Friday, March 30, 2012

Does anyone know how to save a baby hummingbird?

Our post lady rang our bell a while ago to tell us a hummingbird baby was on our front walkway. Because it looked so still I thought it was dead at first, but this little one is still very much alive, and actually opening its mouth and trying to flutter its wings.

I moved it up to the garden area next to the path so it wouldn’t get stepped on and tried to feed it some agave liquid. Without an eyedropper that ended up being a sloppy mess.

I went back inside, watched a video online about how someone saved a little hummer by feeding it sugar water from an eye dropper and walking it around the plants in her garden. It practiced flying from her hand to her arm and back again. Pretty soon it was in a bush, flying from branch to branch.

I improvised with a little squeeze bottle with a sugar water mix and went back outside. The bird let me hold it while it took some sips of the liquid drops I squeezed out.  And it seems a bit rejuvenated now. It’s moving about on the ground, but not flying yet. And it keeps opening its mouth when I drop sugar water toward its little pointy beak. The problem is I have no idea how much to give it.

Hopefully its mother is around and coming by to feed it once in a while as well. And maybe some of you can tell me your success stories. I especially need to know what I’m doing wrong.

Of course there’s no telling whether I’ll be successful or not. But, at least it’s worth a try.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rejection - another cause of a U-turn

Talk about a U-turn. This must be my week. Here I am facing that U-turn again, and I need to find a way to work myself out of it.

It is so easy to get in the rejection doldrums. Any little thing can set it off – an unreturned telephone call or email, someone saying they’ll do something and they don’t, and of course that actual dreaded rejection letter.

I’m sure most of my creative readers know what that dreaded word is about it. You’ve probably experienced it. I know I have. I actually got sixty-eight rejections (by actual letter or by silence) before I got a publishing contract for my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. So I thought I was immune to it. Turns out I’m not. Rejection hurts.

In the last month my work has received two rejection emails. And since these rejections were from anthologies I’ve been featured in before, my first reaction was Whoa, what am I doing wrong here?  I better stop and rethink my course of action. Did I just say I’m taking a U-turn? I think so.

Getting rejected from a stranger is bad enough, but getting rejected from folks I already have a relationship with hurts all the more.

Up until the second rejection arrived yesterday I had been planning to submit to a couple of poetry contests. Now I’ve decided not to rush into those submittals. I’m going to take my time, do a little more organizing and editing, and maybe – just maybe – submit when the hurt has died down.

In the meantime, I’ll take a few deep breaths and keep writing. What else do I have to do?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Artist's Way: the creative U-turn

I think it’s time to get off the subject of The Hunger Games. I’ve had just about enough of the hype. The children love it and I’ll leave them alone to experience it – as it should be.

I need to get back to basics – my writing life. Yesterday I felt like my writing life had taken what Julia Cameron calls a creative U-turn, in her best seller, The Artist’s Way. But, thankfully that mood only lasted a day and a half. My creative U-turn came about because things I’d planned for regarding my memoir are not going to happen as planned. It put me in a blue funk. It made me think, what’s the point of all the work I’m doing anyway?

But this morning I listened to Cameron words: “Once we admit the need for help, the help arrives.” I got back to my desk, made some calls, sent some emails, got the answers I needed, and voila, my mood is back to creativity again.

I know this sounds vague. I’ll get more detailed in the future. Please stay tuned. And keep your creative career from making that creative U-turn. Remember every creative career has it failures. We must accept them, work through them, and not let them get in our artist’s way.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is life and death a game?

On a long drive yesterday I listened to a lot of NPR, including an interview with Gary Ross, the director of The Hunger Games, a movie opening on March 23 with a lot of hoopla. Since I didn’t know about it – it’s geared to teenagers and adapted from a young adult novel series by Suzanne Collins in which she explores the effects of war and violence on those coming of age – I decided to Google the book when I got home. I wasn’t pleased with what I found.

The Hunger Games is about youngsters as young as twelve and as old as eighteen fighting each other – I understand there has been a rebirth of bows and arrows as a result – until the last one is standing. Also the people who live in the surrounding area are commanded to watch this war on television.

That the game of life and death is so revered in this story appalls me. Must be my age.

Still with all the very young men and women killed in real wars, the gang-related youth killings, and suicides by children as young as nine because of bullying these days, I’d think we could make movies for them with better messages – that life and death is not a game. It is for real. We only have one chance at it. We cannot click a button and make all this gratuitous violence go away. And I wonder if the children as young as twelve who read Collins’ books and who are clamoring to see the movie know the difference.

Collins claims that the deaths of the young characters in her books were the hardest parts to write. Why am I not surprised?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is life fair?

I’m going through a rough patch. Well, not myself personally just people whom I know and love.

I found out yesterday that one of my dearest friends has lung cancer and she never even smoked.

And one of the cutest little babies in my life has to have a feeding tube put through his nose to try to stop him from aspirating food into his lungs when he swallows.

In a conversation with another friend we decided life isn’t fair, and the older we get the more we see of this unfairness.

Even so, we must stay positive and think good thoughts for healing miracles to make our loved ones better.

And maybe a pretty picture will help too.

Jelly Fish at the Monterey CA Aquarium

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Keeping agreements

True confessions: in the mid 1970s I spent two weekends at the Los Angeles Convention Center in a room with hundreds of people taking the est Training. It was the thing to do in those days. And over the next decade, over a million people like me resonated with Werner Erhard’s philosophy of transformation, personal responsibility, accountability, and possibility. We left the room at the end of the fourth day, feeling very much like we “Got It.”

And now, in 2012, I still feel that way. I always think of est when I say to someone or myself to go for it. est espoused the notions of going for it more than 100 per cent, living on the high road, and riding the horse in the direction it is going. Such simple concepts, made so clear and meaningful in four short days.

The most important aphorism of the training for me was: If you keep your agreements your life will work – 

because if you do, you don’t have to squirm, equivocate, think up lame excuses. You’ve kept your agreement and now you are golden. All is good.

That’s why I so resonated with Seth Godin’s March 17, 2012 blog post called “Specific Promises Kept.”

 I quote it here:
“We live in a vague world. And it gets vaguer all the time. There are so many waffle words, so many equivocations, so many ways to sort of say what we kind of intend to possibly do...

In this environment, the power of the specific, measurable and useful promise made and kept is difficult to overstate. And if you can do it regularly, on time and without a fuss, we will notice.

[If it's not working for you, perhaps you need to make and keep bigger promises. "Service excellence is our goal," doesn't count.]”

And I still wonder why so many people I know say, “Yes, sure, I’ll do it. I’ll be glad to.” And they don’t.