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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thor's Day

Photo by Laura Bear
The blank page looms like the expanse of lake just outside the window, except the lake is rippling with waves and the page is not rippling at all. I can't even conjure a lake picture at the moment because I am not home. My camera is at home. So, here is the closest I can come: tiny lake droplets, if you will, on green leaves. You will have to be satisfied with that this week. I am in a place of exquisite beauty. I would love to share it with you, but I am being a little greedy today. Besides, I don't have my camera with me.

It's been a busy, crazy week. A week to remember, or even better to forget. I know, I know, the week isn't over yet, but I'm not counting the regular work week. No, no. This week, Thursday is the new Monday and it is good. The start of a new work week with alternate work that could almost be categorized as play. Thursday's child is full of woe, so that nursery rhyme goes, but not this Thursday. This is decompress Thursday. Transitional Thursday. New Thursday. Not Monday. Not Tuesday, either. Not quite Friday and certainly not Saturday. Or Sunday. Wednesday was so bad, I have decided it will be the end of last week.

Thursday is fresh. Like a cold drink after toiling in the yard all hot summer day. Thursday sounds almost like thirsty--and I am thirsty for relief and inspiration and concentration and meditation and...play. A quick internet search reveals that Thursday is actually "Thor's Day." You know--the Scandinavian dude with the big hammer. This Norse god is associated with thunder and lightening and strength, but also with sacredness and healing and fertility. A suitable way to begin a new week, wouldn't you say?

Anyway, that's what I say. Let the new week begin!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Community

Photo by Laura Bear
Today was an unusual sunny April day in the upper 70's (back to the mid-40's in two days). I went for a bicycle ride with my husband and some friends. I rode too far and too hard for this early in the season, and except for the fatigue and all-over body pain, I felt great! It was good to get the cobwebs out of my mind and to commune with friends. Dinner and a glass of wine put some of the aches and pains to rest and allowed me to contemplate this idea of community.

As much as I love my alone time (and never get enough of it), I need the company of others, too. I think community is especially important for writers. After all, we spend most of our writing time alone in a room, typing or long-handing our thoughts and inspirations onto paper (or electronics). I may have the company of my dog or one of the cats, but I don't actually have to engage the animals to make them happy (most of the time). Even though I get plenty of people-time in my day job, I spend much of my other time either thinking about writing or actually writing--by myself. How I crave that singular time to dig into the writing, the story, the poetic rhythm of word play. I whine and fret if I don't get it often enough. But, what good is the writing if no one reads it?

The most magical part of writing is making a connection with a reader. Nothing stirs my heart more than a reader's feedback. They get me! My writing touched someone else! What else is more euphoric? Okay, yes, the birth of my child, the realization that I am still in love with my husband, the pride I feel as my son becomes an amazing young man, a perfectly risen loaf of homemade bread, spring flowers unfurling in the first rays of sun, the excitement on one of my therapy patient's faces when they learn how to speak again after a stroke, the delight of a child's discovery of anything...you get the idea. Okay, so maybe there are actually a lot of options for euphoria here. Why am I so pessimistic then? Because, crappy things happen to good people, there is too much hate in the world, too much violence, too much death and destruction. True, all that, and yes, I let it get me down. But, then something happens to revive my faith in all things good again.

There was a devastating flood here in 2011. We barely made the national news because we live in an un-news-worthy part of upstate New York. The Susquehanna River in Owego rose 40 feet over flood stage. It filled the first floors of almost every home in town up to the ceilings. Some people lost everything. There was looting and other royal crappiness afterward, but most of all there were people helping. At least two local restaurants--The Cellar and Mario's fed the town even though they were both affected by the flood themselves. They grilled the meat they could no longer keep refrigerated because the electricity was out for days. We took in a lady from the flooded downtown even though we had no water or electricity. We were worried until our good neighbors with pools offered us buckets of pool water to flush our toilets. Other neighbors took in several people whose homes were flooded. People with generators let others charge phones when the cell towers were working again so they could call and let family members know they were okay. We were cut off from the rest of the world, even from the rest of the town, but we had a community of people who looked out for each other.

I think it is important to have a community of writers, also. I had been away from the writer's world for so long, I felt disconnected...alone. Then I went to a writer's retreat and met some fantastic writers who were also excellent people. I reached out to a local writer, we became friends and I met more fabulous people through her. My wonderful friend, and writer-extraordinare, Gregory Norris edited my book, introduced me to one of his publishers, and continues to encourage and comfort me along the way. He is living his dream and is not stingy with his joy. When I begin to feel whiney and pathetic, I wallow for a while and then kick myself in the derriere. Some people warned me that people in the writing business can be jealous, self-serving, mean-spirited, and cutthroat. I have been fortunate to have met only the best people in the writing business so far. I believe in small presses! I believe in working for your dreams. I believe we each have the power to decide how to live our lives. I am not always good at remembering this, but I find that if I believe in and help others to reach their goals, if I reach out to people with good intentions, if I forget about what I want and focus on what I can do, the life I want to live becomes easier to achieve.

I wish the best for all of you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Renewal

Photo by Laura Bear
A true taste of spring this weekend. The fickle sun taunted the landscape for one glorious crystal day then disappeared like yesterday's prom date. Crocuses stretched toward the sky, fluttering their petals in shameless abandon. The pale masses thronged outside to soak up every last ray. Today, the silver rain washed away that golden dawn.

Perhaps there is a lesson here. How rude! I just want spring! Beautiful, verdant, clear blue spring! After the cold, dark winter, new life always emerges. Sometimes later than we like. The dormant ground erupts with emerald spears. Tiny color bunches push through the brown, half-frozen earth. The last clouds of winter shroud the sky in their battle with the sun.

Oh bother, said Winnie the Pooh.

What good is this constant cold bland nonsense? Would spring be less welcome if it were sunny all day long? Do people in the South disregard the constant sunshine? In summer, they hide from it inside air-cooled boxes.  Even those of us in the North start complaining about the humidity if the dog days last more than a week. I suppose we should be thankful the sun shines at all, but I do enjoy my melancholia. I love my cloudy, dramatic days--they make for moody photographs-- but enough is enough!

For now I am greedy for that fleeting warmth. Such a tease! The woodstove has lost its allure. Soon there will be bicycling outside instead of in the cellar on the monotonous trainer watching episodes of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Antiques Road Show. Readying the garden for planting instead of waiting for a peek at it as the snow melts. Okay, okay... there will be more rain. I live in Sinus Valley, after all. It's inevitable. But, a warm summer rain is so much more pleasant for writing, reading, meditating...or combing the cat. Spring rains coax those flowers to bloom. So, yes, I'll take the rain, but please, I'll have a side of solar power with that!

May the sun always shine away your dark days.

Thank you for reading.