She came floating out of nowhere, forming on the mist of the nightly fog, grasping on to the filaments of the moon’s light that delicately weaved its sinewy self into her –creating her. What she was I had yet to determine. Friend or foe? Would she speak back if I found the courage to speak to her? What tales would she share and would I understand? I slowly froze rooted to the spot in the woods just shy of the dirt road that would lead me straight to where she floated; above the scorching summer asphalt but below where the mountain breeze fell to cool the land. Do I emerge and show myself to her or will she dissipate if I do?
It had been a long day full of adventure and yes the moon was full and my nine year old imagination was free and boundless, but I know what I was seeing and no one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. I had only come down the mountain to fetch more supplies. Bruce and I had split at the creek and he was well on his way to his house for whatever he was scrounging up for our upcoming forays. Here I was rooted in fear. How would I explain not having my supplies? Better yet how would I explain Her?
It is so simple that I only wish it was doable. These obstacles I have are so manageable if only. Writers are worse than Hollywoodians when it comes to ego driven insanity. Our creative souls propel us to places we can’t reach but can feel, we can’t draw but can see, we can’t be but can imagine. A padded cell is not good enough to contain the insanity our writer’s ego ignites.
Never failing to impede my desire, these obstacles exist to torment my need to write.
Time—the thief of all desires. Never enough. Mismanaged at best when we do have it. Interrupted by those that think so much less of what we are doing that they think we are doing nothing. I just need to order more hours in which to write. can it be as simple as designing my own clock with a time warp or Mobius loop for just those few more hours I want?
Eye Twitch—if only my fingertips had eyes to type out on my illuminated keyboard the thoughts I wanted to write when my eyes were so tired that they start twitching at me to demand I close them for sleep.
Idea Muse—those gossamer glimmers that arrive in the middle —-middle of work, middle of the night, middle of anything but the opportune time to capture; sure I will remember that thought, those phrases, these descriptions, this character, a twisted plot complicated in a unique knot; no need to write it down so no worries that I don’t have my journal or a pen.
Technology—don’t even get me started since I won’t be able to find my way out of the ones and zeros without my techilicious man. And let’s admit that technology is more on the positive than the negative when it comes to writing. More of an assistive tool than an obstacle, unless, of course we see those words ‘file not found’ or the blue screen of death when we try to boot up a computer.
In spite of these obstacles this blog got finished. It may not have been what I wanted to write tonight but I did write, right?
PS The techilicious man had a solution for the Idea Muse attacks when I have no journal or pen: Voice Notes on my Nokia Lumia 920! He is such a hero!
Reading for me is something I have to steal and sneak snippets of time to accomplish. Between work, new love, family, wanting to write, wanting to knit, sew, make jewelry, learning to bake bread the old-fashioned way and hundreds of other want-tos and should-dos–reading falls into many “need niches” of my life. I am often reading something spiritual, something for writers or the writing craft, something for personal growth, something for work, and of course something for pure esape. The problem with reading for me is that I am an eternal learner so as you can see there is that journal there in the middle where I have to cogitate what I read. My current pile below is heavy on the craft of writing. As a teacher I find myself heavily writing during those school breaks and there is a one a coming J. Four of the six are on the topic of writing or writers. The other two consist of one spiritual growth and one personal growth on forgiveness. It is still open because boy is that a long process sometimes. There is no pure escape book because I am having trouble finding somethig that suits my need after having ravished both E. L. James’ 50 Shades and Stieg Larsson’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogies. Anyone have a suggestion for me?
