Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Addiction to Ry Ting

I met Ry Ting while doing my thesis in graduate school; a dragonfly brought us together. I was at the downtown library, researching sewage lagoon usage in Third World countries, when a dragonfly fluttered in and landed on my reed shaped pen. Too easily, my mind sucked in to imagining what life was like as one of the world's most incongruent insects. The miracle beauty of those translucent rainbow wings, pinched onto the body of a hugely mishappen fly. Where did it come from, what was its life like, where would it be going next, what was the story behind this creature?

And then from behind the story forming in my mind, I heard,

"I'm Ry Ting," he said, "and your life will never be the same again."

His eyes were so easy to look at, then. His smile--warm, inviting, welcoming. Even the mocha cream curls poised just above the eyebrows gave the hint of wanting to be touched and played with. He was so easy, then.

My pen dropped, I picked it up, and when I rose, we watched as the dragonfly bobbed it's way out of the library and into the heat of a summer day. I don't remember that any words were spoken between us, but we knew to go to a coffee house and muse the story of the dragonfly we shared. The thesis no longer held meaning in my life. Not when Ry Ting and I had a story to explore.

We laughed, we shared, we exposed our vulnerabilities. Between us, we knew nothing of how things were supposed to be. We just were. It was so easy, then.

Everyday after that, he showed up. Everywhere I turned there he was, begging my attention. The whirlwind, the passion, the satisfaction of being around him--it was all so perfect. Looking back, I can finally admit that I was part of the addiction. I, well, I was flattered.

And then, on some days, he was cold. Some days, I just couldn't even reach him. It was like I could see him, feel his warm breath against my shoulder, tickling against my ear, but he was estranged from me. Once, we were in the same coffee house, and he would not even look at me. He sat with another woman, toying with her hair, and looked at me, smirking all the while.

Angry! I grew so angry! I hurled my notebook at the ground and swore Ry Ting would never touch my mind again. He would never seep within my soul because the pain of his loss was too  deep for me to bare.

He just laughed, and sauntered away, the other woman held captive by his spell.

But when he showed his face the next day, I ignored all of the nasty words swirling in my head and grabbed him back to me.

Now, we are partners. Oh, yes, it is true that our relationship will never hold the ease of those first days. Seems the more entwined we are, the more difficult our connection. But I can't let go. I am hooked, cast under the allure of those first words of Ry Ting. Because he was right, my life will never be the same.

Heather Leigh

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wisdom to be Passed

Of all the stuff that I did not learn in high school, typing is not one of them. I suffered through the excruciating pain and endless monotony of pressing the same key repeatedly for half an hour at a time. Did I really go through that? This is back in the age of BK (aka before key board) (aka typewriter). And my mother, after a life time of leaving me alone to choose my own electives and classes through out the precious schooling years, insisted that I learn to type.

And, of course, after witnessing the struggle and agony of two-finger typists, I have to bow down and say, thank you, mother, you were right.

Which leads me to reflect on other wondrous opportunities of learning that have been plunged in my path.

My father's first driving lesson was the ability to steer with my knees. This is of vital importance so that I could hold my cigarette in one hand and coffee in other. Unfortunately, I don't partake in either activity. BUT, in the case that I decide to start smoking with my morning smoothie, I will be ready. Thanks Dad!

The boys taught me the reason that choosing sides when kids fight is never a winner. They were in the car at the do-it-yourself car wash. After scrubbing on abnormally pink, bubble soap and rinsing away the built up grunge, I entered the car to find the youngest, then four, howling in pain. The oldest, then seven, looked guilty, scared and quiet. Younger blubbered out that the older had punched him. Now what would you think? After comforting my poor baby, I gave the older a stern talking to with controlled anger. Then I asked him why he had punched his little brother (poor little guy--punched by the big bad bully brother).

"He kicked me in the face," said older.

Slowly turning to younger, I asked for confirmation. There was an abrupt stopping of tears and a very slow affirmative head nodding.

Okay, so that taught me the Pandora's box that is flung open when making an attempt to find out who started the sibling rivalry fight. Just like the Law of Gravity, there is a Law of Blame that goes with every act of brotherly violence: the original perpetrator is always someone else. Don't try to understand how this can be, just accept the science behind the Law.

So here I am now, with all of this accumulated knowledge that is just itching to be passed on. Thank the God of Blogs for providing this easy way to pass on what I know to be true. The wisdom must live on!

Oh, and thank you to that typing teacher. Just imagine what it must have been like to be a typing teacher before the age of Bless you, oh Great and Patient One.

Heather Leigh

Monday, September 8, 2014

More Knowledge=Worse Writing

When I first started writing, I was really good. I knew just what to say to captivate and enthrall every reader on the planet. And then something damnable happened: I learned more about writing. I took classes, analyzed what I read, participated in critique groups. Eventually, the inevitable happened...the quality of my words dwindled down to muck.

It's the same with parenting. Before having kids, I was the best mother who ever walked the human powered earth. What did a parent need to tell their monsters to get them to quit bawling at the restaurant table next to ours? Just ask me, I could have told them. How do you get your kids from playing too many video games? Heather Leigh knew. I knew it all.

Until, that is, I had kids. Now I know a mosquito brain sized amount about raising them the right way. The lucky rainbow that made my kids the awesome way they are now, is that they were born that way. Only the bad habits they have picked up come straight from my motherly failings.

Like blurting out to my youngest that I would love to be in the room the first time he got drunk, just to see how he would act. Now that definitely was not supposed to be said. Before I had kids, I would never have told him that.

Back to writing. So, the first of my stories were stupendous! Instant charmers that were written in a week. Everything from obvious setting, to strong characters, to intriguing plot, to showing over telling--I had it all.

Until I did not.

Where did I go wrong? Should I have stayed in my own little 'awesome author' viewpoint cave and never ventured out? I mean, if I thought I was great, would not the whole world agree? Why was I not a NY Times Best Selling Author with the magic that was strewing out of my keyboard flying fingers? Surely, it was the fault of someone else that I was not recognized for the wit and imagination that was so wholly apparent to me.

Why was I so stupid? The more I learned about writing stories, the more I realized how little I know. Is that what a negative correlation is? (I remember that big, ten-cent phrase from some Economics class in college--using it shows how smart I am)

I feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole: the ground beneath me has given away to a never-ending pit. The only way to ever claw out is through the  publication of quality, award winning children's literature. But if my words are becoming more droll by the moment, how will I ever fight my way back to civilization again?

Gazing out in desperation at the palm tree fronds that flow constantly from the San Diego sea breeze, I receive no answers. No downloading of the book that will push Heather Leigh into a household name. The only hope I have is that I could fall off a roof, get a concussion, and have to re-learn the English language. Oh, this is a good idea. I will make an appointment with a lawyer today to have my wishes notarized: that if I have to start my writing skills all over again, don't let me ever learn about how to write better. Then, I will always be a great writer.

Best idea, EVER!

Heather Leigh