Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Of Mice, Cats and Agoraphobics

No Ruby Tuesday today. The day has kind of gotten away from me, though I had an enjoyable discussion about politics, the environment, unions and a host of other things with the Schwann's guy....

It has been an exciting few days here in Hancock. It started with my smoke alarm and the dead mouse last Thursday. The dead mouse apparently had a friend. Lucky for me I have some kind and generous friends too who came and helped ease my anxiety, put steel wool in the hole in the bathroom wall and found the real source which was under the kitchen sink. They did what they could to plug that up too. The mouse, alas, is still at large, though we had a quiet an exciting Saturday and Sunday. I'm hoping the little guy has found it's way out into the big world where it belongs.

For those of you who worried that Angel was failing in her kitty duty to bring me her prey, be reassured. She lives by the tradition. Alas (and also happily), the prey she carried over to the desk and lay at my feet was still quite robust and ran away. Eeeeeeek. That was Sunday. Yesterday was mouseless, though I imagined lots of mice and am still prone to jump at every unexpected noise. I think the worst is behind us now. Hopefully the mice have realized that this isn't such a cool place to visit and my friends' efforts at blocking entrances will let them know they aren't really welcome. We will see.

Interestingly, Tara Grace has no interest whatsoever in mice. You would think that since she lived outside for a long time that she would, but nope. It has been kind of comforting actually to have her lying against me in perfect calm as Angel chased unseen beasts around the house.... and into the bedroom. Sigh. Saturday night she knocked my reiki table down and I spent much of the day convinced that there was going to be a crushed mouse underneath it. There wasn't. I'm hoping that we have seen the last of the little guys. I don't want them running around but I don't especially want them dead either. I'm just hoping Angel doesn't bring me any more.

Well, the sun has come out and I don't really have anything to say today that doesn't revolve around mice. Hard to believe that tomorrow will be April. Time is flying. Now that the sun is out I don't know if it's my imagination or not, but I think the grass across the street looks just a little bit greener. Yeee haaa! Spring is on the way.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Single Impression: Smoke

(Please scroll down for Shadow Shot Sunday.)

It has been FOREVER since I managed to squeeze anything out of my brain for One Single Impression and I have really missed both writing and reading. This week's prompt was "smoke." I kind of hate what I've got... but I really want to join in again even if I suck...

A small (belated) disclaimer about the cigarette poem in response to a few comments. I don't blame smokers for smoking. I hate that there is an addictive product out there being marketed to them. I have friends trying to quit and having a hard time. It bugs me that people are getting rich causing harm to others. Anyway, this isn't an anti SMOKER poem, it's an anti smoking poem.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

It's been quite a while since I participated in Hey Harriet's Shadow Shot Sunday and I've missed it. Had a bout with the blues and with lots of gray shadow-less days. Took my camera out again this week. Pictures aren't very good, but I'm happy that I'm taking pictures again - even crappy ones - something I missed during my self-pity season.

I love the shape of this tree.

Same shadows, new season. The snow is finally gone!

This isn't a very good picture of Tara Grace and there's
not much of a shadow, but I never like to post just
one of
my cats and not the other...

Angel loves the sun... which makes for plenty of shadows.

And last but not least... a robin and his/her shadow.
Spring is coming!

(or AUTUMN depending on where you live)

Howard Dean on Health Care

I say AMEN! I so agree!

I added my name. I've been saying the same thing (well not exactly) for decades. In my view this is such an necessary and insane-not-to-make change. It seems like common sense and common decency/humanity to make sure everyone has access to health care. But anyway, if you are interested in adding your name, here's the link to Stand with Dr. Dean.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 56

This is week 56 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. Oh my, oh my, oh my.... previous complaints about my choice of words pale in the face of this week's ten world challenge. What was I thinking? Where did these horrific words come from? Why, Lord, why did I pick them? I beg forgiveness from all of you who have had the courage to participate this week. It's one of those weeks when I wish I wasn't hosting because I could tip-toe quietly out of the room and skip the challenge.... BUT.... AGGGGGGGH! I HAVE to do it! Anyone want to volunteer some words for future weeks? Then I can be mad at someone else instead of myself.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: partition, imagination, salvation, mirror image, green power, highway, roasting marshmallows, serial killer, autograph, cartography Mini Challenge: cell phone, Big Mac, panther, legendary, poets corner

Here's my ten-word offering for this week

In the bizarre cartography of his darkly confused and partitioned mind, serial killer Alph Langerford, saw all women as mirror images of his late mother. “My way or the highway,” she had said so often that he had felt it poetic justice to deposit her dismembered body, piece by piece, along the various roads he traveled, depositing an arm in Nebraska, a leg in Tennessee, and so on across the country. Her head he had left in Louisiana, where she had reminded him often, that her life had been ruined by his arrival into the world. Her heart he had dropped on a glacier in Alaska. His contribution to green power; in his damaged imagination he believed that its icy coldness would slow global warming for at least a thousand years. On this particular October evening he sat by a warm campfire roasting marshmallows and happily imagining the future crowds who would line up for his autograph, when they discovered that he was the author of the earth’s salvation, having solved global warming while ridding the world of cold-hearted bitches at one and the same time.

And here's my mini challenge:

Martin Migglesworthy, proud headliner for the cable TV show The Poet’s Corner, proudly read his latest masterpiece “Big Macs, Cell Phones, and the End of the World” to an appreciative audience. Not since his legendary masterpiece “Panther on the Path” had he written anything which resonated so with his listeners and readers. He might hate cell phones, but he loved cable TV.

And for the mega challenge:

Helen Herringsworthy could not believe that she was finally getting to participate in the legendary annual gathering known as the Poet’s Corner. Not only was she there, she was popular. All three books of her poetry: Roasting Marshmallows, Green Power Highway, and Mirror Images were selling like hot cakes and admiring fans were coming up to her for autographs. Autographs! It was better than every fantasy her imagination had conjured over the many years when she had been a mere visitor and not one of the “stars.” What made it all even better was that she was headlining with two of her own idols, Martin Migglesworthy, whose epic poem, “Panther on the Path,” she considered to be a masterpiece. The fact that he and her other idol, Benny “Big Mac” MacPherson, hated one another was a bit awkward, particularly given Migglesworthy’s reading of a poem complaining about the age of cell phones and what he labeled “fast food” writers, whom he alleged were “serial killers” of the English language. The allusion was not lost on the audiences and it was producing some pretty serious tension into the gathering. Still she was not going to let their drama spoil her own joy. Her own new poems “The Cartography of Salvation” and “The Partitioned Heart,” were being met with warm acclaim – even by Martin and Big Mac. This was a magic time and nothing could go wrong. Life was not just good, it was a “glorious rush of contrapuntal music, whispering in the wind of unseen stars.” A new poem was rising. It was the best of times.


In last week's comments section, an Anonymous participant left the following offering towards this week's challenge. In case any of you missed it, I'm going to post it here. I also hope that if you didn't check back after Saturday, that you check out some of the late submissions we got last week. I will almost never single anyone out because everyone who participates is awesome, but I thought Gabrielle wrote something that is extraordinary and I hope you all will check it out here.

But here's what Anonymous had to offer with this week's words:

hi here is my contribution to the challenge.. disclaimer this is with malice towards no one or no religion...

The partition of India was an epic development in the 20th century. It was to intended to create a mirror image of the "Hindu India" with the "Muslim Pakistan". The imagination of the British, the Hindus, the Muslims and the rest of the world never contemplated that this was nothing but the beginning of the construction of a highway to many years of suffering for both countries and perhaps the world. The cartography of the Indian subcontinent had the autograph of the blood of a million people sent in either direction across the new borders. The cost in human terms of partition was more severe than a million serial killers let loose upon an unsuspecting population roasting marshmallows and enjoying the dying days of the British Raj. Today the Muslim world stands behind the green might of nuclear powered Pakistan, and the souls of the authors of the partition of India and Pakistan scream for salvation, as each day a new death is added to the tally of this event.


