Wilderness — A Meditation

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunday...bloody Sunday

That's a isn't bloody..unless you are a Brit or an Aussie in which case most Sundays are bloody..bloody awful..perhaps unless, of course, you are on vacation..

And that is precisely what I am..visiting Sunny, clear, dry southern California..happily enscounced near the wilderness of the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles..

Have been here for a week visiting with friends whom I haven' t seen for almost 9 months.

Helping out the teachers by doing some essay evaluations..those take a miserable amount of time out of any English teachers'life and free time.

And I am wondering as a result if anyone would care to post about what you all know about including citations to essays to identify the source of researched material. Is it just American high school seniors who don't know how to do this? I am interested to note that not one of the thirty-five research papers I have read so far have sufficient citations in them. Every single student has included information about the topic of his/her paper without giving any information about where that information originated.

How come? How come kids don't know??'s my job this week to help them understand..and so I'm off to read some more about Hemingway, Eliot, Freud, and Mary Pickford...

Catch ya laters..hope Thanksgiving is a joyful moment in all your lives!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Per$onal Power

I am a slow learner.

Just today, three days before my 65th birthday I have discovered that personal power is not a matter of how others see us but, rather, an issue of how we see ourselves.

If I perceive myself to be powerless, I am.
If I perceive myself to be a powerful entity, I am.

I act on the basis of my self evaluation. I am generative, loving, supportive, generous to the degree that I perceive myself as possessing all of those attributes.

If I pay you a compliment, it is because I feel myself to have enough goodness to share. That is the very nature of power. Power exists to the extent and degree that I have a surplus to share with the world around me.

If I am feeling bereft of an attribute, I am unable to share any of the small portion that I am hoarding at that moment.

Think about all of this in terms of the government of the United States right now.

They obviously are very very frightened of losing power. They feel bereft of money and compassion. They lie, steal, and otherwise obfuscate in order to keep what they feel they have too little of. I realize that in terms of finances this is a conundrum, but that irony does not change the nature of the Amerikan government's attitude toward power.

It is a great sadness that the leadership of a nation with so much to be thankful for, the leadership of a country with so many material goods, feels bereft of the basic aspects of humanity that create personal power.

And it is a statement of the degree to which so many Amerikans feel this way that they were willing to vote into office such a powerless group to govern the nation.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So, I've been busy

Been distracted by a short story I have to write as a uni assignment.
The writing process is always full of intrigue. I have eight current versions of this story. But, the number of times I have written this one is more than that. Probably more like twelve at this point. I make daily revisions. The most interesting part of this revision process is that each of the last eight versions have been to take words out or to rearrange the words so that the introduction is shorter.

My professor has insisted that we 'kill our darlings' and I must admit that is the hardest part. There are so many special little items that I have had to remove, not because they are not important, but just because they are 'too much'. They slow the action and after all, keeping the reader involved is one of the requirements of a piece of literature.

If the reader quits in boredom with 'my darlings' my writing is purposeless in terms of communicating.

As a matter of fact, that is the most important thing I have learned about writing in the past year. Writing is not about me; it is about my reader. Communication is the issue and that means taking into consideration who my reader is and how long he/she will engage with me in the process.

I should have known this...I guess I just forgot about it in terms of the written language. I remember the first time I was acutely aware of this 'engagement' in terms of spoken language. I was sixteen and a junior in high school. A school mate asked me causually, 'how are you?" while we were waiting for our mothers to pick us up after school one spring afternoon.

Wouldn't you know, being the self centered dreebe that I am/was, I began to go through the whole entire litany of just how I was. Needless to say, (and that means I ought to stop here) she turned away and walked to another spot from which to wait for her ride.

Embarrassed? you bet I was. Enough so that I still remember the spot and the girl. I can't drag up her name, but I know she played the other base drum in the Girls Drum and Bugle Corps that we marched in while in high school.

And so, dear reader, if you are still with me...please don't walk away..but do take a moment to let me know what you think..I'm listening!