Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pregnant with Possibilities


I was pleasantly surprised to have this semi-abstract relief sculpture returned to me this week. She has been gone for a few years. She had gotten lost in the shuffle of everyday life. To be honest, I had forgotten about her.

I made her quickly in an hour long workshop. Made from self-hardening clay, and then painted, I call this tiny piece that can fit in the palm of your hand, “Pregnant with Possibilities.”



Her most prominent features are the three yellow orbs, supported by folded, drapery-like structures accompanied by small wings. The main emphasis is the central orb, which is the belly.

The belly, symbolic of the universe, is in a state of constant flux. It holds magick, mystery, power and potential. Prominent, the belly is fully present and of the now.

At the top you find the head. Between the legs there is another orb, crowning and about to be released into the world, with all the magick it holds.


This relief sculpture of my inner-self, is about the power held inside. It is closely connected to my relationship to the Goddess, thus she is painted with glistening paints, to suggest the glow that comes from realizing the deeply spiritual state possible through a meaningful connection to the divine.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Finding Peace in OM

I first shared a rendition of this post last year during A to Z on this same day. During the 2014 I didn't have a theme. This year my theme is exclamation points, including words I'm very excited about. I'm presenting this word/sound again because OM is the "O" word I'm most excited about, hence this revision, clarifying and deepening my thoughts. It is the best word I have to offer beginning with O because it popped into my mind this morning and wouldn't leave. It is important and significant for its transformative potential. OM is everything and nothing at once.

Back in high school we had a funky Spanish teacher who always had all sorts of animal hairs stuck in her clothing. She was an older woman, compared to the other teachers. I remember her because she was different and had many surprises up her sleeve.

You could not judge her by outer appearances though the visual clues keyed you into her way of being in the world. I didn't study Spanish with her but she was intriguing and also had a wonderful after school club. It was Yoga Club. It was all the way back then, that I was first exposed to what our teacher described as the sound of the universe, OM. She said, if you could compress every sound in the universe into one the sound would be OM.



Now, when I chant OM with the group of local yogis during restorative practice, a sense of community washes over me. The feeling fills and comforts my soul. OM is relaxing. It takes my mind away from being busy. In that moment of chanting the mantra, the only thing of importance is the beautiful sound escaping my mouth and mingling with the sound of others. That is why I say it can be a meaningful communal practice. It connects like no other sound, letting us vibrate; secure with our place in the universe. Moreover, this morning OM has permeated my mind.




Chanting OM alone without any other words, sounds or even trying to invoke deity, is peaceful. It leads you to a quiet moment of clarity. It is nothingness and everything, together in one precious act.



Learning about OM from my first yoga teacher, retaining that knowledge over the years and putting it into spiritual practice, has been a lesson that continues to resonate. OM, the sound connected to spiritual practice, radiates throughout, many aspects of a fulfilled life.  



                               Universe Mandala, acrylic on board by Stephanie Rose Bird


Notes on my Theme:

This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nuanced Storytelling

"A Girl Writing; The Pet Goldfinch" by Henrietta Brownne 1829-1901 (Google Art Project)



The craft of writing is the impetus for my A to Z Challenge theme. I've been seemingly railing out against exclamation points but that's only to make a point. Really this is a conversation about nuance.

I am attempting to crystallize thoughts that have arisen during the lengthy process of developing my books. One aspect central to my work, whether it's the nonfiction that has been published, or the fiction I'm working towards publishing, is storytelling. I love storytelling and that is the reason I've gravitated towards mythology and folklore. Universal themes on life and death, and everything delicious in between, can be found by gaining a deeper appreciation of mythic tales.



Holy Fire Daces of Hirucan Tuva by Kent Dorsey 2003             www.centerforshamichealing.com 


My novels take themes I've explored in my other published books - magic, healing, belief, spirituality and transformation, and marries those over-arcing subjects with story. At first, I ventured into this area through memoir. Over the years, I tired of the constraints presented. 
Word- by-word I opted for novel over memoir.

Now, I am balancing a second draft of my first novel, with a work-in-progress, which is also a novel. I also have two nonfiction works in development; one half finished and one newly started. To relax, while sharpening the tools of the craft, I'm reading daily.

Apart from researching, I don't want to read authors too closely connected to my writing. Instead, I'm reading about the process and craft of storytelling. Those books that resonate are the following books:


Stephen King "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft"


"Making Shapely Fiction" by Jerome Stern


and I'm called to read "Novel Ideas" a second time because of how helpful it has been.

Each of these books helped me tease out nuance and subtlety in the art of storytelling during my daily work on the four books. Through reading and writing I'm finding out more about abilities I didn't know I possessed or needed for effective storytelling; nuance being chief among them.


Notes on my Theme:

This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mistakes!


Manuscript page from James Joyce's Ulysses Photograph: PA

Mistakes!  Who likes them? Do we need them to become better at what we do? I'd venture to say Theodore Roosevelt would answer yes, judging from this quote:


"The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything."
                                                           -Theodore Roosevelt


I've been going in circles about mistakes with my novel writing. As a process-orientated painter I celebrate 'happy accidents'. I wondered, could they serve the same function in my writing?

The editor in me thinks not. The artist disagrees with the editor. We go 'round and 'round.

The issue though is when you try to write in nonstandard English things quickly go haywire. Grammar Check thinks every line contains a mistake. Editors, if not clued in, demolish the draft.

I lived through such a nightmare recently. I'd listened carefully to my character and heard her soft patois coming through. I wrote out what she said as I heard it. Then, I did my editing and sent it to my editor. I loved the formatting she added, and tense corrections. The grammar corrections because of the dialect I was trying to convey, were a complete nightmare.

Editor: Mistakes!

Author: Mistakes?

No darling. It's called dialect.



I know I'm partially guilty about a break in communications. Whether I like it or not exclamation points of the conceptual type must be made - call them being direct, emphatic or whatever. Still, I almost wanted to pull out my already short hair, when I saw the new state of my revised manuscript.

Over the last few days I've been busy making corrections of my own. Editor-free, I'm working hard at letting what seemed to be 'Mistakes!' stand.

STET

Mistakes are in the eye of the beholder.



Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.











Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for LOL

I must admit, I do like seeing this acronym and using it.






I'm talking about LOL. I know many of the literati aren't fond of it but for simple, day-to-day communications, such as texts or comments left on the internet, it seems to do the trick, particularly in helping interpret the meaning within a message.



Credits: Peathegee Inc/Getty Images


While we hope the sender is taking on this posture and emotion--you know, head titled back and a full belly laugh (shown in the photograph) we realize that many are simply LI (Laughing Inside) CL (Chuckling Lightly) or using LOL's of different types: Lying Out Loud or a Liar of Lies. Hopefully its not used nefariously, whatever; the acronym sticks. It has been used in letters for quite a while.

A man has taken credit for this widely used acronym. His name is Wayne Pearson. He says that during the time he was a student (during the 80's) he used it on a basic electronic bulletin board in a type of chat room of that time called Viewline. Pearson goes on to state "I always emphasized (and still do) that it was meant to be used only if you truly laughed out loud." I found this fascinating tidbit in an article in the Huffington Post.

LOL has a checkered past as indicated by just a few of the other phrases it has stood for historically. LOL has positive and negative uses. I wish I had known for example, it stands for Lots of Love and Lots of Luck. I could have saved some time and ink.

All is well. People use it a lot. Others claim to hate it and hold it up as a sign of our disintegrating use of the English language. I don't participate in the public flogging of acronyms, it's just that when LOL is coupled with the exclamation point, that I want to weigh in. Needless to say, LOL! is over the top, after all, you're already holding your belly, keeling over and laughing your guts out. What more can you offer your recipient?

LOL, is quite enough.


Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Away Message

Just when I was getting into the A to Z Challenge I've been called to another challenge, so I'm on pause.







I'll jump back into this space and into the challenge, as soon as I return.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Just Great

Great is one of those words with all the right stuff, in its old fashioned way, without further adornment. Think of the ruler, Alexander the Great. This dude was a big time mover and shaker in his time, highly regarded for his military tactics still.


Alexander the Great found on Ancient History Encyclopedia online


I mean, he was tutored by Aristotle for god's sake. Born to King Philip II and Queen Olympia, only after an oracle saw signs of his future greatness and possible relationship to the gods and goddesses.



After the death of his father, he whipped the Macedonian Army into shape, crushing enemies who dared step forward, eventually becoming king and ruler of the Corinthian League. He conquered Persia and Egypt, establishing a kingdom that spread from the Mediterranean to the border of India.

He is thought of as one of the most brilliant military leaders and one of the world's most powerful rulers. No exclamation point needed with that great. Then too, there are so many others with great adding a bit of shine to their names.


  • Alfred the Great c. 849-899, King of Wessex, England
  • Askia Mohammad c. 1442-1538 Ruler of the Songhai Empire
  • Casimir II the Great 1310-1370, King of Poland
  • Catherine the Great 1729 - 1796 Empress of Russia

The list goes on and on, especially when you think of religious figures. People named with the word great is but one elevating use of the word. Things are tagged great too and these things are not too shabby:




Era's such as the Great Depression (1929-39) and events such as The Great Dust Bowl (1934-1937).

Put on your thinking cap people (Image from: livelearnloveeat.com)


Can our measly "Great!" tossed off absentmindedly in a text or FB comment box, come near? Maybe so but most times I'm afraid not.


Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.