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Rated: 18+ · Book · Writing · #1197218
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland

Modern Day Alice

Welcome to the place were I chronicle my own falls down dark holes and adventures chasing white rabbits! Come on In, Take a Bite, You Never Know What You May Find...

"Curiouser and curiouser." Alice in Wonderland

I'm docked at Talent Pond's Blog Harbor, a safe port for bloggers to connect.

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May 15, 2019 at 10:55am
May 15, 2019 at 10:55am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 15th
Share an instance when something blew your mind.

Wow, I really had to think about this prompt...there were too many instances that just didn't seem epic enough that came to mind at first. I felt like it should be something other than learning about the impressive migration habits of penguins or that potatoes can become positively toxic for you if they go bad. Those things were oddly mind-blowing but not to the same level I felt the prompt dictated. It felt like it should be something more personal to me. When I thought about it in those terms, one instance clearly came to mind...

My daughter has always been painfully shy. She would go non-verbal if any adult tried to address her and held herself back in many interactions with other children until only very recently. I very much worried she would miss out on so much her young life offered by hiding in the shadows. I feared she would be considered anti-social or rude that she would avoid answering questions or responding to friends who waved and smiled. We worked on it a lot. We worked on being open to the advances of friends and returning their verbal greetings with a smile and a wave if she didn't feel like saying "hi" right away. I talked to her teachers to make sure she was still participating in class discussions and speaking up when spoken too, at least in the academic settings.

She asked to take piano lessons and it seemed to help bring her out of her shell. She was pretty quiet, answering her instructor in mostly nods, but she applied herself. We learned there would be a recital that first year and my heart sank. How would my shy little girl who loathed being the center of attention, be able to play in front of a room full of strangers? Turns out, she could not. She skipped that inaugural recital. We watched her peers and fellow students each take their turn on the stage that first year. The teacher called her up at the end to give her a special award for being her youngest student at age 5. She insisted I go up with her to get her medal. She clung to my arm the whole way, hiding her face in my elbow when the crowd clapped for her.

By the time the second year recital came a year later, I honestly did not think she was ready. She was slated to go third. She had practiced and practiced her piece - a short, sweet little melody that she could almost play by heart. She was very, very nervous. We had taken special care to pick out a lovely dress and fix her hair into a cute bun, fitting for a classical music recital. She looked the part but she had been reluctant to even practice in front of anyone that wasn't her Dad or me and so I was worried for her. I knew how difficult this would be for her. She sat there, her music folder hugged tightly to her chest, her eyes laser focused on the ground. My stomach was suddenly sick with dread for her. The recital hall was full and several more people were standing in the back.

The first student finished their piece and everyone clapped. Then, suddenly they were calling Jaden's name. The student who was supposed to go before her had gotten cold feet so her 3rd place standing had moved up. I looked at my delicate little 6 year old with her startled expression and though, "that's it, she's not going to do it." Then, my incredibly shy daughter did something that complete blew my mind. She stood up. She walked to the piano, placed her music down and proceeded to play her recital piece.

Jaden played it all the way through to the end, stumbling only once but catching the mistake and moving on from it like her teacher had taught her too. Her face was a mask of concentration and when she finished, she stood and made a running bow back to her seat. The look of triumph on her face was echoed by the relief and pride in my own. I knew better than anyone how much my daughter had pushed herself to get to and get through her moment on stage. I was overjoyed and overrun with motherly pride. Jaden had blown my mind in the most beautiful way.

There have been a few more recitals now and while I am sure it doesn't get any easier for her, she puts in 100% every year. The songs have gotten more challenging but the music isn't the part that remains the most difficult for her to master. I am forever nervous for her each time. I must hold my breathe each performance until she finishes the because that first breathe in once she stands and bows, feels like heaven to my aching lungs. When the last notes of her piece are fading in my ears, I am rejoicing and celebrating with her. It is always a wonderful moment but somehow not as mind-blowing as watching her climb those stairs and play that first time.
May 14, 2019 at 11:37am
May 14, 2019 at 11:37am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 14th
Discuss the “Four Burners Theory” as it is outlined in this website:
Which burner in your life burns the brightest? If you had to completely turn off one of your burners to be successful in the other three, which would you turn off?

I had to turn off my work burner so I could manage to get through the article there!

But in all seriousness, I had a really hard time finding the work/family balance. I was the first mother in my family to go back to work after having my daughter. My cousins and sister-in-laws had all been stay at home moms for a time. I was already 35 and so, putting any career on hold, especially one in my demanding industry, was out of the question. My daughter started coming to work with me at 6 weeks old and started daycare at 9 weeks. I harbored such terrible guilt for leaving her with strangers, albeit trained and professional caregivers, but still strangers. Luckily I had found a wonderful place with kind, capable teachers who became my partners through her development and who celebrated all those milestones I might have other wise missed, with me in concert. It was hard though, very difficult to find myself again. I still struggle as a working mom to find balance. The demands have only increased with time and I find myself constantly gauging which burners I can turn down to feed the other too most adequately.

If there is any burner I turn off most, it would be mine. I consistently find reasons to put the needs of family and friends over taking care of me. It is something I am working on. I believe it is what most people do...rob from their own reserves to give to their loved ones. I am actively working on that this year. It would still be the burner I would turn off however. It's always harder to take away from others than oneself.
May 13, 2019 at 10:00am
May 13, 2019 at 10:00am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 13th

Discuss the “Goldilocks Rule of Motivation” as described on the website below. “Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains.”

In theory, I think I agree on the premise. It does take a bit of the romance out of that drive to achieve the impossible though. We all have heard about people overcoming insurmountable, impossible odds to survive so if I were to subscribe to this rule, then it would appear that no matter how "impossible" something seemed, that it was likely still "right on the border of success and failure", or rather there was at best, at least a 50/50 percent of success. That takes the wind out of my sails a little bit I think.

I mean, if I was being chased by a grizzly bear or something as equally aggressively terrifying, and I understood that I had a 50/50 percent chance of making it...of course I would still run, still try to escape. That doesn't seem like the "Goldilocks rule", so much as the drive of self preservation.
However, if I were to climb Everest, and knew I had less than 50% chance of achieving the summit and still did it anyway...that would akin to achieving the impossible in my book. I think some people will always be charged to pursue a task or a goal that to them, seems impossible. I'd like to believe that there are some humans who will still operate outside the limits of what they believe they can do. I am likely not one of them but I commend those that are out there. I would certainly run...but I'd never even dream of even attempting to tackle Everest.
May 13, 2019 at 9:36am
May 13, 2019 at 9:36am
Missed the chance to write Sunday's prompt on Sunday so I am playing catch up this morning...

30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 12th
Write your entry inspired by the word “nurture.” What does it mean to nurture something or someone? How were you nurtured growing up, how are you currently nurtured, and how do you nurture others?

This entry feels like a loaded one coming on Mother's Day. This year, this particular day has been more difficult for some reason. For the first time I am reluctant to write about a topic that I fear will release too much anger and toxins into my day and I feel as if I have been struggling to keep such things inside to hard.

Nurturing is most certainly one of the most important things we mother's do. To nurture a child goes beyond loving them, beyond teaching them the basic tools and life skills they need to survive. We can not nurture without love for it is the ultimate expression of love. To nurture a child, we flame their passions, we invoke their kindness, we give them hope and light and promise. We build them a foundation to have a good life, to love and care for themselves. We teach them to know their worth and have faith in their abilities. Nurturing our children is a lifetime commitment and gets exceedingly harder as they grow and mature, as they come into more and more contact with outside forces. Sometime, now matter how well we have nurtured them or how strong we help them build their foundation, they will meet someone who crushes it. We have to step in and re-teach, replenish their reserves and rebuild their hope and self-respect. The act of nurturing is forever, and it is a labor of love. It also does not come naturally to some mothers and it isn't until we become mothers ourselves that we realize the wonderful importance of this love, this responsibility.

I have bad parenting days. I have many parenting fails. I have sometimes let my daughter down, made mistakes or bad calls. However, my daughter knows she is cherished. She knows she is my moon and my sun. She knows that she can do anything and I will love and nurture her until the end of my days and even then I will not leave her. I worried I would not be able to do these things for her once. It made me fear the day she would leave the safety and security of my womb where it was so easy to care for her as she was so entirely dependent on my own biology. The very moment she was placed in my arms though, I knew it was going to be the most effortless thing in the world to love her. I knew that as I had lived to bring her into the world, I would readily die to protect her. I knew living to love and nurture her would be the greatest gift I could have asked for.

May 13, 2019 at 9:08am
May 13, 2019 at 9:08am
Playing catch-up from the weekend...

30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 11th
Write your entry today from the perspective of an animal. You could choose a pet, a lioness on the hunt, a rhino being pursued by poachers, or any other animal of your choice.

The hunger was a thing now, alive and demanding in her tiny stomach. It was nature's greatest joke to pair a creature with a seemingly insatiable appetite with such a tiny stomach. The days she woke ravenous and never seemed to be able to satisfy herself no matter how much she gorged on seeds and berries. Even here, where they seemed to fill the feeders as quickly as they were emptied, she struggled to eat her way to that full bellied euphoria of her youth. Now, as she watched from her vantage point high above, she could see the feeder had been replenished with the rich black seeds she knew and her stomach rumbled and rolled with anticipation.

