Is Your Work Oatmeal or Coq Au Vin?

I find I’ve been following poets a lot more lately.

Funny, for out of the many worlds of creative art available for our perusal, poetry is not really my first go-to. But I am finding I am being drawn to the poets’ words more and more these days.

Perhaps they give me hope. Perhaps they make me smile. Perhaps now and then they break my heart.

Perhaps I enjoy them because, for the most part, poems are quick reading. Not like a book. (Hey.. want to read my novel? It’s only 225 single spaced pages!)

Maybe reading poems is akin to art. I can spent one minute or five minutes really getting into what’s being offered. The intricacies of artists like Gordon Pembridge and his woodwork, the papercutting skills of Masayo Fukuda, the sky photography of Matt Molloy, or the horror scapes of Zdzisław Beksiński can keep my mind occupied for more than five seconds.

Poetry can do that too.

I just read a poem by The Ink Owl called Sinister Countdown- Damned Love that left me with a haunted tingle in my soul. I just reposted my friend Ivor’s poem Faerie Pantomime that gave me pause for more than a minute. My friend Dwight Roth inked a haunting poem about books called A Found Book. Catherine Arcolio and her blog  Leaf and Twig share beautiful images and haikus every day.  One bite at a time. Jonathan Caswell‘s busy blog By the Mighty Mumford is full of short delights, sure to make you smile. Boundless Blessings by Kamal and Walt’s Writings always stir my heart, too. And my newest addition, Lucy of Lucy’s Works, writes the most haunting and beautiful poetry.

That’s just some of the poets whose paths I cross. Hopefully you have your wandering paths, too.

In the Northern Hemisphere we are starting to buckle down, cocoon, and gather food, drink, and supplies to keep us busy through the winter months. We’ve had plenty of practice the past six months with Covid 19, so now it’s easier to stockpile projects for the future.

I can’t believe that I’m actually entertaining the idea of writing a second book on visiting Paris. It’s still a bubbling cup of water, but I’m starting to get excited.

I also am working on preparing one of my books for free download on this blog. I mean, you all need something to read during the cold days!

So don’t let the Covid and the change of seasons get you down. Write a poem like my friends above do. Can’t concentrate on a whole book? Do a short story, Or a journal.

You may be streaming oatmeal instead of coq au vin, but practice is practice.

 

 

Faerie Paths — The Ages

 

As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages, and the ages explained by the hours.        

~Ralph Waldo Emerson, History

 

 

Today Is The Day

How many times have you said, “Today is the day”?

Not like in “today is the day I catch a plane to Paris” or “today is the day I see the dentist.”

It’s more like “today is the day I’m going to change” or “today is the day I am going to exercise” or “today is the day I’m going to tackle my insomnia.”

I think more times than we care to admit.

Today I’m going to write. Today I’m going to eat healthier. Today I’m going to take a walk with the dog. Today … Today … Today.

And Today comes and goes and we haven’t done one thing to better ourselves.

I’m not sure why that is. Maybe we’re too busy. Maybe our attention is focused elsewhere. Maybe we are a little more depressed or tired or confused and don’t have the energy to pull off our Today.

I know I’ve said that phrase more times than I can remember. I can’t remember what I was changing, but Today was always going to be THE DAY.

I would sometimes get half-way through the promised land and get distracted. Or up and quit and say who cares. I would give up or plain forget about my life changing vow.

Maybe that’s just being human.

Maybe it’s more than that.

Once again I have started today with good intentions. I’m not conquering the world: I’m not climbing Mt. Everest or working at a hospital saving lives or driving to Chicago to stop the rioting.

I’m merely starting my journey today, one step at a time.

I need to regulate my sleeping. I need to stop drinking caffeine after noon or, better yet, not take it in at all. I need to make a point of walking more, even if it’s around the yard a couple of times. I need to stop shoveling in carbs every time I’m hungry.

You see — your journey isn’t really all that hard. Don’t try and change the world; don’t try and change you. Not all at once.

Hold the words “Today is the day” as if they were sacred whispers. Don’t make your goals bigger than you can handle in one day.

After all, today is only one day.

But it can always be THE day…..

 

Be Nice

1035x1035-20140310-elton-x1800-1394485893I was going to write a blog today about the election.

Nah.

I was going to write a blog about violence on TV these days.

Nah.

Then I thought about talking about writing. My writing, your writing.

Triple Nah.

Then I thought…what’s left?

In this crazy world, the flux bends reality until none of us recognize what is right in front of us. I try and put my finger on the pulse of the world, and most times all that happens is that I prick my finger. The media has turned and twisted every day conversations into fodder not even fit for cattle.

Why do we do it? Why do insecurities make crazies out of the simplest people?

We all are motivated between fear and confidence, between being someone and being no one. We are taught to listen and obey. Too extreme. Now it’s attack or be attacked. We are judged by what we wear and how we speak and what we know or don’t know.

It’s a mean world out there.

I’m not saying previous generations were any better. But they did not have social media at their disposal as a tool to bully and lie and pontificate. Generations age, and as they do, tend to give up the fight sooner.

I’m not giving up — every day I meet good people. Honest people. People who love and are afraid and have hope. These good people are overshadowed by the runaway media that is intent on pounding us into the ground until we resemble oatmeal.

I’m not saying we don’t need media: we wouldn’t have such strong child rights and animal rights and the ability to track down serial killers and molesters and everything dark with the world without it. But we don’t need social media trolling or bullying in the name of getting more “likes”.

Me — I’m going back to ground roots philosophy. Write a book, write a blog. Donate to a charity of my choice. Teach my grand kids to live and love and to be nice to each other. Give someone a ride. Pick up and put back things that have fallen off the shelf. Read. Give positive feedback to blogs, stories, and tweets.  Bake cookies. Play fetch with my dogs. Play fetch with YOUR dogs. Take a picture.

I’m going to tell everyone to Chill Out and Be Fucking Nice To Each Other and Move On.

My friend Elton said it best:

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can’t plant me in your penthouse
I’m going back to my plough

Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road        ~Elton John, 1973

Putting On My Big Girl Pants

db6600a576463299e6df8b2d18f0a78fFirst off, a dreamy thank you for hanging with me during October and visiting the land of dreams and nightmares. My dreams thank you for checking in on them.

But now it’s November and although it’s 63 degrees in Wisconsin, nature is warning us that the kick-back-lazy-summery-buttery days are just about at their end. Thunder and lightning streak the skies this morning — much like the beginning of my first novel.

I am one of those complainers I can’t tolerate. I want to be a published author, but I have 3 novels sitting in my computer gathering dust because 1) I don’t know what genre they really are; 2) are they really any good; 3) there are a zillion published and self-published books out there, what’s one more on time travel/murder/fear of being caught/romance or maybe-romance book?

I don’t feel like I’m a procrastinator — it’s more like I don’t do the things I really need to do to get my work out there. Which, in reality, is a form of procrastination. Plus my confidence has been hiding under a rock somewhere lately. I mean, I have written two  novels in one series, another in a different series, and am in the middle of a follow up for THAT book, so you can’t say I’m not doing the work. Of course, that work has been over 10 years in the making, so that probably says something, too.

What about publicity? What about asking for advice from someone who is trying to get published too? Or who is already published? Why do I hesitate to ask for help? Am I afraid they will say no? And so what?

No doubt that as I get older the window of opportunity closes quicker. I can’t keep up with a full-time job and write too. At least that’s how I feel at the moment.  Which is not true, either. I know there are those of you who have done just that. Juggle family and kids and illnesses and setbacks and divorce and moving and still knock out great poetry and books. They — you — do not let your surroundings become your crutches.

When you are a ditz (I say that lovingly), it’s hard to stay focused all the time. I try. Its not the big responsibilities that throw me off balance — it’s the time inbetween. It’s the time between visiting the kids and driving home or vacuuming all the dog/cat hair so that I can sit down and write that I fall between the cracks. It’s the daydreaming while I’m driving that could one day cause me an accident. Its the noticing I need to sew a button on a shirt for tomorrow that readjusts my free time. The coming up with a plot twist at 1 a.m. when I have to get up at 6 that leaves me drained and sleepy all day and night.

It’s not always that dramatic, of course. It’s the moving from point A to point B in a hurry that causes black and blue marks, or hitting the wrong button and wiping out a whole chapter that sets my psyche afire. I misplace my phone all the time and put things in a safe place only to forget where that safe place is. Even when I have the time to sit and write or research, I find disorganization everywhere. I find myself organizing images or sorting written files or deleting a hundred pointless emails and before I know it two hours have gone by and I’m too tired to write.

It’s about time to put on my big girl pants and hit my secondary world with dogged determination. Make a list with a hundred bullet points if that’s what it takes, and do one organizational thing before one creative thing. That’s how I will move forward. And no one will notice the unicorn slippers that I wear when I put those pants on.

If only I can find that other slipper…

Wearing Purple

I feel like I was shopping drunk yesterday evening. Of course, I did go out to dinner first, but I don’t believe either the walleye or the potato pancake contained any alcohol. Nor the McDonald’s ice cream cone.

But I digress.

In a couple of weeks I’m going to meet my bestie in Ashville, North Carolina, and hit the Art Scene like a internet data conversion analyst specialist online art director writer.  I was in need of a few new artsy outfits to fit in with my fellow abstractionists and surrealists, so I made a pit stop at the most fashionable store around — Walmart.

Now, I’m sure you have seen those pictures on the Internet of Walmart “shoppers”…the images that show off the uniqueness of the characters and their wardrobes. Well, walking out of of the store a half hour later, I am afraid I will be added to their hidden camera library.

First off, I bought a pair of capris. No problem. Except they’re purple. Which is to match the purple and teal print open style Kimono shawl. Which matches the teal peasant top.

What was I thinking?

Every early winter I write a blog about what women over 50 shouldn’t wear. Fuzzy purple leggings always leads the list. Now I’m afraid purple capris will be second. I am running parallel with all the advice I so willingly gave about dressing your age.

Now, the fuzzy purple leggings I’ve been exposed to and write about are a long way from the royal purple cotton capris that are peeking out of my Walmart bag. The fuzzy leggings are usually wrapped around legs that are too big to wear something that tight, and don’t have the advantage of a long tunic to hide additional large body parts. The purple cotton mid-calf pants hang loosely on my chicken legs, and the teal peasant blouse with the same undercurrent of blues will hang down far enough to semi-cover my estomac and derrière. (Sounds less offensive when spoken in French, no?) Then comes the flowery sheer scarf that set this whole wardrobe malfunction into motion. It’s really a pretty shawl thing…it’s sheer and light and one of those patterned things that chubby women shouldn’t wear.

Since I am in this wardrobe for the long hall, I don’t see myself as a chubby old lady in purple capris, but rather a tall, willowy creative artist with a thing for fashion. Since I don’t have to look at myself in the mirror too often, I can picture myself however I wish. When the breeze blows the kimono scarf around my body I can turn into the sultry maiden looking across the moors for her lost lover, or the skeleton thin strutter down the fashion runway. I can be the trendsetting Zelda Fitzgerald or the fashion pioneer Elsa Schiaparelli.

I can also be the poster woman for weird, over-colored, middle aged+ women. Pathetic, insecure, never quite fitting in, never really confident, drawing too much attention to herself wearing bright prints and too-bold colors.

But not today. Or tomorrow.

I’ll let you know how the outfit turns out in the light of day. After a good night’s sleep. And a shower. And some body spray. And a touch of makeup.

Oh my goodness — I just thought — is this totally unexpected phase reflective of the first few lines of Jenny Joseph’s poem….?

 

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

 

 

 

 

Lost in the Matrix

tumblr_mxpq0pMO941sxqh33o1_400Philosophical Tuesday.

Now…bear with me one minute. Quick techy babble coming.

Am watching “The Matrix”, which in itself is a complicated psycho babble movie, full of innuendoes and intentions and thoughts in the 5th dimension. It is one of those times that I don’t mind everything being over my head.

According to The Matrix for Dummies, Neo learns that the matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to make us feel like we are living a normal life, when in fact it is nothing more than an energy factory for AIs.

Us poor humans. We have to be good for something.

In these movies are blue pills and red pills and humans in pods grown in fields and the dude Morpheus whose words and appearances are marked by thunder and often orchestra crescendos.  There are computer aliens and walking, talking computer viruses and a whole lot more going on.

Here’s the psycho babble part. According to Spark  Notes:

Many precedents exist for the idea that the real world is an illusion, and the Matrix trilogy is riddled with specific references to philosophers who have entertained this idea. Although the films are meant to stand on their own and create their own set of philosophical questions, the Wachowskis pay homage to these precedents through….. Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Socrates’ Visit to the Oracle of Delphi, and the work of Descartes. 

Okay. The point of this blog this evening is:  Who are these guys?

Let’s take a mini philo tour. And I do mean mini.

Baudrillard believes that our current society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that human experience is of a simulation of reality. Plato‘s  major philosophical assumption is that the world revealed by our senses is not the real world but only a poor copy of it, and that the real world can only be apprehended intellectually. The Oracle of Delphi is that Socrates truly was the wisest because all others were under the false impression that they knew more than they actually knew, that true wisdom lies in recognizing one’s own ignorance. And Descartes poses the question of how he can know with certainty that the world he experiences is not an illusion, that since he believes in what he sees and feels while dreaming, he cannot trust his senses to tell him that he is not still dreaming. I think, therefore I am (and all that stuff).

They all sound like Morpheusisms to me. Which bring me to the point of this evening’s blog.

What kind of minds think up these things?

Do people with minds like these eat cheeseburgers and swear when they hit their finger with a hammer and throw up when they get the flu and play cards with kids? I mean — what do brilliant minds do for fun?

These kinds of thoughts exist on a plane somewhere between the clouds and the stars and around the corner from the speed of light. These thoughts are so deep that deep sea oil rigs dance on their heads. I am fascinated by the train of these philosophies, yet I don’t really understand them.  Do these philosophers have a day job like you and me? When they’re not discussing the differences between reality and illusion, do they go to baseball games? Eat pizza with anchovies? Sing in the shower?

I’m  sure they were all fun guys with just weird hobbies. Like us writers and painters and all. And in the end, it doesn’t matter if you understand things like this or not. In worlds like yours and mine, it’s much more fun pretending you know something than wandering around, sad because you just don’t “get it.”

Like those horizontally challenged numbers.