Thursday, March 29, 2012

giddy, nervous

As a part of my ever redundant plan to get serious, I listened to Don Miller, and ordered books off Amazon. On his list of seven suggested books to read in order to become a better writer, I chose three. On Writing, by Stephen King, was my first selection. I've never read a Stephen King book, to be honest, but the guy obviously knows what he's doing. I figure his advice will be worth the 288 pages. The second book I chose was The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. Genetically speaking, my Artful self and I are always in some sort of battle. More often than not, a quizzical expression overtakes me as I think about writing; it's all I want to do, and yet, I don't do it very often. I am hoping this book will provide the necessary kick in the ass, as the front cover promises.

The third book I picked was chosen with a certain amount of trepidation. Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. Anne is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite author of all time. So why the hesitation? I've only read one of her books. One was all I needed, though, to fall: both in love with, and humiliatingly aware of how far I am from her gifting as a writer. I am unsure my self esteem can take another 236 pages of Anne's brilliant grace. But, seeing as this is her book on writing, I figure I should give it a go.

yippee!! Books!!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

sleep on it

In the light of day, with the bright news from my lovely accountant (who would remain lovely regardless of the outcome), tax time doesn't seem as daunting. This year, I'll get a tiny refund.


guess I didn't really need to worry.


be happy

The Whale by Terry Fan
Tax time.

I don't know about you, but those words fill me with a sense of dread. When I was in college and receiving major kickbacks, I loved tax time. Over the years, and understandably, my love has been deflated. It now sits limply on the hardwood floor, moving only when kicked. Tax time. Ugh.

Last year was the first year I really got to taste the bile, as I learned that the company I work for hadn't been taking enough tax off my cheque, and with very little warning I owed over $700 to the government. I managed to move what little money I had at my disposal and paid it in full and on time. The smart thing would have been to immediately check with my company that the same thing would not happen again. But I didn't check. In fact, I outright forgot. I also switched departments and got a raise early in the year. About a month ago (about the time my accountant reminded me to get my things together), I remembered, and wrote an email to our pay department. According to them, I'm being taxed at the appropriate rate. According to my accountant's quick assessment, they're still only taking 14%, when they should be taking much more. At this point it's only a rough calculation, but even as an estimated Owe amount, two or three thousand dollars is enough to make last year's bile taste like candy.

As I was driving home, contemplating these new numbers and what I will do if they are, in fact, accurate (I will know when my return is complete in a few weeks), I began to feel a pain in my head. My stomach churned, my muscles tensed, my brain seized as the math would not compute. I flipped on the radio. The song that started three seconds later is the absolute last song I want to hear when I'm anxious and counting.

                    Here's a little song I wrote!
           You might want to sing it note for note!
                              Don't worry!

Bobby, your timing is impeccable, and I hate you for it.

I am young and privileged, with goodness all around me. I have a steady income, job security, and eat good food with regular occasion. I have friends, family, and the freedom to speak. I am strong because I'm here; in the same way you are strong because of what you've come through.

Even still, I am wondering this evening about the point of overcoming hurdles. Every time I finally climb over one, another (bigger) one awaits my tears and sweat. Yes yes, we get stronger in the climbing, and as an optimist, this question of validity hardly traces my lips; I know there is a point to struggle, and that we all struggle each in our own way. My question, I suppose, is if there's an end to it.

Will victory always be ruined by the view from the top of the mountain (that there are, in fact, an endless sea of mountains waiting)?


Friday, March 9, 2012

where i am


I am north, with the northern lights and snow,
melting into newborn nephew snuggles
and marvelling
at how the smell of baby heals heart cracks

I am on a couch, or in a home, or curled
into a blanket or a conversation or the chance
to sleep in late

I am answering questions from a four year old beauty,
and asking my own too. Sleepover tomorrow;
hashtag: bliss.

I am ignoring my phone, and my email,
and listening instead to the hum of my life;
checking the silence with my finger on my lips.
I am examining steps, the what's nexts

I am finishing books and polishing ideas,
dreaming of characters
and thickening plots and wondering if
the books I hope to finish will be as good
or as worth it
as the books I just put down.

I am day dreaming, and dreaming of a life
where my days and my day dreaming
cease to be exclusive of the other.
Who is making these two an enemy?
Only I, the dreamer, the night listener, the

I think I'll pause
to examine tiny fingers and admire the chance
they still have to grow up
and change the current.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

where I've been


I have been lost in books (Hunger Games: worth the hype), and thoughts about snuggling (new nephew – hoorah!). I’ve been thinking of lottery wins, armchairs and leftovers. The reality that I probably won’t win the lottery has got me down. I need an armchair for my living room. I have a sudden distaste for leftovers.

I’ve been jealously reading those books, salivating over the pages, and trying to figure out how these authors keep saying things that people want to read. I’ve been sitting in the squalor that is writer’s block, thinking of sentences and forgetting them in the same moment they show up. My pillow gives me ideas, which is cruel because it only gives me ideas when I am drifting; halfway between worlds.

I have been dreaming like a madwoman. The other night I babysat a bustling brood of blonde toddlers, and one twelve year old brunette. She was upset with me because I couldn’t decide what to wear; as if my indecision meant her world; that I and my piles of clothes had failed her. Earlier that night I was in a meadow at the foot of some rolling mountains. Chelsea and I were traipsing about, writing, sharing giddy ideas. The train crashed and one of its cars exploded. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and a soft breeze stumbled over the flowers.

Last night I was in Botswana. A woman gave me a pot that had been carved from wood. It was smooth and beautiful; the carvings and colors were parrots, perfect to touch, layered intricately. Outside, a Tiger attacked the villagers. One woman, with her arm outstretched, cried “Sanctuary!” and the tiger spared her and her baby. With a turn of its head and shoulder, he beckoned to the woman and the child in her arms, and then led them on the rest of their journey. I became the woman, and the tiger led me.

I’ve been sitting at my desk, starting stories and stopping them, thinking of worlds and forgetting them, closing my eyes and then opening them, breathing out and then breathing in, and making myself start the things I have told myself to begin.