Archive for the ‘Introductions’ Category
Sometimes people mean so much to us that all “things” seem inadequate. We say we should give of ourselves, but that comes off as so trite. And it’s hard to define anyway. I can’t speak for most people, but I try to make myself available and try to do things for those I love without being reminded or asked anyway. I love them and try to be attentive to them.
So what to give a life partner who makes smiles just happen by being in the same room? Who frustrates me by leaving the butter out and staring at me blankly when I ask if we need anything from the store before I head out then asks me why I forgot mustard when I get home… Who perfected the infamous Muppet Dance and does pseudo-ballet twirls in our kitchen as I’m moving boiling water around….
I wrote a poem.
I don’t like
take one of my
Make sweet, hot, wet
Drops on your lips.
taste of yours.
My fingers reach to your hair
I hold you there
lick it up
take another bite.
I don’t like coffee
but your flavored kisses
are too brief.
I wrote this before my husband’s birthday, but sharing it is a very different step. I hope you’ll all indulge me for the moment as I wish Dan Happy Birthday (a few days off).
A little family story…
World Suicide Day: Preventing Tragic Loss (reblog, but original post removed from the now defunct site: CommuniCATE)
I grew up in a household where suicide was always felt (my great-grandfather had killed himself… it may sound like that should have been distant, but our family was a very extended one with me living with parents, grandparents and my great-grandmother in the same house). In that house, there was a room no one was supposed to go in, the room he shot himself in. The blood hadn’t even been cleaned after his body was removed and buried. They just closed the door and on rare occasions, someone would shove a box of “stuff” to stack in the room through the door… when the door could be reached. Usually stuff was piled in front of it.
The outside door to that room (it was the original kitchen to the house, and yes, after he died, they just made a second kitchen) overgrew with ivies, the small awning was allowed to just fall off the house, pulling some of the clapboard with it. The window broke and the barn cats would go and nest in there.
I used to want to know why that room was closed up so much. No one talked about it. If I tried to peek a look, either I risked poison ivy itches (not so bad for me, since as a kid I never caught the rash, but horrid for my uncle and grand-father since they could catch it from being around me) or being hollered at…. And the brief peeks I did catch never made much sense. What was so special about a dirty old kitchen filled with boxes and the corpses of mice and birds?
It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I’d pieced all the hints together. By then I’d been hospitalized for suicide attempts myself, my uncle had been living on antidepressants, my grand-father had been slowly recovering from alcoholism, …
Suicide does change things.
And for those wondering… a picture of the house in question. Of the door, even:
A little upkeep is needed here, with a few announcements.
- First there are some wonderful upcoming features coming up including a review of Diane Ackerman‘s eloquent One Hundred Names For Love (May 14th) and a delightful guest piece in Your Inspirations by Barbara Chepaitis (May21th)
- I’m in the process of merging both this blog and Many Worlds, but the process is becoming far more emotionally stacked than I would like it to be. Please stop in occasionally for updates.
For the moment, please allow me to share a piece with you I’d written for the StoryDam Writing Challenge prompt this week
Spring time is about new beginnings and with new beginnings you have choices. We often are so excited to see the first days of spring turning into warmer days of outdoor fun, new projects, gardening, home improvement, new outlooks and decisions that have to be made if you want to start something new. Is there a doorway you always wanted to go through but allowed something to hold you back? What great adventure might have been waiting on the other side of that opening?
Dam Burst Prompt:
Write fiction or non-fiction, tell us what lies on the other side of the door. Will you take door number two or door number one? What magical wonders are just waiting for you to step through?
Despite writing this piece on the 30th of April, I’ve been unable to do anything with it until today…. It’s fairly raw. Still I hope you enjoy it. Sometimes life simply “is”.
Two doors… Where do they lead? Choices, choices…
A watchman stands at the door to the left. With promises of the stable life, the known life, everyone else seems eager to enter that door. Get your papers in order. The watchman–or watchwoman, depending on how you get here–deals with this every day. Just pass the information over and let him do his job.
He, or she will compare your papers to a checklist they keep. (Be careful–these guards all seem to have slightly different checklists!) It doesn’t matter what the little variation might be…. Child out of wedlock, too many job changes, a tattoo in a noticeable location… There are countless numbers of little things the guards check for.
After perhaps five strikes you have your papers handed back to you, and guard turns you from the line. There a few ways to get through the door even so. Perhaps you have a bonus supply of money or good looks or chutzpah… even talent can be used as currency to bribe the guard. If you have a surplus in some area, you still might get through. You can be one of the ones who has it all.
If you are smart, you may go over your papers on you own . Once you are in line, you’ve made you choice and unless the guard urges you out of line, you have to go through that door. You really have to mess up once you are on the other side to get sent back out to try again.
At least that’s what every one around you in line says, whispering in low, horrified voices, the sheer weight of ostracism held in each letter, each atom the air that is exhaled from their lips. They look askance at the ones that stand in line at the other door… Its blackened, muddied, peeling surface, dented and warped just enough that occasionally a whiff of “something” that doesn’t set well on your stomach escapes it. They have made it quite clear that you don’t want to enter that door.
That’s where those people go. You don’t want to be one of those people, do you? (They motion to their guard and say with pride “Why do you think we have to guard our door? Everyone wants to come in here. We have to be selective, you know.”)
And it does look so much nicer. There are flowers growing on a arbor over it. There is a light. Everything about their door is bright, clean. You once were near enough to catch the whiff of fresh clipped lawns and gentle perfumes as someone was let in.
But as you stand in the crowd, knowing that you should decide, already starting to step forward toward the door with the guard, you see someone push the other door open. This person hadn’t even considered the flowered, guarded door. He stepped out of the crowd boldly, he even seemed to smile when he got to the door and found it was stuck closed from having been warped so much. He pushed against it with all his weight, making his body into a battering ram in his determination to get through that door. And behind him, you could hear others calling to him saying “No! Please don’t do this!”
Suddenly, the door opens for him, just as the guarded door is opening for someone else, and you see inside for just the briefest moment. You see the guarded door and the rows of neat little boxes, of neat, carefully manicured grasses and faces, the sameness of it all.
Your eyes take it in in a second before you look back to the unguarded dooor as it creaks closed against the boy who has ducked into its depths. You see a multitude of colors and glaring brightness amidst devastating darkness, You hear music. You smell flowers and refuse and you hear laughter and tears.
You know that it’s all the same then. And why should you ask someone else yo judge you fit to simply “live”
We know the end result of both doors. The long term end that is. The doors all end in death. We cannot avoid it. Even if we were to try standing still and never move, we have chosen our exit from the world. And what a sad, desperate exit that is too. So what exit do we chose to use?
- Watchman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
- Ipsden: inside the church porch Entering the 1761088 and closing the outer door behind you, it soon becomes clear that the porch does not have much in the way of illumination. Not having looked beforehand, I had to reopen the outer door so as to find the handle of the inner door. Here, we look back at the closed outer door, facing south on a bright sunny day as sunlight seeps in through gaps in the woodwork and under the door. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
- Roses along a trellis, Interbay P-Patch (community garden), Interbay neighborhood, Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had the pleasure of making Laird’s acquaintance almost two years ago now through our local Atheist and Agnostics Group. At that time, I just knew he was an amazingly friendly guy, that his wife was amazingly patient with my son (who wanted to regale her with story upon story from books he loved), and that the conversation (which was very hard to follow in the crowd) often touched on ancient civilizations and science, both topics that enthrall me.
I asked Laird if he would write a piece on the sort of things that inspire him. As you can imagine by his diverse interests, he savors the world, but I’ll let him explain how in his own words. Without further ado, please welcome Laird Scranton to Your Inspirations:
For me, inspiration – the spark that breathes life into an idea – is something that comes much more easily when I surround myself with interesting people, situations, activities, and ideas. As with most things, the more immersed I am in an active exchange of interesting ideas, the easier it seems to be for me to come up with an interesting one of my own.
I often feel that inspiration can be triggered by little things, like some incidental thought that may cross my mind during the day, a simple phrase that I casually overhear, or the unexpected answer someone gives to a question I have asked.
Situations that offer changes in perspective also seem to help promote the processes of inspiration, and so I like brain teasers, optical illusions, mysteries, puns, and a funny new joke. I really appreciate being around children, in part because they are often not as practiced at seeing the world in the same old predefined ways.
Sometimes I even think to do things to change my own perspective. For example, try saying the same word over and over again so many times that you effectively disconnect the sound from the meaning.
At times I find inspiration in simple everyday mistakes. I have a friend who once briefly failed to recognize the word “fruit” because his mind somehow interpreted the letters as “fru –it”. My wife Risa recalls a time when her brother couldn’t remember whether the word “of” should be spelled OV or UV.
When I was in middle school, I became aware that I often found humor in things that almost no one else around me thought were funny. That still happens – just ask my wife.
I make an effort to pay close attention to my dreams, since I’ve often seen important thoughts play out in them. My dreams are sometimes set in unusual locales that can reappear again and again, and which I have learned to navigate with complete familiarity. I recently discovered one of these locales to be a neighborhood I actually lived in when I was only two years old, even though I had no conscious recollection of it.
Finally, as the word implies, I know that inspiration really should be as easy and natural as breathing in and out. The trick may be to simply pay close attention while you’re busy breathing.
A software designer by trade, Laird Scranton enjoys exploring the intersection of history, mythology, and science. His curiosity has inspired to write four books to date on topics that range from the analysis of the oral and symbolic teachings of the Dogan people in Mali to a reassessment of the Young Venus theory proposed by Immanuel Velikovsky . He has published articles through various universities, including Colgate and Temple. He has a degree in English from Vassar College. He lives in Albany, NY.
For further information on Laird’s writing, please check these links:
With many apologies to our guest, Janet Parfitt, for being a week late with posting this piece, I wish to offer her a warm welcome to the Garden of Delights as she shares one of her writing inspirations with us. I especially enjoy reading things that Janet posts, because (barring becoming a rock star), we share so many common interests. It always fascinates me to see the differences that occur even among common threads.
So, without further ado, please welcome, Janet Parfitt:
You only have to look in your local bookshop or go to Amazon to see that there are thousands, if not millions, of books about creative writing. An amazing amount of people have written on the subject with a lot of conflicting advice. There are those who tell you basically to just sit down and start writing and then there are those who say you should plan out every scene, character, setting and plot twist before you start.
You might wonder who all these people are and what makes them qualified to give you advice on writing. But there is one guy who I don’t think anyone in their right mind would question because he is the best-selling writer in the entire universe and his name is Steven King.
King’s book entitled “On Writing” is the best book ever written about the process of creative writing. I mean, what he doesn’t know can’t be worth knowing, right? And, as you would expect, it’s very well written; part biography and part writing manual, it’s all good. My favourite bit is the first sentence of the second foreword which goes “This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit.” You got to love the man for writing that!
He goes on to say that “If you want to be a writer, then you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” This is not a book padded out with lists or the same writing tips given out over and over, just phrased slightly differently. And it doesn’t have that school-marm slightly superior tone that says ‘I know better than you do.’ What he does is tell it to you straight; here’s another excerpt to show you what I mean. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.”
Thank you Steven!
Now in her late 40’s, Janet Parfitt has filled her creative reservoirs with the labors of many crafts. Diverse jobs such as filing clerk in a tax office, chamber maid in a hotel, vending machine maintenance in the (now closed) Kodak factory in Harrow and Wealdstone (UK) and sous chef in a restaurant supplemented her reading to inspire stories, poems, songs and dreams of becoming a rock star. Led Zeppelin, animal welfare, words of beauty, the mysteries of the occult stir her passions almost as much as her family and lovely husband. Raised in North London, she has a degree in history. She runs a writing related magazine Writing With Fire, a blog Mrs. Bongle, and can be found on Twitter at @MrsBongle. She is a practising witch.