Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What're You Doing New Year?

Belize. Adventure. The jungle. A pyramid. Smugglers.

That's how I spent the last bit of 2013 watching Caribe. Then, a millisecond before the fireworks erupted three blocks from my house, the good guys blew up the barge full of contraband. Happy New Year!

I hit pause, kissed the cat (because you gotta kiss somebody, right?), then ran out back to watch the fireworks. 

And captured these through the trees with my iPhone:

The blur makes them rather impressionistic, don't you think?

Circling back to Caribe, it's auspicious that I transitted the gate from 2013 to 2014 while soaking in the sights and sounds of Belize. Why?

Because, my friends, the blue water calleth. The Bahamas. The Caribbean. Belize. Like a siren song, the blue water calls.

And I mean to answer.

I always do.

How did you ring in 2014?

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Old Man and The Sea

As the last few days of 2013 play out, I find myself looking about for projects left unfinished. There are many. I won't go in to the mile-long list (or maybe I should), but one such was Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man And The Sea.

I began it several months ago, after finding it at Underground Books, a sweet little Used shop in Carrollton. How did an avid reader like me make it five decades without reading it? Who knows.

I was astonished that the paperback was so thin. It weighs in at only one hundred and twenty-seven pages. Yet it landed Hemingway a Pulitzer. And a Nobel Prize.

Read it. You'll understand why. The man's a genius.

Each sparing word is carefully selected and loaded with feeling, every line a feast for the senses. I kept taking it with me to read at lunch. Invariably, after a few paragraphs, or at most a page, I would be in tears, emotion swelling until it couldn't be contained, sometimes slowly and at others lightning-quick.

As you can imagine, I didn't get far reading it that way and so the novella ended up on The Pile. To be honest, and this will sound silly, I was afraid to finish, afraid I wouldn't like what was coming. 

The main character, Santiago, whose name I only remember because it's mentioned again at the end, is a simple man, a fisherman. He is the bravest, most honest and heart-rending character I may've ever met and I'm sure I've not met a real person like him. Unassuming, determined, stoic, strong and maybe just a little bit crazy. Yet not.

And Hemingway? Pure genius.

What is your favorite Hemingway work? Has any book affected you the way The Old Man and The Sea did me?

"The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal -- a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream." ~ Amazon

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Walter Mitty and Dirty Paws

Warning: This post may contain spoilers for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Having seen the trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty a gazillion times, I couldn't wait to see it. And, yes, I loved it, though I'm not sure why.

Well. That's not entirely true.

I, too, am a dreamer. I, too, am more comfortable observing from the sidelines. I, too, have dreams gone stale and unrealized. I, too, set my sights a bit too high.

I desire exotic travel, a grand adventure or better yet, a series of grand adventures. Walter Mitty touched and fueled these places inside me. I ached with him, hesitated with him; leapt, skateboarded and ran with him. Along mountain ridges, through ocean storms and beneath an exploding volcano. I risked it all. I grabbed hold of life. And of love.

I am left now with a haunting song that meanders through the movie and through my head. Icelandic and based on Nordic myth, the title is "Dirty Paws", the band, Of Monsters and Men. I've included it here.

I hope you enjoy.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas is All Around

"I feel it in my fingers/I feel it in my toes/Christmas is all around me/And so the feeling grows." ~ Billy Mack, Love Actually

I felt a jolt just now when I opened Blogger and read the date of my last post. Three weeks ago. How could I be too busy to do the thing I love most, even more than writing fiction?

It's not the time. I have plenty of that in the evenings. But I've been spending those hours with Lazy Boy and Bugsy Boy, watching Net Flix, Hulu Plus and DVD's.

Yes, I do know that I'm throwing away hours, weeks and even months. But guess what? Miracles have happened along the way, the most profound being this: I have fallen deeply in love with the one person I can't get away from. Me.

It's been a long journey. An intense process. Now transformation has arrived. I don't just see the difference, I FEEL it. I feel loved. Cherished. Cared for. Safe, appreciated, respected, supported, defended, protected. Adored. 

Laugh if you want, but this relationship is quite divine. I'm treated like a queen. And I know that no matter what, I am loved and treasured. Just for being Me. Is there a Man in my future? I sure hope so. But he has big shoes to fill.

Huh. My plan was to recycle a post from a couple of Christmases ago. But what the hay. It was about Love anyway. Love and a Christmas song. Six of one. Half a dozen of the other. Right?

May Love find you this holiday season. Like Christmas, it's All Around.

~ Olivia J. Herrell
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