The Beauty of Butterflies

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Maya Angelou

The same could be said about writing, don’t you think? As a reader we’re presented with the final product,  edited and polished until it shines. But how many drafts, revisions, and edits did it go though to get there? We should never be discouraged with our first attempts at a story. It will change and grow over time.

Perhaps it is a good thing that readers never have to read the first drafts of some very popular books. If they did they might not want to read the finished book at all.

Enjoy your weekend!

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

This is a difficult post, and something I’m having a hard time reconciling with, so please bear with me.

Open Letter– to whom it may concern

How can you get rid of me like this, toss me out as if I never meant a thing to you? Have you forgotten the laughter, the words we shared, the time we spent snuggled up in the armchair together while you held me close? What about those times when I brought a smile to your face, shared my deepest darkest secrets, presented my thoughts to you like an open book?

 

Have you truly forgotten all the years we spent together, those years I waited for you to acknowledge me the way you once did? Do I no longer fill you with excitement? Does the thought of me no longer fill you with desire?

 

I won’t go into all the times you’ve ignored me, walked past without giving me a sideways glance, the times you treated me as if I didn’t exist even though we were residing under the very same roof. I was unable to cry out for your attention. Would you have listened to me anyway?

 

There was no warning, no exchange of angry words. How was I to know? You became bored one day and figured you’d had enough of me. You were tired of looking at me. Keeping me around was a waste of your time. Your life needed decluttering. I was part of that clutter. I was in the way. You had better things to do.

 


You picked me up, dusted me off, and packed me away.

 

You wrote about it on Facebook a few days ago. You and your friends made jokes. You bragged your intentions. You were getting rid of me you said. A few objected, but most just laughed it off. Perhaps they thought you were joking.

And so now you expect me to find a new home, far away from here, from you. Be honest, it was your plan from the start. I’m surprised it took so long for you to execute it. I hope you don’t mind this parting picture as I go. A little something to remind you of me.

Yes, my friends breaking up is very hard to do.

Do you find it difficult to part with books? Impossible?Do you donate them, pass them along, or *gasp* throw them in the garbage?

 

Inspirationally Speaking; I Like Change

Last post I wrote about how inspired I felt, how ready to embrace changes in my writing and personal life. I was excited to get going, still am. Each day I’ve been waking with a sense of optimism, a knowing that everything is exactly where it needs to be at the moment. This doesn’t mean I have to stay stuck in one place. On the contrary. It just means that all the previous steps I’ve taken in the past have helped get me where I am right now. It’s all right. It’s all good.  Only now I’m ready to make some changes.

It’s okay. I’m allowed. No one’s the boss of me.

Most times change doesn’t happen at the snap of a finger. It can if we want it to, (a change of attitude for instance) but, be honest; most times we have to work toward bringing whatever change we want to fruition. And so we inch our way along. Hoping it won’t be too painful a process. Maybe we even close our eyes.That’s okay, too. It means we’re still making progress. We can breath easy.

Staying open to the possibility of change isn’t a bad thing in my mind. Our truths today won’t always be our truths tomorrow. That warm wool blanket can sometimes get mighty itchy all of a sudden. Don’t you think?

Thank goodness we have the ability to change our thoughts and minds. We don’t even need an excuse. That’s the beauty of it. It’s just enough to know that we changed our minds about something because we wanted to. And no, you don’t have to justify a change of mind. Not if you don’t want to. Just seems like sometimes our minds have a mind of their own.

I’m reminded of a neighbour of mine who is forever bringing up a comment one of my children made in the past about a certain town where she didn’t want to live. Turns out that’s exactly where she’s living today. My neighbour is constantly perplexed. How can this be? I know, for some, it’s a hard concept to follow. Life circumstances changed for my daughter. She changed her mind about where she would live. Simple dimple. I’m not confused by it at all.

Ask any writer you know. This happens more times than we can articulate. Our writing is forever undergoing change. We change our minds about the story we’re working on. We suddenly realize the character we’ve create doesn’t like horses, not since being nearly trampled to death in childhood by a runaway steed. (The writer is sometimes the last one to know!) Maybe the entire story was written before we even knew this.

It’s as if a lightening bolt zaps us and immediately we know what we have to do to change that story. These lightening bolts can strike right out of the blue. We can’t stand around and argue the fact that there wasn’t even a cloud in the sky.

But get this— it’s allowed. That’s the truly marvellous part.

Now I’m off to revise a very old story. You see, I changed my mind about how I would write it. Much of it will remain the same. I’m just going to breath new life into it. I didn’t know until a few days ago that I was even going to make changes. That’s the truly exciting part. It had been sitting unchanged for many years, but as I was reading it over a bolt of inspiration suddenly struck me.

Nice to know that change can/will come when the time is right.

 

Rising Up

But from this earth, this grave, this dust, My God shall raise me up, I trust. – Walter Raleigh

My son took two photos last year on Good Friday. (The other one I posted on my Dalhousie blog.) Everytime I see this photo I’m inspired by its deeper meaning.

 A few days ago I had lunch with a writer friend of mine. It was difficult not to feel inspired afterward. Her energy and passion for writing fuelled our conversation. We talked for a few hours. I honestly believe we could have talked longer. I came home vowing to make some positive changes, not only in my approach to writing, but in my life in general. The time feels right.

Have you ever sensed that change was coming, yet you chose to ignore the signs until you were suddenly forced into it? That’s kind of how I feel at the moment. I’ve been sensing a shift, yet holding onto the old even though it hasn’t been serving me all that well.

I like challenges. I really do. I like trying to figure out what needs to be done and then doing it.

Easter is all about change. It’s about hope and inspiration, opening our hearts and minds to all we can be. It’s about rebirth and rising up to meet the challenges that come our way, not simply giving in because we find things too hard. I believe Easter is also about being all we can be and then some.

Now is a good time make changes in our lives. I feel inspired just writing that. At this time, that’s exactly where I am.  🙂

Happy Easter!

The Christmas List

December already and I’m attempting to get my Christmas shopping done. I haven’t yet given serious thought to baking, decorating or wrapping gifts yet, but that’s nothing unusual for me. Eventually everything that needs doing gets done before the big day. I’m not one of those people who thrive on the “preparation part” of Christmas. I want to go into Christmas relaxed and able to enjoy the time with my family. When my kids were small that was next to impossible. Sometimes change is a good thing.
This Christmas there will be laughter, food, gifts, and most of all the laughter. Did I mention laughter? Of right, I did. We’re a pretty silly bunch when we get together. Last year seemed to be the year for poetry as a good many poems accompanied the gifts. I’m inclined to think that, for all of us, the poems were the best part, certainly the part that we remember first.
I always ask my kids to make a list of gift suggestions just to make it a bit easier on dear old Mum. I have a full head of hair and I’d like to keep it that way. My kids all know this list is more of a wish list than anything because I’m not about to try and track down everything on it. Besides, now that they’re all earning more money than me I’m thinking that perhaps I’m the one who should be making up a list. It never seems to work that way though. Ah well, that’s the way.
Last year I shared with you a bit of my son’s list where he claimed to have suddenly gone Atheist and therefore didn’t want any Christmas gifts.You can read a portion of last year’s Christmas list. here. It was a fairly substantial note intended to obviously amuse me, which it did. I’m a pushover when it comes to silly. My kids know it.
This year, after an enormous amount of prodding from me, I received this lovely list in an email which he titled “short and sweet.” I thought some of you might be interested to see what’s on the wish list of your typical 24 year old these days. Hmmm, did I say typical?…Tell me what you think. This is how the email arrived to me. I added my response. I simply couldn’t stop myself.

short and sweet:

-A 1000 pk bag of sugar twin.  (I’m assuming he’s developed a sweet tooth, but doesn’t want the calories)
-A 50 pound bag of potatoes.  (This one really threw me..For the love of God who asks for a 50 pound bag of spuds? When asked to specify, he said he’s partial to Yukon Gold.)
-Nair for men (Is there even such a thing as Nair for men? Okay, this one had me worried a bit. But wait, my mind is telling me he’s been lifting weights at the gym, could it be he’s going to become a body builder? Body builders remove unwanted hair, right?)
-Grecian 5, colour AC242  (I have no idea if this is an actual colour, but me thinks not. I’m sure he pulled that colour number out of thin air.)
-Cardamom— (hmmmm.This is one bachelor who knows how to cook and obviously knows more about spices than his mother.. I had to look that spice up. Perhaps it’s an attention getter, you know for when he invites his date in for a meal he’s prepared. Every woman loves a man who knows his way around the kitchen. Right? But will she even know what Cardamom is?)
-Pickled Herring (I knew  sooner or later there would be something fishy about this list of his.)
-door stops –(Yup, what every young man hankers after these days—door stops.I’m sure there are a few rocks around here that would do the trick. In his spare time he can paint them up and make them look quite nifty if he’s truly ambitious.)
-those little pads that go on your cupboard doors ( .Ah yes, those little pads, the ones my second child chewed off my cupboards when she was a toddler. Apparently, they even lack a proper name ..)
-2, 5 gallon SunSpun oil buckets (Free at the superstore)  (Need they be SunSpun, I wondered? Won’t just any five gallon bucket do the trick? I’m assuming these will double for chairs as well as storage, right? You know, for when he invites his date over a gourmet meal of pickled herring and potatoes that he’s prepared himself. He can even sweeten that dessert he’s making with sugar twin and let’s not forget the cardamom, heavens to Betsy we can’t forget that.)

So there you see what I have to deal with. Although, truthfully, it serves to remind me that we needn’t take life or Christmas too seriously. There are far more important things in this world than wanting everything to be perfect.  Perfection is a façade, something that builds up our expectations to greater heights when really it is the simpler things such as peace, hope,joy and love that we will remember and cherish. Let’s not forget the love and support of family. It won’t be that big ticket item you purchased that you’ll look back on with fond memories, but the happy times that you created with your loved ones near.

Now to get back to my Christmas shopping. Anyone know a good place to buy Yukon Gold potatoes? I SO want to get him a bag just to see the expression on his face come Christmas morning.

Change is gonna do you good

Recently, my oldest daughter tagged me in a photo on Facebook. (Don’t worry Mel, I’ll get you back one day. Not for this one, but for some of the other ones you tagged me in!)

Yup, that’s me and my first baby. She looks a bit like Miss Charlotte if you ask me..

The picture, of the two of us, was taken twenty-nine years ago this month. Egad was my hair really that dark, my skin so smooth and wrinkle free? (Insert comment here about how I haven’t changed an iota in the past twenty-nine years. Okay, who am I kidding?)

One friend commented that she didn’t recognize me in the photo at first. I wasn’t surprised. Time will do that to the best of us. We can try to stop the years from rolling by. We can colour our hair, get a face-lift, change our wardrobe, but try as we may, there’s not a thing we can do to stop these changes from coming.

The years bring about change. It’s a given. It’s what life’s about.

Of course most change happens so slowly that we don’t even seem to notice it happening.

Over the years, we change our looks, we change our minds and, we change our outlook on life. Hopefully, once we reach a certain age we start figuring a few things out. The truths I believed in when I was in my twenties, and even thirties, have changed to reflect the person I am today. Life events have a way of changing us on the inside. We grow.

The same is true for the characters we write about.

In every story we write or read, there has to be some change. Just as we change in real life, our fictitious characters cannot stay suspended in time. Change is a necessity, and an important part of every story. An important part of life. It may not always be something life altering (although it may be) but there has to be some sort of change, however subtle it may be, if you want to keep your novel real.

A great example of a character changing is Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. He goes from being a grumpy old coot to a wonderful friend and neighbour. What more could anyone ask for, I say? Most characters in the novels we read won’t go through such a dramatic change, but still we look for something. Don’t we? Change is what matters and if the characters don’t matter to us, the book won’t matter. We may even find ourselves setting the book down never to pick it up again.

I find it a bit interesting that as much as most of us dislike change for ourselves, we welcome it wholeheartedly in the books we read. We can hardly wait for a certain character to have a change of heart, or to accept the changes that have entered into their lives. We even cheer when this transformation takes place. It makes me ask the question, why are we more willing to accept change for our characters than we are for ourselves? Or perhaps you are one of those people who accept change as a part of life. Still, I find this whole concept of change interesting. How about you?

All About Change

As I mentioned in my last post we spent the weekend with my daughter, her husband and our granddaughter in New Brunswick. They are a four-hour car drive away, that’s four hours if you don’t make any stops along the way. (Three and a half hours if you’re my son-in-law.)

We made several stops; the trip seemed to go on forever. I went prepared, though, armed with a copy of Tom Sheppard’s, Historic Bridgewater, and a notepad. I’ve had Tom’s book for sometime but hadn’t got around to reading it. My to be read list is long. I sometimes get distracted. A new book comes along, one that I have to read immediately. I can’t help myself.

Okay, so I really am a history nut. There’s so much to be learned about our present and our future by turning toward the past. Whenever I read a history book I’m always reminded that history is all about change and preserving what once was. Life is about change. It has to be.

Not only did I dig into Tom’s book but I made plenty of notes during the trip for my present work in progress. (I guess I wasn’t very good company!) Ideas seemed to fly as the miles went by. I knew I couldn’t rely upon my memory to remember these things later on. I don’t often think to bring a notebook along with me but this time I did. I seldom plot my stories out on paper, but this particular story has been dancing around in background for some time, flaring up every now and again to let me know it’s time will one day come. I haven’t given up on it. It just hasn’t been quite ripe until now.

What amazed me about the weekend was realizing how our granddaughter has grown. The changes had happened slowly over the days and weeks, but for us it seemed so sudden. Then comes the nagging reminder of all those little moments we are missing out on. It had been seven weeks since we last saw her. So many changes have taken place. Babies are like that. Just try and stop them!

But I do not dare spend my time dwelling about all the things we are missing out on or all those little changes that we aren’t there to see.  I am choosing to enjoy each precious moment as it comes along.

The weekend was great and we had a terrific time, and although Miss Charlotte won’t see us as often as we might like those precious bonds are still being formed.

And now it’s back to the real world, back to daydreaming about all those little changes we won’t be there to see as they unfold, and back to a story that has suddenly decided the time is right.

Seeds:


Seeds of inspiration.

Seeds of change.

Seeds of hope.

Seeds of doubt.

What seeds are you planting in your life at the present moment?

Some Things Just Don’t Change (and sometimes that’s a good thing.)

Some of us think of change as a bad thing because we like things to stay just the way they are. Some of us, however, look upon change as growth and the opportunity to enrich our lives. Sometimes the process of change is darn uncomfortable but once we finally get the end result we see that all the things that happened were indeed for our own good. It helped us become the people we are today. It’s just that sometimes the getting there sucks….plain and simple.

But some things never change and that’s what I’m posting about today. I wanted to share some photos taken from our library.

I hope you’re not claustrophobic!

It’s a bit small but it still holds plenty of books. What I’m most amazed about (and this will sound silly to most of you) is that I can go online and search for a title and have it delivered. And if I wanted to put in a request for my book? Well, they’d bring it along, too. (Maybe I’ll just stick to my own copy!!)

The bookmobile has been coming to E. Dalhousie for nearly forty years. For those of us with a love of reading we don’t have to go very far. Mind you, the bookmobile only makes a trip out from the Annapolis Valley once a month but there’s no limit on the amount of books you can sign out. Sometimes they’ll even send your request via Canada Post….How cool is that?

So, welcome to the library here in East Dalhousie!

May it remain unchanged for a very long time because books are a good thing…A very good thing.

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