Old habits die hard….or get hit by lightning

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Last night we had a pretty epic lightning storm.  It didn’t hit as close to home as the bolt that struck a tree at the resort in late June but the pyrotechnic show was phenomenal.

As kids during any great thunderstorm, my brother and I would turn our couch to face out the picture window to watch the display in the sky.  While I could count the high number of my friends who I knew were shuddering under their beds, my brother and I were face to face with the awesome display of nature and the power of a storm.

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(image credit: National Geographic)

Last night I felt just like that kid again.  I propped myself up on my couch, faced out the window with a glass of wine in my hand and watched in awe as arcs of light graced the sky.  And although my brother wasn’t on the same couch, he was watching the storm through a different window.  Some things will never change.

 

Self-doubt and a flamethrower

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Who knew it would only take a bit of positive feedback to light the spark that had been snuffed by my lack of creativity.  It’s difficult to think that a mere 6 days ago my mind was a blank.  I took a huge leap of faith and gave the beginnings of my novel to a very creative girl who works at the resort.  She studies language and had been very persuasive about wanting to read it.  I was almost physically ill as I timidly handed her the manilla envelope containing the fruits of my labor.  Wanting to do nothing but slink back into my office and rock back and forth in the fetal position, I powered through the rest of my day and headed for home.

The next day I waited patiently (who am I kidding, I was a wreck) and, after not hearing from her and stressing myself to the maximum level, I reached out via text to see if she had read it.  She had and the result was remarkable.  She laboriously made notes as she read through each chapter and all of her feedback was great.  She loved the story line.  She was intrigued by the characters and she gave helpful insight into making the lead character a little more engaging and interesting.

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Her positive and insightful observations started a chain reaction.  What had been an extinguished pilot light raged into a deadly flamethrower and the ideas would not stop.  I immediately re-worked the first chapter and began developing new plot lines for the upcoming chapters.  I was writing again.  My brain was firing on all cylinders and I felt that writing mojo for the first time in a long time.

To be continued……I hear the characters calling and I have to answer that call.

I’m at a loss for words…no, really…they’re gone.

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I was having a relatively simple conversation with my brother at my house when I realized there was a problem.  I was trying to bring a word from my brain to my lips and it just wouldn’t come.  I pondered, I furrowed my brow trying to push the word closer to my tongue but to no avail.  The English language, the language that I love to use so creatively, now evaded me.  I struggled to grasp for the word ‘futon’ but it was nowhere to be found in the cavity in my head.

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 I’ve been stumped before but usually, with a little persistence, the drum in my head begins to move and the words tumble like clothes in a dryer and eventually settle on my tongue.  But this time there was no drum, nothing tumbled, nothing settled and I stood there, muted by my exhaustion.

I have been lethargic, to say the least, when I get home from work and can’t find the energy to conjure words from my brain to my fingertips or even to transfer words from a page to my brain.  Writing and reading, once two of my favorite pastimes, are evading my realm of consciousness once again.

I am determined to tuck my body into the cocoon of my bed tonight, sleep until mid morning and wake feeling refreshed and ready to absorb words and create once more!

 

 

The good, the bad and the nails on the chalkboard

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As my friend The Hook can attest to, working in the hospitality industry produces great blog fodder.  That, and it provides limitless material for a comprehensive sociological study into human behavior.  My mother used to tell me it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round but I don’t think she knew the extent of all of the “kinds” when she issued that seemingly harmless statement in my teenage years.

When you work in the hotel and resort business, you become accustomed to adjusting to many sorts of personalities.  Some are completely harmonious with your current state of being and some are like the ‘Lee Press-On Nails’ to the serene chalkboard of your life – although they may look beautiful on the outside, there is a spine-chilling quality that is undetectable upon first impression but makes its presence known very quickly.

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After only a brief glimpse of elapsed time following the summer solstice, I have already had the pleasure of experiencing the opposite sides of that personality spectrum.  My heart has been warmed by familiar faces and genuinely caring hugs.  My face has been creased with new wrinkles from so many smiles and so much laughter and the pool of new connections has become much deeper.

But the harsher side of reality has also made its presence known to our unpretentious sanctuary .  It has hidden in a well-packed suitcase and freed itself to roam our pathways.  It has infected the minds of children and made them question things that should not concern a child.  It lurks in the corners and it has the potential to become those aggravating fake nails careening down a piece of porcelain enamel.

Regardless of which side of the spectrum I find myself, I continue to love my job because I love being around people.  It’s in my blood…it’s in my heart….and I can only go into work each day hoping that the good will always outweigh the bad.

 

 

Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt

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I haven’t been writing much lately.  Whether that is a matter of dried wells of creativity or life getting in the way, I have been denying the reality when it comes to my lack of imagination.

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I wish, with every fiber of my being, that I could plunge back into that benevolent ocean of words and ideas and feel buoyant in those familiar waters.  I wish I could ride on the waves of imagery and fantasy and surf on the crest of that elusive swell of inspiration.  But lately the words evade me.  I am a helpless surfer sitting in the middle of a tranquil body of water with no tides to move my motionless board.

