Sometimes the Story has a Mind of Its Own

My Mug Reminder

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~ Anaïs Nin

I admire writers who plot out their entire book and then stick to their outline as they write. For them adhering to a schedule and using spreadsheets to track their progress ensures they finish their book. I admire that, but my brain doesn’t work that way.

When I’m in the flow, I get snippets of ideas for my projects. They come at odd times, just as I’m waking up, when I’m in the shower, or while I’m cooking. I have a general idea of the themes I want to express in my work, but writing for me is a little bit like driving at night. I can only see what’s lit up by my headlights. I used to feel bad as if my process is not as good as those who plan, and plot and don’t waver. I used to compare myself to other writers but I’ve been changing my perspective this year. So I bought the above mug to remind myself to be myself no matter what I’m doing.

It’s hard to admit sometimes, but the inspiration I get is so much better than my original ideas. To maintain the flow, however, I have to make sure I write every day. If I don’t the inspiration faucet doesn’t work. If I take a break for longer than a few days, inspiration flows off to some other creative person’s well and it takes a while to get my creative plumbing working again.

During the fall, I loaded myself up with so many endeavors that I wasn’t working on Time’s Echo and when I got back to it months later, I sat and looked at the page feeling lost. I wasn’t sure where the story wanted to go next. To prime the pump, I wrote for half an hour or so everyday. I am happy to say that the faucet is working again and I’m waking up with new ideas on a regular basis.

I don’t know if this is true for other writers, but I love being home in the quiet working on my blog or book. I don’t like showing my work until I feel it’s ready to be shared for critique. That means, the work has gone through several revisions before anyone else sees it. I used to feel bad about this. It’s one of the reasons why I quit attending writing critique group. Most of the time I didn’t have anything to submit for critique and the group got so large, reading everyone else’s work took away from my own writing.

Now that I’ve been writing for almost eleven years, I understand my writing process. It’s okay to keep my own council about the piece I’m working during the early stages because my personal muses help me shape the story as it wants to be told not as someone else wants to impose upon it. But I’ve also realized that I need to be open to learning new things about writing.

The college where I teach has what they call a writing celebration every spring. I went once a few years back and was disappointed, but I think it was only in its infancy then. This year they have some interesting guest writer/presenters. Still, it took me a long time to decide to register for the event. It’s this weekend. I’m still tempted to shut myself up with my novel as I’ve been doing for many years now. For an introvert, that’s so tempting. But I think it’s time to meet other authors and hopefully pick up some important writing tips that I didn’t learn because my degrees are not in English.

No matter where I get tips for improving my writing, I intend to continue to let the stories I write lead me in unexpected ways. Some writer said, “I write to figure out what I’m thinking and feeling.” That’s me and I like it that way.

I’ll let you know if I had any profound realizations as a result of attending this conference.

Thanks for following, liking and commenting. Welcome new followers. I hope you are able to enjoy warm weather this weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden ©2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

What Writing Has Taught Me

All the Love and Support We Need

“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.” ~ Brené Brown

My husband and I had an intimate conversation the other day on the way home from the memorial for a fellow writer. I met Cappy about eight or so years ago through a writer’s group she and her best friend Ross started. Cappy always had a smile on her face, her critiques were kind, but insightful, and enormously helpful. When I talked with her one-on-one, she was genuinely interested in what I had to say. She didn’t talk a lot about herself, but if you asked, she was happy to share insights she’d learned from her experiences.

The way I really got to know Cappy was from reading her memoir, Love Life, With Parrots. Her openness about all aspects of her life made me realize that I’m a guarded person and thus a guarded writer. And that’s what my husband and I were talking about, how I wished I could be more open like Cappy. Her open, welcoming nature left an indelible impression on those she met.

I must acknowledge that I come by my caution honestly. My father and mother were/are both introverts. My father, in particular, was a very private man. The way he shared his values with us was through the discussions we had about the media we consumed, or about things that had happened to us at school or church. I know that he had a very deep and active spiritual life because of the sermons he preached, but he hardly ever shared how he felt about the experiences themselves.

As a result, I followed his example. I kept my thoughts to myself most of the time because I was sure I would cause shock and controversy if I shared the commentary running through my head. In fact, I did cause a huge controversy in college when I wrote an letter to the editor of our newspaper after the campus minister preached a sermon about love right before Valentine’s Day. His thoughts reinforced traditional doctrine, but in my opinion his view of love was severely constrained, which I pointed out in my letter. Why hadn’t I kept my thoughts to myself? But good things came out of that controversy. I should have learned that sometimes rocking the boat is a good thing. However, I was extremely uncomfortable with the personal attacks and attention and so went back into my shell.

Fast forward to 2008 when I decided to become a writer. Up until that point I had kept a personal journal in which I was completely open about my dilemmas, failures, relationship issues, and aha moments. But, when I began writing for public consumption, I found ways to conceal my true thoughts and feelings. Fortunately, someone pointed that out, and encouraged me to pull back the layers to reveal how I truly saw the world. Wow! That challenge was the most frightening thing I’ve ever had to face. I didn’t want to do it, yet I knew if I was going to affect people with what I wrote, I’d have to.

Sharing my true self was extremely difficult at first. It has become easier over the six years of writing this blog but I’m not a completely open book yet. And in a way, maybe that’s a good thing. Brené Brown says it’s important to be selective when sharing our deepest thoughts and feelings. We need to protect ourselves from energy vampires and human werewolves who take pleasure in ripping people apart. On the other hand, being open like Cappy was by revealing personal insights can be of enormous help to those who read the work.

Since attending Cappy’s memorial, I’ve been doing a great deal of self-examination with regards to my life and work. The area I tend to protect most is my spirituality. I have a difficult time sharing with people that I’ve had many spiritual experiences. Silly as it may sound, until recently I felt a bit ashamed of this aspect of who I am. I felt different from everyone else because it seems to me spirituality is not accepted as an integral part of every day life. If you’re spiritual you must live in special communities and never partake in ordinary activities. But as my sister says, “It’s just one way of living.” Spiritual people do not have to be saints. They can be your next-door neighbor, your garbage man, or your boss. As a spiritual person, I struggle with the same fears and challenges as everyone else on this planet. It’s just that I know I’m not alone. I’ve got lots of assistance to help me work though any problem.

Being a person who has regular spiritual insights, I’m sensitive to the shifting energy of our times. Just lately I’ve felt an extreme tension between the way we used to operate in the world and what I think humanity is evolving into, which is a more spiritual approach to life. And this tension has affected how I feel about the business side of writing. I want more people to read my blog and books. I would love to have a steady stream of income from what I write. But I cringe at doing the promotion and marketing. I swing back to the idea that maybe it’s enough to just create the work because any act of creativity affects the energy that connects us all. And I ask myself, do I shy away from doing more aggressive marketing because I don’t see that as spiritual? I guess I’m going to have to wrestle with this issue for a while.

In any case that brings me back to Cappy. She left behind a great deal of written work. She didn’t make loads of money from selling it, but she didn’t let that stop her from creating it. Ross announced at the memorial that he and Cappy’s husband are going to compile her poems, essays and stories into new works of art that can be shared. So, even though Cappy is no longer physically with us, her insights and particular observations about life are going to live on. That makes me very happy because her vision of the world was unique and beautiful.

Maybe that’s the most important thing about being human, we leave ripples of influence behind us. They may not be works of art, but our interactions with others influence the future in ways we can’t possibly foresee.

Thanks for reading. Welcome to my new followers. I hope you have meaningful interactions with friends and love ones this weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden ©2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Perception

Bending Time

“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.” ~ Deepak Chopra

I’m happy to say that I’m getting back into the creative flow writing my second novel. The other day as I was thinking about my storyline, a major character/plot point occurred to me and it has to do with perception.

Morgan’s daughter, Georgiana, is not happy about her mother’s involvement in the suffrage movement. She’s convinced her mother’s frequent absences prove her mother doesn’t love her. Even when Morgan takes her along on the trips, Georgiana holds on tenaciously to her point of view. Her feelings about her mother are not true, but she derives pleasure by enumerating her mother’s shortcomings. This gives me an opportunity to give Morgan some depth. She makes parenting mistakes trying to change Georgiana’s mind. It’s a big step for me as a writer. I tend to want to make my main characters perfect.

We make incorrect assumptions in real life too. We get a bit of information and assume we have the whole story. Over time our assumptions become solidified if they are never challenged. In my opinion, it’s good for us to have our beliefs and assumptions turned upside down every once in a while, either by others or by our own efforts to expand our perspective.

Here’s a real life example. A week ago Robert Mueller released his report on the Russia investigation to the Attorney General William Barr. Emotions are still running high about the fact that AG Barr released a four page statement to Congress based on an over 300 page report. Some people are getting upset while others are gloating about the results. At first I had a particular reaction too, but then I remembered, we don’t have all the facts yet. And it’s best to suspend my assumptions until all the details of the report are revealed. This is not the only time I’ve had to stop myself from an over the top reaction to an emotional situation.

And I had an even more personal real life example this week. A charge appeared on my bank that I did not make. It was for a relatively large amount of money. I was tempted to get bent out of shape about it, but after calling the bank, I felt better. They were helpful in resolving the issue. It wasn’t worth getting upset about. It was just one of life’s little glitches.

One of the best things I’ve learned to do in a crisis is to take a breath, and try to relax. I can’t find solutions to my problems or consider that my assumptions are wrong when I’m upset. I know that’s hard when our cherished beliefs are challenged and our world is turned upside down. But none of us can avoid facing life altering challenges. Since that’s the case, we might as well do the best we can to embrace what comes.

There is a new movie coming out on April 5th that illustrates what I’m trying to say. The title is The Best of Enemies starring Sam Rockwell and Taraji P. Henson. It’s based on a true story of school integration in Durham, North Carolina in 1971. The segregated black elementary school burns down. Ann Atwater, trying to get the white school to admit the children of her community, faces off against C.P. Ellis, the Exalted Cyclops of the KKK in his district. I tried to find the original trailer, where the real C.P. Ellis says something like “We believe things and then one day we find out they aren’t true.” I wish I could give an exact quote, because his statement made me sit up and say, “Well, that true life incident shows there is hope for us all and that’s the kind of movie I want to see.”

I’ve seen other real life stories that give me hope. On the most recent CBS Sunday Morning, there was a segment about a man who was so damaged by his military tours in the Middle East, that he was planning to blow up the local Muslim center. But something stopped him. He decided to go to the center and see if he could find good reason to support his hatred. But instead he found understanding, acceptance, and love. He’s now a Muslim convert.

It’s real life people like these that remind me to not let my emotions get the better of me, to take a step back and examine the truth of what I thought I knew. This is something I think we all need to do right now with people all over the world so sharply divided. But I know how difficult it is to take out our beliefs and examine them. I know because I’ve had to do it more than once. During those times I felt fragile and barely able to cope with even the most mundane tasks. And I got angry easily. However, I didn’t let all those messy feelings stop my process.

Okay, I’m kind of going on into pseudo-therapist mode here. Forgive me. Theatre people are amateur psychologists after all. I guess authors are too, which brings me back to my novel. I’m so grateful that my muse gave me the idea for Georgiana to be a problem child. Though I’m sensitive and it’s hard for me to write, I know from experience that none of us can grow without embracing life disruptions. And to tell the truth, my life would be boring if I had the same routine and the same mental constructs I had when I was much younger. I’d much rather embrace change.

