December 20, 2008

Midnight Pages (The Solstice Blog)

I took a walk into the woods this morning, with my daughter against my heart in her ergo baby carrier, looking down at the remains of what formerly had been foliage, pondering about the volatileness of time and things. Suddenly, something very strange happened: I saw a timid little hedgehog that, instead of hibernating, had obviously but unexpectedly woken up and was now cautiously peeking out from under the bushes, gazing at me. I paused for a moment in order to hide my surprise and take a second look at it, but there was no doubt about it: the hedgehog was looking at me, suggesting a smiling! Although I had made my own painful experiences with that species some time ago, which had taught me to be very cautious, I couldn´t help but trust my instincs... so I plucked up my courage and smiled back. A few precious moments we shared, during which time stood still, and then the moment passed by and we went separate ways again. But when I stepped out of the deep woods to go home to my daily duties, I realized that something had changed: Finally, days are getting longer and brighter again!

Hedgehog by phitar/ Source: www.flickr.com

It almost seemed to me as if spring had sent a herald of warmth. I noticed that after all, the world around me was pretty green and shiny in december. Not due to the fir trees and the light decorations all around; simply the nature by itself. Evergreen bushes braved the cold, small water crystals reflected the soft winter light. Somewhere, a blackbird chirped. It even seemed to me that a crocus had grown on the clearing nearby (in fact in was just a little piece of violet bin liner – I suppose I should have taken my glasses along with me! Anyway…) I breathed in the clear icy air and felt more alive and comfortable with myself than I had been feeling in donkey´s years. A thought crossed my mind: What if I chose to enjoy the rest of the winter? Christmas time, New Year´s Eve, my birthday in January, Carnival in February, all that remaining time until the first crocuses would peek out for real and I might meet that little hedgehog again, in thoughts or for real, whatever way?

Metaphorically speaking: Why not replace determinism by libertarianism or –for a lighter start! - compatibilism ?

Well, that´s how my personal winter solstice passed by, this year. After all, black and white are quite close to each other, just as love and hate (and this not only on Eddie´s aka Meat Loaf´s fingers!)…. I learned that a change of heart can occur when you least expect it, and that it is true that the owls are not what they seem. So don´t you ever again claim that those daily additional seconds of brumous winter daylight that are heralded by the winter solstice are of no consequence!

x Alice



Hedgehog Mosaic by kathrynnivy
Find out more about the solstices here

December 02, 2008

Evening Pages (The Gossip Blog)

Cologne at dusk by AdamJL


I´m pretty sure that Julia Cameron had no kids when she stated `Never ever departure from rule no. 1 that is: write daily morning pages!´ At least not two kids under 6! Otherwise, she would have ruled something like `Write as often as you can, whenever you get a second...´


Anyway. These next pages where started on december 2nd in the morning, and will probably be finished tomorrow the 10th in the evenig.... therefore, they are not even supposed to be very coherent.... ahh, what the hell!:-)


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I´ve come to the conclusion that English husbands are gentlemen! At least in comparison to French or German husbands. Take Blake (Amy´s ex), or Guy (Ritchie): Not only do they praise their famous (ex-)wives to the skies, they are also taking all the guilt! Blake says`It´s all my fault that Amy got addicted to drugs!´ Aha. And at Madonna´s 50th Birthday, Guy calls out `My wife is the most amazing person I´ve ever met; I´m so proud of her!´(That was three weeks before their official split up). Look, he could have told us - the global public - that she sleeps under cellophane to stay fresh, or that he was forced to eat lemongrass with Kabbalah mushrooms every day or the like to justify himself. But he didn´t (unlike a few of his buddies who spread the rumours instead...) What did he do instead? He said he would do without any monetary dispense (as long as he could see the kids). That he wished her all the best,`Good luck and have fun with your baseballer!´, and didn´t seem offended at all regarding her taking 2/3 of the kids away to the U.S.!


Or look at Blake (Our Blake, now out of jail). Not only did he prefer to stay for a second round in prison, he deliberately chose to stay away from Amy for good in order to protect her, so that she can finally say `Yes, yes, yes!´ to rehab´. Of course, he doesn´t want any of her money either! Poor Amy, she lost a gemstone!


And now picture a German or French husband, in the same situation: Let me tell you that the German would put the blame on his ex and squeeze out as much money as possible. The French one would have already spent the bigger part of his wife´s money for his mistress anyway. But not the English husband, who is loyal to the bitter end. Very honorable, that is. This being said, there remains a faint doubt... could they be veiling something to us? Maybe it´s just their way to say ´I´m up to whatever she asks me, as long as I get rid of that b****´... ??
The problem is: They might be able to get rid of their ex-wives this way, and leave in proper style, but how will they get rid of their I love Amy or Madonna is ma Donna-Tatoos? You don´t think they have a tatoo? Of course they have! Almost all British men have one (except William and Harry, maybe, but who knows....) ! They all love tatoos!! You can eyeball them at Spanish and Greek beaches, containing all sorts of precious statements, ranking from `I love mum´ to `Harley forever´. I pity those guys when comes the time their passion is running dry and they have to remove them. Outch! Love hurts, for sure!


Except for Ronnie. The rolling one. The one who rolls around with that Russian model (or was she working as a waitress before she met him?). He´s sincere to the bitter end (to himself, not to his wife), stating that in the end, he got bored at home from 5 pm. Poor Ronnie, I´m so sorry for him! He´s invited to come to my house for some action if he doesn´t know what to busy himself with. I´m a quarter Russian too! And I used to work as a half-model-half-waitress as well, in ancient times. What a coincidence! But I suppose that´s not exactly what he is looking for. I´m 37, I´m too old for him! Too old for a pair new kids... But he´s a Rolling Stone, I´ll always love him, whatever he´s doing. After all, he has a lot to tell the truth and be what he thinks is true to himself. Even against Mick´s paternal advice (HAHAHA, Mick is advising him... hm! I see! Really!) Ronnie, I wish you & Ekaterina good luck! You´ll need it.


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What else? Oh well, this morning at 6 a.m., my 5 year-old son woke me up and said: `Mum, just 1.375 more days and I´ll be 9 years old!´ It took me an hour and a an online-calculator to find out that he was right.

x Alice

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P.S. December 14th: Today, I read that Blake (our Blake, finally out of prison....) claimed 1,4 pounds from Amy! So he´s a half Scotsman, or what???

December 01, 2008

Morning Pages (The Blogit! Blog)

Photo by Alice McDuff

Yesterday, a friend called to lift me up. I needed some uplifting, because I have a tendancy to feel downcast when the days get shorter and the nights get long. Which is the case right now. Not exactly in the sense of the Stones song where this line was stolen from, but in the truest sense of the word: In my world, the sun starts to sink at 4.30 p.m. It only rises at 8.15 a.m. In between, I have two little kids who want to have fun and don´t want to sleep - at least not simultaneously. This doesn´t need more explanation, does it?

So my friend who was calling from Munich asked: "How are things with your writing"? "My writing?" "Yes, your writing! Your poetry and all that?" "Oh, that... I barely ever find the time to write properly. Kids keep me busy. My head is empty, or too full with words. I am prone to autumn depression. All I manage to write are dreary poems about cemetaries." (I pass a lot of time at the huge local cemetary around the corner, because this is where my little daughter sleeps best in her pushchair. At least this gives me time and room to think, somehow. Virginia Woolf once stated that in order to be able to write, a woman needs money and a room of her own. Well for the money thing I don´t know whether she´s right (J.K. Rowland has proven us that black is white, if we may believe the myth of her success), but as for the own room concept, I totally agree. The problem is that my daughter still sleeps in our bedroom at night, and that we have banned the tv up to the upper maisonette room. So I have to get by with the cemetary to form my creative thoughts. And after all, Virgina chose to go into the water, despite her money and room of her own. I have neither, nor, but at least this can´t happen to me at the cemetary, there´s no water in miles around. Admittedly, she left us some precious literary artworks. Which, in all likelihood, I will not. Which proves that in any way, Life is unjust! Everything in life has its price! Talent and madness go together like night and day! or something like that... ha!)

"Why don´t you try to write something lighter than this melancholic poetry stuff?", my Munich friend suggested. "Something that helps you to discharge your every day life thoughts."
"But who wants to read everyday life stuff?", was I about to retorte, but then her little son woke up and she could add before hanging up was "Why don´t you open a blog?"

A blog??? Does she mean this modern thing that is keeping a diary on the web? Ten years ago, people would have been staring at you disapprovingly if you had told them "Hello, my name is Alice, I´m 37 and keeping a diary." Aha, and she´s probably still sleeping with her stuffed animals.

Nowadays, everybody has a blog. My ten year old godchild Theresia has one, and my 75 year old uncle Luis too. He lives on the island of Menorca, in a turn of the century villa. One year ago, he didn´t even have a pc. He used to type his columns and articles (the ones he writes for a local newspaper - mostly torrents of hatred agains the German and British polluting his island) on an old Remington typewriter. Well maybe I´m overdoing it, and it wasn´t a Remington. It was probably an IBM Executive. Anyway, everytime I told him that he should defenitely buy and install a PC, he used to blow a rasperry and reply: "Only over my dead body!"
You can image how surprised I was when I received an email from him lately, saying: "Hello Alice, how are you, I´m fine but have no time for further rambling, if you want to keep yourself updated, just visit my blogsite at http://www.luisestablogging.es/." "OK", I told myself, "after all, I too have a blog". But I´m not blogging. I´m posting poetry and pictures on a blogspot. That´s different. But it might be the same as well. Nobody (except a handful of loyal strangers I met on the poetry side where I usually post my english poems) is reading or mentioning anyway. So why not *blog* for a little while. All is better than autumn depression.

Therefore, it fits snugly that I got hold of a book again that someone gave to me a few years ago, a book called The Artist´s Way - A Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self by Julia Cameron. I had never managed to peruse that book so far, because in the past, I have obstinately rejected the thought that creativity could be taught. I prefered to believe in the illusion of genuine talent (although being perfectly aware that the word artist derives from artisanry, but what you know and what you want to believe are two different pair of shoes sometimes).


In the book, Julia tells us that we´re all creative, that we are all channels for creative output and she will teach us how to free our creativity and that rule no. 1 is that a creative person should write the so-called morning pages every early morning before dawn. Three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness. And she insists that this has to be done in the morning! In the morning, before dawn?? I´m trying to get some sleep at dawn, then I´m busy with the kids in the early morning, and then... Darn! I´m not a morning person anyways... Though it all depends on the definition of the word morning person. Are you a morning person when your best creativity time slot is between 0.30 a.m. and 2.00 a.m.? This is in the morning too, after all? I decided to be rather flexible regarding this point, and not to worry any more.

So here they are, my first blogged morning pages. I already have some for tomorrow in my head. Some about Blake and Amy, Guy and Madonna and the bounteousness and decency of british husbands in general and particular..

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x Alice