Art Opening

My last few posts center around the NC museum of art. Hmmm… I wonder why?

Following this trend, here’s a recent pic of me and my husband dressed all fancy at the opening night of the Porsche exhibit. Quite a fashionable, fun evening, and by the end I was galavanting through the other exhibits barefoot, giddy from all the art. Ha! Not something I get to do every day, and being in a place that so celebrates human expression and craft and beauty feeds my creativity like caviar for the imagination.

What 2014 Feels Like So Far…

Quite a doorway, isn’t it? Found this elegant view on a walk behind the NC Museum of Art, where this modern and quite sophisticated structure sits, waiting for someone to occupy it.

Gazing back through the opening, with all of the possibilities to explore once you step through, spreading out wide in front of you. Luring you forward, folding you into its brand new sky.

Yeah.

 

 

 

Tuesday Enchants: Why do you love that tree?

Photo credit: North Carolina Museum of Art

While chatting with a friend about a month ago, I mentioned how much I love the silver tree sculpture outside of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Every time I go there or drive by, it jumps out at me, extending its shiny, arborescent tentacles into my brain. I told my friend that I love it so much I want it to be a part of me. If I could, I would take it home, put it in the living room, or maybe in the yard outside the windows of my writing room so I can look at it all the time. Or maybe I’d infuse it right into my own physiology, so I could be part human, part silver tree.

But why do I love it so much? That’s what I was thinking about today. So I’ve been trying to translate the strong feelings I have into rational thoughts and words. Isn’t being human funny? Sometimes the two sides of your brain – the logical side and the emotional side – need help communicating with each other.

Recently, I had the great fortune of attending a dinner with the Director of the museum. That night, he had a lot of cool things to say, but what stuck with me was when he said this: “The best art makes you a little uncomfortable.”

I’ve thought a lot about it since then, because I understand completely what he means, and when he said it, I almost cried. I know-I’m a crazy artist. But it’s true. The best art has you returning to it again and again because it challenges something inside of you. But it’s likely your logical brain doesn’t know what it is yet. So you have to tug on your rubber boots and go looking for the answer, because it’s probably buried somewhere deep in your right brain. And through the experience, you’re forced to stretch your mind and your heart in ways you didn’t know were possible. That’s how great art changes you.

So back to the tree sculpture. A branching, metallic giant–it definitely makes me a bit uncomfortable. But that’s part of the reason I love it.

By the way, I keep calling it a tree, but by now I know it’s not. The artist calls it a dendroid. His name is Roxy Paine, and I’m convinced he’s a genius.

Photo credit: North Carolina Museum of Art

The sculpture is constructed of a smooth, lustrous metal, full of tantalizing wonder. And that’s part of what scares me. Why? It reminds me of how our world is being transformed before our eyes. What was in the past is no longer. Enormous steel structures like strip malls and skyscrapers are replacing green forests at a lightning-fast rate. Technology is integrating itself into our environments, homes, and bodies. Do we really want it to?  Are we thinking enough about the consequences, or are we passively accepting it? Is this what trees will look like in the future? Sterile, cold, austere… Will our children and grandchildren be able to remember nature?

From where I sit at this very instant, I can see trees falling, slashed down by huge metal machines, their corpses put onto trucks and dumped somewhere. I live in a suburb, a construction zone. It wasn’t like this when I first moved here, but now it is. And so much destruction to the earth’s natural state makes me sad. When I drive by and see the earth clawed and upturned, its blood red guts inside out, I have to look away. Somewhere in the distance, I hear crying. What is going to be there instead of those trees? Another set of houses? A big box store?

I love the conveniences of modern life, I really do. My car, IPhone, computer… the Bose noise canceling headphones I have on my ears right now. But what is all of this pretty shiny technology doing to the bodies and minds of my children? With soaring childhood cancer rates and learning disabilities and countless other illnesses… is technology helping or hurting us?

Those contorted branches that are reaching, imploring… to me, they look like synapses. The nerve cells in the brains of the marketing executives at the big technology companies as they watch their bottom lines grow to hundreds of billions. They look like the delicate synapses of my children, and your children, and their infinite possibilities. My own synapses, hard at work, trying to figure out what the right answer is…. puzzling over my own lack of information about how technology and development is changing our world and our brains.