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: apoplexy, doctor, hummingbird, shallow end of the pool, brigadier general, mustard, greed, parallelogram, slumber party, casual

Mini Challenge: Mount Olympus, arsonist, portraits, birch trees, "that car needs a new muffler"

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Please only sign into Mr. Linky if you are participating in
this week's Wordzzle Challenge.

Seven Deadly Sins: Envy

Well, it's Friday morning and time for Kay's (Perhaps We Learn) Seven Deadly Sins meme. This week's sin is envy. Oh, dear. I was feeling pretty smug about my relationship to envy and jealousy... until I checked the definition which reads: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc. Ok, so I'm not quite so above it as I thought I was. But I would like to rationalize a little... or maybe I am, I guess it depends to some extent on how you read that definition.

I think there are two kinds/levels of envy - I'll call them banal and toxic for want of any better terms. Banal envy involves craving what someone else has without resenting them for it. I'm not sure I think that's particularly "sinful," perhaps because I indulge in it quite a bit and I'd rather not think ill of myself for doing so. What I think of as true or toxic envy not only craves what someone else has but wishes they didn't have it and resents their good fortune.

I'm more than capable of coveting cool things other people have. Last year my friend Nate got himself a camera with zillions of pixels and a 15x zoom. This was shortly before Tara Grace (bless her) smashed my zoomless, pixel-poor antique digital camera into a million pieces. I SOOOO wanted one like Nate's. I coveted pixels and zoom and I coveted them badly. Until I saw Nate's new camera, I had wished vaguely for a nicer camera but it hadn't been a big partof my consciousness. But once I actually saw what zooming could do and the quality that extra pixels gave a picture, my desire got pretty obsessive. I kidded Nate a lot about how jealous I was. And I confess with no shame to being almost (almost?) euphoric when Tara broke my camera so that I could rationalize spending money I didn't really have on a cool new camera. I've had so much joy from that camera.... sometimes foolishness isn't so foolish. I'm grateful that Nate created that envy in me and that it led to something which has expanded the way I see the world and opened up a whole new world of creativity to me. It doesn't feel sinful (negative) to me. Religious zealots might tell me to pack my bags for Hell, but I got joy in Nate having the camera, I enjoyed my envy and I LOVE my camera. Part of why I feel so adamant about this is probably because I was raised to feel guilty if I wanted anything. It has taken a lot of work to rejoice in my desires and hopes. I don't always manage it, but this was one case where - after a lot of back and forth about whether I could afford it and a lot of angst about getting it for myself and a certain amount of guilt about wanting it so badly, joy has won. But back to the topic of envy.

What I think of as real envy (toxic envy), she rationalized, is resenting what another person has. That, I'm not prone to. I was thrilled that Nate got his camera. I was happy for him. If I had my druthers, everybody who wants one would have a good camera. In fact that's one of my fantasies for when I win the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. A photo program for some of the local schools which would give kids who were interested a good camera and teach them how to use it creatively.

True or Toxic Envy to me involves not just a coveting of what someone else has but a resenting that they have it and/or desiring that you have it instead of them. Envy in it's most toxic form assumes that the universe is small and stingy and doesn't have enough for everyone. Envy in it's toxic form is ugly and reflects a sense that your worth is based on what you have or what your job title is or some other false definition. Envy in it's most toxic form resents someone else's success or happiness. I think that kind of envy has to be terribly painful and it fits my definition of sin (separation from God) because it means you are disconnected from your own inherent goodness and worth and from God/the Universe's abundant Love.

I have a profound belief in the power of gratitude. People like Louise Haye, Wayne Dyer and the Abraham-Hicks people, most modern mystics, all talk about the power of attraction. In other words ... we bring to us what we focus on. Serge Kahili King, who teaches Hawiian mysticism, expreses it this way: "Energy flows where attention goes." Using this theory, the toxic form of envy is not only ugly and unpleasant, it's counter-productive. In toxic envy you are focused on what you don't have.... and you continue to draw not having to you. And it's just an unpleasant way to live.

