Under the night sky

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Dusk descends.  The deep blue of the night sky edges its way into darkness and evening begins to fall.  Stars mottle the nightscape and any heat the earth consumed during the day is slowly released back into that vast open space.  The long spindly finger of Old Man Winter begins to caress the world and the cold enters everything it touches. Trees snap and groan in their defiance of the stinging night air and animals have long since retired to the protection of their dens.

winter sunset

The smallest portion of exposed skin is ambushed by the cold and is threatened with the repeated gnawing jaws of frost bite.  It hurts to breathe, but the beauty of that cold winter night is unparalleled.  The sky seems anxious to introduce every star in the milky way without the intrusion of clouds and the silence is deafening.

This is my winter.  These are the nights that I am drawn into the cold for the sole purpose of watching the stars put the sun to bed for another night.  I tilt my head back to take in the constellations and wait for a shooting star.  This is life in my Northern town.  This is the pastel portrait that saturates my brain before I go to sleep.

Oprah has a name for this…….

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Not everyone has the opportunity to experience a full-circle moment in their lifetime – that epic twist of fate when something you had spent so much time dwelling on in your past creeps up on you in your present.  I had one of those moments today.

I am a product of the 80’s.  I was never a slave to the hair and poorly-chosen fashion (most days) but the movies of the 80’s live on in my current reality.  I can recite those movies verbatim and I recognize a bit of myself in each one of those iconic movie roles that I watched as an impressionable teenager.  And though there were fleeting moments of seeing similarities between the starring roles and my teenage psyche, I always felt a deeper connection with the weirdos, the poets, the dreamers.

It was this truth that bonded me to Andrew McCarthy’s character, Kevin,  in St. Elmo’s Fire in 1985.  Though his role was meant to be a bit of an outcast, Kevin was the definition of how I saw myself in those days.  He was a creative soul, misunderstood on many occasions but he held true to himself.  Unlike me at the time, Kevin knew who he was and, although he struggled, in the end he wasn’t afraid to be that person.  He wanted to describe what he saw in a myriad of ways.  He wanted to describe life by every little detail and not just watch it go by.  He wanted to write.  And he was going to see his way to his future on his battered Underwood typewriter.

That line stuck with me.  It haunted me, actually, and I have seen that written line in a loop in my head for many years.  Like a headlining banner at a movie theatre,  the words “battered Underwood typewriter” scrolled incessantly around my brain.  The image of that machine, the clacking of the keys, kept me bonded to that dream of writing.  And now that image has become a reality.

IMG_1656

In a moment of complete serendipity, I have been gifted an Underwood typewriter.   I have been given a battered, plunking, beautiful, historic typewriter that could write chapters of its own given the chance.  Its stories are burned into the keys.  Its ribbon holds a wealth of ideas and the rest is not history, but my story.  It is up to me to cajole the remainder of the tales from this relic.  This battered Underwood typewriter could be the one thing that reminds me that I can write and, just maybe, will help me get to the next stage of my writing success.

 

Retail therapy and really sore ribs

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I knew it was going to be a fun day twenty minutes after we got in the car.  Driving through town with my girlfriends, we passed a minivan with the hood up blocking the entire windshield.  It wouldn’t have been such an odd site but the van was still driving along the other side of the road.  And that is how the day’s adventures began.

Even though we live in a very small area, we rarely get to see each other.  So the four of us banded together and hit the highway for a day of shopping, drinks and much laughter.   There is a palpable energy in the air when this particular pod of women gets together.  We are so anxious to catch everyone up on what has been going on that we talk over each other quite a bit but when “K” starting telling a tale from the retail job she has, the three of us stopped to listen to her story about the underwear sniffer.  This man habitually frequents her store to spend precious moments skulking through the ladies under garment section, stopping occasionally to bury his nose in the latest design of Fruit of the Loom.  Super creepy, but for some reason it made us laugh hysterically.

sniffing underwear

We got to our favorite store and shopped like it was our job.  We filled the back of the SUV with our new treasures and decided it was time for lunch and a glass of wine.  The laughter continued over lunch and the man seated at the table behind us took great interest in our group.  He was completely harmless, a regular at the restaurant, but he certainly seemed eager to join in the fun.  He regaled us with a few tales of his own and, before he left, presented us with a Tim Horton’s gift card.   It was such a sweet gesture and we enjoyed some coffee and sweets on the ride home.

