Posts tagged ‘thoughtsonmyriadthings’

March 7th, 2011

Subtlety Is the Bomb

by Madeleine Rex

A common amateurish writing mistake (I should know all about amateurish mistakes) is the belief that subtlety is overrated. In reality, subtlety is what we encounter everyday. When was the last time you were greatly effected by something big, dramatic, and over-the-top? Last week? Now consider the last time you were emotionally or physically effected by something the would appear insignificant or innocuous? Two hours ago?

It’s often the subtle issues or events that hit a more personal cord. I, for one, tend to fall for the characters with bunches of small quirks as opposed to those who are constantly extreme.

I started thinking about this yesterday after something subtle (though unarguably tragic) happened to change my life, even if in a small way. I got up in the morning to clean my bird cage to find my two darling birds lying dead on the bottom of their cage. I’d put off refilling their food dispenser a moment too long, and their fragile little bodies couldn’t take it. Following this was a not-so-brief episode of guilt and grief and shock (not in that order). But then I began to think.

The birds weren’t my only problem. My life has been far too messy lately. I’ve been less diligent than I’d like and have neglected the things I love. This small, seemingly innocuous event (of my birds dying) caused me to make some changes in my life, thereby effecting me more than might have been expected.

It’s those things that appear insignificant that can often be revolutionary.

P.S. If I used “effect” incorrectly, forgive me. I can never keep “affect” and “effect” straight.

January 1st, 2011

Choose You

by Madeleine Rex

I read this post of Libba Bray’s tonight, recommended by my friend, Audrey. It’s past midnight, and my parents are telling me to go to sleep. I replied with a sincere, “I will when my brain stops clinking around.”

While reading, I tweeted this:

MadeleineRex I am so grateful for parents & counselors & church leaders that believe I can do anything, that hand me the tools to paint whatever I want.

And I am so very grateful. You see, despite the fact that I’m throwing “I love you”s left and right and do try to smile a majority of the time, I’m a tough person to live with. I know this. It’s one of those things that is strictly undeniable. I cry – a lot. I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m sad. I cry at least once a day. Quite honestly, it’s a crucial part of my healing process.

I’m easily afraid that someone’s disappointed in me. I’m defensive and indignant. I always, and I mean always, have something to say. I’m overly anxious, and some little bird told me that I tend to push myself too hard.

And, yet, miraculously, there are all these people who stick around. These people who support me, believe in me, flatter me just enough but aren’t afraid to give advice. They know that I have potential for a lot of things – mistakes included. These people – my family, school counselors, church leaders, and other friends – happen to be my nourishment. They supply me with my Daily Values (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) of cheer, love, advice, support, and painful-but-necessary-growth. The arguments I get in – particularly those I am the cause of – are crucial. Every time I say sorry and every time I don’t serves as a life lesson.

I’m grateful for the people who shove me into a pool of ice water (even if I might yell at them). I’m grateful for the people that pull me out. I am grateful for the people who hand me a towel and say, “Next time, maybe the water will be a little bit warmer.”

I’m sorry for those teens around the world who aren’t as fortunate as I, that are seriously lacking in their Daily Values. Those kids who have people shoving them into ice water for all the wrong reasons. Whose water never gets warmer, and who are forced to claw their own way out and wipe themselves down with a washcloth. I hope for their sakes that someone will come into their life who will drastically alter it for the better. I hope for their sake that even if no one comes for a really long time, they’ll have the inner strength and resilience to keep moving on anyway – that their love for themselves will be sufficient.

I have so many dreams. I have ambitions. I want to be a stay-at-home-mom-editor-of-books-who-writes-on-the-side, even if that might be as impossible as a singer-rock-star-guitar player-who-also-juggles-and-flies-airplanes. I want to get an MFA. I want to exceed my own expectations and push myself harder. I know for a fact that I can only get so far – that I am, in fact, not invincible and am not talented in all areas (Goodness, no). But while I am wholeheartedly in love with literature, writing, writers – this fantastic world that is most certainly the one I belong in, I don’t want to confine myself. I don’t want to limit my potential or my knowledge-base. It’s not right to underestimate ourselves, our value to the world, or the effect we can have. It’s so very wrong to say “when” even though the glass is only two-thirds full simply because you’re afraid that someone will knock it over.

