Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back to Work

The morning sees me doggedly determined to make amends for yesterday's slothful ways. I keep telling myself I will never see that small but committed publishing company if I spend every sunny afternoon with a book propped on my lap...but even I'm not too confident I am listening to myself.

So, while the spirit is willing, here I sit, surrounded by no less than ten reference books, a note pad, three pens, my laptop, and the necessary quiet of the library (with its fewer distractions), trying not to wonder how Ondrelique is faring in math and French , if Dauriauna has taken her vitamins, or if Torrese is remembering to relax (for a change) and not take life too seriously. I remind myself that the children will be fine, just as they were yesterday and the day before, whether I worry over them or not. The apartment can be cleaned this afternoon as easily as this morning. My financial concerns will still, tomorrow, be waiting. My crazy brother will be no less insane in a few hours.

In short, the other aspects of my daily existence (needs, concerns, tasks, and objectives) will not sprout wings and take on Chanctetinyea-devouring life in the time it takes me to get this work done.

So, it's up to me to now stop analyzing it all...and just do it.

I am in earnest--I will not equivocate--I will not excuse--I will not retreat a single inch--and I will be heard! --Wiliam Lloyd Garrison,
U.S. Abolitionist,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Sappy Ode to Spring

I shall gather up this sunshine,
And with it fill my pockets.
In that way, I can carry it with me always...
Always, and wherever i go.
When the storms of life rage at me,
Casting darkly gloomed shadows;
When the winds of change funnel into gray cyclones--
Of confusion there present
And of the debris of the past;
If trouble rains acidic droplets--
Bitter tears born of fulfillment denied;
Beneath cold and clouded sorrow;
In fear; in doubt; in heartache;
Even in the bleak "winters of my discontent,"
I will pull it out in fistfuls
And sprinkle it about me
To watch it in all its golden splendor--
The sweet nectar that is this present happiness--
Burst into ribbons of color
(Underneath a canopy of vibrant blue),
Then say to myself,
This is contentment!"

Being "Sorry"

It now well and truly official: I am admittedly, unashamedly, undeniably sorry...

Sorry in the sense of lazy; sorry in the sense of a procrastinator; sorry as in should-be-ashamed

Although I should be hunched over my computer getting actual work done, here I sit beneath the glorious sunshine reading a wholly recreation, totally mind-numbing book of no literary or intellectually stimulating value what-so-ever. Books are one of my guilty passions, reading my addiction. In fact, were there a Book Anonymous group, I would be offered a life-long position as the keynote speaker--not that I would ever be induced to, like, join. Tomorrow, I will regret (or, at the very least, tell myself I should regret) having spent the time this way. For now, however:

"I shall gather up this sunshine,
And with it fill my pockets.
In that way, I might carry it with me always...
And wherever I go...."

(I'll finish that poem tomorrow. Right now...
I'm being "sorry"!

Language, Speaking, and the Art of Communication

This morning, I am scrambling to regain lost ground in reaching my daily objective of the one-thousand words per day minimum. Those with blood enzyme and anemia concerns should know better than to swill two glasses of (rather delicious, I might point out) iced tea after a brisk, hour-long morning walk! For those who have never had a caffeine hangover, you are not missing anything special: believe me! I awoke, however, thinking of a question posed to me last week by my son Torrese. He asked if I thought infants had a concept of time. This actually coincided with a discussion my three brighter-than-brilliant children and I have had regarding the existence of "unspoken" language (in a form similar to what is categorized as good, old-fashioned ESP) at birth...and whether or not the process of learning to speak or adopting verbal means of communication actually limits (rather than improves) the ability to communicate. Even as I answered his question (the subject, I understand, of debate among several of his college mates within the dorm), stating that I believed time to be a wholly human creation and telling him I also thought babies and infants responded to the world in terms of rhythms and vibrations until the concept of time was impressed upon them, I found myself thinking back to the days in which he and his sisters were tiny. They, like all tiny children, seemed to communicate without words, responding to silent yet very real cues without effort or thought. Anyone who has watched infants (of like ages) playing together has no doubt seen instances in which one child extends a toy or bottle or other object--wide-eyed yet silent--to his or her playmate only to have the other child either reach for it, smile at it, or in some how respond to the action as though there were some intuitive understanding of what was expected. I certainly noticed this when watching my own three; moreover, in later years, when the older two (only eighteen months apart in age) grew older, I frequently noticed that they still seemed to communicate without words, often beginning (after long periods of silence) conversations in the middle of thoughts or ideas, as if they had been talking all along...or had been "speaking" in one "language" before reverting to another.

For me, this is a compelling notion. What it, indeed, we begin our lives relating to the world in terms of energy and vibrations, responding to stimuli around us unconsciously, much as animals in the wild are able to "pick up" hints of danger by "instinct". Would it not be wonderful if we as human beings possessed--have long possessed--the unlimited ability to communicate with others wordlessly and on a level we take for granted in our daily lives? What if, in the process of learning to speak, we subconsciously diminish the capacity to do so as our dependency on spoken language grows? And, if such is even possible, what implications would it hold for the undiscovered, undetected, as yet untapped potential of the human mind--of creativity, of imagination, of intelligence, and of profound thought--as we know it.

Even for me, someone who revels in the beauty of the spoken and written word, the notion is somewhat...ensorcelling.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oh, Calamity!

Inspiration can be such a foul and fickle friend!!!!!


(I'm going into the kitchen to get a slab of cheesecake.)