Photo Credit: Sarah Stierich

But at the exact same time, as much as the dendroid terrifies me, I also think it’s profoundly beautiful. It reaches to the sky in a salutation to the cosmos. It towers above me, stretching its loveliness, and I want to embrace it, waltz in the grass with it, and swing up its branches. A perfect melding of a stark winter Maple, the mysterious human brain, and my beloved silver Macbook. My imagination wanders wild, and I dream of another world, a fantasy of magic and enchantment where silver dendroids line a path leading to an exotic palace under a gorgeous purple sky. Think of the possibilities! Think of what the future could be!

Could it be that man and nature will find a balance? Can we find harmony between the two?

I don’t know. But the tree whispers to me that it’s possible.

So I guess what I’m saying is that it gives me HOPE. It sings to me in its own silver tree-shaped language that I’m not alone in being confused and scared. And that right there is why I want it to be a part of me. Because it’s a companion of comfort and love.

 

 

 

 

New Year 2013

A bright and fresh new year. So new and shiny, I want to put it in my pocket. Like a cloudless sky, a blank sheet of paper, ready to be written on with all that is said and done in the minutes and hours and days to come. How I love the pristine, fresh start of a new year. It’s the idealistic side of me that strives for perfection, I suppose. The one that wants my shirts to stay crisply folded in my closet and the dishes to stay clean in the cabinets and paper in my office to always be filed. Where the kids toys always make it back to the bins and shelves when they’re done playing and the floors are free of crumbs and dust and the trash always gets taken out before the end of the day. But before I drool on myself with wanting my life to be that way, I remember something.  A house in that kind of shape is not a real home.

The new year makes me feel like I should be organized. I should have goals set and plans made and itineraries and schedules of what I’m set to accomplish. But when the goal is a book that needs finishing, well… I’m not sure any of the above will really help. A creative work of fiction is more like a tornado than a predictable excel spreadsheet. It’s a swirling vortex, picking up pieces of whatever it touches, enfolding some into itself, and spitting others right back out. A tangled mess of words and emotions and memories and images and experiences and dreams, all flying around in a roaring gale, hoping that one day it will make sense of itself.

Sigh. I suppose that’s why a predictable life seems so appealing to me right now. An immaculate, starched, eternally-organized way of life where everything is put back into its place at the end of the day and nothing is left undone. It’s like the social media imitation of life: not the whole story, or the pictures that came out blurry or caught you mid-chew. None of the disorder or uncertainty of real life, of what it means to be human. Just the parts that make it seem like it’s perfect and to-be-desired.

But that is so NOT my reality. Nor anyone’s, I try to remember. Especially not with two children and a book that needs finishing.

I’m not going to kid myself. This year is going to be messy. It’s going to mean my house is sometimes -mostly- chaos.That my brain won’t be able to think straight because it’s so deep into where it dreams that sometimes I will forget where I am in the middle of the day. It’s going to mean late nights and early mornings. Forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning, and what we need for dinner… but hopefully not forgetting to pick up my children.

It’s going to be tearful doubt one minute, and thrilling, speed-typing ecstasy the next. Laughing out loud to myself in a coffee shop, and (OMG, it makes my stomach churn to imagine…) nail-biting anxiety and outright panic when I finally press the ‘send’ button to submit it. One painful, aching step after another up the Mount Everest of creation, unsure if I have what it takes to survive along the way.

And hopefully, hopefully, if I’m ever so lucky, by this time next year, I will be able to say that it’s done. DONE. DONE!

So then I can do it all over again.

I hope whatever you do this year, it makes you happy, happy, happy. Lord knows I wouldn’t be doing all of this if I didn’t just love writing more than anything else in world. Well, except maybe being a mom.

And with full disclosure, here is the very un-organized view of my bookshelves at the back of my writing room that I’m hoping I’ll get to before the week is out, but which could be, of course, only wishful thinking:

 

Cheers to a Messy, Happy, Passionate New Year!

Fab Book Friday: Fall Book Wishes

You guys, there are so many books coming out this fall that I want to read! Every time I think about it, I start drooling. When they hit the shelves this month, I’m not going to know what to start first… not that I have tons of time to read. I’m trying to finish my novel by the end of the year. Eeek!

