Blogging

Reemerging from the Shadows

shadow-womanI’ve been absent from here, from all social media, for awhile. Life changed, as it does.  Here’s what happened. And why I can start to emerge from the shadows, and rejoin the virtual world. With differences.

What Changed?

My daughter started middle school and was diagnosed with ADHD. My life morphed into doctor’s appointments, school appointments, research,  tapping friends, colleagues and strangers with similar situations, long hours of homework oversight and working through a spectrum of emotions that exploded through the house without a moment’s notice.

There was no time and little left of me at the end of the day.

My writing screeched to a halt, so did the daily yoga I use to manage a back condition. I missed deadlines and obligations–something I’ve never done. And given my overblown sense of responsibility, it all felt terrible.  My stomach turned to acid, my pants tightened, I couldn’t get out of bed,papers piled up in all corners of my house, I ran out of dishes because I didn’t wash them and I noticed more wine bottles in the recycle bin.

So I scaled back. I dropped social media, resigned from all volunteer activities, took out everything from my life that took time from my family.  I didn’t have it to give. My attention centered on my daughter and work. Nothing else. Needless to say, I got lost somewhere in there.

Healing: It started with a table and chairs

Sometimes an unexpected gift gets dropped on your doorstep. Its not necessarily anything important, just changes something. Like fixing a slanted picture, and the room looks somehow right again. In this case, neighbors I didn’t know very well, moved and left me their dining room table. I needed a new one and this did the trick. One small change compelled me to make another. I added a new sofa, since the puppy tore through the old one, and the cat usurped it as his hiding place.

IMG_1109

Two changes and my home no longer felt like a burden, another set of lines on my never ending to-do list. It became a place to nest and to heal. A place of refuge and renewal.

My daughter continues to adjust to middle school and we’ve come up with tricks and strategies to get the homework done by a decent hour and manage some of the ADHD. Life advances one day at a time, no matter how much it feels like its racing past us.  Things are still not easy nor reliably routine.  Perhaps they never were–that’s just an illusion we create to keep ourselves sane. But I’ve come home to myself.

 

I’ve started writing again, doing yoga, and journaling. Not at the same level of productivity and not every day. My schedule has changed. I’m not taking on new responsibilities for the moment but have started adding the basics back. I’ll aim to blog more often–aiming for weekly–and show up on twitter and FB at that same level. I miss you all.

Coming Next

I’ve slowed down and may have back tracked by I’m still writing.  Hope Restored, Book 3 of Divine Temptation is with critique partners and beta readers. If anyone wants to beta read it, there’s still time and I’d love to get feedback from a few others. But that should be out later this year, if everything goes well.

After that, I may reinvent myself. Watch this space. As my life changes, my writing and writing life will change too.

 

 

Y is for Yemaya (African Pantheon) #AtoZChallenge

Yemaya is the goddess of the seas and motherhood in Yoruban mythology.  Yoruban culture is found in West Africa, particularly southwestern Nigeria and western Benin.

Island of Salvation Botanica, Piety Street, Bywater neighborhood, New Orleans Category:Folk art Category:New Orleans Category:Voodoo

Of interest for this theme, Yemaya was worshipped predominantly by women because she both grants fertility and protects women during childbirth.  She is known as the mother of fish and in fact her full name means mother whose children are fish.

She has a global reach as she was brought to Brazil, Haiti, the U.S. among others from Africa. Since our knowledge of Yemaya has been passed through oral traditions, many variants of her name and capabilities have emerged.

Like most of the sea goddesses I’ve covered here, she has mood swings, with the potential for the calm of the ocean at peace and the anger and destructive potential of an ocean storm.

X is for Xi Wang-mu (Chinese Pantheon) #AtoZChallenge

Xi Wang-mu is the Chinese goddess of immortality.  She personifies the “yin,” the feminine half of the yin-yang balance of the world.  The daughter, of Yu-huang, the Jade Emperor and highest ruler of the Taoist Heaven, she,  unsurprisingly, lives in a nine story jade palace.  In the palace garden, she cultivates the peaches of immortality.  If a mortal eats of it, he or she becomes immortal.

Xi Wang-mu means Queen mother of the west. She lives in the Kunluth mountains in the western part of China, where it was believed heaven and earth met.  Another figure, like the Babylonian goddess, Kishar,  that appears to be associated with the horizon. As a mother figure, and one of the oldest gods in the Chinese pantheon, she has powers of creation and destruction.

Her history seems to change over time.  While associated with Taoism, she predates it. Older history and images associate her with the tiger and even allocate tiger-like traits to her. Her association with Taoism softens those claws over time.

J is for Juno (Roman Holiday today) #AtoZChallenge

J is for Juno, the goddess of marriage and queen of the gods in ancient Rome.  Saturn’s daughter, wife to Jupiter, and mother to Mars and Vulcan.

Importantly, she was patroness of Rome, guardian of the community. To fulfill that role, Juno displays aspects of a war goddess, a fertility goddess and a sovereign.  Pretty darn female if you ask me. Women as mothers are also protectors.

She’s a also pretty sexy lady.  Take a look at the paintings I found, with Jupiter.  Classic art by classic artists (scroll over each for more info). They all seem to be like this.  Reactions?

I think I need to write a story about the Roman pantheon.

 

James Barry 001

Carracci - Jupiter et Junon

I is for Isis, the Mother Goddess #AtoZChallenge

Isis rocks.  She’s the Egyptian goddess of motherhood, fertility, magic, nature and children. Now that’s a combination of powers that makes sense to me.  Mothers (all parents) need to learn how to pull rabbits out of hats,  juggle multiple balls in the air, be in sixteen places at once, and fight the monsters under the bed. Magic is a power of motherhood.

Isis

The name Isis means throne, indicating she underpinned the pharaoh’s power. She served the wealthy and the downtrodden alike, for a mother listens to all her children. Like many Egyptian rulers, she married her brother Osiris, bore a son Horus, who was killed by Set, god of storms, desert and chaos.  Old stories explain the flooding as her tears of grief for her lost son. Images of this mother goddess are often depict her nursing her son.

Although I’m predominantly a romance writer, I also turn my keyboard and my blog toward all women’s issues including motherhood. Late last year, I was proud to be a part of a dynamic international group of women who looked at motherhood through many lenses.  Aptly titled The Milk of Female Kindness: An Anthology of Honest Motherhood, It is a unique, complex and beautiful book that honors the mother in us all.

MOFK

 

You can visit the other A to Z bloggers here.

H is for Hippolyta #AtoZ Challenge

Hippolyta was one of the most famous of the Amazon Queens. Most likely because Hercules of muscles (and Kevin Sorbo) fame had to gain Hippolyta’s girdle as one of his Twelve Labors, a penance for his crimes (Hera, queen of the gods, drove him to madness causing him to kill his wife and children–the old greek myths were pretty nasty at times.)  The girdle or belt was a gift from her father Ares, the god of war,  that signaled her authority as Amazon ruler.

In the DC comic and television show Wonder Woman, Hippolyta was Diane Prince’s mother. Just for fun, here’s Cloris Leachman as Hippolyta in the original Wonder Woman show.

CL as Hippolyta

 

Given her status in the annals of Amazon history, Hippolyta appears in my Amazon romance series. Antiope and Marta, heroines of respectively Thirteen Nights and my WIP, Hope Restored, descended directly from Hippolyta, which of course gets them into all kinds of trouble.

Visit the other A to Z Challenge Bloggers here.

G is for Gaia #AtoZChallenge

The Earth seen from Apollo 17
Gaia is one of my favorite godesses. Like Eve, she is the start of everything.

Gaia is a primordial deity, which means she mothered the earth and all its inhabitants. Its no surprise then that Gaia means earth. For all you sci fi lovers (like me), her Roman equivalent is Terra. She conceived Uranus, the god of the skies, then, with him, bore the Titans, the parents of the greek gods and goddesses we love to follow (Zeus, Juno, Apollo etc..), the giants and the sea-gods. The pantheon gods are definitely a randy bunch.

Her name, and essence, were given to the Gaia theory or principle which posits that the organic (living) and inorganic materials on the earth interact to create a single, complex interactive environment that offer the conditions that enable life on earth.

Mythology sometimes serves as the foundation for understanding our life today–both stories and science.  So much for thinking life and narrative are actually linear.

Thoughts?  Do you see life as linear or a series of circles or dimensions or what else?

Visit other A to Z Bloggers here.

F is for the Fates (What’s yours?) #AtoZChallenge

The Fates are arguably the most powerful of all the gods and goddesses.  Its not clear where they came from but even the gods feared them. Known as the Moirai, they collective weave our futures.

The Three Fates by

Clotho spins each life with her thread. Lachesis chooses the length and contribution of each life, assigning what you will do and when you will die. Atropos cuts the thread when it is time.  In a way, they are another female articulation of the natural world, as they represent the natural order of things.  Although the big pieces are sketched out, if you believe in fate or the fates, there is still lots of room, even in the myth, for free will.

Of particular interest, in Plato’s Republic the Fates sang the past, present and future. Lachesis, the past, Clotho, the present, and Atropos, the future. Which reminds me of Dickens’ book, A Christmas Carol and how often mythology underpins our stories.

Where do you stand?  How much is fated, how much do we weave for ourselves?

If you like, you can visit the other A to Z bloggers here.

E is for Eve #AtoZchallenge

Creation of Eve, michelangelo
Michelangelo’s Creation of Eve

I’m going to cheat a little bit with this post. Eve–the Eve–cannot be so easily categorized as either a mythical goddess or an ancient queen. She is the first woman, the one, the only.  And for a theme venerating the historic contributions of women, it seems remiss not to include her. Disertations have been written about her. She’s venerated and despised, as many famous women through the ages have been.

The name Eve means life.  I think that says it all.

Have a great weekend. See you on Monday.  You can visit all the other wonderful A to Z bloggers here.

 

 

C is for Clio (Looking for a muse?) #A to Z Challenge

Clio is the muse of history in the greek pantheon. Like all the muses, she is the daughter of Zeus and the Titan, Mnemosyne. In greek myth, the muses were seen as the best in their chosen discipline. No human were supposed to equal their prowess. If they did, bad things often happened. But we don’t look to myths for happy endings, but life lessons.

The name Clio means to make famous, which is an interesting foundation for our concept of history and historical record.  But maybe because only history decides true fame (for good or ill) and fame is not the fleeting moments attached to celebrity in modern culture.  What do you think?
Flickr - USCapitol - Car of History Clock (1)

I used the muse Clio in my book Thirteen Nights. She runs a Boston pub called the Quill and Parchment, which caters to the human and supernatural set who like to sit around and discuss deep thoughts and solve philosophical conundrums. Maybe at the Quill and Parchment, everyone does know your name. 🙂

Happy A to Z Challenge. You can visit some of the other bloggers here.