Monday, April 30, 2007

Schroedinger's moving boxes

(Somehow this posted with the wrong date--it being Tuesday, May 1st. I am not yet savvy enough to change the header...)

Oh the marvelosity of the day.

I have fired my agent--gently, & with all good wishes of course--& called my editor (of the hardcover edition of Growing Wings) who has been waiting to see another book from me. We had a nice visit & then I actually printed & sent her the novel the same day. How cool is that? Moi--who used to wear the scarlet "P" for "Procrastinator."

& I painted in my newly(half)cleaned studio space while soaking my feet in a cool little vibraty foot bath that I've had for a long time but haven't used much in the last few years.

& I had lunch with a friend recently returned from Thailand. We're going to take a batik class together on Saturday.

&--going back almost to the beginning of blogging as I know it; see "Let the fingers (and palms) do the talking"--I have figured out something about the ghosts who were keeping me from the full expression of my creativity. It was indeed the moving boxes. Every time I looked at them, or tried hard not to look at them, I imagined all the things to deal with lurking inside the cardboard. Ghosts? In the Schroedinger's cat sense of the word.

What is the half-life of the past? You can only find out by opening the boxes and dealing with the (living or dead) things inside. If it weren't for my executive assistant, I'd still be haunted by all those wavicles. As it is, half of them are put in their places, or at least scheduled to be.

Blog alternative:
38. Go soak your feet.

Carrot juice

Wow, if your (real or imaginary) executive assistant is as hard-working as mine, you're exhausted! The two of us worked for 4 hours, with another spate scheduled for Wednesday. I just drank some fresh-squeezed carrot juice to rejuvenate. I think it worked.

Maybe only partially rejuvenated, because I can't think of anything really cosmic to say. So, I'll just go with my standard blessing:

peace & strength
joy & wisdom
love & gratitude

perfect healing
body mind heart & soul
in this & all times

perfect abundance
body mind heart & soul
in this & all times

all is well
in this & all times

all you need is within you

all you do not need
let it go

blog alternate
37. go through a bag o' stuff or a box o' stuff (I know you've got at least one!) and do something with something.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Imaginary executive assistants & the twelfth elf


The birthday week is over.


the American Express guy I talked to on the phone a few days ago said some friends of his celebrate their birthdays every month on the birthday day. So hello the 22nd of everything! (On May 22nd I'll be forty eight & one twelfth. (Hmmm, I never noticed that twelfth has an elf in it. Cool.))

Today was another walking day, this time in the arboretum. And oh, the rhododendron show! Some of them smelled SO good. Especially the white ones. And fabulous meditation and great ideas and--

Maybe the birthday week isn't over after all.

My executive assistant is coming over tomorrow for a couple hours to help me get the apartment in order. I'm looking forward to the day--soon--when I can pay her what she's worth.

Here's a tip though. Even an imaginary executive assistant is tremendously valuable. My first E.A. was 12, the visiting step-niece of a friend of mine. She came over to my apartment and painted purty pictures, with actual work to be done on the next visit (art supplies and space was her payment) but then she got sick and couldn't help out before she had to return to North Dakota. However, when I thought she was coming over, I spent a bunch of time getting things ready so she could be useful, which meant that I looked through my papers and threw a bunch of stuff away. Worth her weight in gold, she was.

So now, I have an actual executive assistant. She worked for me for 2 hours in February. Now both of our schedules have opened up and there's no limit to what we can accomplish.

Blog alternative

36. Hire an executive assistant (real or imaginary) and prepare to work together.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Skinny dipping in Flat Laurel Creek

tried to post this yesterday (saturday, april 28th) but there were wi-fi "issues"
so, another day, another coffee shop, another post to follow post-haste

Blog alternative

35. Let's say you have 2 days left on the planet. (Due to death, ascension, e.t. bus, other.) What would you do? From where you are--things you could realistically do locally. Don't spend a lot of time on this, and think with your heart rather than your head.

My friend Mary came up with that question a few days ago and made a list. Three of the items on the list we did today: go to a really high place, skinny dip in a mountain stream, drink dagoba xocolatl (spicy hot chocolate) made with rice milk and coconut milk with whipped cream squirted on top.

