Rabbits and lions and lambs….oh my

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As it is with every first day of the month I will have awoken, most likely at 3:45 am because that is a new and inescapable routine, and hopefully remembered to repeat the phrase “white rabbit” three times before I uttered any other words.  It is a long-standing family tradition and one that is meant to bring luck for the following month.

Today is not only the first of the month, but it is the first of March which brings Spring closer to reality.  After the winter we have just experienced, and still are experiencing,  Spring will be a very welcome companion.  The mercury is predicted to begin rising and the sun will have some warmth in its shine.   I have already begun preparations for my tanning session on the deck and, even if I am fully covered in snow gear, I am going to enjoy every ounce of Vitamin D I can extract from that fire-ball during the high temperature of -5C.

Tanning in the early months of February and March is a family tradition I cannot seem to part with.  When I was a child, we would spend hours in lawn chairs on the frozen lake and absorb all of the goodness from the sun.  There is no better feeling than the first real heat of a Spring day and having those rays welcomed by an eager face.

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This year, I am unsure as to whether the arrival of Spring will be classified as coming in like a lamb, or coming in like a lion.  After the harsh winter and bitter winds we have experienced, it will certainly feel like a lamb, but having March temperatures still hovering around -15 C may classify the entrance into this new month as coming in like a lion.

Groundhog’s shadow or not, Spring is coming.  I just hope it gets here before the rabbits, the lion and the lamb all freeze their asses off!

Take a bite of a story and digest it thoroughly

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“The man who reads lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen.  The man who never reads lives only one.”

 George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

~~

There is something divinely quieting about a good book.  It can take all of the external forces in our lives and make them seem non-existent for a few well-deserved moments. Losing ourselves in a great story line can give us a temporary escape from reality and take us on a journey to a life outside of our own.

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Although authors don’t write with us in mind, their words can give us a momentary reprieve from the demons that stalk us throughout our busy days and that try to dwell in the hours that we would like to thrive in after the work day is done.  When you open that novel or turn on that E-reader, the chaotic minutes that you have survived during your work day cease to matter and the outside world becomes a distant memory.

If you are one of the fortunate few who can switch that après-work brain to the “off” position, you are able to allow yourself to become fully involved in the plot line that the author has created and send yourself on a journey far beyond the realm of your existence.  The words on the page seep into your mind and transport you to a place and time ever distant from the here and now.

Those words, the way they are woven into a complex story line, allow us the ability to sink into a world of imagery and intrigue.  They give us the opportunity to leave our stress behind, to leave the world in which we live and venture into the fabricated journey of elusive enjoyment.  Those words have the power to enlighten us, torture us, amuse us and keep reality at bay as long as we will let them.

We owe it to ourselves to relish those moments of escape.  We deserve to embrace the worlds beyond our own and tune out the brash sounds of our real lives by bathing in the dulcet tones of pure fantasy.  Do yourself a favor…..grab a book, turn off the television and let yourself be transported by words.  You will be surprised at how simple it is to be carried away by your imagination.

Now, if you’ll excuse me….it’s time to shut the world out and take that first bite.

The monsters in the closet of my mind

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orwell

 (image credit)

There have been many writers before me who have been driven by the same demon.  I love words.  I love using them like paint and creating a wall of graffiti that truly represents me.  I love to dip my fingers in those words and rub them on the wall with the freedom of a child learning how to paint.

Writing this blog has been such a wonderful experience for me.  I can write each day about whatever my brain sees fit to write about that day.  But the more time I spend with my blog, the less time I spend trying to struggle through that painful illness of writing my book.

Maybe this blog is teaching me something.  Perhaps knowing I can devote time each day to my blog means that I am capable of changing that focus and spending the time trying to bring the characters of my novel to the finish line of their bizarre journey.

I get you, George.  Time to face that Demon head-on!!

I’m glad I keep hearing the little voices

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Being intuitive is a blessing.  I’m not clairvoyant, nor am I a psychic medium, but I do listen to the little voices in my head.  I trust my gut and if I didn’t do that my beliefs and my vision would be extremely limited.  Those wise, inaudible voices have led me in directions that I would never have seen myself going and they have stopped me from making some egregious errors in judgement.  Sometimes I am deaf to their sage words but I blame nobody but myself for tuning them out.  I know they were there and could only sit back, shaking their heads in disgust and disbelief when I ignored them.

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That divine breath, those silent whispers help to feed my creativity.  Their incessant murmurs push open the door to my imagination and their audacity knows no boundaries.  There is no time of day that is sacred, no moments that they do not feel their intrusion is warranted and there is no warning before they emerge.  Once my third eye is open, words seem to fight over themselves to be the first to reach my fingertips and be expelled onto the screen.  I am grateful for those whispers and will heed their advice for as long as they bless me with their wisdom.

