Thursday, December 13, 2007

Guess What's In My Hand?

A young girl and boy were playing in the park one day. The boy was building castles and buildings out of the moist sand in the sandbox. The girl was rummaging through the bushes for berries. Suddenly, the girl gave out a cry.

The boy glanced over, wondering perhaps if the girl had been scratched by a stray thorn. He did not hear the cry was a cry of delight.

The girl rushed over, her hands clasped together. "Guess what's in my hand!" She was beaming, a strange light in her face. It made the boy feel uncomfortable.

The boy looked down at his castles, the sand too dry to make any detail. He sullenly addressed the girl. "What is it?"


"I don't want to play games," he said, pleased at how adult he sounded. "Tell me, is it a berry? Or a ladybug? Or a firefly?"

"No, even better…" She looked around to make sure nobody was listening. "I found a fairy!"

"A fairy? Like a small person with wings that glows and flies around? Like Tinkerbell?"

"Just like that," she said. "I was looking in the bush, and the fairy was just sitting there watching me. I held out my hand, and she hopped into it, looking up at me. I decided to come show you."

"Don't be stupid," the boy said. "Fairies aren't real."

"Of course they are," the girl said. "I have one in my hand."

"No you don't. You can't. They don't exist."

"They do too!" The girl stomped her foot. "Don't be difficult. Just look when I let her loose. She'll fly away, but you'll see her. I can prove it to you."

"There can't be a fairy. It's not possible. Open your hands and I'll show you its just a bug or a butterfly."

The girl opened her hands. She was so transfixed with what she was doing that she didn't notice that the boy's eyes were closed. As she opened her hands, the boy shook his head, his eyes still closed. "See what I mean? Just a firefly, like I said. Don't be so silly."

The girl frowned as she watched the fairy fly up from her hands and off deeper into the park. "That's not a firefly, it's a fairy!" There were tears standing out in her eyes.

The boy turned back to his mound of sand as he finally opened his eyes. "I saw it the same as you. It was just a firefly. Don't bother me with something so stupid again." He ignored her and went back to his castle.

The girl, weeping openly, turned back to the bush to look for fireflies.

* * *

I don't have much to say today, actually. Working, writing, tired. The week's wearing down, and I typically wear down with it. I get Jimmy John's for lunch, which is yummy-<3. And yesterday someone offered to do two very nice things for me out of the blue, and I remembered that good deeds exist and how wonderful they are when they come to you. It's been a long time since I've been in a position to do a good deed for someone. I just … never have an opportunity. I hope to, though, sometime.

Writing went well again last night. I won't say much right now, and probably won't blog much until I'm done with the draft. My mind's very wrapped up in the machine of my novel as it steams down the tracks towards its inevitable end. I'm already prepping the confetti and noisemakers.

Maybe my karma's looking up? Worth hoping for, really. But I won't hold my breath. Karma only comes round good when you don't worry about it, but instead focus on breathing. That's all that matters. Breathing, living, carrying on as normal.

Inhale. Exhale. Live. Dream.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride...

A story I heard today (not mine) that is worth repeating:

A little girl was in a restaurant with her parents and the waitress came and took their orders. The parents ordered mashed potatoes and meat loaf. The little girl says, "I'll have french fries and a hot dog and a Coke."

Her father says "Oh no she won't, she'll have mashed potatoes and meatloaf and milk."

The waitress then turned to the little girl and said, "So, hon, what do you want on that hotdog."

The waitress laughed. The family was stunned.

And then the little girl turned to her parents and said, "She thinks I'm real."

* * *

So I'm heading into the final stretch of WTC. The dicey bits of leadup are past. I'm firmly beginning the climax. I love this part of writing. I've spent a month and a half, nearly, writing almost every day to put words down and build up this story about these people doing these things. I planned about 25% of it, the guys downstairs did about 25% of it, and 25% came out of the happy accidents. And that last 25% was hard, hard work. Trying to figure out what's going on. What it's about. Where it's going. Dealing with the fact that this novel is deeply personal, cuts down to the heart of my past and explores parts of myself I'd rather not look at.

But now I'm done with all that. The leg work is done. It's like a slide. You spend all this time and energy fighting against gravity to get to a certain point. But once you do, it all starts going on its own. You sit down and you don't have to do anything and all of the sudden it all works on its own. You push off, and you're not in control anymore. The stuff you've been fighting to set up are conditions that will bring everything to the perfect, ideal end. All on its own. Look, no hands!


Its times like these that I write novels for. Publishing is spiffy, sure, and the idea of becoming wealthy and famous (maybe, biiiig maybe) is cool, but all I really like is that feeling when everything I put in motion takes off on its own and I just sit back and punch in the words that are demanded of me.

This story's taken more help to get it into motion than any other. But now that it's moving, it's a beautiful, terrifying thing. Dark and luxurious and insightful and twisted into all sorts of mind-bending shapes.

This moment. This realization. This euphoria. THIS is why I love to write. This part is my high, at the very end.

It's all downhill from here. Look for the draft to be done by mid next week.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stages of Mind - A Process

I had an interesting day yesterday. Spent a good portion of the day doing some reflection and learning, and accumulated a few things I felt were worth incorporating. When I find something to incorporate, my mind seems to undergo a particular process. Almost always the same. I explained it to a friend of mine, and he found it quite a useful metaphor. So I told him he could have it, if it helped. And now I give it to you.

We examine the world through the lens of our perception. We see as clearly as the lens allows us, and all things are interpreted through that lens. It's tinted, of course, based on the experiences and opinions that make up the matter of the lens. But it's our lens. It's all we've got, so most of us treat it well (assuming we realize it exists).

When something new is encountered, something powerful and worth incorporating, it typically strikes the lens. If your lens is built to accept new things, the lens will shatter. All of the sudden, you have the explosion of thousands of fragments of self and awareness exploding through space, a solid becoming a cloud of potential as a new thing is found and works its way into the cloud of glass. You only have to be aware of this expansion process. Know when it happens. And let your mind explode with the new potential of whatever you've found. Let your awareness explore the cloud, and see the strange new potentials of the thoughts that fall in shards. Look for that thing which pierced your lens and caused this trouble. When you find it, you'll be ready to begin the next step.

Once you've discovered the new thought, it's time to evaluate. All these pieces are scattered, and you'll gather them up. Don't worry, you don't have to fit them together. Instead, they will all lie there in a pile, and your lens will no longer be a lens, instead it will be a kaleidoscope. The kaleidoscope sees many things at all different facets. For the time you're using the kaleidoscope mind, all things will be seen from multiple angles. Opinions all seem valid. Viewpoints seem transparent and you'll be playing devils advocate with everyone not out of spite, but simply because you see the other side just as well. It's all there in a jumble.

This is the time to figure out which viewpoints you agree with again. Done properly, you'll know what your new thought or idea or belief is, and you'll know what it touches, and you'll examine those things as they relate to the new thing. Take your ambivalence to opinions as a time to examine your own and see the other side. Look at the many ways of approaching something, as opposed to the singular view that is typical when you have the lens mind.

Slowly, the kaleidoscope will fade, and you'll be left with the mirror mind. The mirror mind has once again melded all of the various pieces into a single existence. Yet, that existence should be turned inward before it'll be turned outward. The mirror mind is deeply introspective. It looks into the heart and soul and tries to come to terms with what it finds there. It is sometimes brutally honest and critical. It is sometimes good at pushing buttons. But it's a good thing, usually. It allows you to rediscover yourself with this new viewpoint. It allows you to get further and further into who you are, to help create a solid center.

Over time this mirror grows transparent. And as it does, the focus swings from inward to outword, and you're left with a lens. A lens similar to the one that you had before, but with a slightly different curvature. It looks at the world with a slightly altered tint. You will see things just that slight bit differently. And the hope is that it will help you engage the world on a more useful level. Refined, perhaps, or maybe wider as opposed to refined. But more suited to how you need to engage the world in the present.

This can happen all the time. Sometimes it happens more than once. Sometimes you'll be struck with a huge number of new thoughts, and the gathering takes forever as you find multiple new pieces. Sometimes the kaleidoscope mind has new thoughts that grow in the tumult and rise up and start the process all over again. Sometimes you skip steps, and when you gather the pieces that turn transparent immediately. Or the kaleidoscope becomes a lens. Or the mirror is struck from the inside by some revelation and you never see a lens in that cycle. Whatever happens, happens.

This happens to me quite frequently. And over time I've come to recognize each stage as it comes. I like knowing the process, even if I don't fully understand it. And perhaps you also will take something from it. If you do, that's great. I'm very happy. If not, that's okay to. I don't presume that this is the only way of existing and thinking. Just mine.

Winter Wonderland

It's snowing or sleeting or whatever. No rest for the wicked. I'm here at work, earning my keep. Kind of patchwork here today, though. Lots of people working from home. I wouldn't get anything done if I was working from home. It'd be something along the lines of "Oooh, here's my work for the day, but over there is a book, and over there are games, and there are a whole mess of movies."

Not to mention my bed. Oh yes. Beds are nice. And not condusive to work in any way, shape, or form.

So I'm here. Doing work, talking to Tony, and wondering what to put here. It's one of those lazy days where I just don't seem to have much to say. I feel nice and content. I have cold weather pouring outside, and I have warm jazz in my ears, and hot chocolate well within reach. It's cozy. The best part of winter is the coziness you can't find anywhere else but during freezing cold when you go somewhere that isn't.

I actually have two things to say. I don’t know if I'll get both of them written. But we'll see. Posts including them will follow this one, as I write them. Might be a productive blogging day. Who knows?

Monday, December 10, 2007

A small story

Three men sat before a great teacher, a wise man who knew many secrets both esoteric and mundane. He was rumored to have guided dozens of students to enlightenment. The three men had come separately the great distance with great hardship. They came to seek admission to the wise man's school, where he taught people and helped guide them to greater wisdom.

The great teacher sat down before them and apologized for them coming so far up his distant mountain. He explained that he only had a single opening at his school. He would take one of the men on as his student, but only after they passed an interview to demonstrate who was most worthy.

The teacher was very grave when he asked the men: "What do you know about being enlightened?"

The first man pulled out a list of teachers and schools he had been a part of. "I, great teacher, have been to numerous schools and taken the teaching they provided. All were great teachers, but none as great as you. When I exhausted their supply of knowledge, I moved on, and so I have amassed a great amount of ability and wisdom. I come recommended very highly from all of them. I have been working at enlightenment every day, and I have a strong belief in what it takes to be enlightened."

The second man interrupted the first. "Do not listen to him. Great teacher, you want to take me! I have been to no teacher, but I sought you because you are the greatest of all teachers. This man has been spoiled by too many schools and too many ideas. I have a beginner's mind that you are free to mold as you will. If you accept me, I will devote myself only to your teaching."

The two men then argued back and forth about who would be best to accept. The wise man watched for several minutes. Then he spoke. "Silence." And there was silence.

The wise man turned to the third man, who had been sitting quietly drinking the tea the wise man had offered all three men when they arrived. "What do you know about being enlightened?"

The third man thought. He had been to some schools, but he had found them confusing and obscure. He had heard of the wise man's power, and had decided when he was down in the verdant valley to come and seek enlightenment from this teacher above all others. Yet, both men had better answers than he and the voyage had been longer and harder than he had expected.

"I don't know," he answered. "I thought I knew, but climbing everything fell down the mountain. Now I'm not sure what I know about enlightenment, and I'm not sure if what I used to know is correct or not. So I'm afraid I can't answer your question."

The other two travelers laughed at his answer. The wise man nodded and then looked to the other two men. "This man here is closer to enlightenment than you might ever be." And the wise man took the third man into his home and the man became part of the school seeking enlightenment.

Note to Self

So, you moved on Saturday. You're now broke and your arms hurt and your stuff is scattered to and fro like a tornado hit it. You've dug out a bunch of old books and movies, though, so that's good. Right? Yeah.

But you weren't responsible. On Saturday you were admittedly busy. But Sunday? What happened Sunday? You unpacked a bit. Then you played a couple of hours of Final Fantasy XII, despite the fact you told yourself you wouldn't touch that game again. Oh well. You're allowed a bit of fun now and then.

But did you write?

No. No you didn't. You thought about it. You wanted to, you say. But you didn't. Why not? The computer was set up. It was all waiting for you. Desiring to be written. The book isn't going to write itself, and March 1st is creeping up closer and closer. You have to finish WTC before you can edit MS.

So why didn't you write?

Yeah, I know you're tired and burnt out. Join the club. You've been writing hard and fast for a good while. But you have so much more time to go. You can take it easy in March, if you still feel like it. Until then, there is no excuse. Write!


Remember the dream and remember that nobody can achieve it but you.

note: Scheduled topid will have to wait until I'm less discombobulated. Sorry for the inconvenience.