~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Tao of Writing

Scrivener (see my earlier post HERE) will also come in handy with organizing my other WIPs, not just my latest novel. See... I broke Miller's first commandment and have six active manuscripts, though only one novel in the bunch. But, the flow is on and the last thing I want to do is dam it up! And, besides, I'm not Miller...I'm me. And I write the way I'm led to write. Right? (wink)

Certainly, I've read a zillion times about the horrors of writer's block so I don't want to do anything that might cause my flow to dry up. Therefore, even though I am currently experiencing six different branches to my river of creativity, I'm going with the flow.

And guess what? To support my writing flow, a lovely little book jumped out at me at the library. It's called The Tao of Writing by Ralph L. Wahlstrom and since I already have a passion for Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, is it any wonder this book caught my eye?

Wahlstrom says:

"As with much in life, when we try to force the writing, we often end up with uninteresting, barren, joyless text; when we tap into the flow, we are likely to find ourselves carried along on a joyful, creative, fulfilling stream."

Here's to trusting that I will complete each of these manuscripts in their own good time by being in the flow...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm Sold on Scrivener

Because of a recommendation by The Writer's Circle, I decided to download the free trial of Scrivener. And you can color me happy now because Scrivener is an amazing organizational software program, one that just might provide me with the structure and support I need to get productive again on my novel!

One reason that I've been struggling in trying to organize my messy manuscript is that I have a lovely but tiny study that doesn't really lend itself to a physical whiteboard or corkboard. Wall #1 has a large window, wall #2 has a floor-to-ceiling bookcase plus a doorway to the back of the house, wall #3 has a closet, and wall #4 has glass-panel double-doors that open into the living room. Also, when the small space starts to become cluttered with papers, my mind becomes scattery (a new word? LOL "scattered" seems so sedentary for what's going on inside my skull) and my thoughts fly all over the place! Not helpful.

Unlike my previous novels that seemed to write themselves clearly start to finish, the manuscript for my current novel is-- as I've probably griped about quite a few times already in this blog--filled with scenes and characters connected by threads that have become far too entangled for me to sort in my head. The 3-ring-binder approach just isn't working for me, and I've never been one for index cards.

I've been feeling quite out of my depth!

In steps Mr. Scrivener and I feel like I might be able to again see where I'm going. Phew... (imagine me doing a happy dance in my study)

Anyone else use this program or a similar one?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monsoon 2013

In the Sonoran Desert, let me tell you that I have a whole new appreciation for rain! Especially after the skin-chapping three months we just had of a hot, dry spring! So, I'm sharing my itty-bitty video of Sunday's rain. I always go out and stand in the rain for a few minutes; it seems disrespectful not to!

And look at this beautiful microburst video from July 1.

However, it's not just the extreme dryness of spring and then the rainfall in summer that's thrown me because the monsoon season in Tucson can also result in flash floods. Some of these in the past have been very destructive, washing away homes as well as cars.

Sure, I know. Most of you reading this are like I was before and rain storms are the norm for you and where you live. They're beautiful and fascinating and much appreciated for making the gardens grow. But trust me. This is my third Arizona monsoon and the rainfall becomes more of an event for me each year.

The first one, I'd just moved to Arizona so I found it interesting, but, hey, I came direct from Maine where it rains a LOT. And, besides, I was living up near Phoenix that year (2011) so was more amazed by the massive dust storms that came through. Here's a video clip one of those:

The second monsoon last year was wonderful, too, but I had enjoyed the dry spring because it was so unusual. Of course, I'm a wuss so I don't get out and drive when the rains are on! I have to rely on videos by those who are less...uh...cautious. And I worry about Ron until he gets home from work.

THIS YEAR? Oh yeah. After the overwhelming cumulative heat wave? Major gratitude for monsoon rains. It is no wonder that people around here have parties celebrating monsoon season. It's true. So, while I celebrate the rain with play and dance, I also respect its suddenness and ferocity. Then there's the lightning storms...

Who would have thought this about the desert? Reading about it ahead of time is one thing. Experiencing it is something else. Everywhere is different! Mother Nature shrugs and cries and turns into a whirling dervish, She wraps us in white blankets and shakes us free again. After all, snowstorms and ice storms in the north were common, and how many times were we without power for hours, even days?!

Anyway, to wrap this up, if you're the type who likes to get a little more education about different parts of our amazingly diverse country, check out this five-part series on the monsoon season in Arizona.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Unseen

Beyond the energies we see and touch and can activate in our “real” world there is always an ever more subtle and powerful shakti ... the more subtle, the more powerful. Human bodies are a tool for learning whereas the other life forms are for resting in the pure nature of being--more “evolved” in their simplicity and perfect alignment with life.

Little blue trillium jumpers cover the tiny bodies of the unseen as they leave the forest and reveal themselves one by one, only for a moment skipping in yellow ladyslippers among the madly waving bear grass that is taller than the tallest small being. Out in the grass in the circle in the forest, there is a small clearing where sunlight shines. Now is the gathering of love, the harvest. 

The nearly black depths of glistening green forest, a primordial expanse that is narrow in path and wide in canopy, releases a sigh of joy to witness the celebration. The trunks lean closer to the center of the circle, arching their spines so slightly that one can only feel the lean rather than see it, and their leaves or needles shuffle noisily as a zephyr soars through. Dew falls onto stems and moss, drip-drip-drop, in a rhythm older than the songs of the flowering indian paintbrush nodding and bobbing, glinting their inner essence among the tall grasses imitating the pin points of light in an ebony sky still hours away. 

Going home, I am nestled into a tiny plot of verdant forest so rich that my eyes are soothed in an instant of gazing outward. Clouds drift by one after the other so that the sky would seem covered if one wasn’t watching for the perfect gaps of blue and pale yellow light peeking through branches as if to check on all we do and wink at us quickly before the clouds close their eyelids for long blissful pauses that are the full presence of existence. There, the pause is the sunlight; here, the pause is the shade.

Walking along the narrow rainforest path, the ground is spongy, the air is moist, and the more-than-human voices are slightly muffled as if with a light cotton that allows the sound to emerge in the softness of a deep reverential prayer that sinks into soil and bark and skin. Large knobby knees of ancient trees make sure to say hello and catch me when I fall while looking into the forest beside me knowing I am being watched yet feeling completely safe. All around me are the sentinels of my soul and when I embrace one I feel them all respond with a pulsating flow of graceful compassion and I can cry into the bark that is softened already from the continual tears that Gaia sheds for the world. Here we are sheltered and can spread ourselves thin until I disappear cell by molecule by atom and am swept into the vast heart of misty oneness. 

I could become one of the little people, the unseen who aren’t really people at all, of course, for they are part of the elements more than the ego, their identity is reflected in the plants and animals of the penumbral glades and forest nooks where they shapeshift and live except on the occasional celebrations when they weave tiny bodies that confuse the senses and elude the mind. For I don’t see them with my eyes but with my soul and realize we are all the same.

I do become one of them and disappear into the play of waving grasses and bobbing blossoms, for a time forgetting that I was once a human. I don’t want to go back to the other form, and I have the choice. Do I take it? Do I choose to dance and play and disappear into soil and rock and acorn and pinecone and mossy carpets and mushroom caps? Do I choose to run as deer or hop as rabbit or toddle along as the turtle in and out of puddles and ponds? Hug a tree or become a tree? Leave the human world behind and merge into the enchanted realm of deep, moist, luxurious, nourishing womb? Do I reverse the process of living as I am born into the real world instead of dying daily in this one from toxins and ego and fear of over-culture indoctrination? 

Imagine the bliss... I can feel it now when I close my eyes and release this human body and become the universe that is older than time, greater than space, more wise and compassionate than imagined possible ... and in that moment I reach out to the suffering of the poor ignorant humans who are just beginning their journey to Truth, they struggle so, and I lift up that one by revealing a flower, and to that one I offer a branch to lean on, and to another I open my arms to embrace the tears that become the droplets glistening in the emerald forest.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Review: Strangers and Pilgrims

I stumbled across this book while reading the blog of an recent acquaintance that led me to the author’s blog. Don't you love how the threads of our lives connect in these mysterious patterns? This subtle, hidden interconnection is also mirrored in “Strangers and Pilgrims” by Vivienne Tuffnell

The author brings a unique voice and style to her storytelling, one that caught me by surprise and kept me flipping the pages as fast as I could. I was compelled to pick it up and read it in every spare moment I found, finishing the book in a mere day and a half. 

I could feel the angst of each character and found myself sympathizing, cheering each one on, resonating with the deep pain and grief expressed by the men and women alike as “my heart is broken and I am dying inside.” 

This is a beautifully crafted story!
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