Sneak Peek

peeping tomYou’ve been asking about what my next novel is about. Here’s a little sneak peek;

How do your write about magic when the protagonist doesn’t know anything about it herself?

Well, you just write. You dream it up, because nothing has to make sense. Sense is over-rated and we often forget that.

Sometimes the best existence is just feeling; living in the moment as a big, fat, YES!

Sometimes witches don’t wear black velvet dresses or have long, black hair. No. Sometimes they wear jeans from the church rummage sale and men’s white undershirts.

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Inspiration: As Far As You Can Carry It

Artists know that inspiration comes in waves; sometimes in the gentle, steady rhythm of a lake waking up to the sunrise, and other times overwhelming, crashing into you like the Pacific coast tide.

The thing about inspiration is it’s only as good as how far you can carry it. After all, we can only balance so much. The mundane tasks of everydayness often take up both hands.

In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talked about inspiration as a living thing, that moved on if it wasn’t nurtured in our care.  What she had to say as a professional writer resonated with me, and made me feel a bit better. Careless with inspiration, but at least not the only one.

As a full-time working, single mom, my second novel kind of bit the dust. But I’m nothing if not resourcesful, and optimistic too. Instead of trying to twist it into some kind of tome, I’m going to use what I have and craft a short story. I’m also hoping that by doing this, the inspiration my be wooed back, and stick around for the long haul required of a novel. I know if that does happen, that the success or failure of the project will depend on me; on my dedication, devotion and prioritizing.

Either way it will be fine. The inspiration will be freed; to move on, or to take up residence in the pages of my creation.

Inspiration comes my darling friends, but how long it stays with us depends entirely upon how long we are able to carry it.

One in a while we have to reassess what’s weighing us down in favour of what lifts us up.

The Economics of Time; How We Spend Our Days

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How did it get so late so soon?          It’s night before it’s afternoon.              December is here before it’s June.       My goodness how the time has flewn! How did it get so late so soon?                ~Dr. Seuss~           

…and we do spend them…

More valuable, and even more volatile than the markets, my awareness of the preciousness of time becomes more acute as I age.

Today I woke feeling less than rested. Actually I felt like I’d been not only hit by a truck, but dragged along a wet, dark gravel road for twenty miles. My body actually ached from relaxing. Relaxing! 

The past month has focussed a spotlight on how I’m actually spending my days, and how much energy goes into caring for and worrying about the comfort of other people. It’s a fine balance when you are a nurturer who needs nurturing.

So this morning, perched in my Adirondack chair on the patio feeling like my body weighed ten thousand pounds, I  made a decision to spend the day creating; writing, learning how to play my new sparkle-purple ukulele and then tending to the few things I must do; an appointment and  groceries for dinner.

Staring up at the sunshine gently streaming through the September evergreens, I gave myself permission to spend the day wisely. The energy I expend today will bring me  joy  in abundance.

How we choose to spend our days is how we choose to give our energy to the universe. In such a fast-paced world, with so many temptations, it’s easy to skim the surface of life keeping busy without time to satiate the gentle yearnings of our spiritual selves; waking up quietly in the fresh air with a cup of steaming coffee, keeping the slow quiet company of loved ones so we can share our thoughts and feelings  without agenda, letting the poetry in our hearts find its way onto the page, and taking pleasure in the mundane tasks like cooking that maintain our homes as safe havens of love and support.

Today I will spend my time wisely, like the precious gift that it is. My wish for you is that you get to do the same.

 

Advent Challenge: The Life-Changing Power of Small-Talk

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What better place to start a conversation than in a long Christmas-shopping-season line-up?

The season of Advent is upon us. A season of darkness and stillness, awaiting the mystery to unfold.

 

Hell, if that’s what it’s about, I think perhaps I’ve been living a lifetime of Advent!

It’s strange and wonderful how conversation and communication work.

I remember being a little girl and hanging off my grandmother’s shirttails, head thrown back, eyes lolling at a great and dangerous sarcastic angle, whining, “Come oooooo-ooooon! Mom!”, while she jabbered away to someone.

When I was younger I used to think that long, winding conversations were pointless.  Much like advent, impromptu conversations can be ever so revealing about our own hopes and dreams.

Exposing your ideas and dreams to concrete language can be the first step to creating a new reality for yourself.

Once upon a time a poet-mentor of mine asked if he could read some of my poetry aloud to me. I felt reserved and shy at first. He knew that hearing my own words spoken would be a very powerful experience. And it was.

More than once I’ve had a conversation with someone I don’t know so well and then ask myself where the heck that came from. Engaging in conversation with a diverse cross section of ages, genders and intellect is a wonderful way to get to know yourself.

For instance, tonight I had an unexpected and rather lengthy conversation with a gentleman who worked with my mumster (he thinks she’s the cat’s meow). We discussed his career, the professional acquaintances we have in common, his semi-retirement and subsequent move. That lead to a review of my C.V., and some of my dreams for the future.

As only perspective from someone older, more experienced and wiser can do, the conversation really shed some new light on what my future might hold. If only I have the courage to pursue it.

One thing that I’ve learned in my lifetime is that you have to ‘put it out there’. In other words, whatever it is that you want, that you crave, that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning; you need to talk about it with everyone and anyone who will listen.

It’s not what you know darlings, it’s who you know. The person next to you in line at the coffee shop may know someone who knows something about what you’re dreaming of.

Put it out there. Give a friendly hello, and start with the dreaded small talk. Just talk to people.

Wake up with intention and do something about it. Research. Ask Questions. Go do it.

This Advent season, let the mystery of what’s holding you back from the life you desire, unfold in your every-day interactions with the people around you.

Memory: The Greatest Storyteller of Our Time

intotheabyss‘Boobs’. That’s all it said. A text message I received today after a  lingering champagne hazed session of reacquainting myself with a long, lost lover and friend.

What made it so funny was that it came from a number I don’t recognize, likely someone I have known quite well, but deleted from my digital Rolodex of potential back-ups.  One of my BFF’s refers to me  as McBoobs, but it wasn’t her. ‘Boobs’. Somewhere out there, someone’s memory brought a story about my assets back to the front line of their mind, and prompted the ridiculous text.

Memory is a funny thing. It’s sly and agile, hiding itself for so long you forget that it’s there, and then suddenly, it floods your mind, heart and soul like a spring rainstorm, leaving turned earth, and a rainbow somewhere, if you remember to look for it.

storm and rainbowDrifting off to sleep after a conversation and a few tipples with a kindred spirit, my memory reminded me how wise some people can be. Stonewalling is my preferred method of detachment and emotional salve after the crumbling wall around my school-girl heart takes a hit. “You’ve been through a lot of hurt in your younger days just like me. It’s natural.” He gets it, I thought, as I drifted off to sleep. Somebody sees it.

Seeing each other; witnessing the life of friends brings meaning to life. Years pass and friendships either fade or strengthen, and the beauty of lasting friendships is that you know someone out there in the big ole’ nasty world of non-stop striving really sees who you are. They know you.

There’s something about someone having stood by while your soul was formed and hardened in the fire of life. When you forget who you are, these are the people who tell your story back to you, and so it is – this is memory – retelling who we are and how we arrived at this place. Right here. Right now, as we are, fully human and  divinely flawed.

Not often do I go back so far in my memory to recall some of the hardest times of my life. That means I’ve forgotten a lot of experiences that were part of reinventing myself as a young adult. Recently I’ve been drawn back to a time I had managed to all-but forget. A memory or two has been salvaged and laid at my doorstep by someone whom I was sure had forgotten me. It was my choice to pick it up and examine it, or kick it aside until it eventually grew over as part of a wild, tangled landscape. I’m curious by nature, so I couldn’t leave a gift like that unopened.

It’s a blessing and a curse this easy forgetting. I do this when things go wrong with people I love. Hurt turns quickly to anger and then I toss it away like a pebble to the bottom of a deep, cold lake that is incapable of giving up her dead.  Something gone forever unless someone else makes the effort to salvage it and lay it as a gift at your feet.

Storytelling is a great gift given to friends and lovers when they’ve forgotten how fabulous they are. It’s a little spark of madness in the melancholic night of adulthood, and a hit of adrenaline to whet your appetite for living.