A Top Hat-less Hillside

46th Trial: Liking what you have written. That comes in phases!

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot:  6hr over the past two weeks

Weekly Choice of Tea: London Fog Tea Latte

Biggest Success: I have finished Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaids Tale” and began Dicken’s “Bleak House”!

 

Isn’t it funny, how life just relentlessly goes forward? Even after the events that we feel will end us, or will hold us back from where we should be or ought to be? Timelines, examinations, milestones, detachments, and displacements are things that most humans experience–some more than others. It wraps us in its momentum or makes us feel stuck in a bucket of concrete, and we will believe that Life begins afterwards.

These past two weeks have been wonderful. My brother, whose heart is rapidly mending from his past, came to visit. We indulged in the present bliss of the “nowness of life” while we swung off the side of San Francisco cable cars, confident that the passing rain and fog over the city would not prevent us from moving forward. Worries, stresses, and heartbreak do cloud so much of what we see and what we experience;  but we realized that San Francisco was still there. And Madame City was just beautiful.

After he left Jamie and I explored a bit outside the city, and I came to a realization myself. We were walking through Briones National Park, when I became engrossed in its wide open fields, rolling hills, and grazing cattle. The green grass has returned with the wet season of Northern California, and the dead tall blades of spanish grass lay limp, replaced, and only in scattered patches. It was a sight that astonished me:  had I found in America what I dream about in England? The wide open fields, people on horseback (though without top hats and tail coats), and hillsides that give those inspirational views?

I cannot tell you how often I think, I will finish my novel in the Lake District. My dream and destiny is tied to me being in the place that has always inspired me the most. While nothing in my opinion compares to the Lake District in England, I am comforted in the reality that life will not wait for me to be there. In the meantime, I must run along beside it, finding as many open fields and hillsides along the way. And one day I will be in that smokey cottage beside the stone walls and grazing sheep, but my life will not be on hold for that.

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The Effect of a Pause

25th Trial: CHANGE. I have decided on a change, personally and professionally! So much different weights are now placed on my shoulders. What is next? Where will I go? Will it all Succeed? Will I put aside my literary passions in a desperate pursuit of other future goals or will it be these passions in the end, that I have left to live on?

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2.5 Hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Sweet Tea. Tapping into the roots that I have developed here in the South

Biggest Success: Last weekend I spent a ridiculous amount of time watching Glee and The 100 episodes. I got so fed up with my addiction, that I have taken a 4 day break from them both.

A speaker came to Jamie’s work to discuss public speaking and self-presentation. Jamie then came home so animated from it, knowing well that I could benefit from the same information. As it happens, I come from a wonderful family-line that is popular for filling any silent space. A pause in conversation can only be wanting. And yet, is not a pause the most powerful thing in observation? In understanding? In absorption, healing, and dramatic effect? As a doctor, do I pause to make sure patients understand what I say, or understand myself what was just asked? Not only do I bring consideration of a pause to my professional life, but also in my methods of being a writer. How can you write of silence, inactivity, and the static background between sentences? I challenge myself today so create a pause in the next few pages.

But let me take this one step farther.  I do not pause enough to consider what will happen after the current chapter that I am on.  When I started writing I realized that I am going to take this chapter by chapter, however I can’t do that for the entirety of the novel. How choppy it could then turn out, and how easily I could lose the breath of certain morals that should flow throughout it. When I sit down to write, I must preserve an hour at least a week to consider the future of the storyline (I know, a simple concept that has sneakily evaded me until now).

Taking such a pause from the current chapter will satisfy novel planning, something I desperately need to work on. However, this does not mean to fill the writing hours with pauses filled with episode-watching on Netflix. I love watching episodes—a little too much! Lately it has been Glee that captivates me. No, I never watched it while it played on cable TV, and the fun high-school drama and breath-taking vocals give me a world to escape to. I have also been watching The 100, which is much different from the carefree world of Glee. It is a show that has recently proven to break my heart with abominable characters that do not act as I have trusted them to. I even went to bed crying after watching an episode, swearing never to watch it again! This series has recently taught me a valuable lesson:  do not escape the world you are in, nor are creating. Some storylines fail you. They cannot be trusted! I only want to be in the world before my eyes, and the world I intend to create. That, I can control.

