Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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Being Struck by a Moment of Clarity

The Daily Post prompts us to write about  “clarity” and how it enabled us to solve a problem.  The other prompt was to depict in a photo the notion of “being awestruck”.   I did not have a moment of intellectual clarity where I worked out a problem,  but I did have an odd experience this week having to do with literal clarity and being struck by a visual sensation (maybe not “awestruck” but definitely unusual and intense).

I went out of town a few days ago.  It has been quite a long time since I have been on such a road trip.   As we were driving up the coast,  I began to notice the colors of the hills, sky and sea.  The more I looked,  the more the colors seemed to become clearer and intensify.  Furthermore, the play of light and shadow on the land and sea seemed to be actually shimmering and vibrating.   Everything seemed to be surrounded by a luminescence.   I had never experienced anything like this.

This effect may simply have been some optical illusion brought on by unusually warm and dry weather.  I think most likely that I have been trapped for so long in a concrete-colored urban setting that my mind started dancing when it met the long absent colors of nature: blue-violet, azure, brilliant green, and shades of umber and tan.   The optical center of my brain overloaded.

The lesson I learned is that I need to get out of town more often.    🙂

Here are some of the colors that reacquainted themselves to me:

malibu coast small

sommers house 1 small

hills small

tree on hill small

camarillo valley small

ljgloyd (c) 2013



dancing girls smallI do celebrate Christmas with all the traditional trappings and for all the religious reasons, and  I don’t want to try to improve on what already is tried-and-true.

However, I have on many occasions thought about what it would be like to create a holiday:   a Festivus — but not as a festival for the “rest of us,” but rather it would be a Festival for “All-of-Us”.

It would not be the  squashing together of customs from disparate holidays, but a cohesion of the common concepts behind certain holidays.   My Festivus would be three days long with the last day being on the winter solstice.  Each of the three days would be dedicated to one of these particular concepts.

Day 1 of Festivus:  The Day of Reflection.   Everyone would find an individual quiet place to meditate and reflect upon the blessings received during the past year and to focus on ways to improve oneself in the coming year.  Each person may partake of a full or partial fast of either food or some other indulgence.   The fast is entirely voluntary and is not required.   Think of this day as a coming together of the ideas behind Lent and Thanksgiving.   The theme of the day is Peace.

Day 2:   The Day of Reconnection.   Families and friends gather to prepare food for the next day’s celebration.   They would typically gather in the kitchen of a family matriarch (but men are expected to participate in the food preparation too).  As the food is prepared, stories about departed relatives are shared so that all members of the family — living and dead — can be a part of the day.    The main requirement of the Day of Reconnection is that each family unit must invite at least one person from the local community who does not have a family to join in the day’s activities.   This person is considered an honored guest and is also invited to join the family at the next day’s celebration.   Gifts are not given in order to keep the focus on people, not things.   The theme of the day is Love.

Day 3:  The Day of Renewal.     This is a day of communal celebration.  The purpose of the day is have fun.   This day begins by participants taking some of the food prepared the day before to the poor in the community.   The community then joins together in a common area (perhaps a neighborhood park) to partake of a day of eating, drinking  (non-alcoholic drinks are encouraged, but car keys are taken away from all just in case), singing, dancing, story-telling,  and game-playing.    The end of Festivus is marked by the lighting of a giant bonfire at midnight and to welcome the new year.   The theme of the day is Joy.

The Day After:  Hangovers are tended and clean-up is initiated.

So when I am named Empress of the Universe my first decree will be the inauguration of my vision of Festivus.

Prompted by the Daily Post.

ljgloyd (c) 2013


A Visit from Arvilla

My inner critic is named Arvilla.  She has brassy red hair, wears stiletto heels, and has a voice like fingernails on a chalkboard.  She paid me a visit this weekend.

It all began by my watching the first Hunger Games movie on DVD. I have never read the book or seen the movie when it first came out.   The next thing I know Arvilla is there and whispering to me:   “If the book is half as good as the movie, then you are doomed as a writer.  Suzanne Collins is brilliant.   You are not.”

Then she pointed out that the novel I am currently writing  takes place in a dystopian world too, and people are going to think I am just jumping aboard the coat tails of that theme.

Then Arvilla got really low and dirty:  she told me to give up and ditch the whole project.  

When she was done, she picked up her alligator handbag, blew me a kiss, and left me as a quivering pile of self-loathing goo.

The next day, I managed to drag my sorry butt back to my computer, went online to one of my writing groups, and proceeded to whine.

And what happened then?  One of my online writing buddies slapped me out of my pity party.

First, she affirmed that indeed I had been visited by my Inner Critic and told me not to listen to her.   Then she reminded me of all the writers (Orwell, Rand, Bradbury, et al) who created dystopian backdrops for their stories.  Then she pointed out that the premise of my story was entirely different.

At that point, I pulled on my big-girl panties and decided not to ditch the project.  (Thanks again, Sara).

I want to share with you what I have taken away from this recent encounter:

  • Create a persona for your Inner Critic.  You can better deal with that opponent if you can visualize her/him/it.   I’ve even written stories about Arvilla for my own amusement and to minimize her influence.
  • Read other authors and remind yourself that there are no original ideas.  You are simply reinterpreting those archetypal stories that are a part of our collective unconscious.  (Yeah, I have read a lot of Jung and Campbell).   Knowing that you don’t have to come up with a new idea takes the pressure off.
  • Don’t fight your battles with your Inner Critic all by yourself.  Connect with other writers. Join a writing group.  Join several writing groups, real life or virtual.  Learn from experiences of other writers.  They have most likely gone through the same thing.
  • Be willing to pass along what you have learned to other writers.

Yeah, Arvilla, I’ve got your number, and I’m coming back with reinforcements.

ljgloyd (c) 2013.