I went through a period of adjustment, a long one, after moving to my new place. It’s been an official year, a new lease has been signed and the sun is now warm and summery in my windows. My attitude has picked itself up out of the cold feb doldrums.
One of the things I’ve learned in my life is how if you pick something and work on it consistently for a while you will have something when you look up. And this is a great way to cope with stagnation and the blues. This year I was in a depression of why do anything and to try and excite my way out of it I made a writing pact with a friend of mine. We were going to write our plays. I was going to dust off an old short solo show project of mine and turn it into an a full act to submit for various grants.
I am a lazy writer. My work was terribly fudged, and justified in my lack of output. I skipped the writing of a play and did character sheets. I would rewrite a moment and call it work. Making myself do anything at all was a tremendous effort but I did it. Because I am stubborn. Because I have a parent in my head saying later, later this will all be worth it later. Because I had a friend in my living room weekly wanting to be excited and share and see something on a page.
During this a big grant showed up, due July 10. And I decided to make that my first goal. I put enough work together that I could ask a group of friends to read my play out loud and tell me what they think of some things I was trying, and it was amazing.
Not perfect but exciting, entertaining, intriguing. The weird idea I had seemed appreciated by all, though of course it means a SUPER DUPER MORE THAN I WANT TO DO WORK.
Which brings me back to this blog. Most of my adult writing has been blogging on line. It’s an amazing way to find a voice, to play with language and tone. And I’ve neglected this little corner long enough to feel it’s sorta private space.
And I need the practice again. The practice of sitting down and putting a word after a word after a word. Because after this play I have a film script in my head and a book that I’ve been talking about for years but in my brain it keeps getting thought about a mulled over, refined maybe? Thinking is where I do some of my best work. Just wished it got on a page. so yeah. so blogging, so trying to be regular and get the gunk out and sneak in the scary work of giving the character you love a psychotic break so truth can come out. Woot. Such fun!
The habit takes over. I only looked once. I have birthdays to confirm! All in the name of friendship! And now my browser is opened and the beginning of the word, fa…, is typed and then I realize. No! Facebook just No!
I am finally understanding why I avoid writing. Once I get going there is always one more thing to say and it is exhausting.
Smoked paprika makes most things over the top delicious.
Avoiding Facebook. It now takes my energy, focus and piece of mind. (Pun intentional). Instead of clicking into FBworld I am now venting on my own website. We’ll see how that goes.
Just found myself literally twiddling my thumbs. Dork.
On Facebook I have been tagged in a round robin status: “IN YOUR STATUS, list ten books that stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. They don’t have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you. Tag ten friends, including me, so I can see your list!”
I can’t do it.
10 books? That is far too few. I started reading in kindergarten and could not put books down. The first books I recall, most influential I believe, were fairytale kids books. Snow white, etc. I learned to read with them. I loved them and read them to myself over and over. My little sister was angry at me at some point and ripped them all up. I sorta forgive her.
After that, in no particular order: A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett- purchased at a book sale in 5th grade with a borrowed .50 from the cutest student teacher ever. My father had died the beginning of the school year and I read this book over and over at the end of. I still have a copy somewhere.
CUTE is a 4 letter word. One of the first teen romance books I was allowed to read. I read it in third grade though it was on the 5th grade shelf. Somehow I had my name down to get it first – I was also reading all the Grimms Fairy Tales, Lloyd Alexandar, these strange white covered hardback paperbackstyle size books with freaky sci fi stories in them, Tuck Everlasting, alan mendelssohn and the boy from mars, and a few other fantasy/sci fi goods, along with all myths I could get my hands on.
At some point I won the summer reading challenge by a WIDE margin and got my photo in the paper.
Bridge over Terrabithia fucked me up for quite a while, as did To Kill a Mockingbird. And the impressions of different lives soaked my soul. I swam in that shit.
I was (am) a reader and a believer. I forget who I am and live the story. At my most obsessed I read three or so books a day, depending on page count and complexity of subject matter. While I read I think everything can happen and everything is true and everything makes sense.
I read the Book of Mormon and Bible and Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants before baptism at the age of 8, to be ready. I’m pretty sure that influenced me a whole bunch. Though a lot was sorta rote reading more than understanding. Much of my life has been spent reading spiritually motivated books as I fell out of Mormonism, then christianity, then new age. Finally science won as the system I had a right to trust. That couldn’t have happened without science fiction. (And new age writers trying to explain quantum uncertainty as a spiritually controllable effect. Google was invented and once you start reading real science about it the new age is up in smoke.) It’s overwhelming obsession showed up around 12 while in Utah, we moved there for school for mom, for mormon help and community and I think for mom to run from some memories. And my eyes moved through all the wizard of oz, anne of green gables, dickens, little house on the prairie and hundreds of others on the shelves of the kids library, to the point that i had nothing else to read. Oh there were some books I hadn’t read but they were the ones I couldn’t make myself pick up. So I got permission to roam upstairs. I’m pretty sure I was testing into college levels with my reading comprehension at this point but what kid wants to read an autobiography of thomas jefferson or a novel of modern ennui set in paris? I roamed the stacks of the old building desperate for something and suddenly there were the spines with the rocket ships, the atomic sign, the nuclear warning all meaning science fiction lives within, in front of my face. True Love can happen.
