Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sampler Saturday

I am trying to commit to doing more writing and, to that end, I am going to try to share a "sample" of whatever I've been working on during the week.  I typically work on more than on piece a week so it should be easy enough to have truly random bits for sharing.  This one is from a short story I'm fleshing out.  I haven't revised the following just yet so this is it in all its rough glory.  



On mornings when he hadn’t slept well the night before or simply wanted to sleep through to lunch, give him a chance to catch up on some much-needed rest, she would move through the rest of the morning’s routine careful not to disrupt him.  She was empathetic, knowing that neither of them slept well anymore.  It had been a long time since they had slept deeply side-by-side instead of tossing and turning, trying to avoid one another without being too obvious.

It didn’t help that neither of them was a morning person.  She grumbled until the first cup of coffee was being refilled with a second. He simply listless and silent the first hour or two.  Even on mornings when they both were preparing for work or some other prerequisite, they shifted around one another without a word, like professional divers barely rippling the surface of their morning.

Not to create too much disturbance in the day was easy, lack of sleep adding a dullness to everything.  It was easy to avoid questions, demands, expectations until night.  The rituals that preceded going to bed were especially contrasted with memories.  They had never been likely to bounce out of bed to eagerly face the sun or whatever it was those perky morning people wanted to see but there was a time when getting ready for bed was something so different from taking choreographed turns in the bathroom, putting things back into precise places.


So there you go. less than 250 words from page one of an unfinished short story.  There's no telling what I'll throw out there next week.  A bit of an essay or a poem or a memoir piece or perhaps a character sketch for a novel idea I have simmering. There's really no telling.  I just hope that by doing this, sharing even a smidgen of what I've written, I'll be held accountable to write more throughout the week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekly Quotes Part 32


Journals of Sylvia Plath

The only way to stop envying others is to have a self of joy.  (285)

Why must I punish myself, or save myself, by pretending I’m stupid and can’t feel?   (291)

If I could once see how to write a story, a novel, to get something of my feeling over, I would not despair.  If writing is not an outlet, what is?  (292)

I make up problems, all unnecessary.  I do not reverence the present time.  (293)

This is too much.  The world is so big so big so big  I need to feel a meaning and productiveness in my life.  (297)

What I fear worst is failure, and this is stopping me from trying to write because then I don’t have to blame failure on my own writing. . . . (297-298)

I need an outsider:  feel like the recluse who comes out into the world with a life-saving gospel to find everybody has learned a new language in the meantime and can’t understand a word he’s saying.  (298)

How to overcome my naïveté in writing?  Read others and think hard.  Never step outside my own voice, such as I know it.  (302)

Ideas flock where one plants a single seed.  (307)

In the morning, all is possible; even becoming a god. (314)

War Talk

Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. . . .  [W]hen writers, painters, musicians, filmmakers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the nation, it’s time for all of us to sit up and worry. (47)

War cannot avenge those who have died.  War is only a brutal desecration of their memory.  (52)

Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons.  (68)

Fortunately power has a shelf life.  When the time comes, maybe this mighty empire will, like others before it, overreach itself and implode from within.  (74)

While the elite journeys to its imaginary destination somewhere near the top of the world, the dispossessed are spiraling downwards into crime and chaos.  This climate of frustration and national disillusionment is the perfect breeding ground, history tells us, for fascism.  (105)

We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different ways.  In other words, we can come up with a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.  (112)

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling—their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.  (112)

Remember this:  We be many and they be few.  They need us more than we need them.  (112)

Dance of Intimacy

All of us see the world through a different filter creating as many views of reality as there are people in it.  (71)

[I]n any close relationship difference will inevitably emerge—differences in values, beliefs, priorities, and habits, as well as differences in how we manage anxiety and navigate relationships under stress.  (71)

When we generalize about any group . . . we exaggerate similarities within the group and minimize similarities between groups.  (75)

People commonly try to make changes they are not ready for to attempt to address a hot issue before they have completely addressed smaller problems.  (99)

[W]e can’t learn to swim by jumping off the high dive.  (99)

When we complain that our mother’s (or whoever) won’t listen to reason, it usually means that they won’t see things our way or do what we want them to do.  (114)

[W]e cannot know for certain what is best for another person—what they can and cannot tolerate, what they need to do, when, and why.  Surely it is difficult enough to know this for one’s self. (120)

Moving at glacial speed in the face of very high anxiety is the optimal way to proceed.  Rather than signifying a lack of strength or perseverance, moving slowly—or sometimes not moving at all—may be necessary to preserving and protecting the well-being and integrity of the self.  (135)

Questions enlarge our capacity for reflection and for seeing a problem in its broader context.  (138)

[L]earning to say ‘I’m sorry’ goes a long way toward lowering intensity and shifting a pattern of any relationship.  (140)

Mrs Dalloway

I know you thought me absurd . . .  but see how extraordinarily sympathetic I am; see how I love my Rob! (66)










The Mrs. Dalloway Reader

A writer’s doubts can never, or hardly ever, be put to rest.  (9)











The Waves

In a world which contains the present moment . . . why discriminate?  (81)

I would rather be loved . . . than follow perfection through the sand.  (88)

I see the sky, softly featured, with its sudden effulgence of moon.  (106)

I am a natural collector of words, a blower of bubbles through one thing and another.  And striking off these observations spontaneously I elaborate myself; differentiate myself and listening go the voice that says as I stroll past ‘Look! Take note of that!’  I conceive myself called up to provide, some winter’s night, a meaning for all my observations—a line that runs from one to another, a summing up that completes.  (115)

To speak of knowledge is futile.  All is experiment and adventure.  (118)

Finding Water

Quoting Maurice Setter
Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting the gold.  (71)

Quoting Benjamin Disraeli
The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own. (97)

It is the careful husbandry of optimism that allows us to move productively forward.  (101)

Optimism is an elected attitude, a form of emotional courage.  It is a habit that can and must be learned if we are to survive as artists.  (105)

So much is out of our control, but making art is in our control.  There is always a small and doable creative something we can do if we are willing to move ahead without a guarantee.  We may not be able to work at our art on the level that we wish we could but we can always do something. (110)

Quoting Bertrand Russell
Drunkenness is temporary suicide. (112)

Quoting Seneca
Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness.  (113)

[W]e do the best we can by the light we have to see by.  (115)

Romancing the Ordinary

Quoting Ama Ata Aidoo
She listens to her own tales, laughs
at her own jokes, and follows her
own advice.  (350)








Garland of Love

That two people have different opinions about the same thing is the measure of their uniqueness.  That they are willing to listen to someone else’s position is a measure of their maturity.  And that they are willing to arrive at a solution is a measure of the strength of their relationship. (August 7)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Over on A Strong Belief in Wicker, I came across this meme which she, in turn, found on Bermuda Onion.  I don't often find new words but when I do I like to look them up and this meme is right up my alley so here goes.  

From The Waves by Virginia Woolf
There is a dancing and a drumming, like the dancing and the drumming of naked men with assegais.  (140) 


1. A light spear or lance, especially one with a short shaft and long blade for close combat, used by Bantu peoples of southern Africa.
2. A southern African tree (Curtisia dentata) having wood used for making spears or lances.




The hope is, of course, that I will find another new word before next Wednesday or before I forget about this delightful meme altogether.