Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

I have to admit I enjoy a good love story every now and again and there’s nothing more romantic than listening to a beautiful song in candle lit darkness in the arms of a lover.  I think even men secretly enjoy the romantic component found in many books and movies.

I had never thought about why there are so many love songs and stories or why Romance is the hottest selling genre in fiction until I began reading week 5 of Walking in This World (Julia Cameron). The chapter is entitled Discovering a Sense of Personal Territory and Julia was right on target when she alerted me to “Expect to feel heightened emotions as energy rebounds into your own court.”

At first I wondered how in the world I was going to write about the first section, Sexuality vs. Caretaking.  After all, both my parents and my kids read my blog, and well, talking about sexuality could be awkward.

As I read on, I realized that while she introduced the section by saying, “As artists, our sexual energy and our creative energy are very closely intertwined.” She wasn’t talking about the act of sex, but about our human sensuality and passion for life.  Passion and love are words that are often associated with each other and passion is the fuel for art, “creativity is sensual, and so are we.”  Maybe that’s why love is the central theme of so much art.

She also explained how relationships with our partners, friends, and family affect our inner core. And maybe most importantly, how we as artists and as people, “must be alert to what people ask us for and reward us for being. Our partners and friends do condition us into behaviors quite unconsciously.”

When we have people in our lives that stir our imagination and return our investment in them we are inspired and we create, we dance, we sing, we cook, we write, and we love, in short – we thrive.  When keeping the company of those who are overly needy and poke fun at our crazy ideas we shrivel and hide.

She spoke about the necessity of festivity and playfulness in life and for the need to allow ourselves to be child-like so that we can grow.  She challenged a perception that many of us fall prey to: “life is dreary and difficult and something to be soldiered through…the truth is that as children, many of us expected much more.”

She reminded me that when I was young I sang at the top of my lungs, (my microphone was a curling iron), made up dance moves to Cherokee Nation in the living room, produced plays in the basement, and pranced around the neighborhood pretending I was a horse.  I played barber shop and boutique; I was filled with enthusiasm, my imagination ran wild, and I dreamed big dreams.

One of the things I’ve struggled with as my writing dream grows larger and my passion for it swells, is the notion of balance.  I’ve chastised myself about feeling frustrated or even resentful when the phone rings at the wrong time, homework assistance takes priority, or my ‘real’ job gets in the way. Then I wonder if I’m being selfish and maybe I should consider putting my dream on hold.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Charity begins at home,” and if you’re like me you interpret that to mean take care of your family and friends before you take care of others. Maybe we should take it one step further as Julia does, “It means start with being nice to yourself, your authentic self, then try being nice to everyone else.”

That’s not to say we should become self-indulgent or self-absorbed as those behaviors can be as damaging to our creative nature as putting everyone else first can be. It means that we should be honest about who we are, what we need and that we don’t need to take on the responsibility of everyone else’s shortfalls. It’s ok to say no and we should take the time to be nice to ourselves, it’s good for us. “Clarifying ourselves to others brings honest connections that are grounded in mutual respect.  Honesty starts with us…Artificial acceptance of people and circumstances we resent makes us ill tempered. A little self-love does wonders for our personality, and for our art.”

I found the concept of Energy Debts and the idea of thinking about looking at the way a person spends energy in the same way we think about spending money fascinating. Personal boundaries are like a financial budget.  If we spend our creative energy judiciously and do not invest in situations or people that leave us feeling emotionally drained and creatively impoverished our lives will be richer as well as the world around us.

The final task this week was to write a letter to myself, an honest look in the mirror. A reflection on how I’ve been leading my life and ways that I chronically sell myself short and sabotage my own dreams. The task was designed to generate suggestions for change and to identify ways to “invest in yourself energetically.”

Throughout the five pages of my letter, a common theme appeared, “don’t worry so much about who’s the ‘fairest of them all,’ just enjoy being you.”

Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust…

Yesterday I started out with a plan and it turned into an adventure.  The original idea was to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ by going to the Garden of Reflection, a local memorial for the victims of 9/11 for both my Weekly Walk and my Artists Date.  

I know that’s not exactly what Julia intended when she asked me to commit to regular use of the three basic tools of The Artists Way during the twelve week journey through Walking in This World (Julia Cameron), but I rationalized it by telling myself that it would be better to combine them than to skip one. As it turned out I didn’t combine them at all and the outcome was delightful and it was just the right way to conclude week four, Discovering a Sense of Adventure.

The previous chapters were introduced with words like ‘initiate,’ ‘inaugurate,’ and ‘aim,’ words that convey action but ‘feel’ easy. This week’s introduction felt anything but easy “This week you are asked to jettison some of your personal baggage.”

She went on to explain that the exercises are intended to help gain a greater insight into the things that get in the way of feeling a sense of personal freedom and creativity, things we may not even be aware of.  She said, “You will focus on self-acceptance as a route to self-expression.”

Julia stated, “Humans are by nature adventurous.” She spoke of toddlers exploring, teenagers testing limits, and grandmothers touring Russia. And how we often “ignore our very nature…calling it ‘adulthood’ or ‘discipline,’” which can take on the “form of a stubborn, self-involved crankiness” as a result of turning our back on the child that lives within us.

I’ve come to realize that somewhere along the way I lost my wonder and curiosity, I lost my sense of adventure and ‘lightness.’ Life became about the schedule, the goals, and the perceived expectations.  I had a career to build, a family to support, kids to raise, and an image to uphold. I thought I had to be ‘perfect,’ I didn’t allow myself to be ‘me.’  I lived in the future and not in the moment.

I read and re-read the section entitled, The Verb “To Be.”  I remembered in the previous chapter the author pointed out that “‘Art’ is a form of the verb ‘to be.’”   I absorbed her words: “‘Art’ is less about what we could be and more about what we are than we normally acknowledge.  When we are fixated on getting better, we miss what it is we already are.”  A week and several drafts of this paragraph later, it dawned on me that she’s not just talking about writing, painting, or composing, she’s talking about living and about appreciating who we are, not wishing we were better.

Nothing in my life has been done ‘according to plan,’ but I realize now that it also hasn’t happened by accident.  In the times that I acknowledged my true desires, committed myself to an idea, followed my intuition, believed in myself, and had faith, somehow against all odds. I succeeded.

The final section made me wonder how Julia knew about my daily internal debate: how do I pursue getting published (and paid for it)? Do I follow the practical methods prescribed by the books I’ve read and the classes I’ve taken or do I follow my intuition, write what I love and hope that if I continue to ‘build it,’ it will come? 

I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Over the past year, I’ve waffled between being excited and discouraged about the thought of writing query letters and articles as a means to an end (the end being to be published and paid for it), to have a second career, to become a writer. When I began taking classes the idea excited me and the constraints of topics assigned through lessons and within the narrow needs of a publication felt comfortable and I ‘knew’ what I should write.  But now, the more I write what I want without direction or constraints, the happier I am and the more I ‘know’ what I should write.

I take hope in the author’s belief that, “Since each of us is one-of-a-kind, the market, for all its supposed predictability, is actually vulnerable to falling in love with any of us at any time.” 

There seems to be something in each chapter that is specifically for me. Creating the collage last week sparked a latent desire within me to draw.  My favorite task this week was Draw Yourself to Scale, the assignment was to buy a sketch book, a new artist’s tool. One intended to help me freeze time and to capture life’s adventures as I live them. It now contains six pencil drawings.

In my other blog, I’m known as Tinkerbeth and I often refer to my world as Never Never Land, which ironically is the home of Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up and is always having an adventure.  Being a ‘child at heart’ doesn’t equate to being irresponsible or un-adult like, it means it’s ok to do something just because it delights us. 

Discovering a Sense of Adventure, is not about bungee jumping, mountain climbing, or parasailing. It’s stepping over a chain link fence and venturing onto property marked private to take pictures of an abandoned radio station and drinking in the beauty that surrounds you instead of panicking when you get lost trying to find the Garden of Reflection.  It’s about taking risks, following your intuition, having faith, and accepting yourself.

It may turn out that accepting me will be the most exciting adventure of all.

A Spoonful of Sugar

For some reason when I read the introduction to week three, Discovering a Sense of Perspective, I flashed back to the second movie I remember seeing as a child, it was a ‘date’ with my uncle and we saw Mary Poppins. The lyrics to A Spoonful of Sugar filled my head so quickly I halfway expected to turn and see Julie Andrews standing in my bedroom pulling a spoon and a bottle of medicine out of her carpetbag.

Each step of Walking in this World (by Julia Cameron) begins with an overview and a statement of purpose, “The readings and tasks of this week aim at detoxifying your thinking regarding the arts and your place as an artist in our society.  Art is tonic and medicinal for us all. As an artist you are a cultural healer.”

She captured my attention immediately with her opening statement, “We are all artists – some of us are declared, accomplished, and publicly esteemed artists. Others of us are the private kind, making artful homes and artful lives…”  It struck me that we tend to equate creativity with the traditional arts such as painting, drawing, music, or film, and we often confuse being famous with having talent; we minimize ourselves, our ‘art’ and our contributions.

I take notes as I read; my reactions combined with direct quotes fill the pages of my spiral notebook and further cement me along the path of this journey.  Sometimes I replace a name within a quote with mine as I absorb the stories that seem to be written just for me. I found comfort in the tale of Sarah, a woman who lived much of her life feeling depressed and ‘crazy,’ and whose life was transformed through a re-discovery of writing and a way to “channel and express her colorful inner selves.”

The story concluded with a quote; “‘I abandoned my dream and myself.’ Finding the courage to dream again, Sarah Beth also found that the parts of her she had misplaced were alive and well – once they were finally welcome.”

I struggled with some aspects of this chapter, and a week later I still find myself journaling and processing the section on Anger and the task to Use Anger as Fuel.  The assignment was to number a list from 1 to 50 and write grievances from petty to large, each sentence beginning with the words “I’m angry.”  While writing the list, the challenge was to also jot down solutions to address the anger and solve the problem.

Anger is an emotion that tires me; I am a person who avoids conflict and confrontation. I keep coming back to the following, “Anger is a call to action.  It is challenging and important to let our light shine.  It is important to name ourselves rather than wait for someone else to do it…Anger should not be denied or suppressed it should be used to ‘make something out of it,’ to create.”

I thought about times in which I had every right to be angry, but instead I buried my head in the sand and didn’t ‘name myself’ or speak up for me. I also realized it wasn’t just the feeling of anger that had been missing.  Over the years I had begun to equate being strong with being stoic, “A person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.”

I have to think about what she’s saying as more than anger, I interpret it as meaning all emotions, to feel is to live, and to live is to create.  I’ve been told that when I ‘write from the heart,’ it’s obvious and beautiful.  I know that when I ‘write from the heart’ it can hurt and I sometimes cry. I’ve also learned it helps me heal.

My favorite task from this week was the creation of a collage. Armed with the directions I gathered a stack of magazines, poster board, scissors, tape and a notebook. I thought of a recurring theme, she said use “a situation you would like to understand more fully.” With that subject in mind for twenty minutes I thumbed through Writer’s Digest, Philly Magazine, Cosmo, Bon Appétit, and All You and snipped out pictures I was drawn to.  I spent the next twenty minutes arranging them on the poster board and the last twenty minutes writing about it.

What I created surprised me. It was the story of me, a pictorial representation of how I am moving beyond my past, becoming me, learning to ‘live large,’ claiming my beauty and my talent, and last but not least my dreams.  In my journal I wrote, “I am leaving my past behind me and I am believing in the dreams I once had…It is my future, it is my time.” 

It now hangs on my bedroom wall.

Throughout the chapter, she refers to art as therapeutic, not therapy, and points out that “Books, poems, plays, symphonies – they aim at healing the soul.”  Like the spoonful of sugar helped the medicine go down, artists take human emotions and fears and transform them into works of art that make us feel better about life and about ourselves.

We are all artists. [Julia Cameron]



Star Light, Star Bright…I Wish I May, I Wish I Might…

I Wish I May...I Wish I Might..

I love the classic Disney films because most often they are about wishes and dreams being fulfilled.  From Cinderella to Simba, the characters overcome obstacles, find the courage to follow their dreams, discover beauty within themselves, and learn that wishes really can come true.

Throughout the past two weeks I’ve faithfully written my Morning Pages, taken myself out on an Artist’s Date and have pondered and gained insights during my Weekly Walk.  Week two in Walking in this World (by Julia Cameron) is entitled Discovering a Sense of Proportion, and “inaugurates an ongoing process of self-definition.”  Julia introduced me to the chapter with these words, “As you redraw the boundaries and limits within which you have lived, you draw yourself to a fuller size.”

As human beings we’re filled with self doubt, some of us more than others. When we look in the mirror we see ourselves as ordinary and maybe even odd, we wonder if we’ll ever ‘fit in’ and whether or not anyone will find us beautiful. But, if we close our eyes and turn off the voices, we see the part of us that we’re afraid to let out.  I think Julia says it best, “Part of us knows we’re more than they see; part of us fears we’re less than we hope.”

I cried when I read the story she told of a man who became a composer after two decades of denying the truth in the compliments he received about his talent. He had convinced himself that he was ‘just the appreciator’ in a family of musicians. It took a trip and time spent with people who knew nothing about him or his ‘musically gifted’ family for him to begin ‘jotting down notes.’ When he returned, “He didn’t call himself a composer, a songwriter, or even a musician, but he did call himself happy.”

It made me wonder how much we hold ourselves back because of how we think others see us.  And it struck me that often we are lucky enough to have people in our lives that see more than we do, people that challenge us to see ourselves as creative and competent, who encourage us to “spread our wings,” and to become who we were meant to be. 

I was also reminded how I discovered my love for writing, how I heard the words but not the message when people told me how much they enjoyed reading what I wrote.  “You’re very nice, but I’m not a writer,” I would respond.  Thanks to a persistent friend, I took my first writing class and I now know that whether or not I become famous or ever earn a dime doing it, writing has become like breathing and I call myself happy now.

The previous chapter focused on self acceptance and faith, this week she carried those themes through while gently nudging us into the world of growth, transformation and the idea of ‘living large.’  Living large doesn’t mean driving a flashy car, living in a mansion, or vacationing in the trendiest hot spot, it means admitting dreams, miniaturizing doubts, and trying on pieces of our new identity one step at a time. 

I was moved by her reference to Nelson Mandela who remarked that “we do no one any favors ‘hiding our light’ and pretending to be ‘smaller than we are.’”

I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘dreamer,’ but I am an unrivaled ‘wisher,’ which is why I think my favorite task was to create a wish list. The instructions were to number a blank sheet of paper from 1 to 20 and complete the phrase “I wish” as quickly as possible, ranging from large to small, whatever came to mind. My list ran the gambit, everything from “I wish” my tummy was flatter to “I wish” I was debt free, and “I wish” I could write a book.

I was amazed at what came next.  She revealed the secret of the list, “Very often, each ‘wish’ will suggest some small action.” I read over my list and made notes in the margin. Out of the twenty items, the only one I couldn’t take at least one small action toward making it reality was, “I wish travel was less expensive.”  In that moment, I realized that my wishes are also my dreams, and that within me lies the power to help them come true.

I hung on every word as she explained that “art is not linear” and that “life is as much about mystery as it is about mastery.” I thought about transformation, and the many times in my life that I was ready for change and somehow just what I needed found its way to me.

The final task was once again the most difficult and yet the most illuminating.  After answering a series of questions designed to invite feelings of vulnerability and expose secret dreams, I was asked to write a letter to myself, to my ‘inner artist’ about the dream that was revealed and to find a concrete form in which to take action toward achieving it.

I’m not quite ready to share my innermost dreams, I’m still ‘trying them on for size.’  The letter to myself concluded with the following.  “Continue to express your humor and intelligence through your words.  Continue to ‘build it’ and ‘it will come’.”

Dream a dream
Set it free
Trust your heart,
Just believe     [Jiminy Cricket]

I Wish I May...I Wish I Might..
I Wish I May...I Wish I Might..

Without “Rests,” Music Would just be Noise

Until recently I have always thought about music from the perspective of the notes, the magnificence of a complex score, the blending of voices and instruments in perfect harmony, and the rhythms that move me. I’ve never thought about the importance of “rests.” Without them, music would be bedlam and not beauty.

Today marks the completion of the first week of twelve in my experience with Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity, by Julia Cameron.  I think the book is best summarized by the quote on the inside flap. “In this sequel to her international bestseller The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron presents the next step in her course of discovering and recovering the creative self.  Part Two is an amazing journey toward realizing our human potential.”

The book was a birthday gift from the beautiful artist who owns the home I rent.  I will always associate the vibrant colors of the walls that protect and surround me with the discovery of my ‘artist within’ and the recovery of ‘me.’

There are some basic tools needed for the journey: Morning Pages, The Artist’s Date, and Weekly Walks.  Each tool has a purpose.  Morning Pages are the quiet private place in which you release your worries, fears, hopes and dreams. Three pages of uncensored writing every morning to drain off the negativity, gain insights, and make room for imagination and wonderment.

The Artist’s Date is a once a week solo outing to explore and discover, its “assigned play.”  The assignment is to discover and explore things that are intriguing.  Anything goes; it can be a trip to a museum, a visit to that store with the crazy window display, a flea market or a renaissance fair.

The Weekly Walk is the time to take a break from the hectic pace of living life “on the run,” a time to slow down and “Walk on it.” It’s a commitment of twenty minutes a week to walk, think, and unwind.

In addition to promising to use the tools throughout the course of the book, you commit yourself to excellent self-care, adequate sleep, good food, and gentle companionship.  Naturally it is the author’s hope that these tools extend beyond the twelve weeks and become a part of life.

The first week is entitled Discovering a Sense of Origin, and is based on the premise that “You are the point of origin” and “The willingness to be ourselves gives us the origin in originality.”

From the moment I read the introduction I felt as if Julia had written this book specifically for me and without ever having met me, she somehow knew exactly who I am, what my struggles and fears are, and just how to talk to me.

She spoke of living life as we move, one step at a time, and the importance of savoring what we have been given.  I often spend my time worrying about everything from what my next flatware pattern will be, to what will I do in two years when my lease runs out, whether or not I’ll be able to ‘pull off’ the next assignment at work, and I wonder if people would still like me if they ‘really’ knew me.

Throughout the lesson, the concept of one step at a time was like the steady beat of a snare drum introducing the instruments and driving the orchestra through to the end of a magnificent message. The message delivered through words rather than music was one of self-acceptance and faith.

When we have faith in the Great Creator and believe in ourselves, what we need will come to us.  That’s not to say that we can hide behind closed doors and wish for the financial means to achieve our goals.  It’s saying that we need to commit to our dreams and take action to achieve them and when we do abundance will follow.

Surrounded by the golden Tuscany walls of my bedroom I read. As I read, I recalled the many times in my life that I was ready to throw in the towel, then/and out of nowhere and when I least expected it I received exactly what I needed and usually in an unexpected form. I don’t do well with the unknown; it makes me crazy and sometimes grumpy.  I want to control the outcome and ‘make’ things happen the way I think they should.  I’m slowly realizing that while I think worrying is somehow important, it doesn’t change the outcome, it only takes away from the joy of experiencing today.  Worrying about the future creates a steady and unpleasant noise in my head that prevents me from enjoying the present.

The final task was my favorite and also the most difficult as well as the most releasing.  The task was to “do nothing.” I read the title and immediately thought, “I have no idea how to ‘Do Nothing’.”  Thank goodness Julia realized this and she gave me detailed instructions.

The exercise was to queue up fifteen minutes worth of calming and expansive music, lie down and close your eyes and let your mind wander, giving your thoughts over to the phrase, “I am enough.” Her parting words to me were, “Stop striving to be more and appreciate what it is you already are.” I wept.

I think the exercise was about self-acceptance, but I also think it was about more than that.  She spoke of lessons we can learn from music, and how without “rests” between notes, listening to music would be unbearable. It struck me that life is like a symphony or maybe a rock concert, it’s composed of notes created by laughter and tears, hushed whispers and gregarious greetings, and the touch of a loved one.

We tend to rush from one ‘note’ to the next and let worries fill the spaces between them, and in doing so we feel overwhelmed and lose sight of the beauty of the music that is life.

thoughts on the ‘lake of a million memories’

When I started my ‘Guide to Writing Descriptive Settings’ class in late May, I was certain that I wouldn’t tackle writing about Big Sand Lake, I was positive it was too big to capture into words.

I didn’t think I could describe how thrilling it is to cut like a diamond through glass on one ski behind a speeding boat, or the beauty of the sunsets on a leisurely pontoon ride.  I had no idea how to explain the way laughter echoes across the water, or the summers of swimmer’s itch, familiar and quirky ‘haunts’, or the memorable bike rides along the Heartland Trail.

Through the course of the 6 weeks of class, I decided it would be fitting for the final assignment. The objective of the assignment was to create a mental map and use sensory descriptions to bring a few places along the way to life through words.

The challenge was that I wanted to capture the essence of a million places and as many memories. I had no idea how I was going to write about something so big and so personal.

With 48 hours left until the classroom closed, I went for a run. I still hadn’t written a word.

As often happens, I had a breakthrough while running along the towpath.  In the heat and solitude of the morning, memories filled my heart, the canal blurred behind tears, and scenes from life on Big Sand rolled through my mind.

In the end, this wasn’t just an assignment; it became an emotive connection of my present, past, and future, and an experience in what it means to ‘write from the heart’.

Big Sand - The Lake of a Million Memories

A Picture is Worth 200 Words

I take pictures of everything, and multiple versions of most things. I’m not a photographer by any means, although every once in a while I get lucky and capture something breathtaking or unique.

I like to think the digital camera was invented just for me.  My desire to take numerous pictures from different angles began a long time ago.

We were on vacation in New York City, I was 13 and I took picture after picture of the Statue of Liberty.  I think that may have been the only thing on the roll of film.  I couldn’t help myself, I was fascinated with the various angles, shadows, and reflections.  To me she looked different with every click of the shutter.

That desire hasn’t changed, thankfully it’s affordable since I don’t have to get film developed.  It’s not unusual for me to take 100 pictures or more in a single day. Many of them are different points of view of the same object, while some are just random to help me remember a particular place or time.

My kids take it in stride. Although I’d bet money they roll their eyes when I’m not looking, especially when I stop and take pictures of a pile of shoes or a stranger in a parking lot. I also think they take a secret pleasure in repeating the words they heard over and over during their childhood.

“Ahem, Mom, ‘be aware of your surroundings’.  You almost got hit by a car when you stopped to take that picture.”

“There was a car? But I got a really great shot,”  I reply.

You never know when a picture might come in handy, particularly when it comes to writing.

I find that pictures help me recall details that I would otherwise forget, and sometimes they help me create stories I might not have imagined.

Through pictures I remember, how a spring rain looks through the window, the canal at sunset, and the cold winter day we discovered Philadelphia on foot.

I imagine everything from a princess in her castle with a secret garden, to the mysterious man in red shoes carrying a suspicious leather satchel. Who knows what stories they might bring in the future.

I don’t know if a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s worth at least 200.

spring rain through my window

Yardley PA, Delaware Canal at Sunset

Philadelphia Walking Tour

Ridley Mansion

Ridley Mansion, Secret Garden

man with the red shoes, philadelphia

If my smart phone was ‘really’ smart…

It would ‘know’ when I requested navigation to an incorrect address and that I was walking not driving to my destination.

There are 2 CVS pharmacies near where my writer’s group meeting is held.  One has a parking garage, the other does not.  You would think I’d remember that the one I want is on South Street, not Market Street, but I don’t.

The phone was pretty smart on my trek to the Chestnut Street meeting place, and I successfully avoided going the wrong way on a one way street every time, which of course is very important when you’re walking.  Who knew there was a selection for walking vs. driving directions?

I arrived to my meeting late, but in time to catch the final part of the ‘craft talk’ and in plenty of time for the critiques.

The process is very interesting.  The author introduces the piece being reviewed and then goes silent as the group discusses the writing as though the author wasn’t present.

The group is diverse in age, race, writing style and ability, not to mention points of view on life.  I was impressed with the time each reviewer put into their critiques, many had taken copious notes on printed versions of the manuscript which were then passed on to the author.

A member of the group moderates each session. The evaluations consist of positives, constructive feedback, nitpicks, and a final word from the author.  The feedback was genuine and for the most part valuable. I think I’ll be brave enough next month next month to submit something.

Feeling inspired, motivated, and thankful to not have to think about directions; I left the meeting and followed my smart phone to the CVS.  The only problem was, it wasn’t where I had parked my car.

I pondered my predicament. I was lost, alone, and in the middle of an unfamiliar and very large city.  Several options entered my mind, including having melt down at the corner of 11th and Market Street.  Common sense won out, and I got the correct address from the pharmacist inside.

I took advantage of the detour. I got to see some of the city I otherwise wouldn’t have, I took some great pictures, which included street signs that mark a closer parking garage for future meetings ( I won’t mention my close encounter with a car when I stopped suddenly in the middle of the street to snap a shot).

Even though I had fun and made the best of it, I still think that if my smart phone was ‘really’ smart, it would have known what I meant, not what I said.