Rorschach Test

There was a time in my life when the summer was long and September seemed a distant forever away. When my life wasn’t scheduled to hell and back and I didn’t live attached to my phone.

There was a time when I lay on the ground and saw images in the clouds. You know the game, That cloud looks like…

I wonder if the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, the guy who created the Rorschach Test, got the idea from watching clouds as a child.

For some reason, this past week’s madness of shootings, hate rallies, and terrorist attacks has me thinking that the world around us, that life itself is a Rorschach test.

clouds

What do you see and what does that say about you?

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All for One, and One for All

Sitting here in Canada, bombarded daily with news from our neighbours to the south, it’s easy to forget that there is a world outside of Trump’s tweets. But on the other side of the globe, our Commonwealth cousins in Australia are dealing with their own ranting and raving politicians.

The issue is same-sex marriage, and apparently, it’s such a sticky wicket the Australian parliament decided to hand it over to the people, asking for a vote on the issue. All well and good, right? Democracy at it’s best — not so fast.

The plebiscite will be non-binding, meaning parliament doesn’t have to abide by the results of the vote. A lot of Australians, both within and without the LGBT community see this non-binding vote as a waste of time and money.

After a whole ten minutes of research, (three articles on Google and one YouTube video), I don’t have the answer for the intricacies of Australian politics and the best way to get to a YES vote, but … I do have a question.

Why is this still such a big f**king deal? It’s 2017 people, not 1817.

Is it so hard to wrap our minds around concepts like equality and fair play?

Perhaps we, each one of us, should make the Three Musketeers’ motto our own:

All for One, and One for All

equality

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Brain Dead

I’m not good with games. As a kid, I could handle the tough stuff like Go Fish and Crazy Eights. Eventually, I graduated to Checkers and Monopoly.  In University, my brother tried to teach me Chess, please — way too many rules. Trivial Pursuit? If you need a Cole Porter lyric, I’m your man. Poker? I can’t bluff and I can’t be bothered to worry about who’s holding what. Apparently, I lack the killer instinct.

And then, there’s the whole world of computer and phone games. Remember Farmville? I was hooked there for a while, till I ran out of friends. I quit Candy Crush around level 79. I got a little cocky with Jewel Quest and thought I could handle a hidden object game called, Dying For Daylight. I was wrong. Poor Dahlia the Vampire, she’s still looking for that potion on an old laptop that’s been banished to the spare room.

These days I play it safe with Solitaire and Cut the Buttons. Last week, I was forced to acknowledge my abysmal game playing skills …

While trying to entertain a four year old, I installed Astraware’s Alien Pop!
The blurb read: The aliens are coming! Tap to pop them. Designed to develop manual dexterity in young children. Lots of sound and visual effects, no win or lose. Enough variety to keep little ones interested and entertained.

Perfect, right?

The four year old played the game for maybe five minutes and then decided he’d prefer to watch Rescue Bots — but the game was sitting on my screen and I spent a whole dollar and a half on it.

Yep, you got it. I’m now playing a game for the preschool group. I can’t tell you how proud I am 🙂

brain dead (3)

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

Back in the day, Bobby McFerrin sang, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.  

These days, pop-culture spouts the phrase, Be Present.

More than two thousand years ago, the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu expressed much the same idea in these words:  “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

Similar philosophies, but notice the tone. The first one is all sunshine and beach days, the second seems a tad dictatorial to me, and the third is a helping hand offered over a cup of tea.

It’s a beautiful day today and I’m on vacation so I’ve got to go with McFerrin on this one 🙂

 

download

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A Love/Hate Thing

I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker 

I came across the above quote in a post by Whitney Carter and thought, Yes. Exactly!

Writing is torture. It’s staring at a blank screen and a keyboard full of letters until your brain melts and you head into the kitchen for sugar and caffeine. It’s squeezing those little grey cells until a word pops out … and then another and another. It’s checking your word count and wanting to cry.  It’s masochistic.

That’s writing, the process is excruciating, but … the product?

Yes, it can be total crap, but it’s your total crap. You did this. You wrestled the words into a thought. You agonized over character, plot, voice, point of view, and freaking punctuation.  You hit Google so many times your mouse needs a new battery, but you did it. You’re DiCaprio on the Titanic, arms spread shouting, “I Am The King of The World.”

Writers are schizophrenic. It’s a love/hate thing 🙂

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Be You

 

Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

 

If our fingerprints are to be believed we are, each one of us, unique. It is imprinted on our DNA, our birthright as human beings. Our singularity is something to be cherished and yet, so many of us waste our time trying to blend in with the herd.

Like the world around us, we are none of us static. Each of us is a collection of idiosyncrasies. A collection that time and experience mold and shape so that who we are is more a variable than a constant. Given the fluidity of our psyches, it makes no sense to lock ourselves into the straight jacket of conformity.

It’s hard enough to figure out who we are, never mind pretending to be someone else.

We should embrace our individuality, cultivate it, play with it. Take our weirdness out for a stroll and make life interesting for both ourselves and the people around us.

Why fit in when you can stand out?

 

stand out

 

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Real – ish

I’m a spectacular wimp when it comes to roller coaster rides. Not for me, hurtling down mountains of steel track, defying gravity and sanity. Nope, can’t do it. I’ll take my terror in a virtual format, please.

This past week, I climbed aboard my very own banshee and flew. 

small fly 1

Pandora spread out below me, friends flying beside me. A breath-stealing experience.

Was it real? No.

Does virtual reality count? Uh … did you hear the part about flying?

Every animal on the planet can do real: perceive the world around them as it actually is. As far as we know, only humans can do real-ish: perceive the world around them as it actually isn’t.

Real-ish — it’s the basis of everything we are. Everything we’ve become since that long ago kid in a cave picked up a stick and drew in the dirt.

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Attitude

I’m not a fan of inspirational quotes. Way too rah, rah, cheerleader for me.

Truth be told, I find most of these tiny slices of wisdom annoying.

I read quotes like the ones below and think:

limit

“So … this is my fault?”

can do

“Right, like it’s that easy.”

choose

“You’ve heard of depression, right?”

I’m skeptical as to whether these facile bromides help anyone, but the Can Do This attitude they tout … to borrow from Martha Stewart, “It’s a good thing.”

As a writer, before you ever open a Word document some part of you has to believe I can do this. In my case, it was more like a maybe I can do this … baby steps 🙂

If  you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t.

Attitude is everything.

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Blog to the Rescue

I’m slow. Depressingly slow. Not when I’m sprinting for the nearest caramel latte, but as a writer — hair grows faster than I write.

Needless to say, I don’t plan anything out. Yeah, I know 🙂

Because I write about as fast as paint dries, my enthusiasm inevitably crashes and sitting down at my laptop becomes the last thing I want to do. I fall into the My Writing Sucks Blues and it’s not a pretty song.

It seems counterintuitive, but I’ve discovered that writing this blog makes me happier with and more excited about my WIP. It turns out, the more I write, the more I write 🙂

I’d been neglecting my blog for months because I thought I should be disciplined and mature and concentrate on my book. It seemed to me that any time taken for my blog was time taken away from my book.

But writing isn’t math, it’s not a plus or minus kind of thing. It’s more like biology, cells multiplying in a petri dish when you’re not looking.  The thought and energy I put into my blog generates more thought and energy for my WIP. Who knew?

Uh … everyone. What seemed like a revelation to me is actually a fairly common trick writers pass among themselves — when you’re stuck, write something else.

I may even have heard this advice before, but stubborn ass that I am, I had to discover the truth for myself 🙂

Blog Hero

I’d like to thank everyone who reads my posts. Your views, likes, and comments are the life preserver the little guy above throws to save me from the My Writing Sucks Blues 🙂

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A Better World

Here in Toronto, we’re smack in the middle of Pride month. As Rodgers and Hammerstein put it eons ago, June Is Bustin’ Out All Over … with rainbow flags and tourists. The annual Pride Parade, this year in its 37th year, has become the official start to our short-lived summer.

In my local suburban mall, Purdys Chocolatier, a Canadian confectionery retail chain, flies the flag with a display of chocolates wrapped in rainbow ribbons and a sign that reads, “Love is the Answer.”  Granted, Purdys is looking to push their product, but the display made me smile anyway … and made me think …

I’m old enough to remember a time before Pride, before words like transgender and homophobia became commonplace. I grew up in a era when the world was presented to the younger generation as a monolith of heterosexuality.

There were no cute books with titles like Sally Has Two Moms. Lexus didn’t run television commercials that featured a man hugging his male partner on his way out the door in the morning. Actually, now that I think about it, Lexus didn’t exist back then and the family car was a station wagon not an SUV.

The complacent fabrication I had unconsciously absorbed, the myth of a solely Adam and Eve world, was obliterated — because of a book. A pink paperback I plucked off a rack in a convenience store.

E. M. Forster’s Maurice broke the world I knew and built a better one. A more interesting, more diverse world. Turns out, I didn’t have to go into outer space with the crew from the star ship Enterprise. There was infinite diversity in infinite combinations to be found right here in my own backyard.

Happy Pride 🙂

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