Tag Archives: philosophy

Ruminating (moo!)

Writer meme twilight

I’ve seen some peeps asking about NaNoWriMo, which I have participated in many times over the years, hitting 50K words on several occasions. I did not NaNo last year though, nor am I doing it this year. Frankly, I can’t imagine ever doing it again.

I achieved my goal of completing full-length novels ~ I have 4 novels, 1 novella, 4 short stories, and 6 books of poetry, all available for purchase on Kindle. None of them sell, partly because I despise marketing and partly because there are so many indie books for sale that it is impossible for an ordinary writer to get any attention, marketing or not. I have friends who advertise and they do sell more books, but the sales do not exceed what they spend on ads. And maybe the simple fact is that I am not good enough to stand out from the crowd… something to consider.

But doesn’t my love for writing overcome such a silly concern as making money at it? Well, yes and no. I can post poetry here on my blog to get my words seen by readers, and that’s satisfying even without financial compensation. Toiling away on a novel month after month only to get a handful of buyers? Nah. That is not appealing. In fact, my feeling right now is that I will be leaving my half-finished novels in the cloud until the end of time, or deleting them. It troubles my OCD to have WIPs lurking, so it’s more likely I will delete them. They are romances, so no great loss there.

I have something else however: a series of longer short stories that ultimately connect into a whole. About half are finished, which leaves 6 or so to write. I really like these and don’t want to abandon them, so I’m thinking about posting them here. I don’t want them lost in the mass of prompts and such, so I’ll have to figure out a better way, such as making a separate page for each.

There’s a quote going around about how writers turn into monsters if we can’t express ourselves. First, I think it is bad for anyone not to have an avenue of expression for their emotions, whether it’s writing, painting, or simply chatting to a friend. Second, as far as my “monster” tendencies, they have nothing to do with writing (or not writing) and everything to do with stressful circumstances. Finally, for the past few weeks, I’ve been watching more TV than writing, and I don’t feel the least bit monstery because of that.

But what if I didn’t even have a blog? Well, for most of my life I didn’t have one and that was fine. There were many years I wrote nothing but the occasional letter. I am still enjoying this blog though, especially since my refresh, and I appreciate the blogging community. But I do have to take the occasional step back and reevaluate all the things. I haven’t been participating in as many prompts as I used to, particularly the ones that specify word count and/or syllables. I find that makes my work sound stilted. Basically, I only do prompts that actually inspire my creativity, including words of the day when they combine to trigger a fictional scene in my mind or a burst of poetic lines.

~*~

Image from some meme generator.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Afterglow

Moon magenta glow

I turned sixty earlier this year, which was celebrated with (vaxed) friends at a very fun (outdoor) birthday party. Some people insist that they don’t feel their current biological age, but I do and then some. It’s a cruel trick of our perception that time seems to speed up just when we figure out what we actually want in life and then oops there isn’t much time left to enjoy or pursue it. But of course the clock ticks on the same as always in the afterglow of our epiphany. It only feels faster because we have a greater percentage of years behind us than in front of us.

So, yes, in some ways it is indeed a drag getting old, but it beats having a piano fall on your head (one of those cartoon dangers we learned to fear as kids, along with quicksand, but don’t actually hear about too often in reality). Just to be safe however, I frequently eat cake for dinner in case the piano or quicksand is waiting for me tomorrow.

~*~

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

SLS: Love Child

Couple silhouette romance

Jim Adams takes a cue from Fandango this week and has a provocative theme for Song Lyric Sunday ~ sex, doing it or discussing it. As befits my status of an all talk, no action kinda gal, I’m going with sex chat, specifically “Love Child.” This 1968 Diana Ross & the Supremes’ hit was a departure for the group. Their previous hits were peppy love songs, but “Love Child” presents a message. It’s from the point of view of a woman who is being pressured to have premarital sex. She desires her man, but she herself was a “love child,” born outside of wedlock, and consequently grew up poor and feeling judged. She refuses to subject a possible baby to that fate and she tells her man that “this love we’re contemplating is worth the pain of waiting.”

Back then and even now birth control does not always work perfectly and some women wouldn’t consider an abortion ~ this was pre RvW (and pre birth control pill), and we may be there again soon. Already some places in the US are de facto wastelands of choice, which I’m sure makes some readers happy, but I think it’s terrible not to have the choice to terminate, at least early on. Contrary to what some people believe, termination is often a difficult decision and not one made only by young, single, irresponsible girls. Older women have abortions too. Married women have them. So do moms who are overwhelmed with their current lives. It’s no one else’s business! Anti-choicers forget that there is always a man involved in the pregnancy situation, but it’s the woman who has to bear all the physical responsibility, not to mention the financial one if he disappears.

