Let’s Make Friends With the World!

Earth from the Moon

“If I can’t impact people then this whole thing is a waste.” ~ Chris Rosati

Barry and I are avid fans of Steve Hartman’s segments on CBS Sunday Morning. A couple of weeks ago he had a tribute to Chris Rosati, a man Steve had profiled first in 2013 with subsequent updates. Chris lived in Durham, North Carolina and had ALS. He said that before he left this world, he wanted to make as many people happy as he could. His first plan to accomplish this was to steal a Krispy Kreme donut truck so he could give away donuts to cancer patients, and to children at local schools.

Somehow Steve found out about Chris’s plan and scheduled an interview. As Steve said in the initial interview, “This plan has some holes in it, and I’m not talking donuts,” to which Chris replied, “One of the blessings of ALS is what are they gonna do?” Chris admitted that his plan was wacky but he told Steve what he really wanted to do was change the world by making people happy.

Of course, when Steve’s story broke, Krispy Kreme gave Chris and his wife an entire bus load of donuts to share with as many people as he could. His good deeds didn’t end there. His smile and generous nature inspired people and especially children all over the country to do random acts of kindness. He had them make videos about their good deeds and then held a red carpet premiere of the videos. After that he came up with the idea of “Butterfly Grants” to help children fund their good deed projects.

Chris died earlier this month. When Steve asked Chris’ daughter what she’d remember most about her dad, she said she was proud of him because he tried to do something hard, he tried to make friends with the world.

It is sometimes hard to make friends with the world. Yet it’s people like Chris Rosati, who remind me that every little act of kindness, especially in the face of so many struggles, does make the world a better place and I shouldn’t stop doing it.

The thing is, I often get caught up in my old ways of thinking and start to assign blame, or I panic about things that I won’t even remember happened in a few months time. Yet I’m grateful that when I go into panic mode, something happens to remind me to take a deep breath, turn my thinking around, and trust that I’m taken care of no matter what.

Today as I was writing this post, something happened that brought up a lot of fear and panic. But I was writing about Chris Rosati and my little problem seemed so trivial and temporary compared to the challenges he faced. I’m sure he had bad days when he wondered why he was going to die too young, but he chose to help others rather than wallow.

So, in honor of Chris’s determination to change the world, I’m going to let go of my panic and feel good that, so far, I have had a really great life. I mean what can be better than being able to help and inspire people?

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Let’s Chill Out!

Stressed Out.

“Our culture encourages us to plan every moment and fill our schedules with one activity and obligation after the next, with no time to just be. But the human body and mind require downtime to rejuvenate. I have found my greatest moments of joy and peace just sitting in silence, and then I take that joy and peace with me out into the world.” ~ Holly Mosier

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” ~ William S. Burroughs

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

This morning at 7:00 a.m., on the day I’m writing this, I got a ding on my phone. I wasn’t even out of bed yet, because my husband doesn’t work on Fridays and it’s a sleep in day. It was a long Facebook message about Social Security and how I needed to pass this along so that we can protect Social Security … etc., etc., etc. I ignored the message knowing that things may look dire, but I believe I live in a friendly universe, so no matter what, I’m going to be all right. Some people may think I’m delusional. That’s okay. I just see the world differently than they do.

One of the privileges of growing older is the fact that I’ve seen and experienced a lot of stuff. When I was younger I used to get upset when things seemed to go wrong. I’d bend myself out of shape, and make myself sick with what I THOUGHT was going to happen. As it turned out most of the time, what I had imagined never came to pass. I had made myself sick for nothing.

So now I know that, first, nothing is good or bad except thinking makes it so, to paraphrase Shakespeare. And second, especially where governments are concerned, nothing happens over night. They may pass bills to gut Social Security, or take away our health care, or yada, yada, yada, but none of that is going to happen tomorrow. AND there are always people whose purpose it is to safeguard our rights and I can rely on them to prevail.

Over the last few months, I’ve withdrawn from groups on Facebook and other social media that continually post dire warnings. I do this because I don’t see the world the same way they do and I don’t need their negative energy clinging to me throughout the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I will stand up for people in my daily life when they need it, but I’m not going to waste my time ranting and raving about the big stuff that happens, because I am thoroughly convinced that change happens from the ground up. Each individual who chooses to chill out, to get a new perspective, to go with the flow, or even point out inequities, helps us create a friendlier, more stress free environment a little bit at a time.