As much as I would like to take full credit for the words I compose, I must feel that intuition when I’m writing.  That third eye, that sixth sense, allows me to combine strings of words that make sense.  They make me feel the way the characters in my stories would feel.  I have to know their thought process and how they would react to the situation I carelessly cast them into.  Those murmurs in my head help me hear the voices of those characters.

Writing would be a very lonely business were it not for those invisible cries of tiny authors that wait, sometimes not so patiently, on my shoulders.  Do you hear the voices too?

A non-felonious state of mind

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“There are two types of people in the world.  Those who waste time staring at a closed door and those who find a window.” ~ Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

~~

I love watching Modern Family and as soon as I heard this quote I immediately thought of my dad.  It wasn’t because he was the eternal optimist, although he was.  It was because he took this quote to a whole new level of reality about twenty-five years ago.

My dad sold real estate and he was regarded by many in his field to be one of the best.  The man could sell ice cubes to Polar Bears.  So when a family of five decided they wanted to purchase a cottage in Muskoka, my dad went out of his way to find the perfect place.  He had heard of a property that was being listed, but not yet officially on the market, and he knew it would be their Utopia.  The lake frontage was stunning, the view was incredible and the neighborhood had the promise of only increasing in value.

They ventured en masse to see the property and, because it had not been officially listed, they were unable to access the cottage itself….until my dad spotted the open window.   He would never be able to convince the family of the charm that cottage possessed unless they were able to see the entire property, inside and out.  The wheels in his head began to turn and his eyes finally fell on the youngest of the three children.  With sufficient cajoling and a little effort, the couples’ youngest son was boosted up and sent through the open bathroom window.  Moments later he appeared at the front door to, just as illegally, let the rest of the family enter what would eventually become their family cottage.

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That closed door meant nothing to my dad.  It only took a few moments for him to realize that portal was not his only option.  If he had let himself be constrained by his perceived reality, that cottage would never have been bought by this family.  His perseverance and willingness to think outside of that boxed-in door led him to that open window, the sale of a beautiful cottage and the happiness of a family.

As it turns out, that relatively innocent “break and enter” would have much more of an impact on me, when years later their daughter and I would meet while working in the same pub and become best friends.

You are never stuck in a situation because the door seems to be closed.  And although you think that door may be the only way in or out, look for that open window.  It’s there somewhere.

Dancing with the dead

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The aroma of braised beef, compliments of her trip to the local butcher, and potatoes from her garden permeated her nose as the stew continued to boil on the old-fashioned wood stove.  The atmosphere was serene, as it always was here, and the fading sun began to cast shadows across the graveyard.

Cille Choirill

The jagged streaks of light began to play tricks in the looming darkness and she could feel a presence lingering just on the edge of the shadows.  The rolling hills on the other side of the cottage had already been swallowed by the darkness and she knew the night was laying in wait.

The pot continued to simmer as she poured herself a glass of wine.  In her mind, she mulled over the conversations that saturated her ears during her trip into town.  Surely the words she heard were meant to be out of her range but they settled on her like a scratchy, wool blanket and she tried to shrug them off.

“Crazy, she is, living in that place all alone.”

“She must be out of her mind, being so secluded, especially in that place.”

But if they only knew the truth.  She would never be alone, especially after the sun had been absorbed by the horizon and the eyes of the sky looked favorably upon her.   The night was her favorite time.  She took another sip of wine and spooned the beef medley into a bowl.  With her wine in one hand and dinner in the other, she pushed open the screen door and sat on the porch to eat.

The last remnants of the day slowly faded into the black of night and she ate her meal with only the kitchen light tracing her outline from behind.  She had just taken a sip of wine when the first orb appeared.  Its dim light caught her off guard since it appeared so close to her porch.  The spirits were timid, by nature, and they usually stayed closer to their grave markers but this one seemed overly curious.

The others appeared slowly, as if they were performing a show meant only for her.  They moved cautiously at first but, realizing she was the only audience member once again, they began to move with the pattern of the wind.   She could no longer eat.  She felt transported by the energy and left her chair to join them in the yard.

With her arms held high like a child with reckless abandon, she danced with the combination of all the souls who had gone before her.  She felt their very essence as she moved through them like the wind moved through the trees.  She thrived on their energy as they blossomed with hers and the dance continued until the rising of the sun soothed the night into a restful sleep and the blankets of their gravestones once again shielded them from the day.

She would sleep fitfully, waiting until the dance began again.

~~

Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge #18 – using the word “stew” and the picture shown above.

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Find me in the middle of nowhere

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My heart is here.

This could be my absolute happiness.

The day I find it will be true bliss.

the middle of nowhere

The land will curl around me for miles,

and the noise of reality will be non-existent.

The only sounds I will hear

are the crackling of the fire,

and the sound of the night

putting the day to bed.

 The crickets will sing their rhythms

in that four-part harmony

that hushes the night into sleep,

and the dawn will paint a new day.

My heart is here.

And with it lies my soul,

and my true passion.

For life breeds love,

and my love lies here,

surrounded by nature,

soothed by its song.