Shorts :: Marcy and Martha

Recently I attended an all day writing retreat entitled “The Next Season” at Hidden Lake Retreat in beautiful Eagle Creek, Oregon. The grounds were absolutely magical, with several acres to explore.

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Serenity in the woods


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The surging fish ladder


During the morning session, 12 writers participated in 15 minutes prompts. The first one started with a chuckle. One of the facilitators removed a sheet from the floor, which had been covering a mysterious lumpy pile of…shoes? She asked us to each pick a pair.
We all got up a bit hesitantly. My eyes slid to the pile, and instantly I knew which shoes I would choose. Can you guess why?
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Marcy                     Martha


Then she said, “I’d like to know what these shoes are saying to each other.”
…really?
Well, it turned out to be the most fun prompt of the day! So, here goes. It’s not going to win a Pulitzer, but it sure was fun to write.

“Your edges are curling, Martha,” Marcy sneered.
“You’re no spring chicken yourself, Marcy.”
“At least I’ve managed to pretend I have some class left,” said Marcy.
“Who needs class when you have a story?” Martha retorted.
“Remember Cinderella and the Glass Slipper? The shoe that got left behind ended up in the hands of a prince! No one cared about the shoe that stayed with Cinderella. Sure, it may have looked better, scratch-free, but the other slipper will always be remembered as the one who brought Cinderella to her prince!” Finished Martha.
“God, Martha!” Marcy huffed, “Why are you such a drama queen? That’s just an urban legend. Besides, you’re just a $20 slide from DSW. Get over yourself.”
Martha simply replied, “I know you are, but what am I?”

 

Roller Coaster of (Self) Love

Hello, friends. It has been quite a while since I’ve written something new. While I’m always learning, always evolving, sometimes I just don’t have the energy to share it with you. Now I’m ready, and I’m very excited to connect with you all again on this level. Life is funny. It sends you lessons, sometimes the same lessons you’ve seen before, over and over, but each time there is a new twist. At times I feel like life is a maze that we go in and out of—we might come out the same opening more than once, but the way that we reached it is never the same way twice.

Trying to take too much control doesn’t do anyone any good. No matter what I do, life is going to happen, and I can either get ahead of it and attempt to control it, or hang on for the ride and hope for the best. The first six months of 2015 I only had enough juice left to hang on… and maybe that was the best thing for me.
I felt lonely. I’ve been single a long time, most of you know this. It gives me a freedom that is amazing, but I was missing having a partner by my side. A month into the new year, something changed in that department. I began a beautiful journey with someone that took me places I never expected. We didn’t put a label on it; we were simply companions, mindful of the love between us and with a goal of becoming better and more aware partners to the people we would encounter down the road.
I spent much of my energy on others. My mother had double knee replacement in June, so I went to care for her for three weeks. Oh boy, did I have high hopes for those three weeks. I was going to get some serious writing done while seeing my school buddies, all while taking care of my mother. That turned out to be a pipe dream. I was working 24/7. When you can’t walk or stand for long periods, there are a lot of things you can’t do…I guess I hadn’t taken that into consideration. I thought I’d be cooking a meal here and there, driving her to the physical therapist and the library…that kind of thing. I did those, plus a hundred more. It was all day long. Every night I fell into bed without an iota of strength to write or even brainstorm. I can’t, however, say that it was all slaving and no fun. I got to see some loved ones. I played some righteous games of Bananagrams. I shopped…and I took care of my mother, who spent 18 years and some change making sure I turned out okay. She deserved every drop of energy I spent on her.
I met someone. Everyone told me It happens when you least expect it—I promise to never, ever say this to a single girlfriend EVER—but it was true in my case. I was finally not sweating the details or intently looking for something serious. Then I got a text from the person I would least have expected it from, which led to an amazing first date and, several more dates down the line, a wonderful boyfriend.
I was having fun. I was laughing with friends, allowing myself pleasure, running, dancing, eating good food, drinking cocktails, hashing, reading, working, hugging, giggling, meeting new people, travelling. I was running myself ragged. It didn’t give me much time to think about things, which is something I tend to do when I have lots to think about! I became somewhat emotionally lazy. At times I stressed myself out worrying. If there is one thing I am sure about myself, it’s that I’m not a lazy person. So why did it feel like I was changing in an undesirable direction?
I got lost in the whirlwind of all these things for a moment. Silly me. I thought I finally knew exactly who I was, what I wanted, and who my community consisted of. I constantly had to remind myself that everything is in its rightful place, at the right pace. And my world shifted, as it always does.
It was scary and incredible. As humans, we should never have all the answers. We should constantly be changing. Part of that is allowing yourself to recognize the gift of taking breaks. Taking time to smell the roses, if you want to wax poetic about it. One thing I always hear about myself is how busy I am. How many plans I make. What if I were to let life come to me for once so I could enjoy the ride, instead of always chasing control?
I know the universe will always provide me with prospects. I just have to slow down, give that control freak a breather, and welcome those opportunities when they come, with the understanding that the maze is always going to change; all I have to do is be present inside of it.

Read it here!

I wanted to send on the link to my newest article that is featured on the Milwaukie Rules front page right now. I did a write up of a First Friday event. Feedback welcome!
Milwaukie Rules!
Next blog post is in the works. Thank you for reading. It truly makes me happy to know that people still appreciate the craft of writing.

Thankful for the Balance

Think about how many times a day you thank the Universe for something. Yes! I snagged the last free muffin! Do you do this a few times a day? Now, think about how many times a day you (vocally or just mentally) complain or are ungrateful about something in your life. Uuuurrrrggghhh! The pharmacy line at Freddies is SO LONG! I personally don’t have a balance between the positive and the negative in this situation. Recently it was brought to my attention that I should be more mindful of that balance. Once I thought about it, I realized I have this knee-jerk reaction to immediately bitch and moan about something if it’s not perfectly the way I like it. I think it’s natural to be disappointed or grumble when something doesn’t go our way. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t complain, but I’d like to see if I could train myself to, instead of first having the nose-wrinkling negative reaction, be thankful for what positives are there. I see the pharmacy line is pretty long. This will give me some time to people-watch. Maybe I can develop some characters for my novel while I’m at it!
I didn’t do very much blogging in November. My focus was on National Novel Writing Month. When I looked at the stats on my WordPress dashboard, I was dismayed to see how few people had been clicking on my blog for the last few weeks. I took it very hard, thinking that all of my readers had forgotten about me, and how bummed out I was about it. Now that I have had time to breathe I realize that maybe everyone needed a break. If I had been blogging all month, I wouldn’t have had time for NaNoWriMo. If I didn’t do NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t have met all the great new friends I met during that month. I also wouldn’t have developed an amazing story that will someday be a bestselling novel! See how I did that? I just needed to follow the breadcrumbs to the place of positivity, rather than greedily following them right into negativity’s lair. The question, then, is how do I start reshaping my autopilot thoughts? I’m asking you! I don’t have an answer to this except to say that practice makes perfect. Perhaps keeping a journal of it every time it happens is the answer. Honestly, I would have time for little else in my day if I did that. Small judgments and opinions are constantly popping up in the peanut gallery of my brain. So what suggestions do you have?
I’d like to make a list of things I am grateful for right now. I missed the chance to do a Thanksgiving blog, but I think being grateful is relevant all year round. Besides, it is the holiday season, and I like to think most people become a little less cynical and a little more appreciative during this time of year.
1) The number one thing I am grateful for today is that I have a safe place where I can express my fears and questions, my triumphs and giddy anecdotes, to an audience who lovingly embraces every word, and does not judge me.
2) This should be said more often, but I am so grateful to have shelter, food, and heat. I consider myself to be somewhat miserly; I rarely have extra money to spend. What I have, though, greatly outweighs what I am lacking. Many people in America can’t say the same thing.
3) I am exceptionally grateful to have the friends and family I have acquired in the last 32 years. Every single person who has come in and out of my life deserves a medal, because they have brought me so many life lessons.
4) The last thing I am grateful for today is for me. What I mean is that I am grateful for the person I have become. I appreciate all of my experiences, my body, my mind, and my incredible spirit. I promise to use this attitude to try and see my everyday nuisances as blessings in disguise while recognizing that everything, good or bad, happens for a reason.

No way!

I cannot believe my eyes! The counter on my blog page says that This Curious Universe has been viewed 787 times! Whaaaat?!? That is amazing!
I am so grateful for this experience. In the last four months I have grown exponentially, and my life journey will forever be altered by my decision to create this blog. I thought it would be difficult to find things to write about every week, but that just isn’t so. I am usually bursting at the seams with ideas. I love the feedback I am getting from you loyal readers. I love that I’ve found a community of other writers who, like me, want to share their words. And I really love that a special few of you have chosen to highlight MY blog on your own websites! Networking, baby!
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for participating in this experiment. It is truly something I treasure every day. I can’t wait to share the next post with you!