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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Writing as Therapy and Vocation

I have been doing some reading – mostly about writing. I have also been doing some writing, though nothing that I intend on publishing. I’ve gone Jungian (well, I’ve been courting an archetype and doing a dance with it).

It is an exercise in torturing this one character (not a specific character as much as a type). It’s not a hero, but wouldn’t feature as the Big Bad in a story either. The character is a study in red herring – a distraction, an interruption to muddle a journey for the hero of the piece.
A trickster, a jokester, a minor demon in a pantheon of gods and demigods, this character is more an archetype that I am toying with it so I can use it later.  It’s not always the same person. I use a variety of influences for an infinite array of annoying little rats. They pop their pin heads into the action and turn it into a bizarre circus -- and then there's panic, fear, self-loathing, and horror.

The idea is that I need to keep writing even if it’s not something marketable. I am honing my skill because practice makes better (perfect is a fantasy).
In the middle of a blizzard, I could contemplate ways to castigate while I waited for the ice cream I made earlier to harden in the freezer. This is awesome, considering we started the year in the midst of a plumbing emergency.
I tried to document the emotional toil of that adventure, but I found it was stressful though hardly interesting. The problem, in my estimation, is not that the scene lacked drama but rather that I was too close to it. It was too soon to look at it with clinical detachment.
You can imagine how leaving the Food Goddess with a kitchen without a stove and a fridge transcends the totality of Greek tragedies!   
While there was some stress involved, I believe I met it with enough levity that it dulled the inner fanfare and the virtual Greek chorus of keeners. 
A person who imagines a virtual Greek chorus of keeners who, in my head, goes from the solemn and turns into a funky tribal dance will always have trouble depicting serious drama. Apparently, I can find jocularity everywhere I go, no matter where life takes me.
Ultimately, the Snowmageddon they promised us didn’t affect us – there appears to be less than a few inches on the ground. My first batch of ice cream was a disaster, but as soon as we go out to get cream and some fruit, I’ll try again. 
We have sprung a leak from the skylight over the stairs on our landing. This may lead up to a whole new level of drama and an opportunity to write about the dangers inherent in that! The likelihood, though, is that I’ll find a way to have the contractor’s pants fall off as he reaches the top of the ladder, and mooning us all in lacy thong… 

It may not make for something I can package and sell, but it is awesome therapy and it keeps me writing and learning and surviving. The odds are someday I will use all of it. For now, the writing serves me well: my sanity demands it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Camels Do All The Work

I didn’t know anything about leaving cookies for Santa—he was an adult and could get his own snacks! As a kid growing up in Puerto Rico, though, I did gather handfuls of grass every fifth of January.

The sixth, Orthodox Christmas or the day of the Epiphany, is the date that allegedly the Magi reached the baby Jesus. In Latin American countries, the Three Kings bring gifts to good little boys and girls – much like Santa does – and much as they did for another child many moons ago.

The tradition is to leave a handful of grass for the camels. I insisted on water too. My grandmother objected to the fact that I insisted on using her good china for this, but she did not want to break the fantasy.

She did not understand why I’d go through the trouble and then not leave anything for the Three Kings, “They are traveling very far to bring you toys.”

“But the camels do all the work!”

She’d just let it go, because every once in a while she’d see no end to the argument and no point in trying to reason with me.

This year we may not celebrate the way we wish we could, as resources are limited and we are in the midst of a situation at the house – the tail end of drama that involves exploding pipes and dead appliances.

The whimsy is still within us and we will feed it later, when we can afford to do something adorable.

Right now, I have one of my journals open and I am documenting the events of the last week or so. I have tentatively titled the journal “The Gift” as a personal nod to O. Henry and in hopes I can be as prolific as he was . . .

. . . or, at the very least, that things settle soon and we can go have a drink at Pete’s Tavern! 

I plan to roll with whatever 2015 throws at me.

Whatever our future holds for us, here’s hoping you all have a year full of fantastic surprises and in which you lack absolutely nothing. And if life throws plumbing emergencies and all kinds of chaos, write it down and torture one of your fictional characters with it (and then laugh and laugh when Amazon reviewers accuse you of hyperbole).