All my life I’ve been in a battle with they.
You know who they are. They are the self-proclaimed authorities who make the pronouncements that rule our lives. They include our families, community, peers … everyone, it seems, but us.
When we were children, they declared us attractive or plain. They determined we were smart or “slow”. They judged our decisions, our ambitions, our talents worthy … or not.
If the aggregate verdict was kind and supportive, we accepted their judgments and knew we were beautiful, smart, talented, and headed in the “right” direction. We were lauded when we did well. When we strayed from the golden path, our misstep was considered “a learning experience” on our road to success.
But what if the consensus was less than complimentary? What if, through repetition and lack of strong dissenting voices, we were taught to view ourselves as unpleasant, incompetent, misguided, and unlovable? What if, no matter how pure our intentions, how great our achievements, we were always found lacking?
The problem is, once proclaimed, their judgement is stamped upon our self-image. Time and experience may change the picture beneath, but that stamp obscures our view of who we really are. Their outdated, if not completely fallacious, perception is our reality.
We have but two choices. We can accept what they assure us we are, or we can recognize the truth of our own worth. Perhaps we will be disappointed we are not as wonderful as we thought. Perhaps we will struggle to remember we are not as hopeless as they would have us believe. But whichever path we choose, there is something we must consider -- to a multitude of others, we are they.
Sand and surf or
ice and snow,
there's no place
St. Nick can't go.
Reindeer prance and
sleigh bells ring.
to do his thing.
Toys and games are
in his sleigh.
Elves have worked
hard night and day
to make each child's
wish come true.
How good were you?
In a lemming-like fashion,
We stumble from reform to reform
One step forward two steps back
Our race to justice mired in a Kobolds.
Politics and war games
Our daily breakfast and all things marshmallow
If you don't believe in liars and creeps,
the unsuspected invaders are the enemy
I’ve resurrected my blog SCRIBBLES. Uh huh. If you’ve been around awhile, you’ve heard this before. Hope springs eternal and all that. But this time I mean to keep up. So far, I’ve posted a story, two poems, and two blog essays. One essay was even shared on Facebook (thank you so very much!) I’m getting a little feedback, which is wonderful encouragement to any writer. Nothing worse than wondering if anybody’s out there reading and at least considering what I’m writing.
I’ve never felt like I’ve had much worth saying on a blog, so it soon gets neglected in the face of P&S or another project or crisis. But now I have a project worth blogging about, a book nearing completion combining some of my poetry and photography … and a unique point of view—poems for people who hate poetry. That’s the subtitle of Seascapes, to be published in spring / summer of 2018.
If you’re so inclined, check out Scribbles at http://nkwagnerwriter.blogspot.com/ I'll keep you posted about Seascapes there.
My husband is a YouTube addict. He loves the “how to” videos, especially the ones which begin, “After hours of frustration, I realized the instructions are all wrong.” These videos are absolutely indispensable when you need a helping hand and don’t have a 12-year-old around.
But if a little bit is good, my husband tends to go whole hog.
There’s another genre of video he watches which has gone from annoyingly stupid to mildly entertaining in my book: conspiracy theories. Have you heard about the US military base on the dark side of the moon? What about the underground alien city in Antarctica? Is the Bimini Road really a part of Atlantis? Did cannibalistic giants with double rows of molars hunt early Native Americans? If you like to write fiction, YouTube is a treasure trove of ideas.
It’s unlikely I’ll believe in Sasquatch until I meet him (despite the t-shirt our grandkids bought Grandpa for his birthday), but if someone wants to throw around free story ideas, I’d be a fool not to catch a few. After all, lots of people seem to be interested.
I've spent an eyeball-crossing number of hours lately looking at pictures, scanning for the perfect few thousand pixels to inspire my poetry. The neat thing is the more I look, the more I find. Take the following two images, for example:
The first is a typical ratty stretch of Southeastern US seashore, sun bleached and storm battered; nothing remarkable. Plenty of atmosphere, but no story here.
Wait. What's that in the upper left quadrant? When I crop out everything else, what I find is interesting--a half-buried wooden staircase leading ... nowhere. Perhaps these steps connected to a long-ago boardwalk beach access. Could it have been stairs to a deck of a no-longer-existent house? Who used them? What happened? Who knows? Whatever its original purpose, its present condition evokes emotion, speaks to me of transience. And leads to a poem. Later, it may spark a story.
A writer looks at life this way, searching out the tidbits, the vignettes, that exist within the larger, mostly boring canvas of everyday life. It's why we keep our eyes and ears open. It's why we often appear to be distracted. Our outer selves may seem listless or disconnected, but our brains are in overdrive, isolating, probing, making connections (the more improbable the better). This is how the creative process works. Inspiration is in the details.
I get a bit obsessed with rejection, but I write anyway. I've received two today with the encouragement to keep writing. Sigh.
What if I don't get a lucky break? What if my picture books constantly get rejected?
I will still write. Why? Because I have ink in my veins. I bleed cobalt blue.
Why do I want this so badly? Is it to prove my English and Art teachers wrong? Yes!
Is it because I have goofy ideas that make me chuckle and wake me up at night demanding to be written down? Yes!
Is it because this is an evil world when we learn that eight-year-olds in England might not be safe? That someone applauds great evil, and I want to write and share some goodness to brighten a little child's eyes and bring a smile as they cuddle on the couch with Mom to read my book? Yes!
And so, let the rejections come. I'll write anyway. Because writing isn't what I do; it's who I am.
Our collection of grocery bags is pretty amazing, but our passion does take up a lot of room.
We have sacks everywhere. Sacks in the bedroom, of course; and sacks on the dining room table, sacks in every closet in the house, and lots of sacks in the basement. Visitors always notice that we have sacks on the couch.
Mostly, we have conventional sacks, but we like to get unconventional sacks when we travel. If we find a store with bags with a unique logo, we'll buy some bags; so, yes, we occasionally pay for sacks.
We have sacks in public. When we hold a garage sale, we have sacks right there in the driveway.
Our sacks give us a common passion. I can't say enough about the joy of sacks. This world would be better off if more people enjoyed sacks as much as we do.
N.K. Wagner is Executive Editor and Publisher of Page & Spine.