Welcome and an Invitation

Over the past several weeks I have had many people sign up to follow this blog.

I am truly honored by that. I am also intrigued, wondering which post brought you in and encouraged you to join.

However, I don’t blog over here much anymore. Many months ago I transitioned to my own self-hosted site: Lisa A. Kramer: Woman Wielding Words at http://www.lisaakramer.com/.

I still write about the same things (although in a slightly more organized fashion) but this site also includes pages for my portfolio and projects, as well as links to my writing.

I’d like to invite all of my new readers over there.

Recent posts include:

Flying Puppet

“For the Love of Learning” in which I have an epiphany about myself which may affect some of my choices in the future.

Snapshot_20131023 (6)

“Time to Stop Talking and Start Doing” in which I give myself a much-needed kick in the pants.

 

“The Thing About Bullying” where I reflect on yet another tragedy caused by bullying, the government, and other issues about society. I’ve written about bullying throughout this blog, as it is one of the topics I am passionate about. I will continue to explore it over there.

I hope to see some of you over there. And please, don’t be shy. Make comments. Tell me why you are there. Let me know a little bit about yourself, as one of the best things about the world of blogging is the connections we make. As a matter of fact, you may want to start with a slightly older post of mine “Getting to Know You” where we get a chance to learn a little bit more about each other especially about why we are in this world of blogging.

I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you.

See you there!

Announcements and Reminders

Hello my friends!

I haven’t been over on this blog for a while to remind you that I mostly blog now at Lisa A. Kramer: Woman Wielding Words. I hope you will come visit me over there. If you haven’t yet, I also have some exciting news. I have joined 14 other talented authors (and two fabulous artists) in publishing the first (of many we hope) collaborative anthologies of short stories.

Available NOW for Kindle, and coming soon on Nook and Kobo!

Available NOW for Kindle, and coming soon on Nook and Kobo!

For more information visit my website, or click on the picture, or just wander over and download a copy today (it’s only $2.99 for 15 diverse and wonderful stories).

Deep Thoughts by Lisa Kramer

No, my deep thoughts will be nothing like Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. There’s an entire website dedicated to his deep (dark, disturbing, and sometimes downright hilarious) thoughts which originated on Saturday Night Live.

Do you remember those?

No, my deep thoughts are the thoughts of a brain that has been working overtime during the past week, but can’t seem to work its way out of the mire of thinking.

To put it simply, I think too much. I cannot move forward into some other kinds of writing or into planning if I can’t empty my brain off all the thoughts competing for attention. If I had a pensieve like Dumbledore in Harry Potter I would be pulling strand out of strand of thoughts out of my head just to give my mind a rest. But I don’t have one, so I must resort to a more mundane way of doing things (or is that a more muggley way of doing things?). I don’t have a magic wand . . . I just have the magic of words.

I want to use that magic except that I’m afraid, because the truth is that some of my thoughts could piss people off. Does that mean I shouldn’t write them? Or is it finally time to get all of this off my chest?

What exactly am I afraid of?

I guess my fear is not being liked. I still struggle with  wanting to belong somewhere, and here on the blog I’ve found a group of friends even if they are only virtual ones. I’m also aware that anyone who has dreams of writing and selling a book, needs to build a fan base. But what if my deep thoughts are too radical? Too opinionated? Or simply too difficult  to follow?

Yup, my thoughts are that deep.

Then I look at one of my writing idols, Andra Watkins aka The Accidental Cootchie Mama, who does not run away from the dark words and thoughts that sometimes haunt her. She lets her characters have a voice through her words, even when those characters and thoughts come from a scary place. Her fiction never fails to chill, thrill, and make you think a little about the meaning of  life. Perhaps I need to allow my deep thoughts to come  out  in the form of fiction, or at least I need to give voice to them somehow.

Even if they make me afraid.

Does anyone want to hear the deep thoughts of Lisa Kramer or should my voice remain silent?

Sometimes deep thoughts come while sitting on a swing and staring at the sky.

Sometimes deep thoughts come while sitting on a swing and staring at the sky.

 

When the Bombs Exploded

When the bombs exploded, I was not there.

I was wandering through the botanical  gardens many, many miles away. I was looking for beauty and inspiration with my brother.

The daffodils  from above.

The daffodils from above.

When the bombs exploded, I wasn’t thinking about the cruelty and senseless acts of violence that fill our world today. Nor of the acts of cowardliness that are disguised as rebellion.

Because make no mistake, yesterday’s act was the ACT OF A COWARD!

Yes, the person or persons who did this are cowards. They sit back and enjoy the chaos and pain they caused. They revel in the news coverage and in their moment of glory. But they don’t have the  courage to claim or explain their act.

THEY ARE COWARDS!

When the bombs exploded, I was not thinking about acts of bravery or cowardice, or how I would react in the face of tragedy. I was reflecting on possibility and hope and ways to change the world to make it a better, more peaceful place.

Sibling Reflections

Sibling Reflections

When the bombs exploded, I was writing a poem with my brother. I would write one line and then show him the last word. He would then respond and show me the last word. And so on . . .

These were the words we saw:

Time.

change.

Possibilities.

hold?

fold?

fantasy.

world.

toes.

Eerie words in retrospect, because the bomb went off and limbs were lost, and the world changed.

Here is the poem we wrote together:

MIND’S ALIKE

By Lisa and Steve Kramer

Changes come with the seasons but also with
Time.

Moving forward, moving back, always now, always
change.

Yet with change comes growth and unexpected
Possibilities.

Ready to fly, or maybe dive beneath the depths; what does the future
hold?

Should we hold onto past dreams? Or is it time to let go and move forward? When do we know when it is time to
fold?

It often comes back on itself, or maybe makes shapes of
fantasy.

How does one turn fantasy into reality? Perhaps we can’t reach the fairies and the magic, but with focus and intent we can, indeed, change the
world.

It is our heart, it is our soul, it is the solid beneath our
toes.

When the bombs exploded, this was a poem of hope, but now it feels like a poem of sadness. And yet, the beauty of the day remains, and the beauty of those people who helped others outshines the horror of the act. The words of people who were there make me feel that perhaps change can happen. Hope can happen. Kindness can happen.

Beauty still exists.

Snapshot_2013415 (41)

When the bombs exploded, a  poem was just a poem. But now everything is different . . .

because the bombs exploded.

What Holds You Back?

The excuses are abundant . . .
no time
no money
I’m blocked
no ideas.

But they are  just excuses.

What really holds you back from achieving your dreams? From changing your life?

I’ve been  thinking a lot about this question, and have come to the conclusion that there is only one thing holding me back.

The Culprit

The Culprit

Moving Through the Sadness

A dream swallows me
images with no meaning
but the sense of being trapped
in a home that is not my own
without any dreams to move me forward . . .A rainy day

into tomorrow. I pull myself awake
yearning to remain in
the oblivion of sleep
but terrified by the images that
haunt me . . .

into my waking hours.
I blink awake
and hug my daughter
in desperation and love
looking for answers she does not have.
She doesn’t even understand the questions . . .

I write in my Morning Pages
filled with words I’ll never share
some of hope
some of fear
some of the sadness I carry with me . . .

out into the living room
to be greeted by a flowerDad's flower.
that represents Dad
the man I miss
the man I mourn
the man who was . . .

the man who I never really knew.
I wonder what my daughter knows of me.
What mark will I leave behind
for future generations unknown?
Will my life pass as a blink
with nothing to show but the memories . . .

found in a flower?
I move through the day,
searching through the hope
and find a dream
written by two idiots
that reminds me that all that  really matters . . .

is the journey, not the destination.

Moving Toward Possibility

 

 

Wishing for a Dip in the Creative Pool

“If you think of the universe as a vast electrical sea in which you are immersed and from which you are  formed, opening to your creativity changes you from something bobbing in that sea to a more  fully functioning, more conscious, more cooperative part of that ecosystem.

[. . .]

The heart of creativity is an experience of the mystical union; the heart of the mystical union is an experience of creativity.” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way)

Today my wish may seem personal, because of my own dreams of becoming  a published author along with other creative aspirations. However, this wish goes beyond the personal because of some things I believe. I believe that there is energy that joins all life. I believe in a common pool of thoughts, experiences, and ideas–creative sparks–that some are able to access better than others. That pool contains the essence of creation. I believe that everyone has access to that creative pool, but some have cut themselves off and denied their own creative souls. I believe everyone is creative, although creativity takes different forms and is expressed in different ways.

I believe that living a creative life makes life worth living.

This doesn’t mean  that every person needs to be an artist or a writer in a traditional sense. It means that I wish for everyone to be able to access the power from that creative pool in order to enrich their lives. I wish  for everyone to be able to touch their inner child–for children are much closer to this creative energy–or dip into their hidden dreams to embrace their bliss beyond the day-to-day exercise of living.

I wish that everyone had the opportunity to swim in that creative pool, because I also believe that if we can recognize the things that connect us, we can find new answers to the problems that plague us. We will be less afraid of things that are different from us, because we will see  difference is another form of creativity, another expression of meaning drawn from this pool of energy that joins us.

“Why should we all use our creative power . . . ? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” (Brenda Ueland)

Sometimes I ask myself why I keep writing everyday. Why, when it seems like I will never break through to sell an actual book or to have my words read by more than a handful of people, do I keep trying? Why do I have pages and pages of creative writing, of short stories, of novel starts, of poetry, of journal entries, of essays that will never see the light of day?

The answer is  simple, writing is my way of accessing the energy within the pool, energy that connects me with all life.

There have been rare occasions when I so completely lose myself into the pool that I hardly know  the words that come out. Someone, something, some form of energy pours through me to write something that is beyond me,  even though it contains my words and my style. I love when that happens. I love when I lose myself to the flow of energy, of creativity and of words, and never notice the passage of time.

Some of my best work comes out of those moments. Some of my best blog posts have come out of those moments. For example, this piece of fiction entitled The Moon Calls.

Sometimes my dip into the creative pool leads me away from words and into directions I never expect.

The Storyteller

Today I wish that everyone would be able to experience the power of this creative pool and recognize what it really means . . . simply that we are all connected by the power of creation.

Who is ready to jump into the pool and go for a swim?

 

Dark Reality and My Writing Journey

The young girl lay in her bed under a dusty rose comforter with delicate white flowers. Stuffed animals graced the sides of her bed, while extra blankets folded over her feet made her feel safe and  secure whenever she fell asleep. The early morning sun began to sneak in through the window over her bed, despite the curtains pulled across to block out the light. 

The girl clutched her covers around her. She had been awake for  a while now, before the golden light seeped into the room. Despite the beauty of the morning, she didn’t want to turn her head toward the empty bed across the room–deserted by her older sister when she left for college a few weeks before. She wasn’t afraid of the empty bed, but of what she had seen on and  around that bed upon waking up. 

I can’t look. What if they’re still there? She knew she had to look. It must have been a dream. I imagined it.

She turned her head.

It wasn’t a dream. She saw the bodies piled on her sister’s bed–emaciated bodies with dark circles underneath dead eyes and bald heads. Next to them was an even bigger pile of skulls and other bones  in a jumble. 

She wanted to scream but couldn’t find the breath.

She stared in shock for several long minutes, rubbing her eyes and blinking in the hopes that the nightmare would end. She couldn’t find her voice to call out for help.  After what felt like a long fifteen minutes the image shifted. The piles turned into the reality of her bedroom. The bodies turned into pillows and clothes she had put on her sister’s bed. The bones turned into knickknacks and collectibles on her sister’s bedside table.

She was back into reality, but she knew it wasn’t a dream.Dusty rose bedspread

***

A few days ago I mentioned how the mini-series The Holocaust helped me recognize the power of words. In a comment on that post the fabulous Kathy mentioned how the Holocaust influenced her desire to become a writer. Kathy’s words and images on Lake Superior Spirit never fail to inspire me and give me moments of peace, so we are all blessed by the fact that she found inspiration in the horror.

As did I, but I’ve also found challenges because of it. For you see, that little girl under the rose-pink bedspread was me. That vision or hallucination or glimpse at memory was mine, and I was wide awake.

The miniseries sparked a sort of fascination within me, where I wanted to learn more and understand more about how such horror could happen, how mankind could be so cruel based on things so invisible and meaningless–differences in culture, in belief, in race. I became a voracious reader of Holocaust literature, starting with The Diary of Anne Frank and moving up to more mature and adult fare. (I was a very advanced reader). I talked with Mrs. Sekler, my Hebrew School teacher and the  only person I knew who had the blue numbers etched into her arm.

Until the day I saw the bodies and the bones.

I told my parents what happened,  and they said I had to stop reading Holocaust literature. They said it was probably a dream, fueled by the books. So I stopped until I was an adult and could handle it again.

What does this have to do with my writing journey?

I know my biggest flaw as a writer, if I want to make it as a successful author of fiction, especially YA/NA, I need to be willing to write darker material. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of eerie or creepy pieces, and my characters often have a dark side. They aren’t always flitting with fairies and riding on rainbows. However, I could never have written The Hunger Games because I can’t get myself to write about young people killing young people. I can’t write the descriptive and violent darkness found  in so many successful books these days.

I’m blocked when it comes to that stuff.

Yet, in a world where this cruelty exists every day, in blatant and subtle forms, I have to confront my own inability. I live in a country where a loud and powerful minority want to maintain their flimsy and mostly imagined supremacy by limiting the rights of others to things like healthcare, marriage, control of their own bodies, and the right to worship as they please. How is that different from the desire  to have a “Master Race”? I live in a world of rape-culture where the victims get blamed and the rapists get glorified. I live in a world where people are murdered by guns, while others cling to their rights to have weapons built only for the purpose of killing lots of people as quickly as possible. I live in a world where women are tortured and brutalized every day for reasons as meaningless as the desire to become educated. I live in a world where people are still judged by the color of their skin, the way they worship, the language they speak, or the way they dress.

I live in a cruel world.

If I want to become  the writer I dream to be, I need learn how to write about that world, in the  voice of that world. I need to embrace the possibility of seeing the darkness, the violence,  the pain with my own waking eyes, and then combating it with the power of my words.

This is my challenge to myself. This is my writing journey.

Celebrating Words

I believe that I am now on #35 of my Celebrating 45 list. Peppered throughout the list you will see my love of reading/writing/and language of all sorts.

Today, I want to celebrate the importance of words in my life. It has taken me a long time to admit this. I still blush or stumble when I try to claim it in person, but here goes . . .

I am a writer!!!

My love of words goes beyond written language. I love hearing and seeing language used with power and flexibility. I am addicted to Podcasts and TED talks, where master’s of the arts of writing and speaking fascinate their audiences with perfect phrasing, eloquent language, and an ability to manipulate language for sound and meaning A memorable phrase that lives beyond the moment of reading or hearing it, gives me chills. I thrill in those rare and wonderful moments when my own words–through some source outside myself–come together to create that indescribable perfection of consonants, vowels, and phrasing.

I just finished reading Don’t Let Me Go  by Catherine Ryan Hyde (excellent book with wonderful characters and plot that makes you want to know more).  Two sentences of hers made me yell (in my mind) “That’s it!!!”:

“Hard work can sometimes substitute for natural ability, but natural ability almost never makes up for not being willing to do the work.” (pg. 149)

“Sorry doesn’t mean shit. Not if you don’t plan to stop doing the thing you’re so sorry about. There has to be more to amends than just a word.” (pg. 406)

However, this post isn’t about celebrating other people’s words, as fabulous as they may be.

This is about celebrating words in my own life.

In 1978, when I was 10 years old,  I sat mesmerized and terrified by the television mini-series The Holocaust. 

This was in the midst of my own Hebrew School years, and the crucial years leading up to my Bat Mitzvah. Although I have since lost some of the religious beliefs, being a Jew was (and to some extent still is) an important aspect of my life at that time.

At a Hebrew School meeting after the series aired, the Rabbi met with all the classes to discuss what we had seen. I raised my hand and said, “It made me scared to be a Jew, but prouder than ever to be a Jew.”

On Saturday morning (I’m told–I would have been at the children’s service if I was there) the Rabbi used my words as part of his reflection during the service. This was the moment that I became aware that the right choice of words–even when you don’t know that they are the right words–can be magical, powerful and reach beyond the pages or the circumstances where they’ve been created.

My journey through writing started in school, with my first poems written in 1st grade along with a puppet play. My first book was a collection of poems and short stories that I hand-lettered and illustrated as a project in sixth grade, for another fabulous teacher who influenced my life named Mrs. Jorgensen. My first published work was a poem written bout a piece of art in a museum, that then got placed into some kind of literary magazine someone put out.

I have numerous starts and starts of stories, novels, poems etc. scattered throughout journals and gathered in three-ring binders. Throughout my life I’ve found solace and friendship in words, probably more than anyone even knew. Because of this it makes sense to me that when life began to fall apart around me (for reasons I won’t go into here) I turned to words–writing my first real book, joining a book club, and creating  a small writing group. The two women from that writing group convinced me to take the step into a then unknown world, the one of blogging. Over 756 posts (spread across several blogs) and thousands if not millions of words later, my life is filled with words. Some of them sing with the beauty I yearn for, but most of them are mundane and some are even cliché. However, words fill my life and sustain me, so a celebration of my life would not be complete without celebrating the words that fill it.

What are some of your favorite words? What quotes live on in your memory?

 

At 4am

At 4 am
Darkness is
inevitable.

Not the literal darkness
of a world at rest–
for that is hard to find
as the lights of technology
bleed through
a constant reminder
of human vs. world.

This is the darkness
that leaks out of nightmare
where painful reality
joins forces
with the creatures who hide inside
gnawing at sensitive spots
until your mind screams wake up
or stay in a land filled with
creeping mists
oozing their chill
across the floor
while doomed faces
threaten you
with the failures
of your own mind
and the reality of a world
which prides greed and cruelty
over community
We all pay the price
When we wake into
the inevitable darkness of doubt.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: