Saturday, November 24, 2007
He likes to get his money’s worth (including senior discounts), but has no problem letting you know his pockets are full. He drives a sleek black Cadillac and woe unto thee if you look like you might damage it with reckless driving or sloppy parking.
He’s kinda gruff and surly from time to time – though he doesn’t mean it (at least not always). He’s a street-wise grown man and doesn’t appreciate comments that insinuate he’s not as smart as you are (whether or not it’s true). A little sensitive in the fair treatment category, he demands you treat him just like every other customer. Any slight on your part (real or imagined) and he’s likely to cause a scene. He has been escorted out of more than one restaurant in recent years.
He tries to reserve his soft spot for his family. He accidentally hurts his wife’s feelings pretty regularly, but apologizes in his own “manly” way once he realizes what’s he’s done. Being married for over 30 years, it only takes him about half an hour now to figure out she’s mad at him. Bobby loves his wife deeply, no matter who still thinks he wasn’t good enough to marry her.
Casey grew up a quiet, shy, only child. Doted on by her father, much the jealousy of her mother, she was undoubtedly a daddy's girl. It's this undying affection for Daddy that spurs her search of the perfect man. Casey's shyness is masked at times, yet down right debilitating at others. She still carries vivid memories of being too scared to respond during competitions in grade school (losing contests and the respect of some classmates as a result). Even as an adult, she will rarely try new places alone for fear of the unknown. When able to control all aspects of a situation, she is poised, elegant, in a word, brilliant. Spontaneity and grace under pressure? Forget it.
Casey's parents are Christians – her mom actually attends church, but her dad attends Sunday snooze services in bed. Not into "organized religion" but more a "spiritual" person, Casey is seeking a philosophy she can embrace. Maybe the right philosophy will help her find the right man. But then again, maybe she's just in the wrong city. Or maybe it's her hair. Whatever it is, Casey has to find it and fix it and meet him. Soon.
Casey has a couple of close friends (Gene and Lynette from college), but is generally not too social. She certainly finds it much easier (and pleasurable) to interact with men than women, and doesn't believe "girlfriends" are necessary. She spends most of her free time doing things that challenge her mind (learning Japanese, reading, doing research for work), and one can easily find her at home on a Saturday night (the perfect place, of course, to meet Mr. Right).
In an effort to reclaim her softening body, and investigate Gene's new-found love of running, she decides to join a local runner's club. Made up of mostly teen and low-twenty-something, competitive females, Casey is not welcome. She's "old" and "slow" and she's "certainly ain't in no shape to help us win no races."
Casey's challenge: discover and embrace the limitless beauty inherent in her own life, and support these young women who need her just as much as she needs them.
i've shared my idea for my novel - runner's mark. i now have another idea though - a short story idea i had last year (based on a true story). my compromise, at least for today, is to write the bio for thanksgiving thief.
where am i stuck - now i have two choices and an assignment due based on one of them. :-). i have to plot my plot. in other words, figure out some of the high and low points of the story. much easier to do with a short story. and the good news is, i have a chance of having the whole thing written by the end of class. but if i get help with plotting a novel, that's something i can carry with me to other novels.
i guess the question is, which is to my advantage at this time? it's a win-win situation, but which win do i want most?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
i am more than halfway through my first semester as a doctoral student. it was pretty rough going the first few weeks. mainly because i traveled 6 weeks in a row - including one trip that lasted over a week. it was very challenging to say the least.
when i returned, i then had to struggle with a couple of challenging assignments that had me up late at night, tired, and thinking DANG! did i make the right choice? do i really want to be a graduate student? when will i have time for my life?
once i got past that, i realized, hey, this is my life. :-). that was a major turning point. also around that time, my advisor, janette, really helped me reframe a class that was outside of my interests. those two events/realizations made all the difference. suddenly, grad school was perfect and i was glad to be here.
this was about a month ago. where am i now? still glad to be here, though also still a little frustrated with one of my classes. we only have a month left though, so sometime after the next four weeks, it won't really matter! a bad attitude, since ideally each semester builds on the previous one toward dissertation, but it's all gravy. holla at a playa!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Mr. Saito, SGI North America Bureau Chief, shared this guidance during a youth training course in Japan last month. Daily life is a series of battles – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. However, we constantly hear guidance that "Buddhism is win or lose" and that we must win. How do we make sense of the seeming disparity? The answer lies in the quote above.
"Though one may fail or lose once or twice, there's no reason for regret. Just look forward and press onward" (President Ikeda, 9/7/2007 WT). It's true, there may be days when we really struggle or we seem not to be advancing as we'd hope. We may get bad news, a bad grade, or fail to follow through on something we promised (again) we'd get done. Our boss may treat us unkindly, the car may break down, or our bank account might be overdrawn for the second time this month.