I think I've always been prone to gratitude and being positive, but some years back when I was at one of my lowest points - I was out of work, out of pension, living under the power of a stingy and mean-spirited landlord, not yet ready to face the truth of how disabled I was or willing to reach out for help... my life was a real mess - I came across an essay called Thank You for Everything that had a powerful impact on me. It was written by a man named Alan Cohen and talked about a mantra taught to him by a wise teacher. It goes "Thank you for everything. I have no complaints whatsoever." I practiced it constantly. The worse things got the more I gave thanks for them. Two strange things happened. First, when I gave thanks for something - even if I didn't quite mean it - my attitude changed. I found I didn't feel so bad about it. Secondly, my life began to shift. I dont' know if it's true or not, but I think that when we give gratitude for even things that seem like disasters, it opens a path for the Universe to be creatively generous, to move beyond. Resenting our situation, wallowing in us, glues it to us and us to it. Which sort of brings me back to envy... (I know, I digressed. I always digress. I can't help myself.) Anyway, oddly, I think Toxic Envy really is among the most destructive emotional states we can experience. It carries within it a bit of many of the other sins: lust for what other s have, anger that they have it, greed, pride (inverse pride, maybe, but pride). It's ugly and in it's toxic form can eat away at your spirit and your joy.

That said, I think we should be careful not to confuse toxic envy with a joyful love of life, with seeing something wonderful that someone else has and wanting to have it too, not to lessen them or with resentment of them, but for the joy and delight of expanding your own world and life.

So that's my thoughts on envy. I don't know if I've made any sense or not. Not going to go back an reread, just hope that there's a coherent thought or two here and there.


On another note: Tomorrow from 8:30 to 9:30 you might want to participate in something called "Earth Hour," an effort to focus on global warming. For one hour, you are asked to take the simple step of turning your lights off. That's it. Save an hours worth of energy... multiplied by hopefully a million other people around the world. Not much of a sacrifice and good food for thought.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Having a Tough Day

Happy Thursday, everyone. Apologies to Quilly today. I can't quite get my brain around her three words... was having a hard time finding a meaning for jibber, still not feeling too well. My left ear has now gone wonky. It's a little better than it was last night, but not great.

I seem to be in a trouble cycle. Battery on my smoke alarm died last night which meant it started beeping every 15 seconds or so. It's slightly out of my reach and last time it went off I had to knock it down with my cane. It was apparently ready for me last night because it refused to budge no matter what I did. Thank goodness for Nate. He came by and took it down for me. While he was here my left ear suddenly went funny. It's an ear that gets irritated sometimes but it has never done this before. It just kind of closed up... It seems a bit better but it still feels odd and I feel lopsided. Could be worse, I guess... and it IS getting better.

But that's not the big thing that has happened in a short 12 hours. Angel caught - and killed - a mouse last night. It's under the carpet outside the bathroom. She is holding vigil at the carpet. I'm holding in screams and panic and wishing it would go away by magic.

Besides all that, it's gloomy and chilly out today, supposed to rain later. I am feeling sorry for myself again.

Tomorrow it's supposed to go into the 50s. Yippee! And tomorrow is another day. Every bump in the road brings a gift so I'm sure my little mouse has one too.... Angel's happy. I guess that's a gift. Nate figured out what was wrong with my printer while he was here helping me with the smoke alarm, so that works again.

I guess I can use these little crises are wonderful reminders about how blessed I am. How kind and generous my friends are, how resilient my body is even though it has it's moments of trouble. I've always had really good hearing. Having an ear out of whack really makes me appreciate how nice it is to have two of them.

And yesterday there were robins, lots of robins, making clear that Spring is really here... even if I'm sitting here shivering and the flowers haven't shown their faces yet. They will do so any day now. Everything cycles.

One last thing... I was going through my email and got an undeserved thank you from something called Galaxy Zoo. I signed up last year but have failed to keep up with it. As an atonement for my guilt, maybe I can get some other people to sign on. It's fascinating and kind of fun. They teach you how to differentiate between different categories of galaxy.... and you and 150,000 or so other people help them classify the photos. It's not an exact science so the more responses they get the more it helps them decide on how to classify something. It's kind of fascinating.

