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.

 

 

Getting into trouble at school

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Last night was my nephew’s graduation from Grade 8.  Like every other family, we collected en masse in the auditorium and slowly felt the oxygen leaving the room as the number of attendees multiplied exponentially.  The ceremonies were late in getting started and after the first tapping of a finger on the microphone the noise of the audience was dulled and the festivities began.

The first thing that struck me about the celebration was the overwhelming difference from my grade 8 graduation to last night.  The girls looked like they were dressed for the red carpet and the boys were dressed to the nines.  Back in 19(illegible numbers) at my grade 8 grad, I recall wearing something that could have passed as a hand-me-down for Holly Hobby, minus the apron, and the boys wore jeans, running shoes, short-sleeved white dress shirts and clip-on ties.

The program for the evening kept to the letter of the printed description, minus the timing.  As speech tumbled into speech, I made the mistake of leaning over to my brother and whispering something about the extended ceremony and the fact that the grad class may miss their boat cruise after the graduation.  It was at that precise moment that my brother chose to whisper a response that not only shocked me, but made me start to giggle.  Now, when you are in the middle of an important rite of passage for a 14-year-old, giggling during the ceremony is frowned upon.

I did my utmost to stifle the laughter but that only made it worse and a small snort escaped.  This sent my brother into fits of silent, but convulsive laughter as well and we slowly lost control.  Tears streamed down our faces as we sought some sort of relief from our fits of hysterics but, every time we looked at each other, the inaudible giggles were compounded by more tears and several sideways glances from those sitting around us, including my sister-in-law.

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My younger nephew, who was sitting beside me, leaned over to quietly ask what was so funny.  I could only respond with a wave of my hand and more fits of silent laughter while trying to catch my breath.  Thankfully a somber moment in the ceremony grabbed our attention the restrained giggling came to an end.  I wiped the moisture from my cheeks and eyes and avoided looking in my brother’s general direction for the duration of the grad ceremony.

My nephew graduated with Honors and his class quickly exited the hallowed halls of their alma mater to board the steamship that was waiting for their arrival.  Like ants leaving a picnic, the cars sequentially left the parking lot and the evening came to an end.  I got in my car, a few chuckles escaping as I recalled the fun I had with my big brother, and heard the distinctly familiar ring of my cell phone.

My first words were, “I’m still laughing”, and I could hear that familiar sound on the other end of the phone.  We laughed again for another five minutes and I had to pull the car over because I couldn’t see well enough to drive!  That is certainly one graduation I will never forget – and when my younger nephew goes through the same ceremony, I’ll make sure my brother and I are not sitting beside each other!

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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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Finding the time to make some time

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I miss reading blogs.  I miss catching up with the friends I have come to know in this little slice of creative heaven.  And I miss having all of my writing cylinders firing at the same time.  If my life had a movie title it would be “Life Interrupted”.

The summer hospitality chaos begins a week tomorrow but with that chaos comes a reasonably regular schedule and a chance to corral the myriad of thoughts in my head and the opportunity to pin them down (I hope).

May the writing Gods nod in my direction and may my creative world ease back into its natural orbit in the WordPress galaxy!

 

 

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.

Beginning a new type of cleanse

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Today is my first day off in twelve days.  I had envisioned being horizontal on my couch for a large portion of the day but an important task that I have continually buried in my brain has burst to the frontal lobe and changed my plans for the day.

Everyone collects things as they go through life.  Eventually you begin to share your life and you welcome another person’s things into your collection.  But sometimes those unions fail, for whatever reason, and after the division of that union some things get left behind.  Today is the day I begin the process of no longer possessing those things.

My entrance way will no longer be a storage locker for junk.  My plastic shed will no longer hide the numerous boxes that have since become apartments for families of rodents.  It’s time to claim my space and make it mine again.

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The bug jacket is ready and the 14 yard waste bin is in my driveway waiting anxiously to be filled and, although the mosquitoes may carry me away before I’m finished, I’m really looking forward to this cleanse!!

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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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