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.

The nominations are in, and the award goes to…….

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I live in a small community.  In the summer months our population expands nearly as much as Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory after she chews the ‘forbidden gum’.   And while there may be moments that the locals become just as blue in the face, we generally keep our heads low and count the days until our town is returned to us in a reasonable facsimile of what is once was before the tourists descended.

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 (image credit: thelongthread.com)

In the midst of the chaos, our narrow, two-lane roads become inundated with a wide spectrum of driving abilities.  The creative maneuvers in and out of parking spaces never cease to amaze me and, for me, defensive driving takes on a whole new meaning.  My father knew what he was talking about when he taught me how to drive!

I have blogged in the past about how there is no cure for stupid.  On Monday, after 12 hours of sleep and a relatively restful day, one particular driver not only proved the theory of stupidity but she helped me begin my journey out of my blogging funk.  Her asinine driving antics immediately had me formulating sentences for this blog and, if I could track her down, I would thank her for her reckless abandon behind the wheel of her red BMW because it provided some much-needed blog fodder.

Each of us when learning to navigate the control of a motor vehicle are inevitably told to yield to oncoming traffic when entering a roadway.  Common sense begs us to look both ways and only enter when it is safe to do so.  After realizing she had no access to the side road on which she had found herself, the winner of this week’s bad driver award decided to pull into the lane in which I was driving approximately 85 kilometers per hour.  Thankfully I had seen her easing out of the driveway and slowed my speed accordingly.  Not only did I have to slow my vehicle to avoid hitting hers, I had to come to a complete stop in the middle of a highway while she made sure her door was properly shut and her seat-belt securely fastened.

Had it not been for the fact that I was in utter shock at her complete lack of sense, I would have written her license plate number down and nominated her for the TV reality series – Canada’s Worst Driver.  I can only be glad the cars following me had the sense to slow down behind me and not decide to pass or she may have never had the chance to make it home that day.

Is it Labor Day yet?

 

 

 

 

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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(image credit)

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!

 

 

Empty Chairs – 100 Word Song

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chair

Vague memories cling to the fabric,

permanent indentations show in the cushions

of the now empty chairs you once sat in.

As time marches forward I hold tight to the moments created while sitting in those chairs.

Your laughter is embedded in the cloth.

The fiber of your being is woven into the stitching.

The very essence of you lingers in the shadows,

hiding in the nooks and crannies of those chairs.

It will never cease to amaze me how something so inanimate

can breathe such life, can represent so much love.

An empty chair can speak if you listen.

~~

Written for the 100 Word Song Challenge at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.  Check it out and add your own.

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.