Category Archives: thoughts and reflections

slap your ego into submission(s)

tonight my soul has been pricked.
for years i have avoided the whole “writing business” business.  i’ve written loads of poetry, several kid’s books, and started a great many other works that i have not yet finished.  but the process of trying to pitch myself is somewhat overwhelming, and i give up before i begin.
i think it’s the daunting pressure of greatness hovering over my ego that does me in.  i worry that i won’t be taken seriously.  that my work will not be good enough.  i worry that i am not great.
not everyone is going to be great.  i know that is not the whole of the writing world.  but i feel i have a story for someone, somewhere, that will move them to tears, or quicken them to action, or spur them into a new way of being.  i feel i have something magical for someone, some magic boost of energy or hidden weapon they need, and i worry that i will fail to shine the light in the right direction.  my world – inside my mind – is full of mystery, magic, shimmering life, and impossible realities, and i worry that there is no way i can possibly translate what my experience is to another through a measly work of fiction.  words fail me, and i cannot always paint the picture i wish to share.

but then i remember.  not everyone is great.  not every writer is brilliant.  but the STORY may still be brilliant.  with all my short comings, insecurities and procrastinating tendencies, i am just a tool the story uses to make itself known to the world.  and so i tell myself:

less ego…more writing.

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melting away the pretense

Lansing seems to be so hot lately, i’m concerned there won’t be much of it left after the summer is gone!

 

well ok, this is actually a house left over from a fire.  but it’s pretty cool.  i mean – sorry – it’s never cool to have your house catch fire.  so i hope everyone was ok and got out all right.  but the melted structure looks pretty cool.  interesting.  odd.  like the house was fed up with its outfit and decided to shed its old personality for something more up to date.

it’s fascinating.  looks like sculpting clay being scraped away.

do you think houses have feelings?  i wonder if the house is embarrassed about its semi-nude appearance?

Easy steps to a magical life

My sister Tobie found a nose the other day while she was hanging around.  Now don’t go all “Dexter”

on me and call the FBI to apprehend those in my household ~ this was a Polar Bear nose.  Of the Stuffenad Animaleus genus.  I made a display at work that was meant to encourage volunteerism; stuff like joining Habitat for Humanity, or World Wildlife Fund, or the Nature Conservancy.  That kind of thing.  We have all kinds of books on volunteer vacations and I thought it would make a good display, so up went all the endangered toys: leopards, wolves, and polar bears.  I put up a few super heroes and tried to imply that you would gain massive mystical abilities by serving your community.  I’m pretty sure no one was fooled by this chicanery.  While preparing at home for the display, the nose popped off the polar bear, so I just had the mamma bear cleaning the baby bear at work, and no one was the wiser.

Except my sister, when she found what she thought was a random dog nose laying around the house.  Now I know there are people in the world who would just say to themselves, “dang it, my kid broke another toy” or “ackk, the vacuum will NOT like THIS”.  And yes, these things are logical responses.

But having a life full of wonder involves re-thinking your typical responses.  Yes I can just pick up the nose and throw it away, or put it and the broken bear in a bag to give to a charity, or set it aside to mend.  But life is so much more magical when I take a moment to reflect, and look at the nose on the carpet and ask myself:  what kind of boogers would come out of a carpet’s nose?

summer lovin’: ideas for keeping cool

well it’s another hot scorching day in the States.  which is wonderful, because it’s not winter!  but if you don’t have AC at your location, here are some recommendations for keeping cool:

1.  Go to your local library!  Not only should your local library have loads of good stuff to read, listen to and peruse, they should have AC as well!  Do what our patrons do and enjoy the cool spell for a while as you play Farmville on the web.  Or nod right off in one of the fluffy chairs.  It beats passing out on the sidewalk and getting a concussion from heat exhaustion.

2.  Go mall walking.  Malls are full of AC.  And consumerism.  And pretzels.  So then walk a little more after that.

3.  Hit the theater.  Summer blockbusters don’t even have to be interesting, because they offer popcorn and AC for a few hours of the day.  Who cares what’s playing?  But if you can still catch it, the Avengers is worth watching back to back for multiple kick-butt enjoyment and extended AC play.

4.  Bug someone in your family.  Surely someone you know – family member, friend, ex, or foe – has air conditioning you can siphon off for a while as you return that old lawn mower you forgot you had, or the old jean jacket that went out of style twelve years ago.  Or maybe you just want to patch things up with someone you’ve had a feud with, because that will be sure to take about three or four good hours of crying and cooling down.

