Day 19

The prompt for today was to write the end…. of whatever we are currently working on. However, with fiction, that would be like buying a mystery and turning to the last page. The rest, if you in fact decided to read it all after that, would be anticlimactic.

So, I am actually cheating today and posting the first letter in the novel I most wish to publish. It needs some work in the middle, and in an earlier post I asked for any suggestions of troubles or angst I might add to make it more interesting. Perhaps, especially those of you who do like, and have read Jane Austen, might be reminded to give it some thought for me. Though anyone’s suggestions who reads fiction would certainly be welcome.

Dear Mrs. Bingley,

How strange that sounds dear Jane. Does it appear strange to you to be called thus? Just as I find it odd answering to my new name I wager, and no one around to call me Lizzy! The address of Mrs. Darcy is for all accounts a new creation and it will take effort to attune my hearing to the answering of it. Not that I do not relish the idea of the trying.

It has been near 4 weeks since we wed and even though you and I have been separated at times before, this separation feels so different to me as the change of our situation is of such a permanent nature and there is no going back. Do not, however, think I wish to go back to my life before Jane, and I am as happy as I could be. Fitzwilliam and I get on very well and I do believe I love him more as every day passes. My hope is that your feelings are similar to my own with your Charles.

I am anxious to hear the details of the early days of your new life, where you have been and what things you nave seen. We are used to sharing all our news you and I, and I am feeling the loss of the opportunity to do this. I did not think to miss gossip, Mama being the one to gather and share it with us at home and now the feelings of isolation from all I have known are forefront. I will in time have my own circle to feel connected to, however it will likely be sometime before this is a reality. Do you miss it all too my dear sister?

After our wedding, Fitzwilliam and I travelled back to Pemberley with only a small detour as it is such a beautiful place and I love the grounds so well I did not need to be taken anywhere more exotic. My husband was wishing for Paris, however in the end obligations here denied us this for the present.

The Estate at Pemberley is so large that we are easily able to find ourselves a quiet place for time together away from servants and even Georgiana. The housekeeper Mrs. Smith is very good and has been keen in keeping Georgiana occupied with her. I have duties to learn and obligations of my own here now though and do spend time with Mrs. Smith myself in order to learn the ways of the house. Mr. Darcy has spoken to the staff on my behalf that allowances will be made readily for any changes I wish to make from the current way of things here however I feel I should wait to make any changes until I feel more at home in the house and my role in it. This house has been run well for many a year, therefore I see no need to change things for changes sake and I wish only to gain the respect of the staff before making orders for anything new. I would of course seek the approval also of the master of the house before anyone else, even though he has readily given his permission to do so. I daresay everything will run as it has without any say from me at least until we return from town.

And so, ten days hence we are for town as Fitzwilliam has business there and we are invited by Lord and Lady Darcy, cousin to my husband I have yet to meet, as they are to host a Ball for Miss Marianne Hale, sister to Lady Darcy.

I do look forward to attending the London Season however I have not little concern regarding my walks. You know Jane, how I greatly enjoy the country with nature all around and so the being without opportunity for some months is somewhat disconcerting at the least. Perhaps I may find some small park in which to indulge my passion and find the quiet solitude of which I am accustom.

There is of course many a new thing for us to become accustom to and there are things I fear I will not favour with ease. However, I daresay I will find pleasures enough to occupy me, at least until you are with me dear Jane. Then we will bear whatever we have to together.

I hope to see you soon dear sister, and in the meantime I pray you are finding your new life much to your liking and as well, that your journey to London be soon as selfishly I wish for your company.

Love Lizzy

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Day 18 (or thereabouts)

Cogito ergo sum

Ok. So you want it in English?

Actually it was translated from Latin into French first.

The English is: I think, therefore I am

Sounds like something Shakespeare said doesn’t it. Actually it was from the same era. However the writer was French philosopher, René Descartes.

Taking creative license, I’m changing it to “I write, therefore I am”. It isn’t quite what Monsieur Descartes had in mind. However, he did use the idiom to explain the limits

to be put on doubt. If you doubt your existence, ask how can you think if you don’t exist?

