Thursday, September 29, 2011

Losing my Plugged-in Nation

     I'm about to go into uncharted territory, camping in the mountains on the first frosty weekend of autumn in no electronics land with no plug ins or phones, wifi or anything. Gulp. Nothing, but me and a couple of my favorite kind of books to read, the real paper and cover ones; with my luck, the e-reader would lose power in a good scene and I'd have to leave the site to plug in!

     Preparing for this trip makes me realize, I've walked the same two-mile route several times a week for years and remember stopping to chat with various people and catching up on neighborhood gossip. The walks would take twice as long, but it felt refreshing connecting with friends. For some time now, I find myself waving as I pass their homes, chattering away on the cell phone, checking messages, or staying connected electronically instead of stopping for a moment.

     As a nation, we're becoming a society who can't hold an intelligent conversation face to face with another person, where writing a letter is a forgotten art and even e-mails are turning into Twitter feed messages. People can sit in the same room all night and text each other instead of talking. I'll be the first to take blame after sitting at the computer chatting for an hour with someone who lives within walking distance from my house.

     The solution isn't an easy one for the plugged-in generation, but well within everyone’s grasp. Instead of Googling the size of Snooki's shoes, reconnect with society unplugged. Your fingers may tremble as you back away from the smart phone, but I have faith in all of you to remember there are other real people outside your cubical and living under your roof. I for one will reconnect with my neighbors.

     On second thought, I had better grab a couple more books off the to be read pile. I love reading by the campfire. It might even make me forget how much I enjoy the daily routine of sending events, chatting with my friends on Facebook and the luxury of indoor plumbing : )

Monday, September 19, 2011

Secret Muse Revealed

     Who is this muse, which appears out of nowhere and manifests our words into creative thoughts of artistic prose? The process of putting thought to paper as writers comes naturally to most of us. At times, we may hit a snag, but eventually our muse returns, the phrases begin to flow and stories turn into colorful renderings of our imaginations. Hence, we lust after the gifts of a muse, the individual or a situation that inspires us with a wealth of passion to create.

    Paul Hendrickson's article, "The Muse of Kilimanjaro" in Town & Country, about Ernest Hemingway and his real life muse revealed, fascinates me. Hemingway found ways to continue his dream of journaling his life's adventures with the ability to take us on them through his stories. His muse was secretly written into them. I wonder if Hemingway's muse knew she is what helped to inspire his artistic flow.

    Does your muse know the power he holds over your creative aura, or are you keeping his identity a secret? A secret so guarded, to reveal her could make the difference of finding a new one. You have to admit, to feel the words seep out and wonder where those thoughts hid, is far better than struggling to scribe a cohesive phrase with no emotional connection. The one individual who can turn the areas outside our comfort zones into intriguing playgrounds, allowing us to draw from experiences and to enhance our storytelling.

     Mine fills me with emotional energies from which to draw upon and when invoked by a situation, propels thoughts into poetic prose or creative writing. Muses aren't easily found. They're not listed in Google or the Yellow Pages. Those of you who acquired a muse or two understand, but for those of you still seeking, when you find one you'll's the moment your words have more meaning. Would I dare ruin the benefits of using my muse's attributes by revealing his name? Never.