Wednesday, May 30, 2007

III. Writing...Things I Love

My introduction to art was through books and enhanced by what I read, not just what I saw. Eventually writing came to me easier than drawing. These are a few of the things that have inspired my love of writing:

1. Dreams: I am a perpetual dreamer in full Panavision color. Wrote my first novel in my dreams.
2. Secrets: My own secrets and my curiosity about the world and how it works.
3. Disney: The original dream of Walt Disney and the world that was created in his mind. Not the corporation.
4. Edgar Allan Poe: Never more, will there be someone who investigated their own psyche as he did. Down to his very soul and all its depth and darkness
5. Alfred Hitchcock: One who studied others psyche and human nature. He asked the question: What would they do if put in this situation?
6. Beauty: I have been blessed to see some of the most beautiful things in nature up close and personal…a female lion, a Bengal tiger, sunsets and sunrises, low flying clouds in a valley as I drove atop a mountain…
7. Horror: I have lived it, I have seen it and I have been empathetic towards those who have been through it.
8. Ann Rice: She made me believe in vampires, …excuse the smell of garlic.
9. Poetry: Others and my own is an art form that takes the language of the soul and transforms it to paper. It is inspiring even when others don’t understand it.
10. Gothic Romances: Dark, mysterious, and always tragic and oh so much fun.
11. Louisa May Alcott: “Little Women”. I could not imagine what it was like to be in a large family and it seemed so ‘out there’ to write about a woman in those times that was strong and different from the rest of her family.
12. The power of words: spoken and written have effected me. Positive and negative. I realized early on the damage that words can do to you. The hell with sticks and stones.
13. Books upon books, upon books. Reading has taught me about other cultures, other worlds (real and imagined). They have taught me about myself and how to grow and help others. I hope no matter what I do with my writing that my words will always have a positive impact on those who read them, even if they don’t fully agree with what I am saying.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

II. Things I Love: Expanded

1. Writing: I’ve been a storyteller all my life. Though drawing was my passion when I was younger, writing has stayed with me and surely will for the rest of my days. Weaving details and descriptions and creating an alternate reality is a wonderful way to use your creative energies.
2. Reading: Escapism and a learning tool. I always hope to get out of reading something to carry forward into my life. Whether it be simple joy or a new concept or thought about a situation that I had not contemplated before.
3. Movies: The ultimate escape! I love it when a movie can pull me in and take me into its world. For those few hours, I am oblivious to the world around me and I am totally engrossed in theirs and living it. A definite medium for putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.
4. Music: A creation that can seep into your very soul. Can make you cry in an instant and feel joy in the next. To dance, to move, to make love to music is a wonderful joy. Music, as is writing, will always be a part of my life.
5. Acting: Something new for me as is singing in public. These mediums are outside my box and helping me to have courage to try other new things. My debut was “Vagina Monologues” and I had to do 17 different kinds of moans and an orgasm at the end. At first I turned it down then thought, if I can do that I can never be afraid of anything again that has to do with going on stage. And it worked.
6. Singing: Still not as confident as I would like to be but I’m good. I was told my whole life I couldn’t sing by people in my life who could not stand the idea that I might have the same talents as them. My friends pushed me and now I’ve been in 3 productions on stage, nothing big, but it’s a start and so much fun.
7. Cooking: Love cooking, especially for a group of friends. I love the planning, the process and of course the eating. Farmer’s Markets are my favorite and if I lived near enough to a good one I would be buying my food fresh every day!
8. Gardening: Can’t get fresher than that when it comes to food and I love plants. I inherited this love from my grandmother. I actually have some plants that are over 20 years old that she gave me and they are in the ground (versus a pot) for the first time in my yard. Nothing like getting close to nature when you watch things grow and continue to create.
9. Fast Cars: Grew up with them. My first car was a 1972 Ford Galaxie 2 door with a 429-4V engine and glass pack muffler system. You could hear me coming for a mile before I got there! I love the feel of a strong engine and am crazy about the drag races but I’m not much on NASCAR to one of my best friend’s disdain. Just don’t see the point of watching cars go around in a circle.
10. Motorcycles: Same as in 9. I just can’t afford to own one!
11. Good Friends: Nothing like great conversations or sharing of fun with people you care for, trust and love. Playing games, laughing, doing something nice for when it’s needed. My friends are my family and mean a lot to me. I’m very blessed.
12. Good Food: Whether I’m cooking it or someone else, I love good food, fresh fruits and cheeses. Add a bottle of wine or champagne and my taste buds go crazy!
13. Rocking Chairs: Nothing better at the end of a day. Enjoy the breeze, my puppies and garden and rock away my stress! Only thing better is a hammock!


A Love Affair...

Writing for me has always been a love affair between ink and paper. To this day I love the feel of a book, new or old, between my fingers. The texture of its fibers and how the ink upon the pages changes its very being is a caress upon my skin. The scent of books is intoxicating, stirring feelings of anticipation as to how its words will make me feel or where they are going to take me. The excitement of an unknown book is as titillating as a flirtatious glance and a sly smile. A favorite that has been read over and over is as precious as an old friend.

When I was young reading was an avenue of escapism. Time travel if you will, to other universes, places unknown to me and sometimes beyond my years to understand but I took it all in. As I grew older they opened worlds to me, helping me understand and explore the intricacies of the human psyche and living beyond the situations I was in. They encouraged and inspired me to do something with my dreams. Literally.

I am a perpetual dreamer. It is like a movie unfolding in Panavision in my head. If I refuse to ignore it or write it down in its entirety then I continue to dream it over and over. I have created stories since I was in middle school. Written poetry since I was in elementary. I won a contest in the fifth grade for a mother’s day poem that I wrote. I still remember not believing the teacher when she told me, then getting in trouble for squealing with delight! The contest was put on by a local clothes merchant. My mom received a purely seventies polyester pant suit of her choice that she kept way past its prime and my poem was published in the local newspaper.

When I first started creating complete stories they mirrored what I was reading at the time. Romances, historical novels and fantasy. My mother introduced me to romances, Harlequin’s none the less, and historical novels. Fantasy novels I discovered one day in the sixth grade in the library with a book “Dolphin Island” by Arthur C. Clark. I was intrigued for years with reading about worlds beyond our imagination. I was never as good at completing fantasy stories as I was with romances. My imagination was grounded in what I was familiar with and I found it easier to write about what I wished for the most in life, love.

Writing became an outlet for me, a survival tool. Through fiction and poetry I could express my feelings and opinions about what was going on in my life without the suppression of the outside world. Because, of course, no one read them but me. Sometimes I shared them with friends that were kindred spirits, sharing in my misery of youth and family turmoil. But for the most part they were my spilt blood and so I kept them to myself. Various poems were published along the way in school anthologies and newspapers but very few knew of my stories. At the time writing was a secret passion and pass time, drawing was my life.

I had been drawing long before I found the expression of writing. Again a love affair with paper. Blank paper seems to have always called to me saying: fill me, make me whole, complete. Even to this day, I love paper. Well, when I was young the Wonderful World of Disney came on every Sunday night. I was determined I was going to be an artist for Disney. Creating such wonderful characters to endear those who saw them. Disney offered such a wonderfully perfect world. Beautiful art work, great music and a happy ending for every story. For those two hours every Sunday night I could float away on their feast for the eyes and the ears and renew my hope that life was better than what I was experiencing.
I have lost three prominent women in my life over the past three years. My mother was one of those women. Amazing what we do not understand about the people in our lives. It was not until a few years before my mother died that she told me she used to write stories when she was younger too. That one admission shed light on so many struggles between my mother and me. And though encouragement had not ever been my mother’s forte, on her birthday that year I gave her a notebook and special pen and did my best to encourage her to start writing again. She never did.

For two weeks before Christmas 2006, I went through a battery of tests and the fear that I had cancer. Bone cancer. At my age that would mean I had the dreaded “C” somewhere else in my body and it had spread. Extreme stress was the description for last year, losing one of my closest friends to cancer, my precious grandmother only months before that, working two jobs and trying very hard for a better job position and not getting it. With death haunting me for the past three years I have been contemplating where my life is going and not only what is my passion but what am I supposed to be doing while I am here.

During those two weeks all those thoughts plagued my mind, making me realize that if this was it I did have some things to be proud of, but I had one thing for sure I regretted. Not following my dreams, not using my talents. Worst of all, not believing in myself. Writing had always represented hope for me and by giving up on writing I gave up on hope and myself. I let slip away the very essence of who I am and my creation as a human being. Once again I had lost who I was, that was why I got divorced, but now there was no one to blame but myself. I was blessed with a clean report and though there may be other health issues, I do not have cancer. I hope I never have to go through that scare again but it was a blessing in disguise.

Writing has a lot of esoteric meanings that can only be understood by me. Last night I spoke with a new friend of mine from work. We were griping about our jobs and the senseless stress that goes with it. She spoke to me about what someone had told her over the weekend about forgetting our worth. That we, as well as others, can speak us into reality. Positive or negative our spoken words effect ourselves and others. It brought tears to my eyes and pain to my heart. Not that these were new words to me or even a new belief, but I realized I was not living what I believed. There is conviction when I am sharing these concepts with other people I care about but I am not convinced I deserve to reap the benefits of believing this way myself. I did not realize until I awoke at three this morning and could not sleep how much what she said hit me.

I know that writing represents a belief in not only what I can accomplish but what I have to say. Not that everyone who reads my works has to enjoy them or believe the same way I do, but that anyone who reads them believes they come from a consequential truth. My truth. My life has meaning and has it’s own truth that may not be someone else’s but it still means something because I believed enough in myself to follow my path and live it. Reading might have been escapism for me but just as those writer’s works had an affect on me my writing is a communication from my soul to others whether through fiction, poetry or any other form of creation. It is to manifest my energy into something tangible, a piece of me just as my daughter is. Even if it doesn’t make me a living. The words that I put upon paper or screen represent my worth. And that is a lot.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

I. Things I Love

Things I love effect me in different ways and have a story behind them all but for now here is my simple list:
1. Writing
2. Reading
3. Movies
4. Music
5. Acting
6. Singing
7. Cooking
8. Gardening
9. Fast Cars
10. Motorcycles
11. Good Friends
12. Good Food
13. Rocking Chairs


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Are You Aware of 'Who' You Are?

Are you aware of who you are? Are you aware of ‘who you are’ in connection to those around you? What do I mean? Your family, your best friend, the people you work with, the person you brush against in the hallway, the person half way around the world living in a different environment, culture a different lifestyle. Who are you in connection to these people?

We are all connected in some way, shape or form. Moreover, we have an affect on everyone in this world whether we realize it or not. Call it what you like, ‘The Butterfly Effect’, the ripple in a pond, but somewhere deep inside each one of us has that innate knowledge that we are connected. We just have to listen to it; we have to want to listen to it.

As I ‘people watch’, as I often do, I feel that some how we have lost our ability to feel the connection to not only people around us but to nature. Why? I am not sure though I do believe it is a combination of the fall out of the progression of the world, cultural changing’s and mental distractions. Nevertheless, the one constant seems to be that people themselves are cutting themselves off from what is around them, not the environment.

Sometimes I feel I am too sensitive and too connected. How can people let themselves slip away that way? I want to feel that connection, that invisible thread that links all of us together in some way or another, good or bad. I know it is harder the older I get and the more complicated life gets for me. There is so much stimuli hitting me all at once that I crave alone time.

Most people see me as such a 'people' person when in reality I am what the professionals call an 'introvert'. Not because I'm shy but because I have to have alone time. It is necessary to my existence. In addition, I believe I find it so necessary because I am too sensitive to the dealings of the human mind. If I don't have much chance to surround myself with 'like minded' people or the creations (books, art, music) of such said people, I can't sleep and I become depressed. It's hard to look at the world and wonder why we have to treat people the way we do or why the woman who cannot decide between pork-n-beans or kidney beans has to block the aisle with her self and the basket!

Your unwillingness to at least think about how your actions affect another is stupidity when you consider that someone else doing the same to you could either destroy or rock your world. Does that mean that it’s always going to be a warm and fuzzy feeling in regards to our decisions? No. That is why most people do not want to think about how they affect others. They do not want to feel guilty, worse yet; they do not want to take responsibility. The instant gratification of doing what you want when you want with no regard for others or the world around you is somewhat diminished when you have to realize that you are imposing on life outside your box to get what you want.

For a simple example: you want to change positions at your work. It seems better for you and is more towards what you want either for career, salary or peace of mind. It is not that you do not like who you are working with and for, but that maybe the stress is too much or there is too many demands made on you. You are good at what you do and you know that those you are leaving behind will notice you being gone. If you were not aware of your affect on others, it would not matter. You would leave in a heart beat with no second thoughts. However, if you do realize your impact on those around you then you are going to feel responsible for ‘letting those people down’, even though there will be someone to replace you. These feelings add more depth, dimensions and consequence to your actions then just making a decision because it could mean more money or vacation days.

Even the person you cannot stand that you work with every day, or live with. There is a connection for some reason to that person. They show you who you do not want to be, they challenge your way of thinking, they teach us valuable lessons. We do not always understand why we are where we are in life but it is irrefutable that you are connected to it, whether you want to be or not.