Getting the Juices Flowing

The last month has been a busy one, made hectic by the arrival and passing of both Spring Break and Easter, the headache (and heartache) of emotionally unstable relatives, doubts, disillusionments, and reevaluations.

In other words, life, as it often does, encroached upon the joy and pleasure of recreational writing. There simply wasn't time.

And, during that dry spell--as inevitably happens--I found myself questioning the wisdom or even the sanity of ever writing again. I looked around, taking in with a wince surroundings I had not chosen and had from the beginning abhorred and wondering how I would ever manage to talk/think/finesse my way free of this situation. On the heels of those dismal considerations came the question, "Do you really think you are going to have any success at this writing thing at this stage of your life?" followed by "Are you an utter failure or what?"

It was quite disconcerting.

Last night, because I am, I must accept, a sickeningly optimistic Pollyanna (despite my moments of cynicism) dragged myself from the isolation of the hated downtown apartment to attend yet another of the Writers Live! readings offered by the main branch of New Haven Public Library. This came after much debate. I had just returned from a non-too-productive meeting with a potential client and decided that, in general, human kind stank, life stank, writing for others stank, and being cheerfully philosophical about the growing collective stench, well...stank. Additionally I felt horrible (having pushed myself too hard, as usual), looked (and still look) worse than I felt, and subsequently wanted nothing more than to crawl beneath my covers and slumber away for a month! That night, though, the featured author was to be a local talent, Ira Rosofsky, who would discuss his book Nasty, Brutish & Long: Adventures in Old Age and the World of Eldercare. Before I knew it, that super-positive, something-good-will-come-of-it-I- just-know kicked in, and I found myself trotting back to the very same building in which I had spent nearly four hours huddled over reference books as I banged away at my laptop.

Now, it must be said that I spend so much time in that very same library compiling research for my various projects that the prospect of returning for recreational purposes was not so appealing as it might have been; nonetheless, in this instance, I had--upon reading the book--been impressed by the author's handling of the subject matter, which was of great interest to me for a number of reasons. First of all, the issue of ageism had been introduced to me in college as I studied sociology. The concept had been to me--a Southern girl accustomed to seeing the living rooms of relatives outfitted with hospital beds, portable potties, and an array of medical equipment obtained for the express purpose of taking care of a declining loved one in the comfort and security of home--utterly foreign. One respected "old folks" where I came from, or else; thus, the notion of elder abuse incensed me to no end. Many years later, when my own mother became ill, I was appalled that attitudes had not changed, shocked by the prevailing attitude that "Oh, this is what happens. Once they get old, it's pretty much downhill from there. Accept reality. They just die. Why get so uptight about it. That's life. Your mother isn't exactly a spring chicken, y'know." Though I was not physically present for the last two horrifying years of her life, her suffering reawakened that sense of horror and injustice within me. Naturally, when the opportunity arose to pose pertinent questions to a "psychologist charged with providing mental health services to his elders," I could not simply let it pass.

As is often the case, the "crowd" was small: no more than ten-to-twelve people. And, uncharacteristically, I was late (having conveniently decided I could get a bit of research done before six, cheerily ignoring the reality that once buried in books my nose would not emerge for at least an hour). Fortunately, the facilitators--John and Carol--had, in anticipation of late arrivals, chosen to wait five minutes before beginning. This gave me time to run back upstairs to grab my overcoat and umbrella, pour myself a cup of coffee, then actually sit and catch my breath for a moment! When the reading/interview began, I found myself immediately charged by that unique and unmistakable charge of creativity in the air. For all my earlier whining, my steadfast assertions that I would give up the asinine notion of interviewing authors on my blog, of skipping merrily out to participate in workshops and discussion groups, of ever becoming anything more than a vehicle for neatly transporting the thoughts and ideas of others...

I was hooked.

Question after question I asked, feeling as though I were again interning (unpaid, of course) for small newspapers in Virginia. My pen flew over the pages as I recorded thoughts, ideas, images, and--yes--more questions. Before long, my fatigue seemed to have ebbed away, leaving me thinking this is where I belong...what I should be doing. Once again, I found myself tweaking the Master Plan, virtually vibrating with the intense hunger to write, to surround myself with those who write, and to run home and put in another hour or so of writing myself.

When the session ended, I--having left my copy of the book at home--approached Mr.Rosofsky nevertheless, needing the contact with another who braved the world of published works. Although we only spoke briefly, I stepped away planning how I would go about contacting other authors, wondering if there were a way to volunteer my time to assist with similar programs in the area.

And then it happened.

John, a former publishing intern who had before been in charge of the Writers Live! series approached me to ask if I would consider the possibility of interviewing future guests of the series.


Now one of the children's librarians, John no longer "ran" the program; nevertheless, he took my information (scribbled on a scrap of note paper since I--determined that I would not be staying in New Haven long enough to merit the expense--refused to have more business cards printed) and assured me he would get back to me.

This morning, because my research took me back the library anyway, I took the initiative to track the poor man down (in other words, I "PPT"-ed him, i.e. employed my personal policy of Persistence, Perseverance & Tenacity to get what I wanted), which resulted in a very pleasant and stimulating conversation. (Which is to say: I ran off at the mouth, as usual!) But, with his card (not a scrap of notepaper) in my hot little hand--complete with the contact information of the individual now overseeing the series, I returned to my laptop, my piles of reference books, and the general disarray of my temporary work station with renewed determination: determination to reach the goals set for myself no matter what it took, no matter how long it took.

When all is said and done, no matter how dry or acrid or discouraging the "dry spell" it takes so very little to get the creative juices again flowing.