You’re not even halfway through November, and you’re already falling behind on your Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) project. How did you think you’d have time for this stupid thing, anyway? It’s clear — something’s gotta give. But what?
Stop cleaning. Honestly, like you were anyway. And even if every surface in your home is clean enough to eat off, is a month without dusting going to kill you? I mean, OK, you might have some weird dust or mold allergy that will send you into a coughing, itchy death spiral. But wouldn’t that be more likely to affect you if you did clean?
Stop exercising. You can work off the Nano weight next month. OK, maybe after Thanksgiving and New Year’s. But then you can work it off. Well, maybe it’s actually best if you wait until after all that Valentine’s Day chocolate because you know, you…
Tomorrow is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month or nanowrimo, as it has come to be known. Don’t let the word “novel” throw you off, because all you need to do is write 50,000 words between Nov. 1st and Nov. 30th and you win. There’s no one judging the quality of what you write. Continue reading →
Make them readers when they are young and have no will to resist.
So I like to read books more than once. Apparently not everyone does this. I know this because my spouse will spot me re-reading a book and say, “So you’re reading that again?” Yes. Yes I am.
I’m not proud of my re-reading habits, especially since the library is full of books that I haven’t read. Shouldn’t I be improving my mind by encountering new ideas, characters, settings? Yes. But sometimes it’s not what my mind wants. My mind wants to slip into a familiar place. It’s like wearing an old sweatshirt. It feels good.
Here are some books that I’ve read more than once:
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
The Cracker Factory – Joyce Rebeta-Burditt
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien
Just Listen – Sarah Dessen
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Harry Potter 1 – 7 – J. K. Rowling
The Other Boleyn Girl – Phillipa Gregory
The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell
It’s kind of a weird hodge-podge of stuff, isn’t it?
Lately my brain metaphor has switched and I see all the randomness (or seeming randomness) as flotsam and jetsam. Is the brain a sea? Or maybe all our brains together are one big sea, a little bit like Jung’s collective unconscious, but wetter.
So the mind drifts here or there, and when I meditate I see how it goes from thing to thing to thing, but winds up so often at the same place: there is something wrong with me, or I did something wrong, or my feelings are wrong. I should be happier, sadder, more at ease, less judgmental. The list goes on. When I’m not busy castigating myself or trying to make myself get up and clean the house, I notice how certain ideas and things tend to show up again and again. These are the things my mind is stuck on. Here’s a partial list, in no particular order: Continue reading →
Often when I add pictures, drawings, etc. to my art journal, I just slap them in any old way. I work the text around them or over them (an opaque white pen is handy for this) and I don’t worry about whether the page as a whole or the two-page spread looks coherent.
Sometimes, though, I like to do a little more planning. A grid layout is a simple plan for where text and images go on your journal page. Like this:
As I mentioned previously, our household has two patron poet saints, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. In some ways Uncle Walt is an easy person to like. He’s enthusiastic and authentic. He loves almost everybody. He seems like a great guy to have a beer with. (Of course, you would be buying.)
Emily Dickinson is a harder sell. She’s intense and intensely strange. She writes about death, and snakes, and bees. She has a reputation for being a hermit. Academics tend to get into arguments about whether she avoided company because she was “shy” or because she had work to do and didn’t want to spend all day complementing visitors on their hats and offering to pour them some more tea. Yes, I’m in the latter camp.
Recently I’ve been making an effort to exercise more. I set a goal of averaging 10,000 steps a day, and I track my steps with my phone. According to a random article on the internet, the 10,000 steps per day goal comes from a marketing campaign to sell pedometers in Japan. So, there’s no magic number of steps that will make anybody fit and healthy. But something about that number is alluring anyway.
I started thinking about the number ten thousand and how it surfaces in various contexts: Continue reading →
In our Unitarian Universalist household, we have a running joke about patron saints. Since I met my husband in graduate school for creative writing, our designated saints are poets: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.
The other evening I went to the supermarket with a friend. She just had a few things to pick up, so we went to the self-scan checkout. She clicked on the screen to begin, then clicked something else quickly, and then I noticed the VIC Lady (not her real name) was no longer shouting “WELCOME VEE EYE SEE CUSTOMER” like she usually does.