Tuesday, April 28, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 28, 2015

"I think I was a shy kid. I grew up without television. I had a dog, and we lived up in the White Mountains in the summer, and I had no friends up there. And I would just go play hide-and-seek with my dog and probably had some imaginary friends."

- Dan Brown - 

I know I had some imaginary friends when I was a kid, and, in someways, still do. But lets not take me too seriously. I don't need the loony-bin snatchers to pay me a visit anytime soon. 

I didn't run with a dog. I was always more a cat person - Prissy was her name. And I didn't have any mountains that I ran through, at least, not without adult supervision, but I did have my special hideaways.

There was a cave on the other side of the hill our house was built on, before they built more homes. I used to ride my bicycle there and create all kinds of stories and characters, enough so I sometimes truly believed what I imagined.

The swing sets at the school a block or so from my house were a great place to go. I would swing as high as I could and talk to myself, tell myself stories and create a world I wanted to live in. I still love the feeling of swinging and getting high in the air; I feel free from the constraints of reality.

Another place was my room. I grew up as an only child, and my room was my sanctuary. I would build a bed in my closet with all my blankets and close the doors and read with a flashlight. I would write in my journal. I'd even leave quotes and passages on my closet walls. 

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Dan Brown was born in Exeter, New Hampshire on June 22, 1964 and hasn't left this world yet. His writing genre is thriller fiction, and he's best known for his novel The Da Vinci Code (2003). 

Brown pursued a music career (singer-songwriter and pianist) for a time, starting his own record company (Dalliance). After not making much headway in the music business, he became an English teacher. He started writing in 1993, after being inspired by Sidney Sheldon's novel The Doomsday Conspiracy. The Da Vinci Code was his fourth novel.

Monday, April 27, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 27, 2015

"We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving, and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing."

- Louisa May Alcott - 

I didn't know this was true for years. I floundered in what I believed others wanted for me, how they wanted me to be, what ways I needed to live my life for them to be proud of me. The idea of having my own dreams and pursuing them seemed novel at best, a dream I kept to myself in the late night when no one was awake to tell me not to dream that way. 

I remember when I realized my own truth, or the extent of my truth in that particular moment, because my truth has evolved. It was as if I sat outside myself and saw the world in a new way, a way that allowed me to be me and have reason and purpose in the world as I was not as someone wanted me to be. 

My life changed. I started to make different choices, and, as I grew in the undeniable truth of me, I began to learn more about myself and found I had quite a few things I wished to do. I began to live my own life, the one that fit me, the one that honored who I was as I was.

Writing is one of the ways I honor my truth. The caveat being that I remember to believe my truth, because I'm not immune to letting another's perception or idea of who I need to be filter in and alter me, and not necessarily in the best of ways.

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Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown (currently part of Philadelphia), Pennsylvania on November 29 1832 and left this world on March 6, 1888. She was a novelist best known for her book Little Women, which was published in 1868. 

She was a nurse during the American Civil War.  She contract typhoid but recovered. She wrote for the Atlantic Monthly in 1860. She also wrote under another name, A. M. Barnard, and produced "passionate, fiery novels and sensational stories." 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 23, 2015

"There ain't nothing from the outside that can lick any of us."

- Margaret Mitchell - 

So true. Enough said. 

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Margaret Mitchell, an author and a journalist, was born in Atlanta, Georgia on November 8, 1900 and left this world on August 16, 1949. She was best known for her book Gone with the Wind. She won the National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel (1936) and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1937) for Gone with the Wind.

Mitchell was a reporter for The Atlanta Journal in a time when women were not encouraged or supported by family or peers to attempt such a vocation. 

Mitchell was an avid collector of erotica and books about sexology. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 23, 2015

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."

- Harriet Beecher Stowe - 

The times when I'm willing to keep on keeping on are usually the moments when it's time for me to let go, and the other times when I'm all too willing to give up because it's too hard are the moments when I need to instill every ounce of fortitude I have and keep on.

I have a better sense of the difference between those times and am better able to stay grounded in what needs to be done than bulldozing through what needs to be let go of. 

When I practice yoga, I am constantly bombarded with the "give up" feeling. I know this of myself, and I remind myself to be willing to forge ahead. When those moments come of wanting to give up and give in, I hold on for another moment longer and then I release. Then I know I attempted progress instead of stalling out. Then I know I will hold the asana longer the next day, because I wasn't so quick to give up today.

When I sit to write, I am once again surrounded with the voices of my mind that tell me not to write. These voices are persistent, telling me of all the other things I need to be doing or that I'm not in the mood to write or I don't have time; they come up with all kinds of excuses on why I shouldn't fulfill what my soul craves. I sit anyway. I write anyway. Each day I write I gain experience and confidence in honoring what my heart needs.

Then there are those times where the hardest thing for me to do is to let go, to step away, and it usually deals with other people and what they're doing. I want to interject my opinion or my way or my experience. I want to lessen another's load by telling them how to live their life. When I need those voices in my head to convince me to stop, they're not there, which seems funny to me.

