Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Thirteen Jan 14

I have had such a hard time coming up with Thursday Thirteens the last couple weeks! For some reason the first part of the week has just been all about rush rush rush. So while my body is tired, the real problem is that I am mentally exhausted.

So here are thirteen things I do to rest and reenergize my mind.

1. If it's night time, I go to bed. Sometimes it's hard to stop the momentum, but a little extra sleep never hurt.

2. Take another look at the schedule. Do I really need to be to work at 8am, or can I take an extra 30 minutes and pet the cat?

3. Stop hitting the snooze button and get up on time. Skimping on time to get ready and getting a few extra winks sounds like a good idea, but for me if I start the day rushing around, I'll just keep doing it.

4. Get dressed up. Not schmancy date dressed up, necessarily, but the full daily routine. Again, it takes time, so there's no rushing through it. Second of all, if you do rush, it tends to show. Knowing I look barely presentable never makes me feel good. But the little buzz when someone compliments hair or clothes because I took time with them is a definite boost.

5. Find the right music. It would seem like you would want something super peppy and energetic, but for me that is not the case. The point is to stimulate the brain and wake it up, not really to exercise it. I have cd's like The Art of Concentration from Lifescapes, Zen Grooves from Avalon, and Hemispheres from Sharper Image that are upbeat enough to give me energy without being intrusive or edgy.

6. Watch TV on DVD. The episodes are short enough that it's easier to just stop and go to bed when you're ready, rather than feeling like you need to finish a whole movie. And there's no commercials blasting at you, wearing out your eyes and brain.

7. Go to Jamba Juice instead of Starbucks. Caffeine is a good thing, but Jamba Juice can do more to give my whole body energy, and not just my brain.

8. Reread a favorite book. I know, we hardly find time to fit in all the new stuff we want to read, but for me, although reading itself is always a pleasure, reading new books can be stimulating rather than relaxing for my mind.

9. Make plans with a friend. Me, I call my mom and see if she's free for dinner. Having plans after work is the best way I know to make myself leave on time. I should be smart enough to do it on my own, but sometimes I have to give myself a little help.

10. Make a to-do list. Having a visible representation of what you need to get done, and then being able to check it off can really give you a boost.

11. Smile at someone and ask how they're doing. No matter how busy you are you really do have five minutes to make someone else feel good, and the personal contact makes you feel good, too. Not to mention it slows you down just a little.

12. Go for a fifteen minute walk. Just another way to STOP for a few minutes. A walk gets your adrenaline flowing, which makes your body feel better, and your mind can relax.

13. Breathe. Just take a deep breath. It helps!

Have a very happy Thursday, everyone!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Flash Fiction, Friday Jan 8

My Critic has this thing about me writing poetry, or rather the Critic is quick to remind me that I am not great at poetry and thinks I should avoid it at all costs. I'm not entirely convinced the Critic is wrong, but I've decided to continue the practice of forcing myself to post my poems somewhere whenever I happen across them.

So, for Flash Fiction Friday, here is a poem from senior year of high school:


Nature's call is a siren's song.
Trees croon lullabyes with creaking limbs.
Grass whispers secrets to the wind, and
the brook's cheerful chatter tells us to hurry
as we fly to nature's retreat.

But we look back.

Jangling phones, shreiking printers,
cranky customers, bosses with razor tongues,
children clamoring for attention,
clanging construction, blaring alarms,
headaches screaming for Excedrin -
These are the tools society uses to
restrain our retreat.

Mother Nature greets you in her backyard,
a barefoot version of Cinderella's fairy godmother
with twigs in her hair and grass stains on her feet.
Her smile shines like the sun in her domain, and
her bower offers respite from the world looming large
behind us. The cheerful brook lip-laps away the headache,
the grass massages stressed muscles, and
the trees rock us into peaceful repose.

Then we go back.


I suppose poetry is like anything else - you have to practice to get better. Still, I persist in seeing poetry as something you are born with, not something you learn. I can't imagine ever really getting comfortable with it, but picking at the scab of it every so often seems to be good for me.

I was also reminded of a poem that I'd almost forgotten, but that still gets right inside me. It's Love Song: I and Thou by Alan Dugan, and I have always connected with it. You can read it here.

On another topic, I pulled out some of my very first stories the other day in a fit of nostalgia. I have to apologize to some of my poor characters, because I had completely forgotten about them. I remembered a few as works in progress, but I did have a couple that were completely finished. Very much a sixteen-year-old-girl kind of thing, but not altogether the horror I remembered. I also found a hard copy of one of two fanfiction stories that I'd lost. It's like having an extra warm fuzzy blanket to know that story's in the world somewhere again.