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What to blog … what to blog?
So many fascinating topics and so many useful words are at our disposal. The problem comes when you have to line them up in the correct order so that they will impart a meaning to someone; make a small emotional ripple in the reading matrix. Here are things that have crossed my free ranging mind this morning:

  • the beach
  • knitting wool
  • crab apple cider (non-alcoholic) stored in the heavy freezer
  • picking Queen Anne’s Lace at the roadside
  • the quality of drinking water
  • the dirtiness of my kitchen floor
  • why I still own a cat
  • if it is worth planning anything in the future

I could probably cast out a few pearly thoughts on any of these topics but I feel uninspired. If the muse doesn’t appear, musing withers away.

There have been galleries of muses both male and female since the originals who were the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. I think Man Ray’s muse, Kiki de Montparnasse has a name that positively shouts inspiration. Even the inanimate – leaves,the sea and post-modern architecture have inspired artists and writers. Some think they get closer to their muse in a drug induced state. Think of Wilkie Collins, opium addicted writer of the first detective novel, The Moonstone.

My sister-in-law has a personal saint/muse whom she calls, Chocolate Bob. When called upon, he always provides her with guidance to the perfect parking spot – not artistic I realize but supernatural guidance nonetheless. My artist brother has always been inspired by clouds. I’ve never identified my personal muse but it is worth contemplating. I know that to bid her come I only have to slow down and let my senses do the thinking for a moment. To look, listen, smell, taste and touch always sparks up a synaptic response in me worth following. Try it yourself.

Right now I hear:

  • a bird outside chirping angrily
  • leaves rustling in the wind
  • a plane high overhead
  • the clock ticking
  • the fridge doing it’s thing
  • a far away neighbour running a saw, I think

And suddenly, I am reminded of lying on my bed in Calgary when I was 11 or 12 hearing almost the same sounds and feeling very detached from a busy world and wondering if it would all change. Perched on the cusp of adolescence and about to move to another province, everything changed in the couple of years that followed but funny how those sounds embedded themselves together in my memory like a grain of sand. I could write something about that experience if I chose to and give it the title, “Pre-Teen Musings on the Future,” or maybe not.

That sums up the writing process for me. It is word game that starts with a sensory key and the memory of a scene, a word snippet, a buried thought. A wandering mind can be a handy tool for picking up bits and pieces that connect in some way and then lets the words arrange themselves. A word stitch here and one there can piece together a written tapestry that is available to hang in someone’s mind for inspection. What they make of it defines it’s artistic value.

Holiday Without a Plan

Sadly ,I am now on the last day of my month-long holiday. I feel refreshed, I’m having happy thoughts, I’m not moaning about work to my husband and I’m drinking Cinzano in the afternoon whilst enjoying sweet’n salty kettle corn in an uninhibited, face stuffing way. Aah, the hols!

Although we moved this month. Sounds easy but actually entailed sifting through twenty-three years of accumulated junk and family memorabilia – most of which is currently jammed into two storage lockers in no apparent order. Withdraw a box or bag and you’re just as likely to find my husband’s great granny’s plush Victorian photo album as you are a VHS copy of Mousehunt or a tool for making sausages. Actually this could be a fun activity for the late hours of a party.

So that took care of the first five days or so of the holiday. After that, we avidly did some work on our boat for a day and made big plans for getting her surveyed and out on the briny. Did I mention that while I was on holidays, my husband was not. This meant that the anticipated voyage did not actually leave the planning stage. Oh well, as my darling better-half loves saying, ” that leaves something for later.” Later was supposed to be last summer but due to government bureaucracy, my husband’s contract got extended for yet another summer. This, I’ve been promised, is the last so hopefully we aren’t too creaky to haul up the mainsail next summer for an extended voyage up the coast of BC’s mainland.(More on that later!)

The holiday progressed at an enjoyable summery pace for me anyway. Got to enjoy the new digs, go to the beach, entertain a few friends, make jam, sew a new sail cover and generally fool around with this blogging lark while procrastinating with the seminal internet task of uploading my manuscript as an e-book.

The great thing about a holiday where you don’t actually have to get up the energy to do all that cool stuff there is never time for during the working year, is that you don’t have to garner any energy AT ALL. You drift from day to day, from inside to outside, from snack to drink, from book to laptop, from stove to store and there is absolutely no plan to make you feel guilty about your non-adherance. I think this might be what retirement is like or could be. And the surprise is that it is a good thing. After all, given free rein, I got quite a bit done. I caught up with my paperwork which I hate and consequently put off and piles of ironing which, as you know if you’ve been reading my blog, I enjoy.

All fun comes to a grinding halt tomorrow. I feel like the condemned. For my last meal, I’ve chosen Chinese take-out from down the road. Maybe I’ll get a touch of food poisoning and have to take a sick day.

Who Needs Words?

I do, I do! I’m building my blog – remember?

Obviously, Scrabble and crossword enthusiasts are always on the prowl for words but did you ever consider that pets need them too.  I just walked our old dog, Oscar, the three blocks down to our rocky beach for his therapeutic dip in the ocean. If I wasn’t able to say, “come” and he didn’t know the word, he may still be snoozing outside the front door. He would never be able to show his stuff off if it weren’t for the verbal commands, “sit, down, roll over and jump” which are his equivalent of,  “open sesame” when it comes to comestible rewards.

But people …. words make our world go around.  Wars, cultural upheaval, murders, marriages, the list of a moments where a few words made the difference is endless.  There are trigger words that pack a punch like: “I do”; “Solidarity”; “Never surrender”; “fear not”; “out damn spot” and  “make my day.”

Although other forms of communication are effective (a hug, a frown) there is nothing like a mutually understood phrase or word.  “No,” was my personal favourite when actively parenting.  Lately, my adult kids’ has become, “really?” when I can pin them down for a conversation; as in, “I can’t throw those out because you never know when you will need 4 garbage bags full of rags.”  And I’ve noticed that my 83 year old Dad has found a special multi-purpose response to any situation in the word, “whatever”.  Shameful really when English has more words than any other language.

Some words just sound really nice.  My daughter had a friend who was going to give her kids names like “Umbilicus” and ” Chiffon” because they rolled off the tongue so nicely.

Tablets, scrolls, vellum tomes, chapbooks, encyclopedic volumes, newspapers, first editions, pulp fiction – bizillions of recorded words gathered from the past are available for humankind to ponder. No wonder that many of us feel the need to leave our two bits as a sort of autograph in earth’s yearbook. “Roses are red, Violets are blue, I better jot this down before I’m through.”  Leaving your, “I was here” graffito couldn’t be easier now that we have the world at our keyboards and so many of us are penning  a few chapters for posterity or maybe as aide-memoire. I’m in the process of trying to upload my own into the ether. (More on that later.)

Churning out words can be therapeutic, educational, remunerable, edifying – once again the list goes on. How wonderful that there are so many of them to play with… words, birds, nerds, Kurds, herds … Stop!




Brave New Writer

First blog…first blog post…don’t fear the unknown.

I’ve read as much tutorial help as I can take for now (hot day, half beer, no children home to interpret) and will just write, post, customize as best I can.  After all, it’s the internet and any facet I finally absorb will probably change as soon as I grasp its implications.

Where would any of us be without the encouragement of friends?  I would include family but funnily enough, that often isn’t the case.  In families, you’re a place holder and sometimes it doesn’t appear to be necessary for the well-being of the pack to support your efforts beyond that role. But friends …. those chosen few that agree to peek into the cracks you open to your innermost soul and then still like you.  Those people – where would we be without them?

I certainly wouldn’t be here blogging.  Without a push from her off this high diving board, I would be making a shameful and lonely descent back down the ladder.  My mentor for this experiment in writing is infinitely patient, kindly turns a blind eye and gives mute expression to my more elementary blunders then suggests an answer and perhaps  a brief lesson.  It might be her training as an elementary school teacher but I like to think that she cares enough to spare my feelings. May her blog forever prosper.

When I review the interesting experiments in my life I realize that most of them would never have happened without the inspiration and support of friends.  How appropriate then that this foray into the electronic world forum should happen – so many more potential friends…