Archive for September 2010

September Leaves, Moons & Life

September 26, 2010

Autumn Equinox Harvest Moon

Autumn arrived this week and with it a real harvest moon.  I’m sure you heard about this rather unusual event as the moon was full on the evening of the fall equinox.  When the actual time arrived 10:09 PM CDT, I took the photo off my balcony.  Because wonder of wonders, we had a beautifully clear, crisp night.  The planet Venus was below and a bit to the left of the moon and this planet was the closest to earth it’s been in quite a while. 

The next morning very early as I looked out my window before I started reading the paper I notice a brilliant orange in one section of a tree.  I swear that patch of fall color was not as brilliant and bold the day before.  Of course, I needed to take a photo of that. 

Now, these are the little events that inspire me as a writer.  I’m not sure how or when or in what future story I write I will use these situations, but I know I will.  It’s very often these tiny morsels that offer the hint of a story to come.  Sort of like a granule of sand inside an oyster which ultimately becomes a pearl. 

I have to say that seeing a brilliant moon or the first incredible blaze of fall, the first hint of green hue on branches after a long winter or the warmth of the first summer day keep me going when a day isn’t easy.  And how doesn’t have those days in their lives?  But in those times when our personal worlds are dreary and filled with troubles, seeing something beautiful can lift our spirits—or do the same for a character in a future book. 

Think about a movie or a book or a painting that impacted you, moved you to feel a stirring in your soul and lived with your long after.  Right now I can think of several scenes from movies, Out of Africa, would be one.  The scene when Robert Redford takes Meryl Streep flying over the beautiful landscapes of Kenya.  Or in a book, I remember the setting of the outback ranch in The Thornbirds.

You can see I’ve been in a thoughtful mood this week even though it’s been a very busy one.  I’ve been busy with revisions which are going well as well as getting prepared to do my first program about my journey as a writer at our public library this coming Monday.  I suspect you’ll hear about how that went in next week’s blog. 

One of the items on my to-do list to prepare for it was to find a few items which I was told I’d need to go to a craft store to obtain.  Now, next to fabric stores, crafts stores intimidate me that I can barely be in them for more than 10 minutes.  I’m not a crafty person or one comfortable with a needle and thread and being surrounded by aisles and aisles of items related to both can get me hyperventilating faster than bunnies procreate.  

Of course I couldn’t find what I wanted in the store.  I even asked a clerk who looked knowledgeable where I might find such items and he pointed me in the right direction, sort of.  But as my breathing was getting more shallow and I was feeling more incompetent by the nanosecond, I pulled out my trusty cell phone, and you guessed it, phoned a friend.  

First Day of Autumn

Fortunately, my crafty friend remained calm, was familiar with the store and like a traffic controller guiding in a 757, took me where I needed to go.  Eight minutes later I was out of the store and promised myself it would be several more years or another lifetime before I ventured into such a store again. 

Now don’t you think this experience could serve as inspiration just as much as that moon and leaf patch?  Oh right, not for me.  I don’t do humor…

Ditzy Dolly

September 18, 2010

Both Sides of Ditzy Dolly

Sweet-faced, big sky blue eyes, short and trim.  Smile painted on her face. Short bouncy blonde curls frame a face any little girl might love.  As a doll.

But what do you do when the perfect little doll is real and a person without a clear-functioning brain?  And you have to deal with her?  And a door knob has more sense?

To protect the ignoramus, I’ll refer to her as Ditzy Dolly.

Okay, I’m on a serious rant here because my life–which is usually stressful and sometimes difficult–has been made more so this past week because of someone like her.  My tummy is roiling with excess acid that my acid reducer isn’t handling.  My gut twists in an agonizing fashion when I hear her chirrupy voice on the other end of the phone.  A second ago I answered anticipating a friend.

Instead I got an idiot.  No, that’s too kind a term for someone who dons stupidity just because it’s probably worked for her in the past.  Well, I’m determined she won’t wear me down.  But it’s a struggle.  Especially these past few weeks.