Quick facts about PTSD include the estimate of 5 million people who suffer from PTSD at any one time in the United States and the fact that women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
Forgiveness is a Choiceby Robert D Enright
This blue book is open because even after a six week workshop with my therapist and a wonderful group of women seeking empowerment in our lives, I am still struggling with completing the cycle of forgiveness regarding an event in my past. Suffering from PTSD is what brought me to therapy and my faith, while sustaining me, has suffered a crack in the foundation of what I was raised with and what I am now as an adult choosing to re-believe or affirm. This book is a gut wrenching journey through the forgiveness process but well worth the turmoil. Once you till the ground that hardened and lay fallow from years of avoiding the issue, the book helps you prepare for sowing seeds of forgiveness that may or may not sprout. What it has done for me is remind me that the person in question is certainly more than the one sin I was focused on just as I am more than the one event that reaped my PTSD. I am still in the book four months later because I still have work to do and it is a process.
Dancing the Dream. . .the seven sacred paths of human transformationby Jamie Sams
My current spiritual growth book is rooted in Native American wisdom regarding our path lives. According to Sams we have seven sacred paths that are never forced on us but present themselves to us as opportunities and each path allows us to expand as humans. These paths are not linear but dovetail and allow us to embrace lessons on several paths at the same time. The seven paths are:
East Direction: We become illuminated; see a purpose for our life
South Direction: We learn to rise above our childish human reactions, compulsions, and unhealthy emotions
West Direction: We learn how to heal our pasts, our bodies, self-esteem
North Direction: We learn to share wisdom; live with compassionate non-judgmental open-hearts
Above Direction: We embrace unseen worlds of spirit; heavenly realms; unknown parts of universe; intangible forces in Creation
Below Direction: We learn to perceive unseen force; connections to spirit in all living things; how to bring our own spirits fully into our human body
Within/Now Direction: We gain access to all life in our universe within our human body and walk through life in a state of full spiritual awareness without separation or judgment
The connection throughout the reading to “mindfulness” is helpful as I grow and transform my PTSD self into my SELF.
“We all have energy and direct our thoughts/feelings into the world. That energy can implode on us and penetrate who we send it to resulting in loss. We carry invisible burden baskets containing our limitations, thoughts, emotional wounds.”
Mindfulness can help us break free from our fears and live a purposeful life not a purposeless life.
Rumors of Waterby L. L. Barkat
As managing editor for The High Calling and four time novelist, Barkat shares what we all need to be reminded of —writing comes from life. What I enjoyed best about her novel was that she spoke about her life in reality, included how writing flows through her daily mindfulness and how it extends letting me follow where it goes, and the chapters were manageable for those of us needing quality guidance on a tight schedule. The reality of her conversation with the reader about writing and how it seeped into the day and presented opportunities and trifled with her or stumped her kept me shaking my head in the affirmative as to having the same experiences and enjoyable or angst filled moments as Barkat. So she makes you feel like a writer if you are working from your real life stance. Creativity has to have a foundation and why it can’t have it in your real life is beyond me.
The mindfulness of when writing enters her thoughts and how those thoughts flow through her are a journey I am sure I have never been still enough to capture in myself. The ride is well worth the ticket. As a teacher it tickles me best that she has fostered the love of writing in her daughters and they have the same connectedness to writing that she does. Even when the writing thought gets tangled and lost in an interruption, you can’t write without living.
“Writing starts with living. Living starts with somebody caring so much about something that they need to
drag you out of your writing chair and take you where you’ll be surprised to find your words.”
The manageability of the chapters meant, for me, that even after a 12 hour day of teaching (yes they exist) I could still treat myself to a one-on-one session with Barkat about the writing craft and maybe just maybe be rejuvenated enough to craft a draft before crashing for the night.. Not only that, but each chapter seemed to have a tangent I could take somewhere. Thanks Barkat!
As for the rest of my stack the next three books that I have yet to crack but will tonight include
The Novelist by L. L. Barkat The Artist’s Ruleby Christine Valters Paintner & The Writer’s Journeyby Christopher Vogler
Will I juggle all these books at once? Yes, I will. Will I try to write my own creative texts while I am juggling? Yes, I will. The book I am writing with my boyfriend; the one I am writing by myself, a poem/story I am writing for my six year old granddaughter—that only means another two have to be written for the five year old and two year old so they each have their own story from Gran’Ma. In my world, life is juggling and even when things drop there is something in that to capture from the pieces.
