Writers Write, Right?

Well, I was reading some quotes recently and the thing that kept coming up was how a writer can’t not write. It just doesn’t happen.

I got a little concerned.

Not so concerned that I questioned whether or not I’m a real writer, but enough so that I wondered if I was messing with my talent by not living up to consistent writing.

I got to thinking.

I haven’t worked on my manuscript in over 4 months.

Great.

I haven’t written in over 4 months – what kind of writer am I?

But nobody said I had to work on my manuscript to be writing. Now did they?

Nope.

I have been writing. Almost every single day.

I’ve been writing blog posts (though most of those don’t see the light of day) and journaling like a madwoman. The journaling is to keep myself sane but I’m surprised by how much its helping me open  up to myself.

So see – all those quotes are right. I can’t not write. I’ve needed it in one way or another.

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I had a case of black and white thinking. All or nothing.

Either I was going full out writer mode and working full tilt on my manuscript every day for hours – or I wasn’t doing anything.

Those were the only two labels my brain knew how to formulate.

Oops.

 

Seeing in black or white (all or nothing thinking) isn’t realistic or helpful. It’s harmful. And it keeps me beating myself up. Glad I noticed it. Now I can knock it off!

 

I’d like to start doing some creative writing though. I feel that itch. Okay, so its more than an itch – its like an ogre with a battering ram inside my bones, chest cavity, head, and heart.

But I’m not ready to work on my manuscript. Why?

Because I’m still working on myself. I can’t write authentically if I can’t even live in my own skin authentically.

What could help me move this along?

Oh, I don’t know.

MAYBE WRITING!!!

Journaling and blogging aren’t my only options. I can free write, write short stories, do whatever I want for creative writing. I don’t have to work on my manuscript until I’m ready.

That doesn’t mean I can’t write.

I’m a writer.

And writers write.

 

What do you consider writing consistently?

Do you journal?

Free write?

Write short stories?

Letters?

Essays?

Compile and rework research?

What exactly do you consider to be the meaning of “writer’s write”?

Are you ever a victim of all or nothing thinking in any area of your life?

 

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Filed under Creative Writing, Personal/Opinion

When the Mind Wanders

I was putting away a chocolate cake donut with chocolate sprinkles – you know, the mother of all donuts – so that I could have one tomorrow, and I realized…. I never wrote a blog post this week.

Oops.

Chocolate cake donuts just save better. Take a regular donut; the next day, it just doesn’t taste the same. Different texture, different taste slightly. But chocolate cake donuts? Oh no, they taste the same, have the same consistency. Just pure awesomeness. Not to mention that chocolate cake donuts are all chocolate and have the greatest cake/donut frosting in existence.

But anyway – back to the blog post dilemma.

I laid back on my bed and stared up at the ceiling. Its one of those days. Those, “I don’t know what to do but I feel content” days.

They don’t happen often, let me tell ya. So there’s always a part of me that’s leery of the impending doom of boredom or wasted time, the annoyance of falling asleep, or possibly forcing myself to do something  I don’t really want to do.

 

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But this morning, I just laid there for a second, gently smiling, and remembered a quote I like. It goes something along the lines of this:

“If you want to know where your heart is, look to where your mind goes when it wanders.”

I don’t know who said it and I’m not going to look it up right now (I’ll get stuck looking at other quotes) but it had a new meaning for me this morning.

So I stopped scraping around my noggin for what I ‘should’ be doing and said, “ok, mind….wander”.

The first thing that came to mind?

The fact that my back is itching in this one spot and it won’t knock it off!

But after that, I had an actual useful thought. It didn’t pop up and I didn’t yank it out of the recesses of my brain. It just swam up to the top, the most natural thing in the world.

 

Blair.

Blair and her world, my writing.

And for the first time in, oh, I don’t know, four months, I felt that excitement. That deep thrill, that happiness inside my chest that I can’t explain and haven’t felt since I was a small child, honestly.

I guess you could call it passion.

I’d let my mind wander and the first thing that naturally came to me was my desire for worlds, for creatures that aren’t here, for lives and doings, thoughts and needs that aren’t here.

My desire to write had shown itself for the first time since I can remember.

 

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And it got me to thinking. Maybe I can switch that quote around a little.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately, as you who’ve listened (er-read) to my lamenting for the past month or so will have noticed. And I think this quote applies.

I have this question: Who Am I?

