Monday, November 7, 2011

happy birthday to me

I started this blog last November with the idea that I wanted to practice communicating more honestly in a more highly visual way. Along the way, I've toyed with the idea of who I am and who I want to be as a blogger.

Do I want a lot of followers? Do I want to advertise on my site? Do I want a site that will hopefully grow and expand and dazzle some literary agent one day?

Do I want a place to share my essays? Do I want a place to record my day to day life? What do I really want my blog to about? Who is my audience?

Do I want to be a Blogger instead of just a blogger? Do I want to own my own domain? Do I want to switch to another host site?

And most of all, how honest do I want to be? And what does that look like? And what is it accomplishing?

Because what I have found out about honesty is what I've always known. It's only appreciated by most people in small and pretty doses. And it's only easy to share in small and pretty doses. Particularly if you are not blogging anonymously. And my efforts to engage more intimately via my honesty have not worked. And maybe I didn't want them to. As usual, the people that I wanted to connect to remain elusive.

The feedback I've gotten is either of general pleasure or mild annoyance/misunderstanding, but most of that is verbal feedback and rarely has it improved intimacy between myself and others. I assume there are people that read and do not let me know they are reading, as I have blogs that I do that for.

Overall, the experience has been fine, but it is lacking in something essential and has not accomplished what I had hoped for, though through this I have produced plenty of things that I'm glad to have. I just can't keep motivated with this and am feeling a bit bogged down, by my own uncertainty more than anything else, I'm sure. If I don't know what I'm doing here, then I can't manage to do anything at all.

So, I've been plotting a fresh start. To close this blogging chapter and move forward with something more fitting for where I am now.

The first idea was for a newsletter type blog where I would post something almost daily that would relate to things that "keep me steady". It was going to be called The Steady. Here's the About section:
I have begun to strongly suspect that the whole key to life is in just keeping it steady.

I'm thinking that maybe it's about the steady on of living well (and understanding what living well really is), regardless the current state of the world around me, regardless even, of the world within me. Life is quite a ride and it's easy to lose grip of it.

So this blog is about focusing on the things in life that help me steady on, whether it's through photo documentation of my weekends, trying new things, getting or sharing perspective through writing essays, exploring and enjoying music, movies, art, literature, food, and fashion, finding and sharing whatever has me feeling good at any given moment, and making the most of whatever I've got at the time.



There would be sections at the top that included: Pictorials, Perspective, Try This, Culture Fix, Do Good, Feel Good, and Show Off.

I started working on it late September/Early October. And then I just stopped. It felt like a weight. This blog felt like a weight. This is supposed to be my outlet and this wasn't working. It was depressing to say the least.

Then just this weekend it hit me: it's not the steady that I need. It's the unsteady. The place in which I am broken enough to need, desperate enough to believe - this is where the magic falls over me. To keep steady does nothing for me. It is in spinning through the unsteady that I find all my muses and talk to God. Life is not about keeping it steady. Life is about the moments when the reality before you and behind you, the reality within you, and reality in the energy and the electricity around you and above you collide and you are actually really and truly fucking alive and the whole of everything you've felt and done feels worth it, feels purposeful, feels exactly right, brokenness and all. It has nothing to do with steady.

Steady can actually be the precise enemy of living, of the faith it requires to really be alive. And we only get one, just one life. Just one. God forbid I squander all the graces I've been granted on trying to hold together a life that is meant to soar among the heavens. What a waste of everything that would be. I am supposed to be writing and falling into all the dark and strange places that takes me. I am supposed to be creating and carving out beauty in the midst of madness. I am supposed to be obsessing over the actual elements of life and humanity that matter. Not keeping it steady. That is not my job. I believe someone else is doing that for me. It is a division of labor. I do what I can do here, God does all the rest, here and in all the other realms of time and space. I can either believe this or not, as I have always been reminded. If I believe this, then I can do what I do well here and pour myself into it. If I don't believe it, then I can chase after all the things I can't control and I can spend my life trying to force it all steady.

My birthday gift to myself this year is this: I will write. I will listen to my muses. I will weather the criticism this garners. I will respond kindly, but I will not let it harness me. I will hold to the truth I know within. I will listen to the voice within more than any of the others. I will trust that voice. I will seek out sanctuary. I will trust the division of labor. I will pour myself into and onto what I can. I will not waste myself on worry.