I don’t like myself feeling like this.  Worse, I don’t like the feeling that because she drives me nuts I’m giving her control over me.  She doesn’t deserve the honor.

Oh, I’ve always remained calm while telling her the same thing 15 times because I’m sure she thinks if she tries to state again what she wants I’ll finally give in.  And give her what she wants.

Frustration and Temper

But I won’t.  I remain calm and firm and then when she’s finally retreated from the conversational field, I blow up.  At myself.  At my desk by pounding it with my doubled fists.  Of course, then my hands hurt more…If I’m very lucky, the friend whose call I was expecting does call soon.  She usually can tell by my voice I’ve done battle with Dolly once again.

Being a good friend, she gets me laughing about whatever was the cause for the most recent exercise in control (mine) over acts of brainless stupidity (Ditzy Dolly’s), and my temper ebbs away and my tummy acid recedes.

Now being the wise readers that you are, I’m sure you’re wondering why such a person is still in my life?  Why do I put up with infantile behavior, especially from a grown woman?  Because circumstances require it.  Sort of similar to a working environment where a co-worker is someone who takes up space and breathes air but doesn’t produce, or is just and all around pain in the ass.

Sometimes we have to put up with the pains in the asses in our lives.  And we’ve had to learn to deal with them.  Somehow.  Some way—because of the nature of what is happening in our lives.  Believe me, the minute it’s possible Ditzy Dolly will be out of my life boat and no life-line will be attached.  I’m sure she’ll easily find another unsuspecting person who will be lured in by need and an innocuous smile and what appears to be a willing spirit.  Poor them.

In the meantime, I’ve decided she will be some future character in a book.  If it’s a suspense, she’ll be the first victim.  If it’s women’s fiction, she’ll be the one no one feels sorry for and never learns.  Nope, that latter is too generous.  Ditzy Dolly will be the villain we all love to hate—with a passion only her stupidity can inspire.

Now you know my deepest darkest secret.  I’m a world-class, super-woman, royal bitch, and I will decimate Ditzy Dolly.  Hear me roar: “DOWN WITH DITZY DOLLY!!!”

Wind in my Life

September 12, 2010

Harness the Wind

Any casual conversations around here last week at some point turned to wind.

Why?  Because we had high sustained winds for several days and then even higher gusts.  Since I live on the lakeshore, our big lake churned with high angry waves, especially once the high winds turned to the northeast.

My little dog, who weighs about 10 pounds would go outside to do her business and the winds would just about lift her off the ground.  Her floppy ears would blow straight out parallel to the ground; so would her tail.  Smart little girl that she is, she quickly learned to scoot down the side of the house between the shrubs to get to the mid-part of the lawn’s slope which protected her from the worst of the winds.  A few times she stepped very daintily off the last step of the front entrance, felt the wind ripple her coat and grab her ears, and then she turned around and scooted back into the house.

We haven’t raised a dumb puppy. 🙂

So I was thinking and worrying about what to write about this week and in conversation with a friend, she said, “The wind—you could do lots with that.”  Thank you, dear friend.

Wind is a force of nature; a blessing at times and a curse.  Wind can be harnessed to create energy.  It can inspire creativity in people with imaginations.  Its force can be destructive such as in tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons.  Some winds have names, such as the Mistrals in southwestern Europe, the Chinooks in the northwest and Alaska, the Santa Ana’s in California; these are warm winds and can often cause damage.

We use the idea of wind in our conversation.  How often have you described someone as a bag of wind?  And if we hear that stereotype each of us most likely can bring to mind someone we know of who talks a lot but says nothing of value.

Destructive Wind

My mother who grew up in Iowa on a farm had a very healthy respect for wind, and depending on the conditions, that respect turned to fear.  If high winds were predicted or she noticed certain changes in the sky, she herded us all down to the southwest corner of our basement with water, flashlights, and rosaries inn hand.  At least one rosary would be said in hopes no bad storms would occur or we’d suffer damage.  We never did.  But as a child, she’d seen the damage and experienced the aftereffects of tornadoes which destroyed buildings and crops.