I think there is an ebb and flow to history. We happen to be in a time when there is a great deal of turmoil. But if you look back at what has happened in the past, it’s often those times, when people with differing ideas clash and cause the most innovative advancements to happen.

Here’s an example. I’m reading a novel right now that takes place in 1150. The church had tight control on almost every aspect of life. One of the characters in my book builds a paper mill. That may not seem like such a big thing, but in 1150, most people did not read, so the church controlled information by telling people what to think. With the advent of readily available inexpensive paper, more people began to have the opportunity to learn to read and write, and not pay the church scribes to create their documents, and make copies of or write important books. Of course, the church did not want this to happen and took drastic measures to retain their control on the flow of information. The creation of inexpensive paper did lead, eventually, to the invention of the printing press. That broke the stranglehold the church held on education and the flow of information. Boy, have things changed since then. Now almost everyone can not only read and write, but the entire world is connected by the media and the most ordinary person can express their opinion for the world to read.

There was a great deal of struggle involved to get us to where we are now. Lots of people died in that struggle, but would you want to go back to having the church control information? I don’t think so. As a result, I thank those who volunteered to push for change both then and now.

Having written all of the above, life is a mystery to me. I don’t know why I’m living a happy fulfilling life, while millions of people are stuck in refugee camps, or live under oppressive regime’s, or on the streets. What I do know is that we each have our part to play, and it seems to me that mine has to do with spreading as much joy as I can.

I know that in the long run if a situation looks really bad, it’s just not worth getting upset about. I’ll do what I can to help, of course, but most of the time, as my dad used to say, “In a hundred years, it won’t make any difference.” And the things that we will remember one hundred years from now will be worth the sacrifice.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

To Do a Shakespeare Play or Not To Do a Shakespeare Play

William Shakespeare

“The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.” ~ Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women; they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.” ~ Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

For quite some time I have had a slow burn on about misogyny. The research I’ve been doing for my second book has fueled some of my anger. My protagonist in the past is a member of the suffrage movement, and the one in the present is caught up in events much like the ones going on today. This project has made me acutely aware of how women have been misunderstood and mistreated over the centuries. If you’ve been reading these posts, you’ll recognize a theme.

When I’m not writing, I’m teaching theatre classes and one of those classes offered by the college each semester is a performance class. I don’t always get students to sign up for it because we have a relatively small population at the local campus, and five other campuses spread around our large county, and beyond. With my focus so much on women’s rights, lately, I’ve been thinking about doing Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. Which means I’ll have to begin right now doing a lot of recruiting because doing Shakespeare is quite a challenge.

Measure for Measure is about how a seemingly pious and upright man, Angelo, shows his true nature when given absolute power. In the play, the city of Vienna is ruled by a Duke. The laws are harsh, especially when it comes to relationships between men and women. Sexual offenses are supposed to be strictly, and harshly enforced, but the Duke, for reasons we never discover, has not done this. At the beginning of the play he decides to turn over his duties and authority to his second in command so he can take a trip to Poland, which, of course, he doesn’t do. He pretends to be a friar to observe what happens in his absence. Right away, power goes to Angelo’s head and he imprisons upstanding citizens, except for the fact that they have engaged in sex outside of marriage. The most prominent of these is Claudio, Isabella’s brother, and his betrothed, Juliet. When Isabella, who is about to take her final vows to become a nun, leaves the convent to plead for her brother’s life, Angelo is so taken with her innocence, devotion to her brother, her caring, and devout nature, that he finds himself lusting after her. It’s as if he wants to claim her pure goodness by defiling it.

To modern audiences the central problem of sex outside of marriage which drives the true theme of the play, seems inconsequential and even silly. However, during Shakespeare’s time the laws of the church were taken very seriously. Sex was, and still is, considered original sin and is reserved for married couples alone. You can see why Shakespeare may have used this as a jumping off point for the play. Love and lust are sometimes confused. And there are men who will risk their reputations to take possession of a woman they desire as if by doing so, he can absorb the qualities he admires in her.