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling: Little, Brown

1. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I don’t care that this book is for adults, or that it’s not in the fantasy genre. I don’t care that there’s no magic, or supernatural creatures, and the protagonist’s first name is most likely not Harry. I am willing to follow J.K. Rowling wherever she wants to take me. If there is an author alive that I trust to whisk me away on a reading journey that I will savor, that when I turn the final page of the book, I will believe it was time incredibly well spent… that I will walk away, changed for the better from the experience…it’s her. I cannot wait to read this book!   *Releases September 27, 2012

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson: Greenwillow

2. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Because I am TWBBITHOTW, that is: The Worst Book Blogger in the History of the World, I failed to write a review about how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. But ohmygod, that book is up there with Graceling (Kristen Cashore) and Chime (Franny Billingsley) for me. And the sequel comes out this month. Yes!  *Releases September 18, 2012

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.
Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.
Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from both foreign realms and within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.
To conquer the power she bears once and for all, Elisa must follow the trail of long-forgotten–and forbidden–clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who–despite everything–she is falling in love with.

If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Scholastic

3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Since Lament, I’ve read every book Maggie Stiefvater has written. Still, I wasn’t a huge fangirl. I thought they were all pretty good, but not among my favorites. That is, until I read The Scorpio Races. Again – I didn’t do a review of that one, either, because…TWBBITHOTW. Now, I can’t wait to get my hands on her next book, which will be part one in a series of four. The Raven Boys sounds thrilling. And I know it has magic and curses and prophecies. Sounds cool, I’m in!  *Releases September 18, 2012

Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. 

But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. 

Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there — known as Raven Boys — can only mean trouble.

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff: Thomas Dunne Books

 

4. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

I can’t remember how I heard about this book, likely from something on twitter. But as soon as I put it together, of what this book is, it sparked a frenzy of kicks and jabs to my brain and I haven’t been the same since: Japanese. + Steampunk. aaaaaaaahh! (insert a high soprano note here).

The next instant, I was utilizing my tenth degree black belt in google-fu to find out everything I possibly could about it. I’ve read the first few chapters, and here’s what I can tell you: Asian mythology. Terrifying creatures. Strong female protagonist. And the writing – oh, the writing brought tears to my eyes, it pummeled me so hard with it’s awesomeness.  *Releases September 18, 2012

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever…

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

 

 

Tuesday Enchants: Blanche Neige (Snow White)

A few weeks ago, the Ballet Preljocaj from Provence brought its captivating Blanche Neige (Snow White), production to Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall.

Images: Ballet Preljocal

Unfortunately, I didn’t see it. I only found out it was here the morning after the performance. When I realized I’d missed it, I actually cried. I mean, look how GORGEOUS:

The costumes were designed by fashion genius Jean Paul Gaultier.

 

 

If you get the chance to see this production in your city, PLEASE comment with details! It had only a limited number of dates in the U.S., but I am hoping they’ll be back!

 

Fab Book Friday: Why All Parents are Magicians

This is supposed to be a review of The Giver by Lois Lowry. 

It’s been hard to sit down and write about this book. It stirred up so many emotions in me, it’s been difficult to untangle them all and figure out WHY I feel so strongly about this story.

But here’s what I know: I believe every parent should read this book.

Logic and rational thought rule in the society where Jonas lives. His world has been masterfully created so that human beings don’t feel pain, or much of anything at all. Citizens must take pills to control their emotions. Everything is regulated, even the weather. Imagine living in a place where there is a committee who makes all of life’s big decisions for you. They choose your mate, your profession, even who your children are. Babies born must pass certain tests and show the right kind of disposition, or they are not kept. The sick and the old are released from society and never able to come back. People no longer see color. Everything is black and white.

Would this be utopia? Or dystopia? It’s hard to say.

Books are forbidden, except for two very special, chosen people. One is The Giver, a wrinkled old man with pale eyes who is like a living library. He keeps within him all of the memories and history of society. He alone knows the past, memories of war and blood and love and the thrill of sledding on a snowy hillside. And every few generations, when The Giver gets frail and thin, a twelve year-old Receiver is chosen. This child will be given each and every memory The Giver has. He will learn all of society’s secrets, and everything that happened before it was established. He will contain all of these memories so that the other citizens can remain blissfully ignorant.

I didn’t read this book as a child. Somehow, I missed it when it came out in 1993, which is hard to believe. I was in middle school at that time, the age group for which it was intended. I must have been too busy reading Stephen King. Anyway, I haven’t been able to form an opinion yet about how this story would impact children of that age. I can’t imagine it having the same affect on me then. But reading it as a parent was a very enlightening, even world-changing, experience. And that’s what great art is. Something that elevates your moral understanding of life, and in this case, what my job is as a parent.

This book very clearly illustrates to me how the moment a child is born, every parent becomes a magician. When you become a parent, you are bestowed with the gift of magic to create illusions about the world. We weave an enchantment which allows our children to believe that the world is a safe and happy place. We cast a spell which makes our children the center of the universe. I imagine this illusion almost like an iridescent bubble around my children. Where I, as the guardian of their spirit and livelihood, only allow love, compassion, joy, and warmth to pass through. Just like in The Giver, I control the temperature, I don’t let them get too hot or too cold. My children have never really known what it is like to be HUNGRY, and honestly I hope they never do. Relief from pain? Oh, yes. I don’t think my daughter even felt PAIN until after she turned one year old. I didn’t allow anything to happen to her until she started to walk and fell a few times before I could catch her. Except for shots, which again – are a way to control disease, and therefore pain and suffering.

So, each of us are the gods of our children’s worlds, just as the Elders in Jonas’ society are god-like. And that’s not wrong. In fact, it’s our job. I’m sure the Elders didn’t create their world out of malice. They didn’t want their citizens to suffer. And they had the technology to make it so.

But here’s the ART of parenting: knowing how and when to start pulling back that rainbow-colored illusion and allowing your child to FEEL pain and suffering. Allowing them to KNOW about war and crime and hate and fear that exists in the world.

If you keep the bubble around them too tight, then they won’t be prepared for what lies ahead, and when they do inevitably experience pain and suffering, they’ll fall apart. But if you pull back the illusion too soon, their fragile spirit can break. That is what The Giver in the book found out with his first Receiver.

Every parent is a Giver. We give all of our memories to our children one at a time. Intuitively, we have to know when and how to give them. It’s an exquisitely important job that no one else can do. And it’s the order in which we give our memories that matters most. At first, we channel the joy of our Christmas mornings, conjure the sparkle of love we saw in our own parent’s eyes, convey a feeling of peace with the gentle rocking of the ocean’s summer waves.

And the painful memories? Those moments of loss, grief, and fear? They must be held back. Until the time is right.

Two other stories come to mind. The film “Life is Beautiful,” which, if you haven’t seen it, please stop reading this article (yes, that’s what I said) and go watch it now. I would not want to spoil it for you. I will be here when you get back.

In “Life is Beautiful,” a delightful man uses his humor and imagination to woo his princess and then must use these same talents to protect his son during the nazi occupation of World War II. This father knows that the harsh realities of war will surely break his son’s delicate spirit, and so he pretends that it’s all part of a game they are playing, in order to protect him as best as he possibly can. It is a wonderful, uplifting story, and I tell you I wish I was more like him.

And the other story I cannot even name because it won’t be released until next year, but I will keep you posted because I know it’s going to be a very special book.

And what “Life is Beautiful” tells us is that as parents, it is our responsibility to continue weaving this magic, to keep up this illusion, no matter what. Even if you’re in a great deal of pain yourself. Even if the world is falling apart around you. Even if there was no one there who was strong enough to do it for you.

To all The Givers of the world: I applaud you, and I am in awe of the magic you wield every day.

My favorite books of 2011

Here are my top 3 reads of those released in 2011. So excited for what’s to come in 2012!

1. Chime by Franny Billingsley, Young Adult Fantasy

Billingsley, Franny: Chime. Dial Books

Chime is set during the Industrial Revolution. Elemental spirits, fairies, witches, boggy ghosts and other monsters haunt the mucky Swampsea.  But as progress with railroads and electricity and motorcars is made, these so-called “Old Ones” are disappearing. The Boggy Mun is making people sick with swamp cough because the swamp is being drained in the name of industry.

Briony believes she is a witch, that she deserves to be hanged, a practice still en vogue in Swampsea. Her self-hatred is undeniable and can even be uncomfortable to read. But everything changes when golden-eyed Eldric with his lion tawny hair steps off a barge from London, and forces Briony to challenge all of the things she believes about herself, past and present. Chime was honored as a National Book Award finalist.

2. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Young Adult Fantasy

Taylor, Laini: "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" Little, Brown for Young Readers

If you’ll recall, I’ve been insanely excited about Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which was written by Laini Taylor, one of my favorite authors. So after waiting over a year for it to come out, I’ve finally had the opportunity to read it. Did it measure up to my extremely high”out of this world” expectations?

Oh, yes. HELL YES.

This is one of my favorite books EVER. It is quite possibly perfect. Daughter of Smoke and Bone has the magic of Harry Potter, the heart-stopping romance of Twilight, and the blood pumping action of The Hunger Games all rolled into ONE.

But that’s not all. It’s got incredible characters, genius plot, and the most unique (and enchanting!) fantasy world I’ve ever encountered. Not to mention Laini is a writing goddess, perhaps even the Muse incarnate (with pink hair).

Karou is amazing and incredibly likeable. Trust me – after the first chapter, you will want to BE Karou. And you haven’t even met Akiva yet.

Karou’s profile pic on Twitter, art by Jim Di Bartolo (Laini’s ultra talented husband)

Karou is an azure-haired 17 year-old art student living in Prague. But she belongs to a family of monsters who live in a place she only knows as Elsewhere. She runs strange errands for Brimstone, her adopted father of sorts. But she’s lonely. She’s TOO lonely, enough so that she is desperate to find love but falls for the wrong guy (Kazimir, a local who gives vampire tours), and winds up getting hurt.

She feels like a part of her is missing. And she doesn’t know who she is or where she truly belongs. Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. ESPECIALLY when I was a teenager.

And then Akiva sneaks through a slit in the sky, he and Karou meet, and well… as Laini writes, “the result is blood and starlight, secrets revealed, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past.”

And… as was recently revealed on her blog, DSB could one day be coming to a theatre near you. Universal has just snapped up the film rights.

Disclaimer: DSB is part one in a series. I’d say that’s the only down side to this story – the fact that you’ll have to wait a while for the next one to be released – 2012, baby!

3. The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell, Middle Grade Fantasy

O'Dell, Kathleen: The Aviary, Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Aviary pulled me into its pages and enchanted me with a time-turning spell, convincing me I was twelve years old again. It reminded me so much of The Secret Garden. Twelve year-old Clara Dooley lives in a crumbling old mansion in turn of the century New England. Her mother works for old Mrs. Glendoveer, the wife of the illustrious magician and illusionist George Glendoveer. Clara is confined to the mansion due to a mysterious heart condition. She does not attend school or have any human friends her own age. But everything changes when Mrs. Glendoveer passes on, Clara meets a secret friend, and the birds in the mansion’s aviary start speaking to her. This starts Clara on a path to unravel the decades old mystery of the Glendoveer family. O’Dell skillfully weaves magic and mystery, wonder and cruelty, heartbreak and hope into this historical adventure story.

Tuesday Enchants: The Perils of Ignoring the Muse

I thought I’d post a few pics so you can see what I’ve been up to in the last month. I’ve had to take a forced blog and manuscript hiatus (much to my muse’s dismay). First I had eye surgery, which was as pleasant as it sounds. Then I was sick. And for the last two weeks, my parents were here back to back.  But it was not all torture – we also celebrated my daughter’s first birthday.

But now, my friends, I’ve reached my limit of Non-Writing. All thanks to that force of creative inspiration that we call the Muse.

Marble Bust Head of Greek Muse Goddess at Vatican Museums, Rome

I spent years trying to coax my muse out of hiding with mint tea, chocolate, and seaweed biscuits. She’d found a trapdoor in my mind and hid there while I was studying science and business, working at a corporate bank and then a law firm. Although I didn’t know where she was, I could hear her lonely singing from time to time. So when my son was born, I strapped on my boots and went looking for her again. She was very hard to find. Almost impossible. The place where she used to live was dusty and deserted. So I trudged through swamp and boot sucking mud. I climbed over mountains in waist-deep snow. I had no map, she carries no cell phone, doesn’t even have an email account. (Can you imagine?) The only thing I had was my intuition, a fragile pink flame contained in a rusty old lantern.

But this was the light that finally led me to her.

I found her deep in a forbidden forest in a nest of her own making, forged of black branches and feathers and dead leaves. She refused to come out, wouldn’t even speak to me. Can you blame her? But I visited every day, bearing a new gift, hoping she’d come around. After several months she finally emerged, and I was able to look at her for the first time in a forever. She had wavy hair of blue fire and dark moon eyes. She was bruised and scratched and much too thin. She desperately needed a bath. I was ashamed that I’d abandoned her all of those years ago. I asked if I could visit her again, and she finally agreed.  At first she couldn’t speak, as her voice had been lost when I stole it away. But soon she began to whisper, a raspy sound that I almost mistook for the wind. I listened ever so carefully and began to write down what she had to tell me. After years of doing this every day, we became like the old friends that we were. We’d chatter away for hours, and she’d give me gifts in my dreams that I’d find like sparkling jewels when I awoke. Since then she’s given me two novels, all of the rambling on this blog, several short stories, and countless other ideas, including the lovely one that is now my third novel in progress. My favorite idea ever. She is the one I have to thank.

But then, last month, I did the unthinkable. I chained her up again. I forced her back into her cell, and wouldn’t speak to her. I bound her willowy arms, her silver wings, her red-clawed feet. I had to, doesn’t she understand? I had eye surgery! I was sick! My parents were here! You’d think she’d understand, right?

No.

No she did not.

And now she’s out. She broke free. And she’s pissed like I’ve never seen her.

It’s not that she went back into hiding. It’s that she’s back with a vengeance. And she’s wreaking havoc on my once-balanced life.

Words are beginning to bubble over the black kettle in my linguistic cortex. They’re boiling over, spilling out into other areas of my brain, like those that control basic functions, and disrupting things like breathing. Words are clawing at my lungs, scratching my throat, and oozing out my ears. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was talking in my sleep. My husband’s been gone on business for the last week, and I’m sure it’s no coincidence. He knows what happens to me when I’m not writing.

I become incredibly restless. I talk to myself nonstop. Wait. I do that anyway. I itch until I bleed. I cry silently in the bathroom. I pace up and down the stairwell. Immense pressure builds up in my brain, and if I don’t let it out little by little by writing a few hours a day, it threatens to explode. When that happens, and I finally hit my breaking point of Non-Writing, I go on a frenzied crusade of writing all day and all night, forgoing food and sleep and basic hygiene. And I emerge looking quite a bit like Bellatrix LeStrange when she came out of Azkaban, all wild eyes and bruised fingertips and electric arachnid hair.

Warner Brothers: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Perhaps a bit like my muse when I found her again. So this is her revenge.

*Insert deranged, maniacal laughter.*

I’m sure you think I’m crazy. I am. It’s so hard to be held back from something I’m so passionate about. But I suppose this is the very definition of a passion. To feel so much intensity about something you can hardly contain it. Something so completely outside of your control there is nothing you can do but accept it, bow down to it, and kiss it’s beautiful toes.

But the period of Non-Writing was not all bad. The fabulous ladies’ group in my neighborhood had a Witches’ Hat Party, hosted by the lovely Stephanie. I was fortunate enough to get to read tarot cards at the gathering. You’re shocked to learn that I read cards I’m sure. It was a wonderful night of haunts, brew, and the fates revealed.

Next, it was the neighborhood Halloween party. Yes, I do realize that everyone you know, probably even your dog, went as The Black Swan this year. But I don’t care. I had too much fun with the transformation to care. Way too much fun, as you can see.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Now that feels so much better. The pressure has eased up quite a bit now.

I thank your eyeballs for their time.

Tuesday Enchants at the library

I get a tingle of excitement every time I walk into a library. With my canvas bag slung over my shoulder, it’s like embarking on a treasure hunt. But instead of looking for diamonds, rubies, and gold, I search for amusement, inspiration, and truth.

When I walk into a library, this is what I see:

New things to be discovered around every corner.

But as I’ve mentioned in the past, sometimes libraries and bookstores can get me into trouble.

This is the door to the library that I want in my house.

It looks like little gnomes or hobbits live in this library, and they are NOT very tidy.

Ooooh – check out this incredible library at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland! This is on my wish list of must-visit libraries.

Happy Tuesday!