Thursday, June 11, 2020

Wee-Sources: Ways to Cope

The world has a lot going on. (Understatement much?)
















How are you coping?  The primary feeling that bubbles up within me is a percolating state of emotional exhaustion. In recent years, months, weeks, days, hours I have been on the lookout for methods and strategies that help me calm my inner tumult.

Today I am sharing some of the coping Wee-Sources I have recently relied on. Maybe they will offer you some support, distraction, and/or comfort?

(Note: If you have any coping Wee-Sources you'd like to share, shoot me an email or leave them in the comments and I'll add them to this post to help others.)

My first Wee-Source has helped me with my feelings of overwhelm when it come to the news. I try to stay informed about my local Swiss community, national Swiss news stories, and US news stories on a daily basis. This requires a certain amount of time, effort, and translation to get all the information. Oh, and I choose not to be on social media so my information gathering is focused on direct news outlets. (Full transparency, I am in the process of creating a LinkedIn page, but does that count as social media?) Suffice it to say, the seeking out and consumption of daily news takes a bit out of me. One Wee-Source that I have found to help me process the US news in a historical context is my free subscription to Heather Cox Richardson's: Letters from an American - A newsletter about the history behind today's politics. One of my sisters (shout out to She!) told me about this newsletter and it has changed the way I view the US news of the day because a historian is synthesizing the content and allowing me to process it more efficiently. HCR is an American historian and Professor of History at Boston College. She also has a YouTube channel and some paid content, but I really like and appreciate her free daily newsletters to help me cope.

The second Wee-Source I want to highlight comes from writer Suleika Jaouad. For the last several months she has spearheaded an amazing free 100-day global creative project called The Isolation Journals: One Creative Act a Day Alone. Together. She describes it this way: "The goal of this is not to write the next King Lear or to churn out publishable masterpieces. It’s an opportunity to pause, take a few moments to exhale and reflect, and to expand our creativity as a community during these extremely challenging times."

Though it is in its waning days (today is Day 73) there is still time to sign up to receive a free new creative prompt delivered to your inbox every day through the first week of July. Click here to sign up. And for the prompts you've missed so far, you can check out @suleikajaouad on social media.

I haven't completed every prompt sent to me, but I have done a few. A particularly fun one landed in my inbox on May 4th: Day 34 - Ode to Mutts:
"Write a scene from an imaginary biography of a pet. It can be yours or, like Virginia Woolf, a take on the secret life of someone else’s pet. Extra points for parody, or if it’s written from the pet’s perspective."

Nothing like channeling your dog's thoughts to help you cope with all that is happening in the world. And being the overachiever that I am, I wrote my journal entry from Smidgey's perspective:

Smidgey here. She of the nine lives. At least that’s what my people tell me. They say this because of my propensity to have near-death experiences. I don’t intentionally set out to almost die; stuff just seems to happen to a wee little pup like myself.

My first brush with death came when I was wandering the Wisconsin countryside in the middle of winter. I was a little over 6 months old and weighed about 13 lbs, but I had already had a litter of puppies. The people at the Humane Society said that I had run away from a puppy-mill. I didn’t want to leave my pups, but what was I supposed to do? I was in the Humane Society “system” for about 6 weeks when my unsuspecting loving people came in looking for a new dog after the passing of their first dog, Smarty. Have you ever heard of such a silly name for a dog? Don’t you be looking at me like that. I wear the Smidgey moniker with pride! But I digress. Anyway, after a few prancing moments and a couple of lap sits, I had my people in the palm of my paw. It’s been like that ever since.

It took just a year and a cross country move until I had my next brush with death. It happened at my pit bull cousin’s house. Cuz had a taste for sausage shaped smaller dogs apparently. That wasn’t fun. A year later I hung out with a different pit bull cousin who had the same culinary preferences. That wasn’t fun either. And wouldn’t you know it, the pit bulls in Switzerland like  sausage shaped smaller dogs as well. I think they might me mistaking me for some wurst! I showed that last pit bull who’s worst! His ears are probably still ringing. Take it from me, pit bulls have bad breath. But come to think of it, their breath is not nearly as bad as a coyote’s. Talk about rancid! Thank goodness one of my person-sisters interrupted the coyote’s attempted pup-napping. Not sure why anyone would call that ‘napping’ because I was definitely NOT sleeping in that nasty coyote’s mouth.

Snakes are a whole other kettle of fish, uh, I mean reptiles. Once I waltzed right over the top of a girthy, 5ft long rattlesnake. How was I supposed to know it was lounging just under the surface of the sand?  When it popped up, coiled into a spiral with its mouth open and tail rattling, I was a few inches past its head. I suppose it could have still lunged and bit me, but I think it was as surprised as I was. Speaking of surprises, that rattlesnake that slithered under our backdoor into the living room was a bit of a surprise. It was headed right for my pillow when dad almost stepped on it! A few bad words later, mom had me tethered to the other end of a leash and headed out the front door. Not sure what dad did with our uninvited guest, but from the look on my people’s faces, I don’t think I want to know.

In addition to reptiles, a particular amphibian, the Sonoran Desert Toad, AKA the Colorado River Toad, tried to do me in once, too. Okay, more accurately, I almost did myself in by trying to “play” with one of these guys. Apparently, they are poisonous to dogs. Who knew? Actually, dad knew and got me away from the green ball of death. Phew.

By my count it seems I have used eight of these so called nine lives. But now that I think about it, don’t nine lives refer to cats? Hold on a second, am I a cat? This requires further exploration…
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

My final Wee-Source for the today builds on Smidgey's question and hopefully will give you a smile to help you cope.
Below is Episode 1: Me-ow? in my Smidgey's Identity Crisis Poetry Series.

Please, have a watch. Do you think I may have a problem because I keep channeling Smidgey's inner thoughts? I guess it is one way of coping...



This week's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by amazing Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.
She is inviting participants to share a post in honor of Nikki Grimes and her body of work. Several weeks ago, for Poem in Your Pocket Day, I shared a Golden Shovel poem using a strike line from Nikki's poem, Pigeon, from her collection A POCKETFUL OF POEMS.  I'm sharing it again today.

At first, I treated staying home like

a vacation. Time to write some

poems or binge watch that wild

show, “Tiger King” on Netflix. The thing

is though, this is a pandemic. I am anxious.

People are dying. I want to

help people, see my family back home, go

to the movies. Will life ever again truly be free?

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

20 comments:

  1. I was riveted to Smidgey's misadventures! (I can only imagine what dangers he could stumble upon if you were in Australia rather than Switzerland! Dingos, wild boars, and kangaroos, oh my!)
    Do you think Suleika Jaouad will start another 100 day project once this one is over?

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    1. Yes, Smidgey surviving Arizona (the Australia of the US!) was a small wonder! I forgot to mention her occasional run-ins with bark scorpions. I'm hoping Suleika Jaouad continues on with some form of sharing/inspiring. Thanks for popping by Tabatha! :)

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  2. Oh Smidgey! Love this! And your Golden Shovel captures the quarantine experience quite well. Thank you! xo

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    1. Thank you, Irene! I have a special connection with this little Smidgey pup, for better or worse. ;)

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  3. Bridget, thanks for all the links. I signed up for the Isolation Journal because it sounds like a great opportunity to read what others have to say about Quarantine Life. I enjoyed your Smidgey story and think I will share it with my granddaughter when I see her. Thanks for sharing your Golden Shovel. I don't remember seeing it before.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carol. I hope some form of sharing/creating continues with the Isolation Journals beyond July. And I hope you enjoy the remaining prompts. I'd love to hear what your granddaughter thinks about my Smidgey's story. :)

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  4. Love you channeling Smidgey's life, Bridget. There's little nicer than pretending to be a dog, & a dog in trouble! Thanks for all the other tips, too. My best one, walking out into the world. I think it's saved me! Best to you & to Smidgey!

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    1. Yay for re-entering the world, Linda! Smidgey helps me cope in a multitude of ways. :)

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  5. This post makes me so happy. Love your coping strategies, especially the Smidgey stories and identity crisis poem. So charming! I think channeling a dog is a fine way to cope. I hear rumors that there are those who channel teddy bears. Can you imagine? Thanks for the Wee-Sources! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jama! Channeling animate and inanimate objects is what the world needs more of, IMHO! It keeps life "bear-able". ;)

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  6. What a delightful visit here today. Your first line had me lol-ing. Thank so very much for the resources. As soon as I finish this comment, I'm off to check out the history one first! Just today, I am beginning a hiatus from facebook. It's become a place that isn't what I enjoyed when I started with it in 2004. Also, I'm not too thrilled with zuckerburg. Smidgey is quite the dog-cat! What fun Smidgey relates. You must have fun trying to keep up with all the antics.
    And, finally, what a perfect way to celebrate Nikki Grimes...a golden shovel with one of her lines of poetry for a striking line. I hear you on, "anxious." My school year with students ended today. And, I look forward to some summer peace. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! I hope you find Heather Cox Richardson's newsletter helpful. I've been off FB for 5+ years now and while I miss out on some things, I wonder, do I? Sending you summer peaceful vibes. :)

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  7. Delightful! And thank you for the references.

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    1. Thank you, Joan! I hope you find the references helpful for your daily life. :)

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  8. Delightful post Bridget love "Smidgey's Identity Crisis" video–and the sagas of his nine lives, thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! Smidgey lives a storied life. :)

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  9. Hooray for Smidgey--hysterical!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! Smidgey is a silly dog who is an endless source of poetry fodder. :)

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  10. Such a good post - it's helpful to me to know that so many of the things I am feeling are felt by others, too. I love Smidgey!

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    1. Thank you, Ruth! Yes, humanity is collectively hurting but it is nice to have the PF community to find comfort. Smidgey appreciates your love. :)

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