That's it from me. Pray for me and my ear and the dead mouse. One thing about times like this... things are bound to get better.

9:00 PM - Evening Update: Thank you everyone for your kind good wishes, prayers and reiki. My ear feels GREAT this evening. My next door neighbor came over and generously disposed of the little mouse. My little home and it's chief cook and cat tender are much happier than we were this morning. In response to questions as to why Angel didn't bring me the mouse - I think it got enough away from her under the little area rug that she couldn't get to it. I have no doubt it would otherwise have joined me in bed. Yuck. Thank goodness for small blessings... and big ones.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: Odd assortment

Ruby Tuesday - hosted by Mary/the Teach at Work of the Poet - is here again. I've really missed doing Ruby Tuesday so yesterday, I engaged in a fairly desperate attempt to come up with some reds. For better or worse I offer them here...

I'm not feeling too well this morning so I may post this and go back to bed for a bit and then visit everyone later in the day. Looking forward to checking in on everyone, though.

My kitchen timer (matches my new red pots and pans)....

Neighbor's chimney.

My mouse....

Yesterday morning, looking out the back door in search of some signs of Spring, I spotted instead this Coca Cola truck. Since I lost my big tree last year, I can see this big motel or golf club or some such place. When the trees fill in it will be mostly hidden again until the leaves fall again. But yesterday the view offered a big red truck so...

Prayer flags...

Then, last week I visited Trav's Thoughts, where he had posted his Superhero and a link to the Hero Factory so you could create your own. This is my super hero(ine). I think she's kind of cool except I don't know why they added the Baroness part. Such is life. She doesn't have much read, but here name is in red and this seemd as good a way as any to share her.

Last but not least, Shannon was visiting yesterday. Webkins has been replaced - or at least is in competition with - something called Club Penguin. This was a dance competition.

Have a lovely Tuesday!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath/Anger Part 1

I missed week two of the Kay's Seven Deadly Sins Meme. The sin was Wrath - which the dictionary defines as "vengeful anger." Given how much vengeful anger is floating around in the world these days, I just kind of hate to have missed that one, so I'm going to post something now even though I'm two weeks late doing so.

I have a lot to say - or at least a lot of opinions and thoughts - on this subject. So much so that I got stuck chasing my tail yesterday when I tried to write this. Probably most of what I want to say is about plain and simple anger, but given events of the times, I think I also want to talk about vengeful anger. Plain ordinary old anger is - despite what most of us are taught - often a healthy response to events around us, but vengeful anger I think is truly "sinful." It is destructive to the well being of all parties.

Vengeful anger (and greed and power lust and dishonesty) is what took us into Iraq. Vengeful anger is what blew up the World Trade Centers. Vengeful anger is what keeps Israelis and Palestinians justifying the continuous drawing of one another's blood. Vengeful anger is what keeps the death penalty in place and allows our society to kill other - often innocent - human beings in the name of justice.

The worst thing about vengeful anger is that it seldom accomplishes much except to breed more misery. Each vengeful act in the Middle East provokes another and the blood of innocents is shed more richly than that of the so-called "guilty" on either side.

Right now in this country around the issue of the economy there is a lot of vengeful anger stewing. I'm not immune to it myself. I didn't have any money for Bernie Madoff to steal but I'm thrilled and delighted to see someone who has harmed so many and lived lavishly on their money - in jail. I have always found golden parachutes and million dollar bonuses offensive and obscene even when they were spending what was allegedly "corporate money." That corporate money, we now know, was really pretty much really high class sleight-of-hand theft... but now it's tax payer's money. The same tax payers who are losing their homes and their jobs. And boy, oh boy vengeance sounds so sweet. Throw them all out on the street. Write laws that violate our constitution and the nature of our law.... It all feels good for a few minutes. But it doesn't solve the problems and it makes everything too simple. One of the really annoying (and wonderful) things about life is (to me) that it is NEVER simple.

