Permanent Sunscreen

We’ve reached the time of year where I might as well not bother with perfume because I’m more likely than not going to be slathered in sunscreen all day. I’ll be outside walking, swimming, reading, or even writing (though I’ve taken a bit of a break on that lately).

Today’s walk was largely upbeat:

1. “Best I Ever Had” by Gavin DeGraw
2. “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees
3. “Hands All Over” by Maroon 5
4. “Shut Up and Dance” by Better Than Ezra
5. “Lady I Can’t Explain” by Jimmy Buffett
6. “Still Ain’t Over You” by Rob Thomas
7. “Hard to Handle” by Black Crowes
8. “Human Wheels” by John Mellencamp
9. “Rusty Halo” by The Script

Okay, so the John Mellencamp song was kind of a weird one, but the rest made for quite a good story of missing an old flame, making a move on a new one, losing her, being hit on by a chick in a club, but then still not being able to get over the first girl. Or something like that. I think he gets his mojo back with “Hard to Handle” anyway. And then things get a bit existential . . .

A Story in Songs

Today’s walking playlist started and ended with anthems of faith while spanning regret, resentment, and remembering one’s roots through the middle.

1. “Something to Believe In” by Parachute
2. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears
3. “No Son of Mine” by Genesis
4. “Dear Home Town” by Great Big Sea
5. “Should’ve Known Better” by Richard Marx
6. “Rain on the Scarecrow” by John Mellencamp
7. “Rock Me on the Water” by Jackson Browne

There’s a story in all this for sure, one of someone escaping his (or her) past and trying to forge a path to greatness only to hit pitfalls. He regrets some of his choices, has moments of homesickness. Maybe he even returns home briefly to try to make amends. In the end he realizes he can only do for himself; one can’t sit around and wait for things to happen. If he’s going to “make it,” he’ll have to do it on his own. “Should’ve Known Better” points to a romantic subplot of some kind as well.

It’s a compelling story, as I see it, and some day when I have more time and have finished some of these other projects, I may even write it!

If You’re Gone

I’d been doing really well there with my posts for a while. But suddenly I’m busy again . . . A good thing for a writer.

I’ll be attending DFW Writers Conference in July, which has spurred me to try and finish the draft of Changers before then. If I write a minimum of 300 words per day, I’ll be done on July 19. Just enough time to eke in one small edit. BUT. If I can finish it even a little bit earlier, my writing group might have time to give me feedback so I can do a much bigger tidying up. Here’s hoping.

Meanwhile, I also have this screenplay I’m co-writing. That needs to get done sooner rather than later as well.

I do hope to be able to continue “Hamlette,” too. I’ve received a lot of enthusiastic feedback for it.

This afternoon, having hit a snag in Changers, I went for a walk:

1. “Sleep ‘Til the War is Over” by Rob Thomas
2. “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister
3. “Pompeii” by Bastille
4. “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons
5. “Feel Again” by OneRepublic
6. “It’s All Been Done” by Barenaked Ladies
7. “California 37” by Train
8. “When We Dance” by Sting
9. “Just Say Yes” by Snow Patrol

Wow. Heavy, and yet I loved this playlist. It might be overstating things to say there’s a sense of destiny in it, and yearning. Good, strong emotions, which I needed because I’m writing an emotional scene. It doesn’t seem like 300 words per day would be much to ask, but when you’re stuck, it’s like trying to drive through deep mud. Luckily, I have 4WD.

Open-Hearted

The press release about our would-be movie went out yesterday in the Total Licensing Report, and the production company now has us featured on their site. I’m excited, of course, but also trying not to get ahead of myself. There’s still quite some distance between this and production.

Having pneumonia put a cramp in my usual walks and exercise, but I’m slowly getting back into it. I’m still having to curb it a bit, and that’s frustrating because I was at a really good point and now I have to build back up again. But the past couple mornings I’ve seen this little hummingbird that’s such a dark shade of green he’s almost black . . . It reminds me of Kenneth Patchen’s “little green blackbird.” And this morning I saw the hummingbird on a branch beside a bright yellow goldfinch, and for whatever reason that just made my day.

Today’s walk:

1. “I Can Only Think of You” by Pure Prairie League
2. “Holiday in Spain” by Counting Crows
3. “Home” by American Authors
4. “Downfall” by Matchbox Twenty
5. “Fireflies” by Owl City
6. “Real World ’09” by Rob Thomas
7. “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On” by Jimmy Buffett
8. “Gimme Another Chance” by Pure Prairie League

I like how my iPod bookended with Pure Prairie League.

And I like the pairing of “Holiday in Spain,” which is about getting away, and “Home.”

I’m not much of a crier, but Buffett’s song about Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it wreaked on my home city gets me every time.

Still, there’s something open and optimistic about today. As I walked, I felt like all things were possible. Like maybe obstacles only exist within us; we make them ourselves. For the Universe there are no obstacles, and if we leave ourselves open to all possibilities, then wonderful things can happen. Bad things, too, maybe, but I feel like it’s worth the risk to live an open-hearted life.

Wild Mountain Thyme

Yeah, it’s a Scottish song, but then I’m part Scottish, so . . .

This morning I went on my usual walk, and I found a thistle. Just growing there, next to the path. Wasn’t there yesterday. And I’ve never seen a thistle in our park before, not anywhere. So I picked it and brought it home because it felt like a sign. Of what, though, I’m not sure.

Thistle is, of course, the national flower of Scotland. From a florist’s perspective, it symbolizes austerity. In dreams, thistles show a need or desire for protection, or perhaps a prickly nature that drives others away. Any or all of these may apply to why a thistle decided to make its presence known to me this morning.

And then the song “Wild Mountain Thyme” popped into my head. It’s not on my iPod, though Glenn Frey does a nice version of it. (My iPod, meanwhile, was playing “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” by Moody Blues. Which I’d forgotten was even on my iPod because it’s never played it before.)

So though today is an Irish holiday—and yes, I’m wearing green—for me there was a bit of Scottish magic in it.

Odds & Ends

I was thinking about numbers, or specifically about how the numbers 18, 108, 801 have figured in my life. They’ve popped up regularly in addresses and phone numbers, even the style number of my wedding dress . . . Whenever I encounter some combination of these numbers, I take notice.

And then this morning I was texting with a friend who was asking about the astrological climate since things seem to be getting challenging. And so I mentioned the upcoming, final Pluto-Uranus square, a configuration that’s been going on since June 2012. This last one is compounded by Mars conjuncting Uranus today as the square tightens to exact next Monday. There’s plenty written about this series of squares, so I have no need to reiterate, but my friend and I discussed (if one can have a discussion via text message) the need to let go of things, else they will be forcibly taken from you, and how often the things you’re willing to give up are not the things your meant to give up. In short, it’s been a difficult and transformative period, and in what part(s) of your life will mostly depend on where in your chart Pluto and Uranus (and at the moment Mars) lie. Best course of action is to go with the flow and not fight the current.

Which is why I was somewhat amused when, after all this, I went on my walk and the first song on my iPod:

1. “Everything Will Change” by Gavin DeGraw
2. “The Next Voice You Hear” by Jackson Browne
3. “Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season” by Jimmy Buffett
4. “Something to Believe In” by Parachute
5. “Fool’s Game” by Richard Marx
6. “Bulletproof Picasso” by Train
7. “These Dreams” by Heart
8. “Who Needs Sleep?” by Barenaked Ladies
9. “Opening Titles” from the Sherlock soundtrack

Huh. I think all these songs apply somewhat to those themes of revolution (Uranus’ specialty) and letting go/starting over. And I think my iPod has quite the sense of humor playing “These Dreams” and then “Who Needs Sleep?”

“The Next Voice You Hear” is a fabulous song, the natural counterpart to Browne’s “Lives in the Balance.” There’s something both haunting and empowering about it. I used to have the chorus on my old answering machine: The next voice you hear . . . The next voice you hear . . . The next voice you hear will be your own.

I won’t be sorry to see the backside of these Pluto-Uranus squares. But hopefully the work is done and I’m on a better path now than three years ago. I’ve certainly come a long way. Let’s hope it was the right direction and that I can maintain momentum.

Pain

Three rejections in two days. Feels a bit like being beaten with a stick.

And there are a lot of good things happening, too, but when you’re in pain you don’t typically focus on the parts that aren’t hurting. When you have a migraine, you don’t think, “At least my feet are all right.” You’re too busy trying to fix your head.

So this morning I walked without music, which is really rare for me. I love music, and usually I would pump up the upbeat tunes to get me back into fighting shape. But today I felt the need for something more fundamental. To hear the birds, to meditate on the “clouds low and hairy in the skies” (Robert Frost, somewhat adjusted). And it was good. I’m in a little less pain now, and even just received news that I’ve been added to a stable of writers to be called on if and when needed. So that’s nice.

And now I’m going to try to work. Because if I focus on the pain too long it will only get worse. Better to think of something else and let the pain ebb away.

For the Birds

I have a couple “regulars” I see on my walks in the nearby hills. First, there is a pair of mated crows (and sometimes a few more crows, which I always count because I’m compulsive and superstitious). There is also a beautiful hawk. This morning my hawk friend followed me on my walk, going from this tree to that, then to a nearby rock, then up to a streetlight as I walked home.

A new bird also appeared on scene this morning: a big, white heron. He flew over me a few times as I walked. Quite lovely.

1. “Never Thought” by Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers
2. “Bigger Than the Both of Us” by Jimmy Buffett
3. “Aren’t You Mine” by Pure Prairie League
4. “Last Chance” by Maroon 5
5. “Fool’s Game” by Richard Marx
6. “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” as covered by Los Lobos
7. “As Long As It Matters” by Gin Blossoms
8. “Meet Virginia” by Train
9. “I Take My Chances” by Mary Chapin Carpenter
10. “Leave An Open Door” by Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers

Odds & Ends

Received more great coverage for my TV pilot yesterday. I have real hopes this could be a network television show.

I’ve also been getting solid feedback for Peter. Now I’m making revisions based on that feedback, and I think the novel will be stronger for it.

Lately I get a lot of, “I see you walking in the mornings.” Considering I’m up in the hills and almost never wear the same jacket twice in as many days, it might seem impossible these people are so sure they saw me. Except I’m the only person in these parts with flaming red hair streaked with orange and pink. At least, I think I am . . . My natural hair is almost completely white now, which seems crazy considering I’m not that old (in my opinion, anyway). If I were brave, I’d leave it. But I’m not brave. And I love being a redhead. And orangehead. And pinkhead. And sometimes purplehead or bluehead. I never know ’til I leave the salon what color I might end up being.

Today’s walk:

1. “Tributary Otis” by The Refreshments
2. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers
3. “Chemical Party” by Gavin DeGraw
4. “Follow Through” by Gavin DeGraw
5. “Give Me the Meltdown” by Rob Thomas
6. “Just South of Nowhere” by Gin Blossoms
7. “Stop and Stare” by OneRepublic
8. “Drops of Jupiter” by Train
9. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
10. “Early Morning Riser” by Pure Prairie League
11. The Road and the Sky” by Jackson Browne
12. “Where Are You Now?” by Mumford & Sons

I had a dream last night about Gin Blossoms, so I wondered if they’d turn up on my iPod this morning. In the dream I was at an outdoor concert—they were playing in front of a municipal building, but the building was in the middle of a clearing in a forest. And as the concert ended, masked men came and shot the drummer dead and took some hostages. Pretty crazy. The dream ended with me going into the building, which was a maze of beige marble hallways, and finding a room that seemed to have mounds of snow in it but they turned out to be beanbags. And a woman who acted like she knew me but was talking about my Sherlock dolls, saying, “Jim, right?” Except I only had my Sherlock doll with me, not Jim or John. And another woman asking me to look up info about the Attorney General, but all I could find was a picture of her as a cheerleader with a tattoo of the Sun in Aquarius and a bunch of astrological info. Hmm. I don’t even know how the whole hostage situation ended.

Now I’m off to continue revisions to Peter . . .