How writer’s block and an old poem resulted in thoughts on trust

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I’ll be honest here: I was having a brain fart. Or a writer’s block. Or something.

So, I put on my music and considered writing a poem instead. But when opening Word, I glimpsed a poem I wrote on December 20, 2016. I opened “The musical river” and read it. Reading that spawned another idea, which led me to my blog and prompted me to write the following words: “I’m still not quite sure how I want to get a point across. So for now, I have another exercise.”

Well, let me just take it from there, because my writer’s block went away.

If you would, go to iTunes or Spotify or YouTube and pick your favorite song to listen to. And I mean, a song that really, really gets you — every single time you listen to it. (If you’re at a loss for a song, here’s one from The Piano Guys.)

Now, lose yourself… in the music, the moment…

***

The musical river

One musical note
doesn’t seem like much —
as a single drop of water
doesn’t amount to much.

Perhaps this note is a B flat
or a C sharp —
and perhaps this drop of water
falls from the faucet
or drops from the sky.

On its own,
that one musical note
seems lonely and without context —
and the drop of water
seems small and insignificant.

But when that one tone
is followed by other individual tones —
and when that drop of water
is joined by more beads of water —

together they define a new creation.

The musical notes
support each other,
lead each other,
pushing forward with a sense
of purpose and perseverance —
as the drops of water
join together to become
a single entity
that flows with elegant determination,
until, at last,

the end of a new masterpiece.

***

I’ve been thinking a lot about trust recently. In fact, I’ve been thinking about trust for the past couple of months. And when I thought of trust, my thoughts turned to trust falls. I’m sure you all know what a trust fall is, but just in case:

Trust is scary. That moment you choose to let yourself fall is a moment when you place complete control into the hands of someone else. You trust that person to ignore surrounding distractions and catch you, support you.

So, these thoughts were lingering in my mind, when I turned on my music and read this poem again. That’s when the following thoughts passed through my mind: Each musical note does a trust fall into the next one. Without the next note to catch the one before it, the music ceases to be.

The musical notes in your favorite song rely on each other to create the final outcome. Without that trust, their existence and ultimate purpose would be undetermined and meaningless.

I’ll let you ruminate on that thought for a bit.

I will trust and not be afraid

img_4026-newIn my previous post, I left you at a ledge with a decision to make: Would you stay content in the darkness or would you move toward the light?

That ledge is daunting. You have no idea how far the drop is or what you might find below — if you survive the fall. To jump would mean losing control. It would be a leap of faith — belief without logical proof that there is more than the darkness you’ve been in, that purpose can be found.

You jump.

Your heart pounds violently, and your stomach flops as you fall. You’re terrified and utterly helpless. You have no idea what will happen to you.

You continue to fall, until, suddenly, you’re submerged in cold water. Water rushes into your lungs and you try to keep your head above water. You tread water, but the water is deep and you quickly get tired. You try to swim, but you don’t know which direction to go. You yell out for help.

Then, you hear a voice say, “Here, take my hand.” You reach your arm out to grasp the outstretched hand. The person is in a small boat that has a lantern attached to the helm. The lantern’s light emits a warm glow that contrasts with the icy water engulfing you. The person hoists you into the boat and wraps a warm, dry blanket around you.

You don’t know who the person is. You don’t know where the person is going. But the person has helped you.

The person turns to look at you and asks you a question…

… and before you answer, I want you to remember that Princess Jasmine wouldn’t have discovered a whole new world if she hadn’t first decided to answer the same question:do-you-trust-me

Do you trust me?

An exercise in faith

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Imagine this:

You’re in a space with no light, immersed in complete darkness.

You stretch your arms out in front of you, seeking something — anything — for your fingers to touch and recognize. You move one foot cautiously forward, making sure there is solid ground underneath for you to step on.

With this carefulness, you walk around blindly, relying on your senses to perceive what is safe and what is not.

As your fingers and feet are exploring, you catch your breath. Your front foot has nowhere to go. The ground has disappeared in front of you. Realizing you are at a ledge, you take a step backward and return to the ground you know is safe.

You sit there. You lose all sense of direction. There is nothing but you and the stifling darkness. You begin to think you’ll never escape.

Suddenly, your eyes are jolted by a flicker of light.

It is small and distant, yet it radiates energy and purpose in the still darkness.

The ledge looms between you and the faraway light.

Now what do you do?

Do you stay in the darkness?

Or do you walk toward the light?

Star Wars, a novel idea and anagrams

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I’m pretty excited, people. Not just because Christmas is coming, or because the new Star Wars movie releases in a matter of weeks (although that is, of course, extremely exciting… there are so many theories about who Rey is related to, and some think Jyn from Rogue One could be her mom… hmmm… maybe we’ll find out… sorry, geekiness over… for now).

Back to the original reason for my excitement. I have an idea for a novel that I actually really love. I mean, I’ve dabbled in various plot ideas before, yet have never really committed to one particular story. But now? I’ve been consistently writing, researching and pondering about my plot and the characters. I want to know more about the characters I’m meeting, where they’re going and what they’re doing… but I’m the one who’s creating them. The suspense is killing me. (Does that make me the orchestrator of my own demise?)

Interestingly enough, the idea stemmed from my actual job. I cover a specific area of technology, constantly reading, writing, editing and researching technological content. I find it interesting… and apparently so did my subconscious. One day, my protagonist just showed up, running for her life. Let me tell you, that was intriguing.

I have more plot than that, don’t worry. But I don’t really want to reveal too much yet. Partly because I still don’t know where exactly the story is going, and partly because I would be way too intimidated. But I’m excited about it. Things keep popping up, and I think, “Wow, that would work so well with the plot.” Or, “So that’s how this could happen.” 

Also, the plot sometimes takes a turn into the world of SciFi. I’ve never envisioned myself writing SciFi. I don’t have anything against it — you need only look at the first paragraph of this post to recognize that. But I never thought it would emerge in my writing. And while what I have so far is not full-fledged SciFi or anything, it does have a sprinkling of it.

But that’s all I’m saying about it at this point. Maybe I’ll eventually post snippets of it here… we’ll see. But for now, I’ll give you another tidbit of my writing. I was reading poetry by Anne Bradstreet yesterday, in which she created some anagrams — where you rearrange letters in words to create different words. This is what her work inspired:

 Finer hens jingle.

I know, I know. Riveting. I bet you can’t wait for a story about fine hens jingling, right?

Thoughts on coffee. Yes, coffee.

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There are a lot of important things to realize throughout a person’s lifetime. Realizations like you can’t always please everyone, or communication is important in any relationship, or the simple fact that you need water to survive. I recently realized a startling fact about my own life: I have never made a pot of coffee before. Ever.

I love coffee. My dad first introduced black coffee to me when I was in second grade, and although I didn’t become a regular coffee consumer then (probably for the best — who knows how much shorter I would be), I grew up with an immense appreciation for the taste of black coffee.

Life passed by, and I dabbled in coffee drinking. Some coffee here, some coffee there, some coffee while I sat in a chair. Some coffee in class, some coffee at work, some coffee so I wouldn’t go berserk. Eventually and inevitably, coffee and I became quite close. It’s not like I depend on coffee or even drink it excessively, but I certainly look forward to it in the morning.

My workplace provides free coffee from both a standard coffee maker and a Keurig machine (what a beautiful, beautiful thing). I tend to go for the Keurig, due to the before-stated fact and topic of this post that I have never brewed a pot of coffee. You can be guaranteed that I would not try this whole process out for the first time at my work — I can easily imagine the number of things that could, and most likely would, go wrong.

So, I don’t have to brew the coffee at work. But, what if — horror of horrors — the Keurig machine broke, or the company ran out of K-Cups, or (hyperbolic situation alert) a gun was held to my head, and the only way the gun-wielder would let me live was if I could successfully make a pot of coffee? **music from Psycho shower scene plays** Would I be coffee-less? Would I die because of my inability to make a pot of coffee? Both are tragic thoughts.

I think I would be able to fake it ’til I make it. I’d like to think I’m a somewhat intelligent person, with enough common sense to be able to figure it out. But hey, with my life being threatened, I might not be able to. I mean, I’ve seen my parents, best friend, and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls make pots of coffee. But could I do it?

In case anybody else is in the same situation as I am (hopefully not the hyperbolic life-threatening situation), here’s a helpful YouTube video, posted by Levi Justin — what a life saver. The video is appropriately titled “How to make a pot of coffee.”

Good news: After watching this video, I realized I would have been able to make a pot of coffee. However, part of me feels like I am not officially an adult until I actually do it, so I should get on that. But this realization about my life makes me wonder: What else should I know?

Random side note: “Conglomerate” is an extremely fun word to say.

“Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first I came among these hills…”

–William Wordsworth

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Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m awful at this whole keeping-the-blog-up-to-date thing. But I might as well post something now, while I’m thinking of it.

Here’s a blurb from my previous post on change:
“I have been experiencing a lot of change in my life recently — moving out, becoming independent, more responsibilities at work and life in general, my impending senior year of college, thoughts about where I’m going to end up in the future — and I have grown to realize that I actually like change.”

In an ironic way, you could say that I’m in a very similar situation this very day (uncannily almost exactly a year after my last post). Here I am, facing another life-changing time in my life. I graduated from college, and in a couple of weeks, I’ll be moving into my very own apartment (so very independent). I started a new job in the field that I wanted (I even get some spiffy business cards). Suffice it to say, I am very much encountering the realities of “adulting.” But here I am, still enjoying the changes that I have been through, and looking forward to the changes I will be going through.

But that wasn’t the main reason why I wanted to write a post today… Did I mention I got to travel to Europe this summer? For three weeks, I got to explore the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany, with a very good friend. And it was absolutely amazing and beautiful and eye-opening and so, so cool.

While I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures throughout the trip, I decided along the way that I wanted to take portraits of locals in each town/city we visited. Thankfully, when I wanted to back out (because I had no knowledge of the language and would probably seem like a bumbling idiot), my friend told me to just do it. She taught me the Czech phrase I would need, and the portraits began (I eventually realized that I tended to gravitate toward intriguing old men… that’s not too weird, right?)

Like I said before, I have so many pictures from this trip. And these are obviously not the most professional or masterful portraits ever. But, to me, these portraits will always be special. Because they were random encounters with real people living individual stories, during a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Some of them may have a hard life; some of them may have a simple life; and some of them may have a happy life. But I think I was drawn to these people because, unconsciously, I wanted to capture the wisdom they’ve earned, or their quiet enjoyment of life, or their continuing pursuit of living a full and free life.

And, in honor of those whose lives were cut short, I want to be sure that I look forward to the life I am blessed to live and the changes that come my way.

Change

Change

I realized today that I have been absolutely awful at keeping up with this whole blog thing. So to all of my avid fans and followers (I can dream, right?), I extend my humble apology. But my deficiency has been for a good reason (as opposed to laziness or lethargy… or the fact that I may or may not have forgotten about it). Nope, it’s mostly thanks to change. Tell me more, you ask. Certainly.

I have been experiencing a lot of change in my life recently — moving out, becoming independent, more responsibilities at work and life in general, my impending senior year of college, thoughts about where I’m going to end up in the future — and I have grown to realize that I actually like change. Change is so often feared, which I definitely understand. “Making or becoming different” is in the definition of the word and that sounds pretty daunting. I doubt most people like to think that they, or their lives, need improvement.

But then, as a co-worker and I were brainstorming about ways to change/move things around at work, I had an epiphanic moment (that might be a bit dramatic, but it’s just such a cool word). It dawned on me that change means something. It means that something is happening in your life, allowing the chance for growth and the possibility for a better life. Maybe it’s something small and seemingly insignificant, like changing from Glad trash bags to Hefty trash bags. Or maybe it’s huge and life-changing, like moving away from home. But when that trash bag doesn’t rip open anymore (I am in no way promoting or belittling a particular brand of trash bags) or you meet your best friend/soul mate/long-lost twin/[insert here] in your new hometown, that change doesn’t seem as scary or horrible.

So often, it’s hard to look past those decisions looming over you and see the countless possibilities that come after. But they are out there. And while you may differ in opinion, I believe that those chances are offered by God. We don’t have to remain stagnant; we can grow. Instead of staying in a rut (even if it is a smooth, well-paved rut), maybe you can choose to accept that opportunity as means to better yourself.

And that’s what I think is pretty cool. With every change that we experience, we have the opportunity to accept it and to actively upgrade ourselves and our lives.

And now for a teaching moment:

Think about money. The change that you get back from the store doesn’t really seem like much. Maybe you’ll throw that dime away, or lose it, or give it as a tip. Or maybe, you can choose to put it in a jar, along with the other nine dimes that you kept. Lookie there, a whole dollar. Now you can go to Cumbie’s and buy any size of coffee that you want. Or you can just keep on saving those dimes in a jar and once that jar is full, put that money toward your student loans… Every little bit counts, right? So you get my point. If you choose to see that change as significant, it will be. Maybe it just takes some time.

P.S. If you ever find me complaining about impending changes in my life, feel free to call me out and remind me about this blog post.