Monday, April 14, 2014

a wicked imagination

I wrote a story over on the other blog that felt like a scene from Fantasia...

Sometimes you meet someone and they are larger than life, sometimes you met someone and they reveal  themselves to be larger than life... I am becoming quite engrossed in the idea of expatriates and how dangerous it can be. Really, our world is full of such stories, and even some that have been lost to obscurity die to the land they have chosen.

So, I was thinking about my friends peninsular grandmother and the revolution she faced and how she went on to become the gracious woman I met and I was thinking of her as she fought against her environment and I was watering my cactus and I could feel the cactus spines flying into my hands as I held the hose and I began to imagine the battles that I would have to fight with these symbols of the land she grew up in.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Embracing My Wild God - 40/40

I am a theistic agnostic.

The Green Man of Winchester Cathedral.

This is not your typical agnostic... this kind of agnostic acknowledges that there is something... we just add that we are too mortal to understand what that might exactly be.

I do have a certain envy for my friends who claim and demonstrate a devotion to "God" (in terms of a global belief in a higher power). And I have the same envy for my friends who shared their path and practice (yet do not proselytize their path, they are just as bad as fundies to me) to atheism.

One atheist friend said "I just let go, and it felt good".

A devoutly Christian friend said "I just gave it to God, and it felt good".

I envy that kind of certainty.

However, I am also an anthropologist and for as much as religion is maligned in our modern western culture... I feel compelled to defend it, staunchly. Pretty much all of them. Yes, there are things that might be horrid and awful too, but that isn't something that is limited to religion... being awful is a human disease, not a religious one.

So, please take a moment to consider what it is like to be an anthropologist who claims to believe that there is something more, and unexplainable. Not an easy feat.

What are things that I think the idea of the divine might be?

  • Quantum mechanics
  • Animism
  • A Divine Spirit

I don't really know, and that doesn't bother me

As my mother says, "Don't quibble about matters of faith, no need to worry about the things that can't be defined (it is, after all, a matter of faith)".

Source for this post

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Sylvia should have taken more baths. - 39/40

Last night I found myself with a disarming amount of time left to myself. It was a heady luxury I am not often given chance to enjoy. I had dishes in the sink, and laundry to be done, work to finish, some writing to do... but I happened across a tub of olive oil hair mud and I decided ti was time to treat myself. Mainly because I had also touched the skin on my face and noticed it felt like sandpaper (ugh).

So, I pulled out the olive oil hair mud, my super expensive shampoo and conditioner samples, my facial scrubs, my facial masks and proceeded to fill up my bath with hot, hot, hot water. 

I set my iPad off to the side and pulled up the Netflix app. 

Now, normally I would get myself a glass of red wine to accompany me through the luxurious journey on which I was about to embark. But, I gave up alcohol for lent, so I prepared a nice BIG cup of hot peppermint tea with cream and honey.

I lit candles, started my show, and got in the water.

Not my actual tub, but this is how I like to do this, April gets it

That moment when I was all in, when I leaned back against the back of the tub, when I just let go... was fabulous. I looked at the way the candlelight reflected of the water, and my skin and felt beautiful. I sat in the tub for 40 minutes just listening, being quiet, occasionally glimpsing the movie playing off to my side. I was as present for that bath as one can get. I was mindful of the luxury of something like this in my over-watered desert. I considered the molecules and how the fatty acids were reacting with alkali (way too simple of an explanation, but its base is there).

I reached a point when I was content, in the way that contentment can be brief but completely satisfactory.

I reached for the hair and skin accouterments and proceeded to make my skin and hair silky smooth.

I washed and rinsed my hair and put some more hot water in the tub, and sat for another forty-five minutes. 

It was the best two hours I have spent on myself in along time.

“I am sure there are things that can't be cured by a good bath but I can't think of one.”
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A notebook full of pasta - 38/40

deep breath

I am starting to think of the main writing project I have going as a spaghetti western with a female protagonist.

I spent today talking to people who like magic realisim asking for ideas on how to make a death scene less intense.

One discussion was a fascinating exploration of Han. Lots of interesting ideas there, but how to bring in a Korean concept into a Latin American tale...

I have pushed myself more in terms of writing this 40 days of writing session than I did on the previous.

But I am beat. 

The good
I have started putting down the story I have been wanting to tell, in the way I think that I want it told.

The bad
I have been consumed with self doubt on the worth of even trying to tell the story.

The ugly
The story is rough, and I keep letting the things others have said to me destroy my faith in it.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Sigh - book progress and how to kill off a grandfather without making the heroine look bad - 37/40

I have spent the last week or so trying to figure out how to do this. I am writing around it, hoping that the story manages to do that thing that stories do and open itself up to me. I think it will happen, but it is trying my patience.

I may just be to focused on the story that inspired that part, my own grandfathers death and a death I know I am not responsible for, but have felt spiritually tied to since the actual event.
My grandfather died on a family (extended family) trip to the Galapagos. We were in the middle of nowhere, on a wooden gaff-rigged sailing ketch built in 1901 and called the Sulidae when things started happening.

But the tie I feel to that story begins 24 hours before...

I went to bed. Early.

Those were very unlike me. I was a habitual night owl... even at the tender age of 8.

I slept for 24 hours.

I awoke with a strange feeling in my stomach, which I attributed to hunger. No one from my family was on the boat as they were all visiting an island. The crew was having their early dinner so the cabin would be free for the rest of us to have dinner in upon our return, and when I told them I was hungry they asked me to join them. The crew teased me about sleeping so long as we ate rice with lentils and fried plantains and avocado. I laughed.

As we were finishing up, we heard the boat bringing everyone back and cleaned up. I ran up to the deck to meet them, and they told me tales about the day's adventure.

That night my grandfather passed away.  I was exceptionally clear-headed and well rested as everything happened.

Every time since that event, I have noticed a strange peculiarity.

When I sleep an unusually long amount of time, someone dies.

My grandmother - 18 hours
My great aunt - 14 hours (her husband 12)
My great uncle - 15 hours (his wife 14 hours)

Those are the only times I slept like that, even as a teen where 10 seemed to be m y upper limit for

So, I am wondering if this section is so hard to write because there is something so tied in with my own grandfathers death in a way that makes me feel like I played a role, though I am firm in knowing I was not responsible for his death.