The red pen

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My writing has become the focal point in my life.   So much so that I have been consciously willing to share a few of the chapters of the novel I have so carefully crafted with a select few who will unabashedly share their opinion of my writing.  It is a big leap of faith and one I needed to make to get over my fear of rejection.  Turns out, it was (thankfully) much less painful than I anticipated.

A very endearing couple recently checked into the lodge for their third visit.  We were making small talk about how they would spend their week and she gushed about the trilogy she had brought with her to read.  We talked books and authors and I blurted out that I was writing a book.  After giving her a brief outline of the plot, she seemed intrigued.  I took the first step off my cliff of fears when I asked her if she wanted to read some of it.  My second foot followed off the cliff when I actually printed a few pages and timidly handed them to her.

Her excitement completely contrasted my feeling of nausea.  She left with my soul on a few pieces of paper as I sat in my office, slowing curling into the fetal position, wondering what I had just done.

Hours later she came back to the office with a smile on her face that I have yet to define with words.  But what really grabbed and held my attention was the red pen in her hand.  For those who embarked on their scholastic careers before technology took over, the red pen was a symbol of doom and I began a staring contest with the inanimate object.

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Her voice circled around my head as I tried to pull my gaze from that red pen.  A few of her words burrowed into my brain, slowly connecting with the tissue, and my heart almost stopped when I heard “Mel is a retired English teacher”.  It was over.

But then it wasn’t.

After going over a few corrections which made complete sense to me, the red pen no longer felt like a threat and became something else entirely.  They were entertained by the plot.  They enjoyed the phrasing of my sentences and they were captivated enough to want to keep reading.  That red pen was the prophet that delivered the word “love” beside two of the lines that they enjoyed the most.

Somewhere during our conversation, that red pen became the pump that reinflated my confidence.  It didn’t say ‘you failed’.   It screamed ‘keep going’.  Thank you Jean and Mel for the kick in the pants I needed to climb back up the cliff and get ready to take that leap over and over again.

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Embracing the sum of my parts

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I’ve learned a few invaluable truths over the last four (plus) decades of my life.  Each stage our lives requires a different version of ourselves.   We grow, we adapt and we transform.  Slowly and steadily we become the person we need to be for the next phase of our lives and, perhaps without knowing it, we evolve into the person we need to be to acquaint ourselves with the person we shall finally become.

I can look back at my life and recognize the divisible parts of myself, the bits that have led to the present sum of who I am today.  I may still resemble a modicum of those versions of myself but the me now compared to the me then are vastly different people.

Through each chapter of the syllabus of me, I have gained a confidence that I only once professed to have.  I have finally gotten to the point in my life where my opinion matters, if to nobody else than, to myself.  I have reaped the rewards of struggle and adversity.  I have calmly assumed a new sense of who I really am and I am very selective with the friends allowed behind my strategically built walls.

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At this stage in my life, I have truly become the sum of my parts.   I have taken the best bits of myself, learned from and discarded my errors in judgment and created the person I am now.

Would I change anything from my past?  Perhaps.  But if all of those equations – the fractions of time, the roots of my problems, the addition or subtraction of friends and family – meant that I would not be who I am today, I would probably answer all of the test questions the same way so I could calculate the same remainder.

 

 

Nothing compares to u, v, w, x……

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It’s been seven hours and fifteen days……okay, that may be a slight exaggeration (and a very cheesy song reference) but it feels pretty close to the truth that I have just faced.  I looked at my blog posts for the last 27 days and I have posted 6, a measly 6, blog posts during this 27 day period.  I have never been this bereft of creativity since I began my blogging journey.

And once those two words settled into my brain, I felt the familiar pull I feel when I write.  Calling it a blogging journey doesn’t really do it justice.  It doesn’t truly encompass the creative path that I have carved for myself since I became a member of the WordPress writing community.  In this world, I have discovered many who share my passion and I have uncovered a deep part of myself that was grossly underutilized.

We all find things that give us a sense of freedom, moments that we can savor the state of true abandon from reality.  Writing gives me that indulgence.  It permits me to leave the rest of the world behind and go where the words take me.  Nothing does compare to the pleasure I get when I tune out my inner critic and just let the words say what they want to say.  Writing is the one thing in my life that I not only give complete freedom to but also allow it honesty without the constraints of censorship.

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And although I know considerable chunks of time have seeped into the cracks and pushed the chasms of my imaginative spurts further apart, I continually stand on the precipice of inspiration, ready to seize any opportunity that the writing Gods see fit to send my way.

 

 

 

The map of a place maybe someday I’ll go

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The caution beacon flashes.  It warns me that the lane ahead may close, yet I feel compelled to keep driving in the direction I’m headed. The pavement is smooth and somewhat welcoming but I shift gears to slow my trajectory.  The road winds in a multitude of twists and turns and, even with the subtle warnings,  I can’t turn back.  The excitement of what potentially lies ahead is enticing.

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The spirits of ‘what could be’ sit on my shoulders and continue to whisper sweet somethings in my ear, urging me to go forward and see what lies beyond.  If only the road I am travelling were not so treacherous.  If only those hair-pin turns would straighten for just a moment so I could gauge what lays ahead but the exhilaration of the unknown is like a drug.  Perhaps it warps my sense of reality and, just perhaps, it wants me to be excited by the unknown.  It wants me to feel exhilarated by the element of danger.

I feel the pull to press down on the accelerator.  My engine revs and I shift gears to make the ride smoother.  My carriage rockets forward, almost on auto-pilot, seeking the true ride that it feels is its destiny.  I follow that road, taking the blind corners and skilfully maneuvering the obstacles that inevitably fall into my path.

This road may be fraught with uncertainty but I am obliged to see where this artery of excitement will take me.  The beat of its life echoes with mine and I am a casualty to the incessant drumming in my veins.  The caution signs no longer have meaning and I fall victim to the thrill of the ride.

I keep driving and as my trek continues the sun begins its journey to meet with the horizon.  The cascade of hues is breathtaking.  The warm glow of the dying fire in the sky reaches my skin and I am awash in the embers of the end of the day.  The stars begin to mottle the night sky and the promise of another day lies in wait.  The vehicle I find myself in continues on its journey to see where this road will lead, hoping the beauty of the scenery is a portal of what is to come.

I will enjoy the journey I am following on the advice of my inner compass.  If the adventure ends, at least I can say I took the road that beckoned and truly enjoyed the scenery along the way.

I am my mother’s daughter

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Admittedly, I am a creature of habit.  I am predictable to a fault and I enjoy the lack of spontaneity in my routine.  It is how I am comfortable and it is how I live my life.  But recently I have done and said a few things that make me look at myself in the mirror and think “who are you, and what have you done with the real me?”.

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As my mother used to say, I was once a girl who wouldn’t say shit if her mouth was full of it.   But somewhere along the path that has carved its way through my life, thankfully I have learned to be much more vocal when it comes to standing up for myself.  I used to let emotions fester under the surface, bringing themselves to a boiling point before I finally exploded from the pressure of not dealing with things as they happened.  I am no longer that person.

I’m not sure if I have slowly developed an unseen confidence over the years or if I am simply sick of feeling like my opinions don’t matter.  Whatever the reason, I truly appreciate my newly found voice.  Perhaps it is a wisdom that really does come with age.  Or maybe there comes a time in everyone’s life that you just realize the stress of keeping things to yourself just isn’t worth it.

Whatever the reason, I’m going to hang on to this new part of me and let it free the old me who was afraid to speak up.  It may take a while to expunge the record of my reticence, but I’m willing to do it one comment at a time!

 

Much ado about the opposite of nothing

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 I have been conspicuously absent from reading other blogs, or anything else in the category of the written word, because I have been alarmingly removed from anything resembling spare time.   I am on day 10 of a potential 14-day work stretch without a full day off and will certainly log a great deal of overtime this week.  (too bad I’m on salary)

I miss the carefree hours of being able to have enough brain capacity to read on a recurring basis.   This phenomenon happens frequently this time of year and I feel like I am missing an appendage when I cannot feed the creative appetite that incessantly yearns to be fed by words.

My attention span is non-existent.  My ability to concentrate is tenuous.   My capacity to hold a thought is…………………waning.  And the notion that I have enough brain power to write blog posts on my own site on a frequent basis is nothing short of laughable.

Next week is a quiet week at work, probably the last extensive time period that I will have to fill my desire to absorb words as quickly as I am able to, and write words that long to be freed from my mind, before the onset of summer.   The list of books has been established, the index of writing topics has been inventoried, the sequential collection of email notifications has been queued, the wine has been stored at the proper temperature and the spot on the couch has been reserved.

I can only hope that the three empty days on the calendar at work remain that way, for my sake.  I’m slowly learning to be a little more selfish when it comes to pursuing my true passions and I wish for the break in reality to be able to seek the charms of the fantasy life that awaits me in the world of literature and composition.

They light the corners of my mind

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Memories are a funny thing.  I was chatting with a good friend and, after overcoming the fact that he had just discovered a pair of  (for lack of a better description) parachute pants in his long-forgotten wardrobe, I was reminded of how the memories of our past help us keep in touch with our past, help us contemplate our present and help us shape our future.

Until just recently, the memories of my mother would conjure tears more than anything else.  The gaping hole that was left in my heart when she died seemed to be a void that would never be filled.  But things change.  And although time doesn’t necessarily heal the wounds, it allows the wonderful memories of our past to soften the anguish of loss.  Time gives us perspective and time grants us those precious moments to realize that the joy of our past can outweigh the sorrow of our present.

As much as I love to write today, I never kept a journal in my youth.  Conceivably I did this to protect my privacy, to avoid having my most precious thoughts and feelings perused by an unanticipated reader.  But in safeguarding my secrets, I unwittingly buried my past, not only from other observers but, from myself.  I unintentionally took pieces of my past and made them disappear by not keeping their light on in the corner of my mind.

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This blog is helping me to rekindle some of that lost light.  Those corners of my mind that seemed lost in the shadows are now warmed by the light that I am creating each time I publish my thoughts on this blog.  Looking back at my past blog posts is a lovely stroll down memory lane and I hope to keep those lights burning for a long time to come.