Tag Archives: motivation

Icarus Flying


Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew. It’s the same when love comes to an end, or the marriage fails and people say they knew it was a mistake, that everybody said it would never work. That she was old enough to know better. But anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

~ Jack Gilbert, “Failing and Flying”

I’ve never been one to enjoy studying Greek mythology. Somewhere around the second or third name of a god my attention span skids to a halt and my brain refuses to entertain another piece of information. Always has been that way.

Except for Icarus.

The story of Icarus always fascinated me. Perhaps it was the idea of his ambition, his desire to fly further, farther, closer, even at his own peril. Perhaps it was pride that sent him falling. Perhaps trying to flee, or trying to be free. Perhaps it was my interest in aviation and flight.

Most often the story and images focus on the fall of Icarus, the failed attempt. Bruegel’s painting above is one of the most famous. I first encountered that work after reading a piece by W.H. Auden who commented about the work:

In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster, the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green water,
And the expensive ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Honestly, I think it is simply the desire, the quest, that appeals to me. Why I like the lines by Jack Gilbert so much — most people often forget that Icarus did in fact fly.

[This post is #9 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please click on the button on the right side of the page for more information about the challenge or to locate others participating — there are more than 1600!]

Previous A-to-Z posts:
2012: Inquiring Minds
2011: Indulgence

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Happy New Year!

champagne bubbles

New Year’s Eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.
~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

Happy New Year!

I hope this day finds you on the brink of a New Year filled with health and happiness, with love and joy, and with adventures as yet untold.

As you may recall from a previous New Year’s post, I am not a fan of making a long list of resolutions. Several years ago, I started using the one-word resolution and have discovered making a single word into an affirmation for the year works for me. It’s not everybody’s thing, I realize. But I just can’t bear making a list of things that most likely would not get done, no matter how un-optimistically I created it, and feeling oh-so-bad when they didn’t get done or when other things, things unrealized on January 1st, took their places.

So, one word it is. I hadn’t realized that I never discussed here my 2012 choice. Initially there was cause for that — my 2012 word was change. Change was needed, in many ways, and with that word as my mantra, I managed to make some significant changes — hence the new job and new state! Other smaller changes happened as well, but I think those two dominated the year!

Where am I for 2013 — on day 1? I pondered a lot of options: resilience, embrace, focus, commitment, grace. Given my extended absence from here and my other writing, write seemed a logical choice. As did discipline and growth. None seemed to settle right on the heart and mind, though.

Until, in the wee quiet hours of the early morning, when sleep was hard to find…… I found my word.


1. To notice, especially by making an effort;
2. To learn something about;
3. To reveal or make known;
4. To obtain sight or knowledge of for the first time.

I shall discover things about the wonderful new town and state where I live.
I shall discover new things to learn, to study, to share.
I shall discover things unknown, big and small, about myself.

2013 for me, then, will be the year of discovery.

What might 2013 hold for you?

What’s your one-word resolution?


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Violin Song

Lynda with violin

Me, approximately age 5

A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin. ~ Edmond de Goncourt

Violin Song
by Aline Murray Kilmer

The thing that I am seeking
I know I shall not find;
A wistful voice is crying
This sorrow in my mind.
I know I shall not find it
However far I go,
But I shall always seek it –
My heart has told me so.

Though I must always wander
I do not find it sweet;
There is no journey’s ending
To draw my restless feet.
There is no distant vision
To help me on my way;
I know my quest is hopeless
And yet I may not stay.

The thing that I am seeking
Should not be far to seek.
I hear this haunting echo
Through every word I speak.
So I shall always seek it
Down all the roads I go,
But I shall never find it –
My heart has told me so.

[Note: This post is #22 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button at the right of the page for more information.]

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railroad tracks as a symbol of choice

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

~ Flora Whittemore

How do you decide what to do?

I’m not talking about the little things, the small choices we make moment by moment as we live our lives. I’m talking the big decisions, the life-changing (or at least what feels life-changing) ones. Not so much the this one or that one choice, but more like the should we or shouldn’t we? Will we or won’t we?

Sometimes you just know when something is the right thing to do, the right place to be, the right decision to make at the time. Equally so, I think, sometimes you know when it isn’t right, that it won’t work out.

But what happens when it’s 50/50, a toss-up? When you don’t know? What then?

Do you talk it out? Set a time and make a last-minute gut decision?

Make lists?

Flip a coin?

When it comes to the big stuff……. how do you do it?

How do you decide?

[Note: This post is #21 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button at the right of the page for more information.]

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paper collage is a nuance of tones

A poem is this:
A nuance of sound
delicately operating
upon a cataract of sense
…the particulars
of a song waking
upon a bed of sound.

~ William Carlos Williams

Nuance is one of my favorite words. It leaves my lips like a kiss, a word difficult to say in harsh tones or angry volumes. It is a word of quiet, of intelligence, of subtleties.

Here’s the dictionary definition:
1. a subtle difference or distinction in expression, meaning, response, etc.
2. a very slight difference or variation in color or tone.

Here’s how it plays out in a morning conversation with my husband. I get ready for work, dressing up slightly more than normal, but for no particular reason. As we get into our car, he slides me a look and says, “You look nice today.”

I stop, hand on hip, one eyebrow arched: “Today?”

This next moment is crucial. In some marriages, that might just be a declaration of war. In ours, it’s a moment of laughter. Those lines are a running joke between us, but at their heart, in the nuance of the very saying of them, lies the depth of love between us. We know how to push each other’s buttons, but instead of using that talent for evil, we use it for good. I know how to make him laugh, and he does the same for me. He knows my days are far longer than I’d like, that I’m trying to juggle a million different plates and keep them spinning, that I’m tired. That the potential for grumpiness hangs like a thundercloud in the Midwestern spring sky.

Instead of making things more difficult, he lightens my load through laughter.

“Yeah, today. Most of the time, nah. But, you know, today. Looking good.”

My step is lighter, a smile hovers behind a renewed twinkle in my eye. By the time I hit the driver’s seat, I’m chuckling.

It’s going to be a good day.

“Thanks, babe.”

[Note: This post is #14 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button on the right of the page for more information.
Last year’s “N” post: New Adventures.]

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