Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not For the Faint of Heart

Many of my musings (or maybe more accurately rantings) in this blog concern technology. My mother-in-law is visiting, and she has procured a flip cell phone (for cases of emergency.)  Being ninety-yrs-old she finds the concept of mobile technology very daunting, but she is committed to learning to use "the darn thing." I was impressed with her dedication to process. She'd been practicing at home and brought a folder with written step-by-step instructions which she retrieved from her luggage, so we could practice.

Send and End were still anomalies which I decoded as call and hang up. We surfed through the menu trying to find contacts to practice calling, when finally she dialed 911 and SEND, because the instructions were written that way. After apologizing to the 911 operator, we decided to give ciber space a rest, but not without pledging to a call a day until she gets the hang of it. Her words struck a cord in me. "If I just wouldn't resist it."

How true at any age. Our fears of failure, looking stupid, or making a wrong call keep us from achieving our potential. No one learns to walk without falling, or hits a home run without swinging, or gets published without being rejected. Life is about struggle, a journey down a path of uncertain terrain that is bound to have loose rock, boulders, or sink holes and scat to maneuver. We just have to keep hiking, one boot in front of the other.

I'm getting there too. I want to thank all my friends and family who usher me along the path, or drag me by my hair, whatever it takes on any given day. Be sure and check out my interview on the Bayou Writers Group Blog. Keep posting, keep pitching, keep plugging along, you will get published.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reading, (writing?), and Resting

I've been reading a lot the past few weeks. Last week I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and the one that's currently keeping me from my writing is The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield. There's nothing new I can say about Dragon Tattoo that hasn't been said better, except I can't wait to read Larsson's sequels!

However, Wingfield's novel was released in 2011 and the February reading selection for my book club, The Pulpwood Queen's of SWLA. A debut novel set in Arkansas in the early 50's, it deals with good and evil, family and loss, rolled up in a compelling read. I'm on the last seventy pages. How compelling you ask? This blog needs my attention. It's a sunny day. The lawn is screaming to be mowed before the weather turns ugly, and I'm still in my housecoat at 2 in the afternoon. Good job Jenny.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love Hurts, and Technology Bites

January I made the commitment to further my writing career. Attempting to blog once a week, I failed yesterday (Valentines Day) due to writing pains. My unrequited pen had lost its creative ink. Looking for inspiration, I turned to my friends Jess Ferguson, Jan Newman and Angie Dilmore. (Check out their blogs below.) Jess' manuscript has won a contest, Jan has recently created a website, and Angie is jumping into professional editing.

Not there yet, I'm trying to create the proverbial electronic presence that all agents and publishers herald. The all important following of readers, friends and relatives who will potentially purchase my long awaited novel. I am trying to open my mind to the vault of information that houses technology, but it's scary in here; I can't seem to find the damn light switch, let alone get my picture attached to my posts. Time seems to run out before I can leave a comment. I have updated this blog with a 'new look' and can't figure out how to get to my post. I left this page to check some information and returned unable to open the draft. I was forced to print my first version and retype. Google wants my impute, but I don't understand the terminology in their questions. I'm not complaining--they don't answer my email anyway.

I wrote something a few weeks ago referring to a shock collar, but possibly a leash would suffice.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dark Night of the Soul

A particular woman I know is bipolar. I have had the privilege of talking with her for the past two years as she served time in the local jail. Recently during one of her low emotional swings, she shared her despair, her aloneness, and dark feelings. She struggled with her spiritual dryness, equating it with a lack of faith. I could only relate what she told me from my experience with mourning.

This morning reading (again) from the book Celebration of Discipline, The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster, I was struck by something Foster said concerning solitude. He describes a pilgrimage into the dark night of the soul as a tool for spiritual growth. His portrait of a 'dark night' reflected what my bipolar friend had tried to relate to me.

Although Foster was not talking about what we would call an emotional, chemical mood shift, his insight excited me. Society wants us to shun our dark dispositions, but Foster's thought is to accept them as gifts of God. These emotional and spiritual dry places are part of our journey. They are not places we must "get over it," but places we must sit and contemplate our point in this universe. Giving ourselves permission to walk through or even sit down in the valley of darkness gives us the freedom to become better human beings.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Adventure in the Desert

I read a short meditation today by Mary Lou Redding. She is the Editorial Director of the daily devotional I enjoy called The Upper Room. www.upperroom.org She equates a huge change in her life with the Bible character Abraham, who at 75 moved away from his home to a new land because he heard God say, "Go." Mary Lou reminds us, if we want something different in our lives, we must act and do things differently. "As we step into the unknown this new year brings, God asks each of us to risk and trust."

Our journey, like Abraham's, may lead across a desert, but I realize along with the desert's heat, it is a beautiful and exotic place. Adventure begins with a step away from our arm chair. For me, writing is not all creativity and indulging the muses. It's work to sit, research, and revise. It's also a gift. But a gift is only a possession unless it's given away.

This January I set goals, cleaned my compluter, renewed my professional memberships, enrolled in writing classes, seminars, and conferences -- these are all good, but safe. Redding speaks directly to me when she says, "We can slip into the paralysis of preparation--planning and re-planning, organizing and reorganizing, discerning and trying again and again to discern. Preparing can be a way to avoid acting. Finally we must take the first step."

This blog is my first step across the desert of uncertainty to sharing my gift.