Images and Words

“Reality lies beyond the horizon…” That’s been my mantra for over half my life. The saying—yes, with the ellipsis because it proves that reality isn’t final in this moment—came about the same time as my self-appointed nickname “Wonderwegian.”

When I was seventeen I dubbed my room WONDERLAND and inhabited my kingdom with Wonderlonians. I’ll omit the embarrassing titles I gave my favorite people but let you know I had everything from court jesters to royal exiles. And Wonderland was covered with pictures of people, places and artwork that inspired me. I even had items hanging from the ceiling!

Besides covering my walls with images, I placed several quotes in key locations. Most were hand written in calligraphy on index cards and they were everything from lyrics to writing quotes. One of them stated “Reality lies beyond the horizon… -Wonderwegian.” There was also a paragraph-length exposition on that theme I wrote with the input of my pen pal Justin Williams, but I can’t locate it right now. (However Justin did locate me on Facebook two years ago. Hello!)

I’ve tried to “grow-up” décor wise since getting married and what was once a room-size collage is now crammed onto an 8×5 bulletin board. I’m wondering if increasing the space of visually inspiring images would produce more written work.

What are your thoughts?

Can you work in a room like that (okay, maybe minus the Nelson poster—though it does have three autographs now) or do you need calming negative space?

P.S. If you insist in knowing, I’ll give you one title: Thor was guardian of the realm.

The Dreaded Year-end Blog

Or shall we call it “The New Beginnings Blog”? Yes, that’s much better. See, barely a year older and already wiser.
Speaking of birthdays, here’s a picture of my most awesome gift.

I’d get frustrated with it but it’s too much fun. Whoever created this is an evil genius.

Since I changed my New Year’s resolutions into birthday goals, I pulled out the dusty list and decided what was mastered, what needed continual coverage, and what had to be ditched. Here’s the latest line-up.
For my “physical” goal, I dumped the “get below ___” and have set in place actual monthly mile goals, as well as how many times a month, to chart my exercise. Life is too short to live by numbers, whether it’s counting calories or trying to get those last five (or twenty, or more…) pounds off before you can feel totally happy with yourself. Just give me jeans that don’t create a muffin-top effect and a shirt that doesn’t make me look six months pregnant and I feel great. But I must admit, it’s getting harder to find those clothes…
“Mental” was difficult to keep (no snide remarks, please!)—reading one non-fiction book a month. Some months I read more than one and other months I was lucky to keep up with my scripture studies and my few magazine/newsletter subscriptions (which are non-fiction). So, I’m keeping it simple: Keep learning!
“Spiritual” is a keeper. I still need to improve the quality of my prayers. It’s just too easy to whisper a quick “thank you” and snuggle into bed at night. Or keep hitting snooze until all the kids are running around and I forget to start the day on my knees.
For the “emotional” aspect of life I’ve broadened my goal to include more things but removed the actual time constraints. So, instead of completing an emotional inventory once a month (I only got around to doing two this past year) I’ll “keep track of my emotional state by regular (how’s that for a cop out?) journal keeping, testing, and meditation.” In case you were wondering, I do the Beck Depression Inventory and Burns Anxiety Inventory tests to track my ups and downs, as suggested by a great counselor many years ago. But that’s another entry…
“Social”: I totally suck with all things social. I’m keeping my dinky goal of having one date with my husband a month because I really need to work on spending quality time with my man. And I’m too much of a wallflower to attempt weekly/monthly social gatherings.
I think “Family” is the only goal I excelled at. We are in the habit of weekly Family Home Evenings so I’m upping the goal to have daily devotionals. Just a mini something, beyond the reading of a verse or two of scriptures before bed I already do with the kids. I’ll be homeschooling my oldest next school year (yet another future entry) so the daily devotionals would work well into a schooling schedule.
“Financial” is tough. Didn’t meet the goal but I’m thinking positively and increasing—actually decreasing—the numbers. Oh, those pesky numbers again! Didn’t I just write something about life being too short to live by numbers. Might need to rethink this one…
I came close to meeting my “professional” goal. I wanted to complete the first draft—I’m about two-thirds of the way through—of Corroded, my WIP (work in progress). My new goal is to have Corroded polished in time for the 2011 submission deadline for the Delacorte contest. Hopefully the publishing company will keep that contest going, but if not, I’ll look for an agent or submit elsewhere. Delacorte offers a yearly prize for the best contemporary teen book for a first time novelist. The winner is published with an advance as the prize money. Since that goal will actually extend beyond my next birthday—submission is in the fall—I’ve also added to begin my historical fiction novel, which I’ve been researching/thinking/planning/etc on for the past couple years. Plus, I will be open to submitting short pieces for publication or contests when the opportunities arise, but I don’t want to add in a goal for those. Less stress.
Feel free to urge me along with these goals. Keep me on task by asking me how something is going. I do much better at staying focused when I have someone checking on me. That’s why my BFF (Blog Free February) was so successful—I felt I had to answer to Laurie Halse Anderson.
On to other things…
I’ve read several interesting books in the past month.
The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry kept me as interested in the story as The Lace Reader, her first book. It always helps when Hawthorne references are thrown in but the mental issues driving the story were well crafted by themselves. The fact that I visited Salem two years ago makes her books that much easier to visualize while reading. Brunonia’s books are two out of maybe six “adult” fiction books I’ve read in the past year or more. They aren’t squeaky clean, so reader beware.
From the local library I borrowed The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction by James Alexander Thom. His actual novels are now on my to read list. The book is a great source of information and easily digested. I even read it before bed several times instead of my usual fluffy reading.

Speaking of fluff, my last nighttime read was the type of novel I’d usually skip. But since I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader’s copy (which I also got for The Map of True Places) I tried it out. One of those upper class high school novels… it’s called She’s So Dead to Us, written by Kieran Scott. It’s better than I expected—stayed up three nights in a row, way past my usual lights out, to read. But even though the ending was more of a beginning (sequel/series in the works, I’m sure) it’s not something I’ll seek out again.
Tonight I’ll start When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead because Newbery winners seldom disappoint. Another library selection.
A few other things of interest that happened in April:

I saw my first 3-D movie since Captain Eoo at Disneyland in the mid 1980s. Alice in Wonderland was great! The technology and the story were a great match. I loved the older Alice and how the movie started and ended. Still not my favorite Johnny Depp performance, though. That goes to Benny and Joon.

Took a day trip to New Orleans to spend a few hours with my awesome cousin who was down south from out west on business. We hadn’t seen each other since a reunion in 1994, I think it was. I’d have to check the cow shirt to be sure…
The family spent “A Day Out with Thomas” one rainy Saturday afternoon. The kids LOVED all the trains, especially the ride on Thomas the Tank Engine, even though he was terribly SLOW.
Spent a dozen collective hours at the Little League park.
And all the kids went to the dentist for cleanings, the youngest for the first time. We’ll be dealing with a cavity-filling appointment in the future. Gag.

No, they aren’t that bad on the little princess’s teeth. This pictures makes me feel a little better, though.
Wow! It looks like I need to return to blogging more often. This blog is huge!

Sand Castle Dreams

I played in the sand this evening. Up to my elbows and across my lap. I didn’t worry about getting gritty—I only cared about sharing a memory with my kids and reconnecting with my inner-child.
There was a fair amount of rain earlier today. Not enough to create standing water but it soaked the ground just right. The “sand pit” in the yard was perfect for building tunnels and towers. So down I went. A pale dusting of sand covered my black crop pants within seconds. By the time the first tunnel was constructed, and the Matchbox van successfully pushed through, damp sand clung to my bare arms. Somewhere between the second tunnel and the sandcastle mound the grit worked its way down my shirt. It might have happened when I grabbed the littlest Godzilla before she could collapse the prized passages.
By the time we were finished, I was far dirtier than the kids . Instead of trying to brush the sand off I rubbed it between my hands and fingers, then up and down my arms. My skin is now smoother than it’s been for ages.

On a different note:
Yesterday I finished reading Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. It’s a historical novel about the life of Alice Liddell, who was the inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. What could have become a scandalous story was treated with dignity. The emotions were sensual and honest but the whole story was respectful. The ending unveils what I wish to believe of Mr. Do-do-dodgson and young Alice.