Now, where did I leave that?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Furry Friday

Linda's been bringing home kittens (and a cat) this Summer for fostering. The last batch was a mom and five babies, left abandoned in an apartment after the owners moved out. Mom stayed with us about a week, the babies another two weeks, and I'm sorry to say we never took photos. They were a wonderful bunch, too cute and playful. 

They left us a week and a half ago or so....and today she's brought home a batch of 3 week olds, surrendered with no mom. They should be brief visitors, just a couple of weeks, but it's a beautiful litter of four. 

There's a very very fuzzy black one as well, but so far no good photos. We've named the orange one Bellini (even though neither of us drinks), but it may be a few days before the others get their own call signs.

Gorgeous weather, dry and more...appropriately warm. Wishing you an abundantly beautiful weekend...go hug something furry!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Odd World of Blogging

Blogging is kind of weird. For me--and many like me--it's both writing exercise and semi-journal. I began this one just before the end of 2009, I think in large part to make me write, somewhere, something. Two years later, I bid you all a fond farewell, having decided it was keeping me from Serious Writing, giving me a false sense of written accomplishment, and announced the end of Confessions of a Would-Be Mountain Womon. That lasted a whole whopping month. I wasn't writing any more elsewhere, and I missed the act of electronic journaling, of sharing my thoughts, fears, joys with others. And I especially missed the comments, the interactions with you.

I also love reading your blogs. We share some assorted similiarities, and some big differences. Not one of us has the same life as the other, although one or the other travels the same spiritual path, or is a would-be homesteader as well (or provides an example to emulate), or knows what it is to feel less one's self without wool in some form nearby, or feels more complete when writing. We may not know each other, but perhaps we've both watched our children grow up and leave. Maybe we've both begun new lives unrecognizeable from what they were before. I like to think we bond with certain bloggers on some level, perhaps not all, but certain ones whose journeys resonate with something in us, whose written postcards awaken memories or inspiration.

But even as we bridge the distance between us with words and thought, the realities of physical distance and relative anonymity are a gulf we sometimes never manage to leap. Awhile back, the blog My Farmhouse Kitchen abruptly fell silent. One day there were posts, and then....not. It was months later that another blogger posted the heartbreaking news that the My Farmhouse Kitchen's writer had fought valiantly but lost a battle with cancer. Her blog, and more so the glimpses of her spirit in that blog, are missed.

The blogosphere seems a delicate web to me, made with silken threads that can withstand the darkest night's rain and glisten in the rising sun, but can be torn to shreds with a wave of the hand.

And so, perhaps we make friends with some fellow bloggers as our souls recognize kindred spirits, reaching out past the pages of cyberspace. And for the rest, well...we celebrate their presence, honor their hearts spilled out on our computer screens, and mourn when they disappear, grateful for the time together.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

To Write or Not to Write...

I'm a writer...really--look at my profile! So then, one would assume I write, right? Yeah, not so much. Oh, I write this blog which I love, although this nasty hot and humid Summer has found me sprawled in front of a fan with a book rather than in the office with the computer. I'm part of a new collective group of bloggers writing from a Goddess-centric perspective (my blog there is called Day by Day). I write the occasional essay for Sagewoman magazine, and once in a  great while, a poem will spring from my pen. And that's it. Doesn't make me much of a writer, huh?

Funny thing is, I've always wanted to be a writer, since my earliest days of shamelessly plagiarizing The Bobbsey Twins at the age of 7, and discovering haiku when I was 8 years old. From even that young age, I wanted to be able to write in a way that would make people say "that's exactly how I feel, but I didn't know how to put it into words!". Something has always stopped my attempts at it, a monster as insidious as mildew in a Summer like this one, with dozens of small razor sharp teeth, judgemental blood-shot green eyes, an evil, grating whisper of a voice whose every word is like barbed wire shredding flesh and spirit, a shape-changer who can assume the guise of stranger, critical friend, trusted parent, even--especially--the face in the mirror. Fear of Failure is the demon's name, and he's held me captive for decades.  Once in a while, I'd muster the strength and will to slip from his grasp, to run barefoot through the forest exalting in my escape, tossing glances over my shoulder and ducking ominous shadows, searching for pen and paper. But always he would hunt me down and drag me back into the dark, wordless dungeon. Sometimes the monster was truly seductive, reminding me oh so silkily, if one never tries, one can never fail; isn't that right? Why put yourself through that? In a world simply bursting with real writers, why expose what a poor imitation you truly are? You're safe here with me....

This past weekend, when I was at a very low point, stressed about work to the point of breaking, Linda asked me a question. Ashling, if you could do something, anything else, what would it be? And what would you need to do to make that happen? And once more the answer I've been giving for 45 years echoed in my head. I want to write. Coincidentally (or not so much coincidence?), the day before she asked me this I had picked up my copy of The Sound of Paper by Julia Cameron off the altar where it has lain untouched for over a year, and begun reading it, and had actually done two days of Cameron's foundational exercise--morning pages. This week Linda's question and my rote answer have run through my brain in an endless cycle. The monster's words chase the answer, but in a voice oddly like my own. It's the same old story: be safe, don't try. Dabble if you must, but stop calling yourself a writer, stop saying "I want to be a writer" like some tutu-wearing four year old declaring she wants to be a princess when she grows up.

But a strange thing happened this morning as I was rather petulantly doing my morning pages on the porch, wondering why I'm bothering, what it will accomplish. Another voice, shaking a little but sweet and clear, piped up. So what? What would 'failure' look like and what would it change?

"What would it change?" the demon roared. "She would finally know she's a failure, that her dream has been a waste of time, an impossibility, a bad joke!"

"You haven't answered the question. What would failure be? She doesn't publish the great American novel? She isn't declared the next Mary Oliver? She doesn't win the National Book Award? Those particular fantasies might not come to pass, but how necessary are they? If she wants to write, to touch others' souls, "to write in a way that would make people say 'that's exactly how I feel, but I didn't know how to put it into words'", it's time. The days, the years spin by faster and faster....the real truth is it's now or never.

The demon's sly smirk grows triumphant. "Then never it is!"

Ummm...hang on just a minute. NEVER? Never to write? Never to break free of  the monster? To spend every moment of the rest of my life in its embrace? Seductively safe, maybe....but with some pretty awful morning breath, ya know. I'm not so sure about never....I'm not willing to commit to never. Never is forever, and I just don't think I'm okay with that. It's about damned time I kick the monster to the curb, don't you think? What do I have to lose? So what if I 'fail', whatever that looks like.

At least I'll go down fighting.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Blossoming

Summer is in full, sodden, muggy, hot swing, the air soupy and the sun blazing. While that's a tad rough on those of us who don't love the season, the flowers are brazenly blooming, luring hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Some, like the mandevilla, are downright wanton,

while the oxalis tucked into the Japanese maple pot 

and the toronia gracing the shade garden are more quietly alluring.

Like these more subtle blossoms, I too have been quietly venturing out into the world. I'm honored to be part of a brand-new Goddess-focused blogosphere that just launched this week. My blog will focus on the day-to-day relationship we can have with Goddess, a relationship that takes time, effort..and showing up. I hope you'll stop by and read my first offering: She Never Promised Us a Rose GardenMy deep thanks go out to the amazing Anne Niven, and my fellow bloggers; I feel blessed to be part of this gifted group of Goddess-centric writers. I'm definitely not abandoning this blog, just taking on something new as well. 

What's blossoming in your life today?