Archive for Musings

Before the storm?

The house is uncommonly quiet today, especially considering the fact that it’s three more sleeps ’til Christmas.  Part of it has to do with the weather—very gray, very cold, fairly rainy.  I’ve still got a lot to do myself, though.  There are a couple of presents I’ve yet to wrap, and one or two that I still have to make, which is a problem, but not an insurmountable one, I don’t think.

Still, it would be a mistake to let my guard down, I’m feeling.  We have guests to prepare for, a wedding to go to, possibly a reunion to attend, cheesecakes to make and I still have those last few blasted books to finish for my 50 Books Initiative.

That said… the quiet today has been nice.
Hope the holidays are going well (and a little more organized!) for all of you!

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Badges of honor

I have a blister on my finger from writing today.  Not writing, writing… I’ve been addressing envelopes for dad.  But this kind of proves how little writing I’ve been doing lately, at least by hand.  Because I’ve had a callous on that finger for as long as I can remember.

I feel a little displaced by this.  True, a good part of it is that I’m not in school anymore, scribbling down notes, or doing in-class essays (which I kind of miss, oddly?  The essays, not the notes).  And it’s also that I have a computer open to me more than before.  But, I don’t know… that callous was such a part of me.  I hold my pen tight, too, so generally in my past there’s been a flat angle on the top of my thumb that doesn’t make sense until you see me writing.  And that’s gone too.  I didn’t notice either of those things until tonight, and I don’t know what to make of them.  I sort of want them back, as if it’s going to happen overnight, this sometimes-ugly callous and oddly flat plane on my thumb.  It’s like looking down and realizing you’ve lost your wedding ring or something.  Something that defines you.

This is probably a very strange entry, and my apologies, but it’s difficult for me to explain just how odd this feeling is.  Like something’s gone that I didn’t notice until now.  I’m not talking about my will to write, or even my desire to write.  It’s nothing that drastic, if it were, I would have noticed.  It’s that feeling of having so many words in my head that I can’t get them down fast enough.  Cramping my hand up over nearly-illegible lines that I probably won’t ever read again.

A big part of it is the academics, because I’ll find whole notebooks full of stuff I only half-remember writing.  But still, it feels odd.  It’s surprising to me that I hadn’t noticed its absence before, and of course it’s all I can think about now, so I keep looking back and expecting it to be there somehow.  Strangely enough, that callous was a bit like a badge of honor, as if it were proof that I was a writer, just like the ink stains proved it for Jo March.  Like scarred-up feet for dancers, or stretch marks for mothers.  Battlescars, even.  Some physical mark to say, I’ve done that, I’ve lived it.  I’ve got to re-earn my badge now.  And in a way, that’s kind of good.  It’s time.

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Everyone has a story

It’s nearly midnight and I’m settling down to write.  Not even write, exactly, more type up something that I wrote a couple of weeks ago.  The holiday season is not exactly conducive to active creativity.

What it has been good for, though, is making connections with people.  I went to  an early Christmas dinner at my church this week, and at the table with us sat an elderly lady named Dorris, who’s 81, and spends her time “taking care of the elderly.”  I’ve known this lady was a gem for a while now, but I rarely get to talk to her except for a dinners like this, and while she may not look like much, she has some fascinating stories to tell.

I knew already that she’d been a nun her entire adult life, had even grown up in a Catholic abbey.  What I did not know is that she was sent there as a child to be “hushed up,” because she was the product of one of her father’s illicit affairs.  Scandalous!

What I love about listening to this woman is that she’s so matter-of-fact in the way she talks about her life.  Every fact is a fact, and nothing more, and there’s something incredibly powerful in that.  I wonder sometimes if I try too hard to tell my audience what to feel, rather than simply let them feel it for themselves.  I think about the economy of language quite often, but the economy of emotion is something that sneaks up on me.  I forget about it.

Dorris is a good story-teller, though, and she does it without too many words, or too much hype.  I think that’s something that’s slowly being lost in the world of today’s literature.  Everyone wants a book they can sell the movie rights for, that’ll end up being a blockbuster.  A Twilight, if you will.  Or more rightfully, a Harry Potter, perhaps.

There’s nothing wrong with blockbusters.  But there’s something to be said for little old ladies with matter-of-fact details.  Something to be said for the everyday person.  That’s who the audience is, after all.  Everyday people.  I worry a bit, for future readers, if all they can read is the fantastic, the larger-than-life, because if we forget to value real-world circumstances, otherworldly ones will end up falling in on themselves.

And now it’s late, and I’ve gotten caught up, and I don’t know if I’ll do that typing-up tonight after all.  Staying up nights wouldn’t be such a problem if I didn’t enjoy getting up early, now would it?

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The compulsory…

The sky started clouding over around 3:30 this afternoon, and I started to think maybe it was time to graduate from my Blogger account. I don’t know if those two are correlated at all, but they’re certainly both true. I’ve been eyeing WordPress for a while, as it always seems to look just a tad more professional, somehow, and so here I am.

It’s getting cold here in California. Of course, it’s California, so that’s about as relative as you can get, but it’s heading towards sock season for me, and that’s saying something, as eleven or so months out of the year, I can’t stand to wear socks, but at the moment they sound very nice… I should go find some.

Intentions for this blog—to write well. That’s the gist of it, really. I’ve been indulging in informal blogs far too much, and it’s making me sloppy, I think. I love the world of Livejournal, and the community sense there, but it’s not where I write well, and Blogger could have been that place, but I could never really take it seriously as such. I don’t know what it was exactly, maybe just the rounded edges that seem to prevail there. Friendly, yes, but I’m looking for something a little sharper. Clean lines.

I think this will also be the place for me to start a new project I’m thinking of. An entirely online free read, in the form of an ongoing epistolary “novel,” presented in blog format. I’m really looking forward to this, and it will give readers a chance to get to see some of my writing, and hopefully garner some interest. The thing that I’ve always loved about the blog format in general is the capability of feedback, and direct contact with readers, and I’m hoping to utilize that here. Or rather, not here, precisely. You’ll be hearing more about this soon, be sure of that.

This will be a way for me to get the epistolary bug out of my system in a more or less harmless way, also, which is definitely a plus. I think everyone wants to write an epistolary novel at some point or other in their lives, restrictive as they can be. But maybe that’s the enticement, the economy of language. It sure is for bloggers. Or at least, should be.

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