Why should writers write?

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Why do writers write?

More importantly, why should writers write?

American author Charles Bukowski  (b. 1920 – d. 1994) tells it like it is:

So You Want to Be a Writer
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

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heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 7 of 7: The Divine and the Sublime

(Image via Pixabay.com)

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.
Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.
We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
– Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

I began the first of my 2018 New Year’s “revelations” with The solace of animals” and I will conclude this last (the seventh revelation) with “The Divine and the Sublime.”

For me, as I’m sure for many of you as well, animals are beautiful, divine creatures. I cannot imagine a world without them. I certainly cannot fathom my life without them. In truth, there have been many instances where I have preferred the company of animals to that of humans.

“Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now.
Let it teach you Being.
Let it teach you integrity — which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real.
Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.”
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

In ancient cultures (and still today), animals were worshiped as gods. Their mysticism is steeped in history and religion. In Native American culture, there is an intense respect for and kinship to nature – animals, plants and the environment. Animals are treated with equal respect to humans. Life is revered. One life form is not inferior or superior to the other.  But animals…. well, they can teach us quite a few things.

So I will end my 7 New Year’s Revelations on this note (with further comments below):

“God gave unto the Animals
A wisdom past our power to see:
Each knows innately how to live,
Which we must learn laboriously.”
Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
(Image via Maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com)

I’ve been writing these New Year’s Revelations for 7 years now and this one will be my last.

May 2018 bring each and every one of you much joy, good health and a renewed appreciation for the beauty of animals, nature and of those you hold dear.

Cheers,

– Heather

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 6 of 7: The rise of the smartphone zombies

(Image via Flickr.com)
“Casting a curious gaze down on planet Earth, extra-terrestrial beings could well be forgiven for assuming that we humans are programmed in every move we make, by a palm-sized, oblong, slab of glass.
More perplexing than that, who on earth could convince them otherwise?”
– Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe

This picture says it all, really.

We’ve become addicted to our phones and tablets. We walk around, with our eyes glued to our smartphones, rather than enjoying our surroundings. At restaurants, our eyes involuntarily stray to our phones – multiple times – while in the company of friends and loved ones.  Even more alarming, some of us do this while driving.

It’s dangerous.

It’s anti-social.

And, in my opinion, it’s ridiculous. We look like smartphone zombies.

So, what’s the solution? Granted, we do need our phones to communicate. But just like most good parents should limit the amount of TV and video games that their children should engage in, so should we adults minimize our unhealthy obsession with our smartphones.

I know this may sound old-fashioned, but how about leaving our phones in our pockets or purses while enjoying dinner. Communicate – face-to-face – with those around you. Studies have shown that excessive use of these mobile devices may cause psychological damage as it relates to the development of interpersonal relationships. Humans are, by nature, social animals. This type of behavior is counter-intuitive.

If we keep it up, it will not end well for us. The negatives outweigh the positives (including the convenience).

A 2017 study from Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) found that in 52%  of all car accidents, drivers had been on their phones – 29% were driving over 56 miles per hour. According to the study, the most common driving distractions are texting, browsing social media and email – each averaging approximately 135 seconds in duration. These are real statistics. It’s NOT fake news!

Will it have to take some type of epic catastrophe or tragedy to make us stop? I hope not.

I entreat all smartphone zombies: please, please limit your cell phone use! You’ll have a better quality of life. More importantly, you’ll live long enough to enjoy it.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

 

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation #5 of 7: Do it yourself

(Image via Freestockphotos.biz)
“Having someone do certain things for you is like getting someone to chew your food for you.
It might be easier to swallow but it loses all its flavor…
And you want the flavor!”
Ze Frank, American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker

The concept of outsourcing has, in my opinion, reached new and ridiculous levels.

Portable car washing services. Portable dog bathing and grooming services. Gardeners. Housekeepers. Pool services. Handymen. Personal shoppers. And on and on.

Are we no longer capable of doing things ourselves? We seem to be a disposable society – very quick to throw away money on unnecessary expenses. Imagine how much money we would bank, if we took a few hours to take matters into our own hands.

Tell me something: whatever happened to washing our own car on a sunny Saturday morning or afternoon, with our favorite music blaring in the background?
And does it truly take that long to rake our leaves or mow our lawn? Really?

Do we really need the dog cleaning mobile to drive up to our home to bathe and groom our pup? It will take us half an hour – tops –to do it ourselves. And we’ll share some bonding time with our pooch.

Are we really that busy that we can’t take care of our own homes and basic chores?
Have we become too self-important for our own good?

Granted, I’m old school. Very old school. As a child, I was brought up to clean my own room and help with the house chores.
Today, I still do everything myself. Along with my husband. Whatever we can do ourselves, we do. Whatever we can fix ourselves, we fix. Neighbors often shake their heads when they see me doing yard work, painting my house or pressure washing my driveway. They look up in shock when they see my husband straddling the rooftop with his chainsaw – trimming overgrown tree branches.

I’m very busy. My husband is very busy. We both value our time. Yet, we still do everything ourselves. It’s invigorating. It’s gratifying.
A little manual work is good for the soul.

Maybe we, as a society, should stop spending so much time on our smartphones, exercising our texting thumbs and, instead, start doing some of our own work around the home. It’s good for us. And, it’s actually a lot of fun.

Just sayin’….


(Image via Flickr.com)
“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 3 of 7: Remove “hate” from the vocabulary

(Image via Pixabay.com)
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

I’ll keep this one brief. Not too long ago, I was speaking with a neighbor. We were discussing a number of things and I realized I used the word “hate” and “loathe” at least three or four times in the conversation. Phrases such as “I hate crowds” or “I loathe commercialism during the Christmas season”… these words flow from my tongue easily. Yet when I play back these conversations in my mind, I am distressed at how negative they sound. By nature, I am not a negative person. Yet my vocabulary says otherwise. I intend to remove the word “hate” (and any of its synonyms) from my day-to-day vocabulary (and mindset).

“Hate” is an awfully strong emotion. And, in the world of social media networking, haters are coming out of the virtual woodwork. It’s disturbing. It’s sad. There are many angry people out there. They need to chill out. We all do.

(Image via Pixabay.com)

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 2 of 7: Just the two of us

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)
“Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends.”
– Harville Hendrix

I have one best friend. He’s the person who has journeyed with me – through heaven, purgatory and hell (figuratively speaking, of course) for almost 4 decades. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our ups and downs. Neither one of us is easy to live with… but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just the two of us – and our cats. And we’re happy that way. We enjoy each other’s company – the most.  When we sit down for dinner – whether at home or at a restaurant – we have long conversations. There’s always something to discuss, dreams to share, plans to be made.

But over the years, we’ve noticed that other people – with children and extended family – seem to feel sorry that it’s “just the two of us.”  Some well-meaning friends and family members (all of whom live miles and oceans away) can’t seem to grasp that we spend holidays (like Christmas and Thanksgiving) with “just the two of us” and that it’s actually our choice to do so. Others perceive it to be a lonely existence. But that is their perception – which is entirely subjective. It’s not the reality. Well, it may be theirs, but not ours.

We choose to live the way we do. It works for us. We are a family of two. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful poem by Spiritwind Wood.

Let’s Grow Old Together – a Poem by Spiritwind Wood

Let’s sit underneath the open sky
and watch the night just pass us by
let’s me and you dream of the now
and don’t worry about tomorrow
you know we will make it somehow

Let us talk about our plan
two lover’s hand in hand
and let’s grow old together

Let’s let go of all the past
all the tears and all the sorrow
let’s dream through a desert so wide and vast
slow down and not take life so fast

Let’s let the sun shine down on you and me
where we will always be forever
and let’s grow old together

Let’s stop and feel the wind blow
through the canyon’s of it’s echo
ride with me through life and it’s beauty
two soul’s bound to be free

Let’s forget about days of yesterday
start anew another day
never to look back into the never
and let’s grow old together

(Spiritwind ©2014)

(Image via Pixabay.com)

 

Farewell 2017 and Hello 2018!

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
Ellen Goodman, American Journalist

Like any other year, 2017 had its share of peaks and valleys. Personally, I will not be sorry to see 2017 go. And I am approaching the next twelve months with cautious optimism. I am very curious to see how it all pans out. 

“Each day hands me a clean sheet of paper upon which to write. Therefore, I would be wise to write without ever having the need to erase.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough

Many blessings for 2018 and may tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration be filled with laughter, good food, plenty of bubbly libation, and the company of those you hold dear!

And, as always, a very special shout-out to my family and friends across the globe.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first of my annual seven New Year’s Revelations (not to be confused with resolutions.. I stopped making resolutions decades ago!). 

And a new chapter begins ….

Cheers!

heatherfromthegrove

In Memoriam 2017 – music, film and television

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

“Music is the ultimate medium for expressions of love, and those expressions find a beautiful backdrop in the environment. Music is also a popular rallying point — at its central core, it’s a way for people to get in touch with the best parts of themselves and to voice the love in their hearts. And the environment is one of the great loves of our lives — when we think of the best parts of ourselves, the environment is always there, informing us, as a backdrop.”

— Gord Downie, Canadian rock singer-songwriter, musician, writer and activist

“It would be hard for me now, at this age and stage, to leave a song without a glimmer of hope… I always like to have a glimmer of hopefulness, even in collapse.”

— Gord Downie

There are angels among us

(Photo via pixabay.com)

“I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hours, to show us how to live, to teach us how to give, to guide us with a light of love.

Helen Keller

There are angels among us. Of this I am certain. They look like you, they look like me. They are the people who lift us up when we need it most (and sometimes even when we don’t realize that we need uplifting). A smiling glance, a friendly wink, some sage words of advice, a random (or not so random) act of kindness…  these have the power to make someone’s day or month or maybe even change someone’s life.

So, as long as we are able to breathe, think, and feel … there is hope.  In this, the holy season of  love and kindness, most of us experience a heightened awareness of how truly precious our family and friends are to us.  It’s not that we take them for granted throughout the rest of the year.  But, in the spirit of the season, we stop and take pause … and give thanks.

As we count our blessings this holiday season, please remember that there are millions and millions of people – around the world – who are hungry, homeless, displaced, discouraged and lonely.

In this, the season of giving, please do what you can to help a neighbor, a stranger, a family in your community. Consider donating food, clothing, blankets and toys to your local missions. If you can, help out at your local food bank. Perhaps you could share your Christmas feast with someone less fortunate. If you dine in restaurants, think of giving your leftovers (that you would normally take home and maybe throw away a day later) to the homeless man or woman huddled on the sidewalk. Don’t pass them by, averting your face. Show them compassion and grace.

Be an angel.

Kindness… pass it on.

May the true spirit of the holiday season fill your hearts and homes with many blessings.

– heatherfromthegrove xo

(Photo via pixabay.com)

 

 

The best prayer is Thank You

bird weather

“‘Thank you‘ is the best prayer that anyone could say.  I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
~ Alice Walker 

As we begin the week of  Thanksgiving in America, it is important to remember, respect and show compassion to all those who do not have the luxury of a warm meal, a place they call home, or the safety net of a regular income stream. It’s a time to remember to be grateful for the blessings that we have. In many instances, what we take for granted are often luxuries to the less fortunate. 

It’s a time to reflect and think about how you could make a difference, a dent in this insidious epidemic that is Hunger.

Check out the Humanitarian Efforts page of my blog if you are interested in learning more about how you can help fight hunger in your community. And see what wonderful work is being done by three well-respected hunger relief organizations in the United States, Canada and around the world.

Gratitude (a prerequisite for happiness)

I, for one, bow my head in thanks for the sweetness and light of my family, friends and my beloved “children” (my pets). 

Humility (not always palatable for many)

There are those who are, by nature, humble. Then there are others who have learned how to be humble. I fall into this latter category.

I guess we are all a ‘Work in Progress’ …  

Thank you for stopping by.

 

Image via landypf.blogspot.com.