The air is soft and comforting; a soft blanket of breeze flutters the hair, caresses the face. The earth is covered in peaceful silence. An occasional bird sings, perhaps a love song to its mate; inspired by the moment. The dropping sun emits a soft glow like candlelight, soothing and romantic, like golden liquid dripping from azure sky. The color of the grass is meandering… retiring summer green, paving the way for a cascade of colorful leaves. The wildflowers are shrinking, but no less radiant—fading purple flowers on fading green grass, a perfect compliment from the paintbrush of Mother Nature, a final goodbye to the season. I feel compelled to linger, to feel the fresh air delight my skin; make my lungs feel pure and refreshed. I stare at the trees, which in days will sport the decadent colors of fall before giving way to the stoic skeleton arms of winter.
Category Archives: Inspiration
Writers are usually keen observers of life. You will often times find us just sitting and staring, semi-detached and apart from life; an outsider looking in. We usually prefer it that way… just stick us in a comer and let us be—don’t talk to us, but make sure to talk around us. We are typically great listeners with 24/7 thoughts. Sadly, though, those 24/7 thoughts sometimes keep us locked in our own heads (there is so much there to entertain us!), desperately trying to catalog chaotic thoughts and harvest only those that inspire and move us. Sometimes, the harvest is rotten, and we are forced to go back and listen some more. And more, and more, and more….you get the picture. It is, honestly, exhausting at times. At times, there are many thoughts, but nothing inspiring, leaving us desperately searching for something inspiring, which is a problem. Inspiration usually comes when you least expect it, when you are most free from the obsessive qualities that inhabit a writer in the everyday world.
Oh, how I sometimes wish they just sold inspiration in a pretty little box at Rite Aid. ((Sigh))
The words ooze sensuality on the page in a way so romantic, even the most cynical person (myself included) cannot help slowly becoming a victim of the swooning. It’s steamy tropical heat rising off the pages. Lush lyricism enchants, the hands on the book begin to sweat. It mesmerizes. It’s the highest extension of passion on paper. It’s at once heart melting, heart breaking, gut wrenching and emotional enough to make you want to find a lost love and pour out long held emotions at their feet. It removes all sense of logic and rationalization. The feelings are those of love, the pain that comes with love, and the all too familiar feeling of loss that inevitably follows true love. That is what is so special about Neruda; he writes of the knee weakening love that should be approached with relish and passion because he is certain that is will not stay perfectly unbroken forever. It cannot. No love ever does. And therein lays the magic of poetry, of Neruda. He loves with reckless abandon and suffers the consequences.
Certain books, especially– 100 Love Sonnets and 20 Love Poems and A Song of Despair– should come with a warning: there is no telling what you may do once intoxicated.
From 100 Love Sonnets
…I loved you without knowing I did; I searched to remember you.
I broke into houses to steal your likeness,
though I already knew what you were like. And, suddenly,
when you were there with me I touched you, and my life
From I Like For You To Be Still in Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair
I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
And you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.
I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it’s not true.
From my personal favorite, Tonight I Can Write In Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
Unlike what you may think, I like to read Mr. Neruda when I’m floating on a sea of despair. He shows how pain can be lyrical, and also necessary. I also know there are many unflattering things about his personal world, but they are erased from my memory the moment I encounter his words; an effect not unlike that which happens when you find yourself knee deep in love.
Gracias por mostrarnos su alma, Senor Neruda.
Pura Vida! Pura Vida! Puuura Veeeeda! I hear this happy phrase constantly, its joyful energy suspicious to my cynical American ears. It dances around me, like perfectly planned choreography, just waiting for me to catch on, join in the dance.
Pura Vida. It flows out of the lips, curling them ever so slightly into a smile, whether you like it or not. My American style skepticism is on high alert. Who are these cheerful people, throwing around such a blissful saying with such genuine happiness? I thought happy people, real live happy people, were just the stuff that myths and movies were made of? Could it be that I have found a treasure trove of happiness in this little nature drenched country? Suddenly; there was clarity—the true key as to why Costa Rica is able to cast such a spell on those who visit, leaving a permanent imprint on the heart. The secret, my friends, is the people.
As I meander through the crooked streets, I’m met with smiles. Friendly “holas” greet me as I saunter by. Warmth radiates, hangs in the air, mixes with the landscape, creates magic. There is soulfulness to the people, a friendliness not usually encountered in everyday life. Am I just drunk on vacation, I wonder? I must get deeper, so I set out to observe.
There is perpetual laughter in the air, a smile painting the lips of almost everyone. They throw nicknames at each other in an affectionate way. It seems as if everyone cracks jokes, exchanges glances, and “pura vidas.”
Are they faking it? I am now on a mission, seeking out anyone and everyone willing to give me the time of day (which, by the way, is pretty much everyone). They are funny, gracious, and curious. I find myself smiling more, the petulant American style attitude shedding more with each day.
Through many a long hour of conversations with locals, I discovered that life is not always smooth sailing in Costa Rica—wages tend to be lower than in United States but the cost of living is similar. People work long hours in hard jobs for half of the money. And yet… they just shrug this off when asked about it. They are happy to share details with you, but not once did it exit their mouths in the form of a complaint, a difference that I notice immediately. Is that their secret? I decide I need a second; third, many even tenth visit in order to further test my theory.
I later learn that Costa Rica is in the top 5 countries listed in numerous studies as the “Happiest Places on Earth.” Last year, it ranked number one in a study on the “happiest countries.” I am not at all shocked, but I am glad I didn’t know this before I went, so there wasn’t a chance that statistics and “supposed tos” could influence my mind.
So, you ask, what does “Pura Vida” mean? It means, well… everything. It’s “hello” “goodbye” “thank you” “you’re welcome” “don’t worry about it” “it’s awesome” “nice to meet you…” the list goes on and on and on. It makes no sense and yet perfect sense.
As my days in Costa Rica wind up, I find myself thinking of how I can bottle this happiness up and bring it home with me. Impossible. Then suddenly, I think of “pura vida.” If I blurt out this little saying out at home in the states, would people just crinkle up their face at me in frustration? I didn’t know, but floating on optimism, I vowed to try.
A year ago, I started out on this little adventure. Who would read? I thought… and I’m kind of still thinking that.
It’s been a fun year of putting my thoughts out there, forcing me to be more disciplined about writing, the only thing that matters in life (Aside from travel. And cheese).
I don’t want to go all mushy and lovey dovey and all butterflies and baby kittens and all that, for fear it may ruin my surly and cynical reputation (What? You thought I was nice? You’re so silly!! Oh, wait, I want you to read my blog… ok, I am nice! Butterflies, kittens, yaay!!)
So, I’ll make it a quick little shout out.
Thank you to all my new friends who have said so many wonderfully kind, encouraging words as the days slipped off the calendar. You really can’t imagine my joy at the positive feedback that you, my handful of readers, has given me (and seriously, the word “joy” and I don’t normally make appearances together, so really, thank you!)
I enjoy your visits, your comments and your blogs, as I have been lucky enough to connect with some brilliant writers and artists. Thank you!
Next post—travel back to Costa Rica with me for part 2 of my adventure!
Sometimes it’s tough to be a writer. Never mind the steep competition and the lack of pay and the undying urge to put words on paper, those are just minor idiosyncrasies. We suffer from an endless stream of words swirling through our minds, our brains working overtime to try and string them together in a way that makes them stand out, in a way that takes other people to the moment, gives them a connection. We are emotional, guarded and always thinking. We are constantly in search of new inspiration to keep our thoughts fresh and original. It is sometimes a love/hate thing, I must admit, as being an office drone sometimes impedes my thoughts, stomps on the inspiration. I know you’re thinking, what, those beige walls don’t inspire you? Impossible! But yes, friends, it’s true—I need more than beige walls and ugly carpet to get the creative juices brewing. So, when even my favorite muse can’t come through for me, I go searching. I wander to old places, new places. I explore, and lately, I capture it on film. The still shot of a moment etched in a photograph enchants me. I love the simplicity, the way time is frozen on film. There are no detailed words, only images, feeding our imagination, letting our mind feast on the unknown. An endless array of thoughts and questions come to mind. Was it loud there? What time of day was it? What aromas filled the air? Who walked by? Did anyone walk by? What did the air feel like? Was the sidewalk silent? Busy? Were there snippets of conversation floating around your ears? The questions go on and on and on….
The world seems drenched in an endless glow of pink.
Flowers pop up along every path; skeleton trees seem to smile at their newborn leaf hands.
The buzz word “rebirth” fills the air.
Staring at mobs of pink, I ponder “rebirth.”
Renewal. Resurrection. A stream of words… but what do they mean?
A new chance. A break from the routine. New eyes on old visions. New visions.
A second, third, fourth chance from the universe.
Be determined. Change. Continue. Look up if you used to look down.
Take a chance, a risk.
If it doesn’t work– smile, laugh.
Every spring is another “rebirth.”
All photography by me. 🙂