Archive for March 2011

Freezing Rain (March Madness Without Basketball)

March 23, 2011

Pearl doesn't like it.

Blocking Writer’s Block – Swallowing Rejection (With Bhavana)

March 22, 2011

Rejection- Hurts Going Down

Today, I thought I’d focus on one of the biggest blocks to a struggling writer:  rejection.

Rejection feels awful to anyone, whether it arrives in one’s personal or professional life, but it presents a double-whammy for a writer, perhaps because it automatically hits on both the personal and professional level.

Hard for anyone to swallow, it is an especially stony lump for someone who regularly focuses on “voice.”

It doesn’t help much to hear about the zillions of rejection letters received by famous writers.

For one thing, those famous writers are not you (and they were eventually famous.)

For another, writing is hard work; it takes time and has significant opportunity costs.  While success/acknowledgement may not make the work fundamentally easier, it does seem to offer the struggling writer more time to write.  It also offers a channel, a place and encouragement for “flow.”  And a sense of respect.  It can be easy to feel stopped up without those things.

What to do?

I am reminded of a yoga teacher who talked about the distinction between the sanskrit terms “bhava” and “bhavana.”  He described Bhava as a state of spiritual ecstasy; bhavana as the cultivation of spirituality, the actual practices of devotion.

The fact is, he said, that you cannot force bhava–you can’t even be sure whether spiritual practice or any particular effort will induce it.  But, while you are waiting and hoping (uncertainly) for enlightenment, you can at least go through some set of motions.  You can, in other words, cultivate a discipline that feels like the groundwork for ecstasy, even understanding the quantum leap between discipline and ecstasy, and in that practice, you can, perhaps, achieve at least a certain contentment.

So (I tell myself), you cannot force success in the writing world, no matter how hard you work and scheme and (literally) plot.

But you can take steps to grant yourself some of the benefits you think that success would give.

More time?  To the extent practicable, allow yourself to take that time.

A channel?  At least get a writing-minded friend.

Respect is harder to come by, but at least try to respect yourself enough to finish what you begin.

Most importantly, keep in mind what started you writing to begin with;  that you enjoy saying things.  In print.

Too Many Explosions

March 21, 2011

Natural Disasters, Manmade Suffering

Amazing Sights In Downtown Manhattan (Sunday, March 19, 2011)

March 20, 2011

Demise of the Asian Elephant

March 20, 2011

The above, which I admit is a little bathetic, is a response to terribly sad article by the Associated Press today, “Last Stand of the Asian Elephant,” about the struggle between Asian elephants desperate to maintain habitat (and already decimated in ways that destroy traditional social structures) and local inhabitants.  Both sides are suffering;  the elephants, amazingly crafty at times, wildly angry at others, have wrecked destruction and violent death, but, of course, human beings tend to excel at those sorts of things; an awful situation.

You Can Find Them Anywhere – Even with Pearl!

March 19, 2011

Naptime

Pearl- (Like the world) Unstable.

March 18, 2011

Pearl Going Unsteady

So much that’s difficult going on in the world, I decided to focus on matters closer to home today.  Pearl!

Only she’s also losing stability; she also can be a source of distress.

The fact is that Pearl will be sixteen later this year, and though she capable of brief rituals of puppyesque enthusiasm, her legs are skewed and her vision is terrible.   She is capable of running into even major obstacles (park benches) much less minor ones.   Her walker has to continually watch for even very shallow stairs or steps.

Still, she’s intrepid, walking slowly, trotting briskly, (or simply allowing herself to be  slightly dragged) forward.