Thursday, January 03, 2008

In Which I Share a Prayer One of the things I said about Marianne Williamson's book The Age of Miracles is that there are some wonderful sound bites throughout, catchy little sections that would make wonderful inspiration cards. The book is sprinkled with prayers and I wanted to share one example from the book. Again, I think these would make lovely cards, perhaps something with a soft abstract background or even elegant lettering across a black and white landscape image.
Dear God, Resanctify my body, that it might be blessed. Pour forth Your spirit into my flesh. May every cell receive new life, and my physical self be healed and whole. Amen (36)
Aries Horoscope for week of January 3, 2008 Do you know what an expansion joint is? No, it's not slang for a marijuana cigarette you smoke in hopes of enlarging your worldview. Rather, it's an architectural term referring to the flexible sections that are built into a bridge or brick wall. These ensure that the structure can safely adjust as its construction materials expand and contract in response to changing weather and temperature. Since I expect that you will be building a new metaphorical edifice or renovating an existing one in 2008, I wanted to get you thinking about this. Expansion joints should be a key element in your plans. In fact, now is a perfect time to meditate on how to make them and where they will go.

How to Write Science Fiction by Matthew J Costello

How to Write Science Fiction by Matthew J Costello is too slender to promise much in the way of writing advice and the edition I have is at least15 years old so the marketing and publishing information is also more than a bit dated. Also, the title would be more appropriately “How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy” because Costello spends as much time writing about fantasy as he does pure science fiction. All in all, given the lack of space which ensures a rather limited breadth, Costello does provide enough relevant and useful information to make this an adequate book to read. Although I am not one to write either science fiction or fantasy, I found the sections on world creating and character development to be interesting. After all, an apartment in Manhattan may not need to be described to someone who grew up in New York City but how many people reading a story will have that same contextual experience on which to draw. In other words, even a novel taking place in a contemporary and realistic setting, requires a certain level of attention. I would assume that the more recently published editions won’t include advice that is dated or resources that don’t exist. Even so, I can’t say that this would be a “must have” book even for those who are focused on writing within the ever popular genre of science fiction. Good but not great. Are there better books out there which focus on genre writing? Possibly. Obviously, if I happen to stumble into one, I’ll mention it here eventually.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

In Which I Share My Windchimes For my birthday my mother gave me a gift card to Phoenix and Dragon, one of my favorite metaphysical shops. I used the card to buy myself a lovely windchime. Today has been windy so all day I have had the most lovely sound in my home. I wanted to share it with you. Listen here and enjoy!
In Which I Write About the Other Blogs and then some . . . I have several blogs at this time. Satia's Journal is the one you are reading now. Here is where I post book reviews and random things like horoscopes. I don't write anything of any real depth. But it's fun and easy. Satia's 101 Things List (with the related Satia's Progress) Nothing much to say about these. I haven't updated my progress much which is a shame and I plan on being more thorough in the coming weeks/months. In the meantime, they are there. Satia's Dreams in which I write out my dreams. I post most of them except for the really perverse ones and those I don't post mainly because I would rather not get some person doing some random search and finding my blog. Besides who wants to read about bloody . . . well, never mind. If I type it out here then someone may find this blog and meander over there in hopes of finding some masturbatory inspiration. Satia's Wellbeing is the blog I created in connection with a conference that has since come and gone. I was still too sick to go and I can only hope that there will be another conference. In the meantime, I have decided to put the blog on hiatus. Not delete it entirely. There may be another conference and, if there is, I want to be ready to blog about it and help in any capacity that I can. Satia's Body Blog is supposed to be where I track my exercising, weight, health. I haven't found a rhythm that I like for this blog yet and am still working on making it work. I may dump it altogether if I can't get it together but I haven't given up on it . . . yet. Also, I have been posting in wisdomology . . . mostly linking back to my own blogs or just posting quotes from what I am reading and creating gratitude circles. Nothing significant. It as made me wonder about creating a blog that focuses on my spirituality, especially given that I am devoting myself to a new spiritual discipline beginning this month--Buddhism. Given that in July I will begin a different spiritual path. I am tempted to create a new blog top focus on this experience--Satia's Spirituality. I hesitate only because it seems so boring to share this and I'm unconvinced that anyone else would be interested. Finally, I have a facebook in which I play with my fluff, create random polls, and keep an ongoing list of books read. I tend to link back to this blog for the reviews. I prefer it to myspace and other networking websites because it is more anonymous. I rarely get personal messages through facebook and I think I like it that way. All of this by way of saying although I don't usually post more than once in this blog, I always seem to post more than once. All this and I'm still debating the purpose of creating one more blog. Yes or no? I'm not sure. Perhaps I could create a poll in facebook but since the people who read this blog are not necessarily the same people I have connected with through facebook I guess I'll not do that and just debate it endlessly until I eventually make a decision.
In Which I Share My List of Books Read I didn't start this list until June so it is incomplete, unfortunately. However, this is the list of books I read in the latter half of 2007. I'm sure there are a few I forgot to list because I already know I forgot to list a few but this is most of them and most is better than none. Also, for 2008 I will be doing a linked list rather than a plain list. This way the title will link back to the book review and in the book review there will be a link to the book in amazon.com so if you want to read other reviews for the book, rather than my own, you may. Oh and I am a member of goodreads where I also link back to my blog so if you want to connect with me there you can do that. Books Read Since 1 June 2007 Signifying Pain by Judith Harris Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life by Shantideva The Age of Miracles by Marianne Williamson The Bad Secret by Judith Harris Eat Love Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg Beast by Donna Jo Napoli The Dance by Oriah Mountain Dreamer The Dating Game by Natalie Standiford A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, PhD The Symbolism of the Tarot by P D Ouspensky Grace Eventually: Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter by David Colbert The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan Strangers in Paradise: Ever After by Terry Moore Richard II by William Shakespeare Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions by James W Pennebaker PhD Orlando by Virginia Woolf King John by William Shakespeare Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo The Energy of Prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare Archangel by Sharon Shinn SoulCollage by Sheena B Frost Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson The Last Uncle by Linda Pastan Undead and Philosophy: Chicken Soup for the Soulless edited by Richard Green and K. Silem Mohammad We Worship: A Guide to Catholic Mass by Oscar Lukefahr CM Writing Personal Poetry by Sheila Bender Math for Mystics by Renna Shesso Seven Steps on the Writer's Path by Nancy Pickard and Lynn Lott Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling Alternative Lives by Constance Urdang Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J K Rowling Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson Aimee and Jaguar by Erica Fischer Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton More Matrix and Philosophy: Reloaded and Revolutions Decoded edited by William Irwin The Far Pavillions by M M Kaye The Passion by Jeanette Winterson Invoking Mary the Magdalene The Way of a Pilgrim Journeying with Julian
In Which I Break a Rule Normally I limit my blog posts to one a day. But today I am going to break that rule because there's much to say and I'd rather say it in more then one post rather than one LONG post. For those of you who used to read my old blog or still get emails from me you know how endlessly I can ramble. It is not my intention to ramble today but I will be posting about various things. Like . . . 1) A list of the books I read in 2007. 2) About my new physical therapy. 3) About my other blogs. 4) And maybe, just maybe, about my intentions for 2008. So you've been duly warned that this is the first of several posts for today. No, this is not a sign of things to come and I will return to my once a day (give or take) posting tomorrow. Today it's all about quantity not quality.

