Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Digging In

I downloaded a new program called Write Way to organize my book notes, thanks to Larissa Ione's suggestions on her website, and it is pretty awesome. I don't know if the tools will actually help me write, or even if I need help, but it is a really need way to organize notes, characters, chapters, and research. It makes it so much easier than keeping everything in a blank word file. I'm excited about writing again, and I think I'm in a better place to do it now.

In other news, unfortunately skiing in JH is not going to happen. The resort that was still going to be open when I got there has gone out of business or something. But I'll still get to hang out in JH and see Andrew get married, which is what it's all about. But the good thing that came of all this wasted prep is that I got back into skiing and James is going to keep doing it with me.

Also next week, in addition to the Columbia trial and the Avett Brothers concert, JONNY FREAKIN' LANG is coming to Charlotte!! I just happened to check out his tour dates today and it was like holy crap, that's next week! OMG! I've been wanting to see Jonny live for over 10 years since I started listening to him. I've heard live recordings and he is amazing live! My friend Amanda is going with me so it will be some good girl bonding time which we both need more of in general.

Lastly, I get to see my childhood best friend Travis get married in April as well. Tina is awesome and I am so happy for them. Plus I got a killer dress that I can't wait to show off! Gonna be a great month! Ok, I'm done with the exclamation points!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Aspirations

I'm on cloud freaking nine right now!

Backstory: Those who know me very very well know that I like to write stories, and that I even have a full (almost finished) first draft of a novel I've been chewing on for several years. It's nothing that I am pushing hard at, I just let it come when it comes because I have so many other demands on my time and brain. But I have been meaning to really get in there and finish it, possibly write one or two more, and then try and get published. Not for money or fame or anything, but just because it would be, well, awesome.

Fast forward: So I have been tweeting a bit with Larissa Ione, who I would have to name as my favorite author as of late. I wrote a blog post that was a discussion of a topic in one of her books, and then I tweeted her about it. I gave myself a challenge that if she actually read and commented on my blog, that I would take that as a sign to take my writing a bit more seriously and try to make something come of it. So sure enough, she did! Of course, she didn't comment on my writing itself, because that wasn't the point, but having a published author comment on your blog has to be a sign!

So tonight I emailed her (she makes herself very accessible to her readers) because I wanted to find out more about her writing style. Mine is somewhat out of the box, as I don't conform to one type of writing (plotters vs. pantsers in the vernacular, GOOGLEIT), and I just wanted to see where she falls. She's kind of the same way, she does a little bit of both, and she writes each book differently. So she made me feel like it really doesn't matter how you get your finished product, you can still be successful. And she wrote me back within the freaking hour! How amazing is that. So I'm going to give it a shot, and keep on writing. I will leave you with a quote from her:

"Truly...just write. Even if your first draft is crap like mine is, you can fix crap. You can't fix an empty page." ~Larissa Ione Love her!

It's Not Luck, It's GOD! (Crazy Church Signs)

This is one thing that bugs me to distraction with NO end. I remember back in the day when church signs were actually just meant to advertise coming events in the church, to welcome visitors, or give the times of the service. But it seems like in the last few years there has been an explosion of extremely corny, cutesy, and sometimes even condescending slogans, all seemed bent on outdoing each other. It really aggravates me because the messages could be meaningful, they could provide a little slice of what that church stands for but instead, they are just clich├ęs. So the one I passed on the way to work today stuck in my head:

"It's not luck, it's God!"

What does that even mean? It seems to come back to my earlier discussions about fate vs. God vs. free will. Some people would argue that God can only guide you and the rest of your decisions are left up to free will. Others argue that things are all predestined according to God's plan. So is this church asserting that what people believe to be luck is actually God influencing the direction of our lives? If some churches are to be believed, God controls all, so wouldn't luck and got be essentially the same thing? And why does this church choose to tackle the concept of luck, when there are so many greater topics? The people that this church would want to bring in would be people who are searching for a higher power, a meaning to life, a truer purpose. This type of person may only have luck to hope for. So wouldn't it be more useful to say "God is Luck" or "God creates Luck?" Not nearly as catchy to compete with the church down the street.

It just bothers me that these churches seem to think so little of the intelligence of the people driving along, that they would believe these inane little sayings would draw people in (or worse yet, they're only putting them up to keep up with the Jones'---er, Baptists). Why not say things like "Find your spiritual home with us", "God welcomes all comers", or something else that says what your church stands for. Those are more likely to draw someone even remotely intelligent.

Why am I bothering to discuss this, you might ask.... Well these sayings just remind me of all the reasons I stopped going to church in the first place, and they are the exact opposite of the reasons why I started going to PUUC. We don't put slogans up. We have a sign with the name of the church, and the rainbow flag proudly flying, which tells me all I need to know: All are welcome.

Questioning Fate--Fringe Theory

Here I will pick up where I left off in my questioning fate post. I wasn't aware that it was going to have a continuation and yet, here we are.

So.... what if life is just one big choose your own adventure book? What if each choice leads down a certain path that has a certain ending. And what if each story is already written for each choice, until the possible scenarios become infinite. Suppose if this is true, what if each of these paths are being lived in different planes of existence. Maybe there is another you in another dimension somewhere, living the life you would have had if you chose to go right instead of left. Suppose time isn't linear but a continuum. Repeating and repeating either simultaneously or in a giant loop. If this were the case, is there really any choice at all?

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!

~Robert Frost - The Road Not Taken

Sunday, March 27, 2011

There's never enough time

There were so many things I wanted to do this weekend. Clean the house, blog more than a couple of sentences, work on my book, read some on Sin Undone, among others. But I have been battling insomnia and it really hit me hard this week and weekend. So even when I did have free time this weekend, I felt awful. I took a several hour nap today after we got home from church, when I should have been cleaning. But I was of the mindset that at this point, I should take sleep whenever and wherever I can get it. Of course now my internal clock is off.... but I'm still tired enough that I hope I can get to sleep shortly. Good night all.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Plans for the day

Well, we're driving to Cornelius today. Gotta get the old oil changed and have lunch with the in-laws. Also delivering Liam's prize for participating in the Wood Designs shoot. I would dearly love to stay home all day and read, blog and clean the house. I'll just have to do that after. Or during! I'm wanting to try out my new blogger iPhone app. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Jamie Cullum - Oh God

I know it's been a while since I have talked to you
But maybe you're the one who makes the winds blow
We're looking at the stars without explanation
We contemplate as kings and simple men on trial
Our little world's fragile

Oh God can you tell us when it's going to stop
Maybe it's not just down to you
Oh God can we win back what we have lost
So who's the last resort... Oh God

Tumbling towards unclear destinations
Do they wash away the blame,
The wind and the searing rains
As our powers interchange

Oh God can you tell us when it's going to stop
Maybe it's not just down to you
Oh God can we win back what we have lost
So who's the last resort... oh God

Oh God can you tell us when it's going to stop
Maybe it's not just down to you
Oh God can we win back what we have lost
So who's the last resort

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Questioning fate

I like the idea of keeping a journal/diary/blog. The thought of taking all of your twisted complicated thoughts and putting them down so that you can stop chewing on them in your own head, that really appeals to me. The problem that arises is being able to actually convey those thoughts so that they make sense, and then actually letting them go and wanting to do so. Don't know if I'll ever get to that point but I can try.

The issue I have been chewing on (among many) is how much of our daily lives are we in control of. How much is free will and how much is fate and/or God. There is a book series that I love (Demonica by Larissa Ione, yes I love PNR's, get over it!)that has a set of characters who are looked after and protected by angels. These people--both extremely good, extremely evil, and everything in between--are being protected not because of who they are or works that they have done, but because their lives are pivotal to the fate of the world as we know it. They have to be kept alive because of some part they play in the grand plot of the fate of the worlds. They could be an axe murderer, but sometime in their life they are going to affect a change this is supposed to happen, so they must be kept alive. If one of them dies, nothing immediately happens other than the pain of loss for the angel protecting them, and there is no way of knowing what catastrophic events may have been set it motion by their death. It could very well be the end of the world, but no one would know until it was upon them.

I find this idea intriguing and often wonder if there are similar things at work in real life, maybe on a much smaller scale, maybe not... Since last June when I became a Unitarian Universalist, I have had many debates (mostly with my mom) about free will vs. God's will. (For the purposes of this discussion, fate and God's will are interchangeable) It seems like any person or any religious sect can speculate and decide these based on what holds up their beliefs the most, but really there is absolutely no way to tell. As Rev. Robin Tanner told me, not knowing in itself can be a belief--believing that there is just no way to know for sure.

I digress, this is not meant to be a commentary on religion (or lack thereof). Back to Larrissa Ione's Memitim and Primori--The angels and the pivotal people they protect. I wonder if there are similar things in our own lives. There have been many times when I have met someone in passing that I have had the overwhelming feeling that I am supposed to know them. Sometimes that's all it is, but other times it worries me and pokes at me until I begin to feel like that person was supposed to spur on a crucial event in my life and there is no way to tell how NOT knowing them will affect the outcome of my life. But to what extent can you follow your intuition? When does it become more than just a weird thought, to something that you need to heed and act on? And what if you can't act on it? What if you just see a picture of this person but you never actually come across them in real life? What if they are a celebrity, a politician, or someone equally out of reach? You can't approach someone and say "My gut tells me you are supposed to play an important role in my life. Wanna go have coffee?" At best you may get laughed at, at worst you may get shot....

But the funniest thing is that it's the "Wanna go have coffee" part that scares me the most. I know people make friends all the time. But that part of someone that can just say 'what the hell, let's go hang out' has always been broken in me... And not like a sad, depressed, pitiful broken--but literally, clinically, broken. I've only just recently been able to do that reluctantly with beta dogs (look forward to my next discussion, Pack behavior: Alpha Dog), but it does not come easy. So what do you do? How do you follow your intuition without looking crazy? What if I am crazy? :) I know I am a little. Are there forces out there like the Memitim who are there to make sure you come in contact with these people (maybe places, things, animals as well, who knows?)--and if so, at what point does your free will take over to make sure that these connections are made. Maybe all that Fate/God gives you is that feeling--the inexplicable draw to those people, the feeling that you are supposed to know them. Maybe the plight of humanity is to risk the stigma of insanity or freakishness and act on those feelings. Maybe the people who are brave enough to truly do that are the ones who live their best lives. Again, as Rev. Robin said, not knowing can be a belief--but so can be acting on faith.

I certainly don't claim any kind of extra sensory perception. Hell, I barely have a grip on the sensory perceptions I'm supposed to have! But I do believe I am more sensitive to things around me--including the real, and what I perceive to be the paranormal or fantastical. I also tend to be hyper-intuitive about people. I am able to sense moods, personalities and intentions a lot sooner than most people. My psychologist believed this was because of my anxiety disorders and a lifetime of trying to react to things before they escalate. I'm not sure, but it has taught me to never ignore a strong feeling.

This has happened to me many times. Just the ones I can remember right now--a waitress, a barrista at a coffee house, an author, an actor. None of those I have acted on, other than to comment 'I really like him/her.' This probably explains why those people are the ones I can remember, and why I still keep chewing this concept in my head.

What would you do? How would you do it? I am honestly curious.

Stay tuned for my next pointless philosophical discussion!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jonny Lang - Dying to live... think about it

You know I've heard it said theres beauty in distortion
By some people who withdraw to find their head
And they say there is humor in misfortune
No, I wonder if they'll laugh when I am dead

[Chorus]
Why am I fighting to live
If I'm just living to fight
Why am I trying to see
When there aint nothing in sight
Why am I trying to give
When noone gives me a try
Why am I dying to live
If I'm just living to die

You know some people say that values are subjective
But theyre just speaking words
That someone else has said
And so they live and fight and kill with no objective
Sometimes its hard to tell the living from the dead

[Chorus]
Why am I fighting to live
If I'm just living to fight
Why am I trying to see
When there aint nothing in sight
Why am I trying to give
When noone gives me a try
Why am I dying to live
If I'm just living to die

You know I used to weave
My words into confusion
And so I hope you'll understand me
When I'm through
You know I used to live my life as an illusion
But reality wil make my dream come true

So I'll keep fighting to live
Till theres no reason to fight
And I'll keep trying to see
Until the end is in sight
You know I'm trying to give
So come on
Give me a try
You know I'm dying to live
Until I'm ready to die

Monday, March 21, 2011

Starting over

I am revamping my blog, starting over. Maybe I will have something worthwhile to say...