Saturday, December 31, 2011

So long 2011...

I am sitting down to finish off my WIP, but had to take a minute to bid farewell to 2011.  Though a lot less eventful than 2009 or 2010, it has brought its share of doubts and joys and mixed blessings.

I've seen my son weather the last gasps of middle school to blossom into an amazing young man in high school. I've always loved hanging out with him, no matter what age, but so many of us approaching middle age get those pangs of missing the babies we once had.  For me, that lasts about a blink and then I am wide-eyed and staring at this witty, wonderful, cultural explorer who has been shipwrecked in a wasteland and refuses to let that stunt his growth in any way.  I love you, Ghost Son.

I've watched my daughter grow into a young lady, excel at academics, process intense grief when her beloved pet died in her arms, and wrestle with the demons of puberty mixed with a processing disorder that has rocked her little world out of focus. We have managed some great feats in the past, and I know we can get through adolescence together.  It won't be easy, but we know that in the midst of all the chaos, our beautiful girl is still in there.  I love you, Ghost Daughter.

I've been surprised by unexpected turbulence in a rock solid man as middle-age hit him smack in the face.  I'll just say that a mid-life crisis can happen to anyone, no matter how steady or logical, and if you keep your head, you can get through it.  He is still and always will be the only one for me.  I love you, Ghost Hunk.  All day long.

As for this Ghost Girl, I'm still discovering who I am as a writer, still fighting to pull it all together.  This novel has taken me longer than anticipated to write, but I'm hoping it will be worth the wait.  So here's to a shiny book deal and phenomenal things all around for the whole Ghost Clan in 2012!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Justice? What happened to "Hang 'Em High?"

Warning:  Rant to follow.  This post has nothing to do with writing, though it is more fantastical than fiction.  No names will be mentioned, but the facts are accurate.

In the old days of the wild west, horse thieves could be hanged for their crime.  Apparently in the 21st century, they get a cruise as well as huge profits on their stolen booty.  There is a reason that horse people have a bad name and this woman is the poster child...though she should be on a wanted poster.  Is there no justice anymore?

A dear friend of mine has two beautiful girls. The oldest is my own daughter's best friend.  With their daddy on active duty and their best friend moving away, as well as other stressors, these girls have had enough to deal with without their ponies being someone they knew and trusted.

A woman who should have served as a role model and an instructor betrayed them all and stole their 2 ponies, selling one across state lines and the other to a family who is also a victim in all of this.  What do the police do?  Almost nothing.  "It just isn't a priority."  It has been almost 2 years since the theft occurred and roughly 18 months since the truth of it came out.  Still this woman is walking around free and trading horses and offering lessons.

As a professional member of USEF and PHSA, she should be held to a high moral standard.  I have recently discovered that they don't care about moral or professional standards as long as their membership dues are paid.  So this criminal can continue to profit from her elicit activities because the police don't have the time to deal with it and the professional organizations don't care about the unethical and even criminal behavior of their members.

Of course civil court could get involved, which means even more financial and emotional hardship for a family who has done nothing wrong.  I am stymied.  Let is not forget that two little girls are the victims here.  Two horse-crazy, loving, and innocent girls who until now had not learned that adults cannot be trusted.

No one has been murdered.  This is true.  This woman is not running the biggest meth operation in three counties.  But does that make her any less guilty of a crime against two little girls?  Given the money involved and the interstate transfer of stolen goods, she is guilty of a felony.  We have positive proof, even recorded confessions, but no one will do anything.

Perhaps it is a good thing that I no longer have a horse.  That I no longer rub elbows with such sleazy horse traders as this. I have lamented my loss for the last ten years and ached to be among horses again, but not if it means dealing with conniving, lying, thieving delinquents like this woman.

As for the response by law enforcement, God forbid my house gets broken into.  It may not rate high enough on the attention scale for the police to respond.

Meanwhile, two little girls have seen how it works.  Get screwed by one adult and then take it up the butt again by the adults who are supposed to help you.  

I have only one word for the women involved in this crime and the so-called authorities who are supposed to protect us from them:  DISGUSTED

Monday, December 05, 2011

Creative Urges

We are all familiar with the basic biological urges:  hunger, thirst, sex drive, etc.  As a writer, I wonder how many people feel that same sort of inescapable drive towards creative endeavors.  We all need to eat, but some people have an overwhelming need to satisfy not just the need for sustenance to keep the body functioning, but the need to satisfy the spiritual desire for a savory experience.  It is not enough to simply put food in their mouths.  Eating must be an event.  They are not complete without a sensual taste experience.

I think creativity can act just like that sort of hunger.  It was my son who got me thinking about this.  He is one of those kids who has many talents and will eventually be paralyzed by the number of choices he has until he finally breaks through and chooses one talent to pursue.  All of his talents are traditionally creative.  Music, art, writing.  I see that same sort of restlessness that I had at his age.  The difference is, he is embracing the journey and reveling in the exploration, while I worried about making the wrong choice and being mediocre at everything rather than really talented at one thing.  I so admire him for that.

But I continue to field these deep-seated urges to create.  I wish I could sing well.  I have these emotions and ideas that I just want to embrace through song...but I'm not very good at singing.  I ache to paint, to immerse myself in color and shape it into something that reveals some great truth...but I'm not that great at painting or drawing.  I long to satisfy my eye for composition and the hidden magic behind the ordinary flotsam we see all around us...but so far, I'm an amateur at photography.

In all of this is a gut-level, inescapable urge to feel something so deeply that it takes a part of you with it when you finally release it into the wild.  But it takes confidence to be able to reach that pinnacle.  It takes talent.  It takes great risk.  Perhaps its like the adrenalin junkies who base jump or skydive.  That urge cannot be satisfied unless you risk it all and lay it all out there, good or bad. I had to sound so cliché, but it is liberating.

Comedians are often good at that.  Imagine how terrifying that must be, because humor is a very personal and spiritual phenomenon.  You lay out truths (sometimes half-truths) and ask us to laugh at ourselves and at you.  I imagine it must be addictive.  And cathartic.

Maybe that's it.  All these creative pursuits allow us to free something that has been held captive for far too long.  Simple words cannot go far enough or even approach the truth of it.  It takes more than words set together in a straight line. It takes a medium that dares us to dig down to the roots of it all. To mess it all up, fill it with emotion, and spread it all around.

I know, I know...this post is rambling a bit.  But I guess that is just where my urge has taken me.  It's not a perfectly constructed plate of food—apologies to Tom and Padma—nor a flawlessly executed work of art. It's easy to forget that even the most talented creative types have a process. I hope that someday I can hone my writing into that creative expression that fills my soul and truly satisfies.  Even if it only satisfies me.