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Retrospection

            My decision to blog again has much to do with the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  I didn’t go into detail about how that day influenced my life in my early posts, truthfully, I skipped the experience entirely.  Everybody has their own version of that day, and each one carries a unique burden in that experience.  Those experiences should not be trivialized or diminished as so often happens when comparisons are made.  I have held my memory of that day close to my heart, protecting it from cynicism and recrimination.

            I avoided all media exposure on the anniversary.  Instead, I sat outside in the sunshine and read a romance novel, avoidance in a truly self-indulgent fashion.  When I had read the last page and the sun had dropped below the horizon I felt ashamed.  Without my distractions I began to feel that I had desecrated the sanctity of that day, that I had disrespected the memory of the lives that were lost.  Some days later I read a memorial blog that changed my perspective.

           From ‘Ephemera and Pseudo-Events’ by J.N. Nielsen:

                        “An anniversary is an arbitrary thing – the length of a year is utterly arbitrary – but it is natural to want to commemorate a loss, as it is natural to want to celebrate some joyous occasion. … To memorialize an event is to prevent its repetition, the render it singular, although we must relive the trauma in each memorialization.  Failure to memorialize an event means that it will be visited upon us time and again, though we will be spared the retraumatization of the continual consciousness of the event.”

             My experiences of that day have shaped every aspect of my life, but not in a negative way.  I honor the memory of that day by living each subsequent day with deep appreciation in my heart.  When I remember that day I don’t linger on images of destruction or fear, I am overcome by the humility and compassion I felt all around me.  I tremble not with grief, but with awe.  Remembering now feels like a renewal of hope, and hope and shame cannot coexist.

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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Coffee Shop Whore?, Confessions, philosophy, psychology

 

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Letter – a work of fiction

Dear Julie,

     I couldn’t help but notice how nice your hair smelled today.  It was so beautiful in the sunshine, it took all of my self-control to not run my fingers through it.  I also couldn’t help but notice that you had lunch with that man again, I thought that my previous letters would have alerted you to how disastrous a relationship with this person might be, surely he could not love you as much as I do, but that is beside the point, I am sure you will realize that I am right on this point.  Have you told him about me?  Silly me, asking such questions, he would know better than to intrude on our relationship.

     I have been trying to decide what I would get you for your birthday this year.  I never see you wearing the earings that I bought you last year.  I have been trying to think of something more personal, something that you can cherish, something to remind you of my love.

     The first time we met my life changed.  You were so young and beautiful.  You were wearing that little pink sweater.  I remember how pretty your hair was in that ponytail,  I thought it a shame that you cut it all off.  I know you didn’t mean it to be hurtful to me, after all, I did say how much I liked it.  I am glad that you are growing it out again.  It’s much better looking when it is long.  It would have looked so beautiful streaming down your back at graduation.  But that was a long time ago, I barely knew you then, not like now.

     I hate to keep harping on about it, but that man you had lunch with… he is so much like that boy you were dating back then.  Richard something or other.  I tried to warn you about him.  You wouldn’t listen then either, I don’t know if you know, but I finally had to talk to him, I mean, really, even then you knew that we were destined to be together.  I know you had to have your fun, but he was getting a little too serious, he thought he could steal you from me.  I hope this one doesn’t make the same mistake.  Richard whatshisface just wouldn’t believe me when I told him you were mine.  Even after you moved away, I knew you were getting away from him, you knew that I would find you, no matter where you went.  The connection between us is too strong to ever be broken by miles.  Richard didn’t have that connection with you.

     Anyway, that’s all in the past.  We are the future.  I should go now, I will see you soon anyway, but I wanted to tell you that I love you and think of you always.

                                                                                                                                     Love and Devotion,

                                                                                                                                     Your Secret Admirer

 

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True Confession

          When I started ‘Confessions of a Coffee Shop Whore’ I wanted a home for my fiction.  It did not take me long to realize that fiction was not what I needed to write.  In fact, the harder I tried to focus on fiction, the more I became distracted by my reality.  I was not sure how to write about my reality.  I had always been a story-teller and that was not the same as being a writer.

