Thursday, August 21, 2014

writing today

 When I was a kid, I found a pack of labels designed to join the message space on a postcard. I don't know who wrote them but I memorized them and they said,

Can't think, brain numb,
inspiration won't come,
No ink, bum pen,
best wishes

even then I was learning the curse of writer's block, the longing to write and the abundance of ideas,
until faced with a blank paper
or a keyboard
and then nothing
doodled and watercolored and added photo faces to
add my boys to their favorite book as a poster

giving my own books the spotlight

playing with book covers
and my Betty Award for Duffy

but I am still writing, grocery lists, or postcards or scribbled poems, or facebook posts or book reviews or blogs, and while I do, the ideas and characters in the two books I am working on keep demanding their room in my mind.  And the stories are percolating and taking shape.  Today I wrote on a a snippet from Duffy Barkley: The Third Charm  This book is taking it's time but did some growth today.  I haven't edited it or figured out where the story ends but there are two groups on an Island, at the brink of war because both groups are uncertain how they got there and one group is trying to attract the attention of a passing ship but the other group is terrified of attracting the attention of whomever dumped them all on the Island in the first place
To Boldly Go

So Anyway,
Today's effort . . .

There are so many things that could still happen here,” Peg said. “There are a multitude of choices, you could erupt into war, which is sure to draw attention if someone is really looking for you. You could leave the Island together, and try to take up the life that was interrupted, maybe never finding out what happened here, or maybe finding yourself in the middle of something bigger than all this by far. Some could stay while others leave. You could continue trying to each live your own way, but that hasn't worked well and has only caused fear and resentment. You could decide to really make this your home and work together to build a new life you all approve of.
There are a multitude of choices here, and probably more than I am seeing now. Until you make one small change, then the fork in the road is behind you and the path seems to narrow and lead you in a new direction. Maybe you go to someplace better or someplace worse, but you find yourself in a new place even if you never leave the island.”
A few of the women gathered around her looked uncomfortable, and one of those spoke now, “but what if I can't choose? I don't want to make a choice.”
Izzy wondered how Peg would answer that. But she found herself speaking up before her great-aunt said a word, “Ignoring the options and refusing to choose; that's a choice too.”
Another woman spoke, so softly everyone quieted in an effort to hear her nervous voice, “but how can we know which is the right choice? I try to sleep and I can't stop thinking about the problems. My head fills with so many things that I hope for and then the things I'm afraid of chase them out of my mind.”
Peg smiled, “I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes when I want to work out the best choice among many which are overwhelming me, I have found a simple way to make my head clearer. When I am home, I take a walk where the direction of my feet leaves me no choices. So my mind is free to float where it wants to go and I find out which hopes are the ones I really want to see become reality.”
But if we tried walking like that here, without paying attention, we'd get lost or fall off a cliff or end up in enemy land.”
Well, I don't think they have to be enemies. That may be the first choice, to choose not to see them as enemies anymore.”
My farm has a lot of land, So I made a big path to walk. But it only goes in circles, in and out from a center. It is from an ancient pattern that many cultures in out world had even before recorded history. It starts and ends in the same place but flows through many turns. We call it a labyrinth. It is like a maze but a maze has wrong turns in it and false trails and is designed to get you lost. A labyrinth is designed to get you found.”
Peg picked up a stick and smoothed a circle in the sand and began to draw, winding back and forth through the circle in small wedges like the slice of a pie. She wandered in and our of the circle until the design blossomed in the sand like an abstract rose.
The women were intrigued and excited and began to expand on the idea until they decided to lay out their own labyrinth and chose a spot on a hill, far enough away that it had been ignored and unclaimed by both groups.
As the group trudged up the hill to check out the location, there was laughter and soft, excited chatter. Izzy placed her hand in Peg's and gave it a squeeze. Peg looked down at her, “How are you doing?”
I'm ok, but I wonder if this will matter at all if the rest of the people still want to kill each other off.”
Peg hugged her niece, “It might not make any difference at all, but it probably will. It is hard to ignore the voices of the Mom who raised you, and fed you and cared for you. It is hard to ignore the wife who welcomes you home and feeds you. In our world when men want to cause hatred and make people so angry and fearful that they are willing to die for the cause, they know they need to start telling their stories of hate young, and they know the ones whose voices are heard even more loudly than their own are the moms. That is why so many hate filled extremists, do not want the girls to be educated or the women to realize their own power. A good man is not afraid of a smart woman.”
You make it sound like all the war is started by men.”
No, and you know there are good men, and bad women. I don't mean to imply that Dads don't teach their children to be strong and kind, or that women can't be war mongers. I'm old enough that I think in the ways I was taught as a child, and the roles of men and women were more tightly defined then. You are lucky Izzy, you can be anything you want to be and people will judge how you do it. That I wanted to be a woman farmer even without a man around made some people judge me, even hate me, because If I didn't want to be a nurse or a teacher and then a wife and a mom, I must nor be a real woman.”
Then how did you get brave enough to follow your dream?”
I came here as a child, well not here to the Island, but to Uhrlin. And I had to be strong, and bull headed and no-one had the same prejudices as in earth in my time or knew me at all, so they waited to see what I did before judging me.”

But really, my point here is not what men or woman can do, but that a few small voices, men, women or children, speaking calmly, can show sense to the fearful and calm an angry mob.”

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