On a coffee break today, I reviewed my list of blog followers. I wondered when you each started following me and why. And I really want want to know who you are and how we connect.
I scrolled down the list and began exploring profiles behind the gravatars. Many of my followers are also writers and photographers. Alieen Hunt’s “about” page shows me a writer actively practicing the art. She lists her literary submissions and publications. She also has links on her “about” page, one for Tumblr. I know practically nothing about Tumblr so I clicked her link and found such a wonderful new experience, I want to share it with you.
The photos hooked me right away. Below them I became engaged with her list of 12 Essential Essays for Writers. I recognize the authors Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Elizabeth Gilbert, and many more. I can’t wait to read these essays and apply their wisdom to my own writing.
Today, I want to share Aileen’s “about” page and her Tumblr page with you. If you are a writer I think you, too, will be interested in the essays for writers. It will take more than a coffee break for me to read all the essays. I doubt I can understand how to create my Tumblr account over a cup of java, but it looks like it will be worth a try.
Here are links to Alieen Hunt’s “about” page on her blog, and to the 12 Essential Essays for Writers on her Tumblr account.
I traveled to Port Angeles, Washington, USA, in mid October after living away for a year. I lived at the sea port for many years, with a home in Idaho, too. Here are selected photos from my autumn trip across the Pacific Northwest. You can see more in my post about a little almost-ghost town where we stopped for lunch on our trip home. “Washtucna, No Town for Old Dogs” https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/washtucna/
LaWrynn picked herself up and stumbled to hold her balance against the gusts. “Crap!” she thought. “If I had claws I could grip onto . . .” Thunk! Something slammed into her. She wobbled but this time she recovered more quickly. She reclaimed her space only a little further down the corridor.
“Not on the ground. Definitely not on the ground”, she muttered, sensing that there was no up or down in this blasting wind. She hovered for a moment, the best she could, and then stretched for the edge, any edge out of the way of oncoming forces. Incomplete forms whirled in circles, those unsettled souls so ungrounded they constantly twirl about as spirits, like they did in their lives. She needed to hang back and take stock of her situation.
She had been pushed before onto paths she wished she hadn’t taken, though she was glad for many of those wayward trails. This push felt more like a pull growing ever stronger, pulling faster and faster like a current in a rip tide. LaWrynn felt she was being sucked into a vortex she could not resist.
“If I can dodge thingamabobs that come hurling through this ruckus and keep myself steady, I’ll like to see where I can go”. She considered a new adventure. She felt the mightiest draw to jump back in and let the speed and danger dash her to the other world. She hoped this time for a chance to live in that tangible place again. She had peered at it many times before through thin veils between her spirit world and the world of mortality. But she doubted she would touch it once more. She felt she could not inhabit that world one more time. It was like looking through a window and not being able to join what she saw. And not certain she wanted to go there.
How long had she dwelled in the world of souls and spirits and sprites, of angels and demons, and things that were things and yet had no identity? An instant? An eternity? Time had no meaning, and all those things, including LaWrynn, had no form. It was what she knew and felt she understood.
She let go her grip. Now she tossed and thumped in a current she could not control. Thingamajigs heaved through space; things with shapes and substance.
Her world had no real forms. Material things simply were not present and not needed. Macaroni, socks, tea cups, bicycles, hammers – what need? No obstacles to being, just being, that was her reality. Her world was without surfaces and shapes and forms and weight; without bodies; without hunger, hurt, and hindrances.
Smack! “Ow!” The sensation of pain! Whack! She grabbed onto the spinning water can that had smacked her, lifted herself up its slippery round side, and clung to its handle loop. It was spilling water, real water, not the idea of water, the real stuff. She had seen water before but now she could feel it. Cool, wet, what a feeling!
LaWrynn rode the can in the flurry, wind tumbling with water, spinning too fast for her liking. She held tight with one hand and reached out with her other arm for a hold on the next open door in the passageway. “Get me outta here!” she screamed and let go of the handle to use both arms on the door jamb. She swung her leg out and pulled herself through the portal, away from the swirling force.
Dizzy, she lay in darkness on a cool damp mound of dirt. Ground! “On the ground? Definitely on the ground!” she assured herself, free from the disturbing uproar. She had poked through the portal, back into the world of humanity once again.
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion—
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tuned law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well-befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.
And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.
And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh—but smile no more.
Washtucna, Washington, USA. We pulled over for coffee at the highway stop shop where they also offer a menu of hot dog dressings and sell antique dishes. Hot dogs on a road trip? Let’s see if we can find an interesting locals diner in town instead.
The welcome sign at the edge of town invited us to cruise Main Street and shop local businesses. The whole town was closed, many buildings boarded up, something like a ghost town! We spotted Sonny’s, the only place open in town, and determined it was not the cafe-tavern for us. The only people we saw were the two coming out of the tavern, a driver watching wild turkeys from his car parked by a stream in a park, and one woman in bright pink pajama pants who stood on her porch and yelled at us to get off unmarked private property, a scrubby deserted lot across the highway from her home. We didn’t even see a dog. But we did find plenty of subjects to photograph before we ate hot dogs and hit the highway again.
We drove to the not-so-far end of town and made our way back to Highway 26. Looks like population 100 or maybe less. Stark! Washtucna has at least 5 tiny parks, put in so they could qualify for a grant. Nobody we talked to at the highway stop remembered anything else about the grant.
We toured town in gusty wind, and then ate our hot dogs in the parking lot of the Sunflower Park next to the highway. There, four signs warned us that dogs are not allowed so we kept the German Shepherds in the van. After lunch I photographed the four signs and more. When I walked through the little grassy area I discovered why dogs are banned. And possibly why there are no dogs to be seen in this ghostly town, except hot dogs.
Here is my photo tour of Washtucna. Click the first photo to start the slide show. Look for silos in the background, signs of the grain industry that thrived here almost a hundred years ago. Today I get hints of a setting for a horror or sci-fi tale, or maybe an unlikely romance story. Zombies…and dogs…lots of dogs…
Look for stories with LaWryn on Sky Blue Daze’ blog, right here, emerging soon.
I started writing stories about a tiny fantasy spirit inspired by Lorie Davison’s fantastic image. Today LaWrynn answers the Proust Questionnaire. You can get a link to the questions and interview yourself of anyone you know or create. It’s at the bottom of today’s post. Enjoy!
LaWrynn answers the Proust Questionnaire
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What a perfectly stupid question. There is never true perfection in anything. I feel happy when things are in harmony, in balance. No, wait, is that more like content than happy? There’s a difference.
What is your greatest fear?
I fear getting stepped on by a non-mindful range cow. I’m afraid The Great Horned Owl will swoop me up, too, when I am not being mindful. I’m afraid I won’t ever find the portal back to the other side and I’ll be stuck in this material world forever. Yuck! That’s my greatest fear.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Letting things happen. I can’t control everything, but I might try harder.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
Well, I don’t know very many living people so I can’t answer this, having only lived on this side for a little while. I admire a lot of people, spirits, really, on the other side. There are so many living people in the world to admire, so I’ve heard. What is the world population now anyhow?
What is your greatest extravagance?
How can I be extravagant? I don’t own anything. I did decorate the mouth of the mound I live in, so that might be extravagant. But I have to keep it camouflaged for protection, so even that is not really what I call extravagant. Perhaps the pile of leaves I sleep on is extravagant with the colorful fleece cover. I borrowed some hand dyed wool from the lady of the farm’s knitting basket. Really warm and pretty.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Cleanliness. Let’s face it, when you live in a badger hole how can you really be expected to keep your clothes and hair dirt free all the time? That would just take way too much time. So inconvenient.
On what occasion do you lie?
If I tell you, everyone will know when I am lying. Duh! (giggles till she snorts)
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My size. Being small enough to fit in a cow’s ear is a pain. People don’t take me seriously. And my feet are too big.
Which living person do you most despise?
There’s this deranged man that lives up the road from the farm where I nest. He’s just mean for no good reason.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Non-competitive loving sisterhood. Period.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Oh, man! Really? What’s that about? Right?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
You mean this life or a past life or the next one in line? I love roasting marshmallows. Right? (sniggers or snickers?)
When and where were you happiest?
I was happiest on the other side, always. Living has so much drama, annoying drama. On the other side, it’s all cool. We don’t have emotions there, we just exist, let it be.
Which talent would you most like to have?
It’s not really a talent, but if I could fly it would sure help. And I wish I could know things like how to get back to the portal I used to enter this side.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My size. Whose idea was it to put my spirit into such a small body? It’s just not working. Sheesh!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
In this life, I haven’t achieved it yet. I think it will be when I can find the portal to the other side again and get outta here.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Which time? I’ve been a fish, a dragon, a sunflower, a spider, an amoeba, and many more mortal life forms. I’ve been a human, and I never want that curse again. I’d be anything but that. So much drama. If I come back again, could I just be a cloud?
Where would you most like to live?
On the other side again, but if I have to live in the material world, I liked living in the ocean once. I like living on the farm at the edge of the woods. I don’t like living in the badger hole but it’s pretty safe.
What is your most treasured possession?
My smarts. If I didn’t have intelligence, I’d be dumbfounded living on this side. But for real things, like things, you know, you’ll find out when you read my stories. OK, a hint…I need a key and I need to find out what it unlocks. I need clues. There. Don’t tell anybody. Don’t ruin the stories.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Loss and extreme loneliness. Like you lost a relationship that was feeling good, and then it’s gone. You’ll never get it back the way it was. It’s like smashing a wine glass in a trillion jillion pieces, you can’t ever put it back as good as it was. Or someone you love, or a place you love, it leaves or you leave, or even someone or a pet dies and you are left here, in the finite material world to go on without it all your days and nights. That’s loss. That’s loneliness. That’s misery.
What is your favorite occupation?
What I like to do, to occupy myself, is go to a river bank and just be there. Look at what’s around me, even if I’m not at a river. Notice and pay attention to where I am in the present moment. That occupies me. If you mean occupation like a job, that pays people, I think I’d like to be a waitress at a ski resort.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’d say my size, so minute. Others remark about my wild hair or my long pointed ears. I wish they didn’t stick out so far. If I could fly with them….And I have a nice smile. It just happens.
What do you most value in your friends?
Fun and loyalty. They have to be loyal, and they have to like to have fun.
Who are your favorite writers?
I like Kay Addington MacDonald. She’s the one writing this interview and my stories. I also favor A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) and Lewis Carroll (The Walrus and the Carpenter) and Kurt Vonnegut.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Tarzan, for today. But he’s be nothing without Jane. Or Lemuel Gulliver (Gulliver’s Travels). He’s dorky.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Bridgette, my badger friend, and Mayhem, my Stellar Jay friend. You’ll find out why when you read my stories. Oh. Do you mean this life or those in my past and future?
What are your favorite names?
The names of emotions and good things to have like Hope, Faith, Happy, Penny, Treasure, Jewel, Summer, Autumn, Dawn, Wag, Mayhem. Like that. And Max. If I had a brother, I’d name him Max. But would that be up to me?
What is it that you most dislike?
Right now I most dislike how long this interview is taking. How many more questions are you going to ask me? And I dislike confrontation. I bet you couldn’t guess that.
What is your greatest regret?
Once, a long time ago, I lived in the material world, one of my lives. I had a swell beau and I let him go. Another girl snatched him away and I didn’t try to get him back. See what I mean about how I sometimes let things happen when I could take more control? I just hate the drama of life on this side.
How would you like to die?
Are you kidding? Really? Oh, man! What’s that about? Right? Who likes to die? I’m seeking a way to get back to the other side without the pain of death again. So, if I have to die again, make it not painful this time. And let me feel that the people I love know I love them. I just want to feel that it’s all good next time I die, whether it is or not. That’s a good way to die.
What is your motto?
Oh! Crap! I don’t have one. You mean like, “to infinity and beyond”? Ask me again after I’ve experienced a few stories about me. Maybe I’ll have one by then. You are going to read my stories aren’t you?
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.