If I want to know who I am, look to where my mind goes when it wanders.

 

If I did this once every day, find some time to myself where its quiet, and let my mind wander – what would I find out about myself?

It makes me want to do this for a week straight and write down where my mind wanders each time, then see what I come up with.

We really don’t take enough time for ourselves. When I think about it, it amazes me how much we don’t know ourselves because we don’t let ourselves become a priority. Not on a deep level, anyway. I mean, how often do we sit where it’s quiet and pay attention to what we think, feel, want, believe?

I wonder what I’d find.

 

Where does your mind go when it wanders?

(written last Saturday)

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Litha Shadows

I was originally going to focus completely on Litha, the Celtic Summer Solstice, but the shadows muddied my mind and my original intent deviated.

They’re related, and so I’ll settle for talking about both.

 

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Litha, to me, is a time to celebrate opposites and there within, balance. Water and fire, sun and the moon, nature at its most core value; life and death.

Litha celebrates the sun – it is the longest day of the year. It celebrates the light’s triumph over darkness. But after today, the darkness will begin to take over, until Yule. I think it’s fitting then, that Litha is used as a time to acknowledge and understand our deepest of passions, wills, and strengths. A time to reflect on our accomplishments and growth, our leaps of faith.

Litha is a time to recognize the wild things we can harness but can’t tame.

 

I do not see shadows the way most do. I’m sure that’s obvious. I chose Shadows as my pen name. I did this years ago, a decision I made so certainly, and yet, at the time, didn’t understand how deeply rooted the meaning was.

Amazing how deep down we know something, even as we remain ignorant of it.

 

I cannot harness the darkness. Just as I cannot hold light in the palm of my hands.

A shadow is wild and untamable. Unknowable yet so base in its honesty.

The shadows are the balance. A shadow cannot exist without both light and darkness.

 

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Litha asks how I’ve grown.

I’ve grown in the understanding that I cannot deny the darker parts of myself and expect to enjoy the fruits of the light I harbor. Nothing is black and white when it comes to shadows. Darkness and light are not the same things as good and evil, not when you get into symbolism and deeper meanings. I cannot learn from “evil”. I can learn from the darkness that exists inside me because there is also light to balance it, to tame it.

I am Shadows, and that’s okay with me. It suits me.

 

How have you grown in the past year? What have you accomplished? What have you learned about your passions and strengths? What shadows of your own are you ignoring?

(this post was written yesterday and posted a day late)

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Filed under Personal/Opinion, Research

For the Love of Donuts (plus Cops and maybe some Aliens)

I love donuts.

Donuts are so freaking magickal that I cannot describe in words their wonderfulness.

 

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National Donut Day

Just in case you crazies didn’t know, last week on June 5th (it’s always the first Friday of the month) was National Donut Day!

Donut Day was established in Chicago, 1938, by the Salvation Army. During World War I and World War II, the Salvation Army took donuts to soldiers. During the Great Depression, they sold donuts to raise money.

There’s also a National Donut Day on November 5th, but I can’t seem to find where it came from. Neither can anyone else. Perhaps the aliens couldn’t make it here in June and decided to mind-ninja us into thinking National Donut Day was actually in November. Not that I’m complaining.

Both are unofficial national holidays, which is a total sin, but I’m down as long as people celebrate it. And donut shops, always good when donut shops celebrate donut day!!!

 

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Police and Donuts

Why on earth are cops plagued by the donut stereotype? I swear they’re going to do a movie about a killer donut species that attack cops and take over their bodies. Alien donuts. Or – or! – evil donut initiation. *rolls eyes*

I mean, Jeeze. Why?

And what’s so wrong with being a donut junkie anyway? Seriously. Donuts. They are magick. As long as you don’t eat 80 of them a day, you won’t be unhealthy.

Anyone who eats donuts has a high level of intelligence (like me) because only someone extremely wise would know to eat the magick oozing, chocolate, maple, cake, and old-fashioned cakes.

But honestly – where did the stereotype come from?

