Blank Report

I’m glad I haven’t got a deadline to write this drivel or I’d be in real trouble.  Fact is, I’ve written three separate posts that were crappy.  It’s not like I’ve got Nothing to Say, it’s just that I can’t seem to articulate it…or find that it’s already been said…

Ah, the struggles of Writing…

Peace

The Writing Life…

I’m in a slump… >sigh<  I want my Words to Flow effortlessly from my fingertips.  I want every stroke of the key to reveal a sentence that is perfection.  I want each of my Elevated Thoughts to be expressed so exquisitely that you gather at my feet enraptured by my Wokeness.

Being a Writer is an old, old dream that I cooked up six or seven Lives ago. Through the years, I scribbled in notebooks and journals, but always thought that if I only had the time that Great American Novel would write itself.

I’ve blogged for 15 years now, but being a blogger is not considered to be the same as being a Writer.  In fact, I’ve been told by several writer/friends that it is my blogging that gets in the way of my writing.  Actually, I feel like the time I spend working on the book just gets in the way of my blogging.

I guess I’ve put some ancient expectation on myself that I have to publish a book in order to be a Writer.  In this day of self-publishing, how difficult could it be to satisfy my ego with a published book?  So I’ve written some chapters and re-written them and put them away.  I get them out and re-read them and think, that’s not bad, just finish it.  Then I end up editing them and putting them away again, on a loop.  It feels forced and Not Fun and sort of depressing.  Currently I want to burn it all…

I realize that I’m not a conventional blogger who monetizes her blog and cranks out the “5 things you can’t live without” posts.  I know that my following is meager.  Still,  the idea of not blogging gives me the existential heebie-jeebies.  For the most part, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these 1000+ posts over the years.

Thanks to the Feeling of Freedom that has persisted since our trip, I’m letting go of the worn-out dream of Being a Writer aka writing a NYT bestseller (but I’m not going to burn the pages I’ve written).  I’m letting go of the daydream that I’ll be a hit on all the late-night shows (but I’m still preparing clever repartee, just in case).  No more guilt or feeling like I’ve not lived up to…something.  I’m sticking with what I enjoy, no matter how hard it is…even if I have to blog about doing the laundry or cleaning the house…even if nobody reads it.

An interviewer once asked one of my favorite authors, Ursula LeGuin,  advice for writers, and she replied: “I am going to be rather hard-nosed and say that if you have to find devices to coax yourself to stay focused on writing, perhaps you should not be writing what you’re writing. And if this lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte. I mean, what is the problem? If writing bores you, that is pretty fatal. If that is not the case, but you find that it is hard going and it just doesn’t flow, well, what did you expect? It is work; art is work.”

Look out!  The Blogger is Back.

 

Thanks for reading!

Peace

 

A Loss of Words

The unthinkable happened, the thing that I even stopped fearing could happen —  the draft of my Grandmother book is gone…  I know, you think because nothing dies in the internet that it is out there somewhere, but it never left this computer, and in particular WordPress, and it is not in either of those places.  I Know that I saved the draft… I KNOW that I did…but I guess I didn’t.  That was about 3200 + words—three thousand two hundred plus — it made me kinda sick when I made the discovery.  I guess I have to start over, but I really liked what I wrote.  New Beginnings…

While I’m complaining, I must say that last week was very disorienting…with New Years Eve on a Monday, holiday on Tuesday, it felt to me like Wednesday was really Monday and if it hadn’t been for Olivia’s piano lesson on the usual Saturday, I’d still be thinking it’s Friday…  And the weather didn’t help — we didn’t see the sun for a couple of those days, whichever they were.  I never thought I would look forward to a Real Monday so I can pass the dementia quiz.

Today definitely feels like Sunday, though, and the sunshine is beckoning me to bundle up and go outside.  I will get to the words later…

Peace

 

Distraction

I’m determined to write daily in November, but if I am to judge by this morning, my subconscious is equally determined to not… I’ve cycled through most of these distractions….

Procrastination has always been my m.o. (“if I start writing now, when I’m not really rested, it could upset my thinking, which is no good at all”…Charlie Brown), but modern times have added distractions beyond my ability to ignore.   I open up the computer and I’m like a fly caught up in a Worldwide Web, clicking away at who-knows-what until I forget what I originally started to do.

November is Officially National Novel Writing Month  and I Officially accept The November Writing Challenge.  The Distractions are many and Ours is shaping up to be busy with grandkids, as Jess has a surgery scheduled next week and is going out of town for work week-after-that.  Of course, we’ll vote next Tuesday.  Thanksgiving is just a big blank on the calendar right now, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something festive.

In the meantime, that’s all I’ve got for today, except for this Distraction meant to distract you from the fact that I didn’t really write anything…just told you I’m going to, or will try…

Last night’s Trick-or-Treaters

Peace

 

How I came to be a blogger…

blogging2

 

Back in 2004, my daughter began blogging.  I was intrigued and in 2005 she set me up with a blog through the platform she was using, I know not what…(it was http://www.sonnystoneacres.com/—go there and you’re nowhere)

I started out blogging as my cat, Sonny, a legendary feline with exquisite taste, who wrote about the 2 caretakers (Casey and me)  of his estate, Sonnystone Acres. Melissa was in and out of the hospital, so when I visited NYC, Sonny would turn over the typewriter to me for live reporting.  It was before smartphones or facebook, so it was a good way to keep the folks back home informed.

Not too many months after I started the blog, Sonny died.  I was devastated.  I did publish his Last Will and Testament, some of my most best work, and a fitting, tearful tribute.

From then on, the blog was in my voice.  I wrote about Melissa’s surgeries, Michael’s wedding, the birth of my 2 oldest grandchildren, the constant remodeling of the house and grounds…

blogging4

Technology kept improving, and I decided to start a free wordpress blog, Growing Every Season, to feature my gardens and garden photos.  When I signed up, in 2010, it was just so damn easy, so much more reliable than the old platform.  I decided to start up a second blog, called it The News from Sonnystone Acres, and announced to my dozen or so followers that I would be moving.  They were all family, anyway…

I started a third blog, Rave On, Madwoman, with the vision of lively discussion of current events.  It never got off the ground, probably because every time somebody argued with me, I removed the post…

blogging1

Along came Facebook, and with it the ability to share my blog with another kind of friend.  My reader stats increased nicely, and there was the immediate gratification that comes with lots of “likes”.   I felt a little more pressure to please, to entertain, and to do it well,  and that motivates me to keep the calendar full of photo ops and enviable activities.

It was 3 years after that when I took a Blogging 101 class here at wordpress and, surprise!, there’s a whole ‘nother kind of reader out there—fellow bloggers..!  I learned tons about appearance, tools, pages, media , and all that, but couldn’t quite relate to the community.   It seemed like all the other “students”  bonded and within a month or so had 3-4x as many followers as I have, so I am a tad bit jealous.   We all know, though, that I’m a confirmed introvert.

While it was never my intention that my blog become famous, the immediate gratification of “likes” is addicting.  Comments put me over the moon…

It is difficult to not feel disappointed when you write something you consider good, and your only proof that anyone read it is an indecipherable bar graph on a stats page…

blogging6

 

Still, I do so enjoy writing this drivel.  I hope you like it…

 

 

 

Meeting with Myself…

Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/good-tidings/

Intriguing, eh?

Step into my Time Machine and follow me back 10 years…doo-doo-doo-doo…

It’s 2004, November.  I wouldn’t look for me in a coffee shop, though.  I think I’ll poke my head into the neighborhood dive…yup, there I am, hunched over the bar, making small-talk with the bartender, belting down a beer and putting away a pack of smokes.  I’m 51-years-old, but feeling like I’m on my 9th life.

I tap myself on the shoulder, but before I turn around I catch a glimpse of myself standing behind me…

“Whoa, ” says younger me.  “Are you..?”

“Yeah,” I shrug.  “But don’t worry, you’re not dead or anything.  Let’s sit over here where we can talk.”

Settling at a corner table overlooking a dreary day, I order a Makers on the rocks and turn to smile at young me, who is staring at me curiously.  “What?”, I ask.

“How old are you?  Those jowls are quite pronounced.”

“Shut up.  I’m currently residing in 2014 and you’ve always known the jowls were inevitable.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t know I’d look so much like Mom.  Oh, well, at least I haven’t quit drinking.”

“No, but I did finally quit the ciggies.”   I sip my bourbon, staring quietly at myself as myself stares quietly back.  ” I wish I could tell you more, but I can only share 3 things…

The most challenging thing you will face in the next 10 years is facing you right now.  You have fallen apart this past year.  Your daughter is very ill.  You have just returned from your 4th trip to NYC, the one you hope is the last spent at Mt. Sinai.  You have slowly, sadly, let go of any hope of spontaneous healing or miracle cure and you have committed to simply supporting her and the decisions she makes, trusting her and Eric to know what’s best, and letting go of any delusion that you can control whatever happens.   Your marriage is on the rocks, and you’re struggling to determine which way to turn.  You think you’ll never work as a nurse again, believing that the women who hated you had good reason.  Your son seems unhappy and a little lost, but you can’t seem to cheer him or guide him.  Your birth family blew up last year and you still feel a hole in your heart where they used to live.  The house you bought to save your marriage is a money pit.

Good Tidings!   You will not only survive this challenge, but you will overcome!  Melissa’s Crohns is still a bitch, but stable.  We are still married, happily, enjoying our beautiful home.  You are working as a nurse in a job you love, though looking forward to retiring.  Michael is still an Eeyore, but he and Jessica are married and living in Evansville now.  You are free from the pull of your birth family.   Everything is really all right now…

The most rewarding thing about the last 10 years is the wisdom acquired with living life,  learning lessons.  Every mistake, every blunder, each gaffe and miscalculation has resulted in a treasure trove of understanding, finally.  Just don’t worry…  In fact, Everything that you are worried about happening right now Never Happens!  On the other hand, many problems appear that you did not anticipate.  It becomes much easier to live in the plain old here and now.  As time goes on, it becomes more clear that not a moment should be wasted on anger and the antidote is forgiveness, for yourself as well as others.

The most fun thing you have to look forward to in the next 10 years is…… Grandchildren!!  Melissa has 2 daughters, Emma, 8, and Eliza, 3;  Michael has 2 daughters, Olivia 6, and Samantha, in utero (due 2/28).  They are sheer joy, unadulterated love, and complete bliss!  And Walt Disney World Really, Truly, Honestly Is the happiest place on Earth…”

Young Me has tears streaming down her relatively-unlined cheeks, and so do I as I reach across the table and pat her hand…

“Oh, and give up the beers, honey… you’re going to gain a lot of weight and it’s a drag losing it.”

 

 

 

Week-end Wrap-up

The Great American Novel:  
What every blogger is writing in their spare time, when not at work, parenting or surfing the internet
—-the Urban Dictionary…

 

I’ve started researching for a book, studying up on American culture around the turn of the 20th century.    It’s just fascinating, obsessing me as I try to set the scene…how did they dress?  what did they eat and drink?  what sort of transportation did they use?  what music did they listen to?  what books and newspapers did they read?  what was school like?  on and on…

I got to cogitating on women’s undergarments and how they speak of our ever-changing, but always confusing, body-image…

My novel starts in the Edwardian Era,  which was the mid-1890’s  until WWI.  During that time, corsets loosened and desirable women’s shapes  changed rather dramatically.  You can see  by these silhouettes:

 

Corset Evolution

 

I remember my mom and her sisters wore girdles, but by the 1960’s young girls were not expected to cinch in their waists, though we did have some elastic in our garter belts…  Oh, and we didn’t  really burn our bras, we just threw them (and any girdles we may have had) into the trash can.   It was a symbolic gesture, meant as a serious critique of the whole beauty culture and  valuing women for their looks instead of their whole Self…obviously, most people didn’t get it.

Lately I’ve had to face the fact that I’m much thicker in the middle than I used to be and this shift has necessitated a general revamp of my wardrobe as I accept that no amount of wt. loss or sit-ups is going to make me look good in those old hip-huggers…   While I’ve  had to change my Style (and size) some to cover the flaws, I haven’t even considered girdling my girth into a bodice…

silhouette

 

But that’s only the tip of the research obsession…Because I am free to google it (u r 2), I have immersed myself in the sights, sounds, and songs, as well:

I’ll be keeping you in touch with my progress on this endeavor…


 

I’ve got Christmas 2014 planned and it is filled with Rockettes…NYC Radio City Music Hall 12/13 with the Jose’ fam, Nashville TN Opry House touring show 12/20 with the Jrs.  We’re having a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner to celebrate Casey’s 60th birthday, and I was hoping the weather would be good for a little travel that weekend, as well.


 

In the meantime, it’s all about the book, setting the scene, building the characters, and putting myself into the girdles of my grandmothers…

kathleen018

my great-grandmother , around 1898