Category Archives: Writing

A Highly Biased History of Writing, Part I


Good morning Everyone!

We take writing for granted – this marvelous ability we humans have developed as a way to share information with each other, even across thousands of years and millions of miles.  Today, in the year 2014, I can read the thoughts of people who lived thousands of years before me.  Have you ever wondered how it began?   I did, and thought I’d share with you my discoveries from the Ugg Clan Chronicles.

Cave man hunting

Ugg Hunting

Ugg was hunting one day.  While he was gone, Suzugg,  the third youngest Ugg child, with some indeterminate assistance from the twins, Uggo and Uggu involving a rock and a fall, hurt her leg.  Seeing that the injury was more serious than the normal bump or bruise which every Ugg child was expected to take in stride, Uggette a/k/a Mrs. Ugg, decided that a trip to the local medicine man (two valleys over, fifth cave to the right) was in order.

Medicine Man

Local Medicine Man

A trip to the local medicine man was not easy.  The local medicine man was only considered the local medicine man because the next closest one was in New Jersey, which would not be discovered for another 8000 years.

New Jersey State Bird

Mrs. Ugg was faced with the task of hauling fourteen children, one of whom would have to be carried (Mrs. Ugg nominated Uggo and Uggu as the carriers, in light of her suspicions as to their role in Suzugg’s injuries) across two ridges and two valleys.  This meant an overnight trip, which meant that Ugg was going to be back sometime before they could return.

Cave Man Family Funny

Ugg, Uggette and a few of their blessings

Uggette had to figure out a way to leave Ugg a message he could understand or else he would worry – there were an infinite number of reasons your whole family could be missing when you got home from a hard’s day hunting and only one or two of them were benign.  And an unnecessarily worried Ugg was a very angry, grumpy Ugg once he recovered from his relief that everyone was okay.

Multi-tasking as most mothers do – comforting Suzugg, keeping Uggodu and Uggodo from burning down the forest in their quest to see what was and was not flammable (we’ll discuss the history of alchemy and chemistry some other time), explaining to Uggita and Uggito that no, you could NOT eat every plant you found in the forest indiscriminately and keeping a sharp eye on Guidugg, who never missed a moment of mischief if he could help it – the harassed Uggette was hard put to find a message that would make sense.

Mischievous Cave Boy

Guidugg

Uggette finally drew a stick figure in the ground of the cave with an X over one leg and drew an arrow in the direction of the medicine man’s cave with fifteen dots underneath it, thereby inventing pictographs, numbers and art at the same time.

Uggette was right; the trip did end up being an overnight one.  They reached the medicine man about an hour before sunset.  While he took care of Suzugg, the medicine man’s sympathetic wife took care of Uggette – putting Uggette’s fourteen children with her own ten and placing the four oldest from either family in charge of the rest – and sitting Uggette down on the nearest rock for a relaxing cup of tea.

Old ethnic fabric texture

The Medicine Man’s State of the Art Woven Rug

When Ugg arrived around midnight, worried, tired and irritated, the medicine man’s wife took care of him too.   A peak at his sleeping family assured him all was well, and a quick word with the medicine man assured him that Suzugg’s ankle was only sprained, not broken (or her leg missing, as he had half feared was what was meant by the pictogram – pictograms can be somewhat lacking in terms of precision).  He gratefully sank down by Mrs. Uggette on the medicine man’s state of the art woven rug, and gave her a quick hug as he did so, pulling the cured bearskin over him.

And that was the beginning.  We’ll move further into the development of writing as recorded in the Chronicles of the Ugg Clan in later posts.

Have a great day!

Nancy

Fn.  All images come from http://www.clickartonline.com and are fully protected by copyright.

 

 

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An Unexpected Detour on the Information Superhighway


Good morning Everyone!

