Serpent’s teeth and the brilliance of Shakespeare

30 08 2015

db-0100I hated reading Shakespeare as I grew up. The language seemed difficult, the concepts dry and old. I was, of course, ignorant. And a philistine. Now I know better, and am continually gobsmacked by what Shakespeare was able to contain in his works.

I wonder who I was when I was younger – so sure of myself, so sure I knew things, terrified of being caught out yet pushing my way through, singing “Whistle a Happy Tune” and “You’ll never walk alone” to keep my chin up – but as an old friend said, it WAS up. Though I knew nothing, and inside I knew I knew nothing. I knew enough to fake it til I made it, just about. So I did.

I blame my mother. She told us we were special, and though we never really believed it, we carried it around. My adopted aunt once gave me a book which had a marvelous poem in it about “Mary-Alice”, who had great potential, and because she was so afraid of losing that potential, she kept it hidden under her bed in a very secure box and got it out now and again to look at it but never showed it to anyone.

That poem has haunted my entire life. Thanks, Aunt Shirlianne. (Love her so much, and there’s no reason she should have expected that that poem would have such an effect on me). Between my mother assuring me I was meant to do great things and my aunt inflicting overly wise poetry on me, I was and probably still am, a mess. I figure I still have to contribute – have to have an effect on the world, have to use my potential before it vanishes like Mary-Alice’s.

potential

It’s encouraging in one way, terrifying in another. Here I am, gently losing my mind with the cognitive effects of MS, and I am flogging myself to write, to agitate, to exercise, to model healthy behaviour, blah blah blah. Add in a generous dose of Roman Catholic guilt and it’s almost unbearable in here. Wine helps. And chocolate.

Sad thing is, I seem to have visited it upon my kids, this same sense of “you have great gifts and you’d better use them to better the world or else”. It’s a lot of pressure, and I didn’t mean to make their lives the same living ratrace mentally that I spin upon, but I did.

So now they have secret lives, and are afraid to tell me their plans and are snarky at me so they don’t have to feel that I am judging them.

Which, of course, I am NOT. Funny thing about parenting. That unconditional love thing is the code.You get it through the umbilical cord, I think. So I don’t care what they do, though of course I would be sad if they got arrested or hurt somebody or sat about being unhappy and unfulfilled. But then I think they wouldn’t like that, either, so I assume we are on the same page, sort of. Maybe.

I have to guess, though, because, like those ungrateful children in Shakespeare, two out of my three wonderful offspring speak rarely to me. It hurts me, yes it does. I’m sure they have reasons to avoid me, and it’s pretty much due me as I recall I kind avoided my mother for a spell, and still argue with her though she is 24 years gone. I guess I also passed on the serpent’s tooth.

In a way, it’s good – I raised my kids to be independent, questioning individuals, and so they are. Just wish a bit that they’d be a little less questioning of me, sometimes.

Ah well, at least when we DO talk, they are interesting, witty, intelligent, and worth the wait. Perhaps you can’t have that without the tooth…

quote-he-d-be-sharper-than-a-serpent-s-tooth-if-he-wasn-t-as-dull-as-ditch-water-charles-dickens-326928

Advertisements




Thats it, I’m done.

10 06 2015

pallas-cat-manul-6__880I can’t do it anymore. I took a break, I tried again, I hated every minute. 

I’ve spent I don’t know how many dollars and hours taking writing courses over the years. I took them to learn the trade, to force the inspiration, to try to get closer to some real, for life publication. 

I’ve been published, for short things. I’ve won a prize or two. For short things. I’ve entered contests and placed. Again, for short things. I like the thrill of the dash, the lack of dreadful other stuff – the synopsis, the pleading cover letter, the explanation of WHY YOU ARE THE BEST PERSON to write this particular thing…all of that hangs over my head like a dead albatross, frozen, on a stick. I can’t face it. It is a powerful disincentive to write.

But that’s an excuse, really. The thing is, I’m missing the feeling in writing lately – that wonderful flow. You writers out there know what it’s like. It feels like walking with the gods, hand in hand with a muse. I laugh out loud when that happens, such is my joy.

I remember writing my first three day novel and laughing throughout. It was such FUN! My character took off and I raced behind her with my keyboard, trying to keep up.

There is such intense joy in such moments that it is impossible to continue when they aren’t there.

So I’ve talked with myself. I’ve bargained with myself. I know I can write, it’s not a self-confidence thing, I’m not depressed. I simply don’t want to. The world suddenly feels full of books to read and I think to myself there is no need to add mine to the pile – there are much more persistent sorts than me out there, people who will push, who need to push. 

I did all of that, in my work and in my parenting. I worked hard hard hard. I ended up disgracing myself with a breakdown caused by MS. I parented hard hard hard I played hard, too) – loved those three creatures with every cell in my being, and, well, they grow up. I exercised my way through bilateral knee replacements with MS to a recovery my own doctor finds amazing. I needle felted over 40 animals in the space of a month to raise money for MS.

So I know I can work hard. But I also know my time is more limited now. MS lurks in the shadows. To keep it at bay, I have to exercise every day. I have to rest, every day.

And in the remaining hours, I want to feel that joy, that flow. I find it when I am creating with my hands – building creatures, hooking rugs, constructing things, brewing beer, making bread, throwing pots, tactile things. Perhaps my MS brain has shifted me out of the word side, has pushed me into touch-based creations.

I remember going on a date with a fellow once – we went to Westport, ON, and as we walked along, I ran my hands along the stone buildings, feeling their texture. He wondered why. I couldn’t explain, but it was the same temptation that made me want to run my hands over his shoulders – he was a professional hammer thrower and his shoulders felt like warm granite, bulked with muscle I’d never before felt.

So I’m leaving the darkened corners of my head, that place where writing lurks and refuses to come out and play, and heading into the tactile light. 

Don’t be alarmed if I touch you.
child-hand-on-tree-bark





So, about that being a writer….

8 02 2015

from:http://writerscircle.com/2013/09/writing-perspectives-so-you-want-to-be-a-writer.html

So You Want to Be a Writer
By Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.





Some people say these are the worst of times…

5 01 2015

Ah, Styx…..How I loved them, still do. Was mellowing out to music today while stabbing a felted mushroom (yes, my life is odd) and this came up on iTunes Shuffle.

I loved Styx in the day, though sometimes their heavy musicality, like that of the Alan Parson’s Project, overwhelmed my ears like too much Beethoven’s 9th. All wonderful things, all moving, all sometimes too demanding on a bubble pop day.

But the message of the song seems oddly apt these days of such violence and despair and sorrow. It seems every news item is about people behaving badly or stupidly, about our government in Canada acting like tinpot dictators, about the crazies just below us carrying weaponry when shopping with their toddlers or killing police or innocents in the street.

It is easy to give in to it all and give up. Like the song says, “The best of times, is when I’m alone with you…” – it’s easy to hide inside and mutter in your small groups about the outside, about the dangers. To shut it out with noise, or good books, or activities or each other. I’d love to have someone to spend the best of times with having some sweet cuddles or something to distract me from Mr. Harper for a moment or two. But I digress…;-)

It isn’t enough, is it? The hairy beasts are still outside the increasingly porous gates. Perhaps it’s time to try and recreate the paradise we once had…with each other, within ourselves, in our world.

“as long as we keep alive…The memories of paradise….”

I’m thinking that maybe we can get there again…we are smart enough, rich enough, connected enough that these COULD be the best of times…

Or if nothing else, we can sing madly along with songs of our youth and stab tiny animals out of wool…





New Year, new days, no mistakes yet…

2 01 2015

Well, not strictly true. It’s difficult for a gal like me to get through a day without a mistake or two. I almost set fire to my hot bag today, for example. I’ve given mixed signals to a friend. Promised myself I wouldn’t do that. But I did.

Fortunately, I have other things to write about besides self-blame. I was given a “Forgotten English” calendar for Christmas (Jeff Kacirk’s, see Amazon…)

6033113062_1ab2b8da21_z The first word for the year was so appropriate I have to talk about it. It is baubosking, which apparently makes reference to the straying of cattle or sheep from the pasture assigned to them.

I love that there is a word for such straying. I think this may be a good year for us all to stray a bit, step outside our comfort zone, be seen where we normally wouldn’t be expected, step out and be heard, create discomfort, ask questions. It’s an election year here in Canada. Time to wander into the pastures of unfamiliar organizations, find what is important, munch down on policies we haven’t yet explored.

We spent much of 2014 hearing bad news. Maybe it’s time to leave that pasture, too, look at the good things, FIND the good things, in ourselves and others. Maybe the grass is really greener outside the fence of bad news and media reports.

It’s also been all about sexual harassment in 2014, too. Let’s jump that fence, shall we? Let’s expect men to behave like human beings, let’s hold those that don’t meet that expectation accountable. Let’s pull together, men and women, to ensure respectful treatment for everyone, of all ages. It takes so little to be polite, so little to hold open a door to contact, so little to be well-behaved. Let’s not hide behind bureaucracy and work and puttering and buying and eating to numb the feelings that would make us stand up and offer support and help to others.

I’m eying the pasture gate, myself. Not sure which way I’ll head, but I’ll be stepping out. Want to join me?

Peak_District_Animals_-_Sheep_2We can do it.





Submission Madness

28 05 2014

In “the Secret Life of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4”, by the hilarious Sue Townsend, Adrian’s class is on a field trip when the bus driver, driven to the ends of his nerves, submits to motorway madness. All of the kids arrive home safely, but shaken, and the bus driver gets a well-deserved rest.

We’ve all been there, right? In the car, with howling kids? My oldest son just about lost his hearing thanks to the endless screaming by the middle one. I’ve felt that madness slip over me. (My sister still tells the story of me putting them out of the car.)

Well, today a different madness came over me. I started submitting things to publishers and journals. All sorts of things. Stories that have lain fallow for months, little ditty poems that struck my fancy, shorter or longer versions of other works in progress (called WIPs by the trendy Humber).

It’s not strictly speaking a sane process. I mean, I could work on these stories longer, could probably edit them for another few years, but there’s something about being in this crazy Humber program that makes me want to take it all seriously, start sending things about. It’s been a while since I was published, except in our local grass-roots poetry journal, OHForgery (which I love).

Oh, I’ve sent things in for competitions, sure. Won a few. Placed in a few others. But going for the publication thing – hesitant. See, in a contest, you can always argue there were so many competitors that you couldn’t possibly be expected to win. So when you don’t, that’s cool. No self-abuse required.

But when a journal writes back, no sorry, this isn’t for us, well, it chews a bit of your soul away. Immediately you start the inner walk of shame.

So today, I’m sending out submissions like I used to send out flirts in online dating. Send out lots, you don’t notice the no replies as much. Someone usually replies pleasantly…

Of course, if I don’t, I’ve got some lovely Writers Tears to drown my sorrows…

http://redroom.com/member/dorothyanne-brown/writing/first-date





Grumpy grumpy grumpy ghosts, or muses in disguise?

30 04 2014

As the start date for my Humber course creeps closer, I can feel my old ghosts moving in, settling down, taking up their knitting, kicking off their shoes. Making themselves comfortable.
Which ghosts?
The ones who say:
“You never finish anything.”
“You’re a jack of all trades, a master of none.”
“There’s nothing worse than a dilettante.”
“Why do you want to push yourself? You’re sick. Take it easy.”

Argh, I say, waving my arms about, disturbing their spectres until they get annoyed in turn, hide my pens, make my computer go cranky, get the cat to leave hair balls in the hallway.
Eventually they wander off for a bit, but they come back, whisper in my ear, “you know, you don’t REALLY have what it takes, right?”

We all have those voices. For some reason they are always louder and more persistent than the voices telling us how wonderful we are. Or maybe that’s just me?

I’m sure I exhaust my friends, who aim to reassure me, but these ghosts have lived with me since grade one, when substitute teacher Mrs. Morabito put tape over my mouth for daring to say I had already read the assigned book, and I was in an advanced reading group. She told me off for thinking I was better than anyone else. Since then, any time I feel I am good at anything, I put tape over my mouth and send myself into the hallway as punishment for getting too full of myself. Or I screw myself up, so I can never feel successful.

For this reason, I remember none of the words of fondness (were there any?) of my first boyfriend, but I remember him telling me not to interrupt his important discussion. I recall my English teacher telling me the story I wrote for my parents was derivative and awful (though they liked it, and that was the important thing). I remember my failures as a manager, forget the good things I did. I forget, unless I deliberately dig them out, the positive words on my various submissions to contests, the publications I racked up, the good things I’ve done, the creative mind I have that comes out to play.

So, I’m stressing out. Part of me feels I should already know all this course is going to teach me, because I’ve taken a lot of courses by this point and know a lot of the how, though I don’t always apply it.

Part of me wants to give up on this challenge, do something else instead, chicken out, back away from the hard work it will involve.

Part of me mutters, but you are no good at editing, you can’t ever finish things off properly, you are so slapdash and careless….you never TRY HARD ENOUGH.

Ah, there’s the big one. I knew she’d speak up soon. The old “you’re lazy” ghost.

Gawd, I hate her. She’s made me work to the point of breakdown, pushed me to exhaustion, forced me to do all sorts of insane things. She makes me DO stuff. Gawd, I love her.

One more time, I call to her, sitting as she is, arms crossed, face knotted in disdain. Push me one more time. You can stay.

20140430-194146.jpg








Multiple Sclerosis Research Blog

A blog for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis. Interpreting good, bad and other research news

Destination Humanity

Chasing big dreams one photo at a time

Ingridphilipp's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

*UNBREAKABLE QUEEN'S LIFE LESSONS DIARY*

Breaking Free From The Past, In Hope For A Bigger & Brighter Future

Christ a poet

one word at a time

%d bloggers like this: