Writing Life

The Sunday Salon: Down the Rabbit Hole

Lately I’ve fallen down one of those rabbit holes of inquiry so common among readers. Sometimes they can be a bad thing, right? You go slip sliding away from whatever it is you’re focused on and within a bare few minutes your attention has gone careening like a pinball from one topic to another. Usually this kind of destructive activity can be traced directly to the internet. You click onto Google to look up a fact, and the next thing you know you’re buying a pair of sandals from QVC.

Sometimes, thought, the rabbit hole is a good and true thing, a shower of creative sparks skyrocketing inside your brain, making your fingers itch for a pen or a QWERTY keyboard so you can capture some of them before the shine goes dim.

I’m happy to say, that’s the kind of rabbit hole I’ve been living in for the past few days.

Write On Wednesday: Nourishing Words

I’ve been obsessed with food for the past 18 months. 

Perhaps I should say I’ve been obsessed with other people’s food: for months and months one of my dogs was so fussy about eating that he made himself sick. My mom’s diminishing appetite led to anemia and dehydration, causing a fainting spell that sent her to the ER. Now my husband has been prescribed a strict low-sodium diet, which involves learning to cook and eat in an entirely new way.

I spend a lot of time researching various diets, planning meals, coaxing those who aren’t hungry and don’t want to eat while attempting to appease the one who is very hungry and can’t eat the things he wants. With all this concern about food comes anxiety. With anxiety comes loss of appetite (at least it does for me). 

In all the confusion about making sure everyone else eats correctly, I’ve been failing to eat correctly myself. And isn’t that always the way. Those of us whose primary focus is caregiving often forget to take care of ourselves primarily.

Write On Wednesday: Inspired by Play

Imagine a decrepit old house, long vacant, with pane-less windows staring gap-toothed from weathered and rotting boards. An old house destined for demolition in an historic neighborhood just shy of the Detroit city limits. An eyesore by most sane person’s standards, yes? 

But Lisa Waud, a floral Artist (with a capital A) saw possibility, saw opportunity, saw potential for beauty in many senses of the word. She bought the house, paid all of $250 for it, and launched a plan to gather her colleagues in the world of floral design and fill the house with flowers, make it a huge artistic installation of floral beauty.

Write On Wednesday: Writing it Down

"The most important function my writing serves is to help me make sense of life in general - and my own in particular."

Those words are as true for me today as they were 10 years ago when I wrote them in the “about” page on my first blog. Writing things down in almost any format - from a hastily scribbled list or a soul searching journal entry to  a carefully considered essay  -writing clarifies my thinking, opens a channel for new ideas, and relieves anxiety and tension. 

Because writing is often the midwife to new ways of thinking, or a working out of one’s feelings on the page, it’s most appreciated when one is in the midst of a particularly unsettling period of life.

So it begs the question: How does being happy with life in general play out in one’s writing? Does a writer need a pinch of angst as seasoning for the pot? Is being happy and content a deterrent to deeply expressive writing, the kind that connects emotionally with readers?

The Sunday Salon: Soporific Summer Days

Hot summer days have been working their soporific effect, and I curl up in my deck chair with the best intentions to read or write and find myself drifting in that amorphous territory between sleep and wakefulness, the sensations of warm breeze, birdsong, and rustling leaves mingling in my semi-consciousness with the characters in my book.