Writing To Distraction

Discussing the possibility of purchasing a piece of property this weekend, my Beloved and I were contemplating potential uses for a 10-acre wooded rural space with its fixer-upper 1,000+ square foot house. Because it’s 30 minutes away, the distance was a huge sticking point for him. The ten acres (and the bargain selling price) appealed to me. Mostly in jest, I suggested it would make an ideal writer’s retreat, a place to steal away to and be wholly focused on writing!

FROM:  http://wow-womenonwriting.com/36-How2-DIYWritersRetreat.html
FROM: http://wow-womenonwriting.com/36-How2-DIYWritersRetreat.html

The notion of an actual writer’s retreat is something of a standing joke for the two of us. I think of the numerous writers I’ve known through the years, several of whom wrote novels while sitting at their kitchen tables … between the hours of 4 and 6 a.m. before they trundled off to their day jobs.

I’ve known others, however, who cling to the romantic model of a secluded cottage nestled in the forest, a light dusting of snow on the ground and a generous benefactor delivering meals thrice daily with only the most minimal amount of polite conversation appended to the exchanges. Romantic notions of the cloistered writer are appealing. (I’d be lying to pretend otherwise.) Continue reading “Writing To Distraction”

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Digital Discovery

Italian researchers are conducting tests that determine how sociable twins are in utero and their discoveries (with the aid of ultrasonography) show babies as young as 14 weeks gestation are interacting in the womb! I think this is fascinating research.Twins-intrauterine

We already understand how social humans are after birth. Isn’t it amazing to have a glimpse at the social behavior of twins even before they’re born?! They’re not yet speaking. I doubt they have a developed sense of smell and amniotic fluid may prevent that development. We already know their ears are differentiating sounds.

Because of the research, it’s clear these unborn baby twins are successfully making contact, using their tactile ability to discover each other. Gestures of care and love (reaching out, stroking, etc.) reflect the importance of touch even at this early age. We are social creatures to be sure!

But let’s talk briefly about the reverse side of that coin. I’ve been tripping (virtually) across numerous discussions of how detrimental social media is to our culture. If, as I maintain, we are social creatures, why should there be concern about social media? Aren’t we just acting according to our natures? Continue reading “Digital Discovery”

Off The Links

During the four weekends when there are major golf tournaments (Masters, US Open, The Open and PGA Championships), my Beloved keeps our family room television tuned into the events. Since we also have a DVR, he’s usually recording the entire coverage … in the event he misses something or notices a swing he’d like to study a bit closer. This is what it’s like to live with a man who’s carried a lifelong love of the Game.the-open-championship-e1342569020137

Before we were married, I’d never even played a round of golf. (My sports were softball and baseball.) In the early days of our marriage, we were too poor to golf regularly, but Sunday afternoons, we’d both be at home relaxing. Sooner or later, we’d gravitate to the cheap entertainment provided by our television where a broadcast of one golf tournament or another was playing. Even though I knew little about the game, I’d sit down to watch it with my Beloved. That’s how I came to understand golf, long before I’d ever played a round. Continue reading “Off The Links”

Honeymoon Wagon

In a nod to Sentimental Saturdays, here’s a story about my Beloved’s lifelong fascination with cars, but mostly one particular vehicle. In the summer of 1969, he purchased a 1966 Pontiac LeMans convertible from his parents. He drove it back to college and we were sitting in this vehicle that fall semester when he proposed marriage.

66PontiacLemansConv
FROM: http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/2/3670/4321/21674660005_large.jpg?v=1

For the best representation, I’ve borrowed an online photo to show above. My Beloved’s vehicle was bronze-colored with a cream-colored convertible top and bronze interior. All in all, the above picture is a shining example of the vehicle. My Beloved had one regret about this car, wishing his parents had purchased the GTO model instead of LeMans. His parents sold the vehicle to him for a mere $1,300. DLORLO5

(The picture at right was taken in Fall of 1969. It was a golden autumn afternoon, matching the golden color of the car.) As I say, we were sitting in this car when my Beloved posed the question “Will you marry me?”

It continued to be the car we drove for the next twelve years or so, even as our family grew. At one time, we had three child car seats strapped into the back! (There were bucket seats in front.) I posted a brief mention of the car earlier this year.

When our fourth child arrived, it was no longer possible to adapt the car to our family needs. Besides, the car was showing signs of age. Eventually, we parked it behind the house, hoping the day would come when we’d have funds to give it a suitable restoration. The car’s condition worsened one night when a terrible storm broke off several sizable tree limbs that dropped straight through the convertible top. We still didn’t have money to fix it up; instead we threw a tarp over the top, hoping that would alleviate further damage caused by the weather. Continue reading “Honeymoon Wagon”

You Asked For It!

Yes, there used to be a television series in the 1950s by that name. No, this post has no connection to the tv show.YouAskedFort

Over at the MindfulDigressions blog today, Doobster posted his reaction (entitled I Just Don’t Get It) discussing the Supreme Court decision in re: Hobby Lobby.

