Time, Hackers, Projects & Watching

I’m late to the party. It’s been a busy few months.  Time is always my scarcest commodity. I sit down to write today and notice the calendar on my wall is still on January. Ooops!

I’m four months into the new year before starting the traditional New Year blog entry. Okay then, make the best of it. I’ll start a unique tradition of writing my New Year post in April, after having given myself a few months to see how the new year is working out!

Thoughts on a New Year

new yearI don’t do resolutions. I’ve never been very good at them – so it seems ridiculous to set myself up for failure in that way. The popular weight loss/diet objectives are lost on me. I know myself better than that!

The other cliché self-delusions drop to the side and disappear as well – no get-rich-quick schemes, no rearranging my personality, and I’m certainly not going to promise to be nicer to others or better at anything!

Marking time is a way for us to analyze and understand ourselves and our world. The New Year, like a birthday or wedding anniversary, can be a time to celebrate where we are, the gains we’ve made; or it can be a time of sadness, marking the loss of others from our lives or the promise of potential we failed to fulfill or attain. It’s a ritual we love. A way of considering who we’ve been and where we’re going.

So, here’s my takeaway:  I’m satisfied with last year and ready for the remainder of this year. Here’s to a new chapter in the book of me that is still being written. Happy Belated New Year!

A Plague of Hackers

Hackers, who I’m convinced are either the evil Jinn of legend or demons from the pits of Hell, have plagued me relentlessly this year. My Yahoo and WordPress accounts are inundated with Acacia Berry Ad emails or other such nonsense with links that friends, coworkers and readers inadvertently open. So, a note to all, I Will NEVER send you links in an email or post a post with ONLY a link. These high-jinks are the work of evil invaders! Beware and do not open or follow!

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I’m fighting this horde of evil attackers as best I know how. My accounts have so many levels of protection that I need a notebook filled with directions to use them!

Several friends have mentioned the linking of various social media accounts as an entry point for the evil Jinn. Others say certain astrological signs predestines one to attack! There are tons of crazy theories out there too! Me? I’m simpler than that, I’m here to use the technology not to spend all my time chasing down the forces of evil.

So, I’m hopeful we’ll soon assign this problem to some of our greater minds for the solving. You know, the same guys who figured out how to kill the zombies. Maybe in the near future we’ll be able to buy a Demon-destroying Hacker Survival Kit. With luck, it might be on the market by the end of the year!

Projects Public and Private

A writer works on projects both public and private.

The Blog is a public project – ideally, a straight-from-the-gut type of endeavor that gains a readership due to style and quirkiness as much as content.

Professional Bloggers may disagree with me, along with those in the business and marketing communities, because they see the Blog as the newest, most powerful form of written media in the modern world. They are entitled to that belief. However, as an old fashioned journalistic writer, I see the Blog as a different entity – one as much about style and positioning as content and relevance. It is immediate, live in real-time, and Public by nature.

Literary or images (16)journalistic work – such as short stories, essays, memoirs, and novels – are by necessity private projects, requiring hours of alone-time staring out windows and writing three sentences a day for months on end.

A good window is well-known to be the number one requirement for a successful writer. Mental illness, alcoholism, and creativity are always fighting for their places in the kingdom hierarchy (and it’s anyone’s guess which of them wins on a given day), but the window is always the King.

I’ve spent the past eighteen months in front of my window working on those private projects. Writing, crafting, editing, re-writing pieces for publication. It is a consummation that continues and makes me realize the need to apologize to my blog readers – forgive me this time I must take away from public writing.

Thank you for continuing to read when I do post – I will try to write a few more pithy, remarkable pieces for your amusement as time permits!

warningWarning! Writer at work! Periods of delirium and a general withdrawal from human interaction may occur.

 

Watching: It’s What Writers Do

I have a new GSM at work who is delightful and funny. (He’s also intelligent and witty…ahem, in case you’re reading this Charles!)

He prides himself on accurately “reading” people and has mentioned this skill several times.  Of course, always a good sport, I felt it necessary to test his abilities.

I asked him last week to share his impressions of me. There were some interesting revelations, but the primary thing he said that struck a chord was that I enjoy 55“watching.”

It was a profound observation because on my “day job” I perform in a vibrant, peacock stage personae. The Colleen of the sales floor a very different person from the Marissa of my writing career. Score a solid point for Charles! Most people are blinded by the false eyes on the feathers and miss the deeper truth of who I am as a complete person!

I cannot remember a time before watching was central to my character. I watch and listen and pay attention to everything. It’s what I did before I ever understood that it’s what writer’s do. It’s one of those “things” that makes a writer different. I believe it might be the most integral and important skill to develop as a writer.

Language, mannerisms, movement — all are necessary elements of story. And all writing is in some sense story. Consider the trend in recent years toward “Creative Nonfiction” in the journalistic realm. Even our news stories are STORIES! We want a little back story, some dramatization of events, and some quirky personal details with our news now, Thank You.

The man burglarized an apartment and stole a necklace, but was quickly arrested by police no longer satisfies our hunger for story.

Instead:

The young man with biker tattoos on his left arm, a sleeve of skulls and roses, stalked the Burrows house for three hours before finally making his move. He pulled the heavy rock from the bag, smashed the picture window in the living room to bits, then crawled inside, snagging his jeans on the ragged glass. The pearl necklace, Mrs. Burrows most prized relic from a long-dead grandmother, was on top of the cherry chest. The culprit snatched it up and ran down the hall and out the back door. He was apprehended a block away by police. A concerned neighbor wburg2ho heard the glass break dialed 911 and reported the incident just in time.

Now that, folks, is news the way we want to read it! We no longer want reporters who reports the facts. Rather, we want writers who make the facts interesting by way of story techniques. This requires the skill of watching, the ability to see the most minute of details, and then the further ability to transfer what was seen by the writers eyes and imprinted in his brain to the reader.

A Writer learns as a child does – by mimicry. A tone or dialect is heard, sounded out, memorized, and then recreated. The details of a scene – the type and location of a tattoo, the style of clothes someone wears, a particular twitch or movement – are noticed, memorized, recreated. The nuances of everyday life, people, and culture are captured and frozen on the page for others to share.

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Isn’t it amazing how our eyes watching become the seeing eyes of another?

Isn’t it wonderful that we are able to capture the world inside and outside of ourselves through words. Then, share that with other people regardless of time and place. How very beautiful is the eternal.

Happy Writing, Happy Living… Marissa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Every Turning of the World: 2012

Every turning of the world / knows some who are disinherited, to whom / neither the past nor the future belongs. / Even what is about to happen is still remote to them. / ….  ~from The Seventh Duino Elegy, by Rainer M. Rilke

January comes into the Carolinas mild and warm, 65 degrees and sunny the first days, now turning to misting rain and cooler drafts of air. It is 2012 – an election year in an America that is still suffering through a recession and just ending a 10 year war overseas. The belief and fear that “our current world will end” on December 21, 2012 is prominent in many minds. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon). The worldwide banking crises and financial upheaval still murmurs and twists – no one can promise that 2012 will be a better year – a fearful world holds its breath and waits as the year 2012 drifts into being and claims its moment in history.

We all want a better year than the one we fear is coming. Catastrophe is never an easy thing to bear. IF we believe life on this planet ends in the coming December does it change who we are? How we live? What daily life becomes? Does the fear of ending make existence sweeter and more dear to us? Or, is the human race more likely to become ruthless, desperate, dangerous? Will we allow ourselves to even consider the possibility of mass ending, humans dying in the streets like the dinosaurs, fossils of a past time?

I, for one, believe that human beings have an infinite tendency to live in a created place of selective vision. We are a unique being able to live in denial when facing the most simple facts contrary to all indicators of an opposite truth. We paint pictures in our minds of the world we live in, who we are, and what really matters.  Thus, we have an innate ability to minimize and move on.

It is this creative ability that produces a “forward motion” mindset that allows us to keep moving and prevents us from “freezing in the headlights” like a deer or possum. Our creativity, hope, and faith will continue to push us forward, step after step, no matter what the new year brings. But, with all that said, consider the question: If this were the last year of your life – what would you do with it?

~*~*~

 

Art Prints

Artwork By and copyrighted 2012, Rachel Christine Nowicki. Visit her page at www.Fine Art America.com for more information.

Compulsory New Year Blog Entry

Your subconscious knows that you have the resolve and the wisdom to achieve anything. ~My Yahoo Horoscope for December 31, 2010

Ritual Born

I’ve never been the type of person to make New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer to spend New Years Eve reviewing and evaluating the year that’s ending. I am always looking for growth – what did I learn in the past 365 days? I’m also looking at myself to see if I’ve become a more complete person in some way or if I simply spent the year dormant and uninspired.

Taking time to reflect on the past 12 months of life provides perspective and allows me to consider the path ahead. I usually do this in a new, fresh-leather handwritten journal – a clean white page, a ritual of sorts.  I’m adding a new ritual this year – the Compulsory New Year Blog Entry. Who have I been and who am I becoming as the year transitions?

Goodbye 2010

I have no major complaints of 2010. My formal career in the car business has been productive. Promotions, pay raises, hitting benchmarks, gaining insight and expertise, and facing new challenges with patience and courage have occurred. I’ve reached a place of quiet assurance and confidence in myself and my abilities.

My personal relationships (with husband, kids, grand babies, family, friends) are all flowing smoothly, happy and on track. No major issues there to contend with which is absolutely wonderful!

I resumed my informal career as an artist in 2010 – making time for writing, completing a poetry collection, and planning a new online magazine project for the coming year. I have been a writer longer than I’ve been anything else in my life and it feels good to be back at the keyboard playing with words. It’s a homecoming for my deepest self.

There have been sad and stressful moments in the mix. I miss certain friends a great deal and realize they are lost to me in some odd way – our time together past and the new of life demanding its place now. It has been a year of strange, internal goodbyes – to people and places I will likely never see again, to old beliefs and misconceptions, and to dreams and childish indulgences that have grown dim in the light of a new future. The old pieces of Self wasting away tend to make a fuss about it – the old us we leave behind screams “don’t go” as we walk away.

These are the personal changes in self during 2010 that most surprised me:

* I realize how much quieter I have become in all areas of my life and aspects of my being. Silence, in myself and the world around me, is something I’ve learned to treasure.

* Mourning over the absence of others from my life (due to death or distance or less intimacy than I’d wish) was a dominant part of my emotional journey during 2010. I lingered in deep, sad places of remembrance, wishing, regretting, and eventually letting go during much of the year.

* I returned to my writing with a totally different concept of myself and my work. I have a new sense of peace and understanding about myself as an artist and about my work as art. It’s as if a last puzzle piece fell into place when I wasn’t paying attention. The picture is clear, crisp, and vibrant now.

* I am experiencing life as a “now” experience more than ever before. The past has drifted into misty realms and the future is a shinning cloud – I am living in the moment with an odd sense of calm and contentment even on the rough days. I love this new state of simply being.

So, with remembrances of the lessons and gratitude for the gifts and good fortune – and deep appreciation for all the many blessings – goodbye 2010!

Hello 2011

The new year starts as a clean, blank page. We can write our story however we choose. I hope to write in bright, beautiful strokes of vivid ink this year. I hope you do the same. Happy New Year!