That’s all for today. Welcome to my new followers. I hope you continue to get something out of this blog. Feel free to leave a comment. I appreciate them very much.

Happy weekend to you all.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden ©2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

This Thought and That

Anne Lamott Quote

“I react very badly when mediocrity throws a tantrum of entitlement.” ~ Lee Siegel

It’s been one of those discombobulated days where nothing I planned to do turned out the way I wanted it to. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It makes me go with the flow, a reminder I need often. So, what I had planned to write will have to wait until another day, because it requires much more thought than I’ve got time for today.

This week I finished reading The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. In my opinion it’s a rather bleak book. There aren’t very many likable characters in it, and yet I’m glad I read it because it shows the wide gap between the haves, in this case the middle class members of Pagford in Southern England, and the have nots, the poor people who live in the Fields, a neighborhood within the Parish jurisdiction.

Rowling begins her story with the death of Barry Fairbrother, a Parish Council member. This leaves a casual vacancy which needs to be filled. At the time of his death, the council had been sharply divided about what to do with the Fields, give it back to Yarvil to clean up and manage, or to keep as part of their parish. We see the effect Barry had on various members of the community. Many people liked and depended upon him. He championed the poor people of the Fields and tried to help lift up as may people as he could. As the story progresses we find out that Barry came from a poor family himself. Because someone helped him dig himself out, he had dedicated himself to do the same thing.

On the other hand, many members of the community have no idea just how devastating poverty can be, and how hard it is to rise above it. To them Barry was an obstacle to getting what they wanted, to be rid of a segment of the population that besmirched the reputation of their community. These are the petty, vapid, vicious people who think that those who live in the Fields are lazy, drug users, or dealers who have no desire to better themselves.

Even though it was a difficult book to read, it pointed out one fact to me. It is extremely difficult to understand the experiences of people who are vastly different from myself. Unless I am able to sit down one on one with someone to hear their story, or read first hand accounts of what they have experienced, imagining what they are going through is extremely difficult.

I don’t want to be like the small minded people of Pagford who hold righteously to their assertions about the people living in the Fields. Scientific studies are showing that poverty isn’t just a choice people make. After a while, it becomes part of the DNA passed down generation to generation. The attitudes of poverty are also passed down. So, the children grow up thinking they will never be able to make their lives better. Those are extremely difficult bonds to break.

Though for the most part, I’ve been fortunate to have a roof over my head and food on the table, there have been times when money was extremely tight and I held my breath praying we’d be able to make it through to the next paycheck. Those times help me have more sympathy for people whose circumstances are far more dire than mine ever was.

In any case, reading this book has made me do some self-examination about my own assumptions and attitudes. For that reason, I’m glad I read the book. Shaking up long held beliefs is always a good thing and I’m on a bit of a mission to do that this year.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Welcome to my new followers. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden ©2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Doing It Anyway

Rainbow

“Those who improve with age embrace the power of personal growth and personal achievement and begin to replace youth with wisdom, innocence with understanding, and lack of purpose with self-actualization.” ~ Bo Bennett

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” ~ Cecil Beaton

I’ve been thinking a great deal about my writing process lately. After several months of concentrating on other projects, I’ve finally gone back to my sequel novel, Time’s Echo.

I’ve heard that Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, writes in blocks of scenes. They aren’t connected until she gets to a certain point, and then she shapes them into the story she wants to tell. In a way, I do the same thing. I get an idea for something that happens to my characters. I begin writing that situation. Often I have to go back to it to add more details, or I realize that something needs to be changed. Once it’s in a presentable rough state, I move on.

When I got the idea to write The Space Between Time, my original idea was to write about a father, daughter relationship and how what the daughter learned from her father helped her once he was gone. But as I got into the nitty gritty of the story it became clear that it wanted to be about how my two main characters deal with life shattering events. The death of a parent, loss of a job, loss of romantic relationships, dealing with difficult people. Each woman must face hardships, learn from them, and then build a better life for herself.

