s happened. She’s just seen death, and for the first and last time in her life, a scream of terror escapes from her bloodless lips.


In memory of the Challenger Disaster.


Lately my head’s been in the clouds so you’re all being subjected to my fictional jaunts. :) I hope you all have a grand weekend!

Love And Lights.

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She was dying. The light flickered.

For forty years that lamp had been a beacon in the upstairs window, a sign that would reassure him, if he ever returned home, that she waited for him still.

The people of town had seen the light all those forty years and looked on it with pity, but none of the pity in the world could’ve shaken her.

In that small, sea-bordered town, generations had been brought up while she waited for her beloved to return.

How many children had wondered at the light, queried their mothers, and learned of the eccentric woman in the house atop the hill, no one knew. It seemed to some that her light would be illuminated until Kingdom Come, it had become such an elemental staple in their lives. For decades, long after every light in town had been dimmed, that golden beam had stood strong.

That was the funny thing about love. She had never been able to make up her mind about anything, not once in her life. What she wanted to wear, what she wanted to eat; a perpetual jumble of indecision. It followed, naturally, that her luck in love should answer to that characteristic uncertainty. She knew she would waver, miss her chance, and live to be an old maid.

But it didn’t happen. Love didn’t follow the laws of nature, it blazed paths through the wilderness, wandered where it would, it grew roses where there had been only thistles.
Where indecision had stood on its guard, love had crept up unnoticed, undetected. It had swept her reserve and doubt away as if they had never been, filled their place with the most razor-sharp certainty which left no room for questioning.

Everyone marveled that such a will-of-the-wisp could’ve held so strongly to a promise for forty long years. Especially when it was all but certain he’d been lost at sea not a month after they parted.

But for her, time had ceased to pass on from the day he last held her hand in his. Under the gray shining hair, matronly gown, and the eyes, with circles that hadn’t even been hinted at forty years earlier, she was yet the same. She could still feel the warmth of the sun on her golden head when she’d walked June meadows with him. The smell of the violets he had tucked into her hair was still so fresh in her memory.

It wasn’t strange at all to her that she still lit the light for him, though in her heart of hearts she had accepted it years ago that he was never coming back to her. It was strange to her that anyone should expect her to do anything else. She had promised her devotion, and for the only time in her life, she had understood what that meant. She felt that he was gone, she had resigned herself to it. But love didn’t follow after separation, death had no power to darken it. It had only served to strengthen her devotion to him.

She inhaled a shaky breath and watched the light dim a touch, then return to its usual brightness.

She fingered the gold locket he had given her the night before their final goodbye and felt her time on Earth coming to its conclusion. She saw her life in a long line of memories. She saw his face more clearly than she had in years, and as she breathed her last, the light in the window flickered and went out.

Yet if anyone had been watching the window, they would’ve seen that just after it died, it burst forth with the brightest show of illumination the lamp had ever cast in all its forty years.

Sorry. It’s raining and I’m not in a ‘present moment’ mood. Hope you all have a pleasant weekend!

The Sage And Skin Deep.

This morning, I was annoyed.

I was listening to the radio, a station I listen to regularly, when suddenly a song I had never heard came on. The first line of the chorus described a girl’s ‘painted on’ jeans. It went on to describe her in more detail, but what struck me was that the songwriter chose to begin not by describing her personality, not her as a person, but how she looked.

It brought to mind so many songs I hear on the radio –many of which aren’t even inappropriate — which aren’t painting women in the way I believe they should be.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being told I’m pretty. I’m just as vain as anyone, I want to be perceived as attractive. But if my looks were ever the first thing a person thought of when they considered me, I would have serious worries.

I see so many kids who’ve grown up in the spotlight fall into the trap of thinking that to prove to everyone that they’ve grown up, they must showcase themself in some risqué fashion.

I ask, why?

Why the huge focus on the face, the body, the superficial?

I’ve fallen far too many times into the trap of thinking that maybe I’m not edgy enough. Maybe being a nice, good girl isn’t enough, maybe I’m too boring the way I am. I’ve bought the lie that a person needs just a little ‘bad’ to make them exciting.

But I always come back go the same question. Why should being risqué equate to maturity?

Why do the more important parts of a person get pushed into the background? The opinions of a person, their trials and triumphs, the merits that are actually worthy of notice are forgotten in our world’s constant obsession with pushing the envelope.

And what is all this surface value worth? The manifold ‘good’ in it is fleeting. Good looks are a fine thing for a person to have, but it’s not what makes a person. You can’t build a human being out of perfumed puffs of air.

Shouldn’t maturity mean more than that? Self control, forgiveness, sacrificial love, aren’t those the traits that should speak of maturity?