Okay, so the skinny dipping was QUICK, it being around 50-55 degrees and mostly overcast and a little drizzly at times, although the sun did come out to see us when we said, "Look, we ain't skinny dipping unless it warms up a little."

It was a magical day. Perfect privacy for the skinny dipping, probably because of the weather. We finished getting dressed and I'd just crossed the stream to get back to the trail when a guy came down to the stream--which had the lovely name of Flat Laurel Creek.

Oh, and a thousand years ago (spring/summer of 1984) I worked at IBM for 3 months. Night shift, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. putting chips on cards. One night, when it was a simple job you could do in your sleep, I memorized an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, "Afternoon on a Hill." It was so fabulously appropriate that I recited it to Mary and she promptly said, "Okay, but it needs a new ending." I changed it some, to make it appropriate to our magical mystery tour up to Sam's Knob. So, with gratitude and homage to Ms. Millay:

We were the gladdest things
under the sun.
We touched a hundred flowers,
did not pick one.
We looked at cliffs and clouds
with quiet eyes,
watched the wind bow down the grass,
and the grass rise.
And light began to spark
in every human soul,
lit every human heart,
and we were whole.

Make sure you read "Afternoon on a Hill" some time. Hope you come up with a good list.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bubble gum vs. pure darkness

recently read by yours truly
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hanson & Robert G. Allen
Creating Affluence by Deepak Chopra
Dancing with Joy (poetry) edited by Roger Housden

(before recently there were a whole slew of science fiction & fantasy books for the Tiptree jury)

Today I'm making some notes on The One Minute Millionaire, so the information will actually be incorporated into my brain and the exercises will be incorporated into my habits. A millionaire? Moi? Mais oui! I've got some really cool book ideas that I'm working on (as well as the screenplay and the stage play of course) and I have some other ideas... I'll keep you posted.

Excellent overheard quote of the day: "I told him no, I'm bubble gum and you're pure darkness."

Today's bit from my book: When you're really ready to change a habit, anything will work. When you're not, nothing will.

Today's blog alternative:
34. delete 22 emails from your inbox.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Quantum clouds of possibility--100% chance of rain

In yet another coffee shop, this one in Weaverville.

Had a fun conversation with two women with great energy--did a little reconnective healing and had to get out my driver's license to claim my age.

So, back in time to the last post, a couple days ago
(hey, it's my birthday week, I can't be blogging all the time!)
my three favorite things about me now
quantum cloud of possibility (little fizzix groupie girl had to get this one in here) manifesting into incredible destiny (little meta-fizzix girl had to add this part)

I'll have to wait to do the other variations on the theme, cuz it's back out into the wide wet wonderful world for me.

your blog alternative

33. drive to a little town you've never (or rarely) been to and seek out a coffee shop or a mom&pop diner. order your second favorite thing on the menu, so you'll come back for number one another time.

today's philosofizzix (from a book I'm working on)

You can choose something or complain about it, but not both.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Okay, so the entire thing is a blog alternative

maybe I should start with the blog alternative, in case you're looking for ideas on what to do with your no-doubt-copious time. I'm guessing you have have somewhere around 168 hours per week, if you're reading this from planet earth.

blog alternative
32. write down your three favorite things about yourself--and then imagine your best friend's list of three favorite things about you and write that down too. go crazy--how about the you you were when you were ten. (yeah, I read that through and I think it makes sense if you don't take the corners too fast.) you can do that one two different ways: your favorite things about ten-year-old you and what three things the ten-year-old you would pick about you now.

My three favorite things about me now? (Oh, man, only three?)
I think I've just picked my blog theme for tomorrow.

and now I'm going to quit blogging and visit with my friend Mary, who is eating a cherry chocolate chip scone.

later, gators.

