Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Creative License

When can you justify using it?

I was reading a bit of Bliss magazine (also known as Victoria) at the grocery store the other day. Reading an article about Jan Karon (writer), and she mentioned using it, just to tweak something, a local, make it closer or futher than it really is from somewhere else, I can't recall which.
Anyway, this article floated about in my head a bit.
And so did the idea of creative license. And I wondered if I could use it to solve a problem I am having with my story.
There is gardening in the story, and the story included battling Japanese beetles, this section is important symbolically for the character, who can not tolerate the idea of or the reality of, death, yet in his attempt at an act of creation (flower garden) he must confront death again and again (on some level). (must accept that it is interwoven into life)
The trouble is, in Japan (where the story takes place), Japanese beetles are not a problem. The winsome flies winsomely eat the beetle larvae. Fantastic creatures. I never thought I would have fly envy, but here I am, and I so do. I thought in my research I would find some other insect to take the place of the beetles in the story (surely there must be such a creature). But I can't seem to locate such information.
I was wondering, if I might be able to just leave that part of the story in there, but state that it is highly unusual, and why (I believe the story falls under the category of magical realism already anyway, has magical elements). And the main character is so agaisnt any sort of death that it hinders his abillity to live (this extends to his garden). He is out of balance, so it would sort of make sense for the environment around him to be out of its natural balance as well. And for it not to be restored until he is. (in the story already the notion of connection between his inner world and the outer one is present)

What do you think?

Bob said I could, and yelled at me for worrying, over and over again, over these sorts of trifling details, but he is not a writer. I feel the need for things to make sense, to fall into place, to be true. Even amidst the fantastic one must work within some sort of frame-work for believabilty. I am not making things up. I am trying to make something true, though I am using imagination to do it (imagination woven in and through the real world).
I fully intend to do a real post tomorrow
I had a weird week. Not bad, well except for the panick hyperventilating the night before some scheduled tests, and that was after I got up the nerve to cancel them. Boy did that confuse Bob. "Calm down, you already cancelled the tests. My god what is wrong with you?!". I was busy doing the ugly cry and pacing and feeling like I was about to pass out.
I can't justify my response, that is just what it was.
Earlier that day
I shook like a leaf when I went to give blood. It seemed to annoy the person taking the blood. She couldn't believe that I wasn't cold but scared. She made me hold my arm still, unable to shake that any longer all my other limbs shook in its place. "Come on now, it is not that bad!" she declared, and I answered truthfully "No, it isn't, but I can't help it." And I couldn't. Last time I gave blood, it hurt, it took 5 tries and I was black and blue for two weeks. This time, this lady, got it on the first try, I scarcely felt it at all, and you can't even tell which arm was used. But still I couldn't stop shaking. She very sternly but politely told me to unclench my fists "breathe, breathe. You have to breathe". Bossy. If I ever have to give blood again, I am definitely going to her, whether she likes it or not. She's magic.
The day before that I went to the doctor and was not at all aware that I was shaking till the doctor pointed it out to me.
Oh well. I am a bit like a dog who shakes at thunder, and then subsequently any sort of noise that reminds the dog of thunder.

Went to NY yesterday with Bob and Cheese (Cheese wanted to go to the Nintendo store), he turns 12 today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Doctor believes it is acid reflux, I have some really fun tests scheduled for next week so we can be sure.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

the photo from a sunny day, not at all today

I mean, I know I shouldn't go about thinking I can tell mother nature her business,
it is April showers bring May flowers
not rain in May keeps drought away
still the rain is good for the flowers (as long as it doesn't start getting marshy), the planted ones that is, the three currently sitting on my porch, not so much. We are out of manure, and gardening soil, Bob said he would buy some yesterday, but then it started raining, and he said he wasn't going to be hauling around wet sh*t. As it is raining again today, I know I will be facing the same excuse. Sun tomorrow?

I am very pleased that some writing snuck up on me last night. I was locking the doors and double, triple, checking them before bed (as usual), and I suddenly had a sense memory from childhood. I decided I would add this to the story (changing the memory), so I jotted it down. Then when I woke this morning, fully planning to go back to sleep, my mind started joyfully mucking about with the idea, and it expanded. So now I have several pages, so far springing from the locking of doors, or of not (haven't gone into writing what his sense memory is yet), and it lends itself to being included near the beginning of the story, and then something happens shortly after the part I am writing now (which is past the hub of the major climax), and also has implications in what happens at the end. And the whole thing lends itself well to metaphor in the story. So aside from the hour and half more of sleep I thought I needed, I am happy. I love it when something suddenly occurs to me, from a seemingly random act, and then works its way into the story, weaving itself in fully, and it feels like it was always supposed to be there, like it always was there, "how did I not see this yesterday?".

Friday, May 16, 2008


the rain hums on
mixing with the sound of the fish tank
and the fan upstairs
Bob sleeps on and on

* update, just got back from the kitchen, the perpetual dripping sound is not the fish tank filter, but water coming down the chimney and landing in the bucket I placed in the fireplace.
(kind of the opposite of a warming fire)

I have a doctors appointment for Tuesday, now that I have finally made one, I can't wait to go. I can't wait to set my mind at ease and not waste any more time and energy concerned that this or that might be "something". I really think this has been stealing my focus lately (since mid-Feb.), even out in the garden where I am usually really happy and free, these thoughts and concerns come in and steal my energy. I worry when I dig holes, and haul dirt, that I will strain something, and then my chest will ache more, and then it will be harder to sleep at night, because it will make me uneasy. It is a drag and I am tired of dragging these concerns around, so I intend to drop them off Tuesday afternoon, and come home without them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

everywhere in the garden

buds are forming
life is leaning out
perched waiting
to fly into bloom

and I keep holding my breath
excitedly waiting
forced to tighten the reins on the wild spirit, bursting, chanting "BLOOM BLOOM BLOOM!"
I tell her, no, now is not the time for running forward
missing where we are
be where you are, settle into this moment,
the moment before
the beauty of hundreds of buds everywhere in the garden not yet in bloom

Monday, May 12, 2008

my draft is temporarily up to 60,897, because I am having a really hard time writing this section, and I keep losing track of things, and I don't know the best order, so I am taking any prewritten sections and just plopping them down into the draft (trying to organize, but still not very...), also typed in a bit more from notebook, later I will print out the whole lot (and it is a whole lot), spread it out, and go through with highlighters and see if I can't sort the grand mess out. Hopefully tomorrow I can chop away all the extra, and weave together pleasantly what is left, and add that which I can not add now because I am too confused.

Oh, now tomorrow is today, and I am not any further along than when I wrote this yesterday.
It has finally stopped raining and the sun is out which is wonderful.
I should go plant the peony, the rose of sharon, and the rose.
No I should exercise,
No I should finish cleaning,
No I should eat so I wont be in pain like I was yesterday
No I really should write
oh I should do it all.
Yes but which should come first?

Friday, May 9, 2008

After a nice stretch of warm sunshiney days (Cheese even hooked the hose up to the top of the swingset so it would drench him as he would swing), we are on our second day of rain, but tis good for the flowers so I don't mind. I even ran out earlier and tucked a few seeds into the ground, I am never very good about remembering to keep seeds moist in the beginning so they can germinate and grow, so I thought as it is raining, and supposed to continue raining off and on for several days, I should let God water them. God's watering I notice is much more thorough than mine.

I have two empty binders staring at me from across the room. I have set them there for that purpose on purpose. My mom told me earlier this week that she, and my cousin, and grandmother have all volunteered to read my story. Either the whole rough draft (whenever I manage to be done), or chapter by chapter (which is a bit scarier as I could start doing that um....right now, tightening up each section then sending it out). I know it isn't often considered ideal to have family members reading one's attempts at writing, but I do need feed-back and they did (under what circumstance of talking to my mom, I do not know) offer. The idea of actually having readers/someone read the story is really exciting, and really really terrifying. It is also motivating, to get it done (they are waiting, expecting me to hand it to them any minute) and to get it done well enough to not feel a huge barrage of horrible emotions at the thought of someone peering at the pages. The binders? Well there should be a third, they are what the draft will go into, before I hand it out to them. They are propped up to call to me, finish, fill me, finish, fill me.
It is intimate this sort of sharing. I would be handing out a piece of me, one not usually seen (not ever seen?). I can think of no work it reminds me of that I would be able to hand it to them and say, you know it is kind of like this story, or that, so they would be prepared and look at it in that kind of light. I'll just tell them "it's a fantasy story only it isn't" and leave it at that. And I'll set down questions for them concerning the story, so as to prompt usefull feed-back.
I am hoping they will be helpful and kind (honest, but in the kindest way possible),
I am concerned they will just think it odd.
yeah, even more so than badly written, which hopefully one can learn one's way out of, work on and improve, if they think me, the story, incredibly weird, and the whole thing just oddball chaos, then...oh
(crazy crazy crazy, but it is music to me)
(sentimental saccharine, my tongue tastes ripe sweet fruit)
And then too death is there, and I worry that might hurt them. (knowing as I do, their loss)
I don't want to hurt them

Well thinking about writing it isn't the same as writing it, off I go.
If someone should happen by and read this,
what do you think-
give them the full rough draft
chapter by chapter?
Or do you think the whole enterprise too risky, and I best hide under a rock instead?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm not really awake
but my eyes are open

I wish they weren't

how they long to close
and my mind and body
to sleep

I keep thinking of what I have to do before I can go to bed tonight
I keep thinking I should start doing it all now, in the hopes of going to bed early
I keep thinking that, while sitting here not moving.

My finger is red and purple bruised, nothing happened to it, it just felt overwhelmed by the acts of normal use
so follows the rest of me, mind and body, threatening internal hemorhrage, feeling the smallest acts of doing like mass intruments of brunt force.

I'm not really awake
but my eyes are open

how I wish they weren't

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

With a song in my heart
keeps playing in my head, which is surprising since I scarcely know the song, not knowing the words, rather than sing, it hums through me.

This morning I remembered that I forgot something, some little element of the story (Echo) that I had scrawled into a notebook, but that I forgot about when I wrote out the chapter it would be in ( Voices). Some element seemingly trivial but which I feel carries some undercurrent, some weight of meaning. One perhaps not likely to be measured as so by anyone but me, but still I feel it so, so I long to include it. It took a little bit of time to figure out where to work it in, and even now that I've typed it up in there, it is a bit like a sticky note shoved in-between paragraphs. I will have to go back in and work on it some more. But I am happy just thinking of it, just floating about with it. I had forgotten the music in the garden, classical I thought, but I do believe A Song in my Heart is vying to be included today. I see a garden at night, moonlight streaming down, stars over head, and music mixed with cricket song, flowing through the flowers along with the lightest breeze. Sights, scents, sounds, carried gently through, from one to the other. Mikiyoshi sleeps (inside the house), and Koji stands in the doorway (of the barn), peering out into the garden and listens. It is a calm moment, a peaceful time, but one only known in the fleeting hours of sleeping. Only in the nighttime summer dark. In the morning with the blazing sun, clamoring and chaos return. So I am concerned about mood and atmosphere, perhaps it breaks it up being/happening right there, but that seems to be where I like it best, a small oasis of time. Calm and still, nestled among an emotional whirlwind.

I feel a pull to find which songs they are, so I can fully hear them, and know that space. But I know me, and I should not give myself over to it, for it will take today, and tomorrow, at the very least. And I need to exercise, and write, and do all (well some of them at least) the wonderful domestic things that come along with the gift of loved ones (and I haven't but dipped the tip of my little pinky toe into the blogosphere of late), but how I long to spend my day chasing songs. (to be a cat chasing butterflies)

After quite a bit of researching, I still haven't found the music box song. I feel the need for it to say everything to everyone in the story (to speak for them, and to them), and to sort of wrap up the meaning of the whole thing, a lot, too much really, for just one song written by someone else to be able to do.

So far I am leaning towards Bambi's Love is a Song

Love is a song that never ends
Life may be swift and fleeting
Hope may die yet love's beautiful music
Comes each day like the dawn

Love is a song that never ends
One simple theme repeating
Like the voice of heavenly choir
Love's sweet music flows on

The last rose of summer, and asleep in the deep, are both too dark, and the magic flute comes from an opera I feel I know nothing about, even after reading about it on wikipedia. I want a song that will work, for parental love, and romantic love, to admit the tragic but still hold strong to some sort of life magic. What other kind of song should a box hold. To be wound, and found, to be closed and opened. That is the thing of it of course, you have to wind it, and you have to open it. It is always there already, waiting, unplayed, unknown, till that moment.
As you can tell, I think of music, of sound, as another sort of element, presence, in the story, a connecting one.


out my bedroom window, 6 a.m
I saw a bird standing among what looked like a bed of small white flowers
as the bird bent down, the flowers seemed to lift and float before settling down to the ground

as I watched closer, my eyes making their way through the still darkness of early morning
I saw the truth of the bird's movements, he was tearing into, and ripping away from a form his talons grasped and stood above
It was not till later when I ventured down stairs, and out of doors into daylight that I knew what creature he was feasting upon, what had fallen
another bird

As I lay sleeping, gently dreaming, this story, this battle of life and death took place in (what I think of as) my backyard.
Every day vast and small, epic battles to those involved occur over and over of which often I am blissfully unaware.

This occupies my mind from time to time, this over-lapping of space, this not truly knowing each other, what goes on in the very ground I walk upon, the worms, the insects, in the grass, in the trees, the plants, even the very air that flows through this space, all the little actions and interactions involved, of which much of, I know not much of.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Bob's grandmother died last week, from hosptial, to coma, to death, to funeral, all in such a short breath of time.
In a week, from alive and well, to buried. (I can never quite grasp that)
She was 80. Bob's refrain is one of shock, and of not having enough time, of thinking he had more time to go see her, to do this, and that, and talk. I feel bad for him. ( We believe those we love will always be alive, it seems impossible that they could ever die.)
It is odd for me as I realize how little I knew this woman, how little I know a whole big part of my husband's life. We have been together for over 20 years, but someone who meant/means so much to him, I know not at all (I met her three times maybe).

When he was little his grandma watched him and his brother every day, then once school started he spent his childhood summers with her, including his teenage years. They were so dear to each other, so fond.
Over and over
Warm childhood memories come spilling out of him, in place of the tears he is trying so hard not to shed.

Friday, May 2, 2008

bottom of the junk drawer

5 or 6 random things.
Janeyv and Akasha tagged me, but I am afraid my mind is muddled, so there wont be anything interesting here, just totally random day to day stuff. Like the bottom of the junk drawer.

6. I feel bad for our fish. His proper name is Frederick Tornado, because I like to call things and beings Fred, and because Cheese wanted him to have a strong manly name, but generally we refer to him as "the fish". He is a betta and some say they should be in very small bowls, because they naturally live in puddles. You will often see them in pet stores, floating immobile in bowls only slightly bigger than their bodies. I do not believe that it is true that they like small bowls. Fred is in quite a large bowl and he swims around a lot and looks bored. He notices anyone who walks by. He knows the difference between me and the cat. If cat, then Fred hides inside his plastic rock formation, if me, then his little fins start flapping real fast, and if I get out the food container and shake it, he wriggles his body around, and opens and closes his mouth. Makes me think of a dog when you say "go outside? You want to go outside?" and they get all excited, jumping around, wagging their tails, clearly saying "YES YES YES!" (I don't know if Fred is saying "yes yes yes, feed me" or if I have activated his fighting instinct and he is proctecting his territory). A few times I put the tip of a leaf in the tank (from his peace lily, which can not be in the tank because the cat keeps attacking and chomping on it), to show where the food was (they are teeny tiny floating pellets), and so now he usually wont eat them, unless I do this. He'll just sit and look at me, waiting, till the leaf tip goes in and out, a few times, then he springs into action charging toward it. I never played any sort of a feeding game with a fish before. So anyway, I think this fish needs a tank, and some docile fish of some sort that he wont kill, because he seems to want to be doing things. Cheese thinks it is funny, because I move the fish bowl location about every two weeks, so the fish has a different view, and level of passerby foot traffic, but Fred needs it, I swear he was trying to read a bit of mail that was lying on the counter yesterday.

1. Weight. Wait!! How did this happen?
Hmm... I gained 7 pounds this winter, strangely enough because of stomach pain, felt better full, burned on empty, and didn't like the bouncing of exercise (or bending forward or much of anything), so I was mostly still. I was already 5 pounds over what I used to weigh, my "ideal", and the weight that goes along with the size of all my clothes, so now my clothes really really really don't fit..oh sure I can still get them on, some I can even zipper, but for all, stuff like bending, sitting, and kneeling, kill me with pain. So I've bought an exercise bike, Bob is not happy that I insisted on putting it in the living room (for now), but it is whisper quiet, and I can watch TV while I pedal, making it an ideal lazy person's exercise. And it isn't at all bouncy. I am hoping this helps, I miss my old clothes, and my self-esteem. And I rather don't like the thought "who are you?" that accompanies catching sight of myself in the mirror.

2. Plant lust.
A flame fanned by warm spring days. A floweraholic with no desire for a 12 step program. I was so tired of digging and weeding last fall, I thought I wouldn't feel this way now, but I was out last week in the beautiful sunshiny warmth, digging and planting, and life was perfect.

Oh... if I could afford to buy hundreds, I would. I want this, and that, and those, and some of these, and lots of them. Tis only April and Bob is already cautioning me that I can't keep buying plants, and we are already squabbling over dirt, as in B- "I am not buying anymore dirt", T "We need gardening soil, and peat moss, and manure, and...".

It is so hard to decide between flowers. I can't buy all the Dave Austin roses I want, but it is difficult to choose which few I want most. The colors seem highly variable (are those petals peach, or yellow, or apricot, or pink, or cream? Depends on the photo and the weather). I have spent too much time this past week googling them, but I want to get the ones I will enjoy the most. Especially since the beds are just about full and Bob says I can't make any more. Oh the looks I got from him when I started digging up the sod in the backyard for a peachy colored flower bed last Friday "What are you doing?!". But in the end he seems okay with it. I think he was pleased to see Miss Stomach and Chest Pain, out and about, acting like her old self. He ended the day by shaking his head at me, but smiled and said I looked cute out there digging away with my shovel. (last night I finally decided, and ordered my roses, so I wont be searching the web for people's rose photos, and comparison shopping anymore.

3. Shopping
I love shopping..grocery shopping, bookstore and used book sale shopping, and plant shopping. Oh and itunes shopping. No wait I don't love itunes shopping, I love having songs, and I love it when I have money so I can buy songs. Which is different from the grocery, book, and plant stores, where I love walking down the aisles and seeing and touching everything.
Other shopping? Shopping for clothes, shoes, purses, make-up, a car, stuff like that, is not enjoyable to me.

I personally spent $30 bucks at the used book sale last week, I was so proud of myself (for spending less at each succesive sale, in the last two years), but Bob who had brought $10 with the hopes that Cheese and I would split it, was not nearly as pleased (with either of us, as we each had a box of books we were clinging to with the desperate grip hold of an addict). I got a really nice book for $4, Martha Stewart month by month gardening, I had looked for it in the library just the week before but they didn't have it, and then there it was at the used book sale as if it were waiting just for me.

4. Grey is leaving me a bit gray.
I am letting my grey hair grow in (grow out?). I still might dye it, I am just scared to because my hair is already coarse and frizz prone. Is it just as damaging to dye it a lighter shade as it is a darker one (when it comes to covering grey) ?
I used to pluck them out but now there are too many and I would rather be grey than bald. Anyway I look ridiculous, firstly they start out by sprouting straight up, bringing to mind seedlings, as they reach for the inch mark and the sky. Now some are two inches, some three, and I look like some crazy bug with lots of white antennae. So I have to wear a barrette atop my head to pull them down, and/or keep changing the part in my hair accordingly. I have a patch center of my crown, which lends to me a lovely skunk stripe appearance. And the effect on the sides where I have some longer strands is a bit like silly string. Again the mirror asks "who are you?". (I usually just shrug back at it "in a transitional period")
A grey that doesn't feel gray is Grey's Anatomy. It is the only show that the whole family watches, I don't mean Bob and Cheese, I mean the women. I watch it, my mom does, my aunt, my cousins, my sister-in-law, my BF from college. We all started watching it independently, but soon realized we were all watching it. I don't know maybe it is odd that none of us ever had a show in common before in all these years, but it is cool now that we do.

5. Green costs green/ It takes green to go green
I am trying to go greener. Janeyv is a bad influence (I never thought about the plastic packaging that my blueberries come in before she talked about such on her blog). Just little things here and there, like cleaners for house and body. I want to cut back on the amount of pollution I am adding to water/ the environment. It is expensive though unless you make the products yourself, and I am not ready for all of that. Earlier in the week I stood looking at some natural type decomposing kitchen trash bags, but they cost so much money (that I don't have. Yes I did just spend some on roses, but planting plants is good for the environment, nature, birds, bees, yada yada, so I think that a good thing, plus planting happens to make me really happy, in a way that sitting and staring at a trash bag just doesn't. And isn't buying used books akin to recycling, plus the money always goes to good causes). I am just not sure about things, I bought some natural shampoo and soaps and stuff, without SLS, et. cetera but they do cost quite a bit more and it gets a bit confusing with some people saying this and that are harmful and others saying they aren't. To cook on aluminum, yes/no? I don't know, I bought this nice baking half sheet (made of the stuff) for roasting veg, and now I wont use it. Bob is already very upset about the price of all the regular stuff we use, such as gas and food, and says we wont be able to heat our home next winter, so I am really trying to find products that are better for the environment that don't cost more (but mostly they do). I think I will be able (long-term) to make our own cleaning products, but with stuff like shampoo and trash bags, I think I will end up reverting to cheaper ways of getting the job done.

There you have it, grey, slightly green, chunky, in love with flowers, books and groceries, and spending time worrying about the psychological well being of a fish. What is in your (snap-shot of self) junk drawer today?