A couple days ago, I dragged out my old story Martin Loudmouth, which I’d started writing so long ago that I actually had one character saying to another character, Sure, it’ll be easy to attach the VCR to the TV so we can rent a movie.
But it’s such an engaging story (to me, anyway), with some brilliant, stellar sections (to me, anyway), that I just don’t want to let it go. This time, I truly honestly genuinely am determined to attempt to try to finish it. Unfortunately, I have two incomplete versions: the original, which is fairly simple and straightforward, and the fleshed-out one, which is far more wordy and complex and adds all these extra stories and characters that muck up the place but in some cases also provide that extra, necessary dimension. It’s going to be a lot of work to get things straightened out before I can even begin the writing part again. Still, it’s been fun to spread out the pages, do comparisons, and get my mind back in that world. I’ve even found myself thinking about the story as I do other things… WHICH, given my desire to stay only in the present moment, is kind of disconcerting, but I’ll find my balance. Every day is about finding our balance, isn’t it?
In her book The Happiness Project the author mentioned that she’d created a few books on a self-publishing site called Lulu, so I made myself an account over there as an added incentive. I’m also going to create a book of my poetry from a few years back, when I was writing poetry, as well as see what it takes to publish my art journal. Question: How awesome will it be to own professional-looking copies — actual books! — of my words and pictures? Answer: EXCEEDINGLY awesome. They will be something to pass along to my kids and possible eventual grandkids. I’m delighted there’s such a thing as a self-publishing service that’s as accessible and easy and inexpensive as Lulu’s because not all of us are destined for major publishing houses, yet so many of us have at least one story in us, have something to say. And the great thing about Lulu is that they’ll make your book available on Amazon and other sellers’ websites for the general public to buy, and you’ll get royalties as well as retain ownership of your copyright, etc. etc., in case a major publishing house ever does want your book. Fence told me awhile back that her library accepts the self-published works of local authors, so when the time comes I’ll check my library to see if they do the same. I’ll bet they do, since our town is very community-oriented. All great fun! Plus, it looks like the site is set up so that there’s a community of writers with whom to connect, bounce ideas off of, and in general, just get to know. That’s also excellent.
Speaking of community, I’m very excited to make a couple of new forays into it… This coming Sunday, Scott, Jess, Amber, and I are going to go to a sweat lodge ceremony at Jess’s boss Nunpa’s property up in Brightwood. Jess and Amber have already done it and said it’s both grueling and exhilarating. The space is basically a large hole in the ground covered with blankets, about four feet high so you have to stoop or sit to fit inside, and not very wide; about twelve people can fit into it. The ceremony is conducted in Lakota fashion, with Lakota blessings, prayers, chanting, and drumming, and lots and lots of very hot steamy rocks. Lots. It’s around four hours of searing steaminess, with only brief flares of cool outside air, when the leader wafts open the door to catch the breeze so people don’t die. Amber helped me pick out the proper outfit, which is apparently a long skirt accompanied by a long-sleeved blouse, both made from thin cotton fabric that breathes–the ‘longness’ of the skirt and sleeves is for protection against small rocks and pine needles, since we’re seated on bare earth and oftentimes have to lie down, as best we can, in order to get some degree of coolness from the ground. Sweat lodges are all about purging toxins from the body, mind, and spirit; they recreate the dark, safe confines of a mother’s womb, and also generate a stress environment that works because when we’re highly stressed, a disconnect takes place between conscious and unconscious thought, and it’s in that gap that huge gallumphing insights and visions can occur. All of Nunpa’s sweat lodge ceremonies are done without the aid of hallucinatory drugs of any kind, which is good, as I believe we don’t need those in order to have a valid experience. I am very, very much looking forward to it.
I’m also jazzed to join the yoga center in town! I’ve seen it a million times as I’ve driven by; it’s located in a tiny, quaint, narrow, white-painted church building with a high pointed steeple, smack in the middle of our downtown area; in fact, underneath it in the basement is my favorite bead shop. You can see from the photos how bright and airy the inside looks (there are more photos on the website)–I think it’s absolutely beautiful so not only will I be gaining more body flexibility, I’ll be able to do it in a setting that’s conducive to deep meditative exercise, and on top of that, I’ll be doing it with like-minded people, right in my very own neighborhood! It couldn’t be better. The reason I emphasized “meditative” is because my last yoga class was anything but. It was a college class, held on a huge gymnasium floor, and we began each session by doing crunches to the blaring music of Cher and various other big-haired 80s bands. After those we’d run quickly through the basic Sun Salutation set and then spend the rest of the hour either learning new poses or, more likely, practicing ballet steps or handstands against the back wall, chattering the whole time. Yeah, I’m super looking forward to my new yoga classes. :) Look, how pretty! Love to all. xo