So basements and a healthy fear and respect of wind were concepts she taught all of us.  And I passed them down to my children.

Today my oldest son is flying his small Piper Super Cub into the bush in Alaska.  I’ve been checking the weather reports for that area all weekend as those planes are very susceptible to the quirky winds in Alaska.  I’ll breathe better when he lands safely at home and give thanks he respects the winds enough to be as safe as possible while he flies.  So my heart will not rest easy today until he emails that he’s arrived back in Anchorage safely.  Once a mom—always a mom.  🙂

In writing I use wind often to set a certain scene or create additional tension.  In some books I’ve read, the wind becomes another character, sometimes a positive one; sometimes another kind of villain.

Today we have a very slight breeze.  The high winds of earlier this week have traveled elsewhere.  Our lake is almost as smooth as aqua hand-blown glass; only a jet ski or speeding boat creates any waves crashing the shore.  It’s a beautiful scene today.  

But I’ll tell you a secret.  I love the lake best when the winds are high and the waves tempestuous and screaming like Shakespeare’s Kate.

Tell me.  What do you think about wind?

Weather & Self Statements

September 4, 2010

Ducks Always know where go Go

Late on Friday afternoon, fall sidled in and took up residence.  Gusty winds had a brisk character and shoved the oppressive humidity of the past several days somewhere else.  This morning when I snuggled into my heavy robe, I thanked Mother Nature for this welcome relief.

Amazing what a weather change for the better (at least in my view) does.  Why I even saw huge flocks of ducks taking off the lake this morning—heading south.  Might it be possible this delightful weather is here to stay—hopefully until December when it can snow a few times for that White Christmas immortalized in song and movie.

That leads me in a roundabout way to this week’s topic. On Wednesday I traveled to Green Bay for an excellent program at the writers’ meeting there.  The program was on what hypnosis involved and how to use it effectively in writing and in our daily lives.  The speaker was incredibly interesting and as she spoke about her topic and how we could use the concept for speaking to our subconscious mind, so many ideas bubbled inside me.

As an individual I can use her concepts to make my daily life more positive and successful.  In a manner of speaking, I associated part of what she suggested as relating to those negative statements we sometimes give ourselves.  You know the ones:  Today’s going to be just miserable.  I don’t think this will work.  Nothing good ever happens to me. Sometimes these are called self-fulfilling prophecies.  🙂

Well, if you tell yourself those things, it’s likely they will happen…right?

So the presenter’s idea is restate what we want in specific language, practice saying it several times while we’re focusing on nothing else and go about our business.  What can it hurt to try, right?  If I say my life sucks, then why should I work to see that it doesn’t?  Turn the thought around:  Today will be a good day. Another example: I know I won’t do the right thing about … Well, probably I won’t because I’ve already given myself permission not to try.

It’s the same with writing.  I will try to write today–Bad wording.  Change it to:  I’ll write 3 pages today; I would bet I’ll write more. 🙂  (Or maybe it’s why I always feel cooler in the heat and humidity when I see myself sitting on top of a glacier.  Visual image and very specific and I sense coolness.)

You’ve heard the phrase:  “I’m my own worst enemy.”  So tell me how this is creating bad karma…

Relax--and create your goal

The speaker believes we can use her principles of self-hypnosis to set and achieve goals, to creative healthier and happier individual lives, to be better at whatever occupations we follow, even if we are writers, to make some of our characters more interesting or explain their motivations.

Another element in her presentation was this.  Adapting some of her principles into our lives will help to give us better balance in our relationships with ourselves, our family, friends and co-workers, and our environment.  Another wow thought.  Something to chew on in the coming week.

What will be your specific positive statement you will use this week in whatever part of your life you choose?