How can I doubt my existence if the evidence is there on the printed page. Well, perhaps not printed in this case… but I think you follow.

There was a Star Trek Next Generation episode many years ago which explored the idea. It was interesting in the end, when the Android Data wondered if perhaps, as Moriarty was a holographic image that had become sentient and now was held in a portable holographic box, perhaps they too were in some larger imaginary universe. He asked, “computer. End program.” When nothing happened, he assumed he was wrong and he, along with his human crew mates were in fact real, and alive. Which of course they, the characters they played anyway, were not.

(For the non-sci-fi readers….just ask…and one of us will try to explain)

It seems the skepticism of the reality of life has perhaps been there all along. Our life seems real enough. However, is that only our perception?

I’m going to go with REAL. It feels pretty real to me.

Writing though, especially fiction, deals with fantasy. Lives that, if written well enough, may seem so real that we laugh and cry with the characters. Perhaps we may even think on their future if there was no epilogue. How did it really turn out for them?

The mind is a pretty amazing thing. There really is no end to our imagination. We could think on for eons. All that might be. All we might do in that gargantuan amount of time. A billion years perhaps? Can’t fathom it? What about a billion minutes… that’s longer than you think!

Would we stay on Earth? Travel to other planets, solar systems, or even galaxies? What would we learn, study, do?

It’s a bit like: “let your fingers do the walking” (my apologies to the under 30 crowd….. a commercial, talking about using the yellow pages… a book… paper and ink etc)

In writing, it’s “let your mind do the wandering”. So long as we have a good imagination, we can make whole worlds live and breathe. Basic needs are the same, so those can be incorporated. Everything else is up for grabs. This world or another, under the sea, in the sky above. Another dimension entirely where all we know can be altered, questioned and revamped.

Even in historical fiction writers take “creative license” and change a few things for the sake of their story. Our readers usually understand. Especially if we let them know we did it on purpose. We did know what we were talking about, but changed it anyway, to fit!

So, a writer is who I am. Writing is what I do. For me. It’s nice to share though. Expand our horizons. Let our mind out for a picnic somewhere outside our life occasionally. It can be a breath of fresh air.

Day 17

Waiting

Were you impatiently awaiting my blog? I’m not so high on myself to think that’s the case. However, if you stop by and read, I’m grateful.

Waiting. Something we’re all familiar with and often get frustrated by.

There’s lots of different kinds of waiting though. There’s the negative and positive.

In the negative, we’ve all been there waiting for bad news. It’s possibly one of the worst feelings there is. So we won’t dwell on that.

The positive, is more of an anticipation. Like waiting for the confirmation that your pregnant. Waiting for the birth is another. In that case the waiting isn’t a static thing. There is lots of activity beforehand, inside as baby grows, and all the preparation for the little one’s arrival. The intensity building as the evidence of baby grows more obvious. For parents, that’s the best kind of waiting. Unless you’re the expectant mom and your over you’re due date. Then the waiting becomes old! You just want to get baby into the world, and soon! Trust me…been there!

There’s waiting when you travel. It’s usually, “hurry up and wait”.

If you do any amount of travelling, it’s something you have come to expect and prepare accordingly. Books, crosswords, movies (now they are downloadable onto tablets), toys if you’re travelling with little ones. Food too, especially if you have any food restrictions. Don’t want to get caught with no place to buy what you need.

Daily there are many times when we have to wait. It’s just part of life. Waiting in line at the check out of the store. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for a delivery. Waiting for the laundry or dishwasher to finish. Waiting for supper to cook. Waiting for the clock to get to the quitting hour, especially if you don’t care for your job.

There’s a whole lot of waiting going on when you start to think of it.

Waiting to fall asleep. One of my less favourites. Especially if you’re tired and need to sleep but your brain says otherwise. You may close your eyes but you still see all the things you still need to do, problems you need to solve etc.

There’s a guy who has videos on You Tube, Mark Gungor, all about “men’s brain v’s women’s brain” – check it out. I’d love to have a “nothing box” to go to when I get into bed, instead of the supercharged, wired up, women’s brain that I have.