Monday, April 23, 2007

International wear-your-hat-backwards day

happy birthday to me

but wait
--you say--
wasn't yesterday your birthday?
well, yes, technically
but I celebrate the birthday week rather than the birthday day
lots more fun that way
maybe when I turn 50 I'll begin celebrating the birthday month

today I glammed up in a pink and orange and yellow dress, with a white straw hat with a gold-sequinned hat band. I wear it backwards so the giant bow is in the front, cuz I like it better that way. I hung around for most of the afternoon waiting for UPS to deliver a package and then gave up (probably 5 minutes before they arrived. go figure.) and went to the Drip to check my email, but their new wireless system was buggy, so instead I had a bonding session with 3 girlfriends and did some sudoku.

after that, I picked up my mail at the
I did NOT pass the prospective member examination bar for the gallery
ah, well,
something else or sometime else.

now I'm at a different coffee shop (Port City Java, for you ashevillains) doing the wireless thing. about done, which is a good thing, cuz I'm hungry.

blog alternative for the day:

31. go to an art gallery and decide which piece--if price were no object--you would purchase and where you would put it in your home

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Please, don't eat the birdseed. Chirp.

happy earthday to we
happy birthday to me
happy everything to everyone

I would not go back to any other decade for anything. Or even any other year. I keep saying each year is the best so far, and then the next gets better.

I began the day by watching the sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then we drove up a little farther, to the Tanbark Overlook, and watched the sun rise again. And then there was breakfast at this great new restaurant called Azaleas. Walking and meditation in the Arboretum. Bacon cheeseburger and hash browns at Waffle House. Feeding birds (and cats) to celebrate earthday. Walking around Lake Junalaska--and I used a bottle of spring water I found in a parking lot to wash a bronze Jesus's feet. A quick trip to Waynesville. Back to Asheville by sunset. Now I'm drinking a mocha shake at the Dripolator. Magic in the air. Yee-haw!

I forgot to put a blog alternative for the last post, so here are two:

29. Find some mud, take your shoes off, rediscover skwushing (it just has to be a word)
30. Make a circle of birdseed on a picnic table. (and don't eat it, unless you're really hungry)

And a wish for you all:
May tomorrow begin the best year of your life so far, and may the trend continue.

Must be getting forgetful in my old (hah!) age, as I forgot to charge my laptop last night. Down to 15% battery power. Better publish and perish.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

ankle deep in mud

Even more fabulosity on Thursday after I posted my blog, when my friend Mary came over. I hadn't seen her since I returned from northern climes, so we had lots to catch up on. Went over to the co-op & ate free-range organic goodies.

Yesterday I spent 6 hours in the arboretum with a friend, walking & meditating & coming up with new book ideas & such. One of the highlights was taking my shoes off & rolling my pantlegs up & getting ankle-deep in the silty mud at a quiet part of Bent Creek.

Add to that sushi & superlative plum wine & placemat artwork, & dessert & coffee.

Oh, this is getting to be a list of what I've been doing. Dang. I didn't want to do that. But if it's going to be a list, at least I'll have fun with format.

So, today, in no particular order
I pet-sat a giant dog for 5 minutes near a lake in Black Mountain while a young woman chased after her 2 other dogs
ate half a hot-dog
lots more
but I have to get ready for my birthday tomorrow

Thursday, April 19, 2007

63 degrees, white blouse, grateful spider

Ah, the fabulosity of today. I had breakfast at Sunny Point; went to the Arboretum with a friend, where we walked in the gardens and meditated in the visitor center and went barefoot on the grass and gravel; reclaimed my held mail from the secret caverns of 2 different post offices; paid my auto insurance with not one day to spare; got a haircut from Casey at Dang Salon; and walked into the Dripolator during the intensest (yeah, I know, not really a word) part of a brief afternoon thunderstorm. (Plus saved a long-legged spider from the bathtub, using a plastic cup and a post card.)

Today I am wearing a lovely white lacy ruffly blouse (you really could NOT call it a shirt) that is a hand-me-down from my exhusband's girlfriend's mother.

Filosofy for today: Be here, now. (Wherever "here" is.) You cannot be anywhere (or anywhen) else.