Asimov – every word he wrote I could get a hold of, including the biographies and non-fiction but of course I Robot and Foundation. All changed how I looked at things. Then there was Heinlein. – Stranger in a Strange Land. He was probably a mistake but the stories were easy and gripping and full of super heroes, as well as some pretty frighting ideas of incest and pedophilia if applied to the real world. Not that I understood it at the time. Dune. Oh who can read Dune and remain the same? It took a lot of years of growing up before I could get through the rest of the series. I find them amazing books now though, but the follow ups by his son can be skipped. Those are just trash.
Xanth series – Piers Anthony, how I loved his puns as a pre-teen, how I use those books as an example of what not to do in my head now. Anne McCaffry – Dragons of pern – ALL the first 9 books. There are no words about how much I loved the sprawling tale turning fantasy lands into a science fiction crash landing. It was storytelling magic to me.
Other authors are Twain, Le Guin – every book she ever wrote really, she’s a brilliant author and thinker. Orson Scott Card – Enders Game of course but even more Speaker for the Dead. Ha and then some horror crept in – Stephen King – Christine scared me for many night, Pet Cemetery even more but I kept reading.
Narnia – An ever present land in my childhood and teens. A box set was expensive and prized to me as a child. Many books of a series wrapped in their own cardboard container behind a plastic wrap was treasure. Narnia was prized but shared with my sister, as most of my life was of course.
Not everything is scifi of course but I never had the classics thrill me in the same way. Open up my mind to new ways to address life, religion, gender, politics.
And how can I forget Sturgeon, discovered him as I got older, and felt buffed with pearls and smoke and mirrors from his old-time writings. Bradbury struck other echoy internal chords as well. A mystery and magic and a knowing of humanity that thrilled me. Illustrated Man made me see. Fahrenheit 451 made me weep. And start to try and memorize a book or two. Didn’t succeed.
So many books. Each one has left a mark, love for the pages and people lingers long after I can remember the details. And I often reread what I’ve managed to keep around, seeing a new detail, understanding a bit the younger me didn’t.
Each time I read a book I am always shocked at the fact others have read it before me. That thoughts it contains are ones I had come to on my own. That over and over books prove to me how different and how the same life is.
Books, books, books – there is no 10 influential books for me. Every one of them is a respite, a learning experience, a saving grace, a sanity restorer. Reading is where I’m home.
A friend called the moments after shoving a plate away, stomach round and full from feasting, legs stretch and tummies get patted, this golden moment is toe crackin time. Shoes off, Curl them up, curl them down, try to grab like a monkey, that’s how I do it.
I haven’t feasted unless you count a perfectly mixed bowl of Colassal Berry Crunch and Marshmellow Matey’s but there is a breeze coming in my window and my bare toes reach for it and I melt into my chair trying to remind myself that life can’t be a perpetual toe crackin moment. But oh how wonderful the moment is.
Than go back in time, even/especially knowing what I know now. I, some days, get bitter and mad for the youth I wasted not understanding how amazingly attractive and able I was. Misunderstanding all I surveyed. Longing for someone to fill a hole that was created by being alive.
I can’t want to unchoose things I have done. Not now. Especially now. And if I had to spend a hundred years in an iron lung I would do it instead of coping through that mess of youth, really.
I cannot truly understand those who wholeheartedly regret the aging. Who long for fresh skin and hormones driving you into alcohol driving you into questionable spaces, into each other.
I am one of the lucky ones.
I am out of it. The nonsense of pre-40 under achievements and torturous situations, of finding yourself and creating a future you want, of forced relationships and angry hurtful connections.
I much prefer to be here, over 40, 20 years of consequences under my belt and left behind as I go over and down the hill.
A desk, a bed, a peaceful nook to stare at the world from, calmness settling
It’s one search of a lifetime closed. (Lookinglookinglooking for my space, my shell.) And finally after a wanderlust that lasted adulthood things are settled.
Finding home after pain leads to reverence. It is religion. Standing for moments gazing with gratitude and appeasement towards whatever forces finally pushed home upon you. (whatever the space of home might be.) Gratitude descends almost unbearable in it’s humblesoulfulgrovel of thankfulness. Eyes rove the riches of fitting and on joyful things they settle.
Over and over emotions roll searching for what to feel now that things have changed completely and life seems to have a reset button and all that has been past is over and where the future is going none can say, but it will probably be interesting to quench the boredom that rises once all that is
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