The day after Memorial Day, I spent about an hour working on a “Beginning of Summer” post.  I saved several drafts of it while in the WordPress.com New Post area, but while I was trying to upload some of the pictures, I got a message that my computer was blocking out certain images.  Since the message gave me the option to do so, I chose to look at everything without blocking.  The computer obliged me and reloaded WordPress, but somehow in the process, all the work I had carefully saved was lost.  FN.

Uh Oh!

Uh Oh!

This poses quite a mystery to me, since I can’t imagine what happened to all that information which was supposed to be safely stored on the WordPress servers.

head scratching, wondering, thinking

From http://www.clickartonline.com by Broderbund. All rights reserved.

We have digital internet, which means that information from my computer passes to the WordPress server in separate packages of information, called bits.  In a perfect world, I would be the only person working with the WordPress servers, and my little packages of information would be the only ones out there traveling the information superhighway.  In that case, the travel would look something like this:

digital internet bits

One Traveler on the Information Superhighway

Since, as you already know, this world is not perfect, I am willing to bet that there is NEVER a time when only one person is using the WordPress servers, and that more often than not, the path to the WordPress servers looks like New York City traffic at rush hour, something like this.

digital bits internet routing

Many Travelers on the Information Superhighway

The beauty of the digital internet and digital bits and routing hardware and software that I don’t begin to claim to understand is that, in a heavy traffic situation, the little bits of information coming from my computer (the red stars) somehow know to search for the least traveled route to WordPress, meaning that my information still gets to WordPress very quickly, even if the path to WordPress taken by my bits is longer than the original route.

digital bits routing alternative

My Bits Taking the Road Less Traveled By (With apologies to Robert Frost

So far so good, right? Everyone still with me? Anyone need an air horn blasted by their ear to wake back up? Here’s the problem, however  – when I saved my work on WordPress, my bits started traveling from my computer to the WordPress servers, but in the interim, when I told my computer to show me everything, the bits disappeared. WHERE DID THEY GO? Where do all the bits that somehow drop out of sight end up? After careful thought, all I can offer you is a few suggestions.

lost bits routing digital internet

Possible Detours on the Information Superhighway

Take Saskatchewan, for instance.  Saskatchewan is a Canadian province directly north of the states of Montana and North Dakota, with a population of just over 1,000,000 people as of 2011.  A bit from the Great State of Alabama would enjoy kicking back in the summer there for vacation, where temperatures range with highs between 75 and 82 in July, while back here at Alabama we will be somewhere between 95 and 100 with 100% humidity.

moose, royal canadian mounted police

Welcome to Saskatchewan!
from http://www.clickartonline.com; Copyright protected.

Timbuktu, on the other hand, represents mystery and adventure and a bit aiming for a little excitement on vacation could do quite well kicking around there for a while.

Safari, traveler, explorer

A Bit Exploring Timbuktu; from http://www.clickartonline.com; copyright protected.

As any airline traveler in Alabama knows, Alabama bits must go through Atlanta to fly to anywhere else in the United States or the world, AND the Atlanta airport takes some skill to navigate correctly.  I am positive that there are thousands of bits wandering desolately through the Atlanta airport looking for the right flight to take them on to their ultimate destination.

Aerial, Atlanta Airport

Atlanta Airport; Photograph released into the public domain by Nikon

A bit that is either 1) just plain lost or 2) looking for a very quiet place to relax  could end up somewhere like Franklin, Georgia, population approximately 950 people, on the banks of a river with a river walk and a boat launch.

Bits that wind up in Seattle are looking for higher education at the hands of Microsoft, Cray or Amazon, among many other available tech companies in the area.  Since a higher education takes years to achieve, these bits will stay off the highway long enough for it to have changed completely and for them to have forgotten their original mission.

Seattle

Downtown Seattle; photograph by Daniel Schen, from Wikimedia Commons

The bits that end up in Shangri-Law, the corporate law division of the paradise known as “Shangri-La”  live in a fantastic venue, but have to work hard, too.  It’s not easy policing the information channels of the world to ensure that Shangri-La remains a myth and that any information that might allow world travelers to discover its real location is removed or distorted.  These bits also will not be allowed to leave without a complete memory wipe, lest they deliberately or inadvertently lead others there.