            I had never really identified myself as a writer.  This is an odd concept to explain, so bear with me.  For as long as I can remember, I have entertained myself with absurd little stories.  These stories matured with me, gaining depth and complexity as I grew older and learned more words.  Whatever I learned whether in school or in life invariably found its way into my little fantasy world.  My stories became an embodiment of my education.  My stories helped me make sense of the world.

            I didn’t start writing my stories down until I was eighteen.  I can actually recall that first writing experience.  I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember quite clearly my state of mind.  I was in despair; violent, self-destructive despair.  I was far away from all that was familiar and alone in an unforgiving and unsympathetic environment.  The back of a duty roster became my confidant. 

On the page I could separate myself.  My problems became obstacles for my characters to overcome.  In my stories I could say what was on my mind without fear or consequence.  Still, I did not consider myself a writer.  I was a sailor who liked to write in her spare time.

My characters became my best friends.  They traveled with me, consoled me and they never pressured me or made me feel ashamed.  People were not nearly as accommodating.  When you are in the military, people and places are temporary and sadly interchangeable.  True connections are few and far between; at least they were for me.

I wrote throughout my time in the Navy, tending toward the dark and sinister corners of human nature, nicely disguised in fantasy or science fiction.  After signing my discharge papers and heading to LA I adopted the sunshine into my narrative, but soon I was distracted by school.  Once again I was processing whatever lessons I learned by writing it out.  I would twist and turn each idea until I could see it from every angle.  I turned those angles into characters, and those characters began to have voices different from my own.  They came to life, independent and complicated, and for the first time, unique.  I was no longer the main character of my stories.  Yet still, I was a student who liked to write in her spare time.

Spare time…such a common and unassuming pair of words, but ah, the illusion they create…  There is no such thing as spare time.  Time may be occupied by a variety of activities, but it is most definitely occupied.  My stories gained life because I was living.  My characters became independent because I became independent.  My mind was active, synapses were firing, connections were being made, and input was producing output.  My time was fully occupied, but still I thought I needed more time.

I thought that shifting into full-time writer status would be a breeze, after all, the creative juices were flowing, I had more ideas than I knew what to do with… if only I didn’t have that test to study for or that chapter to read… if only I had more time to dedicate to writing… if only.  A few months after I was out of school the ideas dried up.  I had plenty of time to write, but I had nothing to write about.  No input, no output.  And if I have nothing to write about, how can I call myself a writer?  This is the spiral I found myself in last year.

I may have been blocked on my fiction, but I did discover something new about my writing.  I discovered my voice again.  Somewhere along the way I stopped needing a character to speak for me.  Suddenly it became more important to speak for myself – to take back ownership of me – to no longer bury my thoughts in plot lines and dialogue.  But that was not how I had envisioned my blog and I didn’t know how to adjust.

When my computer crashed I found it impossible to keep up with the blog.  I had no theme, no continuity, no criteria from which to build a body of work.  I was writing myself into circles and corners.  In retrospect, writing for a self-imposed deadline, and then stressing about it, is rather idiotic.  I was the worst boss I had ever had and I should have known better.  I needed to step back and regroup… but I did not want to admit failure… (what plan am I on now?)

So, back to where I started with this thing.  I am a writer who occasionally works elsewhere in a non-writing capacity.  Not only does this non-writing occupation of my time help put food on the table, it also provides input to keep the output flowing.  Fiction or not, I am writing.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2011 in Confessions

 

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Computer Issues

Just when I thought I was getting things together… my ONLY working computer, STOPPED WORKING!!!!!!! As I have no library card – and therefore a miniscule amount of ‘guest’ access – I am once again delinquent on my postings. I have six minutes remaining on my borrowed computer. I want to cry.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2010 in Confessions

 

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Alphabet Fiction

I mentioned something I have named ‘Alphabet Fiction’ a while back.  Well, now I am going to expand on it a little bit.

As you may know, I have a slight obsession with the dictionary.  My Handy-Dandy is a source of comfort, security and wisdom.  Oftentimes, it is also a source of inspiration.  Some of you may remember The Dictionary Distraction (https://missfionna.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-dictionary-distraction/) well, Alphabet Fiction follows a similar thought process.

Choose 5 – 10 words that begin with the same letter.  Even better if they are within the same dictionary page.

Use the definitions of these words to create a story line.

The title of the story MUST begin with the same letter as the words chosen. (the main title word… not ‘A’ or ‘The’, etc.)

The idea is based on flash fiction (500 words or less) but I bet that longer works could easily be developed using this technique.  I haven’t tried anything longer… but one day I will make that attempt.

I am interested to know if anyone gives it a try.  I am on outline phase with “D”.

Hope all is well,

Fionna


 
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Posted by on June 14, 2010 in Confessions

 

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Media Misunderstanding and Modern Inspiration

I firmly stand by the idea of Escapism…. especially when I don’t like myself very much.  I have been irritating myself recently, delving into self-pity more than usual, and that is just a waste of time.  So, as a way to occupy a few hours of my time, I decided to watch a movie.

One thing that I am not sure I have mentioned before:  I take movies VERY seriously.  I give myself over to the story completely, I take no aspect of the creative process for granted.  I savor lighting, camera angle, score, dialogue…. ALL OF IT.  I view movies as vehicles for emotional exploration.  To me, there is no such thing as a bad movie, for that label is much to vague.  Much like every other statement or opinion, I want support and specifics.  There are very few movies out there that I honestly view as ‘perfect’.

When I feel like my life is difficult or that I am fighting against terrible odds, the true obstacle is (as Richard mentioned in his comment) my perspective.  Specifically, I have come down with a case of the ‘poor, poor, pitiful me’ narcissism.  The perfect cure for this ailment:

If you have not seen this movie, I definitely recommend it.  The fact that is a true story only makes it that much more of an inspiration.

I am in awe at the power of the song, Amazing Grace, more so in the story of the man who wrote it.  But I am humbled beyond measure and forever grateful for the man who was inspired by it.  For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, it is the story of William Wilberforce, the politician who dedicated his life to ending the slave trade in Great Britain.

It is possible for one person to change the world.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Confessions

 

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No Witty Title

I surf various blogs on various sites and I am amazed at the imagination and creativity of people.  I wonder if the medium of the internet is recognized by the ‘intellectuals’ of the world.  I wonder now if there truly is such a thing as an ‘intellectual’.

What does that mean anyway?

I don’t see anywhere other than the internet where ideas can be connected in new and interesting ways.  The real genius of modern society is available for anyone who knows where to look, unfortunately, it is not always easy to know where to look.

I have tried to find individuals in various fields, bloggers like myself, to share ideas with.  So far, only fellow writers have responded with any degree of interest.  And they say that writers are a solitary bunch… they are wrong.  In my experience writers thrive at meetings of the mind.

So, I am here, sending out my little plea for help.  I am in need of discussion on diverse topics.  I have become stagnant in my own mind and this condition only seems to worsen when I ‘cold call’ or search blindly for someone to ‘talk’ to on any given issue.  For example, I would have loved further discussion on Self-Concept but it just did not happen.

I just passed a blog milestone, over 1,000 visits to the site.  I thought that by the time I reached that marker that I would be comfortable with the blog and that I would have found a theme.  I feel just as unsure as I was the first week or so, I actually think that I have gotten worse at the whole thing.

I don’t know, maybe this insecurity will pass, maybe tomorrow I will wake up and have something I want to say, but right now… I think that right now I have been done in by reality and the abstract and insight are lost to me.

I see the spark in other blogs around the world wide web, I feel the teasing warmth of inspiration, I sense Truth hiding around the corner but my reflexes are slow and I can’t grab hold.  I would rather put forth posts full of ideas and passion, not posts such as this one, confused and numbed by the pressures of the world.  But as it is, that is where I am, this is what I’ve got.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2010 in Confessions

 

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