Wednesday, July 06, 2011

And I'm off...

We're off to Arkansas tomorrow.  What's in Arkansas, you ask?  Well, if you're uptight and snobby and sophisticated, you'll think nothing but sticks and hicks and ticks.  If you're open to it, though, open to the uniqueness that every new place offers, well, then there's a whole new world.

I am reading a new book right now on contemplative photography.  It's not so much about photography as it is about viewing the world with an open mind and fresh eyes.  And recognizing the beauty in darn near everything.  And there's a lot out there to recognize.  It's how I tend to view the world anyway, when not weighted down by the tasks of daily life.  It's just nice to have a label for it.

It's kind of like being a kid again where anything new is exciting and you don't have the adult filters of expectations (self-imposed and otherwise).

We are going to The Castle in the Clouds.  Or that's what it's called by the promoters.  It sounds lovely and rather romantic.  Arkansas, romanticized.  Well, now there's a notion.

Really, what is is, though, is not so much about the destination but the journey.  It's about spending time together, just the three of us, experiencing new things.  It's about seeing someplace new.  It's about breaking up the routine of work/school/housework/bills.

There are three things I would like to accomplish for myself this weekend.  Three things beyond the family stuff.  I want to read, write, and photograph.  Not necessarily in that order.

I haven't been writing much for myself lately, and I miss it.  I need to get back to it, if only to document my child's childhood.  (She has learned to swim.  Doggy paddle, granted, but it's enough to get her out of the pool should she fall in.  Swim lessons where we concentrate on freestyle and breast stroke be's about basic survival.  Now that's she's mastered that, we're stopping the lessons and giving all of us a break for awhile.)  I need to express myself in ways beyond my iPhone Instagram snaps, although that has been great fun.

I have been thinking a lot lately about my favorite writers.  There are the Greats, the ones everyone lists. Shakespeare, Hemingway, Salinger.  Then there are the guilty pleasures (I've been known to snap up the latest Tom Clancy the day it hits the shelves) and the popular (hello, JK Rowling).  But there are also my personal favorites, the writers that hit me in the solar plexus almost on a daily basis.  These include, in no particular order, Kate Inglis, Jen Lemen, Marty Winkler, and the national sales manager of my company whose e-mails manage to draw the line while being intensely motivational (and grammatically correct - yay!  And sad that proper grammar alone is something worthy of cheering.)

I love good writing.  Love it.  I don't just enjoy it.  I lap it up like it's the last ice cream in hell and I roll around in it and revel in it and celebrate it.  I was going to say that I wish I could make a living as a writer, but in essence, I do.  My job is centered mostly on writing and editing.  Does it matter that it's for a corporation?  Does it matter that my for-pay writing is determined by someone else?  By a whole industry?  Are corporate writers any less than those artistic souls who slug away to bang out fiction that sucks you in and makes you weep or laugh out loud or, best of all, actually think?

I struggle with all these notions of who I am and who I want to be and who I think I should be.

Well, now, that's a good thing to think about on an 8-hour ride to Arkansas.

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