Welcome 2016

Welcome 2016

“An old day passes, a new day arrives.” — The Dalai Lama598px-Seattle_New_Years_Eve_Fireworks_2011

Happy New Year wishes to everyone who reads this. May the year ahead be joyous and filled with success. May you be surrounded by those you love and warmed by the memories of those who have gone before.

May you be challenged and grow, but may your load never be more than you can bear. May there be hands held out to help you when you need it most.

May this be a year of adventure, of big, scary things that thrill and delight us — and at day’s end, may we find comfort and warmth.

It’s a new day. Onward.

Taking Stock

Taking Stock

Looking back to YesterdayOne of the rituals at the end of the December is lists. Lists of things we did, things we didn’t do, weight we lost (or gained). We make lists for the coming year — goals, resolutions, where we’ve been, where we want to go. What we want to achieve. What we never want to do again.

Many of those lists are put away shortly after New Year’s, along with the resolution that we really are, absolutely, going to [fill in your resolution here] every single day, never to be looked at again. There’s a real danger of potentially overburdening yourself at this time with expectations, only to have it come crashing down because you don’t have time, resources or the energy — and progress can seem to be painfully slow in the face of all the other things pressing in on you.

And yet, looking back is important from time to time because it’s the only way we can see how far we’ve come. I don’t see it referenced much these days, but fifteen years ago, lots of folks were following The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I did three rounds with an online circle and while a number of practices fell away almost as soon as the group dissolved and others dwindled over time, I did take away two things that stayed with me:

  • The first Rule of the Road is that you show up at the page every day. I don’t write every day, but there is always something burning in the brain. (Goal for 2016: Get it out of the brain and onto page more frequently.)
  • Amazing things can happen when you’re willing to take baby steps, fall down, get back up again, and take more baby steps.

Without showing up, nothing will get done. Without being willing to take the baby steps, you cannot walk. If you cannot walk, you cannot run. If you don’t learn to run, you’ll never learn to fly.

For some things, I’m still in the crawling stage. There were major upheavals in our household this year whose repercussions will be felt for a long time. But I also see three manuscripts drafted, actually have something resembling an act where social media is concerned (not necessarily good, but it is more than I had last year at this time), and a sense of forward movement. As one year melts into another, I’m going to hold that as my touchstone, determined to keep moving forward.

What are your high points for 2015?

NaNoWriMo Inspiration: Day 20

NaNoWriMo Inspiration: Day 20

AA013275“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” — Paul McCartney

Yesterday, I logged onto Facebook to find a reminder of how short life can be. Someone I’d worked with back when I was doing the Ren Faire here in Southern California passed away, and the news was beginning to make the rounds. I hadn’t seen him for a number of years — I’m out of touch with many of the folk I knew then — but the news brought memories rolling back. Gerald Zepeda was a lovely man, a tremendous comedian who always had a passion about what he did. He worked the streets interacting with customers, and always encouraged other fair participants to do the same. I was fortunate enough to work with him on a number of gigs and they were among some of my favorite bits. And even if we had slipped away from one another, my husband and I counted him as a friend.

Our time on this earth is limited, and it is up to us to do the most with the time we’ve been given. There are times when the world seems cold and cruel — far too often of late — and the only thing that warms it are those who inspire us and bring us joy. Hold those close to you and let them warm you, just as you warm them in return. Go out and live life. Be excellent to one another. Live.

Tell your story. No matter how far behind you may be, getting those words out, even if you only write them for yourself, is part of the love you make in your life. If doing it gives you joy, then you will give joy to others. We’re heading into the home stretch, so we’re not down and out yet.

And when you have a chance, raise a glass to those who have gone before. When we remember and recount the memories, they live again in our hearts and minds, even if only for a moment.

TCM Remembers 2014

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “highlight” but one item I treasure each year is the annual TCM Remembers video. We know the big names, but there is always a number of those whose faces we recognize, even if we don’t know the name, as well as the writers, directors, cinematographers, and others who help provide the canvas for the actors to perform on. This year, sadly, there’s also a passing that touches the TCM family: Frank Mankiewicz, son of Herman Mankiewicz (Citizen Kane) and father of TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.

There are a lot of tributes around this time of year to those we’ve lost, but TCM is always one of the best, not just a list of names and faces, but a celebration of the work they have left behind that continues to touch viewers. This year’s video is was produced by Andrew Alonso, edited by Scott Lansing, and filmed at the Swan House at the Atlanta History Center. Music by Kodaline – “All I Want”

RIP: Blake Edwards

Blake Edwards passed away Wednesday night; he was 88. While Edwards did have some clunkers in his career, there was also so much magic. Operation Petticoat, Victor/Victoria, The Great Race, and, of course, The Pink Panther — pictures that make you laugh and often touch the heart as well. He will be missed.

Edwards’ comedy was often tinged with a dark edge born of a life-long struggle with depression and he could find humor in situations that in other circumstances wouldn’t be funny at all. As such, he would probably be amused that he managed to pass only a few days after Turner Classic Movies posted their annual “TCM Remembers” video, so he is not seen in the retrospective of those movie fans have lost this year. I had considered waiting to post this until closer to New Year’s Eve, but it seems appropriate now as I remember a man who made me laugh so much when I was young (you couldn’t get me away from the TV whenever The Great Race aired), to remember some of the other folks who graced cinema screens with their talents and whose work lives on in images which move through the projector at 24 frames per second.

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