Blog alternative for today:

28. choose your favorite temperature--not a range, but a specific degree

(mine is 63 degrees fahrenheit)
(I flirted with 64, but no)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

27 things to do rather than reading this

I don't watch television or do much web-surfing or (gasp) read blogs, so why should you read mine? Answer--maybe you shouldn't.

27 alternatives to reading blogs, by Laurel Winter
  1. write a poem
  2. get up at 3 a.m. and perpetrate an ephemeral work of guerrilla art
  3. kiss someone who would like it if you kissed them
  4. go for a walk
  5. learn to LOVE watercolors
  6. read a poem
  7. purchase and disassemble and eat a pomegranate
  8. remove 3 items from your closet (trash or charity? you choose)
  9. write to someone you love
  10. open the dictionary at random and read until you find a word you don't know
  11. take a bath by candle light
  12. write to someone you think you might love, given half a chance
  13. throw away all your single socks
  14. floss
  15. start a screenplay/novel/mural
  16. memorize a poem
  17. actually do one of the hobbies you have the parts for
  18. sing something you know at least some of the words to
  19. visit someone you know in an old folks' home (I know, not PC)
  20. go through your cell phone contacts and call someone you haven't talked to in a while
  21. box up the parts for a hobby you know you will not do and find a good home for it
  22. draw something and stick it on your fridge
  23. visit someone you don't know in an old folks' home
  24. dance around the living room
  25. have a tea party with friends (imaginary/real/stuffed)
  26. admire yourself in a full-length mirror
  27. plan an adventure

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Attack of the Giant Nautical Device, and other street art

No posts for several days because I have been BUSY. The poet/artist collaboration reception at the Crossings Gallery in Zumbrota, which was the best yet. My poem received many huzzahs. A fabulous poetry meeting in Mankato with keynote by Chet Corey. And DRIVING. From Rochester to Oberlin and Oberlin to a Super8 in Marrietta, Ohio, and Marrietta to Asheville. Many wonderful things in Oberlin, which will be detailed later.

I have arrived back home--home meaning Asheville, of course. Got in about an hour ago and put the finishing touches on my art resume and I'm at the Dripolator now. In about an hour I'll choose paintings for the ladies and gentlemen of the jury
and take those over.

Speaking of art--and I can only tell you this because it is extremely unlikely students at Oberlin will be reading my blog so Nick gave me permission to post the dark details--I went on a guerrilla art expedition Sunday night after I arrived at Oberlin. I took Nick and his roommate George out for Mexican food and saw their room and then we all went to bed early to try and get a couple hours of sleep before--

Okay, I haven't heard their actual theme music yet, so I keep erroneously playing Mission Impossible music in my head but you get the idea. Yes! Just as you suspected! At 3 a.m. the other members of OSA (Oberlin Street Art, a highly-confidential organization) and I converged on Nick and George's room and stealthily stole into the night with string and sidewalk chalk and masking tape and spray bottles of water and a bag of charcoal and butcher paper on which was traced a large nautical device. And chocolate, of course. (The milk, to fix it, came later.)

It was cold(ish) and windy and people's hands suffered mightily as we chalked this giant device (picture to follow as soon as I get one) on the concrete by the science building. But we prevailed and art was born, sometime around 6:33 a.m.

How often does one get to participate in top secret art with ones son? It was dramatic. And later on Monday, between naps and classes and food (breakfast at Dascomb and supper at Stevenson, if there are any Obies out there) Nick and I got together and I looked at his billions of pictures from his China trip and his Scotland trip (both this year) and Rochester and Oberlin stuff, including his giant snowman and other street art and the ninja grappling hook that George gifted him with for Christmas or birthday or somesuch. Plus we painted with my cute little watercolor set and then I gave it to him, along with a bunch of le Pens, which are his favorite art medium. I will have to hasten out for another Winsor and Newton compact watercolor set, lest I go into withdrawal. It is not wise to cold-turkey art supplies...

So, there you have it. More information than you needed on my last few days. But, if you have made it this far, here is your reward: The strangest thing I saw on the interstate today was a swimming pool. Baby blue, deep end and all. I hope it made it through the tunnel.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Spring, and ah, the parentheses are nesting

Happy Friday the 13th.

