Archive | June 2016

A Strange Sensation

Summer has arrived, and with it, triple digit temperatures (mid 30’s for you Celsius types). For those like me who wake up after 9 AM, the mid morning temps make exercise at those hours dangerous and foolish. My bike rides get pushed back into the late evening hours.

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My pretty ride

Last evening (99 degrees at 7 PM), A friend and I jumped on our bikes and headed out for a short, hot, sweaty ride. We planned on just over ten miles, most of it downhill or flat, just to get out, get moving, stay active despite the heat.

As we headed down South Jordan Parkway, reaching speeds just over 35 mph, the hot wind sucked the moisture from my skin, and much like its cold counterpart, took my breath away. It was uncomfortable, but it did not diminish the exquisite rush of traveling at high speed on a bicycle.

We approached Redwood Road, then turned right, heading south. More concerned with making a clean turn than the road in front of me, I did not see the basketball sized pothole until it was almost too late. I loosened my grip on the handlebars just before impact, reducing the jarring effect on my arms and shoulders. Both tires hit the edge of the hole, but I kept going, feeling lucky and no worse for wear.

I sped up, trying to close the gap that had opened up between me and my friend. I heard a sound like a small motor humming behind me. A quick check over my shoulder revealed no vehicles or danger. Then I felt it. My rear tire went from firm to splashy to deflated in three seconds.

Flat tires are not uncommon and are mostly a harmless annoyance, unless they occur when I am riding 30 mph on grated concreted. I knew I had to stop fast. Riding on a totally flat tire would quickly cause rim damage. As I depressed the brake, the back tire, reacting to the groves in the concrete, began to fishtail. I was convinced I was going over, and nothing I could do would prevent it. The front end also began to wobble. I waited for the rear tire to fold underneath the rim, maybe dislodge altogether. I regained some composure and decreased the brake pressure. The bike steadied, and I was able to slow to a stop, heart almost beating out of my body.

It took me a few minutes to calm down, fix the flat, and be ready to ride again. I didn’t think about the fear again until this morning.

It fascinates me, this ability we have as humans to experience certain kinds of danger, fear, and so quickly be ready and willing to face it again, deliberately. I am unsure if this is an illness, a defect, or something to be admired.

Either way, I think I’ll ride again tonight.

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In This Moment

My social media feed has been consumed by all sorts of insanity over the past week. I’m sure you’ve all experienced similar stuff. Activist and apologists from various points on the political spectrum have offered their take on many issues. Religion, gender, sexual preferences, gun violence and terrorism have been hot button topics. Along with the *professional* insights, I’ve been inundated with all sorts of posts from friends, family, acquaintances (random people I somehow find myself following on Twitter), expounding on these same subjects.

I’ve done my best to stay out of the fray.

Social media has convinced most of us that our opinions are not only important and insightful, but indispensable, and everyone we know (and in some cases, don’t know) needs to read our observations on every little thing. I am not immune to this feeling, and have made far too many pretentious, didactic posts on all sorts of stuff. I am sure many people have had their opinions of me negatively altered by this foolishness. I feel a sense of shame when I encounter one of these posts (stupid Timehop) and always wish I had been smarter, less reactive, more thoughtful.

When I am in the same room with people I care about, I can engage in respectful debates, even have intense disagreements, and not let my anger win out, but the same conversations with the same people on social media can actually make me dislike a family member or a friend. Why do I react so badly to words on the page/screen? Is my connection to humanity so weak that I lose it the moment I lose physical proximity?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I’m not sure any justification really matters.

Not posting a response seems to help. I still feel the rush of anger, and that urge to respond emotionally to something I disagree with does not go away quickly, but I have yet to regret a moment of silence, or scrolling past an argument rather than adding fuel to the fire.

I am learning to recognize that instant of resentment as false and circumstantial, though it is not any less potent. I am learning to better control my digital reaction. I am trying to contribute more joy, more positive things when I post to social media. I still want to speak out when I feel it necessary, when my silence would be misguided, but I want to do it with less arrogance and pride.

People over things. Love first. 

This World

Yesterday was a hard one. Hearing that 50  people were gunned down (and at least that many wounded) at a dance club in Orlando, Florida was difficult to process. Each time this happens (and it happens a great deal in my country), I am confronted with a moment of shame. I get angry, mourn for the families, forgetting that this sort of thing happens with too much frequency in far too many places on this planet, and more often than not, I hardly pause.

It is understandable to be more affected by events occurring closer to home, and while I didn’t personally know any of the victims, we share a country, which sometimes feels very important.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed, disillusioned and depressed, and I admit, for most yesterday, I wallowed only in dark places.

But I do not want to fall into the trap of perpetual pessimism and negativity. Instead, I will focus on the good in my life- I have wonderful family and friends. I am healthy and live in relative safety. I am a fortunate person, blessed beyond measure. I have plenty of food to eat, clothes to wear, and for the most part, horrible things aren’t happening to those I care most about.

There are beautiful places in the world, and I happen to live in one of them-

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It is necessary to be sad, to be angry and outraged. These atrocities should not be tolerated or ignored, but I refuse to let them consume me or change who I am. I’m choosing love, again. Sometimes, it is the harder choice, but it is always the better one.

Sign The Petition. Speak Up.

My friend Holli was sexually assaulted at a spa while on vacation in Italy. Those responsible refuse to take action and of course, are blaming Holli, insinuating she misunderstood what happened or was confused about events. I am disgusted, angry, saddened by what has happened to my friend. Read her story HERE.

Blaming the victim is a vile and cowardly practice. I will do whatever I can to make sure something is done. Holli has crated a petition which you can sign  HERE.

Do the right thing. Stand up. Do not sit silent.

 

 

June

It is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is again time for the monthly gathering/blog-hop of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Click the link and check us out, then sign up. We are a swell group.

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Unfortunately, I missed last month as I was travelling to Flagstaff to watch Boris play. Also, I was pretty burned out after the A to Z blogging challenge in April. A smarter person would have prepared a blog before leaving on vacation, but I have never claimed to be smarter or smart at all.

On the writing front, the last few weeks have been very exciting. I have been composing a collection of poems for a chapbook contest that opens later this year. I have written about half of what I intend to submit, but they are still in the early stages, and need a good deal of work before they will be ready to see the light of day. I am excited at finally take the plunge and anxious to see what happens. Either way, it is time to get more aggressive in my attempts at publication.

I have also determined to enter one of my novels in a contest for unpublished work. The contests open in the winter, so I have time to clean up and properly edit one of the books. With three written, and two to choose between, I am a bit out of sorts. If anyone wants to offer their opinion, or suggestions, I am open to any and all ideas.

It is an exciting and frightening time for me. I will keep you posted on my efforts.

What’s got you frustrated, insecure, excited this month with your writing? Tell me your stories, please. 

Also, any poets interested in beta reading my stuff, let me know.