Monday, December 31, 2007

In Which I Finish The Last Book of 2007
Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self through Writing by Judith Hall is not a book I would lightly recommend although I think it is wonderful. Nevertheless it takes a certain kind of reader to enjoy a book that promotes Freudian psychology by using confessional poetry as a primary example of why writing can lead to healing. (If you don’t quite get the connection consider what a person does while lying on the psychiatrist’s couch and the comparison should be clear.) This is a book for academia. Literature and psychology majors will agree with nearly everything Harris proposes. I may not have bought into her hypotheses hook, line, and sinker. However, I found myself nodding in agreement and even remembering experiences of my own which agreed with what she is saying. Through the writings of Lowell, Plath, Sexton, Kenyon and others Harris shows how pain is a shared experience, one to which we can all relate on some level. Although the details may not be mutual, how we experience pain is very familiar. For instance, when writing about Carol Frost, Harris says: Although she was principally a formalist poet who avoided the first-person pronoun because she did want to indulge in the sentimentality of self-honoring, her illness causes her to move inward and to search for a model poem that successfully universalizes personal grief (4). Now many readers would find themselves yawning or even wanting to toss the book across the room with a statement like that. But there are those others, people like me, who practically melt when reading a sentence like that.

The capacity for being in a state of uncertainty about ego identity, and to sustain imaginative belief rather than reaching after reason or fact, was a Keatsian trademark that he made famous in his axiom about a poet’s gift for negative capability. Sympathetic identification as, for Keats, the vehicle for his migratory flights from imagination to reality and back again—a spinning dialect of the mind in constant interaction with itself (138).

I read things like this and I need a cigarette I am so satisfied and excited, either wanting to agree with or debate upon the finer points. While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Signifying Pain is a brilliant piece of literary research that makes the usually unappreciated importance of poetry and throws a rose colored spotlight on how very significant poetry and pain can be. Not practical, by any stretch of the imagination, this book is a solid argument for confessional writing in the form of poetry, journaling, etc. If you want to know why you should write and you love literature, read Keats and Plath with fearlessness, then this book will delight. If you are looking for a how-to rather than a reason why or you are not one to read poetry for pleasure, this book will likely frustrate more than enlighten.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

In Which I Am Still in Pain Rob says I probably should have stayed in bed all day on Christmas Eve instead of getting up and spending time with anyone beyond my bed. He's probably right. I am still stiff, still sore. I took something for the pain yesterday but it is probably too late. It hurts to breathe deeply which obviously compromises much of yoga and meditation. And tomorrow I begin my physical therapy. I hope that the pain doesn't prohibit my participating in what should heal me. I realize that my spending time with friends is important and I had fun catching up with everyone who showed up but I obviously have done so at too dear a cost. Tomorrow though . . . I am going to take my camera with me as I go about my day. This way I can perhaps learn how to take and download pictures. So expect a strange post on the first day of the new year. Something with a lot of poorly taken pictures as I try to share with you what a day in my life is like.