Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week 30 Living Happily

Over the past several weeks, my motivation to write here has been steadily declining. Interestingly enough, so has my readership.

I can't believe I have been blogging for 30 weeks now. I refuse to stop...even if my blogs become incoherent akenobiatnending! and my readership declines to zero. I miss keeping a journal and writing and since this seems to be the only form of leisure writing I can consistently do, I must keep it up. I was looking through some of my old writing the other day- journals, short stories, long stories, poems- and I was amazed at how prolific I once was. It is funny how easily we can abandon our passions.

Honestly, this past week was pretty rough. But I think that most of us have enough of our own problems and worries to not want to read/hear about everyone else's, and I have certainly had enough of talking about it. Suffice it to say that this past week was easily the worst week I have had in the 6 months we have been in Missouri (oddly enough I actually typed misery in place of about a Freudian slip). The fact that this week was a struggle has nothing to do with Missouri specifically, it simply has to do with being hit with too much at once, being overwhelmed, and having no idea where things are going to go next.

On Friday, Dominic and I had a discussion about what it means to live happily. I am always impressed when Dominic articulates his view of life, and when I think of many of the people I know (absolutely including myself) I think they could learn a lot from what he has done and been through in his life and what he has learned from it. From that discussion, I walked away with three things that have been floating in my head this weekend. Dominic truly has one of the best philosophies to live by of anyone I know, and while I am sure what I am writing here is not a perfect replica of what he said/says, and it is shrouded in my own personal worldview, I think you can get the picture:

1) You are going to fail. That's part of life. If you can't live with the fact that you are going to fail sometimes, maybe a lot of the time, then you are not going to be happy. Period.
2) Tied into number one, you have to wake up in the morning accepting the fact that not every day is going to be a perfect one.
3) Everyone dies.
4) Never take anything for granted.

It is basic, it is simple, and maybe to some it is not that super inspiring life motto you want to live by. But it works. If you accept the possibility and likelihood of failure, you open yourself up to take risks and try for difficult but rewarding things. If you accept that there are going to be bad days, you will not be knocked off your feet by them, and you will appreciate the good days when you have them. Additionally, I often find myself feeling guilty for having a "bad" day, because I feel so lucky in so many ways. But if you accept that some days are bad days regardless of how lucky you are or how good your life is, you can accept them and move on from them. If you remember that everyone dies (including yourself) you realize that sweating all the small stuff is really a big waste of your very short amount of time. And if you never take anything you have for granted, you will appreciate what you have and realize how lucky you are. All of us have our problems, our worries, but we all also have something to be thankful for. Every single one of us does, and to not be thankful for what you do have is foolish, selfish, and lacking in perspective.

In addition to this philosophy, I'd like to share a quote I found by one of my favorite authors, Tom Robbins, who describes the concept of failure in a way that requires no further elaboration:

“So you think that you're a failure, do you? Well, you probably are. What's wrong with that? In the first place, if you've any sense at all you must have learned by now that we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success. Embrace failure! Seek it out. Learn to love it. That may be the only way any of us will ever be free.” 

Now for a few photos:

Spring Trees

The little tree Sissy and John gave us; back to life after a long hibernation! 

Dominic shaved his beard and cut his hair and I asked him to take a picture I could post. He has had to reintroduce himself to everyone at work because no one recognizes him. Hehe.

Have a great week everyone. Live Happily.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week 29 Dragonslayer and an Excerpt

Alright, well, I'm all about writing at the moment, but I'm all about writing a paper that I have been fighting into existence for the past few weeks. It seems that I must fight it some more. Thus I decided to post something different today. I opened up the file that is my "book" or my "story" or really just my massive, fictional work in progress (which is a complete and utter unedited sloppy mess but is, at least, something) and pulled a random excerpt to share here for the week. Before getting to that, however, I want to share a photo of our new family member, Dolphinslayer (I wanted to name him Freckles, but Dominic said that sounded too much like the name of a creepy clown, so we settled on Dolphinslayer):

May you live long and prosper Sir Dragonslayer!

So here is my excerpt, enjoy, or don't, but hey, you can't say I didn't blog ;) :

Mary lay in bed that night staring at the ceiling. A pale pink ceiling. From the corners of her eyes she could see the shadows of her bookshelves, littered haphazardly with the books that she had chosen not to take with her to Sliding Hill. It had not been an easy decision. Choosing which books to take were like weeding out friends…who to leave behind? Who to take with you? It was not always an easy choice- beside the immediate ones, the automatics.
At that moment she felt nothing. She felt neither tired nor awake, sad nor happy. She felt mostly empty. Tapped out. There was nothing there, no emotions, no matter where her thoughts took her. For a moment she would feel as if, perhaps, she might be…but then it would go, as the thought went, and she would be considering another potential but empty feeling.
And then she thought of her favorite childhood movie. And it made her happy. It made her feel warm and comforted, just thinking of her favorite scenes, the music, the colors, all the things that drew her as a child. Those things that never changed. Do you ever stop loving the movies you loved as a child?
Bruce loved the film Never Ending Story. It was a little known fact. He had a huge poster in his room at home. She always knew when he was thinking deeply about something that troubled him, because he would rub his chin and look at that poster, eyes slightly narrowed. Considering it like an art critic examining a new artist’s canvas. It was such an intense examining look. It was as if he took comfort in the images there, the feelings they invoked, comfort enough to think of the deeper things he usually tried to avoid.
His letters to her sat on the bedside table, still bundled up and in the large manila envelop. They felt like another presence in the room- as if some creature were sitting, hunched on the night stand, staring at her with big, open Why-won’t-you-look-at-me?! eyes.
She rolled over to glare at a wooden file cabinet to the other side of her bed. One of the few things she had inherited from her father. In it she had stored all the stories and poems she had written over the years. English major, after all. She had been writing silly bits and pieces for as long as she could conceive of being able to do so. And even before then she had stories going in her head. Nothing’s better than that which you can imagine and be made real.
Still feeling that creature glaring at her back, she opened the top drawer and pulled out a file. A poetry file dated to her second year of college. Her poetry had never been very good. It had been something for her eyes only- a quick vent when she desperately needed to get something out on paper. Getting things out on paper was always a source of purging for her. It always made her feel better. It was as if putting it on paper got it out of yourself, you could look at it separately, distinctly, and then go about your life. Poetry was that for her. It served no purpose but getting out an emotion so that it could stop crippling her- get it out so that should could go about her business.
The flip side of this was that when you went back and read it, days, weeks, months, even years later those feelings all came back to you, crisp and clear, as you remember why you wrote it, what you were thinking, how you were feeling.
The first poem was dated to an early evening, Wednesday.

“Disjointed Faces”

I saw the scratches on his guitar
And knew that it was one of those weeks
Where life flows
Like a series of short stories

A warm week of rain and sun
I feel perfect and pretty
And you are shrouded
In silvery perfection

A series of days where I feel happy
And guilty
Because there are others
Who aren’t and can never be

But they lack a happy tack
And you(a)r(e) silent

{I dreamed last night
Of razors and hair
Of helping you shave
Of skin that was bare}

Daffodils rest
Beneath a sea of sky
The red on the white bathroom floor
Makes me feel as if I must, for a moment
Lie down

And I recall the shallowness of it all
The two sided faces
Those darting eyes
The conspiracy behind forced places

But the sun and the perfect blue sky
Under which dozens of happy Daffodils lie
Thanks to you
You and your silver
I no longer think about
The disjointed faces

It was a day where she had felt separated from the rest of the world because of her happiness. Her love for Bruce was so profound at that moment, in spite of his absence that she had felt guilty in her happiness. She had it so much better than everyone else.
She felt a shudder run down her spin and to dispel the oncoming feeling she quickly flipped the page.

Each day draws us closer
To what might be a permanent goodbye

The longer you are away
The more I feel
That you are only another
Perfect imagination

Questions appear
Encircling a little bit of everything
Am I?
Need I?
Tell me
Leaving, loving, seething
Going, knowing, seeing…
Years and fluttering hopes

Feelings stick between our toes
It is the last place to hide them
I never felt the negative about my passions
I realized there might be something more.

She took a moment to cope with a feeling she was not quite sure of.
Mary swung her legs over the bed and, carrying her comforter with her, like a child on a Sunday morning, shuffled out into the hallway. She opened one of the hall closets in which her mother kept all their old childhood movies. She dug around until she found it- a battered VHS. Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid. How many times had she watched that movie? How many times after they gave Orleans away? How many times after a bad day at school did she come running with such a distinct purpose to that movie, that tiny VHS....
She made her way to the living room and stuck it in the old combination VHS/DVD player. Amazing it still worked. It would be sad when it broke. But the good thing about a childhood movie- as opposed to a childhood toy or blanket- you could go out and buy another one and it would be just the same- maybe even better. Digitally re-mastered with better sound, better picture quality.
As soon as it begun, the Disney castle, the foggy sea, Mary felt a joy rise up inside of her that she had not felt for a very long time. Everything else was nothing. Sliding Hill was an imaginary place: something distant and unknown. A bad dream perhaps. The only things that were real were Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder, and Eric- oh Eric! The sea witch- stab her with a boat, that should do it. The music with such soothing consistent familiarity that she could sing along with. She could feel Ariel’s passion for something more. Hope for that first kiss. So much love and joy and pain and recovery in such a tiny children’s movie. And she knew the whole time exactly what was going to happen. No doubt there; things are going to end well.
Mary watched until the VHS finally clicked off and began to rewind itself. This put her to watching a late night television show which broke her feelings and concentration on that other time and place, and she all at once felt profoundly depressed and utterly alone.


Well that's all I have for now. I hope everyone is well. Have a Happy Week!