I am reminded by Austen’s quote, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery”. Alas! WWAD (What Would Austen Do). Some pictures from my Inner Eye, developed during my Austen-days in the Lake District!

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A Philospher’s Stone

21th Trial: Following brain, heart, and environmental responsibilities all at once! I am lucky enough to be able to, even when they collide.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Orange and Ginger from Scott and Lori’s home!

Biggest Success: Finishing Chapter Four!

This weekend was particularly exciting, and I was happy to find it filled with the essence of that something-more-British I gravitate to. I was in Atlanta to see “old” friends from chiropractic school, and could not say anything but that I am beside myself proud of them and what they’ve accomplished. The weekend was filled with visiting my old favorite haunts and reconnecting with a city that has left bitterness in my mouth ever since I sat in four hours of unmoving traffic. I could write twenty more paragraphs on the merits and qualities of the excellent people I spent the weekend with, but that would take me from the topic I wish to discuss.

And what that topic is, you may wonder at, is something I am surprised I have not focused on before. What else is there to say? I am proud then to express my absolute obsession and adoration of a book series that naturally has contributed to my literary development, a stone in my philosophy! That is of course, Harry Potter!

Two friends of mine from school were with me this weekend, Shaun and Jenna. They are the great friends that I found myself many nights playing scrabble and eating fondue with. Anyways, they told me just days ago, that they just now started reading the Harry Potter books, and that the movies do not actually do them justice! I was told this at Der Bier Garten, and immediately dedicated our first sip not to seeing old friends, but to the growth of their knowledge! The expansion of their imagination! The light that shall always follow such literature! How exciting, how amazing!

I will not continue to divulge the extent of my love for those books, that I have spent summers reading them repeatedly 14 times, or that I have a weird shrine in my house (that will just always be there. There is just no going back). However, I would like to share with you all the fun collection that I began a little while ago. Pictured above are Harry Potter novels that I’ve acquired in different languages and/or from different countries. Anywhere I travel, I pick one of these guys up. Currently I have editions, mainly of the first book, from England, Scotland, Italy, Sweden, and Austria!

I have finished my chapter four, and this week I will dedicate my time to typing it up. Thanks Jenna and Shaun, for stirring the love for literature this weekend–just as naturally as you spooned the cheese fondue a year ago!

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At Harry Potter World!

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Missed this man this weekend! Benard, who has shared my love for HP!

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Dancing with the Daffodils

8th Trial: Converting Vacation Mind back to Work Mind

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 0 – but if you please, I had just reason not too! I was too busy with the surrounding nature of England and Austria

Weekly Choice of Tea: English Breakfast Tea, of course!

Biggest Success: Finding Daffodils

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Will this be my last Wordsworth reference? Most likely not, however I am so surprised that my love for his Daffodil poem was apparently the one he is most loved for. An interesting fact I learned while in his home at Rydal Mount. Yes it is true, I have journeyed to the place of worship itself, to the Mecca of literature’s admirers! In the heart of the Lake District I walked the gravel and grassy carpeted lanes where Dorothy and William tread; I saw the squirrels that were ancestors to the creatures that inspired Beatrix’s vivid imagination; I drank at the pub that Charles Dickens frequented; I traveled further south to London and visited the home where Keats lived. All in all I was surrounded by the beauty that was so well documented by the talented observers, and that gave inspiration to their arts. DSC_0738   DSC_0418 While my time at Wordsworth’s home was short, I felt the refreshing pulse of the Lake District. In other words, the gardens and cottage is what makes the area thrive in my memory and in my heart. Everywhere I looked there were fields of sheep; the gardens were kept and in bloom; the cottages with the perfect bowed windows had ivy covered front archways. Wordsworth’s study was outdoors, as was Beatrix Potter’s. Her animation with the Lake District was through the stories of tiny creatures that had the most innocent and exciting adventures: to forbidden gardens; a washer porcupine of our imaginations; wicked wretched bunnies in high passion. Both authors fell in love with the Lakes because the quiet calm that fills the air will flow through any artery and vein, bringing life to every limb. DSC_0743  DSC_0482   DSC_0732   DSC_0705  