I need a storm in my brain to strike and gain some momentum.  I need the winds to tickle the chimes in my stagnant imagination and create a funnel cloud that gathers stories in its fury-filled path.  I need that still ocean to become animated and my lifeless board to carve its way through a sea of new tales.

Or maybe, I just need to write.

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A blast from the past

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How quickly the past can bury itself under mountains of storage containers and lock itself in a shed.  I have been purging myself of many unwanted items and have stumbled on some treasured mementos that I have been thinking about a lot lately.

I used to love doodling in class when I was in high school.  Art class was the only time during my day where I found myself truly drawn (pardon the pun) into the subject material and would pay attention throughout the entire lesson.

I remember sitting in the library, long before the world-wide-web was introduced and encyclopedias were still a functional research tool, and I began to draw some lines.  The lines continued and a face began to emerge.  I continued, not knowing what the final product would be, and this face appeared.

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Drawing for me, then, was what writing is to me now.  I would lose myself in the process and dabble in many different ways to create a picture.  I painted birds with oil paints on cedar shingles, I would sketch with charcoal, create drawings using nothing but stippled marker and create caricatures of faces that were popular at the time.

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It’s amazing that I had long since forgotten that part of myself.  That creative side morphed from sketches into stories and now I use my words to paint the pictures that I used to draw.

I have an opportunity to speak to someone who may be able to  help me with a series of children’s books I have been working on.  Last year I began putting out the feelers to find an artist to sketch some characters for me but perhaps it was fate that I found these drawings.  Maybe I can sharpen a pencil or two and get back that love for modeling characters from a piece of lead and see where the lines will take me.

Maybe I should have paid attention in my high school Physics class

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It never ceases to amaze me – the amount of hours one works in the real world is directly proportionate to the death of the creative mind in the artistic world.

I remember my Physics teacher in Grade 11 throwing around words like ‘inertia’ and ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ but I don’t remember studying the direct correlation of physical exhaustion and prolific brain death.  Sure, the basic functions in my body still happen – I breathe in and out, I walk and talk, but the rest of me seems to be on autopilot – like that object in motion that tends to stay in motion.

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I want to be that object at rest.   I want to remain at rest (for at least 24 hours).  I want to have my brain back – the brain that wakes me up at night, swirling words around in circles until I can grab them all from those word clouds above my head.  I want the ability to form those words into whimsical, thoughtful or romantic lines and be able to feel that creative flow coursing through my veins.

I wonder what Newton’s theory would be on my chances of winning the lottery and being able to retire?  Time + creativity = true bliss.  Take that you crazy scientists!

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Comfortably caged

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She sits in her cage,

singing because she finds joy,

she finds happiness in her solitude.

There is peace in her time alone.

Alone will never mean lonely,

and song is her companion.

She sings the notes

as they fill her heart.

~~

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Written for the Gargleblaster Challenge:

And so we turn to this week’s ultimate question. There are a million reasons a caged bird might sing, both literally and figuratively. Maya Angelou gave us one in her beloved poem. That leaves at least 999,999 for everyone else to explore. Tell us:

Why does the caged bird sing?

Give us your answer in 42 words, but be creative. Don’t go where we expect you to. Don’t write down the first thing that comes to mind. Think, craft, edit, and craft some more. Give us your very best.

Sometimes letters come into my brain and form words

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I feel the overwhelming desire to write.

For the last few months my brain has been stymied by the oppressive weight of reality.  Sure, a few words have trickled from my brain to my keyboard but I don’t feel like I have been swept away by the truly seductive lure of language.

Now, tentatively, I take step after step back onto that linguistic dance floor.  I wait, alone in the center of the room, until the beat of the typewriter keys finds its rhythm and the words circle around me like a hypnotic song.  I sway back and forth, my eyes close and I lose myself in the art of expression.  Like blood through my veins, the letters course feeding my body and mind with words.

This is my home.  This passion for written expression is where I find my comfort, my refuge.  And though my words are my sanctuary and my escape, they also indulge me with a sense of freedom.

These words are the one place that I allow myself complete abandonment.  I follow no rules.  I adhere to no code or convention.  I simply write what comes to mind and allow myself to become immersed in the river of prose.  I become buoyant in the sea of imagery and I ride the wave of creativity.

Sometimes letters come into my brain and form words.  I am unsure of their origin but I do not question their presence.  I simply reap the rewards of their existence, give in to their demand to be freed and serve my purpose as their translator.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow my heartbeat

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There is only one way to go, and that is forward.  Everything else in my earthly path of existence seems to disagree, but I forge ahead, ignoring any warning signs.

Life is a contradiction in terms.

I pick and choose my meanings.

~~ Written for the Gargleblaster #162.

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Which way to go?

Give us your answer in 42 words. Don’t go where we expect you to. Don’t write down the first thing that comes to mind. Think, craft, edit, and craft some more. Give us your very best.