This is one issue I have felt strongly about for decades, and I’m not going to host arguments in the comments. This is my opinion and if yours differs, post it on your own blog. Kudos to the women marching this weekend for our disappearing rights!

In any case, we don’t know the outcome of the “Love Child” story. We hear Diana Ross forcefully state her convictions, but does the man end up agreeing to wait until marriage, or will he leave her for someone more adventurous? Does she end up giving in to the pressure for sex, as women have done throughout history? Perhaps they simply run off and get married… maybe they will end up living happily ever after. We have to imagine how the story ends. But we don’t have to imagine how well the song did on the charts. It knocked “Hey Jude” from the No. 1 position that song had held for 9 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, and “Love Child” sold 500,000 copies in its first week and 2 million by year’s end.

Writing credit goes to R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, and Deke Richards. Bit of trivia ~ the “Supremes” did not actually sing background vocals on “Love Child;” background vocals were provided by The Andantes, a Motown female session group. This was the case for most of “Diana Ross & the Supremes” singles. [Wikipedia]

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

This Too Shall Pass [SYW]

This too shall pass

Happy Monday, my friends! It’s cool here this morning, reminding me of fall and the passing of the seasons, even in Southern California. Melanie starts our week off right with Share Your World, but today I’m flipping her script and beginning at the end. She asks for our personal affirmation, and mine is in the lovely image above: this too shall pass. Whenever I have a bad day, or start down memory lane and get sad, I remind myself that nothing lasts. For me, that’s a good thing. Now onto the questions…

When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

Absolutely! I’m all talk and no action, and that the way I like it.

What does the world need less of?

People. Pollution. Politics.

Do you feel older or younger than your age?

I feel 60, which I am. I definitely do not feel young, trapped in an old body. My body is achy and tired and likes to stay on the sofa. I don’t want to do the things I did 40 years ago. Some people my age are still running around dating and drinking and searching for excitement. Not me! I am very happy to be a sedate grandma, getting vicarious thrills from books and movies. Maybe that makes me sound older than my age? Fair enough.

What is a cause you’ll always passionately support?

I am passionately supportive of a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy for any reason in the first trimester (12 weeks). Please note both caveats. I am not on board with the lists of exceptional circumstances, as I don’t believe you need to justify your desire to end your pregnancy ~ in the first 12 weeks. After that, I think there has to be a serious reason, such as a danger to the mother’s physical health. So I am at odds with both polarized positions on this issue, which is fine with me because I dislike extreme stances.

I don’t want my comment section to turn into a flamewar, so if you disagree with me about abortion (from either side), go post about it on your own blog. Thanks for understanding!

~*~

Image from Zazzle.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Acceptance

jellyfish

The delicate choreography
Of jellyfish drifting,
Entrances the eye…
Ethereal shape-shifting,
Suspended in time,
Going nowhere.
Each dance is a game
Of softly dealt solitaire,
Forming and reforming,
Ending never the same…
Together a kaleidoscope
Of graceful, lacy beauty.
Watching them brings
An abundance of peace,
Acceptance of all things,
Even the ghosts of love–
No longer suffering, but
Dreaming endlessly.

~*~

Image is mine. Poetry form is free verse.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Adios August! [syw]

Share your world

Melanie notes that this month has flown past. I agree! Here are my responses to her Share Your Word questions today…

1. Are human beings required to better themselves and will doing that make them happier?

Required by whom? If you believe in a supreme being, then you may feel required to “better” yourself, whatever that means in your particular belief system. Some of us have internal voices (aka “consciences”) instilled/installed by our parents, teachers, whomever that nag at us to do “better,” which could mean many different things, such as making more money, being kinder to others, cleaning up the planet, etc. Also, some of us have various forms of OCD which compel us to do certain things we may feel are better than not doing them, such as arranging things symmetrically. Yes, this makes me happier! LOL. Actually, messy/disorganized spaces make me unhappy, so putting them to rights simply resets me to “normal.” Gosh, I have a lot of scare quotes in this answer! Anyway, I can’t answer for others about what may or may not make them happy. I think that doing the “right things,” however you define them, goes beyond a transitory state of happiness and is more about feeling good about oneself and one’s place on the planet.

2. Is it easier to love or to be loved?

Again, I’m only speaking for myself here ~ neither. I find both to be extremely difficult. I love my children, grandkids, and parents (RIP). By extension, I love my sons-in law. After that, things get murkier. Do I love my cat Gatsby? I say I do, but when he really annoys me, I’m not sure. I still take good care of him regardless, so maybe that equals love. I don’t know. What about friends? Hmm, also foggy. It’s easy to say I love my close friends, but what would I truly sacrifice for them, if necessary. Again, I don’t know. It hasn’t come up. Don’t even get me started on romantic love because I’m not sure I ever loved any of them. I certainly wasn’t willing to sacrifice much, if anything, to make those relationships work out. As far as being loved? My children love me, and my parents did too. That’s all I know. I’m not sure I’ve ever really been loved in the romantic sense; all the men who said they did acted only in their own self-interest, which is not love in my book. It’s easy to proclaim love when everything is going well, but when it comes time to give something up or make uncomfortable changes for the other person’s well-being and/or the health of the relationship, they all failed. As did I.

3, Outside traumatic brain injury, can memories be completely erased?

I don’t know. I think they can disappear, especially trivial ones, but if you “focus” on trying to forget something, it’s more likely that memory will persist. I’ve forgotten tons of stuff, but I do remember emotionally eventful times. It’s the nature of the beast. I’d rather remember sweet, peaceful moments, but there’s nothing “sticky” about most of those; they just drift past like fluffy clouds. The storms stay with me however.

4. Is there such a thing as a good death?

Sure. My Aunt Lily had a good death. As far as I know, she had a happy life, felt fine, and passed away in her sleep at 80-something with no fuss. Anything sudden and painless over age 80 counts in my mind as the best I could hope for. I’m not expecting that however, due to already feeling crappy every day plus my parents’ medical history. I guess there is another type of “good death,” which is dying for something you believe in, like a war or saving a whale. But except for immediate family, I can’t imagine sacrificing my life for any type of cause these days, since it’s hard to know what is true. Not saying other people’s sacrifices weren’t valid; I simply can’t picture that for myself.

5. What do you imagine is inside a baseball?

Oh, that’s easy. Hot dogs, apple pie, the American flag, blue jeans, summer nights, fireflies, and spongy grass.

Great questions, Melanie!

~*~

Image from Happy Color.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Crazy Rich Asians [repost]

crazy rich asians

[Written in 2018.]

Today’s prompt euphemism reminded me that I didn’t post about the last movie I saw, yikes. So many prompts. So many topics to jabber on about. You know how it is. Anyway, I saw Crazy Rich Asians several days ago and loved it. Fab romcom, just fab.

I guess there might be some slight spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

A few points. Generally, to get the full flavor of a romance, we need to be present at the couple’s first meeting. This isn’t a diehard rule, like the happy ending, but it’s nice to have. I grok that opening with the poker game foreshadowed a later game plus a lot of gamesmanship throughout the film, but still. We could have had a flashback to Rachel and Nick’s cute-meet at some point.

One of the critiques of this movie mentioned that we didn’t get treated to the way “regular” people live in Singapore, only these crazy rich ones. Well, true, but it’s not about sane, average-income Asians. And I wasn’t expecting that. Wasn’t expecting a documentary on Singapore. Why hold the film to this standard? I think that’s really unfair. No one complained that Sleepless in Seattle neglected to show homeless peeps living on the streets. No one said Notting Hill should have shown the poor people in London. These are fairy tales, for cryin’ out loud!

I bet you’re wondering when I’ll get to euphemism. Gotchu. As they’re flying extra mega deluxe first class to Singapore, Rachel suspects that Nick’s family may be kinda… wealthy. He cops to “comfortable,” which she declares is exactly what a wealthy person would say. Is it? Since I’m not wealthy, nor do I pal around with the super rich, I wouldn’t know. But I do know it’s a euphemism for loaded! And I also know that old-school wealthy, as opposed to the “nouveau riche,” try not to obnoxiously flaunt their bucks.

If I were a rich girl (cue music), I think I’d keep things on the down low too. No need for flashy cars or mansions that require lots of people around for upkeep. The more you own, the more you need. One of my blog buddies recently posted about taking the bus, which I remember doing in Chicago, and that had stresses, but mostly people did not interact with each other; traveling by car and dealing with auto maintenance is probably on the whole more stressful. Of course, having a silent chauffeur and unlimited funds for limos could be the way to go. Hmm.

Anyway, like nearly every romcom, so much of the “plot” of CRA is built upon layers of communication failures. Nick didn’t tell Rachel the full story of his family’s empire before whisking her off to a gala event. Rachel’s mother never explained her own circumstances. Side characters are involved in other deceptions ~ to be explored in sequels, I presume. But this is what we expect from romantic comedies. And unless it’s done well, watching the protags resolve their miscommunications can be boring and irritating to sit through, but this one was excellent, IMO.

~*~

Image from the movie.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Water You Talking About? [fpq]

Dolphins in blue water

Today Fandango provocatively asks about our water usage, specifically showers and baths. He mentions that some celebs have stated they bathe less often than “normal” (for Americans anyway). The point of this question relates to the fact that California is in a drought (and has been as long as I’ve lived here), so what am I doing to help deal with our perpetually insufficient amount of H2O?

First, I take a shower (hot and long, ooh) pretty much every day. Very occasionally I will skip one, like on a Sunday when I have nothing to do and nowhere to go. I wake up in pain and the hot shower helps to alleviate that a bit. I guess I’m supposed to feel guilty about this, but I don’t. It’s basically my one indulgence.

Second, I do try to help in other small ways, such as being more careful about dishwashing and laundry. I “save up” for a larger wash rather than doing continual mini-loads, which I think use more water. I’m in an apartment-style condo, so there is no issue of watering my own grass, though we do have lots of nice landscaping that gets watered by the HOA. I have a few indoor plants I water once a week. The cats hardly drink any water, nor do they take baths, so we’re good there. Finally, I don’t always flush the toilet for #1 in my private bathroom at home. Flushing uses a lot of water!

Third, while it’s great to be conscious of how we contribute (or not) to ongoing problems, here are some facts. I know, this is normally a fact-free blog, but sometimes it’s good to shake things up a bit. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, about 50% of water usage in the state is for environmental, 40% is for agricultural, and 10% is urban. What is environmental usage? That would be water used to maintain habitats within rivers, streams, and preserves. As far as ag, we have over 9 million acres of farmland here, which takes 80% of all water for business and homes. (That’s 80% of the 40% apparently, meaning 32%.) We provide a lot of the food for the rest of the country, despite how they’re always bitching about us (I’m saying this, not the PPIC). Total statewide urban usage has decreased from the 1990s even though the population grew. Is that because we’ve been guilted into taking shorter showers? Somewhat, says the PPIC. The use of reduced-flow showerheads and low-flow toilets have helped. But according to the PPIC, the reduction is mostly from changes to landscape watering, which makes up about half of all urban use. By default, the other half (5%) is our personal use. So, yeah… five percent.

My point in stating some facts isn’t to say we shouldn’t care about the possible effects of our personal, daily decisions on the environment. It’s good to be aware of such things, imo, and maybe change some of our habits for altruistic reasons. But let’s remember that most water usage is out of our control, unless we want to quit growing food in California and stop preserving the environment altogether. As a side note, I dgaf what a bunch of wackadoo celebs think about bathing or any other issue. It’s my belief that they periodically say outrageous things to get their stupid faces back in the media.

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Sharing My Avo

avocado

Melanie has some new questions for us this week and here are mine a day late and a dollar short…

1. Can you parallel park (if you drive)? If you don’t drive, can you still skip?

I noticed that the bloggers who answered this question already consider themselves to be excellent at parallel parking, so I am here to provide some variety. You’re welcome! I am a terrible parallel parker and I’m not that great at parking generally. When I pull straight into a spot, or what I think is straight in, I often have to back up and fix things. Why? Because I have horrible depth perception. This isn’t because of aging either; I’ve been this way since I began driving at age 16. Skipping? I just tried and still can, but it hurt my back, like everything else, so I’m not gonna do it again anytime soon.

2. Do you prefer early morning or late evening? Or something in between.

Welp, I don’t know. I wake up with a pounding headache (and a backache) and try to pretend it’s not there, but then I realize I have to get up and deal with it. So I’m not in the best mood right away. Then after a hot shower and coffee I feel a little better, around mid-morning ~ unless the headache has become a migraine, in which case I’ll dose up with meds and hope for the best. Sometimes I get super-tired by early evening, but other times I’m fine until midnight. It doesn’t seem to relate to anything I do or don’t do. As far as creativity, that can strike anytime of day… or disappear anytime. Again, it doesn’t seem to relate to any other thing.

3. Do you like avocados?

I love avocados! I love them by themselves with a sprinkle of salt, and I love them in salads, guac, and any other dishes. They are wonderful.

4. Is mind or matter more real?

Neither is real. Everything is an illusion, bwahaha!

5. Are people in this current generation less or more sensitive than people from past generations?

How far past are we talking about? I have no idea how sensitive early humans were. “Grug, you really hurt my feels when you criticized my cave drawing. I deserve an apology. Then I think it would be a good idea to discuss how to proceed from here to repair the delicate fabric of our friendship. Trust is so important in these perilous times and– holy shit, it’s that saber-toothed tiger again! RUN!”

So yeah… who knows? But my overall feeling is that people have been “the way we are” for many generations and it’s only the comforts of modern society that keep us from behaving like savage animals. Mostly keep us, I should say. I guess it’s fun to pretend we’re either so much better or worse than previous generations. I read this “back in the day” stuff, but how true is it really? There were plenty of delicate flowers all along complaining about things. You think there weren’t “Karens” 50 years ago? Five hundred years ago? There were definitely Karens. (Btw, I hate using that term, but everyone understands the meaning, so I’m going along, baaaa.) Again, I think that more comforts and more leisure time provide more opportunity to focus on trivial crap because most of us aren’t too worried about our next meal or where we’re going to sleep tonight to be safe from the elements. If we had to focus on those things, we’d be less likely to crab about people talking on their cell phone in the elevator or whatever petty annoyance.

I don’t think people were less sensitive when things were less comfortable; I believe any one of us would “toughen up” pretty quickly if we had to. We just don’t have to, is all, so we indulge our sensitivities. And as far as the other side of the coin, the ridiculous notion that there was some mythical time when everything was grand and people looked out for each other and cared about their neighbors… la la la peace and lurve… yeah right sure. If you believe that, please let me know the exact date this occurred.

6. Optional gratitude…

I’m grateful for my daughter Diane’s visit last Friday/Saturday. It was so lovely to hang out with her… and instead of moaning about the visit being too short, I’m just thankful it happened at all. I really like the people my daughters have become and adore spending time with them. This will also be my smile for the week. I plan to see my other daughter and her family soon and visit Diane and her husband Sam over Thanksgiving. Not sure yet if I will be driving or flying. We shall see…

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Quickies 11

movies film projector

Yep, these quickies are all movie reviews. Guess I’ve been in a writing and reading slump lately. It’s a cycle and things will come back around.

1. Irrational Man. This is a strange 2015 film written and directed by Woody Allen (ugh I know… him again). It stars Joaquin Phoenix as Abe, a depressed philosophy professor, Emma Stone as Jill, a student who crushes on him, and Parker Posey as Rita, a married chemistry professor who wants Abe to save her from her boring life. Nothing makes Abe feel fulfilled lately until he considers murdering a judge, which (Abe believes) will help someone the judge is about to rule against unfairly and also give Abe a purpose. He wants to take action instead of merely analyzing concepts. Abe convinces himself it’s the right thing to do, plans it, does it, and feels excited by life again. Unfortunately for Abe, both Jill and Rita suspect him and things deteriorate from there. I liked this film more than I thought I would, especially because I couldn’t stand Emma in La La Land. But she was great here!

2. Throw Momma From The Train. I really wanted to like this 1987 black comedy directed by Danny DeVito and starring Danny and Billy Crystal. Billy is one of my favorite actor/comics. But I mostly didn’t laugh during the film because the scenes with Danny’s mother were just gross and stupid. Billy’s writer’s block angst scenes were pretty enjoyable. But overall I’d give this flick a big meh.

3. This Means War. This is a 2012 romcom starring the adorable Reese Witherspoon and the absolutely yummy Chris Pine. Oh, Tom Hardy was in it too as Chris’ rival for Reese. The plot was completely preposterous and the scenes were ridiculous, but it was pretty funny and cute overall. Did I mention that yummy Chris Pine starred? OK then.

4. Thanks For Sharing. This is another 2012 film and it’s also very weird. It’s about an AA type group except for sex addicts, and no it is not a pretext for 2 hours of pr0n. It’s actually very interesting to learn how this condition affects and ruins people’s lives. Honestly, I too didn’t believe it was a “real” addiction until I watched this film, not that it’s a documentary or anything. We watch the characters fight their demons in their own ways and learn to turn to each other for support. We watch one man (Mark Ruffalo) fall in love with a woman outside the group (Gwyneth Paltrow), who has serious issues of her own, but doesn’t want to deal with an addict. We watch another man (Josh Gad), get fired from his job as a doctor because he can’t quit filming women. We see a woman (Alecia Moore aka Pink) who is completely miserable after meaningless sex but can’t seem to stop engaging in it. And then there’s the group leader (Tim Robbins), in long-term recovery, who seems to have it all together, but his home life is a tragic mess. I highly recommend this movie.

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.