Two Cultures, Both Alike, in Dignity…

36th Trial: Taking a true inventory of my memories, as that is what my writing has become nowadays, a library of what I know in a land of completely new stimulation.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 3 hours, mainly while on the beach or at a quaint, adorable coffee shop.

Weekly Choice of “Tea”: Coffee! I will rue the day I drank coffee in Thailand

Biggest Success: Beginning to read The Alchemist

Being displaced from the scenes that have been the background to my story makes my writing now a process of filing through memories. I cannot see the busy town my character walks through, from my usual seat at Smelly Cat Coffee. So many exotic plants, fruits, and people surround me now, and it is as hard now not to mix oil with acrylic. Two cultures separate me, and while I look upon the beautiful tropics of Thailand, I am forced to look back to American culture as I continue writing. It makes me miss home, honestly, and I have to try very hard not to put a coconut tree in the front yard of my character’s home.

Southeast Asia, from what I know of Cambodia and Thailand, has taught me a great deal so far. The Alchemist has described this learning flawlessly, calling this transmission of knowledge a “universal language”. I do not speak the languages here, and yet the common tread of tourist establishes an understanding, and I have yet to feel out of place. Through their beliefs and way of life through Buddism, a universal intellect is in the form of enlightenment. I do not sit in this paradise and pick nervously at my fingers trying to figure out what comes next, how will I finish my novel, or will I find an office to work in upon my return. There are signs, omens if you will, that have brought me here, and will bring me home. It is my choices on a daily basis that will acquire everything I need in life. It is my actions that will complete this novel, that will open the doors to my very own chiropractic office one day. It is a power in us all, which is so thrilling and enticing. Stop waiting. Stop waiting for things to be the right moment an utilize your time so that you are working towards that dream. My novel is a dream, and as many who know me, I have far too many dreams to keep track of. But today I worked towards a purpose, and tomorrow as I climb the waterfalls of Koh Samui, I will work towards that same purpose.

 

 

A Room of Her Own

26th Trial: One must escape to create–I pull from Virginia Woolf’s quote a useful writing tip.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 4 Hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Sweet Macha

Biggest Success: Embracing the life of Carol K. (Grandma Perin)

 

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” -Woolf

I am not unappreciative of where Jamie and I live now, though the windows are painted shut and spots of possible mold intersperse the ceiling like a lethal starry night. The age of the Havisham-house is thick in the air, and Jamie and I share space with each other, our lovely dog, and a roommate of spectacular artist talent!  This is his home, and his space to work on his art. Where, among the dust and walls with ten-layers of paint, could my own personal creativity flourish? I attempt the impossible. I bite the bullet and sit down at the small desk in the corner of our small room, and write. I look at it with disgust typically, and my pen is useless within a half and hour. The attitude of my surroundings is not conducive! I have tried! Yet, tried in vain.

For me to have a successful time writing, I must scoop out $5 and go to a coffee shop in town. “Smelly Cat” is a room of my own, a space where I can focus and feel the juices flowing. I have found that not only a coffee shop makes a writer of me, as this week I house sat at a luxurious, clean, newly modeled home. I spent the majority of the evenings by the fireplace with Christmas music filling the background. I wrote an hour a night, gladly and progressively. What a relief! How simple the concept has become:   fill a space with the objective to calm you, soothe and caress your imagination, and give your mind the ability to think not on toxic fumes that leak from the walls, but instead on its limitless ability to create. The absolute cure for writer’s block as well! I constantly had Boo Radley’s toys or nose in my space where I read and wrote, and I found that there was plenty of room for her as well.

Boo and VilletteBoo Radley

I would like to end this post not with my acknowledgement of Woolf’s yet-again impeccable ability to hit the nail on the head, but with a tribute to a wonderful woman. Jamie described her grandmother as stubborn and unbending, and as Jamie laughed when she described such qualities, one comes to embrace them. Grandma Perin was a rock in Jamie’s heart, a kind and hilarious woman, who followed the Cleveland Cavaliers with the enthusiasm of a professional scout (of whom I believe she was in a past life). Her kids, her sports, and her home seemed to be her life. Today she passed peacefully, and Jamie and I are happy to think of where she could be now, of what adventures await her. Sending out love and hope to Grandma Perin!

Dumbledore: “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Peter Pan: “..to die would be an awfully big adventure.”

A Story by Any Other Name

5th Trial: Describing what I am writing about to others, which is so easily explained by my own inability to see far into how on earth I am going to get my character’s from here to the end of the novel.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2 hours– a low point! The sacrifice was well worth it, spending it at Perin Plantation, a home back in country side Ohio

Weekly choice of Tea: Iced peach tea

Greatest Success: Sharing the weekend with the wonderful grandmother Perin and holding a beautiful baby named Amelia

I have been writing at a local coffee-house called Smelly Cat this past week. It has adorable small red tables with tin flower pots, where the bright yellow flowers bring a feeling of quiet meditation with them. Which is important, because the streets surrounding Smelly Cat bring many characters with it. Just Friday I had a man screaming across the street “Bless you!” to anyone that sneezed within his ear shot, as he sat by his possessions in plastic bags, wearing a thick red sweater with ornaments dangling from it. I, of course, was sitting next to the person that had an allergy to something, and was in the middle of that strange dialogue between them. It was at this place too that I had two separate people ask me very similar questions:

“I see that you are writing, what are you working on? Oh, a story? Of what?”

“I heard you say you were writing a story. What will it be about?”

I of course avoided both questions, shrugging my shoulders, mumbling that it is something we all have yet to find out. I find it humorous that I give myself no credit as to the direction of the novel, one because it is true. However, I am realizing that stories seem to take its own direction, whether you intended it or not. For instance, at the start of chapter two I had the brother character being present and moving the scene alone, initially not intending him to come out until later on. I find that I like his placement there, and wonder if this is an effective approach to writing a novel: give it little restraint, and it will unfold just as beautifully, though differently. Didn’t Shakespeare teach us that? That a rose is still a rose, given a different name? My story will not lose its overall meaning, its ability to create that which I want it too, if I allow it to change an intended course. I have had a title in mind for a while, and yet that may change too. And so for anyone who wants to know such similar questions as asked above, just know that my story will be what it will be, and will smell just as sweet!

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” -Shakespeare