“Words are the voice of the heart.” ~ Confucius

This is my attempt to recreate the post that was eaten by my computer last night . . .

 

“The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments.” ~ Gustave Flaubert

Things I accomplished yesterday:

  1. Finished addressing Christmas cards, ready to go to the post office today
  2. Finally packaged my friend Mari’s birthday present along with her Christmas card in a mailer, also ready to go to post office
  3. Did not eat an entire one-pound bag of peanut M&M’s whilst doing the above
  4. Cleaned off most of my desk in an attempt to find the Christmas stamps for the cards; did not find stamps on desk as I had put them in a very safe place (always risky)
  5. Also managed to find paperwork that I had put in a very safe place, just not the same very safe place as Christmas stamps
  6. Did not put fist through computer monitor when I lost blog post that was almost finished
  7. Realized that I am not supposed to try to accomplish two major tasks in one day as one of them most certainly will become an epic fail

Felt rather pleased with myself right up to the moment when I went to save my post, was redirected to the WordPress sign in page (for some unknown reason), and then returned to blog post only to find that nothing, absolutely nothing that I had written was there save for the quotes.

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.” ~ Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

I’ve been having very vivid dreams lately. One that was particularly disturbing dealt with my mother dying. My Aunt Ronnie, who died earlier this year, was walking me through my mother’s house, pointing out things. I remember feeling very comforted that she was there with me. Woke up crying after that one.

But two dreams in particular have stuck with me, and both of these dreams dealt with words and my relationship to words.

The first dream:

This dream was very long and detailed. I was back in college as an undergraduate. I sat down in the common area of the Arts & Letters building, and the person next to me turned and spoke to me. I hadn’t realized that I had sat down next to one of my creative writing professors (it was him, but he looked different in the dream). He asked me if I was going to show up for his class that night. I replied that I had only missed two classes because of my illness, not dropped out, and reminded him that I had submitted the work that was due.

He said that the work was substandard, which really surprised me. Then he told me that the final exam was that very night. I panicked and began to hyperventilate. I told him that I couldn’t possibly take the exam because I wasn’t prepared. I begged him to let me take the final later, but he refused. I went to the department chair’s office and explained the situation. I reminded him that I had doctors’ letters explaining my health issues, and I asked him to give me some leeway since I was a member of the department.

The chair spoke to my professor who asserted that I wasn’t sick; I was on acid. I argued that I wasn’t on acid, that in fact I had never in my life taken acid. My professor again said that I was a drug addict and that he wasn’t going to do anything for me.

I sat down in the common area and put my head in my hands. Two female professors from the department walked by and said loudly enough for me to hear that they thought that my writing professor was only doing this because he hated women (not true in real life). I didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, I was surrounded by people who were enrolled in the class with me; several of them were holding papers—newspapers, pages torn from magazines, cards. One person said that I had to do something extraordinary to prove to my professor that he was wrong about me.

I asked him what I should do. He said that I needed to take the pages that they had all collected for me and create something. I began to look through the pages, and words started to stand out. I began ripping words from the pages and arranging them on the floor. I was creating a poem from the words. Someone gave me scissors, so I began to cut out more words.

My writing professor walked up and observed what I was doing, but he said that he wasn’t impressed, but by that point, I no longer cared about him or his class. I was creating for myself. I couldn’t collect the words quickly enough. The poem soon grew to be about five feet long and just as wide. It was massive, and I wasn’t finished. I needed more words.

I looked up and realized that below where I was working on the floor was a gap and that trains were moving through the gap, but instead of coal in the cars there were small colored rocks, larger than sand, but much smaller than coal—vivid blues, bright yellows, greens. I realized that I needed to get to the other side of the gap to collect more words, so I jumped down onto the first car, which contained blue rocks, My feet began to sink into the rocks, and the blue began to swirl about my legs. I jumped from one car to the next until I was on the other side. When I reached the other side, I suddenly realized what Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” really meant: It was his poem about life, only with paint. I smiled to myself and went in search of more words.

The dream ended there.

“The smell of ink is intoxicating to me—others may have wine, but I have poetry.” ~ Abbe Yeux-verdi

Second dream:

I was working in the newsroom again, but this time, I was a clerk responsible for typing and filing. I was speaking with a reporter with whom I had a good relationship, telling him how glad I was to be back in the newsroom again, even if it meant that I had to do grunt work.

I remember the hum of the actual newsroom in which I worked while I was an undergraduate. An undercurrent of creative energy was always suffused in the air. I felt that in my dream. I looked about me at all of the reporters and editors, and commented that I wished that I could be out there in that pool of people and not stuck in a clerical position.

