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Love Poem v.1

7 Dec

A shadow sits across my heart, a light has lost its glow
An echo deep within my soul, lies restless on my spirit
Silence fills wasted time on thoughts that could be aired
Tears move a tired heart, that know mistakes have been made

Reminders flash when least expected, all my senses feel the wave
A song, a word, a book, a sock, all scream your name at me

Distance grows as you drift away, I try to cling the line
Your face is clear, your presence waned, your essence miles away.

I wake alone, no warmth at my feet, no back to rest my head
The taste of your skin, the curl of your hair, the way you stroked my thigh
Deep dreams –  wake my sleeping being, your eyes were wild in mine
Breaths drew deep and desires rise, I wanted you close to me

My body moves to sync with yours, but in vain with empty space
My back arches, from the bed, to meet your missing touch
Hunger curls my body tight, my hand reaches out for yours
Stillness stirs as reality dawns, my body screams out for yours

My sleeping beauty, now sleeps, far away from me
What magic potion will take me there, for love not knows the way

NMG.C

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Einstein, default settings and inner change

16 Nov

Albert Einstein (some say) once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results was the definition of insanity.  My good friend Sheena once said that if you are sick of getting what you always get, stop doing what you always do  – the original source of this quote is unknown! Now, there is nothing wrong with my ears, nor my cognitive processing, but despite hearing and sagely acknowledging both of these wise quotes many times, my general demeanor and disposition would suggest otherwise to an on-looker.

Personal or inner change is difficult to achieve – the process is long, slow and frustrating with genuine ‘turning-points’ being too few and far between to keep us determined. We know we desperately want to change – what ever it is we are trying to change – to make our lives better. We set ourselves at the ready, know what we need to do in the given situation and we have our plan of action all worked out.

It was at this point that I failed spectacularly every time. Despite my best thought-out intentions, when it eventually came to the crunch – when the ‘upgraded me’ was due make its grand entrance, I would unceremoniously revert back to my default settings and fail miserably.

Inner change is essentially re-programming, especially when you are dealing with deep-seated issues like self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Each of these elements revolve around the other, knitted tightly through themselves and it is almost impossible to have one without the other two. Changing the perception of yourself from within is a lengthy process, taken in tiny steps through a plethora of thoughts, interactions, reasonings and judgments over a long time. It’s a long haul for anyone.

For me, I was completely useless at standing up for myself. End of.  I hated that I mostly always took on the role of  inferiority by default. It was only when my back was completely against the wall that I fought my corner – and even then, my fight was unsteady, flinching and unconvincing. I didn’t believe in myself.

Trying to change this was enormous and at the same time it all depended on so many variables – past experiences in similar situations, knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of who or what I was dealing with, my own self-confidence on a given day and my challenged sense of my own self-worth. It was so difficult to stay in control – to try to come out evens – when you always felt less strong than those around you.

My constant disappointment in myself at my inability to stick up for myself finally forced me to attempt to change. The main catalyst for attempting this change was a massive life event whereby my default response of inferiority pushed me into deeper trouble and unwittingly assuming guilt. I was so out of my depth, was so distraught and frustrated that perhaps the fight element of the ‘fight or flight’ response kicked in. Maybe it was the final straw and I had been pushed to the limit but deep within me the spark of self-worth ignited. Finally.

It was a big day – not because of the event itself but because I was sick of getting what I always got, so I stopped doing what I always did. It wasn’t an immediate over-all change – but little events happened after that where I could practice what I had learned from the big event – sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed.

 

Eventually though, a new pattern (although sporadic) began to emerge. It was slow for sure but I am now stunned by the internal knock-on effects and inner strength standing up for yourself brings. It was a tough slog to get on this road, but I am slowly beginning to feel like the person I should have been all along.

NMG.C

Finding your story’s controlling idea, and a whole lot more.

6 Jun

(Image via here)

What is my first novel really about or as Robert McKee puts it, how do you find your story’s controlling idea? This is the question I have been mulling over for the past three weeks. Now, I do know the story, as I wrote the whole thing in virtual solitude over 3 months of constant writing – not quite Jack Torrance from The Shining, but solitude nonetheless. When I stood back from it (via the failed editing attempt of May/June), I was unable to put my finger on what the story was fundamentally about.My head reeled with the messages that filled the pages and I knew that all these messages had to sum up to something of importance. But what? What exactly was I trying to say and what did I want to tell the world??

When I found myself in my local book store in a last ditched attempt to salvage the remaining shreds of my writing confidence, I needed something that would spell out to me in layman’s terms the fundamentals of telling a story that readers like to read. My fear was that my manuscript was a jumbled up brain-dump of unstructured narrative that failed miserably to understand what it was really about or what it was trying to say?

I left my local book shop with Robert McKee’s ‘Story’ – the only book in the entire store about how to tell a story, albeit in the guise of screen-writing, but I figured the principles would transfer to novel-writing. The book was like a god-send, mapping out the elements of story-telling as if I had wished for the book to be presented as such. And then there is was, on page 117 – How do you find your story’s controlling idea? In other words, what have you been writing about for the past 80K words?

McKee advised to look at the ending, the climax of you work and ask two things:

1. ‘As a result of this climatic action, what value, positive or negative charged is brought into the world of my protagonist?’

2. ‘Tracing back from this climax, digging into the bedrock, ask: What is the chief cause, force, or means by which this value is brought into his world?

The sentence you compose from the answers of the two questions becomes your controlling idea.

After I finished this exercise I left my writing desk and went out to sit in the garden, reading the sentence I had written over and over again. I don’t think I was prepared for what I had written down. Fifteen minutes later, when I re-opened McKee’s book and read the remaining paragraph, McKee talks about how this exercise works as a form of ‘Self-Recognition’ and that you can be shocked by what you see reflected of yourself in your storys climax. I was floored.

This tiny exercise was both incredibly insightful yet also quiet unnerving but it has given me a whole new outlook and perspective on what I have written. It has opened my eyes to strong elements of my story that I was unaware of, I guess mostly because the book is about me. Thanks Mr. McKee, finally I think I understand something about myself that I could never quite put my finger on!

NMG.C

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