Later in the day, he added a follow-up post (entitled Let Me Have It) that expresses surprise (or possibly disappointment?) that his earlier post didn’t generate the level of pushback he apparently anticipated (only two dissenters).

ASIDE: I could be wrong but the later post seemed especially condescending to the two dissenters. I suspect I won’t fare any better than they did, but since Doobster solicited, I humbly offer my response.

It’s simple, really. With all due respect, you don’t have to “get it.” You obviously have a difference of opinion. The Greens (owners of Hobby Lobby) hold one view, you hold another. You’re not going to change their minds on the issue and I imagine your stance is just as firm as theirs. Continue reading “You Asked For It!”

Careful Writing

To me, the idea of writing prompts is both curious (on the one hand) and slightly unnatural (on the other). I suppose some writers depend on such devices to spur their creative juices. WordPress even offers a daily prompt to facilitate bloggers who are stuck. At the end of 2013, the editors at WordPress produced a PDF file titled 365 Days of Writing Prompts.

writingprompt
FROM: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_a_writing_prompt

A Google search for “writing prompts” yields more than ten million results. Many of those come from writing-teacher blogs and online workshops. Others have been provided by schools, colleges and how-to professional resources organized to help individuals develop career goals and more ably compete by acquiring better writing and/or conversational tools. There are writing prompts from past College Board exams to help future test-takers know what might be expected on an SAT test.

The range of writing prompts is probably as varied as writing itself. Sometimes writing prompts are fanciful:  write a fairy tale where the princess turns into a frog. Other writing prompts are more mundane:  describe the steps required to power up your computer. The key, apparently, is to train your mind for spontaneous, off-the-cuff writing readiness. (As I previously suggested, I think developing this skill carries over into conversation as well.) Continue reading “Careful Writing”

Feeling His Pleasure

So, I’ve regained a modicum of composure after yesterday’s justifiable meltdown. The very idea that mindfuldigressions.com would label me a narcissist … why, as I said yesterday, that’s beyond the pale! When Mindful Digressions (MD) insists on raising this “N-word” accusation, it is absolutely a bridge too far. I should have let it go, I might have.

But then! He closed out the post with this stunning paragraph!

“This, essentially, is what blogging is all about. It’s a selfie, but with words instead of a picture. It’s more than just ‘a bit narcissistic.’ It’s the embodiment of narcissism.”

A selfie? He even emphasized the word, highlighting it in red, providing a weblink to define the word!! How could I ever let that accusation slide? Comparing the practice of blogging to the sophomoric act of snapping a selfie?

SelfieThat, sir, is cruel! Does MD think it’s fair to paint bloggers with that expansive brush of unabashed self-worship? Lumping garden-variety (albeit, incurably narcissistic) bloggers into the same company with notorious selfie-ers? I mean, we’re talking the likes of Carlos Danger and Geraldo Rivera! That’s just plain icky! Oh, the humanity!

Geraldo-Rivera-selfie1

carlos-dangerOkay, I’m slowly breathing in, breathing out. I’ve got a brown paper sack here on the desk just in case I feel a sudden wave of dizziness… I’m feeling better. Phew!

Of course, I’m writing again today with tongue firmly planted in my cheek. I wasn’t truly offended by MD’s blog post; the writer offered reasonable observations and logic. And the comparison of blogging to taking (and posting) a selfie? On the face of it (so to speak), I have to admit I understand why he would make that argument.

Maybe … just maybe … there’s a smidgeon of truth to it. Are bloggers just another cadré of performance artists? We don’t smear chocolate all over our naked bodies, nor do we thrust swords down our throats. If we open our veins to squeeze out the words mingled with blood, it’s (usually) only achieved metaphorically.

In the sense that every blog post represents a waving, uplifted hand (if not a desperate plea) for attention … Notice me! Notice me! … I willingly (though grudgingly) concede MD’s point. (Still don’t care for the selfie comparison.)

So why am I still writing? Continue reading “Feeling His Pleasure”

The Proverbs 31 Model

Today in Arky-Barky land, the second day of a two-day event occupies my younger daughter’s attention. (The grandchildren and her sweet husband have slipped away on a day-trip visit to see the other grandparents.) My daughter is occupied with the NWA Boutique Show, an annual event where local merchants (and some from surrounding states) bring their best products hoping to appeal (i.e. sell) to early Christmas shoppers.

image337Yesterday, I took a quick spin through the convention center to see all the goodies on display. The parking lot (as always) was full! Inside the lobby entrance, my eyes lit upon beautifully decorated Christmas trees, artistic signage and enthusiastic young women gorgeously dressed and coifed. Transitioning to the convention hall, I had the sense of stepping into a glossy magazine with page after page exhibiting trends and elegant designs in fashion, home decor and dining fare.

I saw my younger daughter’s booth soon after entering. Cottage Colony products are a eclectic mix of large and small creations personally designed by my uber-talented daughter! The merchant booth itself (pictured below) reflects her flair for pulling together disparate objects in artful display such as I’d never be able to reproduce.7711_10151705006222096_458001789_n

Among her signature products, the red Collegiate Destination Blind shown at right (officially licensed for sale from the University of Arkansas) is a favorite for local communities and alumni seeking a unique way to express their school affiliations.

As with my daughter, the entrepreneurs at this boutique event embody what I consider to be a model of the Proverbs 31 woman. (I won’t reproduce the entire chapter in this post, but you can read it here for yourself.) Though I can’t speak for all the merchants in that convention center, I know several of these ladies and their entrepreneurial acumen is amazing.

It’s a daunting risk to mass-produce an item (or items) you like and your friends have admired or (in some cases) plunked down their cash to purchase. Feedback from friends usually indicates others might also like your product(s) enough to buy, but it’s a totally different undertaking to produce enough items to display at a show, not knowing whether the items will be sold or you’ll be piling much of it back into your car for the long trip home! (Of course, the “ideal” would be to sell everything you’ve brought and return home with a handful of custom orders! How often does that happen?)

Nevertheless, these boutique merchants open their two-day booths amid great expectations! (Will I garner enough sales to cover my expenses?) Some of them hope to earn enough during one two-day gathering so that they can depend on mail-order, online sales for the rest of the season (or year). Others know they’ll need to attend additional boutique events for the sales volume they’re hoping to achieve.

The Easy-to-Read (ERV) Version of Proverbs 31 calls this model woman the “perfect wife” or “noble woman” whose value is “far more than jewels.” The women in this boutique event work to create and innovate. They exemplify the Proverbs 31 model; she “… makes her own thread and weaves her own cloth …” (vs. 19), she “makes clothes and belts and sells them to the merchants …” (vs 24). Women like her (from all over the world) labor for their families and their communities, making the world and their lives better places to live, work and play.

Verse 31 of this chapter says, “praise her in public for what she has done.” I do.

Afternote:  I also am a Proverbs 31 woman! Verse 14b says “… she brings home food from everywhere.” My husband can confirm I’ve sufficiently mastered that quality!

The Intractable, Distractable Life

Shakespeare (in The Tempest) tells us:  What’s past is prologue. Given how my blog has been neglected, I appreciate Shakespeare’s observation

Writers Block

Yesterday’s neglect (or more accurately, the last six months of neglect) isn’t necessarily set in stone for all time. It is what was, not what must always be. Today is like a clean plate, the smorgasbord of opportunities set before us! 

When I read about the 31-Day Blogging Challenge, I was intrigued, knowing this worthwhile endeavor would engage my commitment and might actually rebuild my enthusiasm to get back on the [writing] train. And … here I am — at the eleventh hour on the first day — penning a stream-of-consciousness list of excuses to explain my tardiness!

Writers have a million excuses not to write, don’t we? In my case, it’s not a conscious effort (at least I don’t think it is), but at those times when I’m ready and eager to write, often all it takes is some small insignificant thing to grab away my attention, and I’m simply lost to it!

I am a writer. From the age of ten or twelve, I knew the magical nature of words and my affinity to them would constitute a lifelong enchantment. My fascination with words is easily explained:  words equal connection to people. (There’s also a spiritual component, but that discussion will have to wait for another post.)

I am also a reader. Truth be told, I am a voracious reader!

Shouldn’t matter though. These two activities are thoroughly compatible, right? Writers don’t write in a vacuum. While writing invigorates the writer’s soul, reading feeds it. Both are necessary (the breathing out and in, if you will), but balance (for me anyway) has been out of reach.

Balance, yes. Can this writer (“fat and lazy” from too much feeding … reading) achieve the desired equilibrium — feeding less and engaging (exercising) more? Today is the day of the clean plate. Past can be … should be … is … prologue.

One day at a time, I’m looking forward to the next 31 days.

The ‘Sitka’ House

Revisiting my Movie Night post about our recent viewing of the Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds flick, The Proposal, I neglected to mention the gorgeous setting. The House:  it should have been credited as part of the supporting cast.

My parents used to live in a cove off the Gulf of Mexico. I have friends who live a stone’s throw from a lake; these people drive vehicles (on highways) to reach their homes. And even though I don’t know anyone who travels by boat in order to arrive home, I can accept there are those folks as well.

But I have to say my imagination is piqued. The House would be spectacular, even if you didn’t have to take a boat to get there. You’ve got the water in front, the mountains and lighthouse behind and a pristine landscape that oozes peace and quiet. (What’s not to like?!) Plus, there’s something totally romantic and intriguing about motoring up to your home via a boat dock. What mystery awaits when you set foot on land? (It’s not the ordinariness I experience motoring up my drive and into the garage.) Continue reading “The ‘Sitka’ House”