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Today is a gift….

November 15, 2008

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is the present. That’s why they call it a gift.”

cappuccino_alterra

Thursday morning I had to leave the house early, but didn’t have to be to work for another hour.  No problem guessing where I could be found with that little extra bit of free time… Humboldt Cafe, of course.  I stop there every morning, anyway, and pick up my XL, three shot capp to go, but that morning I was gifted the treat of being able to stay.

Someone saw me crossing the street from the parking lot.  My drink was already started when I walked in the door.  A smile was waiting for me when I stepped up to the cash register, a personal greeting.  I felt…. nurtured.

I nurture – support, bolster, watch over, make comfortable – all day.  At home with my family, at work with my interns.  I surely am loved, but I am rarely taken care of.  I don’t see my mom very often!

In that instant, when someone was watching out and taking care of me, I felt freed.  I decided that it was time to come out of the wee, cozy, place I had been curled up in.  I had been biding my time, preparing myself to emerge into the cold, dark, world again.  The previous weeks had been filled with biting my nails and watching the election, cleaning up glass in the nooks and crannies of my kitchen, making lists of things lost in the burglary, and trying to place value on items that were not replaceable.  My mind had been in a foggy place and focusing on the really good things in life did not seem possible.  The simple pleasures were simply not accessible.

And suddenly, in that magical instant, I was ready to come back.

All sorts of kindnesses fell on me that day: I won a rat from Carl and Stainless Steel Droppings.  I received absolution for what I considered a mistake, from my supervisor at work.  I had a wonderful conversation with a long lost cousin.  So Thursday was the turning point.

Write on Wednesday and Becca’s prompt:

Do you do writing exercises or warm ups? Do you think they could be valuable?

Becca quoted novelist Bret Anthony Johnson from this month’s Poets and Writers Magazine,

Writing exercises purge my mind of everything but a concentrated attention to language. I’ve forgotten about the leaky faucet or the overdue library book, and most importantly, I’ve released my fear about starting the morning’s writing.

Writing the weekly Write on Wednesday prompt has been a kind of warm up exercise for me. There is a subject already set for me to pontificate on, and it always seems to be something incredibly relevant at that very moment in my life.

Another quote by Johnson, …”I’ve forgotten about the leaky faucet or overdue library book…..” really nails it. I can forget about the mundane, which is partly what I have been immersed in the past couple weeks.  I move into a different room in my brain’s labyrinth.

When I take a step away from something, I miss it.   When I take two steps away, it’s a fond memory.  When I take three steps away, I have a vague recollection, but I don’t remember how wonderful it felt. I have to go back in and do it again, and then that light flickers on once more and I think, “Oh my gosh, how could I have stopped writing? It is so satisfying, and it feels extraordinary!”

So I am back in my little writing cubby. And I can’t imagine how I could have left it for so long. And I am back to my weekly writing exercise. It is a good exercise for me because it is different from my other kind of writing. It is non-fiction, it is about me and mine, and it is from my heart.   It is easy to take the leap from this to fiction. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, right?  Mine can be that way, anyway.

Another simple pleasure I let go for a little while? Talking with people I don’t know about important things. I had a conversation that morning with a young woman sitting next to me. She was a writer, trying to decide if she should go on to graduate school next year, or take a year off to write. I voted for the year off. She was young, and there’s nothing like life’s experiences to give you fodder!

Oh my, now I am rambling. So I will drift away from WOW and go to a meme. I have never completed a meme before. Bellezza tagged me, and I decided it was a good place to count my blessings and look at plans for the future.

7 Things I Did Before

1.  Hitchhiked across England
2.  Owned an Irish pub
3.  Made a living (of sorts) selling my art
4.  Hunted for fossils
5.  Spoke in front of a group of adults even though I was afraid
6.  Read everything written by Charles Dickens
7.  Catered a wedding

7 Things I Do Now

1.  Write often
2.  Avoid eating meat
3.  Live in the moment
4.  Mentor
5.  Try to model patience in all situations
6.  Send queries to agents
7.  Enjoy time alone

7 Things I Want To Do

1.  Spend a month in Bali
2.  Own land in the middle of a National Forest
3.  Get off the grid
4.  Be able to run again
5.  Quit working (the day job)
6.  Stop sleeping
7.  Be more graceful

7 Things That Attract Me in Others

1.  Honesty
2.  Generosity
3.  Empathy
4.  Dry humor
5.  Humility
6.  Intelligence
7.  Creativity

7 Favorite Foods

1.  coffee
2.  pizza
3.  chai
4.  popcorn
5.  coffee
6.  pasta
7.  coffee

7 Things I Say Most Often

1.  I love you
2.  Drive safe
3.  Call or text me
4.  This too shall pass
5.  I am proud of you
6.  Be careful
7.  Live in the moment

7 people to tag

No assignments today.  Take the challenge if you like, and please leave a comment if you do, so I can read your “sevens.”

reading.png

Following the wonderful celebration of Thanksgiving, is my favorite holiday – The Christmas season.  I will have more to say about that, closer to December.  But I leave you with this photo of Mary, Queen of Grace, reading of course, and awaiting the birth of her child (The Magdelene Reading, by Rogier van der Weyden).

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2008 11:20 pm

    I’m so glad you responded to the tag, and even more so to learn so many interesting things about you. I love a wide and varied life, lived outside of the box. I find myself concurring with you on many points (did you see that I wrote on Friday about addressing our faculty and being afraid?). I’d like to read everything by Dickens. Right now I’m working through Murakami, but someday I’ll get to the British classics. At any rate, it was a treat for me to read this, and please don’t forget to post the “Kreativ Blogger” award which was given with it if you care to do so.

    Hi Bellezza, I did read what you wrote about being afraid in front of the faculty. I was always afraid of speaking, and I grew tired of it. I decided to get over it by forcing myself, so I volunteered to be the president of my childrens’ school PTO. It took a while to get past shaking while I spoke, but I did get over it. I could definitely empathize with your difficult moment.
    Murakami? I don’t think I will ever be able to go there! Western stuff for me….

    Thanks very much for the “Kreativ Blogger” award – I appreciate it, and had fun with the meme.

  2. November 16, 2008 12:49 am

    I’m glad you’re getting back into the swing of life again, after that upheaval. And the expereience at the coffee shop sounds like just the nurtuing you needed!

    I like the seven things meme…I’ve seen it going around. You and I have many favorites in common 🙂

    Thanks, Becca. I was a wee bit traumatized, but I am feeling much more back to normal. If you have not already done it, you should complete the seven things meme… I could find out what favorites we have in common!
    And thanks for creating my “practice” theme every week – I really appreciate the effort you put into that, and enjoy writing about the prompt.

  3. November 16, 2008 5:53 am

    Great post. I learnt a lot about you from this!

    Thanks.

    warming up to you and lot more…

    Well thanks, Gautami!

  4. November 16, 2008 11:19 pm

    How lovely to read the first part of this post (I enjoyed all of it, but you know what I mean!). I think those moments of opening and enlightenment are so, so wonderful and, inevitably, rare. But no matter how gloomy things have been, they always do pass, and there always it a tipping point. So glad you had yours. I’ve never done a writing exercise in my life – they sound scary! I suppose blogging is the place where I practice writing as such. Still, I’m sure they are tremendously helpful at times, and any kind of discipline in art will eventually reap great rewards.

    How nice to hear from you Litlove…. you have been MIA for a while! You are absolutely right – those moments of enlightenment are wonderful and rare. I suppose we would take them for granted, otherwise. It was actually a rather long time for me to be out of it, so it felt awfully good to have that shining light moment.
    You don’t need a writing exercise!! Your blogging “practice” is incredible as is, and you certainly are disciplined. I can’t figure out how you fit it all in your day.

  5. November 18, 2008 2:57 am

    Wonderful post!! I read it with my afternoon tea and enjoyed it so much!
    You must write sometime about your experiences owning an Irish Pub! I am certain you had some.

    I can picture you, Pamela, drinking from a lovely china tea cup with Edward at your feet! What kind of tea?
    I did, indeed, have some interesting experiences owning the Pub. One wonderful week Maggie Cronin, an actress from Belfast, Northern Ireland, presented her one-women play about Grace O’Malley (the pirate queen), ” A Most Notorious Woman”, which she also wrote (long before the play on Broadway). It was so much fun, and she was just incredible.
    I will write about it sometime! Thanks.

  6. November 18, 2008 3:04 am

    Welcome back to the cold, dark world. If you’re like me this is the perfect time to ‘wake up’ and actually enjoy the increasingly cold, dismal weather. It is probably perverse of me, but I love this time of year so very much. Glad you are coming back. It is indeed wonderful when someone takes the time to look out for you once in awhile, isn’t it?

    It most certainly is, Carl.
    No, it isn’t perverse! I love winter too. I love snow, blizzards, and all the holidays – including my birthday – that fall in winter. I think I am going to get some snowshoes this winter. If we have as much snow as last winter – 99 inches!! – I will definitely be able to use them walking the dog. My very favorite day during the winter is when there is a blizzard and school is called off. Everyone is out in the streets, helping strangers who are stuck in the snow, tromping around, and enjoying the free day. On the down side, however – I do not like making that day up in June when summer vacation is supposed to start. 😉

  7. November 19, 2008 6:54 am

    Hi! I’ve just been ‘browsing’ through blogs…a very time-consuming endeavor…and happened upon yours. When I came upon this particular post it definitely caught my eye…it IS all about TODAY, isn’t it? I still have to pretty much remind myself that many times during every day…because I invariably end up living in the past or future (in my mind). But I ‘try’, as we all do…to remember that it isn’t as much about the destination as it is about the journey. Take care! Jan

    Hi Jan, I am so glad you stopped and commented! I often have to remind myself to get back into the moment, too. Sometimes the past or the future can just sneak into my thought process and carry me away before I realize it. Your are absolutely right; the journey is where it’s at. Thanks.

  8. November 21, 2008 7:36 am

    Hello, Qugrainne — have I been away so long? I’m so sorry! Coming to this post was like coming to a fabulous dessert — rich, complex, unique and filled with depth of flavor! Oh, I know what it’s like to “take care” of everyone — but who takes care of us? I’m so glad you had that warm and welcoming experience.

    And grateful you shared so much of yourself. I do enjoy these memes and I did get to know you even more. I will tackle this one sometime this week, and look forward to it!

    Back sooner!

    Hi Jeanie, thanks for coming over for dessert! It was nice to hear from you.

    I will be watching for your “7’s” at the Marmelade Gypsy! It is a fun, little snippet way to learn odd facts about a person, and so quick and easy. I really like that aspect of it.

    A warm greeting from the person who makes my coffee – it doesn’t take much to make me happy!! Walking the dog early when no one is out is my first high of the day, and getting my coffee is the second. Ah, the simple pleasures in life. And today is Friday! Don’t you love Friday nights?

  9. November 21, 2008 9:24 am

    Oh, Q, this was a grand entry. So much to respond to. But will stick with two simple questions: December is my month to read Dickens – what do you recommend? You must have a favorite, having read them all while I have only a few under my belt but I love him! And we read the Xmas Carol aloud every year. But for a novel, besides Great Expectations and Tale of 2 Cities, what would you say?
    ANd secondly, you want to get off the grid, too? This is dear to our hearts here on Lochcrest and yet laughable in so many ways. (but I did yank out cable and the landline. Big deal, I know.)

    Will try the 7s in a day or two. I am limping on nano and will now head upstairs and figure out “what is going to happen next?” geez.

    onward!

    Oh, I am so impressed with your nano accomplishments, and so jealous!! I continue to work at a snail’s pace. Better than nothing. Maybe in January…….
    Charles Dickens? Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, The Old Curiosity Shop – you will have so much time when nano is over, you will have time to read them all! I wonder why you have chosen December as Dickens month?

    Getting off the grid is a big subject around my house. I have accomplished a few small things. Buying a hybrid isn’t exactly gridness, but it is a good step in the right direction. My home energy company has the option for customers to request their energy be supplied by wind power, for a few more dollars a month, so I did that last summer. Check it out – maybe your electric supplier makes the same offer. My next house is going to be completely “green” and self sufficient for energy. And have you heard of composting toilets? It’s the way to go!

    Thanks for taking precious time off from nano to visit. I appreciate it. I will be watching for your “7’s”.

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