Simply, I intend to go back. This time with pencil in hand and no activities on book. Maybe when I finish my novel and need to revise it (badly), can I then take a hiatus to the wide countryside of rolling fells and deep, sincere vales. I was in Austria prior to the Lake District, where the Alps gave small glances into towns tucked dearly between each ascent. Austria truly surprised me with its unimaginable heights and classic styled homes. “The hills are alive, with the sound of music” is not just a tune of metaphorical reminiscence, as I always thought the song to be about. Sitting on any hillside I could hear the bells that adorned the surrounding cows that grazed fields around me. It was music, so peaceful and tranquil that I could stay on that hillside for years and never grow weary of its tune. Photos from Austria: DSC_0003   DSC_0015  DSC_1202

Everywhere I journeyed, I could feel the land. It healed me, and I believe it healed Jamie as well. It is ironic that the places we traveled brought so much peace and restfulness to my heart, brought with it an event that caused so much fear and anxiety. When Jamie fell off a cliff ledge in Austria (as most of you know by now), my soul could not rest with the image of her disappearing from sight, and me powerless to stop it. England then tried to calm us with promises of sunshine and scones with jam and cream, with sparkling lakes beside beds of reeds. But I could not be calm. She rests beside me now, as I sit in our apartment in America, and I am confident that an event like that anywhere else would have left me a nervous wreck still—yet it was only the beauty of the lands we left that healed our hearts and minds, and it was only there that I could have recovered from the shock so quickly. Jamie as well, as she is ready to go back even now! However I know that where we need to be now is here; I know this because I drove home from work yesterday, and noticed for the first time, that daffodils lined the highway exit to my home. In a way I see my world differently, though it probably has always been like this. I will write, I will love this precious survivor, and I will work hard to be able to find myself again in the fields so that I too may become devoured by its effects.

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An obsession come to life: the Lake District, UK

7th Trial:  Maintaining descriptive tenses in the flow of events, so as to not seem choppy between thoughts/actions

Weekly hours spent writing or in pursuit of plot: 9 hours

Weekly choice of tea: Pineapple (that bloomed in my tea pot, see picture below!)

Greatest Success: Finished CHAPTER TWO!

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It is roughly that I say I finished chapter two. Yes, I placed the period mark at the end of the final sentence, however I realize there are places where more description is needed. When writing a scene, I don’t seem to write as fast as the scenes flash in my mind, and nearly never does my mind stop in time to document all that I want it to, but just moves on to the next event. So much is then lost, and no one could envision what I am seeing, and therefore what I am meaning to illustrate. Could any story live, where description is set aside? Can you not feel pain for the character, if you do not see the creases of his forehead, the sweat on his brow and above his lip, and the distant expression in his eyes? Or feel the relaxation of a person who wakes in the early morning, feeling the dew between her toes, the chill of morning air pulling the strands of hair across her face, as she watches the dim light brighten the greens of the trees? And yet it is easily passed, or in some circumstances not my own, depended on severely.

This chapter came by rather quickly, and I know that when I type it up I shall have to add quite a large amount of description to its fast pace. It is one thing I wish that there is more of in the novel I am reading, Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte:  this emphasis on description. She passes over scenes with summaries at an alarming rate! And so I sense the inevitable feeling growing deep in my heart, a certain need that brings forth the flowing muses of my writing. I need something more British (could anyone guess otherwise?), to fills the holes in chapter two—and now could not be a better time for such a need! Come Wednesday, I am flying to London, England, where I will be in Austria from there for 3 days. After that I go back to London and drive up to the Lake District–a place that I have wanted to go since I read Elizabeth Bennet traveling to the Lake District with her Aunt and Uncle.

My wonderful friend is getting married there, and amongst the adventures planned, there will be horseback riding through the open fields, where I will likely hold tight to the reigns and close my eyes, imagining Darcy riding through gorgeous landscapes. Yes! My obsession is obvious, and I cannot pass down a once in a lifetime chance to be influenced by Austen’s senses. Not only hers, but also those of William Wordsworth and his sister’s, Dorothy Wordsworth. I will traverse the gardens of Rydal Mount where he wrote about so dearly, and sense the happiness inspired when looking upon the hillsides, the waters, and the vales. I will see their home at Dove cottage, drink at pubs in Ambleside, and visit the farm of Beatrix Potter. I cannot wait to report back, and give you a month’s worth of material inspired by such an adventure!