The sound of change in Costa Rica

Costa Rica 1I haven’t given a lot of thought to this trek through the Costa Rican rain forest over slippery rocks and up steep inclines to see a waterfall. It’s not until I’m almost there that I realize that I have avoided the sound of rushing water for five years now.

Single file we follow our guide, to the rocks at the water’s edge. Some in our party have come in swimsuits, prepared to jump into the cold water below the falls. Others of us merely want to look. I opt for something of a compromise, wading into the cold water to climb a rope ladder to the top of a six foot boulder in the middle of the stream to enjoy a full frontal view of the falls.

Costa Rica 4I now know, in a very visceral sense, how much power that water has. It had a enough to trap to me once, to hold me under until I thought I well might die, and all my will and strength were nothing compared to its casual, everyday force. In a similar battle I would lose again. I would lose every time.

I wrote a post awhile back about the common Nietzsche quote “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Not always so, I concluded. I was thinking about the country of Hungary at the time, but also about the many ways trauma makes us skittish and overly cautious. Like avoiding water falls after you’ve been trapped under a canoe in white water. Not stronger.

But this past week I have been going through something of a rejuvenating experience, learning about the ancient Chinese art of working with energy flow. I’ve had the pleasure of doing this while enjoying time with two old friends and the beauty of a resort in the mountains. I feel strong. I stand in front of the waterfall. And I feel that it is stronger. It will always be stronger.

It roars at me. I face it straight on and I roar right along with it. I embrace its strength as we roar together.

Costa Rica 3I decide that sometimes what doesn’t kill you will just leave you open to more interesting experiences down the road.

Read more about my novice attempts at meditation here. Read about other changes this week has wrought here.

To learn more about Qi Gong and what I have spent this past week studying, please visit Sifu Anthony’s website called “Flowing Zen” here.

The look of hope ….

I planned on z2 being a novel about time and about change, but when I began writing it I did not realize the extent to which it would become, for me at least, a novel about hope. With my first two books, x0 and y1, I’ve enjoyed finding ways on my blogs to visualize the theme of each novel. However, while artwork and photography about peace and joy abound, I’ve discovered that the very concept of hope is harder to convey visually.

What does hope look like?

Is it this?

Hope 2Or this?

hope 5

Does it help to add words? I think it might.

Please visit inspire21

Please click to visit inspire21

Hope is a such a simple and universal concept, and yet so hard to capture in a single image.

Click to visit cvxegypt.com

Click to visit cvxegypt.com

I’ll keep trying however. There’s always hope. 🙂

 

For images of joy shown on my y1 blog click here. For images of peace shown on my x0 blog click here.

Bubblegum … not just for kids

bubblegumWiki says that bubblegum music is “contrived and marketed to appeal to pre-teens and teenagers, is produced in an assembly-line process … often using unknown singers and has an upbeat sound. … a catchy melody, simple chords, simple harmonies, [and] dancy (but not necessarily danceable) beats…

What’s not to like about that? As far as the fifty year old hero of z2, Alex, is concerned, nothing. Alex has plenty of mature thoughts, but he thinks that music is for whistling, and exercising to and bubble gum works just fine. In fact, he is rather proud of his collection spanning five decades of catchy music with a beat and not a lot of complicated messages.

I listened to a lot of bubblegum music to come up with the nine songs to include in this novel. Two that initially made the cut and then were later rejected were Vanity Fare’s 1970 hit “Hitchin’ a Ride” and NSYNC’s 2000 hit “Bye Bye Bye”.

Have a little innocent fun yourself checking out this video of Hitchin’ a Ride.

Then release your inner child of 2000 and sing along to Bye Bye Bye

For more on music in novels, check out my x0 blog here for reasons why you should not quote lyrics in your book and my y1 blog here for songs I wished I had used.

z2 out in paperback

There is something more permanent about a novel once it is printed on paper, and so it is a big moment when a tale that has lived only on machines now sets in your own two hands. Over the last few weeks my third and latest novel z2 came out in paperback and I still am gazing at it in wonder.

Let me be clear.  I do love my kindle. It is wonderful to be able to carry hundred of books with me on a trip, particularity seeing as traveling and reading are two of my very favorite things to do. And it is wonderful to be able to subscribe to a half dozen science fiction magazines for pennies a day and never have to decide whether I should throw any of them in the trash when I am done leafing through them, or whether I should add them to the giant stack of things I might read someday.

paperbackBut I also like books. I like to read floating in the swimming pool and sitting in the sun and when all electronic devices have to be turned off until the captain says otherwise. I like to touch and smell the written word, and it brings me no end of joy to see my own work in print.

If you are not a fan of e-readers and have considered reading z2, please check it out on Amazon here 🙂

Check here for news on y1 making it to the semi finals of a contest and here for news on x0 making it onto 1670 people’s to-read shelf on Goodreads.