Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Twenty-Four Hour Syndrome

Flies live for twenty-four hours.  Doesn't that seem like a huge waste of resources on the part of Mother Nature? I mean, those things are amazing. At least, their bodies are. They have multi-faceted eyes that can see dozens of views all at the same time. Can you imagine processing all of that information at once? I can barely register the finch in our tree out front and the leaves around it at the same time. And those little tiny translucent wings? Where do they get the strength to carry that thing from piles of poop to my watermelon when I'm sitting outside?

So why go to all that trouble in creating so much in the way of engineering wonders, if it is only going to be around for a day?

And not only that, couldn't the fly be given some kind of really cool task to accomplish? Because from what I observe, landing on shit, vomiting on their food, and getting caught in spider webs are the prime directives of their life. That sucks. If I was given twenty-four hours with those wings and eye coverage, I'd want to have some awesome stuff to do for my life-time.

There are times when I want to take a whole day off. Like, lay in bed and read all day kind of day. Only get up to barely eat kind of day. This isn't a day of being sick, or melancholy, just a day off. So what I was born a fly, and the day that I happened to want to be my day off, was my only day on earth. Man, talk about the energy I would have to expend in making myself get up and fly around just to bug people. I'd have no motivation to get up, and no real reason to even exist on the planet.

Poor fly. Almost makes me not want to swat them with a swatter when they hit me in the face. Or feel bad when they crash into my car windshield. Almost, but not quite.

Maybe this whole essay on flies should make me want to go out and get twenty things done every moment of every day. You know, like they talk about people who have faced death then gone on to cherish each day. Done spectacular stuff. Climbed every mountain. Seized every day. Done every inspirational cliche in the Great Book of Cliches. Nah, I'd still rather have my day off days.

But the same things could be said about us humans. I mean, we have all this brain capacity, all of this knowledge, and on the planetary time scale, our lives are not even a flicker of a second. And not just our lives, but all of humanity. Our whole human time period barely registers as a grain of sand on the length of earth time. We need to come up with some better stuff to show for our exposure on this earth. Something beyond car chase movies and celebrity magazines.

Well, not to be bragging, or anything, but my books will probably go down as one of the Wonders of What Was Accomplished by the human race when the next generation of land rulers comes into existence. I mean, they are pretty good.  So, I guess at least one of us humans has gone beyond the Poor Fly Syndrome. I just got to be the lucky one with all of this literary talent oozing from my brain.

Don't worry, though. You have a longer life span than the fly. There is hope for you yet.

Heather Leigh,
Better than a fly

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Improving Author At Work

Want to know what I love? Well, obviously I'm going to tell you because I can't hear your answer. I love finding a debut novel that is fabulous, but not overly so. Then, as the author writes more books, I can read more of their blossoming talents and gain inspiration. Because if they can write something that will hold my attention for more than five pages, and improve their skills with each book, I have hope for myself.

Wow, that sounds narcissistic. Like, the only reason I like to read the other guys is to compare them to what I'm doing. I hope I'm not that bad. Because I want to be a solo cheerleader silently egging them on to keep up their momentum of self improvement. Support, positive wishes, and appreciation for their efforts--I want to be a part of all that.

But dang it, I'd be lying to myself if I can't admit that seeing others improve gives me hope for self-improvement. Maybe someday, writers will be watching me from the side lines. Sending me blessings of encouragement as each book grows into something better than before.

This weekend, I published the first two Scout and Ellie books: The Birthday Party and The Beauty Pageant, on to Kobo and NookBook. In doing so, I glided over my earliest attempts at writing those fun chapter books. And guess what I found? I like the first one, and each one is better than the last. Yey! Feels good to be getting better at the craft I love. Means there is hope for me yet. I didn't spill out all the talent that I will ever possess onto the first book and then leave myself exhausted of ideas.

Life for this writer will go on. Whew. Close call on that one.

Want to know what else I've gotten better at over the years? I know you are just springing with anticipation. Parenting. I've improved by elephant sized footsteps (get the Ellie reference? Oh, I am so clever). Talking, listening, being present, working with the boys, natural consequences, all those good parent things--I simply rock at. I'm exaggerating, but let me boost my parental self-esteem here. Even if I am lying to myself a smidge.

Okay, so here is the Catch-22. They are fifteen and eighteen now. Their need for my guidance is not as needy as is was in Kindergarten. So, while I got better, they've needed my services less and less. How does that make sense? What god came up with that trick, huh?

So I guess that puts writing on a more sensible path. As I improve, I write more books that people will benefit from. At least one of my two life callings is practical.

But then, someday those kids of mine will have kids. Maybe I'll get lucky and they will ask me for parenting advice. That will wrap up the parent learning cycle into something that makes sense.

Hey, maybe the Universe does have some order behind all the usual craziness we see everyday.

