Mon. February 18, 2019: Love of Country #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, February 18, 2019
Almost Full Moon
Presidents’ Day

We survived Valentine’s Day. We all deserve a prize.

On this President’s Day, on a month of essays about love, it’s appropriate to talk about love of country.

This is a contentious issue right now in the US, with two factions with opposite ideas of the definition of “love of country.”

I can’t think of any country whose history hasn’t been built on blood and pain. We keep hoping culture and society evolve into a better form of humanity. Sometimes it moves forward for a few years, and then back for a few hundred.

Too often, we don’t know actual history, just propagandized bits of history. Although it’s painfully obvious we don’t learn from it.

What inspires love of country?

For me, it is a set of ideals about humanity, justice, education, art, compassion, and inclusion that I see the country in which I currently live abandoning. Ideals that were set out by the Founding Fathers, and built on by our Founding Mothers and children, and all the rest of the anonymous people who actually did the work. There are always people devoted to their country who are willing to fight for it — be it joining the military or working on various fronts at home. But a country survives and thrives by its citizens holding a shared vision of what that country stands for, and everyone working to bring that vision into reality for ALL its members.

One can learn a great deal by re-reading documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — and then reading diaries and letters of regular people who actually lived through those times.

One of my favorite experiences was a discovery I made in the Philadelphia Archives. I was there to research Betsy Ross, for a project for which I’m still trying to find the proper form.

By accident, I saw a diary by a Dr. James Allen. I’d gone to elementary school with a nice guy named Jamie Allen, and I thought it might be fun to read about this Dr. James Allen. So I asked for the diary, which arrived, written in absolutely gorgeous penmanship.

Dr. Allen was a medical doctor. Well educated, well read, with a strong sense of justice. He was there, at Independence Hall, listening to the original public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. It shook him, transformed him. He ended up joining the Army and serving under General George Washington. He was part of that Delaware Crossing.

I read his diary, knowing how it all comes out in the end, but, of course, he didn’t as he wrote it. His concerns, the times his patience and his integrity were tested — I wish I could get a grant to transcribe the diary, research his history, and publish a book about him!

I learned more from reading this man’s diary than I did from any history book.

It also reminded me how much more complex actual history is than a line in a textbook or a tweet or a sound byte.

Skipping ahead in history a bit, Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe are two of the reasons I became a writer. I admired both their work and their lives so much. As an aside, as much as I admire Emerson and Thoreau, I’m always reminded that there they were, talking and studying and writing and walking in the woods, while the practicalities of daily life were handled by the WOMEN around them. This frustration was reinforced by Susan Cheever’s terrific book, AMERICAN BLOOMSBURY (which I highly recommend).

I re-read Louisa’s diaries regularly when I get tired and discouraged.

Harriet is best known for UNCLE TOM’S CABIN. There’s plenty to discuss about that book on so many levels, both positive and negative, which could take up an entire college semester. But Harriet wrote plenty of other books, too, many of them domestic comedies. Some of her writing is very, very funny. She came from a large, lively, intellectual, daring, engaged, and flawed family. Her brother Henry Ward Beecher’s scandal when he led a church in Brooklyn, and, again, how the woman in the scandal was the one thrown under the bus, is detailed in Barbara Goldsmith’s wonderful social history, OTHER POWERS.

Both Harriet and Louisa were considered “difficult women” and
ahead of their time.” Reading their letters, their diaries, their books, one sees how they were both ahead of their time and PART of their time (and prejudices, although they were far more progressive than many of their contemporaries). We hope we’ve evolved in our understanding of humanity, although too often it feels like we’re going backwards.

History is made up of people and their messy, beautiful, terrifying lives. Societies are too often built on breaking the individuals that actually do the work to build the society. Where can you give someone room for individuality? Where does someone going too far become a threat to someone else’s basic human rights and dignity? What are basic social constructs that allow people with vastly different beliefs and points of view to co-exist in peace and dignity and prosperity for all? How does one teach people that having enough for all doesn’t necessarily mean taking away from anyone, but that everyone must contribute fairly? How can we craft laws that have more to do with justice, and less to do with religion, which, in my opinion, has been used as a tool of oppression ever since it was invented?

All of that feeds into our “love of country.”

