Archive for October, 2010

A "Moving" Experience

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Two weeks ago, I moved out of my mother and brotherís house, where Iíve been renting a room the past two years, to an apartment in a small city to the south. I havenít been blogging lately, because the only thing on my mind is unpacking. I canít seem to function if my life is in boxes.

I approached unpacking like a system, this after moving a dozen times since college. I unpacked each room first and as I did so, planned ahead where I would put categories of items. To describe this process would be too much of a how-to article and make me sound a bit nerdy. I donít want anyone to know the truth about how I like everything to be in its place.

Thatís why these two weeks, Iíve been late, saying the wrong words and stopping mid-sentence and wondering, ìWhat am I thinking about?î

Then there was the whole sentimental part of unpacking. I found items I forgot I had, as well as items that brought up memories. I did a little dance when I found this journal I thought I had lost during my last move. I paused over my photo albums, flipping through periods of my life, hastily to get on to more unpacking.

And then I got mad. The glass inserts for my coffee and end tables were totally shattered. The moving company I hired for my cross-country move two years ago was lousy, to say the least. I had most of my stuff in storage and have just discovered many problems with the movers I hired. They scratched several pieces of furniture, stained my white couch, cut my ottoman and smashed down boxes, but luckily the things inside were unharmed.

My emotional landscape from the move went from elation ñ I am living in a vaulted ceiling, many-windowed, all-new apartment with a view of downtown ñ to reminiscing to anger, but as my mother said, this, too, shall pass.

On the Road With Su Baru

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Who is Su Baru? and Where has she been?

Hooked at first sight. The flaming red head stood out in the crowd of her peers. Her classic style drew me to her. She became the ward of my household. So lovely to look at, delightful to drive, she was all Iíd ever need. On the home-front she made quite an impression, so much so she was welcomed with offers of travel.

Her first adventure took her from the eastern plains of Colorado across the Rocky Mountains to the western slopes. ìLoved the mountain towns and the west-ness of Durango.î

Next, she was lured to a trip to the wild, wild, west territory of Denver for a few weeks. She says, ìIt's a nice place to visit, so much history and so many tourist things to do. Just a little too busy for me.î

Then came the short day trips up and down the Front Range and the cities and towns along I-25. †She attended many soccer games but I overheard her say, ìI prefer the serenity of the plains known as Evans.

She sometimes wondered if she were homeless...but alas she found her way.

Right now she's†reacquainting herself with parking space #4 on Ponderosa Court, and seems quite content. It's going to take her a few days to adjust to†her "old" schedule but she promises to bring her driver to visit writing colleagues every week possible.

Flash on a Mission

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Itís been weeks and weeks, and we are still waiting to hear from three publishers. I have to tell you, curiosity is making my whiskers itch like crazy. Iím constantly checking the e-mail while Cindyís not looking. You canít blame a cat for being curious. Itís part of our natural feline charm, like taking naps in the sun and shedding on the furniture.

Meanwhile, the good news is that Cindy worked on my sequel, adding a brand new ending and several new scenes. Of course itís greatóonce again I save the day! Well, maybe I have a little help from my team, but not much.

The bad news is that as far as I can tell, sheís not going to write any more about yours truly until the first book sells.†

I donít think she realizes how bored I am sitting around doing nothing. A feline extraordinaire such as myself needs to stay busy. And donít bother getting me one of those stuffed felt miceótheyíre for sissy house cats. No, I want to get back to outsmarting butt-sniffers, defeating scar-faced men, and protecting secret inventions.

This situation called for some serious thinking, so I morphed into grooming mode. While working on my left hind leg I came up with the best idea ever. Why couldnít I provide the inspiration for the cats in her next story? Itís not as fun as being the star, and they canít possibly be as cool as I am, but it would be something to keep me busy while Iím waiting.

So I pawed through some of her notes and it seems her new idea doesnít have any cats at all.


My mission is clear. I must correct this unacceptable state of affairs. Everyone knows all fine literature should have at least one cat. Starting today, I will use all my persuasive powers to convince Cindy to work a cat into her plotline. I mean, how hard can it be?

Choosing to Be a Crone

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

What is a crone? What traits does she possess?

First, I would like to make clear that not all old women are Crones. Becoming a Crone is a conscious choice. It involves a declaration of intent and a positive way of thinking. Of course, we will all continue to age as long as we stay alive, but it is up to each of us to choose the role we will play in this final stage. Will you choose to be a Crone or will you choose to just be an old lady?

What are we committing to if we agree to be crones?

Crones are authentic. We have reached a stage in life where we can truly be ourselves. So what if I have some gray hairs? So what if I have some wrinkles? So what if I have gained a few pounds? So what if I donít fit the prototype of the young woman promoted everywhere I look. I am still me. I have value. I am a vibrant, living, beautiful part of the human race.

Crones accept this final phase of life with joy and anticipation. We accept that although our souls are immortal, no one lives on this plane of existence forever. We have other places to go ñ other realms to explore.

†I love a story that I read in a forwarded internet message some years ago. Seems people were surprised when they viewed the body of an active parishioner during her funeral service. As they looked into the coffin they spotted a fork in her right hand. Perplexed they asked the minister why this was so. He replied that this lady had attended numerous pot luck dinners at the church over the years. She told him that as the dinner plates were removed from the tables, someone would always shout, ìKeep your fork, the best is yet to come!î She had thus asked to be buried with fork in hand.

Crones welcome the mysteries of life. We believe in the magic of existence. Crones know that not everything has an explanation. Some things just are. We trust our insight and intuition in daily living.

Crones are grateful for all of the experiences of our lives. We are thankful for the advantages of our many years, while recognizing that old age is not all strawberries and cream. We have experienced the joys of life, but we have also experienced grief, some of us in great measure. All of us have lost people that are important to us. Many of us have outlived our parents, some have outlived our husbands, some have suffered the tragedy of outliving a child, and all of us have lost friends and mentors. We are sometimes tempted to give in to feeling lonely, even depressed. But Ö

Crones live in the present. For some of us, it is a temptation to live in the past ñ to revel in former accomplishments and happier relationships. And sometimes I get caught in that trap myself. My husband died 13 years ago and not a day goes by that I do not think of him. But when I start getting nostalgic, I endeavor to remember the words of Eckhart Tolle. In The Power of Now, he tells us that dwelling in the past always brings regret ñ thinking about good times that no longer exist evokes feelings of sadness and discontent. Regretting mistakes that cannot be changed results in guilt and frustration. On the other hand, thinking constantly about what the future may hold takes us into a state of worry or consternation. Tolle admonishes to live in the present. All is well in this moment. Celebrate the temporary. †Enjoy the now.

Crones have compassion. We care for others and resist passing judgment on them, realizing that each person is following his or her own path through life. It is not up to us to criticize anotherís journey. We just need to to offer support and encouragement.

Crones live in love. Crones know that the beginning of all love is self-love. We remember the words of Jesus, ìLove your neighbor as you love yourself.î He was telling us that we must first have self love before we can truly express love for others.

We are women. We have within us all of the experiences of life and these experiences have made us who we are. We are survivors. We are strong. We offer a sisterhood of support. †

Life is a journey and we are on the home stretch. Letís cheer each other on.

My Son Bought a Fedora

Friday, October 8th, 2010

My son wanted a fedora. We did find one and it does look good on him. He wants his school photo retaken with it and seems rather obsessed about it because he has mentioned it several times.

†Now this is a kid who only last month began combing out his bed head hair. For years, we have waited in the car for himÖarriving late for every event. †

†I suspect there is a girl involved in this hat thing.

Today, he also tied a necktie on over his t shirt and tucked it in under his favorite hoodie. (Evidently duct tape and this same hoodie will be part of this yearís Halloween costume ñ a zombie from some video game he enjoys.) Itís a red and black job from the seventies that he found in the deepest regions of the closet where the old things we donít wear anymore hang. He said it was for Spirit Week at school.†

†Itís got to be about a girl.

†This is all very confusing to me. †He makes the cat sleep in his room, and still watches cartoons as he slurps Cheerios. Yet, when he talks, his voice cracks.††When did he get so tall? His feet are huge, his appetite bottomless, and has outgrown every pair of pants he owns. Yesterday he loomed over me, squeaking, ìMom, did you know you have grey hairs all in the back, too?î

†My motherís heart clenches when I see him in his Boy Scout uniform, complete with shoulder amulets and a silk scarf. I canít help thinking he walks like a soldier -- I have resolved that he is a patriot and will probably enter the military. He has researched the college opportunities of serving his country and is interested in computerized game applications for simulation trainings. †But that is a ëman and his countryí thing and a long ways away, right? After all, heís only in the seventh grade.

†This morning as he sauntered out the door, I realized he was on a quest, one of many to play out thru his life. Does a hat and tie make up a man? I think so. He looked so handsome, sheíd† better notice. I know I did.

One Year We've Been Here

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Weekly Writers' Workshop meets under my cuckoo clock each Thursday.† A year ago this month we decided to commit to sharing this blog.† Congratulations to us!† We have done it - each has made contributions to the blog on a regular (or semi-regular!) basis.† We are developing distinct voices from one another and from any number of writing projects that pay the bills.

Congrats, Word Wenches, for your persistence and commited presence Under The Cuckoo Clock!

Two Writing Lives

Friday, October 1st, 2010

I am a journalist by trade and a poet and writer by passion. I sometimes wonder if journalism encroaches into my creative writing time, because I have to work eight hours a day, five days a week. The creative spirit doesnít like schedules or boundaries, and sometimes I want to do my own writing when I have to be at work. I feel the conflict between necessity and imagination, too much so that I am screaming inside, ìDonít make me go to work!!î†

But I do.

And this is what I have found from living two distinct writing lives: Writing news articles has influenced my creative writing, while learning the craft of fiction writing changed how I approach news writing.

Writing news and feature articles for newspapers has taught me to write simpler, clarify what I write and to answer the four Wís and the H. But thatís just the surface. Iíve learned how to do research and to interview a variety of people, from politicians to farmers. Iíve been exposed to different personalities and mannerisms, gaining skills in reading people and how they relate to their environment. Iíve learned how to pay attention to detail that I can add into my story. I pay attention to not only the story I want to capture, but the environment in which that story or speech or meeting is occurring.

And with story writing, Iíve learned to think of my news or feature article as having a setting. I pick out details that give the reader a sense of time and place. I figure that my article should have a plot. I identify what I want to tell first and what quotes I want to use to carry the story along. I put in transitions to keep the story from feeling choppy, layering in details as I narrow in on the main points, nothing more and nothing less.

As I write, whether it is for my job or for play, the words I select are giving way to a voice Iíve developed, a mix of poetry and truth. Voice is hard to find, or it was for me, as I clamored to figure out who I really am as a writer. I both am an artist and practical, a lover of words and of language.