So Let’s Talk

I’ve started this post to you all several times now. I know that there are many of you out there who understand depression. For those of you who don’t, I was you. I’ve always been upbeat to the point of silliness. If something got me down, I would go exercise or read a book or dance like an idiot to Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic or Speed of Sound. But I always bounced back.

In March that stopped happening. If you all were around in March, you know that I disappeared for a week or so after an accident. I have’t bounced back, not to who I used to be. I have been feeling sad and easily overwhelmed as my body has just not healed as quickly as I would have liked and my brain either. If you know what it’s like to be in that situation, you also know that every little thing contributes and makes you feel weak.

I don’t share these things easily because I’m not used to it. I’d rather make you smile or laugh or roll your eyes. I’ve always felt that the world has so much pain already and I have never wanted to contribute.

But, I’ve found myself apologizing for not keeping up, for not getting the Mouse story to become routine, but if you know what it’s like to try to write humor, you know you have to feel something like humor in those moments and so Mouse becomes something I write when I feel that maybe I can grab a smile, internally.

I’m not going anywhere and I’m going to try to pull myself up out of this little crevice, but I’m not going to apologize any more for falling behind, for not striving to be the wonder woman who I wanted to be, and for feeling like I’ve let anyone down. Thanks for understanding.

Sascha

 

 

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Legends Lost

I’m a book blogger and a writer, but beneath those two items you might have noticed that I have a huge love of music of all genres. Despite a suburban upbringing, I have loved country music from a young age. Continue reading

A Good Natured Grumping

I don’t like to rant. There are enough people ranting, so I don’t provide that service here, except under extreme conditions.

I certainly don’t rant about music because my world would be very, very dark without music. I do love some of almost all kinds of music that I hear and no, I’m not just saying that. If you look at the music I share with you, you know that to be true.

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Let’s Talk Diversity in Novels & Writing

diversity

Image of Diversity ©Sascha Darlington

Diversity has become such a catchphrase anymore. We need more diversity. For a lot of it, I agree. Movies and TV should appeal to masses. Neither has ever needed to get every nuance right, because those media don’t have to. It’s not expected. It would be nice, but not expected and sometimes not necessary.

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Original without a title (on purpose)

published

My brain picked up original today and ran with it, sure, it was closer to a lumber, for which I am now making a pot of coffee (a little pot, 4-cupper, I don’t want to wake my brain up that much). Through many tangents, I thought about writing and original ideas and how some people “borrow” the work of others and how the internet has unfortunately made cheating and plagiarism so easy.

But because my brain is much happier not dwelling on cheating, it went back to writing. From some single digit age, I knew I wanted to be a writer, well, as well as the first female baseball player, a rock musician, a forest ranger, an oceanographer, and who knows what else. But a writer—always.

I had cheap notebooks filled with bad penmanship and cross-outs and an awful lot of stories and poems and ideas.

Then college.

On my very first assignment for composition class, my instructor scrawled: “If you want to major in English Literature, you had better learn how to write.” Pow, right to the chest. Unfortunately, according to her, via every subsequent assignment, my writing stayed mediocre.

That experience derailed me. I transferred to the modern language department and started studying Spanish and Italian. I continued to write because I had been writing from the time I could scratch letters on paper. Inevitably I finished my English degree, shared my creative writing with another instructor who was a good teacher, who understood that students should be given support as well as criticism and she encouraged me.

Later I discovered that my circuitous route was not very original. I have dialogued with many writers who share to varying degrees my experience. There was someone who impeded their progress, convinced them that they would fail. Many writers don’t listen. They are sure of their dreams. For some, like me, we put credence in the opinion of someone who possessed just a few more years of education than we did and let them become the voice in our heads that said: you don’t have the stuff to make it.

While I’ve had a few pieces published, I also let the constant flow of rejection letters land and stopped writing for a few years.

Now, my idea of “making it” is different. Sure, a best-selling novel would be fantastic. However, I share my writing openly, here. There will be people who hate it. There will always be people who hate it. But if I can make someone smile or think or laugh or have a better day—for me, that’s making it.

end 10/11/2016

S. Darlington

Book Challenge

Back in January, when the year was fresh and cold, I decided that this was going to be an easy reading year so I signed up for the yearly challenge and thought that 65 books would be fair. One book a week and then just a few extras for the beach.

This is proof that I didn’t intend to be a book blogger this year.

And the results of being a book blogger:

2016 READING CHALLENGE

Congrats!

You have read 100 books of your goal of 65!

100/65 (154%)

Yes, I had a wee bit of a giggle over that today when I saw I’d managed 154% of the challenge . . . with more to come because I may have slightly overcommitted myself for September and October. But what is a book addict to do when they see books…books they want to devour?

Onwards.
Happy Friday!
Sascha D.

Be Present

Yesterday I was on emotional overload. If you read yesterday’s post you know it was the anniversary of losing my Cha. Yesterday also marked the retirement of a colleague who had impacted my life for more than two years. (I’m kidding; it was significantly more than two years.) He was one of the best things to ever happen to the office where I work and to say that he will be missed is an understatement. Put that together with reading The Red Bandanna, and, well, Kleenex, a whole box of Kleenex.

Since April, I have tried to make sense of events, which can be futile. However, what isn’t futile is a healthy reaction to events, finding the silver lining, if you will, and sharing observations and trying to live a more thoughtful life, embodying all of the meanings of that word–thoughtful.

Here are a five things this year has taught me:

  1. Cell Phone Free Zone. Make it a point to put your cell away when you are socializing with your friends. Get each of them in on it. There is nothing on that phone more important than the people in your life. Nothing.
  2. Be Present. This moment, live it, know it, love it. Stop worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. Don’t wish your life away.
  3. Be Open. If you care, let them know. As you get older, you realize a lot of people cling to their feelings too tightly. What happens if they know how much you care? Nothing or everything or something in between. But what happens if they never know?
  4. Prioritize. But make it spiritual. I am not talking about a divine being here. What I mean is: don’t choose games or work or tv (you get the drift) above playing with your kids or dogs or cat or whatever or whoever the living, breathing creature is that wants your attention. Talk to the person you love, really talk to them. Help someone who needs help–even if it’s just picking up something they’ve dropped and handing it to them. One morning you could walk out of your home and find your life has been irrevocably changed. Don’t regret.
  5. Be Grateful. If you have enough, learn to be grateful. You’ll be surprised how your life changes when you stop thinking you need “things.”

Live well, love well, be well.

 

end 7/30/2016

S. Darlington

 

Bite the Censor

I’ve never been afraid of the nighttime, darkness closing in. Rather, it’s been a time of security and creativity as well as abandonment by the persnickety writing censor who lurks during the daylight as if working a nine-to-five shift, insisting that I must only write the safe, the easy, the careful (but never the good, the bad, the ugly).

The summer’s night brings nature’s evensong, the tremulous last calls of the robins as darkness descends, cicadas and katydids, owls and Eastern whippoorwills; the latter you will only hear if you’re very lucky, but once heard remains with you like a reverent chorus. I’ve reveled in this song because it claims chords I feel are my own.

I cherish the title of night owl. I used to feel somewhat miffed because there was a set of people who, everyday, were awake for the sunrise or found the energy to jog at 6 am or pursued any of the early morning activities I seemed to only accomplish once before my body said: that was a really nice morning, but let’s sleep in tomorrow. However, I recently read a study that said night owls tend to be more creative thinkers and perhaps even more intelligent, so now, regardless of whether the study will be disproved down the line, I relish being a night owl.

Perhaps I now brawl with my persnickety censor because I blink and months pass, forming years. The word “jettison” springs to mind. These days we fight often because I want to write uncensored all of the time. I want to express myself without fear, regardless of whether the sun is shining or not. My censor sometimes wins these battles, usually without my knowledge, because playing it safe is ingrained for protection. He says to me: “What if you write something and someone doesn’t like it? What if they mock you? What if they harass you? What if they don’t click the ‘like’ button? What if? What if? What if?”

I want to be a writer who isn’t afraid . . .

When I am fully aware, I can counter his questions. When I am not, he subliminally rules and subjugates my ideas until they are deemed, in his eyes, harmless. Despite my intentions, I fall into being careful, writing carefully. This is no longer who I want to be. I want to be a writer who isn’t afraid, who can put herself, true self, on display, vulnerabilities, insecurities, securities, mistakes, acceptance, no facades. If I persevere, I will own the daylight as well as the darkness.

For joviality? That last bit me-dears, just makes me sound like a writing vampire in transition.

end 7/7/2016

 

Happy 4th of July!

Fireworks! Yes, so many fireworks at Sandbridge Beach for days now. (The Faithful Companion is not amused; in fact, mostly unhappy, but I’ve tried to soothe that).

There’s a great 9 pm fireworks over Back Bay and so many people have bought lots of fireworks to share on the beach. This is my first time experiencing it and it’s really great, except for the Faithful Companion’s anxiety.

Beforehand, we decided to have an early dinner for us, 6:30, which should have been easy enough but for the distraction of sand, sea, and dog- walking. But we made it.

It seemed as if everyone at the beach had decided that Indian food was the way to go for the 4th. It was quite obvious that the waitstaff was overwhelmed. One said they were understaffed. I saw that no one was shirking. They were just working so hard. A waiter that we’ve had served us many times previously joked that, by law, everything should be closed on July 4th and every holiday.

We ordered drinks after our waitress apologized for taking so long. I smiled and told her we didn’t care. We weren’t in any hurry. She shook her head and thanked us profusely, more profusely than I would have thought was called for, but I just didn’t know then how her weekend had been going.

We lingered over our drinks and ordered appetizers and then finally dinner. I was thinking that I would order an Indian rice pudding (love that cardamon!) and an extra order of garlic naan to go with our leftovers (love that garlic!). To our surprise, before we could order it, the “Runner”, a sweet high cheek-boned girl, brought us a slice of delicious white lemony layered cake and gestured to the pretty blonde girl at the bar who had seated us, taken our order, and served our drinks, and said, “This is from us. You are the only people who have said ‘thanks’ to us this entire weekend.”

Obviously your first thought is: OMG, thank you very much.

Your second is (forgive any ugly language) who in the hell has been coming in here and not thanking you as just a matter of course? (This is extremely sad!) Who are these people who don’t think to thank their waitstaff? Do you really just ignore the person who fills your water glass? Takes away your dishes?

I know I have gotten cynical. I’m afraid that my daily commute is lessening my heart as a human being. I worked in retail (while in college) and experienced the cascade of insults and meanness that was possible, as well as the kindness. So, when going out to eat. I am as kind as I can be.

In the past three months dining, my companions and I have had our hands shook in acknowledgement, told we have been their best customers, their kindest customers, their nicest, etc. This is nice but— what? Aren’t we average?!!!!!  This evening, just shook me a bit.

Who are the people who are treating their waitstaff so badly? I could never imagine that my companions and I are anything extraordinary but evidence tells me otherwise.

In this Land of the Free, who exactly have we become? I once heard it said that you could tell a lot about your date from the way that they treated their waiter/waitress. If my current information is anything to go on, run!