Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dancing in the Rain

I'm a quote junkie. Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time has probably figured that out. Quotes are sprinkled throughout my novels. I keep a journal filled with my favourite ones. How I admire those thoughtful people who can capture the essence of a wise idea in a pithy line or two.
A couple favourite quotes have helped me find direction in recent days.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about learning to dance in the rain. (author unknown.)

My mother is dealing with difficult health issues right now and making decisions on how best to care for her has consumed all my waking hours for much of the past few months. I keep telling myself that I'll resume the rest of my life once this 'storm' has passed but it's now dawning on me that this situation isn't going to blow over like a storm does. It's here to stay, in one form or another. It's time for me to learn to dance in the rain, to care for my mother and continue with my own projects. Now that I have given myself permission to do that, I'm back to mulling over an idea I have for my next book. So far I have imagined the characters. I have imagined the problem they are facing, their 'internal conflict'. I even know (sort of) what the outcome of the story will be. What I have yet to decide is whose voice will tell the story and what external conflicts there will be, those events that run parallel to the internal struggles.

Here's a quote that describes this exact place that I'm at with this project.

"No one but an artist knows the peculiar delight of being summoned by a work which, as yet unborn, lies with all its potential undisclosed within the dormant darkness of the creating heart. (Mr. Golightly's Holiday)
I have yet to type one word of this book, but I am definitely being 'summoned' by it. It's an exciting place to be at. The hard work has yet to come.

And one last quote, which I think explains why so many of us forward on inspirational pieces via email, or, like me, forward our favourite quotes.

"If you find something good share it with anyone you can find. In that way the goodness will spread, no telling how far it will go." (Forest Carter, The Education of the Little Tree)


The photo above was taken from

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm counting the days...

My favourite day of the season is approaching and no, it's not Christmas Day. It's the Winter Solstice, when the days stop getting shorter and begin to lengthen again.

In the meantime, I'm grateful for Christmas lights which brighten these long, dark nights of December.

Most of our customs, symbols, and rituals associated with Christmas are actually linked to the Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures, including bringing light to these long nights. (Obviously the Pagans didn't have electric Christmas lights, but that's where the whole idea of lighting the night originally started.) Other customs borrowed from the Pagans include feasting, decorating our homes with greenery and expressing love by exchanging gifts. The actual birth of Jesus was in the fall but December 25th was the day chosen to represent his birth in order to tie it in with the winter solstice rituals that had already been long established. For those uncomfortable with the term 'Christmas celebrations', perhaps calling them 'Solstice' celebrations or even 'Pagan' celebrations would be a good alternative. Whatever we call it, thank goodness for the light and beauty and love that we surround ourselves with at this darkest time of year. Let's all raise a glass and toast the ancient Pagans sometime this season for without this celebration of light to break up the winter it would seem even longer.

Speaking of light, the colourful picture above features Cara, my daughter, dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy a few years ago. She, and her sisters, are the ongoing 'light' in my life.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My Ultimate 'Fantasy' Adventure

About a year ago I listened intently as a friend described her trip to Rwanda and the guided trek she took into the mountains in order to spend an hour 'hanging' with a group of wild silverback mountain gorilla. I was fascinated with her story.

A few months later there was an article in our local paper describing much the same experience. Once again I was captivated by the story and tried to imagine what it would be like to stand five feet away from a 500 lb wild gorilla in his element, no bars between us, making eye contact with him and wondering if this was the day he would decide he was fed up with gawking tourists and become aggressive. Strangely, I'm not eager to come face to face with a bear on one of our local mountains, so why the desire to meet the gorilla?

Today there were two more accounts of the same wonderful experience in the Vancouver Sun. I read them, mesmerized. They described the excitement, the wonder, the thrill of watching a 2-yr-old gorilla showing off for them, pounding his chest so hard he fell over. It sounded much like the antics of so many 2 year old children I've known. How I yearn to experience such a wonder, and yet to do so I'd have to face some of my greatest fears.

I am not a risk taker. Never have been. Just travelling to Rwanda, adjusting to the culture and giving up my creature comforts would be a stretch for me. Add to that a hike that might be more strenuous than I could handle and the potential danger of actually coming face to face with these marvelous creatures ... well, I don't know if I could actually step onto the plane when I consider all of this.

And yet... there's just something about these magnificent beasts. After all, they share 98 % of our DNA. The Rwanda guides say it is like meeting your relatives. I imagine that is true. Apparently they look at you, really look at you, like a fellow human being, sizing you up. When I look at them in pictures their intelligent faces always make me pause. I feel I am looking into the eyes of someone familiar... almost a deja vu feeling. It's not like looking at a cat or dog. This is a fellow primate. Their expressions are so wise and thoughtful, so incredibly like one of us, yet not quite. Take a long look at the picture at the top of this post. Study his eyes. Do you not feel you 'know' this creature?

I often wonder... how did humans evolve away from this great beast, this creature who, unlike us, lives in complete compatibly with Mother Nature. Maybe we can find some answers in observing them, that is, as long as we don't pass on any of our diseases to them, and if the poachers don't get to the remaining 700 of them that are left on this planet...

Perhaps it is time to abandon my fears and plan my own trek. As we all know, life is too short to put off until tomorrow what we could do today.
Who's in?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Santa's Elves Dropped By Today

Yesterday I came home emotionally drained and sad from visiting my mother in the hospital. To my surprise and delight I found a cheery elf here, busily decorating our home for Christmas. The Christmas carols were playing and she brought shimmering light to a very dark day.

Today I came home to find that two elves were now at it, finding ways to make our home look fresh and festive, a wonderful bright respite in yet another dark day.

I know these two elves will do what they can to help with the Christmas shopping too, should I call on them. Perhaps they are actually Christmas angels in disguise.

There is a third elf, an elf-in-training, who I know will step in with her own contributions when the time is right.

In these dark days of my mother's illness, I have been given the gift of light.

I am truly blessed.