Flexing the Writing Muscles

I connected with someone the other day who is thinking of starting a blog.  I told her that I loved my blog because it keeps me writing everyday.  It’s like exercise for the writing muscles.

Tonight, I sit here begrudgingly doing my work out.  I realize its a little bit hard to exercise when I’ve packed away my equipment.  I don’t want to be regurgitating the stuff I read in books on this blog anymore.  And at least for now, I don’t much want to read self-help/spiritual books either.

I had a conversation last week and someone quoted from a self-help book.  Afterward it just hit me, oh my God that’s what I sound like. I have so enjoyed all I’ve learned from my books.  They’ve been a lot like my mom’s cream corn and biscuits-made me feel full, happy, and loved.  Yet there comes a point when I need to find my own voice again.

If I’m annoyed or angry, I just want to feel that instead of trying to figure out why I have attracted this situation into my life and what I am supposed to learn from it.  I don’t want to visualize myself in my dream life because how the heck do I know if I’ll even like it once I get there?  I don’t want to go dredging through my memory bank trying to find some long-forgotten hurt so that it will explain why I haven’t dropped this last 15 pounds.  And no matter how much I want to, I can’t be convinced that everything is really perfect when from where I’m sitting a good bit of it looks like Hell.

So, I’m struggling like you wouldn’t believe to get anything onto this screen at all.  I’m really disenchanted right now and am not quite sure what to make of it.  A couple of years ago I read a book that basically in the intro said that you shouldn’t read it or any book like it.  Supposedly the answers are already where you need them-inside you.  I’m not sure if I believe that in this moment either, but I know at the very least I’ve got to clear things out for a while.

Stop Looking

I’ve had this idea enter my mind today and it sounds really really great!  I hesitate to jump on it though, because I had an idea last week that sounded pretty good too.  It’s been a week since I had that other idea and now I’m sort of thinking good grief, Leslee, you’re such a drama queen.  (It’s so easy to let something snowball in your mind, turning a pebble into a boulder.)

Anyway, today’s idea was this:  What if I just stop searching.  I mean seriously in this moment right now the whole “seeker” idea kind of makes me want to gag.  I am arguably more distracted from my life now than I was before I stepped onto this “path to enlightenment.”

The other night we watched “Get Him to the Greek” with Russell Brand.  I was almost ashamed by how much I laughed at the profane and somewhat disturbing content of that movie.  But I did laugh, a lot, and it felt good.  I was totally present and not over-analyzing anything.  Today it hit me that it would be nice to just be like that for a while.

I want to watch mindless TV, read trashy novels (or maybe just novels period), go for walks with my family, teach my girls to ride their bikes, write fiction while eating cookies and drinking gallons of coffee, talk on the phone to people I love, and make time for friends.    The whole point to “being spiritual” was to improve my life, yet lately it seems to be doing the opposite.

I had a dream about Amy last night.  It reminded me of one of the lessons of her life and death.  She spent over three years on a journey to motherhood.  It consumed her at times and even kept her from friends (the Fertile Myrtles in her life were a constant reminder of her struggles).  In the end she finally accomplished her ultimate goal and delivered her twins,  but died before she ever got the chance to even hold them.

I’ve been consumed by a goal that I don’t even think I could identify and quite frankly today I’m just plain tired of the journey.  So excuse me as I go clean off my book shelf and make room for those trashy novels.  Email me if you need some self-help books!  😉

Got Nothin

Instead of making it to Border’s today for a 1.5 hour writing session and a meet-up with Mildred, I was home with a sick pre-schooler.  Together, she and I wasted the day away staring at screens.  It left me with an icky feeling to say the least.

This has been one of those weeks where I could really use a cabin in the woods, a cave, or perhaps just a huge rock to crawl under.   With that in mind, the best I can do is suggest checking out the website Regretsy.com for a good laugh.  It is hilarious, but be warned that occasionally some stuff pops up that is definitely not suitable for viewing at work.

(If you want a hint about my sense of humor, click on the category somebody really likes this to see the items that had me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.)

Head to Heart

This week I found myself with a minor problem I’ve faced before.  I was standing in front of my bookshelf, hungry-no starving, for something helpful to read.  I’d already read the Tara Singh book and re-read The Four Agreements, but I needed something else.  Recently a friend of mine lent me a few novels, including The Red Tent which I am very interested in reading, but I craved a specific kind of book.  I was desperately seeking my “Self-Help” fix.  Yes friends, I’m addicted to self-help books, which also cleverly disguise themselves in the “spiritual” category.

After two evenings of staring at the shelf, picking up a few old books and scanning the pages, I made the pilgrimage to my dealer’s place (AKA: The Goodwill Bookstore).  I bought 4 books: Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Care of the Soul, Return to Love, and Discovering Your Past Lives (this one could be considered “research”).  Today I got started on Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism.  What it is reminding me so far is that I have a long way to go.

I have moments of thinking this stuff has made it from my head to my heart only to have my ego pile-drive me.  These books inspire me, yet they also hold me back.  They pull me from the present moment so I can read about how to be present one day.  They tell me about how meditation is the key to awakening in the duration of time I could be meditating.  They encourage me to love myself, yet in some twisted way I require their validation to feel loved.

If I’d just stop trying to get there, maybe I’d realize I already am.  But of course, that’s just another idiom I don’t quite understand yet…

The Kids are All Right

Last weekend we watched The Kids are All Right with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.  I had heard about the rave reviews (though hadn’t actually read any of them) and loved the concept of the movie, so I couldn’t wait to see it.  During the movie, Mark kept giving me the what-the-heck-were-you-thinking-when-you-ordered-this glare and I reassured him by looking at Rotten Tomatoes that it was a 94%, Oscar-buzz movie.  It had to be good!

Though my husband might disagree, I’d say from a watchability stand point it was a pretty good movie.  It kept my attention and I was emotionally involved enough to want to know how it was going to end.  But after it was all said and done, I found the whole thing offensive.  Here are my reasons: **SPOILER ALERT**

1.  It presented this idea that a Lesbian in her late 40’s or early 50’s, in a committed relationship of 25 years+, could suddenly just meet a man and be unable to resist the urge to have sex with him.  Adultery aside, isn’t this a slap in the face to the whole idea of sexual orientation being a valued and real part of who we are???  I’m not even a lesbian and this just pisses me off!!!

2.  The two mom characters were these excruciating stereotypes of the worst possible characteristics a woman could possess.  One was air-headed, flighty, and emotionally needy.  I mean seriously, she couldn’t even stay committed to her gayness after at least 40 years with it.  The other one was this powerhouse, narcissistic, nagging bitch.  She was so controlling and at times downright MEAN!  If you can imagine any complaint a man could make about an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife one of these two characters illustrated it.  I didn’t feel any camaraderie toward them at all.

3.  The male characters were the only ones who had anything redeemable about them.  Paul, played by Mark Ruffalo, starts out as this selfish-playboy-bachelor type who is given the opportunity to meet two children that were fathered using his sperm donation.  Once he meets them he is miraculously transformed. He swoops in and saves the kids by giving them great advice about their lives. Then he starts having sex with Jules (one of the lesbian moms) and surprisingly falls in love with her.  Although the sex thing was ultimately a bad move, you watch him grow and transform before you.  In fact he does come across as a Prince Charming (even if it’s in a quite twisted way).  The son, Razor, is also a very level-headed character.  You watch him grow and change for the better through the course of the film too.

4.  To me, the movie felt very out of touch with normal people and I get the feeling it intended to do just the opposite.  Not only did it feed into negative stereotypes about women but it also did the same for upper-middle-class-intellectuals.  Is that really how *normal* smart, rich people act??

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard that it had been nominated by the Academy for Best Picture and probably several other awards.  That is really disappointing to me.  What I felt while watching it was this underlying hatred toward women.  I didn’t see any of the characteristics I love about the women in my life.  I wanted to see something that was empowering to women and especially to Lesbians…unfortunately I didn’t find that at all in this movie.  Worst part of it is it was written and directed by a woman.  I sure wish we women would be nicer to our kind!!

Creativity on the Loose

I had a really wonderfully busy and productive day today!  I’d love to be coming here and sharing something spiritual or personal, but really all that’s floating through my head is the young adult story I’m working on.  So, once again if I’m going to write a new blog post at all, it’s going to have to be about writing.

Last Wednesday I began my new writing regimen.  I’ve done it now for four days (I took the weekend off).  In those four days I’ve written 6600 new words (about 30 new pages and 3 new chapters) in the novel.  In four days I wrote what it would normally take me about fifteen days to write.  I’m so excited about the progress I’m making and even more excited about the story.  It feels as though I’ve reached the top of the mountain and from this point on it’s going to be an easy downhill ride.

Today I was driving Callee to music lessons and thinking about my two main characters and their relationship.  I love how I am so gripped by these characters that I almost feel like a 15-year-old girl again.  I’m running the scenarios in my head and I feel as exhilarated and scared as L does.  I’m in such a hurry to finish the book just because I want to know what happens.  You’d think I already know this, but I don’t really.  What I saw in my head today completely took me by surprise.  It wasn’t anything I’d intended to happen until later in the series, but I saw it and even more incredibly I really, really, really felt it!

I have to admit I am super relieved by the point I’ve reached in this process.  I loved writing my first novel, it brought me back to life in so many ways.  When I wrote the second one, I didn’t get a lot of joy from it.  There was a lot of me in that book.  I had to trudge through some muck to create a story.  In the end, I liked it pretty well and I’ve shared it with a good many people.    After that one, I struggled to get back to fiction.  This idea I’m working on now came to me almost two years ago.  I sat on it so long, unable to write it.  In the meantime, I plugged away at this blog wondering if I was done with fiction for good.

Now I’m back writing a novel that is complete and total fiction.  It has nothing to do with me or anyone in my life.  No one should read it and wonder hey, is that me? because no one I know is in this book.  I feel so good about what I’m creating that I just want to cry tears of joy.  And if I finish the whole damn thing and everybody hates it, it’ll still all be worth it for the way I feel RIGHT NOW!!!

Out of Integrity

A long time ago a friend of mine used this phrase.  “I feel out of integrity with myself.”  If I’m remembering correctly (and I very easily could not be) it had to do with her job situation.  The mission of her company didn’t align with her soul.  Working for them felt like doing the wrong thing.

In our lesson today at church we talked about choices and my co-teacher shared a story of her teen years.  She talked about how she’d been invited to a party with the popular kids.  When she got there they were all drinking and she didn’t want to drink.  She was faced with the choice of standing up for her values and saying no and/or leaving the party OR joining in and earning points with the cool kids.  If she chose to drink with them, she might have gained more friends but wouldn’t she just be out of integrity with herself?

When we had this discussion the youngest kid in the class (who is wise beyond his years) said that when he is faced with a big choice he tends to go with the first idea that popped into his head.

I’ve been feeling pulled this week to make a decision about my participation in a certain project.  I found myself hit with a metaphorical 2 by 4 when I realized the goals of the project might not be aligned with what I feel in my soul.  I really thought it was until recently.  But just like my co-teacher as a teen at that party, I have a decision to make.  The fact that I can’t let it go and feel so weighed down by it let’s me know that I will probably have to move forward with the idea to walk away, but I’m scared to shut the door.  It was an honor and privilege to have been invited to “the party,” and I can’t help but worry about what all the “cool kids” will think when I leave.

After hearing the boy’s statement in class, I’ve been trying to remember if cutting ties was my first instinct.  Sometimes, it’s really hard to tell between intuitive ideas and emotional reactions.  Is this just the equivalent of a temper tantrum because someone offended me or have my eyes just been opened to what was there all along?  I think that if I continue to participate, I might be out of integrity with myself.  (But if I shut the door will I regret it later…)

Tara Singh

This week I read “A Course in Miracles: A Gift for all Mankind” by Tara Singh.  Here’s a quote from the book answering the question “What is truth?”

“Truth is the knowledge that Love is real.  It dispels doubts and limitations.  He who knows truth, and lives by Grace, does not commercialize his life.

God’s Plan for Salvation relates with the Christ within and joins your mind with the Reality within you.  Love, shared, is the eternal truth.”