I didn’t write today

I didn’t write today. I thought and thought about writing. I thought about what to write, but in the end I didn’t write.

I let myself down. I had given myself the task of writing something everyday, but I didn’t write today so I feel bad.

I slept late and dreamed strange dreams, dreams that I can’t remember, dreams that didn’t make sense.

I ate toast that almost burned, with vegetable spread and marmalade. I made and drank coffee and later bought and drank coffee.

I went to WalMart and I went to Sam’s Club. I bought a new skillet and some Cheerios for my Dad. I ruined his old skillet a couple of weeks ago by letting the noodles burn.

But today I didn’t write.

I’m supposed to write everyday.

I thought about writing a poem or finding a photograph from the Flickr Commons and writing a really short story about it, but I didn’t.

The picture could have been this one. I wonder what I would have written about this picture?  Maybe that the actress was thinking of quitting show business while she was  performing this movie scene, or that the car was on loan from a wealthy banker from Sacramento. Maybe the banker was the actress’ father and that’s how she got the job. I might have written any number of things, but I didn’t, because I didn’t write today.

Motion picture scene (1916)
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Rabbits

I’m thinking about bunnies. Cute little bunny rabbits. My neighborhood is filled with them!

Front yard bunny
Bunny in the front yard, too far away for a good picture

Mornings when I’m leaving for work there are often  one or two in the yard to greet me.

They just sit there looking so peacful and serene. I try to be quiet so as not to scare them off, but when I open the car door they usually move along.

Our dog, a Malamute/Huskey mix named Annie loves rabbits. Well, love isn’t really the word I should use to describe Annie’s feeling for rabbits. When she sees one she stands stock still, mesmerized.  She’d love to get her jaws around a little rabbit’s neck. Annie lives outside in a fenced-in area. She’s not able to get to the rabbits; unfortunately (for them) they can get to her. Our shed is in Annie’s area and recently some rabbits moved in under it. I think a momma rabbit used the space under the shed as a delivery room and nursery. Annie couldn’t get to them and it drove her crazy. She would constantly look under the shed and whine. I imagined that she was asking them to come out and play, promising that she wouldn’t hurt them. They weren’t buying it.

The rabbits have safely moved out, which is a good thing for the rabbits and for Annie. It must have been torture for her to have them so close and yet so unreachable.

Annie the Malamute/Husky
Annie the rabbit stalker

There are times when I step outside and expect to see a couple of rabbits and don’t. I tell myself that they must all be at a meeting of their neighborhood association or maybe it’s movie night and they’re gathred around the television wathcing Hop. I picture them sitting together munching on popcorn and carrots and communicating telepathically. I think a rabbit’s life must be a pleasant one

Heck if I know what to write about

or about which to write

The world is bright today. That is to say my world in Bloomington, Indiana. The sky is blue, the clouds are white and fluffy, and the office is full of natural light. I just took some pictures of those marshmallow-y, pillow-y clouds.

I’m drinking water because I need to drink more than I do. I won’t cut my coffee consumption, but I will increase my water intake. I considered giving up sugar, but I don’t think I can, so instead I will add healthy things to crowd out the empty calories. I had three Clementines today.

Clementine peels in a mug

I was reading someone’s blog earlier today. It included what I think of as grand ideas, lofty thoughts. I don’t think I care to speak so grandly. It seems like all of those things have been said before.

The scent of Clementine peels is lofting out of the mug and into my nose. It smells like garbage.

What I’ll do now is end this short post and visit the kitchenette to get coffee and to throw away my stinking peels.

Adding love

Big Thought for the Day

This morning I’ve been pondering the fact that I have received everything I’ve asked for. It’s happened time and time again, at work and in life. They say you should be careful what you wish for. I’m thinking that this is good advice, so I’d better watch it! Now I don’t believe I have total control over my future, but I’m starting to believe that when I release an intention into the wild it triggers  a ripple effect, and then sooner or later something happens to someone, somewhere. Whether or not you believe a person’s intentions alone can effect others, it’s probably true that our emotions and attitudes do just that.  I want to bring something good to the world. I can’t remove all of the ugliness, but I can add a little bit of the beautiful. I can add some love.

Other Stories

I’ve really gotten into pinning on Pintrest. Because of some controversy surrounding the legality of pinning photos on this site, I decided to use only photos that I own, or ones that are in the public domain. It’s fun to choose a topic for a pin board and then try and find public domain images that fit the criteria. I feel like a collector, and I can share my collection with the world; plus it doesn’t take up space in my house.

Speaking of collecting, I’ve begun to collect knowledge. When I saw this title,  Content Curators are the New Superheroes of the Web, on Linkedin , bells went off in my head. I want to be a content curator! When my Dad and I visited the Mathers Museum of Word Cultures at Indiana University, Bloomington a few weeks ago, I was inspired by the main exhibit, From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything. I wished I had gone into the museum business or somehow majored in museums. Is that a major? But now with this idea of web curation I can satisfy my desire to assemble things, put them in categories and highlight the connections between things. I’m doing this with my Pintrest boards and I’ve begun using a service called Pearltrees.com. Its tagline is “A place to collect, organize and share everything you like on the web.”

My Pearltrees
My Pearltrees

I’ve created some trees for a few different topics and I look forward to spending more time developing my collections. Here’s a screenshot of what I’ve go so far.

That’s my spiel for the day. Here’s some of that obligatory art. I made this with acrylic paint, scrapbooking paper, and scrapbooking stickers.

We Advance (mixed media on canvas)

Everyday

What if I were to write everyday? Would anything special happen?  Of course something special would happen; I would become a better writer and in the process I would discover new parts of myself and work through some of the negative thoughts and anxieties that I carry around with me. You know, my “stuff”.

It occurred to me just this morning that I am capable of sitting down and writing everyday. In fact, if I spent the time I spend playing Angry Birds writing, I’d have a novel written by now. I play a lot. It’s an addiction I’ve quit several times by deleting the game from my phone, but because once you’ve purchased it you don’t have to pay to download it again, I keep going back. I really like Angry Birds, and I don’t want to quit, so I’m not gonna (at least for a while).

I’ve been reading more lately and in fact thing of topics about which I’d like to read. I continue to read stories from the writing class book, (see previous post).  I’ve never felt that I was an avid enough reader to be a writer. All writers are big readers, or so I’ve been led to believe. Maybe I can be one of them.

Something that bothers me about this journaling process is the repeated use of the word “I”, and related words like “I’ve”, and me. This is a very self-centric activity isn’t it? Oh well, what is one to do?

Remember dear, this is just for you when all is said and done.

This isn’t easy, nor is it particularly difficult. That thought gives me some comfort.

Five Things

  • My friend Karen is in Paris.
  • I’ve never been to Europe.
  • I’m working on strengthening my calves.
  • I can’t install software on my computer at work.
  • I’m trying to wear my contacts regularly. They get to be so uncomfortable, but with them I can see.

Some art

Abstract Knot
Abstract Knot. Drawn with Art Club for iPad.

Writing Class

I signed up for a 6-week writing class. I attended the first two class meetings, and that was it. Here’s the story.

The class was about reading and writing Magical  Realist fiction. Check out this Wikipedia article about Magical realism, if you want to know what that is.

Our text book, Magical Realist Fiction: An Anthology, was not what I expected. The included authors like Eudora Welty and Nikolai Gogol are  not terribly contemporary and I was hoping for more modern readings.  The first assigned reading was a story by Henry James called “The Jolly Corner” -it was difficult to handle. I have never seen such long sentences in my life, but I gritted my teeth and read the whole thing. Eurora Welty’s “Moon Lake” was almost as densly paked with words s the James work but it was somewhat easier to follow. Her descriptions of vegetation at a Mississippi campsite were beautiful, almost fragrant. “The Procelain Doll” by Tolstoy was plesantly short and Gogol’s “The Nose” was funny, fairly shor, and had a very modern feel (in my opinion). I’ve even kept reading seledtions from the book after quitting the class. I’ve just finished reading “Lyompa” by Yuri Olesha.

During the first class meeting we took turns  reading aloud Leo Tolstoy’s “The Porcelain Doll.” This one was  a good introduction to the genre (if Magical Realism can be called a genre. Someone in class suggested that it is actually a mode of writing). We  did a writing exercise that session. The idea was to come up with metaphors or maybe cliches, and then alter them to create something a little bit off-kilter. The class came up with phrases like ‘ears in my music,’ and ‘easy as a buterfly,’ (both of those were mine).

Our take-home assignment was to write a 3 to 5 page story using one of our newly coined phrases. I chose ‘easy as a butterfly,’ and began a story about a woman who could pass though solid objects when she wanted to. I  didn’t finish it, but here’s the start:

                Sheila floated through the man with the gun. Continue reading “Writing Class”

The Lesson of the Moth (a re-post from my 2006 LiveJournal)

Jun. 26th, 2006 at 8:23 AM

Flowering Moth

I was at a party and wanted to escape the noisy conversation for a few minutes, so I went to the balcony to see if the swimming pool water was still blue, still shimmering with summer moonlight. It was.

I turned to face the other direction, to face the party. My first impulse is to close myself off a little at these social gatherings, so in an effort to relinquish (at least partially)an unnecessary habit, I decide that the very least I could do is face the people I came here to interact with.

I notice on the window a very large moth. It doesn’t flutter wildly as moths sometimes do but, sits serenely.  A pair of party goers are having a quiet conversation on the balcony and I say to them, “Look at this big moth!”  They come over to look and agree that it is indeed a very big moth. Word of the moth begins to spread and soon half of the party has moved to the balcony to observe the natural wonder. There is some question as to what type of moth it is, but no one is sure.

What I know is that my quiet haven has been invaded because I felt compelled to share my discovery with someone else. I know that because of me, people’s lives were effected. I changed things. That’s a bit remarkable.

The party goers eventually drifted back inside and  said their goodbyes and headed homeward. The moth remained, and as I took one last look, I wondered if there was some reason that I should see an unusually large moth on a particular night at a particular place. You see, I’m always looking for some sign that proves to me that I belong here and that I’m not some cosmic accident or by-product of something more significant. So I look to a moth for guidance.

I tell myself this: I’m a choreographer, a writer, a performer and I point things out to people. I illuminate what I can see so that others can see it too. I show them my moths and just as the party goers got up and moved to the balcony to gaze at what I had found, my audiences might shift their focus to something new and more beautiful than what they were previously seeing.

And maybe that’s significant.

More lists to make

I’ve entered a new phase of my career in Information Technology, and I’m nervous but excited. If you’ve been following along with the blog for the last several months, you’ll know that my work life has been in a state of flux. Here’s a timeline:

July 2011 – Downsized from job in the Communications Office

Aug. 2011- Became a Knowledge Base (KB) editor

Oct. 2011- Found to be a poor fit for the KB and asked to resign by end of Jan.

Jan. 2012- Got job as hourly in the IT Training and Education group

So here I am, trying to shake off my feeling of failure, and the fear that I might fail at this job too.  But I want to do more than not fail, I want to excel. I want to make my mark, and prove that I do belong here!

It’s funny how things work out. While I was trying my best to make it as a KB editor, I was thinking of ways to make myself a good candidate for a job in IT Training, and now I have one.

I won’t get into the stuff about how this is a non-appointed position with no benefits, but I will say that this is a great opportunity for me to grow my skills. Thankfully, I can get health insurance through my husband’s job, so while my salary is greatly reduced, I can get medical treatment if I need it. Don’t get me started on the state of the health care system in this country!

That brings me to the lists I referred to in the post’s title. I can  think of one list I need to make; I need a list of the steps I can take to become a really good instructor and assistant.

  1. Figure out what classes I’m comfortable teaching, go through the class materials, and practice teaching.
  2. Gather background information about the software so I’ll be prepared for the questions that students might lob at me.
  3. Keep working on my personal projects-Dad’s digital scrapbook training for example.

So I aim to excel at what I’m doing now, and I plan for my future. What does a list for the future look like?

  1. Get myself out there with video and audio podcasts.
  2. Keep doing art, so that one day I can sell my art.
  3. Keep performing dance and the other arts that I like to do.
  4. Learn to play guitar better and “burst onto the Bloomington music scene!”
  5. Don’t get so overwhelmed with all the things you want to do that you end up doing nothing.

Here’s some art.

Abstract painted with Art Set on the iPad.
Abstract painted with Art Set on the iPad.

It gave me pause

I recently  interviewed for an hourly position with the IT Training and Education group at IU’s UITS. I had to teach about 15 minutes of a training workshop, and I chose one on PowerPoint because I think I’m quite proficient with that  program.  I spent some time during the days before the interview preparing. The materials for the workshop already existed so I just had to work off of those. Unfortunately, I’ve had a pretty bad cold these last few days, so getting up the energy to prepare for class wasn’t easy. Thus, I was worried I wouldn’t do well.

About half an hour before the interview I stopped by the cafe to get some coffee and a cookie. I ran into a co-worker and asked how she was doing. To my surprise she said that she’ll be having a mastectomy next week. Now I never expected to hear something like that. She told me  also that both her sister and mother died of breast cancer.

So I left the cafe thinking that this interview is nothing. This is no big deal.  Any problem I currently think I have, I don’t have. I’m fine and I’m thankful.

And here’s some unrelated art.

Purple Girl

Image 14 (a writing prompt)

I Googled “writing prompts” and found this page, Creative Writing Prompts, and I used this prompt:

“..Take out those dusty photo albums. Pick out photo #14…Look at the photo for 2-3 minutes. Then for 10 minutes, write all the feelings that photograph made you feel.

So I went to my Flickr account and picked a random page. I counted to the 14th image and decided “I don’t wanna do that one.” I found another number 14 on a different page and said “I don’t want to write about my cats, it’ll make me look like a cat lady“. After two more tries, I found a photo I could live with.

This one:

Looking east on Kirkwood Ave.

I called it “Looking east on Kirkwood Ave.”, because that’s what the picture depicts.

Here goes the writing!

I was on the Kirkwood sidewalk between Grant and Dunn when I took this picture. According to the date/time stamp, which I forgot to turn off, it was June 17, 2007. It looks like it was a beautiful blue-skied day, and I’m thinking I enjoyed being out in it. It was probably a Saturday. I’m sure I was alone. In 2007 I probably wasn’t dating anyone, and I was a lonely girl.

As I recall, I was taking pictures of Bloomington to show my Dad, hoping to convince him to move here. Or maybe not. Mom passed away in 2006 and Dad was in Antioch taking care of my grandmother (Mom’s mom). I don’t think I could have expected him to move with Gang Gang (my grandmother) in tow. She was 99 at the time.

This photo isn’t what you’d call a great composition. The focus is a trash can. Further down the sidewalk you can see a man. He’s wearing boots and a backpack. Here’s a closer shot of this guy which I think makes a slightly better picture. Turns out there’s a child in backpack.

Man with child and boots walking east on Kirkwood.

I wonder what I did when I went home that day. Weekends have traditionally been difficult for me. When I was alone I felt really alone. During the work week there were people to interact with, but on weekends I was on my own. I did have dance rehearsal Saturday mornings, which gave me a place to be, a place to belong, people with whom to share my time.

I really should walk around a take pictures more often. I once walked around downtown Champaign with my camera (this was when I was printing pictures in my bathroom/darkroom). I remember being on Neil Street in front of the thrift store where I got my dark-orange ottoman. A black man, who I think was homeless asked me “Are you a boy or a girl?” I asked him “What do you think?” I don’t remember if he responded to the question. This incident rattled me, mainly because I don’t like being approached by strange homeless men in the street. I don’t think I looked like a boy. There are few times in life when I have been mistaken for a boy. Maybe only once in a store when I was 7 or 8 and wearing a cowboy hat. I think we were on vacation, stopping somewhere on the way to Ohio. The person couldn’t see my hair so I can forgive the mistake, but for the guy in Champaign there was no excuse.

I’ve been telling myself that I have no stories to tell, but I just found two little stories to write about. I guess writing prompts really do work.