As I grow older and see more of the fruits of this false ‘maturity’ in the world, I find myself valuing edginess less. I find myself caring less about appearing exciting and craving more wholesome.

I hope that all the girls and boys out there who are making the uncomfortable change from childhood to adulthood know that they’re more than just a face or worse, just a body, and that adulthood is so much deeper than what the world tells you. ‘Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain’. There’s so much more to all of us if we dig deeper than skin deep. Don’t be just a face.

‘Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit’

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Epitaphs And Obituaries.

Maybe I should’ve saved this for Monday, then I could call it Morbid Mortuary Monday. But it’s Thursday… Termination Thursday?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking lately about epitaphs (don’t even ask). I wondered, if I could choose only three words to have in my obituary after I’m gone, what three words would they be?

First I thought of words like writer, dreamer… but while those descriptors were fine, they weren’t what I wanted to be remembered for.

I want to be remembered for more than just what I am, but for the things I love. I love smiles, kindness, generosity.

I want to be remembered as someone who brought joy to everyone she met, who was generous with everything she had, whether it was time or money or love, and someone who honored God with every breath she breathed.

It is so tempting to be sucked into thinking that life is about ‘earthly’ things, the day-to-day things. But when there’s nothing remaining but the legacy I’ve left behind, I want it to be more than how I dressed or did my hair or spoke. I hope it’s about the way I treated people.

Oh boy. I’ve got some work to do. :)

What do you want to leave behind, if it’s not too morbid to ask?

Tibias and Tectonics.

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Sherlock Holmes isn’t aware that the earth revolves around the sun. Sherlock Holmes is way smarter than I will ever be.

I’ve been rereading A Study In Scarlet lately, and I think my favorite part is when Watson is shocked to learn that Holmes has no knowledge of astronomy.

“That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth traveled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.
‘You appear to be astonished,’ he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. ‘Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.’
‘To forget it!’
‘You see,’ he explained, ‘I consider that a man’s brain is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.’
‘But the Solar System!’ I protested.
‘What the deuce is it to me?’ he interrupted impatiently: ‘you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.’”

It got me thinking, what am I stocking my brain with? I’m certainly not overly careful with only taking in useful information (I don’t think I’d love Jeopardy so much if I didn’t have such a wealth of useless trivia). But really, what is the information that I’m pushing out in order to keep the more consequential stuff in place?

For me, the ‘why should I care’ category is, unfortunately, science. Space, elements, the bones in the human body… I couldn’t tell the difference between a tibia and a tectonic plate if they slapped me across the face. I think science is a really important subject, and I hugely respect scientists. But I’ve never felt called to the scientific realms, and honestly, I have never seen any reason to look further into a subject that will have little bearing on my writing. (Unless I someday write a story about a scientist, then I would willingly dive into the scientific world, with fervor!)

How about you, what’s the subject you pretend doesn’t exist?

PS- For advice, I asked my mom, “what’s something I know nothing about?” Her reply was “dairy cows”, so I figured I’d add that to the roster. I know nothing of dairy cows.

PPS- A parting word from Holmes: “‘It’s quite exciting,’ said Sherlock Holmes, with a yawn.”

photo credit

Hair and Cares.

I dyed my hair.

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Maybe I’m thinking way too deeply about this, but I feel like it’s a really symbolic situation.

See, my hair has been blonde since I was born, blonde is my comfort zone. I’ve slunk through life, not challenging myself. I thought that if I stepped out and did things that scared me or liked the things I wanted to like, I’d be gaining attention, and attention scares me to death.

So when I made a split second decision to go red and ran out to buy some Clairol Red Hot; sat down on my grandma’s antique kitchen stool and felt my sisters slather my hair with dye, I was a little nervous. (Mainly because my hairstylist told me not to dye my hair red, and I am not generally a rebellious person.)

Then one of my sisters looked at my bright orange head and told me, “Margaret, you never would’ve done this a year ago,” and she was 100% correct. A year ago, red hair was a “yeah right, maybe someday when I’ve brave” idea. It was just was too huge of a commitment.

What if I change my mind? What if it looks bad? What if it’s too bold? What if people don’t like it?

But for once, when I looked at the dye soaking into my hair, I realized that I wasn’t scared. I knew that I was a different person from the doubtful girl I was a year ago.

I’ve learned that it’s kind of fun to do the thin

gs that scare you. Facing my fears in the past year has given me the power to quiet my doubts. And when I looked in the mirror and saw my new hair, I didn’t feel anxious anymore, I felt brave.

Like I said, probably reading into it way too much, but there’s my deep thought for the day. :)

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