Friday, June 6, 2014

Internet Addicted

The more time I've spent tethered to wires, or gadgets or wifi waves
the more permanently solidified a shift in priorities has become inside the confines of my brain
External accountability became about appearances
It wasn't people I was accountable to anymore
not relationships, but likes and shares
follows and fame
What does it matter what the work or the moment does inside of me
if I can't tweet it
if others don't see it.
Mental health awareness campaigns became more important to me than the level of my own personal shame
accolades and virtual acceptance more important than face to face human connection
something precious lost along the way.

Balance they say
I say...
It is defensible, all of it has it's place.
But it's I who has to check myself and that is where the problem lay
A self defeating cycle
Until I'm rolling over in my grave
worried more about the wifi password than maggots gnawing away.

Is this bit of poetry I am writing pointless
further validated
or perhaps just transcendental
for the fact of my unwavering intention to share it on my blog, Twitter and Facebook page?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lost From Sight

The following prompt was used as inspiration for the short fiction work below it. Click the image to be taken to the prompt site where an update on the validity of the actual quote is addressed if interested... I personally find  it fascinating, but would like to remind you before reading that since the answer to the question (my writing) is fiction, it doesn't much matter if the question is too.

What a lot of people fail to realize, or outright reject as a line of rational thought, is that the Earth that we live on isn't merely a physical plane of existence. It is also a spiritual battleground that is filled with billions of smaller individual battlegrounds inhabiting it. There are invisible wars being fought on our larger turf, the landmasses and man-made dwellings we inhabit, as well as ones being fought internally. Inside each and every being that posses a soul (and not all beings do).

These wars, and battles, alliances and for lack of a better term bloodlines all intersect and collide. People, humans, can and do get caught in the crossfire. If that doesn't make your head spin already then take a moment to consider that the nine hundred thousand figure doesn't even begin to take into account the intact bodies still walking amongst us whose souls are pierced with unnameable shrapnel.

You might be wondering right now about the state of your own soul. Wondering just how many wounds it may hold. Or perhaps, like the majority of people who have been simultaneously blessed and burdened with the information I am sharing, your hand found itself nursing an invisible wound as you read. Well I should tell you that it may be a strange sort of comfort (at least temporarily, until new questions open up) that if indeed you have such unseen shrapnel lodged in your spiritual chest, you are already immune to this frightening phenomenon. Unfortunately not to spiritually influenced death... but at least to missing postmortem physicality. No, that is reserved for the shells of untarnished souls when they come to an end at the hands of either angel or demon.

You see uncompromised souls are valuable commodities in the spiritual world... and, well... the extraction of an intact soul is messy. Unrecognizable as human matter messy.

Here is where I would prefer to stop. To let you believe that all of the loved ones and precious strangers lost and unfound, were both wholly innocent (in our world's terms) before their death and are wholly at peace now that their physical bodies have been essentially incinerated by spiritual entities...  but...  souls are not consciousnessless life-forces that are wistfully being sucked away unscathed into some supernatural being. They are not unaware of what they are being used for. And what they are being used for is indeed a dreadful thing. But we will come back to that. First I must go back and make an addendum to your understood definition of two terms I used before. Untarnished and Uncompromised. I am assuming that you are interpreting those words through the commonly accepted worldview in which our freewill and/or individual autonomy... personal agency as it were, implies that we are not ever in a pure state of good, evil or neutrality (a state you would be correct to question the validity of altogether, but nonetheless is important to include for the sake of this illustration). To the spiritual entities that inhabit our earthly domain alongside us however, these terms don't imply goodness, moral purity (in human terms) or any such thing... it means a lack of doubt in said human's loyalties. It means purity in their faith not so much purity in the commonly accepted notions of pure versus unpure being assigned to good and evil respectively.

This simply put means that from a spiritual perspective a human can be pure in their faith in good, their faith in evil... or in their faith that neither exist. Essentially what qualifies a soul as unblemished, and as such makes it valuable to unseen entities is that it is free of both the external shrapnel that comes from being caught in the crossfire (or targeted and wounded by one side or the other) and from the blemish inflicted to the soul internally by conflict against a faith system. Conflict caused by doubt.

It's hard to think of doubt as being something a minimum of  nine hundred thousand people could survive long without given that we all have experienced it is some category or another. It would astound you though how many people accept faith systems without question. Both good and bad ones. True and false ones. Including ones that boldly support evil. Many of the extracted souls however do wind up coming from the very young which is needless to say very disturbing. In this way doubt, and moreso the battlescars it attracts to you are a good thing. That is because while doubting isn't virtuous in itself, it does cause scars that devalue your soul to those supernatural forces that would harvest it for their purposes. Doubting can ultimately also strengthen, give validity to and change the faith system you choose to live by (something I cannot assign for you).

Here again we could stop and leave a little hope left that perhaps we could rest in the knowledge that, while what they are being used for falls somewhere on the scale between slavery and drafted spiritual-war foot soldier status, at least these souls are part of a war they were already entrenched in by virtue of their decided lack of questioning their own beliefs and why they believed them. Not that simple (never that simple). As in human war, prisoners prove useful to opponents.

It should also be noted... quickly while I still have time... that damaged souls aren't entirely safe merely because they can't be harvested intact for the war on this plane. Heaven and Hell don't necessarily have quotas but a soul not able to be extracted intact goes to one of the two and that isn't regarded as a loss either. These kinds of 'wins' aren't as easily won for angels and demons however, as physical deaths brought about directly from one or the other leaves visible markers that tend to raise eyebrows in a morgue. It happens but isn't preferred by either side. The war wages on more easily when humans don't believe it exists. No, they use our own iniquities and weaknesses against us. They let us bring ruination upon ourselves one soul at a time.

The previously mentioned prisoners of war? They come in mighty handy to this end. Haven't you after all heard of ghosts?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Confession Time: Why I'm Not Doing NaNoWriMo

   I am the opposite of consistent. Always have been. Won't always be, but unfortunately, currently I still am. This is why I am not participating in NaNoWriMo. Because a life time of bad habits and inconsistency has made it far more difficult that it should be to create positive new habits. And I am not saying that to take away from anyone else's struggle in creating good habits because I am fully aware it is difficult for all of us. It goes against the natural flow of things. The old adage being true that when we are not pushing forward we are inevitably falling backwards, there is no such thing as true stagnation when it comes to the human state of being. So all that to say, I'm not there yet. I have barely solidified my basic writing habit, and knowing myself I am acutely aware that I am very easily demotivated by increasing my self expectations to steeply and suddenly.

   So no to NaNoWriMo (which for my non-writer readers stands for National Novel Writing Month) for me this time around, BUT! I am using the inspiration provided by the gallant strivings of my fellow writers to increase my daily word count requirements. Why am I telling you this? I mean other than that this mostly vacant blog you happen to be reading is vaguely constructed to be about me and my life... which, thank you by the way to anyone who keeps checking back through this dry period, you rock! ...well I'm telling you in order to gain some leverage on myself. A bit of external accountability.

   The goal? 1,000 words per day 5 days a week. Or 20,000 new words, added to my novel in progress between November 1st and 11:59pm on November 30th. For a little bit of perspective and brutal honesty about my progress so far, I started my novel in late June on the beginners, snails pace, first draft in a year plan of 350 words a day 5 days a week and I started November with 45,000 words. The goal is to have 65,000 by month end. That's big. Not NaNoWriMo 50,000 words in a month big, but it's huge for me. So I am crowd sourcing support. And also offering up some of my own. 

   If you're like me and can only focus on one endeavor at a time and constantly find everything else in your life falling apart when you consciously decide to put in the effort to improve one specific area, then lets band together. Tell me in the comments what area of your life you're trying to accomplish something in this month. Where you want to be by November 30th at 11:59pm and also what other areas of your life you are unwilling to drop in the name of this goal. Do you want to get on track with a family meal plan but don't want to get so caught up in it that dinner is perfect but you're so tired at the end of the meal that bedtime routines with the kids get pushed aside and everyone falls asleep in the living room watching TV afterwords? Do you want to get consistent with fitness and not derail your important personal relationships during holiday eating season? Lets cheer each other on.

   Where do we start? Here's something invaluable that was recommended to me that I'd like to pass along. Get fanatical if you have to, but schedule it. Schedule your priorities in 30 min increments. It sounds rigid but it's actually really freeing, even for, if not especially for, us creative types.

   Here's a free handout geared towards students that is actually good for any and all of us.

    I'm starting mine this week and would love to have some other people along for the ride to troubleshoot with. Let's see where we can get together by month end?

You in? Thought so.

Ready, Set.... GO!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Preschool is a Chaotic Kind of Poetry

A little over a week ago my son turned three. THREE. This morning that three year old, my husband and myself all piled in the car, after snapping a few pictures, and drove to the next town over for a certain someone's first day of preschool.

 No one cried. It was calm. There was excitement and nervousness and nostalgia certainly, but they were wrapped up in this unnerving sense of normalcy.  

 Each moment though monumental in some ways, was just a moment and we were all just people. That feeling of seriousness, importance... gravity, it never stretches out through a whole event like you expect it to. Not weddings or births or even deaths.

 It moves in and out of you like the tide. Ebbing when it's time to wash hands or for reminders to walk, not run. Flowing when you catch glances with your kid in the sea of kids doing something that shows their newly acquired age. You beam with pride in the same instant as you experience an invisible punch to the gut. The punch of three years full of minutes missed to minutia.

But over it all danced the quietness of time. The silencing effect a ticking clock has over all other sounds once noticed by ears that want nothing more to linger on the laughter of their children.

 It is this knowledge of the unceasing nature of time that makes the magical things in life seem mundane and the mundane things seem magical.

Signing in for the first time, hanging up his backpack, his introduction to his classmates and ours to their parents. It all seemed too airy and fleeting. Nothing concrete in them. Nothing that felt like the making of a memory.

 But the tug in my heart between jumping in to assist and instruct or holding back on purpose in order to let him learn to look to his teacher for those things. That felt big. 

Knowing he was once this precious pressure in my belly as I watched him learn the terrain of this new environment as I sat silently on the sidelines? That felt deafeningly big.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Subtle Sexism in the World of Storytelling

   So here's the thing, I've been steering clear of this topic for a little while for the sake of maintaining my newly recovered state of mental health. It was one of the bigger, more easily identifiable, triggers that helped to initiate the plummet in my serotonin levels or what have you that happened several months back. It was fire that I just couldn't seem to stop playing with. Rape culture, oppression, misogyny it all felt so urgent and pressing... and honestly more than anything it felt noble. I felt like I was on a one woman crusade to make the world a better place and instead I just wound up rubbing my nose in all the most vile tendencies that we as human beings are capable of playing out in this real world of ours. I did that  long enough that my anger burned all the way out, bringing almost all of my other functional emotional states and capacities with it.

   The good news is that I'm mostly better now. The bad news is that in the meantime the problem didn't conveniently go away, nor did my desire to speak out on the problem(s). So, while I need to exert caution in the level to which I engage in these discussions, I also need to practice living in a world that isn't all or nothing. My propensity for obsession won't go away simply by avoiding any and every topic or trigger that could lead to such extreme mental preoccupation. Besides a new one will always come along to fill the void.

   So what's the point I'm getting at here? Well, all of the above being the case I have decided that I am re-opening my "series" on this wide-ranging, broad topic that can't be summed up in one word. BUT! I am doing this as less of a new direction for the blog itself as originally intended and definitely not as a restrictive, scheduled and structured thing. More of a this ish is important so I'll write about it when and where I can type of thing, being careful to keep in mind the crazy, wild wormholes that are present in this world of societal call-it-out commentary blogging.

Today's Topic at hand? The privilege of  dismissal.
Or something like that...

   Basically there's a nuance at play in this big picture that's been on my mind a lot lately that I haven't seen a lot of coverage on, though I haven't gone digging for it either, so I'm sure somebody somewhere already has... hopefully a lot of somebodies. This notion crystallized in my mind yesterday when I clicked a link in a tweet to a blog that linked to another blog so on and so forth until I was reading this amazing article from May of 2012 by Greg Rucka, writer of comics and novels, titled "Why I Write Strong Female Characters". If you haven't had the pleasure of reading it, stop what you're doing and go there. Now. Seriously, he hits so many great points and does it intelligently and articulately in a way I can only hope to come close to myself in the rest of this already too-long post of mine.

Okay, good. Back to the point. Which is this:

   Our world is currently set up in such a way that it is considered a given that women are, on almost every level, expected to attempt to understand and relate to men, where they are at, without question. It is so much the norm that male characters, male attributes, male desires are assumed to be the standard. Women are all but forced to understand Men but men are allowed a pass from even attempting to understand women in a lot of ways. Yes, women are complicated. But guess what, that's because of our humanity not necessarily because of our gender. There may be some areas in which the female make-up tends more towards extra layers that seem hard to comprehend on a surface level, but it is way more often than not used as a flippant excuse to not try. To write it off. To write US off. To dismiss thoughts, feelings, desires and needs that lean toward the feminine end of the spectrum.

The part of Rucka's post that reminded me of this issue I've been wanting to address was this quote in particular:
There's a second part to the question. The unspoken part.
It's the part where I'm being asked and not, say, Laura Lippman. Because Laura is a woman, and it's presumed therefore that she knows how to write about women, what with having been one her entire adult life. By the same token, Laura Lippman is not asked how it is she can write such convincing, strong male characters. Implicit in her job as a crafter of fiction is the demand that she must. No question need be asked.

   In general it seems that women are made to seem mystical and mysterious or are dismissed as silly and insubstantial. Both extremes have the same effect, giving men an out from the task of attempting to understand and relate to women in ways that are more meaningful than temporary surface efforts to pacify women. It's ok for men to dismiss storytelling about women under the guise that it's only for women. It's considered normal for men to classify anything with a strong female lead, or feminine tone as a "chick flick" or any storyline with a love story that focuses on the female character's perspective or desires as "romance" (and understand I don't mean disrespect to these genres... quite the opposite in fact), as an easy excuse to opt out.

   Maybe we're all missing something in this whole male / female brain-wiring gender gap thing. Maybe most men who inadvertently play in this dismissal of femininity and opt out of the responsibility to understand their fellow earth-mates that is expected of women is actually something else all together. Maybe men are more complicated than they want to let on too... my theory is not fully formulated yet, but I think it's something worth considering that maybe just maybe the cliche' that "women don't know what they want" (so we don't have to either) is true of men as well. Maybe just maybe they dismiss feminine things because they assume we really do want those things all to ourselves. To have an all girls club in some areas. It would explain why so many men get so defensive when women are interested in things they once thought to be exclusively masculine, all the while hoping to have their chosen significant other share their interests.

   The thing is however, that even if this were the case, it's still no excuse. So let me say from my perspective as one lone woman, that I don't. Sure I like having some things to myself... that one box of chocolates that nobody else is allowed to touch, that show I want to watch when nobody else is around because, no, I don't want to hear anybody elses opinion on it. But when it comes to the female experience I absolutely do want you to try your damnedest to understand. To be systematically and personally dismissed doesn't make me feel like I have a fun little secret with my female counterparts. It only ever feels like men just don't care enough to try to relate. So far as I can tell one thing that is present in most women is the desire to be known and loved. The attitude that men can't, and worse, shouldn't have to relate to us is at the very least hurtful... but more important it's extremely damaging. To women, to girls and to our culture on the whole. Which side note, means it's damaging to men too.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

On Character, Desire and Actions

   There are seasons in our lives when we repeatedly have our noses rubbed in the horrors that lie in our own hearts, and it aches us to know that we can feel and think such disturbingly selfish things. It's easy during these times to discount our efforts to make the right decisions and act in honorable ways because we know that our in our heart we really, REALLY don't want to... and the fact that we don't want to hurts almost as much as the painful circumstances that call us to act in the first place.

   I put together this quote/image thing for all of you going through such times right now, and for those who have in the past or will in the future. I want to remind everyone in such a situation first and foremost that you are a good person for even caring about the state of your heart. For desperately wanting your motivations to come from absolute kindness and not obligation. That is worth a mirror high five in and off itself.

   Now, take a deep breath and do the thing you already know in that conflicted heart of yours to be right. The corresponding feelings will come along when they are good and ready. Sometimes all it takes for your emotions to change is an inciting action, and sometimes it takes being able to look back knowing you did the right thing anyway. Either way? You've got this!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

20,000 Words

Photo edit by Jason Frega
   About a month ago something magical happened... and I have held off writing about it specifically, and in a lot of cases even talking about it, because truth be told I am superstitious and suspicious and  fearful that by nature things don't tend to last. Most things don't, but there are plenty of things that do. Important things. Good things. Being fearful that acknowledging good changes in our lives will somehow change their status as a permanent thing, or speed the process bringing about an almost immediate departure time if those things were meant to be temporary, doesn't really do much in the way of allowing us the freedom to enjoy those things whatever they may be.

   So here's my good thing: writing healed the brokenness in my mind. Not all my problems and not just any kind of writing... but another big shift took place, this time in a really good direction, and I am damn grateful for it. If you were here back in April you most likely read my post in which I admitted that I had fallen back into a state of depression. I sought help like I said I would, I am still seeing a therapist (although less frequently now) and I am still experiencing anxiety attacks (something I actually didn't mention in that post) from time to time, but... BUT! Things are so much better lately. So. Much. Better.

    So, how did writing "heal my head problems"? Well, I received a very helpful recommendation that at the time felt akin to being backed into a corner, but when I responded in trust and stepped in a direction I thought to be backwards, on faith, I found a freedom I haven't known for a long, long time. I was told to funnel my writing efforts in a different direction. A direction that didn't involve direct self introspection or digging into seriously triggering topics anymore, at least for a time. Those things weren't bringing the joy and release that writing had always been for me. Sure it helped me work out my thoughts and crystallize my beliefs on many different topics. But it ceased helping me process my emotions. And that felt like a great big gaping loss.

   In the discussion which this recommendation stemmed from the word fiction was mentioned, and it scared me. It scared me because I had always held fiction up on a pedestal. I didn't trust my mind to formulate ideas worthy of weaving into a story. I had spent years adding more and more constraints to my writing, newer higher standards (that didn't fit my purpose) and ultimately I tried to force my idea of what I would do with this gift that I cherish, into a box that it didn't belong in. A box that allowed me very little room to breathe.

   I did the same thing in many other areas of my life as well, and together all those pieces, those misplaced principles, thoughts and beliefs, built a wall that when fully formed began to cut off my air supply. The good news is that the wall has come down and although a little damage was done in the process it made rebuilding a possibility.

   I am reading fiction again after a long self-imposed, guilt-ridden hiatus. I am also writing fiction for the first time since maybe Middle School. In fact if you follow me on Twitter or are a fan of my Facebook page then you may have already seen the news that I have officially broken the 20,000 word mark on my very first fiction novel. Will it be worthy of publishing when it's done? When I've done all the editing, re-writes, more editing, revisions, and even more editing necessary to turn a draft into an actual book? I don't know for sure. But I'm finally doing the right work. The work that I feel like I was always meant to be doing. I am writing 5 days a week, a minimum of 350 words a day, usually quite a lot more. Eventually that will all add up to a finished first draft, which I know to be only the beginning of a long journey. A journey that I am now officially on. That knowledge alone is enough for me in this moment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...