I’ve been listening to Audioslave’s “Like a Stone” song on repeat over the past few weeks. My guess is the melody helps my brain reset and settle into a meditation of sorts. I am enamored by the lyrics of this song and I find myself thinking of the rabbi with dusty sandals I follow.* I also can’t get over the fact how the vocalist is sitting in a chair during the first minute of the music video, belting out those beautiful, passionate lyrics. That is incredible talent and I remain steadfastly in awe.
There’s a saying in North America for poison ivy: “Leaves of three, leave it be.” Poison ivy, as the picture shows, has the infamous three leaves on a stem. Many people (but not everyone) are allergic to the oils the leaves produce. Unlucky wayfarers come across the ivy usually in forests, overlooked fence corners or in neglected flower beds. Rub against the plant’s leaves and the oils will give you a rash, blisters and itchy skin.
Gardeners must cut the ivy carefully, bag it and throw it away. You never burn the ivy–the smoke carries the oils and if you breathe it in, a reaction can happen internally. Clothing and skin must be washed immediately. Then bring on the pink Calamine lotion and prepare for a couple of weeks of healing while dodging inquiring stares. Avoid questions of people asking why exactly you look like a pimply young piglet and smile at the ignorant treating you like a contagious leper.
I hate the phrase “make time”; there really is no such thing. I will take “finding time” and “carving out time”, but never “make time.” Spare me these so called inspirational, guilt-inducing quotes of cotton candy nonsense. I can’t help but sigh and roll my eyes at these stupid, pushy sayings. I really hate what they imply: “You’re failing.”
These phrases often appear aimed at women. I see them on home decor, workout shirts and hear them pronounced in churches. Women are underpaid, overworked and already wearied by the many demands of a fickle, patriarchal society. We are poked at daily for never being “good enough”, aka a man. The world needs to back off and leave us be.
Women will never be men and maybe–just maybe–we were never intended to be. Our needs and bodies are different; our dreams, goals and ideas, too. Lipstick is our warpaint and pantyhose our nearest weapon of strangulation. Just try putting us into a box again. We can make that into a coffin for you, complete with curtains and a pearl necklace.
My, this blog entry took a turn. Let’s return to the main trail, shall we? Just step over the corpse twitching there…
Are you sweating to the tunes of the typewriter, wondering exactly how your novel’s going to wrap up? Are you thinking you never properly learned your native language and have no business even being near a phone book? Is your dog staring at you, waiting for his walk, fifth potty break of the evening and is demanding his share of the num num installments?
Well, fellow writer, print and post these ten gems at your writing desk and party on with your semicolons and syntax editing. We’ll get there, yet!
This morning I’m combing through my novel, M.B., for what is probably the three hundredth time–without exaggeration. If you want to write, and write well, get used to this process. As you scan back and forth over your novel’s pages, like a scanner hovering silently over the moon’s craters, you will find mistakes, blip and puddles that will need to be fixed, altered or mopped. This is good, normal and part of the writing process. I enjoy the process and bring tea, snacks and Enya music along for the ride. Make yourself comfortable and go.
Here’s some ways how I go about the revision and editing processes…
Writing, at least in the first stages, is often a solitary work. Frustration, anger and slow progress all join the party for writers at one point or another. Sometimes you stare at the pages and wonder if you ever properly learned your language. Other days, you forget how to spell your name, pronounce your novel’s title, or even how to properly pee.
As I mature, a primary reason for my writing becomes clearer: I write for my sanity.
Finding time to write is finding time to return to Oz*–or whatever wonderland of your choice. Oz, among the other fantasy lands (Narnia, Middle Earth, Wonderland, etc.) is especially dear to me. I think I would feel comfortable there, among the land of emeralds, Cowardly Lions and Scarecrows. Life is simpler when visiting Oz; problems arise but with teamwork, good morals and a trusty Tik Tok, villains are dealt with handily. Granted the Tin Man does cut off beasts’ heads in the first book with his hatchet, but I digress…
There are certain things in life especially comforting to me. These things change over time, cycle out and some return like chickadees bobbing in flight to the bird feeder. Peanut butter, the staple of many an American kid’s lunch pail, has been such a thing. I’ve discovered peanut butter filled pretzels and have not returned from the land of joy and rapture yet. Here and there I frolic, stepping in time with my Labrador, plucking away at my Nintendo DS and say hello to Charlotte, Emily and Anne in their land of Gondal. Heathcliff glowers nearby, Jane gives little Adèle her next English lesson and Mr. Rochester quietly pets Pilot, smiling. These are the elements refueling me lately, giving organic fertilizer and rest to my mind. That and the 18th century horses milling about don’t hurt either.
Today was my seventh time donating whole blood. I have a personal goal to continue donating blood as long as I’m able. I’m screened thoroughly each time, I’m thanked as well and needles and blood have never made me queasy. I find blood fascinating actually; all that rich redness is beneath my skin, all day, every day, working to keep me alive and functioning. For that I’m grateful. Dracula is, too.