Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Now and then I encounter elderly characters in fiction or essays who are portrayed as being filled with ennui, tired of life and kept from ending it only by fear. I think the authors must be relatively lacking elderly acquaintances and friends. As an old lady I've known many old people and they are usually less bored with life than most of the teen aged people I know. I admit to a certain amount of impatience with my ebbing strength and increasing folio of deviations from youthful health. I have so much I want to do and learn and less vigor to accomplish my projects such as building a 'three sisters' keyhole garden to replace the grass in my backyard. My problem with death is that it will end my work as an artist, at least for a while, and I won't be hugging grandchildren without a physical body to use. But since I believe that sometime after death I will receive a new and better version of my mortal body, I only fear the actual process of death. I truly relish the prospect of eternity to learn and work and love.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Nephi wrote a plea that the Lord would not hedge up his way in 2 Nephi:33. For several years my way has been hedged up on the north side of my driveway where a dying hedge planted near the pavement made it uncomfortable for people to exit from the passenger side of a car parked close to the edge of the pavement in order to leave room for another car to park in the front part of the driveway. I had the impression that the hedge belonged to my neighbor on the north because landscape people maintained his lawn and shrubbery and they regularly trimmed the hedge on his side even as it died and left little more than a large barrier of sticks. I wrote him a note suggesting that if he would have his landscape people remove the hedge I would provide the material and labor to replace it with a fence. He ignored the note. after his death I hoped to address his heirs about the matter but I didn't have the opportunity until a few weeks ago. At that time his daughter said that removing the hedge was not a priority with her but she introduced the idea of locating the property line. She led the search for the mark on the sidewalk but although we searched for several feet north of my driveway we couldn't locate the shallow cut in the pavement that marked the property line. I had vague thoughts of contacting the city about locating the line. The next morning I discovered that my neighbor had persisted, and much to my surprise, the mark is located several feet past the hedge, well into the area groomed as the neighbor's lawn. Suddenly the hedge became my responsibility instead of being a petty annoyance. Within days my son and I used ingenuity , a pickup truck, a nylon cable and a mattock to remove ninety percent of the hedge, the part that had died and become virtually rootless. Two small scraggy section of the hedge still had living roots and could not be budged until the roots were cut away. Within a few hours the hedge had been completely removed and by the next morning it had been carted off to a disposal site. The first section of the fence that replaces the hedge has been set up and as soon as I return from helping with the birth of my 28th grandchild I will complete the fence. I suffered the irritating presence of the dying hedge for at least five years, but because I never thought of it as my responsibility I blamed it on my neighbor. I wonder how many other things in my life are similar. I recall the story told by a woman who felt annoyed because her husband always left spots of soap or toothpaste residue on the bathroom mirror, then he died, but the spots continued to appear. I will look for those areas in my life where I have incorrectly assigned responsibility. I resolve that I will no longer suffer guilt for things that other people own nor blame others for issues that belong to me where ever I can determine the difference.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Although I write well enough to have tested out of the requirement to take English or writing courses at several universities including GMU and U of U, I make a number of mistakes as I write. Several years ago I took a writing workshop from Dave Farland/Wolverton in which I learned more than I have in similar workshops with Orson Scott Card and other mentors over the years. DF emphasized creating useful outlines and avoiding the passive voice by eliminating 'was' wherever possible. I tried to apply his teaching to a series of books set in the mythical land of Okishdu which I created years ago and continued to work on. Many of my friends and a number of my children and older grandchildren have enjoyed the series. Now one of my younger grandchildren is eagerly reading the books as I print them out. He is nine years old and has an elevated vocabulary for his age, but I realized that some of the scenes were a little sophisticated for a child. I decided to re-visit Okishdu and re-edit my stories. It has been a challenge and a joy. I am about midway through the series and it has taken a lot of time. I submitted the series to a couple of publishers several years ago, but now I feel it is just as well that I didn't succeed. Will Okishdu ever see print beyond what I accomplish with my Canon printer and a Fellowes binding system? I am putting the revised stories on the web at http://okishdu.com as I complete them. In a sense I can claim to be e-published, but so can any blogger. Frankly as an artist and a writer I have never produced any creation that is more fun to revisit than the land of Okishdu.