Sunday, December 22, 2019

Story Power

Stories make us feel. The reality of those feelings equals the reality of our own experience. Our emotional growth is dependent on these shared experiences. We can experience so much more in the safe pages of a book. Sure, movies and shows are great ways to feed the story hunger but these containers are limited. A book mines the internal journey. We experience this journey through the thoughts of our characters. Voice-over exposition doesn't do it for me, and I doubt it does for you.

We don't know how long humans have shared experiences through the medium of story, but the flickering light of endless campfires warms my bones, and the more recent leap to written language fuels the fires within. Story is what brings confidence to sort through the troubles of our day. Story is that collective memory of mankind that assures us that we made it through those other things, we will make it through the waves of trouble that have swamped us today.

This season brings the Jólabókaflóð (The Yule Book Flood), a time to give books and read until morning. It's my treasured reading time, and I love it.  I hope you stop this season to expand your emotional landscape.  Do you want to grow and be more? Pick up a book and allow it transport you on a journey to rise above the odds and find your way.  The experience will help you face the challenges in your "real life" journey. Tap into this superpower, story power.

Spend your time wisely. Today is all we have.

Quote for your pocket.

“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” Kate Di Camillo

A doodle for you. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Night Owl

I haven't posted in a while. Writing has been happening. I almost have draft one of For the Love of God by my alter-ego Cece. I spent a week in New Mexico recharging at the no-name writer's retreat at the Norbertine Abbey. What's not to love?  I hunkered in my little room and turned the fan on. (It is New Mexico in the summer.)  I read my manuscript from end to end and then began to add more magical chapters. My writing wasn't the only magic brewing. The beautiful scenery! The owls (burrowing owls live near the abbey)! The conversation! The ukelele! (Thanks, Lisa.) Each day was about relaxing and making space for the work. Did I mention the crunchy lemon cookies and iced tea?

There is something about a place that has a garden of peace, a library, and sacred places around every corner. It was the perfect place to reflect on a period of my life full of turmoil and sadness and God.  I scribbled notes and typed away. One night, I stayed awake like a night owl and wrote and wrote.  The kinks in my innards slowly worked out. After a few short days, I left the Abbey relaxed and less panicked that I would never finish my WIP. I left with a lesson, too. The Abbey is in the middle of a desert, but that dry dust land is full of life. A good thing to remember when every the road becomes bleak.

It is important to take care of yourself. In the midst of your busy life, chose to stop. Seek silence. Let it well around you. Stop hurrying. Retreat somewhere and reconnect. These are the days of your life. Don't miss them. I hope you hear me, readers. Don't let this moment pass by. Whatever dream you keep pushing aside, it's about to slip away. Stop. This is your chance. Don't throw it away. This opportunity to make a difference could pass you by. Cling to it. Do what you can, when you can, while you can.

I'm so glad you gave this a read.  Please share your big dream in the comments. I find writing a thing down will make it more likely happen.

Please remember to seize the day.

Here is a doodle of a petroglyph from back in the day. I hope there is a smiley face in the center of my bird spirit.

Here is a quote for your pocket from another one who sought solitude.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Writing Storm

A storm is brewing, friends, a writing storm. I am going throw out the whole enchilada next month during NANOWRIMO!   I plan to complete the first draft of FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.  This is THE book about three girls who drop out of college to join a cult. Yes, you might need a box of Kleenex to read it.

I'm revving up here in my soul. Mojo! Check. Blank book! Check. Perfectly smooth ink pen! Check. Computer! Check. We all need gear. This is the one book I was born to write. It will be hard for me because it's not funny and laughter is my coping mechanism. I do feel the fire within; let's see what I can do. (God, please help me!)

On the troubles in the world, we are in a rough patch. The Universe is full of rough patches. I will be salt here. This is going to pass. We are going to figure things out, and things will get better. It won't be free. Nothing is free.

This a quick note. I'm feeling better. Whew!

Here is a doodle.  A classic from my sister, Lee Barlow. She made a WANTED poster of me back in the day.

Here is a quote for your pocket. 

If there is something wrong, speak up!  Pete Seeger

Monday, October 15, 2018

Lemonade Life

Hi folks,

I'm am finally on the mend!  I have even gone back to water aerobics.  My bones are feeling good.

One thing that I like about myself is the ability to make lemonade from the lemons that life hands. me.  It is my number one skill.  Just thinking about whatever-sorry-thing-that-has-come-my-way as a lemon perks me up. I've had the shingles lemon, the flu lemon, and the ear infection lemon thrown at me in succession, and I just see those lemons swirling around in a beautiful glass pitcher and the sugar dissolving.

The visual helps, but this thinking helps more.  I think, "I'm not entitled to anything."  Everything is a gift.  Every breath. Every step. Every moment.  I know that I will never pass this way again. There is no other life; there is today and now. Letting go of the past and the future helps me so much. I don't despise the day that I took my first step. I will not despise the day I take my last one.

My days are worth consideration. They are never worthless. I do not scorn my moments, no matter how mundane.  A lemonade life goes far beyond optimism.  Optimism is rooted in an idea that there will be a successful outcome, but here's the rub, there isn't always a successful outcome.  What are you going to do then?  Feeling like you are out in the cold, positive thinkers? Ready to join the dark side with the pessimists?

Take a breath.  Optimism is a useful tool. We made it to the moon. Pessimism has its place too. That's why we build in backup systems. Perspective helps. The universe is a humongous place. Your success or failure is less than a drop in that bucket. Is it enough to be a bunch of matter that has come together and is aware? And here is something I'm as sure of as dark matter and something smaller than a Higgs particle: great love.  I can't weigh love.  I can't measure it. I can't prove it exists, but I know it does. Sweet love. Yay, sugar!

Mix your lemons and sugar. Live a lemonade life.

Here is a doodle:

Here is a quote for your pocket.

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won't have to work no more.

Saturday, October 06, 2018


Sometimes, strength of character is a person coughing her head-off and sleeping around the clock. I've had a tough month physically.  It's put my creative self on hold.  No doodles since last weekend.
I haven't written one word. I have read only one book this week. (Sad. Sad. Sad.)

I am dreaming of my water aerobics class and writing down pages and pages of words. Here I am persevering.

So what to write about it. Here it is: NESS.  Lots of angry twitters out there, folks.  Here is a "Ness" the Union address. Ness means the"state of." I am standing up as an advocate of love this week.

Here is my suggestion. Try the high road. Think of all your best adjectives and add ness to them. Loving, kind, hopeful, peaceful, happy, free, good, considerate, caring, empathy, believing, ethical, etc. You want more than just one act of good stuff, you want to be in the state of the good stuff. That means regardless of what is going down in the neighborhood, the country, or the world, you remain in the "state of."

On the flip side, think of the worst adjectives.  Hateful, angry, mad, depressed, bored, shallow, misogynistic, overbearing, holier-than-thou, etc. Chuck that stuff into the wind.  I think you get the picture.

Everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten. Play fair. Say you are sorry. Forgive all the wrongs. Respect each others' space. Take turns. Be sure to include everyone. Mrs. Crabtree at King of Glory Kindergarten really knew her good stuff.

Here is a doodle.

Here is a quote for your pocket. 

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. Vincent Van Gogh