 

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No one knows for certain when it started, but there are a few theories as to why it spawned…

  • Donuts are cheap, so when the police have to ditch their food because some wacko decided to jump off the roof of your local Ben and Jerry’s, dressed like a medieval knight, demanding someone find them their stolen fairy wings – they don’t have to give up an expensive dinner that they really wanted to finish.
  • Donuts don’t go bad that easily. Well, some do, but most can stay in the box throughout the day. That way they can eat them whenever they get the chance.
  • In a lot of places, donut shops are the only places that stay open all day and night long. It wasn’t until recently that food places stayed open past the late evening.
  • Cops drink a lot of coffee. They have to stay awake practically all day and night long with quick bursts of unconsciousness. Who sells a lot of coffee? Donut shops. Guess what else they sell a lot of, which happens to be cheap, filling, don’t go bad or melt easily, and are sweet? Donuts. Imagine that.
  • Some donut shops will give police free donuts, for two reasons. One, law enforcement are in the business of protecting their city, so maybe it’d be nice to give them some free donuts. And two, having cops sit in your shop is kind of like having free bodyguards. No one is going to break into your corner donut shop with four cops sitting there. It is probably a good thing to point out that its illegal and considered bribery in some places though.
  • Donut shops have a place to sit down inside. For beat cops, that’s nice. Some police have even said that at night, it’s helpful to have a lit table to do paperwork at. (too much paperwork for Daphne)

 

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So see – there are perfectly good reasons for cops to eat donuts. However, I also read in a few places that it’s a generational love. Some newer cops have either been driven away by the stereotype or believe sugar is the devil.

 

Me? I just want some freaking donuts.

 

Do you enjoy donuts?

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An Authentic Mess: Time for Something New

I guess when everything falls apart, and you finally reach that breaking point, where you’re pissed off but you decide enough is enough – you begin to search for your way home.

 

I’ve run away from home. From my soul.

By running away from my hopes and dreams. By running away from my identity.

I guess my heart has grown stale.

A person can only take so much living for others, with their heart and soul walled off from their consciousness, before they start to lose it.

 

Enough fear. Enough seeking for the world to approve of me. Enough hating myself, berating myself, and doubting myself.

I can’t fix those things instantly, but I’m tired of the downward slope.

It’s time to head upward.

 

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No one is going to hand me my identity. No one is going to pop up in a haze of fairy dust, smack me upside the head with a wand, and declare that, “I, Daphne, am so and so”. I’m not going to have a “moment” where everything becomes clear and I just “know” who I am. No one else is going to find me.

That’s my job.

So to hell with fixing other people, with throwing my soul out the window, and jumping on someone else’s circus. I’ve got my own thank you! I’m going to deal with my issues.

And I have every right to enjoy finding myself.

 

So who am I?

This is an interesting question.

I don’t have the slightest idea.

But that’s where we all start, isn’t it?

 

It reminds me of a comment Brian left on my blog, on the fourth post I ever wrote:

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June 3, 2012 at 5:19 am

It sounds like you grew up during that whole university fiasco. Without living for yourself you become a drone, mindless and controlled. At some point, for better of worse, we must take the controls and navigate our own way through life. Better to figure these things out early on, than look back with regret. The simple fact is everything we do makes us who we are, even the mistakes. The smart ones keep learning and finding ways to improve themselves.

It takes courage to stand on your own. Stay true to yourself and good things will happen.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”–Mark Twain

 

He nailed it right on the head.

A drone.

Mindless.

Controlled.

 

You don’t just wake up one morning and have it all figured out. This will take me time, I’ll make mistakes, and get emotional.

But I’m done being down in the dumps. I’ll have my days but I’m not getting stuck there anymore. I can be hopeful and down at the same time.

Kind of like that phrase – I need to get my demons on my side.

Honestly – who on earth wouldn’t want a demon as their backup? (fantasy not biblical demons, here people) I mean really – best thing ever. Could you imagine if someone tried to steal your wallet?

 

I’m doing this to myself.

I’m tired of giving myself unnecessary rules and restrictions. I’d rather be a mess. An authentic mess. Random, emotional, unpredictable, and vulnerable. But real.

So let’s move forward, shall we?

 

Maybe you need to fall flat on your butt and struggle in the muck for a while before you decide it would be easier to stand up and, like a sunflower, aim for the food you need, regardless of how messy the field is you’re planted in.

 

Do you know who you are? Did you ever struggle to find your identity? Ever allow the world or someone in your world to control who you “became”?

 

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Opalescent

The tears don’t help anymore.

They just fall.

Did they ever lessen the pain?

 

And then I remember.

I never cried at all.

 

by Daphne Shadows

Daphne Shadows

Daphne Shadows

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Pain Tells Me I’m Real

(From the get-go, I’m not talking about cutting myself or physically harming myself in any other way. Nor am I a masochist. Now that that’s out of the way…)

 

 

I was lying in bed this morning and my reflux was acting up so badly that I got heartburn. But I really didn’t want to get up. I was extremely tired and warm and comfortable but finally had to sit up. Ugh.

Now, I’m sitting there in bed and I realize my throat doesn’t hurt.

 

 

Let me give you a little backstory on why that’s important.

I’ve been having some health issues lately and one night last week, I felt like there was something in my throat. It swelled and I was afraid I’d not be able to breathe. So naturally, I panicked and ended up in the ER, hyperventilating for the first time in my life.

Totally not mortifying.

Blood testing shows that there’s something wrong with my parathyroid. (Parathyroid are these four little glands in the throat that control a lot of what goes on in your body health wise, mental, emotional, and physical.) My doctor told me that I needed a parathyroid scan and she’d send me to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist because there’s most likely benign tumors on my parathyroid gland which are causing all my issues.

Which is most likely what I can feel in my throat, but which won’t (as far as I know) cut off my breathing.

Woohoo! I like breathing.

I won’t go into detail (mainly because I’d feel like I was complaining and being dramatic, maybe later I’ll tell you) but my health has steadily been declining for three months now.

Something is wrong. Duh. This is pretty obvious right?

 

 

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Okay, so now that you know that, where were we? – “I’m sitting in bed and I realize my throat doesn’t hurt.”

Right. So I start thinking like this: “well, if it doesn’t hurt, maybe I’m a psycho hypochondriac who made up the whole throat swelling thing, and I’m making this all up, and there’s nothing wrong with me, and I’m so stupid…yada yada yada”. Like that.

After I don’t know how long, I finally stopped myself.

Blood tests and doctors are telling me something is wrong with my parathyroid and I most likely have benign tumors that need to be removed.

I felt them before I even knew what hyperparathyroidism was!

So how could I have made the scenario up? I don’t control blood tests or doctors.

 

 

This made me realize something. Yay me!

(Remember, I’m trying to care about myself instead of hate myself. Trying to remember that I exist and all that… yeah, so I’m trying to pay attention to myself when I remember. Which isn’t often, but hey – I’m working on it.)

What my internal thinking this morning made me realize is – I measure whether or not something is real, emotional or physical, by pain.

If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t real. “Must not be. How could it? I can’t feel it!”

Because of course I don’t feel happy – I’m ignoring that I exist! I don’t get the joy end of the spectrum.

By ignoring every thought, emotion, opinion, want, need, etc., I’ve set myself up to feel nothing but pain, when I feel at all.

 

 

Just because my throat didn’t hurt and the swelling (which is an off and on thing) wasn’t distracting – just because there wasn’t pain – didn’t mean it suddenly didn’t exist. If I pay attention, I can still feel something swollen in my throat.

But I don’t have to feel pain for it to be real!

 

 

How could I find happiness of any shade if I’ve lived with this programming?

 

 

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That, however, does not mean that I don’t then choose to ignore my pain.

How else would I have gotten to where I am if I hadn’t?

 

It’s a painful cycle.

I set myself up to only feel pain. I ignore this pain. This creates more pain as I suffocate more and more of my identity. I ignore this pain. And on and on and on.

 

Why do I ignore the pain?

Because it might get me to pay attention to something I feel. Or get me to stop long enough to actually think. Which, you know, is selfish and bad and wrong of me because how dare I think of myself instead of someone else and what they want and feel…..

 

 

And yet – strangely, – it’s only when I feel pain of any sort, that I feel alive. Like I’m really here. Like I really exist.

I think that’s because when a person feels pain, they can’t ignore it 100%. There’s some initial jolt of “ouch!” or misery. And who feels the pain?

The only person who feels the pain is me. The real me. The authentic  me. The me that’s trapped behind layer and layer of steel so thick I can’t breathe through it – and isn’t that the point? – and walls of pain and lies and denial and numbness. The me I can’t reach.

The pain touches who I really am, it touches my soul.

And so for a moment, I am alive. I can breathe.

 

 

But now I’m to the point where I can’t ignore the pain. Not emotionally and more recently, not physically.

The pain is telling me I’m not really alive, I’m surviving.

And it’s time to wake up.

 

 


 

 

This all brought the song “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls to mind. This one line:

“yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive”

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