5.  Go to Red Robin.  Not only do they have the best most delicious burgers EVER, they are coooool.  Not sure what the maximum stay period is, but you can stretch it out by ordering desert, refills, and asking for a coloring book.

6.  If all else fails, lie in the tub!  Pour a tub full of cool water, sprinkle in some mint leaves if you want refreshing scents, and hop in with a good (disposable) fiction read.  Be sure you bring in something you don’t mind tossing out, just in case you drop it in the water.  Magazines are great for this, and comic books if you aren’t an avid collector and worried about the mint condition.  You may find yourself slightly pickled after a few hours, but just think of all the telemarketers and mothers-in-law you will avoid by not hearing the phone!

Day 01

Every day is a clean slate; every morning a new beginning…

fattest day of the week

it’s Fat Tuesday!  yay, time to suck down some sugar and lard in order to get ready for some serious self sacrifice!

the history of Fat Tuesday is shrouded in mystery:  did it originate with the Polish, who made too many Panczis one day, and decided on a random Tuesday to have a blow out sale?  was it initiated by the Pagan-cum-Christians, who were eager to fit into the church (so as not to be burned) but reluctant to set aside their partying ways?  or did it all really begin in New Orleans, spear-headed by some crafty politician that knew shiny beads, alcohol and sugary treats meant debauchery, drunkenness and increased tourism capital.

any way you look at it, kafillions of people observe Fat Tuesday before buckling down for the more strenuous Lent.  eat, drink and be merry today, for tomorrow we must not have chocolate.  or soda.  or smoking.  whatever your vice is.

i don’t think this is a bad thing.  i’m not against it in any way.  i’m also not a Christian (any longer) so i can choose to observe or not observe this time of year.  the thing that is interesting to me is the giving up of something for Lent.  i’ve heard of people giving up red meat, sugar, junk food and alcohol.  i’ve heard people say they are going to give up Facebook for Lent.  how is this really honoring Christ’s sacrifice?  i mean, if he goes for a month without food or water, he’s delusional and dehydrated, malnourished and exhausted, then crucified on a cross for not doing anything wrong, how does giving up french fries equate to that sacrifice?  is it really on the same playing field?  – hypothetical question, that.

instead of trying to make myself feel better for having indulgences and vices by ignoring them for a stretch of days, i’d rather try to incorporate new things in my life.  if, as Christians proclaim, Jesus came to give us life, and free us from sin, why are we spending all this time sacrificing something that won’t help anyone?  Jesus doesn’t need my soda.  or my damn good Taco flavored Doritos.  me offering them to him isn’t going to do him any good, or me.  it would just make me super cranky to not have my caffeine.  instead of focusing on what is bad in us and what should be expunged,  what if we all embraced life?  what if instead of focusing on my eating habits, i helped feed the poor?  what if instead of giving up time on the internet, i worked with Habitat for Humanity to get someone a new home?  what if i bought someone a cup of coffee instead of giving up my own?

it seems to me the world might be a brighter place if we spent more time helping one another – at ANY time of the year – rather than beating ourselves on the head for eating yummy foodstuffs.

Xposed

i’m dealing in the dark right now.  that’s not to say i’m selling drugs.  or that when i shuffle my hands i have all the lights out.  no, i’m just coming face to face with some of my ‘evil twin’ issues.

we all have a darker side; a darker nature.  it’s not always hard for me to look at, because i don’t mind having tattoos, fetishes, and an odd sense of art and beauty.  but when my failures, short comings and neurosis are exposed to others without me INTENDING that to happen – well, that gets a little embarrassing.

i guess i’ve had OCD since i was little.  second grade for sure.  one year i kept a pumpkin in my room after Halloween, i guess because i liked his crooked grin.  i’ve always liked Halloween the most (except for those few years in LA when i thought it might be more useful to pray for children being abducted and sacrificed in Satanic rituals rather than hand out sugary treats.  hey, not all my personalities are completely rational).  anyway, my little pumpkin grinned at me, with his crooked impish smile day after day.  and then his smile got more impish and crooked, cause he started deteriorating. 

i didn’t know anything about composting and biological decay, so one day i lifted his head up, to look inside.  a head full of black, spider-webby growth looked up at me and made me crazy.  dark ickies, growing right inside my room; creepy, stinky moss stuff sending pores of poison into my nostrils.  OCD!!!  i mean, there are many other reasons i am OCD, which might get covered later. 

