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Spiders and storyweaving

Over the last couple of weeks, I have encountered spiders regularly in my bedroom. One spider at a time. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in a house and so I haven’t really encountered spiders very often in my adult life. (During the emptying of my old apartment in November and December, I found and dispatched a number of spiders from the dark and dusty recesses of the various clutter-filled cubby holes, but that was in conjunction with a whole lot of other multi-legged undesirables; otherwise I hadn’t encountered more than a handful of spiders in my own home in my entire adult life.)

I’m not afraid of spiders — in fact, an old boyfriend had a pet tarantula that I held and let crawl up my arm. (As an aside, if you’ve never held a tarantula, you really should at least once in your life. It’s a most remarkable sensation — their “feet” feel like the hook side of velcro, which is not at all what I expected. And it tickles.) But I don’t like the idea of spiders getting into things they aren’t meant to be in, like my hair. So I have difficulty letting them remain in areas where that is a possibility. I’ve tried to explain to them that there’s an entirely empty bedroom next to mine that they are welcome to take over, but they seem to like mine best. It’s not a good mix.

During all this, and despite the fact that I’ve long considered getting a spider or spider web tattoo, I’ve never considered that perhaps the repeated presence of the spiders might have a more symbolic meaning. My weekly class with Asia Voight last night featured one of my favourite authors, Dr. Steven Farmer. He spoke about power animals and spirit animals and about learning to recognize when the repeated presence of a particular animal brings a message for you. While I was listening, I decided to bring up the Spider card in his “Messages From You Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards” iPhone app:

Trust the creative spark you’re feeling, and express it through writing stories that inspire and enlighten.  The pulse of creativity is especially strong right now, triggering a not unfamiliar and compelling desire to express yourself through creative writing. Whether or not the tales you weave are true, whether they’re based on actual experience or the imaginings of your fertile mind, each day sit yourself down and pour out the words that come to you. Don’t ponder each sentence or paragraph; just write whatever wants to be written through you. To inspire and enlighten others, you don’t need a profoundly complex tale. Start by describing a personal experience, one where you gained some insight that may also be useful for others. However, don’t focus on how people will respond to your story; instead, just enjoy the process of writing without judging your work or yourself. […]

Associations: Creativity, wisdom, weaving, balance, storytelling, writing, connectedness, inspiration, femininity, nurturing, communication, imagination, individuality

It touches on two things that have been on my mind lately: blogging and continuing to work on the novels I started for past 3-Day Novel contests:

  • Blogging: I didn’t write much in this blog after Maci died because, well, I just really couldn’t put what I was going through into words. Since the move, I’ve been wanting to write more here, but I’ve been conflicted. This blog has always been my general, all purpose blog. I’ve tried to keep most of my spiritual and writing ramblings to other blogs I’ve created for those purposes, but that hasn’t been working for me so far as it has led only to dozens of half-written and halfhearted draft posts strewn across all of the blogs, with few actually published. I don’t want to split myself apart like that any more so I’m going to reintegrate myself into this one blog. And I’m going to start trying to post regularly — perhaps even daily like I did before. I do have thoughts to share that might well help someone else, and if not, the writing is the thing. If it only helps me to sort things out, then it will have done its job well.
  • Writing: When I moved, I threw away most of the books I’d collected over the years. The relatively few books I kept tend to fall into three categories — spiritual, technical writing or grammar, and creative writing. The technical writing/grammar books I kept because I expect to one day go back into technical writing and many of the books I have are hard to come by today; the spiritual books are relevant to my current intentions for my life; and the creative writing books speak to my long-held and newly-renewed desire to write and publish (even if on my own) a novel. Today, I received my participation sticker for last year’s 3-Day Novel contest and a pretty hefty discount offer for this year’s contest fee (30% off). So I signed up again. Between now and then, I would like to revisit some of the other stories I’d begun for past contests and finally get them written. One in particular — one that speaks to the interconnectedness of all things — seems to want to be written now and so I think I will start on that one. One of my biggest difficulties with past contests is that I lacked the discipline to sit down over a 3-day long weekend and try to write an entire novel. By making a commitment now to write at least something every day, perhaps I will be able to succeed in September. More importantly, the stories already bursting to be finished will be that much closer to completion and release into the world.
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Indecisiveness

Today I received an invitation to attend a day-long big corporation design meeting at the end of March in Washington, DC, for a volunteer project that I’m passionate about. Flight, hotel, transportation, and most food paid for by the big corporation.

I know. That should be an easy decision, and that decision should be “Hell, yeah!”

But attending means taking one, perhaps even two, days off work (and no work means no pay for a contractor). That would be about 1/7 of my monthly pay I’d be giving up, which is a particularly big deal because of lingering financial issues related to my lengthy underemployment over the last year.

I don’t have a passport. I’ve never had a passport. I’d have to get photos taken, find a guarantor to vouch for me, and then apply for (and more importantly pay for) express passport processing. The fees are an issue right at this very moment, but more of an issue is the time — I’m in the middle of two fairly intensive freelance jobs at the moment (not to mention my “day” job) and just trying to figure out where to squeeze getting a passport in there stresses me even more than I’m already stressed out.

And there is the issue of leaving my cat alone. He’s old. He’s still unwell. Leaving him alone for a day wouldn’t be too bad (he’s already alone for half a day on days I’m working), but if I end up trying to mitigate the payment losses by going directly from the airport to work, then he’d be alone for almost two days.

I have to decide by end of day on Friday and I just don’t know. I’m truly torn, though I admit I’m leaning towards declining the invitation as that’s the option that eases my stress the most. But it would be a huge shame to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — the company isn’t likely to extend the offer again in the future, especially since it looks like almost no one who has been invited to attend in person will actually be able to go.

So…I just don’t know.

And I have less than two days to change that.

Word!

The NaBloPoMo theme for daily blogging this month is “In a Word”, wherein you’re supposed to choose a word and build a blog post around that word, whether it’s just a word that strikes your fancy at the time or one that describes your overall day. It’s up to each blogger to decide what exactly it means. (And you’re by no means required to stay within that theme — the point of NaBloPoMo is really to just blog every day, and the theme is a tool you can use to inspire you to do that.)

I’ve been AWOL from this blog for months now, posting only occasionally. So I thought I might try (once again — I haven’t succeeded yet, though that doesn’t stop me attempting it) taking part in NaBloPoMo this month. I like the idea of picking a word a day to blog about. It’s likely to mostly be a word describing my day or state of mind that day, but who knows.

Call me crazy…

National Blog Posting Month - March 2010…but I’ve decided to try to tackle NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) again. If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you know that, for a couple of months in late 2008 and early 2009, I tried to blog every day. It can be tough to do, but it’s good for improving your discipline if, like me, you frequently just don’t get around to writing.

So, starting tomorrow, I’ll be attempting to write at least one post every day for the 31 days of March. I can’t guarantee that all (or even any) of them will be brilliant, but I plan to pick through the many, many, MANY half-written posts sitting in my Drafts folder. That’s a win-win for everyone.  🙂

I think I’m officially “a blogger”

Almost the entire time that I was in Toronto earlier this month, I was working out in my head how I’d blog about whatever it was I was watching or doing. If I’d been there on my own, I’d’ve hauled out my netbook and done it right then and there, but Nik was already glaring at me because I was fidgety — I don’t think she was impressed when I told her what was going on in my head when I was supposed to getting enlightened.

And by the time we got back to the hotel room, there was no time on my own to write everything down. (Yes, I could have written it by hand, but that’s journalling, not blogging — besides, I can’t handwrite fast enough to keep up with my brain and I’d never get around to transcribing my notes either.) I kept forgetting to take my camera with me, which ruined the blog posts in my head. (They needed visuals, dammit, and I blame XUP for that because her posts always have visual aids.) By the time I was home, there was little point in writing the posts I’d had in mind (the moment had passed) so I just wrote the one.

The lesson I learned is that I need a BlackBerry with a built-in camera so that I can write surreptitiously when the urge hits me. Now I just need the job that will allow me to afford that. 😉

 

(ooh, hey, on a completely unrelated and mostly irrelevant note, today is the day I was supposed to be born 44 years ago, but I held out until the sun had just moved into Taurus. When I’d made the decision that it was time, my mother barely had time to get through the traffic to the Halifax Infirmary — I was almost born on the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge. I like to think I waited so that I could give my older Aries brother a hard time, as only a stubborn cuspal Taurus-Aries can do to an Aries…we know ALL the buttons to push.  ;-))

The down side to anonymity

I’d considered before what would happen if someone I know in Real Life attended one of the  Ottawa blogger breakfasts, too, but that seemed to be an outside chance. Now I realize that it not only has an outside chance, it’s a dead certainty.

And that leads to my conundrum. If I attend one of these breakfasts, I either have to be answerable to my real name or I have to ask people that I might know to pretend they don’t know me. One exposes who I am (defeating the purpose of having a semi-anonymous blog) and the other is just plain weird. So, the only real option I seem to have is to just not go. Or restart my old, non-anonymous personal blog so that I can actually attend as myself.

Cookies from strangers

I have my browser set to prompt me to accept or reject cookies for every new site that I visit. Most times I reject all cookies for a site, unless I actually need them to view the content and really want to access that content, e.g. online banking, e-mail, membership sites.

Most sites don’t really require cookies for the site to actually function, they just use them for tracking purposes or for managing logged in sessions. Most still allow you to view the information on the site, even with cookies disabled. Some, though, try to force unnecessary cookies on you in order to view any of the content on the site. That annoys me.

Last night I was trying to browse some interesting-looking blogs that were featured on the WordPress.com home page and discovered that domain-mapped WordPress blogs (i.e. blogs that are hosted at WordPress.com but use their own domain names) are completely unviewable if you are logged into your WordPress.com account but don’t accept cookies for the domain you’re trying to visit. What it is apparently trying to do is load the blue WordPress.com account panel at the top of the page but can’t if the cookie is rejected. So what it ends up doing instead is getting caught in a loop, trying to load and reload remote-login.php?login=sessioncode on the domain.

According to the WordPress support forums, WordPress is aware of the problem but has no plans to fix it. So, in the end, if you encounter that problem yourself and really want to view the site in question, you’ll have to accept cookies for that site. Me, I haven’t yet hit a domain-mapped WordPress blog whose content I want to see badly enough to overwhelm my intense annoyance about the cookie requirements. Your mileage may vary.