These are not reasons to belittle yourself or slander your own life. As long as we refresh ourselves, renew our determination and decide to keep looking forward, our hearts are not defeated. And as Nichiren Daishonin says, " It is the heart that is important" (WND-1 p. 1000).
The good news is, all of life is a manifestation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This means that even seemingly negative things have the ability to function positively in our lives. This is true even when things don't go as planned. President Ikeda reminds us, "A person who has known defeat becomes stronger…Every all-out struggle we wage is a cause for becoming an unbeatable champion" (9/7/2007 WT).
We win when we decide to try again. We are victorious when we decide to chant more daimoku. We triumph, when in our hearts, we decide "I am a Buddha of limitless potential and I am determined to show actual proof!"
Buddhism really is win or lose. No matter what, keep your conviction and determination strong, and with that ichinen and heart, win every day!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
i am back on the map. it's been ages but here i am. the good news is, life has slowed down. the bad news is, no i'm still not writing - at least not fiction. i have plenty of opportunities to write nonfiction. i'm looking for classes to audit - being a full time doctoral student and all i have copious amounts of free time (yeah right). at any rate, it would be nice to have some structure and guidance on writing.
one of my tasks (someone before the year is out) is to contact pearl cleage - one of my heroes. apparently she is very "reachable" and will respond to emails and such.
i have helped to start another blog (same background) for the myohosisters group. we will enact it tomorrow. hopefully people will actually go and respond.
anyway, just wanted to start back writing something other than ideas for research. i am happy by the way. and glad to feel it. it's been a long time comin'.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
things are definitely looking up! have a lot to do this morning, but i'm not overwhelmed. the main thing, i'm done with the branch book and done my stats for today. i still have lots of work to do, but things are so much better!
oh! all my travel is straight, and to make all those changes only cost me the $25 buddy pass from shaun! even the $65 i paid will be reimbursed. so i went from looking at $468 for one of two changes to $25 for both!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
but if you nurse an unreasonable grudge against United Airlines...
as it stands now, i will have to just not use the return ticket. to actually change my ticket to a one way ticket increases the fare by 300 bucks. that is soooo outrageous!
i am waiting on the travel agency to call me back. she is telling me it will also be problematic to rebook my ticket to a one way from LAX back to ATL. i may have to just buddy up with shaun and cancel the whole thing for domestic travel. i hate to ask him, but we'll see.
more daimoku. one hour down, one more to go today. winning in the morning is the key!
i chanted to do as much as i could, stayed up as late as i could and chanted more while working. finally, finishing my daimoku in front of the gohonzon, a gosho quote floated to me. i knew it was perfect, but i waited until i sounded the bell one last time before racing off to find it:
Worthy persons deserve to be called so because
they are not carried away by the eight winds:
prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor,
praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure.
They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline.
The heavenly gods will surely protect one
who is unbending before the eight winds.
But if you nurse an unreasonable grudge…,
they will not protect you, not for all your prayers.
WND-1 p. 794
immediately i knew it the right thing for my life. i went to sleep seeing a breakthrough on the horizon.
this morning i chanted while working a little, then did a resounding gongyo and more daimoku in front of gohonzon. i concentrated on the 8 winds, on sensei's poem to the YWD (my life, indomitable, like mt. fuji) and on my stamp (glory of kosen rufu). i reminded myself: my life is NMRK, my professors are NMRK, j is NMRK, my irritation and anger is NRMK, my sadness is NRMK, I am NMRK, and everything functions in life as NMRK. i still felt a little sadness, but i was determined and i was clear.
i printed out extra copies of the 8 winds passage, substituting irritations: "but if you nurse an unreasonable grudge against (your professors, SGI members, your benefits, your obstacles, your man, your opportunity to expand). it made me laugh but it was so true.
i also chanted again about j. i had all but shut him out yesterday due to my low life condition. but like linda johnson says, no BCJ. whatever transpired only impacted me. i was pissed off, not him. i realized after another interaction last night that perhaps communication is my challenge right now and he just reflects it in a major way. so i at least need to challenge it back before giving up or cutting things off. his heart is in the right place. he just doesn't understand my inner turmoil. maybe he never will, but i at least have to try.
i'm sleepy. with miles to go before i sleep. just getting started!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
as i told b, it's weird b/c as much as i've been chanting this earth-shaking, joyful, fusing daimoku, and as much as i can't tell it on the inside, on the outside people smile at me more, talk to me, etc. and i find myself much more likely to engage strangers in conversation, smile back, and just generally be more joyful on the outside. it's the strangest thing.
at the same time i get the opportunity to battle my own prejudice with j. we had a great conversation today wherein i explained my point of view on our developing "relationship." he paraphrased and mirrored back to me what i said. it was very powerful and affirming. i found more boundaries slipping away. it's deep.
he challenges my sense of ...i don't know exactly. but he makes me reconsider lots of things, most especially dating someone of a different faith. he believes things so parallel to what i believe - i dunno. he even said he doesn't think like a typical christian. i think that's interesting. i keep chanting for him to manifest his true nature. it usually takes 2 weeks or less to see the truth - that once again i'm attracted to the wrong man. the last couple of times it took less than a week. it's only been a few days. i'll report again on that in september. maybe this is his true nature. maybe i've met a good one.
in the meantime i'm praying for him to close on a big deal on august 31st. there is no closing date yet that i'm aware of, but i'm praying to show actual proof of my prayer and to be constantly in rhythm with the law. i need to add t's prayer which is "if you are my kosen-rufu partner, manifest yourself as such right now. if not, disappear from my life for good." that's deep. that's a lot.
i'm so tired. but engaged and now missing him. i told him i couldn't get too much closer to him while he was still officially unavailable. the SAME day, he got a court date. and when is it? my mother's birthday. too much.
so at any rate, we'll see. it's past my bedtime, i still have hours of work to do, i'm sleepy and i still have 30 minutes left to chant!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
i'm excited, intrigued, curious. not wanting to be overly excited and to maintain a neutral outlook. people talk about you have to have the right life condition. you have to be ready to meet the mentor. my life condition is already starting to fluctuate. it's disheartening because it will be a month from now, so whatever i'm feeling now (hormonally) will be the same then.
i need some official notification anyway so i can send in my money. it's due monday. why is it so expensive? it's okay. things will be tighter than i anticipated - especially with no fellowship. i'm still (sort of) chanting on that one. i want one. clearly not that one though i can apply again next year. i'm not sure what will be different. but maybe they went to more math/science people. that would be cool.
blah blah blah. back to the journey. i'm conflicted. haven't told many people. maybe i will get the final okay tomorrow.
the story is from anger in winter. perhaps the peace lily can be part of that. i don't know the medium yet. i don't know the characters. i don't know the reason. well that's not true. the reason is to show that forgiveness is possible. and necessary before time runs out. but more that it's possible. human relationships are such strong karmic bonds - like ropes sometimes - inextricably intertwined. in unraveling the knots, people think they must unravel themselves. and rather than lose that which makes them "them" they stick stuck. but in truth, it's learning that you are perfect just as you are and SO IS THE OTHER PERSON that allows you to navigate the knots without losing your ties to yourself. that's the story. that's what it's about.
how to tell it? i keep being drawn to plays. i'm stuck in the formatting - which is why i'm really staying away from screen plays. i think it would be a good novel (or novella) too. the drama of the stage is intriguing. i don't know. i have to write first, then let the story dictate the format.
no more excuses. now that i know the end - the point of it all, it's time to start already.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Harry Potter is brilliant. But I got so caught up in the reading that I became a recluse – refusing to take calls or follow through on important things (like paying bills or eating for instance or exercising). What would I do for free? Read children’s lit. I specify because I don’t always get as caught up in adult literature. But perhaps it varies by author. Who knows.
At any rate, I’m avoiding again. Having forgotten the scenes that were so strong earlier (pity), and refusing to look at this “wonderful” book that I bought (the stress-free guide to writing or something like that), I am stuck blogging. Again.
It is after 11:00 on a Saturday night. And really I need to be on a date.
Monday, July 9, 2007
i've decided on an idea for a story. it's called runner's mark (for now). no details here, but i'm hoping to start jotting soon. like tonight. :-). of course now i'm sleepy. let's see if i can actually get up and start chanting on time tomorrow morning.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Triplets. Husband says stop kicking me. Wife goes ballistic. Husband escapes to make phone call to dad. Whispers the story. Dad laughs, tells him to apologize.
Hello baby - and he kisses her stomach - Oliver
30 Million Trees 5-8
30 Million Trees from the tree's POV
- You'll never be successful
- You talk too much - women should be seen and not heard
- Your goal is ridiculous; just give up!
It's with the struggle you gain your sincerity
To beat into shape; to move ahead with difficulty ?
