The Beep

The universe keeps nudging me to get out of bed an write. Good ol’ universe. I can always count on her. ;)

Often I can ignore her. I have excelled at that this last year but today she is kicking me in the butt. Moving from my daughter’s bed into my own I hear a beep come through the baby monitor. Whenever our monitors pick up sound it also goes staticky. So I lay there for a bit wondering what is going on. The monitor is plugged in so it isn’t its battery. After hearing this a couple of times I begin to feel that something is wrong with the baby. Perhaps she is moving and creating a sound and the monitor is beeping … That doesn’t make sense.

I get up out of bed and step into the hall, slowly pulling my door handle towards me so I can close the door quietly. As I stand there I hear the beep. A sharp piercing sound. The smoke detector battery alarm. I move quickly to the kitchen, grab a chair and pull that thing down.

As I put the smoke detector on the counter and the chair back in its place I realize I am awake. The first thought that pops into my mind is that I should write. Immediately my mind does a check-in looking for excuses… hmmm am I tired? I don’t feel tired. I should go back to bed. It is early. No, it is 7-ish.What other excuses can I find?! Before I allow my mind to find one I grab my notebook and pen and sit down. And this little diddly is what I wrote.

I do sense a metaphor in the smoke alarm battery needing to be renewed, if I can call it that for the sake of my metaphor. As the time has been passing since my last post there have been stories brewing in my mind. The last few days I have been feeling anxious, expired, about ready to explode, exhausted, … irritable. My warning bells have been going off as well.

So Miss. Universe, I have heard your call. I thank you for releasing some of the pressure. Please come again soon. Don’t give up on me.

5 Lessons Learned: Week 5

Quill and Ink

  1. My memory is releasing so much detail but am unable to write in the right voice, or from the right point of view. Often I start remembering with my adult perspective and it seems empty. Without personality. This may lead to me switching automatically to my child’s voice but not always. If I do switch automatically I feel much better about what I have written. If I don’t I can’t seem to ignore it. My writing stops. I basically slam my pen to paper and drop my book on the floor. I can’t seem to force the voice. Do I keep trying? Get a cup of tea and see if that little girl will come back if I am not so insistent with her?
  2. I can’t seem to capture the essence that surrounds me as a child. Perhaps this is due at least in part to my struggle with voice. I write and the words still feel empty. There was a feeling around me as a child and I can’t seem to get that feeling on paper. I do not know what words to use to describe it.
  3. Memory has been a great gift. Now that I am up and running I am remembering more and more detail rather than memories of events. I am remembering everyday situations: my sisters and I washing dishes, the ritual of arguing with dad to go have a nap while we took care of clean up; Dad hauling water and the way the cellar door would rest against the annex stove and how we always called out to every one that the cellar door was open so no one would fall in. What are these memories without the senses? Well they have kicked in too.  I recall the sound the fan made when you hit the light switch in the bathroom. It roared so loud drowning out the noisy kitchen in the mornings. I remember the feel of the oily tea towels that we could never clean no matter how hard we tried. (I still don’t know what was wrong there. Must have been the water.) The smell of raw earth from the cellar and the cool, thick, heavy metal ring that served as the cellar door handle. I am rambling but in many ways I can go right back there. Yet a feeling is missing. The essence of a story is missing.
  4. An idea that my identity may rest in these everyday acts and things.
  5. I have cooked my brain. There is steam coming out of my ears and smoke through my nose. I gotta take a break. Let it power down and return. Maybe work on something else for a spell?

Diary of a Memoir Writer: Week Four

I love my orange pen. Can you see it?

Here I am. Finally sitting down to write. I feel like a sham. Like a fake. My tummy feels nervous at the thought of hitting the publish button cause I have been gone all week.  I have a mug of hot water and some bengal spice tea brewing beside me to help calm my jitters.

Have you ever not called someone back when you knew you should and then you see them on the street or mall or whatever and there is this awkward moment where you have to face them?  That is how I feel now.  Gone all week and now I have to face the music and return.  It could be just me putting this stress on myself.  I know I don’t care when the bloggers I follow post.  I will be there when they are ready and frankly, I am an irregular follower.  I follow and read mostly on weekends or a day or two during the week where I try to catch up on the weekly posts.  I digress…

This week homeschooling took a priority.  I sense I am alternating weeks.  One week it is all about writing and then the next is about homeschooling.  I miss writing when I am in my off week but homeschooling is always present.  It trumps everything else.  Darn kids:)

This week I have realized, and I think I have realized this before but forgot, that writing is not my first love.  My first love is helping people in a face-to-face manner.  That is my meat or protein.  It is the heart of my day.  When I can sit down with someone and hear their thoughts and help them.  Even if helping them is simply listening.  I am not ready to make that a full-time business though so I write.  Writing is my water in life.  Or perhaps it works well as my veggies in this analogy.  I don’t know.  I haven’t thought this anaology through.  I need writing like I need to speak.  But I need face-to-face helping as much. Homeschooling, well that is my rice, my bread, my corn.  It is a staple.

Knowing that writing is not champion in my life can that release some of the guilt I feel in not hitting the internet at all this week?  Does it relieve me?  Probably not.  I hear constant pressure out there about how you need to be consistent in your posting.  Ahh… consistency is my enemy.  I rebel against consistency.

I am participating in Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  On one of the days he talks about not judging any moment, or anything for that matter, as good or bad.  Just be.  Let things be.  He also talks about how you are where you need to be.

Now I realize that is what this post has been about – me judging me.  Time to end.

I will enjoy writing.  I will post as often as I can but I have kids and I do love them so.  They are a priority over everything else.  I will continue to learn how to manage my time and until then … well this erratic posting is just me.  Just know that I love reading many of your blogs and I love hearing your comments and support.  Thank you for sticking around:)

PS: I invite you to join me on Facebook for a bit more intimacy:)

11 Lessons Learned: Week 3

  1. There is only one space now after the period?  Damn!  When did that change?  Who changed it and why? Was a bill passed through parliament about this?
  2. The passive voice is strong in me.  I am forever writing with it and thanks to wordpress spell/writing checker it is catching it every time.  I am learning to make stronger sentences.  In On Writing Stephen King explains the verbs well for me.  I learn grammar the best in the most abstract random ways.  Don’t sit me down with a grammar book cause my brain will freeze.  I need someone to sneak it in like Mr. King, or Grammar Girl, for it to stick.  Well the passive and active verbs haven’t stuck yet but I am learning.
  3. That the only right and wrong way to publish a memoir is with your conscience.  What you are willing to live with and what you can’t live without. It is challenging to write a story about yourself, putting yourself out there and being vulnerable, but to do that with others in your life is not something easily weighed on ones conscious.
  4. I have gained great appreciation for how I was raised (see, passive voice.  I will leave this one in).  Unintentionally my parents gave me more gifts than I was aware of.  I knew I had a fabulous childhood and that is why I wanted to write This Old House but I am now seeing more and more gifts.
  5. The fear of saying what I want to say is still present.  I often type something and then think ‘Shit.  I can’t say that.  What will people think of me.’  Not saying it is weighing on me though.  I am going to have to get it off my chest soon and release that inhibition.
  6.   I have started writing things in my memoir writing book called JIFFs.  Short abrupt memories that plop into the middle of a main memory that I am writing.  I write the word JIFF in the margin and I am going to come back to them and investigate them more thoroughly at the end of my journey.  They are so short and random but I hold on to them for a reason.
  7. Now that I have a theme I have started a sheet where I brain-stormed memories that tie to the theme of my embarrassments, fears and feelings of inadequacies but also the light side of it the joys and the quirky moments and simple life that was so fulfilling and we had no idea.  I hope to put it in a timeline soon and post it on my website as a living document that I will add to as memories come.
  8. This process is connecting dots for me.  I love connecting dots.  That is my biggest passion of all – solving mysteries!  For example, I discovered where my fear of talking came from, being corrected by my peers in the grade three classroom for using the word ‘worser’.  Wow!  How long we hold onto some little-big things!
  9. While the memoir writing process is amazing and healing it can also be dangerous … is that the word I want to say?  Some memories don’t want to resurfaced, or they don’t want to come to the surface yet.  Write gently when you hit a moment that slows down your pen quickens your heart but stops your breath.  If a memory doesn’t want to come don’t rush it.  How to know if you need to push yourself or not?  Trust yourself.  If you choose not to push the memory see how you feel afterward.  Do you regret it or feel relieved?
  10. Uffda!  Can I make it so that I have learned 10 lessons this week?! I will combine it.  Tone of voice and point of view.  When I write about the memory of being picked on in Grade Three for using the word ‘worser’ I write it from the POV of me as a girl with the tone of voice of confusion.  The confusion I felt as a little girl still lingers.  I will re-write that scene a few more times to get the meat out. (Horrible analogy for a vegetarian).
  11. I have issues using the word ‘onto’.  Gotta stop.