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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Smile and the World Smiles With You

I was just thinking how rarely I see people smile out in public.  I'm a natural-born smiler.  I can't help myself.  I just generally feel happy.  People looking on probably think I'm an idiot or something, walking down the sidewalk grinning.  I smile at songs, memories, pretty things, secret plans, sudden realizations.  There are millions upon millions of reasons to smile.

I've noticed that most often the smiles I have returned to me are given by young people.  Teenagers.  The ones you would think least likely to smile back.  It's true, though.  And, that's fine.  If it brightens a moment for someone in the midst of their angst or even if it's an involuntary response, a reflex, I think smiles beget smiles and the more smiles you smile the greater your potential for happiness.  And when you're happier, you're more likely to inspire happiness in others.

So, it's Sunday night.  I have some anxieties over family illness and some work-related things and some personal things, too.  But, even now, writing this post, I feel the beginnings of a grin lifting the corners of my mouth.  It's infectious, I tell you!  Can't you feel it?  You know you want to. . . SMILE!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Walls of Jericho

Last night on our journey through AFI's top 100 romantic movies, we (re)watched It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.  What a delight!

Now, if you're wondering what the title of this post has to do with anything, then I recommend you get a copy of the film (check your local library - that's where we got it) and plan an evening to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the show!  Then, once you've done that, you can write and tell me how right I was and thank me for suggesting a no-cost-to-you evening of wholesome, romantic, thoroughly enjoyable Hollywood magic.

You're welcome.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Expression Marks

It occurs to me how wonderful and how awful expression marks can be.  In a face they show all of the person's past at once - the moment he or she smiles or frowns the joys and agonies of life are all there on display.  In a frame they betray the artist's hand - how light and delicate, how firm and insistent, how tentative, how bold.

I look at myself too often to critique.  No amount of retinol or alpha hydroxy can undo the childhood taunts, the teenage tears, the torment of young adulthood, the terrors, the trials, the tests and the truths of life.  And why should I wish it to be so?  In the expression marks on other faces, I find grace and beauty, strength of will if not of body any longer.  Plump, firm skin gone thin now on foreheads and shins; freckles now looming, fearful question marks on backs of hands or arms; eyes more deeply set, faded, shaded, soft.  The point of my pen can never write such a wonderful work so perfectly punctuated.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Season of Poetry

Lately I've been wanting more of everything and that troubles me.  I want my plate to be more full at mealtime.  I want the food to be more flavorful.  I want to be intrigued by something, stirred by something, moved to act.  To see something pretty and rare, hear something I've never heard before, savor a rich, complex flavor.  But that wouldn't be enough.  I want to gorge myself on life.  Yet, I'm barely sampling it.  Why is that?

In this season, this early spring, the signs are all around.  Transformation.  Newness.  Life.  But, my mind still wears its thick winter fleece and my senses are dulled by lack of input.  Too many contented nights by the fire.  Too many pleasant little reads.  Too much of the comfortable.

I hate to invite trouble, but sometimes I wonder if I confuse complacency with contentment.  And, if I do, I want to know it right now; because the last thing I want to be is complacent.  I want to be alive, in the moment, alert.  The imagination must be fed.

I need to shake off winter's hibernation and get out of the cave that is my brain.  Listen again to Leaves of Grass with its jazzy accompaniment; read it.  I think I understand more of Whitman now than I ever did before.  Let it be the season of poetry!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Roll Call!

Okay, folks, I keep seeing in my blog stats that there are people reading not only in the US, but also in Israel, Hungary, Russia, Germany, Indonesia, China, Japan, the UK, Canada, France, Iran and Australia!  Comment with your locale - I want to know who you are and what brought you here!  Let's talk!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Drive to the Country, Perchance to Eat Pie

Bruce and I are known for doing things like this, so if you know us you won't be a bit surprised to learn that we drove to Golden City today to eat at a place called Cooky's because we heard they have great pie.  The tales were true.  And, the pie alone would have made the drive well worth it (not to mention the calories it cost me).  But, there was so much more to our drive through the countryside.

