Don Quixote and the Blade of Grass

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In the midst of a seemingly mundane day,
I happened to look down to catch a glimpse
of a tiny green inch worm marching his way
up a towering blade of grass
with such determination and purpose,
I could not help but watch, rapt,
as up and up he arched and stretched
until he summited the sun-dried tip,
then stretched and reached until,
thanks to a warm, gentle gust from out of nowhere,
his tiny unseen hands
caught the next blade,
and he was off once more on his quest.

And as I smiled and watched him hurriedly inch along his way,
I wondered…

What a grand, quixotic adventure he must be on…
Was he off to battle windmills,
or save a fair inchworm damsel in peril?

And how funny it was
that I should happen to look down
just in time to become the momentary chronicler
of his brave exploits
…and what a blessing it was
to be given the gift
to pause
…to ponder
…to “see”
how truly magical life is
if only you take a moment to enjoy it
…if only you take a moment to breathe.

© 2017 Fiona Summerville

Photo Credit: Pinterest/Unknown

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From My Gypsy Heart to Yours

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I’ve never claimed to be some great poet. In fact, I’ve never claimed to be a poet at all.

I am a lover of words…a storyteller…a dreamer. Some days I write to purge, while other days I simply write to create something lasting and beautiful. I have good days, and bad ones. But at the end of each, no matter their outcome, there are two constants I can rely on; the unconditional love of my fur babies, and my love of words, as a reader and a writer, to bring me back to center.

My words are not meant for all hearts. And, if you’ll indulge me a bit of snobbery, there are hearts in this world I never want my words to even stand upon the threshold of. But for those hearts my words do find, touch, choose to linger and maybe even stay, I say thank you.

Thank you for making a home for them. Thank you for loving them as I do.

Keep them close. Take good care of them. True, they are only words, but they are mine, and right, wrong or discordant as they may be at times, if you offer them the shelter of an open heart and mind, they’ll always be there when you need them, and offer the same in kind.

~Fiona Summerville~

Mary Oliver: The Artist’s Task

I adore this amazing soul.

Vox Populi

It is a silver morning like any other. I am at my desk. Then the phone rings, or someone raps at the door. I am deep in the machinery of my wits. Reluctantly I rise, I answer the phone or I open the door. And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone. Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.

But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses…

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On Cloud Nine…

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This past Friday, I had the pleasure of spending the evening at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas,with Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors.

From beginning to end, the experience was magical. He is one of the most genuine, affable writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with (not one on one, of course, but it may as well have been…he made it seem so intimate and personal.)

He read a handful of his short fiction works and answered attendees’ questions late into the evening, and after it ended I’m pretty certain I floated home, car and all.

I was a tired girl the following morning, but still floating on my Gaiman cloud, I managed to scribble down a few thoughts inspired by a question posed to Mr. Gaiman the night before, and after a full night’s sleep, I was able to finish it up this morning.

Above is my favorite sort of selfie… me with copies of my favorite books, signed by one of my favorite authors.

And below, is the piece I can honestly say is a new favorite, mostly because of the man and the evening that inspired it.


#NeilGaiman
#SuchAFanGirl

To Be, or Not To Be…Tortured.
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Must a soul be tortured to write good prose?

Is it requisite the writer’s quill
be bathed in the blood of wounds long past
and the ashes from the pyre of perpetual angst
for their words to ring truer
than those of the poet
who revels in the twisting, turning beauty
of the precisely placed phrase
to convey their vision of the world?

Is writing to purge any more relevant
than writing for the sheer love of words?

I suppose the answer lay
in the eye of the beholder
…the reader whose moods flux
like a willow forever caught
between the gentle comfort
of the warm Southern breeze
and the North wind’s icy embrace.

At any given moment,
on any given day,
there’s something for everyone
wherever they find themselves
at any stage of the game.

And whether sought out or stumbled upon,
the words,
regardless of their place of birth
will find the hearts they’re meant to touch.

So to the writer struggling
to justify their prose as relevant
simply because they choose to focus
on the blossom
instead of the thorn…

Write on.

Write what moves you,
write what inspires,
write of dreams,
and hopeful desires
and deliver them
bundled up tight
in pink ribbons of sunlight
and delicate prose,
if you so choose.

The world needs your voice.
Never doubt it
…you deserve to be heard.

© 2017 Fiona Summerville

When a Mermaid Longs for the Sea

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Watch her in the quiet moments
pensive…caught up
staring out across
the never-ending expanse
of white-capped, roiling waves
churning and turbulent as her thoughts.

See how she turns to face
the battering winds
and smiles as the sea mist
mixes with her tears,
the soft glow of melancholy acceptance
illuminating out

See how the longing
for what once was
and never again will be
shifts through her eyes
in shades of sea-green to slate
and back again

And when she finally turns
beckoning you to join her
with a smile and outstretched hand
maybe then you’ll believe in mermaids
and how sometimes they give up their very soul
for the things they truly love

…hearts destined to be forever torn
between sand and their beloved sea.

© 2017 Fiona Summerville

Photo Credit: Photographer Unknown; Source: Pinterest

Reclaimed Dreams

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I never intended to abandon this blog. Really, I didn’t. But as with so many things in life, when storm after storm blows through the little world you call home, no matter how you try, even the best laid plans start taking on water and you end up jettisoning things here and there just to stay afloat long enough to paddle like h*ll to make it to the nearest shore.

Cancer and caring for two elderly, utterly dependent parents were two such storms that churned up my normally placid seas and left my tattered and sometimes fluttering useless in the wind.

No matter how I tried to focus, refocus, and even at times, force myself to stay the course, it never quite worked. Some outside force always seemed to interfere regardless how well organized my plans were laid out.

Now, some might argue it’s because the timing for my plans just wasn’t right, but I like to think the roadblocks were thrown up as a test of my resolve and devotion to my dream of writing and becoming a published author.

Anyone who has ever taken on the role of caregiver for a sick spouse or elderly parent understands it’s a strenuous and tenuous position that eventually takes its toll on even the most methodical of minds. And a topic worthy of its own blog post, which I may attempt at a later date.

For today, I choose to focus on getting back on track after a long absence , offering my apologies to my followers (and myself) for neglecting something I so lovingly created for the intent of sharing fun bits of inspiration and writing; and to recommit to you (and myself) to update this blog, if not weekly, at least fortnightly.

It’s simply something that must be done.

If not, it becomes a casualty of an unusually cruel storm season that’s rocked my world for the last few years, and frankly, I’m just not built to allow something like that to happen without at least throwing out a life preserver and towing it back to shore with me before it sinks to the bottom of the Ocean of Forgotten Blogs forever.

Also, I suppose my ultimate message is this…

No matter what struggles you face, if the spirit is willing and the desire great enough, you can start over or pick up where you left off…and truthfully, you should. If only to honor yourself and that which you love.

The storms of life are strong and sometimes focused enough to capsize even the bravest, most stalwart heart. But you have to believe…no…you have to KNOW you are tougher. And not only tougher, but WORTHY of attaining any dream you’ve ever dreamed and pursued.

That dream, whatever it may be, is you…in the future, teasingly looking over your shoulder and with a wink saying, “Come get me.”

Don’t let anything get in the way of that. Trust me, it may take a billion stops and restarts, but if you want it bad enough, that dream will be yours.

So, here’s to another shiny new beginning.

Welcome aboard the USS Fiona. I’m your Cruise Director and I’ve got a boatload of fun planned for us all!

Happy Saturday, my friends.

When Real Life Gets in the Way

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In the last two weeks real life obligations have completely disrupted my nice, consistent writing schedule. Normally, while I might grumble about the interruption, I just make due and get on with it. But with two projects I’m hoping are closerthanthis to being ready for submission, I’m feeling a bit more covetous about my writing time, and therefore resentful of any person or obligation that dare interfere with it.

Everyone has phases when “real life” gets in the way of writing – for me it was readying the house for a visit from family who we hadn’t seen in twenty some-odd years. Normally, I would be excited about such a visit, and believe me, the day they arrived I was very excited to see them, but the niggling, ever-present voice telling me “you should be writing,” was never far away. Neither was the guilt.

I need to write as much as I need water to live and air to breathe. It’s become a driving force in my life and when I’m not able to write I can get, well, downright cranky. I tried to placate myself by doing a few writing-related administrative tasks that I’d been neglecting. I built an author website, created a spreadsheet to keep track of my WIPs and story ideas, I even reorganized my office/writing space.

You’re probably wondering why, if I had the time to do those things, I couldn’t find the time to write. The answer, while a bit of a cop out, is simple. I operate in one of two modes. The linear thinking, executive/legal assistant or the go with the flow, creative gypsy, and only on the odd occasion do they intersect.

When I’m in executive assistant mode (which is where I’ve been for the last two weeks), very simply, things get done. I am effective, efficient, methodical and laser focused. I create and live by lists and schedules and make sure everyone else adheres to said schedules as well. Any obstacle is adapted to and overcome and the machine moves forward with little or no room for creativity or even the occasional daydream. When I’m in this mode, reading doesn’t even hold my attention for very long. And I LOVE to read.

In gypsy mode, all but the creative task before me is forgotten. Horses don’t get their snacks, dogs don’t get let out to do their business, dust bunnies accumulate and even the occasional bill goes unpaid (thank heavens for the advent of auto-pay.) In short, that laser focus I referenced above, now fueled by caffeine and a bevy of “what if” scenarios refuses to acknowledge the existence of the mundane, Muggle world, let alone allow any sort of distraction from the creative process.

So how do you cope when life gets in the way of writing?

My challenge is to somehow blend the two opposite, but equally driven personalities so that the freewheeling gypsy gets to play while the pantry remains stocked and the bills get paid.

The family came, enjoyed their visit and left, and life as I’ve come to know it has gone back to normal. The gypsy weaves her magic in the morning and the executive assistant cracks the whip in the afternoon overseeing the deep excavation of the laundry mountain in the closet and keeping my beloved, myself and our small zoo feed and watered. I’m sure somewhere down the line they will come to appreciate each other, but for now, they sneer and eye each other suspiciously when one tries to infringe on the other’s time. They’re both necessary, both needy and both 100% me.

When real life gets in the way of your writing, how do you cope? What takes precedence? Or have you found a way for each part of your life to happily co-exist? 

“But I Don’t Have Time to Write” aka The Biggest Myth Aspiring Authors Perpetuate

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 I used to tell myself, “Someday, when I have more time, I’ll write.”

Now, in retrospect, I realize how much time I wasted. All those years I was working full-time, I could have found even a few minutes a day to hone my writing skills. Not that I’m behind any sort of schedule, self-imposed or otherwise, (things happen, when they’re meant to happen), but it would have been nice to be a little further along in my writing journey.

What I have learned over the past couple of years, is that no matter how much free time you have, if you don’t focus, you’ll find more excuses than time.

Writing has become a compulsion for me. If I don’t get even a few lines down, I get cranky. I’ve also discovered the more writing I get done or want to do, the more efficient I’ve become getting the mundane, or, as I like to call them, “Muggle” chores and errands out of the way. My attitude being, the sooner I get things done, the sooner I can get back to what I really want to do – write.

I’m lucky enough at this point in my life that I don’t have to work full-time, and yet, sometimes, the old excuses of, “I’m too tired”, “I’ve got too much to do”, creep back into my head and I’m tempted to give into them and just curl up on the couch and watch TV or read. But I don’t, because what I want far outweighs the excuses. I WANT to be a good writer. I WANT someday to be published. For either of those things to happen, I have to make time to work on my dream.

No matter what your circumstances are, working full-time, part-time, SAHM-D, here are some ideas for finding stolen minutes in a busy day to work on what you really love:

 1. Keep your manuscript open on your computer. That way, when inspiration hits, or you’re put on hold for five minutes, or your baby stays asleep just a little bit longer than you expected, you can easily access and work on your book. Just make sure you’ve got your auto save set to back up every few minutes to avoid losing any work if the power goes out.

2. Give up that bubble bath, mani/pedi appointment, sitcom, or whatever to buy yourself more time to write.

3. Brainstorm and let it flow. Don’t aim for perfection, just get it down. You can refine and clean it up later. To that end, carry a note pad with you wherever you go. I’ve got a purse size note book with a pen attached that I carry with me, always. I’ve even started carrying a digital recorder with me on long trips, so I can just dictate whatever idea pops into my head.

4. Have someone to answer to — a critique group, a fellow writer, even your dog — anyone who you’ll be ashamed to look in the eye without something new to show them.  I recently joined a local critique group. They meet once a month and ask that you bring five pages of your latest work in progress for them to review. I love this requirement, because, if I can’t generate at LEAST five pages in a month, I’m just not trying hard enough.

5. However, regardless of point number four, don’t beat yourself up if all you write is a line, or only manage to work for ten minutes a day. One line, one plot idea or ten stolen minutes are better than sitting there feeling guilty about not writing at all.

  Have a wonderful week, my friends. Get out there and write until your heart and brain run dry.

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And on Twitter at: @Fiona_S_Author