The Irish Solution…#MondayBlogs

No, not whiskey. Or Guinness.

My early childhood was spent in Canada, where an English sensibility often prevails. Major events are greeted with different foods, different processes and events, but always: tea.

Years later, my immediate, knee-jerk response to make a cup (or a pot) of tea when facing thorny or painful issues was brought into razor-sharp focus for me while reading “P.S. I Love You” by Cecelia Ahern. Tea and fresh air were referenced as the ultimate cures for grief, even over the loss of a spouse.

When you can recognize not only yourself, but your entire cultural norm in a novel, it feels like a sort of homecoming.

Still, I write of the supernatural. I strive to make my characters accessible, relatable, and resonant. I push to move away from auto-biographical characters, because where is the fun in that?! Despite that push, the novel as a place to find home is something that never leaves me when I write.

Just as my cup of tea (and large glass of water) are always next to me as I write.

The best authors – whether they would be considered “legitimate” authors by literary critics or not – have always been the ones who can take me into the unfamiliar, and allow me to find something of myself there. Something I’ve forgotten, or something I’ve never known.

Within the pages of a novel, you should be able to travel to any far-flung place the author can imagine (I’m currently writing my way through Haiti at the moment), and feel an entire range of emotion. If you can’t identify with the characters in any way, how can you care about what happens to them.

So, here I sit, a small break in the action, a cup of chamomile tea at my elbow – too close to my elbow, really – journeying with my characters through the familiar and the new.

What novels have surprised you with pieces of yourself within their pages? Please share with me in the comments, as I’d love to hear your answers!

Happy #Monday, and blessings to you all…

Friday Philosophy…Loyalty

This theme has come up quite a bit this week during conversations among friends. Amazingly, it wasn’t about politics. :)

Loyalty. Unless you don’t associate with anyone, ever, it’s a component of human relationships that we forget we need. Without loyalty, to self and to each other, there’s really not much left.

“If you don’t stand up to your fears, have bravery, loyalty, and you don’t have friends, you’ll never win. You’ll never feel better about yourself.” ~ Luke Benward

“Loyalty is still the same, whether it win or lose the game; true as a dial to the sun, though it not be shined upon.” ~ Samuel Butler

“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” ~ Ming-Dao Deng

“If you can’t stand for me, then don’t lean on me.” ~ unknown

Loyalty is a foundation, and it can be bedrock or proof that you’ve built upon the sand.

Find those who are loyal, those to whom you can be loyal. Hold fast to them.

Blessings to you all.

The Tortoise…#MondayBlogs

I’m breaking the rules. Today is Tuesday. I couldn’t get these words to flow until today, after a night of terrifying nightmares and a morning of dropping everything and just running.

I’ve hit the 2 week mark since my appendix was out. Or, I will as of 7 p.m. tonight. My doc told me no running for 2 weeks. So, today I ran. I tried to outrun the dregs of the nightmares, I ran to feel connected with my body again, I ran just for the sake of running.

I listened to my wonderful Running On Om podcast (guest was Sally McRae, ultramarathoner) for the first leg, and then switched to music. I work hard to keep myself fired up when I am left to indoor running in the heat. There wasn’t physical pain from my surgery – it just felt like running after two VERY long weeks off.

And I realized that, other than my two kiddos, no one understands the running thing for me. Here I am, training for a marathon, and I get a lot of naysayers: bad for your knees, bad for your body, extreme (although this makes me chuckle a little, because I do love listening to ultramarathoners and I think my marathon is pretty tame, comparatively speaking). It used to be that people would be concerned my uterus would “fall out” because of my running. I think they meant a prolapsed uterus? Or, they quite literally meant I’d be out on a long run and I would just lose a body part. I’m not sure. The lectures have changed in content somewhat (hey, no uterus anymore!), but the message is the same: “You can’t do this. You shouldn’t do this.”

Why?

When the endorphins kick in, and I finally feel the release of the fears that came into the day with me from the bad night, I know exactly what running gives me. When I feel the strength of my muscles after the unbelievable things my body has been through, I know what running is to me. When I manage to let go of the idea that I am at war with my own body somewhere around mile 4, it’s a gift.

It’s a gift that is all my own. These past 2 weeks I’ve been pretty pissed off. After all of the steps I took to prevent future cancer, with all of the healthy choices I make every single day, having my appendix out felt like an insult. It really did. I’ve been mad at my own body, like it didn’t hold up its end of the bargain. (I know, crazy.)

So, today, I forgave myself: for my hatred of anything that remotely resembles weakness; for my self-directed anger that hasn’t produced anything positive; for my drive that makes 2 weeks feel like 2 lifetimes. I even forgave my own impatience.

In mile 4, I was singing along to my iPhone, smiling. I found that smile again.

That’s a gift I can never appreciate enough: every mile I chase joy, and catch it.

Blessings to you all, happy Tuesday. I’m on a reset now – my week starts today.:)

Friday Philosophy…Patience

Patience ought to be a four letter word.

I’m nearly at my two week mark, post-surgery. Nearly allowed back in the pool, nearly allowed to run again. Last night, I dreamed entirely about swimming – even my dreaded butterfly.

Sigh. I’m not patient.

So, thoughts on patience from minds other than my own:

“The strongest of all warriors are these two – Time and Patience.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

“Water is patient. Dripping water wears away stone.” ~ Margaret Atwood

“Grain by grain, a loaf; stone by stone, a castle.” ~ Yugoslavian proverb

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” ~ Saadi

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

But, really, when focusing upon patience, what blog would be complete without Axl Rose?😉

Creating Mythology…#MondayBlogs

So many directions for this one. I suppose I should start with the basics here, and then move on.

What is mythology?

According to Merriam Webster, mythology is “the study of myths.” Surprise! Since that tells us nothing, myths (still according to MW) are “ideas that are believed by many people but that are not true.”

So, mythology is the study of lies. Or, maybe the study of the creators of those lies as well. I like to call them “lying liars who lie.” :)

We all create mythology. The joy of our individuality is the fact that we craft our very own narrative as we live our lives. Most of us, I think, probably stick pretty close to reality. Then again, it is often said that perception is reality, so I’m not sure how truthful our realistic narratives might be.

As a writer, I find I can often forget the myths I am creating. It’s a story, and I view it as such. But a myth? Myth can be powerful, myth can be instructive: a warning, or a promise, a way to view the future or the past. All of those aspects are contained within myths, along with others.

When you create your myth, what does it contain? Beyond writing from your heart, what story do you LONG to tell? That’s the story that should be committed to the page, not what you think you ought to write or what you think people want to read. It’s your myth. You get to write it your way.

When we move onto the mythology, we get into the marketing side – the beta readers, the reviewers, and the how-tos of platform building. All of these pieces comprise the study of your myth. The final students being, of course, your readers.

Even when you’re afraid, weave that spell for your readers. Draw them into your myth.

Happy writing, happy #Monday, and blessings to you all…

Love…

For this week’s #ArchiveDay…

bellesmots2000dotcom

When we are silent

love speaks

and in turmoil

love is rediscovered –

not quite what our logic

would dictate –

not quite where we thought

to find it –

but love all the same

a blessing all the same

the healing hands

that will not let us fall –

a slice of Heaven

before us…

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Friday Philosophy…Pain

It seems a fitting topic, post-surgery. Pain is this strange and mind-altering experience. I think it is safe to say that, as a nation, we are in pain right now. When I was released from the hospital, all I heard was news about police shootings and then a sniper shooting at police. For the duration of my stay in the hospital, I had HGTV on and some other white noise channel with nature photos. Maybe that makes me a less-than-conscientious member of society in the eyes of some, but the truth is I wouldn’t have been of much use to anyone.

I’m not sure I’m useful yet, as I sit here typing this blog. I had minor surgery, got rid of the appendix, and felt pretty whiny in general about the entire thing. Really, haven’t I had enough damn surgery to last me for the rest of my life? (I know, that’s not how it works, but the “unfairness” of it all is on my nerves right now.) Now, I’m taking my pain medicine, which leaves me typing very carefully, since I’m not sure I remember how to spell.

So, quotes on pain today. On a micro and on a macro scale. There are all kinds of pain, and all types of healing that need to take place.

“Find a place inside you where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now. Then I will either wait for him or forget him.” ~ Paulo Coelho

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ~ C.S. Lewis

“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” ~ Khalil Gibran

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.” ~ John Green

So, pain. I was thinking of it in terms of pure frustration: three new incisions, three new future scars, abdominal surgery (which hurts anyway). But we are all suffering right now. And the media is fueling our pain and grief as quickly as it can.

Blessings and healing to you all.