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.  

A Bit of Sunlight – Flashback: A Breakup

I am so thankful that Gladys, my oldest sister, and I live next door to one another. I ask her if she can watch the girls. I tell her I need to call Craig and end this relationship. She asks no questions but stares at me for a bit. She acknowledges that she can watch the kids and I walk upstairs to my room to make the call.

It is afternoon and my room is filled with light. Everything seems peaceful, bright and easy. I am wearing linen pants and a white cotton top. The gorgeous summer day has a gentle breeze blowing through my north facing window. My room is bouncing light off the walls and I feel at peace and comfortable with my decision even thought it is going to be so hard.

I pick up the phone and dial Craig’s number. I had been planning what to say for hours now. Rehearsing it in my mind. I don’t know how I actually started the conversation, things never go as planned for me, but I hear myself saying “You want something different out of life than I do. I don’t want to get married. I definately don’t want to have anymore kids. You do. I am not right for you.”

Silence.

I hear his breathing but I can’t interpret it.

“You are a great man and deserve someone who will give you those things. You deserve someone who wants those things. I am not that girl.”

“Do you love me?”

“Yes. I do not want us to end but we both want different things.”

I hear panic and confusion in his voice. This has taken him by surprise. Things seemed so well and they were, but at the end of the day, we want to go down different roads. I hear him trying to convince me of his thoughts and views and it isn’t working. He has lost control over this situation and we are repeating the same things again and again. I want to end this. It is torture to be dragging this out.

We hang up, which is the hardest thing because that really makes it final. There is no opportunity for a hug or a good bye kiss. There is just a CLICK and it is all gone.

I lay on my bed and cry. I am distraught that I found this great man and it isn’t going to work out. I lay and cry and eventually make it downstairs. Gladys hugs me and asks me what this was all about I tell her and she understands. I love him but one of us have to sacrifice our wants and needs. I don’t think I can do it.

A moment goes by and my door bell rings.

I go to the door and there is Craig, stricken with love and panic. His shirt is partially buttoned in unmatched holes. His golden chest is peeking out of the top of his mismatched buttoned shirt. His curly hair is in disarray. He wants to talk.

We go to the backyard and Gladys scoots the kids to her house. His appearance is not going to help in this situation. I am weaker already. His eyes plead with me and confess a deep love without saying a word.

I sit on the swing waiting for him to start the conversation. He is either waiting for me to do al the talking, which I won’t, or trying to put his words into place. Finally he speaks. He makes this long argument about how I am good with kids, how we could just enjoy our time together now and worry about the future when the future comes. He isn’t wanting kids right now and maybe by the time he is ready I might have changed my mind. Anything is possible.

I love his passion. I love that he ran to me. I must confess that I have always wanted that. I have always wanted a man to express passion and fight for me. I love the look in his eyes. Maybe he is right. Maybe time will change things. Maybe I will eventually want kids and marriage. It isn’t that I don’t like kids. Maybe we should just enjoy the moment. This is exactly the reason why I ended things over the phone. Because his logic always overrides my feelings.  The intensity in his eyes and tone can be so forceful.

Craig looks at me with a bit of relief in his eyes. He is happy that he has succeeded in reasoning with me.  He scoops me up tightly and kisses me.  Wanting to seal my agreement with a binding kiss.  I walk him to his car and he says he will come back later when the girls are asleep. I make some joke about this being a breakup and he says, “It isn’t a break up. Just a moment of confusion.” 

What is work?

“A society that treats individuals like a natural resource and puts about all it’s mechanisms to extract everything from them.  Designed to drain us all of our energy in order to feed itself.  We are not encouraged to live our lives instead we are continually distracted from doing so.

We take jobs that set about bleeding as much of us that is possible with careful calculations done to hopefully leave just enough at the end of the day so that we will be able to survive and recoup for the next morning.”

– Discovering The Opposite of Hate by Rene Low, to be published.

This is an excerpt from my friends memoir.  I felt a strong emotion within me when I read this.  I knew immediately I wanted to share it and put it out in the world.  I felt like this before I dove into burnout.  My days seemed empty and I often wondered what the point of life was if it was.

My friend was seven months through his journey in Europe when he said this.  He described his position, or opportunity, as being able to “slip between the cracks of society and take a look at the machinery.”

Have you ever felt this way?  Like you were left just enough energy to get yourself up and head into work the next day?

Check out Rene’s site.