Our son recently told his dad, "It's a good thing you two found each other."  Hidden meaning:  you're both weird and no one else would put up with either of you.  He's probably right.  Today, I had a blast enumerating the animals I saw that I don't see on a daily basis:

  1. cows
  2. goats
  3. sheep
  4. mule
  5. chickens
  6. horses
  7. buffalo
We saw land as flat as that through Iowa and, though we've lived in Missouri all our lives, we didn't know we had areas so flat through the southwest part of the state.  We looked through flea markets in three little towns along the way and stopped at Coffee Guru for cup of joe.  

It was wonderful to get away, just that hour or so out of town, to take in the wonderful, pastoral view; to pick up those interesting and old things in the shops, inspect them and consider them; to savor the rich and complex flavors of coffees and German chocolate pie; to hold hands and exchange smiles; to recall song lyrics and movie lines as we drove; to laugh at and appreciate the whimsical nature of someone in Greenfield, Missouri who had painted a door on the house to look like the TARDIS; to add this day to the stockpile of memories of other lovely days spent together, of little towns we've driven to, little sites we've seen, little experiences we've shared that remind us of who we are as individuals, who we are together, and why we're still in love.

(NOTE:  I did try to get a picture of the TARDIS, but there was no shoulder on the highway through there and, though Bruce did try for me, I couldn't get a clear shot without actually crossing a very deep ditch and walking up the hill and onto their property)

Monday, March 21, 2011

You Know He Loves You When

he doesn't flinch at kissing you after watching you eat roasted garlic at Ermilio's;

he laughs and shuts off the car when you decide you'd better pay a visit to the Ladies' at the gas station after all;

he not only notices and appreciate how you walk (dress, talk, present yourself), but tells you so;

he listens to you read about something called Phantom petunias from Better Homes and Gardens and actually looks at the picture you're pointing to;

he doesn't act defensive or huffy when it turns out you're right about something;

he puts off having a Krispy Kreme doughnut until a day when you think you have more calories to spare and can enjoy one, too;

he says he likes life with you and you know he means it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break, Spring Fever, Spring to Life!

Resolved: today I will be present to all around me and bring back to my writing what I receive to give it away again to my readers.

What I've noticed so far today (and it's early):
1.  The joyous sound of wind chimes
2.  The green buds on my hedge and the neighbor's tree
3.  The dog's nails are sharp and need trimming
4.  The happy clink of her tags on the edge of her breakfast bowl
5.  The complete perfection of being hugged by the man who loves me
6.  A squirrel completely in silhouette high in a tree two yards over
7.  A bird chirping in the front yard (chip chip chip chip chipchipchipchipchipchipchip, he says)
8.  Dust (in which I shall just draw a heart shape so that I won't make this into a chore that will take away from my moment)
9.  How satisfying it is to sigh (with contentment)

How much more there must be to discover in the remaining hours!  

Avalon Authors: A PATCHWORK PLOT

The following post by Sandy Cody, beautifully written and wonderfully said, really spoke to my heart as a writer. Today I resolve to be present where I am so that I can take what I find back to the page and share it with the world through my work.

Avalon Authors: A PATCHWORK PLOT: "One of the things I enjoy almost as much as writing is quilting. There is more similarity between the two than one might think. I love wo..."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Who Wants to Be in Love in a Movie When Love in an Opera is So Much Faster?

Puccini's La Boheme:  Act I - love between Rodolfo and Mimi (really Lucia, we don't know why she's called Mimi) happens, as Mr. Bean would say, in the flashiest of flashes.  Why would you want to be in love in a movie when it can happen so much faster in an opera?  Maybe it's because operas rarely (do they ever?) have happy endings.  Movies can end tragically, but the romantic comedies we're so fond of are engineered to make us feel euphoric, at least momentarily.

I heard a funny thing on the radio the other day.  Women respond more, romantically speaking, to action movies than to what we call romances.  Apparently the adrenalin works its magic through a good gun battle or car chase.  As I see it this "fact" works well for both men and women.  And, I'm not a bit surprised, really, when I think about how much I enjoy ice hockey and how the game inspired my first romance novel.  Considering further, my second romance novel was actually propelled by gorging myself on Doctor Who battling evil aliens and not on Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan sharing anonymous emails at all.

Maybe we should consider a new hybrid?  A fusion, if you will - adventuopera.  Or, romaction?  Hmmm.