Few humans see fairies or hear their music, but many find fairy rings of dark grass, scattered with toadstools, left by their dancing feet.
Science seeks to explain everything–but maybe we don’t want everything explained. We don’t want all the magic to go out of life. We want to remain connected to the secret parts of our inner beings, to the ancient mysteries, and to the most distant outposts of the universe. We want to believe. And as long as we do, the fairies will remain.
~ Skye Alexander
Once upon a time, I thought faeries lived only in books, old folktales, and the past. That was before they burst upon my life as vibrant, luminous beings, permeating my art and my everyday existence, causing glorious havoc.
~ Brian Froud
The Road Less Traveled
When does Imagination turn into Magic?
Who lives across the water
Down that path
In those woods
Who lives under that tree
Beyond that field
Among those clouds
The whispers of the Otherworld
Ask that question all the time
Turns Magic into Imagination
Their world lies
right beneath our feet
just out of sight
All we need to do
is look … and feel
When I sound the fairy call,
Gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall,
Cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry, Take a cherry
Mine are sounder, Mine are rounder
Mine are sweeter, For the eater
When the dews fall. And you’ll be fairies all.
~Robert Graves, “Cherry-Time,” Fairies and Fusiliers, 1918
My first reaction (after amazement) was a little sadness, for I always want to see the rising moon from the far end of my property. There’s a cornfield on the other side of the back back back gate, which makes the horizon long and flat and dark.
There’s something about a full orange moon that fills me with magic. I become young again. I want to play, I want to do magic, I want to write magic. I want to see faeries in the woods and elves walking along the paths.
My imagination soars when I’m outside with the Lady of the Night.
Yet I missed this one — one I could have easily have watched from the very beginning. But I was out to dinner with a friend.
A friend who has just beaten cancer. Again. She has done chemo and is now going through radiation.
A friend that is full of life, of hope. I love her stories…she has so many of them. After what she’s been through, she is a gift from above. She has children and grandchildren that adore her, a husband that supports her, and everyone she meets becomes a friend of support through this bad time.
Maybe that’s what the moon was telling me last night.
Maybe it glowed with the magic of friendship. Maybe it glowed with pride in my thinking about someone else besides myself. Maybe She knew that if I hadn’t taken my friend to dinner I’d be zoning out on TV or some other wasteful pastime.
What’s the big deal about taking someone out to dinner? An hour and half, twenty-five dollars later. It’s an hour and a half out of your busy, busy, oh-so-important schedule.
Yet it is an hour and a half of strength. Of love. Of friendship.
Two people, both having suffered from the horrid demon C, eating soup and chowing down burgers, laughing about work and boasting about our grandkids and our kids and how lucky we are to be alive. We planned for tomorrow and the next day and the next day.
That’s what you do with friends.
One night go out and gaze upon a full moon. Listen to what it’s saying to you. You will understand what She is saying. Your soul will be better for it.
I’m sitting around this kinda warm Saturday afternoon, resting my pulled back muscle (which now is mostly my sciatic nerve), listening to music, trying to beat down the A.D.D. part of me that wants to run around and do a dozen things at one time.
I’ve been listening to the Rock Show on Sirius, and they’ve been playing a lot of great tunes from my youth. Ah, yes. My youth = my choices = my alternate choices. What could turn out to be a melancholy trip through the 70s through the 90s (I don’t consider anything past 2000 as my “youth”), actually turns out to be a voyage into song lyrics.
This time the words that haunt me are lyrics that sing about magical, powerful, beautiful women and whatever they did to have a song written about them. The song that struck me first was Hollywood Nights by Bob Seeger:
She had been born with a face
That would let her get her way
He saw that face and he lost all control
He had lost all control
Night after night
Day after day
It went on and on
What kind of a face could make a man lose his mind for days and nights and nights and days? Or one of my favorites, Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac:
Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover?
All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?
She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when
The sky is starless
What kind of woman is thought of as taken by the wind? Does she fly? Do her thoughts lift her higher and higher? What about: Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night — clearly an analogy to her solid, musical soul breaking the silence of the night. Pretty powerful.
There are better examples than the ones I’ve given. But you get my drift. Super women. Gorgeous, powerful, mystical women. Ruling and running their lives just the way they want to.
