Back from the dead

Surprise! It’s been about three months since my last post, y’all. I don’t have a legitimate excuse for why I haven’t been writing, other than plain and pure laziness. There’s no use in trying to put it any different: I’ve been lazy, not just for the past few months but for the past two decades of my life, probably. I recently identified laziness as the source for many dysfunctional patterns of thinking. It’s a constant battle, but I’ve begun to conquer this pesky demon.

I once held a bit of spring in my hand

Here’s what I’ve realized: it’s a lot easier to throw your hands up in helpless defeat than admit the fact you could have put in a better effort.

When we forfeit our ability to act, we can easily blame everything and everyone else for our current misfortunes. The responsibility is taken off ourselves, and any feelings of guilt, shame, and frustration are held at bay. However, those things still lurk in our subconscious, because the wiser part of ourself knows better. We know that only we are responsible for how we feel and what we do. It’s a painful thing to realize, but I think it can also be extremely empowering. I’d like to share a few ideas around this that are quickly becoming second nature to me:

We can control much of our daily lives.
While it’s tempting to always focus on “the future” or “the past” with longing, regret, and anxiety, I’ve realized that it’s more logical to focus on creating a more desirable daily life. For example, I’ve recently given my mornings a makeover, dedicating at least 15 minutes for self-care and spirituality. This is within my control! Designing a more ideal daily life is a far less daunting task than trying to improve your life as a monolithic whole.

Time and attention are precious commodities.
I’ve tried to be more mindful and aware of what I choose to give my time and attention to, because I’ve realized that, along with information and knowledge, these are some of the most valuable things in existence. There are too many useless and upsetting things that demand our most precious resources and it’s essential to take back the power and decide how and where you want to allocate them.

Gratitude is one of the best frequencies to emit.
I believe that when you choose to be grateful for something, magic happens. You can transmute bad experiences into lessons that make you a better person. You can acknowledge the goodness in your life and attract even better things. No matter what you believe about the universe and higher powers, there’s no harm in giving thanks. I have found that it feels really good to be grateful.

So, that’s about it for now. I may or may not be bursting with inspiration at the moment, thrilled at the idea of sharing everything with anyone who’ll listen, but I won’t make promises of consistency. Three months is a long time not to write – all I’ll say is I hope never to repeat such an absence. Stay tuned!!

xx
ree

Why ‘zora’ is the password for my restricted material: A spotlight on the one and only Zora Neale Hurston

If you navigate my site, you’ll notice I have a prose & poetry section where I post little pieces of mine taken from scrap paper, napkins, and buried files. It’s a work in progress and definitely needs polishing up, but to keep things a bit more interesting, I’ve installed a passcode for viewing these pages on reeniverse. The passcode is zora.

The reason I chose that particular name is of course because it belongs to the magnificent Zora Neale Hurston. Undoubtedly one of the coolest and most badass women of all time, Zora has inspired and mystified me for years now. I’m still working my way through her material, which is a goldmine, but I find her personal story more fascinating than anything.

Z “looking mean and impressive”

Zora Neale Hurston was born in Alabama in 1891 and raised in Eatonville, Florida. Her life was a series of daring and creative endeavors: she was a writer, ethnographer, anthropolist, and a founding figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Throughout her extensive career, her charm and intelligence attracted patrons, friends, and mentors in creative and intellectual spheres.

Under the great anthropologist Franz Boaz, Hurston collected folklore, religious practices, games, recipes, and songs from communities in the American South and Caribbean. During the Harlem Renaissance, her short satirical stories and plays were published in several anthologies, including FIRE!!, and she collaborated with the renowned poet Langston Hughes on a production that never went to stage. She also wrote several novels, the most famous of which was published in 1937: Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Zora’s work centered around the African-American experience in America and she was highly devoted to telling their stories honestly and accurately. She chose to portray African-American spoken language in her work based on how it sounds to the ear, and she also held controversial opinions on what it meant to colored. Refusing to compromise her views, Zora’s strong opinions sometimes got her in hot water, and by the end of her life she had fallen out of favor with the artistic black community and died without enough money for a proper gravestone.

1st and only issue of afro-centric magazine FIRE!! 1926

Many credit the author Alice Walker for “rediscovering” Hurston in the 1980s by citing her works as essential inspiration for her novel The Color Purple. In fact, it was by reading The Color Purple and doing some digging on the internet afterwards that I stumbled across the marvelous Zora Neale Hurston. So thanks, Alice!

I could go on forever and ever about Zora and how interesting her life was. I love and admire her for being so brave and daring. It might sound crazy, but if I’m ever stuck in a rut with my writing and need a burst of inspiration, I write a short letter to her. Zora dedicated her life to the discovery and creation of stories, and I’m all about that! I’ve chosen Zora to guard some of my creative material, not because I wish to hide it, but because I want more people to know her name. Remember it!

xx
ree

What I learned from Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I was in a 100-year-old house in the mountains between Germany and Czech Republic. It was the dead of winter, a nasty storm raged outside, and the electricty was out. I had nothing but my phone, which was thankfully on full battery. I used it to read a digital copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

This book is about the process of creation and inspiration and the stunning power of ideas. I was surprised when I realized that Gilbert had also written the world-famous memoir Eat Pray Love, which went to the big screen in 2010. Instantly, I trusted the wisdom shared in Big Magic and considered it genuine stuff that worked. To be honest, I’m still testing it out (and having a great time). Here are a few gems I plucked out of the pages that I continue to meditate on and think about as I work on my own writing:

  • Create for the sake of creation
    Life is an endless creative process and we are creative beings by nature. Rather than overthink about creation and take it too seriously, it’s better to create for its own sake. For example, I keep journals, not because anyone else will read them – in fact, I don’t even read them once I finish – but because writing simply for the sake of writing is in my creative nature.
  • Reframe mundane activities as creative
    Things like gardening, cooking, cleaning, exercising, and other everyday actions are ultimately creative and should be seen as such. They feed our creative needs and are therefore good for the soul! No matter what we do, we’re always creating.
  • Bring life to ideas
    Ideas are weird, mystical things that we don’t quite understand yet, although Gilbert makes the case that they are sort of entities that seek us out in order to bring them to life. Think about this the next time one comes knocking at your brain. Make the commitment to work with it: give it your energy and play with it. See what happens! It’s such an interesting way to view the creative process and I love how Gilbert describes it.

Big Magic was a great read that made those dark and stormy days I had this winter fly by. It’s one of those books I’ll keep referring back to throughout my writing career because it pushed me to look at my creativity in a different way. Even though I wasn’t a big fan of Eat, Pray, Love, I admire Gilbert’s brave approach to the writing process and I definitely aspire to be as raw and authentic as she is in her writing. It’s work in progress! Stay tuned.


xx
ree

pleased to meet you.

one time

My name is Ree and I like to write. I decided to start a blog to share my ideas about life and document my pursuit of its deeper meaning. Here are a few topics I’m passionate about:

Self-Love
Creativity
Authenticity

I’ve been playing with these ideas for a long time and at this point, I’m pretty sure they’re key principles to live by. My blog will dive deep into these topics and I sincerely hope can I help and connect with other people on their own self-discovery journeys.

As a side note, I’m an obsessive hoarder of useless knowledge which I like to share with whoever will listen, so stay tuned for essays on stuff nobody asked for or is interested in.

I also write prose & poetry. I’m currently working on about 163 fictional universes to weave stray plots and characters into. I swear, my first novel will be done within the next year.

Last and most importantly, I’m constantly inspired by people. There are some amazing folks walking this planet: folks who ooze creative energy and demand to be written about and made into art. I’m always on the lookout for inspiration from other people and I do the best I can to paint them with my words.

I believe we are all made of stories. I’m here to tell as many as I possibly can.

xx
ree