These moments are when I have to reassess why I'm charged to keep on with what needs to be let go of. What do I get out of trying to run someone else's life? Well, for me, it comes back to the distraction of it, from my own life. If I'm trying to live yours, I don't have to take responsibility for my own. I don't just do this with individual persons. I can do it with the government, the grocery store, the way people drive, the weather--pretty much anything.

Of course, this doesn't mean I can't be passionate about things and have opinions, because I can. And I do. The clarification that is important for me is whether or not those passions, to the extreme I'm feeling them, are a detriment to my life. For example, if I'm so consumed with other drivers that I'm stressed and cussing and in road rage, maybe it's a passion not worth having.  

As a dear friend of mine says, "A person who is truly confident in themselves doesn't need to judge others."

Mind my own business and have some business to mind. Eventually, the "tide will turn" and I will be where I need to be, in my own life, cultivating my own self-worth and self-confidence. 

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Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote over thirty books. The one she's best known for is Uncle Tom's Cabin, about anti-slavery. I remember reading Uncle Tom's Cabin when I was young. There were moments I cried, wishing I could change the past so that slavery had never been in our country. 

Stowe was born in Litchfield, CT on June 14, 1811 and left this world on July 1, 1896.

Monday, April 20, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 20, 2015

"Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it."

- Albert Camus -

Camus is one of my favorites and reminds me of a time when I was desperately searching for courage to do what I did not want to do, because I was afraid, but I knew I couldn't keep living my life the way I was living it.

Now, I'm living my life, participating, cultivating happiness and peace, but I can still have moments of falling into this, lacking the courage to change and justifying it, so I can stay mired in the muck that keeps me stuck.

Denial is part of my justification. If I deny something, the truth of a situation, I can stay clueless to the truth and what needs to change. Also, by denying the truth I deny myself the opportunity of freedom: freedom from what stops me, from what limits me, and from what ultimately gives me joy.

Today, I open my hands to what is and keep moving forward, because "courage is fear that has said its prayers . . . " (Note: This last quote is not Albert Camus's but Joyce Meyers.)

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Who's Albert Camus?

Most people may know of Albert Camus, maybe not. Here's a list of his novels: The Stranger, The Plague, The Fall, A Happy Death, and The First Man. He also wrote short stories, non-fiction books, plays, and essays. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Camus)

Now, if any of you out there listen to The Cure, you may know their song Killing an Arab.  Killing an Arab was Robert Smith's poetic rendition of a scene in Albert Camus's The Stranger. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_an_Arab)

Quick Facts:

Camus was born in Mondovi, Algeria on November 7, 1913 and passed on January 4, 1960. In 1957, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was a philosopher, playwright, author, and journalist. He was described as an existentialist, but he never labeled himself as such. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Camus)

Camus played soccer, loved it really, but tuberculosis ended this endeavor when he was seventeen. He published his first book (a collection of essays), The Wrong Side and the Right Side, when he was twenty-four. During World War II in 1941, Camus "joined the Resistance and wrote for the underground newspaper Combat." (Source: http://www.legacy.com/news/legends-and-legacies/albert-camus-51-facts/426/)

Friday, April 17, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 17, 2015

"Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people."

- Roald Dahl - 

I'm laughing. Yes, this is me. I do feel drained after writing fiction, after I've been submerged for a few hours. I also feel rejuvenated, as if I survived a perilous journey into deep space without a guarantee of ever getting out alive.

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Who is Roald Dahl?

Some may already know who Roald Dahl is, and others, well, they may not remember who he is unless they know what books he's written.

Do these ring any bells? James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, My Uncle Oswald, or The Witches. These are just a few of his works, which I'm sure we've all come in contact with. 

I remember two in particular from when I was young: James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now, Matilda is on my radar because my boys love that book, or did when they were a bit younger and interested in reading more so than playing music and soccer.

Quick Facts:

Dahl was born in Wales on September 13, 1916 and left this world on November 23, 1990. He was a WWII veteran, serving in the Royal Air Force. It wasn't until the 1940s that he became a best-selling author for both children and adults books. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl)

There's more to Dahl than one would suppose, or at least from this prospective of him being dead and not currently in the media spotlight. As in this article, The religion and political views of Roald Dahl, one might want to chuck his books into the river. 

I'm more of the mind of finding what is useful and letting go of what isn't. I am not in agreement with him from a religious standpoint, or a political one for that matter, but I do relate to his quote above, which I can take as it is without including his personal views with it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 15, 2015

"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability . . . To be alive is to be vulnerable."

- Madeleine L'Engle - 

One of my greatest fears, vulnerability. And yet, to have a life, one that is fulfilling and loving and creative, vulnerability is essential. 

For a number of years I believed being vulnerable was a weakness of sorts, a human characteristic to be eradicated from my person. 

Today, I believe my vulnerability allows me to connect with other people and to enjoy laughter and love, and peace of mind. When I offer myself as I am, without shielding someone from what I perceive as bad or unwanted, I grow into the woman I want to be. 

I begin to see the world in a way that is not black and white and all or nothing. I'm able to see how murky and messy life is and how all of that imperfection gives life its beauty and grace. 

I don't have to mark vulnerability as my greatest fear anymore, though I still have times where my reaction to a life event or new friend, or even an old one, stems from that same fear. 

Again choices. I can choose to stay hidden from myself and others, not wanting to voice my vulnerability, or I can step from the shadows, knowing that I am safe even when I'm at my most vulnerable.

Today, I step forward.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 14, 2015

"The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

- Jack London - 

This quote stood out to me today, because I used to exist instead of live. I was always vying for more time, and really more of everything, but I was never truly happy with any of it. My thinking was of the kind that if I just had this or that then I would finally arrive and I would feel better, which then meant I'd do better too.

Thank goodness my beliefs or my way of looking at the world with me in it has changed. I have today. Nothing more. And even then I don't know if I will get the whole day or only a portion of it. 

This morning, as my husband and I were driving our boys to school, I felt this weight, not a heavy weight mind you more like a light blanket of weight, but this weight kept twisting my thoughts to not wanting to do anything, not write, not take a shower, not go outside, not participate in life. 

I knew to stay with my moment, where my hands were, instead of where this weight wanted me to go. I knew I didn't need to decide the day or all the things I was going to do. For the time being, all I needed to do was sit in the car and take my children to school. 

Once home, this weight still presided over me, using all its power (if we want to call it that) to bend me to its will, which was to hide and escape from life. I could have been bent and jumped into the suffering the weight wanted me to wallow in (whatever that unknown suffering would have been, I don't know), but I know today I have a choice. 

I can choose to bend with the weight and succumb to the hiding and the escaping. Or I can not bend and choose to do one thing, and then after doing that one thing I can choose do another, and so on.

This all leads me back to where I am now, writing. "I shall not waste my days . . ."

Monday, April 13, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - April 13, 2015

"Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work."

- James Lee Burke -

This applies to so much more than writing.

When I was rejected I used to take it personally to the point of believing myself incapable of doing or being right with anyone or anything. What a downer, living like that.

Now, rejection has a different meaning for me.

I can either take it personally and dig a hole in the backyard and bury myself in it.

     - or - 

I can weigh and consider the rejection, and, as with most rejections, there's something I can grow from, something I can learn never to do to someone else, something that spurs me into action, and sometimes something that just needs to be tossed in the garbage because it has no substantial basis.

Regardless, I benefit, even if it may not feel like it at first. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Unknown How of the Ash: Beckoned

Rachael jolted awake. Sweat soaked her sheets and pajamas. She clutched her chest and scanned her barely furnished room with quick, cat-like eyes.

What had she dreamed? She couldn't remember, except the trailings of an urgency to get away, a need to run. Had something or someone been chasing her? She swam the trenches of her memory, trying to recall, but the darkness of nothingness blocked her view.

Moonlight streamed in from the un-curtained window next to her bed. The window slats created boxes on her wooden floor. From this height, as her room resided in the musty attic, she could see the Ash in the far meadow; its leaves shimmied in the breeze, highlighted by the light of the moon.

"You must come, girl," the voice whispered.

Her breath caught in her throat. Angst surfaced, trembling her bones, but she moved to the window, drawn to the Ash.

"You must come tomorrow."

She nodded and returned to bed, her feet cold from the floor's chill. Once her head rested on her pillow, she closed her eyes and slept, the worry of who whispered leaving her. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WRITING QUOTE - April 1, 2015

"Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged."

- J. K. Rowling - 

At one point in my life, I had a plethora of "hobbies." I had been trying new things, trying to live outside the box I had placed myself in, and I found a lot of things I liked doing. But with all things, time is a requirement, and after awhile time becomes nonexistent when taken up with a bunch of activities. 

One of my main activities was writing, but, because of my own doubt, I would compromise my writing time with other activities, ones that I received instant gratification from doing, because I could finish them or they could be done "perfectly." 

Writing is not ever really done and the perfection of it is more from the perspective of who's reading it than not, which created a dilemma within myself. Writing required me to preserver whether I had doubt or not, which, at that time in my life, I wasn't willing or able to do.

Time passed, and I decided to assess my activities to determine which ones were needed and which ones weren't. Of course, writing perched at the top of the list, and I was finally in a position internally to honor it. I let go of a lot of other things and focused on my writing, because it truly was the one area of my life that was complete in its fulfillment, and that fulfillment was not dependent on whether my writing was read or enjoyed by others, only by me.

As I've found with most anything that holds true worth and value in my life, there is never any absolute, all-the-time easiness of doing it. I have to continually trudge forward with the endeavor, whether I feel at ease with it or not. 

Now, will I secure an outcome like J. K. Rowling, who knows, but the outcome is no longer the most important thing--the doing of it is.