Aside from the time spent with our family, which I love, I’m finding it hard to be positive or upbeat these days, which is just not like me. I tend to let things roll right off my back, but am finding this funk hard to shake.
I notice it most when I’m alone, whether in the car, running errands, or just hanging out. It hovers, enveloping, and at times grows so strong it makes my heart race.
Partly this feeling is caused by economics. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about work — or anything else — when you’re getting paid a whole lot less than you’re used to and, indeed, far less than you are worth. Especially when finances are tight, prices are skyrocketing, and you have that added pressure of trying to stretch your money to the next paycheck.
Part of this is impatience. After 10 years spent writing my novel, I want it to be published and in people’s hand right now. And yet with agents and publishers having 3-month turnarounds, there is nothing remotely expedient about this process.
Part of this is political. When I voted for Obama, I voted for change — and leadership. While I like some of what he has done, I was hoping for more. I wanted to see him dismantle the big behemoths — education, healthcare, defense, environment — and start from scratch. Put together blue ribbon panels and have the experts — not politicians or lobbyists — tell us how we can do things better. We need to start again, from the ground up, and actually solve problems — no more patches. (more…)
When I picture the Nordic landscape, a place I’ve longed to visit, I envision long streaks of grays, blues, greens, and browns, interrupted with flurries of brilliant color, as in the many fishing villages which dot the coastline. And in my mind, these magnificent splashes juxtapose perfectly against the coolness of the countryside. The counterbalance of the two is what gives each its power.
Here in America, we seldom consider balance. If something is good, our thought is to then accentuate it, and make it even “better.” The mantra of America seems to be “show more, do more, bigger, higher, louder, faster.” Our films, for example, are big, over-sensory experiences where there is no such thing as “too much.” But focusing on the easily exploitable is not a very difficult bulls-eye to hit. What takes real artistry — balls, even — is to present life in a fully-nuanced and realistic manner, in all its complexity, and doing so is much harder than it would appear.
When I was younger, I knew little of Sweden, aside from IKEA. And while I appreciated all-things-lingonberry and the clean design aesthetic the big blue store presented, I was always disappointed to get the products home and discover that, as pretty as they had appeared, they rarely stood up in terms of quality. Whereas the stores themselves had no problem serving up heaping piles of meatballs, their poorly-made products clearly lacked “the meat.” (more…)