What would it be like to born with a face…That would let her get her way? To be so beautiful, talented, genuinely breathtaking that you could have anything you want? You could go to any department store and pick something off the rack and actually wear it. You would barely have to exercise to keep your marvelously thin and voluptuous body. You would have men and women at your feet. Loving you, wanting you. From a distance — right next to you. You’d always have a date for dinner or the movies. The flowers would bend in reverence to your awesomeness.
I myself have always suffered from less-is-really-less syndrome. Unfortunately, I do not suffer from extreme beauty, brains, physique, or mobility. I’ve always been on the average Joe/Joelyn side. But I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the best — truly best — at anything. From modeling to brain surgeons to ballet. To be sooooo great because everything came naturally to you.
Alas, I will have to leave those wonderings to the mystics. We make the most of who we are and what we have and leave the rest to mystics. Or writers.
But it would be great if they’d write a song about me…
and no…not Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen…
I had a case of the crabbies today, par for most who have to work a whole week after only have worked 4 days the week before and none the week before that. It seemed a number of people I encountered today were a bit “off” as well. I would blame it on MR (can’t say…I promised), but I think it’s just a case of I-wanna-be-anywhere-but-at-work syndrome.
Tonight is/was the Strawberry Moon. You’ve undoubtedly have heard of it — a full moon, close to Earth, makes for one giant strawberry in the sky. So me and my adventurous self took a walk down a wooded path to the back gate which faces a huge corn field, and waited for the moon to appear.
I always think myself a bit weird to begin with, but pacing up and down the tractor road along side newly sprouted corn, waiting for a moon that could show up anywhere across the horizon was plenty weird, too. I’ve waited for moonrise before — I even blogged about one incident (Moonlight at Sunset, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-4e, if you want to go back that far) eleventy twenty nine years ago (that’s how my grandson counts).
There was a tractor plowing/planting in the field, and I’m sure he caught sight of me once or twice. I didn’t want to have to explain what I was doing tiptoeing around his field (even though he’s a good guy and wouldn’t mind), so I occasionally ducked in the hedgerow lining the path. What a weirdo, too.
But all my weirdness was well worth it when the moon rose. It was indeed a strawberry color, huge and ripe and round and lovely to behold. It was at that moment that the crabbys disappeared…who could hold a grudge against the world with something so awesome in the night sky?
It’s these moments that make me feel so small, yet so immense. If there is no heaven, I want to be able to absorb these cosmic moments as often as I can. For nothing is as holy as a phenomenon in space.
I used to be an astronomy buff; I took classes at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and even bought a telescope. My scientific side melded with my fantasy side, and a true appreciation of science fiction was born. I think it’s true for all creative people. Thinking of places you can go, things you can invent, spaces you can fill, all overwhelm the senses. Creativity isn’t pidgeon-holed into science fiction realms — I have seen pottery and jewelry and wire sculpturing that escape all dimensions. And all that creativity makes me wonder — what’s next?
When you see the immensity of the moon, something real and bright and ever changing, how can you hold a grudge with the world? Get out of your house, out of your room, out of your car. Go out and experience the Goddess in her every changing glory. Then bring Her energy into you and let it turn your imagination into reality. Be inspired. Be creative. Be whole. If the moon isn’t your thing, try the sun. Let the warm rays fill you with hope and strength. Or Mother Earth. She’s a phenomenon all unto herself.
Let go of the crabbies. They never helped anyone get anywhere anyway.
Since my thought earlier today was of writing a blog about cats, I leave you with the image above. Cats and Strawberry Moons have the makings of a wonderful story. Or necklace. Or painting.
Don’t you think?
So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.
Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too. Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.
This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb. I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.
That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture. Yet more often I think I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.
How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator; good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.
Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely. I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers. I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off the main character.
There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.
So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.
I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world… email@example.com.
There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.
Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…
Need to find a little magic in your everyday life? There’s got to be a way to connect today’s mad, mad world to the airy fairy contentment daydreaming brings. What is “magic” anyway? It’s just a word. A word that describes what can’t always be described. Kinda like love or intuition or Coan Brothers movies. It’s different for everyone. Here’s a few ways to tap into the mist (or is it the fog) that surrounds the charisma called “magic”:
ETHER. The concept of the Ether (guess we need to capitalize it) is that magic exists in the natural world like air. Anyone with sufficient understanding can process it into whatever it is he or she is trying to do. It’s also referred to as the fifth element (mool-ti-pass?) along with earth, air, water and fire. Ever catch the scent of pine trees in the air? Burning leaves? Pig farms? All of those stimulate the Ether. All trigger the senses, taking them to another level. Learn to feel hot and cold pockets of air, watch the heat waves rise from the road, or feel the breeze blow your hair around. A heebie jeebie feeling will run through you, leaving you mystified or merely curious. One hint: don’t search for the Ether while driving, starting a bonfire or any other activity that needs your attention. You just might find yourself breathing more than just Ethered air.
HERBS. Certain herbs are said to have magical properties (no…not the ones you smoke). There are plenty of “healthy” naturalities that can open the stuck door to your magical playground. Sage is commonly used for purification and cleansing (see what it does for stuffing?). Catnip is meant to captivate a lover ― or at least a cat. Cinnamon increases psychic power (no wonder we sense cinnamon toast a mile away!). Basil is for wealth and prosperity (I could use a whole back yard of this). I added my own herby kind of things to the magical list: chocolate (who isn’t taken in by its charm?), wine (loosens up the tongue to speak to whatever higher power is hanging around), and homemade spaghetti sauce (I swoon to heaven and back when I eat it). Whatever herb makes you smile is the one that’s magical for you. Go for it.
OBJECTS: Throughout time there have been objects that have been sought for their ability to do things that no human can do on their own. The Philosopher’s Stone (turns base metals into gold), The Holy Grail (drinking from it grants immortality), the Pot of Gold (pretty obvious what it does), and Book of Thoth (a forbidden book that was the key to mastering the secrets of air, sea, earth, and the heavenly bodies), all are legendary objects that have the capability to make humans larger than life. Today’s magical objects are a lot more accessible to us lowly humans. The Internet (instant information), CDs (the gospel of Pink Floyd and Benny Goodman were never so available), telephones (or should I now say cell phones), beer steins (symbols of the fruitfulness of grain), gold coins (back to the source of all evil), and dozens of other things can instantly turn our world from mundane to magical. Also consider flags, beer bottle tops, crystals, rock band T-shirts, root beer floats, chocolate truffles, Christmas ornaments (I have some cool Irish ones), and 4H ribbons, are all magical objects (in their own way)..
CREATURES. Creatures are not often considered fountains for magical energy. However, some are well known for their connection to the magical world. Unicorns, dragons, faeries, Nessie, Bigfoot, Pan, Puck, angels, brownies (not the edible kind), ghosts, Puff ― all are creatures that will stimulate your imagination and tap into the wonder of it all. What does it matter if they were/are real or not? Are you real? How do we know? In a pinch, puppies, kittens, and babies are suitable substitutes.
PLACES. Places where magic concentrates have dotted the cosmic landscape for a long time. The Fountain of Youth, Atlantis, Never Never Land, Oz, Heaven, Shangri La, Rivendell, Sha Ka Ree, all are places that sprung from the human mind and exist on some plane of existence somewhere. Magic blows the dirt of these worlds into our own back yards. Utopia may not exist in our sphere of reality, but why can’t it exist elsewhere? Why can’t we tap into these magical places and pick up a few tips? I know I could get into a dishwashingless or rakingtheleavesless society. And heck ― Klingons and Elves don’t hold a candle to the nuts we experience in our everyday world. Even our messy home can be an alien environment at times. What inspiration!
DIVINE MAGIC. At the opposing end of the spectrum from Ether is the idea that magic can only be handed down from some divine or infernal source. Granted through either prayers or rituals, this type of magic requires a force from the outside of the normal/natural world coming to bear on a situation. Gods, goddesses, aliens, demons, magicians, angels, spirit guides, and totems come to mind. Their intervention comes in handy during football games, pregnancy tests, lottery tickets, cooking competitions, and IRS audits. Although whether they wave their energy over the Packers or the Bears remains to be seen.
Be that as it may, I hope you understand that real divine magic exists within us all. It’s called common sense. It’s called love. Let those two energies guide all you think and do, and magic will be at your fingertips. Trust me on this one. Don’t be afraid to use the “M” word when describing your philosophy of life. It melds well with the “G” word and the “L” word, sprinkling a bit of sweetness on our basic beliefs and desires.
And, after all ― it does kinda tastes like sugar…
With the Madness of Summer burning the bottoms of our feet, there is not often much time to do any deep reading. A news headline here, a gossip column there, is about all one can squeeze in between State Fairs and Renaissance Faires and Italian Fairs. So I thought I’d make it short and sweet this time around…come along and check out some of my oldies-but-goodies and see for yourself how fun managing the madness and magic and middle age can be!
Sharpening the Tool — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/sharpening-the-tool/
I hate it when people say that many middle-aged people “aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.” It’s condescending, insulting, naive and just plain wrong. What I hate even more, though, is being one of those dull tools. Alas, there are times when I feel I’m struggling to stay in the shed, period.
Dancing in a Too Tight Tutu — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/522/
I was sitting around the other day with my gal friends, sharing tales about the weekend. We all seemed to have gone through the same delightful experience, albeit in different ways. We all were relaxed, having a good time, and probably drank a little too much, for we all said, “I’m too old for this.” One sat with friends and sipped with friends all day, one went to an outdoor concert, and I party hopped. I’m sure the situations were on the same astral plane as many others “my age.” Time flows, excitement and comfort wraps around us, the atmosphere make us feel good, and before you know it we are waking up the next morning with a headache, saying, “I’m too old for this.
Dinner With the Queen — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/dinner-with-the-queen/
In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life? Just for a day?
The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/the-importance-of-unicorns-and-bratwurst/
The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst. This is one of those ethereal, out-of-body titles that try to connect the cosmic to the ordinary, the magical to the mundane. I was hit by this title some time ago, not having a clue as to what it meant or what I would eventually write about. Even now, as my fingers hit the keys, I have no idea where this storyline is going. But isn’t that so much like our everyday lives?
Merlot at the Lake House — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/merlot-at-the-lake-house/
Quick. Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time gain. Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?
Equal to my desire to become a famous writer (move over, JK), is my desire for others to enjoy my work. While my first desire is right up there with winning the lottery and swimming in the Mediterranean, the second actually seems possible.
The other day I stopped into the Goddess Hood and found I had been nominated for the Sunshine Award on WordPress. I don’t know exactly what that is or where you go to find out about it, but just knowing that someone actually READ my blog and thought enough about it to submit my name really made my sun shine.
I was nominated by seventhvoice.wordpress.com, who is, among other talents, a very good, sensitive poet. I thank her – and you – for letting me know my posts make a difference in your lives. I think I’m supposed to nominate other blogs for other awards, but there are so many floating around out there I don’t know where to start. The Inspiring Blog Award, the Beautiful Blogger Award, The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, the Sunshine Award ― all are accolades that reward the determined writer with a bit of recognition…and appreciation.
I feel bad because I don’t have as much time to follow blogs and enter contests and write stories like I used to. It seems the older I get the busier I get. How did that happen? I subscribe to a handful of blogs and really want to subscribe to a few more. But even today I opened my mailbox and found 523 emails waiting for me. Where have I been?
I realized that asking you to read my blog or get my email blog puts you in the same situation that I’m in. We all are trying to put 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag. And I thought ― how can I pick out one or five blogs that catch my soul so much that I nominate them for all the awards floating around out there? What makes a blog about spirituality any more enjoyable than one about divorce? How do I know if your blog is an Inspiring Blog Award or a Beautiful Blogger Award?
So what I have done is nutty and escapist…something those of you who know me have no problem believing. I’m creating my own award:
Who is to receive this precious honor?
All of you.
All of you who take time to listen to my babble, all of you who send your thoughts and comments my way, all of you who strive to be more than you are today. It is for those of you who peek in once a month or wait impatiently for my next ditty. It’s for those of you who like me but never have time to read anything. And it’s for those who don’t care for my style but put up with me anyway.
And you know the best thing about this award? YOU can pass it on! Pass it on to anyone who makes you smile, anyone who makes you feel. Take my dancing diamond and send it to your best friend and the chick you barely know. Let them know you’re thinking about them and that you think they sparkle like a diamond.
You’ll feel better for it. I know I do.
As I ran around the house this morning getting ready for work, feeding the dogs, putting the gym shoe one of the dogs brought upstairs to sleep with back where it belongs, flipping through the TV stations looking for a weather report I already knew, trying on my third outfit because the first two made me look like a pudgy pie, realizing I’ll have to take a banana that’s seen better days and a huge container of leftover macaroni and cheese for lunch because I don’t have time to divvy up the leftover into human-sized portions, I wondered ― where has the magic gone?
Oh, I know “cosmically” it’s still hanging around, in and through me. I know it’s outside in the morning sunrise, in the beauty of Bach on SIRIUS XM POPS and the bright fuchsia of the flowers outside my window. I know it’s in the tinkle of a baby’s laugh and the breath of a secret. Blah blah blah. All I knew was that I wasn’t feelin’ it. And the day was going to go downhill if I didn’t find it soon.
Magic is one of those words that can ruffle feathers in certain spheres. So to distinguish the word that boasts levitation and lightning bolts from the one that’s benignly linked to the soul, let’s talk about the latter. The one that sparkles with positive vibrations. The one that binds friendships and leaves a smile on your face. This sort of magic makes size 18 look like size 10, makes your doodles look like a Picasso, and your sing-with-the-song-on-the-radio voice sound amazingly like Whitney Houston or Harry Connick Jr.
In the frustration of having to get up early on a Saturday morning to work my second job, I found myself wishing I could connect to all sorts of magic. Time travel and teleportation came to mind, along with channeling the winning Lottery numbers and seeing a 1967 427/435hp red Corvette in my driveway instead of my beat up Honda. Realizing that cosmic power was not mine to wield, I would have settled for a bit of the buzz that would have automatically washed, dried, folded, and put away my six loads of laundry on the floor next to my bed or scrubbed that line of black stuff from beneath my open window.
The skeptics and the pragmatics say I should stop being so selfish and me-centered; that I should use my magic for world peace and feeding the hungry and stopping the drought in Texas. That sort of magic is way beyond the ability of both me and my blog, but, trust me. Should my omnipotence ever reach that level of magicology, those would be the first things I’d handle.
I think it’s a universal to want to quickly and guiltlessly make our lives easier. Who wouldn’t want to whip up gourmet meals with a flick of the ‘ol wand? A twitch and voila! Duck a l’ Orange! Who wouldn’t like to turn water into wine ― or at least into a German Weiss beer? Who wouldn’t want to buy a pound of ground beef and be able to make enough burgers for a game night of 30 people? What’s wrong with wanting a little hocus pocus in our lives?
It doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to carry the burden that’s already strapped to our ankles; that we aren’t willing to work out way through adversity to see the sunshine on the other side. Magic is not a cop out ― it’s a viable tool that, in the right hands, makes our lives easier, opening our cosmic space so we can pursue more “enlightened” and worthwhile pastimes.
Somewhere in our under-used brain mass lies a spot where all things are possible. A direct line to the energy that pulses all around and through us ― the cord that connects us with all living things. As we age we realize that spot is not so much buried as it is forgotten. We find that when we least expect it our desires produce the most magical results. We find we are creative, expressive, loving, and intelligent. We don’t have to twist in angst for hours and days about decisions that need to be made right away. We don’t over-analyze the pros and cons of turning left instead of right ― we just turn. Whatever’s there is there. And we’ll handle it just like we handled everything in our lives.
Isn’t that what magic is all about? Finding our way through life one day at a time, making the world a better place by sending out positive thoughts and feelings? Knowing there are some things we can change, some things we cannot. And swirling our hands and saying a little chant or turning in a circle clockwise three times then counter clockwise two turns does the same thing as plain paying attention. We’re moving forward anyway. We are working on a better life, not only for ourselves but for those we love, for those we know and for those we will never know. What does it matter if you make a brew of chamomile tea and mint and rose petals and a pinch of cayenne and call it a magic potion or a refreshing experiment? What does it matter if you sage your house to protect it from dark energy or if you grow pretty flowers and mow your grass for the same effect?
We perform magic all the time. Every time we pet our dogs and make them feel good, every time we wrestle with our kids or grandkids and make them laugh. Every time we make a meal from scratch or go to work so we can pay our bills or give money to charity. Every time we wake up and see sunshine or rain or two feet of snow, we experience magic. For we have seen nature, we have seen the light. And have found a way to handle it, to transform it, to make it our own or a way to get rid of it.
Now, if I could just turn the clock back an hour, seeing as I’m going to be late for work…
Yes, I’ve been blogging and blabbing and sharing the magic and madness of middle age for an entire year now, and it’s been great. I hope you have taken some of my magic and turned it into your own. You are all powerful — you are magical, crazy, lovable friends, and I wish you all the best in the coming years.
My blogging contest has come to an end; I thank you all for your thoughts and your entries. I will announce the winner next post. In the meantime, enjoy the story that started it all…
MY MUSE IS AN IRISH WENCH
Everyone has a Muse in their life — a spirit guide, an angel, who nudges them forward; an invisible energy who inspires us to be something more than a slug on the couch watching TV or a potato chip-eating machine. I have one friend who insists his guardian angel travels with him wherever he goes; I have another who contacts one spirit guide for meditation and a different one for balancing her checkbook. I know one woman who never leaves home without St. Christopher, and a fellow writer who swears he consults Shakespeare’s ghost every time he gets stuck writing his novel.
St. Christopher and Shakespeare are fine and dandy, but what do you do if your creative muse is an Irish Wench? The stories of leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day are bad enough, with their drunken rowdiness and stealing of gold for their pot at the end of the rainbow and all that. But what if your Muse turned out to be a woman with a heart as green as the Emerald Isle who hangs around with those drunken leprechauns?
A Muse is supposed to be your inspiration, your guide, through whatever creative endeavor you undertake. Venus inspired Michelangelo; Cleopatra inspired Marc Anthony, Athena inspired Odysseus. The original Muses were daughters of Zeus, who presided over the arts and sciences. It just so happens that my inspiration is a fiery Irish barmaid is named Fiona who comes complete with cleavage and clover. She pops up at the most inopportune times, standing and dancing on my shoulder or steering wheel or computer, rattling off in thick Gaelic who knows what, hoping to jumpstart my creativity. Dressed in her flowing gauze dress with the girdle that pushes up her breasts in the most obnoxious manner, my little sprite demands attention right then and there. And I’d better stop and acknowledge her, or she will turn everything upside down.
For instance, one of my favorite short stories popped into my head while I was at work. The push to get this written came across loud and clear – write me now. Couldn’t my Muse have at least waited until lunchtime to rattle off her idea? I tried to stall my creativity until noon, but it only got worse. I’m sure some of my creative metaphors got mixed up in whatever I was typing. Or how about the time that one of my book’s most romantic interludes hit me right in the middle of my son’s soccer game? It was pretty hard to make mental notes when I was screaming encouragements to his high school team. And what about the poem that hit me driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour? Or the full-blown idea of a murder mystery that hit me while I was mowing the lawn?
I am all for inspiration. Sunsets are wonderful inducements to creative arts, as are walks through the woods or lying on a sunny beach. Classical music or mellow jazz or even mind-numbing hair band rock can fine-tune one’s creative edge as they sew, paint, crochet or design. The sight of children at play or two seniors holding hands can unfurl pages of creative prose and poetry. But how can you write or draw or knit or paint with a foot stomping, sing-along Irish wench dancing on your shoulder? How can you sit still and concentrate when her Celtic jigs blast through every thread of your body, forcing you to bob your head along with the tempo or sing along with the oh-so-familiar lyrics at the top of your lungs?
Don’t get me wrong – my little wench has brought me much pleasure through the years. She has encouraged me to write some really intense interactions and deeply emotional poetry. Her Wild Irish Rose attitude inspires me to write out of the box, to reach deep inside for feelings and fears that normally don’t see the light of day, and to let those feelings influence my writing. She tosses out ideas for short stories or chapters when I am stuck; she helps me smooth through the rough patches of dialogue when they don’t make sense. She encourages me to do research about places and history and mechanics, refusing to let me slide along with made-up assumptions.
But I have to admit her timing needs a little work. Driving a car or typing numbers in a computer is not the most opportune time to become inspired. Nor is when I mow the lawn (a true instance of inspired genius, I must admit). I can’t be pulling over to the side of the road every other block or flipping the light on in the middle of the night just because she throws an idea towards me that I cannot resist. I do appreciate her help ― I really do. But I have to teach her to work on her impulsiveness. There is a time and place for everything ― even inspiration. Great ideas often have to ferment in one’s psyche before they become full blown masterpieces. And there’s no doubt that you have your own muse dying to catch your attention. All you need to do is listen.
Now, if she could serve me one of those Irish brews as often as she jumped on my bandwagon…on second thought, maybe that’s not such a good idea. If she served me beer as often as she demands attention, I’d be drunk before I started.