Julie A. Swanson

Purer and Purer Streams…

Month: October, 2012

Someone passed this on to me in an email. You may have already seen it, but it made me smile, so I thought it was worth sharing with those who haven’t:
Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each the morning, the Devil says, “Oh, crap, she’s up!”

Bracing for Frankenstorm

Enjoying one last sit-down at my computer before the storm hits. I didn’t think we were supposed to get much more than rain and blustery weather here in Virginia, but they closed schools yesterday and even the university has shut down and convoys of power trucks from the south could be seen coming our way on the highways yesterday. It’s only lightly raining right now, but I guess we’re going to lose power. Again. We always lose power! That’s what this area gets for having so many tall trees and red clay soil that’s not very root-friendly.

This summer over the 4th of July, we were without power for a week due to downed trees all over the area. And it was around 100 degrees the whole time. Read the rest of this entry »

Flying Dreams

Flying dreams fascinate me, and I can never seem to find enough on them. I’ve searched the library and bookstores and the internet for stuff about flying dreams. My recurring flying dreams have always been a bit of a preoccupation for me. I wrote poems and papers on them in school. I’ve done drawings and paintings. In high school I actually wore a sweater my mom found that had a wacky winged flying-man wearing goggles embroidered (or whatever that was; like the loopy stuff varsity letters are made of) across the front of it. I wrote a middle grade novel in which I vicariously lived out my fantasy of being able to fly through the main character.

I’ve had flying dreams since I was little, first remember having one at 4 or 5 (memorable because I jumped from the top of our stairs still half asleep and landed quite painfully). Flying dreams are thrilling. And they’re so real. When I wake up from one, I swear I can fly, that I really was. As a kid, I used to be so excited when I woke up but then so disappointed to realize it was over and it wasn’t real. But I still didn’t totally believe I couldn’t still do it, and I’d jump from things and try to fly. I loved everything flying: Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, The Flying Nun, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. I was obsessed by the idea of flying for years before I gave up on it. And even then Read the rest of this entry »

Tomboy, the Movie

This is a beautiful film about a 10-year-old girl who finds herself in a position where she can pretend she’s a boy so she decides to enjoy that and get away with it for as long as she can. It’s quiet, yes, simple, spare, in French with subtitles…but if you are/were a tomboy, or if you know one and want to understand her better, you’ll want to watch this. I loved it. Can’t say I could relate to all of the main character’s experiences in the movie, her motivations, the things she did–there are as many different types of tomboys as there are anything else–but the basic essence of being a tomboy that it portrays, yes, and this does that better than maybe anything I’ve ever watched or read. It was so true, so Read the rest of this entry »

The Amazing Thing about Creativity

I’ve been doing drawings on my computer, drawings to put up by the chapter headings in my lastest middle grade novel. I do them in black-and -white and fairly large so I can get the detail I want in them, and then I shrink them down to fit in the space on the page. Doing art on the computer is amazing, makes it so much easier to transfer the image into your work, resize it. But that’s not the amazing thing about creativity that I wanted to write about. This is:

So I was doing a sketch on Sketchbook Pro the other day, a sketch of a little character Read the rest of this entry »

Once a Puer Always a Puer?

Do you know where this is?

[…continued from the last post’s topic…]

Puer, yes, that was me. I never wanted to grow up. I dreaded it. I convinced myself I wouldn’t, couldn’t. It wasn’t that I wanted to cling to the safety of home and parents, it wasn’t so much that I was afraid of change (I am); it was that I truly believed my body was physically incapable of the transformation from a straight-lined boyish build to what I saw as the disgusting curves of a woman. I saw them as something that would make me weak and vulnerable, something that would make men treat me as a doormat, look at me as a piece of meat, and forget I was a person who was just as important and had just as much to me as they did. I thought it would kill me and clung to the belief that I would never ever develop like all the other girls did and were. The fact that I was a latebloomer reinforced that. I clung Read the rest of this entry »

Purer or Puer? Yes, and Puella

It occurred to me that someone searching for my blog by its title (Purer and Purer Streams…) might misspell Purer and be led to websites on the topic of the Puer. Or that someone interested in Jungian psychology and searching to learn more about the archetype of the ‘puer’ could accidentally put an R in the middle of puer and spell ‘purer’ and be led to my blog. And that’s OK, I realized—in either case the person might very well be interested with what they’ve happened upon, because I fit the puer archetype and my blog could just as easily be called Puer Streams.

In Jungian psychology (named for Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, 1875-1961), the puer archetype describes one who never really grows up psychologically, a person whose emotional life hasn’t progressed beyond adolescence. An eternal child, boy or girl. Think Peter Pan, my childhood hero. (Puer aeternus is Latin for eternal boy; for a female, the term is puella aeterna–eternal girl.) I never wanted to grow up as a kid, saw it as the death of my essence. Read the rest of this entry »

See You Later

Ronald Jude Polakowski, 1933-1995

My dad died 17 years ago today. He was a character, a complex character who we loved so much. And he loved us. His family was the most important thing in the world to him; that was obvious. He died of cancer, and he was amazing in his dying. In fact, it was so amazing I wrote a book based on it, my only novel that’s been published to date (see below). His suffering brought out the very best in him and he was an inspiration to us all. I didn’t always respect certain things about my dad, but in his dying, that year or two at the end, I came to respect everything about him. I miss him. We all do.

My dad’s last words to me were typical of his simple way of expressing himself  yet I don’t know if he could’ve said anything better. It was an early morning in late September Read the rest of this entry »

Vampirina Ballerina

With Halloween coming up, I would like to recommend a great new picture book (which has gotten quite a lot of buzz already) written by my friend and fellow writers group member, Anne Marie Pace–Vampirina Ballerina. It has something of a Halloween theme being that it’s about a little vampire girl and has all these wonderful spooky illustrations. As a former extreme tomboy who would’ve never shown herself in a leotard, I wouldn’t usually like a book about a ballerina, but this little vampire, even though she likes pink and tutus, she has tomboyish qualities about her.* The girl has spunk. She doesn’t quite belong but wants to do what she wants to do despite the odd looks she might get. She is brave. Even though she doesn’t quite fit in at first, she goes for it, and she has fun!

*(can you please help me think of a new word for tomboy, so that we don’t have to keep defining strong, independent-minded girls in terms of boys? I don’t hate the word because there’s a lot of nostalgia in it for me, but I do see what’s wrong with it…)

When I Was a Boy

I found these two YouTube videos of pictures people have put to music and happily discovered the song When I Was a Boy, by Dar Williams. I love this ‘sensitive tomboy’ song! (the pictures are good, too) The ending is especially nice, so, guys, don’t think this song isn’t for you, too.

Both of these have the same exact song but the first one has more of a feminist theme to the pictures.