And God Said Nothing. (Rant of an Aging Creative).

From a writer’s group exercise. Thanks to Nadine for the reflection prompts.

She told God she wanted to tell stories, to spin life from words and infect everyone around her with beauty and hope, to speak the truths that slice like blades, cutting away the rotten, deadened flesh of battle scars. She told God she wanted to burn bright and warm and contagious, light begetting light, fire begetting fire, so the earth would blaze like the night sky. She told God she wanted to cry the tears of the Phoenix, healing the hurts of those with whom she mourned, and calling forth resurrections from the broken, battered children all around.

This is what she told God, and God said that all this was good, and meant, and more, and that she would never be alone or forsaken.

And then God sent her into exile. She wrote alone, she burned alone, she wept alone. Her fire flickered and faltered, grew dim and cold, and she spent herself trying to shore up the wan little ember that remained. With neither strength nor conviction, she muttered the bitter old cliche: “Why?”

And God said nothing.

And God said nothing.

And God said nothing.

***

It’s hard to live in the moment when the moment seems like the opposite of what you want. Maybe that’s selfish and immature, I’ve lost all perspective, but I found too many moments unbearable, and so I live now at a distance from reality, in exile from myself, coming back to visit a moment occasionally, to see if the sense of it has changed, but it hasn’t, so I withdraw again to my dying campfire of love or self or passion or whatever it was I used to burn with.

I used to find that gratitude journals kept me grounded and present and thankful, but now whenever I attempt lists, I am overly aware of the thinness of the straws at my fingertips. They connect me to nothing, they end a few inches past the end of my reach, and in their futility, they only emphasize my exile and joylessness.

I wonder if my goals are paper puppets, stupid little fantasies to keep me company in the blackness, imaginary friends. I cannot say if I am lost because I’m not even sure I am moving, or that there is anything to move to or from, or if I even have a shape anymore.

A friend and I talked recently about shapes. We talked about the shapes of our bodies, youthful, pregnant, post-babies, post-surgery. She said she used to have this image of herself, that perhaps she wasn’t so pretty, but at least she had a good body. She looked good naked. She said that in her head, this is still how she exists, but that in reality that girl doesn’t exist anymore, post-babies, post-surgery, when her tummy is an alien terrain, unrecognizable to her.

And she observed in passing, as if it were the most obvious, easy thing in the world, that I probably have an image of myself as a creative person surrounded by creative people, and that person maybe just doesn’t exist anymore, and that the trick is in letting go of the old image.

Let the false images die, let the false selves die, let the ego die, die to Me that you may live, for whosoever loses her life for My sake will find it. The words cut me, like blasphemy (but against whom? gods real or imaginary?), both absurd and absurdly painful, and I wonder.

Clearly, something is dying, whether I want it to or not, whether I allow it or not (what a joke!). It was always beyond my control. And God says nothing. And God says nothing. And I hold to the old wishes, and I believe they were affirmed, that they were important, but what if they weren’t? Perhaps they were imaginary friends. And perhaps if I let go, allow the death and (hopeful) resurrection, there will be creativity in a new dimension on the other side. Or perhaps something so foreign that I can’t recognize it at all, like Narnia after the fall of Narnia.

That’s the TOTALLY SUCKY thing about dying selves – it never feels any less like dying, no matter how many times you think you’ve been there, done that. Always the blackness, always the silence, always the pain, always the utter lack of self or choice or dignity.

I can’t frame my life without that image of myself. I don’t know my own shape if I don’t have that to lean into. And maybe that’s the point? Maybe the frame has to die because I am even bigger than I thought. Maybe I’ve been using it as a crutch, to feel safe, filling up the small space I created for myself, feeling important that way, propping up my idea of my life. But I have no schema, no scaffolding, no analogy, no imaginative tool to leap outside of it. It’s a blind wasteland from here. A Great Blank. Like being in the womb (and DAMMIT I WASN’T GOING TO RESORT TO BIRTH ANALOGIES.)

Oh well.

Anyway.

“I can’t believe you did this to me,” she said to God.

And God said nothing.

And they sat in the darkness together for a while longer.

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Father’s Day!

EPSON MFP image

One of our many roadtrips, clutching some kind of kid bling, probably Trolls. We were into those for a while.

It’s Father’s Day!

If you’ve hung around me for any length of time, you know my father gets kind of a bad rap. You know, he’s The One Who Left, etc. That stuff was formative to my personality, and so tends to get a lot of airtime, but then
I feel bad about that because he has his awesome side too, and this seems like an appropriate day to go WOO-HOO about all that. This grew out of a writer’s group prompt from last year.

My Dad never did anything halfway. Life with him was always a celebration of excess. When he first moved out, he lived and worked out of an industrial warehouse by the train tracks in small-town Columbiana. Looking back as an adult, I think he probably lived there because he couldn’t afford a separate apartment, but to us, who didn’t know from budgeting, it seemed he’d found us a strange, abandoned castle. Piles of alien substances around every corner, sleeping machine monsters, armies of vacuum cleaners standing at attention, and our clapboard bunk beds tucked neatly into the corner where we wrestled and fought and anchored our epic games of hide-and-seek. The treasure room was Dad’s office, in which we weren’t allowed to play, and where one whole wall was covered in sparkling mosaic tile shards, glittering jewels from floor to ceiling, endless patterns forming from the chaos, constellations in his private universe.

Outside the castle, the kingdom was equally exotic. The terrain was mountainous- I can’t remember the substance or color of the towering piles of debris, but they made a perfect landscape for games of adventure, spoil, and danger. And the train tracks, endless and mysterious and deadly, whispered of journeys I would never take, sang of places that only existed in my imagination, and then clamped down with finality on pennies and nickels and my first dog.

That warehouse is one of the earliest place-memories I associate with my father, and the wealth and space and wildness are things that I still associate with him. Dad’s life always smelled of abundance and surprise and magic. There began our tradition of hedonistic feasts – all you could eat pizza, soda, oreos, candies, new toys, and all-nighter movie marathons. Every child’s pot of gold. With my father, every visit was a celebration of wealth whether we had any or not. Why spend a quarter on the grab machines when you could blow ten bucks? Every truck stop we visited in the next decade suffered a shortage of fluorescent stuffed animals after we left, comparing the loot clutched in our small hands. Why spend an hour playing video games when you could spend the whole weekend camped out in front of the Nintendo, working out together how to open that last blasted door in CastleQuest? Why go home when you could go to Niagara Falls, just for the hell of it? Even the car leaked money, one dollar bills growing from the cracks and crevices to be discovered by eager, believing fingers.

The foosball table was a big hit. So was the billiards table. And the RC cars. And the snowmobiles.

The foosball table was a big hit. So was the billiards table. And the RC cars. And the snowmobiles.

It was also at my father’s knee that I learned the keen art of elaborate surprises – both the giving and receiving. When roadtripping, Dad never told us where we were really going. He got so famous for this that as time went on, he was forced to plant multiple layers of false clues about our destination in order to continue fooling us. We always thought we were going to Niagara Falls when we were going to Chicago, and thought we were going to D.C. when we were going to New York. My first surprise birthday party was at the age of 10, at the zoo. When Dad decided we needed to believe in Santa Claus, he and my mom and aunt and uncle went out at 10pm on Christmas Eve to haul in all the lumber for a tree house, and then went to the trouble of sending someone to shake jingle bells under the window the next morning to bring everyone out for the big reveal.

It was always Christmas at Dad's house!

It was always Christmas at Dad’s house!

Dad is also the master of Spinning a Bad Situation. What do you do when your restaurant is taking way too long to fill the dinner orders of 5-7 hungry children (allowing for various step-siblings)? Invent games to play with the placemats. Preferably loud, raucus, laughter-inducing games so the staff is encouraged to move you out faster. What do you do with a car full of bored children in interminable traffic? Give the other drivers silly names and invent ludicrous dialogues for them to have with one another. In silly voices. Or just inspire a sing-along. What do you do with a car full of frightened children driving through a violent thunderstorm? Invent a ranking system for the lightning bolts and oversee a game of “Come On, Nature, You Can Do Better Than That. Don’t Be Such A Pussy.”

I learned the art of making magic with my Dad, and to whatever extent I manage to bring a little magic to my students or my friends, I like to think I’m channeling a little of him.

Love you, Dad, exactly as you are. <3

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So, I FINALLY Saw “Frozen”

So, as per typical, I FINALLY saw Frozen months after its initial release. I immediately spent two days catching up on every blog post on the internet that I’d bypassed in fear of spoilers. So I’m a little late to the conversation (again, as per typical). This post will contain spoilers, so if you are living in an even deeper cave than I and haven’t seen it yet, I will understand if you want to skip this for now and hopefully come back later.

Let’s get this part out of the way:  It’s not perfect. While some are (hastily and I think incorrectly) hailing it as the most progressive Disney film in history, there are legitimate complaints about characterization, character agency, and plot holes, plot holes, PLOT HOLES. I am highly accomplished in suspending disbelief in order to get lost in a story (stories are my heroin), and even I noticed some of the plot holes.

And I loved it anyway.

I especially felt for Elsa, the repressed but sympathetic antagonist sister, and I can see why her song became THAT SONG. “Let It Go” is going to be the “Part Of That World” for the next generation. Here are both songs if you want to listen again:

And how could “Let It Go” not be the song for the next generation? While Ariel’s song spoke of secret, burning passion, Elsa’s song explodes out of the inner cave, embracing all that latent power and building her her very own ice castle in the sky. No more secret caves for Princesses. Elsa’s song finishes what Ariel’s starts. Almost.

I totally get why this song has hit something deep in the little-girl zeitgeist. Elsa’s repressed powers can be a stand-in for anger, sexuality, artistic or intellectual prowess, leadership capabilities, you name it. Girls especially are taught in subtle (and not so subtle) ways that all of these powers are dangerous, that their natural expressions are not safe for self or others.

And the tighter the cultural bindings, the more likely you will eventually see a dramatic overcorrection. Perhaps even an explosion/self destruction on the magnitude of Elsa’s accidental eternal winter.  Other girls bring the eternal winter inside, suffering quietly from crippling depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, etc. (Please note that I am NOT claiming that all, or even most, mental illness is caused by this kind of repression, but I’m certain it’s a contributing factor in many cases). Elsa experiences both of these extremes, first locked away inside herself (almost literally), and then violently erupting when the pressure builds too much. She suffers from an inability to integrate her whole self.

Elsa is so sympathetic a character that a lot of people are confusing her for a second protagonist. She’s not – her character’s entire purpose in the story is to give her sister Anna obstacles to overcome. Also remember, as other critics have done, that Elsa’s solution to her repression/explosion problem is to run away and cut all ties to her responsibilities. She’s the QUEEN. Her plight may be sympathetic, but we can’t point and say “Do as Elsa does” without caveats. While it’s unusual for the antagonist’s character development song to be the runaway hit (the same didn’t happen for Jafar, Ursula, Gaston, or Scar), it still doesn’t make her a protagonist. Frankly, I wish she HAD been a fully-developed co-protagonist, because then her song really would have been the true heir to Ariel’s. Instead it’s a half-way point. This is where my wish-list for Frozen begins:

I wish the story had made room to show more of Elsa’s healing process. Instead, she has a late-stage major epiphany, and we’re left with the usual happily ever after. I mean, it’s a Disney flick, there’s always a too-easy happily ever after, but it would have been nice if, maybe, they had taken one of her post-ice-castle scenes and we could have seen her wrestling more with her power instead of just running from it. I would have loved to see some of the learning process.

Speaking of that, I wish she had shown more agency in her own healing. Essentially, Elsa ends up playing both the almighty sorceress queen and the damsel in distress. She can name and claim her power only by abandoning everything else. She seems utterly helpless to seek real solutions on her own. It’s nice that she’s rescued by her sister and not a handsome prince, but she is rescued. It’s Anna who pursues her, Anna who saves her, and Anna who delivers the info needed to cure the eternal winter.

And let’s talk about Anna for a minute. She’s been accused of being a bit Manic Pixie Dream Girl, with some truth. I don’t think she’s as bad as all that, but I find it harder to like her for personal reasons. Mostly, I am always deeply annoyed by characters (and, okay, sometimes people) who survive to adolescence still dreaming about finding “The One.” This has a lot to do with the gaping chip on my shoulder left by my parents’ divorce. My fantasy of happily ever after was brutally crushed before the age of ten, and anything over 13 years just seems an unseemly age to still believe. Like still believing in a literal Santa Claus. Except more annoying. But that’s just me. One of my many MPDG personality tics. :D

But again, I don’t think she’s as bad as all that. It’s a little frustrating that her character is under-developed and very naive (which is supposed to make her – charming? Fetching?), but it’s wrong to say, as some have, that her primary objective in the film is to find a man. Her opening “I want” song is “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and the throughline carries. Again, it’s Anna who pursues, rescues and ultimately delivers the key to healing to her sister. And it’s LOVE. Love heals – how great is that message? Elsa is the badass, but Anna wins the day through love and sacrifice. Her focus and determination to make things right with her sister are what make her ultimately admirable and interesting. MPDG as Christ surrogate. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Although, considering that “immaturity” was Anna’s defining fault, it would have also been nice if she’d matured a little farther by the end of the film. My last wish for Frozen is that, at the end, it was Elsa who had ended up with a love interest, and Anna who had decided to spend some time boy-free discovering her powers, ordinary as those might be. An Ice Queen who is portrayed as both powerful and romance-able, with all the complications that entails, and a MPDG who finds contentment being single, would have been a truer narrative breakthrough in my book. Instead, it’s the “perfectly ordinary” girl who still ends up with the guy prize, and the powerful girl who (still) ends up alone.

Again, this is just my wish list. It hasn’t been my intention to engage in princess-bashing (a popular sport recently), so I hope it hasn’t come across that way. I loved Frozen (we haven’t even talked about Olaf!!). It was tremendously clever and entertaining, and I think it took a couple important steps forward for the Disney Princess narrative arc. Taking the Evil Sorceress Queen trope (Ursula, She of the Poisoned Apple) and making her an abused, vulnerable, sympathetic character with the best song was the biggest triumph in my book. I just like thinking about all the ways we can keep moving forward. Your thoughts are welcome!

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Social Isolation and the Awkward Girlfriend Moment

Social isolation and depression can become a self-fulfilling circle of pain. In fact, I’m still fairly sure that my current depression is caused largely BY my social isolation, especially because it lifted so almost-completely during the month when my sister (and, thus, many other people) was/were staying with us.

I had a book club last night where pretty much everyone, or nearly everyone, had been feeling isolated for one reason or another, and we were all so grateful to be in human company again that we were tripping over each other to connect. It was like having several sudden gulps of air after being held under water for many minutes – heady and thrilling and life-giving and even a little chaotic.

And this is the problem with the sparse, deep-breath connections you have with people when you’re not living in regular community – every interaction becomes fraught with way more meaning and nuance than it should. In last night’s share-fest, there was a certain heightened, ecstatic breathlessness to our conversation, which was (I think, and I hope for everyone) refreshing and affirming and nourishing. But if something had gone wrong, that heightened quality could have turned a social deep breath into a lungful of water.

I’m contrasting last night’s experience with an experience I had a couple months ago, another deep-breath occasion, in which an acquaintance of mine, who is usually bright and affirming, was apparently having some kind of really bad day (I didn’t ask, it wasn’t a deep-sharing kind of gathering, but her energy, if you’ll excuse the word, was very, uncharacteristically negative). She was muddling through the event, but it was clear she wasn’t very happy, and her humor had taken on a caustic edge. She made one joke at my expense that I wasn’t very troubled about, but then 15 minutes later she made another one that really hit home, highlighted an aspect of my personality that I am aware of and insecure about and ashamed of, and I was kind of done for the night after that.

If I still lived in community, if I had friends readily available for convos and comfort, if I were still surrounded by a lot of people who make me feel safe and likeable, I probably could have shaken this off in an evening, maybe two. I’m 90% sure that this acquaintance didn’t mean anything by her comments. But because I didn’t have enough people around to counteract the negative, I couldn’t be 100% sure, and so her comment crushed me. Crushed. Me. Was this what she really thought of me? I’d thought we liked each other. Do other people talk about me like this behind my back? Is this everyone’s primary perception of me? Is everyone secretly just tolerating my presence? I cried for three days. I was inconsolable. My husband tried heroically to make me feel better and failed. Finally I called my sister, and she knew all the right affirming things to say to snap me out of it. (Have I mentioned how awesome my sister is?).

And the other part of this is that because of the social isolation, I’m not even sure it’s worth bringing up with her. When every interaction is precious gold in the hand, is it worth it to risk tainting one of those moments by bringing up something that she probably doesn’t even remember, because she really DIDN’T mean anything by it? Or what if the reverse happens, and it turns out she really secretly DOESN’T like me – we socialize in overlapping circles, it’s not like I can NOT run into her. So that could be awkward – in fact, could taint many more deep breath occasions down the line. Five years ago, I could have easily been a grown-up and just checked in with her, and even if it turned out she didn’t care for me, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have needed to grieve a little, but, you know, you can’t please everyone, and there were plenty of other people to socialize with, just tolerating each other would have been fine. But now I feel like I’ve been transported back to junior high, where her opinion of me matters much more than I’d like to admit, and so the politics become weird and tense, and checking in about a hurtful off-hand comment seems like a very dangerous endeavor.

Living in isolation seriously skews your sense of perspective.

The thing is that I know I have days where I’m the perpetrator rather than the victim of this probably-unintended negativity – days where I am bringing the thunderstorm with me, and good luck to you if you happen to stand in the way. Depression and isolation only make this worse.

And I hope with all my heart that the friends who have been on the other end of that have had healthy enough communities to brush it off – “Meghan shouldn’t have said that, she must be in a really bad place right now, maybe I’ll say something about it next time we see each other,” but I know statistically that’s not true. We are lonely in the West. Mother Theresa thought it was our great tragedy.

I don’t have a good way to finish this post, so I’ll end with a wish – it is my wish for all of you that you have vibrant, supportive communities, that you dwell in an emotional place where you know you are deeply loved and loveable, a spectacular and unrepeatable member of the world.

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Some Families Play Sports….

But my family plays board games like it’ll bring the economy back. And it gets really intense. We’ve been known to barely speak to one another for days if a game of Settlers of Catan gets particularly underhanded. Monopoly almost ruined a year of my childhood. One of our favorite games is Mao, which is essentially Uno run by a psychotic and petty dictator. Another fave is Fun Fun Fun, which is mostly fun for whoever ends up on my sister’s team, and noticeably less fun for everyone else. (I think it’s been two years since I had to play a game against her – part of my ongoing strategy is to always. be. on. her. team.)

Hubby has a name for my I’m-not-having-fun-anymore face – Gamezilla. Gamezilla doesn’t remember that it’s just a game. Gamezilla will cut you.

And Gamezilla is nothing to Gayle Waters-Waters, the protagonist of my family’s favorite webseries, “GAYLE.”  As the creators describe the series in their new kickstarter video, “Imagine watching the everyday happenings of a suburban family, but raised to the stakes of a Tom Clancy novel.”

Which brings me to the other thing we do in my family – weird, spontaneous acts of performance art. Like pancake-eating pushup contests staged at 3am on the sidewalk outside the diner where we came up with the idea mere minutes before. Or deciding it would be hilarious to write a mock GAYLE episode in which we wrote her into a pancake-eating pushup contest. And then writing and filming it.

All told, our goofy little venture took about 3 and a half hours, including writing, rehearsing, filming, and the 40 minutes it took to drive to IHOP and back. (It did take an extra two days to edit it coherently, but that was a separate process).

I can’t decide if it’s better to watch ours first before you have expectations, or to watch the original first to offer some context. So I’ll just put them both here and you can decide. :D

Ours. (Please note – the actual “episode” is less than 4 minutes. The rest is outtakes.):

Theirs:

Hope you enjoy! We certainly did!

PS – Here’s what hubby got me for Christmas – Firefly the board game!! Does he know me or what? :)

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Helloooo 2014! Please be an improvement.

A word of caution: I have no plan for this post, no goal, not even a topic. It just seems that it’s been waaay too long since my last post, and I should write something.  So off we go…..

The problem is that my existence seems so unbearably dull, all the time. Even while it’s stressful, it’s dull. Starting to teach in November totally freaked me out, but I don’t particularly want to talk about it. Teaching is still like trying to juggle knives while also riding a unicycle, reciting Hamlet convincingly, and herding cats. Except not as fun. Nothing new under the sun.

December was completely flush with family and joy and happiness, so many visitors! We had sleep-overs every weekend! We made a mock episode of our favorite web series! (Which I would love to show you if we can get copyright permission). We played games until our brains turned to jelly! And now everyone is gone, and I am (again) numb to the world, angry in general, petulant, moody, and bored out of my mind.

I’ve made goals and resolutions for 2014, but I’m not sure I believe in any of them enough to actually say out loud.

One and a half years in this apartment, and still the closest thing I have to friends in this neighborhood are the barristas at my favorite Starbucks, who know my name and order and will make small talk with me briefly every morning.

Even my thought life has grown dull.

I seem to be almost willfully bored – propping up this wall of apathy because…..why? Because the reality hiding behind the apathy is so very fearsome? I have wrestled monsters in my psyche before, I prefer to think of myself as bold and courageous, but the current evidence suggests otherwise. The hiding/evasion reflex is so deeply ingrained, it seems closer to me than I am to myself. It kicks in and bolts down the safety lock before any of my other alarms have even come online. I recognize it only by the numbness. I don’t know what got locked down this time, what could have seemed so threatening that some reptilian part of me would shut it out before it could grow into a conscious thought, but I’m getting tired of not being able to taste my food.

Fortunately, I believe that God is also closer to me than I am to myself, all tangled up in whatever knots are tied in the dark down there, and I believe that God turns deserts into streams of living water. I just wish I believed it better. I feel like the waiting would be less painful if I believed it better. And so this is my prayer these days: I believe – help my unbelief!

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The Thankscraziness Post.

I was going to put off all further blogging until Dec., when National Novel Writing Month will be over, but I find myself ruthlessly procrastinating today anyway, so I may as well be procrasti-writing.

First, a sincere and heartfelt thank-you to those of you who expressed sadness or frustration that the blog fell asleep for so long. I’m touched. Really. Thank you for reading.

Second, here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to in the meantime:

1. Ahem. I wrote a little play. It’s called Her Story in Blood, and it revisits and reimagines the story from the synoptic gospels of the woman who bled for 12 years. You are more than welcome to read it while you are waiting for the next blog post. And, you know, pass it around to your friends and plaster it over social media and let me know if you know anyone who wants to stage it. ;)  [BONUS: You get to see who I really am! With my real name and everything! Well, my professional pen name anyway. More professional than "Fairy Bear."]

2. It’s National Novel Writing Month! And I have a little over 5,000 words to WIN! So I am seriously going to be buckling down and writing for real. Write* after I finish procrasti-writing this post.

*I was going to go back and edit that last sentence to read “Right” at the beginning, but I decided to leave it. That’s where my brain is. That’s where it should stay.

3. I finished shooting a short film with a friend! I have a few still shots, but I don’t think I’m allowed to show them to you yet.

4. I started teaching again! And I also have made peace with it. More or less. I think. We’re starting with a fun social studies unit, anyway, in which I get to bring in my friend’s TARDIS and take the kids time-traveling to ancient Greece. Yes, I brought togas. (Properly, peplos, as togas were Roman, but essentially they’re togas.)

5. Traveling! I went to visit my sister for a week in Florida to help her pack up her apartment. And also to help me say goodbye to the apartment, which really was heavenly. Two words: Rooftop pool. Okay, two more words: Harbor views. She will very happily be staying with me for much of December, so I don’t have to say goodbye to her just yet, but leaving the apartment was hard. Even though it wasn’t actually mine. Not gonna lie.

PS – I took some photos of the amazing sunrises I got to see in Florida. They’re posted on my Instagram. Which is named after my professional pen name. Which you can find if you link to my play. Hint.

Then of course there’s been all the regular life stuff. Like grocery shopping, burning eggs to rubber because my brain starts to atrophy with boredom when I cook, mulling endlessly over emotional obstacles because I’m *that* kind of person, and getting a paper cut that made my whole hand swell up. I am also slated to visit with three families this weekend – my nieces, my hubby’s family, and my best friend’s family.

All that together in a 30-day month makes this a Thankscrazy season! And I am crazy thankful, emotional obstacles not withstanding. Here are a few things I’m thankful for this month:

1. My patient and dedicated hubby.

2. 8 perfect St. Pete sunrises.

3. Being able to quote the entirety of whole 80’s and 90’s movies with my family.

4. Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Lattes.

5. The dedicated and fabulous early-morning crew at my favorite Starbucks, who are ludicrously cheerful and efficient at 6:30am.

6. Hubby driving me to work in the mornings.

7. If I have to teach, at least I get to do cool stuff. Like travel in a TARDIS.

8. Heat. Especially on days like this.

9. Enough money that I can eat breakfast at Starbucks if I choose instead of burning eggs.

10. This wonderful computer.

11. Scrivener software. Seriously, where have you BEEN all my life?

12. Wine and beer.

13. This song. For real. I can’t stop watching this.:

14. My mom, who is awesome.

15. Pottermore, even though I’m suddenly spending waaaaaay too much time on it. So much so that I’m embarrassed to tell you how high my dueling score is after a mere week of practice. (Ravenclaw in da house!). Still. There’s something kind of meditative about the dueling format – it forces me to be totally in the moment. I find it very calming.

16. My spiritual community. Especially Transmission, and my two book clubs, and my writer’s group(s).

17. All the pep talks from NaNoWriMo people who keep me writing this novel down. And the ones from my sister. And my hubby.

18. The opportunity to catch up with my brother and talk business and marketing and all kinds of other things not normally related to my day-to-day.

19. A perfect Sabbath this past Saturday, which included the 50th Anniversary global simul-cast Doctor Who special.

20. The Whodle created by Google for the occasion. :)  I can’t find a working one archived anywhere (please let me know if you know where to find it!), but here’s a most impressive round by someone who was definitely not me:

21. Nerdy friends with whom to bond over things like Doctor Who and Pottermore.

22. Twitter. I love Twitter. Who knew?

23. Wine and beer.

24. Yoga. Hot yoga. Vinyasa yoga. Ashtanga yoga.

25. All the books who walk with me through my life, keeping me company and carrying hope. A Secret Garden. A Little Princess. Heidi. Harry Potter. Narnia.

26. New books that offer me hope. Pastrix, by Nadia Bolz-Weber. Also Occupy Spirituality, by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, which I was supposed to review on this very blog probaby weeks ago, but I keep crying every time I pick it up, so it’s slow going. Crying in a good way. It’s very beautiful to me.

27. The opportunity to see my nieces in two days.

28. Being cozy on a rainy November night like tonight.

29. My facebook community. Seriously. I love Facebook. I don’t think it replaces face time in pure quality, but it’s wonderful for keeping in touch with people who are very far away, especially for someone like me who is even worse at letter-writing than at cooking.

30. You, dear readers. I know, I’m getting squeamish at how that sounds too, but really, if you read this, I’m thankful for you, because you remind that I’m not alone, and that perhaps my many words are not completely wasted. Cheers.

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