Happy Sigh Day

I started a different post yesterday, that I thought I’d finish today. But instead today has turned out to be a Sigh Day.

A Sigh Day? What’s a sigh day?

Perhaps a quote will help you understand:

“Halfway down the stairs, is a stair, where I sit. There isn’t any, other stair, quite like, it. I’m not at the bottom, I’m not at the top; So this is the stair, where, I always, stop. Halfway up the stairs, isn’t up, and isn’t down. It isn’t in the nursery, it isn’t in the town. And all sorts of funny thoughts, run round my head: It isn’t really anywhere! It’s somewhere else instead!”
― A.A. Milne

Not helping?

A sigh day is a day when  life is neither up nor down. For me it is a day where thoughts fly in, but I cannot catch them. Where beauty catches my eye briefly only to disappear. A sigh day is a day where I can’t quite grasp what I am looking for. Or, as Winnie the Pooh says,

“But it isn’t easy,’ said Pooh. ‘Because Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you.”
― A.A. MilneThe House at Pooh Corner

Sometimes a sigh is a sad thing.

Sometimes a sigh is a glad thing.

And sometimes a sigh is just a sigh.

Today is a sigh day for me, and I really can’t explain it. So I guess I’ll just go with it and say it out loud

 

OCCUPY THANKSGIVING Meets the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups

This week  marks the 20th 100 Word Challenge over at Julia’s Place. I think I have missed a couple, but it has been a wonderful journey through incredible writing.

Be sure to check out other entries.

As usual, Julia has set us an interesting challenge. In her words:

Now for this week we are going topical again. The King James bible celebrated it’s 400th birthday last week. Although it is a religious text is has formed our language across the years. It has some surprising phrases that we use often in  everyday conversations.

The prompt this week is to use at least one of these for inspiration.

…the powers that be  /  the apple of his eye  /   the writing on the wall…

You do not have to include the phrase if you don’t want to but the piece must indicate which it was in it’s content. As usual you have 100 words and it must be suitable for a PG certificate.

I, of course, have to make things even more difficult for myself, because I decided today that all my posts this week should fit into the OCCUPY THANKSGIVING movement started over at Jamie’s fabulous blog. So here is a non-fiction post that is very personal and might be just a smidge shy of an R rating (sorry Julia). I am also including a picture, because it seems right.

Daddy and daughter bonding over a video game.

I remember the day I read the writing on the wall, the spot of blood that indicated something was wrong. I fought against the reality for as long as I could, but the painful truth was that I briefly carried a child not meant to live. Less than a year passed when the powers that be granted me a gift that helped make up for the pain of that loss. I sit and watch my husband interacting with Sarah, the apple of his eye, and realize that even with the occasional battle of wills, this was the child I was meant to have, and I am forever grateful.

 

OCCUPY THANKSGIVING: Thinking Thankfully

This weekend was a challenge.

Between teaching classes for students who, I believe, had already started Thanksgiving break in their minds (despite the fact that they still have 2 1/2 days of school this week); avoiding the course about self-publishing which has me completely intimidated and realizing I have a lot of work left to do, even when it comes to format; listening to my daughter scream, cry, and whine for over an hour as she decided to spend most of yesterday (and part of Saturday) in one of her spoiled-brat stages of existence–rare but still painful; trying to plan a fun Thanksgiving for a very complicated family: and the fact that I allowed myself to be sucked into computer games as I avoided the chaos, I feel like a completely useless waste of space.

That’s not a good feeling.

But, no worries folks, this is not going to be a whining post or even a post asking for sympathy.

Instead I am going to listen to these words of wisdom from the fabulous and talented Christine in her guest post called “Something worth celebrating” over at The Idiot Speaketh (the complicated connections of this blogging world leads to many links)

” It probably comes pretty naturally to most of us to strive for excellence of some sort. But this pursuit of greatness shouldn’t prevent us from recognizing, and celebrating, those of us who are being the best we can be.
Many times we focus on what we lack in ability. I’d like to suggest we make the effort to keep our thoughts turned to what we can do.”

In other words, we should be thankful for and learn to appreciate what we already have, even as we strive to achieve our dreams and goals.

So, in honor of this wisdom and the fact that Thanksgiving is this week, I am determined to focus on the positive and think thankfully. Starting . . .  NOW!

A UNIVERSE OF THANKS

Sunshine reflecting sparkles on the wall
of a home filled with warmth, love and dreams.

Warm chai spiciness sits on my tongue
made by a partner, husband, friend,

Words waiting to be written or read
celebrating a lifetime of learning.

A family filled with laughter and fun
supporting each other in all ways.

Blogging buddies and lifetime friends
filling the gaps of loneliness.

Future adventures looming near
a journey to countries and people unknown.

Past adventures that I hold dear
filling my life with life.

I may not know who I am today
nor what I will become tomorrow
but the gifts of the journey along the way
mean a life filled with joy not sorrow.

Update: Tori’s comment below reminded me that she had written a wonderful thankfulness post the other day. So now I am adding the link to hers and will continue to add any posts that I feel will help us feel thankful:

Thankful Blogger Am Thankful by Tori Nelson

Inspiration: A Thanksgiving Memory

Update to the Update: In honor of this excellent idea to Occupy Thanksgiving by the always brilliant Jamie note the new title of this post

Riding on the Coattails of Fame

I heard a radio advertisement yesterday that the great  great (great?) grandson of Charles Dickens would be presenting a reading of A Christmas Carol somewhere, creating different voices of all the characters.

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street.

Image via Wikipedia

Interesting? Perhaps, but it got me thinking about how many people get opportunities to publish, to speak, to act, to . . . whatever,  simply because of their relationship to someone famous. They may not have a single talent in their own right, but a distant link to a distant relative gets their foot in the door like nothing else can.

I suppose the children of writers, artists, actors, great politicians (if there is such a thing), speakers, etc. have it in their blood,  but talent doesn’t necessarily get passed down from generation to generation. They may have access to incredible teaching, and opportunities to absorb the craft of whatever it is through observation and interaction, but that does not guarantee  the same skill and ability will resurface.

Still, in our world of aggrandizing movie stars and putting people on pedestals, talent seems less important than having a famous relative. There are almost too many examples of this, and whenever you walk into a book store you can easily find a book published by a name, not a famous writer but someone who is writing because he/she is famous or related to someone famous.

Perhaps if I could trace my lineage back to someone famous, I too would be able to ride the coattails of fame. Or, better yet, if I could prove I was, indeed the REINCARNATION of William Shakespeare or Charlotte Bronte, or anyone else with creative chops that I admire I could simply walk up to a publisher and say “here is my manuscript, you will publish it errors and all.”

Charlotte Bronte

Lisa Bronte Kramer

Sadly, my grandfather on one side was a butcher and on the other a salesman (insurance I think). I cannot simply use my name for fame.

Now I have not heard this descendant of Dickens perform, and he could be a perfectly talented storyteller. But here is an interesting observation from Louisa May Alcott quoted in the Cheever’s biography I have been quoting from so liberally lately:

. . . [S]he excited went to her Dickens read and came away bitterly disappointed in the man and his performance. “Youth and comeliness were gone, but the foppishness remained, and the red-faced man, with false teeth and the voice of a worn-out actor had his scanty grey hair curled.”

It just goes to show you that just because your name is on the book, doesn’t mean you are the best person to perform it. ;)

I would argue that most actors nowadays get their big break because of their connections with someone else. If you look at some of the new stars of stage and screen, you nearly always find “daughter of so and so” or “nephew of what’s his name.”

It is almost impossible to make it on talent alone.

And that, my friends, is one of the biggest problems with our society. The rich get richer, not because they are more deserving than others or work harder, but because they are related to the original founder of that fortune. People get to write books and have them published traditionally, not because they ar the best wordsmiths on earth, but because they were born to someone famous. Performers get their opportunities to perform because Daddy brought them onstage. A woman whose claim to fame is only a big booty and a lifelong friendship with the daughter of someone rich and famous can keep herself plastered in the news with fake marriages, reality television, as well as “running” her own business (I wonder who really runs it). A man, the son of a former president, maintains a presidency by manipulating a system and leaves chaos in his wake which he then blames on the upstart who dared to step into the presidency without any family connections.

I wish we were in  a world where truly talented individuals could make their marks rather than a world dominated by people riding on the fame of their more talented ancestors. Don’t you?

500 Posts, Now What?

I haven’t really been paying attention to how many posts I’ve written until my brother posted his 200th post yesterday. When I glanced at the number I saw 499, and thought, wow I should celebrate 500. This is by no means to diminish Steve’s accomplishment, as I have been at this longer, but it is a nice round number worthy of acknowledging.

Like Steve, I don’t really have any momentous words for this occasion. Actually, a short time ago I said to Nathan, “I have nothing to write about today.” I’m not blocked, I just don’t have any ideas fighting for attention. I don’t have anything I particularly feel like ranting about this morning (as I have basically chosen to ignore all the ills of society for the time being). I don’t have a specific soapbox to climb on. I don’t even have anything silly to reflect on. It is simply a Friday.

But it is the Friday of my 500th post.

In a way, it is truly significant, as I attempt to embark on this Simultaneous Stories project which I believe comes from the desire to understand the role blogging plays in our society and in my life in particular.

I just pointed out the title of this post to Nathan. “Wow! Congratulations,” he said.

My response, “I don’t know if that is something to be proud about.”

“It is,” he answered.

You’ve gotta love a husband who is supportive.

I guess I question the importance of this because, as I wrote about a few days ago, I’m no longer sure why I write. That post sparked some interesting discussion and led me to other posts on the topic, including this one at Tossing It Out called “Is Most of Our Writing Done in Vain?” My response to Lee’s post moved we one step closer to understanding my own purpose as a writer. This is what I said,

Reading this made me realize something about why I write. Yes, I have the dream of achieving fame and glory through writing and always have, but that is not why I write. I write to share my story with a small audience. Right now, I write for a future audience, my daughter and descendants unknown. I know very little about my parents, despite them still being alive and together. If my words now give my daughter a better understanding of who I was, then I will be happy. I can’t share everything with her yet, but as she grows I have begun to share some posts and other writing already. She knows more about me than I ever did about my Mom. So, I may write for joy, or to be heard, or to understand, or to remember . . . but I also write to share.”

Now I look back on these 500 posts to see what stories I have really shared. What can my daughter learn about me from this blogging adventure? What legacy do I leave with my words? Here are some of the things I hope she has learned about me (including links to posts that share these aspects of me) I tried to link to older posts that you may have missed:

I could continue this list forever, but now it is time to post this momentous post to the universe and say, it has been a fascinating journey. Should I continue for 500 more?

Rainy Day Blues

 

Warning, it is completely possible that I have lost my mind. And now for your entertainment a ridiculous song that sings the blues. Join me by adding “Ba da da da”, at appropriate points in your head.

Well I woke up this mornin’
with a plan in my head
of going for a walk and gettin’ out of my bed.

I got those fat butt,
got those fat butt blues.

But the rain started falling, and  the sky turned all gray
making me want to snuggle up in bed all day.

I got those rainy,
got those rainy day blues.

But I gave myself a lecture, and got out of bed
turned on the computer and got words in my head.

I got those reading
too many blog reading blues.

I wrote some new words down, and I read some words too
I began to research, hoping ideas would come through.

I got those writing,
what to write about  blues.

Then I got an e-mail, that nearly put me to bed
it said that my content wasn’t  all from my head.

I got those plagiarism
got those plagiarism blues.

But what they don’t get now, what they don’t see
is that I intentionally quoted from a man I’d  like to meet

I got those dumb-ass,
dumb-ass reader  blues.

So now my poem, goes back to the vault
and I write this dribble, it’s nobody’s fault.

I got those silly
silly rainy day blues.

We will continue with regularly scheduled sane posts as soon as my head re-attaches. 

Life’s Wisdom Learned in Works for Children

Whenever the craziness and insanity of our world gets to be too much, I find myself turning to old favorite things for comfort. Sometimes that means putting in a good romantic comedy (When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, or The Holiday are my recent go to picks). But, more often than not, I search for comfort in all things related to children–movies, books, and television shows (even the most obnoxious ones from Disney). Of course, some of my go to comforts aren’t specifically for children, but most of them filter the world through the eyes of childhood and reveal that children are much closer to simple truth than so many adults who think they know everything.

The past few days have been very emotional for me. A combination of good news, bad news, creative energy, fear, too much Halloween candy, insomnia brought upon by the joyous time change, a lot of schlepping and driving, the general ups and downs of being a parent, and a few too many caffeinated  have combined to make me a babbling ball of frazzled energy. So, in typical fashion I found myself looking for comfort in a book. Now the book I chose isn’t exactly one for children, but it is a reminder that learning can come even from the simplest of bears:

Hoff writes,

“but the adult is not the highest stage of development. the end of the cycle is that of the independent, clear-minded, all-seeing Child. That is the level known as wisdom. When the Ta Te Ching and other wise books say things like, “Return to the beginning; become a child again,” that’s what they’re referring to.” (151)

Throughout my posts you can easily find quotes and memories from childhood favorites that still speak to me this day. But rather than have you search for them, and in a hope that gathering some of this wisdom together might make me fill more centered, I thought I would share some of my favorite lessons here, in one place. Feel free to add any that I miss in the comments below.

  • There is no limit to dreams: I very recently wrote the post called “Join Me in a Land of Wonder” so I’m not going to repeat the videos here. But I would like to quote some of the dialogue from Tangled that I love:

Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?
Flynn Rider: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn Rider: Well,that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

  • Today’s mistakes mean nothing: Or, to quote “Tomorrow is another day with no mistakes in it.” 
  • There is no limit to where your imagination can take you:

“If you are a dreamer come in, . . .”

. . (Shel Silverstein, Invitation)

“For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.” (Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends)

  • The simplest things can make us happy:

Actually, Calvin and Hobbes is one of the best sources of wisdom anywhere.

  • Keep on trying:

  • Love, travel, and adventure make life worth living:

My list could go on forever, but I’ll spare you that. What words of wisdom have you learned from your favorites of childhood?

Announcements, Challenges, and a Little Poetry

Announcement

I am an idiot. Yes, I even surpass the idiocy of The Idiot by not recognizing the power of web addresses. (Side note, I linked you to a non-idiotic post for Mark, because we all need to send some positive energy his way tomorrow).

See for a long time I though my blog address was lame. It was lame. I mean, lkramer14.wordpress.com, what is that? So I finally figured out how to change it, and become more consistent, not realizing, of course, that every post I ever posted would no longer link correctly to my blog. My entire web presence destroyed in one minute as a changed my address to lisawieldswords.wordpress.com

Why has nobody read me this morning, I asked myself this morning? The answer is simple, I no longer exist!! So nobody is even going to read this, unless I make an extra effort to get back into the annals of my followers.

Aaaaauuuuuggggh! total idiocy.

Insert temper tantrum here.

OK, so much for that. Hopefully it won’t take too long for people to find me again.

100 Word Challenge Part Two

Nathan read my 100 word challenge from  yesterday and commented that he thought I would write something completely different, related more to the post about my Dad from a few days ago and Alzheimer’s. Aha! I said, because I am currently in a manic mode of creation and my mind immediately leaps on ideas. So, welcome to my second entry for this weeks 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups

The Battle Against Forgetting

 Memories found in repeated phrases
lest we forget.

My Dad and I both think with our tongues out.

Pink tongue peeking through parted lips
a habit passed from father to daughter
lest we forget.

Watching in wonder as the world fades for him
living in fear of following his footsteps
into a land of lost memories
lest we forget.

Yet a journey through memory, while tinged with sadness
can also be a journey of joy
of silly poems, and sillier smiles,
of a grandfather watching his new baby girl
sometimes a journey down memory lane
is worth its weight in smiles
lest we forget.