lisa marie corley | greenville, sc


November 2007

‘Neverdone’ series in 2008 — want to help?

I’ve got a fun plan for 2008. Twelve times throughout the year — roughly once a month — I’m going to do something I’ve never done before, then I’ll write about it on magicalmonkey.

You see, 2007 has been a freakin’ awesome year, and I think it’s because I’ve done things I haven’t even thought about in years….things which, in 2006, I wouldn’t have considered feasible. I got back in the gym, and now I feel SO much better — a year ago, I couldn’t put my pants on without back pain. I lost weight, and now my risk has been lowered for a host of diseases and conditions — last Thanksgiving, I saw my own future in family members who struggle with diabetes and orthopedic conditions. And I started this blog, which has become a cool little catalyst for creativity in my life.

So I want to keep it up! I’ve started a list of ideas……please help! Post a comment or e-mail me. Or better yet…..compose a list for yourself, and we’ll help each other do things we’ve never done before. You go zorbing with me, and I’ll attend a Star Trek convention with you. Or vice versa.

Adventures in ’08! Yeah!

run a mile race
run a 5K race
go on a cruise
go to a Mac conference
stay in an ice hotel
plant a garden
see the northern lights
take a wine tasting class
take a road trip with no idea of destination before leaving
be a member of a TV show audience
do Vegas!
write my will
spend a whole day at a spa
go zorbing
attend a scifi convention *
knit something
donate blood
volunteer during a holiday
create my own website (blog templates don’t count)
wax a body part
pierce an unusual body part
tattoo a body part
enter a juried art show
design my own apparel, then make it
script & shoot a short movie
send a postcard to Postsecret
earn a masters degree
go on a lonnnnnnnng hike
enter flight school
ride an elephant
learn to make sushi rolls
visit Stonehenge
throw a dart on a map and travel where it lands
make paper
write a book
visit the Grand Canyon
ride in a hot air balloon
attend a Buddhist service/seminar/retreat

* A friend knew someone who went to one of these. I was intrigued when I heard about the huge signs that were posted at the entrance: “Naked is NOT a costume.”


It is no accident that you are reading this

At some point during college, I was thumbing through an art magazine and ran across a black-and-white photograph which I found particularly engaging. It was dark, a bit bleary and mysterious, containing a silhouette of a nondescript, generic man. Underneath the photo as an integral part of the image, photographer Duane Michals had — in a quick, confident handwriting — incorporated these words:

It is no accident that you are reading this. I am making black marks on white paper. These marks are my thoughts, and although I do not know who you are reading this now, in some way the lines of our lives have intersected… For the length of these few sentences, we meet here. It is no accident that you are reading this. This moment has been waiting for you, I have been waiting for you. Remember me.

This was a powerful concept for me at the time…..I mulled it over for weeks, and began to look at the things around me in new ways. Every experience, conversation, gesture, magazine article, song, novel, poem, painting, photograph, TV show, class lecture — became supercharged with potential. Each moment of my life was destined just for me. No other person in the world had the same set of experiences, and no other person would interpret these experiences the same way I did. I had a unique, truly unique, existence which I could turn into something meaningful. All I had to do was be present enough in each moment to recognize — and remember — the important stuff.

I really love this particular epiphany. It lurks in my constant subconscious nowadays, and has become an integral part of me. I believe there is potential wisdom — even potential soul — in every event, every friend, every stranger, every adventure, every boredom, every search, every dream.

A friend once held out an upturned hand to me, offering a fleeting moment of comfort in the middle of a freakin’ crazy-insane college weekend. The image of his hand — and the tenderness, honesty, and vulnerability it represented — froze in my head more clearly and brightly than my Nikon could ever document. It broke my heart when, fourteen years later, I sat beside his hospital bed in trauma ICU as he lay in a hopeless coma…..tragically silent among a thick circle of blinking, beeping, ultramodern medical technology. I held the same hand he once offered me.

All those years ago, something inside me recognized a significance of a moment, a person, a friendship. I still look for those moments. They make life richer, more dimensioned, more purposeful, more fulfilling. I hope I know what to do with them when they happen.


Me: “Hey, guess what my physical therapist makes me do when he catches me standing with my hip out.”
S: “Meow?”
Me: “Um. No.”
S, snorting and cracking himself up while mimicking my physical therapist: ” ‘Now, every time you stand improperly you must give me one meow.’ “
S, mimicking my reply to my physical therapist: ” ‘Well, OK, but I don’t see what it has to do with my therapy.’ “
S, mimicking me mimicking a tiny sweet kitten: ” ‘Meoooww.’ “
S, doubling over with laughter while still mimicking me: ” ‘Mmmmmeeeooooowwww.’ “
Me: “Nope, that’s not it.”
S, wiping away laughter-tears: “OK. So what does he make you do?”
Me: “He makes me squeeze my butt cheeks together ten times.”
S: “Ahhh.”

Inside my head

I don’t know if I really LIKE this about myself, but I’m one of those nerd-people who actually pays attention in meetings, seminars, presentations, and the like. Most of the time. But every so often my mind will go off on private, meandering tangents, which lead to others, which lead to others….. I’m sure this happens to you, too. it happens to everyone who does the nine-to-five thing on a regular basis. What goes through your head? If you eavesdropped on my thoughts, you might hear something like this:

That guy’s wearing long sleeves.
How am I supposed to see if he shaves his arm hair?
It’s a little chilly in here. If I turned up the temperature in the room, would he roll up his shirt sleeves?
How many other people are wearing long sleeves? Several.
Hey, she’s a good 15 feet away and I can see her arm hair.
That guy over there has lots of arm hair.
Hey, I’ve never seen him before. Who is he and what does he do?
He looks like an accountant.
I’m hungry.
I wonder if I can talk someone into having sushi for lunch.
We haven’t had Thai in awhile.
Ginger salmon…….yuuuummmmmm……
Fresh basil rolls…….yuuuummmmmm……
Man, I have a craving for pound cake.
No icing.
Icing would ruin it. Just cake.
Maybe I’ll bake one at Christmas and eat the whole thing by myself.
Maybe not a good idea.
Geesh, I am getting antsy. I have a ton of stuff to do back in the office.
It looks like things might be winding down.
I wonder if anyone else is as bored as I am.
I like her shoes.
Her slip is showing. That’s going to bother me. Wish I hadn’t seen that.
Look somewhere else.
Ha! He’s about to fall asleep. Should I punch him?
I’d laugh if he started snoring.
Ahhhh, someone else is waking him up.
They woke him up because it’s his turn at the front of the room.
This man’s a pontificator.
We are going to be here for-freakin-EVER.
Geesh, we don’t have time for this.
Oops, I saw her slip again. Need to stop looking in that direction.
That dark-haired woman over there is doodling.
I think I’ll doodle.
Why don’t I doodle more? Most artists doodle constantly, don’t they?
Maybe I’d have more ideas if I doodled more.
I like that word. It sounds naughty.
Like: “Hey, I’ll doodle you if you doodle me.”
If I doodle the word “doodle” and don’t really draw a doodle, am I really doodling?
The doodling woman has a really unpleasant expression on her face.
It’s a look that, all at once, communicates “I smell shit” and “I’m way damn better than the peasants in this room.”
Is she bored?
Is she constipated?
Well, at least her slip isn’t showing.
Avert your eyes from the slip-showing woman.
Don’t look.
People might think you’re checking out her legs.
Don’t look.
Why am I compelled to look?
Don’t look.
Don’t look.
I looked.
Avert your eyes.
Watch the pontificator.
He is really getting on my nerves.
If he brings up one other problem, I’m going to scream. Very loudly.
It will be a passionate scream, and people will wonder why I’m having such a good time in this meeting.
What’s he saying now?
Dammit. There he goes. Another problem.
We need a new rule for life: any problem proposed must be accompanied by at least one potential solution.
How can I make everyone on earth follow this rule?
I….think I must….
Take over the world!!
Like Pinky & the Brain are always trying to do.
Maybe a giant satellite super-mega-huge laser can be involved in some way.
I really wish he’d stop talking.
If he doesn’t stop talking, I’m going to go insane.
Don’t go insane.
Don’t go insane.
Sing the Smirf song in your head. That’s not insane.
Laaa, laaaaa, la, la, la, laaaaa……
Look out the window.
Seriously, I’ve got too much to DO to be here.
I can’t take any more. I need him to stop talking. Now.
When I go insane, what will it be like? What will I do?
Will I kill him? Or will I run outside and kill the first person I see?
Will I feel better? Will I feel relief that he is no longer talking?
Or will I experience immediate regret, with not even one sweet second of relief?
Maybe I should avoid killing someone.
Maybe I should kill myself instead.
I won’t have to listen to him anymore.
I won’t have to get up early for work every day.
I won’t have job pressures.
I won’t have family pressures.
I won’t have to clean my house ever again.
I won’t have to worry about the mind-numbing tedium of paying bills…ever again!
Wow, that sounds great.
I think the best way to do it would be to stick a lead pencil in my forehead.
It adds a lead poisoning aspect which would be particularly poetic, I think.
I mean, two activities linked to me intimately–art and writing–are both linked to lead pencils.
But I would miss my cats. It would probably be days before someone came into my house and fed them.
I can’t let Ozzy and Blue go hungry.
Plus, I’m really enjoying my life nowadays.
In general.
Good Lord. How does he talk so continuously?
Does he breathe in between sentences?
Does he go around in circles like that because not enough oxygen is getting to his brain?
We’re going to be here even longer than I thought.
Let’s see…..I was thinking about something a second ago. What was it?
Oh, yeah…..I’d decided not to kill myself.
I’ll try an audio head-trick instead.
I’ll squint my eyes and maintain an internal yawning action without actually yawning.
Now he sounds like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
The only problem with this technique is that I probably look a little weird.
Maybe like I’m having a stroke.
Ha! That’s funny.
Oops, I think I chuckled at an inappropriate time.
I’ll fake a little cough. There. No one’s the wiser, I hope.
Maybe meditation is the answer.
I’ll stare at that dot on the wall across the room….
Until everything else goes a little hazy….
Think nothing.
Be peaceful.
Just be.
A flash of white off to the left….
What was that?
She crossed her legs the other way and now her slip is showing even MORE.

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