“Brian, I know we said we’d never mention it again but it’s happening again. Or maybe it’s not happening again. Maybe it’s always been happening and I’m just noticing again! Who knows. Okay, okay I’ll talk around it.
Since you moved back they show up just like before, you know like when we were eleven and camping that first time we saw them? I still remember how freaked we were but man we were eleven when we made that promise; we’re thirty-one now and it’s happening and we can do something this time. We can’t just ignore it, we’re grownups; not as powerless as we were before.
You don’t know this but after you moved and old man Snyder closed that mine, two weird things happened. The entrance was covered with a blast door and armed guards were posted. I was trying to sneak in one last time to get some detonators but couldn’t get near the place. Not only the door but those military goons knew I was coming before they should have. Tell me how that’s possible? If that mine was so obsolete, then why the need for guards? Armed guards—not worthless rent a cops-but armed – meticulous about security – military style guards. And not only that, but nothing coming nothing going; nothing in our out of the place, so why bother? I know man, I recon’d the place for days trying to figure a way in. The only thing that changed were the guards. Another thing, no one that worked there before ever talks about the place; won’t say nothing, just shake their head and move on as if they forgot they had someplace to be and were late. Mad Hatter syndrome. I mean, come on, a limestone mine! An obsolete one at that?
Regardless of everything old man Snyder left inside, from full factory to detonators to ball bearings it was shut down. Why all the security unless it was somehow connected to those lights. And don’t give me that lame Hudson Valley lights nonsense. Our lights were different and you know it.
Friday night let’s get together. You just moved back and our wives and kids need to meet. Barbeque at my place, bring the family, leave the kids for the night. After things settle down your wife can go home and unpack or relax and you and I will sneak off to the top of the big hill with a six pack and warm the tailgate and watch for them lights. You know you’re dying to know what they are and where they are really coming from so don’t bother telling me no. See ya Friday at 6.”
It is inescapable. Swivel your eyes to the left and you are bombarded with Christmas trees. Squint to the right and you are inundated with wrapping paper, lights, gift bags, and tinsel. While your eyes take in the scenery, your ears signal to you that you are humming along with the Muzak playing religious or holiday songs. And if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time you may be jostled, by like-mesmerized-shoppers, right off your path only to discover you are in front of a shop filled with the wonderful fragrance of gingerbread or peppermint.
Thinking about Christmas this year what struck me was this: why do some people celebrate Christmas if they are non-believers in God? What purpose do they have for purchasing or exchanging gifts? Why do they go through the hustle and bustle of the holiday?
As a believer I know that with each token I bestow on someone else I am honoring God and the gift He gave us in the gift of Jesus. While my tokens certainly don’t measure up, it’s the thought that counts right? Although my public practices have been stifled by man’s offensive bastardization of what my innocent childhood relied on to be true, I continue to foster my faith by holding true traditions instilled in me from an early age.
Not a season goes by that I don’t watch all movie versions of “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Clause”, the only version of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and of course “Prancer”. I try not to miss televised offerings of “Frosty”, “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, and the original “Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. I always hope to catch the Norelco commercial with Santa sledding through the snow.
These shows are certainly not religious in nature but they infuse, in my heart at least, the basic kindness that propels humanity toward being compassionate, kind, and supportive of one another as we journey through our life here on earth just as Jesus portrayed during his journey. It is the least he expects of us and most days we fall short of the least of his expectations.
I read the story of Jesus’ birth while playing the religious holiday songs that are my favorite. I contemplate that goal of reading the whole Bible and again have the internal argument about being cheated out of the books someone before me felt didn’t need to be included and what I am missing by not getting to read everything.
So someone tell me what I am missing now. If you don’t believe in God, what are you celebrating on December 25th?