The person with whom I was speaking asked me why I didn’t apply for a position. I told him that I didn’t think that I was good enough, but I remember thinking to myself in the dream that that was not a true statement, that it wasn’t a matter of being good enough but rather, a matter of being afraid. He told me that I should apply.

Many people who I had actually worked with walked through this dream. Some stopped to chat, others just walked by and nodded. I inquired about the City Editor who had been in charge when I worked there, and my friend told me that he had died. Soon after, I awakened, feeling very calm and reflective.

There is a saying that people who work for newspapers have ink in their blood. I know this to be true. The slow death of printed newspapers saddens me in a way that cuts to my very heart as I wrote my first pieces for publication for the local paper.

“Unclose your mind. You are not a prisoner. You are a bird in flight, searching the skies for dreams.” ~ Haruki Murakami

I have rerun in my mind both of these dreams several times, and what strikes me is that my psyche is sending me a message: I need to return to my writing full time, or rather, on a daily basis, which is full time for me. Obviously, I have words within me that need to be released, to be massaged into something concrete, and I have not been doing that of late. I must recapture the passion with which I first began writing this blog, and I must return to the discipline with which I so carefully honed my writing method: working at it for at least two hours each day.

The brain is but another part of the body that requires regular exercise lest it atrophy. By not working on my craft, I have regressed to my former state of writing only when the creativity hit me, rather than forcing myself to cull to the surface the creativity which resides within me.

In fact, I have been very lackadaisical when it comes to writing daily, and I know this to be true however painful it is to admit. But something inside of me is quietly rebelling at the passive approach to writing that I have been taking. Something—my inner muse, inner self— is sending me signals that there are words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs all waiting to be created, and that if I ignore these signals, then I am doing myself a disservice.

My birthday is next month. I will be yet another year older and no closer to achieving my dream of having a book published. I have no one to blame for this but myself as no one else controls my mind, my thoughts, my muse.

My love affair with words goes back to my childhood, to the time that I composed my first poem when I was five. Believe it or not, that poem had rhyme and meter: a quatrain with six beats per line. From that moment, I knew that I wanted to do something in my life that involved words, just as some people know innately that they want to work with numbers.

As any of my regular readers know, I have a passion for quotes; I have always had this passion. I have collected quotes for as long as I can remember, mostly because they inspire me. I used to use one quote repeatedly in cards that I sent to new graduates: “Only the dreamer can change the dream,” which is actually the title of a book of poems by John Logan. I don’t know when I picked up this quote, but it has always been very special to me.

My dreams about words were a reminder that only I can make possible what I want to achieve, that I am responsible for my path, that I must do all that I can do to make my dream become a reality.

Thanks to Crashingly Beautiful for the Marakami quote. More later. Peace.

I know that you have probably seen this video, but I love it, that and the fact that any videos of TSO in concert are bootleg, and the quality isn’t great. I did find a concert on Good Morning America in 2005, but it’s not the same in a small venue, and the light show really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated; otherwise, it’s just blobs of light in some parts. I give you the Trans-Siberian Orchestra: “Wizards in Winter”

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“No one grows old by living only by losing interest in living.” ~ Marie Beynon Ray

 

 Winter 1936, LIFE Magazine*

 

“You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn’t need any more of that sound.” ~ Mary Oliver

Well, more mellow today. The day began inauspiciously: Our coffee maker died. Just died. No power button, no mellow gurgling, no sweet, sweet smell of the elixir. I was seriously put out. Luckily, I went online to cuisinart.com, found the number, and called customer service. Seems our coffee maker has a three-year limited warranty, and just dying for no reason seems to be covered.

Hooray . . . almost. That particular style, because it is so popular, is on backorder, and they won’t be able to ship it right away. I can live with that given the fact that I am getting my most favorite brewing system ever replaced at no charge. It’s a Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand, which means that the coffee does not drip into a carafe; instead, it is stored in the double-insulated well until you push the little lever that delivers the tasty brew to your cup. The rest of the coffee remains very fresh until you are ready for more.

The very nice man on the other end of the telephone offered to send me a different model that could be shipped right away, but it was a model with a carafe. I explained ever-so-nicely to him that I am very rough on carafes, having broken at least a dozen of those suckers over the years. I know for a fact, in my heart of hearts, that all coffee carafes have a sweet spot somewhere on one of the curves so that if you happen to tap that precise spot on the bottom of the sink, the entire thing shatters. No more carafes for me.

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” ~ Juan Ramon Jimenez 

Anyway, the lack of a fresh, hot cup of coffee threatened to make a very bad day, as did the realization that we do not have enough icicle lights to do the outside of the house. I like blue icicle lights. Blue lights remind me of my father for some reason, so for the past four or so years, we have put up blue outdoor lights. Brett saved the day by stringing plain blue lights along the rooftop.

I sat myself down and told myself to get over it, so I did. Good enough.

Corey’s cold isn’t getting better. In fact, I’m fairly certain that he feels much worse than he is letting on. With any luck, though, it won’t last too long. His colds don’t usually move into his chest the way that mine do, so here’s hoping.

We leave tomorrow afternoon for Ohio. Ironically, it’s supposed to snow here this weekend. Who knows what will happen. It is rather cold at the moment. We need to get the front tire fixed before we leave; it seems to have a slow leak. Other than that, I think that we will be good to go.

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.” ~ Rumi

I was reading the news and came across the most outlandish article: Apparently, a four-year-old boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee was found “roaming his neighborhood in the night, drinking beer and wearing a little girl’s dress taken from under a neighbor’s Christmas tree.” The boy’s mothers claims that the boy wants to go to jail because that’s where his daddy is.

Okay. So many things wrong with this story. First, where was his mom when the four-year-old left the house? How did this small child manage to break into his neighbor’s house to steal the dress? What’s with the beer?

I could go off on one of my curmudgeonly rants about kids having kids, lack of parental control, bad role models, ya da ya da ya da, but something else here is really bothering me, and it’s not the dress: Someone at some point taught this child how to open a beer bottle. Look, I have problems with screw top caps, granted, that’s probably a reflection of my own ineptitude, but please, a beer bottle?

The story does not detail why the father is in jail. The parents of this young boy are apparently in the midst of a divorce, and the mother, after speaking with child protective services, is going to be able to keep her son. No judgements here. Children all over the place figure out how to elude child-proof locks all of the time. If the mother is a sound sleeper, it’s entirely possible she didn’t even know that her son was out.  I’m just hoping that someone gets this child some help, if for no other reason than to teach him that it’s illegal to enter other people’s houses and steal things from under a Christmas tree.

“We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” ~ Anais Nin 

Okay, one other bit of random news. I know that I have said that I don’t watch most reality television because it makes my brain freeze, and I want to scream at the participants, but I do admit to watching “Project Runway,” (fierce), and “Real Housewives of Orange County” and “RH of New York.” Yes, those shows have their share of cluelessness, cattiness, and backstabbing, but such nice homes, such good jewelry, Tim Gunn for gosh’s sake.

Anyway, I’m reading this story that says that the Real Housewives are feeling the money crunch just like other Americans. Let us pause here to let this statement sink in. The housewives of Orange County live in the gated community of Cota in million-dollar homes. One housewife just received a seven-carat diamond necklace just because. They shop at La Perla for lingerie.

So Tamra has to clean her own house. OMIGAWD. Stop the presses. Life is so hard for these women. Look, they are publicity whores. They get paid a minimal stipend for appearing on the show, nothing to cover the cost of those mortgages. But they back-stab each other at the drop of a hat, talk trash constantly, and to boot, have overbearing, possessive, controlling husbands (with the exception of Don, who is just so laid back). So forgive me if my heart does not weep that Tamra must dust her furniture or Vicki cannot buy a yacht or Lynn’s husband is not doing well with his construction company. It didn’t stop her from getting a facelift and treating her daughter to a nose job.

But will I keep watching? You betcha. It’s my vicarious pleasure, and hey, I have to take them where I can find them.

“I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen—I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.” ~ Neil Gaiman

I need to stop now because I have to polish my furniture. Tamra’s plight made me feel so compassionate that in her honor, I am going to de-grime the piano and other various items. It does pain me to clean the cobwebs because they are rather splendid, and I have become so accustomed to seeing them there in the corners (kidding).

Actually, the deal was that if Brett put up the outside lights today, I would polish the furniture, which is usually his job. But I really don’t know how I can keep up this pace and still get my Botox (Tamra, Lynn, Alexis), fit in my spray tan (all of them), go to the gym five times a week (Lynn, Alexis), and still wear Jimmy Choo’s everywhere I go. And did I mention the diamond encrusted Rolexes? The Cristal?

In the meantime, those of us who are warming our tootsies with space heaters will continue to warm our cockles by watching our dogs sneak ornaments off the Christmas tree while enjoying a nice glass of Crystal Light.

More later. Peace.

And now, the weepiest, saddest Christmas song ever. I play it only to torture myself, and it seemed somehow appropriate in light of seven-carat necklaces: “Christmas Shoes”

 

 

*All pictures in post taken from 1936 issue of LIFE magazine.