A bohemian antidote to drama and negative vibes

JOY

Last week my creative writing students were working from Julia Cameron’s book The Right to Write. After we read her chapter on the “drama” in our lives, we jumped into the initiation activity—finding an antidote to life’s drama that robs us from the freedom to enjoy our creativity.

Cameron suggested we spend thirty minutes composing a list of 100 things we love. Focusing on the positive raises our spirits. When we feel good, our productivity increases.

We had so much fun with the activity that one of my students suggested we transfer the list to our blogs. A list of 100 may be a bit much for our readers to sort through, so I suggested we focus on our Top Ten or Top Twenty.

My students inspired me to share my own list, so here it goes. I encourage you to add your own list to the comments, or maybe share a few comments about common interests we share.

Whatever the case, let’s take a moment to be thankful for the things we love.

MY LIST OF LOVES

Of course, God, family, and friends take top priority as the focus of the true definition of love, so my list includes the things that I love in a sense that they just make me happy. Happy is a good thing.

  1. In-depth conversations with my cat, Stevie Ray
  2. Going on road trips in my blue Mustang, named Elvis
  3. My close relationship with my Takamine guitar
  4. My telecaster, a guitar that changed everything
  5. Bohemian clothing, jewelry, and home furnishings
  6. Fire (candles, fireplaces, bonfires, campfires, performance art with fire and hula hoops)
  7. Candles with different scents for different moods
  8. Mosaics in rugs, jewelry, furniture, art
  9. Celtic music and art
  10. Spontaneous adventures to new places
  11. People watching
  12. Coffee shops
  13. Beale Street in Memphis
  14. Ghost walks and history tours
  15. Watching the sunrise
  16. Taking pictures of mushrooms
  17. Interpreting dreams
  18. The taste of lime
  19. Pumpkins (and pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin scones and pumpkin bread and pumpkin candles)
  20. Moonlight

I look for signs

ELVIS

I like to talk to Elvis.

He says, “Hey, Pretty Mama,” and I walk on over.

He knows I look for signs, and he is so kind to tell me everything I need to know for my current situation. He even includes my lucky numbers, though I’ve never tried playing them in the lottery or using them to bet on a horse.

I bet you’re probably thinking, “Hey, Elvis has gone on. How can it be that he talks to YOU?”

THIS Elvis, just one of the many forms of Elvi that can be found on Lower Broadway in Nashville, is a robotic half man that sits in a glass box.

He calls out to tourists, who, in turn, give him exactly what he’s looking for–a crisp dollar bill.

He kindly gives them a fortune, printed on yellow paper with the consistency of cardstock that has been run through the wash and then dried.

Anyhoo, Elvis knows all and tells all to those who look for signs.

I have never been to a living, breathing fortune teller, at least not one acting in the capacity of fortune teller. I don’t consult the Farmer’s Almanac. I’m not into tarot, and I can’t read tea leaves–though I do enjoy a lovely cup of tea.

The spirit world is a very dangerous place for those of us who have been forbidden to peek behind the veil.

I also don’t advise asking God a question and then flipping open the Bible to find the answer. I don’t think we can command God to do anything, but we can pray.

God  chooses to do for us in a way he sees fit. That’s why believers walk in faith. A person has to be of great courage to walk in faith because only a strong person can release total control.

I’m working on it.

But I do enjoy looking for signs or at least being ready for them should they appear.

I like seeing a shooting star and then making a wish. That’s the whimsical part of me.

I like analyzing dreams. Sometimes mine have come true! Sometimes I have dreamed things about other people’s lives. I don’t intentionally try to do that. It just happens. I guess God chooses to reveal what he needs me to know. I don’t always understand, but maybe someday I will.

Sometimes what I dream is simply Teresa trying to talk to Teresa in a way she can understand. (Sorry about the third person, but that’s the only way I can think to say it.) I take in the info. My brain swirls it around, and then it sends it back to me in a dream. As I analyze it, I figure out what I’m hiding from myself.

Last night I had a nightmare about a hospital going up in flames. I certainly hope that one doesn’t come true.

A week ago I dreamed that students were now in charge of teachers’ health care. Instead of going to the doctor, we teachers had to go to the school guidance office. A student would be chosen to diagnose and treat our illnesses. Wait a minute! That sounds an awful lot like what’s happening in education today. Students DO determine our well being. If they don’t pass the tests, we fail.

Again, I digress. Let’s get back to Elvis.

I like looking for meaning in unexpected places and things. I like poetry. I like song lyrics. I like books that are allegorical.

But mostly, I like Elvis.

I have a very small purse. It’s filled with ID cards and discount cards, not much cash, and a whole lot of yellow cards from Elvis. I don’t know why I keep them. I mean, Elvis’s words of wisdom only count for the moment. I don’t think I can pull one from random and apply the advice to today if Elvis gave me the card two years ago. Can I?

Can I recycle a fortune? Let’s see if it works. Here we go: Random Elvis card, drawn from my wallet.

Elvis says, ” Unexpected wealth will arrive. Remember he is richest, who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature. Although you may look for riches, realize that wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. When riches come, do not forget that man’s true wealth is the good he does in the world. So, when opportunity knocks, grab it. It is easy at any moment to resign the great fortune, to acquire it is difficult and arduous.”

Does this mean that I’m about to get a whole lot of nothing?

What does that mean?

I’ll take a whole lot of nothing, if something refers to trouble, drama, and stress. I’ll take not having many wants. I’ll take being content, happy, and satisfied.

Maybe it means I should grab every opportunity to build my fortune by doing what good I can do.

Then again, this is a “recycled” fortune. Perhaps I should look back and count my blessings, and a person can’t do too much good, now or later.

Maybe, I should head to Nashville and take a trip to the Legends corner. Elvis is waiting for me in a glass box.

He’ll say, “Hey, pretty mama,” and I’ll say, “Oh, you ain’t nothing but a hound dog. I bet you say that to all the girls.”

I’ll slip him a crisp dollar bill, and he’ll give me more words to fill my wallet.

 

 

 

Look closely–or not. Can you see me now?

Hope

I’m not really a fan of magic shows. I don’t like magic because magicians never reveal their secrets. I don’t like sleight of hand. I don’t like tricks. I don’t like audience manipulation.

Too much of what goes on in real life is deception that happens right under our noses, especially with the entertainment industry and media outlets. We’re fed what they want us to digest. We see what they want us to see.

Okay, maybeee I’m a major conspiracy theorist. Maybe I believe there is more than what meets the eye. Maybe I believe there are cover-ups. Maybe people will do whatever it takes to maintain power. It’s all about power. Maybe I’m just jaded. Maybe.

It’s not that I don’t like intrigue. I’m a big fan of mysteries. I love a good mystery—as long as the writer leaves us clues and allows us to figure out what’s really happening. What I don’t like is the mystery that leaves me hanging, the one that has no end, no solution, no plausible plot, no purpose.

Those mysteries make my head hurt. There’s nothing so disappointing than to invest trust and time into an author’s work to find out he or she was merely throwing words on the page in some advant garde attempt to experiment with art. Heck, if it’s got no purpose, what am I doing reading it? Time is slipping, slipping, slipping into the future. There’s so little time left, we can’t afford to waste it.

Why am I all of a sudden so enthralled with magic? The answer is easy. I watched the movie Now You See Me, and it piqued my interest.

I almost didn’t watch it. As I said, I’m bored by theatrics. But I like Morgan Freeman, so much so that I traveled to Clarksdale, Mississippi, to visit his blues club Ground Zero. Now there’s a story.

I prefer real magic, like what a person feels when standing on a cliff overlooking the Badlands in South Dakota or when standing on the edge of the real Walden’s Pond–as opposed to the lack of feeling that comes with staring at a photo of Walden’s Pond in a 20-year old text book.

I like the magic of “What if …?”

