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.

Cleaning Up Loose Ends

Early on in my journey of self discovery, which is one of the main elements of Sunlight (so far), I realized that my husband played a big part in my burn out. He was a good chunk of the reason I was laying on the floor, struggling for each breath and having an emotional meltdown. Only it was suppressed because I didn’t know who I was or what I was supposed to do in this life.

It has been three and a half years and I have just clued into the fact that I need to deal with this part of the “story”, this part of my life, my journey. I don’t know how this will all fit together in Sunlight but I do feel both issues need to be addressed.

How is it that you can know something and not know it? This has happened to me before where it took longer than I am proud to admit for the knowledge of a situation to impact me.

My counselling has begun and I am now going to dive into this issue on why I let my husband hold me back. It isn’t really him. It is me. What do I need to heal or protect or assert to advance, to move forward in my life? My will is trapped in this space. It wants out. I want it out. I just need to find the key. Have I given it to my husband?

Here is an excerpt from Sunlight. It was written in September of 2010. Clearly I have an issue that I ‘realize’ at the end of the chapter but it has taken me more than three years to realize it. This part of my life, my journey, could be what has always been missing from my story. It could be why I have so much trouble trying to edit it or find a flow. We will see in time if I am right.

Sunlight_500x800

Backgrounder: Michelle is my therapist and Melinda is my sister.

Michelle assigned me two books to read. The first book I read is The Joy of Burnout by Dina Glouberman.1 I read it steady for four days. That is all I do. I am feeling so good to be doing something useful. I feel in charge and that I have a purpose – to fix me. I am awake. I am alert. Well as alert as I can be. I can not stay focused on the words in the book for the life of me. I reread paragraphs many times to try to get the message but my attention span is so short I am continually losing focus. I decide to keep reading and if I lose focus I will keep on until I bring myself back to the present. What I get from the book is what I get. I was not going to put any extra effort into it. I couldn’t. I would be here for years trying to read this book if I tried to absorb everything with my non-existent attention span.

The book is draining me of my energy. It is not my intention to be mean. I am weak. The book asks more of me than I can give at this time. It wakes me up. It opens a door a crack for me so I can see some light. It gets me off the floor and onto the couch reading. I absorb new words instead of listening to the broken record in my head. I notice I am breathing more normally, not struggling for each breath.

The book asks questions at the end of each chapter that allow me to reflect on my life, heart and mind. I am journalling regularly. I jot down my answers to the questions asked. But as I reflect and write I am experiencing a real physical pain. It is my left side, lower ribs. It is intense and I often have to put the book down. I only seem to experience it when I am reading and writing answers to the questions at the end of the chapter.

 I am glad to have a purpose each day, a goal. My mind is moving in a different direction and it feels refreshing. I feel a bit like a kid who had never seen colour and I have just walked into a candy store and am overwhelmed with colour. It is good but too much for me to take in all at once. Perhaps I am rushing. Trying to take it all in quickly so I can get better and move on with my life.

By Friday I am worse than I have ever been. I can not move. I am in physical pain. I don’t understand how I can feel worse. Wasn’t any of this helping me? I felt so much better yesterday. This is crazy. I reach out to Melinda. I have no idea what we are talking about but when we hang up I find myself laying on the floor in the sun porch. I do not know how I got here but I physically can’t move. It is not just the mental pain or the pain in my chest, but my whole upper body is stiff and sore. I ache.

It takes me a week of moping, laying on the floor deep in my burn-out again, but I manage to slowly pull myself back up to the point where I can read again. As I read and do the exercises at the end of each chapter I find, through reflection, that my husband is equally at the core of my problems as work was. He may actually be the leading cause. He is part of every answer to every question at the back of the book.

 

Happy New Year!

Well here I step gently back into the blogging sphere. I am a bit apprehensive. I am not sure what I am willing or able to commit to here. I feel my life has flipped around.

Dad telling me stories over Christmas.

Dad telling me stories over Christmas.

A childhood Christmas.

A childhood Christmas. I am the one in the middle.

In December life finally made me realize that I was fighting a current, trying to paddle paddle as hard as I could against the flow. Perhaps instead of fighting the current I could get where I want to go much easier if I simply flowed with the current? What I am trying to say is that homeschooling/being-a-mom is my focus. It is a passion of mine as well as writing and I was trying to make writing a priority and family life was constantly pushing its way into writing. I was resentful and frustrated with my family’s darn interruptions yet I know I am going to miss them terribly when I don’t have them anymore.

Making our first gingerbread house. Hopefully the beginning of a tradition.

Making our first gingerbread house. Hopefully the beginning of a tradition.

 

Over the last month I have really settled into this idea that I am going to let writing be mostly for me while I keep up with your stories.

*****

I began working with a writing coach at the end of 2012 to complete Sunlight. It didn’t feel like a good way to end the year in a way. She made me realize that I had to start my book over. While this is good news, and I totally respect her opinion, it was a real bummer to put it mildly.

Brooke asked me if I wanted to write about my marriage, parenting or burnout … I realized I was all over the place and this is why Sunlight seemed so confusing and, well, too much for me. Cause it is too much. I do believe I have a new plot now. Well not a new plot but an adjusted, more focused one and I hope I can share these new changes and chapters with you in the weeks and possibly months to come as I get back on the Sunlight project. I would love your advice as well.

Between working on Sunlight privately, journalling (I have the book The New Diary by Tristine Rainer – love her thoughts on writing!), focusing on my family (I am starting a daycare and a Waldorf co-op), plus running two memoir writing groups,  I will not be blogging as often but I will do my darndest to keep up with everyone else’s wonderful and inspiring stories.

A Bit of Sunlight – The Writers Craft

Craig is snoring and I had caffeinated tea with a neighbour tonight. I can’t sleep so I face the evening chill, wrapped in my fluffy housecoat, to walk to the basement where my office resides. I will write.

I write about our marriage. I don’t get back to bed until 1 am. Then MySelf wakes me up at 5:30. I fought with Myself until 6:10 and now I am writing again. I would have been disappointed if I never wrote today. I would have felt I was behind in making my dreams come true, writing my childhood memoir.

I want to be able to have Craig not stressed and me doing what I love and enjoy. Writing has been making me happy for the last couple of weeks. I don’t want it to stop. Perhaps it is just some kind of therapy for me and it won’t amount to anything more than that. One way or another I feel it will fix me. 

The only issue is that I am not really writing what I want to write about, or what I thought I would write about. Most of these last few weeks writing have felt more like journaling about my burnout than about my childhood. Too be honest, I am feeling frustrated with the writing I have been doing. It doesn’t have all the wonderful colours and charm that my story of Rose Valley should have.

I get up every morning and sit here, in my office between 5am and 7am and all I seem to be doing is journalling. I am just venting. Writing about all that upsets me and depresses me during the day. I had hoped this would turn into a memoir about my childhood with my sisters. I do not see it. I will finish my 30 day contract and see what I have got. See if there is a story in here somewhere.

A Bit of Sunlight – Writer’s Craft III

*Sorry for my post being so late.  I am working on finishing my book by Saturday.

 Saturday is my deadline!* 

It feels good to set my alarm clock each morning. I feel like I have a purpose. A small one. It is just for me, but it is a bit of something sweet to my day.

I have dumped out my garbage, the first step in Tom Bird’s book. I hope I got it all. The next step is to write my story. Before you start writing your masterpiece you create a contract binding you to working for thirty days on your writing, according to Mr. Bird. I do this and send it out to seven people. Requiring them to hold me accountable. Seven people who I feel safe with and I know will encourage me onwards. I should have my contract fulfilled by November 19th. I am pumped!

My husband is not one of these seven people and it bothers me.

I begin writing. I start by doing some mind-mapping to get my juices flowing. I put the subject of a memoir of my childhood in the middle of the page and then let topics flow out from that.  I keep doing this until one of those topics cause me to write and write and write.

I do this for almost half an hour. Tom Bird says it could take fifteen minutes so clearly there must be something wrong with me. My brain eventually finds a topic. I run with it and my writing begins.

After a week of getting up to write my story I am questioning my writing. I am not sure where this is going. My ‘story’ feels more like a journal. I wake up every day at five o’clock in the morning just to bitch for an hour and a half. I can not seem to shift it to be a memoir, or account of my life in Rose Valley, or anything else. I didn’t think I would write about these thoughts. Over and over again I write about what I am going through right now. I can not seem to shake it. Especially when it is the same fiasco day in and day out.  It is driving me crazy.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I got up in the night and wrote down the beginning of what I thought would be a family memoir. Those magical words that came to me so simply. They just slipped into my brain the night Craig and I watched Eat, Pray, Love. How come words are not coming so easily to me now?

Maybe I am stuck because I allow thoughts and events to block me from letting my creativity flow – like Craig’s pressure on me. I have noticed that when I write my best it is after I have stood up to Craig. How can he affect my creativity? Or is it me affecting my creativity? It isn’t every fight. It is the fights where I make myself the most vulnerable to him. Those fights where I am strong and my heart bursts through a wall I have up.  Those are the times that I feel art comes out of me – my mind is clear – and the process is easy.  It doesn’t make any sense.