April 16, 2013


80 degrees this week! EIGHTY DEGREES. Since this weather has bloomed, I have been incessantly productive. Ok, maybe not incessantly, but I have been getting up before 10 anyways. (Judge not lest ye be judged). I love this weather. I love the warmth around my skin, the smell of wisteria and grass and jasmine in the air, the thick yellow coat of pollen on my car (yes, I'm serious), the early morning sun welcomed by songbirds and the very late sunset serenaded by the whirr and buzz of insects. Do I live in a Disney movie? No, I was just really tired of winter (ok, and Beauty & the Beast was on TV the other day). 

But I was surprised by my attitude. This is the first spring thaw since moving from Chicago to Columbia, South Carolina that I really hated winter and longed for warm weather. A displaced Midwesterner, I arrived here in August of 2008 in complete disgust. Note the surly fake smile on my ID picture taken the day I moved in. I was sweating in ways and places I never knew possible. I grew tired after rounding the block. I felt as if I might melt when the sun was out, which was ninety-five percent of the time. My regular routine of jogging in the neighborhood felt more like penitence for leaving the North. The steep incline of the sidewalk up to my apartment was an uphill battle that left me sobbing, and screaming, "I'M FROM THE GREAT PLAINS!" How did anyway live a pedestrian lifestyle here and survive? (Since, I've learned that the only pedestrians in Columbia are either homeless or from out of town.) Eventually I discovered that my sneakers/jeans/flannel shirt combo was not appropriate attire here. I started wearing dresses and sleeveless shirts, and things that I felt showed way too much of my pasty Illinois skin. I also gave in and became more motorist than pedestrian. Maybe it was the new wardrobe, maybe it was the fact that my new boyfriend's mom had a pool nearby, but after a little while I actual started liking Columbia summers. This winter felt colder and longer and I found myself even wishing for that sweltering weather. "Bring on the humidity, the pollen, the skin-melting sun!" I was liberated. I was embracing the heat, and it was embracing my shivering shoulders.

All of this has got me thinking about our ability to adapt. If we tough it out long enough, eventually we can amalgamate into a new environment. Some people are stubborn, and never want to leave their home base. Some people are wanderers, constantly searching and hoping to find something new and exciting. All people are able to adapt. I really believe that. It may not always be the right thing or the right time, but we are capable. As many of our nomadic ancestors might tell us, home is where the heart is, not great plains, or mossy trees, or salty sea air, although these things can be lovely reminders of memories we hold and cherish. H.G. Wells wrote, "There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change." Adaptation is part of the strength of the human spirit, it teaches us, compels us, and transforms us. While our instinct may be to eschew change, the process of adaptation may be where we really learn who we are.

April 9, 2013

Return to Blogland

I titled this entry after a favorite childhood movie, Return to Oz. The film was rather disturbing and strange, a significant departure from the original 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz. It doesn't have the dreaminess of Technicolor, or the lulling of Judy Garland's voice, but it does make the mind reel. And, according to Wikipedia (the most distinguished source I could find on the subject), it has a large cult following due to its more accurate adaptation of the L. Frank Baum books. The film follows Dorothy's return to a much different Oz, that has been destroyed by the Nome King. Some of the lovely and disturbing features in the film are the Wheelers- creatures  who have wheels instead of hands (yeah it's as scary as you're picturing it, if not worse), an evil sorceress who has 30 beautiful heads to choose from everyday, a tree that grows lunch pails with a complete meal, and a talking chicken. As a child I always hoped to have one of those trees. 

Alas, why am I writing about Return to Oz? That's right, because this is my Return to Blogland, as I have not posted, to my chagrin, in almost 2 years. *blush.* I have lacked motivation as I only know of a handful of people (mostly family) who have actually read this online publication. Still, I realized that often blogging, writing, and creating in general is not really for others, but for one's own personal growth. This seems awfully selfish, and makes me think of Woody Allen's coined term "artistic masturbation." Forgive the crudeness, but this is a concept I think about and struggle with regularly. But still, to better ourselves is to better our community, correct? True or not, I keep coming back to this idea. And so I will blog, rant, blabber, ramble, digress, diverge, and chatter verbosely if it will expand my mind, and ultimately make me more useful to the outside world. It will be challenging, as I have found that is much easier to criticize than to create, to teach than to do, to pontificate than to express. Instead of making judgements on all the empty words out there, I will take a go at writing the empty, or perhaps, in a rare moment, full words. 

Lastly, I will leave you with this excellent article from McSweeney's, which I believe I found through my friend Regina (another thing to discuss- surrounding yourself with smart, talented people).