Lourdes Mint's Mid-Life Miracle

Real-time memoir of the coming year (5/20/14 – 15) and the achievement of a life-long dream

Archive for the month “November, 2015”

NaNoWriMo –> NoMo!

Blobs grow in beloved gardens (1975), by F. Hundertwasser

Midnight tonight is the end of NaNoWriMo, but I’m done for now. I did 22,325 of the 50,000-word goal, so YES there was a supernova-like burst of “story” near the end. It’s hard to know how much of what I’ve done is good, especially since I could only write a little bit here and there, but I don’t think any of this has been a waste of time and believe I’ll finish post-NaNoWriMo. The coolest thing of all is that my main characters are talking to me (again) after being stowed away for so long. And they have a lot to say that I never even thought of before. What a wild, weird thing the mind is!

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“But as for me, I will [go]”

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“But as for me, I will [go]”

Let time pass. Let all kinds of time pass. Once he was settled toward the back of the bus, alone in a two-seater (which he knew wouldn’t last), Nohl shut his eyes and let himself meditate on this gentle imperative. Earlier that morning, as he showered, it rose up and hovered in his mind like steam. On the bus, though, he imagined that the words came to him just then from somewhere outside of himself, way outside. He saw a large slick, insulated (and insured) envelope, containing this message, blasting past black holes and through mesospheres and stratospheres and whatever other ‘spheres there might be, through different kinds of cosmic dust and space clouds, and then dispatched into the earth’s atmosphere, where it continued down along the pale but fast-goldening sun rays of this mid-July morning and caught a warm upward breeze, which sent it very un-coincidentally into an open window on this very same ride. Let time pass. Let all kinds of time pass. That was all it said, but according to the envelope it was meant for him.

Better still, he would like to think the words were delivered specifically to him from “On High,” along with instructions, “Guidance,” on what to do during this “all kinds of time” and how about after it passed, too? Yes, please. And just a bit in the way of explanation regarding the big “why?” of it all would be helpful. But no, nothing like that had ever been, would ever be, forthcoming, Nohl had come very slowly to understand. Feeling agitated, also tired and a little sick because of last night’s activities (the good, the bad, the inexplicable), he tossed about in his seat, his exoskeleton-like exterior clashing with the exoskeleton-like interior of the bus. In one particularly herky-jerky maneuver designed to discourage anyone then boarding from sitting with him (as a favor to them, he thought), he ended up spilling his coffee into his old running shoes, which he had no recollection of taking off. Huh. Could the new Nohl be the kind of guy who takes his shoes off whenever/wherever he pleased … on a bus like this, no less? Why not? He kind of liked it, smiled to himself. So how about throwing away the soggy no-good beaters, laden with roads already travelled, at the very first rest stop, cutting yet another tie with the past? He liked that too — poetic. And he’d just put on the pair packed in his carry-on.

The Nohl who packed the bag late last night was worried about grubbing up these other shoes, which were nicer and newer, on the long bus ride. Today’s Nohl got that but considered it a little strange that he decided to put them in the carry-on at all (given the size of the bag). But then, he often saw evidence of another, wiser, version of himself, who could see further past the surface of things, the present, than the regular Nohl could, knew what to do sometimes when the regular Nohl didn’t (but not every time, far from fucking every time. Last night for example. OK, just: Let time pass. Let all kinds …). Wiser Nohl was there to help pack the bag, sure, but where was he exactly when Russell told him that Francis Fahy was dead and regular Nohl felt compelled to excuse himself to use the bathroom — which he did but not before paying Fahy a little visit (“just to be sure,” was the thin explanation he offered himself), not before having to set his stop-watch bag to zero again. And here he was today (yeah, “as for me…”), wiser Nohl nowhere to be found. He tried to focus on the shoes in his bag, something hopeful, something that made him feel that there were plans for him still and maybe he wasn’t damned after all.

 

[Continued elsewhere.] 

Plena sen mu vokaroop.

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Plena sen mu vokaroop. This, I say, will make things right.

Noop rang jolzee roo-roo-roo, vokarooop! (One time tonight.)

Then: yipper sen, yipper sen, under, ender — pah-tippy sen.

But tippy roonish plena mu, plena mu sen, plena mu!!!!

Vokaroop, tippy? Jolzee roo? Yes, yes, yes (and everyone knew).

Noop, jolzee, yipper: roo-roo-roo. It’s sad, but true and better too.

Plena sen mu vokaroop. I tell you: it’ll make things right.

Plena sen mu vokaroop. This is all we’ll do tonight.

If you can read this, online, you’re a minority — but you knew that

Minns Window

Even though more than 80% of the world’s reading-age population can read, less than half are internet users. Now some of these non-users may be babies or Luddites or what have you, but I think it’s safe to say that the feeling of THIS being a way of connecting with the rest of the world is one that many of us don’t share.

Africa represents less than 10% of the world’s internet users, as does N. America, surprisingly —  but that’s because of the enormous population of Africa (as well as of Asia) in comparison to N. America.

In N. America, though, about 9 of 10 of the pop are internet users versus about 3 of 10 in Africa, 4 of 10 in Asia, 5 of 10 in Middle Eastern and Latin American/Caribbean countries, and 7 of 10  in other western/European countries.

What are all of those offline others doing? Well, I guess they are living life, as we are, watching the weather, loving their babies, talking with friends about the future, helping one another through crises, etc. But how do they know whether they’re funny, clever, talented … or how many friends (or followers) they have? What/whom do they turn to for definitive answers to some of life’s most pressing questions or even the basic day-to-day conundrums? Where do they find out what’s worth reading … or even what they really want, think, and believe? How do they know who they truly are or which boots are best bets for this winter? How can they be sure they’re getting the sweetest deal on their hotel room for summer vacation?

At the end of the day, maybe the answers to all or most of these questions, for those seeking them in whatever manner, are essentially the same — in terms of the range of their validity. There’s so much we can never be sure of, so many questions with no simple answers. But what a bang-up job the internet does of helping us to forget (or at least buffering us from) the fundamental uncertainties of life! How many times have I come here feeling tired, hungry, and poor and left feeling better — that I know more, that I belong after all, and that I need not flail about or mess around with […] a moment longer. (I’ve had the opposite experience also, plenty, but that’s not important now.) TV works too, as does reading books or dancing like a wild thing all night long, and pretty much anything else that helps you escape the gray area between your ears for a while, but the internet works BEST — I think — for many of us. And that’s because it seems to say, so consistently and convincingly, in so, so, soooooo many words (and pictures and videos too), “Good news! Uncertainty is over! Everything you seek, wonder about, or need to know is HERE!” —  for almost half of us anyway. And it’s good to get a break from the gray. Very good.

What do those others do?

Later/this morning: I woke with this post still in my head. I went to sleep last night feeling that I didn’t totally know what my point was here, but I decided to post it anyway. The rules of my blog seem to change along with my “is-it-ready-to-post?” criteria (playing games with our seven-year-old, just living with him and “the baby” [now an 18-month-old], just living — all have softened [I’ll just say] whatever rigidity [I’ll just say] I had in such areas).

But anyway, here I am, and back to that final line: What do the others do? An answer is that, same as in the online world, some find other good ways of escaping the gray, some are naturally inclined or learn to “sit with” it (to let it be), and others are very adept at sorting that gray into black or white, yes or no, stop or go, right or wrong, etc. — others EVERYWHERE, including in that parallel [?] offline universe where different stories are spun from the information that’s most accessible, spun and shared, taking hold. But what is my point? Maybe I don’t know/understand enough about the world to make it, but I think it’s something like this: that if you are reading this, anything, online, you are privileged in a way that most of the world is not AND that none of us truly has exactly what we think we have or can truly have what we’d like to have (not security, certainty, inviolable protection of our basic rights, a bond with the rest of humanity, etc.) until we all have a shot at having it.

Daily prompt response: Problems with Styrofoam and Another Advice Column Reject

instock-069Peanuts

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Connect the Dots.” Scour the news for an entirely uninteresting story [or make one up?]. Consider how it connects to your life. Write about that.

Dear Abby,

I know this is probably not a huge deal, but on the off chance that someone else has the same problem and suffers mainly because it can be so inexplicably distressing, I figured I’d write. You know how those Styrofoam peanuts can’t be recycled so you have to get them out of the box your extra fragile purchase was packed in, bag them, and throw them away separately — with the rest of the garbage? Well, every single time I do this, and I do mean EVERY SINGLE TIME, I’m extra careful to pull the bag into which I’m emptying the peanuts all the way around the box, all four corners, before I even attempt the transfer because I always seem to end up making a mess. But still, no matter how careful I am, an estimated 40 to 60% of the peanuts end up outside of the bag and I have to round them up by hand (“like herding cats” because of the static electricity) and bag them by the handful. Do you know how long that takes?

So I just want to know WHY? Is that too much to ask?

I don’t know whether it’s just the static electricity or there’s some other scientific explanation for why this CANNOT work as it seems it should, but I’m way beyond annoyed now and actually starting to get concerned. Thinking about it now, I guess the real basis of my concern is whether it’s normal to have so much trouble with Styrofoam or whether something else could be going on? I mean, do you think there’s some underlying issue I’m not addressing here? Or maybe even larger forces at work, whose presence and significance I’m missing?

Up to my neck in peanuts, LM

 

Dear Abby,

I’m supposed to be working on my novel now …I have so precious little time and I’ve entered into a contest or rather a challenge to help keep me going: NaNoWriMo. You may have heard of it? Anyway instead or working on my novel, I’ve been unpacking valuables (I use that term very loosely) that we have no place for yet (we moved recently and not all of our furniture is here …). Although I’m having a bit of trouble with the Styrofoam peanuts, as I wrote you about separately, I am not having trouble with writer’s block. In fact, really I’m having almost the opposite problem. I start working on my novel and the next thing I know, hours have disappeared and I have no idea what, where, who, etc. But see I can’t have disappearing hours, no idea, no — I have children, a family. But here I am with a discrete, necessarily limited, beautiful little chunk of time set aside just for the novel and instead I write you … and only “for pretend,” no less, in a blog amid a sea of blogs that connects to an ocean of blogs that connects to a bunch of other seas and oceans of blogs.

So I just want to know WHY? Is that too much to ask?

I don’t know whether it’s just the static electricity (for lack of a better word [FLBW])  or there’s some other scientific explanation for why this CANNOT work as it seems it should, but I’m way beyond annoyed now and actually starting to get concerned. Thinking about it now, I guess the real basis of my concern is whether it’s normal to have so much trouble with Styrofoam (FLBW) or whether something else could be going on? I mean, do you think there’s some underlying issue I’m not addressing here? Or maybe even larger forces at work, whose presence and significance I’m missing?

Up to my neck in peanuts (FLBW), LM

p.s. For our listening enjoyment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI7OUQbE65g

Worried that you or someone you love is not completely normal?

3067c4c966d4294ebab0eb1f61e6e385Worried that you or someone you love is not completely normal? Have no fear because there’s another option here in the USA. It’s called: being GREAT. So if you (or someone you love) is having a bit of a struggle “blending in,” then it’s good to know that being great is also “OK.” Some people, not all, think it’s even better — particularly those who suspect they are not completely normal and may in fact be great. The point is, you gotta be OK, so if completely normal’s not your thing (and it isn’t for everybody), you need only to excel in some area that completely normal people think is normal if not great (admittedly there may be the rub). But if you can pull it off, then you’re probably going to do alright. And doing alright is pretty much the same as being OK. You may even do great at being great, which is the best, I’ll bet.

WHAT YOU DON’T want, from what I understand, is to be … well, some other thing. And there are LOTS of other things, so it’s super easy to fall into that trap — nothing to freak out about, more something just to be aware of. I’ll give you some examples when I get back to this and you’ll be like, “Oh I know that person.” Or, “I married that person.” Or, hold onto your hose, “I AM that person.” But it’s not too late, I don’t think, to make it OK.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing lots of confusing/conflicting things about what’s normal — pretty much all my life — but really have only heard great things about being great, so I’m going to look a little further into what it takes to be great. I’ll let you know what I learn.

 

“go alone — crawl, stumble, stagger — but go alone”

“You must be Independent, Independent, Independent –jm105-256— don’t talk so much but do more — go your own way and let your neighbour go his… Shake off all the props — the props tradition and authority give you and go alone — crawl, stumble, stagger — but go alone.”

~ Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Independent, YES, for sure! (Original would be nice too, but is not necessary. I mention it because I think people often confuse independence with originality, which can be a real problem for their creativity and productivity, but maybe that’s a post for another day.) Neighbors — oh, there are many I’d gladly follow home. Don’t think I have too many props to shake off, but am willing to crawl, etc., if needed. BUT I love this guy’s designs (behold one iteration of his famous rose) … just not 100% sure about his ideas.

More to the point of this post: writing can be lonely, not for the bloggiest of bloggers maybe, but for lots of the rest of us. So, just so I can connect (or in hopes of connecting … even if I don’t know it’s happened), I am giving myself permission to quote other people liberally here in my blog or provide links to whatever, anything I feel like doing this month (so pretty much like every other month!), as I work to put out 1700+ words per day for NaNoWriMo.

It’s Day 2 and I’ve done 2,345 words (not bad, the quantity I mean), but my narrative point of view is shifting all over the place and not in a clever way. Plus my tenses are sliding, willy nilly, forward and backward and off to the side (though that’s typical for me because sometimes I do feel like past, present, future, etc., are all here in the same place at the same time). Also, even though every 50 words or so come easy, these are followed by hundreds that feel like I am punching myself in the face or, no: trying to put on clothes that are a few sizes too small … and wet and itchy too. I’m haunted about how little I feel I know about the world, how my seven-year-old referred to me as “odd” today, how my main character is male again (and apparently has two interchangeable names). I’m also bothered that I can’t picture him clearly yet, but I can see what he sees, feel what he feels, etc.

I’m thinking, he could look like this:

Brosseau-Tom1868-2_cr-CareyBraswell[1](This is a young[er] Tom Brosseau and here’s a song of his: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vcWe–L7AM)

OR he might look like this:th98WXLH1R

(The is the young, late Vic Chesnutt and one of his tunes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2KyL1MlqW0)

No surprise that I’m conjuring the images of song writers I greatly admire to help embody my protagonist. No surprise, but no explanation (now) either. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who I’m picturing anyway, I just need to see his face. And I can’t yet.

On the bright side, whatever he turns out looking like, I like him a lot so far and that’s helpful because I will be meeting with Nohl/Ben every day (or as often as I can) until we get his story done.

 

Today I begin “I Brought You Back”

What would you do if you had a gift or ability that you weren’t entirely comfortable with? (What DO you do?) And what if this ability might be considered inhuman, impossible … supernatural, even? And you used your “gift” sometimes but not others, for reasons you couldn’t always understand or explain, and the consequences of your actions were more often than not completely different from what you expected: sometimes just so clearly WRONG; other ti450px-william_blake_-_christ_in_the_sepulchre_guarded_by_angelsmes, though, wondrous, unambiguously RIGHT — restoring necessary joy and goodness to the people you love, the world, all and everything? (But sometimes, don’t forget, sometimes: wrong, wrong, wrong … ?) What would you do?

“Quit doing it and let time pass, let all kinds of time pass.” This is my main character Nohl’s solution as the story/novel starts — that and to get as far away as possible from the mess he feels he’s created, cut his few ties with the past, etc., but NOT before telling EVERYTHING to someone he can barely call “friend” nor before doing his thing one last time.

The novel will follow one person’s complicated, lonesome relationship with his gift, each time he’s used it and how it “worked out,” ending with his decision about how to move forward … and an opportunity, with someone he now considers a true friend, to put that decision to the test.

This is the spark for the novel I’ll be working on this month (through NaNoWriMo). I’m being perhaps irritatingly mysterious/vague re: the gift because I don’t think it’s really what the story’s about, but I’m also afraid that mere mention of the word that best describes the gift would put an END to some things that I need, now. (More vagaries, sorry…)  Really, the gift could be any ability or talent that a person might have and feel ambivalent about and unclear on how, whether, why to develop it — unsure about whether it’s a good or bad thing. My writing this novel represents my decision to embrace a gift I’m not sure how I feel about … and not even sure I have. And I’m going to draw some pictures (or create some kind of visuals) to go with it, I think — also maybe a recording. Here goes!

 

Wish me luck!

nanowrimo

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