Monday, March 05, 2012

More Cosmic Dreaming - Under the Lyre

Two nights ago, I was sleeping on the sofa as I sometimes do, because it is near the fire and warmer, and I like the way the firelight dances on the other side of my closed eyelids.

I was half awoken by the voice of a large Italian man standing over me. He stroked my hair and spoke: something which sounded to me like 'sotto lura' or 'sotto lira.'

As soon as I awoke the next morning I was searching for meaning in the phrase, but could come up with nothing other than that 'sotto' means under or beneath.

This morning, because this dream has so puzzled me (I know virtually no Italian), I continued my search with Google Translator. And this is what I found, and heard. Press the 'Listen' button in the lower right corner of the box.

Sotto il lira - under the lyre.

Interestingly, my real name is Laura, which has always been translated as 'crown of laurel leaves.' But I wonder if the name given to me by my dream visitor holds the truest meaning.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Cosmic Dreaming

Early last year, when my grandson was still a gleam in his father's eye, I had a dream. In it, I walked through the woods just outside the front door of my home, carrying my grandson and telling him some tall tale about the dinosaurs who roamed the place millions of years ago. He interrupted and said, "Grandma, I don't like dinosaurs." Flash forward to yesterday evening, when I was holding my two-week-old grandson on my lap and watching him sleep. (Actually, I was trying to wake him up.) And his grandpa was trying, too, by tickling his belly. Easton made a frown and I said, "Stop that. Easton doesn't like tickles. And he doesn't like dinosaurs." Everyone laughed and someone asked, "How do you know he doesn't like dinosaurs?" I said, "Because he told me in a dream." And I looked back down at Easton and a smile lit up his face and he chuckled in his sleep, as if we had just shared the biggest private joke in the Universe.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What I've Been Up To, Mostly

- Gearing up for my fifth year in a job I barely tolerate. On a bright note, it occurred to me that I'm putting in maybe 30 hours a week, and getting away with it. But I spend about two hours a day on the road, which eats up any gain.

- Adjusting to an empty nest. If you don't count my college son coming home every weekend, or babysitting for friends, or extra people occasionally for dinner.

- Senior portrait photography. I'm constantly comparing myself to the professionals with their $5000 Nikon cameras and their full versions of Photoshop, and of course I come up short. But I don't really do too badly with what I have, I guess, and the bonus is that it's a creative outlet. Here are a couple of samples:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Snapshot - n. An isolated observation. My brain is filled with them, but only a few stand out, either dramatically or romantically, as truly key moments in my life. Here, I'll develop them into some kind of word photograph for your viewing pleasure. I hope you like black and white.

1983, Grand Canyon, Arizona - I stand on a precipice, some sort of dangerous outcropping which overlooks the Canyon, my knees a bit wobbly, but it seems a test of my courage and an attempt to immerse myself as deeply as possible into the surrounding beauty. I am Elizabeth Bennet from the film Pride and Prejudice, but without the long, flapping skirts.

1986, My sister's backyard, rural Indiana - I sit in a chair, warm in the summer sun, smiling down at my first son who is only weeks old. I happen to look up, still smiling, and my eyes meet the gaze of my ex-bad-boy who has apparently been studying the scene before him, and in that moment his eyes seem to say, "Oh, crap. I may have made a mistake by not scooping you up when I had the chance." This is as near as I have ever come to starring in a scene from a romantic movie.

2007, Hospital room, Indianapolis - My nuclear family and I are alone together in a room with my dying father. I stand at the foot of the bed, my mother and one older brother on one side, and my eldest brother and older sister on the other. It occurs to me that this is the first time we have been alone together as a family in possibly thirty years. I am not unaware that it will also be the last time. And in that wordless moment, this snapshot that remains indelibly etched in memory, are revealed volumes of words to rival Ridpath's History of the World.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Paper, Paints & Pens

When I was a girl, there was nothing more exciting in my life than the beginning of the school year and buying school supplies. Except maybe walking to the drug store in the summer to buy little spiral notebooks and pens.

Forty years later, I'm still excited when I buy office or art supplies. So I was really happy yesterday when I was cleaning out my email inbox, and discovered that I had never used a Staples e-gift card a friend had sent me months ago.

I went to Staples on my lunch hour - even before eating - and chose a little pack of Super Sticky post-it notes in bright colors (on sale), a small, magnetic dry erase board for my fridge (on sale), a pad of watercolor paper, a box of watercolor pencils (one of the greatest inventions since caveman paint), and a purple gel pen that the sales girl talked me into buying to round out the sale to beyond the value of the gift card because she didn't know what to do with my extra 9 cents.

And last night I came home, pulled out a sheet of the thick watercolor paper, set up a still life of a lone orange and two lemons, and transferred their image behind my eyes to paper.

Honestly, I'd forgotten a little what it feels like to create. Other than planting flowers, I haven't done anything remotely creative in ages. And that makes me cranky. And dull, and feeling as if I'm not really living my life. Oh, how quickly I fall back into the same rut, over and over.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Most Important Thing in Life is Taking the Next Step.

There are things to be learned when writing a screenplay that involves a character inspired by oneself. Since characters ideally take on a life of their own, you may find yourself suddenly adrift, wondering exactly who you are.

Well, it turns out that who you are is not static. Who you are is constantly changing, just like a character in a book or a film - because every day you make choices. Every day you say and do things that have the potential to change your life and to impact the lives of others. And every day is a new opportunity to reinvent yourself.

But only if you work really hard at it. And only if you learn something from your battle with the bad guys.

The bad guys - literally or figuratively - have been a part of every good story since, well, the dawn of The Story. Good versus Evil appears to be part of the human condition.

And wouldn't it be simpler if the bad guys in our lives came dressed recognizably as Ninjas, a spouse, a boss or a true arch enemy - instead of the foe within.

Because it's the enemy within each of us that may be the most difficult to overcome; especially when we see that fear is his armor. When he won't go away despite our best excuses, or our attempts to rid ourselves of what we
believe may be the real enemies outside of us.

So, while the enemy within may be different for each of us, the key to silencing him seems to be action. Like a stake through the heart of a vampire, action is your only weapon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Things First

I'm about to embark on my authentic life - the one I was meant to be living, the one I dreamed about as a child, the one that surfaces occasionally in daydreams when I am otherwise miserably making my way in the life I mistakenly conjured.

But I wanted to write about it here before I take another step in the right direction.

It's going to take a lot of hard work. A lot of baby steps, and a few steps backward. I'm more determined than ever to do it, though, because not doing what you love is just too costly - to one's health, to the psyche, to the soul.

So here's the life I want to be living within five years: I'll be self-employed. Writer, painter, and farmer of good things to eat and flowers that are good for the soul. (I hope that doesn't make me sound like a hippie.)

And if it's not asking for too much, I'd like to have a groom to saddle my horse for me whenever I want to go riding. His name will be Gerard.