BY Janelle

10/01 Direct Link
My “little” brother is in the Navy’s nuclear training program. Yesterday was his first wedding anniversary. He’s currently stationed in South Carolina, but just received his orders to ship out to sea. He and his wife are in the process of moving to Virginia, where she will live while he is gone.

I am twenty-three, Steven is two years younger than me. It’s strange that he is the one out saving the world, while I live my cozy little life in my parents home, going to school full-time. It seems backward to me. I should be the one protecting him.
10/02 Direct Link
The Awakening by Kate Chopin is by far my favorite book. It find it interesting to be so familiar with a writing that it feels as much a part of you as your hand or foot, yet each time you read it something new reveals itself.

As I came to the last chapter tonight, Edna was strolling the beach I read, “A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling, disabled down, down to the water.”

This image bore into me. I realized that this wasn’t merely Chopin’s detail, but a mirror of Edna Pontellier.
10/03 Direct Link

I am writing my first novel.

Last week, I submitted the first chapter for critique. It was returned to me today, and I held my breath as I flipped through the first few pages. In part, I had faith in my work, but there was also fear. What if it had been ripped to shreads? I began scanning the comments, and was amazed to find that most of them were positive. The negative feedback concerned small details of a subplot.

I’m very happy about the steps I’ve taken. Perhaps I’ll have a Pulitzer prize on my shelf within a few years. ::wink::
10/04 Direct Link
Tonight: these thoughts from master poet Rumi:

*Listen to presences inside poems, let them take you where they will. Follow those private hints and never leave the premises.

*Let the Beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

*Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

*Gamble everything for love, if you’re a true human being. If not, leave this gathering. Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty. You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses.
10/05 Direct Link
“All day I think about it, then at night I say it, Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?

I have no idea.

My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
~Jelaluddin Rumi

The ecstatic poetry of Rumi is more than my inspiration; it’s my life-philosophy. I can’t explain why his writings mean so much to me, but when I accidentally encountered him at a dusty used bookstore, I felt immediately and completely grounded in his words in which I found Truth.
10/06 Direct Link
I read this today:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

These words help when I find myself wondering if the sometimes mundane things in life have any significance. By what standard is an action considered valuable? Often, it all kind of seems tricky to discern.
10/07 Direct Link
“The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.”
~William Shakespeare

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just recognize a right or wrong choice at first glance? Whether it’s a relationship, our work, or even something as small as which movie to rent on a Friday night.

Perhaps the most bewildering thing about this, is that we often feel very secure and happy in our choices, just before finding out that we’ve made the wrong one.

I suppose the sunny-side-up thought is that each day is a chance to begin again, to try to make better decisions.
10/08 Direct Link
It’s actually pretty difficult to get these little one hundred word blurbs in everyday. When I joined this site, I thought it’d be a breeze. In fact, one of my reasons for joining was to fulfill a “writer’s life” participation grade in my creative writing class.

I like these exercises, though. Not only does it force me to be disciplined, and I am a horrible procrastinator, but it also forces succinctness and tightness in writing. “Oh no, now I’ve got 102 words. And darn it, if I delete two words, it throws my entire paragraph off!” It’s great practice!
10/09 Direct Link
I just finished reading Janet Fitch’s White Oleander, which is due out in theatres this month. I am surprised that the literati haven’t honored it with the credit it truly deserves.

I believe Fitch’s prose alone is reason enough to read the book. Add to that, an excellent plot, well-developed characters, and a Truth which is at times joyous, and at times heart-wrenching. The author doesn’t insult her readers with a “happy-ever-after” ending often used to tie up loose ends. Instead, she offers us a character who has grown strong, and in the end, will survive on her own.
10/10 Direct Link
Today, I read Lysistrata by Aristophanes. It’s such a clever story, really.

I started thinking about the FCC and censorship, etc. So many times, we hear the older generations complain about things going downhill…and how, when they were young, they didn’t have songs and television shows of graphic nature as there are today.

I got such a kick out of Lysistrata, a play produced approximately 411 b.c., is absolutely of a graphic nature. Regardless of content, I personally found the story funny. So, my reflective thought of the day is simply, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
10/11 Direct Link
I’ve been reading quite a bit of Greek literature, thanks to my World Lit. class. And you can’t really go reading the Greek tragedies and skip Antigone, which is my personal favorite.

After reading Antigone, I of course had to go listen to Sheryl Crow’s song, “Crash & Burn” in which she sings,

“Antigone laid across the road
and let a mack truck leave her there for dead,
just because her lover split the scene.
Well, love might be great, but why lose your head?

It’s a good question. What is it about love that makes us irrational?
10/12 Direct Link
Nothing much to say tonight, so I thought I’d tell you about my new pen. My mother bought it for me this evening, a whole whopping twenty-five cents according to her, lol.

It’s an aquamarine blue pen, writes in blue ink. The cool thing is that it’s inflatable. That’s right, inflatable. You blow it up. It’s kind of big, and it’s neat to write with. It could nearly serve as a life preserver for a gerbil.

Remember being very young and being easily amazed by these kinds of things? As an adult, do those things still entice you?
10/13 Direct Link
When I was a little girl, I used to go to my grandpa’s house everyday. We would normally go outside and play in the backyard. It was a very large backyard, with two tire swings.

The coolest part of the yard was a large concave area in the ground, which used to be where a swimming pool was when my mother was young. Grandpa would take me out to it, and tie string to the end of a long stick, where we would fish for fallen leaves. Later, he would buy them from me, paying with pennies and nickels.
10/14 Direct Link
My brother and his wife have been in town for six days today. I am so glad they’ve had time to come stay with us for awhile. My brother, Steven, is scheduled to ship out to the Persian Gulf in December.

I think he’s actually looking forward to it in a way. Not that he’s happy to potentially go to war, but I think he really wants to get out there and do what he can. His wife will stay in their new apartment in Virginia Beach, with their dog Jack who is an enormous German Shepard/Siberian Husky mix.
10/15 Direct Link
This morning my mother and I cooked a huge breakfast for everyone. It was nice to sit down with both of my parents, my brother and his wife, and their good friend who stopped by.

You would have thought we were feeding an army. We had stacks of pancakes, scrambled eggs, a platter of bacon, toast, and a large bowl of hashed browns. In the end, we nearly finished it all off. The three guys alone cleared the potatoes and bacon. It was a great way to start the day. Who knows when we’ll next get to have breakfast together.
10/16 Direct Link
I’ve begun scanning the letters my brother sent from the military into my computer. They’re really interesting to read, because he talks so much about daily life under his commanding officer, and the way everything works. I started thinking about the future, and his children and grandchildren, and I wondered if the letters would still be around.

I’ve been scanning them, along with their envelope which has the postmark on it, to a high resolution tiff file, hoping to find a way to pass these images along. The letters are clear and legible, and the letterhead colors are digitally enhanced.
10/17 Direct Link
Steven and Angela left Texas this morning. They are going to Atlanta to visit her parents, and then will return to their new home in Virginia Beach.

Mom and I snuck out to Dunkin Donuts at 1:00 this morning to buy a bunch of Steven’s favorites – Vanilla Crème.

The guy at the donut shop was very kind and made us fresh ones. There were only two left when we got there, and he said they were probably stale. When he handed us the box, we could feel that they were still warm.

Steven was happy to wake up to them.
10/18 Direct Link
It’s a good thing today is Friday, because I’m not sure I could last another day! :) I’m very glad for Steven and Angela’s visit, and I didn’t realize quite how busy we’d been and how tired I was until today.

Our dog, Sadie, has been roaming around the house trying to find Steven, expecting him to appear from under the couch, or will run down the stairs like he used to. Poor doggie…she really misses him. She would’ve gone home with them if she could have. We adopted her from the pound. Steven was the one that found her.
10/19 Direct Link
Today I took mom to the Japanese Gardens in Fort Worth for their Fall Festival. I usually go out there once or twice a year. I like the Japanese Gardens. They aren’t manicured and organized like most gardens.

They sprawl with Japanese Maple, and several other kind of trees. Little waterfalls run into small tributaries which feed throughout the gardens and lead to peaceful koi-filled ponds.

We had our names written in Japanese, and were given gifts: Origami birds and hats. I came home with a bonsai tree, and my mother with Toad Lily’s which we planted in her garden.
10/20 Direct Link
Today is the 25th birthday of one of my closest friends – Latina Minyoun Watson. I have to tell you about “Tina.” She and I met accidentally in an online chatroom for singles. One of us said something sparking conversation, and the two of us haven’t quit talking since. :)

Tina and I are so much alike, that most of the other chatters assumed that she and I were sisters. We might as well be, lol. At one point, she had the room convinced that we were identical twins, (which, again, we might as well be!!)

Happy 25th Birthday, Tina!!!
10/21 Direct Link
Today I’m supposed to start a new class.. a “minimester.” It’s a Texas Government class, which should be pretty interesting.

I met the professor, Allan Saxe, a year ago. He came as a guest speaker to my philosophy class to speak about his ideas. Professor Saxe is a nihilist and an existentialist.

While I don’t agree with his ideas, he’s a very interesting person. He is very firm in his beliefs but is very kind and gentle about them. I expected him to be a large, booming sort of man. Instead, he is small but very quick and energetic.
10/22 Direct Link
I’ve been working on my semester project for my creative writing class which is due on November 26th. In addition to the semester project, we are assigned a report on a book about writing.

I just finished reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. I purchased the book quite awhile back, but haven’t had time to read. It was one of the choices listed for the report, so I was pretty happy about that.

The book has some useful information, with regard to the author’s personal experiences with writing. She offers practical advice, and exercises designed to keep writers writing.
10/23 Direct Link
One of my best friends called me last night to come and sit with her last night. Her father is dying of cancer, and was expected to pass that evening. It happened at 2:30 am.

Tonight was the viewing at the funeral home, so I went and sat with her. I am nothing short of utterly amazed at the things people will say at a funeral. One woman in particular was acting so inappropriately, that I thought I would have to kindly escort her to her car (under the guise that it was night, and raining, and she was older…).
10/24 Direct Link
Today was the funeral service for my friend’s father. It was actually a very nice service. One of his sons is a police officer for Arlington. It seemed that the entire department showed up to pay their respects.

I was surprised at the number of people that showed up. He was a good man, and he was loved, yet often funeral services are unattended. That was not the case today. In fact, there was standing-room only. He would’ve enjoyed the singing.

He served in the United States Army, and was laid to rest in the Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery.
10/25 Direct Link
What a busy day! Today is my mother’s birthday. I took her shopping to buy her gift, but she couldn’t decide what she wanted, lol. She bounced around from shoes, to clothes, to a tree. Then she talked about getting a treadmill. We looked at jewelry. In the end, we went home so she could “think about it.”

It’s sometimes difficult to figure out what you want for your birthday, so I don’t blame her. We planted a silver maple last week, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she decides she wants landscaping materials to put around the tree.
10/26 Direct Link
One of my favorite quotes:

If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I would tell you I came to live out loud.” ~Emile Zora

I ran across this several years ago in a book by the writer, SARK. I wish I could remember specifically what the context was, but them again.. I suppose it speaks for itself.

Like many creative spirits, I go from extremes of immersing myself in the lives of friends and family, and times of complete solitude. I suppose these extremes are necessary for balanced living. Thought continued in tomorrow’s entry…
10/27 Direct Link

…This is continued from yesterday’s entry…
I imagine that spending too much of one’s life at either end of the spectrum wouldn’t be good for physical, emotional, or spiritual wellbeing. The thought that I’m trying to get express, and doing so rather awkwardly, is that it’s good for we creative souls to remember to go out into the world and share our spirits with others, especially since it seems so many of us prefer expression in solitude. So, Emile Zora’s quote is a good reminder of that…to remember that we are on this world to “live out loud.”
10/28 Direct Link
Two days ago, I had the pleasure of accompanying a new friend to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, to see the Piet Mondrian exhibit (thank you, Russell!) The paintings were amazing. I had been familiar with Mondrian’s abstract grids, but didn’t realize the breadth of his more concrete paintings.

In particular, a mixed media painting titled “Village Church” struck me. The layers of color, and the contrast between the bold green grass over which several leafless trees were placed in the foreground.

I also enjoyed his windmills. They’ve set me off into a project of my own…
10/29 Direct Link
Do you ever get those wacky e-mail forwards with random trivia? I got one from a friend, which I think was titled, “Facts of Life.”

One of the facts offered by the writer was, “It’s impossible to lick your elbow.” I read this e-mail in a computer lab at school which was full of other students. I thought, "That can’t be true! I could easily lick my elbow!" It bugged me to the point that, yes… I actually stuck my tongue out, in the computer lab, surrounded by other students, and tried to lick my elbow.

Turns out, you can’t…lol.
10/30 Direct Link
In Michigan, where I’m from, the night before Halloween is also considered a holiday of sorts. We call it, “Devil’s Night.”

Basically, teenagers (and some adults!) sneak around toilet papering houses, and egging and soaping cars. We had a large bush outside our front door, behind which my father would crouch, with a water hose. Keep in mind, October in Michigan is quite cold! He’d wait for an unsuspecting teenager to creep up to the house with eggs, at which point he’d spring out, scare the heck out of them, and hose them down. Our house was never egged, lol!
10/31 Direct Link
Well, here we are! Entry number 31 for the month! Man, these were harder to get in than I expected them to be.

No profound words for the day, except to say.. Happy Halloween!!!

Are you going trick-or-treating? Going to a party? Passing out candy? Sleeping?

This year, I’m staying in and handing out candy although it’s the first time in a long time. The past three or four years I’ve gone trick-or-treating, and one of the years I had a party. Today, I’m dressing as a Modern Princess: blue jeans, flat shoes, an oxford shirt, and my tiara!