Right now we, as a nation, are frightened and feeling very helpless. The constant prattling of ignorant and semi ignorant people who are paid to entertain us with their opinions feeds our anxiety with half truths, truth mixed with lies, truth mixed with ignorance, pure ignorance, pure lies.... It leaves my head spinning. No wonder we all feel crazy! If I had any sense, I'd turn my TV off.... but I can't seem to get myself to do it... But back to the topic at hand.

There is an instinct in this situation to want revenge. Let those companies fail. Throw the bums out on the street. Fire them all. I have those same instincts, but at the same time I also believe that the complexity of the world economy is so far beyond my ability to comprehend that we need people who understand it - even if they have behaved badly - to help fix what they broke. It may piss me off, but who am I shooting in the foot if short-term gratification of quick punishment tanks the world economy? I think there will still be time to punish them later and to write good laws that put limits on the golden parachute life.

But I've wandered off from the topic again. Sorry. Vengeful wrath is kind of like the instant gratification form of anger and reparation. My first therapist once said to me. "We become the thing we hate." It took me a while to comprehend what he meant, but I think it's one of the truest and wisest things I ever heard. Vengeance is about hate. Hate is always destructive and as destructive to the hater as the hatee. I think we usually move to the desire for vengeance when we feel helpless and frightened. Maybe it makes us feel better for a few minutes but it doesn't solve the problem and usually makes it worse... which makes us want more vengeance... and it goes on and on.

I don't know how much sense I'm making here. I do think there is a place for holding people accountable, for asking for, if not retribution, at least responsiblity and an appropriate punishment.

Digressing again. Sort of anyway... As anyone who has visited here for any amount of time knows, I have a lot of anger about the actions of the previous administration and many things which I consider to be crimes committed under the aegis of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I believe that these men and their administration should be held accountable for actions which caused great harm to the nation and the world. I know some think this is vengeful on my part. I'm human and there is a bit of vengefulness in my wanting to see these men go to jail or at the least go on trial. I think it would be vengeance if I wanted them murdered, hung from the highest tree, boiled in oil. I don't want that. I don't even want them thrown in jail without a trial (that would be poetic justice maybe, but it would be vengeance and not helpful). I want the Bush administration held accountable because they represented me and the country I love and launched a war that didn't have to be fought and violated the letter and the spirit of our laws on multiple fronts here at home. If these things are true - and a trial can help decide that - they - and we as a nation - should be held accountable. Asking for accountability isn't vengeance. It's about healing our own national soul.

I guess I bring this up because I think vengeance - rash, usually physically or emotionally violent - is inherently destructive. One of the few "sins" I think is genuinely sinful, wicked, evil, bad, not good, self-destructive, other-destructive, and genuinely not helpful. In the end, finding peaceful, constructive, thoughtful, comprehensive ways to hold people accountable for their actions is more effective. It may not carry the adreneline rush that rage does, but it can lead to real change instead of repeated craziness.

So that's my rambling for today on - sort of - the subject of wrath. At sometime over the next few days, I want to try to write something about anger because I have a whole theory about anger that I love sharing with anyone who will listen. Just have to get my act together to write it down.

I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful day, free of angst and wrath.

Deadly sins posts:

Wrath Part 1

Friday, March 20, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 55

This is week 55 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. I thought these words were very difficult but once I got started I had kind of a good time with them. Still, I think I need to come up with a new system... or maybe therapy for my muse who seems to go a bit nuts when she spews out the new words every week. Anyway, looking forward to reading everyone's offerings.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: humanity, shadow, ricochet, wrong, pluralism, mathematics, person-hood, printing press, ink spot, choral society Mini Challenge: kingdom, take names, best seller, three times, inner demons

This week's 10 word challenge is:

