I just finished a book I was reading as part of my research for my next book. It has taken me four months to finish it. Non-fiction works that way with me. It was fascinating, small print, footnotes – not my usual fare. But it gave me background that I need. It’s title is The Old Lie, The Great War and the Public School Ethos, by Peter Parker. I bought a used copy since it’s out of print. I’ve got notes written in the margins now, pages dog-eared, flags sticking out its side, and a coffee/tea stain here and there on the cover (or that may have come with the book).
Here’s some Latin that haunts the book and England during WWI:
Dulce et Decorum est,
Pro patria mori
(it is sweet and right to die for your country)
This is what drove English boys to war from the public schools at ages of 17 and 18, to be officers. It’s still doing its work today. The thing is in 1914 England the world was very different from what it is today. Context is everything.
We’re on vacation at a friend’s family condo in Sarasota, Florida – two families, one of my son’s friends. The two boys are laughing and giggling all the time (except when they are mad at each other which is not often). If I open the window I can hear the waves breaking on the beach. The balcony overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. I love the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t know why. The waves are small but the water is a different color than I’m used to. Long Island water is dark and cloudy and cold cold cold. The water here is lighter in color, turquoise, and chilly but swimable. It is beautiful.
I’ve slept until almost nine two mornings in a row. Normally I am up at 5:30am. The dogs are back home being boarded for the week playing with other dogs and wondering if we’ll come back for them (well one isn’t wondering – he’s probably too busy playing, but the younger one probably is). I miss those mongrels but I’m also glad I can sleep late.
It’s 70’s with a breeze and the sun just came out. It might have hit 81 but I’m not sure. I’m not wearing my watch.
This is my vacation. I’ve had a cold since the day before we left but it’s getting better. The sea air is doing it. That and some sleep.
I’ve been exhausted from my day job.
I’ve written two for two days of vacation – continuing my streak of three months. It is lovely writing from the balcony, listening to the ocean. We’re going to Disney one day, but only one day. Every other day is the pool, the beach, or the pool (there are two).
Here’s three words I wrote today:
I’ve been in a cave this week – a cave of work, of budgets, of elearning systems, of gamefication explanations and analysis, of wireframes, and harm reduction, of SBIRs NIDAs SSICs and NDRIs. Some days I live in a sea of acronyms and abbreviations. Other days the hull of my ship is made of tinsel. I am tired and not about to catch up on sleep any time soon.
Lying in savasana each day for a few minutes at the end of my yoga practice helps me to settle into myself and rest.
It has been one of those kinds of weeks. But tomorrow is Friday and new movies come out on Friday and even though I don’t go to movies much anymore (I love them but don’t have time for them) Friday has always been a joyous day for me because I can look at the reviews of movies and dream about what I would like to see. That and of course it’s the weekend.
John Carter of Mars comes out in less than a month. I have waited for this movie for almost forty years, since I read the ERB book and was first transported to Mars as a boy. I hope it will be good. I’m taking my son to see it with me.
Three words I found today in my work:
What words have you found in your imagination?
Three words I typed today:
I laid out a puzzle for myself to solve and solved it in my narrative. A small section but a pivotal one. Funny how plot points come and go.
The week between christmas and new years day is a strange and timeless week.It sits between the past year and the coming year. It sits in the present more than any other time, for me. In yoga class I say, try not to think about what happened before class or what will happen after. Just be present for the sensations in your body, the sound and rhythm of your breath, and awareness of your thoughts. Make room for the inward journey of your practice.
This week, after the insanity of christmas is over, these things – the ability to be more present in particular – just seem to be more… accessible. There is room inside of me.
It hasn’t always been this way. In many past years I couldn’t wait until January 1 and the beginning of a new year. I’d been focused on the end of the year and endings. And endings can be painful to be present with for any period of time.
This year, I’m more… present, more present tense.
I’m off so we’re all home, hibernating. For us hibernating is reading a lot, playing games (both electronic and non-electronic), going to the movies, taking out the dogs, and eating. I’ve added in writing in the morning and practicing yoga. I feel more whole than I have in a while. The writing is doing that for me. Other things too, but that is a big part.
I know. It sounds exciting. I wish I had two weeks like this.
But I only have one, for now.
Then it’s back to my day job.
It’s cold outside and warm inside.
Here’s three words from this morning’s work.
Besotted. Mummies. Aye.