Wednesday, April 23, 2014

S: Sneezzle Snazzle

"Sneezzly snazzle" is the phrase I say immediately after every sneeze. I do not know why or when I began this custom.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

P: Paper

Fragile white husk, fluttering in my hand
The pulped remains of a forest, bleeding ideas
Thin, crisp, cool, lost in the crinkle of fire
Gone with the slow, poisoning steep of the rain
Embalmed memorial to souls long past
Extorting fears from my mind's deepest crevice
Delicate deviant, whispered into wind

Monday, April 21, 2014

O: On and Off

When I write my mind goes through a process that I call the Incubation Period. This is when I have an idea. A really vivid idea. I've probably jotted down quite a few notes but I'm not ready to write much down yet.

I'm not ready to do a lot of research.

I'm not even doing outlines or character sketches.

I have an idea and I can't think about anything else but I have no tangible evidence of productivity. I have no output. I stare out of windows and talk to myself inside my head. I relate everything that happens around me to my idea and --life willing --I might spend a day in my room reading poetry that reminds me of the idea. I don't get a lot of laundry or dishes done and I space out a lot at work.

This is the part where I daydream. This is the part where the story really takes shape inside me.

Unfortunately this is the part I can't turn on and off. It's there or it isn't.

I can sit down and will myself to research or outline or draft or edit but the incubation --the part where the idea creates its own life --only happens when it wants to.

I can also stop any of those processes and work on other responsibilities but incubation is a state of mind. Physically I might be attempting diligence but my mind is somewhere else. My friends and bosses tend to notice this.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

N: Not Knowing

I like not knowing things.

Ok, not exactly like. I'm curious about everything. I like asking strange questions and contemplating possibilities. But I'm ok with not finding solid, concrete, indisputable answers. If I do find that kind of answer I tend to find them incomplete. Flat. One dimensional. Because the world is so much more exciting and complicated than that.

It has been argued that the unknown is mankind's greatest fear, death being the greatest unknown because no one knows for absolute certain what lies on the other side. But life is just as uncertain. Anything can happen, anywhere, at any moment. You can have plans and schedules and ambitions for the future but you don't really know how things will turn out until you're in the middle of them.

It's like reading a book. You don't know for sure how it will end until you get there and you don't want to.

It's like writing a book. You envision the end, plan for the individual scenes, but there are still moments --big moments --that take you completely by surprise. And yet, when you are finished everything fits together even better than you had planned.

There is excitement in not knowing but there is also a peace because you don't have to control the outcome. You let go of it. You trust. Sometimes you don't need an answer. You just need a question.

This is why I was never a mathematician.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

M: Moon

Here are some pictures from the eclipse we had Monday night.

It was thrilling to watch the moon slowly disappear.

Almost like seeing half a month go by in one night.

I wonder what happens to werewolves on the night of an eclipse.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

L: Luck

Webster's definition of LUCK:

a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group or cause

But, as with all abstract words, the meaning of the word varies according to an individual's perspective on life.

Other words that could by synonymous with LUCK:


It is interesting that a word that seems to mean something so specific can get up and run away from you once you try to pin-point exactly what it does mean. It's an abstract concept. Most of us understand it to mean more or less the same thing and yet . . .

That's probably a metaphor. I've never been a fan of trying to define everything all the time. At least not definitively. It is good to be aware that the meaning of words fluctuate but not to try to contain them in a single definition. That would be like, well trying to hold back the tide. Pointless and impossible.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

K: Kestrel

This is a kestrel.

A bird of prey that screeches as it makes its kill.

This is The Kestrel.

A book that changed my life when I was seventeen.

I've read a lot of books that paved the way for how I later came to think, slowly shifting things in my head so that ideas would have room to form. I've also read a lot of books that seemed to express my innermost cries. I've read a lot of books that asked me questions I didn't know the answer to and kept up well into the night contemplating them. The Kestrel is the only book I can remember that ripped into my head, pulled out things I thought I knew, and rearranged them behind my eyes.

This was at least partially because the first time I read it I was seventeen and ready for the inevitable changes in the mind that come with maturity but The Kestrel is also a very powerful anti-war story; brutal but also innocent in the way only a story about the young and inexperienced can be. I must have re-read the trilogy at least three times and every time I notice another master stroke in Lloyd Alexander's storytelling. It's a beautiful book. One that I believe deserved more acclaim that it received for its depth and honest depiction of the human instincts for survival.