Thursday, March 26, 2015

what I know

Day five on day twenty. Not bad.

I made a little oopsie in a previous #500words post: I called it "day three on day four" when, in fact, it was day four on day four, and I had missed day three entirely; Wake Up Early. Although, I have thought long & hard about day three. I have strongly considered waking up early to write, almost every morning since I read that I should wake up early to write. Does that count?

The Day Five challenge is as follows: write what you know.
Here are some things I think I know. They are not necessarily worth reading, relevant to anyone other than myself, or related to each other.

Sapling seen through a Drop of water























1. Fairness and Reality are mutually exclusive.
2. The ground of Reality is more solid than the ground of Fantasy, but it matters that you shake things up with a dream or two, every now and then.
3. Sometimes, the bad guy wins. This isn't an excuse to become a bad guy.
4. It helps if you know how to respectfully toe the line. They don't tell you this when you're younger, but there are lines everywhere.
5. It matters that you learn, when it matters, how to respectfully put those lines where you want them.
6. Goals are silly. Take care of yourself & do what you love. You're all set.
7. I'm well-rounded in that I'm not exceptionally good at any one thing, but marginally sufficient across the board.
8. Sugar tastes the sweetest when you don't eat it as much.
9. For years, I bought a $4 coffee every morning, and simultaneously wondered how to stop the drain on my bank account. The drain stops when you do, sweetheart.
10. Honesty is still the best policy. Except when it isn't. Then, kindness is.
11. Perpetual, patient thrift-shopping is good for the soul. It's an idealist's call-and-response into the wide world of interpretive panache, and economic prowess. This one might only make sense to Anita.
12. You should know yourself well enough to know when you aren't being true to yourself.
13. The prettiest girls are the ones who don't realize they are the prettiest girls; who have more going on in their lives than the mirror.
14. Hope feels silly and sometimes misleads you, but it'll still save your life.
15. You can always make a theory fit the facts. Stick to the facts.
16. Context matters.
17. There won't be enough time later. Do it now.
18. Purpose continues to change; we're never done doing what we're meant to.
19. Right now, while I write this, someone is out there rescuing a baby. Or, hundreds of babies. Saving a dog. Giving blood. Donating an organ. Planting a tree. Dedicating their lives to a cause. Risking their lives for a cause. Nursing the sick. Helping the poor. Giving their food away. Surviving with very little. Going without. Loving the wretched. Defending the small. Living a life worth their oxygen.
20. Legacy is not what you leave behind. Legacy is what you do now.





photosource

Sunday, March 22, 2015

purposeful hiatus and deviation

I just had four days off, during which I did not write a word. This isn't news, by any stretch, but I did it guilt-free, which is the new part. I can not balance every scale all of the time, and I'm learning to be okay with this part of my humanity. I did, however, tackle myriads of loads of laundry. I slept well, had people over, played Parcheesi, and ate birthday cake with my sister. All good things. Writing, or the guilt of not writing, rather, took a back seat.
 
I'll try, but you know I have gotten to "DAY 16" of writing prompts and I've used only three of them so far. Talk about a swifly deflating balloon. I would apologize, but it's probably truer for me to say: I told you so.



Such a happy photo <3
Above Prague - copyright ludmila foblova

Monday, March 16, 2015

vessel

one, two step
brush the hand, touch
willow leaves ; gentle whip
on a life outstretched.
Sunshine dotes
hair falling from curls
down a set of shoulder blades
relaxed.
Move as air, wonder senses
something Other, there,
or there. Hope
in a gentle rhythm on the cotton
on the breeze.
Out beyond these, fields,
readied to be gracious
with my one, two step.

This was the vision
as it came upon me
quiet in the loud
separate in the crowd
helper wings take,
but this time it's okay,
because they take me, too.

Even here, I can leave from here.
I can be told otherwise. I can be
let go of, made into space, feel
the rhythm of a Lord I once knew.
I couldn't feel but feeling itself
Reality: like reeds passed under fingers
dust on the wind, knowledge of sound.
But nothing sticks. Nothing needs to.
Here, only here exists. Only breath
given and even this is takeless. Only
the feeling of fresh air as a gift,
fresh air as if its all there is.

How can you break from the rule of the watch,
matter not to gravity, be.
the Breath of God
expelled wholly weightless,
belonging only to the One who first

His lungs did move
His lips did part
and here we are.


















 ©afterthoughtcomposer
photographer unknown



Sunday, March 15, 2015

500 flops

I'm not sure I like this challenge, because it's about quantity, not about quality, and I can't really get on board with that. Not publicly, anyway. So I'll do my best on my own time, but I probably won't ramble on like I've been doing.

You're welcome,
a.

Ok this would be a cool senior pic too with the nerdy chic glasses in a library or bookstore.. Perfect!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

master of Something

Summer, 1959.  Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine.
Summer, 1959. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine.
Domain. These are my walls, graciously standing. What we say here, goes. What we say goes from here, does. The battles I fight are to keep this roof intact. No one gets permission to burn my house down. Rah-rah-rah. Swords and shields. Teeth, grit, Warrior. Peacemaker trials and hope, hope, hope.

Household. If Domain is all spirit, Household is all practicality. This one's made of Attempting: cookery, bakery, cleanery, organizery, slow. Laundry Mountain and The Daily Climb. Paper Valley and The Daily Slog. Bedtimes. Naptime needs & misses. Alarm clocks, routine, lunch-made, meal-skip, rush. Hey there cutie, clockwork forage.

Craft. These are my pencil markings, 0's & 1's, eraser marks, blinking cursors. These are my late nights, coffee cups, torn pages, and ideas that suck. Early-morning trials, and breakfasty attempts. Good intentions lined up so far the last one is a pin-dot. Self-depreciation, and yes, I spelled it that way on purpose. Book dreams, book beginnings, book middles, edits, garbage cans, spirit seeking. Cries to the night of the soul. Hope in the morning. Round-we-go. Solid effort. Lazy meanderings. Terrible sentences. Solace in the misery of others. Stealing like an Artist, because Austin said so. Desperate attempts to avoid writing for fear of what'll come out. I should name this "Mastering the Art of Avoiding Myself." I've made a craft of forgetting and letting go. Writing anyway, not because I have to, but because I need to, because it's what I know. I'm addicted to the sound of clicking keys. I have ink running into my blood on a permanent IV drip. I'm the only one I make sense to.

If I could, I would put my head on the page at night,
let my imagination write while I'm sleeping.




#500wordsthisisnot

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

day three on day four: freewriting my way to the finish line.

Day three fell over. House of Cards is back on Netflix. Those two things are probably related. Does it count if I marvel at the writing in that show? Does the admiration of someone else's words count toward my own goals? I like to think so. I'm sure I couldn't really call myself a writer if I didn't notice the writing being put forth by others. I don't call myself a writer. I am one. I just, you know, struggle to actually write.

There was a remarkable line in one of this season's earlier episodes, though I couldn't tell you which episode, as we've been blitzing rapidly through them all. How sad will we feel, having gorged ourselves on the season so quickly, forcing ourselves to wait a year or so before new episodes emerge. Time to re-watch previous seasons? Or, perhaps, you know. Write something. I digress. The brilliant line:

"Is this how you live with yourself?
By rationalizing the obscene into the palatable?"

After all, we are nothing more or less than what we choose to reveal.


BOOM. Maybe you need the context. Here's the context: House of Cards, Season 1, 2, and 3.


SPOILER ALERT: Claire dyes her hair dark brown.
USELESS INFORMATION ALERT: I'm getting my hair done in April, and I plan to go a lot darker, too. I had already thought of it, and last night's character transformation by Claire only solidifed my suspicions: dark hair makes a woman seem much, much more intense. I could use some more fierce in my image. My life experience, at current, is one of intensity. I'm required to be bold (I'm not naturally bold), I'm required to be brave (I'm not naturally brave), I'm required to be outspoken (I'm not naturally outspoken). I am being called out of hiding and made to loudly announce my intuitive instincts & insights, when I'd much rather quietly watch the world go by, then pat my pride on the back when I get another one right. My natural hair color matches the way I feel about my natural penchant & personality: mousy, polite, quiet. I suppose I need my hair to match my life. No more drab. Set your former-greys to STUN.


Writing, at its base, for me anyway, feels entirely narcissistic. Who cares what I think? I have an entire blog based on my thoughts, are you kidding me. Why are you here. I don't even say anything interesting, I just talk about myself. Sometimes I passionately divert my words into thoughts about music, TV shows, environmental problems, but at the root of everything, this blog is incredibly narrow in its focus - or, rather, it feels that way. Sometimes I write poetry. Sometimes I wax poetic. Sometimes I journal. But you see? It's all me, me, me, me, me.

Frank & Claire Underwood are hardly role models, and if you watch House of Cards you'll understand why. I'd tell you more but there is an unspoken and heavily enforced limitation on those who've watched the show: you can't just give these things away. You will ruin lives. (just kidding. sort of. but if anyone talks about the Season 2 intro with someone who hasn't seen it, you are eternally excommunicated from the tribe of decent humanity). It's a little bit like the Fight Club, actually. Don't talk about it.

Don't talk about what?

Exactly.

Anyway. Frank & Claire. In-the-whole Role Models. Nope. But, I do find myself aspiring to certain traits, to one extent or another. They are shameless. I don't necessarily want to be shameless, but I could stand to apologize a lot less than I do. So, there's that. They are ruthless. I don't want to ruin lives for my own benefit (they don't do that at all. nope. totally not talking about it), but I do want to make sure I'm defending my own life & household. So I take a cue here and there from the way they approach their business. I've stopped sympathizing with the people who are out to get me, and I've stopped asking for permission to go after the things I want.

I'm not Frank & Claire, after all, and the things I want are fairly boring in comparison. Normal life. Quiet household. Paid bills. 500 words.







today's writing prompt was: freewrite.  I'm so sorry. No, wait. I'm totally not.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

200 things I have wanted to be at one time or another

Author. Singer. Artist. Illustrator. Creative. Organized. Fashionable. Bright. Interesting. Funny. Magnetic. Enough. Multi-talented. Prolific. Wise. Comforting. Cool. Popular. Sharp. Together. With-it. Successful. Confident. Warm-blooded. Big-boobed. Better. Musical. Attractive. Instrumentalist. Composer. Seat-filler. Stage-taker. Accomplished. Connected. Satisfied. Aware. Far-reaching. Effortless. Approachable. Entrepreneurial. Tidy. Hospitable. Outgoing. Famous. Recluse. Mover. Shaker. Reader. Writer. Driver. Counsellor. Psychologist. Expert. Student. Owner. Buyer. Teacher. Teachable. Sought. Chased. Settled. Alone. Married. Mother. Barren. Single. Solitudious. Studious. Free. Traveller. Climber. Dreamer. Planner. Brave. Strong. Gutsy. Helper. Handy. Nanny. Maid. Athlete. Equestrian. Farmer. Ballerina. Beach-bum. Librarian. Lawyer. Advocate. Rescuer. Stewardess. Model. Photographer. Assistant. VIP. Cook. Graceful. Gracious. Kind. Expectant. Waitress. Hostess. Bartender. Patron. Served. Activist. Adopter. Forgiving. Choclatier. Shopgirl. Dressmaker. Groomer. Walker. Stylist. Designer. Mascot. Vanna. Anonymous. Runner. Chaser. Tester. Candlemaker. Baker. Taster. Critic. Babysitter. Baby-holder. Hand-holder. Cheerleader. Go-getter. Team-leader. Bookish. Outdoorsy. Guide. Snowboarder. Hiker. Housekeeper. Housewife. Midwife. Friend. Chosen. Inspirational. Pushy. Compassionate. Memorable. Knowledgeable. Happy. Spiritual. Calm. Quieted. Ready. Good. Steady. Unwavering. Healthy. Quick. Lush. Responsible. Motivated. Open. Esteemed. Respected. Relaxed. Brilliant. Invited. Speaker. Listener. Seamstress. Landscaper. Gardener. Fruit-picker. Sun-bather. Swimmer. Lifeguard. Saved. Unaffected. Broken. Taught. Held. Kept. Remembered. Treated. Treasured. Photographed. Left. Forgotten. Freed. Seen. Thanked. Helped. Reminded. Heard. Flown. Visited. Trusted. Taken. Called. Picked. Unnoticed. Caught. Loved.





It didn't really take me long to write that list. Actually, I think I missed some. There were times I ventured, by thought and research, into the fields of forestry, mechanics, and I could list more if I tried. As I sit here & examine the facets of each - some repeat, tied together by subject matter or cause, some oppose the others, most are merely traits of decent humanity - I wonder if I've ever truly been happy with who, and what, I am. Or have I spent my life searching for another option? "A different version of me, please." I find I've been praying for God to crack the lid off my life, in a sense. It is exhausting to live with this many unfulfilled interests. It is bananas* that I've legitimately thought about such a myriad of hobbies, professions, outcomes and character traits. I contradict myself. I believe it is good to contradict yourself once in awhile, but so often? Perhaps not.

I feel everything with the whole of me, or I feel nothing at all. I can not middle-ground my emotions, for long. I want to be good at everything and find, instead, I am truly good at very little. I should lower my expectations, perhaps, on myself and on life. It would be easier if Idealism was something I read about, rather than something I experience every single day. Idealism looks beautiful, and is romantic to write about, but it hurts, always, eventually: life is so good, but it isn't ideal. I don't mean to leave this on a downward note. I am attempting realism.

I've got killer intuition and I don't know what it's good for. I've got a thousand interests and one hobby. I'm hoping for perfection and missing by miles. I'm learning to cook, I'm learning to balance, I'm learning self-discipline, and learning to forgive the missteps in every attempt. Most of all, I am trying to learn who I really am.




*bananas = when you have children, you use silly words.






Saturday, March 7, 2015

500 Ways to Get Out of a Rut

My 500 Words

Goins, Writer, has a challenge out: 500 words a day for 31 days. He insists good writers write, and bad writers don't do the work. Bad writers are afraid, good writers stay humble, and write past fear. Bad writers are perfectionists, good writers work on their problems. This challenge is an attempted force on the hand of discipline.

I know I do not write enough, and to make it worse, my subject matter tends to be repeated ad-nauseum. I fear I am becoming one-dimensional. The joys of life, and the hard things in it, tend to distract me. My ability to write well is stunted, and I know this. Do I carve out time for myself? Nope. I'm too tired, I've chosen busyness, and I excuse myself from the work, every day.

I'd love to proclaim, as The Writers suggest, that I will do this! I will write 500 words a day, every day! Prepare yourself for an onslaught of blog posts!

In truth, I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I like this challenge, and I'm clinging to the hope I'll work my way through it. But really, I don't know. If I write every day, pure mathematics suggest that with my limited time and frazzled&fried imagination, the things I write will be terrible, awful, no-good first drafts. So, maybe this is an apology letter, more than it is a proclamation.

There is great personal risk in the public announcement of a calling. I know this, because I embarrass myself this way all the time. "I'm a writer!" say I, while I fail to write regularly, misspell things when I do, and stick with regurgitating the tried & true. The books I read put me to shame. I don't know that I can develop characters and build histories like the authors who are successfully doing these things. Maybe the surety I have about my calling is all farce & false hope. Who knows.

What I do know is this: my fear of bad writing is minute in comparison with my fear of never having written. I don't want to be old, with only a few pages to my name. I like to imagine I'll be found dead in my nineties, surrounded by my life's work. At the current rate, I'll still be working on the same project I started four years ago.

It's March 7 today, which bothers me. The nerdy wench that dwells in my writing cavity insists I wait until an even date, like April 1st. I'm resisting, though. I keep telling myself it is better to start now than it is to wait for perfect timing.

What's in store, then? If I do write every day, it will most likely be on here. Thankfully, Goins has some writing prompts along the way, for the days I really don't feel like the writing would be worth it. The writing may not be worth it in the end. But the work, I hope, will be.

That's 500.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

the promise of light, or, how to adjust your sails, part 2.


There's the promise of light again - in the form of the moon in the morning,
heavy hanging, autum-like glow in the spring's ever-brightening sunrise.

It's easy to stay sad, and much harder to do the work of feeling better.

Do the work.


"She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails. " Elizabeth Edwards
photosource: without wax, katy



How to Adjust Your Sails
Tell yourself the truth and then live as if you believe it.
Find humor in the lies, and comedic timing in the liars.
Go outside. There is an entire world continuing; go find it.
I suggest nature, because I am drawn to it. So, sit, take in.
Walk. Explore the trails off the beaten path. Devour fresh
air, eye the glassy water until you find the wrinkle. Watch
the sun glint off the belly of the bird as it takes flight, off
a river now marked with the beat of each wing. Giggle.
Laugh. Find the ceiling of your joy and stay there,
as long as the air will hold you;

you've spent so much time looking up from below.
Give yourself a break. Hold hands, accept hugs, and pray a little.
Pray a lot. Let the weight of your world be lifted by someone else;
people offer, you simply have to let them take it. Then, when
you are light, watch the moon dance with its reflection at night.
Take those little pauses as they come.
.
Practice gratitude.
Say thank-you to the sky for being up, or the earth,
for being there when your foot needed somewhere to land.
Speaking of earth, the best things for you come from it,
so eat your vegetables. Shop the perimeter, close the box.
Become a healthy version of yourself. Be at your best.
Make it so strength is subconscious; so when the next
hard thing comes, your body says hey, we got this.

Ready yourself to enjoy life.
There will be plenty who try their best
to make sure you don't. Enjoy it anyway.
Spite the thwarters by avoiding spite.
Be gracious. Show mercy. Forgive. Move on.
As many times as it takes, you do these things. For you.


©afterthoughtcomposer

Sunday, March 1, 2015

how to adjust your sails

As it turns out, the cliche is true: Life Isn't Fair. At current, I'm standing at the beginning of unfair uncertainty. We've come under the fire of someone who, for whatever reason, finds satisfaction only in Taking. We are defending ourselves, because we know the truth. But, contrary to what you've heard, Truth doesn't stand up for itself. Truth requires belief. Without belief, Truth becomes, sadly, irrelevant.

So where do we go from here? Admittedly, I've been having trouble. I think I've cycled through every phase of grief this week, a few times over. I get strong and I crumble and I get strong in dizzying
 repetition. The process is slowing somewhat, which gives me hope: I just might survive this. I just might be myself when this is all over. I know we will be standing and together when this ends. I just don't know what will be left standing around us.

Life, without warning, can surprise you with a Square One. You can work until your knuckles bleed, until your heart is weak, and run until the finish line - and life will move the ground you're on. Walls crumbled can rebuild with the slight of a dishonest hand. Manipulation works. Liars prosper.

So where do we go from here? Do we sink ourselves, deny our hearts, play the game like the cheaters do? No. Good may not win, but it still matters that we're good. Liars prosper, but Truth quiets the soul. Honesty and integrity straighten the spine & square the shoulders. It doesn't make sense to let your heart to the flame, but what if your heart made it through the other side of the fire, intact - what if Hope was there for a reason?

We can not make sense of the coming days. The 'Why' of it all is a mystery not soon solved. The only thing we know is the truth, and that is what we will stand on, cling to, speak. We know who we are.
We can only pray the Truth is enough.