Much ado about the opposite of nothing

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magic-book

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 I have been conspicuously absent from reading other blogs, or anything else in the category of the written word, because I have been alarmingly removed from anything resembling spare time.   I am on day 10 of a potential 14-day work stretch without a full day off and will certainly log a great deal of overtime this week.  (too bad I’m on salary)

I miss the carefree hours of being able to have enough brain capacity to read on a recurring basis.   This phenomenon happens frequently this time of year and I feel like I am missing an appendage when I cannot feed the creative appetite that incessantly yearns to be fed by words.

My attention span is non-existent.  My ability to concentrate is tenuous.   My capacity to hold a thought is…………………waning.  And the notion that I have enough brain power to write blog posts on my own site on a frequent basis is nothing short of laughable.

Next week is a quiet week at work, probably the last extensive time period that I will have to fill my desire to absorb words as quickly as I am able to, and write words that long to be freed from my mind, before the onset of summer.   The list of books has been established, the index of writing topics has been inventoried, the sequential collection of email notifications has been queued, the wine has been stored at the proper temperature and the spot on the couch has been reserved.

I can only hope that the three empty days on the calendar at work remain that way, for my sake.  I’m slowly learning to be a little more selfish when it comes to pursuing my true passions and I wish for the break in reality to be able to seek the charms of the fantasy life that awaits me in the world of literature and composition.

They light the corners of my mind

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Memories are a funny thing.  I was chatting with a good friend and, after overcoming the fact that he had just discovered a pair of  (for lack of a better description) parachute pants in his long-forgotten wardrobe, I was reminded of how the memories of our past help us keep in touch with our past, help us contemplate our present and help us shape our future.

Until just recently, the memories of my mother would conjure tears more than anything else.  The gaping hole that was left in my heart when she died seemed to be a void that would never be filled.  But things change.  And although time doesn’t necessarily heal the wounds, it allows the wonderful memories of our past to soften the anguish of loss.  Time gives us perspective and time grants us those precious moments to realize that the joy of our past can outweigh the sorrow of our present.

As much as I love to write today, I never kept a journal in my youth.  Conceivably I did this to protect my privacy, to avoid having my most precious thoughts and feelings perused by an unanticipated reader.  But in safeguarding my secrets, I unwittingly buried my past, not only from other observers but, from myself.  I unintentionally took pieces of my past and made them disappear by not keeping their light on in the corner of my mind.

light-the-corners-of-my-mind-paul-sachtleben

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This blog is helping me to rekindle some of that lost light.  Those corners of my mind that seemed lost in the shadows are now warmed by the light that I am creating each time I publish my thoughts on this blog.  Looking back at my past blog posts is a lovely stroll down memory lane and I hope to keep those lights burning for a long time to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming a student of the law

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If you are confused by the title of this post, I wish to clarify that I have not decided to go back to school.  Instead, I have vowed to become a student of life and pursue the merits of the Laws of Attraction.

I recently overheard friends discussing their desire to create a vision board.  Although I knew vaguely what a vision board was, I had never been entertained by the idea of creating one for myself.  I love to lose time dreaming about my perfect kitchen.  I have seen my future home in my brain so many times, and the idyllic life that goes along with it, but I have never felt the need to purchase a white board and post pictures of my idealized Arcadian existence until now.

my new kitchen

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I have envisioned myself cooking in this kitchen.  I have seen the faces of the guests in those chairs enjoying wine and appetizers while I artfully prepare the next course, amusing their bouche with each morsel.  My fully stocked pantry is organized so well, with labels facing forward, that it is only protected by a Muskoka-style screen door.  The wine cellar is filled with robust red wines and the food is freshly cooked, every day.  This is my bliss.

To add to my paradise there is a writing nook off in the corner, away from everything else, where my dreams are free to escape the confines of my brain and spontaneously arrange themselves on a blank page.  All facets of my creativity thrive in this space and my happiness is shared with those around me.

Vision boards appeal to both the conscious and subconscious levels of our instinct.  As I write this post, my vision board is staring back at me, daring me to make it a reality.  Those spaces invite me to live within them.  Those dreams want me to follow them into my new future.  And those images will pursue me in my sleep and be there in the morning to remind me that my desires are real and absolutely attainable.

“Touricide” and a brief message to the transient population

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It has already begun and the long weekend is still days away.  The simple act of easily turning left onto any of our local roads is a shadowed memory of its former self.  They have descended upon us and the seemingly mundane tasks we used to perform with ease now require an expletive filter and a great deal of patience (or high blood pressure pills) (or both).

Almost three years ago, I wrote this post about the tourist season in our small town.  It was that post that sparked some interesting conversation about these wayward travelers and also got me Freshly Pressed.  To those not ensconced in the WordPress blogging world, being Freshly Pressed was a nice pat on the back.  We were recognized for writing something interesting that would encourage a discussion.  And that it did…..on many levels.

I will preface the words that follow by reminding you that I work in the hospitality and tourism industry.  My job is to serve people and I truly enjoy it.  Our lodge guests have slowly become like friends and family and it is a pleasure to go to work.  But the myriad of other temporary inhabitants of our little village are a like a box of chocolates and, as Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, you never know what you’re gonna get.   I realize that these summer vacationers are the bread to our butter, the wind beneath our small town wings, but, as each year rolls into the next, the level of courtesy and manners shown by a substantial percentage of these visitors leaves much to be desired.

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The act of “Touricide” has crossed my mind at many points throughout our busy seasons.  I’m sure if the facts of my potential case were presented to a jury of my peers the charges against me would be dropped and the crime would be ruled as justifiable.

I don’t mind that our population explodes exponentially in the summer months.  I plan accordingly knowing my routine tasks will take much longer because the lines have quadrupled in length.  I leave my house much earlier to deal with the sudden onset of traffic in a town where six cars on the road in the spring is considered gridlock.

What I cannot tolerate is the arrogant attitude of so many of these visitors, thinking we live in this town only to serve them in the summer.  You have entered our home.  We have greeted you with courtesy and respect and all we ask in return is the same level of civility.  We will bend over backwards to meet your needs and we ask so little of you.  Smile.  Say thank you, and mean it.  Take a moment to appreciate that you are on vacation and relax.  Things may not get done at city speed but they will get done and we will make sure they get done properly and that they meet or exceed your expectations.

I wish everyone celebrating the long weekend a safe and happy holiday.  Take the time to smile and say hello to a stranger.  Perhaps all they need is a little small town warmth to melt that cold city shell.

The Devil finds work for idle hands

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The Devil may have toyed slightly with my resolve as I lay in bed yesterday morning, reluctant to put my feet on the cold floor, but I slipped out of his grasp as I began my day and didn’t give myself a moment for a second thought.

I have never been an idle person.  Sure, I went through moments of lethargy and reluctance as a teenager, but who didn’t?  Yesterday was a glaring reminder of that part of myself, that stubborn fragment of my psyche, that doesn’t allow me a full day to just be passive and enjoy watching life go by.

If I were being honest, I would have to admit that I enjoy being busy.  And thankfully I have many hobbies that I can choose from that can occupy a significant part of my day as well as the daily and weekly chores that come with living on my own.

Among the housekeeping and maintenance duties that come with being a home owner, today I finally finished a project that helped me feel like I fully restored the identity I had before I was married.  My new sign at the end of my driveway, painted by me, proudly displays the family name I was born with and am proud to reclaim once again.

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Yesterday the Devil realized his time is better spent elsewhere.  The house is clean, the floors are mopped, the shopping is done, the dump run was completed, two new soups were made, the dog was walked twice, the sign was painted and hung and I even had a few spare moments to watch some golf.  I don’t think I have to worry about my hands ever being idle.

 

For the love of writing

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I feel the overwhelming desire to write.

For the last couple of 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 and feed my body and mind with words.

words in my brain

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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 abandon.  I follow no rules.  I adhere to no code or convention.  I simply write what comes to me 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 enter 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.

A built-in rinse cycle

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I have to post this story again because the pattern seems to have emerged again today.

Working in the hospitality business goes hand in hand with working long hours.  I can adapt to the hours but my dog is the one who takes the brunt of my lifestyle.  I will never leave her outside on a chain to battle the elements – she is firmly ensconced in our home, lazily spending her hours watching the wildlife from the comfort of my bed.  I have several people who are more than willing to come over and let her out during the day because she is such a happy dog and, for me, having her be the excuse to leave work for thirty minutes is wonderful.

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(a much younger Callaway)

During these long days, I often wonder how she invests her time.  Is she reorganizing my kitchen cabinets?  Has she mastered the satellite remote?  Does she inventory my refrigerator?  But each day when I get home from my struggle to survive my sometimes 10-14 hour days, she is there to greet me and nothing in the house seems out-of-place.  Until recently…..

I returned home from my usual work day and I was greeted by the reassuring excitability that I have come to expect.  The house, as usual, was completely intact.  The garbage was untouched and the serene ambiance wrapped its arm around my shoulder and pulled me into its embrace to welcome me home.

My attention was immediately diverted to the duvet cover on my bed and what seemed to be a single article of clothing bunched up in the middle of the bed.  It wasn’t shredded, however the entire shirt was extremely damp.  She had been licking my shirt and focusing her attention on the armpits of the shirt.

Now you have to understand that my closet is hidden by a decorative cloth shower curtain that poses as a makeshift door.  Somehow, she was able to pull back the shroud of the curtain, move the articles of clothing she had no interest in, leaving them in a heap on the floor, and gingerly lift the shirt from the middle of the pile of laundry in the basket.  She also strategically replaced the curtain so nobody would catch on to her devious plot.

As much as I miss her during my day, it broke my heart to realize how much she truly missed me during her day.  The writing was on the wall, or in this case on the bed.  My scent comforted her during her lonely day while she waits for me to return home.

We are only at the beginning of our busy season but, before I know what happened, my work days will become shorter and more structured.  My time with her will increase and perhaps her need to be close to my deodorant-saturated shirts will abate somewhat because I will be here in the physical form and not just the odoriferous form.

And who knows, perhaps in the meantime I can save myself a fortune on laundry!