Another Writer

Daily Prompt: Life After Blogs

“Honey, I remember life before computers, so imagining my life without one isn’t much of a stretch,” I wink at my 12-year-old niece, Manda, who simply stares at me in disbelief. Of course, her generation has practically been raised by computer, so imagining a world without one would be a challenge.

“So,  what was it like?” she asks, tentatively while gnawing on a homemade oatmeal cookie, part of a batch we made this morning.

“Well, life was simpler in a more complicated kind of way.”

Manda gives me the wooly eyeball. “What does that mean?”

I set my tea cup back in its saucer on the table and look past her through the window to the snow-covered garden. Cardinals are flitting back and forth from tree branch to tree branch, enjoying the sunny respite from what has turned into a frigidly cold winter. I feel old even thinking about the way things were before computers, so I stick to thinking about what it would be like to live without a computer now.

“Well, as a writer it means that I’d be doing my work on a typewriter, which is far more arduous, but in some ways,” I muse, “it’s more connected to the page. You make typos and learn to let them fly or risk interrupting your train of thought. With a computer you can back track and correct ad nauseum, which is great, of course, but it’s just not the same. There’s something rather grounding about using a typewriter. And perhaps this just makes me a nostalgic, old fool, but so be it.”

I gather by the look in Manda’s eye that something hasn’t registered.

“What’s the matter, sweetie?”

She hesitates. Takes another bite of her cookie and a sip of tea ~ such a sophisticated young lady for her age, full of curiosity and honest to a fault.

“C’mon, dear. Don’t be shy. I know you want to ask me something.”

Manda sets down her cookie and leans back in her chair. The kitchen table wobbles as she bumps the leg. The tension breaks with a giggle.

“I really must get that fixed,” I smile and nudge her calf with my foot. She smiles. There’s my girl.

“Go on then,” I prod, “what do you want to ask?”

“Well,” she looks at me with resolve, “what’s a typewriter?”

Of course, I didn’t see that one coming. Why would she know what a typewriter is? Still, I laugh.

“Hey, don’t make fun!” she squeals, “I can’t help it if I don’t know what it is.”

“You’re right, sweetie, and I don’t mean to make fun. It’s just when you say things like that I realize just how old I really am, and how much has happened in my life time. I laugh more at myself than I do at your naiveté.”

Manda turns her smile upside down and waits for some action on my part that will turn it right side up again.

“Here,” I stand up from the table and walk around to where she is sitting.

“What?” she snarls. I deserve it.

“I want to show you something.” I take her hand, which she allows with some reluctance, and together we journey up the stairs to my writing hide-out.

“Where are we?” she asks.

“This is where I write.” I tell her. “I haven’t brought you here before because I didn’t think you were ready. But since you’ve asked such an important question I wanted to show, rather than tell you, what a typewriter is and looks like.

As we enter the sun beams in gently from the southwest window which overlooks a mature forest of maples and firs. Book shelves line the walls, filled with the works of my favourite and inspiring authors, interrupted only by the occasional large, framed photograph of a favoured spot on our property. I lead Manda past the Apple to a corner of the room where sits an old oak writing desk. Upon it a lumpy form covered in a dust cloth, which I gradually pull back to reveal a vintage black Remington Rand manual typewriter, complete with ribbon. Beside it, a stack of paper.

Manda looks at it, the little laugh at her expense forgotten as her eyes wander its curves and crevices. She takes a step closer to the Remington and then turns to me. “May I touch it, Aunt Sally?”

“Of course, but be gentle with her. She is old.”

Manda lightly touches the keys and runs her hand across the top toward the cylinder.

“Mind the ribbon, though sweetie. It’s full of ink.”

“It still works?”

“Yes, except when the keys get stuck, or I run out of ribbon. But yes, it works wonderfully.”

“Do you ever write with it?”

“Occasionally, when I need to slow down my process. Sometimes my fingers get whipping on that computer over there and the magic doesn’t feel the same.”

“May I try?”

Without answering I reach for a piece of paper from the stack and feed it into the cylinder, rolling it to the perfect start location about two inches down from the top of the page. I show her the space bar and the carriage return. With a look of intense concentration she pushes down the letter I. There’s a chirp of glee as she experiences the mechanisms click into gear and the letter lands on the page. She types another letter, and then another, searching as she goes; frustrated a couple of times, until she’s typed I love my aunty Sal. I beam with pride.

“Oh, aunty, this is amazing! May I keep going?”

“Yes, Manda, of course. I’ll leave you to it.” I smile and give her shoulder a gentle pinch as I turn to leave.

Another writer in the family. She, like me, would be fine without a computer.

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016

 

 

 

Not Just Saturday Morning

Daily Prompt: Me Time

What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?

~*~

I like quiet mornings and I’m fortunate to be able to incorporate a quiet start to my day every day.

My “me time” starts with a short meditation. About 10 minutes, timed by a nature sounds download on my iPad. My current goal is to be able to take two deep, cleansing breaths without a single thought crossing my mind. It’s a challenge, to be sure. Try it, if you don’t believe me.

It’s really interesting to work on quieting the mind while trying not to run a play-by-play or colour commentary in the process. Every time I catch myself I have to start again!

A fun challenge. The other day I actually did it … two whole breaths in empty space … barely.

Today, “me time” started with a meditative body scan ~ another exercise focused on the breath but this time involving a mental check-in with my body. I do this occasionally to feel where tension is sitting. It’s actually a cool exercise.

With my eyes closed and while taking deep, cleansing breaths, I mentally scan my body from head to toe and back again. I notice any areas that are holding tension. For instance, an unexplained knot in my stomach; a pain in my neck, a throb in my big toe, or feelings even more subtle than that. While focusing on that area, I breathe into it a few times and imagine the tension releasing. If the tension doesn’t release easily I imagine blowing a bubble around it to magnify the area. I then sit with it a moment to see if it has a message for me.

Sounds out there, possibly, but I’ve found that since learning to listen to my body and its wisdom I’ve been carrying around a lot less stress. This has freed up precious energy for more important things like living the expansive life. Tension, as I’ve learned, is energy that’s stuck. The more it settles in the more difficult it is to release. I try to be conscious of the tension I’m holding as much as possible, and release it.

Our bodies speak to us all the time, but most of us are so closed off we don’t hear it. It’s not until we have some kind of massive physiological meltdown that we are forced to listen to what our bodies have to say. In my case, adrenal fatigue took me out at the knees and forced me to pay attention to what my body had been trying to tell me for years. i.e. “This life you’re leading is too stressful. I need a break.” And by force my body took one!

This has taught me to listen to my body sooner rather than later. The other option is simply too debilitating.

After engaging mind, body and spirit in this way, “me time” continues with a shift into creative mode.

I play with my (water)colour pencils in a stream of consciousness meditative kind of way to see what surfaces. This gets the creative juices flowing and prepares me to write freely.

My “me time” is an opportunity to ground my awareness and nurture my creativity. And it doesn’t just happen on a Saturday morning … it happens every day.

Now … time for breakfast …

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

Daily Prompt: Race the Clock

~*~

“Turn back the clock 20 years and be who I am today but with the vitality of my 30-something self? You mean it?”

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

A rare flight of fancy it is not. Who hasn’t wished they could step back in time and relive the lost moments of their lives from a clearer and more enlightened perspective?

“What do I have to do?”  I inquire of the ether.

No answer.

“What do I have to do?!!!!” I yell it at the top of my lungs into an abyss of unknowing.

Still, no answer.

“Why do you taunt me so?” I mope. “You’ve made an offer I’m not likely to refuse and then you leave me suspended in disbelief. I made my commitment yet you have reneged on yours. Why?”

Still there is silence.

I sit quietly … waiting. How much good I could do with my life taking the knowledge I have now back 20 years to a new mid-life beginning. As it is, I feel I am in a race against the clock, trying to accomplish much with all that I’ve learned while living in a body battling the ravages of time.

“You can’t go back …”

“Huh? Who said that?” I must know.

“You can’t go back …”

“Well … that’s beginning to look blatantly obvious,” I growl. “You, whoever you are, have deceived me.”

“No, you have deceived yourself. Take what you know now, use the resources you have and start here. You’re in a race against the clock and the more you lament for the past the more precious time you waste in the present. Your future depends upon it.”

“But … but …” I sulk.

“Make this the offer you can’t refuse … the ability to live with an open heart and an open mind, and a grace that enables you to move with the flow of life and live in a state of acceptance. Be present in your life and live in every moment. You will see a great and positive change, I promise you.”

With a sigh I concede my lot. There is no going back. The new offer is the one that cannot be refused. I’ve lived enough of my life in the past already.

~*~

If I’d known then, what I know now … Who hasn’t had that conversation with themselves? Never mind this writing exercise (which I may have snuck in to 10 minutes) I really do feel that living my life now, with all that I’ve learned and am learning is a race against the clock. And I don’t like racing.

Having come through a health crisis and still walking the road to recovery I value every moment of pure energy I have at my disposal to live the life I love. Still, in my wistful moments I do wander what it would be like to live through my 30s as the more grounded and mindfully-living person I am now.

Still, if I was offered such an opportunity, would I really take it? Would you?

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

The Writer’s Danger Zone

Daily Prompt: Play Lexicographer

~*~

My dream come true.

A word to call my own.

Playing with the alphabet.

I’m in the danger zone.

A brainstorm of confusion

Puzzling my thought.

A word game I alone can play

Culled from all that I’ve been taught.

Got it!

Lexinaffle: ~ verb ~ the inability to dream up a new word for a daily prompt. Useage: I’ve been trying really hard to think of a new word for this frustrating exercise and find myself completely lexinaffled.

~*~

So silly …

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

The Much Maligned Vegetable

Daily Prompt: Embrace the Ick

~*~

Interviewer: “Tell me, Ms. Doright, when do you first recall embracing the much maligned vegetable many of our readers would agree is icky? My notes don’t actually tell me what the vegetable is, perhaps you could elaborate?”

Ms. Doright: “All in good time … Honestly, I just made up my mind it was time to change my mind. Icky is as icky does. I am in no position to make such judgements. I imagine it all depends on one’s definition of ick. Mine was more about the texture, smell and taste of the thing, but I am beginning to see things differently.”

Interiewer: “Indeed, how have you learned to see it differently?”

Ms. Doright: “Oh, I went for food sensitivity testing and the nutritionist said that my body simply cries out for … it, so … you know … one must respect all aspects of the body’s needs, not just what one thinks it needs, which is often at odds with the truth. As well, this delightfully positive woman provided some scrumptious ideas for preparation. I found her enthusiasm for said icky veggie almost infectious.”

Interviewer: “Still, forgive me, after a life-time of loathing one simple declaration has the power to change your mind? I find this hard to understand.”

Ms. Doright: “Well, believe me, learning that I should make this particularly offensive cruciferous vegetable a staple in my culinary calendar came as quite a shock. I’d only ever experienced it as over-cooked, mushy and nauseatingly repugnant. The smell would be enough to push me over the edge. But then I recalled a visit to a Portuguese restaurant last summer where this icky veggie demonstrated surprising possibilities. Baked, or maybe it was stir-fried, with a delightful combination of other ingredients including, if I’m not mistaken, ginger and garlic and other things I love, it’s crispy texture and tangy taste tickled my taste buds in ways I’d never imagined possible … with this vegetable, you understand. But then, I forgot about it until this meeting with the nutritionist. And whereas my initial response to the knowledge that my body adored this veggie (full of vitamins C and K and B6 and dietary fibre and essential minerals) was to screw up my face and declare ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’, I’ve come to realize it may not be so bad after all. I simply need to learn new ways of preparing it. … Do you understand now?”

Interviewer: “Indeed, which brings me to my final question … what the hell are we talking about?”

Ms. Doright: “Why, Brussels sprouts, of course.”

~*~

A few weeks ago I went for food sensitivity testing and found out that the vegetable I loathed more than any other (found the most icky) was in fact one my body finds particularly beneficial ~ though how it would know this when I never eat it is beyond me.

Still, to honour my body’s apparent need for the icky Brussels sprout I’m looking for a few good recipes. Any ideas? (Nothing boiled, please … )

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015 

Harm Not My Sanctuary, Lest I Weep

Daily Prompt: Free Association

Home ~ Sanctuary
Soil ~ Harm
Rain ~ Weep

~*~

Harm not my sanctuary, lest I weep,

For here is where my heart doth rest,

My weary body sleep.

Tis here I close my tired eyes,

Replenish here my soul

And find within my stirring depths

The truth that makes me whole.

Tis here my joy abides each day

That girds me forth in life,

Where love and safety keep me warm

Protecting me from strife.

Harm not my sanctuary, lest I weep.

~*~

My home is my sanctuary.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Baa … d

Sheep herd

~*~

Aren’t you going to write something?

I don’t know what to write about.

That’s awfully rich for someone with a head full of words. You keep telling me you see things to write about all the time, and yet you can’t put pen to paper?

I can’t explain it. It’s easier said than done. The words are there, but I can’t just conjure them into something of meaning. They need to find that meaning for themselves.

Nonsense! A pathetic excuse.

It’s not nonsense. For me, at least, words cannot be conjured. They simply need to find their place. But there’s so much going on in the field of my thought right now the words feel lost. Like sheep. They need a shepherd.

Shepherds guide their flock. I thought you just said that words need to find their own place.

They do … but they need some guidance, too. It’s complicated.

Aren’t you the shepherd of your words? Don’t you need to step into that maelstrom of wooly thought and create some order?

Ah … that’s baa … d. But you are, to some degree, correct. Word herding! I’ve never thought of it that way.

Of course you haven’t, or we wouldn’t be having this ridiculous conversation. Now, herd those words into that pen, for goodness sake, and get on with it. You’re beginning to sound more like a lost sheep than the guiding shepherd you claim to be.

Perhaps you are the writer, not I.

Give me that pen.

~*~

After a bit of a drought, a free writing exercise to get the sheep moving. 😉

Nonsense, indeed, but fun all the same.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014