The Middle Ground

It has been basically forever since I’ve written a book.

(And I also didn’t post anything yesterday, for which I will remind you that I did, in fact, warn that I’m slightly a perfectionist. Hence, there will be days when the circumstances just aren’t there for me to post something. Many apologies in advance.)

I like to think of myself as a writer, even though I’ve never actually gotten anything published. I’ve been telling stories since I could speak (which I began doing fluently at the age of 18 months…may my poor mother find peace as I haven’t stopped talking since.) The first novel I ever wrote was when I was 8. I’d written short stories before that, but this was lord-of-the-rings-map-middle-earth-postermy first novel. And it was, I’ll just spit it out, a Lord of the Rings novel because, again I’ll just throw this out there while it’s still early enough to, every single ounce of my inner nerd resides in Middle Earth. This novel was a whopping 66 pages long (which isn’t bad for an 8 year old if I do point out myself), and I was incredibly proud of it. Now that I look back on it, I’ve no idea where the manuscript went. I’d pretty much love to find it, though. Wouldn’t that be interesting!

But now that we jump forward to today, I’ve written quite a few books over the years but it has been about a year and a half since I’ve written one. Which is basically the most ridiculous thing ever invented on this earth! I’ve always been pretty confident in my writing skills; it is the one thing that I’ve always felt that I could do at least tolerably well. When I write novels I generally don’t do outlines, I just sit down and write. I’ve got a few big points I know that I have to get to and other than that I just let my imagination run wild. And so, book_blankthis long break which I had absolutely no intention of taking has been really, really hard on me. It would be different if it were a case of writer’s block, which I also have never really experienced, but I don’t think this is the case here. I have about 10 novels on my computer that are started to various degrees. But none of them are particularly calling my name. And what is the meaning of this? I have absolutely no idea. I’ve written a little bit of poetry lately, just so that I can write something and because I’ve always wanted to improve in that area. But still, I feel rather stuck.

And the reason that I shpiel about this to you, reader, is because on my About page I did, in fact, promise posts about my writing. This one is pretty groundbreaking, huh? Wow, if you’ve gotten this far, I apologize more than I could ever say. This makes post number two in which I fear that I’ve killed you. Here, look at these puppies:

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Pieces of Peace

What happens in the course of a day? These events that build the maze of our lives seem so important, don’t they? We walk along these paths we’ve wound up on living through each of these everyday events; these things which are actually just ordinary. Common. And at the end of the day I’ve been looking at this person whom I see in the mirror and asking her: So, what did you do today?

And her answer is always the same: I went to class, did my homework, laughed with my roommates, etc. etc. etc. and etc.

And for some reason this time I felt compelled to press further: But no. Really. What did you do today?

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Well, I was quite puzzled with myself about this question before it finally dawned on me. Of course we all do things everyday; those obligations we fulfill, those countless, nameless, and in some cases maybe even pointless things that we just have to do. But at the end of the day: What Did I Do? What did I do to bring a little bit of joy into my life or the lives of those around me? What did I do to make a memory or enjoy a smile or just really live for a minute? In essence, what did I actually do today that will add satisfaction and joy to my life as a whole?

Our lives are already much too full of the things we have to do, the things that, yes, are really important, but do they necessarily bring you little pieces of joy? Because here is something that I’ve decided to live by: you need happiness. Even if you are going through the most terrible time in your life in work or school, even if you’re stressed out to the maximum level, you need happiness. I marvel at how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “If I can just get through this [insert period of time] then I can be happy.”

Well, I don’t want to shatter the glass here but I don’t think you should ever have to wait to be happy. Happiness isn’t a destination or none of us would ever get there. We are all going through hard times. We are all stressed out, we are all worried, we are all having some sort of crisis. It is just the way the world has to be in order for us to learn and grow individually and in order to be able to help others.

So, we have to learn to be happy anyway. Each day we need to allow ourselves to find joy even in the smallest ways. I call these things my Pieces Of Peace. When you help somebody in need, listen to a favorite song, read a book, go hiking, watch a great movie, make a meal and set the table prettily, or even just look up at the sight of the stars, these can be your Pieces of Peace. These can be your tiny moments of joy among the everyday common things.

When I feel too buried in these common things, that is when I know that I haven’t been making enough time for the things that I love, for my Pieces of Peace. I’m not going to sit here and try and convince you that life is a bowl of roses and you can always be happy even if your entire life goes up in flames and your dog dies. Bad things happen to everybody. And we cannot always do whatever we want, life doesn’t work like that.  But what I am saying is that happiness and peace can be found even in these times.

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There comes a time when we have to decide that we’re going to make time for the things that bring us joy and peace, that we’re going to enjoy the things we love again. That it’s okay to be happy. Because, guess what? …………….it is okay.

And so, dearest of all readers, I’m off to go enjoy a few of the things that I love, a few of the things that bring me peace and happiness. I don’t ever want to look in the mirror again and have to ask myself that question. May you find and enjoy your own Pieces of Peace.

Four Shades of Blue

And so the adventure begins!

One young woman, alone, braving the elements of life at university! Oh, the things to learn and unlearn! She awakes on an early winter morn and readies herself for her first class, fully intending to happen to the world today. She is distracted with these thoughts, of course, subconsciously selecting to think about other matters than what she is doing at the moment. And ah, yes! She is off to class! Hair curled, and outfit…..just as she arrives at the bus stop she looks down at the clothing which the non-distracted 2% of her brain selected. 

One fantastic pink collared shirt with white polka dots under a navy blue sweater…blue jeans………..blue socks……………………….blue shoes……………………… 

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Oh, yes. The problems which I find myself surrounded with are indeed life-altering and apocalyptic.

Okay, so that may or may not be a slight exaggeration. However, I will not have you thinking that I’m some sort of stuck up fashionista. I enjoy being beautifully attired, I won’t lie to you. But I mean, come on, there is no need to freak out over this kind of thing. However, I think the reason this was so earth-blowing was because until I reached the bus stop I had absolutely no idea what I was wearing. And why that non-distracted 2% of  my brain decided to go all monochromatic on me, I’d rather not discover.

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I decided, though, that there was something very important to be learned from this experience. Oddly enough, it was not to quit justifying this selective distraction I’ve picked up(basically because no matter what that’s just not going to happen). The lesson was, very simply: Just Go With It. I’m pretty sure people walk around this campus wearing more conspicuous things than four different shades of blue. But even that doesn’t matter. So I decided to just not wonder over this strange phenomenon and go about my day.

And as she returned to her home at the end of a victorious day on the battlefield, our heroine smiled victoriously. For she had discovered that life consists of each of the different shades of our stories which we usually keep hidden inside ourselves. And if one does not look for the different shades in others, there is only ever one color.

You May, In Fact, Call Me Incorrigible

Ah, and here we come full circle. Well, I don’t really know if that is the correct phrasing to use. However, it seemed a dramatic enough opening statement.  And as to this circle we may or may not have come around, well, it is time for me to speak about this title of mine. Call Me Incorrigible.

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Oh, it’s a lovely word, isn’t it? I take real delight in saying it, actually. It’s a word that sounds like what it means. You hear this word ‘incorrigible’, and you know that it has something. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Please, allow me to state the definition of this wondrous word for the records’ sake.

Incorrigible uncontrollable, firmly fixed; not easily changed, not easily swayed or   influenced.                           [See dictionary.com for the full list complete with examples and                                                            confetti]

So, why do I so love this word which at first seems only a fancy name for….stubborn? Close minded? Because, dear reader, that is not what this word actually means at all.  To be incorrigible is to be yourself; to be incorrigible is to be ‘firmly fixed’ upon something and to never apologize for it. Being incorrigible does not necessarily mean that you are stubborn or unable to deal with new things or closed to influence. Incorrigible is not a negative word.

So, why have I invited you to call me by this word? Well, I’ll tell you.  It is because I am an incorrigible romantic. I could make a list of all of the specific things I’m incorrigible about, but that would make this post much longer than it already is. But here is the point: I love things! I love them wholeheartedly. If you are my friend, I’ll do anything for you. If I have an interest in something, books about it fill my library. I weep uncontrollably when my favorite character in a series I read annually dies and when I watch sad movies. I laugh at just about everything. I love sitting alone and reading, writing, and meditating. I am incorrigible.

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And the reason I tell you this is just so that you can get to know me a little bit, not to be incorrigible about being incorrigible. I tell you so that you know that each of us are actually a little incorrigible (even those who are incorrigible mathematicians…may they find peace).

I personally think that another word for incorrigible is passionate. And though this world is far from perfect, there are so many beautiful things to be passionate about.

Hey, You Up There! Narrator! Excuse Me!

I’m an avid people watcher. There really isn’t any other way to describe this, and I wish it didn’t sound so creepy. I’m a writer, okay? I like to watch people from afar, try and figure out their stories, and see what I might be able to come up with. (And, yes, I’ll justify this until the day I perish!) It isn’t that I’m stalking them, because, to be perfectly honest, if I were to find the things out about them that I sit there and try to guess it wouldn’t be as fun. The point is to make it up, to create a story around things that are really happening in front of you.

But, dear patient and sainted reader, there is actually a story that goes with this one! Whenever my best friend and I are together in a public place, she likes to take advantage of this people watching habit I have and prey on my weakness of speaking before thinking. And so what does this result in? Two young women who were in the theater together narrating people’s lives while sitting quite close. And I will tell you right now, it is simply the most hilarious thing ever.

Have you ever done this? Because I would highly recommend it. It does take quite extensive improvisation skills; you’d be surprised how much hand gestures have a part in the conversations you make up between people.  And there was one day in particular when this act of narrating hit an all time level of hilarity.

We were with another friend of ours, sitting on a park bench and narrating for a couple sitting on the grass with their child not far away. The mother was on her mobile phone and the father was playing with their little girl.  My best friend and I were having a glorious time, while our other friend was thoroughly engrossed in something which I can no longer recall.  Here is the way our narration went:

“Jimmy! I’m on the phone, Jimmy!”

“Meryl, I’m walking away! I am taking our child and walking away!”

“Jimmy! Can’t you see that I’m on the phone?!”

And on and on it went, poor Jimmy took their daughter to the swings while Meryl gabbed with her friend Veronica about American Idol. Oh, reader, it was so tragically comical. And as we were laughing and narrating and thoroughly enjoying our own hilarity, our other friend suddenly looked up and exclaimed, “Oh! That’s my cousin and his wife!” Did this make it even funnier? Well, absolutely it did. And what made it even more spectacular is that their names actually do start with a J and an M.

It was to this I made what seemed to be an obvious conclusion: there must be a little bit of truth in every narration!  And if this is the case, then there are countless couples in this world with very annoying voices, or college boys with bicycles who deliver sandwiches, or business partners in cafes who meet to talk about the stock market and end up comparing watches…

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Wah Wah Wah-Wah Wah

Shpiel. The amount of impact which this word has in my life is astounding. I actually quite enjoy this word, really. I would like to clarify, though, that a ‘shpiel’ isn’t actually defined as what I define it as. A ‘shpiel’ is  a very long sales pitch.

However, I always find myself spouting out long commentaries about absolutely nothing to whomever the unfortunate soul is who happens to be sitting in the same place as myself. These long, pointless, usually kind of amusing, commentaries I have dubbed my shpiels. As I’ve over-analyzed this commentaries, I’ve found that some of the best ones have exited the creative tides of my cranium when I’m procrastinating.  (Disclaimer: I’m not usually a procrastinator. If my posts don’t show up every day, it’s because I’m kind of a perfectionist and must find the correct topic to ‘shpiel’ about.) Now, this observation is not absolute, by any means. But, I think of lots of things to talk about pointlessly when I don’t want to be doing something that I should be doing….usually something mathematically related.

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But every once in a while, my shpiels may or may not turn into something quite sublime. I’ve come up with some pretty wonderful quotes in the midst of shpieling (if I do say so myself). However, I think that the act of ‘shpieling’ is actually quite normal (or at least I hope so).  I like to think of it as a sort of de-clutter mechanism. The amount of things that roll around in my brain which already has the tendency to think too much is already quite exhausting. I don’t even want to know what it would be like inside here if I couldn’t de-clutter sometimes.

But see! Here I go again! I’m shpieling about shpieling! Oh, goodness, I’ll probably just end this now. Reader, if you are still with me I just want to say …..hello? Is that your snoring I hear? Reader? ……… oh, no….I’ve killed you…

What Is It With Men And The Godfather?

I-can-t-figure-it-outI wonder. I wonder about lots of things. And as I’ve wondered over the things I wonder about (I know, I know…we just won’t go into the details of this habit I have of over analyzing) I’ve come to the conclusion that you can tell a lot about a person by the things they wonder over.

So, the title of this post comes from the wonderful movie You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Utterly spectacular. The title of this post is one of my favorite lines in the entire movie. Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly has been given advice from Tom Hanks’ character Joe Fox (F.O.X) to ‘go to the mattresses’, which he explains is from The Godfather. Later, her boyfriend confirms in a very obvious tone that this advice is from The Godfather, like duhEventually Kathleen must finally inquire to the universe, “What is is with men and The Godfather? Hello!”

Originally, I was going to post a few of the things that I wonder about on a daily basis so that you could get to know me a little bit more. But the universe has destined something different, the hand of fate has stopped me.  And I simply want to know:

What Is It With Men And The Godfather?

Let me know what you think; share your stories with me. I think that were I to figure out the answer to this question it may cause some sort of profoundly world-changing paradox.