Posts Tagged With: Writing

 
 

Tapping In to the Cosmic Stream: Or How I Hope to Become a Brilliant, Rich, and Beloved Writer

Let’s be honest here.

I don’t always go walking first thing in the morning. Occasionally I sleep in.

But usually, I try to do just that. Walk. Not sleep in. It clears my heart, opens it up to possibilities, keeps me on this side of sanity.

But, occasionally my body rolls over at four a.m. and tries to trick me into believing that it’s time to wake up. Ha! I’m not fooled. I can see the clock, (yes, I still have a digital alarm clock bedside) red numbers humming in the darkness. I tell my brain and body to slip back into a cozy sleep, “dreams upbeat and entertaining, please,” and snuggle down into the comforter.

Sometimes it works.

Sometimes my brain kicks into high gear and THINKS! It’s brilliant at that time of day, oddly enough. If I could simply attach a cable between my head and my laptop I’d be a famous writer, winning big prizes. But alas, something happens in that walk down the hall from pillow to chair.

All that brilliance leaks out the bottom of my feet, I think, soaking into the carpet, squishing between my toes. By the time my fingers reach the keyboard every amazing thought, perfect word and funny joke has leeched from my body.

I always think I will remember.

Yes, yes, yes, I do have a notebook sitting on the nightstand, but I don’t use it. I suppose I will repent of that immediately and start scribbling in it the next time Superbrain makes an appearance in my bed at some ridiculously dark hour.

Confession.

I’ve done that before. The notebook thing. And I usually can’t read what it is I wrote. It’s a jumble of swirls and dots and scratches, with a random word I might vaguely recognize.

Solution.

I could type or record a note to myself on the semi-intelligent phone device I have sitting on the nightstand. That might work. Although I find the artificial light scares away most of my wisdom and all of my semi-wakefulness/semi-sleepiness.

Image by  By Mark J Sebastian (Abstract (#41272)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 

Very cool Image by  By Mark J Sebastian (Abstract (#41272)) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe the truth of it all, since we’re in confession mode, is that I’m not really all that brilliant, awake or sleeping. Maybe I tap in to some cosmic stream of thought that we all somehow connect to while we sleep. I capture little wisps of it in my partial wakefulness and think it’s all me. Probably not me at all.

Call it the muse. Call it inspiration. Call it divine intervention. Call it crazy. I just think I’m part of something much bigger than myself. That thought gives me comfort and makes me feel more connected to the rest of humanity. Or at least to the better parts of humanity.

One of these mornings I’ll manage to capture some wispy cosmic light and brilliance and transfer it to a written bit of something. We’ll all be amazed. I’m sure of it.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

A List to Remind Me That the Sun Shines

Aspens. My favorites.

Aspens. My favorites.

MSH reminds me when I start ranting about something and threaten to write about it on my blog, that I always intended for this project to lean toward the positive and optimistic.

Then I remind him that I’m also “keeping it real” which might not always come across as roses and sunshine.

Keeping It Real

How real do I feel comfortable with here on the blog? How real am I comfy with in person? All last month I’ve debated this with myself. And I didn’t write much during that debate. Lost my groove, I guess.

A path of shadow and sunlight.

A path of shadow and sunlight.

I felt braver a couple of years ago. Bolder. Speaking my mind came easier. Opening up about my life happened naturally and with less reserve.

This past year, in many ways, I’ve caved in on myself. I’ve tucked in the frayed edges. I keep the strained or raveled seams covered. I’ve inched toward a more hermit-like life. I used to do that during the month of January every year. I saw it as a naturally occurring regrouping and recovery from the two or three-month holiday season.

My January recovery session during the past year stretched into eleven other months. Maybe longer.

An online friend of mine wrote a (somewhat annoying) glowing top ten account of his past year for the following reason:

“Things can get difficult, and you never know when I might need to remind myself that these things happened, and how and what I felt like when they did.” ~ Brad McBride

Good reason to write up a top ten, you gotta admit. Even if it annoys semi-irritable people like me.

I’ve just survived a year (2014) where I needed to remind myself of happier times to get myself through the day or the week.

I’ve also just been through a year (2014, yes, same year) with some amazingly wondrous good things happening. I mean A-MAZ-ING! Happiness like nothing I’ve ever known.

Talk about a paradox.

I’ve felt lost and found, abandoned and loved, forlorn and supported, ready to give up and anticipating greatness, numb and electrified. At times hope eluded me and then there it shone like a stunning sunrise nearly blinding me.

So what would be my top ten good things for 2014?

  1. My oldest daughter’s new baby girl
  2. The volunteer work I get to do
  3. Hanging out with my favorite teenager while driving her to and from tutoring
  4. Spending time with a certain three-year old
  5. Snuggling from a fun-loving one year old
  6. Almost the entire family together for a weekend in November
  7. A Christmas concert extraordinaire
  8. Summer sunrise walks
  9. My family reunion – time with Mom and Dad
  10. Sitting in a high mountain meadow for hours with MSH

See, my life’s filled with wonder and joy. I just forget sometimes. The difficulties can cast such deep long shadows that block out the sunlight in such a way it almost feels like night. I just need to step out of the shade and let the sun warm me from time to time.

Am I Right? Or am I Write?

This blog has been a source of light for me as well. It’s like a conversation I have with myself to sort through things and make sense of the world. So I add a number eleven to my list.

11. This writing thing.

So I’ll keep things real. The good, the ugly, the stunning, the what-the-heck. Life as I see it written down right here just for me.

If you want to follow along, you’re welcome to join me. Just don’t make too much noise. It is morning, after all.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Hope, Mental Health, Sanity, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thirty Days to More Sanity

As if life isn’t already busy enough.

You too?

Yeah. I know. I’m surely crazy!

I’ve decided to accept the challenge this November.

No, I am not going to grow a mustache or beard, as easy as that would be now that I’m over a certain age. Not sure a female can really man up the same way. And I’m certain I don’t want to grow facial hair.

No, no. I am not attempting to write a novel in one month like participants in NaNoWriMo commit to.

Photo by joergens.mi

Pomegranates! Photo by joergens.mi

No, no, no. Neither am I celebrating or becoming more aware of pomegranates, veganism, pancreatic cancer, sweet potatoes, pet diabetes, sponges, manatees, gluten-freeness, inspirational role models, banana pudding, impotency, peanut butter lovers, entrepreneurship, healthy skin or thirty-plus other possible November commemorations.

I don’t even want to get my Christmas shopping done in the month of November. — Gasp! Get this woman some oxygen, STAT! — (Questioning my sanity at this point, aren’t you?)  In fact, I don’t want to purchase a single Christmas related item at all during this singular lunar phase of the year 2014.

My only goal for November?

Survive with my sanity intact through the end of the month.

You think I jest.

I jest not.

Juggling complete with theme music in the background!

Juggling complete with theme music in the background!

In case you haven’t noticed there’s this trend, obsession, thing monstrous idea that involves packing the months of October, November and December so full with causes, goals, events and busyness that a person can hardly breathe.

I refuse to participate in such nonsense. I just want to enjoy life, and be with people I love or at least like a lot. I don’t want to recreate some Pinterest-worthy scene to photograph and share on various social media platforms.

Of course, along with the added busyness, life throws its usual and not-so-usual curve balls and flaming batons and razor-sharp knives and expects you to juggle them while it sets you down on a cliff edge when it darn well knows you’re deathly afraid of heights.

And yet.

And yet, I have decided to jump in on NaBloPoMo.

Sounds almost obscene, I know. But in reality I think it’s a link to my sanity. Let me explain.

NaBloPoMo otherwise known as National Blog Post Month encourages, nay, offers prizes and incentives to, bloggers to post every single day during the month of November.

Why would I do such a thing? Most months of the year I barely post three times a week to my blog.

writing photoWhy indeed.

Because Writing (capital W) keeps me sane. Because Writing lets me download the contents of my swirling mass of thoughts and chaos to a manageable medium. Writing softens life’s blows. Writing helps me make sense of so much senseless nonsense. Writing helps me breathe better. Writing acts like nasal strips for the soul. (too much?)

Taking on the daily blog post challenge increases my writing time and hence, (yes, hence) my sanity.

If no one else reads what I write, that’s okay. It’s all for me all the time anyway. I’m just being selfish. I’m claiming the month of November for myself, come what may. Well, I’m claiming at least five hundred words a day for myself.

It’s a big step, but I feel empowered and excited and overly sleepy already.

Have I taken on more than I should? Will I feel saner in thirty-one days? Will the universe conspire against me?

No. Maybe. Yes, most certainly.

I’m standing on the cliff edge and taking the leap toward sanity.  I sure hope my parachute opens when it’s supposed to.

Wish me luck!

NaBloPoMo_November_0

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~Ray Bradbury

Categories: good ideas, Sanity, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Stories I Tell Myself

“Two old friends met by chance on the street. After chatting for some time, one said to the other, “I’m terribly sorry, but I’ve forgotten your name. You’ll need to tell me.” The other stared at him thoughtfully for a long time, then replied, “How soon do you need to know?”

It’s Gratituesday! Today’s gratitude is brought to you courtesy of the word “Memories.”

Memory morphs. It changes. It softens and fades. Certain aspects take on larger dimensions while other seemingly significant details diminish.

I love how I can close my eyes and be in a moment that occurred weeks or months or years ago. I also love how I don’t even have to close my eyes for a memory to play itself out in my head, tiny detail by tiny detail.

Sometimes I don’t love it so much. Not all memories carry pleasant and soothing gift wrapped packages. Nope, some carry regret, sorrow, heartache, stupidity, shame. The potential hazards of a ride down memory lane can trip a person up and send them reeling.

Who I Am

Either way, happy or sad, delightful or melancholy, ridiculous or sublime, memory feels like part of who I am. Memory makes up the marrow in my bones. It keeps my heart beating. It gives meaning to every single thing I do, every choice I make.

I can’t imagine losing memories, like a person with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Huntington’s, or any number of other disorders or diseases.  I’d be no one anymore. I’d not be me at least, without my memories. So much of my joy in life comes from my ability at will to conjure visions of holding my babies, or remembered dances in the moonlight, or crazy things I’ve done like belting out an early morning wakeup song in the middle of nowhere.

"While we live, let us live."

“While we live, let us live.”

As life can often weigh me down with gradually sneaking age and circumstance, having a memory to recall an adventurous few years of climbing cliffs as the world falls away below me reminds me I am not just this aching back, this tired woman, this struggling human. Recalling my years as a young mother when I feel all a bit lost among those with vibrant families remind me I’m more than I appear to others. Chance encounters with my past in fleeting thoughts often brighten a day heavy with worry. Memories remind me that I consist of all that I’ve done and experienced. I’m so much more than what I see in the mirror.

The ratio of good to bad memories isn’t balanced. I’m not sure where the ratio falls. My answer depends on what day you ask me. Today the scale tips heaviest on the abrasive side of things, the hard roads, the thorns, the losses, the mistakes. But give me a few days with a few night’s full sleep and I may say just the opposite. I try not to whitewash things, but I also don’t want to muck about in negativity and regret. Maybe that’s where fiction first found its birth. Hmmm.

Maybe That’s Why

I suppose that’s part of what drives me to write. I write my memories, both good stuff and bad, along with my changing view of those memories, as a way to re-acquaint myself with me. It would be a shame to let all those years of work and learning and experience just slip away as I inevitably fade away.

Hopefully, writing the memories down in various forms will let me live a little longer, but not just as a legacy or in a personal history.

As I write my memories, I relive them and in that living, love again and laugh again.

 

~~~~~

The title for today’s post grew out of this quote: “How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.” ~Julian Barnes

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Long and Winding Road to Here

My parents invested in an encyclopedia set not long after they married. As a bonus to that purchase they also received “The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls,” a set of nine red volumes of stories, folk and fairy tales, poems, nursery rhymes, songs, history, crafts, and science.

Mom read to us often from those books. I recall sitting on her lap or beside her as the words that accompanied simple line drawings came to life. Occasionally an illustration filled an entire page with bright colors and the words faded into the background as I imagined myself into the story.

photo 1-2Even on days when my mother didn’t have time to read, I still looked through the books, drinking in the drawings, remembering stories and poems, planning which ones I wanted her to read next. We wore those books ragged, until the bindings broke down and pages tore and went missing. To this day I love Aesop’s tales and the simple rhymes of early childhood.

A decade ago, while perusing shelves at a small local used bookstore, I ran across a complete and unsullied set of these books. You can only imagine my stunned and delighted response. If they had cost ten times as much as I paid I would have still bought them. As it was, they were a steal. I consider those volumes some of my dearest friends and most cherished possessions. They serve as a link to my tender childhood years and a witness to my love of all things written.

A love of reading and anything to do with words settled securely as the foundation of who I would become because of the time my mother spent reading to me. Her willingness to let me rifle through those pages without worry over how gentle I was or how pristine they might look on the shelf, also planted a seed of familiarity and comfort with the written word.

photo by  Richard Benson

photo by Richard Benson

Occasionally as a young’un I’d see a child’s printing set for sale somewhere and my coveting genes kicked in. I craved the opportunity to hand print a book, letter by letter, word by word with a black stamp pad and alphabet stamps. Obviously I had no concept of what such an ominous task would require. Coming up with the money for this desired prize never happened, so a self-stamped, self-published book stayed a distant, unreachable dream.

I adored attending school, learning new things, from early kindergarten, “we walk on the right side of the hallway,” and onward from there. I also adored my teachers as they held the keys to knowledge whose doors I so very much wanted to pass through.

In first grade our teacher gave an assignment that I ran with. “Write about other things you can do with a pencil beside writing.” I filled my page rapidly with idea after idea of uses for a simple pencil. I felt as if I’d invented some clever, never before conjured ideas. The next day our teacher read my little essay to the class. Such pride never before filled a child’s heart as mine did that day. Then the teacher told me I had “a very creative mind” and that she “expected great things” from me.

In response I threw my all into writing assignments and anything requiring even a modicum of creativity. This lasted well beyond first grade.

Writing became so ingrained in me that when I hit those confusing years between twelve and eighteen I turned to the written word to make sense of it all. I filled notebook after notebook with whatever was cruising through my head. And at that age, one’s head spins at incredible speeds. My journals became my best friend, my confidant, my therapist, and my outlet for stress of all kinds. I’m not sure how other kids survive their teen years, but I got through mine using a number two pencil and reams and reams of paper.

I spend what seems like too much time right here.

I spend what seems like too much time right here.

Then in college one professor in particular praised my writing with abandon and kindness. This professor encouraged me to put a few more years behind me and then write like mad. I’m afraid I put a few too many decades behind me before I let myself go crazy with my writing. Those decades can fill volumes though, if I’m only brave enough and creative enough to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

Five years ago I sat next to a young woman at a volunteer day. She struck up a conversation with me that led us to learn that we both loved writing. She suggested we form a writer’s group. I thought it sounded like a glorious plan. She had the chutzpah to follow through and find a couple of other women to join us. We four started writing five years ago last month, and haven’t stopped.

All these experiences have taught me something about myself that I hardly dare think out loud and yet I’m about to say it here, in public.

I am a writer.

I owe thanks to a mother who read to me, a set of wonder filled books, a teacher’s praise, a strange but effective coping mechanism, a professor’s encouragement and my writer’s group. Thanks to such a convergence I proudly refer to myself as a writer.

I write so that I know what I’m really thinking. I write so that others can see things through a slightly different lens. I write so that someone can say, “ah, that is exactly how I have felt.”

Mostly, I write because I simply can’t help myself.

**********

 

“Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.” ~Erica Jong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Relationships, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dear Reader: A Letter to Me

April 7, 2014

Dear Me,

Last night after searching Netflix and Amazon Prime for a movie to watch with MSH you left the family room with a rerun of The Twilight Zone playing. Sure, MSH felt slight disappointment that you didn’t want to watch yet another science fiction program, but you’ve never like Twilight Zone, not even any of the remakes.

Former reads.

Former reads.

Remember how you sat down in your comfy chair in the bedroom, put your feet up on the side of the bed and cracked open a new book someone had loaned you? “Mmm…ahh…” Yes, you remember. What a feeling to start reading a new story. You were so excited to begin that you forgot to bring a snack in with you. No sunflower seeds, no ice cream, no popcorn, not even a bit of chocolate. Of course, you were only going to read the first chapter or two and then turn out the lights and call it an early night.

Something happened in that first chapter, or maybe the second, it’s hard to remember now with half a night, and half a morning, of sleep behind you. Looking down at the page numbers, surprised to see that you were in the low hundreds already, you kept reading. Well, you thought to yourself, it’s a YA, young adult book, so it’s a quicker read than most. It doesn’t feel very late. I’ve probably only been reading about an hour. But the clock on the nightstand faced the bed, so you couldn’t see the time and frankly, didn’t care.

You were fully invested in the story, the words, the lives described, the town, the plot, and the nuanced epistolary style of the book. (You remember epistolary? You’re tired today, so I’ll remind you that it’s a book written as a series of letters.) This novel felt more like you had stumbled on someone’s ribbon-tied stack of opened mail to a loved one than a book from a shelf. How could a person put down such a stack of letters mid-pile? Impossible. And so, you kept reading, letter after letter, word after word, and surprise after surprise.

Letters. A thing of the past?

Letters. A thing of the past?

MSH came in to the room after a while. Was it past midnight already? He’s such a night owl, he does his best thinking and programming after you’ve gone to bed. A trait you will never understand in people, as you’re a definite morning person. He laughed at you and said, “are you still reading?” and you laughed back and asked, “you’re not coming to bed already are you?” You wanted to stay where you were and keep reading, not turn down the lights and read like a child sneak-reading under the covers. And you didn’t want to jinx the magic by finding some other comfy spot to cacoon in for the rest of the book. Luckily, MSH found another something to keep himself occupied. You continued to read.

A smattering of books, some read, some waiting for discovery.

A smattering of books.

The thing is, it wasn’t really like reading. It was more like following along while someone thought aloud. Or watching from a distance and hearing everything that went on. You wondered, in the back of your head, how a writer accomplishes that. But mostly, you were so much a part of the story that you couldn’t, wouldn’t, mustn’t stop reading. It would make as much sense as stopping breathing, which is really difficult to do.

The last words of the book crossed your eyes. You hesitated, ran your hand across the page, held it there. What were you hoping for? A sensation transferred through fingertips of the author’s final thoughts? Whispered, unwritten words that the narrator might still wish to pass on to those who are listening with an extra measure of attention? Some feeling of completion, a symphony to accompany credits, a promise of another book?

Something intimate happens between reader and writer, in spite of, or maybe because of the distance paper and ink provides. How else to explain the desire, the drive, to meet the author of certain books? What you want is to meet the characters. Yes, I know what you’re feeling, you want to begin or continue a discussion with those very real characters, find out reasons, background, what happens next, more details about chapter eight, a recipe from chapter fourteen. Whatever little unfinished bits remained, you want more of them.

When you finally closed the back cover, running you hand over those words and illustrations, you let yourself set the book down on the nightstand. And then you simply sat. Remember any of your thoughts? No. Not surprising. You were returning from a journey of weeks, months, years, that had taken a mere four or five hours. You’d traveled through time and space and back past through who knows what science fiction-like means and had returned, intact, whole, and yet changed in subtle and significant ways.

Do you remember pulling the covers up around your ears and snuggling into the pillow? No, you don’t because your mind had wandered back inside the book and carried you dreamlike and floating through that town, the story, to the people. Of course, as dreams do, it all jumbled up with odd real life details. By morning, late morning, since you let yourself sleep in after staying up far too late, you’d lost the sweet vacation essence of the book and found yourself back in reality.

A day of to-do lists and sunlight stood at the door, quietly tapping its foot as you dragged yourself out of bed.

What’s next?

A day or two of no reading. After such sweetness as last night’s book, nothing more will satisfy. In fact completely satiated and full to the brim, you may not need another book for four, or even five days. You might find yourself searching for other books by the same other. That wouldn’t surprise us in the least.

Now, you’ve reveled long enough. Close the door on that book and move on. You have much to do. If you’re productive enough, you might allow yourself a short nap later on.

Welcome back.

Sincerely,

Me

 

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Challenge Followed by a Challenge

The oddest thing just happened to me here.

I responded to this writing challenge from WordPress by writing about how and why I’m a writer.

I wrote for an hour, then two hours, a beautiful essay that summed up so many disparate but connected parts of my life. The timing of this challenge synced perfectly with a need I had to remind myself why writing tops my daily list of things to do.

I felt energized and excited about writing again.

I saved the draft, then left the room to take a couple of photos to include in the post. (See the above photos? Aren’t they nice?)

When I returned to my computer what I had written had disappeared. Poof. Into thin air. Not on some computer cloud on the ethernet, or internet or web or wherever. Just gone.

Alakazam.

This magical thing I’d created didn’t exist any more.

Sure I could attempt to recreate it. But all creativity and originality aside, the wind had been taken from my sails. (Yes, it’s a cliche’, deal with it.)

But the words, I just can’t summon them again today.

Silly, I know.

I’ll write again. That is what I do.

Why?

Because.

I am a writer.

 

Categories: Books, self-image, Writing | Tags: , , | 20 Comments

What I Know, A Very Short Treatise

At age eighteen I thought I knew so much. That may have been true if you compared me to other eighteen year olds. I read more than the average teen. I took Advanced Placement classes. I took life pretty seriously, and yet, at the time I enjoyed myself. I had some brainy and quick-witted friends.

Ten years after that I looked back at my oh-so-wise-in-my-own-eyes teen self and shook my head. What a naïve girl! A lifetime of non-book learning seemed to occur in those ten short years. I’d put in some college time, sure, but I didn’t learn much the first time as a freshman. Who does, right? Distracted by trying to pay for the privilege of being there, I missed out on a ton of fun and opportunities. I had the dumbest work hours. Missed all the parties, missed all the camaraderie, missed learning how to get along with people.

Then I got to go back to school as a slightly older student and I soaked it all in like a sandbox and water. I had a couple of writing classes that kickstarted me in the sanity direction that words spilling out on paper became.

photo 2-1

One professor in particular encouraged and praised my writing beyond anything I’m sure I deserved. I reread that stuff and wonder how he ever saw potential there. His last  bit of advice to me hit me like an anvil dropped from an outcropping cliff by a road runner. Mind you, as a twenty-five year old mother of two I thought I had some life under my belt.

He said, and I paraphrase, “You’ve got real talent there. Give yourself ten or twenty years of life experience and then you’ll really be a great writer.”

It was like getting a hug while a wearing a burr covered shirt. Ouch!

No, I didn’t set out to live some amazing life of adventure. Having children and my particular husband served well as adventure fodder and life experience. “Sure it is,” you’re thinking as you shake your head “no.”

Let me just insert here that after that first move which pulled me out of college one year shy of a bachelor’s degree, we moved eleven times and added two more children to the mix. From the Northwest to the Southeast to the West to the Midwest and then back to the West. Include a couple or more bounces in each region. Add in two stints of wearing out various relatives for several months in between homes.

I’ve met a wide variety of people. Granted, most of them are American, but not all of them. I learned to get along with people, make friends quickly, climb out of my shell, ask questions, act independently and confidently and navigate the weirdest roads without a smartphone or GPS.

Throw in life’s natural disasters and dramas add a generous mix of teenage angst and a bit of insanity from several directions. What you have several decades later is one woman with a head filled to overflowing with experience but not necessarily wisdom trying to make sense of what she’s done with and to her life.

My own personal bluebird of happiness. He hangs in the laundry room and occasionally chirps out bits of advice.

My own personal bluebird of happiness. He hangs in the laundry room and occasionally chirps out bits of advice.

I look at what I thought I knew in my thirties and shake my head in embarrassment. I look at what I thought I’d figured out in my forties and hide my head and shudder. I look at what I think I know now and at least I know that I know very little.

You know who really knows what’s what? People nearly twice my age. People ten years older than me, twenty years, thirty years older. Where is their wisdom? Why aren’t they out there blogging, writing, sharing, spilling, imparting, enlightening?

Oh yeah, because anyone younger thinks they’ve got it all figured out and they don’t pay attention. Including me to an extent.

What a dingbat.

I know some thirteen year olds who swear I know nothing about the real world. Eh, maybe. But I’m pretty sure I’d beat them in almost any game of life put to the both of us.

There’s no convincing anyone. You have to come to that conclusion yourself.

How?

By getting older. By living.

By time you figure it out, it’s too late to profit much from the wisdom of any other person. Unless you’re willing humble yourself and listen. And then follow through.

Is that what the great circle of life really is? Learning that the stove is hot by getting burned? Figuring out the water is too deep and fast by wading in and being swept away?

I suppose to some extent there’s no way to replace experience. But there’s a few thing I would rather not have had to learn.

And I’m certain there’s more on the horizon I still don’t want to learn. I wish I could just read a book on whatever it is and take a test.

I guess I’ll try to relax and breathe deeply, so when the vehicle starts to roll, or the avalanche lets loose, or the tornado hits, or life spins wildly into vertigo I won’t get too banged up.

Anyone want to volunteer for me? Anyone? Anyone at all?

Katniss?

Ah, well. Life isn’t a novel, or a movie.

Age

Age (Photo credit: garryknight)

In the meantime, I’ll write about it all, a little hear, a little there. I’ll try to make sense of it and share what I can along the way.

You’re welcome to take it or leave it.

I don’t really know all that much, after all.

Categories: Education, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Looking Back Game

IMG_0090

Just a handful of my journals.

I play this game occasionally. It’s called, “What was I doing on this day x many years ago.”

I get out a few of my not too recent past journals and happy books and look up the month and day. Today I would look up October 12 in whatever year I held in my hands.

It’s a gambling game because the potential for happy memories is fairly high, but the risk that I’ll be reading about some low point is equally high. For that reason I have several years handy. If one years entry for that day is more than I want to delve into I can drop it like a hot potato and jump to the next entry quick and easy.

This morning I played the game with the idea that I’d find something muse-like to inspire me. Y’know, jog a great memory, remind me of a great day I could write about, or conjure people from my past. But like life tends to do, what I found instead wasn’t the thing I searched for.

Here’s a few things I found while playing this morning:

  1. I realized I have led a weird life that makes little sense to an outsider and even to an insider. 
  2. My experiences don’t fit in a box. I’m a rectangle peg in a round hole world.
  3. It’s a wonder I’m not completely nuts and committed and on heavy sedation.
  4. Forgetting is a healthy thing.
  5. Forgiving is even healthier than forgetting.
  6. There has to be a higher power operating in my life or I’d have never survived some of the roads I’ve taken.
  7. I’ve found beauty in the oddest of places and joy among ashes and destruction.
  8. I don’t see things the way most people do, which can fall on either side of the good/bad spectrum.
  9. I’m not always honest with myself even in my journals.
  10. The truth wins in staring contests every time.
  11. “Blessed” is too weak a word to describe my life so far.
  12. It’s a good thing I didn’t know about the obstacles in the road ahead.
  13. Looking back at those obstacles astounds and amazes me.
  14. I don’t want to have a clue about what’s still waiting for me up ahead.
photo-18 copy 12

A page from a Happy Book.

For these reasons and dozens more, I’m extremely glad I’ve written down some of the stuff of my life. A review of the past like today’s little game makes me more determined to journal about the real, the difficult, the conversations, the laughter, the frightening and especially the love.

I particularly don’t want to forget a single person who’s been part of my days and hours. I want word snapshots of each one of them that, like a key, will unlock our shared time together in faded, but still clear nuances of smiles or tears, gestures, a certain look, words shared and sweet kindnesses.

The hard times give contrast and shadow to the softer ones and make me cherish the now, whatever that might bring. Honestly, reading about some of those struggles makes me pray all the more that I don’t have to face anything like it again. I’m done with difficult. Although, I’m pretty sure difficult isn’t done with me.

In journal writing or happy book writing, it’s not the historical details but the emotions behind those facts that really matter. As much as I’d like to forget at times, I really, really want to remember, too.

I think I’ll be a little kinder to myself today. I think I’ve earned it.

That wasn’t such a fun game as I’d hoped.

Categories: Books, Memory Lane | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Real Beginning of It All

“I am beginning to learn

that it is the sweet, simple things of life

which are the real ones after all.”

– Laura Ingalls Wilder

This woman, this writer of real things, of simple, ordinary days, of frontier life, of chores and one room schoolhouses of family, struck a chord in me that still echoes.

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder used her experienc...

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A story of life in the woods captured my heart as seven-year-old and has held me prisoner ever since.

I made a mistake when I listed my favorite books. How could I have left off Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder? That book changed my world forever. That book triggered my insatiable craving for words.

Every book since then must measure itself against this one book.

Some fall short with a thud. Others nearly reach the high standard set here. A few rarities exceed the mark.

If I could reach into the past and meet “Half-pint” I would hug the stuffing out of her. Thank you for your life. Thank you for writing it all down so well. Thank you for providing a key to countless worlds and lifetimes.

Sweet and simple. Real.

Laura Ingalls Wilder. Master storyteller. Writer. Woman extraordinaire.

Thank you.

Categories: Books, Gratitude | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: