Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting It DOWN: Putting Pen to Paper

Sometimes trying to maneuver through life with a bag o' big buts can be awkward. Totally doable mind you, but awkward. Writing is one of those big buts. I write. I do not necessarily write well, but I write. I actually assume that everyone does and am often surprised when I hear from a friend or acquaintance that they do NOT write. Honestly doesn't everyone dream of writing something that someone will someday read and feel someway?

So, in order to attempt to shrink at least on of my big buts, I have been trying to write more. And share that writing more. I hope to sharpen and hone the skill a little at a time, but I really desire feedback and criticism that would aid in accomplishing that goal. So, I went to a writing group last week. Scary, yes. Fun, yes. Helpful, somewhat. It was the first time I had read any of my writing in a group…the scary part. Everyone shared something they had written…the fun part. My only disappointment was the lack of feedback. We shared our writing, but I was really hoping for more discussion and a few tidbits of criticism to help refine the writing. Maybe that is wishful thinking. Maybe people do not do that anymore. Perhaps gone are the days of the Shelleys and Byron or Wordsworth and Coleridge conferring, collaborating and analyzing.

So, since this is where all of the writing "friends" I have hang out (meaning the blogosphere) I ask, are those days gone? Perhaps things have simply changed? Maybe that is even a good thing? Rather than gathering on an estate outside of London; hashing out poetry and prose around the fire with friends and family, we can accomplish the same thing from our own kitchen tables from miles apart. Although, if you ask me, the London estate sounds inviting! I have come across a few blogs that invite folks to share writing, but rarely does anyone offer any real criticism. I love reading others' offerings and would be glad to share if I could come up with anything worth sharing. But even though I think the exercise is worthwhile (flexing our muscles and all) if we keep making the same mistakes, are we really getting any better at our craft? Am I a total dork? Don't answer that. Anyone have any thoughts?

Quote of the Day: " I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done."
--Steven Wright comedian and writer

Monday, January 6, 2014

LinkUP: The Hidden Benefits of Laziness

Today is it. The day all the fun and games ends. It's back to school and work after the best 2-weeks of totally lazy luxury of the year. Oh how I will miss you. Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for structure and school and chores, but I do not have to like them. I much prefer the whatever life.

As in…
"Hey Mom, isn't it time for bed?"
"Hey Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Can we watch TV?
"Can we sleep in?"
"Can we have candy for breakfast?"
           "Sure, whatever."

Yeah, yeah. Sloth, one of those cardinal sins, but it just feels so good to let go of all of the hustle and bustle that accompanies homework and regular meal times and good nutrition and basic household cleanliness. I too grew up being told and thinking that laziness was a failing, but properly planned, laziness can be a wonderful reward and a nice break from running on the proverbial hamster wheel. I mean, why does laziness get such a bad rap anyway? Synonyms for lazy are idle, indolent & slothful. Those sound bad, no? But what about laze? As in bask, relax, unwind, lounge, loosen-up, de-stress, chill. Those all sound quite lovely, yes? 

The fact that laziness might actually be good for us is not necessarily fashionable in our society of "be all you can be" but perhaps we could rethink that, at least every so often. Perhaps once in a while, we could put down the to-do list, unplug the phone, forget the gym membership and to the dirty dishes in the sink and laundry in the basket, shout a big enthusiastic, "Whatever!"

Thank you to the good folks over at Trifecta for an interesting prompt today. I do not know if I did it justice, but it was fun to think about!

Quote of the Day: "Sometimes take time to be busy with nothing." --NatureGirl

Saturday, January 4, 2014

GrowingUP: Smooshed!

A quick little bit today to help keep a promise to myself to put "pen to paper" on a more regular basis…

Little Bro, Little Sis, Little NatureGirl
When I was around 7 years old and we lived in Loomis CA, in a little pinkish house that was supposed to be brown. One day we were moving furniture around in the bedrooms, but I do not remember why. My little sister and I shared the far back bedroom whose door was directly across from my parents bedroom door. My parents had brought their king-sized mattress into our bedroom temporarily and propped it up on its end, leaning against our bunk beds. My dad asked me to stand up against the mattress so it would not fall down. My little brother, who was about 2 or 3, dutifully stood next to me with his back against the mattress. He was a super cute kid. After what I remember felt like a very long time, I got tired of standing and so sat down. At 7, I was quite a bit taller than my toddler brother. Enough taller apparently that it was only my added height keeping the mattress upright. When I sat down, legs outstretched, the whole weight of the floppy mattress came down on us, folding me in half and flattening the baby. There was no way I could move an inch and if my brother could, he did not let on. I screamed and screamed until my parents came running in and then they laughed and laughed. I do not remember thinking it was funny. I am sure there is a lesson in there somewhere.

Quote of the Day:"Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly.
--P. J. O'Rourke author

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Geeeee Wiz! How Not to GiveUP (or GiveUP at First and Then Try Hard Not to GiveUP After a While)

If more than 4 people read this silly blog on a regular basis, I might be able to call this a triumphant return, but alas, I am alone in the kitchen, Hunky Hubs returned to work today, and the children are still nestled, much as they have been for going on 2 weeks now, deep in their beds. Besides, confetti is such a pain to clean up. But, I am thrilled to say that, in celebration of my lackluster return, I am posting in one of my very favorite spaces to hang in the blogosphere with the always gracious host, Ms. Jenny Matlock and her weekly celebration of all things syllabary. Today we honor the Letter G. As in Gee, I wish I knew what to write about.

2013 was a bit of a year of transition for our family. HipsterGirl, the oldest, has been in and out of the house with college and jobs for the past couple of years, but has now (mostly) packed her things and (mostly) moved (mostly) all the way out of the house in search of broader horizons. FlyBoy, whose name shall now be MissionMan for the next 18 months, left home in July to brush up on his Tagolog for 6 weeks before heading to the rural countryside of Quezon City, Philippines to serve a full-time, two-year mission for the LDS church. EBoy and Ballerina are still at home (meaning they sleep and eat here) both of which are done with somewhat reckless abandon! I do miss having little ones around all day and spending my whole day being mostly "Mommy" but by and large, I am enjoying the transition and the growing up stage of the wee ones. The problem has been figuring out MY growing up stage!

So…I GaveUP. Mostly. I mean, I kept on with my daily routines this year and I enjoyed them and my life, but I stagnated for sure. I took comfort in the slump. I made peace with the extra few pounds. I gave up writing because it is hard. I gave up all but my routine exercise because working out hard is hard. I gave up eating the way I know I should because it is hard. I basically let anything go that was hard to do. But let me tell you, the "easy" life, is not all it's cracked up to be. In fact, it is quite boring and uninspiring. So I think I am going to try to unGiveUP for 2014. How is that for conviction!? I hate New Year's resolutions. They do not seem to work for anyone. I do like goal setting, and I do like recommitting. So, I think that is what I will call it…a New Year's recommitment to continue my Growing up process. And it is a process. Bumps and bruises are expected. Ups and Downs a given. Theoretically and statistically speaking, I am only half way there…I have much more Growing to do…hopefully it will be inward growth and not a continuation of the bit of outward growth have experienced over the last while. After all, even a good pair of yoga pants can only take so much!

Quote of the Day: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. If you’re making mistakes, you’re doing something,” – Neil Gaiman author