Despite the fact that modern presses were faster and not subject to problems like ink spots and irregularities, Martin Lundgren missed his old printing press. He missed the challenge, the mathematics and artistry of spacing lines in a manuscript so that they looked right. He loved the light and shadow of hot type and how it reflected the human agents behind the publications. So many of life's modern improvements took the humanity, the person-hood out of things, gave them a bland perfection that he found boring and disheartening. Although when working on something like the book he was printing up now, it was a blessing indeed! Even the title - PLURALISM IS WRONG - was boring. And another blessing... it gave him time for other things. He did love having the extra time to play a good game of Ricochet with his youngest son and singing with his teen-age daughter and his wife in the choral society. Singing didn't carry the tactile pleasure of setting hot type, but it was a joyful source of both communion with his family and creative expression. On the whole, he guessed, there was more gain than loss with his the new machines... and he still had the old hot type out in the garage for an occasional special creative project... like today's special birthday book for his daughter. He hoped she would feel the love in the the paper and the ink and how it reflected her own unique magic. Life, he thought, was pretty good when you had a wonderful family and the best of both the old and new.

And the mini challenge:

Three times topping the best seller list for 6 months or longer (with small breaks in between as some new flash in the pan breezed through) was more than Kate Ravenlea had hoped for even in her most lavish fantasies. Who would have thought that the inner demons who had tormented her and held her down for most of her life would turn out to be the key to her fame and financial well being? When she had begun writing "Demonalia: Kingdom of Inner Voices Gone Wrong," she had wanted nothing more than to tame and take control of the chorus of voices that ranted at her from the darkest corners of her mind. When she had begun her book by saying out loud: "Listen up, monsters. Your time has passed. The party's over. Demonalia is under new managment. I'm coming after you. I'm going to take names (and perhaps give them where needed) and I'm consigning you guys to the obscurity you deserve," it had felt more like bravado than truth. But here she was four years later, self-assured and rolling in dough. Demonalia was indeed under new management.

This week's mega challenge: printing press

Kate Ravenlea's best seller had struck a chord with large numbers of people because it spoke to their common humanity. She had made false starts three times writing "Demonalia: Kingdom of Inner Voices Gone Wrong." It was originally titled - big mistake - "Coming to Terms with Your Inner Demons and Taming Your Shadow Side to Achieve full Person-hood." Mercifully a good editor had read past title, seen the value in the book and helped her settle on the final Demonalia title. By some miracle, the process of writing her book had healed something deep inside her. The pluralism of sane and insane voices ricocheting off each other in her head, while not totally silenced was greatly stilled. The mathematics, the enormous proportions of the book's snowballing impact, continued to stun her. "Demonalians" and "demonalia" had become household words around the world. And the book had touched so many lives. A composer in California had written a twelve part musical work called "The Defeat of Demonalia." She was to be the honored guest when the New York Choral Society premiered it tonight at Carnegie Hall. Then there were the letters she had received from all over the world. They moved her to tears and and sometimes to joyful laughter. Ink Spot Publications was talking with her about a new book using the letters and she was really excited about it. Some of them were profoundly touching in ways that would be healing to many, many people. Her publisher had asked her to take names and addresses to the legal department so that they could work on clearing away any legal obstacles that might stand in the way of the new book. "I'm thinking Ink Spot may need to buy a couple of new printing presses just to keep up with the demand for your books, " her agent had joked. But you know what was the best thing about all this excitement and good news was for Kate? There had not been a peep out of the residents of Demonalia. Not a peep. Life was not just good, it was glorious!


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: partition, imagination, salvation, mirror image, green power, highway, roasting marshmallows, serial killer, autograph, cartography

Mini Challenge: cell phone, Big Mac, panther, legendary, poets corner

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Please note: There are a fair number of new people visiting, many sort of new to the blogosphere as well. Please only sign into Mr. Linky if you are participating in this week's Wordzzle Challenge. That's what it's for. It makes me cranky when people sign in just to get visitors. I know for some this is/was an innocent breach of blog etiquette so I won't hold it against you. But don't do it again, please. Other Mr. Linky advice. If your name is already in Mr. Linky from a previous participation, make sure to update it. Mr. Linky tends to be stuck in the past if not given his due. Thanks, Raven.

Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth

Well it's Friday and for the Lenten Season Kay over at Perhaps we Learn is hosting a meme on the 7 deadly sins. This week our topic is sloth. I missed week #2 (Wrath) a couple of weeks ago and because it seems timely, I had thought about writing about anger too. But this is already long so maybe I'll try to do wrath tomorrow or Sunday instead.

