Hemingway and Van Gogh

Two such towering figures.  Two very different men who left the world on their own accord, with words and thick paint remaining in their wake.

I read two books this week, “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain and “The Last Van Gogh” by Alyson Richman.  Both are works of fiction, based on historical fact.  Both broke my heart, even though it’s obvious that there would be no happy ending.  Well, not the ending a romantic like me would typically prefer.  But that’s not how life is, at least when your eyes are too glued to a hardback.

“The Paris Wife” tore at my being in many ways.  I certainly won’t compare myself to Hemingway, but I understood his naivety and spirit during these early stages in his career.  I understood his longing to be something greater and prolific.  Of course, I’ve yet to technically strive toward anything with that much intensity, but I know that what it takes to be substantial is in me.  And his first wife Hadley, comforts and encourages him along the way, so bravely and maybe foolishly, only to be tossed aside.   It was heartbreaking, maybe because the ending was written before the Hemingway’s could touch the Parisian sidewalk.  It was all there, waiting to end this way.

Hadley & Ernest Hemingway

Hadley & Ernest Hemingway

 

“The Last Van Gogh” is no less tragic, but left a similar feeling of longing. Continue reading

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Are you there God? It’s mae, Mae.

I read a post this week from a blogger that I’ve come to appreciate.  His insight is often wise when he delves into his deepest thoughts on life.  The topic of this post isn’t something I hadn’t considered before, but it was simply so well put that I marked it as “important” to read again later.  I don’t usually have time to do anything more than once.

Sometimes I just roll with the punches.  Sometimes life pulls at my heartstrings.  Maybe today it was a combination of Paolo Nutini’s “Candy” backing the simplicity of what Tony had to say.  These are not complimentary by any means, but the sound of longing accompanying his depth affected me.  I felt so out of sorts and so complete all at once.  I’m a Gemini, what can I say.

It’s so easy to say that life is out of our hands.  It’s so simple that it makes life complex.  Try as you might, not everything is within our grasp.  Life can’t be forced and although Continue reading

Running Away = The Best Medicine. This time.

I ran away from you and I’m not sure what I was thinking.  At first.

I feel like I went to a commune during summer vacation while all the rest of the kids went to the same camp.  I’m out of the loop, but I’m back.  How are you?  Remember me?

Maybe I was running away from the world, but it turns out that one can only slip away for so long before we’re forced to admit we need to get back to real life.  Trials and tribulations will never cease to interrupt our lives, so it’s impossible to wait for peacetime to begin living again.

Living life got in the way of blogging about it, even though I was hell bent on doing the 365 bit.  I was mad at myself each day that I didn’t write because I continuously fooled myself into saying, “no, I’m really going to do it tomorrow”; only to be even more annoyed with myself and too embarrassed to reassess my 2012 writing challenge I’d made to myself.

I did reassess.  But I know now that I did not fail.  As a matter of fact, I kicked 2012’s ass.

Hell, I accomplished so many of my goals from last year that I didn’t have time to sit still.  Not that you would know that.  But you can trust me.  We are friends from the good ol’ days.

I changed careers, traveled, learned, I’m happy and I’m working on a new resolution, even though I hate that concept.

Are you ready?

  • I’ve decided to live more for me and less for the expectations others have of me.

It’s a fresh approach I’ve heard, I don’t know, my whole life, but never took into action.  It’s a revelation that coincides with the unfortunate passing of another close relative and being caught in the waves of it’s aftermath.  I wish it hadn’t taken a second painful demise to figure this out, but it turns out I’m a little behind.  My teachers must’ve been right after all.  Is that why my handwriting is crooked?

But I’m here.  I’m a little late to the party, but ready to be the life of it.  Who’s with me on this vague and exciting adventure?

Leaping for Joy

For years I’ve been told my life is complicated. People have felt sorry for some circumstances that landed in my path. Usually the complicated nature of things were a result of other peoples’ behaviors and actions, not my own. I don’t, however, see life as a hassle and I don’t allow misfortune to lead me to a negative end. I find that the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is true and that there’s very good reasons that people say it.

Life can be complicated if you believe that it is. Life can drag you down a bumpy and dark road if you don’t find faith to know it can get better, courage to make it better and have the endurance to reroute yourself down that road.

I’ve found myself rerouted, and not without proper encouragement. We can’t do it all alone sometimes. I’m not in the most logical spot, to a logically sound and organized individual, but I’m happy, and happiness is a logical reason to take a leap in life. I haven’t written you in some time because I am living the kind of life that I wanted, though I hope those of you who have encouraged me, know how grateful I am to have had you in my corner and urging me to take this leap.

 

Old Soul Works for Free

I’ve started as a volunteer for a local Historical Society.  Mainly because I need the experience to advance myself in a direction I’d like to go.  I find it nearly impossible to get the experience in the history and genealogy fields without putting in the time for free.  I’m ok with that, particularly since I never did an internship in college and it seems that is the way to go these days.  I’m eager to learn and I’m hoping they see some sort of potential in me so I can eventually sign on as a regular fixture.

I tried to tell them I’m an old soul, so I had a lot of historical knowledge first hand already, but they said, well, they didn’t say anything.  No, I didn’t really say that to them, but I’ll bet a lot of old souls are drawn to that field simply because there is something familiar to reel them in.  Maybe it’s not obvious and maybe some of these people just love history, but I always wonder how stories of yesteryear fascinate some so much and others could really care less.

None of us are the same and thank God for that.  Although there are a few people I’d have liked to clone; if I were into that modern technology sort of thing.

Could I Have Been An Olympian?

As everyone knows, the Olympics are in full swing. Even though I’m a fan of the games, by next week the Olympic theme song that is played throughout the day will likely drive me mad. Two weeks straight of the same ten second piece of orchestrated music at the start, end and every commercial break in between will cause my ear drums to reach for the remote and hit mute. Maybe it’s because I have the games on while I go about my business each day.

Regardless, I love the sense of pride and the dedication from Olympians. There is always a heart wrenching story or significant feat embodied in the spirit of the games.

I grew up as a fish. My parents could not get me out of our pool to eat and my summer attire consisted only of a bathing suit. I dreamed of being a real swimmer with a swim cap and goggles and eventually joined a swim team where I did fairly well. During the summer of ’92, my bathing suit transitioned into a gymnastics leotard and my poor Great-grandmother suffered the “look at me, I’m a gymnast” phase, cartwheels in her rowhome and all, when I stayed at her house during one week of the Olympics that year. Poor Grandmom. She never dared to crush my dreams either, though quite frankly, I don’t remember her appeasing me and saying I’d make it either.

Toddler Mae fashioning summer attire for the rest of her childhood.

I don’t remember really ever trying very hard to be anything I dreamed of. I was the queen of one season sports or clubs. I’m probably not in the memories of any of my teammates or fellow members because I dashed in and out, never leaving behind anything substantial and never hanging in to form real memories. Until recently, I thought it was me. I thought maybe I’m just a flake and like so many things in life, I just never knew was it was to give my all and keep persevering. But it’s not true. I’ve come to only understand recently that my Mom discouraged me. But before a judging finger is pointed her way, I understand and I do not place blame. My Mom had severe anxiety and taking me to events was very trying on her. I don’t believe she held me back from anything that I carried full potential in, but I guess we won’t know. I don’t think I would have been an Olympic swimmer, but I wonder if I had stuck with something now and then, if I could have had a different mindset in life. Maybe I could have fought harder.

Now that I’m an adult, I can’t base the rest of my life on the fact that I played one season of softball or did one year of Girl Scouts. I am in control of my own fate and if I don’t try or stick with things, it’s my fault. It’s time to learn a new mindset.  And maybe because I’m not an athlete, that doesn’t set the baseline for other things. I’ve stuck with the things that really do matter in life; I’m not a complete failure.

I didn’t even mean for this post to go in this direction. It was supposed to be a lighthearted joke about my Gram who used to say constantly, “If my parents had had money to get me singing lessons, I could have been a famous singer”. Gram had not a lick of a voice or an ear for keys, but it was something she dreamed about as she grew up in a family of fourteen children.  I found myself saying to my husband the other night, “If I had been able to stick with swimming, I could have been an Olympic athlete”. We both knew it was wrong, but we laughed anyway.

If you think about it, it is funny how at the still-young age of 29, it is so easy to see dreams that are too late to happen in the faces of young Olympians. I’d like to think that I’ll encourage my future and non-existent children to follow their dreams young and be able to support them along the way, and without trying to make them accomplish mine.

I’d Rather Be Blogging

I’d like to get that on a bumper sticker. I’m sure someone makes them.

I found myself falling asleep in awkward post-dinner positions on the couch with my contact lenses glued to my eyes a few times this week. I’m certainly not getting the physically activity that should be the culprit, since only my fingers have gotten the walking lately, clearly only at work, that is.

So as I awake at 2-something in the morning, and write out of guilt because I’ve missed a couple days, I ask you fellow bloggers, when do you find the time to write in between the daily grind?

Your typical day could be chasing kids around or fighting the daily commute to a full-time job. I’m curious because there are so many wonderful blogs; it makes me wonder if the writers have more time to ponder and mentally escape or if I’m not utilizing my time correctly.

Some days seem like a no brainer, I get so inspired that it just happens. Even more often, I’ll write something that I think is just ok and have it be a great hit. This often makes me contemplate my knack, particularly when I write something I think is one of my best and it’s posted with the accompaniment of cricket noises.

I’m always interested in learning more; I’d like to learn how my fellow bloggers do it. Please share if you have the time. Get it?

You know what I should do…I should utilize those Daily Posts with all those good ideas…yes, challenge accepted.  Thank you Captain Obvious.

 

I Turn 29 today…the real 29

I Turn 29 today…the real 29. But not until 2:45pm Eastern Standard Time; my parents are very particular about birth times. Mom says it was 2:45, Dad says it was 2:46…I don’t think it matters at all, but I generally throw my two cents in and say it was 2:45 to give Dad a hard time. He always says, “I was there Shan, I saw what time it was”; I always follow-up with “So was I, Dad”. Then he rolls his eyes.

I don’t know exactly what this year will bring. It’s a manmade fascination to divvy up time into little compartments. All these little compartments are building blocks that add up to a life. I have a lot of goals for this year and I’m hoping to create a solid foundation, to build a solid and sturdy existence.

I’m also finding that the more I’m inspired and the longer the daylight extends, the harder it is to sit down and complete my 365 project. I get antsy when the sun is shining and there are things to do. Then I fall asleep on the couch.  I’m happy, isn’t that all the matters?  Honestly, I do get slightly disappointed with my time management though.

Not today.

Today I head to Brooklyn.

No.  Sleep.  Till Brooklyn….Brooklyn!

I’m sure to find inspiration there and take lots of photos. I’ll be visiting one of my oldest and best friends, which should give me a proper shot for the “Friendship” weekly photo challenge this week. I’m excited and I think it’s a great start to the last year of my 20’s.

Let’s hope it’s not as hot as the day I was actually born. It was unbearable…so I’m told.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

Kind Deeds Make the World Worth Smiling About

There is proof that doing the honorable thing is still popular; well, at least noteworthy.

I was browsing Yahoo tonight and I found an article that really made me smile; Ohio runner stops in state final to aid fallen opponent. It tells of a high school junior, Meghan Vogel, who stopped to nearly carry a delirious runner over the finish line, instead of bypassing her and finishing the race solo.

Though I’m sure people do the right thing every day, we are hammered with unforgivable stories that leave millions of Americans shaking their heads at the news broadcast. I’m sure we aren’t alone, as this is likely a global consensus. There is a trend where there are a handful of news sources that will end the broadcast with an uplifting story that will give you faith in society again, and for that I’m grateful. This is one of those stories. It’s simple and it’s just plain touching. I’d like to think that things like this happen often, even when cameras aren’t capturing moments like this.

No, Meghan didn’t put aside her chance to win to help a weak Arden McMath, but she knew it was right to help her, than to simply pass her by. She even had Arden cross the line first and took last place for herself.

I don’t think the world is an awful place, but sometimes it’s easy to think so. I don’t want to live in a naive world of puppies and rainbows, but the fact is, if we can’t celebrate the fact that kindness that still exists, how can we really appreciate people and what life is all about?

Please check out the video here if you have a moment.  It’s simple, but it inspired me this evening.

 

Moving On and Finding Mae

I’ve written over the last few months about changing gears.  I’ve written somewhat whiney posts about the purpose of life and how to achieve a balance between success and living.   The ideas I had a few months back have changed.  I no longer have the plan I had set in place, because my gut instinct told me it was the wrong path.  Still, I know I’ll find what I need to.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that if I live life by giving, learning and not conceding to the easy route, that I’ll find the success I need to find professionally, to feed my soul.

I have so much to be grateful for in my life and I’d really like to amplify that happiness outwardly.  I miss giving to others, I miss feeling pride in what I do.  Even though I don’t know which path I’ll take, I know that I’ll try the hardest I can along the route.  I know that I have the support of my husband and my Mom.  I also know that I’ll be judged by people who don’t understand.  Continue reading