What The Heck Are Tangled Lights? Hint: You Have Some, Already.

I was recently asked, “So, what are ‘Tangled Lights, exactly?'” When the simple response, “I just like how it sounded,” failed to satisfy curiosity, I gave the long explanation. It was such a beautiful combination of words, like, “Summer afternoon,” or, “Three-day weekend,” that I was a little surprised to find it available, as a domain. I purchased Tangledlights.com immediately. And, while I was immensely fearful of committing to writing with accountability vs whim, it is now such an integral part of my world that when Saturday rolls around- the day I take leave of the computer, and Tangled Lights- it feels as if something is missing. I’ll explain: My brain can start at a sane speed with a sane thought…we’ll call this, “Ferris wheel speed.” I don’t know what goes wrong at the control panel, but after a few rotations, I’m having not-so-sane thoughts, at not-so-sane speeds. We’ll call this, “Spin cycle syndrome.” One reason writing is so therapeutic, even for those who don’t particularly enjoy it, is the instant response the brain has to writing. Think of the Los Angeles freeway at 5pm on a weekday compared to a country road on a Sunday afternoon.  The difference in those two images is vast, huh? Writers have the outlet of forcing these rapid, rampant thoughts to converge and decelerate, transforming invisible notions into digestible content. Having a writer’s brain, it’s hard to explain my odd requisites when I write. I have yet to meet another writer who does not have their specificities when they sit down to work. Some of my requirements: I need an orderly environment. My mind takes on my external surroundings and a messy space will inevitably create frustration and end with me organizing the area in order to facilitate organizing my thoughts. I don’t write after a big meal, nor do I write hungry. I need to begin writing before noon, at the latest. I don’t know where a writer’s abilities live after the creative witching hour strikes, but they jump ship and it’s like we’ve never even seen a keyboard. We may accomplish getting our thoughts onto a screen, or scribbled onto a napkin for later, but our creative braincells can be quite demanding and downright bitchy. Also, I can’t be too hot or too cold. I can’t be wearing jeans…yoga pants or shorts only. I can’t be in earshot of a side conversation unless I am outside of my home. For some reason, I can write at airports, coffee shops, lobbies, you name it, and the noise is rarely a factor. At home? EVERYBODY SHUT THE F UP! (*whispers…”I’m working, thank you”…) I like my dog in the room, but, only if he’s asleep. I don’t like music when I’m writing about serious or moving topics. Other times, I need some Trevor Hall or Odesza in the background. But, only through my phone, at a low volume. Ok..I’m starting to visualize each of you with ever-widening eyes as my eccentric list of musts grows.  I’d never really thought of the rituals I perform before opening my laptop. HOWEVER, are all of these conditions met every time I write? Bwaahaaaaha. No. Because, life. Which brings us allll the way back to the original question. What is the meaning behind Tangled Lights… I remind myself, and my beloved readers, that I have committed to authenticity in all my work. This was not unlike a marriage vow, as I took my writing public. Remember when I said writing was analogous to showering in a glass bathroom on the first floor of a busy street? I wasn’t exaggerating. Thoughts are so deeply personal, private, stored safe in our own mind’s landscape…it’s the most chosen of hypothetical superpowers. Mind reading. When we read the work of another, more is exposed that the words on the page. Belief systems start to take form. Traumas, triumphs, personal bias that (most) of us strive to block, it all shows up, if we write enough. I have often sat with my finger on “publish” for minutes, deciding if I want to disrobe my thoughts on a given topic. Writers are simultaneously rather mysterious creatures that often feel transparent. If I let you in on (__blank__) will I be judged? And, I immediately remember that this part of my humanness must be ignored, as a writer. Yes. Of course I will be judged. Many will approve. And, the rest? Well, I’m not your author. Stop reading my shit. But, if you are challenged to look deeper into your SELF, if I can carry a light to illuminate your own epiphany, I go to bed content. I have experienced my share of traumatic events and, at times, there was only the echo of my own cries. This is just a fact, not intended to appeal to any particular emotion. I’m not sad about it, today…I took those experiences, stripped them of their power, bound, gagged and reframed them, reNAMED them…I placed them in a beautiful box, meant for lovely things, and I set it on fire. And, there, in the space that housed my most excruciating memories, was a brightly burning flame, outshining ugly, messy, scary, unpleasant and regrettable encounters with life. We all have them…the skeletons we choose to stuff, the distressing events, the woes that bring tears before we can get through the telling of the story…but, why are you saving them? Put it all in a beautiful box and set that bitch on FIRE. From it, light a torch and carry it for one who is still in the dark, surrounded by pain and regrets. Sit with them. Tell them about the box, and the flame. And, to really let you in on a little more about my personal life…If my year-round, non-Christmas looking lights are tangled? I don’t waste my time. I plug them in, make a nice little nest “artfully” displayed by the planters or in a bundle on each corner of the patio. Even indoors, on a shelf or under a coffee table. Because, no matter how dark, you can see the light, when you choose not to focus on the tangles. Peace, Warriors.

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