6 November 2019 at 07:11, France, scriv, mb, rs.
For bloomwords blog
The Artist’s Prayer
Creative Power of the Universe (CPU),
I offer myself to You,
to do with me as You will.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Your will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them
may bear witness to those I wish to help
of Your Power, Your Love, and Your Way of life.
May I do Your will always!
“When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.” (W-p1.68.6:9) (source: https://celiaelaine.wordpress.com/2019/03/27/giving-up-attack-thoughts/) see also source:
“. . .if you choose to see a world without an enemy, in which you are not helpless, the means to see it will be given you.” (T-21.VII.9:4) https://acim.org/acim/
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” — Ernest Hemingway
* * *
I have trust issues. And self-preservation issues. And even some latent entitlement issues. All of these I am working on. The work is hard and half the time, when I’m actually doing it, I don’t even realize I’m doing it. Both during the times I get it right and the times I get it wrong.
Tuesday is usually a day I reserve for immersing myself in writing or other creative tasks. That will likely change after this writing. It used to be Thursdays, and then I told a few people that (— e.g. “sure, drop by anytime! Just not Thursdays, since Thursdays I have a project I’m working on.”—) and of course (hello, being a Linguistics graduate, I should’ve realized I’d inadvertently NLP’d them to do just the opposite of what I’d wanted) suddenly every possible drop-by seemed to happen on Thursdays. Which in some ways of course stimulated my writing, when I finally did get around to it some other day, not to mention brought me back to the real world; so how could I complain?
Yesterday was Tuesday (— the till-now-at-least, newly-reserved writing day). On Monday, I’d had a pretty good writing session before the morning duties started (school run, several kids, different start times, herding cats for fresh air and exercise in between), and I kept writing in my head all through morning duties. (Not proud of my lack of mindfulness. But I am honest about it with the kids: “Sorry, was writing in my head again. Please repeat?”). To be quite honest I couldn’t wait to get all I’d written onto the page, and yet, once I got home I started a cleaning frenzy, because writing in my head proved to be so entertaining, and cleaning gave me lots of things to write in my head about. Of course, I’m a sucker for the Cinderella motif, as well as the Lady of Shalott.
I’d theoretically love to get away from those, but in practice it’s nigh impossible; and besides, I enjoy them. I’d raised myself (partly based on how others were raising me) on fairytales, romance novels, and period classics, with a bit of pop culture and mystery thrown in. My head-writing is a mixture of Grimm’s Fairy Tales (both original and Disney versions), Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the prairie), Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew — all of them), Stratemeyer Syndicate (or “Laura Lee Hope” — The Bobbsey Twins), Francine Pascal (Sweet Valley High — addictive gateway drug from a friend or relative one year; ended up reading the entire series), Harlequin Presents (cringe, but I’d found a long row of those in my grandmother’s guest bedroom bookshelves when I was at a critical age, and basically binge-read them for a year), and (thank god) Jane Austen.
Not to mention a small variety of creation myths on offer in our household, diluted for children with pictures and short texts — First Nations tales (my favourites perhaps), the Greek myths (romantically captivating), and Bible Stories for Children (perhaps the most influential — and demanding of attention. A large, heavy volume with beautiful though ominous images).
Then came high school (age 13-17) and English Lit and, thanks to the curriculum and a few amazing teachers who brought it to life, a lot of good readings; the main ones that made an impression being Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale — urgent reading for modern times, if you haven’t read it already), and S.E. Hinton. “The Outsiders” was a story that seemed to superimpose itself on some of my high school life, and perhaps shape how I interpreted it, and thus how I acted in it.
At home, I grew interested in my dad’s bookshelves as well. Guirdjieff, my dad’s favourite, I still couldn’t manage, perhaps in fact due to the zeal with which Dad promoted it (I will try again one day, Dad, I promise!); but I eagerly consumed Richard Bach (Illusions, Jonathon Livingston Seagull, One: A Novel, etc.), Ram Dass (Be Here Now), Carlos Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan). And in fact Dad made it easy for us kids to absorb difficult material subconsciously, because oftentimes, when he wasn’t working full-time as a mathematics teacher, or marking student papers, or doing meditative yard work (with quite a lot of beer, on the weekends), he’d be found on the sofa with a coffee near him, book and yellow pencil in hand, highlighting passages and reading them aloud as he came across them. And all this with CBC radio 1 cranked to top volume in the background.
Music and popular culture, as well as my mom’s reading lists, of course also had another huge influence, as did university. Stories for another time. Or perhaps which have already partly been written.
Anyway. So back to trust issues and self-preservation issues and entitlement issues.
Monday, as I said, I’d planned to write all morning, but instead wrote in my head while booking appointments (dentist for husband, gravel delivery for home renovations), cleaning up the disorganization from the weekend’s kitchen reno’s, tidying the ever-messy bookshelves, and other such tasks. And then it was time to pick up the kids for lunch (which meant that the cleaning cycle would start all over again). In short, writing-in-my-head never materialized, except in the form of this paragraph. Sigh.
Yesterday was official “writing day” (where I would actually write the novel, not just another blog post) and in theory I could not wait to tackle it, and yet, many mundane but fascinating interruptions threatened to derail it. And certainly managed to. This is partly due to my addiction to social media interaction (you guys rock, thank you, quite seriously; it’s so much fun) and partly thanks to the goings-on in the French countryside, which to be quite honest, complain though I will about them at the time they happen, I find utterly enchanting.
First thing after publishing that wacky blog post (and cringing about it painfully in my mind, as I threw a coat over my pyjamas and herded the kids into the van, bowls of cereal in their hands), a neighbour’s dog came to visit, attacking me with his usual enthusiasm and vigour. He’s some kind of sleek brown wolfish dog with black markings and he throws himself at me joyfully, but doesn’t let go. Quite literally.
“Down! Blackiste!” I say sternly —
(—Blackesst? Blackbeard? I don’t know the actual spelling of this dog’s name, and his human and his human’s housekeeper both pronounce it differently—)
— but he pays me no mind whatsoever, and latches both his “arms” around my waist as though doing the Conga, staggering on two legs behind me as I frantically remove objects from the driveway so we can leave for school.
“Fuck! He’ll be around all day if I don’t call the guy. Hold on while I text him—”
“Mama there is no time! We’re gonna be late.”
“You shouldn’t swear, Mama.”
“I need an apple! I forgot my apple!”
“Well go get it then! Sorry for swearing. We have plenty of time. I don’t want him showing up later…. if I text him now it’s perfect, he’ll collect him while we’re gone. Damn! Auto-correct! Completely garbling everything! Switch to French… okay almost done —”
— the two youngest have started a wrestling match in the back seat and are laughing like hyenas — the eldest in the front seat is gripping his hands into fists, staring with clenched jaw out the window — another neighbour with a large dog drives by; smile and wave, finish tapping —
“Done. Perfect. I said his dog is here, he can come get him, that’s it. And look! We’re still going to be on time!”
Questions about boxes on power lines (no idea), WWII history (some idea), and discussions about standing in one’s own personal power, even in the challenging setting of a high-school courtyard (preaching, based on lessons learned from personal failure). The school gate is still open, kiss-kiss and “stand tall, remain calm, deflect negativity!” and then it’s time to do some smaller monkey-wrangling for a short hour, till the next shift. Walk around lake, picking up garbage, more talks. Another drop-off. Then home again.
Time to write! And dog is gone. Yippee. But… social media is so much fun… and then, there’s the phone.
Zzzt Zzzt (calls are set to silent). Name flashes on screen (So-And-So with Dog Blackiste).
“Come on, the dog’s gone; can’t you just text to say you found him, or didn’t? Argh!!” Ignore.
Okay so Cinderella, Lady of Shalott, orbs, yada yada… let’s get this fire going. It’s freezing in here. Scrape out the ashes… omg. Look at the mending pile. I can’t even see the sewing machine. Maybe just a couple off the top…
“For chrissakes! Dude! Tap the words! It’s not hard!” (Ignore.)
Typewriter blinging noise — a text message. But I’m in the middle it finally… will look at it later. Tapping silently at my loom-I-mean-laptop, weaving orbs…. ahhh…. words, words, words… please keep flowing, like a river…
[30 minutes later:]
BANG BANG BANG. [Banging on a far-down door.]
Man’s voice shouting in French, unintelligible through the stone walls.
“For fucking REAL? Dude, what is your problem? If the dog’s missing just text it!” (Ignore. Thank god for once I locked the door.)
TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP.
“Oh for god’s sakes. Now at the other door. I’m going to have to deal with it.”
[Throws on jacket over pyjamas.] (Yep, the one with the dragon on the back, perfect.)
But he was peeling away in his little white car. Breakneck speed. I stood on the street jumping up and down waving, but to no avail.
“He’s probably pissed. Guess I’ll text him.”
Damned auto-correct. (Translated:) “Hai I was jus runned after your car I sorry missed you thought you cood text if problam. is your dog found ples let me no by sms. Sncrely. Nadine.”
No response. Back to orbs… but WP is just so darned fun! Good people.
[Half an hour later:]
(Fucking fine.) “Allô?”
(Translated:) “Finally we make contact!”
“Yes! Is everything okay? Is the dog found?”
But he is talking and I can’t quite understand him. Two reasons: my phone is old and has issues with the volume. It’s very quiet and I can’t make it louder. Also, he’s speaking in rapid local dialect/slang, and my interpreting skills are not great in that department, especially not at that speed and on a quiet old phone.
I finally pick these words, out of the cloud of language: “He’s a good dog, he loves children, he means no harm —“
At which point I interrupt him to say: “But the problem is he latches on to me and follows me around and doesn’t let go!”
More rapid speech, and I find myself getting more annoyed. If it’s even possible. But then, all of a sudden, a string of magic words —
“So basically, I’m just calling to say, thanks, from the bottom of my heart.”
— which, unlocks a hidden door in my psyche.
“Oh!…. Er… well, that’s very kind. And by the way, please know that I think he’s a lovely dog—”
(— more talking, which I don’t understand, and interrupt—)
“—BUT—” I say quite loudly, “SINCE he doesn’t listen, nor leave when I tell him to, he’s also a nuisance, to be honest.”
That was hard for me to say. It has taken me years of attempting assertiveness, to get to this point.
“Just like me, then,” he says wryly, and thereby completely disarms me, because it’s the blatant truth.
I burst out laughing, in spite of myself.
…And feel very, very grateful. And like maybe I should not be such a terrible hermit crab, and just pick up the phone when it rings.
People like to be heard, and understood. That’s all.
And communities, especially the ones we hope to become a part of, are important.
*The prayer is one of my own, but based on AA Big Book, p. 63
09:19. 1988 words. I should probably stop there for now. Kids are off school today. Yay! But hold on, a bit of editing, plus a few more finishing lines…to solace the hook, and remove it completely. (I mostly don’t believe in hooks. ;))
Nts: when I came to WP to publish, I was still logged into other blog, from last night; responded to friends’ comments first, before logging in to this one. And I haven’t even had time to read their posts yet…
NaNoWriMo – day 6. Tally for the month (journals and blog posts mainly, tbh): about 12,500 words.
Not too late to try writing some pages of your own!
Please write. The world needs your story.
Edit 10:55: 3 views, 0 likes… oh I didn’t explain the title. Last-minute decision, based on song running through my head —
“What the World Needs Now” — by Burt Bacharach. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xr6wxJSptw
Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Zone of Emptiness, France. Thank you for reading. ❤︎