Sunday, May 29, 2005

Death of an Appliance - Reflections on Stress and Prayer

My week started and ended the same way - with the death of an appliance.

It started Monday morning. In the middle of drying my hair, with a half wet head, the motor on my hair dryer sped up, let out a high pitch whine and quit with the odorous aroma of burnt wiring.

It ended Friday evening. Wanting a second cup of tea, I flicked the switch on the electric kettle. Nothing happened. The very kettle that had just made a boiling cup of tea not more than half an hour previous could not even muster up a semi-boil. It had just enough energy to operate the "on" light and that was all.

Now the hair dryer's death I could understand. It had lived a long life and served its master well. But the kettle? It was barely a year old, it had hardly even begun to make tea! Sigh - so young to pass on.

My appliances are an odd parody of how I've been feeling lately. A little worn out, a little ready to give up. Sometimes my motor's running on a high whine and I think I catch a whiff of burnt wiring as I'm running out the door. At other times, I simply refuse to start up. The light's on, but I'm not boiling!

Good old stress has caught up to me. I become angry, resentful, and withdrawn. It was during this withdrawn, melancholy time, looking for words of comfort from scripture, that I was perusing The Book of Common Prayer, and came across this prayer for Eventide:

O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

All the day long of this troublous life - that one phrase says it all. The writer of this prayer understood stress. And reminds me in whose peace I rest.

May the Lord grant you safe lodging, a holy rest and peace.

@2005 Eveline Maedel - All rights reserved
* o

Basho! Banana Tree

Thoughts on a Haiku Master

A banana plant in the autumn gale -
I listen to the dripping of rain
Into a basin at night.
~ Basho Matsuo (1644- 1694)

Basho sits outside his hut, gazing at his beloved banana plant. Rain falls, winds blow, seasons come and go, and still he gazes. Pouring boiling hot water onto fragrant tea leaves in a clay pot, he inhales the rising steam. The leaves of the banana plant rustle in the moonlight.

Basho, where are your drafts, outlines, rough sketches? Do you journal? How many hours a day do you write? Where are your morning pages, your marketing plans, your queries, your submissions?

A smile cracks his face, as Basho dips brush into ink and strokes the paper on his lap. In three short lines, it is finished.

In three short lines - the heart and soul of the poet. It is finished.

@2005 Eveline Maedel All rights reserved * o

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Phantom of the Opera

I have a cold. My son had knee surgery last week. Two seemingly unrelated events, yet they brought us together this afternoon. How? Since his surgery, my living-room has become recovery room central for my son. He eats, sleeps and watches TV on the pull out bed in the center of the room. We live around him.

A wicked head cold today helped me to decide to stay home and rest myself. Since I had a "captive" audience, I snuggled up on the other couch beside him and popped in my new DVD, "Phantom of the Opera". He couldn't very well run out of the room.

I have been in love with the Phantom story since first hearing the Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtrack years ago. It had always been a dream of mine to see the cast perform on stage at Pantages Theater in Toronto, but that dream never materialized. I was thrilled when I heard that a motion picture had been made and couldn't wait to get my hands on the DVD when it was released this month.

It did not disappoint. Emmy Rossum's voice sent goose-bumps up and down my arms. It was sheer joy to hear the all familiar tunes performed. And the visual effects in the movie are stunning.

For over two hours, the two of us were spellbound and glued to the TV. And what did my captive teenage son think at the end? He gave the film a resounding thumbs up.

Several years ago I read Susan Kay's novel, "Phantom". If you are haunted by the Phantom as I am, you have got to get your hands on a copy of this novel. Kay takes Gaston Leroux's original "Phantom of the Opera" and builds on it, digging deep into what created the Phantom, making him more than just the opera ghost, but an incredible three-dimensional character. Man or monster? I'll leave that to you decide, after you've read her story.

Just be sure to read it late at night, with the lights low. What's that chilling draft you feel on your neck? Is that music you hear?

"Beneath the opera house....I know he's there........." * o

Sunday, May 08, 2005

With Apologies to Bill Shakespeare

I sweep, perchance to Swiffer
and vacuum, perchance to mop
for in that sweeping what thoughts are cleansed
cobwebs blown from dusty corners
problems solved in swift motion
what peace in Saturday
to sweep, to clean no more

@2005 Eveline Maedel - may not be reproduced without permission * o

More Travels on the Web

I have a few gems to share this week from my journeys on the web.

Rhodi Alers de Lopez
Writer and singer, Rhodi Alers de Lopez has just released her first CD, "Me Faltan Palabras" (My words are insufficient). A country flavored gospel album, with words in Spanish, this is a beautiful and uplifting work of praise music. Listening to it this morning, I was reminded that no matter what language you sing in (Spanish/English) or what style (gospel/opera), music truly is the language of the soul. Rhodi is also a writer, and her blog, Inkspirations, is worth checking out.

Nana's Notecards
If you're searching for notecards and such, check out Vicki Hawkins website, "Nana's Notecards & Such" You can choose from Vicki's designs featured on the site, or have Vicki custom design notecards for you. I was more than pleased with the cards Vicki did up for me. She's a delight to work with, and VERY fast!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Throne
Humor writer Georgia Richardson has just released her first novel, A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Throne. Available in 2 weeks, you can pre-order copies now on her website. Hurry, they are bound to sell fast - Da Queen has a lot of fans!

And thanks to Erica Miner, for linking to my blog on her website! * o