One of my least favourite things is waiting at the doctor’s office. Many doctors are conscious of the fact that their patients also have a life, and try to keep on track.

My GP many years ago was one of those. We all appreciated him for that, and his competency as a physician. There was one day I arrived and found a few people already waiting. No one went in or out for a while and we had begun to wonder what was going on. Was he even there? We all became a little irritated, wondering what the hold up was. After some 40 minutes someone came out and things started to move. I finally had my turn and found out why we had waited to long.

He apologized profusely, explaining that the person who was before us was terminally ill, and needed to talk. All our irritation with the long wait fell away. Our compassion for the person overriding. As well, we were so very grateful for a doctor who was not willing to put the clock before a person in need. Wouldn’t we want the same treatment.

Conversely, there was a specialist I was sent to see who seemed to think he was the only one whose time mattered. I arrived to find a room full of patients. At the check in desk I inquired if there was more than one doctor. Apparently there was two. Still 20+ people would make for a long wait. Irritated, I asked how many people were ahead of me? 8 I was told. How long with each patient? 10 minutes on average? She informed me that “when you come here, you need to plan on waiting half the day.”

“Well then”, I informed the lady, “I will be back in an hour or so”. She seemed quite stunned I was not happy to sit there and wait for this arrogant man. I told her I had things to do, and it didn’t include waiting there all morning. I arrived back there in about 75 minutes and still waited 20. I felt better for not succumbing to the ‘inevitable’ wait as it was not so inevitable after all.

So are you impatiently waiting for my next instalment…. hahahaha. I know, it’s ok. I understand. You have a life to live.

However, if you’re waiting around for something and have a moment to spare, read my blog. Then, if you’re still waiting for something, leave me a note.

Thanks!

Day 16

Back to the challenge….

“Evaluate”. Talking about my writing of course.

But, don’t we all need to do a self evaluation on occasion? See where we’re headed in life? How are we doing reaching goals? Do we have goals?

So how am I doing in this challenge? I guess that depends on who you ask. LoL. I’m sure some would wish I’d had enough by now and would take a break. I’m behind by a day or two or more now, and I’ve done well.

Sorry if you’re disappointed. I’m getting more energized for writing, by writing.

It doesn’t work that way with everything. Some things get ‘old’ the more you do them. Time to move on. Guess that’s how we find out what we’re really made for.

Even with Writing, there are writing prompts I’ve tried and they just don’t do it for me. The subject is just not me.

It’s why some like to play golf, but not some other sport. Of course there are some who just love any sport they can try. Some like to knit but not do needlepoint. Some love to run, others to cycle.

It’s what makes life interesting for us, as well as those around us. Just think if we were all fabulous at everything. How boring would that be? No one to help us aspire to be better. No way to work toward a goal of bettering ourselves? Sometimes the learning process is as much fun as just doing things we are good at, so long as we see improvement and are finding enjoyment in it.

I must say there are things I’ve tried that I suppose I could become more efficient at, but I have no desire to do so. Other things, I would love to be good at but don’t have the aptitude. I have to just sit back and enjoy someone else’s skill, which is good too.

Many times our desire to be good st something depends as much on our level of commitment to improve as does any natural ability we might have.

I took singing lessons a number of years ago. One day I arrived a little early for my lesson and heard the lovely voice of the person ahead of me. As she came out, I mentioned how much I enjoyed hearing her sing. She thanked me and left. My teacher informed me that when the lady came to her, (she was then in her sixties) she could not sing in tune! It took them 2 years of lessons for that to happen, but as I heard, she now has a lovely voice to share with others.

Wow! 2 years! She must have had a great deal of determination to stay with it. Our seasoned instructor was also not put off by the challenge. How she must have felt when they succeeded!

There are some of course who never really succeed, in the traditional sense, in an endeavour. However, sometimes the lessons learned by perseverance are as much benefit as the endeavour itself.

I learn something new about writing, about myself, every time I write. As in life, ‘a journey and not a destination’, writing takes me many places along the way. Places I would never go if I did not write.

Day 15

The writing prompt for today was ‘hope’.

However, after the events of this week, I must digress from the usual. So, I beg your indulgence for a more personal post.

There are constants in our life. Things that we count on, that give us the sense of belonging, a routine, a normalcy, if you will. It is something different for everyone.

One of those for me was my Aunt. I do not remember a time without her, she was simply always there. We drank tea together, even when I was 5. I listened to her play the piano, even though she had familial tremors which would become more pronounced when she nervous or under stress. Though I’ve lived away for so many years, we enjoyed our time together when I could visit.

My Aunt was, you could say, one of the little people. I don’t mean in stature, though osteoporosis took off inches the last number of years. No, I mean it in the sense that she was unpretentious and unassuming. She wasn’t a celebrity. She had no letters after her name.

In fact, as she was a sickly child much of her education was outside of school. She took classes, night school. A skill she learned was short hand, highly prized at the time but now obsolete. She then made her way, taking a position as a personal secretary to the ‘boss’ in a local company. She did this until caring for elderly parents kept her at home. You see, she never married.

While my grandparents were still healthy, the three of them travelled in Europe. I recall several amusing stories. One from the former Yugoslavia. Living a sheltered, Victorian, life in the UK left them unprepared for the sight of locals who thought nothing of stripping down to nothing, or nearly so, at the beach. Families, young and old, together. It made of amusing anecdotes upon their return.

France offered another such anecdote. Several places they visited had unusual configurations for public washrooms. Apparently, the ‘ladies’ was through the ‘mens’. My poor grandmother, born at the end of the 19th century was not about to enter that ‘den’ if it was possibly occupied! So, my Aunt would make sure the facilities were empty and then give the nod to Grandma. Once inside, it was then my Aunt’s job to make sure none of the male gender would enter before she, Grandma, exited. Strategic use of a map to ask for directions was employed until Grandma safely exited the facility. I was not there, however, I could imagine the scene. She brought back dolls from the places she visited, and gave me a few as gifts. People added to her collection as they learned of it, until there were many from all over the world.

She was very capable handling a work crew and not let them walk over ‘a woman’ alone. When having some renovations done to her home, a contractor was called back to address some issues. His reaction was to begin with an expletive… to which my Aunt interjected, “sugar? At his frown she added with a smile, “well, it’s sweeter than what you were going to say!” Her way of dealing with them helped things along without becoming so disagreeable.

In later years, enduring cancer twice, did not lessen her desire for life, simple as it was. She told me, she and a friend would take the bus downtown and sit drinking a coffee (yes, English people do drink it) and ‘people watch’. They’d have “a giggle” at the eccentricities of those around them.

Music lessens continued as well as card making, pottery and then chocolates. A sweet shop, and coffee etc, downtown even made truffles that included apples from her tree.

My aunt, though failing herself, was a fierce advocate for other older ones. My mother, her sister in law, as well as several friends and neighbours. Determined and independent down to the end.

She told us not that long ago, that she paid into her pension so long that she was determined to live long enough to get as many back as possible. She also refused to sign a DNR when diagnosed with Congestive heart failure, sighting “whatever for. I’m not done yet”.

I am sad that she’s gone, though her life hardly resembled one anymore. Her independence was lost with her health.

My Aunt was one of those constants. Just knowing she was there was a comfort. The home she lived in was one I have memories of as far back as I can remember. Those memories I will certainly cherish.

In memorial

D. L.

Day 14

Write about food. Well, that’s just too much like yesterday.

However, (I can hear you shouting “No! Don’t do it”) I must say it’s interesting that food these days seems as faddish as clothing?

Ethnic food has become past of the norm and I’m not just talking of eating out. Tell me? 20 years ago, would you have expected to be served Thai or Indian Curry when invited to someone’s house for dinner? I’m talking Caucasian Canadian here. You’d expect a pot roast perhaps. A roast chicken? A burger or hotdog? A BBQ steak? Here on the west coast, a nice piece of halibut or salmon perhaps.

Things have definitely changed. Many now are also eating gluten free diets and or, vegetarian or even vegan. It make it a challenge to invite people over to eat. Personally I’m up to the challenge. I like to cook and am not afraid of cooking in a different style for those with health issues, sensitivities to certain foods, or outright, full-blown allergies! We have a friend who carries an epipen because of gluten! Now that’s serious.

I know about food sensitivities. I have a few of my own. Probably more if I’d own up to it, but then I might have to take a few more things off the table, so to speak, of my own diet. I do have to speak up and mention that I can’t eat Thai or Indian food. It’s not that I don’t like it, but that it doesn’t like me! Not at all! I’m not getting into any more details here, as anyone with food allergies and sensitivities will know what I’m not saying…..

It’s good we have such a variety of foods though. Going beyond all the allergies etc, we all have our own taste, likes and loves, when it comes to food.

It’s also not just about feeding our bodies either. Some foods feed our emotions. Why do we prefer a nice hot soup or stew in the winter? Keeps us warm, up also fills the emotions from the cold, wet, dreary days. I really don’t care much for salad in the winter!

Taste and smell also brings on memories. Comfort food is sometimes from our childhood, if we had a good one. My husband is Ukrainian and has a soft spot for the ethnic foods he grew up eating. Remembering family get togethers, harvest time at the farm, and wedding feasts.

I have a whole different set of food memories from growing up in England. Actually one food memory, if you can call it that, was candy! When visiting an “olde English Sweet Shop” in Victoria, I noticed a square, red, sugar coated candy in a jar. It brought back memories of my first violin teacher. I wasn’t sure if it was the one he used to give me after each lesson so the lady gave me one to try. At first, as I sucked on the sweet candy, I thought ‘no, that’s not it’, then as I got through the sweet sugary taste on the outside, I began to taste the sourness that was below. Yes! That was it! Funny how a little thing like that brought back so many memories of a time so long ago.

I’m sure we all have these memories lurking in us, with either the taste or smell a food as the catalyst. Kind of nice when it happens out of the blue and brings us back in time to somewhere we’ve forgotten. Somewhere we have a good memory and it can bring on a smile.

Day 13

Write about my day.

This sounds like a social media post. “Look at my fabulous cappuccino”, “how cute is that dog I saw while out walking”, look how great I look working out”.

While I ascribe to, and even admit to, posting about my day for specific reasons, I can’t actually believe my friends are that interested in what I chose to eat or wear today, or if I’m still in my PJ’s writing this post (I’ll never tell). I can hardly believe my friends are interested in my blog posts in any case?!

Travel is a time I specifically make a journal and share it. Started out mostly for me, so I can remember years later what the name of this or that was! Or the people we met, etc. I’m always interested in others travel pics and details. Hey, I might just want to go where they did sometime, or I have already, and it brings a smile, remembering being there ourselves. It’s almost like visiting there again but for free, and you can do it in your PJ’s, without a passport and all your toiletries in a small see through ziplock bag.

Some make a health journal, and publish it, or start a blog. That can be useful and encouraging for someone with the same condition.

A food blog, if you’re handy in the kitchen and love creating new things, can be a good read. Tried and tested recipes are always better, in my opinion.

Pinterest has lost of posts which will direct you to all these blogs. No matter what your interests are. It will be there! There’s something for everyone. Sometimes ad nauseam.

Since writing about my day was the Writing prompt, I will tell you finding motivation for anything on a rainy, dreary and dark, spring day(ha ha spring has gone south without us) is most difficult. Writing when I have a relative who is terribly ill, and another who is struggling to stay independent, as well as numerous friends who are dealing with life changing events, is not easy either. At the moment, writing fiction is on hold. It’s in there percolating, waiting for me to dig into it again. Those characters don’t go away, but take a nap until I call for them to come out and live the lives I’ve created for them.

Writing sympathy or encouragement cards, with verses to match the occasion is what’s the order of the day. Still writing, which in some sense is comforting. Hoping my own words are comforting to those in need of it.

I gave a card to a friend who was going through some awful stuff and the sentiment, as well as the picture with a knotted rope, said, “when you think you can’t cope anymore, tie a knot and hold on!” She thanked me so much and said it was just what she needed and it made her smile.

Sometimes its the little things we share. The inspiration we’ve found that encourages others. If I can bring a smile to someone by writing, no matter what it is, I’ll keep writing.