How to Use the Practice to win
Lessons from the Hydragena
Winter Roses (rosebush - cycle of life and death)
NMRK - Cinderella story (GH=FGMother)
Saturday, June 2, 2007
anyway, i'm excited b/c the writer in me is becoming more vocal. i have more ideas now and am (slowly) learning to honor the voice when it speaks to me. i prayed for 10 premises/ideas. i haven't been counting, but they've certainly been coming. i know vic is the basis for several ideas - including "the peace lily." i don't know if 'lily' will be a short story, a play, a missive, or what, but i do know it's a moving story.
i've considered applying for the young writer's group with the SGI. it's a pretty serious application - no need to apply unless you really do mean it. you get to write for the world tribune and the living buddhism. you have to write one article a month for each. awesome. and definitely doable.
as carlos would say, "now is the time."
now is also the time to update my website. i say content coming soon, but what does that mean? i have all my content posted on the server, but not linked on the site. i need to fix that....
maybe i'll do it today.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
had a major breakthrough yesterday. i was looking for letters and cards i've sent my mom over the years. only found a couple though i know a few more are hiding somewhere. but...i did find a letter from kendall. two actually. it broke my heart all over again. i think that might be a separate something. memoir, short story, something. he was a beautiful, intelligent black man, literally in the last weeks of his master's program and he shot himself in the head.
i was sick for days.
and though that was over 10 years ago, i cried like we loved and lost yesterday.
there's a lot shifting in my life, and i thank shiloh for that. (shiloh is an obscure reference to a particular person). :-). it's good though. and i feel more and more like a writer each day. that's great.
it really is the process over the product. i finally get that now. but i pray everyday to find the service in my process, so my product will be needed, received, embraced by those it should uplift.
so far so good.
Friday, May 18, 2007
the ideas and memories are coming back, showing up unannounced and sometimes uninvited. it's all i can do to stop what i'm doing and jot it down. it's also all i can do not to cry. i suppose i just should. eventually, i suppose i will.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
so here's to being a better listener first, then getting it down once and for all.
i know it was him.
his back was to me and he persisted in the opposite direction, but it was him. i know it.
trifling, fine ass, him.
walking, with his lumbering stride. cool, but not overdoing it. effortless finesse is what it is really. these young boys could learn a thing or two from his subtle sexiness. imposing but not forced. irritating really, because you can't help but notice him. recognize him from afar, even turned around and moving farther away. but it was him. and once again, i'm disgusted.
at any rate, i'm terrified b/c my subject is very close to home. i am starting to stir up quite a bit of emotions already and i have yet to write a word. just thinking is bringing up a lot. and now that i think about it, an anniversary lurks nearby. next friday is the 4th memorial of my mother's passing. the memoir is about her.
so like everything else in my life, it's timely. i'm debating on setting that as a deadline for myself. the postmark is due only a few days later. we'll see.
my first step in any writing project is to develop a title. it really sets the tone and gets me focused. i don't have a title yet, but a few ideas are jumping around.
my first idea - a moment of clarity. but then the moment of truth hit me just now. i dunno. i suppose when it's ready to appear, it will. i guess the point is to be ready.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
here it is, two days later and i find myself running an errand at a barnes and noble. after completing my purchase, which was already behind the counter awaiting my arrival, i felt led to the cafe' - to my old stand-by, the tall caramel frappuccino with whipped cream. i got side-tracked on the way, by the magazines. i was drawn toward the literary magazines, a section i hadn't visited in months. perhaps not at all in 2007.
i immediately found a writer's magazine, though not the one i thought i'd spy. after searching for several seconds, i almost gave up on finding the tried and true writer's digest. finally, i spotted the familiar font, nestled behind two nonliterary magazines.
i perused it once i got home, only to see that i was "just in the nick of time." in other words, in rhythm. today is the first deadline for their annual writer's competition. but i have until june 1st (if i don't mind paying a little extra) if i want to enter.
i do. and i will.
it's a strong step in the right direction, no matter what happens.
wish me luck!
Friday, May 11, 2007
Make an effort to put something on paper at least 5 days a week,
no matter what it is that you are writing.
For me, I actually started journaling and eventually,
it turned from journaling to me, to writing to others.
I think people assume you need 6-8 hours a day to write
and I don't think that's the case.
I think some days you can write for hours,
but some days you only need minutes.
Whatever it takes to get what's
on your heart and in your head
out and onto paper -
that's what you need to do.
The story doesn't have to be
fully developed before you start to write it;
I don't think any story ever is.
I think you just commit to the endeavor
and keep going until one day,
you will have a finished product.
alas, the journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.
at least i have started to walk.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
unbelievable as in i can't believe it. he's a millionaire, with no talent. he is my motivation to stop thinking and 'do the d*mn thing' as the quote unquote "cool" people say. the acting, directing and writing of this particular play was horrid if present at all. the singing, or more accurately, sanging, was off the chain. thankfully.
but that's what it was about - the songs. every scene had no other purpose but to set up a song. there was no premise, no plot, no purpose really for the production other than to move you with song. may as well had been a concert with a little narration in between.
it was sad indeed, yet it was just the right pepper i needed to start kicking things up a notch or two.
however, the good news is, there may be an opportunity to make them up. i really do like doing them - i just don't like getting up early to do them. :-). but they work. ideas have started to trickle in already. they are small, more like a dripping faucet than anything else...but of course, if you let the faucet drip long enough the sink, tub, bathroom will overflow.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
isn't that sad though? to know you have a tool that works, but to neglect it? the pages are supposed to be done first thing in the morning - a brain drain. i tell myself they will work no matter what time i do them. but if i don't do them before getting out of bed in the morning, it doesn't happen. i have yet to do them 21 days in a row, so they've never become a habit.
just another good idea, wasted.
but i'm typing it now as a strong reminder to my subconscious (and my conscious mind of course); i need to re-institute the morning pages. i even considered blogging my 3 pages. i have found i do 3 pages in 18-20 minutes. so if i type for exactly 20 minutes, wouldn't that get it? ms. cameron says you need to put hand to paper. parts of me agree. my best writing has come when a pencil (not a pen) was in my hand. but i don't know. at this point i just need to write. however it comes out.
maybe i'll start them again tomorrow...
Saturday, April 7, 2007
1) i wrote a spec script for living single. it was out and hot during that time and i decided to try my hand at a new medium. it was an awesome experience - at times i could hear the characters speaking and i would write as quickly as i could to be true to their conversation. i realized i really liked writing, and once characters were developed, i could truly hear them. it was fascinating
2) i was introduced to the art of dramatic writing by lajos egri. even though i let my day to day living get in the way of writing, i know the principles within this book will be the key to my becoming a master storyteller.
number two is my focus this morning.
every time i feel the stir, i pull that book off the shelf. last night was no different. i never get very far (and that's just b/c once again i let life overshadow writing). but i am always so amped after reading a few lines. the basic building block, he says, of any dramatic work, should be the premise.
"every sensible invention must have a purpose, every planned sprint a destination." this is the premise.
he says, "no idea, and no situation, was ever strong enough to carry you through to its logical conclusion without a clear-cut premise."
i like this book b/c he takes classic plays and analyzes them in light of his theories. premises from well-known plays include:
- ruthless ambition leads to its own destruction
- the sins of the father are visited on the children
- jealousy destroys itself and the object of its love
- shiftlessness leads to ruin
- faith conquers pride
this time is different though. i will write one i believe in and can follow through to its conclusion.
i shall find my premise and i shall be on my way!
Friday, April 6, 2007
i asked: "what makes one a master storyteller?" in the dialogue that followed we spoke of great contemporary literature, plays and movies. we dicussed the differences between great writers (toni morrison) and great storytellers (pearl cleage, james patterson); the difference between a great story (dan haskins leads texas western to a national championship with the first all black starting line up) and how it can fall short in the telling (glory road); the role of subplot in strengthening (or dampening) the plot.
it was an interesting conversation i think. i came away with a few things to chew on. mainly the importance of character and character motivation. the truly great storytellers have characters we miss or think about once the story has ended. we know them. we love them, including all their faults and thorns. we are inside of them. we are them. it's their lives we're reading about or experiencing and we've been invited inside. the great writers wordsmith, but the storytellers make us care. it's interesting. yes, you can be a master storyteller who is also a great writer. or you could be one or the other. you could also simply be fair at either. or sadly, you could be poor at both (and still be successful, and that sucks!). authors in this last category shall remain nameless. for now.
what makes one a master storyteller?
i am lady buddha. i am, among other things, a blocked writer. i have decided to create this blog in partial treatment of this block. i am struggling to find my voice - or more accurately, my subject/s. i have recently begun to ask myself a series of questions toward understanding the way of the writer. well... not really the way of the writer, but of the successful writer. and even more than just successful, but that writer who truly commands a captive audience. who enlightens, inspires, or entertains us. the writer who grabs us, holds us, and doesn't let go until s/he has delivered the message and left us to reflect.
i want to be that writer, but so often i feel i have nothing to say. i think i could say "it" well, but what is it?
so through blogging, i'm hoping to begin to find "it."
i don't know how often i will post, nor if my posts will be visible to everyone. we'll see. this is my journey to discover the writer within...