Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



Writing with Author, Laura Davis

I stopped by Gateways,  the largest metaphysical bookshop in the country, says the sign outside the door. Really? I didn't know that. Another sign said Writing workshop tonight at seven.

Local author, Laura Davis, was presenting it. How could I possibly NOT attend? I was there on the spot. How could I turn around and go home? I had only dropped by the store to pick up an item for my son. I wont mention what it is here, because he might be reading and it is a surprise gift. So, both of us now have a gift. I have the writing class! I went into the back of the store where chairs had been arranged, and chose my seat. I was early. Laura was there in the front, waiting for her eager participants. We chatted a bit. Laura is well known in the Santa Cruz area. She has written seven books. I forgot to ask her if she has another one on the way.

It was a little rough on my body to sit there for an hour and a half scribbling in my notebook sprawled on my lap, having to change pens because they felt unfamiliar in my hand, and yes, one of them went dry! I am so used to the computer now, I don't even recognize my handwriting. I think I need to buy one of those books for second graders so I can form readable letters again. However, I did not let that deter me. Onward and upward and all that.

Laura uses some of the same techniques as the author of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. In this case Laura gave us some rules for writing. I like to think of them as guidelines, but really, if one wants to write there must be something solid to guide us, therefore, rules.

Since the class was focused on short practice writings the main thing is to keep the pen moving no matter what you write, no matter what comes up, if you don't know what to write, just write, "I don't know what to write" or whatever comes out of your pen. Don't judge it. Don't stop and think about what you are writing. Ignore the inner critic. Just write, don't cross out, don't worry about spelling or grammar, just keep the pen moving.

The one thing Laura said that I just loved was: "You are free to write the worst crap in America!" (For my readers in other parts of the world, substitute America for your country.)

If it were me, I also would have added, "Kill the inner critic!" It is our worst enemy. Since there is no way to kill the inner critic, all we can do is ignore it. And if it sits over your shoulder nagging, "This isn't right. This isn't good enough. Whatever made you think you could write?" It is very hard to ignore. But, as one practices writing, one can practice ignoring the inner critic at the same time. I think I have pretty much learned how to ignore I.C. as one might be able to determine by my writing style. Grammar, in particular. Style is lacking. Oops, there it is... no self judging! It is what it is.

The practice writing sessions lasted five minutes each and Laura gave us prompts, something to write about. For example: Write about a time when your life was in limbo. That was a hard one for me at first. I wanted to think about it. I wanted to go back over the years and figure it all out. It was so tempting.

With her standing there in front of us all, I could do nothing but put pen to paper and write... "My mind is blank. Limbo is blank." and suddenly it came to me. I recalled a specific time when my brain felt numb, and that was truly limbo for me. The words came tumbling one after another. Looking at it now, I can see the mistakes, and the lack on continuity, and the twisting of the facts, and yet, I will leave it alone as it is. After all, it was just a writing practice. Practice.. not the final exam.

All in all it was a wonderful evening. Challenging to sit there with my notebook askew on my lap, and painful for my body to hold that position, but well worth the pleasure of writing with others, both beginners and old pros. There were a couple of other authors present, which I thought was cool. But, I don't know their names. We were all there to practice with Laura Davis, the author.

She's teaching a more in depth workshop on Sunday morning. I have decided to attend. I hope I can sleep well the night before. I hope I will not be in pain. I hope I can sit in a chair for a long time with my notebook not sliding off my lap. And for God's sake, I hope I will have a pen that will magically make my handwriting legible.

The photo of the Buddha was taken by me, and the artwork representing Limbo I did with photoshop.

What is happiness?

"Happiness. You deserve it. You have earned it. You get to have it and be present in this life, in this place, here and now."

This I found on the blog site of Dot Hearn  called The Writing Vein. In her writing she suggested in focusing on writing about happiness.

I think happiness is a personal thing. You and I might not experience happiness from the same source. So, here is my viewpoint on what happiness is for me.

Happiness is remembering childhood experiences, writing about them and discovering nuances I had not previously recalled.

Happiness is reading old letters from family and friends that were sent to my parents from 1937 to just a few years ago when they both left this world.

Happiness is thinking fondly of my parents in new ways, looking at them from the perceptions of others in ways I wasn't open to. It's like discovering and loving them with a door open into their lives which I never passed through. It's a treasure I never knew existed.

Happiness is seeing my adult children being successful in ways I could never foresee, learning to like them for who they are now. Yes, I would happily include them in my circle of friends if they were strangers, I recently met them and got acquainted.

Happiness is seeing the most incredible thing come true, that I never thought could possibly take place in my lifetime. I have grandchildren, some who are adults and have found their place in the world. Some who are still getting their education and well focused on their goals for their future place in the world.

Happiness is a miracle that never even occurred to me would happen. Not only do I have children and grandchildren, I have great grandchildren. They are all beautiful souls who have come into live to make our hearts break with loving them. They are the future to carry us forward. How long I will live to see where they go? I don't know. It gives me happiness just to know how they grow, how their personalities are developing, and yes, even their grumpiness, when it manifests.

Happiness is embracing the suffering and survival of my past, and welcoming the knowledge and compassion which it has brought me. It turned me unto a path I never would have taken. Happiness is knowing that I actually have strength and courage I didn't think. I can be thankful, in some ways, for the torment I endured.

Happiness is having a day without pain, a day I can walk naturally, a day where I feel emotionally as close to what one might consider "normal".

Happiness is realizing I have a smile on my face just from looking at LOL cheezburger cats, or experiencing something on YouTube I never would have consider worth watching until that moment, thanks to friends and family for sending me the links.

Happiness is going through sixty years of old photographs, having my Grandparents histories, wondering about old timey things about which I haven't a clue.

Happiness is knowing who my ancestors were, learning about their culture, geography and history of where they lived. Knowing where I came from made me feel connected to the past for many generations. It made me feel more than I am, more than one person, alone on this planet, more than just one set of DNA.

Happiness is having a digital camera so I can take as many pictures as I want without having to worry about the cost of having them printed, deleting all the unacceptable ones, and finding that one perfect picture I didn't realize I had managed to catch with my camera. Those are the kinds of pictures I want printed and framed.

Happiness is being aware I've got a smile on my face that was not there before, a smile I have when I'm by myself and not triggered by someone else, a smile that is my very own. Those smiles are so important to me, especially because of a lifetime of not smiling, of living with depression. Smiles are like little dancing sparkles bursting from my heart and warming me inside and out, even if they only last a minute.

Happiness is my 20 year old cat looking eye to eye with me while the universe and we became one during her last moments. Naturally, there was grief and sadness involved, but that experience is etched in my soul forever in a kind of deep "knowing" that truly is indescribable.

I think I would be bored if I was happy all the time. I would have nothing to compare it to, nothing to make me cherish it all the more because it is so rare and precious.

Present in the group photo above are: from left to right starting at the top row; Clint Mountain, David J. Deane, Bill Reuter Sr., James Deane, xxxxxx?, xxxxxx?

Bottom Row, Clint's son or nephew, Suzan Deane,  Bill Reuter Jr., Genevieve Borden Deane, Roger Deane, and last but not least our dog, Tammy


The picture of the young man on a Youtube page is my adult son, Xavier who works in the video game industry.

From the old time picture from 1911 My Grandmother's sister, Anna Evans in Thompson car in front of Ned O. Tarbox's store. Cattaraugus County, New York


The picture of the calico cat is Keli as described above