An email came in from my Village Association with a ‘heat warning.’ Temperatures will be dangerously high today and children and pets should be kept out of the mid-day heat. Several places, like the public libraries have been designated as cooling off centers and people were urged to look in on their neighbors and offer help if needed. That got me wondering what people do in places where there is no air conditioning. What do people do who live in Jungles or deserts? Do people acclimate to such heat and humidity? Can people learn to live and function when the thermometer climbs to a heat index of 105°? http://www.weather.com says ‘limit outdoor exposure, heat index is dangerously high.’ I believe them! It is beastly out there, like walking into a cheese soufflé. Not that I’ve ever actually walked into one, but I imagine it’s like inching through the thick oppressive air outside my door.
I wonder where else in the world these conditions exist and how those people cope with it? Do they sleep through the worst of it? Have a siesta to stay out of the heat and then stay up late when it’s cooler? The bigger question for me is the way weather conditions affect society. Influence the way people work and play; raise and socialize their children, the homes they build, the celebrations they enjoy even the foods they cultivate and prepare. All these things and more are affected by the weather conditions under which people live and.
And, not the least of my thoughts, why is our weather so extreme? It seems more extreme than it used to be. Were conditions in this area always like they are now, or is this the result of ‘global warming’, something we have brought on ourselves with our pollution and selfish disregard for environmental consequences? The experts would have something to say about all this, unfortunately however their differences of opinion have been sufficient to stultify the political/legislative process and prevent our government from enacting comprehensive regulations that might be able to reverse these conditions.
Perhaps things will improve when our lawmakers get hot enough to ask some of these questions themselves and be motivated to seek effective solutions to the problems.
I went to a Maryland Writers Association meeting and heard Vonnie Winslow Crist, a poet, illustrator and fantasy book writer talk about her many experiences, adventures and struggles with the publishing world. She was full of suggestions, funny stories and good advice all of which led me to think about my own goals as a writer. ‘If you think you’ve written the next Steven King best seller,” she said “wait to connect with one of the big New York publishing houses.” If not, you can go with a smaller publisher. Well, I asked myself, have I written a best seller? Am I the next Steven King or maybe James Patterson?? Maybe, I answered. Maybe Dancing on the Razor’s Edge is headed for the New York Times Best Seller list. Maybe I do want to connect with a big publishing company, but how?? Vonnie urged getting ‘yourself out there’ because you never know what exactly will attract attention. Work and write and get your work published wherever and however you can, was her thought. And have several pieces of work ready so that when opportunity knocks, you are ready to answer.
Good advice. So here I am, on the computer writing my blog and thinking about all the places I can publish or get my work out there. Enter contests, she suggested, look into anthologies and see if your work can be included in a collection of similar work. Now I feel energized and determined, ideas are being generated.
So thank you, Vonnie for your inspiration I’m off to get the next ‘Steven King best seller’ published!
I am often struck by what appear to be coincidences between what I’m writing and what is actual and real. For example in Razor’s Edge I was writing about a place where a certain object was manufactured without knowing a) if such an object even existed and b) where in the US it might be manufactured. As I was writing fiction, I described the object and randomly selected a city where that object was manufactured. Several days later I was ‘Googling’ and decided to see if this object indeed existed and lo and behold it does exist and it is indeed manufactured in the exact city I had selected! In writing Seeing Double, I had a similar instance where in I randomly described a doomsday scenario, its location and specific locations in different countries that were involved. About a week later I ran across a CNN piece paralleling what I had described in my novel, including international responses that paralleled the novel. Scary?
While it can be thrilling when these coincidences occur it is also a bit weird. It feels a bit ‘para-psychological,’ a bit ‘whooo-whoo,’ but those feelings don’t make the fact of these experiences any less real. Sure there could be other explanations like ‘I read something about it somewhere’ but that’s not the reality. The best I can come up with is coincidence, luck or fluke but none of these words quite capture the experience. It’s more like ‘a gypsy fortune teller’ saying ‘you will meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger,’ and you run into Ian Somerhalder at Starbucks and you’re the fortune teller! Perhaps it’s telepathy though I don’t consider myself to be telepathic and yet those who are might say that we all have the inherent capacity to be telepathic but are socialized to spurn those ideas/abilities. We are trained as children to be more reality and fact-oriented, to develop practical skills. Children are naturally more fantasy-oriented, their unformed minds are imaginative and creative. Perhaps the coincidences that I’m describing occur when my mind is in that free flowing state. When I’m typing without regard for hard core facts; I’m just ‘in the moment’ with my fingers on the keyboard. It occurs at those times when the words just flow and ideas accumulate forming and reforming like so many clouds moving with the wind.
Years ago I went through a Hugh Prather phase. If you know any of his work it reads like something between blogging and free associating. His work was thought provoking and interesting sometimes tangential sometimes personal but always consistent in its overall pattern. I am using what I think his method must have been here. It’s like ‘dear diary’ but it’s open to the public! With my early psychotherapy training in psychoanalytic methods ‘free association’ comes naturally to me. I have a deep appreciation for how it can lead to deeper thought processes, conflicts, attachments and well you know…‘issues’ as we like to say today. Prather introduced me to the idea that one can start anywhere with a thought and just follow it to see where it goes. It can start with a butterfly on a flower and argument with your spouse or a paragraph in a novel. The point is to observe, conceptualize, articulate and express yourself! I like it! It reminds me of the Windows 8 commercial by Labyrinth “Express Yourself!”
So given that I’m ‘new to blogging’ I hope those more intimately familiar with its process will forgive me my assumptions and errors as I figure this out. ‘New to blogging’ is in fact something of an overstatement. I mean brand new…like these are my first entries, so if you have any suggestions or directions please by all means ‘sock it to me!’ (remember Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In?? )
OK so you’ve all heard about New Years Resolutions, right? Well no doubt, there are biblical origins for them. Every major religion celebrates the New Year in some way that reflects its own customs and traditions. Different New Years begin and end at different times of the year or even according to different calendars but New Year celebrations are universally welcomed with some type of gathering ranging from family dinners to expansive carnivals. Some involve serious religious services others are more secular, marked by food and drink, either or both may consumed in excess!
The Jewish New Year is approaching and I am moved to comment on the deeper meaning of this Holiday (Holy Day). Like other New Year celebrations this day marks the end of the previous year and the beginning of a new year and with it new opportunities for reflection and change. Rosh Hashanah signals us to push the ‘pause button’, to stop our whirlwind life styles and think about ourselves and the lives we are leading. There’s nothing magic or mystical about it, though some of the prayers and religious practices may involve mysticism, simply put it means stop doing what you are doing and think about it. Think about yourself and the kind of person you are, does it match with the you that you want to be? Think about the people in your life and ask if you have the kind of relationships you want to have? Are you living the life you want to be living? Are you struggling with issues that need to be resolved? How are you when you are driving? How are you when you are going to school or working? How do you respond to challenging or frustrating situations? Are you acting in accord with your basic beliefs and values or are do your principles live only in your mind and are not reflected in your actions?
Perhaps that is the basic message of any New Year. One year has ended. How did that year go for you? Are there things that didn’t go well and if so what can you do to change them? If everyone took the time to reflect on themselves, really be honest that alone could change the world. For some it may be a ‘resolution’ to stop smoking, for some it may to be kinder to people, for others it may be to work toward religious purity. We all have the opportunity to use this time to reflect, refresh, possibly redirect ourselves and resolve to change the things we want to change. So, push that ‘pause button’, stop and think and maybe something different will happen in your life.
L’Shanah Tovah Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!