I am a triskaidekaphilic, rather than a triskaidekaphobic, so 13 is one of my lucky numbers. I celebrate any month that includes a Friday the 13th. So, happy lucky day to you all.

Today I am--get ready for a big surprise--starting things off at a coffee shop. (Dunn Brothers South in Rochester) Got up late. (After 10 a.m. yeek. (Have to nest some parentheses here. (After all, it's spring; time for the nesting of the parentheses.) The spell checker does not recognize "yeek" (which surprises me not at all) or "triskaidekaphilic" and "-phobic" (which is crazy!))) I must have needed the sleep.

New plan on the art. The guy I talked to at the gallery in Asheville strongly suggested I bring framed pieces, rather than just stretched. I looked into quick-framing options, which don't exist in Rochester, so my exhusband's girlfriend is going to be disappointed in the paintings I am taking for the jury. They're still good--in my opinion, anyway--but they are not the ones she thinks will show me off the best.

Baristas are some of the most interesting people on the planet, I am convinced. One I talked to today is a really great young photographer. Another is saving up because she and her fiance are building a pontoon after they get married and taking a trip down the Mississippi. How cool is that?

On the writing front: I have re-instituted the 2-sentences-a-day Rule, which served me so well on my last 2&1/2 novels. When I started The Secret Life of Suzuki England, I told myself I needed a tiny little goal that would keep me in it. Two sentences a day. Every day. Christmas, New Year's, hangover, headcold. They didn't have to be good and they didn't have to be long ("What?" she said. "I don't know." counts, for example.) and you don't even have to keep them, but it keeps you in the project. And 2 sentences--if your goal was 250 words or half an hour, you might think, "It's 2 a.m. and I've been out dancing with Coralee, maybe I'll wait 'til tomorrow." But instead you think, "It's only 2 sentences--I can do that in my sleep." You almost always do more, but you DON'T HAVE TO. (Plus, if you do more, it doesn't count toward the next day's goal.) It works really well.

So, after having been on semi-sabbatical in Asheville, I'm back to the work/play. Screenplay & stage play. Just a measly 2 sentences. I can do that...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Snow falling on spruces

below see the entire text of an email from Bill, who set up this blog, mostly against my wishy-washy wishes:

(evil chuckle)

I'm coffee shopping again, this time at Caribou, across from St. Marys Hospital. (No, that is correct--it really doesn't possess an apostrophe.) I'm tracking down dates of long-forgotten gallery shows of my paintings for the art resume.

Tonight I will take Zach & Jessica to supper, unless Zach is asleep. He flew to Nashville with a friend yesterday morning and they bought a car and drove it back. Didn't hit snow until Waterloo, Iowa, but then it was brutal. Zach had only Tuesday off, had to be at work first thing Wednesday morning. That's car guys for you. No distance too far for the perfect car.

change of venue:
I am now sitting in my exhusband's house, visiting with him (and sort of with his girlfriend as well, as they're IMing) while I wait for Zach to arrive. It is so nice to have a positive relationship. Makes the world a better place. Looking out the window, I see a mourning dove--one of my favorite birds--and snow falling on the black hills spruces we planted when I made my first big writing sale: $500 in 1984 for a Woman's World mini-mystery. I bought ten $50 trees. Now, when I'm here, I can see how tall my career is. I recommend it for writers. If you don't have a place to plant a tree, go to a park and adopt a baby tree when you make your first sale.

Wait a minute, you might say, snow? Isn't it April 11th?

Yes, but this is Minnesota. (If it's any consolation to Minnesotans who are feeling defensive, the jet stream dipped down and it snowed in Asheville in the last week as well. One of my friends at Toastmasters, Louis, said in his opinion there were two seasons in Minnesota: winter and bad sledding weather.)

Had a fun interaction at Caribou, where I overheard a new Mayo resident and her mom looking for an apartment, so I recommended my old apartment, which was really cool, and then ended up doing some energy work on the mom's hand. Hope it helps!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Let the fingers (and palms) do the talking

Maybe I did get sucked into cyberspace. Last night I spent a fair amount of time lying awake and thinking about all the things I could blog about. My notebook was close but not that close, so I didn't write anything down, until this morning, after I had this dream that contained the seeds (already sprouting) of a stage play. Maybe even a musical. Good grief, as Charlie Brown would say.

I specify stage play because I'm already working on a screenplay. Top secret, hush hush, because if I talk about my ideas the muse dusts her hands off and says, Okay, done with that one. They have to come out through fingers on keyboard.

And that reminds me that my friend Katie Clapham (fabulous photographer) did a palm reading for me at Minicon. Very interesting and insightful. She said my creative self had a very powerful flow that wasn't quite connected up because there was some sort of chasm for it to cross regarding my family and home. Home now, rather than family of origin or the nuclear family which has evolved to the discrete particles phase, being ex-spouses and grown children. She asked who was there when I came home and I said Me, that I have a lover but do not live with him. So then she asked a really interesting question: What ghosts live with you?

I told her I'd get back to her on that. Maybe the moving boxes that arrived from Rochester 11 days before this trip are filled with ghosts. I'll have to check. She said she'd see me at Wiscon, in Madison, Memorial Day weekend. And bring your hands, she told me.

Monday, April 9, 2007

In the coffee shop--I think...

So here I am.

Sitting at a coffee shop, which is one of my favorite occupations--I write, I paint, I meditate. I recently overcame my dread of watercolors by buying a cute little set--who could be afraid of that!--and some scraps of French cover stock from a letterpress in West Asheville and sitting down at the Dripolator on Biltmore. I went from abject terror to love in a few hours. (You really don't have to do it right the first time, especially if you're playing around on scraps of French cover stock!) So I guess it makes sense that my fear of blogging was overinflated and just needed a friendly poke--or a friend to physically take my laptop from me and set it up on the spot. (Hi Bill.)

(Random addendum: my laptop was sipping cyber from another Laurel's hotspot. She was one of the first 35 bloggers in the entire country. I am such a Luddite compared to her.)

I didn't die after my first post, or suddenly get sucked into cyberspace. At least I don't think I was sucked into cyberspace. I suppose Dunn Brother's South in Rochester, Minnesota, could be a virtual figment of my electromagnetic imagination...

I've got another week of my northern trip. So far I've had an art/enlightenment class (Point Zero painting workshop at the Crossings Gallery in Zumbrota) and a science fiction convention (Minicon). I've done some dogsitting for my exhusband's girlfriend and visited with my ex-in-laws who just happened to be in town from Montana while I was. I've hung out with lots of friends and my ex and his girlfriend and my son Zach and his girlfriend Jessica and various of their friends. Zach does stuff to cars, which may include making them fly, I'm pretty sure. His del Sol's performance parts have performance parts. Upcoming is a Toastmaster's meeting and the opening reception of the Poet/Artist Collaboration show at the Crossings Gallery (I have a poem in the show and so love the painting that accompanies it that I've bought it.) and the League of Minnesota Poets spring conference in Mankato. A busy couple weeks.

While I was here I found out that I did get the condo I wanted in downtown Asheville (to be built) and the gallery there I want to exhibit in is going to jury prospective members next week--before I get back, unless I really rush. So I guess I'll ship some paintings and an artist's resume (which doesn't exist yet) to one of my Asheville friends. Otherwise I'll have to skip or severely curtail a visit with my son Nick in Oberlin on my way back. (Couldn't visit him on the way up, because he was in Scotland.)

Okay, off to the world outside the coffee shop. Remember to breathe. And to love yourself. (That's really the only commandment: Love Thyself. Not in the way that you'd say you love yourself but you'd talk about you behind your back or treat yourself badly. If you really love yourself, you've got no problem loving the neighbors. Plenty to go around. But always start with you.)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

yikes! a blog!

Okay, so Bill said, "You should have a blog."
and I said--"AAAAAHHHHH!"
and made that little warding off sign
that didn't work.
So here I am and
We'll see.
Sharon says hi.