I hope that teens will aspire, dream, work hard, find their niche, and encounter people along the way who will prove to be invaluable and incredible. I want no one to live life contently in a 4×4 box. There are so many possibilities, so many holes in this world that need to be filled – holes shaped just like you. Somewhere in the future there is a happy, smarter, vivacious you – a you who will face troubles and loads of crap, but will always bounce back, whether because you’ve clawed yourself out or someone gave you a hand. There’s also a you who has limited his or herself, who has accepted a less satisfactory condition, and that you is the one you want to avoid.

So, while I’m out-of-this-world lucky to have people who love me and want to see me succeed – who say “when” and not “if,” but also manage to keep my head from entirely losing itself in the clouds, who are always there to say what needs to be said or not (both teach equally important lessons) – and I might seem like the most ridiculous person to try to give advice, I have to sum this up and say one thing:

Choose the truest version of you. Always choose the path that leads to a better you, the you that is kinder, wiser, remarkable, beyond all comparison. This you will influence the world for good and stretch the boundaries of This Cannot Be Done. This you will inspire, and this you will be happier. This, despite the corny, sappy-movie-ness of it, is the you that you are meant to be. You were born with a potential to wreak havoc on people’s expectations, to wow and to uplift, and you were given the means (though it might be deep inside) to meet that potential.

November 26th, 2010

Have You Ever Lost It?

by Madeleine Rex

Despite the picture above, today’s been a good day.

It began with waking up to the task of helping a friend decorate for Christmas. I’d slept over at her house for this purpose. It took over three hours to decorate because her house is magical at this time of year. Then, I went home and watched Eat, Pray, Love with my mom. What’s not to love?

It wasn’t until about 20 minutes ago, when I found myself contemplating what to do next, that something dawned on me. Not necessarily like a light bulb flickering to life in my head, but one turning off –

I’ve lost it.

The desire to do homework, tidy the house, bake, read, write. I’ve lost the motivation to do any of the things I used to fill my spare time with. Having four hours on my hands doesn’t bring with it the excitement it used to – the excitement surrounding free time in which to write or read or blog. It’s hard to connect to the me that wrote this – Why I Write – a few months ago.

I’ve lost the motivation to do the thing I thought made me who I was. I say I’m a writer. I think about my book and feel the desire to see it finished, but I don’t want to finish it. I don’t want to edit it. I can’t even fathom how I would if I did want to. There’s not a single person around me who can help with this. No one close – who I have easy access to – that can come over and help me dig in. Can actually sit down with me and give me the advice I need.

I feel terrible. I don’t blog as much anymore. I get home from school and feel like collapsing and doing absolutley nothing. The odd thing is, though, that I hate doing nothing. It’s counterproductive. It’s ending the day before it’s begun.

All summer, I lived in a dreamland. I cleaned the house, did the laundry, exercised, dreamed, wrote thousands of words every day, blogged every day, kept the house in order – in other words, overachieved. The contrast between now and then – when I’m lucky if I get the bird cage cleaned at weekly intervals – is heartbreaking to me. All I do is dream about doing instead of actually doing.

I want so badly to make The Lemonites beautiful. I want to feel as though I’ve accomplished something every day. I want to meet or exceed my expectations of myself. And yet I sit and sit and sit and live life as though it’s all in my head – as though dreaming and thinking about my ambitions and hopes and goals will help me achieve them.

Have you lost your motivation before? Have you ever been horrified by the fact that you can, indeed, do nothing? That you can not do the thing you thought was necessarily for you to live (writing, in my case)? What in the world happened to the person who did so much? Who used to put off meals so that she could finish doing the laundry? Who spent 6 hours a day for one week in the middle of the summer writing? How on earth did my books get written in the first place?

Maybe it’s my lack of guidance and the intimidating prospect of months of editing – a truly foreign concept to me – or maybe it’s that I’m just overtired, but something’s missing. Have you ever lost it, too? And, more importantly, did you ever run into it again?

Just For You:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPnQkFPKtJQ&playnext=1&list=PL71A7DD59CDA2B56A&index=39]