Squirrel was wary though. This lovely shaded yard with its rich bounty was not without its dangers. There was lots of competition for one thing. There was the usual variety of the delicate birds, the finches and chickadees but also several pairs of mating cardinals. She found the bright red males easy to navigate but the females, slightly smaller with more subdued plumage, harder to spot and much more difficult to drive off. She'd taken a particularly aggressive peck to her posterior a few days ago that was still sore and red. There was a bigger threat in this place though, one that could deliver a lot more damage than an angry bird.

Squirrel crept a few branches lower to get a better look at the large window. It looked vacant and dark in the early morning light. The feeder swung back and forth with the breeze and her aching tummy urged her closer still. She made her way onto the narrow branch that would deposit her all the way to the deck. She moved quicker now, keeping her eyes on the window, making her way down on her nimble claws. At last she landing softly on the solid wood and clambered over the railing and onto the swinging feeder. Her sudden weight sent it rocking, fleeing black seeds out in all directions. The black seeds smelled wonderful and she shoved them into her mouth greedily in great claw fulls. They made a satisfying crunch under her sharp teeth.

Suddenly there was a chaotic burst of noise, a frenzied barking and scraping. Her dark eyes flicked to the window and she froze. The lights inside the house were dark but she could still make out the smooth head, the flicking ears and those flashing teeth. The dog keened and pawed at the glass, glaring ribbons of hate through the pane at her stuffed cheeks and flicking tail. She waited, staring back, terrified but refusing to give up her meal. The lights did not come on. The dog was confined, for now. She went back to eating, taking care to pack the extra folds of her jaws with seeds. She ignored the dog, who's protests were growing more and more angry and insistent. Soon the dog would wake the humans that lived in the house and they would let t her out and she would come for her with rage and of hunger all her own.

Then, the dim world around her erupted with light. The humans were up. The window pane illuminated and she could see the dog in all her snarling glory, black and tan with flashing eyes. In a flash she heard the door slide open and she knew she only had seconds to escape. She bounded off the feeder and onto the deck railing as the dog came, her nails snapping against the wood and her teeth flashing. Squirrel pulled her tail up short and the dog dove, she smelled the rotten sweetness of her breath as her jaws snapped shut just inches of her hind end.
Still too far from her branch, she made a desperate leap, stretching her body and reaching for the tree. The dog was right behind her. Squirrel realized with great dismay that dog had been getting faster and faster, soon she would need a better exit plan or this feeder would cease to be an option for her.

Her claws found purchase and she quickly raced up and away from the protesting dog. Squirrel managed to get a safe distance before she turned and chattered angrily back, frustrated that her meal had once again been interrupted. The dog, seeing Squirrel had moved out of range, quickly lost interest. She turned tail and began to contentedly roam about the yard. Squirrel continued to scold the big animal for a few more seconds before turning away and heading for her nest. Soon the dog would go back inside and she could make the trip down again until she was again driven off...it was a dance that was a familiar to her now as the coming of the snows and the grumbling of her tummy.
May 10, 2019 at 10:27am
May 10, 2019 at 10:27am
30 Day Blogging CHallenge
PROMPT May 10th
Fact! Today is 's birthday! Write something to celebrate the dedicated Head Judge of the "30-Day Blogging Challenge"

Happy Birthday to Trick-r-Trinketing Sum1 ! *Cake3*

While I don't know him personally, I can see from his port that he is no stranger to service and the sense of community that makes www.writing.com such a special place. In honor of that, I found a great quote on service that I wanted to share...

“Our rewards in life will always be in direct ratio to our service.” Earl Nightingale

I have received many of those Anniversary Reviews and I have appreciated them all! I know that when we encourage and support others, that good will comes back to us in many forms. I hope his day is special, that he sees the return of the kindness he extends to others here and out in the world.
May 9, 2019 at 12:21pm
May 9, 2019 at 12:21pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 9th
What is the farthest you've ever been from the place you call "home?"

When I was seventeen, I traveled to Australia and New Zealand as part of the People to People Youth Science Exchange. It was as far geographically as I have been from home. It wasn't until I was waylaid by a stomach virus for a few days, that I realized how emotionally far I was from the home and the people who would normally comfort me.

I came down sick during my time in the field at Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island is a rustic nature preserve off Australia's Southern coast, perched at the edge of the vast Pacific ocean. It was a mile walk from the barracks to the island's only payphone. My wonderfully compassionate friend Jamie, accompanied me on the journey that took us down a red clay path, tailed by a few of the island's resident red kangaroo population. Relatively docile, kangaroos are surprising large animals. They followed closely behind, close enough to be intimating in my already fragile state. I remember how long it took my call to connect, and how distant my parents sounded over the line. I felt a world apart from them.

Oddly enough though there have times when home has not been a physical place, but I have felt that same spacial distance from it. I have felt cleaved from my sense of home and abandoned in my dark places. I have felt alone and apart, even if in geographical terms, I am within inches of that "home". This scenario is marked by the same despair I felt that day, all those years ago, at the edge of the world.

May 8, 2019 at 8:31am
May 8, 2019 at 8:31am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 8th
In the future, if space travel became possible, would you want to go? What would most influence your decision whether or not to leave Earth?

I have never been as captivated by space, by the limitless of the universe as so many people are. I am largely a grounded child of Earth. I work in aviation and oddly enough, I do not even enjoy flying much. I understand the appeal of flying. I love seeing the passion our clients have for it but it doesn't spark the same desire for me. If I am mildly uncomfortable with my trips up into the blue, then I finding myself in the resounding vastness of
space feels like it would be down right panic-inducing.

I appreciate the incredibly beauty of the solar system. I marvel at the images of Earth from space, that impossible sphere of swirling blues and greens. I love the suggestion that we are not alone, that there is life "out there". I find that fascinating. I would just defer the discoveries to other people, those who have less reservations about leaving the ground.

Without a doubt, I believe that someday commercial exploration of space will become a viable option for those that can afford it. It is just not anything I would put on my own bucket list.
May 7, 2019 at 9:20am
May 7, 2019 at 9:20am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 7th
They say art is subjective. What is art to you?

Okay...I will try to get through this but it is only 8:45am in my corner of the world and I am already done adulting for the day. My spirit animal is clearly going to be the Honey Badger today....all day. *Angry*

honey badger spirit animal

So at the risk of launching into a rant about how much I loathe some people today..."What is art to me?"

I am the granddaughter of an artist. My grandmother is a painter and a poet. She is a crafter of fantastical worlds. She raised me to appreciate art in its many forms, on canvas, in clay, in dance and music and in the language of words. As a result, I think anything that someone creates that can provoke an emotional response from an audience or observer can be considered art in some form. Even though I am not of fan of shock art, I understand the purpose of such installations and performances because I do believe art is subjective. All the same, I believe artists should be self-governed in that their art shouldn't harm or hurt with intention and participation should be wholly optional. People should be able to opt out of art that makes them uncomfortable or is offensive to them.

I enjoy art that makes me think, that gets my gears turning when it touches off something inside. One of my favorite artists is Jack Vettriano. He has several paintings that have become very commercialized, like the Singing Butler, but I'm a bigger fan of his larger, less well know body of work. He paints scenes as rich with tension as they are with vibrant colors. He shrouds his subjects in shadows and hints at a darker side of life that compels me. He is not a darling of critics and his back story is as interesting as some of his paintings. Not all of his paintings would be acceptable to hang on the walls of your family room...and a quick google search would show you why. I have a lot of his prints though, and have several of the tamer ones on my walls. There is such life in the every day scenes he paints and they all speak to me in some way. I could use so many of them as prompts for my writing...like this one for example. It's called The Temptress and seems to just beg for a story...

Painting by artist Jack Vettriano

Or this one...my ultimate favorite, titled the Narcissistic Bathers.

A painting called Narcissistic Bathers by Jack Vettriano

Beauty, like Art, is subjective and not all art is beautiful by design. I happen to find beauty in Vettriano's work but others might not. I think that is the point of art...it can evoke things in one person but not the next. It can inspire and it can also offend. There is a wonderful power in art that way.

May 6, 2019 at 1:01pm
May 6, 2019 at 1:01pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 6th
Regarding your craft of writing, is there something specific you want to improve on or give more attention? What steps will you take to motivate yourself?

As far as my craft goes, developing discipline is the number one thing I need to work on. I need to learn to be more deliberate in making time to write, in writing submissions against deadlines and sticking with something until it is a finished draft. I believe successful novel writers make time for their craft. They write as they would show up to work any job, on time and on schedule. I feel that is isn't enough just to write well, you have to be accountable to the craft and to yourself. Writing a blog and keeping up with challenges like this one, I believe are helping me to build writing into my life in such a way that it will enable me to develop the discipline and dedication I will need to produce the novels and novellas that lie in wait for me. I believe I have the spark, the idea but I need more to carry it all through.

I have visions of wrapping up my day in my writing nook, banging out several chapters a night towards a goal. It is a lofty and luminous fantasy however, as life always seems to intervene. There is always something that seems to drive a wedge between a productive night of writing and me. Everyone lives life under a mountain of different demands.

I have taken steps though. I've created a space for myself - a corner of the house where I can go and work. Now all I have to do is carve out a schedule and stick to it.

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