It’s not an easy issue. Especially when competing factors have vastly different ideas of what the society that inhabits the defined “country” should believe, live, and build.

As a writer, of course, all this is fascinating. But living it (and we are all living history, every moment), can often be exhausting.

We supposedly live in a democracy (which is under serious threat), that is set up as a republic. Therefore, as part of our love of country, it is an obligation to keep up with the news (actual news, not propaganda feeds), to stay informed about upcoming legislation (you can read the text of past, present, and proposed bills on Congress.gov), and to interact with our elected officials, on local, state, and federal levels. It takes time, but the alternative is to lose our country. So it’s worth it. We need to vote. We need to serve on jury duty when called. We, as individuals and collectively, need to speak out when human rights are denied, and stop it.

This President’s Day, think about what you love about your country. Think about what you believe needs to be changed. And then take action. Because history is built by people.

Be a History Builder.

 

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Fri. Feb. 15, 2019: Books Make Everything Better

Gwen Finnegan 3B 3D Collage

Friday, February 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for my mid-February check-in. I was discouraged, because I felt as though I hadn’t gotten anything done this month, but the list isn’t too bad.

I got the 3D versions of my book covers from my publisher yesterday, and I’m really happy with them. I got them as individual covers and collages. Now I can use them in the marketing campaigns. I have to upload them on all the sites.

Nautical Namaste 2B 3D Collage

Sent off my review, and already have my next assignment, which is kind of cool. I’ll pick it up today. Also downloaded a book as part of the Tor book club, and bought KILL THE FARM BOY, by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson.

I’m reading WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix for the Reader Expansion Challenge. So far, I’m enjoying it. I’m going to recommend it to some of my musician friends. If I can, I’m also going to read the other book recommended to me from this challenge – THE BUS ON THURSDAY by Shirley Barrett.

I’m also reading SCRATCH: WRITERS, MONEY, AND THE ART OF MAKING A LIVING, edited by Manjula Martin. All creatives, not just writers, can get a lot out of this book.

Almost ready to send off the comic ghost story radio play. It took another unfortunate turn, and I had to yank it back. I hope to get it out tomorrow or Tuesday. As soon as that’s done, I’ll start the straw hat comic mystery radio play.

Hint: If you don’t know what the Straw Hat Circuit was, I suggest you look it up! 😉

I have some grocery shopping to do, and this weekend, I’ll start planting the first of the tomatoes inside. Bills to pay, too, although this week and next week are tight, financially.

Which means I damn well better get those article pitches out, too, right?

The Narcissistic Sociopath is making an autocratic power grab by declaring a national emergency. He must be stopped.

Have a great weekend. I’m taking the Monday Presidents’ Day holiday. The #UpbeatAuthors post will be up, but Tuesday’s post may be late.

Today is Nirvana Day in the Buddhist tradition. In honor of that, I will light some joss sticks and do extra meditation sessions. Tuesday is the full moon!

Peace!
Coventina Circle 3B 3D Collage

Thurs. Feb. 14 , 2019: It’s the Work

valentines-day-2057745_1920

Thursday, February 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Once I decided to celebrate the holiday in the way I want, rather than the way advertisers told me I should, I was much happier.

Yesterday’s Ink-Dipped Advice post hit a nerve for a lot of people. I’m glad it helped. If you haven’t yet read it, you can find it here.

I’m finally free of 1&1.com. I am so happy I wish I’d had the knowledge, the courage, and the determination to leave them years ago.

Client work was fine. Stopped at the grocery store, and some dumbass white dude thought it would be “funny” to scare me in the parking lot by grabbing me from behind. I used to live on the Deuce, 42nd Street, in NYC. You don’t grab me from behind and scare me. I react. He’s lucky he didn’t need stitches. It’s not funny to go up behind a woman you’ve never met (or even one you have) and grab her from behind. It is not “funny” to deliberately scare someone like that.

Since the 2016 election, this happens more and more and more. And I’m in this little town on Cape Cod. It shouldn’t be happening anywhere, but it definitely shouldn’t be happening here. And it’s always white guys. Of all ages.

Finished reading the book for review. I’m polishing the review and sending it off this morning.

Worked on contest entries.

Today, I have some LOIs to get out, and some article pitches to prepare. I need to finish the polish on the short comic ghost story radio play, work on the novels, work on the monologues.

So, for me, it’s back to the page.

 

Published in: on February 14, 2019 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Feb. 13, 2019: Life is Short

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Waxing Moon

Woke up yesterday morning at 1:30 with a blaring headache, due to the incoming storm, and had trouble getting back to sleep.

The storm hadn’t hit by the time I left for client work; but I figured I might have to leave early to get safely home.

Was shocked to find out that a Twitter pal died on Saturday night. We’d had a few exchanges earlier in the day, when she was sitting in the ER. We’d cyber-met because of politics, and she was witty and incisive and had a huge heart. She will be missed. Another Twitter pal is writing a song in her memory.

Reworking the second half of the radio play is making it stronger. It will be ready to go out at the end of the week.

Working on the monologues. I want to test at least one of them next week, at an open mic, but right now, the monologues need more work. They’re not sharp enough. The softer edge gives a whiny quality that I don’t want.

Working on the review, and on contest entries. Have to finish with a book on Canaletto and his patrons today — it’s due back tomorrow to the Commonwealth Catalogue, and I can’t renew it.

Client work yesterday and today. Wore me out. I’m working on new page for the Fearless Ink site, about social media training and social media packages.

Speaking of Fearless Ink, there’s a new post up about Tools and Resources.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 13, 2019 at 5:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Feb. 12, 2019: Right Decisions Relieve Stress

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Snowing

Stressful few days. Friday was about a lot of running around, and still feeling wiped out.

I had a lot to think about, with my head, my heart, and my gut giving me conflicting messages. But the more I considered, the stronger the guidance from the gut.

For a few hours, it looked like another door would open that would make the decision easier, but it didn’t, so I don’t have an easy out. I have other options, although I can’t finalize them quite as quickly as I’d like. I do, however, have an ever-strengthening gut reaction. I need to go with that, even if at the beginning, it seems like the weaker choice. It puts more pressure on me in other areas, then, at a time when I’m feeling under too much pressure already.

I also had to remove my ego from the decision (with a scalpel, sometimes, it felt like), because my ego pushed me in the direction my gut told me was wrong.

Suffered from stress-related health issues most of the weekend, which slowed me down.

Spent most of the time working on GAMBIT COLONY revisions on the first four of the first six books. Wrote some new material, made some cuts. Re-arranged things. Added a character to take care of an arc that needed to be handled, and will now have to adjust scenes in several places to see that through.

Worked on the comic ghost story radio play, trying to get back from where it derailed. It needs to be sharp and witty, which, since I’m not feeling either right now, is a reach. But I ripped out the section that took the wrong turn and am rebuilding it. It works much better as a comedy. The discarded plot thread for this will wind up as the central plot thread for a darker radio play in the future.

Read Mary Louise Wilson’s memoir MY FIRST HUNDRED YEARS IN SHOW BUSINESS, which was fun. We crossed paths a few times in the NY theatre world, and we’ve worked with a lot of the same people.

Read Jayne Ann Krentz’s UNTOUCHABLE. She’s trying some new things, which are interesting.

Worked on the review, and on contest entries.

The Fearless Ink site finally completed the domain transfer. I’d had to fight with 1&1 about the Cerridwen’s Cottage transfer. So all three domains are now safely with Name Silo. I sent in my cancellation to 1&1 for the account. I’m sure I’ll be in for at least several more months of fighting, and they will try to squeeze more money out of me. And then I’ll have to file against them. Again.

It’s taken me a YEAR to get the sites moved and the domains transferred. A YEAR of fighting with them. If you ever want a place to register a domain or host you, stay away from 1&1. I wish I’d had enough knowledge to break free years ago. They cost me tens of thousands of dollars in lost income over the years.

Yesterday I was onsite with a client, which was fine, and the same today, although I’m expecting it to be more stressful due to weather and other issues. At least I had meditation group yesterday. In general, the next three weeks will be very, very stressful, and I’m trying to put some stress management tools in place.

Working on my personal strategic plan. The dashed possibilities of the past few weeks had derailed it a bit, but now I need to focus and then complete the actions I need to get where I want to go.

Onward.

 

Mon. Feb. 11, 2019: Abstract Love vs. Specific Love #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, February 11, 2019
Waxing Moon

The theme for Upbeat Authors this month is love. This week, I’m going to share one of the struggles I have between abstract love vs. specific love.

What, exactly, do I mean by “abstract” love?

What I mean is all that “love for humanity” we’re supposed to have. I struggle with that.

I like individuals. As an introvert, I’m not all that fond of “people.”

I believe on treating people and regarding them with a basic level of human decency and respect, until they prove they don’t deserve it.

I love my family, my friends, particular colleagues with whom I’ve formed close relationships, differently from each other, as we discussed last week.

But I struggle with a basic love for humanity.

I’m too much of a cynic for that. I used to be a romantic wrapped in a shell of cynicism, but the older I get, the more the cynicism is real.

Part of yoga practice is that we are all just fine where we are, in this moment. That doesn’t mean we don’t or shouldn’t strive to do or be better. But it means we are “enough” in this moment. This is where we are; this is where we start. We build from here.

Also part of many practices that work in tandem with yoga, especially devotional yoga, are ways to cultivate a love of humanity.

One of those is the Loving Kindness meditation. There are several versions of this, but the one I use most often is below, with different, specific focuses each time I repeat it. Turning the abstract into the specific, and working from the self into the larger world, I find, is helpful. It strips away the cynicism, even for a moment.

You start with yourself, saying,
“May I be happy;
May I be well;
May I be prosperous;
May I be at peace.”

The second time around, you replace “I” with a specific “you.” This “you” is someone for whom you have fondness, affection, or love:
“May you be happy;
May you be well;
May you be prosperous;
May you be at peace.”

The third time, it’s still “you” — but this time the “you” is someone with whom you have a fractious relationship, in the hopes of cultivating a smoother road for both of you. This can be challenging, especially in the early days. I hold that same difficult “you” in the chant for a period of days or weeks until I feel less resentful of wishing them well in the first place.

The fourth time, it’s “we.” This can mean a specific group – family, work colleagues, meditation group. I usually set it to mean my circle of family, friends, neighbors, contacts.
“May we be happy;
May we be well;
May we be prosperous;
May we be at peace.”

The fifth and final time, it’s “all.” This gets into the bigger abstract I’ve been talking about, about all humanity, or, if you want o go even further, all living beings:
“May all be happy;
May all be well;
May all be prosperous;
May all be at peace.”

If you start dissecting it and saying it’s not logical for everyone to be all those four things (which is tempting), you’re missing the point for the moment of mantra. It’s a wish to work toward that. It’s also a way to get out of poverty consciousness, feeling there will never be enough (which is what governments and corporations want you to feel, so they can take even more), and work toward prosperity in mind and tangible things.

Our minds are our most powerful tools. The Loving Kindness meditation reminds us of this.

I often say it for a few months every night before I go to bed, then give myself a break for a few weeks. I find it particularly effective when Mercury is retrograde, and everything seems to be all over the place.

It’s a way to build from specific to more abstract, so by the time you get to “all” — the all feels specific.

This is one of the tools that works for me as I work on myself and my relationship to the world, especially in these tumultuous times. I’m sharing it, because it might help you, too.

I wish you happiness, health, prosperity, and peace.

 

Published in: on February 11, 2019 at 5:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fri. Feb. 8, 2019: Thoughts, Decisions, Weights

Friday, February 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Rainy and mild

Yesterday’s meeting went well in some respects, but gave me a lot of to think about. There are facets to weigh, positives, negatives, possibilities.

My head says one thing, my heart another, my gut a third.

So we’ll see.

I read Barbara Ross’s STEAMED OPEN, which was a lot of fun. I like that series a lot, and she mentions Wiscasset, one of my favorite places in Maine.

I’m pretty sure I’m off track with the radio play, so I have to rip apart the second half and fix it.

Working on the book I have to review. Sending out a bunch of LOIs. Working on contest entries this weekend, along with the monologues, the radio play, and the novels.

I feel discouraged on several fronts, like there are obstacles pushing me in a direction I’m not sure I want to go. But I can’t stay where i am, either. There has to be movement. But perhaps it’s in a direction I haven’t yet explored.

So this weekend will also contain a lot of reflection.

And planting. There are seeds that need planting!

And writing.

And reading.

Have a good one.

Published in: on February 8, 2019 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. Feb. 7, 2019: No Need to Rant About Some Things, Need to Rant About Others

Thursday, February 7,2019
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cool

I’m scheduling this to post because I have meetings all morning and don’t know when I’ll get online.

I’m getting frustrated with A2 hosting. I have to be able to access my websites from different computers in different locations, as I need to. They keep refusing me access to my account, because they don’t recognize the IP address. My log-in information should be enough. If this situation isn’t resolved, I’ll be host-hunting again. I’m very happy with the way WordPress works on the host, but if I can’t access my sites when and where I need to, we have a problem.

They have no problem allowing my sites to be hacked; just with letting me get into the sites for which I pay. That has to change.

Still fighting with Fed Ex on behalf of my client. Fed Ex customer service refuses to deal with the problem and just keeps passing me and another colleague around and around and around. So I complained to the executive office in TN. Let’s see if anyone there gives a damn.

Otherwise, work on site was fine yesterday.

I think I may have taken a wrong turn in the ghost story radio play. I think I’ve gone too dark (it’s a comedy). It’s not really Ha-ha-ow anymore. It’s taken a turn. I’ll finish the draft, and then see if I need to completely rewrite the second half.

I wrote a rant about something that really bothers me, writer-wise. Then, I realized that the people behind it don’t actually matter in my day-to-day life. Writing the rant made me feel better. There’s no need to post it. I can now move on and shrug off the idiots.

I’m tired, with a blaring headache due to the incoming storm. I’m going to experiment with some new makeup before tomorrow’s client meetings — can’t be experimenting right before I leave and THEN discover it doesn’t work!

Think good thoughts for my meetings today. There’s a lot that has to shift in the coming months, and I’m not yet sure what’s going to wind up where.

But it will all work out for the best in the end.

Published in: on February 7, 2019 at 6:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Feb. 6, 2019: Working Through the Tired

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Lunar New Year — Year of the Pig Begins — Yesterday, the 5th

I forgot to mention yesterday that it was Lunar New Year. The Year of the Pig began. Let’s hope it’s a good one!

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post on what your client wants.

I woke up at 3AM on Tuesday morning — not fun. Couldn’t get back to sleep, and had to get up at 5 anyway. I had to go in early for a client, to get some work out of the way and wait for an incoming shipment.

Let’s just say Tuesday was busy and full of challenges, and leave it at that.

On top of that, my health insurance is screwed up for both last year and this year. I am NOT paying a penalty because THEY screwed up. It’s time to get Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healey involved. Don’t ever let anyone tell you MA is a beacon in healthcare and insurance. It’s all crap.

Found a bunch of comments on the blog going way back into last year to which I’d never responded. My deepest apologies. Some of them were spam – others I caught up on. This is the first time they showed up. I try to stay on top of responding to comments.

Onsite with the client was okay. The shipment for which I was waiting never arrived – it’s stuck in Alaska, and FedEx, as usual, was useless. I was bounced around for THREE HOURS, both on phone and live chat, because NOT A SINGLE REPRESENTATIVE wanted to deal with the issue. Which I had been told yesterday, but a different “support” person had been dealt with.

Yes, you don’t have to point out that me, the writer, being there to accept the shipment was a courtesy, and not my job as the writer.

I’m back on site today, and expecting it to be challenging. As the next few weeks will be challenging.

Meanwhile, I’m working on the radio plays and the novels and the book which I have to review.

I was so exhausted by early afternoon yesterday, I noticed it affected my driving. I should have gone grocery shopping, but I just couldn’t face people in the store.

I need to sort through my seeds and start planting in the next few days. The eggplant, leeks, and scallions will go in soon! I’ll start them inside.

A Twitter pal noticed his interactions have dropped down and some of his followers have fallen away. He has a HUGE following. My following/follower ratio is both smaller and pretty close in numbers. Yes, I’d love a huge audience for my books; however I also feel more comfortable with a more manageable number, and growing the list slowly and steadily, so I can handle it. But that’s me- -he’s great with a huge following. Anyway, I don’t think he has to worry about anything – I think we’ve all got the Februaries, and we’re just damn tired.

Of course, now that I’m trying to move my second domain from 1&1 to Name Silo, it’s more complicated. And when I move the third, it will be even more so. But, sooner or later, I will be free of 1&1 and safe with Name Silo. It will be a relief.

Let’s hope I get some rest – tomorrow will be busy!

 

Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way

Tuesday, February 5, 2018
Waxing Moon

The weather is milder, thank goodness. Some rain expected mid-week, but if it then clears up, I’ll be in the yard doing yard work next weekend. The squirrels are very happy with the massive amount of acorns that fell last fall, but I still have lots of leaves to rake.

The weekend was fine. It was cold and sunny. I didn’t do much. I gave myself some time off to recharge.

Got a little bit of work done on the radio play; I have two possible endings, and I have to figure out which one is funnier; I might have to rewrite the first half and introduce another character, but I’d rather not.

Did some work on the Gambit Colony books. They’re pulling at me, although I really have no time for them right now.

Read — finished Michelle Obama’s beautiful autobiography, BECOMING. Went through some research books for various projects. And finally read Theodora Goss’s THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER. I’d read TRAVEL FOR THE EUROPEAN GENTLEWOMAN, the second book in the series, first. Love them both.

Found the Super Bowl dull. I should be all in with the New England Patriots, since they’re the home state team, but their owner’s friendship with the Narcissistic Sociopath has dimmed that for me. Of course, the owner of the Rams is also a supporter, so neither team was really an option for me.

But, the Patriots pulled it out again, as they usually do. I’m surprised by how many people hate them because they’re a good team and get the job done. I respect Tom Brady’s work, although I’m not a particular fan (for numerous reasons), and I’m glad he rubbed it in the faces of all those that said he was washed up.

The Half time show was awful. Went back to doing other things rather than put myself through that. Really, at this stage in the process, the organizers should know better.

Some of the trash talking comments I saw on social media, even by people I usually respect, made me rethink how much regard to actually have for said individuals. Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t like. Don’t trash stuff other people like when it doesn’t cause harm. And don’t trash talk professionals who can do what you can’t. I don’t like football, but I respect good players and good teams on a professional level. When I see people whose only form of exercise is lifting their beers trash talk pros, I lose respect for them. If you disagree with something an individual does, or the league does, or whatever, state your case and put your money elsewhere. But demeaning people who had the guts to achieve their dreams and are good at their chosen professions — all that does is show what trash the speaker is.

Artists and athletes get that kind of derision all the time from people who don’t have the talent or the guts or the commitment to follow their own dreams and turn them into reality. And those people can fuck right off.

Up early on Monday, for the usual routine. I think I might have to start getting up at 5:30 again soon, not 6. Decent first writing session.

Worked with a client. Stressful time. Picked up a prescription for my mother. More stress, that particular pharmacy is always having a problem with something. Very poorly managed.Headed to the library for some other work. Then to the much-needed meditation group.

In the evening, I worked on the book I have to review.

Today, I’m with a client, and then off to the library to do some work, then work on the review.

Once I get in my words for the day, of course.

Mon. Feb. 4: Defining What Love Means to You (and Your Characters) #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, February 4, 2019
New Moon

We throw around the word “love” in relation to items or people with which we barely have a relationship. So what does “love” mean to you?

It’s going to mean something different to different people. There are also different types of love: I love my friends differently than I love my cats than I love my writing than I love my family than I love my romantic partner. Yes, they all fit into the “love” category, but the sensations are different and the ways I bring different types of love out into the world are different.

Having a basic “love for humanity” is different than a love relationship with an individual (at least to me).

For me, love is about a deep, layered connection that manifests differently in different situations. It means putting the other first where appropriate (unless it becomes unhealthy, in which case one can’t use “love” as the excuse to remain in a toxic situation).

To me, it does not mean martyring myself to gain control over someone else.

I do love my writing. It expands me, fulfills me, gives me a reason to keep going every day. It is how I understand the world, how I make sense of it. Through stories, characters, words.

I love my friends. I value them, I treasure them. I am willing to go the extra mile for them on multiple levels. I trust them with tender emotions, and I keep confidences and remain loyal — even during rough periods when others flee because of what strangers “think.” My friends and I have history and shared experience. Especially friends I’ve made on shows — anyone not on that particular production will have different frames of reference.

I value and cherish the friends I make online, but if I don’t have actual life experience with them, “love” (for me) is an inappropriate word. There are people that I interact with online daily or almost daily. But I’ve never met them; even if we share confidences, it’s different than sitting across the table from each other, or visiting a museum together or working on a project together. I feel affection and warmth and want to protect them and help them — but I’m doing a disservice if I call it “love.” For me, I have to have the tangible factor as well as the emotional factor.

“Falling in love” for me, has multiple facets. It’s the attraction and the excitement and the warmth and the laughter and the companionship and the sex — but there also has to be a sense of building, of being able to make a journey together, of giving each other emotional and physical breathing room. If it doesn’t grow in multiple directions, if it’s not an ever-changing, growing sense of layered commitments and interactions — not going to work. I’ve never been willing to settle for long — and the older I get, the less I’m willing to settle at all. My definition of partnership is very different than many other people’s. It’s not a judgment on them and their needs, because it’s about their lives. While I am willing to compromise on certain things, I am no willing to capitulate on others. I learned, the hard way, that it is far lonelier to be with the wrong person than to be alone.

Besides, as I writer, I need a lot of solitude. I can’t be with someone who is all over the place, needs constant stimulation and noise.

Our needs and desires change over the course of a life. We have to be aware of them, in tune with them, and honest about them. We have to strike the balance between self-care (which just happens to be last month’s topic) and martyrdom.

That sounds like I believe in order to write fully-rounded characters, we need to have hit a point of self-enlightenment most of us only dream about.

What’s great about creating characters and stories and situations is that we can experience how a variety of individuals define love, define partnership, become self-aware. They are not us; they are themselves, when we do our jobs properly. But we inhabit them while we write them, so for that period of time, we are them, and we can experience the world through their eyes and hearts.

That can help us define and decide what we want and need in our own lives.

We live vicariously through our fictional characters in early drafts of the books. Then we step back and meld the craft with the art and the emotion.

As human beings, we take what we learn from the creative process, and apply what works for us in our lives, and step out of the characters who are unhealthy.

It’s one of the reasons I love being a writer; I can live many lives, and yet still maintain a core integrity. I can also learn from other writers’ works, see worlds and experience lives through their characters eyes and souls, and come away as a better person. There’s an intimacy in reading that is very different from WATCHING a production. Reading is more internal; it touches the soul – and the heart – in a different way.

Great art (in any discipline) makes it possible for me to love more and love better.

This is why what we do is so important. Why the love we feel and bring to our creative process and then share with the audience is so vital to the overall well-being of humanity.

Our love matters.

 

Published in: on February 4, 2019 at 6:31 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday, February 1, 2019: Preparing for a Happy Weekend

Friday, February 01, 2019
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday wound up being one of the most quietly happy days I’ve had in a long time.

Hop on over to the GDR site to check out my February To-Do list. Which will need adjustments, because some things are happening that will recalibrate the rest of my year. It’s all good, but will need flexibility on my part to make it work.

I had a good phone meeting with a potential client this morning, and we will meet in person next week.

The radio play split into the 2-part version and the short play to fill the remaining time in that second slot went out yesterday, along with another requested radio play.

I set up nearly a month’s worth of marketing posts for my books on Twuffer; however, they don’t seem to be posting. (Note: I fixed it; time zone issue. Phew)

In the afternoon, I drafted half of the new comic ghost story radio play. It’s a lot of fun, and, as with the other comedies, a little silly. But that’s part of what makes it work. I hope to finish the draft this weekend, let it sit, and revise next week, so it can go out the following week.

As soon as that draft is done, I dive right into the straw hat theatre comedy.

WHILE I’m juggling the novel revisions and working on the monologues and working on the first act of the anti-gun violence play AND research for the Venetian play and the two women writers play.

So it’s busy. But the right kind of busy, which makes me happy.

It’s supposed to get warmer this weekend. First planting should be tomorrow – my seeds haven’t arrived yet, so I’ll have to find something to plant.

Imbolc tomorrow – I’m looking forward to it.

I want to have a happy weekend of reading and writing, because the next few weeks will be very, very busy.

Have a lovely weekend!