It's funny that this week is about sloth because right now my body and I are at war with daylight savings time. I seem to be making a slower than usual recovery from the shift. Well, I'm really not recovering. I've backslid about 30 minutes on my going to bed at a more normal hour rule and I'm getting up a half hour later. And this makes me feel very cranky and tired. I need to get over it, but for some reason even when I get to bed at the "right" time, I don't want to get up in the morning and my mornings are starting late and it's just very irritating and makes me feel bad about myself, makes me feel - you guessed it - LAZY! Lucky for me I don't have to go to work, although if I did, I'd probably have gotten over this by now. I think daylight savings time is just silly.

But back to the topic at hand. Sloth. All this not getting up on time makes me feel an extra level of slothfulness. I already battle with the inner voices that tell me I'm lazy. It's another area in which I can't entirely tell truth from internalized fiction. There's a lot that needs to be done around my house that isn't getting done. I like to think this is because I'm not physically capable of it, but the voices in my head tend to think otherwise. Truth probably lies in the middle. I could do more. But I get discouraged because it's so difficult. (Laziness, the voices mutter.) In the end, I guess I come to the same opinion about laziness as I do with all the "sins." I think the greatest harm of the whole sin thing is that it is a systematic way of making us feel bad about ourselves. Hard work (the opposite of laziness we are taught) is a virtue. And sometimes it is. But is it always? Is running on a relentless treadmill of "doing something" really good for us or for society? I think it depends on what that effort is directed towards. And even directed towards the most noble cause, if work consumes every thought and moment, I'm not sure it's a virtue. Life needs warmth and joy and our bodies and our spirits need rest and tenderness and compassion. So many of us have internal voices that try and lash us into so-called virtue by beating us up about how wicked we are. I don't think that ever works really. I don't know the statistics, but I'm guessing that most slave laborers die/died young. Brutality - whether physical or emotional - is not a good motivator. The voices in my head - in the heads of too many of us - are often brutal indeed.

It's always interesting to me when I write things and have a revelation in the process. All the talk about slave labor and motivation made me think about perfectionism. I've probably shared this before, but one of the funniest therapy sessions I ever had was when Dr. Jim told me I was a perfectionist. "That's absurd," I responded. "I never do anything right." He just laughed at me and it slowly dawned on me that perhaps I was a perfectionist. (Perfections who read that and don't get the joke... read it again and think about it.) Doing your best is a virtue. Striving to mete some mythical and idealized vision of perfection (and of course in true perfectionism the bar continues to move so that you can never reach it) is just self destructive. No matter how beautiful your work of art you will find reason to fault it, no matter how clean your house is, you will see only the tiny spot of dust you missed or the slip cover you don't like or... And no matter how hard you work you will deem yourself lazy or inept because you didn't do more.

That said, I get as irritated as the next person at people who are disrespectful of other's time and feelings: the clerk in a store who is doing nothing and leaves you standing for 15 minutes or simply ignores you into submission. But the kinds of laziness that I'd qualify as "sinful" (if I believed in sin) are things like a doctor who thinks listening to his/her patients is too much of an ordeal to be born. Or someone who is too busy with his/her own life to spend a half hour listening to a friend in need. Or a dog "owner" who substitutes a chain in the back yard for attention and exercise for their four-legged companions. That kind of emotional laziness bothers me more than anything.

Still, I think we need to put the whole concept of sin into a box and put that box onto a high shelf where it can collect dust and be forgotten. I personally believe that God is LOVE. Love does not judge, particularly petty things like your weight or what time you get up in the morning or how clean you keep your house. God/LOVE has better things to do. All we can do in this life is our best and be kind to ourselves and each other.

Wicked woman that I am, I say "be lazy sometimes." Not always. But a healthy life is about balance. Work hard and rest easy. Not sure I've made a lot of sense here, but I'm not going to read it over because then I might have to rewrite it and I'm way to lazy to do that.

Deadly sins posts: