As I hooped this morning, a bunny came into view. The furry beauty remained in that same spot, calmly chewing and staring into space, despite the fact that I spun and twirled nearby. And then Marcel, sensing something outside, jumped up in the window. The bunny casually glanced toward where the big white cat stared longingly, and immediately returned to her bunny business.
I’d like to emulate that self-confidence during this coming week. Me and the bunny, not overly concerned with matters outside our personal spheres.
Yesterday was cold, gray, and icy here in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Today was sunny and warm enough to run in shorts. The last few days have been emotionally draining for a variety of reasons, and I felt that fatigue and heaviness as I ran.
However, each step felt like a gift, my cadence matching my internal chant:
I am strong and getting stronger. I am strong and getting stronger. I AM STRONG AND GETTING STRONGER.
Sing it, believe it. Live it.
I took this photo in October 2015 and never looked at it closely (I recommend clicking on the image for full efffect). After deciding to highlight it here today, I went in search of a fitting quotation.
The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:
from the sky,
from the earth,
from a scrap of paper,
from a passing shape,
from a spider’s web.
~ Pablo Picasso
That quote feels particularly apt because today has been emotion-filled. SO.MANY.FEELINGS. coming at me from every direction. It was like being surrounded by a sticky web trapping every single one of them.
It’s cool, though. I’d much rather feel it all than be numb to it all.
I’ve said this before and I’m gonna say it again: I’m very grateful for my creative life.
For the past few days, I’ve immersed myself in a work-in-progress project I’d had to put on hold for much of December while working on another, and yesterday told Zippy I’d fallen in love with the manuscript all over again. I’m grateful to love the work I do.
Today my gratitude is more specifically about the refuge my fiction provides. Admittedly, it’s not an impenetrable fortress. Earlier, I had to make a shaking-mad phone call to my House Rep’s office after learning about his pro-NSA surveillance vote and I just hopped onto Twitter in time to read about Agent Orange’s racist and hateful remarks about people from Haiti, Africa, and Latin America. The very act of writing that out has me so agitated, I’m now chewing at my cuticles. Clearly, the people and places in my head don’t keep the ugly at bay 24/7.
I do have an outlet when the current reality feels too horrible to contemplate. And I hope that’s true for everyone, whether it’s watching goat videos or smelling sweet puppy breath or welding sculptures or hiking or drumming or blowing raspberries on a baby’s chubby tummy or resting in a pool of sunshine or . . .
Please, do whatever it takes.
I just got back from a 4-mile run around the neighborhood. Emma started with me and then bailed at about 3/4 of a mile, possibly due to it being only 27 degrees. But it all worked out because as I dropped her off at home, I had the sense to put on my mask. Suddenly, it felt quite pleasant out there.
And when a bunny ran in front of me, I grinned and remembered that it’s Bunny Monday!
I’m sorry I don’t have a bunny photo to share, but here I am at home again, reenacting my Bunny Monday grin.
Today I went through my email and unsubscribed from every political, environmental, and news organization that sends me updates, action alerts, petitions, pleas for money, links to never-ending bad news, etc.
I’m worn out and run-down. Exhausted.
Between the constant assault on the planet and the constant assault on the most vulnerable/powerless people of the planet, I’ve had enough. (Note: These assaults aren’t new, just more blatant than before.)
I’ve fought the good fight for many years, and I know I’m needed now. But I also know I’m no good to anyone or anything if I’m not healthy. So I’m temporarily changing my status from Activist to Inactive.
Today I’m taking action for me.
I plan on watching lots of cavorting goat videos.
I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by all the horrifying happenings in the world right now. In an act of self-preservation, I’ve spent today in a fictional world that exists in my head. I’m revising my middle-grade novel, spending time with some funny girls and “bad” guys who, in the big scheme of things, aren’t really all that bad. I know that I need to return to reality tomorrow and behave as a contributing member of society, but right now I’m hunkered down in a happier place.
It’s been a murky day filled with emotions, confusion, and an overall sense of TIRED. But I finally succumbed to cute Emma the Dog’s wriggling reminder that it was time for our daily walk, and went out to do just that.
Movement plus a smiling, happy dog by my side brought clarity to the day.
I’m feeling so much better. Today, Dog is most definitely this woman’s best friend.
This is Zippy’s indoor weather station. As you can see, it’s sunny and 65 degrees outside. Granted, the outdoor thermometer is in direct sunlight right now so it’s really only 65 degrees against the bricks on the south side of the house. But still. Sixty-five degrees in January!
I’m going out for a run around the neighborhood and am looking forward to cruising past the snow piles lingering from last weekend’s storm.
Gotta love Colorado and its split-weather-personality.
I’ve written lots of stuff over the years and have quite a few thumb drives.
Going back to locate an old project used to be a pain in the ass. Well, not anymore! I FINALLY took the time to index my various drives and to move files around so that none of those projects are on multiple drives. (In case you’re judging me, I challenge anyone to work on a project off-and-on over the years and still maintain a pristine filing system. And yes, I do know about the cloud. Much of this stuff’s out there, too, but that’s a task for another day.)
Right now I’m very satisfied with my little box of thumb drives and index. Never underestimate the power of organizational wizardry. The world feels very bleak right now, and little victories such as this can stop me from running into traffic.
Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.
~ Mark Twain
I wanted to end the year with a photographic image I’d created on the last day of the year. So I grabbed my camera and in the fading daylight, captured this image of Loki:
Whoa, that’s kinda scary and weird. Slightly disconcerting. An image that overstays its welcome fairly quickly.
And that about sums up the philosophy I want to carry into the coming year. Every day is going to have its bizarre-scary-weirdass-infuriating-heartbreaking-unjust moments, but there will always, always be moments of beauty. It’ll be up to me to notice them.
Here comes 2017.
If you happen upon this, writer-friend Linda Salzman, you might be happy to know that yesterday I finally, finally wrote the final scenes of the YA I’ve been wrestling with since the beginning of time. Are they perfectly written scenes? Hells no. Are they fleshed-out scenes? Absolutely not. Are they even close to being what they’d need to be in a final draft? HAHAHAHAHA.
The scenes I wrote yesterday are, at this point, a collection of placeholder words. A roadmap for the next draft (should I ever have the inclination to wade into the manuscript that right now feels like a horrible, torturous place to spend time). I learned about the value of using placeholder words from writer-friend Laurie Schneider, and I must say it’s one of the most liberating tools in my writing kit. The pressure is off when I’m creating placeholder words; all that’s required of me is to literally hold the place in the manuscript with clues for my authorial intent. The details come later.
So after writing those scenes, I printed out a hard copy and wrote out a few notes for myself before packing everything away in an accordion file. At the soonest, I’ll read that manuscript again in a month. But I have a feeling it’ll take longer than that for me to muster enthusiasm. After finishing, I’d gone back to read the opening chapter, thinking it would fire me up by reminding me the rest of the book is stronger than the ending. *insert hysterical laughter* Turns out, I’d arrived at the THIS BOOK SUCKS MORE THAN A HOOVER stage, and it’s gonna take some time for those feelings to fade.
The good news? I’m already reacquainting myself with another project. This one has huge potential and fills me with excitement. So take that, nasty voice! (Also, I was very grateful for the distraction of this “new” project when I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about Debbie Reynolds dying the day after losing her beloved daughter.)
There are sad and horrible things happening all over the planet, but I’m grateful for the fictional worlds I create in my mind. Sometimes the pretend is the only thing keeping me from being crushed by the real.
Got a text from Zebu this morning (my time). It was already long-dark where he is in Sweden. He wrote: “Happy Solstice, Mom. This year I definitely understand your appreciation for today. We’ve bottomed out!”
Zebu has finally seen the light (sorrynotsorry!). He now fully accepts what I’ve been yammering about forever: the Winter Solstice is the best thing happening this time of year!