Blissful Understanding

Alligators

Alligators (Photo credit: Jombie9)

“We do not write to be understood. We write in order to understand.” ~ Cecil Day Lewis

These words tell the whole story for me. Writing if done correctly is not easy. According to Willliam Sarovan, “Writing is the hardest way of earning a living with the possible exception of wrestling alligators.” Mr. Sarovan knows whereof he speaks.

Like any other exercise, and I call writing an exercise, as it uses the “muscles” of the brain, one must persevere in order to get results.  Our muscles develop over time and help us with the heavy lifting of expressing ourselves, and in that expression, understanding ourselves.

Often, when I do my workaday writing, which is reporting on what goes on in municipal politics, I find I need to understand the topic I am writing about before I am able to write an article. Sometimes when I am confused, I start with the end in the mind–what the decision was that was made at council, and then work my way back through the story to get to why that decision was made. What went into it? By starting at the end and working back, I find a way to understand the topic. And of course, if there is any question in my mind, I use my due diligence and ask some more questions.

When I write more creatively, I find that much of what I write ends up on the proverbial cutting room floor. When I was in school decades ago, and we edited film, we actually cut out the parts we did not want–until then I did not realize how true to life that expression was. When you write and edit, more often than not, you just delete–but by writing and deleting, and then finally coming up with a product you are somewhat pleased with, you come to an understanding. You delete the things which did not add to the “understanding” and keep the things that seemed to clarify it.

One of my favorite quotes, and one I have used before is that of E.M. Forester who said quite brilliantly, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” I am of the same mind. When the words from my brain are tapped out by my fingers, there is a process there–a process of pre-editing–of things that were formed in my mind, chewed up, and spat on the page in a form that is pliable.

The quotes that I have used in this post are from Dinty W. Moore’s book, “The Mindful Writer”, and he has his own take on them, which he admits has a bit of a “Buddhist approach”, or mindfulness. He says though that his writing actually opened his mind to mindfulness and nonattachment, rather than it informing his writing. He says that writing “is not explaining” nor the “mere description of an idea.” Rather, “to write requires learning, discovering, examining and interrogating.” He believes that “writing is the process of putting down words, then stepping back, considering those words, trying to understand them.”

Do you agree with Moore? Is understanding one of the goals of your writing bliss?

Writing samples

Writing samples (Photo credit: churl)

Note to my readers: I have Recipe Saturday, and now Writing Wednesday–so those are two things you can depend upon — I am finding a little calm in the chaos by assigning myself topics.

Bliss Comes From Acceptance

blogformentalhealth20131winner

I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

I was pledged by bipolar2dad. Drop by his brave blog.

Check out: Blog For Mental Health 2013 « A Canvas Of The Minds

Published in: on February 20, 2013 at 2:10 am  Comments (9)  
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Shuttered Windows

The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces

The Shuttered Room  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“One wants a room with no view, so imagination can dance with memory in the dark.” ~ Annie Dillard

I am afraid I am with Ms. Dillard on this one. Perhaps it is because I have self-diagnosed AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder), but the less stimuli I have when I work, the better I am. A view would take my concentration away from the matter at hand.

I work in a corner of my “office” in front of shuttered windows. I have pics of my family on my desk and occasionally glance at them, but I take them somewhat for granted, thus they are not much of a distraction. I know if I opened the shuttered windows, I would be lost in the scenery outside, lost in thought.

Lost in thought is good for creativity, but it is the inner imagination dancing with memory in the dark that produces good writing.

Do you write in a room with a view, or do you find bliss in shuttered windows?

Published in: on February 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm  Comments (64)  
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Possible Bliss

Bliss first logo (2006-2008)

Wikipedia

A good quote to keep in mind for Monday bliss:

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” ~ Margaret Drabble

Published in: on February 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm  Comments (38)  
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Sometimes Giving In Is Bliss

English: Various remote controls fot TV-set, D...

English: Various remote controls for TV-set, DVD and VHS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love my husband. I do. But he has some annoying habits.

First of all, he thinks that the remote control for the television is his. He really does. It kills him when someone else has control of it. Perhaps he feels the world is out of control, so at least he can control something.

Second, he hardly ever watches one program at a time. Even if he likes a program, during the commercial he will turn the station to something else, and forget to turn it back, until I quite sweetly and politely ask him to. (Okay, maybe not so sweetly and nowhere near politely.)

And then he has a habit which drives me even more crazy than I already am. If he cannot find a program he likes, he just keeps hitting the remote and changing the channel until I get up and leave the room. I am pretty sure he does not do this on purpose. All the time. But once in a while, he does do it on purpose even though he says he doesn’t.

Why he thinks the television is his domain is anyone’s guess – but I am guessing that he is not the only husband who has these tendencies.

Sure, he is wonderful on so many levels that I let this one go (most of the time). But really, how funny are wonderful things?

Sometimes bliss is leaving the room and reading a book. Does your significant other have a funny annoying bad habit?

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

Published in: on February 17, 2013 at 11:42 am  Comments (77)  
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Green Bliss

English: Marshmallows

English: Marshmallows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In honour of the fact that emerald green is the colour of 2013 according to those in the know, I am presenting you with a recipe I call “Green Stuff”. It probably has a proper name, but I rather like its non-descriptive descriptive name.

This was given to me by a friend who says that her significant other, Dave can make it, so I can make it. And Dave goes along with this—though come to find out—Dave is a bit of a cook himself, having taught cooking at school. So he is way ahead of me when it comes to cooking, but that is alright. It encourages me to try new recipes so I am the better for it.

So, in case you were looking for something green for your St. Patrick’s Day feast (I know I am a bit ahead of time here, but this will give you time to plan), here is my recipe for

Green Stuff

19 oz. can of crushed pineapple with juice

1 small pkg. pistachio pudding (99 grams)

1 pkg. of coconut (200 grams)

Large thing of Cool Whip (as opposed to a small thing of Cool Whip)

About ½ pkg. of little marshmallows

Pour pineapple into big bowl. Sprinkle pudding on top and let soak in for a minute. Stir in and mix. Add coconut. Stir. Add slightly softened cool whip. Stir. Add marshmallows. Stir. Make sure it is all green when you are done mixing. Voila, green stuff!

I tend to leave out the coconut, but my family loves it either way.

Do you have a blissful recipe with a weird name?

Published in: on February 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm  Comments (50)  
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So What Do You Think?

Love Stinks

Love Stinks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This fine day after Valentine’s Day is being celebrated in a questionable manner in some corners of the world. I join the legions who do not like the commercialization of love,  cheapening it by pressuring us into buying roses and diamonds and chocolates (seriously though how bad could a day be that supports chocolate?) But, are we so delicate that we cannot withstand this barrage?

Kudos for those of you who just ignore the hype. Equal kudos for those of you who enjoy it. No kudos for those of you who try to derail it by throwing anti-Valentine parties. The headline this morning in my local daily reads: “Kissers, Cuddlers Not Welcome”. A local bar is throwing an anti-Valentine’s Day party tonight and they have banned “public displays of affection” calling them “strictly taboo” at their annual event.

Most of us have loved and lost. Many of us are in wonderful relationships—but we remember when we weren’t. But is that any reason to be so anti-love? I am not really comfortable with public displays of affection at any time—but showing a little affection should not be eliminated for the sake of broken and jaded hearts. My favourite song was once the  J. Geils Band’s  “Love Stinks”. But it was a phase, and I did not resent those who had found love—in fact I found it heartening.

I say to those who are anti-Valentine—get over yourselves. There is no bliss in negativity. What do you think?

An Annoying Valentine

Happy Valentine's day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! (Photo credit: Donna Grayson)

February 14th. Valentine’s Day.

I found two quotes that give me bliss on this day of hearts and flowers.

The first comes from comedian Rita Rudner who says: “I love being married. It’s so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” That is exactly how I feel. I love to annoy my husband a little bit, and he puts up with it as I am so perfect in every other way. (Stop gagging NOW!)

The second is quite sweet and funny. Erich Segal, famous for his lie:“Love means never having to say you are sorry” or some rubbish like that, did come up with a line I agree with. He said: “True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.”

So, make of this day what you will, and I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day.

What gives you bliss on Valentine’s Day?  

 

The Bliss of “Did”

Just Do It

Just Do It (Photo credit: AMANITO)

Today’s prompt from Michelle: Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda: Tell us about something you know you should do, but don’t…. brought Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda” immediately to mind:


Layin’ in the sun,
Talkin’ bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did.

Reading to Kids

Reading to Kids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a great fan of Silverstein, having read three of his books of poems supposedly for children (but really for all of us) to both of my sons so many times, I cannot even venture a guess as to how many times we cuddled together, me reading, and they transfixed by his words.

We all should and could do many things and we would have except for…..so many things. But how about the many things we did do? I think those should count for something.

I vote for forgetting about woulda-coulda-shoulda and just concentrating on the “dids”—that sounds much more blissful to me. How about you?

Published in: on February 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm  Comments (61)  
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A Rose by any other name…..

Homefront-USB-Stick (4GB)

Homefront- (Photo credit: THQ Deutschland)

 Prompt for the day: Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you. ~ Michelle

Michelle from WordPress is certainly a curious girl. Okay Michelle, this one is for you.

1. I chose “On The Homefront and Beyond” for my blog because it is the name of the weekly column I write for my hometown newspaper.

rose

rose (Photo credit: alice_ling)

2. To be honest, I did not choose the name totally by myself. When I started writing the newspaper column in 1998 I had a partner—she would write the column one week and I would write it the next. She chose the “On the Homefront” part which she said she stole from a friend. Since her friend lived nowhere near us and was unlikely to ever find out, we absconded with the name. I added “….and beyond” because I did not want to limit us to just topics having to do with “on the homefront”. My partner moved away and I have had the column solely to myself since 1999.

3. It has the word “home” in it, and that is one of my favourite words.

4. I am lazy and did not take the time to find another name for this blog.

5. I hope to publish a wildly popular and successful book called Tales from “On The Homefront and Beyond”. I hope to make millions. When this book is published I plan to put it on my bookshelf beside my book of poetry (which is still in my imagination) called “Poems” from a Poet of Little Merit.

6. I enjoy spellcheck continually trying to make me spell “homefront” as two words: home front.

Are you happy with the title of your blog? If you do not have a blog yet—what title would give you bliss? If you do have a blog—does the name of your blog give you bliss? (I have to stay with the program here: bliss is the topic of the year.)