Down a Mole Hole

I’ve been thinking about holes lately.

Everyone seems to go down a rabbit hole. But so many animals/things make holes. For example – the mole – think Wind in the Willows. Or, ostriches. Or those spiders that dig holes and cover them with a web. Ick. Or those ground aerating machines that punch little divets into the ground. The pegs on the bottoms of soccer cleats.

What is a hole?

A lack/loss of something that used to be filling/filled in, and has been taken away. The lack/loss/emptiness of the hole means that the filling-in stuff has been separated from where it should be and put in another place.

If I was going to write a story about a hole, I might…

~write about a character who is a magical bottomless pit. Where DOES all that food go?

~think about various contexts in which people DIG holes: planting, graves/burials, foot in mouth, treasure, sandcastles, pools, foundations, China, flour well for egg/liquid, in cooking, dog bones/poop, fire pits…

~ponder how we use the word hole/whole, piehole, a-hole, holy, holey, wholesome, dig holes, shut your hole, hole in the bottom of the sea, crawl in a hole, dig a hole in conversation, hole up, ‘hole ‘nother sumpthin’ or other, tear/ rip a hole, create a hole, left a hole, hole in my heart, hole in one, hole/burrow, stuck in a hole, fallen down that darn proverbial literary rabbit hole…

~write about things lost, taken away, lacking, and what the flipside of that would be. For example – if someone dies – where do they go? If they leave a hole here, do they fill a hole somewhere else? If you scoop dirt out where does it get displaced to? Everything remains in balance. What WAS in the hole doesn’t disappear when it’s taken out, it has to transform or fill somewhere else. Think about a raindrop striking the ground and how it would look if you were an ant: it moves the dirt out of its way with the force of its weight/mass and the dirt splashes up at the moment the rain splashes down and the hole is created by the loss of dirt, and yet filled by the water, all at once.

That’s all the Swiss cheese thoughts I have today. What are you pondering? 

 

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Moving Down the Coast: A writer’s thoughts on being tied to place

I only moved away from home in college, and I wasn’t far enough to not go home every break. So, moving all the way down the coast is the first time I’ve moved away from home. That I’m counting.

Writing is a portable endeavor. You can write anywhere; you can write about anything. With the invention of the internet, submitting manuscripts and other work to editors, agents, magazines, anthologies, journals, contests – is easier than ever. You could be a nomad, and somehow eke out a life writing and moving aimlessly or purposefully across continents and oceans. It’s been done.

But this move has prompted me to think about writers’ roots.

I’ve begun this essay five times, losing focus in the details of moving and compensation for homesickness in my descriptions of the place I moved from and the place I moved to, however, those details aren’t important. The question of rootedness is.

Do writers have to have some kind of roots in order to write well? As with most subjective questions – I think it depends on the writer. Even if you’re the restless, non-committal type, I’m sure you’ve got some patterns to your system of living and being (even if it’s just the fact that you don’t stay in one place longer than three days, that would be a pattern). It’s a human thing. Most of us have a source of stability that we cling to, whether it’s a place, a routine or a person. The point of roots, taking the tree as an example, is to anchor/stabilize, and nourish us.

I souper-douper dislike change. I like everything to stay the same because it’s secure and familiar and comfortable. Changing my environment has really shook up how I write. I’m figuring out how to write with intangible roots: routines instead of environment.

Most of us need the comfort and security of stability so that we can try new things and reach out for new challenges. When we don’t have anchoring roots, we tend to search out familiar surroundings and situations. I stay at home, I try to find safe footing before I venture out and begin saying yes to new experiences and invitations. I’m cautious in new environments because I don’t like them. Maybe there are people out there who can just go and adapt and still thrive. Pretty sure those people are called extroverts.

Since I’ve placed a higher value on my tangible roots to place, it’s been hard to make intangible roots in other ways. I’m hesitant to make my roots to place again because we’ll move in a year or so and I’ll have to do it all over again.

All that rambling to say: I think the way I write is more dependent on physical place than I thought and I’m having trouble getting words out because I’m not in my usual, familiar comfortable place. This is going to stretch me in ways I didn’t anticipate. I’ll just have to write my way through it~

Command to Self:

TODAY YOU WILL WRITE SOMETHING.

This is not an artistic goal, and it isn’t literary or profound, or even really a specific goal. But, it’s the baby-step mark I set out to reach each day.

So, if I do end up getting a few scribbles down on the screen or page, it’s a good day. I give myself a little pat on the back and have some fruit snacks.

Some may say that it helps when you make a vague goal without too high of expectations. I say that that is the lowest of my daily expectations for myself as a writer (As a human, I hope I at least brush my teeth and put on the requisite amounts of clothing before leaving the house). Every time I meet the lowest expectation, I step up to the next one, which is less general, and each level of expectations gets more specific the more I meet the general expectations. It’s a great system. I’m always disappointing myself, and congratulating myself at the same time.

I’ve been finding that the more I read, the more I’m able to write. I was reading some JCO (as Joyce Carol Oates calls herself) today over my lunch break, and I read this following quote and thought: Yes.

“For if you read, you need not become a writer; but if you hope to become a writer, you must read.”

Yes.

I’m not trying to be existential (this is a word I finally looked up the meaning of, and am still trying to legitimately work it into conversations) in my agreement with a truth universally acknowledged among writers, but I’ve recently begun listening to audio books to supplement my regular page-turning habits. I commute too much and don’t have enough eyelid power to read before bed (in bed; that’s probably the problem.)

I think the audiobooks are making a difference. I can hear the cadence of words more easily and “feel the beat” as it were. In this way, I’m able to ingest more words, and ergo, more words come out. And that’s the goal: to get the words out. Some words. Any words.

To write, I must be full: of words, observations, emotions and experiences. So I spend just as much time living as I do locking myself away to write. Add in reading time and I’m basically spending an estimated tenth of my life, maybe an eighth, writing, while the rest is spent in absorption of Life in order to have something to write about.

It’s thrillingly backward and fulfilling to say that part of my chosen career path is living fully. Unfortunately, they don’t pay people to simply exist…so I have this thing called a day job. That’s what pays at the moment, so the career path is still on its way. It will always be on its way, probably.

I HAVE WRITTEN SOMETHING TODAY.

See? I met the goal.

 

Hi.

“A semester long break” indeed.

So it’s been two years…and much has happened since I took that Nature Break.

Here’s the quick DL:

  1. I am no longer DL; I am DW. I got married! (And its awesome!)
  2. I moved from Maryland to Florida. I changed time zones, I moved so far away. I Basically, I moved to Alabama, but they call it Florida still.
  3. I finished my master’s degree. Phew. Glad that’s done.
  4. I’m working on getting a website up and running where I flaunt my professionalism and writerlyness (writerlymess?). Still not sure it’s a good idea, but lots of smart people have told me as a writer/author, it’s a good idea. What can I say? I gave into peer pressure.

Lots of changes! Stay posted…you lovely person whoever you are who stumbled upon this long-forgotten blog. New words, thoughts, ideas, and ramblings to come in the near future!

Nature Break!

Sooo…I’m taking this nature writing class that I (environmental hippie nerd that I am) absolutely love, and one of the requirements is keeping a blog on a specific place that I go to once a week. I sit and observe and soak in what’s around me, then I write about it. It’s great. The place I chose is Jonas Green Park in Annapolis, and if you’re in the area, you should go check it out! It’s an interesting place and I’m a little conflicted about it, but it’s cool, and there’s water, so that’s a redeeming feature.

Anywho. The point of saying all that was to tell you (whoever you are, dang blessed soul that actually reads the barf I throw out onto the expanse of the Internet) that I will be taking a semester long break from this blog here, but if you want to hop on over to my nature blog, you’re welcome to.

Dangflabbit. Shut Up.

When I was in middle school, who did I want to hang out with? Other than myself. Hmm. To borrow a phrase from the great Tim Hawkins, “Let me ponder that for a nanosecond.”

Bing!

No one.

People? Yeah, they’ve never been my favorite. Too loud, too assuming, and…too strange. Have you ever stopped to think about something really ordinary and contemplated how weird it actually is?

Like brushing your teeth. It’s necessary if you don’t want to cut people down with your bad breath like a lumberjack swinging his ax at a tree. But have you noticed the faces you make in the mirror when you’re trying to scrub each pearly white? Have you noticed that only humans do it? Animals don’t brush their teeth. That’s so gross. The imaginary picture makes me a might queasy. Also, not sure how it would physically work. Animals don’t have opposable thumbs. And wouldn’t you find yourself snort-laughing at a chimp if he was brushing his teeth and you had to watch him spit in the sink? If I wasn’t so busy gagging on fluoride toothpaste, I’d be laughing at myself when I’m brushing my teeth. What in heck am I doing?

And walking. Like, we kinda look stupid.

I mean, we must look like aliens to aliens, and I wonder what we look like to God? I know we’re made in His image, but often, I just stop and stand and marvel at how ridiculous and pointless our everyday human habits are. And how dumb we look doing them.

We won’t get into potty humor, but that’s another example.

Ok, fine, I have to say it. Just allow me one more moment: Do you think excrement is a result of the Fall of man? I mean, it’s waste and God isn’t a wasteful God. So…just ponder that for a few nanoseconds.

To get back to my middle school self, who, yes, I kinda want to avoid talking about, I didn’t want to hang out with anyone except my books and my woods and maybe my siblings. When they weren’t fighting. Or whining. Both of which I did my own fair share of I’m sure, but I’ve blocked these lapses of character from memory.

We are such prideful, selfish shell fishes. We want to swim our own way, and brush our own teeth for as long or as short as we want. We want to walk where we want. We want to be with ourselves and say what we think and not listen to what other people think.

I don’t like these things. But I do them. I don’t want to but I do.

I want to listen. I want to hear. But, at the same time, I don’t want to hear your complaints or your hard life because in the front of my mind while you’re talking I’m thinking, well, you think you’ve got it bad, just wait until I open my mouth and spill every first world problem I’ve got on my plate. Why am I like that? Why can’t I just let my occupation with myself go? Why can’t I let it go? Why can’t I turn my back and slam the door?

Why do I write a blog where I think people care about listening to me? Why do I think that you want to hear about babies, and wolves, and french toast? You want to hear about you as much as I want to hear about me.

Dumbed down: “God gave you two ears, and only one mouth,” said Mom.

Sit down and Shut Up, Self.

Stop spewing your judgement. Stop flinging your complaints around. Stop thinking about how much you deserve, because you don’t. Stop yelling and honking. Stop screaming and rolling your eyes. Stop looking for reasons to justify not listening. Stop putting your oar in.
Well, unless someone’s drowning. Then you should probably put your oar in. I guess. But make sure there’s a super duper good reason to stick that hunk a wood in the water.
I’m just scolding myself right now. But I want it to be more than that. Some people use Bible verses as the reason they’re changing. That’s cool. There’s probably some I should be quoting right now that I don’t know about. And I definitely agree with the Bible, but this time it is – ironically enough – people that are making me think about a change in attitude. Specifically the change I need to make in MY attitude.

Some people flow over with the characteristics of Jesus. The few I know personally shame me and uplift me when I speak with them. They make me want to be like Jesus. They make me disappointed in myself. The way they look at life and care for and listen to those they come in contact with make me raise my hands to my Savior.

Admitting you are not an island is hard. Ok, admitting I’M not an island is hard for ME.

I’m
Not
An
Island.

Dangflabbit, I wanna be an island. Like everyday. I wanna be on an island where I don’t have to talk to a sole stinking soul. I wanna be self-absorbed and read books and eat soup.

If I was an island, I wouldn’t be reading. I would be illiterate. I wouldn’t know how to make soup. I would be eating sand out of a shell and wondering why the big bright thing in the sky was hurting my eyes. I might not even know what eyes are.

What I’m trying to say is, we stand on the shoulders of those gone before us. I stand on the shoulders and knees and heads of every stupid person God loved enough to create. And it makes me raise my hands to my Creator and Savior. One and the Same. One and the Only. The Forever and the Always.

Those people that are close to the heart of God make me want to be close to His heart as well.

The people that cut me off in traffic? I want to leave them in a trash heap.

And then I remember the person I cut off in traffic when I really REALLY needed to get to the gas station in a hurry.

And I think, well, ok. Wrong response.

I’m glad God didn’t leave me in a trash heap. I’m glad He didn’t make me an island. I’m glad He grew my middle school self into someone who can at least recognize she can’t be by herself all the time, even if that’s still what she wants most of the time. I’m glad God made people, even if I catch myself A LOT thinking how dumb they are and then verbalizing how dumb they are. I’m glad God gave us the Bible, even though I don’t have a verse from it to throw in cyberspace’s face right now. It’s part of His heart. His heart is unsearchable, but He gave us a sliver, and I want to love it. Bloody, messy, gory, and cutting as it is, I want to love it in its entirety.

I don’t, but I want to want to love His heart and the sliver of His heart that I can hold like I’m leaving the world behind. What would it be like to love like that? To love that hard?

Dangflabbit, I bet it’d be like eating chocolate without worrying about getting fat.

You know what?

It’s probably even BETTER than that!

Whoa.

Rain and Babies

It’s not raining babies, in case you got confused by the title.

Fact: there is something magical about holding a warm, sleepy baby when you’re having a bad day.

Opinion: sometimes rainy days are beautiful, and sometimes they are positively odious.

Fact: there are fourteen days until Halloween, according to one of the kids I nanny.

Fact: It’s raining.

Opinion: Tea will help me. Large amounts of tea will help me more than small amounts.