Saturday, September 08, 2007

In Which the Truth is I Have Other Things on My Mind

I am thinking of all the other things I could be doing. Like working on my chapbook, doing a load of laundry, finishing a journaling exercise from Journalution by Sandy Grason, typing out the passages I marked in Louise DeSalvo’s Writing as a Way of Healing, bellydancing, taking a shower, getting ready for tomorrow’s book group, making a shopping list so Rob and I can go food shopping later tonight.

There really are a lot of things I want to do today but not all of them I need to do. I mean, I could just skip the shower and do that tonight, before I go to bed. I should do the Journalution exercise but I don’t need to type up the DeSalvo notes today. I definitely want to work on my chapbook but do I need to get ready for the book group today? Now? Not really.

I am having trouble prioritizing. Doing what I need to do before I start the next thing. Or actually never getting around to either because I am doing something else altogether and the something else not really serving any long term purpose in my day let alone my life.

Which is to say, I am just blogging to be blogging. I don’t really have anything significant to say about yesterday or anything. I let myself down when it came to things I wanted to do and now I need to figure out what I need to do today before I forget and get distracted.

Truth is, I had a bad vertigo day yesterday and although it wasn’t bad enough to keep me in bed, it was bad enough to keep me from being focused. Today I need to focus.

Friday, September 07, 2007

In Which I Dance My Way Out of Being Discouraged

Yesterday I pulled every book on poetry writing I had off my shelves and began desperately searching for tips on revision. One of my problems when revising my own writing is that I will begin tearing it apart. If I am lucky, a poem that goes on for more than a page will have two or three lines I actually like. The rest I will instantly label as useless. I thought that maybe I would find some suggestions that would help me to get out of my own way and finally determine how to properly (and compassionately) critique my own writing.

I do not exaggerate, although I wish I did, when I say that every single book I read said, “Now that you have received critiques, you are ready to revise.” Or, a variation of the same: “Now that you have workshopped your poems . . .”

Two discoveries made. One, there is obviously a serious need for a book that really focuses on how to revise poetry line by line, stanza by stanza, etc. Two, I am right and continue to be right in saying that I need (not just want!) some writers who are willing to commit to working with me on honing our crafts.

And I’ve been saying this for how many years? How many writing groups have I formed only to have members go off and form their own writing groups? Or just go away and write without me? How many manuscripts have I read and critiqued only to get nothing in return? (There is one exception to this rule and she knows who she is.)

So I didn’t do any work on my chapbook yesterday. Instead, I bellydanced. Then, last night, I continued reading DeSalvo’s Writing as a Way to Heal and I only ended up reading about how she, when she is feeling discouraged, calls her fellow writer and friend, a woman who encourages and who shares suggestions (aka critiques), whenever she needs to focus. Then she goes on to write repeatedly at different points about the importance of creative community for support in growing creatively.

I stopped reading.

This morning I pulled out my chapbook (part one only) and plopped it on the kitchen table. Then I read my emails, paid for an ebay item I won, wrote in my journal, answered more emails, then I did some more bellydancing. Now it is time for me to stop and have lunch.

Also time to face myself and my writing. I am reminding myself every minute that I need to be gentle with my own writing, as gentle as I would be if I were asked to critique someone else’s writing. I want to get this part of the chapbook revised to where I think it is ready to be shared.

And I am throwing down the gauntlet. I, the student, am ready! It is about damn time that my teacher showed up already. Not a teacher who is full of empty promises about how we can help one another. Not a teacher who wants me to help but isn’t ready or willing to reciprocate. A teacher who is ready for me to be both teacher and student in return. A mutually beneficial relationship. Not codependent or dependent but interdependent.

