Thursday, September 30, 2010

Typewriters and jumbled thoughts

This morning, I read something that made me laugh. It also sent my thoughts churning about something I've already been giving a bit of thought to. I'm reading Writing Down the Bones, a little handbook of creative writing, if you will. The author's intro suggests different mediums for writing, and the possible implications for each. Perhaps a small handy notebook while being convenient will also limit your thoughts. Writing outside the margins on lined paper will perhaps give you freedom. And then, the typewriter. That thing in a museum, that will make your "block black letters reveal a little something else about yourself."
And then, she mentions the "Macintosh." Not the Mac. It is at this point I realize I have just entered a time capsule. She dreams about using a computer, where there is a thing called "wrap-around" and you don't have to hear the ding of the typewriter. Does one get used to the ding of a typewriter? I wouldn't know.
It's all very surreal to me, as this morning's news announced the possibility that the Postal Service will be increasing the price of a stamp by another 2 cents. Soon, a stamp will be 50 cents. Half a dollar. Equivalent to the price of a gallon of gas 30 or 40 years ago. I remember when I used to write letters to my friends and family. I would gather my note paper, and carefully write out my thoughts, as there is no delete button with pen on paper. Now, I know I'm not the first person to wax poetic about this, but I'd send my letter, and then wait. Sometimes only days, sometimes weeks.
I think about what information I brought to a letter. I wasn't writing the Great American Novel, so the letters would contain high-lights of my goings on; just enough information to keep the friendship informed.
Now, we can communicate with 5 different people in 5 minutes. The landscape has very obviously changed entirely. Now, instead of buying a book of stamps for however much they will be, we pay for internet service. Now, instead of addressing a letter, Dear so and so, we share what's on our mind in a newsfeed, or we twitter or tumblr. We both share too much and too carefully craft a persona on line; the me we wish people to see.
I think of all of this in conjunction with writing. A writer needs to practice writing daily. It is not usually, unless you are JK Rowling, something that one just does. Just as an artist sketches, a writer must write just to write, with no real direction. So, I wonder what kind of impact this instant communication has on writers, and readers as well. I can spend hours on the computer following blog trails, and come away feeling like I was really enriched, or as if I'd wasted quality time. I can also sit down and bang out an email full of stories I otherwise may have not communicated via the written word. I wonder if the emails are actually good training for the writer in me, or if they stunt my creativity. I also wonder if our soundbites of information makes us antsy and perpetually moving, when maybe what we need to do is sit and be. Just be.
I obviously do not have the answers today. I know I will be thinking on these things, all the while being grateful there wasn't a single ding in the writing of this blog post, oh, with the exception of the ding of my i-phone informing me I'd just received an email.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Half Moon Pose

We have this pose in Bikram Yoga called the Half Moon Pose. (Ardha Chandrasana) It comes early on in the series. The name is derived from the posture itself, to lean your body in such a way as to look like a half moon. (Duh, right.)
I have had quite a journey with this particular posture. It seemed at one point in time that I had the best half moon, until I realized I was doing it wrong. Now, it's so so. I've had to recalibrate it so many times. Before it was the best, (which it never really was), it was the worst. Seriously, the worst. I began the yoga with a damaged body. I'd jammed my back so many times, I didn't realize I was completely crooked. So, I'd do this posture completely out of alignment. I'd just fold right in half. Hips here, arms there. I was so proud of myself, until I realized, I was the one folding in half. Over and over the teachers say don't fold in half.
Here's where I'm going with all this. The dialogue can be confusing. And it makes me wonder how it applies in life. See, when new students come, they hear lean to the right, and they lean to the right; arms projecting forward, because that's our bodies' natural inclination. Somewhere in the dialogue, the teacher says your body is to look as if it could slip between two panes of glass. But then, to guide the new students who are hunching forward, the teacher says something that seems contradictory, if you are already slipping between two panes; the teacher says to lean back. The problem is, the ones who are meant to hear that don't, and still stand in this weird awkward hunched forward position. On the other hand, there's a whole group who think the direction is for them and wind up in some weird sideways back-bend. Very few hear the instruction to be able to slip between two panes of glass, or if they hear it, leave it at that.
And so I wonder, how often do we follow something, an inclination, an instruction, hearing what is meant for someone else, and wind up in some weird back bend that was never meant to be? Seems like life is like this one single posture. It's a series of recalibration and paradigm shifts. I guess the important thing is to listen and to translate what is important to disregard, and what is important to apply.