Daily Prompt: Lofty
Know me like a book
Open the paper treasure
Daily Prompt: Lofty
Know me like a book
Open the paper treasure
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
“I never write my own papers, I pay someone else to write them,” she said. I heard this as I was scratching out the rough draft of a 15-page essay for a college class. The era was late B.C., just before computers.
In those days I spent many Sundays in a library writing on a yellow legal pad. Only one library near me opened its doors on Sundays. Shortly before those doors opened at 1 p.m., a crowd gathered by the entrance. The place was packed and all tables were shared.
Once such Sunday, I happened to share a table with five high school students. One of the girls in the group began to stare at me. I sensed it before I looked up and caught her in the act.
She was unfazed. That’s when she made her comment about hiring out her writing assignments.
I guess I got slammed. I was expending senseless effort for no good reason. Perhaps she assumed I lacked the funds to hire out a writer. She could not imagine a reason to go through the agony of researching and writing on her own.
But I kept on moving the pen across the yellow sheets. Researching ideas, finding connections between ideas, and interjecting my own ideas into the mix was pleasurable. I love some of the sentences I have written even though no one else cares.
I wonder what happened to the young woman at the library. Did she discover that she couldn’t survive by her mouth alone? Did her job force her to begin communicating with the written word too? Maybe she married and/or divorced well and never needed job-seeking or job-keeping skills.
Or maybe she went on to become a best-selling author and I’m living in the blog dust. That would be something to write about.
Life After Blogs
Your life without a computer: what does it look like?
Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it has been 10 weeks since my last blog post.
I really don’t feel too guilty. My blog is my greatest social media foray; limited and only somewhat consistent, but still a baptism into the computer culture. For awhile I’ve been thinking about keeping my words to myself. If not completely, (hence this post!) at least curtail my public spewing. So life without or a reduced computer usage is already my goal.
If I give in to abstinence, I would miss the machine. I can’t just run to it and ask who is dead or alive. Tell me more about a city or country I’m reading or thinking about. Tell me more about an author. Tell me if the library has a certain book. Just like entering a room to turn on a light switch when the power is out, and encountering darkness, I would feel startled at the deprivation.
My friend, my adversary. I would feel abandoned without his useful and senseless information. Even without an electrical outlet in the house, I guess I can’t keep my secretive and introverted self contained within my small room. There are no secrets and too many bread crumbs. There, you have more of me.
On the Edge
We all have things we need to do to keep an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours?
I will share some things I do that keep me from going off the edge.
Number one must be exercising. Yoga helps my arthritis and calms my mind. The weight work I do must keep my bone density as strong as it is even at my old age. It also keeps the old arms from flapping too much in the wind. Elliptical machines keep my heart pumping without stressing out the knees. I enjoy watching the plants, animals, and people go by from my bicycle. Going out in the flower and vegetable garden is calming and surprisingly a good workout. Gardening makes me sore in ways that my other activity doesn’t.
A close second is reading. If I only sat and read (tempting at times) I would be depressed. Between contemplating my navel with philosophy and contemplating the infinite universe along with the minuscule particles of physics, I’m sure I would run off screaming at some point. For a necessary easy-going escape, I love my mystery novels and historical fiction. A bad reality or just a boring one can be solved by a book. By reading books written by people very different than myself, I can empathize and get away from myself. I felt like a pile of bricks fell on my head when I read the last page of “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. I think that is the way the book should have hit me.
Writing must be third. Writing things out helps me learn. People tell me to stop taking notes and just look and listen. I’m not wired that way. The act of writing and rewriting allows me to understand new concepts. Writing is also my therapy to work through bad memories and new stresses. It can modify my thoughts and opinions, maybe for the better. Writing makes me think through ideas and conclusions can change. Writing (and reading) has allowed me to feel that “Cleaving in My Mind” that Emily Dickinson expressed in her poetry. I totally enjoy that.
Tutoring in a literacy program, I would place fourth on my list. It keeps me doing something useful and keeps me from becoming too self-absorbed. Another good reason to get up every morning. I want to share not just the practical aspects of reading and writing with another person, but also the sheer joy. A world without books, paper and pens is in itself too sad to think about.
Gotta go, plants to trim, weeds to pull. Moving farther from the edge.
As a child, I found no love among a winter snow. The sunshine never warmed me on a hot summer day. The closest I ever got to love was in the darkest light: the violent, crackling of a thunderstorm.
At my house, I had to live by some rules. One hard and fast set of rules was the proper behavior during a thunderstorm. Rule Number One: the entire family must gather on the living room couch for the duration of the storm, turn off the lights, and sit in the dark if necessary.
The couch looked rather ordinary. It was a brown couch slipcovered in a green, white, and brown flower patterned fabric. Just by looking at, the powers of this couch were not apparent.
The occupants of the couch were my mother, grandparents, and myself. We weren’t a close-knit family. Actually we were rather distant from each other in our day-to-day lives.
Rule Number Two: don’t move. It was as if some unseen static or spark that we may create by just our movement would attract a lightening strike directly onto the couch.
The couch became a shelter, self-contained from the rest of the storminess that surrounded us. It kept us away from the dangers outside, the lightening couldn’t touch us as long as we sat quietly, listened, and watched the violence through the large picture window set right in front of this couch.
The window in this room was eight foot wide and at least three foot high, the ultimate large screen before its time. The views out of this window, especially during a thunderstorm, were superior to what we found on our small black and white television set. The drapes across this window were drawn shut, affording us an even greater amount of protection from the fierce elements of nature.
That extra few millimeters of drapery fabric drawn across the window did nothing to detract from the show. It muffled none of the thunderclaps. The lightening bolts broke through and illuminated the room as if the protection wasn’t there.
We heard the rolling thunder in the distance. Nature’s electrical light show changed the actual smell of the air. It came closer bringing intense light along with a quick, hard crash of thunder. The window rattled. Sometimes a nearby tree, cracked in half, became its victim.
On the couch, I caught a smile from my usually withdrawn and stern grandparents. It was as if arms almost held me.
Safe on our upholstered vessel, we rode out the storm. While sitting on the couch, I may have heard someone say, I love you. But the thunder drowned out words.
I love thunderstorms and respect them. I would never think of talking on the telephone or holding a metallic baking pan while the storm is in full force. That would be breaking the rules. I would never be so foolish as to take a shower in the middle of a storm since everyone knows that electricity and water don’t mix. Some chances I refuse to take.
Although, today I actually walk from room to room in the house when a storm moves through my neighborhood. I even watch TV. I have been known to turn on the lights or talk to my husband as we sit on different pieces of furniture. I have discovered a society that exists off the couch that provides a less hostile source of light.
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