I’ve Got Something to Say

I’ve been doing more writing than reading.

I type this with a sigh, a good sigh. It feels good. Reading is and always will be my first love, but it is essentially admiring the world another person has created. That’s wonderful, and I love it. However, there’s something about stepping into a world of your own making. Seeing life stories play out in your head and pouring them out on paper for someone else to admire is something I’ve always wanted to do. Getting to know my characters has been my favorite part. It’s like sitting down with an old friend and hearing how their life has been going up until now. Characters can certainly be demanding. I might have a touch of schizophrenia, but there have been several times that I’ve felt a character nudge me and say, “Nope. That’s not me. Fix it.”

I’ve written stories before that have started out strong but fizzled out before I really got to the meat of it. This one, though, has kept me on my toes. It’s in my head, in my dreams, and is taking over. I don’t know if the difference is that I have a friend reading it as I write or if it’s just time.

I’m hoping for good. I’ve used the backspace button as much as any other key on my keyboard. This story has me writing everyday. I’ve been reflecting most days as I write on the lessons I learned from On Writing by Stephen King.  One of the things I have struggled with, he addresses in his book. He noted that:

“Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation, Affectation itself, beginning with the need to define some sort of writing as ‘good’ and other sorts as ‘bad’, is fearful behavior. Good writing is also about making good choices when it comes to picking the tools you plan to work with.”

Overcoming fears has been a lifelong endeavor. Fearing being adventurous with what I’m writing has been dragging me down as a writer. The other day I wrote my first intimate scene between a couple. While to most this doesn’t seem like a step outside the box, for me, it absolutely was. When I, blushing furiously, sent it to my friend, I got good feedback. She assured me it wasn’t cheap or tasteless. I’m pretty pleased with the review.

Another pointer I’ve been pulling from the King is writing what you like is as important as writing what you know. In the King’s book, this quote is one of my favorites:

“Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex and work.”

A point my reader made was that writers tend to over describe characters and settings. I make a conscious effort not to do that so that I don’t do all the work for readers. I want them to form their own view. My job is to define my characters and settings, not completely describe them.

This dream has been accumulating in my heart. Now, it’s up to my mind to bring it to fruition.

I’m enjoying stretching my writing legs and hope to one day run marathons. All in all, I’m learning that what my characters say is all to do with them, but what my writing comes down to is what I have to say.

 

 

 

 

Feelin’ Good

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me, yeah
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me, ooh
And I’m feeling good

-Feeling Good, Nina Simone

The days have been passing fast. My birth month is upon me. This month will mark thirty three years that I’ve been alive. I came into the world exactly a month early, a 4 lb tiny thing with dark skin and hair.

Since then, I’ve lived to see blue skies and gray thunder heads. I’ve walked under moonlight and viewed in amazement a confetti of stars in inky skies. It’s amazing how you feel so big until you realize the vastness of the universe and how tiny you truly are. The Bible describes us as vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow. Carl Sagan reminds us that we are made of star stuff. We are made of ancient dust that defies our imaginations.

I’ve grown and learned, developed views and changed them. I’ve challenged everything I’ve thought I’ve known. I learn new things all the time and reach for knowledge when I don’t.

I’ve loved books and hated them. I’ve read them and relived them. I’ve lived among their pages to ease the aching of my heart or to revel in the joy of it. I’ve found it to be my purest joy, to read and also to be read. Words seem to make me, break me, or envelope me. They are my most favorite thing.

I’ve walked miles of concrete and grass, and planted flowers in my wake. I’ve watched them grow in delight and mourned them when they died. When the cold claims them, I look forward to their new growth in spring. It makes me realize that everything about me that dies yields new growth as well, eventually.

I’ve loved and lost, and loved and lasted. I’ve watched people I love fade away. I’ve watched new people to love be born. I’ve outlasted people who far deserve to live more than I do. I’ve known the desolate void they left behind.

I’ve cried an ocean of salty tears and have smiled so big that my eyes disappear. I’ve bared my teeth in anger and gentled my touch to comfort. I’ve lingered over a meal with friends and chugged coffee on the run. I’ve held open doors and closed windows to the cold.

I’ve known the hope of children and the loss of it not coming to pass. I’ve mourned children born of my heart. I’ve held onto their memory and cherished moments of their too short lives. I’ve loved them with an immeasurable love that will follow me into eternity.

I’ve held hate in my fist and told it that it has no place in my heart.

I’ve known the feel of grass on my bare feet and the sun on my face. I’ve felt the cleansing of the rain as I’ve stood in it’s fall. I’ve counted clouds on the wind and asked it to move the sails of my life. I’ve smelled jasmine and fresh turned dirt and loved them both.

I’ve loved a man with all my heart.

I’ve released a million faults and failures. I’ve overcome many fears. I embrace my own happiness and the future on the horizon. I’m looking forward to new years and adventures. The best is yet to come, and I’m feelin’ good.

Talk on Indolence

“Well I’ve been lockin’ myself up in my house for sometime now
Readin’ and writin’ and readin’ and thinkin’
And searching for reasons and missing the seasons.
The Autumn, the Spring, the Summer, the snow.
The record will stop and the record will go.
Latches latched the windows down,
The dog coming in and the dog going out.
Up with caffeine and down with a shot.
Constantly worried about what I’ve got.
Distracting my work but I can’t make a stop
And my confidence on and my confidence off.
And I sink to the bottom and rise to the top
And I think to myself that I do this a lot.
World outside just goes
It goes it goes it goes it goes it goes”
– The Avett Brothers, Talk on Indolence
20140128_111930
As of late, I’ve recognized so much with the lyrics above. I’ve been a level 368 introvert, and I’ve been loving it. I enjoy seeing family and friends, but lately I’ve been enjoying my own company. I’ve worked hard at convincing myself that it’s perfectly fine for me to do so.
The older I get the more that I find myself getting overstimulated around people. I’ve always been one to shy away from touch. Now, voices, smells, and loud laughter seem to grate on my sensitive nerves. The anxiety really gets to me.
Earlier in the summer, I made a list of books I wanted to read over the slow months of debilitating Mississippi heat. I am half way through the first on my list, and done with one that I found because of a song. I found my favorite band, The Avett Brothers, through a book. I found a book that I was really sucked into because of a song. I’ll get to that shortly.
I’ve barely noticed the last two months slipping by. Suddenly it’s August, and I realize that the second half of the year is upon us. The second half is always my favorite. In Mississippi, we have summer and then extended summer before about a week of fall. I live for that week. I become what my book club girls call “basic” during the last half of the year.
I’ve been really indolent lately. I’ve been doing exactly what the song says, “readin and writin and readin and thinkin”
I finished Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher. I’ve heard of her several times in the same circles as Colleen Hoover. I put her in the Rolodex in the back of my mind to read one day. Although I confess, I thought she wrote romance, and she does, but not like I was thinking. I found Mud Vein while looking up the song Landscape by Florence + the Machine. That’s when I saw comments about people finding this song because of the book. When I checked out the book, I read the summary and thought it might be interesting.
Let me just say that this is not a read for you if you are a sucker for happy endings. Also, not if you enjoy likable characters. If you like unusual stories about broken people struggling to get by and exist in this messed up thing we call life under almost unbearable circumstances, this might be for you. The protagonist is a writer that keeps her own company. I know a little something about that. It’s a dark read.
I’ve been reading a lot of those lately.
All in all, the first half of 2019 has not been kind. Being a recluse is a coping mechanism. Reading and writing and reading and thinking are survival tools. Everyone has their own way of finding their peace, and these are mine.

5 Things I’d Tell Myself 10 Years Ago

Saturday I turned thirty one. Thirty one is an unremarkable age. It’s not an important one like twenty one or eighteen or sixteen. People look forward to those. It’s not awful either. It’s not like thirty. People seem to think their life is over at thirty. Thirty really didn’t shake me.

At twenty one, I’d just lost my twins. Everything shifted. My life has not been the same.

I was at war with myself over my identity. I was pushing myself to be like other people and not who I wanted to be.

Tony and I made a pact that at twenty one, we’d go to the casino together just to say we’d been. We didn’t go. We discussed it later, but still ten years have passed and we still have not been.

If I could go back and talk to my twenty one year old self knowing what I know now, I would enlighten myself on many things.

  1. Read and write. A lot. Stop wasting your time on things that do not matter. I know it’s hard right now, but writing will heal you. This is what you need to do for you. I know you think you are writing, but it’s not nearly enough.You’ve got better stuff in you. You’re neglecting your reading. Diversify your reading.The library is free and within walking distance. No excuses.
  2. Go see a doctor. You and Tony both have things you need to nip in the bud. Also, I know you work at a fish house, but eat healthier. More veggies. Exercise.
  3. You have several toxic people in your life. Weed them out. You know who they are. Pay close attention to how they treat you. Don’t stand for that. You’ll be better for it.
  4. Think for yourself. Some of the opinions you have right now aren’t your own but those of other people and things that have been drilled into you. Read. It’ll help with the opinions. You owe it to yourself to decide for yourself.
  5. Go back to school. You’ll do this later. It’ll be great, but now is the perfect time. While working nights, your days are free. You’ll appreciate the accomplishment.

I could actually write a detailed book for my past self about traveling from then to now, but I suppose all those things helped me get to where I am now. I have nice, tight group of friends. I do regular yoga classes and am a member of a book club. I am still happily in a marriage that many people said would never last. I have a job I enjoy with people who appreciate me. I am at a place where I’m not wondering who I am supposed to be. I’m pretty happy with my world right now. Thirty one is looking good.