Shangri-La, Sky Captain

Shangri-La, the location of the celebrated corporate law firm of Shangri-Law

I envy the bits in Never-Never Land – they get to play in the many computer games Peter Pan and the Lost Boys have acquired over the years (just because they don’t grow up doesn’t mean they haven’t kept up with the latest toy trends.  Rumor has it that even Tinker Bell has been seen playing with her cell phone and a fashion designing app.)

The bits that end up in the South Pole are dedicated to scientific research, since that is the only reason bits or people currently travel to the South Pole.  It makes me feel a little bit better to know that at least some of my earlier post was lost to ensure the advancement of humankind’s knowledge about the world we live in.

Penguin, South Pole

Travel Poster for Bits Enticing Them to the South Pole
from http://www.clickartonline.com, copyright protected.

If you have any stray bits wandering around out there, I’d love for you to let me know where you think they might be hiding!

Have a great day!

Nancy

FN.  There is nothing, I mean NOTHING, more irritating to a writer than to completely lose a piece he or she has put time, energy and imagination into writing.  It’s almost impossible to recapture the flavor of the original piece from memory.

Here I Blog Again….


Good morning, everyone!

I want to lose weight.

Actually, that statement is not quite true.  What I really want is to go to bed one night and wake up the next morning about 95 pounds lighter and looking like Sophia Loren, or the actress that plays Ziva David on NCIS and stay that way while I eat as many chocolate donuts, candy and cake  as I want.

NCIS, Ziva, Cote De Pable
Cote De Pablo from NCIS

It has occurred to me, after a couple of years of studying it, that it ain’t going to happen that way.  It’s just not.  And unfortunately, I am one of those people who have to do everything “right” in order to start losing weight.  By “right” I really mean I have to follow the complete package – food, exercise, lots of water, you name it.

Armchair
Where I prefer to sit!

I also am singularly unmotivated to put in the effort and time required for the full lifestyle change that losing weight and then continuing to stay at a healthy weight and have good health habits permanently (translate that to “eat right and keep exercising”) takes.  I know what I should do, but I can’t seem to translate the “should” into “want to.”

I am, however, very motivated to write.  Signing onto my blog and sharing stuff with as many of you that care to read about it is something I really enjoy.

So, I have decided to combine the “want to” with the “have to” in a new blog, “Tales from the Mom-side:  Weight Loss Adventures” located at the cleverly named www. weightadventures.com.  (www.weightlossadventures.com was already taken.)  The hope is that the desire to write will outweigh the lack of “want to” with weight.

Pen, writing, blog

This new blog will be a little different from this blog.  It is going to be  more restricted in scope, really focusing on weight loss and health issues.  I probably will publish around one post a week, in which I will set forth my goal for the week, or share any useful information that I may have come up with during the week, or observations I have or whatever else about the “getting healthy” process that strikes my fancy.  It also will have a Twitter feed in the side bar, once I figure out how the heck to do that, where I will share “tweets” about temptations or observations or times when I have to make a choice related to my weekly goal.  That way, people interested in this new blog won’t get multiple posts on one day if I am having a particularly challenging day, but I still can share my thoughts with those who may be interested (and I freely admit that the pool of those interested may be a set of one – myself – but you never know).

I thought I’d start off with a really simple goal this week – eat breakfast at home every day.  By changing my customary driving breakfast of two-plain-biscuits-with-grape-jelly- and-three-chocolate-cookies-please at McDonald’s (the cookies are really for snack later) to the bagel/bread and peanut butter that I also like, I will save both money and calories.  Let’s see how I do!

All of which is very long way of saying “Here I blog again!”

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

A Rose By Any Other Name?


Good morning everyone!

They (ie., William Shakespeare) once said that “a rose by another name would smell as sweet.”  Due to an unfortunate encounter with perfume that was loved by another not wisely, but too well, I have been thinking about that quote, and I just don’t believe it.  If I offer you a rose, I am offering you not only the physical object in my hand, but the centuries of allure, legend and mystique that travel with the word “rose.”  If all I was offering you was a “rosa berberifolia,” I don’t think you would be nearly as impressed!  Even if you were, the name “rose” sounds better than “rosa berberifolia“.)

To further prove my point, I offer you edited versions of the following famous (ie., taught in most English classes nationwide) poems:

Daffodils

From William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”:

I wandered lonely as a cumulus
That floats on high o’er depressions with predominant extent in one direction and natural land elevations, usually less than 1000 feet above its surroundings, with a rounded outline.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden Narcissus pseudonarcissi;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the air in slight motion relative to the earth.

Tiger

From Robert Blake’s “The Tiger”:

Panthera Tigris! Panthera Tigris! Combusting bright
In the forest of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

lark, flight

From Tennyson’s “Come Spring” ( Excerpt from the second stanza):

Up leaps the passerine, gone wild to welcome the season beginning with the March equinox and ending with the summer solstice,
About her glance the Paridaes, and shriek the Cyanocitta cristatas,
Before her skims the jubilant Melanerpes erythrocephalus ,
The  Carduelis cannabina’s bosom blushes at her gaze,
While round her brows a woodland Columba palumbus flits,
Watching her large light eyes and gracious looks,
And in her open palm a halcyon sits
Patient–the secret splendour of the brooks. …

Question Mark

They just don’t have the same ring to them, do they?

Have a great day everyone, a good holiday weekend!

Nancy

A Funny Short Short – The Ultimate Consumer Complaint of the Future!


Good morning Everyone!

Today, I am sharing with you a short, short story that I wrote last year.  Enjoy!
 
 
 
Robot from Print Shop Professional 2.0
 
Customer Service
Interspace Robotic Corporation
800 New England Way
Venusian Colony #5 
 
Dear Sirs: 
 
Thank you for accepting the return of your Model 3300 Robotic Clone. I am writing to provide you, as you requested, a more specific description of the problems we encountered with the robot.
 
 As promised, the Model 3300, whom we named Gertrude, was a hard worker with detailed knowledge of nutrition, household chores, home repair, and yard work, looked human, and contained an additional logic booster chip which allowed her to make decisions in the best interest of our family without constantly being given specific orders. The problem was that Gertrude was incapable of understanding that, on occasion, the less logical choice was better.
 
 
For example, while Gertrude was correct that vacuuming at non-peak hours was good for the environment, placing less strain on the electrical grid, no-one in our family got any sleep on Tuesday and Friday nights during her 2:00 a.m. house-cleaning sessions. And while shaving the dogs certainly cut down on the amount of dog hair floating around various rooms, I am not sure the dogs have yet gotten over the trauma of being shaved bald in 2.0 seconds flat.
 
In addition, although I have often fantasized about placing my children under house arrest when they fail to clean their rooms and do their homework, and the electronic monitoring bracelets Gertrude designed were quite clever, we found that the Department of Human Resources, Child Welfare Division, had problems both with house arrest and the electric shock the bracelets delivered when one of the children would violate the terms of her confinement. 
 
As another example, the research on nutrition Gertrude performed, and her presentation to the family, was flawless, but after seven days of tofu, fruit and berries for meals, the entire family began to sneak out to stuff ourselves with cheese fries and chocolate sundaes, at least until the location bracelets were placed on the children.
 
My husband has been threatening for years to place Astroturf instead of grass on our yard, but the Covenant Enforcement Committee objected strongly both to it, and the plastic flowers and bushes in front of the house. The members also were singularly unimpressed with Gertrude’s dissertation on individual liberties under the United States Constitution when they came to discuss the issue. 
 
The final straw came the day we returned home from a week’s vacation to find that the wooden floors and carpet throughout the house had been replaced with industrial strength concrete and drains strategically located throughout the house so that the floors could simply be hosed down instead of vacuumed or mopped. The floor and carpet installers both admit that Gertrude did an excellent job, as did the locksmith we called in to bypass the lockout system she placed on our air conditioning system to prevent the thermostat from being set below 82 degrees, but we are not looking forward to the payments on the second mortgage we now need to fix everything back the way it should be. 
 
 
Accordingly, we returned Gertrude to you. 
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Jane Smith
 
P.S. The Covenant Enforcement Committee has asked me to remind you that the restraining order will stay in effect for 10 years.
 
 
 
 
 
Have a great day, everyone!
 
Nancy

High School Career Day Left A Lot To Be Desired


Good morning Everyone!

I find it is easier sometimes to access WordPress through Google Chrome, and as I was getting ready to sign in this morning, I looked at the latest product from the Google Doodlers, and realized that “Google Doodler” was not on the list of possible careers when I attended career day during high school.

Of course, neither Google, nor personal computers were invented when I graduated from high school, which might explain the absence.  However, other exciting career choices didn’t make the list, either.

Sunset over Key West

One example is travel show host.  If they had told me in high school that I could travel to lots of exotic and exciting places, take cruises, make regular trips to Disney World, tell people about it on TV and get paid for it, my career choices might have been very different.

I would have liked to know more about jobs like “Alaskan State Trooper.”  I probably wouldn’t have taken that route, but the show is pretty fascinating.  My husband wishes that he had known about jobs such as Alaskan bush pilot (I think that’s the right phrase).  He probably would have taken any job that allowed him to fly for a living in a sea plane between small towns, even if it meant living in the Arctic.  (And given the way Mark hates cold, that’s saying something!)   If he had known you could do it in tropical islands and make a living, we would be living somewhere like Tahiti now.

From Print Shop Professional 2.o

RV park inspector is another job that didn’t make the list.  As near as I can fathom the requirements of this job, an RV park inspector rides from RV park to RV park in some type of recreational vehicle, either a motor home or a trailer, and rates the park on given specifications either for the campground chain’s purposes or for publication in a campground guide.  We would be quite good at that.

Working at a local marina might be fun (I have to confess I didn’t know what a marina was until after high school; I knew what a port was, but didn’t have a conception of a marina – the casualty of a Navy family life geared to the ocean).

I did flirt with the idea of marine biologist, available on career day, but let the idea slide due to the fact that I didn’t think I could pay for graduate school (but then Mark and I ended up paying for me to go to law school at night!  Go figure.)

Writing has always been high on my list, and “writer” was a possible career discussed on career day, but the descriptions always included terms equivalent to “starving artist” which placed the job at a decided disadvantage.  It took me seven years after graduating law school to realize that I was writing for a living – granted, I was writing briefs for judges and lawyers to read, but I was writing.  “Starving artist” is not a term associated with what I do.  I also get to write this blog, which helps to stave off, even if it doesn’t completely satisfy, the creative writing urge in me.  I couldn’t make a living with the blog, but I certainly do enjoy writing it.

“Artist” wasn’t even a remote possibility, as I had no idea until two years ago that I had any modicum of artistic talent whatever.

There is always a bright side, of course, even to notable gaps in career day in high school and career choices by adults.  In my case, it is all the possibilities left for me as I decide what I want to be when I grow up!  At this rate, I expect I will be fully grown up when I reach the age of, oh, 90 or so.

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

P.S.  Thank all of you for your kind words and prayers regarding the death of my grandfather.  I appreciate them.

Celebration! Drawing!


Good morning Everyone!

A big celebration should be accompanied by lots of big balloons, hence the featured image for today and the picture above.  What are we celebrating?  This blog yesterday crossed the threshold of 25000 total views!

Now, whether this is normal for blogs or not, I do not know.  I do know that there are a lot of excellent bloggers who have been writing for a shorter time than I have with many more than 25,000 views; I also know there are many excellent bloggers that have been writing longer than I have that have fewer views.  But, for me, the idea that people have looked at my blog more than 25,000 times in less than a year is pretty mind-boggling.

For those of you not familiar with WordPress statistics, a view is the number of times someone somewhere has clicked on a link and looked at the blog, not the number of separate individuals who have looked at it, so my regular subscribers are a large component of that 25,000, and I am very grateful to all of you.

So what are we going to do to celebrate?  Well, today through Monday, I am giving everyone a chance to enroll in a giveaway drawing, if you wish.  I had the sooty tern picture that I painted with pastels made into notecards that are blank inside.  The notecards are on good quality card stock, with a slightly glossy finish on the outside, and a paper finish on the inside to make writing easy.  They come with envelopes that self-seal.  I am going to give away one set each of 8 notecards to two people in a random drawing between all entries.  If you want to enter, please send an e-mail to workmomad@gmail.com with the subject listed as “Drawing” and with your name, or nickname if you prefer and your e-mail address in the body of the e-mail.  I promise not to use the e-mail addresses for any reason other than the drawing, and will delete them once the drawing is finished.

I will draw two names randomly from the entries on Tuesday, March 12, and ask those people for their addresses to send the cards.  The notecards really are very nice, even if I say so myself.

Have a great day everyone, and again, thank you!

Nancy

P.S.  I wish I could give them away to everyone, but the cost of getting them printed was too high for me to do that.  However, if any of you have a burning desire to have said notecards even if you don’t win the drawing, let me know that in your entry too, or e-mail me after the drawing and tell me how many and I will let you know the price for purchase (shipping and tax is extra) so you can decide if you want to buy them or not.

Say What???


Good morning everyone!

I love WordPress.  I really do; in fact, I love it so much that when I started my second blog, The Football Novice, I didn’t consider using any other software, but immediately went to its sister site, WordPress.org. 

However, every once in a while, usually after I insert a picture, it gets temperamental.  Not a full-grown fit, mind you, just pouting, doing things like not letting me post two pictures in a row without a line of text in between , or changing the font of my post without warning, then reverting to the original font after one paragraph. 

I have discovered through trial and error that the best way to try to fix those little irritating changes is to switch over to the HTML tab and see if anything looks unusual.  Well, actually, since all of the HTML code looks unusual to me, I look to see if anything looks more out-of-place than the rest of the HTML code listed there.  So last week, when my font changed for one paragraph after inserting a picture, and nothing I could do on my regular screen (the tab marked “visual” where my writing usually lives) worked, I bravely ventured forth into the world of code. 

There are a couple of basics to HTML code that I have figured out on my own.  Any HTML code will be written inside the greater and less than signs.  (“<>”).  Sometimes, inside the bracket there will be some kind of letters, or the “/” symbol and some kind of letters.  This is turning something on or off.  The one I recognize the most easily is <ul>, which turns underlining on, and </ul>, which turns underlining off.

The culprit last week appeared to be a code called <div>.  Not having a clue what that meant, I did what any reasonable person would do, and googled it.  The first site I found said the following:

The command encloses, defines and contains an HTML document division. In the Netscape browser it functions essentially the same as the <P> (paragraph) command. In the Internet Explorer browser it is designed to be used in conjunction with Style Sheets.

Of course!  Why didn’t I think of that?  Needless to say, that didn’t help me a lot.  However, I did find a web site that took pity on less technologically advanced folks (I am a wife, mother, dog owner, lawyer, writer and lots of other things, but NOT a software engineer!), and explained things in a much simpler manner.

If you need it, go to http://om4.com.au/client/html-for-bloggers/. OM4, according to its web page, is an Australian web site design and development company for small business.    Basically <div> on WordPress tells your blog page that you are changing to a different type of page/formatting.  Now that, I understood!  OM4 explains many other commands in that article as well. 

After getting rid of some <div> codes, my text was finally correct, and I could breathe easier, and publish my post.

Of course, there was always the option of posting it with the unintentional font change, which would have saved me a great deal of time, but the perfectionist in me just couldn’t handle it!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

A Trip to the Corner Drugstore, Pens and Copyright


Good morning Everyone!

Here are some odds and ends from the weekend.

    • A Trip to the Corner Drugstore

Yesterday I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription.  I had to wait just a few minutes, so I walked over to a revolving rack that sold little paperback books.  I started laughing out loud when I read the title of one of them – How to Live Successfully with Screwed Up People.  I thought about buying the book just to see how the author carried through with such a unique title, but the thought of someone close to me wondering why I would need such a book decided me against it. 

 However, once my prescription was ready, I told the lady behind the counter about the book.  To my surprise, she smiled and nodded and answered “Yes, my mother bought it.”  She added, “She has marked sections in it and put the names beside it of each of her children she thinks the section applies to.”  That’s a real confidence builder, isn’t it?

  • Pens

Some time ago, I told you about the mysterious disappearance of pens from my junk drawer.  (See, Of Waves and Pens).  Recently, I found where some of them were hiding – I have a little pouch I carry in my purse for writing utensils, and about 10 of them had fled there, I can only assume for protection from the evil pencil conspiracy.

    • Copyright

I learned something about copyright in the United States this weekend while reading the 2011 Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest.  Did you know that everything you write is immediately protected by copyright as soon as it is written?  You do not have to have a registered copyright in order to be able to use the copyright symbol!  (There are advantages to having a registered copyright, but we won’t go into that.)  I thought that was way cool, and have immediately availed myself of this new piece of knowledge to proudly display my own copyright symbol at the bottom of my blog, just because I can!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

The Blank Page: Analogy and Reflection


Good morning Everyone!

Have you ever thought about the possibilities inherent in a blank page?  Every single book ever written began with one, even the Bible.  A page is anything that is written upon, physically or electronically, which includes all medium from leather hides, cuneiform clay tablets, papyrus, paper, computer screens and napkins and paper towels (for those of us like me who are organizationally challenged and can’t find paper all the time when they need it.)

A blank page can be intimidating, especially when a deadline is looming.  It stares back at you, unblinking, demanding that something be written on it.  At my work, it usually is demanding that something be written on it quickly, with accurate legal citations, and adequate evidence to prove my point.  When I am just writing, as I am now, sometimes it gives me a softer, gentler stare, reminding me that I can write about anything that I want, and sometimes the stare challenges me, telling me I can do better and it’s time to start writing.  

One typewriter Ernest Hemingway used to fill blank pages

A blank page can be comforting.  Each one is a new start, a new opportunity, a chance to write something that no one has every written before.  With each one, the possibility exists that the magic inherent in the written word will strike, and that elusive combination of words that goes straight to the hearts of others and makes them laugh or cry or think, that makes those particular words matter and live on past the immediate moment of their writing will be formed.

Kayla at what can only be called the "heirloom typewriter" for our family.

A blank page is both malleable, and inflexible.  A blank page, once I write on it, will let me erase the words I have previously written and start over again, if I need to, (with the exception of leather hides and cuneiform clay tablets; that’s more complicated) but I always reach a point where I am locked in to what I have written, and the story or brief acquires a life of its own.

Kayla, during her first Christmas ever with us.

I think that’s one reason that children are fascinating.  At the very beginning, they seem to be a blank page as well, but a blank page that, as it grows, like any good story, takes on a life of its own.  I have noticed that with Kayla.  While I see her growing into being her own wonderful person, I can see traits that mirror traits that Mark or I have, both good and bad.   She can be very flexible, at times, and absolutely intransigent (I can’t imagine where that stubbornness comes from!  Family members, no laughing please) at others.  She has been participating in writing her own story from the blank page that she started as, and as both a writer and a watcher of it, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Kayla driving the Southern Star, our dolphin cruise boat, this summer

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy