Sunday, September 19, 2010

Marylou McGinnis Crabtree

Friends are like Flowers
I've met a lot of wonderful friends through online communities over the years -- shoot, everyone has, but every so often, you meet someone you feel like you've known your whole life.  Your personalities and interests just seem to click.

I am proud to introduce a lady like that: Marylou McGinnis Crabtree. She's genuine, funny, caring, and she's real. She is also a witty, talented writer and she's my friend.

After reading yesterday's blog about my writer's block, she sent me the following message and, with her permission, I'm going to share it with you:
Thank you, CJ, 
Thank you for the article you wrote about your Writer's Block. I have had it for years. I really want to write a story about a touching experience I once had. I just cannot put my thoughts together and write it. 
There use to be a time that I could not go to bed without writing. I was driven to put my thoughts down on paper. Now, I can't seem to get my thoughts OUT of my head ... Sheesh! 
I didn't know you were having any writing 'issues' (I love that term). I thought maybe you were just having lunch with The Queen and giving her advice about jazzing up her purse collection. Or maybe you were being a covert government agent and planning your next secret mission. Or maybe you were just kicking back and enjoying this hotter than #&!@ summer ... 
Anyhow, after reading your article, I've decided I'm going to DO something different today -- sit outside in the woods and think. Or, I might go to the lake just to listen to the water lap on the tree roots (that's real noisy and very cool), or I might walk in the water with my Crocs on.

Sweet. I think I hear my blood pressure falling now. Thanks for letting me vent.
Many hugs,
Oops I forgot ...
Come to the fair We will all be there
Wearing our school colors
Don't be square
A huge smile ~m~

(Marylou McGinnis Crabtree)

Many thanks to Marylou for brightening up my day -- I hope I can talk her into writing something even longer for the blog next time ... Hugs, CJ

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Saturday, September 18, 2010

There are NO Calories in Life

As you've probably noticed, I've been beseiged by an attack of writer's block for the past couple of weeks.

 Inertia isn't something anyone welcomes, but when you're a writer who can't write, people do notice, and it's a real pain in the butt ...

Last week, in my frustration, I thought of an article I came across not long ago and saved -- I remembered that it made a real impression on me at the time. So I dug it out, re-read it, and waded out of my pity party long enough to try some of the suggestions.

 Grateful, I want to share the article with you. Take from it what you will.

"Too many people put off something that brings them joy because they didn't think about it, didn't have it on their calendar, didn't know it was coming, or are just too rigid to depart from their normal routine.

The other day, I thought about all those people on the fateful Titanic, some who might have passed on dessert at dinner in an effort to cut back on calories. It was mind-boggling. From that day on, I've tried to be a little more flexible in my own life.

How many women out there will eat at home tonight, because their partner didn't suggest going out to dinner until something had already been thawed out? Does the word refrigeration mean anything to you?

How often have your kids or grandchildren dropped in to visit and then sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television?

I can't count the times I've called my sister and said, "How about going to lunch with me in a half hour?"

She would stammer, "I can't. I have clothes on the line; my hair is dirty; I wish you had told me yesterday; I had a late breakfast; it looks like rain."

She died a few years ago and we never did have that lunch together.

We Americans cram too much into our lives -- we even tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves and others for when all the conditions are perfect. We'll go and visit grandparents when we get Stevie toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we wake up and all we have to show for our lives is a long list of "I'm going to's", "I plan on's", and "Someday, when things settle down a bit I'll" ...

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry-go-round or listened to rain splatter on the ground? Did you ever follow a butterfly's erratic flight or gaze at the sun as it disappears into the ocean? When you ask, 'How are you?' Do you wait to hear the reply? Or, do you run through each day on the fly, trying to outdo what you got done yesterday? 
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Have you ever told your child, 'We'll do it tomorrow,' and in your haste, miss the sadness in his eyes? Have you ever lost touch with a friend and let a good friendship die? Call -- just say 'Hi'. 
I have a seize-the-moment friend. Whenever anyone calls her, she's ready for an adventure, and she's always available for spur-of-the-moment trips. She keeps an open mind for new ideas and her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You can talk with her for only five minutes, and you're ready to trade in your bad feet for a pair of rollerblades and skip taking the elevator for a dive on a bungee cord. I've decided. I want to be just like her. 
My lips hadn't touched ice cream in ten years -- I love ice cream! It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my butt and thighs with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process altogether. Well, the other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker "Death by Chocolate" ice cream cone! If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would've died a happy woman.

Now, go on, treat yourself to a nice day today. Do something you WANT to do -- not something on your 'to do' list. If you found out you were going to die today and you were only allowed one phone call, who would you call? What would you say? And why are you waiting?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it's like having an unopened gift that you've simply tossed away. Life isn't a race. Take it slower. Hear the music, before the song is over. Life might not be the party we had hoped for, but while we're here, we might as well dance." ~Author Unknown

Note: I'm still feeling some of the effects of writer's block, but I'm feeling a whole lot better about everything ... and that ice cream cone? Damn! It was worth EVERY SINGLE CALORIE ... hugs from me, CJ

"A writer Soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Monday, September 13, 2010

Poem: The Letter

 “People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality -- their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that's bullshit.
 Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they're afraid to feel? 
 Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they're wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling.  Your feelings are a part of you, your own reality. 
 If you feel ashamed of feelings, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” ~Jim Morrison

The Letter
by CJ Heck

Wading through
morning's harvest
of the mail
reaped the usual
and junk ads.
Then I spotted
the familiar
lazy scrawl
on the table
before me.
After all
these years,
a pearl among
the cow pies.
I marveled
at how the
letter felt,
tucked into
the pocket
of my
blue jeans,
first halved,
then quartered,
where misbehaving
hands and mind
could breach the
ceremonial rules of:
Do Not Touch
Do Not Want
To Open
I was unable
to ignore it
or throw it away.
I'm not sure
how long
I walked around
with it there
in my pocket.
I do know
it began
to burn
and blister
and it scorched
my self-control.
It wasn't
until I saw
the jeans
in the washer,
letter and all,
twisting and
turning in
the soapy water
that I was
even aware
of what I'd done
to find
some peace
at last.

[From the Book, "Anatomy of a Poet", by C.J. Heck]

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck