Thursday, February 24, 2011

un-NaNo

 

So, I've been writing again. I won't be done in a month, and I don't care that it's not November. My head is filled with it, and barely able to hold other things. There are a lot of other things it needs to be holding now, for sure, but I'm stuck on this story. I'm having fun writing it, even though I don't know where it's going.

I mean literally - I don't know what's going to happen when I sit down to write. I have vague ideas that I want to develope these scenes more and give some more background, but when I start writing they take over. I've heard about this, other writers have told me they experience this amazing phenomenon. I have to admit, I was secretly disappointed the first time I sat down to write and my character didn't come alive and control my pen. She just sort of sat there staring at me from the page, sullen and silent, while I struggled painfully through making her do interesting things. She fought me for a long time, until she didn't.

I haven't done any real writing in days, just jotting down notes on index cards (or the backs of receipts or typed out frustratingly on my iPhone). I did some brainstorming tonight, and I think I enjoy this part of writing more than the story-telling part.

Also, my main character cooks. I had no idea.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Ink

 

I met a lovely man today. He put ink on my body.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Therapy: free to good home

I have this therapist friend whom I see infrequently. She's got amazing red hair and vibrant eyes that see straight into me. Normally that might bother me a tiny little bit, but in addition to gorgeous hair and beautiful eyes, she also has a lovely heart. Though I see her so seldom, I really love her heart.

We met just before the worst time in my life so I feel like I met her yesterday, or a lifetime ago. We became close, because the worst time of my life was also a difficult and, I think, pivotal time for her as well; since that time we have drifted in and out of one anothers' lives, but every time I see her I feel as connected to her as I've ever been.

I count her among my pretend sisters - those women who love me, despite of me or because of me; those women who know me and have seen me at my best and worst; women who are imperfect, and who continue to be so dignified in their imperfection; inspiring women who withhold judgment but who are perpetually discerning and who don't leave me twisting in my emotional discomfort. I saw her today and she listened, much in the way I imagine she listens to her clients. She also shared, painful memories and experiences. I didn't feel like a client, but I left her today feeling uplifted and encouraged and cared for.

Thanks for the free therapy, Janys.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Glad for you

I was chatting with a friend the other day something big and scary in her life. It's wonderful too, for her. If it were my news, it would scare the pants off me; I'd be running into traffic praying for something large to hit me and kill me dead. Maybe one of those trucks that haul dirt, because I always wanted to be squished by a lot of dirt.

And I experienced a very interesting thing: I was so pleased for her. The very thing that would have me curled in a ball weeping was good for her. Maybe she'll need to curl in a ball and weep sometimes too, because hey - that helps. But she's happy, and I'm glad she's happy. That's a sort of new thing for me too - being glad when someone else is happy. I feel like I'm getting new emotions, for the very first time. They feel odd in my head, as though they don't quite belong to me yet. Like eating something brown and slimy and realising it tastes quite good.

I'm not sure what it's about, but there's room inside me again. It's small still, but I think it'll be good.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In the mood

I learned something new today: washing my hands helps me get in the mood to write. Huh. How did I not know this before? As a practicing pagan, I have rituals for everything. Tricks I use to put me in a specific frame of mind, ways of conditioning my mind to trigger a certain set of feelings or behaviours.

When I was a girl my mom took me to a child psychologist, Gloria. I don't recall how old I was, but young enough that Gloria didn't just come out and ask me questions or prompt me to talk about certain events, like you would with an adult. Gloria had a box of hats, and a little game made up around talking about specific things while wearing a certain hat. My favourite hat, in case you're wondering, was a Sherlock Holmes style hat that did not fit my head.

Pick a hat and every time you wear that hat you talk about your dad. The really neat part was when I didn't want to talk about my dad anymore, I took the hat off. That was a rule, and it was totally unbreakable. It created a safe space for me to control a session, while also teaching me about exercising communication skills (that young children have to be taught) and about setting boundaries. When I was in college, I had a homework hat; when I go to the office on weekends and absolutely have to focus on my work and get stuff done, I have a hat for that.

So, I've washed my hands and I'm ready to write. I will forever hold gratitude for Gloria and her silly box of hats.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Remember childhood?

 

Lazy summer days and warm nights sitting on the porch? I remember sun-tea in my grandparent's back yard and losing small toys in the pool filter. Digging in the dirt with sticks, because I liked being dirty.

I remember going to the drive-in with cousins and my favourite aunt. Motorcycle rides with my grandfather, and walking to the market with my dad for salami and mustard. I remember my toy room, full of barbies; and telling my baby cousin stories in the middle of the night when we were supposed to be sleeping.

I remember nap-time in Catholic school and a library shaped like a dome. I remember my third grade teacher - Mr. Wakefield-Evans, who used to share his croissants with me.

I remember these things like they happened to someone else. When did I get so grown-up and unhappy with life?

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The Dalai Lama says:

"Giving is recognized as a virtue in every major religion and in every civilized society, and it clearly benefits both the giver and the receiver. The one who receives is relieved from the pangs of want. The one who gives can take comfort from the joy their gift brings to others."

I think I was born without this little notch in my spirit. The joy that my gifts bring others... it only works with very specific others. I know other people experience something like joy that they've done something wonderful for a stranger, but I don't get that.

I've given to strangers, or helped someone I didn't know because they needed it. Sometimes they appreciate it and sometimes they expected it so they weren't as grateful; either way, I didn't feel all pleased with myself and full of the knowledge that I was doing good work.

Do you have it?

I didn't write a novel

Guess what I didn't do last year. Go on, guess! No? Okay - remember NaNoWriMo? I was so excited to participate, I even bought a book written by the creator (I say that like it might be surprising that I bought a how-to book). I practised writing every day; I was going to write my pants off and complete a whole novel. Even if that novel was awful drivel, it was going to be a whole novel's-worth; that would be a huge accomplishment for me, considering I don't finish writing projects. Like, ever.

Well, I didn't do it. Work exploded on me in a fit of busy and I spent the month of November (as well as September, October, and December) with barely a day off. I didn't have time to write anything that wasn't associated with The Proposal.

I was a little sad to miss it. I realise that I don't need an organised event like that to do it anyway (and I may still), but I felt like the energy of people the world over feverishly writing bad novels would uplift me and provide encouragement. Sometimes I would see people at Starbuck's with headphones in their ears, a laptop open before them, brows furrowed and eyes dilated to pin-points and I assumed they were writing their novel-in-a-month. I wanted to cheer for them and shake their hands and say, "good job, you". I didn't want to break their concentration though, so I left them alone.

So, whatever. I didn't write a book. But I helped write a kick-ass proposal! Still waiting for the outcome of that, by the way.

/grumble

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pretty, broken things

 

Going through my pictures tonight, thinking of things I want to photograph this weekend, I ran across this.

I feel like this: something delicate and pretty lying on the ground, waiting to be crushed.

I hope it happens by a big, steel-toed boot.

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Well, hello

I feel sort of funny here, which is how it happens when one spends so much time away from a blog. I've referred to my blog as a dear friend, but unlike my dearest friends the empty space here makes me feel itchy just coming back and sitting down for a chat without acknowledging my prolonged absence. Which, as a side note, makes me grateful for those friends I have who accept me back even when I don't call and don't write.

Instead of recounting every uncomfortable moment since I last updated I'll tell you instead what I did today:

I cleaned my desk. Removing empty soda cans and a bowl of old goldfishes (the baked snack cracker kind), plus a swipe with a rag made it home again.

I figured out some annoying batch scripting. I'm a goddess of simple programming, by the way. Feel free to take a few moments to wonder in awe at my extreme display of clever, go ahead.

I ate dinner (tacos - it's okay if you're jealous) while catching up on a favourite blog.

I got inspired by the aforementioned blog - to write and to take pretty pictures. The latter of which I will do this weekend while wandering around the city with my favourite Lindsey-Lush-Pants.

I am grateful today for ground meat and for the much-needed inspiration.

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