Losing My Mojo, But Dancing and Singing Honestly Anyway

The title of today’s post comes from several conversations swirling around the blogosphere over the past couple of days, so I will explain with links to each.

Today, Christine asked “Why do you write blogs?” prompting my, admittedly morose response:

“My 100% honest (with myself) answer to this question is that I blog because, right now, I feel like I have nothing else in my life. :(

Now, I’m not quoting myself in a plea for sympathy. Seriously, I copied the quote because I always try to write from an honest place. Honesty isn’t always pretty.

My response prompted a response from Julia and led me to her post from yesterday called “If You Give a Blogger a Pie . . . “  which caused me to recognize that I am currently feeling a complete loss of mojo.

In an attempt to reclaim that lost mojo, I am joining a movement that I unknowingly inspired with my guest post the other day. The conversation following that post caused  Stuart to create a new movement he is calling the “National ‘Sing Everywhere” Movement”  which he describes in the linked post. That led, of course, to the creation by Zencherry (whose comment really started the movement) of the fabulous “Sing Out Loud, Naughty Badge” which I have proudly displayed on my sidebar and include here as well.

What does this badge stand for? It stands for the people who create simply for  the joy of creation. People who blog simply because they love to create. People who sing even if their voices are weak. People who dance with two left feet. It is a badge for people who have lost their mojo, to remind them that the only way to regain your mojo is to sing, to dance, to write, to create, to dream.

Maybe my Mojo isn’t lost for good.

The view as I looked for my lost mojo.

Achieving a Short Term Goal With the Help of a Friend

As you know if you read my post yesterday, I’m struggling a little at the moment with trying to figure out exactly where I’m going and what I am doing.

I know I’m not the only one. An artist friend of mine who I knew only briefly but who was part of the inspiration for the moon lady image that I use as my header, caught me on Facebook and we chatted a little bit. We are each at a searching stage of our journey. So I suggested we give each other challenges to help break free of our fears and just be creative. I gave her a list of words to use as her first challenge:  tree, blue, book, candle, and purple. In return, she gave me these words: window, red, coffee, paper, pencil and brown.

We gave each other a week to accomplish some kind of creation, but of course avoiding the list making I was intending to do today led me to finding inspiration in her words.  I have since created this collage of inspirational images that I have hung over my computer.  All photos were taken by me, so that counts.

Coffee Cup Dreams

Windows Weather the Winds of Time (100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups)

This weeks challenge comes from the fabulous Julia with a wonderful picture from Terry who always inspires me with her photographic eye. Today she inspired me to a little bit of poetry.

Click on the image to visit Terry's blog, The Incredible Lightness of Seeing

Windows weather the winds of time
sharing secrets with none.
Reflecting stories of sadness and change
in a house that was once a home.

Windows look out on a world of green
or brown or gold or white
staying silent about lives they’ve seen
and memories they hold tight.

Windows dream of a time gone by
when inside the glow was strong
when the warmth within
held the darkness out
and the window did no wrong.

Windows weather the winds of time
despite cracked panes and boards
sharing no secrets and yet holding all
of lives, of loves, of words.

Be sure to visit other participants in this challenge. You will find them at Julia's Place

Discipline, Creativity, and Achieving Goals

Have you ever had a day where it all seems like a waste of time?

I’m not talking about writer’s block, but that feeling that the pursuit of creativity, of words, of passion seems like spinning wheels to get you nowhere. After all, the reality of being able to make a real living this way is slim to none. As I get deeper into my course on self-publishing, I realize that there is no secret solution except writing, creating, working hard, and repeating until maybe you make a crack in the market.

It is disillusioning and intimidating.

While I write a lot, and have hundreds of ideas, I seem to be all over the place–unable to commit to one project and really focus on it. I am lacking the discipline I need.

Why? Because I am working for myself. I have nobody giving me deadlines. I don’t have a looming production date. All I have is me, my ideas, and my dreams.

And those don’t seem to be enough.

So, today I am making an attempt at refocusing. I am making a plan. What kind of plan? I have no idea, but it is time to give myself the focus and discipline I need. I need deadlines. I need goals. I need specific details. I need someone to check in and say, you will get xyz done by such-and-such a day.

Barring any of that, I need a swift kick in the butt. Any volunteers?

Announcing a Guest Post

I was honored a while back to be asked by Stuart Nager over at Bornstoryteller to contribute a guest post to his wonderful series on creativity. He published it today!  Please hop over to read my post, and then explore the other fabulous works over there.

Stuart and I have a lot in common, as you will recognize simply by noting the theme he uses for his page. 😉 We are both teaching artists passionate about the importance and value of developing creativity and including arts in the school. He is a talented writer and you will not regret visiting him and exploring.  Enjoy.

❤ Lisa

Happy Sigh Day

I started a different post yesterday, that I thought I’d finish today. But instead today has turned out to be a Sigh Day.

A Sigh Day? What’s a sigh day?

Perhaps a quote will help you understand:

“Halfway down the stairs, is a stair, where I sit. There isn’t any, other stair, quite like, it. I’m not at the bottom, I’m not at the top; So this is the stair, where, I always, stop. Halfway up the stairs, isn’t up, and isn’t down. It isn’t in the nursery, it isn’t in the town. And all sorts of funny thoughts, run round my head: It isn’t really anywhere! It’s somewhere else instead!”
― A.A. Milne

Not helping?

A sigh day is a day when  life is neither up nor down. For me it is a day where thoughts fly in, but I cannot catch them. Where beauty catches my eye briefly only to disappear. A sigh day is a day where I can’t quite grasp what I am looking for. Or, as Winnie the Pooh says,

“But it isn’t easy,’ said Pooh. ‘Because Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you.”
― A.A. MilneThe House at Pooh Corner

Sometimes a sigh is a sad thing.

Sometimes a sigh is a glad thing.

And sometimes a sigh is just a sigh.

Today is a sigh day for me, and I really can’t explain it. So I guess I’ll just go with it and say it out loud

 

The Mysterious World of Bubbles

The Weekend Theme over at Sidie’s Blog is one simple (but to me) very magical word: Bubbles. I took a little trip into fantasy fiction this week, I hope you enjoy.

I have a secret. Most people don’t know this, but bubbles contain real magic. No, I’m not just talking about the visible magic of swirling colors that you can see, or the ability to ride away on invisible breezes. That’s just the nature of bubbles, not really magic.

What I am talking about is real, honest to goodness magic. The kind that takes you by surprise and whisks you away to the unexpected before you even know it happened.

Don’t believe me? I am living proof, because I have spent my life with bubble magic. I was once a normal girl like you, spending days with my family and playing silly girl games. Until one summer day, long, long ago when I discovered the secret of bubble magic, and my life has never been the same.

“There’s no bubble magic,” you scoff. “There’s no secret.”

If you aren’t careful, you might find yourself lost in the land of bubbles. And once you’ve been there, your life will change forever.

Have you ever looked into a bubble? I’m sure you have. You’ve seen the swirling colors moving around the perfect sphere until Pop! The bubble disappears with a tiny splash.

But, if you look deeper into a perfect bubble, so deep that you can’t see anything but that bubble, you might be one of the lucky few who see the truth. The shifting colors are not just blobs of color, but windows into another world filled with tiny towns, magical beings, mystical forces, grim castles, and dangerous creatures. Bubbles are the windows and doors to lands most people only find through books and imagination. Bubbles connect here from there, but only for crossing over isn’t without its risks, and only a few people ever discover the truth.

Or maybe I’m the only one.

It happened long, long ago. The summer sun sizzled and my brother, sister, and I couldn’t get motivated to do anything but complain about the heat. Mom didn’t want us wandering down to the swimming hole because our aunt and her family would be coming at some point that day, and Mom didn’t want to have to hunt us down. She made us help get the house ready, which didn’t help our moods as we cleaned in the heat. By 2:00, there was still no sign of our cousins, and Mom had thrown us out of the house, tired of our whining and complaining. Still we weren’t allowed to wander far. We each tried to find a cool place in the shade of the porch or by fanning ourselves with handmade paper fans, but the sun was slowly wilting our spirits into submission.

Then Mom, who I think felt a little guilty for keeping us trapped in an oven, brought out a special treat. Well, two special treats, an ice-cold pitcher of lemonade and a big basin filled with bubble juice. She showed us how to capture the liquid in rings she had made for us out of twigs, and fill the sky with bubbles.

I loved every single bubble.

Eventually, however, my brother and sister couldn’t take the heat anymore, and decided to take some lemonade into our tree house and read while they waited for our cousins.

I kept playing with the bubbles. The ever-changing colors inside the bubbles fascinated me. I felt like they hid secrets that I would understand if I could just make a bubble that would last longer, or a bigger more beautiful bubble. I set about experimenting with ways to create bigger and better bubbles.

Thus began my bubble obsession. My cousins eventually arrived, but I didn’t care. I spent their entire visit of two weeks experimenting with new ways to make bubbles. New tools for bubble rings. Different ways to make bubble mix. I was determined to make the biggest most beautiful bubble ever.

To both my joy and sadness, I succeeded.

Twilight had set in, and all the other kids were running around trying to capture fireflies and place them in tightly lidded jars with holes in the top. We only kept them for an hour and watched their beautiful semaphore before releasing them back into the world to find their mates. As much as I loved chasing fireflies, I didn’t join in, focusing on my bubble experiments.

I had formed a giant ring by patiently weaving together reeds that I had gathered from where they grew by the swimming whole. It had taken several days to complete, but I was sure it would create the world’s best bubble.

I dipped it into the thickest, soapiest, most colorful bubble concoction I had yet created. Raised it carefully, and then took a few running steps so the air would fill the bubble juice and make the bubble grow. It grew. A bubble the size of me. A bubble with every color of the rainbow, and some I couldn’t name. A bubble that contained what looked to me like tiny houses and tiny people in a world that mirrored my own, except that it had richer brighter colors than the tired colors that came from a summer filled with more heat than rain.

The bubble seemed to twinkle and glow, pulsing with energy. Then, in a surprising move, it didn’t float away on the slight breeze like all the others, but floated toward me. It did not pop on contact but enveloped me. Suddenly I found myself inside the bubble, looking out on the world I knew. That world wavered as the bubble rose, and the interior world of the bubble became more solid seeming, carrying with it a lilting song of the inhabitants of that bubble world, including birdsong more sweet than any I’d ever heard, the chatter of many voices, and the movement of people and animals I’d never met before.

As you can expect, I was very excited to have found my way into the bubble world. However, there is one thing I wish I had known that I didn’t find out until a few magical moments later. Before you decide to find your own way into this magical land, you need to know the truth. The only way in and out of the land is through the perfect bubble, and that gateway only lasts until the bubble goes POP!

If you want to return to the land of your home, you must find your way to another perfect bubble, made by another person who sees more in the joy of bubbles than rainbows . . . and that person is hard to find.

Are you the person to make a bubble for me so that I can come home?

Reflections on Occupy Thanksgiving, Joy Tinged with Sadness

Starting to load up the table

Insomnia struck at 3:30 am after a fitful sleep before that.

Simply a result of overindulgence?

It would have been convenient if I was one of the crazy thrifty multitudes who choose to line up outside stores for the early openings and buying frenzy known as Black Friday, but I’m not.

Instead it was a reflection of something more. When denied sleep I buried myself in the beauty of tragic love past, reading Jane Eyre for the first time in many years and relishing every dramatic throb of love torn asunder. Finally, I thought I could go back to sleep only to find myself crying convulsively, waking Nathan with wracking sobs.

Why would a day filled with laughter, smiles and thanks bring on this insuppressible sadness?

Because amidst the celebration I saw my mother’s eyes tear up when Sarah interviewed her and asked two important questions:

  1. “What are you thankful for?” Answer: “That all my loved one’s are here together.”
  2. “If you could have one wish, what would it be?” Answer: “That Papa would get better.”

You see, in the cacophony of voices, telling jokes, sharing stories, there was one gaping hole of silence sitting to my left. My Dad, who used to be the life of the party, now caught in the trap of Alzheimer’s would only interject in discomfort or annoyance if we pushed him too hard to eat.

Note my tongue sticking out, a habit I got from my Dad

The silence is heartbreaking.

The day, overall was joyous. Sarah’s excitement and enthusiasm for interviewing everybody was contagious. The food delicious. The laughter and conversation scintillating.

It’s been a long time since my family sat down together for a meal, followed by playing games together.

Love this image with Mom joining in the fun.

All in all a wonderful day that I will always be thankful for, and that I believe Sarah will hold in her memory.

Sarah got the big end of the wishbone. I hope all her wishes come true.

Still, for me, a joyous day tinged with a little sadness.

Most photo's taken by Steve, also known as Taochild

Occupy Thanksgiving: The Five Senses of Thanks

Warning, today’s post is a somewhat rambling journey into nostalgia brought on by the five senses.

The delicious aroma of my Mom’s recipe for stuffing permeated the house last night, making me want to dive into its comforting flavor-filled memory. I admit that I conducted a taste test to be sure it was perfect, which it was.

 

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite non-religious holiday. I used to love rushing down to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade back when the parade itself seemed longer than the commercials (now, sadly, the opposite is true). I am determined to make it to New York one of these years to see the parade live and without commercial interruptions.

For some strange reason (perhaps because I have been spending the week trying to OCCUPY Thanksgiving) the build up to Thanksgiving this week has been filled with moments of nostalgia and flashes of memory brought on by the power of my senses and some strange moments of serendipity.

 Today the house will fill with other scintillating smells,  as well as the delicious flavors that lead to overindulgence and (hopefully) create fabulous memories for my daughter, as  we have a family Thanksgiving.

While our family Thanksgivings have become more about a decadent meal than anything else for the past few years, I am still thankful for the memories of Thanksgivings past–memories that are carried in the scents and flavors of our traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Part of the joy of Thanksgiving was the rush home the day before after a half-day of school. The cool but crisp autumn air making me walk more quickly to get inside the warmth of the place called home. Yesterday, Sarah rushed in with excitement and energy, partially incited by the thrill of a homework assignment (believe it or not) where she is asked to interview a family member about his/her life as a third grader and Thanksgivings past. It should be fun hearing the stories, and I might encourage her to interview everyone not just one person.

Yesterday evening we decided to head to the movies to watch The Muppets which added to my feelings of nostalgia with the songs, sounds, and beloved characters of my youth. I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the movie (once I got over the slight disappointment of character voices that weren’t quite right. Frank Oz was not part of this movie, and Fozzy Bear suffered for his lack). I found myself singing along to songs old and new, with a flashback to a favorite childhood performance of mine as I joined the muppets in a moving rendition of “Rainbow Connection.”

Yesterday, as I wrote my post in honor of Anne McCaffrey, I had an instant memory of a story I wrote for my class in sixth grade. Actually, it was a collection of stories and poems that I wrote and copied precisely into a hard covered dark green book with a gold pattern on the front and a red ribbon bookmark attached. Each story or poem has illustrations, also made by me.  I have that book somewhere and had hoped to copy the pages of the dragon story inspired by my reading of McCaffrey into my post, but we cannot find the book as it is lost in some of the boxes yet to find a place.  It is amazing how I can still picture the writing and the smell of that book and even the feel of the smooth pages in that book. I even remember the feeling in my hand as I cautiously drew light pencil lines on the blank pages, followed by penciled in letters, followed by tracing each letter in black marker before adding the illustrations.

The creation of my first book.

In a bizarre twist of nostalgic fate, just last night, Mrs. Jorgenson, the fabulous teacher who assigned the project to me accepted a friend request on Facebook that I had sent long ago. Coincidence or a reminder that we should be thankful for all of our past experiences, and all of the amazing teachers who have guided our hands along the way?

Finally, in the mail yesterday I received a book sent to me by someone who I have known since grade school at least, if not earlier. Milton has been following my blog (thanks for that)  and staying in touch via Facebook and he wrote me last week saying:

“I came across a book of quotes I thought you might like today and wanted to send it along. It’s called “The Quotable Woman”. My Sister in Law was giving it away and I thought you might get some use from it.”

As soon as I got it I started reading,  and of course my eyes were filled with wisdom and words from women of all types. Some you’ve heard before, some you haven’t, but all of them lend food for my thoughts about the power of women’s voices. So thank you, Milton, for this special little gift.   I have a feeling these quotes will be appearing in my posts for a while, starting withe these two found in the chapter called “Time and Change.”

“Memory is more indelible than ink. ” Anita Loos

“Sometimes I would almost rather have people take away years of my life than take away a moment.” Pearl Bailey

I leave you today wishing you all a wonderful day, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not. Take today and enjoy every moment with all of your senses.

Occupy Thanksgiving: Thanks for the Words, Anne McCaffrey et al

A good story is a good story no matter who wrote it. Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey.

I just learned that Anne McCaffrey passed away yesterday. While I haven’t read everything she has written (I didn’t like her sci-fi stuff as much as her fantasy), the original Dragonriders of Pern and Dragonsingers of Pern series introduced me to a fantasy world that I still love today.

She is just one of the many word magicians who have influenced my entire life. Of course many of you, my friends and fellow bloggers, are included in this list.

But today, in honor of Anne McCaffrey, I would like to thank all of the incredible wordsmiths who changed my life by: taking me on journeys to unknown lands; showing me the beauty and power of a well written phrase; and encouraging me by writing books and poems, essays and articles, songs and speeches fearlessly.

“When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.”- James Earl Jones

To all writers everywhere:

for the words!

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