A New Poem: The girl with the light eyes said,

The girl with the light eyes said,

The girl with the light eyes said,
“I would never have the courage
to marry another woman.”
She’s staring at me in awe,
though I don’t know why;
her light eyes even lighter
after she speaks and then waits,
enduring the space of silence
between us,
though I don’t know why;
I’m a lesbian, I love women.
I’m a lesbian who sleeps with men
every now and again
or so it seems in 15-year increments;
who is curious about others’ disbeliefs
sometimes distorting the face

from uninteresting,
from mediocrity,
from youthfulness,
from gullibility
marring the face
of commonplace society

of man plus woman,
of white against black,
of old envying young,
of bigotry and misogyny.

Still I am a lesbian, I love women,
could love all women,
prefer the company of women,
would live and die for a woman,
would give all I have for a woman,
because I am a woman and am worthy
of being loved by women,
of being able to commit myself to one woman
for the rest of my life.
*
Words that pass absently through mind.
It’s a library where we're standing
by a copy machine and I am photocopying
in entirety a book that I have no option but to read
like the face of this girl standing before me
and my face becomes distorted as I search
for mockery or untruths—
“Why not?”

-db

A New Poem: The Streets of Trastevere are Haunted…

I've begun to write again...
--
Crossing Ponte Sisto to Trastevere, 2.20.11
Crossing Ponte Sisto to Trastevere, 2.20.11
The Streets of Trastevere are Haunted

I spend a lot of time walking.
I’ve got no particular place to go,
but still I walk

pass the people who look
nothing like me,
pass the ones who speak
languages foreign to me,
pass the crippled homeless man
on that bridge, Ponte Sisto;

the one I cross too often,
the one that was built by prostitution,
the one where I see people
who look…

like me,
with shades of dark, naturally,
but darkened even more
by prolonged time spent
under the sun, selling

knock-off wares to tourists,
who barely care
and are feeling superior
(even though they would never admit it);

shades so dark that both sclera and teeth
appear whiter than the white
of those to whom they try to sell
tokens of meaninglessness,

and so my senses always become flooded
by the decay of living wastefully,

because I desire neither to feel nor to think
beyond the moment’s necessities,
because I desire neither the weight
of possessions nor being possessed
by life-long acquisition;

still it’s always like that,
that we are made to experience,
 either directly or vicariously,
 the things we reject:

these darkened men who
always stare and speak at me,
the homeless man who
always smiles and bows to me,
the self-inflated tourists who
always see and brush pass me

as I walk, step by broken step,
on cobblestones that hurt
my already broken feet
and engrave in my already broken soul
the fact that I’m living again somewhere

that doesn’t belong to me,
that is beyond anything
that I should’ve experienced:
this city and its history.

The streets of Trastevere are haunted.
And I’ve got nowhere but there to go,
passing by broken English speakers
offering this and that,
“Vivo qua” I say,
and again acknowledge to myself
that it’s already been three years
of vacuous time

that I’ve yet to fill with memories
of these streets,
of these people,
who spend everything:
time, money, bodies, minds,
and souls to achieve
the memories I refuse to acquire.

*

In the autumn the streets are owned
by starlings and umbrellas,
and evening becomes a time to fear,
with sounds like too many squeaking mice
to match the rats that run under feet,
down by the Tiber,
or up along the streets,
in the depth of the subway system,

where I heard that someone,
who didn’t belong here,
had their body tossed;
but they didn’t look like me,
probably they smiled and thought
the best of the world around them,
even of these haunted streets.

-db

Secrets…Being a therapist…Why I blog…

INSANITY copy

INSANITY copy (Photo credit: Inspiredhomefitness)

The other day my sister, Michelle, posted the following to my Facebook page:

“Why are you skinny people doing this to yourselves??? I thought insanity was designed for overweight individuals???”

As you might imagine, the “insanity” to which she referred is the Insanity Workout exercise program by Beachbody and led by Shaun T.  Nine days ago, I decided to take the 8 week challenge and have been reporting my progress to friends and family via Facebook.  I am happy to say that I have completed each day thus far and intend to continue so doing.

Now, back to my sister’s comment.

You see, she is right.  I am not overweight and thus it would seem that I would have no just cause to take on such a workout program.  Right?

FIBROMYALGIA

FIBROMYALGIA (Photo credit: *SHESHELL*)

Wrong.

I decided to take on the Insanity Challenge, because I wanted to prove two points to myself:

  1. 1. I can achieve a high level of fitness as a person with fibromyalgia; and
  2. 2. I can take care of my body as I choose to without fearing input from others.

——

A world of secrets…

Back in 2008 when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, my body had been changing rapidly.  As I wrote in my recent posts, I had gain a significant amount of weight in only a couple of years.  You see, before I started graduate school, I worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor from 2002 to 2004. That period of my life was one in which I experienced a high boost to my body image.  I was strong and healthy.

My weight then was higher than what it is now, but it was never a concern to me.  My major concerns:  strength and endurance.  And if there is one thing that I have lamented greatly since having fibromyalgia was the loss of my physical strength and endurance.

With my weight gain came real health concerns, such as being warned about my blood pressure and having some other health issues being labeled as “due to excess weight.”

"If you had 5 minutes...,"  collage with magazine and cardstock by Diedré M. Blake, (2010)

“If you had 5 minutes…,” collage with magazine and cardstock by Diedré M. Blake, (2010)

It was frustrating to find myself in that state and feeling that I couldn’t do anything physically about it…like exercise in the way that I had in the past.  I was too tired.  I felt too much pain.  There was a bigger issue though…

Work.  

As many of you know, I am an art therapist and counselor.  I specialize in the treatment of eating disorders.  This area of specialization developed from my second year internship and subsequent job.   So, why would working within this area create a problem for me?  Simply this…

How does a therapist embark upon a health improvement that would mean significant weight loss while reinforcing to her clients that their desire to lose weight was unhealthy?

For a long time, I did not have an answer.  I worked in a place where there were strict rules on how food could be discussed and what foods could be eaten.  Discussion of weight loss, weight loss programs, and diets was forbidden.  This is not to say that these rules were always followed.

The reality was that a majority of the staff was female, White and American; and the fact is that a majority of White American females struggle with body image and disordered eating.   This is not to say that women of colour are immuned to such an experience.  So, as the saying goes, don’t get it twisted.     

—–

 

Being a therapist…

Also, there seems to be a very strange expectation, i.e. that all Black women are happy with being overweight.  I write this because of various experiences I had while trying to manage my weight issues.  The most memorable of these was an experience I had with an older White female nutritionist who worked at a local hospital.

I was given a referral to visit this nutritionist because both myself and my doctor believed that it would be good for me to have professional advice on how to safely and slowly lose my excess weight through diet, since exercise was proving difficult for me.  At that time I was about 50 pounds overweight.

I sat with the lady and stated my reasons for coming to see her.  From her lips came the following response:

“But you’re Black!  Why would you want to lose weight?  Aren’t all Black women a bit fatter that everyone else?  Aren’t you people use to being like that?”

Now, some may believe that I am exaggerating…but I kid you not.  Those were her  exact words that are engraved upon my heart and mind.  I was in disbelief.

There I was seeking help to lose the weight that was causing me severe health problems…and there was that lady telling me that I didn’t need to lose the weight because of my skin colour.  Huh?

——

So, I realized that I had to do it on my own.  I decided to take matters into my own hands as I wrote in my previous post.   The thing was that at work, although I had explained to some that I was planning to lose weight, there was apparently discomfort that I had made such a choice.

Moreover, I did not discuss just how much weight I intended to lose, because that was no one else’s business except for me and my doctor.  Looking back, perhaps it would have been better if I had simply stated a number, even though I did not have a number in mind.

The world in which I worked during that time became closed.  I watched as people stared at me with curious and suspicious eyes.  I listened as people made side comments about me.  I answered as people kept asking me, “haven’t you lost enough now?” or “why are you still losing weight?”

And then there were the painful rumours regarding eating disorders and even my sexuality.  It was a truly discouraging time.  I often felt alone; and between having fibromyalgia and being the only Black clinician on staff as well as the only art therapist, I often felt misunderstood.

My studio space became a place of refuge during the last year of my weight loss.  I watched as people, who were once willing to speak with me or were friendly with me, stop interacting with me.  And, in all honesty, the decision to move to Italy came at the right time as who I had been no longer was.  The new person did not fit in with my old world.

So, why have I written about this or about anything else?

Because it was time.  Especially as a counselor specializing in eating disorders.  You see, even counselors are human. 😉  Even we struggle with our bodies, including food concerns, weight and body image.

It is a strange paradox about the world of psychology.  As a counselor you are expected to help others in overcoming their problems.  At the same time, however, it is seemingly frowned upon by peers if you have problems of your own.

This Cold Hard Floor: II, watercolour and ink painting by Diedré M. Blake, 2006

This Cold Hard Floor: II, watercolour and ink painting by Diedré M. Blake, 2006

There is a reason why…

research has looked into the suicidal tendencies of psychologists (counselors/therapists/social workers, etc.).

There is a reason why….

some of us feel that there is a need to be invincible.  That there is a need to hide what hurts us, to hide our struggles, to hide our true selves.  We walk about attempting to be the tabula rasa (blank slate) for everyone, including our peers…and it just doesn’t work.

There is a reason why…

many of us, who were once bright and shining candles, finally burnout.

There is always a reason why…

I write about this, as well as the previous blog post, to write the truth about a topic for which I held tremendous fear: my weight loss.

I write because I believe that it is the job a therapist to be human and to show his or her client that there is always a path to be found out of the difficulties of life, not just via book lessons but through setting the example by how we live our own lives and how we take care of ourselves.

Until Next Time,

D.

The Next Step…

True life.

True life. (Photo credit: axiomphotog)

Some time ago, I wrote a post regarding a professor who asked me to do creative writing about my experience of having fibromyalgia (FMS).   It is true that I have written poetry that deals with the subject, and even began a somewhat semi-autobiographical novel some years ago.   Still, I remain uncertain of retaking such paths.  Instead I am now considering what it would be like to write about my process of change, i.e. change towards improving my life.

The reality of living with FMS can be one that is punctuated by a series of losses:  continuous loss of health, loss of self-perception, loss of self-esteem, loss of employment, loss of status, loss of friends, loss of family, loss of supports, etc.  The list could go on ad infinitum.

On a weekly basis, I take time to research the latest developments in the treatment of fibromyalgia.  Typically, the titles are filled with words such as “fight,” “battle,” or “war.”  Of course, I understand the desire to motivate those who are living with FMS by using such words.  Who amongst those of us with FMS, hasn’t felt as though fibromyalgia were waging war against our bodies, our minds, or even our very souls?

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain (Photo credit: Samie Harding)

Still, why fight against?  Why scream a battle cry?  Why wage war?  For what purpose?  Our bodies are the spaces in which we exist daily.  Why should we be in conflict with it?

Mother Teresa said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.”  I am in agreement.

I choose never to be anti-fibromyalgia.  I choose, instead, to be at peace with fibromyalgia.  It is a part of who I am.  It is living within my body.  Thus, embracing, rather than rejecting it, is the obvious choice for me.  It is a matter of shifting one’s mindset.

So, what is this next step?  Beyond having shifted my mindset, I have decided to take the step that I have been utterly avoiding for a multitude of reasons.  I have decided to become vegan and live gluten-free (I am already vegetarian).  As some may know, animal bi-products as well as yeast and gluten can provoke digestive problems, especially for people with IBS, which many people with FMS experience.

End of Summer Still Life

End of Summer Still Life (Photo credit: mystuart)

Moreover, I am letting go of other foods that can create disharmony within me, such as nightshade fruits and vegetables that aggravate pain:  tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), eggplant, and sweet and spicy peppers–yes, I know I am living in Italy. 🙂

Will this be challenging?  Perhaps.  Is it the right time?  Absolutely.

At the start of this post, I wrote that fibromyalgia can be about loss.  Well, that was my mindset about taking this next step.  I was focused on losing.

In my mind, all that I could see was that I would be losing, once again, more foods that I love (in this case:  milk, bread, and the above-mentioned fruits and vegetables).  Furthermore, the thought of having to “lose” certain foods felt too much like “dieting,” of which I am not a fan, i.e. unless absolutely necessary for medical reasons.

I could not see the gain.  I could not see the invitation for living a peaceful life with my body, and thus with fibromyalgia.

Yes, it is true that FMS can push one to leave behind old and unhealthy patterns, even places and people.  Yet still, it causes us to arrive at a new understanding of ourselves, learning and using new and healthier patterns, experiencing new internal and external places, and meet new people who can support us as we make our journey.

vegan food pyramid adapted from recommendation...

vegan food pyramid adapted from recommendations made in “A new food guide for North American vegetarians” (2003) from the American Dietetic Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am excited to have taken this next step, and am doing so with the help of The Vegan Society that offers a mentor for 30 days (The Vegan Pledge).  The next thirty days begin my journey towards a new way of eating and living.  Over those days, I will update as I can, including places in Rome and in the U.S. that are vegan and gluten-free friendly.

Cheer me on, as well as yourself and others, on taking another step towards living peaceably with FMS!

And remember what Mahatma Gandhi said,

“A  man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”

Thus, think positively about living with FMS.  There is much to be gained!

Until Next Time,

D.

P. S. I will be adding an Italian version of this post as well.

Gli Occhi Aperti / The Open Eyes…

Cut Eye

Cut Eye (Photo credit: lindes)

Ho deciso di scrivere oggi in italiano (ma anche con una traduzione in inglese per i miei lettori che leggono solo in inglese).  Come mi sento in questo momento? Non sono sicura.  Sono stanchissima da morire, perché tante cose hanno successo questa settimana ed anche ho lavorato molto, almeno secondo me.  Continuo a scrivere il mio romanzo e oggi ho scritto una poesia nuova in italiano.  Vorrei condividerla con la speranza che voi mi diate le vostre opinioni. Come ho già scritto, ho scritto una traduzione in inglese, comunque l’orginale è stato scritto in italiano. Quindi la traduzione attuale è molta semplice. In alcuni giorni scriverò un’altra versione inglese. Ringrazio Matteo per la sua assitenza con la grammatica.

——————-

Today, I decided to write in Italian (but always with a translation in English for my readers who only read in English).  How am I feeling in this moment? I am not certain.  I am ridiculously tired, because many things have happened this week and also I work a lot, at least, in my opinion.  I continue to write my novel and today I have written a new poem in Italian.  I would liked to share it, with the hope that you will give your opinions.  As I have already written, I have written a translation in English.  However, the orginal is in Italian.  Therefore, the current translation is very simple. In some days I will write another English version.   I thank Matteo for his assistance with grammar.

——————-

Gli Occhi Aperti 

Ci sono momenti in cui mi domando perché.

Perché ci sono tante persone che si sentono perse? Perché?

Soprattutto quando sono in piedi l’una accanto all’altra.  Perché?

Perché ci sono tante persone che non hanno la consapevolezza

che la vita non è la realtà che può essere vista solo con i loro occhi?

Hanno bisogno di capire che

la loro realtà si allontana…

verso la corpulenza del mondo,

contro la verità dell’anima.

Realtà non è reale.

Realtà non è vera.

Non è neanche un’enigma,

né uno specchio oscurato

in cui non vediamo noi stessi.

Realtà è appena una manifestazione delle nostre paure

che sono state sviluppate dall’assenza

della saggezza in ognuna delle nostre vite.

Comunque questi pensieri sono solo una parte di un racconto vecchio.

Dall’inizio della nostra umanità, non abbiamo noi forse sempre detto

le stesse cose di nuovo, di nuovo e di nuovo?

Esiste sempre una ragione per la quale viviamo noi

le nostre vite nei modi in cui lo facciamo.

Esiste sempre una ragione per la quale diciamo noi

che non possiamo scegliere in modi diversi…

Mai…

le vie nuove,

Mai…

le intese nuove,

Mai…

le parole nuove.

Mai…

Mai…

Mai…

Mai…

Mai…

Mai…

E in questo modo rimaniamo

le stesse persone

con le stesse domande:

<<Perché mi sento perso?>>

<<Perché mi sento solo

quando sono in piedi accanto a tutti?>>

Realtà non è realtà.

Devi aprire la tua mente per poter aprire gli occhi.

E poi, crei la realtà in cui vuoi vivere.

————————————————–
————————————————–

The Open Eyes

There are moments in which I ask myself why.

Why are there so many people who feel lost?  Why?

Especially when they are standing next to others. Why?

Why are there so many people who do not have the awareness

that life is not the reality that can be seen only with their eyes?

They need to understand that

their reality is moving away…

toward the corpulence of the world,

against the truth of the soul.

Reality is not real.

Reality is not true.

It is not even an enigma,

nor an obscured mirror,

in which we cannot see ourselves.

Reality is just a manifestation of our fears

that have been developed by the absence

of wisdom in each of our lives.

However, these thoughts are just a part of an old story.

From the beginning of our humanity, have we not always said

the same things again and again?

There always exists a reason for which we live

our lives in the ways that we do.

There always exists a reason for which we say

that we cannot chose different ways of being…

Never…

new paths

Never….

new understandings,

Never…

new words.

Never…

Never…

Never…

Never…

Never…

Never…

In this way we remain

the same people

with the same questions:

“Why am I lost?”

Why am I alone

when standing next to everyone?”

Reality is not reality.

You must open your mind in order to open your eyes.

And then, create the reality in which you want to live.

————————————————–
————————————————–

Grazie a tutti per prendere tempo per visitare e leggere.

Thank you everyone for taking time to visit and read.

Alla Prossima Volta,

Until Next Time,

D.

Fibromyalgia welcomes you…to DIY

The invitations have already been sent.  The preparations have already been made.  Nevermind why you have been chosen.  Nevermind why you cannot refuse.  Fibromyalgia welcomes you…and asks you

“How shall you live this life?”

The house into which you have been welcomed provides an entrance but no exit.  The walls upon which you now stare are absent of windows.  There are stairs placed here and there, but that lead nowhere.

And still the question lingers,

Ireland: dark house“How shall you live this life?”

The daytime brings some light but never enough to provide sight.  The nighttime brings the descent into the darkest parts of your being.  There is limited sight.  And what cannot be seen must be felt.

Now the words come to your mind once again,

“How shall you live this life?”

Through the cold and the warmth of passing seasons, you use what provisions you have brought with you.  Through the cold and warmth of passing reason, you understand that these provisions are increasingly dwindling.

Seasons

Seasons (Photo credit: *~Dawn~*)

Yet still, the demand persists,

“How shall you live this life?”

There are times when you hear knocking at doors that you can neither see, much less open.  There are times when a ray of sunlight shines through the cracks of the wall, reminding you that there is something more than this experience.

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain

(Photo credit: Samie Harding)

There are times when you cannot sleep.  There are times when you cannot eat.  There are times when you cannot move.  There are times when you cannot remember.  There are times when you simply cannot… anything.

Daybreak

Then suddenly everything changes one morning.  You open your eyes to see that you have never left all that you once thought lost.  You open your mind to feelings of hope and joy.  You open your arms to embrace family and friends.  You open yourself to experiencing life at its fullest.

Black

Black (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then suddenly everything changes one morning.  You open your eyes to see nothing but the all-consuming darkness.  You close your mind to feelings of hope and joy.  You open your arms, only to close them around disconnection and doubt.  You are closed to experiencing your life as you have known it. Thus…

“How shall you live this life?”

By understanding that even in the darkness and emptiness of fibromyalgia, you can still find the tools to help you in reconstructing the house in which you now find yourself.

The reality is that no one can save you from fibromyalgia.  No one can fix this house for you.  No one else can live your life for you.  There is no running away.  There is no mental escape.  There is only the fact that…

only you can make a home for yourself out of this house of fibromyaglia.  And even the act of simply choosing to do so is the first step to finding the door.

Make this house of fibromyalgia  your next Do-It-Yourself project, and have fun with it!  Imagine what would make this house a home for you.

Until Next Time,

D.

It’s official…NaNoWriMo-Panic!

Melancholy

“Her Name is Melancholy” by FlyPi (Found: http://flypi.deviantart.com/)

Okay, I am not certain whether I should be elated or crushed that I have completed approximately 40,000 words.

You see, National Novel Writing Month is really about to end come Friday, November 30th and I am supposed to write the remaining 10,000+ words by then–no, no, no, it’s impossible–while managing my regular life.

I am panicking–and who wouldn’t? It’s a competition between myself and my brain and I am losing–because I tend to be a bit of an over-achiever… and I am nowhere near where I “ought” to be.

However I am also relieved because I have come 4/5ths of the way, even if I do not arrive at my destination (50,000 words) by midnight Friday. (Let this serve as an example of a positive reframe of my initial thoughts).

So, what comes next?  Well, I am going to sit with the panicked feeling for a while longer before getting dinner.  Then I will plop myself back down in front of my laptop and begin hammering away at those last 10,000 words.  I can do it, right?  🙂

In the midst of all of this (well, really early this morning to be exact),  apparently I had time to write a poem. Thinking about it now, I would like it to be a part of a series revolving around the theme of winter.  I’m not panicking, right? It’s just 10,000 more words…I am beginning to wonder if blog entries count…

—–

Insomnia, along with the howl
of the wind.
Night is no longer night, but
fragments of moments,
through which sometimes
there is sleep.

Tonight, Rome is beautiful chaos
wrapped up in serenity.
-Diedré M. Blake

NaNoWriMo and the 10,000 Words…

NaNoWriMo, Day 19.  I am in bed today.  I am in bed today, because my fibromyalgia symptoms are significant enough to keep me in bed today.

I am in bed today although I ought to be doing so much else.  Perhaps I am in bed today because I ought not to have been doing as much as I have been.

Regardless of which it is, there is only one thing that I can do today:  write.

I will be writing many things today, including approximately 5,000 to 10,000 words for NaNoWriMo.  Writing so many words will, apparently, bring me back on track to complete the required 50,000 words by November 30th.

The idea of writing so very many words does not seem daunting at all, but rather enjoyable.  This is what I have discovered as I have been doing NaNoWriMo.  I truly enjoy writing stories.  I enjoy the process of discover that happens with every written word.  What I mean is that even though I have an outline (and thank the universe that I do), I am still discovering new aspects of my characters and of the stories.  I am learning that a story is not a linear experience and involves more trekking off the main road than I had previously thought. In other words, I am recognizing that writing a story is akin to writing a poem, where each word hold innumerable meaning.

Of course, it helps to have a deadline, which one may choose to meet or not.  For me, I am certain that I will meet it.  I understand, however, as I have been writing that getting to 50,000 words is not the end.  Truly, getting to 50,000 means only that I have formed the skeleton upon which the body of my story is to be carried.

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to be portable. Long exposure lit by sweeping an LED flashlight over the scene. clickthing.blogspot.com/2008/10/tennish-anyone.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Really, I suppose I want to reiterate the point made by other NaNoWriMo writers and bloggers.  That is, the point of NaNoWriMo, I believe, is not to force one into writing a novel in one month.  Rather, it is to inspire one to draft a story, on which one will continue to work until its completion.

Truly, writing an entire novel is a daunting enterprise as many, who have tried to so do, can attest.  The standard novel is approximately 100,000 words.  NaNoWriMo’s challenge allows one to get to the half-way mark, i.e. 50,000 words.  Moreover, having to meet the deadline of November 30th aids in pushing one pass the block of procrastination.  I believe that the focus on quantity rather than quality forces one to dismiss the voices of self-criticism and self-doubt, in order to put down on paper the ideas that have been floating in our creative minds.

NaNoWriMo is not about writing a bestseller off the bat, but perhaps getting our thoughts organized enough to write something of interest to ourselves and hopefully others (if we choose to share it).  I am glad that I read Harley Jane Kozak‘s “NaNoNoNoNoNoNoMo” in Write Good or Die that deals with the challenges and humour of doing NaNoWriMo.

English: An Italian shopping list for groceries.

English: An Italian shopping list for groceries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Kozak, some of us may find ourselves thinking that the “only way to pull it off is to throw grocery lists into my novel, along with my Thanksgiving Squash Souffle Recipe, William’s home phone number, notes to my kids’ teachers, and drafts of the text for my Christmas cards, which need to get to the printer.”

Perhaps, as Kozak ended, we may even choose to cut and past our blogs to make our word count. 😉  Either way, we should try to have fun with it, no matter how it turns out in the end.  After all, as one of my professors recently said to me, “Every month is National Novel Writing Month.”

I hope all NaNoWriMo-ers are also making their way towards the deadline in good spirits.  Eleven more days to go! 🙂

Until Next Time!

Best,

D.

Liebster Award, Last of the Mohicans, and Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have had the pleasure of being nominated for the Liebster Award by Sandra Bellamy, author of the blog QuirkyBooks. 🙂  Thank you so very much!  I am truly grateful.As a part of being a nominee of this word, it is my task to answer eleven (11) questions, the answers to which I have posted below.  So, I am going to dive into the questions, and let’s see what happens.

Below my answers, you will see my nominees for the Liebster Awards!

What first inspired you to start writing a blog?

Well, it is more of who rather than what.  I would say that my clients first planted the seed in my mind about writing a blog.  You see, I worked with adolescent and young adult women, who believed that my life would interesting to share…I wasn’t quite sold on the idea.  That is, until my friend, photographer Dolores Juhas, suggested I begin one during my second visit to Rome.  For whatever reasons, I thought then that it would be interesting to begin writing, especially as I had already resigned from my position, and felt more free to write about life publicly.

What is the biggest challenge you have ever had to face when writing your blog?

I suppose I am always concerned with issues dealing with privacy/self-disclosure.  As a therapist, I think it is important to be mindful of what I share of myself in the world.  I have tried, therefore, to write more self-reflective pieces that could be applicable to the lives of those who may take the time read the blog.  I think it is important for therapists to show themselves as being human beings, who struggle and work through their issues, without going overboard with the details.

If you travelled through time, what time would you want to arrive at and why?

Well, I would prefer to travel forward in time.  I would like to see what the world will be like in a hundred years.  Why? Thinking about how much things have changed in the experience of living for human being since 1912 makes me curious about how 2012 will be viewed a hundred from now.  Will we have changed for the better?

The Last of the Mohicans (1992 film)

The Last of the Mohicans (1992 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you prefer to eat chocolate or sweets (or neither)?

If I were to be blatantly honest, I would say that I prefer Milka Hazelnut Chocolate bars. 🙂  Otherwise, in general I prefer chocolate.  I am not a fan of sweets, except perhaps mints.  They are always handy.

Do you prefer to read or to write?

How about both? I consider myself a prolific reader.  I go through books of various genres.  I’ve always been like that since childhood.  I am grateful to my ex for purchasing a Kindle for my birthday, because it has allowed me to continue with my book-buying obsession.  Right now, I am hooked on Japanese manga–don’t ask why. 😉

What is your favourite genre of writing and why?

I prefer poetry.  Even though I have a tendency to ramble, it is a function of my struggle to find the right words to capture my thoughts.  Poetry I find lends itself well to image-based and minimalist thinking.  I can choose one word/image that represents a host of ideas without having to go into lengthy explanations.

Then again, I also like writing essays.

What is your favourite non-fiction topic to read about and why?

Oh, may I plead the fifth on this?  Why? I have a wide array of interests.  There isn’t one particular subject I prefer to read about at any given time.  Rather, I become fixated on a topic, read and learn all that I can about it, and then I move on to the next topic.

If you could buy one book that would help you to solve a problem in your life, what would it be and why?

Wow, is there a manual out there titled, Life of Diedre M. Blake: How to Guide?  If there is one, then I will absolutely buy it.  Otherwise, I think I will have to write that book myself.  Currently, I am doing extensive research on this subject.

Rome, Italy (2.21.11)

Do you prefer to write at night or during the day?

Well, I have found recently that if I lock myself in the basement of a university, armed with a laptop, the soundtrack to The Last of Mohicans or The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or Vivaldi‘s Four Seasons, I can write from morning until late in the night.  If I am at home, however, I find that I tend to write late at night or ridiculously early in the morning.

If you could be any character out of any book, who would you be and why?

Hmm…Strangely enough, I would be Jane Eyre.  I guess because I relate well to her story.  Also, perhaps I am a bit of a romantic, and would like to believe that the hardships of life serve a purpose and can help to lead you to self-love and the love of others.

Do you prefer to read a printed book or an e-Book?

Printed.  My apologies to the trees, but there is something comforting to the feel of paper in my hands.

Who do I nominate for the Liebster Award?  Well, see below:

(Disclaimer: I recognize that some of these blogs may have more than 200 followers, but still I would like to acknowledge them.  Also, I am not very technologically savvy to know how to find out the number of followers a blog has if it is not posted.) 🙂

http://thisisreed.wordpress.com/

http://proluce.wordpress.com/

http://lonelygirltravels.com/

http://haikudoodle.wordpress.com/

http://asjellis.wordpress.com/

http://anecdotaltales.wordpress.com/

http://susynreeve.wordpress.com/

http://jpgwriter.com/

http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/

http://mesayah.wordpress.com/

http://12novels.com/

Until Next Time!

Best,

D.

Writers write…

NaNoWriMo, Day 3.  It is as difficult as I imagined, but surprisingly simple.  The difficulty?  Moving pass my desire to edit as I write.  The simplicity?  The action of writing.  I am logging my word count like a good NaNoWriMo participant.  I am somewhere in the range of 2500 words, but I have done my writing for today.  There are several things I have come to realize about my writing behaviour by engaging this process:

  1. Writing at home before 2:00am in the morning is impossible.
  2. Writing in the library at any point in the day works.
  3. Writing to the sound of wordless music is better.
  4. Writing when distressed is challenging.
  5. Writing when excited is challenging.
  6. Writing when in a calm, neutral state allows my imagination to flow freely.
  7. Writing with access to the internet is helpful–I say a thankful “YES” to Thesaurus.com.
  8. Writing with an outline is useful, but I am enjoying discovering random side roads as I go along.
  9. Writing means that I am writer.  Thinking about writing means that I engage in creative thought.
  10. Writing does not necessarily mean sharing with others.

As the writer of this blog, the final point regarding not sharing might seem a bit odd, and perhaps I find it a bit odd too.  The thing is this…I have no desire to share the story as I am writing it.  I have desire to describe exactly what it is about, not because I do not know, but because I do know but also desire the ability to have flexibility in my knowing.  That is, I want the freedom to expand my knowledge or concept of the story.  Having to tell or retell the story concept appears to me to be a process of cementing the story, of forcing myself to remain on an obligatory path…I do not know how others feel as they are doing NaNoWriMo, but this is how I feel.

I have not written a synopsis, or even written the title of the story.  I do not see the point of so doing until I am at the end.  I do think that sharing my experience of my NaNoWriMo may be helpful to others, and I will do so intermittently on this blog.  Other than that, I find that I need to keep my thoughts to myself.

The title for this post, “Writers write…,” is taken from William Miekle’s superb writing guide of the same title (currently free for Kindle).  More importantly, it is only half of the mantra to which he asks aspiring writers.  The full mantra is,

Writers write!  Wannabe Writers Wanna Write.”

Perhaps it is a bit strong.  It has, however, served to kick my butt into gear.  I have been repeating this mantra to myself from the time I started my outline.  Yesterday as I struggled over words and my temptation to edit, I kept as a constant in the background my mind.  Writers write.  Writers make time to write no matter how busy their day.  Writers put aside external issues and circumstances in order to put forth their imagination onto paper.  Writers write because they write.

A long enough time ago, I wrote the poem below.

Write

because nothing else soothes

because nothing else makes sense–

write

what is lacking in spoken words

what is lacking in expressed emotions–

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

So, I am off to the library to write for a few hours.  The goal: 3000 words.  Do I think I will make it?  I do not know.  It is, however, the goal for today.  Tomorrow, I will set another, and then the day after that too…until I get to the end of the story.

To fellow NaNoWriMo participants–Write on!

Best,

D.