New Things!

New Things!

I’ve got a website, ya’ll!

It looks very grown-up, which is kinda scary. Thanks to the wonderful efforts of my talented artistic friends this site makes me look a lot classier and elegant than I am in real life. Professionalism is an art I struggle at. But they made me look good! And so I take my hat off to them and will send them notecards and virtual scones. (Because if I sent real scones, they wouldn’t be very good by the time the post office delivered them. Booooo)

Anywhosit.

Check out my website, and read some of my work, and if you like it, follow me on some of the social medias listed on the site, or right here on wordpress, and maybe one day I’ll actually figure out how to use the social medias…

Yes, I know that was a very funny joke. But miracles can happen!

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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? 

 

I’ve got mermaids on the mind…

~

“I’m making a book,” she said.

“I know,” I said.

~

The pigeon on the telephone wire ignored the train chugging past. It was a regular and ever its whistle was not enough to distract the pigeon from tracking the houseboat’s progress across the Bay.

Suddenly – had a gnat flown through its vision line? Had the pigeon blinked? – the houseboat was vanished; only a wide berth of bubbles left behind showing where it had been and where it had come from.

The pigeon turned its attention to the train and thought nothing more of the incident. It is debatable whether pigeons think at all in the first place.

~

“You don’t know what my book is about,” she said.

“Probably not,” I said.

~

The Queen had heard of these contraptions; ships that humans called houses. Floating houses with all the things land dwelling humans possessed, but set afloat on the surface of her kingdom.

She wanted one. So she took one. The inhabitants: a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a dog; all perished according to the report.

Really it wasn’t anything like the report said.

~

“Something’s wrong, Carl!” The mother screams. She puts the life jackets on the sister and brother. There is no life vest for the dog. The mother catches the brother staring out the window and she draws the curtains with a sharp click of the rings against the rod. She pushes the children toward the stairs and doesn’t notice that he sister has unbuckled her life vest.

“Vera!” The father shouts down from the top deck.

“We are here. What is happening?” the mother asks. Her voice is strange; high and yet trying to be normal under circumstances that are not normal.

“Everything is alright,” the father soothes. “Come on deck and –” the floor pitches to the left, nearly 90 degrees from what it was.

Everyone screams – even the sister who just finished buckling her life vest on the dog – and tumbles to the side.*

The father reaches for the mother. She pushes the son into his waiting arms and then the dog because it is closest and then turns for the sister, frantic. She does not see the sister.

The curtains and window are open.

~

*The sister scrambles up and crawls up the steeply pitched floor, clinging to the curtain rod like a monkey bar. A salty breeze wafts in – calm despite the chaos going on.

The sister brushes the curtains aside with a drawn up foot. She rests her legs on the sill and that takes some of the strain off her arms. She was never very good at monkey bars.

What she sees outside the window is beautiful and magical and she wants to be with it.

With Them.

They see her and swim close. They open the window.

“I cannot swim,” the sister whispers.

They smile and pull her through the window and into the Bay.

~

“Guess what it’s about,” she said.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Yes, you do,” she said.

~

It was like watching a movie at a 3D theater: you are part of the action, but still removed from it. You feel as if you are in the thick of it, but you know if you take off the glasses you’ll be far, far away. If you keep the glasses on you can pretend whatever is happening is happening to you too, but you have the added comfort of knowing that you’ll be fine, because you are safe in your seat. They aren’t.

A long, handsome one of Them kissed the sister. Not like the father kissed the mother, but gentler. Not wanting anything; giving something.

Now, the sister could breathe underwater. There was no panic in her as she watched the houseboat sink. Past the sparkling green water. Past the grey bluing dark and then darker water. She can’t see it anymore. It is gone. Her family is gone with it.

They swim away with her, at first towing her in their arms, then picking her up because she will not stop looking back at the place where it all disappeared.

~

“Why did you tell that story?” I asked.

“No one told me I couldn’t,” she said.

~

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~

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!

Love.

While I have been busy with plans and dreams and wonderings, a couple of my close friends are grieving the loss of loved ones. One friend lost her grandfather, another her two-year-old cousin and an aunt. Yet another friend almost lost a grandfather, and all these tugs on the silvery thin strings of life are reminding me of how close my own family has come, and when the lines have indeed been cut. I am remembering the pain and feeling it afresh for my friends and their losses.

I miss the ocean. Everything drowns in its magic tonic of noise and salt. I want to feel the sting of it. I want to feel it trying to pull me in and hold me under even as it must buoy me up. So is the jealous love of our God, who pulls us by our feet into the chasm of His grace, and lifts us up to the blinding sunlit surface of His love. He takes away and gives back without thought to how it must look and feel to humans, asking us only to trust He understands our pain even as He must ignore it for the call of His own illustrious glory.

Still, I want to rage. I want to break things. I want to run and run and run. Death is unjust. It is savage. It is not kind and it is not gentle. The world is not safe for us. It is not benign. It is lethal, cruel and toxic. Our bodies age. Get sick. Fester with infection and fever. Break. Shatter. Go crazy with hurt. How does anyone stay sane in a world like ours? With all my knowledge of how good God is, I am not Him, I am only human and I am capable of anger that is unrighteous. In the face of the bewildering death of a child, I am speechlessly angry. How can He say He knows about our pain and not change it back?

Our God hears us crying. He hears the ripping of our heart when we grieve. And He will not remain silent or stoic, but He will bring the morning and His arms will never loosen from around us. When I want to push Him away because I don’t understand why He is doing something, He pulls me closer still until I am suffocated by His holiness and His sovereignty. I may still fight, but eventually I am calmed and exhausted and all I can do is lift my face and show Him my tears and hand Him the pieces of my heart that I cannot make whole again.

He promises with His time that He will heal all hurts. Time, a concept people have invented, traps us, but it does not contain the greatness of our God. I have no words for my friends that have to live and move right now in the shadow of sorrow. I can only say Jesus’s name over and over and think of the word cling. When you want to let go because you do not understand, cling to Him. When you want to lash out at Him because you think He does not understand, cling to Him.

I don’t want to say the wrong things, I don’t want to say the cliche things. I want to say the things that are true, and I have to hold on to the belief that God does understand our pain, though it is necessary in our broken world that He let it continue until He is ready to make all right again. That’s harsh in my human ears and it feels like a serrated knife on a raw bleeding grieving heart, but it is true. He is not ignoring your pain. He aches because He cannot tolerate sin, and He is victorious because He has already conquered that sin in ways we can only spiritually glimpse and attempt to grasp.

How feeble is life, and how precarious. Like walking a tightrope you don’t know you’re on. It trembles and wavers. It vibrates and you reach for something to steady yourself but only wisps of air meet your fingers. The panic of falling could choke you. Your fast-beating heart could make your whole body beat in time as you tense for the crash that must come when your bones hit the pavement. But I pray when you reach out the panic does not overtake you. I pray you feel the hand of God grasping your hand, enveloping your heart. As He wounds, so He heals. When you have no strength to cling to Him, He promises to hold you tightly. He cannot break a promise; He must do as He says, and so I know He has not forgotten you and He will never let you go.

A love like that could crush you.

A love like that could remake you.

The Effect Other People’s Thoughts Have On Me When I Read Them

Thoughts from an excerpt of Diane Ackerman’s chapter entitled “Vision” from her book A Natural History of the Senses:

“Because the eye loves novelty and can get used to almost any scene, even one of horror, much of life can drift into the vague background of our attention. How easy it is to overlook the furry yellow comb inside the throat of an iris, or the tiny fangs of a staple, or the red-forked tongue of a garter snake, or the way intense sorrow makes people bend their bodies as if they were blowing in a high wind. Both science and art have a habit of waking us up, turning on all the lights, grabbing us by the collar and saying Would you please pay attention! You wouldn’t think something as complexly busy as life would be so easy to overlook. But, like supreme racehorses, full of vitality, determination, and heart, we tend to miss sights not directly in our path — the colorful crowds of people on either side, the shapes left in the thickly rutted track, and the permanent spectacle of the sky, that ever-present, ever-changing pageant overhead.” (Ackerman 235)

I get lost in the words: “the vague background of our attention,” “complexly busy,” “the permanent spectacle of the sky,” and the “pageant overhead.” Is this not an utterly beautiful paragraph? You can tell it has been crafted. I can only dream of being able to hone my writing until it moves an audience like this bit. And the entire chapter I read is similar. But that is beside the point.

The point is, I don’t want to let any part of God’s creation drift into the “vague background” or become “easy to overlook.” The great Artist took deliberation over His creation — who am I to bypass the tiniest well-formed ant in anticipation of the grander vista opening up ahead of me? I want to see it all, to bask in the beauty He has made. By reveling in the created, perhaps I will find the Creator. His fingerprints mark everything. I would follow the clues until I find His very self.