I make no promises about this next blog. I have resolved nothing. Except that I will be writing the unsteady now.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Writing Around

So, as my past two posts have probably showed, I'm not feeling it lately here at "How Honest", no matter how much I want to be. So, no new post really, no pictorial ( I know, you guys love that, sorry!).

Just a quick note to say I've decided to do the November PAD (poem a day) challenge, and will post on my poetry site (How The Light At the End Of The Day).

Today's poem is here.

Also, I'm on Modern Parent this week, talking about Halloween (it posted Sunday, so it was prior to Halloween), but if you want to check it out, go ahead!

So, I have a question for any readers, would you like me to post daily with the poems throughout November? I wasn't planning on it, but I know some readers on read what I link on fb, so let me know! Otherwise, they will be on my poetry site, and you can stop by whenever you want!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boo.

I've hit a wall. My own creative wall. I continue to struggle with creative functioning versus day to day functioning. I can not be who everyone needs me to be and me who I am creatively all at once. And I can't get off the treadmill. I am scared. As an artist, I'm concerned and heavy. I don't know how to break out of this. No one gets it. No one in my day to day life gets it. I don't even try to explain it anymore. This silence is a dangerous slumber.

I had these plans for the blog, but now I'm not sure, I'm not sure at all. It may be the exact wrong thing. I just want my flow back. I'm regulating myself so well it is backfiring. There is this part of me that is suffocating. And I have no idea what to do.

There's so much to say.


Why can't I say it?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Little Demon Muses

I'm having such a hard time lately, writing. I have SO much to write, so much to create. I just can't get to it. I need hours. Spans of hours, uninterrupted, mine. Not snatches of time stolen from other time. Not 45 minutes between everything else. I don't know if I will ever be able to write like that. But I'm getting afraid that if I cannot learn to write like that, that I will not be able to write at all. I don't know how to claim my time back. There's no give anywhere anymore, it seems. Or I just can't see it.

And I can tell it's getting to me. When I can't write, my brain is foggier, I can't engage. I can't make decisions. I withdraw. I numb out. I just sit, trapped in thoughts I cannot form, so I cannot release, I cannot react. I just sit. Until they lay on me and wait. They are a weight on me. This does not lead to good places.

It prevents my presence. I cannot be present. I cannot enjoy. I am not with you when I need to write. I am not with anyone when I need to write. I am only with my thoughts, their need, their push, their power is gripping me and until I do what I am supposed to do with them, they own me. They withhold things from me. And I am frustrated with everyone and everything that keeps me from writing. And I run through the day hoping at the end of it, I can write. But that's not how it works. My thoughts demand my best, not my leftovers. They demand to take precedence over work and family and friends and tasks. If they do not get that, they do not allow me to write them, to create with them. They slumber, stubborn, angry with me for not valuing them, for not giving them the attention they deserve. They leave me nothing but to sleep, or read, or stare at the tv or computer screen, restless and needy. They do not care. They will be there tomorrow. They will be there until I do what they demand of me. And how. And when. Until I make note of the honor it is to have them. Until I respect them.

But the fear, greater than the one that I will not figure out how to do this, is that they will leave. They left me before. Without them I am incomplete in the very worst way. I am a shelled version of myself. And no one but me may even notice. Which is the point. To to be tortured with something I can not even explain. It leads to this apathy. This slow motion walk through everything where nothing really matters enough to do anything about it but nod and smile.

I hate that place. I need to stay far far away from that place, but I am right on the cusp of it. I can feel it. It is right before me. I am already heavy.

But my little demon muses are happy with me this morning. And they whisper to me in that calming way, furtive, like a lover. They will bend the world around me, they say. If I will just write. They want me to, they do, they will literally move the mountains if I will move my fingers. But they will punish me if I don't, they have no empathy of those who do not embrace their magic.

I am unsure how this is going to go.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weekend Pictorial; Better Late Than Never!

Wow, I'm getting really bad about posting these late! Oh well - better late than never!

Weekend Pictorial

October 7th-10th

Friday



Natalie and I got to spend some time with her "sister" who she doesn't see as much now since they go to different schools.

Saturday


At the Dr. office. She looks sick, right? She actually just had a wax clog up in one ear. So maybe she really didn't hear me tell her to STOP all those times...


Birthday party for one of the kids that my mother in law keeps during the week. Natalie is the big sister to them all :)

Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury is incredible! It has so much!


Definitely partied out. (I just want to squish that face!)


Beautiful fall day. We ate outside, made a fire, and roasted a few marshmallows. Which may have been left over from this summer's camping trip. Of course they were.


Bodie looks like a marshmallow, but he did not get one. I think it is clear how he feels about that.





Sunday


Natalie and I stayed home ALL day. It was fabulous.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Occupy" Your Life. You Are The 99%.

I remember sitting on my grandparent's porch while picket signs were made. I was six. My family and others were protesting a rock quarry that wanted to buy the land adjoined to ours.

It was exhilarating.



It would not be an over exaggeration to say that I have been waiting 21 years for another opportunity to do that kind of thing.

My father worked for a telephone company most of my life. He was part of the union and I remember times they would strike to improve working conditions.

I remember learning about the underground railroad, the suffragettes, the civil rights movement. I remember thinking that if I were alive during those times, I would be part of those movements. I would be distributing literature. I would be marching. I would be shouting in the street. I would be sitting in.

And here we are, with another movement I believe in. Yet I'm not out there. So, I am here. Shouting as loud as I can from where I am.

Yes, this is just the internet. But, I mean, this is the internet. In this day and time, this is a battlefield as well. So many people get their information here first.

There are plenty of people out there who scoff at the "Occupy" movement. People want to say it's just "a bunch of hippies", but at this point, Occupy Wall Street has the support of various unions and other professional groups, veterans, people of a variety of ages and races, and even Ben And Jerry's corporation.




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Some want to say that the people who support the Occupy movement are stupid/lazy/hypocritical. But the people who support the Occupy movement aren't calling for the end of corporations, aren't saying that they don't appreciate or agree with hard work, and they aren't saying that they don't think anyone should use anything ever made by a corporation.

What they are saying is that it's ridiculous that the majority of our nation is struggling to get by while a sliver of the population holds all the cards and all the money. If you really believe those people earned what they have, you are naive.


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If you think that hard work guarantees success in America at this point and time, you must be one of the lucky few who haven't had your house of cards tumble yet. Count yourself blessed. And pay attention to what's happening around you. Because right now, "success" is just luck of the draw.
Corporations are out there intentionally laying off workers nearing retirement so they no longer receive their full pensions and benefits. Is that okay? How's that hard work paying off for those people who gave their entire life to a company only to be let go right before they retire? How do you explain military men and women who come back from war and can't get a job to support their families? Do they just turn into worthless, lazy, no-good drains on the system as soon as they come home? Or is there something wrong with our country?


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All important movements for change that have happened in this country have been scoffed at by the mainstream initially. That doesn't mean they were wrong. Those movements brought about the end of slavery, voting rights for women and African Americans, and the end of Jim Crow Laws and forced segregation.


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One of the most important things happening here is that people are starting to think about it, talk about it. This is important. This is actually one of the goals of "Occupy".


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I was reading commentary from someone who argued that people shouldn't complain. That person said that they were working 3 jobs to pay their mortgage and other people could do the same. I say, that is pathetic. That person should be angry. That person should be disappointed. (Not to mention I have no idea where they were able to get 3 jobs when people like my mother, who has an incredible worth ethic, by the way, can't get one). That is not an America to aspire for or be happy with. Life is far too short to live like that, particularly when you live in one of the richest nations in the world. It's absurd.


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If you think the way things are is okay, you are not paying attention. We are cutting teachers, education programs, police forces, firefighters. And corporations are swimming in billions. That is not okay. Where does that put us in 10 years? In 20?


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This is not about a fringe group of people. This is about all of us. We are in a dangerous place as a nation. Changes need to happen. That's what it's about. Getting the idea out there.


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"That’s because, at its heart, the Occupy movement is about creating a democratic society in which everyone matters, there is dignity in working together across differences, and there is enough for everyone. Is this vision tantamount to socialism? No. Once upon a time, we called this 'American.' " - Marisa Egerstrom (member of Protest Chaplains).


I am so incredibly proud to be part of this (with my virtual voice). This gets me excited. This gives me hope.


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