Monday, March 30, 2009
Feeling like I should be writing tonight, taking advantage of the stormy weather, but really I just want to do nothing. I have told myself that doing nothing tonight is just fine; there is
no reason I must always do something! My writer's group was cancelled tonight, so I am off the hook a bit, (something about cancellations, unless it is a flight, that I enjoy), but I always feel like I should write during that time anyway. So...this is in some small way my writing exercise for tonight. I have told myself that I want to have a functional manuscript for my own purposes by the end of 2009, well this is not going to just appear now is it? I write primarily because I must, and then because I enjoy it, but when it comes to sitting down with a purpose and a writing goal I tend to procrastinate, find fifteen other things that must be done at that very moment. Perhaps my goal should be to lock myself in my writing room once a week for a period of time until I can find my burning house for my novel. (I like writing out the words "my novel").
What is a burning house you might ask? I had the same question when the topic came up.. It was answered for me at a retreat this summer. It is the part of a novel that the writer leads up to, some crisis I suppose. The climax, whatever you want to call it, it seems to be the most difficult part to write. I was told by the experienced and wise instructor at that retreat that sometimes this is the most difficult part to write, and that the author herself might not know what it is until she actually writes it. It can also be that the author does know what it is, but avoids writing it. I think that is the case with me. In fact the very word that is covered up in the above photo is my burning house I believe. I just noticed that. Interesting.
Planning to attend another retreat this summer I hope...if they will have me...a good gift for myself, and a great learning experience usually...oh...and fun.
Well, I'm officially rambling. If nothing else tonight I thought about writing and perhaps set myself a goal. Eventually I would like to put some links of interest to other writers on my blog, but that is a weekend project for sure. Stay tuned.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
We have have just returned from Mexico. We were in The Bucerias area, a small town north of Puerto Vallarta. I became quite familiar with the local market while we were there, but one of my favorite things about the market experience became the children. One day while leisurely walking through, browsing, all my senses stimulated as I breathed in this part of the culture, I turned around to be greeted by a small boy and a small girl gesturing me to purchase one of the many purses or bracelets hanging from their tiny dark arms.
Initially my ethnocentric attitudes made me feel badly for these children and the horror they must experience while selling these purses in the sweltering heat, so I bought one out of pity. The next time I returned to the market I was approached by an even smaller child, a chubby little girl with two small pony tails on each side of her head. She was selling the generic equivalent to small packages of Chiclets (the gum). I gave her far more than the 5 pesos she was asking for. I could not get her big dark eyes out of my head.
Later that night at our comfortable, and by some standards luxurious hotel, I could not get the children out of my mind. I thought of them as I turned on and off our remote control air conditioning trying to get comfortable. I wondered where they were sleeping. I thought of the chubby little one's eyes, they were happy eyes, big round happy dark eyes. I thought of her pony tails and how someone must have put those elastics in her hair with care. My plan was to return to the market the next day and get some souvenirs. Maybe I would see them again.
I did, I returned to the market with an open mind and open heart. What I saw was refreshing. I happened upon these children sitting down for a break in a quiet shady crevice of the market. They were playing and laughing and teasing each other and even though I did not understand what they were saying I understood because I had flashes to my own childhood with my older brother teasing me and pinching me for no real reason. I approached them and suddenly they became serious. I gestured to get permission to take a photo and they agreed. I showed them the photo in the camera and they thought that was pretty cool. The little gal in the pink hat then tells me "one photo, one dollar" which I gladly paid her because after all I was cutting into her break time. What I love about this photo is the many emotions captured on their faces, but in particular the little girl working in the background looking over at us cautiously and suspiciously like a worried mother. She eventually joined us and gathered up her group.
After a bit I found the older people that these children belong to and I just sat in that area for a while. There was a calmness there, a strange sense of order. There were maybe six different vendors set up, beautiful mats hanging, purses, and detailed embroidered shirts. Some of these women (they were all women) had babies hanging from their backs as they worked in the booths wearing what seemed to me to be very hot layered clothing (beautiful, colourful and traditional, but hot) Suddenly I admired them, the simplicity of what I saw. The children listened to the adults, there was a quiet respect that I think is missing sometimes in our culture. I saw more children playing and laughing. I bought more purses, sat with the children, laughed, took pictures and shared my pistachio ice cream. I saw the ponied tailed girl in a woman's arms being gently bounced to sleep.
I wondered where the men were. I realized later that they were the vendors on the beach with the the jewellery and the sarongs, the dresses, hats and tee shirts that they carry around all day. The people that sometimes annoyed us with their persistence. What I witnessed that day was a hard working people full of pride that care and nurture their children as much as we do, perhaps in a different way, and by our standards not ideal, but what I saw was women and men full of dignity taking care of their children.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Ahhhh....relaxing tonight. Should do that more often. I am trying that new herbal tea from Tetley...cinnamon orange spice or something like that and listening to some gentle music. This tea is soooo good I will soon have drank half of this pretty pot's contents. Yeah, something about the lime green colour of me pot that makes this experience more enjoyable.
I'm a mug girl too. It's all about the mug, different mugs for different moods, and when it comes to tea, a thin mug and time are necessary for me. I need time. I am not one of these people who can enjoy a cup of tea on a 15 minute break. I have an experience with my tea. It is calming and soothing.
When I was a kid I used to dunk my toast in tea...even though I was not allowed to have tea, it was perfectly alright to soak it all up in a crusty piece of bread. This is something I have not done forever. Maybe tomorrow morning I will get up early, make some KING COLE (only in the Maritimes...made with a gauze bag) and some toast, then dunk away and watch the margarine pool on the top of the liquid as the crumbs float around...why not?