While I was writing, I thought this first book would stand alone. But the moment I finished the rough draft, I knew I had to write a sequel novel. The second book would address women’s issues. That was in 2014. I had a clear idea where I wanted Morgan’s story in the past to go. But what Jenna had to deal with in the present was not as clear. So, her story didn’t develop very quickly. Then the @Me Too movement happened, and it has opened up Jenna’s story line. There are now so many possibilities for her character to choose to do. Since it’s the harder of the two storylines to write, I’m letting it percolate on the back burner of my mind while I work on what Morgan’s timeline.

As I’ve been working on Time’s Echo, the idea that we can’t escape our life’s purpose keeps coming up as one of the themes. Morgan in the past, and Jenna in the present come face to face with the way women are treated in their time period. They each have an unavoidable choice to make, get involved, or sit back on the sidelines. I chose for them to become involved, even though that creates tension in their home lives.

While writing about the struggles of Jenna and Morgan, I’ve realized that I’m inspired by people who see some problem that needs to be fixed, and even though the work is dangerous, or seemingly impossible, they do what they can to make things better. And being who I am, those stories make me think about my own life’s purpose. I don’t think I have a huge function in the grand scheme of things. And yet, I do want to change the world in the small ways that are within my power. I’ll never be a Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony, or Jesus. But no matter what I’m meant to do, if I try to deny or ignore it, my life will become shallow and vapid. That’s an unacceptable prospect for me.

I think I’m so caught up in all forms of story telling, especially the ones I’m telling, because I get a chance to examine situations that I would never experience in real life. I ask myself, what I’d do if I were in that situation? Would I fight until the end, even if I knew the cause was hopeless? Would I join a cause even if my life was in danger, or I might never see the culmination of all the work I’d put in?

Those are the kinds of questions I’m asking about my characters as I write Time’s Echo. And one more, when someone makes a commitment to a cause that will change society, how does it affect their family? I’m fascinated by the tension between the life a person has been living and the realization that they’re called to step outside their comfort zone. What effects do their decisions make on those around them?

I’m happy to say that I’m nearing the end of Morgan’s storyline. Now to tackle Jenna’s. I’ll keep you posted about how that goes.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments. Have a wonderful weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden ©2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Question Everything

An image of the Kunta Kinte Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis.

“The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.” ~ Peter Abelard

“Of all the questions we leave unanswered the one that comes back to haunt us the most is: ‘What if …’ What if I’d married my college sweetheart? What if I had the good sense not to? What if I had been born in this job market? What if … What if I’d planned a little less? What if I’d lived a little more? What if I’d chucked it all and started my own company? ‘What ifs’ are never idle fantasy. These are our hopes, dreams and desires.” ~ Rashmi Bansal, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

Have you ever, well, I’m sure you have because you’re human, but has your life ever been shattered in some devastating way? It’s happened to me more than once. I’m sure it has to you too. You’ve lost a loved one, or a job, or a relationship broke apart, and your life is turned upside down. You know the feeling, everything you thought was true comes into question and you don’t know what you believe anymore, you don’t know how to get out of your current dreadful situation.

The first big time it happened to me was when I began to study religion in college. Many of the things I thought were true about The Bible, and Christianity, and world religions, and history challenged my tiny little belief system. In a way I welcomed this. After all I went to college to expand myself. But it was nerve wracking too because I had to do a lot of internal work examining the old and new information. That process was emotionally and physically draining. I was lucky though, because I’d been taught by my father to question everything. That’s what I did. I asked lots of questions in my classes, and I began to ask myself, “What if this or that thing I was taught wasn’t true?”

Even though this process was unsettling, it was also familiar and I embraced the challenge of taking all my beliefs out and seeing if they fit the new information I was learning. Anything that didn’t fit, I threw out.

So, even though I was going through this tremendous internal upheaval, it was exhilarating too. I did, however, have problems with people looking at my struggles from the outside. They wanted to fix me. And that more than anything traumatized me.

I think we get into comfortable ruts and don’t want to change and if someone we know is struggling with some existential upheaval, we don’t know what to do to help. In a way, their struggles challenge our own. Sometimes we do more damage by trying to get them to go back to the way they were, which makes us feel better but might not be the right thing for them.

I’m grateful to my father for asking lots of questions and teaching me to do the same. He taught me how to pay attention, to read between the lines, to look at people’s motivations. Those skills have served me well when I’ve been confronted with life shattering events. But he taught me something else, that he learned from his father. Sometimes the best way to help someone going through a life altering event is to just be with them. Don’t try to change them. Just stay by their side so they know that if they need you, you’re there to help.

I’m coming out of the doldrums that began at the beginning of the year. I’ve let myself take time to look at my situation and figure out where I want to go from here. And this time, since I have lots of alone time at home, I don’t have any annoying people trying to interfere with my process.

Part of my doldrums also had to do with the upheaval going on in the world. It seems to me we are collectively challenging everything we thought was true. People are speaking up and challenging not only our belief systems, but the way we’ve been doing business, governing, and the doctrines of our religious communities. I think this is a good thing, but it’s also draining. The only way I see that we can get through these troubled times is to just be with each other. It will also help if we listen, question our old beliefs, and try to see things from a different point of view.

Having been through this process many times, I can say the end results are worth the effort.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks so much for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden ©2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Our Legacy

It’s a Wonderful Life Village

“True leaders don’t invest in buildings. Jesus never built a building. They invest in people. Why? Because success without a successor is failure. So your legacy should not be in buildings, programs, or projects; your legacy must be in people.” ~ Myles Munroe

The other day in acting class, a former acting student of mine came by with a friend of hers who is in my current class. She wanted to give me a hug and tell me how much she loved me. I felt embarrassed that I didn’t remember her name, though I do remember her quite distinctly.

As this year has begun, I’ve felt off balance, unsettled, burned out, and perhaps that I have failed to contribute much to making this world a better place. Then, in walks a former student out of the blue to tell me how much being in my class all those semesters ago still means to her.

The next day I was listening to Oprah interview Bradley Cooper on an episode of Super Soul Sunday. Of course, Oprah was asking Bradley about his experience of making A Star in Born, and the Oscar nominations for various people who had worked on the movie. The conversation turned to the idea of legacy. Oprah related again what she learned from Maya Angelou. We never know what our legacy will be. That idea made me feel so much better.

For quite some time, I have been chomping at the bit to quit teaching and work only on my writing. I’ve wanted just a little bit different life than the one I’m living at present. That’s not a happy place to be.

But I realized that because I’ve been focusing on the future instead of the present moment, I’ve been completely oblivious to the fact that maybe my efforts as a teacher over the years have had a positive impact on the lives of my students and I should be grateful for that.

I don’t have children. Most people think of their children as their legacy, but going back to Oprah and Bradley’s discussion, there are other kinds of legacy. He told Oprah how much of an impact she had on his life as he began watching her show as a preteen. He credits her with helping him understand how to be a good human being. If we can be a positive influence on people’s lives, that is one of the best legacies we can leave behind. Perhaps that’s why stories of ordinary people affecting even small changes one person at a time are my favorite.

Every year, I weep at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life. If you can believe it, that movie didn’t do well at the box office when it first came out. But look how it has endured. Watching that movie is a Christmas tradition in many a family. And I believe that consuming positive content is much better than entertainment that is negative in nature. What we watch becomes a part of us. It’s A Wonderful Life has become a part of our collective psyche, which makes me happy.

I’ve been thinking about that too. Maybe I need to better curate all the news and entertainment I consume. Even social media has lost appeal for me. I don’t mind reading about the things my friends are doing, but I’m so tired of the political and personal sniping back and forth that peppers social media. When I see something like that, I just scroll right on by. I like to support my friends by posting encouragement and positive comments on their posts.

And one more thing, I have to accept the fact that I will always experience a tension between where I am at the moment, and where I want to be. I was reminded of that this week too. None of us will ever come to a place where peace reigns all the time. Humans aren’t built like that. We’re always looking for the next thing to learn, or place to explore, or adventure to experience.

In the end, Maya Angelou is right, we will never know the full impact our lives have had on those around us. It’s okay with me if mine is small. I don’t need to be famous but I do want to leave people feeling better about themselves after meeting me, taking one of my classes, or reading something I’ve written.

Thanks for reading what I’ve been thinking lately. I appreciate your likes and comments. Have a blessed weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden©2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Assumptions

Stars

“Remember, we see the world not as it is but as we are. Most of us see through the eyes of our fears and our limiting beliefs and our false assumptions.” ~ Robin S. Sharma

I’m still recovering from being sick. This is a bit annoying since I don’t get sick very often. Part of me wants to be finished with the hacking and fatigue, another part realizes that healing takes time and I just need to rest. Pushing myself to get well will only prolong the process. It’s another aspect of the lesson of living in the now and not assuming events will go a certain way.

While I’ve been sick, and even before, Barry and I have been watching all the Marvel Universe movies in preparation for the release of Captain Marvel, and then Avengers: Endgame. I don’t know why, but when I watch each of these movies, I notice the assumptions the characters make about each other and their role in the grand scheme of things that end up causing all kinds of problems. We do that in real life too. We make assumptions then get angry and upset when things don’t go according to plan.

Last night we watched Dr. Strange. It’s a story about the different ways we seek healing. Dr. Stephen Strange is a brilliant neurosurgeon. He’s arrogant, confident in his abilities, and sure of his path in life until … he’s in a devastating car accident that injures his hands so badly that he will never be able to operate on anyone again.

That kind of life shattering event sends some people into the kind of despair that they never get out of. But not Dr. Strange. He’s convinced there is a way out and he spends every bit of money he has to find a cure. At one point his physical therapist tells him of a patient he once had who was paralyzed from the chest down. The patient worked hard to recover, but one day he just stopped coming for sessions. The therapist thought perhaps the patient had given up and either killed himself, or just accepted his situation. Then one day he passed the patient on the street, walking. Of course, Dr. Strange is skeptical but the therapist produces the file and Strange seeks out the patient. The man tells him he was healed at a place called Kamar-Taj in Nepal. Going there is the first step on an unusual journey of altered realities and magic, things Dr. Strange never would have considered possible before his accident.

Every story needs an antagonist. In this one a former student of The Ancient One at Kamar-Taj, Kaecilius, begins to wreak havoc on the world. He sought out The Ancient One so she would heal him. Though she did what she could, he didn’t ever accept responsibility for doing his own healing work. When the process didn’t turn out the way he assumed it would, he got angry and vengeful. He blamed The Ancient One for the fact that he still experienced the pain he wanted to avoid. Since she didn’t heal him, he wants her to pay.

Every time I watch this movie, I think of people who attach all importance onto their pastor, teacher, or mentor and when they discover that person isn’t perfect, they are devastated. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes and it’s not wise to hang all our hopes and dreams on someone else. We are, after all, responsible for our own lives.

Dr. Strange doesn’t do this. He knows The Ancient One is not perfect. He embraces what she can teach him, then takes responsibility for his own healing and spiritual expansion.

I don’t know why but being sick makes me reflective and I’ve been thinking about who I think I am as opposed to who I really am. For some reason watching Dr. Strange added to the mix. I’ve been doing some fundamental self-examination which I hope to continue this year. I’m convinced that there is so much more to life than we experience on a daily basis and I want to expand into a larger part of myself.

Okay, all of that is a bit of a muddled mess of ideas. I do like these new superhero movies because they are our new mythology. They make us see the world in new ways. Anyway, I’ll blame this post on my weakened state of health.

Have a lovely weekend. Thanks for reading, commenting and liking. And thank you to my new followers.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Unexpected Gifts

“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

My husband and I have been sick all week. At first I was rather angry. I had a full week of activities ahead of me all of which had to canceled, even the class I teach. But then I decided to just let what was happening flow. After all there was nothing I could do about being sick.

I’m sure you’ve noticed when you’re sick your world becomes very small, the bed, the bathroom, and the kitchen. It forces you to take life one moment at a time and that’s a good thing.

I don’t know about you but I don’t live in the present moment often enough. I’m thinking about the list of things I need to get done that day, or that week. So even though I don’t like being sick, it’s a good reminder to live in the present moment.

I’m going to end this post here because it took almost every ounce of energy I’ve got to get out of bed and write this much, but I didn’t want to break my streak. Hopefully next week’s post will be more substantial and edifying.

Stay well and enjoy your weekend.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Empath’s Confession

Heart Connection (by Alisa Looney)

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” ~ James Baldwin

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” ~ Maya Angelou

“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” ~ Meryl Streep

“The opposite of anger is not calmness, it’s empathy.” ~ Mehmet Oz

I’m an empath. I admit it. I’ve written posts here before about how difficult it can be to be a magnet for other people’s feelings and not know what to do with them. It’s exhausting. But recently I gained a different perspective. Being empathetic can also be extremely empowering.

Last fall I got an idea that my sister, Celeste and I should write a memoir about our father and the influence he had on our lives. It’s not a typical memoir enumerating the pain and suffering we endured, but rather how our father taught us to use compassion and empathy to help ourselves and others.

My initial thought was that it was going to be about how he used movies to teach us important lessons because stories are an important way to connect emotionally with another person’s point of view. Our book may still include some of that. However, I see now that the book has to include our memories of how Dad influenced people by using his empathy to spread love and compassion to help them heal. It was as if he was plugged into some deep well of emotion and information that helped him understand exactly how the people around him were being affected by the experiences they were having. But how to write that so our readers can understand?

After discussions with Celeste about what to include in the book, I came to this startling deeper understanding of my father. Not only was he an empath, but he was an extreme introvert. He kept his deepest feelings hidden most of the time, even from us. That’s where I learned it! For most of my life, I’ve kept my head down done my work and not shared my deepest thoughts and feelings. However when I broke my own rule, I was exposed, extremely vulnerable, and my ideas generated controversy. That happened to Dad too because he had ideas that went against common convention. When he shared his point of view, it often stirred up fierce debate.

These are extraordinary times. We can use new ideas and fierce debate about how to make the world a better place. And yet, I remember all those controversies, both mine and Dad’s and I ask myself, do I really want to draw so much attention to myself again? The reality is, in times like these, everyone needs to be sharing their creative ideas and their stories. That’s one of the best ways we learn and grow. We have to share our stories and listen as others tell theirs in return.

Over the years as I’ve written these blog posts, I’ve become more comfortable with being open and vulnerable. But it’s uncomfortable to share my mistakes. I’d love to be perfect. I’d also love to keep these posts intellectual. In fact, I was going to write an intellectual essay and post it today. But after years of work in theatre, teaching, and directing plays, I know the best way to help someone see another point of view is to touch their emotions. Then they are open to new ideas. We need the marriage of ideas and emotions to effect real change. So, I need to share my stories, and listen to those of other people. That’s where we discover that we’re not so different after all.

Admittedly, Celeste and I have so many deep emotions about our father, that we’re having a difficult time focusing on what to write about him. He was an extraordinary man, living an ordinary life. Yet the ripples of his influence keep reverberating. Things my father taught me come to mind often and help me through the situations I face. I’m grateful that he gave me such a fantastic head start in life.

There will be more things to share about this project later. But for today, that’s enough.

Welcome to all my new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a lovely weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.