Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't Feed the Bear.

Summer is when everything is at its peak: fruits and vegetables, nights filled with friends and gin and tonics and grilled fish and cool swims, trips whose suitcases come back filled with sand, bright clothes and bicycles, long days punctuated with popsicles. Summer is not the time for hibernation. No. Decidedly not. That would make no sense.

And yet, I've had a sleeping bear within me these warm months.  Nestled in a forest den, deep in the cool earth, trees keening in the wind.  A bear with a lot on her subconscious mind, a bear that is doing the sleeping work of dreaming what's next - that strange work that is somehow very easy and very difficult at the same time. And a bear that has chosen sleep over dealing with some things.

Not so long ago, and for not the first time, WHAM, out of nowhere, someone decided to sling an arrow straight to my heart.  I used it as an excuse to hibernate, go dark, and worse, to separate myself from my true people, and avoid doing the work.

I don't know why the people who are supposed to love you the most are able to sling the deadliest arrows, but sometimes they are.  Crack shots. Ouch. And being the walking wounded is not fun. After licking my wounds, feeling sorry for myself, I had a small epiphany: maybe I wasn't shot by this one person?  Maybe I had forgotten why I am here, and instead, it was the Universe who poked the bear.  Though it really, really hurt, today I woke up grateful for that nasty arrow.  And woke up in general.  I realized that making excuses because I keep getting hurt by someone who is too scared to do the right thing, means I am acting out of fear, too.  Unacceptable.

This morning finds the bear out of bed, barefoot, in a flowered skirt, hair tangled, listening to towhees ask her to drink her tea, turning her face to the sun, stringing words together. She's realized that Summer is here. She's awake, ready to start again, though she's a little slow to wake up, so might I offer just one piece of advice?  Until she's fed and healed, and showed you what's what, please don't feed the bear.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Noise.  Lots of it. The cute squeals of little boys have been replaced by FIFA games cranked up until the room thrums, a new PA system "for the band, honey", weird Minecraft sounds, Foster the People on a loop, and the incessant pinging of my teenager's phone.  Guitars, a bass, and a keyboard play non-stop.  And have I mentioned the rebounding WHACKS of a soccer ball against the garage door for hours on end?

The noise is problematic as I have pages due to an editor friend, to see if she'll take me on as a client.  In my noisy alcove I write; I re-write, and I can't see that this will ever be finished.  Non-writing friends ask how it's going; writing friends know better.  Almost, I say.  I'm getting there, I say.

Quiet Austin sky.
So, back from some well-spent time at the Writers' League Conference, I return now to the noise in my head, and it's louder than any soccer game or electric guitar. The experience at the conference was overwhelmingly positive: a lot of publishing, public relations and revision questions were answered.  And my pitch session went as well as it could, considering I was a Jell-o mold in teal gladiator sandals.  Send me 100 pages and a synopsis, the agent said, handing me her card.

Here I am, my mind wanting me to cook because it needs to quiet itself.  It's like any artwork I have done.  I vacillate between it's not so bad, hey - chapters 3 through 7 are good, and let's just set fire to the whole thing.

Think I'll go make some gazpacho.  And jack up the Vitamix to 7 so I can't hear my own thoughts.

What do you all do when you can't find "the quiet"?