As the adventure was coming to an end, we were gathered in the parking lot where we had met earlier that morning.  It is routine to see what everyone else bought and as the cloth and yarn were being passed, a precious item (valued at $1.99) hit the pavement and broke.  The sound of ceramic shattering coupled with a slow-motion “oooooohhhhh nooooooooooo” made us burst into gales of laughter.  Here we were – four women in our 40’s and 50’s coming completely unglued in the Walmart parking lot.  Walmart shoppers were doing their absolute best to get as far away from us as possible.  Sideways glances were noticed but ignored by all four of us.  Our main goal was to not pee our pants in the middle of a busy parking lot.

Once I was able to breathe again, I wiped the tears from my eyes and collected myself.  This was the day I have needed for a long time.  This day, full of laughter and old friends was literally what my doctor had ordered for me to get me out of my funk.  And the icing on the cake of this day was finding out where NOT to shop for underwear!

Walken in a Winter Wonderland

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I have admittedly been in a bit of a funk lately.  The holidays seem to be approaching at the speed of the new Maglev train in Japan and I have been trying to avoid the thought of them.

And then I saw it…..the ad for the live production of Peter Pan starring none other than Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

captain hook

If you are a fan of Walken, as I am, you know how great he is to watch and to imitate.  His disconnected thoughts and speech patterns make for great entertainment.  I am not dismissing his awesome talent as an actor or a dancer, but Mr. Walken does make great fodder for TV show hosts and actors to share their impressions of him.

or this one…

(wait for 1:51 on this one)

I’m sure the performance will be great.  He is, after all, a professional and a very talented one at that.  But this is live TV.  There is no room for error.  There will be no Director yelling “cut” and doing a retake of the scene.  I’m sure it will be flawless.  But in the back of my mind, I will be longing for that moment….that one little hiccup that will create a slight deviation in the programming and where the nuance of Christopher Walken will fill the void.

The minutes are ticking by slowly as I wait for the fun to begin.  Live television…Christopher Walken…..these are my Pennies from Heaven.

 

 

 

 

I’m dancing like nobody is watching (and ignoring the looks of disapproval)

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I started my blogging journey in August of 2012.  I had no real direction, I had no real premise for the project I was about to launch and I had NO idea what large, creaking door had just opened into my imagination.

Since that first string of awkward words I have found a rhythm.  I have found a group of friends with like minds who share the same disease linked to sleep deprivation that I have come to love and understand.  I have found a community of people who love writing, who feed on words and language and who encourage me to feed that literary wolf who hides in sheep’s clothing.  I have found my home away from home.

Today marks another milestone in my blogging journey.   Today my number of followers increased to:

2000

That is such a big deal for me and I just want to thank each and every one of your for your support and encouragement!  I guess it’s time to get writing that next blog post.

(image credit)

A symphony of silence

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Everyone feels the need to belong to something or to be connected to someone. It is a normal human desire to be accepted by others and we strive for that feeling of belonging. But there are times when we wish to pull ourselves away from society, bask in the glory of our own company and leave the rest of the world behind for a few blissful hours.

The state of solitude disengages us from the immediate demands of other people and, for a short time, we put our own needs and pleasures above all else. There is a fine line between solitude and loneliness but solitude is a conscious choice to remove ourselves from the whirlwind outside of our private sanctum and relish in the down time we can create in that time alone.

solitude

Solitude can bring healing, bliss and a sense of abandon. But you must be truly comfortable in your own skin to be able to fully appreciate the pleasure of being alone. Being able to let your mind wander in a myriad of directions, having an inner dialogue with yourself or just enjoying the serenity of your company is a rare gift.

Everyone needs to occasionally give themselves the gift of guilt-free isolation – the permission to do nothing except for the things that you never give yourself time to do. Forget the needs of others for a brief period of time and read a book, take a bubble bath, cook a fabulous dinner for one, watch the show that is your secret guilty pleasure and kick back with a glass of wine. Whatever your vice of quietude is – seize the opportunity to revel in it.

The moments we have alone to reflect are the rare gifts we are able to give ourselves. Enjoy your own company once in a while and give yourself a chance to really breathe in your life. Solitude does not mean isolation. Solitude is merely silencing the outside world for a moment and obtaining that inner peace that we all crave.

Got the message, loud and clear…

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It’s a rainy, snowy, cold Saturday and I am home with a nasty chest cold.  I’ve been channeling my inner James Earl Jones when I talk and my boss thought I was a man on the phone.

I did a bit of work around the house to make it a little less drafty this winter and I finally decided the germs had gotten the best of me.  I wrapped myself in a blanket and had been wasting my time surfing through my pictures when I stumbled on this one:

writing

‘Nuff said…..thanks to the spirit responsible for sending the message!  Time to reintroduce myself to the characters of my book and get the bloody thing written!