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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Searching for Magic

As I rode the night train up the east coast to North Carolina I was definitely a stranger in a strange land. I felt a little like an actor in a foreign film, (Europeans are always riding trains) and I was tempted to re-invent myself, become Lily Ormond, a sulky poet with an obsession for gum drops, or Julia Van Helsing, the wife of a mad doctor escaping a nightmarish marriage. I decided to remain a struggling American author breaking away from her monotonous life; open to everything, and hoping for magic.

Vacations seem a lot like holidays to me, only I get to pick the date, and the object of celebration. I was celebrating life. Ordinarily I’d be snapping photos of everything and everyone, but I didn’t do that on this trip. Actually I was so engrossed in observing my surroundings that, most of the time; I forgot to take pictures, letting myself take in the whole experience without the interruption of having to get my camera out. I found that with most observations came a smell and a sound and then an emotion. I was awake and sentient, alive in a very present way.

So, I don’t have many actual photos to show you, but here are some snippets of moments that I’d like to share.

Being surrounded by big trees…Florida is very scruffy.

Watching Oprah’s final 3 episodes while crying, and sneaking sips of Beth’s martini. Sorry Beth ;)

Meeting cyber friends and finding out that they smell good, and give good hugs, and that they are even more amazing in person.

Hearing my soul sister’s oldest son say “I do” and then crying, because just yesterday he was only twelve.

Singing Christmas carols in May, while tucked in for the night with my four year old grand daughter and her mom…and wishing that that moment would never end.

Dancing in a crush of strangers and laughing so hard that my face hurt.

Eating vanilla ice cream cones with Lano, in the sweltering heat, and us frantically licking at the drips before they crept down to our hands.

Getting a phone call from Mr. Somers, telling me that my novel took first place in the Laine Cunningham/Blotter Literary Magazine Novel Contest, and crying because I knew that my novel was good…I just wanted somebody in the industry to notice it.

Recognizing my husband Mike amongst an army of waiting faces at the train station, and watching him squint into the Florida sun…as he searched the crowd for me.

Visiting our favorite Cuban restaurant on the way home and discovering that it hadn’t changed in twenty years.

I found my magic;)


Jayne said...

Oh Leah- I think vacations are the perfect time to reinvent ourselves, or at least act for a little while. And to soak in all those images, smells and sensations without worrying you'll miss taking the perfect picture of it all is so liberating.
Now, first place in the Laine Cunningham/Blotter Literary Magazine Novel Contest?? I'd say you've been more than notice, Leah! How wonderful for you--big smiles and hugs here... XOXO (how I would have loved to be on of those cyber friends who were fortunate enough to meet the flesh and bones Leah).
It's a beautiful thing to find your magic. :)

Leah Griffith said...

Ah Jayne, I did find my magic and I'm still feasting on it. My trip was very restorative.
Some day we'll meet and get to enjoy long conversations, a glass of white and good music. I can't wait. Maybe we should plan on meeting at a writer's convention/conference...I've never been to one.
I was thrilled with Cosette's Tribe taking first place and I'm hoping it will help to attract the attention of a good agent. We'll see ;)

Cheryl P. said...

Hi Leah, I thought you might be on vacation. Congrats on the first place in the Laine Cunningham/Blotter Literary contest. Impressive, to say the least.
I am sure that is a huge step up in attaining the goals you have set for yourself.
As far as grabbing your award, just right click on the award (if you have a PC not a Mac) it will say in the menu save as. Click on Save as to your pictures. Then you can put it in your blog like any other picture or put it in your side bar. If you need more help feel free to email me. Also, when blogger crashed a couple of weeks ago it caused a problem with some of the comment boxes. Yours in one of them. It won't let some of us sign in on google. I have figured out a solution if any one else mentions not being able to leave comments for you. In the meantime I will leave comments as a Name/URL

Leah Griffith said...

Thanks Cheryl, even I am having a tough time leaving comments. It wouldn’t let me sign in to my own blog. Grrrrr!
I snagged the award and then when I saw the shopping list of conditions I did a little grimace LOL! I have such a small amount of time to browse the blogs I’m afraid I don’t know 15 other bloggers. I may need to hold onto it until I come up to snuff. But…I love that you sent it to me. Thank you. (That’s one condition met right?) LOL!!
I’ve been trying to make my blog prettier…I know nothing!!! This could take a while ;)

Cheryl P. said...

I always put the disclaimer on those awards that they are time sucks, so don't feel like you actually need to do any of it. Feel free to post the award if you are inclined. If you go into your dashboard, then click settings, then click comments and then change your setting to either full page or popup window instead of embedded below window, I think that will correct the comment problem. It is hard for me to tell without looking at all your settings.

S.K.Delph said...

Leah, I'm reading through your post...your novel jumped right out at me. Your novel! Congratulations, you amazing writer you! =o]

Leah Griffith said...

Thanks so much Miss Delph! I really appreciate you taking the time to bless me with your kind words. Yeah.

Chris said...

Hi Leah,

First of all, congratulations on your novel winning first place! Awesome!!!

Secondly, in the past couple of years I have actually stopped taking photos of scenery/events/celebrations almost on purpose, because picture-taking seems to take so much out of really being in the moment. So now I have fewer photos but more vivid memories.

And finally, being back in Europe, I was walking down the street the other day and spotted a woman that I didn't know, also unassumingly walking down the street. There was something in her way of dressing, her hair and her walk that for me echoed your feistiness - even though I have never met you in person. It felt inspiring to have her energy whizz past me in that fleeting moment, just like your posts are inspiring.

Leah Griffith said...

Oh Chris, I envy you being in Europe. I’ve never been. I love that you saw a bit of me there…perhaps it was a fantastic premonition of the future. And I love that you called me feisty. Believe it or not, your words inspired me to post today’s blog. I wasn’t going to post it…I was afraid and definitely not feisty. It’s funny how we help each other without even knowing that we’re doing it. Thank you Chris.

Chris said...

Well, you can always come and visit me in Europe :) It doesn't look like I'm going anywhere anytime soon.

I'm humbled and glad if any of my words had any kind of positive effect, especially with such an important post of yours. This just reminded me of a recent text that a very close friend sent to me, and which said

"Always be gutsy!"

Leah Griffith said...

Gutsy is good!! I think timid people hope for other people to be gives them the nerve they need to be a little gutsy themselves. Chris, this isn't the first time that you've inspired me and I'm certain that it won't be the last. You're gutsy and honest;) Europe, sigh....

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Leah! I am #3 and looking forward to reading your book. Are you on facebook?
Isla McKetta

Leah Griffith said...

Congratulations Isla! Isn't it wonderful to have total strangers recognize your work?! I'm thrilled. I hope this helps with getting our books published.
You're in Seattle aren't you? I'm heading that way the end of July. I've never been and I can't wait to see it.
I am on facebook. I post my blog regularly up there. Thanks so much for stopping by. It's been great meeting you;) I hope to see you on facebook!

Kris said...

Wonderful Blos as usual Leah and I'm so glad you had a great vacation. Personally I love taking pictures but that's the photographer in me, I just love to capture a beautiful moment and great Photographers can encapsulate a moment in time for future generations.

Leah Griffith said...

Kris, you take incredible photographs. Your talent spans in many directions...and you're still young!

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