Heather Leigh,
Writing-improving author

Monday, September 7, 2015

Vegetarians and Dead Cows

Choice makes living much more agreeable. Like the other day when I was debating over the two packs of stickers that I wanted to decorate the front cover of my monthly planner (yes, I still use a paper one. My friends have told me there are apps for these things, but I don't believe them). The choice had been narrowed down to Princesses and Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. This was a difficult decision. But then, a shining beam of florescent light came down and revealed 55 stickers dedicated to rockets, planets, space ships, and dinosaurs wearing glass space helmets! Crises resolved!

My Labor Day morning was spent placing the perfect stickers on the planner cover. And oh, does it look lovely.

Speaking of choices, during our latest grocery shopping excursion, I was reflecting on the explosion of choices now available for vegetarians. When I began my no-meat life over twenty years ago, restaurant menu options were narrowed to salad. Which wouldn't have been so hideous if salads back then weren't reduced to iceberg lettuce and a shivering of carrot grating.

My favorite joys were people's comments to my veggie ways. The most humorous, and shockingly common one was: if there was nothing left to eat in the world but a cow, would you eat it?
When people are that desperate, they eat dead bodies! Of course I would eat the cow. After I ate the guy who asked the stupid question.

Our new puppy, Daisy, has a whirlwind of choices to make every moment. We can just see her pleasure seeking brain jumping from one potential adventure to the next. She doesn't bother with much internal brainly debate, though. She's more of the physical type (while still extremely intelligent, mind you!). Her doggie Disneyland life often lures her into the backyard. There she is beckoned into chasing large black beetles, grass moved by wind, gophers that courageously poke their head above ground, and cat poop lurking behind the pine tree. After each of these has been attacked, her tail is always available, yet ever elusive.

Our old dog, Sydney, has decided to forgo such choices. In her time she was more exhilarated by learning how to snatch glass jars off the counters and pry them open to eat the food, candy, nuts or chocolate hidden within. Or jumping through the glass door in order to attack the mailman. Or escaping through a barely open car window while I was driving in the parking lot of the dog park.

Nowadays, her choices are where to take the best nap, how to position her sleeping body on the kitchen floor so that I will trip over her while holding a pan of boiling water, or whether to walk one block or two. So, she still has choices.

And I am overly thankful that she is still around to make those choices.

Well, I've got to go check out my newly decorated monthly planner. Show it off to the teens I am lucky enough to have as sons. They won't be much impressed though. They have no idea how blessed they are with all of the sticker choices available in this modern age. Nothing like when I was a kid, limited to princesses and turtles.

Have a great day of choice making!

Heather Leigh,
Advocate of a zillion choice world

Friday, September 4, 2015

Blogs of the Masters

Ever wonder what the great spiritual leaders would post? Like Jesus, what would he blog about? Would he talk about the peace makers, or tell people to do better at sharing Doritos, Ben and Jerry ice cream, and Lindt chocolate caramel bars. You know, the truly important stuff in life.

Would he be a Tweeter? Passing on profound life-altering quotes so often that Tweet followers would finally get annoyed and mute his posts?

How would he get people to listen to his old school ideas about mustard seed and non-judgement. Would he have to get a job, or learn how to couch surf? Who would hire Jesus? I wouldn't want to be his supervisor. He doesn't even have a social security number.

As far as I know, he ate fish. That would make him a pescadarian, not eating meat and chicken. If he got popular again, this would cause major strife with the cattle ranchers and butchers. There could be civil war again in the U.S.: meat-eaters versus vegetarians.

And what if Buddha came back? It could be kind of awkward having him and the Dalai Lama in the same room together. If they disagreed about something, it could get ugly. Actually, they are both heavy laughers. They'd post all of the practical jokes they'd play on their followers.

Buddha was the ultimate  Realist. I'll bet he would have a flood of disciples overloading the social media with his quotes. He'd have to get a pay pal account to handle his donations. Of course, the money would go to good causes. He was a nice guy.

John the Baptist would be on every campaign wagon that had to do with clean water. He sure wouldn't want stinky, radiated, sewage infused, rivers infested with fertilizers from golf courses. Trying to baptize people in polluted waters would piss him off severely.

Moses would chain himself to oil drills in the desert. He'd be doing Selfies on Face book, telling people to walk or bike to work. He liked those desert areas.

I don't know about Allah enough to have an opinion about him. But whatever he did post about, it would be some hard core, passionate blog writing.

Oh, here's a thought. Dr. Wayne Dyer just passed. His mission was unconditional love. Already knowing how to blog, he could instant message what its like on the other side. That would make for some good readings (saw him at a lecture once--he was the closest I've ever felt a person radiating unconditional love).

Please note that I am a huge fan of each of these spiritual leaders. Kind of a general groupie of the lot of them. Any jests I make are made with love, laughter, and the hope that they have a sense of humor. Certainly, if they came back in 2015 to see what we've done with this earth, they'd have to be able to laugh. Otherwise, they would simply go crazy, turn around, and go home. Wherever that may be.

Heather Leigh,
Surmiser of spirit leaders in the social media