anyway, i’ve known i’m this way for a while, but i usually try to find jobs and situations that HELP me manage my condition.  have a routine.  work at the same desk.  have a consistent schedule.  but now – because of circumstances out of my control – i’m working in an environment that is forever changing and completely unpredictable.  it is chaotic, busy, and rapid response is needed all the time.  it’s not that i’m not smart enough to handle the pressure…i just have a way of doing things that minimizes my stress reactors and freak out responses.  and i have no real set way of dealing with these things in my current position and situation, so my OCD becomes very apparent, even to those who don’t work with me.

this is embarrassing.  i feel like an idiot when people notice and comment that i’m doing the same thing over again, or i got confused about what to do next because they messed up my piles of stuff.  i feel exposed and naked when someone notices that i have re-packed a box of books and materials because i didn’t like the way they fit into the container, and i think i could get more in there if i rearranged things.  and it’s really embarrassing when i freak out over something stupid and meaningless because i am tender, sensitive and uncertain about my lovability. 

it’s embarrassing being me sometimes.

i mean, it’s wonderful and fascinating as well.

colorful and magical.  it’s exhilarating, curious, fun, and

hmmmm…now, why was i embarrassed again?

fishing from beyond

If I were to try to do something beyond the grave, it wouldn’t be fishing.  It would be something I love, like having sex, or watching Twilight Zones, or trying to eat other people’s food even though I’m dead and I really can’t enjoy the flavors anymore.  Fishing isn’t really my thing.  But apparently there is someone on my morning walk who is still trying to get his fly on.

Last year I noticed a fishing line, draped passionately over a telephone wire.  Of course, if you are the average, boxed-in type thinker, you will just assume someone got their line caught while casting off.  I’m sure that is frustrating.  I, however, immediately thought that someone had been called away to heaven, and despite the happiness one might have when realizing you are going UP instead of the other direction, this recently vacanted being wanted to hang on to his fishing pole and get in one last catch.

It seems he was successful in convincing the authorities that he should stay around a little bit longer, and guard the waters, or continue plucking fishies from their homes, whichever he is capable of in his newly ghostly state.  I’m calling him Fisherman Bill.  Here are some shots of him I think you’ll like:

angels around town

I found this lovely angel in a tree stump.  You just never know where they’ll crop up!

 

 

looks like her heart is sad

 

 

 

confessions of a dangerous writer

Today we will be discussing something that is commonly known as “Creative License”.

First off, I must confess that I haven’t yet read the controversial book “A Million Little Pieces” by Stephen Frey.

Although I do admit that I love both the title and the cover art. What I know of the book is this: Frey got into a heap big trouble for claiming to have done things that I guess he didn’t do. I believe he was outed on Oprah and his previously huge bestseller suddenly became a questionable piece of fiction. Potentially.

I too am a writer. I too take creative license here and there. Some things just sit better phonetically or dramatically. For instance:

I really do have annoyingly loud construction workers outside my window at this very moment, tearing my street to bits and making me crazy with their early morning antics. However, in a previous post I claim that they start their work at 7:30 in the morning. It may really be more like 8, or 8:15. But you know, I was really irritated, and it FELT like 7:30 in the morning. So that’s what came out. I think most people can understand this stretch of the information.

And then there’s my thing with coffee.

Any writer out there should be addicted to coffee. You know, you watch the movies, or the old Alfred Hitchcock shows and it seems that writers, coffee and cigarettes all go merrily hand in hand. And, being a writer type, I love coffee. Although the coffee I drink is usually mochafied, half coffee half hot chocolate. But I dearly love the smell of coffee, both the grounds in the package and the cup wafting its flavor through my olfactory glands. I love the flavor and the warmth and the snuggliness of it.

But really, if I get out my honesty meter, I don’t drink it that often. Coca~Cola is my true addiction, and black tea. Lipton’s. I drink like a pitcher a day. I need the antioxidants as well as the caffeine. So while I’m not actually lying about liking coffee and seriously needing a cup on a regular basis, it’s more often a can of Coke on my table next to my laptop.

But that just doesn’t sound the same. When I’m writing a poem about a rainy day, and the melancholy mood I’m in because it’s cool and overcast and fall (which it’s not, because it’s 80 and summertime here) coffee goes along with the mood and feel of the poem. Coke just doesn’t fit the emotional landscape as well.

So I have this ethical delimma. Or question, really, cause I’m not losing any sleep over this. I like being able to dramatize a situation, and express an anecdote in a slightly exaggerated manner. This is what makes any good writer good; they tell a story. But what exactly is the line between exaggerating, or emphasizing the fantastical elements of a story or situation, and Stephen Freying?