Sunday, June 17, 2012

Five Minute(ish) Friday(ish) - Path

"So, here’s the skinny: every Friday for over a year  hundreds of people join a kind of writing flash mob over at the The Gypsy Mama.  For five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday." - The Gypsy Mama

I’ve been reading a book this week about writing.  Since I was a tad overwhelmed by the 258 metaphors for “path” that instantly jumped to my mind about my life, every person I know, and every relationship I have, I thought I would do a little writing exercise. 

How about plopping down a character who I’ve never met before on a path?  Because where better to meet someone than on a path?  Here goes... 


The sunlight scattered through the green world ahead of her and the trail wandered over a mossy bridge as though on a whim.   She peered down into the water at the grey reflection of the sky.  

She rocked her head back and forth slightly, but nothing broke the reflection. 

“Nothing today?” she asked the water. 

It answered with a ripple. 

Of course there is no reflection of her.  Not today.  Perhaps next time.   

A rustle along the path behind her caused her to tense.  Her fists clenched and she kept her eyes fixed on the water, no longer looking at the surface but now staring at something long ago.

She took a deep breath and straightened, pushing her hair back behind her shoulders. Then she turned her eyes down the path from where she had come.

It was still now.  How could it not be?  Everything back there was already done.

“I wouldn’t go back that way,” she told the expectant path, “even if I could.” 



So there you have it.  It's not the beginning to the next great American novel, but it's good for my character to post things that I don't think are perfect.  

Any ideas why she couldn't see her reflection?  Because I'm not sure myself....

Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Expectation

Here's my weekly link up to The Gypsy Mama for her Five Minute Friday prompt.  Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking


Topic: Expectation

There is no way I can write for five minutes on Expectations.  No way.  I couldn't even write a magazine article.  It would have to be a full length book.  Maybe some sort of three volume set. You've been warned.

Because expectation is the real power in the universe.    

Please flex and grab you sword with me while we bellow "By the power of Greyskull...I HAVE THE POWER!" 

image credit

Ok, not Greyskull.  More like the power in My Skull. 

Because expectation is everything. 

Absolutely everything. 

Ok, not everything.   Why do you people argue with me all the time?  I'm sure there is some sort of absolute truth out there somewhere.  Like maybe "I exist."  But after that it's all expectation.  And it all lives inside my own skull.

Will I enjoy my coffee this morning?  Not if I expected that I was going to get another 20 minutes of peace before turkey head wakes up and wants to nurse.  But yes if I remembered that the baby is not a robot (a source of endless frustration to me) and can be expected to wake up at different times each morning and even (shudder) have his own personality and ideas.  Not if I have the expectation that I deserve these five minutes of me time this morning.  But yes if I have the expectation that I am indeed a mother of three wee crazies (and a mother who doesn't even have their father home this weekend) and thus is on call constantly. Turns out my enjoyment doesn't rely on how good the coffee actually is.

Will I love who my kids grow up to be?  Not if I expect them to fit into my mold.  But yes if I can get over that sorta-wish-they-were-robots-I-could-command hangup that I have. 

Will I be an enjoyable wife?  And enjoy being a wife?  Not if I harbor all sorts of expectations about what my husband should be doing (especially since one of those usually turns out to be "and in addition to all that he shouldn't expect anything from me..."). But yes if I can just let him be my friend and do the things I do just because it is good for us that I do, not because I expect praise or thanks. 

Will I have a good day today?  Not if I expect my kids to be grownups. (In particular grownups that are exactly like me.)  But yes if I remember they are kids.  Distractable, energetic, loveable kids who aren't old enough yet to ignore the selfish hollering from their own minds so they can be the selfless angels I want them to be.  And for a real yes I need to also have the expectation that my own mind is going to holler selfishly at me all day so that I can be ready to tell it to shut up.

This is way over 5 minutes.  It took at least three minutes to find the He-man pictures.  But I did warn you.  

Ah, expectations.  How I love you.  How I hate you. How I wish I could always remember that I have the power.  It would make my life so much more pleasant. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I'd like to be a little like the moon

His voice skipped along the fence posts and bounced off the observatory while the moon and I listened to him with affectionate smiles.

He stood on tiptoes to peer through the telescopes at a blinding crescent or a striped giant or those unbelievable rings.  As he scampered and chattered from one planet to the next, my eyes were drawn back to the new moon hanging over the darkening horizon.

I love the moon. I think she is irresistibly beautiful.  The moon calms me in a way little else does.  Her unruffled progress through the sky reminds me that if I could lift myself out of this hectic world there is order and beauty and steadiness.  The sun still burns, the earth and moon still spin. The grand scheme is still progressing.

The next morning I told the baby about our trip to the observatory as I changed his diaper.

"You should have seen the moon," I said.   He stared at me attentively as he gummed a toy.   "She was beautiful."  Then I realized that in all his nine months he's probably never looked at the moon.  I distinctly remember pointing it out to him once while he cheerfully peered at my fingertip.

But as I started to explain the moon, I realized that she shouldn't be beautiful.  She is a barren, colorless rock.  She has no air to protect her from the emptiness of space.  Her skin is scarred from every piece of rock or ice that has ever struck her.  She will never erase the footprints left on her surface. 

But although she should be plain - ugly even - she is stunning.
And all she does to be stunning is to stay where she is and reflect the sunlight. 

I was struck by the fact that there’s a sort of redemption going on there. 
 Just not the sort I usually think of.

It seems like redeeming something should involve taking the broken thing and healing it, restoring it to its original perfection.  Or bringing it to a perfection that it has never even had.  But there is a different stage in redemption that I run into daily.  A redemption where God takes something that is imperfect, and without healing a thing, shines his light on it. 

Not a glaring fluorescent light that makes every defect stand out in sickly green, but the warm light of the sun that transforms the dull thing it touches and uses it to breathe beauty into a whole world.

I don’t want to be the moon.  She looks lonely up there and I don’t want to be someplace where rocks hurl out of the darkness at me.  There’s enough of that down here.

As with everyone else, life has thrown rocks at me.  And it just keeps throwing rocks at everyone.  There is sickness and death and betrayal and lies and greed and the sorts of awful things that make gripping novels but desperate lives. 

Sometimes I’m afraid God isn’t powerful enough to redeem our fallen world because he doesn’t charge in and wipe all that pain away.   He doesn’t stop all those rocks.  He could, but he doesn’t. 

So I don't want to be the moon, but  I’d like to be a little like her.

I’d like to not worry about the scars I have.  I'd like to remember that somehow, even before I am perfected, the very flaws I’m longing to be healed from are already being redeemed. 

I believe that someday God will completely redeem his creation.  Someday the imperfections and scars will disappear.   I wish it would happen today.  But I look at the moon and realize that she was placed there for specific reasons and I know that God has plans.  The grand scheme is still progressing.

So I would like to be a little like the moon, 
     content with the scars I have, 
          content with the beauty I have.   
Patiently moving through my life, 
      content for now to be at the point in redemption where I am.

I'm not sure my big boy believed me when I told him my favorite part of the night was seeing the moon and I'm not sure the baby believed me that she really is beautiful.  But it was and she is and even if my boys think I'm a bit crazy, I'd like to be a little like the moon. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday - See

Here's my weekly link up to The Gypsy Mama for her Five Minute Friday prompt.  Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking


Topic: See

The thing about seeing is that I would really like to see with eyes that weren't stuck inside my own head.

The ones that I have lie in very close proximity to my brain and clearly that it too close to detangle them from my emotions, fears and all those parts of my personality that I'm not so keen about. 

Like the part that can't notice how much fun my kids are having if in the process they're making too much of a mess.  Especially one of those messes that will demand an adult skill set to clean up. 

Or the part that is focused on getting through the grocery store instead of responding patiently to my kids.

A pair of eyes detached from my point of view would see my silly kids in Walmart as cute instead of as an impediment to getting the shopping completed.

Eyes not connected to the "cleaning is a pain" part of my personality would see the huge smiles on my kids faces instead of the mess those smiles are peeking through. 

So this week I"m going to try to disconnect my eyes from the part of my brain that has other issues and try to see everything that is going on around me from a better perspective. 

Although I admit that the idea of disembodied eyeballs floating around me all week has me a little creeped out.