When Your Mojo Stops Mojoing: A Spa Day L. Marie Style

This has turned out to be one of those weeks when I’ve struggled to write anything of significance. Scenes I’ve written in my story have fallen flatter than the last batch of brownies I attempted. (Who fails at brownies made from a mix? Um, me that’s who.) Sigh. I had to be honest with myself: my mojo wasn’t mojoing.

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Some of this had to do with various points of worry that the week dredged up. The stress of those worries trickled into my writing, which added to the flatness.

Ever feel like that about your writing or other projects?

Some people turn to yoga or take a spa day to recharge. Since the cost of a spa was prohibitive, I had to DIM—do it myself.

Here’s how you do a spa day, L. Marie style:

First, spend a couple of hours with a friend at Ikea enjoying an ultra cheap breakfast, followed by a leisurely look at baby furniture. (Her unborn child will need it soon.)

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This was only 99 cents.

Second, when you return home, watch movies like

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and call it “research.” After wishing you lived in Pixie Hollow and had a lightning bug for a friend, decide to watch something else, since that wish will not be granted. Binge on several episodes of the Pemberly Digital show, Emma Approved, a modern-day retelling of the Jane Austen classic. You can find it on YouTube. It’s like Clueless, except with adults playing adults, rather than adults playing teens. Each episode is around 5½—7 minutes long. If you’re like me, you’ll sigh over Alex Knightley and Frank Churchill for at least an hour, which is almost as bad as wishing you lived in Pixie Hollow.

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But third—and this is very important—procure some viewing snacks like

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These snacks are courtesy of a friend.

Fourth, work off the calories by getting plenty of outdoor time, traipsing among the flowers. Be sure to greet the bees while you’re there. They’re buzzing about, ready for their close-up. But don’t expect them to stay still if you want a photo. None of the bees I greeted did.

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These are blooming in the yard.

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These can be found at my local library.

Fifth, watch more episodes of Emma Approved. Consider whether or not you would want your life to be like the retelling of a Jane Austen novel.

Sixth, after dinner, try again to make that troublesome scene work.

Seventh, believe in yourself. While you’re thinking about how to make that scene work, crochet a flower for a friend’s birthday. Use it to remind yourself that if you can produce this, you can produce a compelling scene.

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What do you usually do when your mojo stops mojoing?

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Sad man from goodgeorgialawyer.com. Breakfast plate from ikea.com. Emma Approved logo from tvtropes.org. Other photos by L. Marie.

Sheer Delight

What do you find delightful? A couple of weeks ago a friend told me what delighted her: the Disney Fairies movies.

“You should watch them,” she suggested.

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I wasn’t too keen on the idea, believing that only girls three to six would take an interest in them. I couldn’t help recalling some of the Barbie videos I sat through multiple times while babysitting a little girl. (She insisted on watching the same movie over and over.)

Anyway, my friend talked me into watching Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast—a 2014 film she’d watched with her daughter. It’s part of the fairies series that centers on Tinker Bell, the character from J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan/Peter and Wendy, who became iconic because of the 1953 Disney movie, Peter Pan, and her place as Disney’s mascot. But there are other fairies as well.

Having seen the play and read the book, I can say categorically that Tinker Bell was never one of my favorite characters, though she is way more interesting than Wendy. My interest, however, wanes in stories where one person is jealous of another person because they both want to be loved by the same person. So the thought of watching a series where jealous Tinker Bell is the main character failed to fill me with delight. But because I trust this friend’s opinion, I bit the bullet.

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She was right. Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast was delightful. I also realized that I’d fallen into the jaded adult trap with my presumption that I would fail to find enjoyment in a product intended for three- to six-year-old children. And I call myself a writer of books for children? Shame on me for trying to avoid a product many kids (and parents) love.

The title of the movie is a bit of a misnomer, since another character figures heavily in the action. (And I don’t mean Peter Pan.) But since this post is not a movie review per se, I’ll move on to why it delighted me.

Delight is one of those subjective terms that are hard to quantify. After watching the above film and another—Tinker Bell, the 2008 origin story of Tinker Bell—I tried to figure out why I was so taken with these Disney Fairies movies. The animation? The idea of fairies taking care of plants and animals or inventing labor-saving gadgets? The world building in general? Probably a combination of all three. Whenever I feel stressed, as I have lately, watching a show or movie with lots of beautiful forests and flowers; cuddly, friendly animals; and well-rounded characters who blow it badly and have to make good relaxes me. But I’m especially delighted in the premise that a fairy is born because of a sound of delight—the first time a baby laughs. Little world-building details like that help ensure that I’ll be pleased with the result.

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Fairy tales/folk tales have always delighted me. Journeying through a book or a movie to a world where dragons or fairies exist always makes me giddy. Even if horrible things happen, the whimsy of the world keeps me glued to the pages or to the screen.

Another film I find extremely delightful is Iron Monkey, a 1993 film directed by Yuen Wo Ping. I have the Quentin Tarantino Presents version on DVD. This is a Robin Hood-kind of story—a fictional account from the childhood of a real person: Wong Fei-hung, a martial artist and physician. Obviously this film is very different from the Disney Fairies. 🙂 But it has a similarity in that it is the fantastical story of an iconic character and one in the making. I appreciate the beauty and skill of the fight choreography. Martial artists defy gravity as they battle each other. And the Iron Monkey’s determination to help the oppressed poor makes me cheer. (Warning to any newbies: this film is violent. If you are unused to martial arts films from China, you might skip this one. I grew up watching these films.)

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I don’t expect everyone to share my delight. But I’m sure something delights you. If so, what? While you think about that, I hope this post by Penny O’Neill over at the Life on the Cutoff blog delights you as it delighted me: https://lifeonthecutoff.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/an-occurrence/

Then feel free to come back and walk among the flowers in the garden where I live.

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Iron Monkey image from qavobrae.livejournal.com. Yu Rong Guang as Iron Monkey from movies.film-cine.com. Tinker Bell posters from aceshowbiz.com and tclnews.blogspot.com. Disney fairies from fanpop. Pixie Hollow image from disneysonlineworlds.com. Flower photos by L. Marie.