Friday, August 28, 2009

Groups

Did you ever meet a group of people who do not have good boundaries?  What is appropriate behavior?  What is not appropriate? Leadership that does not lead usually has alternative motives that are not necessarily honest or spoken aloud.

I have been associated with groups of people over the years, single groups, writers groups, and even the Red Hat Ladies Social groups.  Some groups have been great and other not so great.

Not long ago, I was new to a group of Red Hat Ladies in a predominate community that held a meeting in an exclusive hotel.  The behavior exhibited was not representative of women.  Two ladies came in mid-way dressed in outfits that nearly resembling prostitutes carrying clear plastic bags with...shall we say things unmentionables in public, openly displayed for all to view.

I was mortified!  Embarrassed!  There were families with young children everywhere.  I felt soiled just by being there.  I left as soon as possible.  I wrote the woman in charge of the chapter and the headquarters of the Red Hat Ladies Society.  I received apologies from both. 

Who apologized to the families with young children?  I felt sorry for the parents who now most likely had to explain things that they had not anticipated on explaining, especially, on a vacation.

Boundaries are important.  The society we have now has no idea of appropriate behavior.  What is even more shocking is that no one seems to care. If you bring it up the inappropriate behavior, you are most likely the one to be in danger of being the outcast.  Society is not what it use to be.

When a group does not follow appropriate behavior, I suggest finding a new group or start one of your own.  

Varying Bottles of Wine Continued...

Change is not always easy for everyone, but I manage to land on my feet like a cat most of the time.   Richard and I tied the knot the same day we graduated from Princeton University, he with a Law degree and I with an Education degree. We honeymooned our way across the United States in a U-Haul moving truck as we headed for Los Angles, California.

I remember moving here from New Jersey with a slight accent and working hard to remove it by taking voice lessons. Who knew it would lead to other things.  I started out in the church choir because my voice coach was the choir director. Then I began singing at weddings. Next thing you know, I am working for MGM studio as a ‘‘property voice.’’ Wow! One little change and an entire new world opened up before me.

The Hollywood Hills is an interesting place to live. It is where my husband and I lived when we first moved to California. Back then it was the back lot of LA. Now it is simple known as 'The Hills' and resembles nothing of the barren place it once was in the fifties. If you find a cute bungalow, you have found a treasure and fine piece of real-estate.

When the skyscrapers started to block the view we moved to the beach. We lived at the beach for a year, but even the beach started to become crowded. We decided to move to Napa, by some property and settle into country life.

The drive from ‘‘The Hills’’ to Napa at first is not bad. It just becomes longer and longer as time goes by. At first it is an adventure, then a challenge. Now we have a condo in the ‘‘Commons’’ we use during the week and a house in Napa for long weekend getaways. We aren't as young as we use to be, but we have managed to work things out advantageously.

This is a copyrighted piece of fiction. No part(s) of this story or its characters are to be copied or used without the author's permission. E-mail the author of this Blog for more information or comments.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Writing Prompts

Writers have routines to aid them in the process of writing.  Using a daily writing prompt is a terrific tool to practice with.  Here is a website you can link to that has a large variety of prompts to choose from http://www.creativewritingprompts.com.


Try it out and have some fun.  If you come up with a good story, email it to me.  I would like to read it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Varying Bottles of Wine

Between the jagged flashes of bright lightening and the reverberating thunder it was hard to wait out the severest thunderstorm of late summer. Then the power went out! When the pounding rain finally stopped everyone headed outside hoping for a cool breeze. It was a sweltering week of weather and now after the storm with the power out, the whole neighborhood gathered in Dora's front lawn to chat.  Dora is the social coordinator of West Lawn Subdivision, at least she thinks so, and I would agree. We know each other pretty well considering the times in which we live, when no one can name half the people living in their neighborhood. Dora has managed to corral us in to having an annual garage sale, Christmas cookie swap, and donations for various organizations throughout the year.

Standing in Dora's front yard chatting, we were surprised that Dora herself was not present. Surely, she is as miserable as the rest of us. Then suddenly Dora's small side garage door flies open and she dashes over to us and seems to be in quite a tizzy about the power outage. Being the organized person that she is, she had bought the hors d' oeuvres for the room parents 'meet and greet' at school, which is two weeks from today.


While chatting away Dora suggests that we all retire to her back patio and help her empty the freezer of the defrosting hors d' oeuvres. She has a beautiful backyard with fruit trees and a summer garden overlooking the Napa Valley with a professional chef's outdoor kitchen. The old world rattan wicker furniture layered with pillows, the long sheer curtains hanging about, along with the candle lanterns, gathers us into a warm inviting intimate group.


Opening several bottles of various wines, we set up a buffet and sit around the open hearth. Relaxing in the gentle breeze, our conversation begins. Most of us have moved here following our husbands careers. We are well educated and have some outstanding resumes yet, we have tucked away our goals and ambitions as we raised our families. Now, sitting here, privately secluded we share our dreams and aspirations that we haven't shared with anyone in a long time.


The storm has cleared and the sunset is spectacular! The afterglows of this spontaneous moment have begun to open up new avenues in each of our lives. Dora seems quiet as we each say good night.


Our lives have changed suddenly.


This is a copyrighted piece of fiction. No part(s) of this story or its characters are to be copied or used without the author's permission. E-mail the author of this Blog for more information or comments.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Writer's Block

Did you ever have writer's block?  It is a phenomenon that occurs to those who dare to put thought to print, text to screen, and pen to paper.

I have experienced this phenomenon.

It began not long after 911 and got worse and more tortuous in the last three years.  I have no flow.  No stream of consciousness. Then, last week I received an invitation to write a piece of fiction for a local writer's group.  It was in the genre of the supernatural, which I knew little about.  The supernatural is not a familiar topic to me.  Nevertheless, I started to mull over some information and did a little research. I used some names of familiar places to localize the story.  It is for Halloween after all.  Surely, I can come up with something!

Well, today I had a breakthrough. The story bubbled up from down deep. The words just poured out for about two hours.  It was sheer delight!  I could barely contain my joy. I had to write a few family members and friends before I burst with glee.


After a final review, I maybe a little deflated.  It is a new genre for me after all and I may have to work on it a little more. All writers hone their craft.  However, today, today I wrote without hesitation and with total abandon. There is nothing like being in the creative flow.  For all the writers and creative people who have ever been 'stuck' or 'blocked' may you burst through the damn and ride the flow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beauty: A Rose Is A Rose



PJFARR
2009

Gazing at flowers and smelling the roses is good for the soul. 

 Remember the rose cream in a tiny pink jar that your grandmother lovingly rubbed on your tiny hands. The scent lingering after she had gone. 

 Beauty is not only in the eyes of the beholder, but in the lingering scent of a loving grandmother.

A rose is a rose that smells as sweet.

Journaling Grief

Journaling grief is a process of writing out facts, thoughts, and emotions of traumatic events that can be helpful in relieving some of the stress and problems caused by sudden unexpected events of pain and/or loss. Whether losing a loved one, losing a career, having something valuable stolen (sometimes more valuable sentimentally then a cash value); loss can leave one reeling in an emotional wake for a long time, a personal tsunami.

Unreleased grief can be like a poison that affects other relationships. One can be stuck in the process of grieving. Sometimes one bounces around in-between feelings of denial and sadness, anger and depression and other emotions associated with the loss or traumatic event. Family and friends may not be able to help, especially if they have unfinished business in their own life experience. Grief affects our relationships because grief affects us profoundly, to the depth of who we are as a human being.

Research from several universities shows that journaling lowers stress and diminishes symptoms. Writing about what has happened can help one process through the pain instead of numbing out. Working through the grief process by journaling promotes well being, boosts immune systems, lowers blood pressure and decreases heart rate.

There is no 'correct' way to journal. Some people make lists, others write out their story, or write letters. At first, one might not be able to write more than a word or a sentence, which is okay. If you feel overwhelmed by your feelings and out of control as you write, take a break and set your journal aside. You can always pick it up again.  If your emotions are overwhelming you, talk with a bereavement counselor about other avenues or combinations of therapies.

My encouragement to you is that you are not alone in grieving. We all grieve at some point in our lives. We all grieve differently. We all need a compassionate, empathetic family member, friend, or counselor as we work through the process of grieving.

Writing is one tool that is helping me. I hope it will help you.

Be of good courage.  
Write it out.  
Seek help.  

You are not alone in your grief.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Motto

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

--- Sir Winston Churchill