Not “the manipulation of “I know the facts, Jack, but you aren’t privy to it.”

The movie Now You See Me tells the story a group of mentalists or magicians who metaphorically sell their souls to be pawns, mules, slaves, or whatever you prefer to call them, to a discreet organization that uses many but welcomes few.

These magicians will never be part of the inner workings, so why would they want to be used?

Most of us are already controlled. We’re marks. Why would we willingly surrender what freedom we have  so that we can be closer to the source of deception?

The news is controlled by a few conglomerates. Education is controlled by Pearson. The entertainment industry is controlled by…well, by those of whom we do not speak. And how does this control happen?

By manipulation? Yes. By magick? Yes, at least, I think so. And by our own flaws. What would we give up to be accepted, or to appear that we are accepted?

Envy. We’re controlled by envy. We’re prone to either envying others or wishing others would envy us. We are our own worst enemies.

I say, “Let it go, already.” It’s time to walk away.

With my favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about magic quite a bit. I still get excited when I see rainbows, and I really think there is something wonderful, something magical, at the end.

And there we go again. That word magic.

Maybe, even at my ripe old age, I’m still too childlike and naïve.  I believe in a different type of magic. I can’t give up believing in serendipity. There’s something truly magical about serendipity.

But there’s one thing I’ve learned about serendipity–you can’t make it happen.

I know. I’ve tried.

I’ve set out on a Saturday looking for something wonderful to spontaneously happen, only to go back home empty and disappointed. Serendipity really is an accidental good fortune–which is the opposite of what illusionists create, i.e. the illusion of something wonderful.

Slight of hand. Calculated manipulation. Lies. Plain and simple, just lies.

I despise lies.

I’ve read several reviews about Now You See Me. Many reviewers blast the flaws of the plot–or the lack there of.

What I can’t figure out is if the purpose of the movie is to make a commentary about the obvious “controlled” media industry, or if it is showing us something in front of our faces that we can’t see. If so, what is it?

The main character tells us, “The closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see.”

Our arrogance makes us think we’re smarter than the average bear, and, thus, the more arrogance we possess, the more prone we are to manipulation.

Then again, sometimes when we want to see something, our minds make it happen. Our minds create closure. In some ways, maybe, we don’t need other people to deceive us. We deceive ourselves.

I would make a horrible mentalist–though I know I’m way too susceptible to hypnosis. That’s why I’ll never do it.

I like the facts on the table. That’s why I would never make it as an illusionist, an allusionist, maybe. You know, being an English teacher, I make all sorts of references to Thoreau, Emerson, Poe, Hawthorne, etc.

What’s wrong with being simple? I’m not a mentalistic, magical, or magickal. But I do like me some serendipity.

What’s the difference between magic/magick and serendipity? Magic(k) requires control, holding on. Serendipity requires submission, letting go. Control verses acceptance. One leads path leads to stress, greed, and power lust. The other path leads to inner peace, tranquility, and joy.

So in keeping with the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and the luck of the Irish, I wish you all good fortune. May your paths cross with serendipity, and may you never give up in believing in the “what if” at the end of the rainbow.

Under

Roy G. Biv

true-colors-i-love-you-lyrics-quotes1

Just because I haven’t written anything in a few days.

Just because this blog was inspired by a WordPress daily prompt.

I dedicate this blog to Roy G. Biv. May you color the canvas of my life. May every song I write be infused with your hues. May all the stories I dream be seen through your prism.

FramkensteinRED. Not a a fast car. Not a fancy dress. Not a rose. Passion? Yes. For music. A guitar maybe. And drums.

ORANGE. Not a football team. Not a citrus delight. Never yielding. Pumpkin? Yes. Spice. The color of autumn, or fire, or a harvest moon.pumpkin

YELLOW. Not a ribbon. Not a light. Not a streak. Definitely a bright, sunshiny day.

sunshine

greenGREEN. Money goes away. Envy destroys the heart. Inexperience makes mistakes. But green like St. Patrick’s Day brings the luck of the Irish.

BLUE. Not the sky. Not my eyes. Not like jazz–but almost. A NOTE, like the one I’m singing right now, waiting for resolve.indigo

INDIGO. Could be bruised, but it’s not. Could be a dye, but it’s not. Could be a child, but it’s not. It’s a crayon, and I can use it to mark on all my walls.

blue

VIOLET. Don’t look for it among the Africans. It isn’t in true blood, or even with a Royal. 790,000,000?  I don’t know. Hmmm.

violet

CHALLENGE

Now it’s your turn. Follow these directions and take this prompt for a spin:

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word or image.

Camera

 

Things I WON’T do in 2014: my anti-resolution list

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Almost all the New Year’s Resolutions I read are lists of things people WILL do in 2014. I don’t like being like everyone else. So here is what I will NOT do.

  1. I will NOT be a vindictive person.
  2. I will NOT give in to comfort food when I feel sad.
  3. I will NOT give up writing.
  4. I will NOT change who I am for anybody.
  5. I will NOT allow people to take advantage of my naivety.
  6. I will NOT stop loving my students.
  7. I will NOT coast when it comes to my jobs—100% or nothing.
  8. I will NOT be ashamed of my spiritual beliefs.
  9. I will NOT place religion above relationship.
  10. I will NOT stop dreaming of going to Ireland.
  11. I will NOT stop looking for adventure.
  12. I will NOT grow weary of doing good.
  13. I will NOT make hasty judgments about people’s actions.
  14. I will NOT give up on love.

That’s it. Your turn. What will you NOT do in 2014?

Has anyone ever written anything for you?

EBAY 6 003

Funny how one thing leads to another.

I was out doing errands this morning when a Stevie Nicks song came on the radio. I didn’t get a chance to hear all of it, so I marked my mental “to do” list to go home and to look up the song so that I could see if I wanted to learn how to play it.

I never made it to  the song on the radio because the title of another one of her songs caught my eye, one I’d never before heard—“Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You.”

One of the verses goes like this:

“Has anyone ever given anything to you
In your darkest hours
Did you ever give it back
Well, I have
I have given that to you
If it’s all I ever do
This is your song”

The song isn’t written in what I call a standard format, but it ends with these lines:

“So, if not for me, then
Do it for yourself
If not for me then
Do it for the world”

Of course, I looked up the lyrics and listened to the song. I could barely breathe as the song was so hauntingly beautiful. And, as I always do whenever I hear a song that moves me, I researched it. I can’t verify the facts because I haven’t talked to Stevie herself, but supposedly the liner notes from her TimeSpace explains her inspiration :

Stevie had just finished a gig and then walked into a party at the hotel where she was staying. She saw this guy from across the room and immediately fell in love (something she does not / did not believe possible):

No, it wasn’t Lindsey Buckingham. It was Joe Walsh.

He held out his arms to her, and she walked right into them. Two days later he took her for drive in the mountains of Colorado to a “magical park” where he used to take his little girl. Joe had a special connection with his daughter, a connection that only a parent understands, a connection that can only be experienced, not transformed into words on paper. I suppose Joe felt totally vulnerable and REAL around her because she was so pure, so innocent. Her only complaint in life was that she was too little to reach the water fountain in the park.

This story is sad because this sweet little being he loved so much, the one he could truly connect with, died. I don’t know how. Joe’s heart must have ached for her. In dealing with his grief, he built a fountain for her and all the others too little to reach “it.” And Joe wrote a song for her, titled “Song for Emma.” Here are a few of the words:

“There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the sky
As if someone is watching
Someone hears every word

We are filled with regrets
It was such a short time
But we told Him we loved you
Hoping somehow He heard
We hoped He heard”

As the story goes, Stevie was so moved by what Joe told her on their drive and during the visit to the park that she wrote the song “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You” for Joe.

And for this reason, I feel a connection with Joe Walsh and Stevie Nicks. We’re all seeking relief, love, and answers. We look in different places, but we all look. You look. The person in line with you at the grocery story is looking. It doesn’t matter what sins or troubles he or she wears. The person is looking, seeking, needing.

I am a writer of songs. I know that what I write is for myself, not for a commercial market. Writing helps me digest life experiences and gives them meaning in my world.

I am a collector. I don’t collect fine things that cost a lot of money. I collect things that remind me of people and the experiences I’ve encountered.

Today’s journey through song was quite serendipitous for me. Only by chance, or better yet, God’s design, did everything line up at just the right time, just the right moment, so that I would do the research, hear the song, discover the meaning, and remember, the wonderful experience I had talking with Joe Walsh about one of his songs he wrote—inspired by his music hero, Jimi Hendrix.

Isn’t it amazing how we’re all connected in one way or another? The experiences. The songs. The journeys. The inspiration. The meaning our experiences bring to our lives.

There is dire conflict in the media today, such a clash between religion and beliefs and tolerance and intolerance.

God created each one of us and gave us the freedom to choose. We can’t force people to love us, and who would want a relationship with someone forced to love us? Do we expect God to want anything less?

Just because people don’t love us doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Right? You can’t stop love. God still loves people who don’t love Him. So why do we spend all of our time yakking about the sins of somebody else when we’ve got enough troubles of our own? Is God not big enough to handle the situation? He knows why they (we) do what they (we) do.

But what do I know?

God created each one of us, and each one of us has a purpose. We choose our own destiny. But God’s plan is always fulfilled. He orchestrates all lives so beautifully that a grand purpose is accomplished. I can’t explain it. I can’t comprehend it. But I can feel it. And write about it—in a blog , in a book, or in a song.

So thank you, God, that I was able to connect with a couple of human beings through song this morning. We may not think the same way, we may not share the same talent, we may not share the same beliefs, but I know You are pretty proud of them and of me too even when we break Your heart.

Mo liosta buicéad

journey

This is NOT my typical blog, but my friend Mary has done gone and inspired me to think about what I want to do with the rest of my life.

If you haven’t read Mary Todd’s writing, visit her Facebook page and read her notes. She is a local celebrity. She travels the county on foot, inspiring people, expounding wisdom, collecting pennies and other treasures, and plotting world takeovers. She carries a walking stick with a troll attached. The troll’s name is Martha. Martha is trouble. You have to watch out for Martha.

Mary is my twin of another mother. She says she’s the bad one and I’m the good. But in the words of Shawn Spencer, “I’ve heard it both ways.”

Mary recently shared her Bucket List on Facebook, and I decided to compare hers to mine. Then I realized I don’t have one.

I do now. Thanks, Mary. Readers, whoever you may be, feel free to share your thoughts too. I challenge you to make your own list. Every life should have purpose.

MY BUCKET LIST afraid

  1. Go to Ireland for an extended stay.
  2. Meet Little Richard and tell him about my book.
  3. Have a real conversation with Steven Tyler. (And, no, I DO NOT lust after Steven Tyler nor anyone else for that matter. Sheesh, do I get tired of telling people this.) I happen to think there is a part of Steven Tyler that comprehends a part of the human soul that most people don’t, and I should like to speak with him about this matter. (I understand what this means even if I can’t explain it. God knows.)
  4. Write a minimum of five books, not all YA. All five unfinished books are floating in my brain. I have to get them out.
  5. See at least one of them published.
  6. Open a live music venue.
  7. Run an online vintage, boho, gypsy spirit clothing boutique.
  8. Organize a local writers’ group.
  9. Live healthy inside and out. (I understand what this means even if I can’t explain it. God knows.)
  10. Buy a camper and camp. A lot.
  11. Play guitar as well as I want to. (At least now I know what I need to do to achieve the goal. I finally “get” it. Don’t ask me to play for you now. Wait a little while. THEN I can play for you.)

As Porky Pig would say, “Ble, ble, ble, that’s all folks!”

intuition