Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thinking Thoughts Quietly

After watching our dogs do their elaborate dances with each other, we got two identical new dog beds with higher rims, to aid them in what appeared to be a quest for nests. They love them and Hattie sleeps in one or the other all the time. Sophie, always enigmatic and hard to figure out, favors one sometimes and the other most of the rest of the time. If Hattie is in the one she wants, she will stand and look at Hattie--never saying anything, just standing and staring--and if Hattie doesn’t get up and move, Sophie will lie on the floor in preference to using the bed that is temporarily out of favor. I cannot see a pattern to when Hattie is willing to move and when she is not, or when Sophie prefers one over the other, as otherwise they seem to use the beds interchangeably. It’s a mystery, and one that plays out most days. It’s something I’d be glad to understand.

After my last post in December, and after things were mostly buttoned up for the year, we switched into holiday mode, which is primarily family time. We did puzzles and experimented with tiramisu recipes, cooked and followed all our traditions. A friend asked me what we did for the holidays, and I was a bit surprised to discover just how many holiday rituals we have: tree-trimming party, complete with activities and set menu; Christmas eve dinner, Christmas morning meal and activities; New Year’s eve dinner, puzzles, holiday project, holiday film festival, etc. They all serve us well and bring the sense of comfort and happiness that successful rituals often do.

Once the holidays ended, we got back into the swing of things: I’m still working at bringing up our new center and of course the semester has started, which meant getting ready for it. My goal is to try to bring this book to closure in the next bit of time, and then get back to trying to have a lighter schedule working so that I could, once again, try to reduce the level of clutter and extra stuff in our lives. We have way too much stuff. Way too much. Mostly, though, I’ve been thinking my own thoughts quietly.

The work on the book has been complicated now for some time. I’ve got a number of false starts and maybe, finally, one approach that feels like it might work. There are a couple of things about this project that have made it so hard and complicated. First, of course, is that I don’t think or work the way I used to. I’m still learning to reconcile the changes in who I apparently am with how I used to be and still think about myself. Then, it’s a hard topic (ethics) and getting a handle on the right approach and voice so that it works and isn’t preachy or overwritten has been hard for me. A friend who read a chapter told me that it was all great advice but had “too many words” meaning that it just took too long to get to the point. After that, I reorganized things completely and have been rethinking it all. Maybe, now, I have a way to go forward.

For writing, or at least the kind of writing I do, you have to know what you think or believe and be able to get the points in an order that will communicate with people you don’t know and will never meet. It takes time and it takes concentration--the actual writing is pretty easy, once the message is clarified and clear. So, when not lazing about with family, or doing the start-up work for the semester and this new project of ours, I’ve mostly been thinking thoughts quietly. I was surprised by how long it's been since last writing here and thank all those who have inquired. I’m ok and still out here and will try to be present more regularly, book thoughts permitting.

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