I have been writing indepently long enough. I want more than this. What’s more, I know I need it!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

In Which Today's Post is Brought to You By the Letter L

  • L is for Lazy which is how I am feeling and why I am listing my blog instead of writing it out fully.
  • L is for Loose and Limber which is not what I am feeling because *ouch* my muscles hurt today from the workout I gave them yesterday. *ouch*
  • L is for Last night when I got up to use the bathroom and almost fell because I lost my balance.
  • L is for Loved which is how I felt when Rob was almost instantly there behind me, holding me, making sure I was okay.
  • L is for Literary because today I will begin editing the first part of my poetry collection.
  • L is for Losing it because Rob's engagement ring is falling off his finger although he swears he is not losing weight.
  • L is for (not) Losing it as in . . . I stepped on the scale and . . . *ouch*
  • L is for Loved which is how my mother makes me feel and we talked today so that is nice.
  • L is for Letting Go which is something my mother and I discussed as regards relationships.
  • L is for Listless because that is how I am feeling after four nights of Romanov not sleeping through the night and waking us up. Damn Dog!
  • L is for Love because we all know I love the damn dog even when he makes me lose sleep!
  • L is for Loading Laundry, which should be self explanatory, and
  • L is for Lunch . . . which I am going to start doing . . . and the laundry.
  • L is for List which is now done.

Aries Horoscope for week of September 6, 2007

A few years ago, the Cambodian government decided that the country's karaoke bars had become hotbeds of vice. To suppress their evil influence, the prime minister called out the army's bulldozers and demolished them. Keep that in mind as an example of how NOT to proceed in the coming week, Aries. While the astrological omens do suggest that you should phase out bad and inferior influences from your life, they also warn against resorting to overkill. As you rightfully purge the weird karma lingering in your vicinity, don't create a new batch of weird karma.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

In Which I Am Busy Being Busy

Rob and I got up and exercised. He went to work and I wrote in my journal. Then I typed up some notes and did some housework. Then I typed up a blog, checked my email, posted the blog, and did some more housework. Now I am doing this . . .

What is this, you may ask? This is the rough draft of what may be part one of my chapbook. Actually, there will be four parts, four chapbooks, combined to make one collection. I spread out the various pages on my bed and am trying to first sort out the pages to create some chronology. Then I need to assess it on a visual level, make sure there is a sense of story pacing, etc.

In other words, writing the damn rough drafts was the easy part. Now I have to start assessing what I wrote without hating every line, without grabbing up every page and chucking them into the garbage, without over thinking what I am doing.

Wish me luck. I've never managed to not do all of the things I mentioned in the preceding paragraph before . . . this could very well be a Satia First.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In Which I Read a Book on Prayer
I love Thich Nhat Hanh so there is almost no reason for me to write a review of his writings. I will never write a bad review. At worst I might say, “This is not one of my favorites of his books but this is still so far superior that I highly recommend it when compared with other books on this subject.” I’ve been reading a lot on prayer lately, mostly from a Catholic perspective. I was feeling frustrated and dissatisfied with my praying and stepped back a bit, returned to what gave me the experience of truly connecting with myself and the Divine. I picked up The Energy of Prayer from my shelf on a whim. It was there and I was burnt out on reading about prayer, finally enjoying my prayer life again. Picking up a book on prayer was rather like waking up a hibernating bear. Everything was calm, feeling right again. Why stir up and possibly muddy the clarity? Why not? I read this book slowly even though it is a quick and breezy volume. I would not sit and read through a chapter. I would return to the chapter a bit at a time. It took me a day, if not longer, to read through a single chapter. This was what I needed, what I wanted, and I am glad I did not resist the intuitive part of me that said I should read this book now. On page 58 of the book is a diagram of prayer. The one on the left represents the typical conception of prayer. A is praying for B. The prayer goes from A to God and then from God to B. This is certainly true of most teachings on prayer, that we are praying to some Other beyond our selves, whether that other is God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, the saints, et al.
However, this is not what I believe and when I saw the diagram on the right I stopped reading for an entire day and just let the diagram teach me. I stopped reading the words and just let the visual explain the lessons of prayer. There are meditation practices in the back of the book to which I cannot commit myself at this time because I am committed to something else at this time. That is okay. I have the book. I will place it in my meditation area and, when the time is right, I will use the suggested practices. After all, I read the book at the right time. My intuition will guide me.
PS: I apologize for the blurrinesss of the image but the scanner is not yet hooked up so I had to use my camera phone. *sigh*

Monday, September 03, 2007

In Which I Change My "Weekly" Quote Again I am not very diligent about changing the quote each and every week. I would like to be more consistent. In the meantime, I am changing it today.
Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods? Draw near them then in being merciful Titus Andronicus I.i.117-18
When I read this quote it immediately struck me how often we aspire to be more spiritual in our lives but there is little practice. There doesn't seem to be much difference between what most people call spiritual (as in "I am a spiritual person") and moral/ethical ("I am a moral/ethical person."). Even for those who have a clearly defined understanding of what they believe, or more accurately in Whom they believe, often fall into the easy path of following labelling. Easier to say that someone is condemned to hell because they do not believe than to love the person. Easier to define someone an infidel than to build a relationship with the person. Truth is, I read the words about being in the world and not of the world and I know that, more often than not, this is used as an argument to separate completely. There are groups of believers who never read anything other than the one chosen text. Some even argue for only a particular translation over any other. And those who are foolish enough to not agree will be judged by God. Ahem! Already been judged, don't you think? I mean, doesn't that sound judgmental to you? It sure does to me. Maybe not judged by God but clearly judged by the person who is saying that God will judge. And nowhere in the Bible did Jesus say, "Love not lest ye be not loved." It is easier to judge. It is easier to point a finger. It is easier. I don't recall spirituality being easy. Often it comes at a great cost and sacrifice. The Buddha gave up his kingdom and crown. Mohammed lived in constant danger of his life being threatened. We all know what happened to Jesus. Abraham left everything he knew for a new home. Even our more contemporary spiritual leaders have paid great costs. Nelson Mandela spent decades in prison. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, both deeply religious men, were assassinated. And Gandhi, too. Yes, being judgmental, unfortigiving, righteous (meaning self-righteous, of course) is easier than being compassionate. Easier to point a finger than to look in the mirror. Easier than showing mercy, love, peace. And forgiveness. What does it mean to be spiritual? When you say that you are "a spiritual person," how does this differ from an atheist saying that they are a moral person? You live right, according to a personal moral code? Wonderful. So do they. So why not just say you are a moral person? What does it mean to say that you are a Christian? Do you judge those who are not believers of Christ? When you follow His teachings, what do you mean? How often do you even read what He taught? What does it mean to be Muslim? Do you read the Quran in Arabic, the only acceptable version of the Message? Do you immerse yourself in the rituals and experience them beyond the traditional times? I could go on. The truth is, I cannot answer these questions even for myself all of the time. I keep asking them though. I do ask. Not because I want to be more loving, compassionate, forgiving, merciful towards others. I need to be all of these things for myself. Aries This week September 3 through September 9 You may feel as though you're poised on the brink of something great. Monday may be a day of decisions in which you have to let certain aspects of your life go to welcome new opportunities. You seem to be ready to relinquish the one for the other, even if there may be some pangs of regret involved. There's a New Moon in Leo on Sunday, which ushers in a chance for creative endeavors to flourish - and new love affairs also. Catch the New Moon tide over the coming two weeks for best results.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

In Which Rob and I Go Shopping

Rob and I went to look at recumbent exercise bikes and found the perfect one. Yay! So we were ready to buy it right there and then but the salesperson had a problem with finding the code for having the item delivered and assembled for us. Okay. We went ahead and did a little more shopping. Not a lot more. Walking around in crowds is very challenging for me. But we stopped to buy drinks. Then we slowly went to Victoria’s Secret because I had a free pair of panties gift card which I wanted to use. I would say that we easily took thirty minutes doing all of this.

When we got back the salesperson still did not have the information. We waited around another fifteen minutes and then I’d had enough. More than enough.

But hey! We left the mall happily carrying four new pair of panties to feed my addiction. Sorry. No pics. You'll just have to use your imagination on this one.

We then went to Ulta for some stuff to wash my face (because I am still trying to find something that won't cause me to breakout like a hormonal teenager) and then to Michaels to drop off Rei's mail and to use my 50% off coupon.

And I'm exhausted but still I did my bellydancing today. That's two days in a row. Woohoo!