Today is a cool and breezy day after the unusual warm spells we’ve had in the new year. I’m happily esconced in my sunny sunroom watching Bones on Prime Video. Murder mysteries is my rabbit hole/escape hatch from everything that needs escaping. Bones is  perfect. It has crime, intrigue, humour, romance and science. It leaves me feeling good afterwards. I do try to keep it in check, allowing myself 2 episodes max at any one time. I do have an addiction disorder. I don’t want to let time roll away on me. After all, there’s real life to be lived.

I do have another addiction that also gives me a sense of well being. Can you guess what? I post photos on social media about it almost every day. It is cross country skiing. I almost feel embarrassed about how much I love it. Why do I love it so much? It is a solitary activity like swimming. I’m not good at either so they challenge me. I have no athletic talent whatsoever. In public school I failed tumbling. I was not on the track or volley ball team. Back in the days, swimming was a mandatory university class. I failed it but not university. I did drop out though – university that is. I was a very matured adult when I took up swimming again and a senior when I took up skiing.

I guess you can say I’m in my second childhood. The second time around is better. I have a little more confidence. I’m not as easily embarrassed or care if I look stupid. I’m not competitive. I race only against myself. Skiing has taught me alot about life. There are slippery slopes everywhere. It is risky, life and skiing. Much as I love it, I’m always a little nervous before I go. I’m never raring and tearing to go at it. I’m the reluctant scarity cat, dragging my tail. Heading out in the car, there’s this video playing in my head about my fears and where I will fall. Once I’m on the track, I feel better and when I start out to meet the rising sun, a contented sigh goes through me. That is,  until I come to a slippery slope. Uphill is a physical struggle. Down hill is a heart dropping free fall. I take a deep breath at the top, focus keeping my knees and ankles soft, give a little push and mutter my prayers. I never get comfortable enough that I don’t go through all the same thoughts and feelings each and every time. It’s a good thing. I will never lose the edge or the love. It’s the way I want to live my life, too. 

There are days when I don’t feel that brave or strong. I have my rabbit holes along the ski trail where I can circumvent my scary spots. I just follow the rabbit tracks. In the words of Mary Oliver,  I do not have to be good. I do not have to walk on my knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. I only have to let the soft animal of my body love what it loves.





Image from wikipedia.org

Some mornings I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, waking up to the same morning day in and day out.  The unchanging greyness frightens me in the first moment of wakefulness.  Have you ever experienced that?

The thing not to do is to dawdle in bed, but I do.  The greyness holds me there.  I am unwilling to touch the cold floor of reality and face the day.  I’ve been here before many times.  I know that the moment my feet hit the ground, the feeling will dissipate.  No, it does not magically evaporate.  I have to assist its departure.  How?

Getting out of bed is the first hurtle.  The rest follows:  I get up, dress up and show up at my desk.  I put one letter, one word….any letter, any word and start.  Things happen when you move.  That is the law of life.  It is not rocket science, as they say.  Don’t you just hate cliches?  I’m past the hurtles and I am sitting here, tap, tapping out the words.  I hope for magic today. I want to feel the words tumbling off my fingertips like water rippling over the rocks in the river.  The sound of the keyboard is music to my ears.  I see the stream of words floating gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily life is but a dream.

IMG_1089I’m rowing my own boat, steering, pushing it towards my  destination.  You have to have a little bit of oomph to get over rough spots. The weather changes and the water can get rough.  A life jacket is a must.  A rope or two can be useful.  You can never tell.  It’s best to have some tools on hand.

The weather has changed.  The sky is steely grey.  I feel the ghost tiptoeing on my grave. It is alright.  I am well acquainted with him. He cannot hurt me.  I breathe and drop the other shoe.  There are no explosions of catastrophe.  The quietness of a Saturday morning presides.

I am safe in my home, in my own skin.  I am the captain of my spirit.  I get to change the direction in which I travel.  The sky is grey.  Autumn leaves of orange and gold are floating past my window.  They are whispering and teasing me with their graceful dancing movements.

“Come with us.  Come with us”.

Image from google.ca
Image from google.ca

Perhaps today would be a good day to explore – to travel down Alice’s rabbit hole.  Would I find her Wonderland?

I stepped inside the book yesterday just for 15 minutes.  I fell down the tunnel with Alice and landed on top of a bundle of twigs and leaves.  We chased after the white rabbit and came to a hall full of locked doors.

We found a magic key that opened a door. We still could not get in, of course.  It’s not that simple.  If it was, that would be the end of the story.  There would be no Alice in Wonderland.  Life is like that too.  It has many corridors with many locked doors, all posessing different codes.  You need the right combination to unlock each.

I had to leave Alice swimming in the puddle of her tears, wondering how she was going to get into that Wonderland.  I will find another 15 minutes to be with her today.  It is an intriguing story.  It has grabbed the child in me.  That’s what good stories do.  I’m learning the process.



image from google.ca
image from google.ca

It’s funny how names, phrases and snatches of songs play through my mind.  They come on airs of whimsy, unsolicited and unexpected.  Alice is one of the names.  Perhaps I was inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.  In that case, I have Lewis Carroll to thank.  I wish I have his gift of imagination.

I know the story of Alice falling down the rabbit hole, the tea party and the Mad Hatter.  I haven’t really read the book. I do not know the details.  I do not know how she got out of the rabbit hole, or whether it was just a child’s fantasy dream.  Now, THAT’S a worthwhile project – read Alice in Wonderland.  I have the book on my kindle. What better way to stir up my imagination, if I have one.

November is just over a month away.  It is the National Novel Month.  I have time to mentally prepare myself.  I have time to limber up, loosen my tapping fingers and cast out my stagnant chi.  I can resurrect my Alice of last year.  She can fall down a different rabbit hole.  Life is full of them.  There are so many mishaps, mischiefs and strange characters she can encounter.  There are many stories about rabbit holes.  I just have to tell one.

I gave up on her too soon last year. After an introduction and three chapters I left her sitting on my DESKTOP without another word, comma or period.  Alice is a worthwhile character.  She is full of potential. She has depth and dimension.  She is after all, a part of myself. She still resides in me.

She is a composite of all the Alices I admire/want to be – the imaginative, playful girl of the mirror, the curious girl in her Wonderland, the writer of poetry, short stories, novels, the wordsmiths that can move and change the world. They are the Alice Walkers, Munroes, Hoffmans, Kuipers of the literary world.  She deserves to be rescued from the shelf, dusted off and given life. Her story needs to be heard.

What will I have to do to succeed?  The most important thing is to write every day.  I set the goal for at least 1500 words a day.  That will give me 45000 words in 30 days.  I will have to cough up another 5000 words to qualify at 50,000 words.

Having made this assessment only a few days ago, I have had to put my writing aside a day here and there.  You can’t be rigid and dogged about it.  Some days life gets in the way. You have to be practical and flexible.  Sometimes you have to quit in order to succeed.  You have to let go of that bone.  Knowing when to quit is smart as Kristen Lamb posts in her blog.  It’s good to know better writers than I have given up projects a time or two.  Winners know when to fold them and when to hold them.

Am I making excuses for myself?  Time will tell.