Sunday, December 28, 2008

Leaving Home

This could actually be Christmas in Connecticut, Part Two. The second picture is what I saw when I opened my curtains the morning I left Connecticut. In the first photo, there I am, looking like a tree trunk,...but without twinkly lights. Nobody told me it was BYOD (bring your own decorations). It was...brisk.

I realized, bringing my mom cross country to live in the wild, wild west, that something one of my best friends from CT told me wasn't quite true. "You'll never be back, now." I figured he had a good chance of being right, but that somehow I couldn't quite let go my hold of such a big part of me. I'd have to get back - to see the few remaining friends there, to crunch through magnificently painted fallen leaves in Autumn, to savor Tulmeadow Farm's amazing ice cream, to kayak down a sleepy river. But what if he were right? What if, like Thomas Wolfe says, you can't go home again? Then it dawned on me - whether I ever physically go home again or not, all I need to do is close my eyes and be still and I'm there. Imagination is a lot like Dorothy's ruby slippers. Whether it's home we're going to or a place we've invented in one of our books, it's all quite real, and it's all right there.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas in Connecticut

My whirlwind trip to the frosty East has come to an end. It more closely resembles the sugar frosted East, dusted by a generous dose of light, fluffy snow - things Sugar Plum Fairy dreams are made of. The first reminder I got that life is different here in a winter's storm is the hush that falls with the snow. You can hear your breath as it puffs into miniature clouds before you.

As I left my childhood home, for good this time, mom-in-tow, we walked into a snow globe of remembrance, heralded into the next chapter by the honks of close-by geese. Whether they were saying goodbye or merely irked at the change in weather, I'll never know. I believe they were calling goodbye. Especially in this season of Christmas, I believe.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I flew cross country - yes, over the Christmas holidays. There's not much more excitement than boarding a plane at 5:30 a.m. (I am NOT a morning person...the skycap had to ask me 3 different times where I was going before I correctly answered), stuffing yourself and your bags into a tiny seat next to people fighting you for the armrests, then being told you're heading back to the gate due to electrical problems...just after you took the meds your doctor gave you that would just barely, maybe, last long enough to keep your eardrums from shattering by the time you landed two planes later (because "you REALLY shouldn't be flying"). But wait, there's more!

Securely wedged among sleep deprived passengers, you are suddenly grateful for your recent sleep deprivation due to night time hot flashes (yes, much too young for that, and no, they are not like quick trips to the tropics) because you're not feeling tired. In fact, you're almost energized. You're feeling alive and upbeat...and like it might be time for a bathroom break...except the guy on the aisle is sound asleep and sprawled across every inch he has and much of yours...including the armrest.

In desperation, you wonder how good those throw-up bags are...then remember that at least you'll be able to use this in a novel...if you don't lose the use of your right arm from lack of armrest space. :)
I've been delinquent. There's no other word. Well, actually, there are a lot of other words. Hey, there's a fun challenge - what UNUSUAL words can you come up with for a newly-blogging person who lapses for far too long? We'll make it a contest. The winner gets...publicity! Notariaty! Possibly humiliation or public outcry! Results posted after New Years, so keep 'em coming!

So back to my lapse - no, enough of that. I fell off the horse. I'm back on. Giddy up.

Speaking of horses, I once (note: ONCE is an important word) rode horseback with my husband on a Mexican beach. Ahh, the thrill of GALLOPING, full speed, manes (mine and the horse's) whipping behind us, salt spray lashing my sun-kissed skin, derriere aching as it slapped against the WOODEN saddle. Now you understand why "once" was the operative word. I had bruises, and couldn't even show them off.

But, all's well that ends well (pun intended). I'll probably use it in a book one day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Have you ever wondered if there's a writing gene? Me neither, until now. I took my athletic daughter (talk about a random gene!) to her friends at the orthopoedic doctor's office last week because, as it turned out, she chipped or fractured a bone chip or something else really odd by whacking her elbow on a door. This is a kid who flies over hurdles, skied down black diamond slopes her third time on the mountain, dives off the 10 meter springboard and makes it look good, and fences. But put her in real life, and she is, like moi, a klutz.

I danced for years and years but am always walking into walls, tripping, and other not-so-graceful things. Do you know I got chin stitches in the ER next to a skate board dude and a roller blader? I was the only one who didn't have "teen" in their age. How do I break bones or tear ligaments? Let's see...playing Blind Man's Bluff, skipping...the embarrassing list goes on and on.

So I wondered, is there a klutz gene? Did I pass it onto my daughter?

Then my mind went to, is there a writing gene? Does it lurk, waiting for you to ignite it? My grandfather was a fabulous writer. He never wrote professionally, but his comments found their way into the NY Times OpEd pages when he had something fun to say. Both my parents can spin a good quill, as well.

As opposed to the klutz gene, which I'm still not sure you can purposely nurture or deliberately overcome, I think you can both nurture a writing gene, and overcome your lack of one. Unlike things like blue eyes and curly hair, this one comes from work, plain and simple. It's time in your chair, writing. It's time reading - lots of time reading. It's time putting your manuscripts into critique situations, opening your mind, rolling up your sleeves, and delving in again. It's classes. It's inspiration. It's persistance.

So here I go, back to my computer...padded, just to be on the safe side!