Friday, June 29, 2007

Strength of Spirit

Friday night and I'm sitting here contemplating the state of my existence. How pathetic is that?

The good news is I'm sober and happy to be that way. I had a fairly unsuccessful week at work, and a few years ago I would have been stone cold wasted by this time on a Friday evening. Drowning my sorrows and creating a deeper depression, which I would wallow in for the weekend, dreading Sunday night because I'd be drunk again and know I'd reek of stale alcohol at work in the morning. Hating it but unable to stop. At the end, after I lost my job, it was just an around the clock stupor. Looking back, I can't believe how far down I let it take me.

Alcoholism is truly a three-pronged disease: physical, mental, and spiritual. The physical part is bad enough, but when you throw in depression and spiritual destitution, it's crippling. I was helpless against it.

Fortunately, I had some friends that pulled me out of the gutter, and with the Grace of my Heavenly Spirit, I've got a pretty good life today. Sure, my job gets me down sometimes - it's semi-stressful and I've always been prone to live on the outer reaches of the emotional spectrum - but overall life is pretty good.

I've come to the conclusion that what has made the difference for me today is my belief in a Higher Power. I've always believed in God in a sort of nebulous kind of way. I believed there was something up there, but I wasn't sure what to make of this God character. All powerful? Big question for me. I just didn't understand God, and wasn't interested enough to try. I just cruised along on a whim, for the most part. I had goals and ambitions and I achieved some of them, but about the time I started getting somewhere in life, I was filling that spiritual void with spirits of another kind. It derailed me and boom, there I was. In the hospital, don't know if I'm going to die, or live and be permanently impaired, or make a full recovery. The doctors couldn't say right away.

That was when I said, "Okay, God, I'll let you have it. Whatever happens, happens. I'm out of answers, I'll leave it up to you and do things your way."

All I know is it's been working for a little over four years now. Things don't always go my way, and lately I've been having some frustration. But now I can look at it and know I'm giving it my best, I'm doing what I should be doing and the results are truly out of my hands. All I can do is give it my best effort and then let it go. So, that's what I try to do.

I still have a nebulous understanding of God, or Heavenly Spirit as I say. All powerful? I still don't know. I do know there is an energy that I tap into and it's real. It's positive and comforting and full of truth and other things that I still don't grasp. When I try to tap into that energy and go with it, do the next right thing and trust that I'll be okay no matter the outcome, things usually work out just fine. It might not be the outcome I hoped for, but if I look at the big picture I might get some perspective and decide it's okay anyway.

I find it ironic that alcohol is also referred to as "spirits", and alcoholism is a spiritual disease. It's funny, really. Drinking "spirits" stole my spirit. I've got my spirit back now.

On that note, I'm going to play around with my WIP for a while. The excitement is palpable. Peace and cool pillows...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Working At It

I haven't made a blog entry in quite a while, mainly because I've been using my writing time to work on the WIP. In trying to keep a balance in my lifestyle, there are only so many hours a week to write, and I've been trying to be productive. I know I'm no different than anyone else in that regard, so I'm not making excuses, I just haven't had anything worthwhile to share with the few lonely souls that happen to drop in here.

I still don't have anything worthwhile to share, other than I'm having success in bits and pieces with the WIP. I'll get something figured out for the plot and things start coming together for what I want to do in the following chapters, but it also means I have to go back and change a few things. Now I'm wondering if I've made the right changes. So I'm a bit stuck again. I'm a quarter of the way into the story, and there are still unanswered plot thread questions. This is my first time writing a mystery of this sort, and I don't know if I'm experiencing normal difficulties or if my way of writing this thing is out of whack. Traditional theory holds that you should know the plot - in the case of a mystery, the story behind the story - in advance of writing the novel. Well, I don't. I have the basics down, the actions and events, but not all the of the motivations. So, I'm re-evaluating some characters. Trying different ideas and following the threads and I've still got some problems. I'll work through them. I just wonder if this is normal. My first novel didn't require this type of pre-planning, it was more organic and just kind of flowed.

I guess writing this story is good for me. I think I've developed a voice that works, now I just have to get the story sorted out. Writing a long story in first person is also a new experience and presents different challenges. All of these new experiences and challenges are making me a better writer. Some wise people have said that overcoming difficulty, if the experience is used wisely, leads to growth and strength of spirit. I hope they're right.

Peace and green fairways...

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Finally, some rain. A good rain. Heavy, soaking, earth-quenching rain. Man, have we needed this. Much of the southeast has been baking in a dry oven for the last few months, and in many places literally burning to the ground. The wildfires in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia have been burning for weeks, with thousands of acres of pine forests and wetlands and swamp smoldering and thickening the sky with columns of pungent smoke, the landscape now reduced to ashes.

The big fire is burning to the northwest of here. When the wind is from the east and the smoke is blown toward the western horizon, it actually produces a pleasant visual experience. As the sun goes down you can almost look directly at it, a perfectly circular orange ball clearly defined in the soot-darkened sky. It creates a hazy, somnolent sunset and when viewed through a thicket of palm trees evokes a languid tropical attitude.

But the rain is here today. Thank you Heavenly Spirit of the Universe for this rain. I'm saying all this but the reality is I wish the rain had started forty five minutes later. It came yesterday afternoon while I was entertaining clients on the golf course. It hasn't rained in three months and the day I have three influential managers from a very important client out for a round of golf, it has to start raining on the fifteenth hole. It couldn't have waited forty five minutes. It wasn't really a big deal, but if I'd have been drawing it up it would have held off until we finished.

I woke up this morning and I could hear it coming down. I love that. I rolled over and looked at the clock and it was blinking 12:00. The power went out sometime during the night. My blinds were open and I looked out the window but the sky was gray and I couldn't tell what time it might be. It was still kind of dark so I assumed it was early, maybe 6:30, rolled over and went back to sleep. I love to sleep when it rains. I hope it rains all day so I can take a nap listening to it this afternoon.

I can practically hear the plants sighing in thanks. The rain is supposed to move out later today, and tomorrow will be sunny and fresh. Maybe some of the smaller fires will be extinguished and the bigger fires will be brought under control. We can hope.

And with the rain I have no excuse not to work on chapter eight. Peace and umbrellas...