When Isabella comes a second time to get Angelo’s answer about her brother, Angelo at first suggests, and then demands that to save her brother’s life, she must sleep with him. It’s the kind of situation women from the beginning of time have found themselves in. From Isabella’s point of view, she would be committing a mortal sin and damning her immortal soul. She’d gladly give her physical life for her brother, but does not want to give up her soul.

In a modern context, Isabella might not lose her soul, but she would lose things just as precious, her sense of self and safety, and her peace of mind. She would carry the degradation of giving into a man like Angelo with her for the rest of her life.

Fortunately the Duke is there to save both Isabella and Claudio, and expose Angelo for the fraud he is. The implication is that this was the Duke’s intention all along.

With the current attacks on women from federal, state, and local governments, as well as the ones from powerful men, this seems like the time to revive this play, or at the very least, adapt it for a modern audience. So, though I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not to direct it, writing this post has pretty much made up my mind to do it. Besides, it’s always a good idea to go back and learn something from Shakespeare.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Some of My Favorite Things

Albert Einstein and wife Mileva Maric

“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!” ~ Steve Maraboli

“There was a definite process by which one made people into friends; it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.” ~ Rebecca West

I have never written a blog post enumerating some of my favorite things even though there have been times when I’ve written reviews of books and movies I liked. Today I want to share some things I like, from television shows, to podcasts, to my new morning ritual. I hope you enjoy.

First favorite thing: I have a new pre-writing ritual. It’s this week’s assignment from Art & Soul Reloaded. I’ve never had a set ritual before sitting down to write, so coming up with something to summon the muses has been fun. I tend to over think these little assignments Pam Grout gives us every week. This time I decided not to do that and just choose some things to do that satisfy me right now. I can always refresh my ritual later.

I have two current favorite songs that I listen to often. The first is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. He has a series of one hour YouTube videos made at different times of the day in different locations. He sings the song and dances to it the first time through and then each successive time through different people dance to his sound track. I’m not a good dancer, but I do dance to this song. It’s a good way to get my blood flowing in the morning and to remind myself that I can choose to be happy no matter what is going on. For me it’s better to write from a happy place rather than from self-torture.

The second song I love is “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast. The composer wrote it especially for this new live action version of the movie. The Beast sings it after realizing that he has fallen in love with Belle as she is riding away to save her father from Gaston. In the song he sings, “Now I know she’ll never leave me, even as she fades from view, she will still inspire me, be a part of everything I do …” That touches me so deeply because we do need each other more than we realize. And those we love are still inspiring and supporting us even if they’re gone. So, as I sit down to write, I remember that I’m not writing alone. My ideas come from everything that has happened to me, and all the love I’ve shared. That gives me the courage to try to put into words the feelings and ideas that rattle around in my head.

Second favorite thing: I’ve never been a fan of listening to podcasts on a regular basis. My husband has several that he listens to on his way to and from work. I prefer silence when I’m driving, but a few months ago one of my Goodreads friends suggested I try Anne Bogel’s “What Do I Read Next” podcast and her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy. After listening to an episode, I was hooked. Anne talks to regular everyday readers, who as it turns out, aren’t ordinary at all. Like the woman who owns, CW Pencil Enterprise – Purveyors of Superior Graphite. Who would have thought that someone could maintain a thriving business selling pencils, and all the accouterments that go with them? Even though this woman was a guest because of the books she loves, we got to hear enough of her story that I want to travel to New York just to visit her store. (Don’t despair, if you can’t travel to New York, she does have an online store.) Or another guest owns a bookstore devoted entirely to books about food. She sells a good number of cookbooks, naturally, but she also carries novels that center around food, or books about celebrations involving food. She even hosts book and food related events in her store. These are creative, interesting women I never would have known about if not for Anne Bogel’s podcast. I love it when people follow their passion and the universe rises up to meet them.

My third favorite thing is the television station NATGEO. When I was younger I was a television addict. I’d sit down with the TV Guide and plan out what I was going to watch during the coming week. In recent years, Barry and I have paired down our television watching and looked for unusual and informative shows rather than the same old sitcoms, or scripted dramas. Earlier this year NATGEO ran their first scripted series, Genius directed by Ron Howard. This first season was about Albert Einstein. It was fascinating. I didn’t know much about Einstein’s early life, his struggles to get his ideas published, his turbulent first marriage, or how he and his second wife eventually emigrated to the United States. It was riveting television, and I learned a great deal about physics in the process. The next season of Genius is going to be about Pablo Picasso. I’m looking forward to that one.

Another series on NATGEO I love is The Story of … with Morgan Freeman. Last year’s series was The Story of God, this season it’s The Story of Us. Morgan Freeman is on a mission, with both series, to help us understand each other better. I have found each episode compelling and even life changing, as he travels around the world asking questions and meeting people with extraordinary stories to tell. I hope you’ll check out both of these shows.

I have other favorites which I may share in future podcasts but until then, have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

What to We Want to Be?

Arizona Butterfly

“This is the United States of America. What have we become?” Social Media Meme

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” ~ Lucille Ball

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle” ~ Albert Einstein

I saw the above Facebook meme the other day. Every time there’s a mass shooting, story about a rich and powerful person abusing their power, violence erupting, and massive amounts of people killed or left homeless, I see or hear someone say, “What has this world come to?” Or “This is not who we are.” Well, I say, yes this is who we are until we ask some new questions. Who do we want to be? What do we want the world to look like? How do we want to treat each other? And what steps do we need to take to create a more loving, compassionate, empathetic world?

I’ve written this before, because I’m thoroughly convinced, that humanity is in the midst of a great evolutionary awakening. It’s amazing how much of the old ways of doing things and ways of thinking are getting exposed. There are just too many to name in this short blog post, but then you already know what they are. For a highly sensitive person like me, what we’re living through right now can be crazy making. There are days when I just want to stay in bed with the covers over my head. But that’s not an option if I want to help contribute to our awakening. So I’m sharing some things I’ve learned over my fifty plus year spiritual journey that are steps you can take if you want to awaken and help make the world a better place in which to live.

First, we have to acknowledge where we are, both in our personal lives, and our global lives. Okay, things are really bad in this country right now in almost every area of life, but that’s nothing new. We’ve not been very good stewards of the planet, or been very kind to each other. It’s just that we have world wide media now. We see all the bad things that are happening, get overwhelmed and throw up our hands. But, I choose to think that everything is a miracle and that all the dark events that are out in the open now, give us a chance to make a choice. Do we live in a hostile or friendly universe? Yes, I think that choice is up to us.

I can’t say that I have always believed we could choose to see the universe as friendly. Like my sister says, “Everyone has a hole in their heart.” I certainly had some challenges, but even though I doubted, there was one part of my heart that kept whispering that life was a miracle, and all I needed to do was change my perspective.

If you look back at history, you know that we’ve always lived with fear, bigotry, misogyny, greed, hatred, disregard for life, and the desire to go back to the good old days. But, history also teaches us that humanity has been progressing. I’d be willing to bet that now more people react to the bad things that happen with shock and disbelief instead of blind acceptance. More people are saying “Oh hell no! I don’t want to live like this.” That’s a good thing. I think more people are doing self-examination which leads us to better societies.

Of course, there will always be people who don’t want to change. They either bury their bad feelings and go on about their daily lives, or they side with the haters. But if your foundations are shaken when bad things happen, it’s an opportunity to wake up and become a part of the tide of change. Looking into our dark places is not pleasant but it’s a necessary part of the awakening process. I know this from personal experience. When I could accept my darkness as well as the light inside, I was able to understand others better.

Second, accepting all of who we are leads to forgiveness of ourselves and others. This is a vital part of awakening. Each of us must find our own way to forgiveness. The methods that work for me, might not be helpful to you at all.

Forgiveness can take time. I once lost a beloved job due to nepotism. For the longest time I wanted revenge, and I got it in a way. Losing that job led me to the realization that I was meant to be a writer. I’m more happy now than I’ve ever been. But, it took me twelve years to fully forgive the perpetrators of my dismissal. I had to let go of wanting things to be different. And I had to learn that forgiving someone doesn’t mean you let them off the hook for what they’ve done. We each have to face the consequences of our actions. In my case, I had to let God take care of their karma. That wasn’t my job.

Third, after embarking on the awakening journey, our purpose becomes more clear. I think it’s easier to answer the questions I posed above once we know our purpose for being here. We see how we can help make the world a better place. But this process is a kind of cycle, or maybe it goes up and down, back and forth. We address our darkness, we accept and forgive, understand a little bit more about who we are and why we’re here, which leads to the next set of challenges to solve.

So, things look pretty bleak right now, but we don’t need to despair about that. It’s just God’s way of calling us to deeper understanding and healing. And because we have free will, we can choose to ignore the call, or get busy and do the work.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

We Must Stop This

Susan B. Anthony

“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” ~ George Orwell

“Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.” ~ Andrea Dworkin

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Welcome to the new Saturday Sage Woman Chronicles posts. Thanks for joining me here.

Today I’d like to share my thoughts about the controversy surrounding Harvey Weinstein because the novel I’m working on addresses women’s rights both during the suffrage movement and now.

In Time’s Echo, both Jenna in the present and Morgan in the past are struggling to break down the barriers that women have had to deal with for many centuries. Surprisingly, I’m having a difficult time writing it, because misogyny is such a complicated issue. It’s like a huge fortress that everyone has assumed is impenetrable, but as we’ve seen in recent years, and especially in the last few months, the fortress is beginning to crumble. Part of my dilemma comes from not wanting to make my novel preachy. I’m trying to walk that fine line between showing what happens to my characters on a personal level in a truthful way, so that my readers can empathize with their struggles, while being accurate to what was and is really happening. If my readers connect emotionally with what’s going on with my characters, maybe it will help shed some light on how to move forward.

When I got the idea to tackle this complicated situation, I did some research so I could get a better perspective about what women have had to deal with throughout history. Misogyny is centuries old. One of the books I read was A Brief History of Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice by Jack Holland. The reasons for men subjugating women are extremely complicated but maybe we don’t really need to go back and look at why they felt they needed to take control. What we do need to do is examine how it works right now.

Holland says that misogyny can be summed up in four words: pervasive, persistent, pernicious, and protean. (pg. 270) And the reason breaking the back of misogyny is difficult is because men and women are linked by biological, sexual, psychological, social, economic, and political ties. If the human race is to survive, men and women must cooperate with one another. And maybe that’s the main reason women are rising. It’s high time men and women had true equality so we can break down this fortress of misogyny and reshape the world to be a friendlier, more supportive place in which to live. I’ve got some ideas about how we can help that happen.

First of all, it seems to me that some men have the idea that everything that exists belongs to them. That applies to territories they “discover” or women they meet, their children, or people they think are inferior to them, and so on. They claim the Scriptures back them up. “And MAN shall have dominion over the earth” or words to that effect. But if we’re all created in the image of God, then we ALL have the right to navigate our own paths without interference.

Second of all, I’ve been a teacher for many years now. At the beginning of every school year we are required to take refresher workshops. one of them on harassment. The law states that whether or not harassment has taken place is determined by the victim (for lack of a better word) rather than the perpetrator. That means when a person claims they are being harassed, the law says we are supposed to believe them and take appropriate actions. So victim shaming and blaming has got to stop. A woman, or any other victim, does not ask to be harassed, raped or abused in any way. People need the support of the law, not condemn the victim.

Third, people have to speak up when they’re assaulted in any way. I would be willing to bet that almost any woman you care to ask has at least one story of being harassed. We need to teach our children to not only respect others, but to have empathy for them too.

I was so lucky to have the father I did. He taught me that I had every RIGHT to say no to a boy who thought that he had a RIGHT to my sexual favors just because he paid for everything on our date. And I did have at least one time when a boy tried to play that card. I pushed him away and told him if he wasn’t going to take me home, I was going to get out of the car and walk. He drove me home and we never went on another date.

When I was about to enter ninth grade, we moved to a new small town. I was the new girl amidst a group of students who had grown up together. As a result, I was harassed by the boys of the school. They thought they were teasing me as a way of welcome. That’s not how I took it. It was the age of mini-skirts and one day when the teacher was called away from the classroom, a few of the boys decided it would be funny to put me into the tall, narrow trash can in the room. They then pushed me out into the hallway and stood by watching hoping I’d try to get out. Fortunately I was rescued either by the teacher, or the girls in my class. That wasn’t the only incident at that school. Another day a group of boys, teasing and harassing me, pushed me into the boys bathroom. When I came out, the principal happened to be walking by. Fortunately, he had been my principal at a school in another town, so when I told him what had happened, he believed me.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last time I was faced with harassment. Another incident happened when I was in college. I had a summer job working on the campus grounds keeping crew. I was paired with a man old enough to be my grandfather. At first he was nice, but soon he began making lewd comments and eventually he began touching me in inappropriate ways. I hesitated to report the situation because often in such situations women aren’t believed. Thank heaven when I finally told my supervisor what was happening, he said, “Oh, no! I’m not going to stand for that.” I was moved to another crew. I don’t remember what happened to the older man.

It’s sad to say that women throughout the ages have had to learn to maneuver, manipulate and endure all kinds of horrible situations involving men, if they survived to grow up at all that is.

So these latest revelations about Harvey Weinstein have provoked a frenzy of discussion about misogyny. Any time there’s a big controversy about any topic, it’s an opportunity to untangle the hows and whys and make decisions about how to solve the problem. The four “Ps” that Holland talks about in his book, apply to more than just misogyny and we need to be persistent in dismantling practices that were never right to adopt in the first place.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments and likes.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Before You Buy Those Christmas Gifts

Horse Sculpture by Alan Potter

“Giving gifts to others is a fundamental activity, as old as humanity itself. Yet in the modern, complex world, the particulars of gift-giving can be extraordinarily challenging.” ~ Andrew Weil

“I think it would be bad for culture and the art if artists and people who develop the apparatus to support those artists don’t get paid.” ~ Lyor Cohen

“We have to support our local artists. It’s just that simple. Otherwise, we will have no art.” ~ Al Jourgensen

My husband and I are lucky. We have lots of artist friends and our house is filled with beautiful artwork, much of which my husband has created, or traded for. Yet, only recently, since I published my first book, did I understand just how important it is to buy original artwork.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting the gift cards so I can buy the things I’ve been wanting, and the other thoughtful gifts people give me. But the most meaningful gifts are when someone gives me original artwork. On a recent birthday my mother-in-law gave me a pair of hand carved busts of an African man and woman. I cried when I opened them, they were so beautiful. And I love the handmade earrings and necklaces, and other artwork my husband buys for me from his artist friends. And, of course, I love getting books.

This past week was the annual Art in the Park in our home town. We took Barry’s parents so they could buy a gift for their neighbors who have been picking up their mail. I thought it was nice that they wanted to give them a handmade gift. After they purchased the gift, we visited a potter friend of Barry’s. He and his wife had invited us to dinner one Christmas season when Barry’s parents were visiting. It was fun for them to connect again. Alan creates whimsical figures, mostly of animals. I have always loved his horses. As I looked around the booth I saw the beautiful horse figure pictured above and I decided to buy it. I did this following advice I recently read about supporting fellow authors. It’s important to buy their book, even if you aren’t going to read it, because it supports all the hard work they put into creating the book, and it’s good karma. I think that principle can be applied to supporting local artists as well. Art is a reflection of someone’s soul. Buying those that speak to you enriches our life. Yet, often people balk at paying so much for a piece of artwork not appreciating the time and effort expended in its creation.

One day when my sister and I were talking about the situation in this country, a kind of radical idea struck me. We have been brainwashed into thinking that buying goods and services for the least amount of money possible is a good thing. That’s why Walmart, Costco, the Dollar Store and other stores of that type have sprung up all over the country. We have been encouraged to buy cheap, kitchy stuff that we don’t really need. Slowly the idea of buying cheap, then when it breaks, buying another equally cheap item to replace it, has become the norm. We’ve never stopped to think who benefits from planned obsolesce? What happened to the notion that when we need to make a purchase, we should first consider the quality of what we want to buy?

Barry and I spent last Christmas with his family, and I was happy to hear our nephew and his wife say that they were saving money to buy a dining room set made by a local master craftsmen. It was going to be an expensive purchase, but they wanted it BECAUSE it was handmade with great care and would last many, many years. I loved that!

There are certain things that are worth spending a great deal of money on. As my father used to say, “Buy the best and you will never be sorry.” So, I’ve begun to change my ideas when it comes to buying clothing, books, and other household items. Knowing that I’ve purchased the best just makes me feel good. Buying artwork to enrich my home gives me very much the same feeling. I’m not only paying for the piece, but the time the artist spent making it, and their artistic vision.

I hope to begin a trend of showing appreciation for wonderful craftsmanship by taking the time to consider giving quality handmade Christmas gifts this year. They don’t have to be expensive, but it would be nice if they were unique and well made. If you do this, you will help support an artist so they can continue to make beautiful things for us to admire and appreciate.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and liking my posts. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Thanks Pam Grout

This picture speaks for itself

“Show up, show up, show up and after a while, the muse shows up, too.” ~ Isabel Allende

This week I’ve been doing the week 6 exercises from Pam Grout’s Art & Soul Reloaded. We were supposed to write seven blog posts, which was a bit of stretch for me. I’ve been posting once a week since spring or summer of 2013, yet as I put my mind each day to what I was going to write for the next post, ideas came to me. Now I won’t say that they were fantastic ideas, but since I’m in the habit of doing lots of self-reflection, I was able to come up with enough ideas to complete my assignment.

The amazing thing is that this week my in-laws have been visiting and we’ve been doing some galavanting. So, I’ve had to fit my writing in where I could. And that’s the real advantage of doing this exercise, making writing my priority. Doing that is what Steven Pressfield calls being a professional. In his book The War of Art, he explains the difference between being an amateur and a professional: Don’t fit your creative endeavors around the rest of your life,  make your art a priority and do it every day no matter what.

I have to say that I write almost every day, but I’m not sure I’ve got that professional attitude quite yet when writing my novels. I am always thinking about my novel, but I’m not always sitting in the chair writing new scenes, rearranging, or revising everyday.

After doing these exercises, however, I’m going to commit to two things, I’m going to add a blog post on Saturdays so that I’m posting twice a week, and I’m going to sit down and do some work on my novel every day.

That’s all for today. We’re going on an outing again today, the last day or my in-law’s visit, so see you Wednesday.

Thanks for reading, commenting and liking my posts. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list

Routines and Ruts

Oregon Trail wagonwheel ruts

“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.” ~ Henry Van Dyke

“I saw my mother in a different light. We all need to do that. You have to be displaced from what’s comfortable and routine, and then you get to see things with fresh eyes, with new eyes.” ~ Amy Tan

Sometimes it’s good to have my regular routine shaken up a bit. My in-laws are visiting and we’ve been having so much fun doing things Barry and I wouldn’t normally do. That’s why vacations are so important. We get a chance to vacate our lives, to explore, or experiment, which in turn help us discover new things about ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but I get stuck in ruts and it’s sometimes hard to pry myself out of them. On the one hand, I’m attached to my daily routine, on the other I feel like I’ve become uninteresting because I’m bored but don’t want to admit it.

I know people who go to the same vacation spot every summer, or who eat at the same restaurants. I’ve never understood that. I know that there are multiple layers to be discovered about a place. If it’s true about people, it can also be true about places. But I also want to explore new places and see and feel the beauty and wonder they offer.

I’ve been reading Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin. At first I didn’t get what he was trying to do by describing New York City in such detail as the nineteenth century turned to the twentieth. I’m not a big fan of large cities, which has more to do with being a highly sensitive person than with the merits or downfalls of cities. But as I continued reading, I felt that Helprin was doing something I had tried to do in my book, he was giving the city and surrounding countryside different personality traits and he describes them in such interesting ways that I began to feel that I had misjudged them, especially New York City.

As I’ve traveled to various places around the world, I’ve felt subtle differences that a place embodies. When Barry and I took our trip around the world in 1996, we did have a stop for a few days in New York City. It was difficult for me to be in all that energy. It was the same at most of the large cities we visited in various countries around the world, but after reading Helprin’s book, I’m beginning to feel differently about cities.

Reading is much like visiting a new place. It’s a way to shake up our ideas about the world and the way it works. We get a chance to hear a character’s thoughts, and understand what motivates them. I’m looking forward to finishing reading Winter’s Tale. It’s a book one could read over and over and get something new from every time through.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments and likes.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.