In honor of the second nor’easter to visit upstate New York, I give you one of my favorite musical renditions of winter:
Several months ago, I was tagged in a “Show Your Writing Place,” meme that was circulating around. Although my space has been set up for several weeks in my younger son’s room, I haven’t written the post until now. This picture shows the incense I burn in the morning for my meditation before I start working. The penguin cup was a Christmas present from my younger daughter. When it got chipped, I converted it to a marker/pen holder. My fountain pens, with various color inks are waiting for me. I do indulge in colored paper as well, especially when planning or mind mapping, which I am doing here.
The left side of the desk has my pencil holder, my cases for my fountain pens so that they can travel from work to home without injury, and a stack of loose paper for reminder notes. Given my ADD, I stick the notes in the clip on top of the little silver holder, plunk it down in the middle of the desk, and hope I see it. It’s not fool-proof, but works most of the time.
Despite my recent shift to minimalism, I still have my little ceramic boxes from decades ago, which now corral small, pesky items. The top shelf also holds my parents’ wedding picture. My mother passed away last April after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. I like to see my parents in a much happier time. My phone and bluetooth speaker are missing from this picture, but I find music essential for writing. The middle shelf has some of my craft books and a box of fountain pen ink. The bottom shelf holds my younger son’s books, since it is still his room when he come home on school breaks.
What does your writing space look like? Do you have objects nearby for inspiration or solace? I’d love to see, if you are willing to share.
I treasure this picture of my parents’ wedding in December 1945. My father was the first in my immediate family to serve in the military, followed by my brother, my nephew, and my nephew’s wife. My husband’s family has served as well, including his brother, his nephew, and his grandniece.
I thank these members of my family, but I also thank all the veterans, past and present.
Flipping to another WIP, a novella based on the life of Christine de Pizan (1364-1431), the first woman in France to make a living as an author. I give you 18 sentences, adding 9+10, and well, minus 1, because that’s where the piece stops.
“Christine, please pay attention to your spinning. It is a disaster, yet you refuse to learn. You must use both your hands in concert.” Christine thought, Synchronicity, like Papa explained about the celestial spheres.
Her mother continued her rant, “Look at the lumps in your wool! Your father thinks he can make you into a scholar, stuffing your head full of Latin and science. It’s not right for a woman to know how to write. How we will ever find a husband for you, I do not know!”
I’ll find my own husband, Christine thought. Stifling a yawn at the perennial argument, she searched through her Latin in a familiar game. Oscitate, yes, that’s yawning, she smiled to herself. Out loud, she said dutifully, “Yes, maman, I will try harder.” She picked up more roving to bear out her promise.
She loved her maman, but she wanted more than her mother’s life. Christine yearned to be a scientist like her father, famous at the French court for his knowledge of astrology and the humours of the body. She wanted to discover whether the pestilence that had ravaged the world was due to the conjunction of three planets, as some thought, or from a miasma, a mala aria in her native Italian. She would be as famous as her father, some day, and not for her spinning. She would be a new sort of woman.
In the wee hours of Friday morning, September 5th, I arrived home from an inspiring and liberating trip to New York City for the Second Annual World Sexual Health Day celebration. The day, in all its components, was bigger than one blog post, and the telling of it will take much reflection. I discovered a refreshing look at sexual health and well-being; an event full of laughter, support, and an emphasis on the health/well-being/psychological side of the picture which was surprising, liberating, and comforting beyond words.
Wrapped around the celebration were good food and good friends in an almost medieval celebration of travel in company. I enjoy the vibrancy and speed of New York City, reveling in the rush of humanity, the eddies at narrow points that remind me of rivers going under bridges, splashing at the pillars that block their path. I prize eavesdropping on the languages I know, trying to identify those I don’t, and catching up on the latest fashions which will never grace my form. My love of the city is somewhat new, as a recent transplant to upstate, which gave showing my finds to my companions an extra elation. The venue for the celebration, The Cutting Room, was a comfortable red, bronze, and wood room with a matching ambience, a new discovery filed in my memory.
In total disclosure, I had no idea what the evening was going to be. I’d signed up to go for utterly selfish reasons: to meet August McLaughlin of #GirlBoner fame, whom I’ve known online for a couple of years now, to see New York, and slightly less selfishly, to accompany Shan Jeniah as tour guide to the big city. What I found was altering in some deep ways I have not completely processed yet.
In her opening statement, Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh did not discount the disease or dysfunction side of things, but added the missing celebratory piece, pointing out a Google search for sexual health would provide more than enough information about dysfunction and disease. Her statement turned my historical focus on that aspect of sexuality on its head. Dysfunction and disease, or fear thereof, has punctuated my adult life from the beginning. From August’s introductory meditation on the color of our sexuality–deepest, royal purple, thank you–to Dr. Sara’s final compassionate plea for understanding those in differing cultures and beliefs, I felt such lightness of heart.
All the artistic pieces, from the stunningly beautiful photography in the bar to the acroyoga to the lovely tangos played by a cello and bandoneon duet found crannies in my heart, and I plan to post about them as well. Right now, however, I’d like to detail the theatre pieces punctuating the evening and striking a harmonic resonance in my inner misfit. Jeffrey Solomon and Emily Joy Weiner played the roles in Houses on the Moon, three vignettes, touching, gentle statements about the difficulties faced by those not on the exact center of the sexual spectrum. The first, an allegorical piece about anchovy pizza, displayed the insensitive and invasive questions posed to humans on the left or right of center in that spectrum. The transgendered roommate snafu portrayed further the quest for understanding and acceptance. The final piece, the teenage best friends confronted with the differing sexes of their heartthrobs, crystallized that need for understanding from those closest as well as the passing stranger. The pieces touched me, making me evaluate whether I was as sensitive in real life as I had imagined.
I encourage all of you to enjoy the streaming video, and celebrate sexuality in some small way. Sign up on the World Sexual Health Day Facebook page, and follow the hashtag #WSHD on Twitter, so you can join us next year, or, if the trip is not feasible, to stay apprised of next year’s event and join us virtually.