K, how is this? Its rough.

Since 2am I have watched 1.5 hours of How I Met Your Mother episodes. All of which I have seen already. Plus, I have stuffed myself so full of food that I feel very ill right now. Here is my attempt at writing. Nervous …

I grab my shake and bags and get out of the car. I walk to the back door and pull it open. As I step inside Marina comes out of the coffee-room with a coffee and a warm smile. 

“Hey, How are you?” I ask.

“Awesome” she replies with a smile. I knew that was going to be her response. I ask just to hear her say it cause it makes me glow a bit inside. “We have an issue with the welding program.” she says. And so my day begins. I have not even finished my breakfast or taken off my coat and I am at work. 

Despite an hours drive to work, straight highway, I could not finish my breakfast because I was too afraid of wildlife while I drove in the dark. It is February. The only light I can count on is from the full moon. 

Marina and I walk to my office and continue our chat. We chat as I hang up my coat and turn on my computer. We have a possible solution and then just as we are finishing up someone else is at my door with an issue. And so goes my day. Putting out fires. 

I use my lunch hour to catch up on emails. Fires there too. Someone comes to my door and I say that if it is not due in the next 30 minutes I can’t deal with it right now. My mid afternoon I start my lunch and sneak off to the Co-op down the alley for a chocolate bar mid afternoon.  

By the time I drive home it is 5:30. I walk in the door and holler for Sherese to come up so I can take her to guitar lessons. We pile in the car and off we go. As I wait for her lesson I am on my phone responding to work emails. Then back home. 

Three hours on the road today. Exhausted. Finally we can start eating supper at 8pm. Forget it. Teela needs me. I sit and nurse her and then try to prep something for supper for tomorrow as well as clean up a bit. My family sits and watches TV. I have two laptops going and one TV on the main floor. Teela is running in circles around our bungalow. It is noisy and I am annoyed I am alone in getting everything done. I am annoyed that I have to ask for help. I am annoyed that everyone is oblivious. It took me 6 hours to eat my breakfast and 4 hours to eat my lunch. Supper wasn’t until 8pm and I didn’t even get to eat it while it was hot cause I had to nurse. Now I am the only one cleaning and cooking for tomorrow while everyone gets to relax. Oh, lets not forget that I just spent three hours driving today. 

I can’t keep this up.

K, this is rough. I don’t like it but I do feel I broke the seal. It makes me think of how I have already written this scene three years ago and which approach is better. I will regret posting this but I am going to anyway. Don’t judge me. I know I can do better.

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Memory Burst

Memories come in bursts sometimes. I wonders if they are trying to push their way out and just waiting for an opportunity for you to stop thinking, just for a second, so they could come forth.

I am in the midst of washing sunshine yellow walls, something the previous owners left and we have lived with it for five and a half years. As I wash a memory breaks through the confines of my self-conscious.

mudroom

There is a wooden structure in front of me. It is the two sides of a triangle with the front missing so we can sit in there and have our picnic out of the rain or out of the hot sun if we choose. I can feel, just for one millisecond the air and the breeze. Mostly this flash is about the building. I know where I am when I see that building – Round Lake, Saskatchewan. I am in ‘bear country’ as my mom calls it. This is where my mom grew up and where my parents met.

My mom's mom

My mom’s mom

Moving from my hunched up washing position I stand up and think about what just jumped out at me. I tell myself to file it away to reflect on it later, and go back to work. Only I think about this structure and am curious about why this memory would pop out now and what the significance is of this wooden structure.

Actually, I feel, I don’t think.

This building makes me feel warm. Weiner roasts and my family all together by the water’s edge. My parents relaxed. The lake is quite. There isn’t a beach. You come for the scenery – forest all around you. I have been in forest before. This forest feels different but I can not put why I feel that way into words. Maybe it is because it is my forest. My family has a history with it. I don’t know.

Round Lake is a special place to me. It is a quiet lake. There is a small army base just down from where the campground is. Although I have never seen anyone there and have ever heard the faintest of noise from them. That is the height of activity.

The water is usually so green with algae that no one has ever gone in it. I have never heard of anyone fishing in it either. People have told me on occasion that they have seen it clear. For that is why you walk to the water – too see how bad it is:)

No matter, my mom grew up three kilometers down the road. She has told me stories of how as a young woman she would bring the cows there for water, even in winter, smashing a hole in the ice for them to take a drink.

There are stories of bears. Hunting bears, bear cubs living in their yard, my uncles walking up to bears. Bears. Bears. Bears. So many nature stories. My mom’s brothers and father were big hunters. They hunted bears, rabbits, beavers and muskrats. Funny, now that I think about it, I don’t recall ever hearing them hunt deer or geese which is so common now.

Mom with Dead Beaver

My mom snuggling a kitten with a dead animal on the hood of the car.

My parents met there. While their story ended in divorce their meeting was romantic. My dad had bought land close to the lake campground and was clearing it. My mom would walk the road leading to the lake, picking berries from the shrubs that lined a forest on the opposite side of the farm land. I imagine the berries, a hot summer day, the forest, a young man working hard in the field … They would look at each other, infatuation striking them. Alas, courting would begin.

Mom at her farm

Mom with her horses.

As a child we went there a couple of times. We only camped there once and had an amazing time. My mom and I went there about ten years ago for a trip down memory lane. She wanted to see her old house. It is long gone now and she admits it felt strange to not be able to even walk in the yard. It still felt like it was hers.

Mom and I at Round Lake, Saskatchewan.

Mom and I at Round Lake, Saskatchewan.

Reflecting on the memory flash made me realize how much I care about Round Lake. It isn’t that I have any direct childhood memories but I have lived through my mom’s I suppose. She has so many stories to tell of growing up there. Most are sad and troublesome but they reflect her life. I guess I am attracted to the woman who grew up there. She loved animals and nature, she ran with the wind, she was carefree. Now she is dependent on others opinions of herself, full of vanity, and status. She is so far from nature.  Maybe I hold onto her past for her?

I have digressed. What is my point here?

  1. pay attention to your memories
  2. don’t rationalize your memory bursts but feel them
  3. write about them over and over again until you get all that you need to get out of them

Why the memory of Round Lake would jump out of my subconscious while washing yellow walls I do not know. The fact that my memory was of a building, just a building, shows how little I have of the place on my own accord. My attachment is through my mother. I am thankful for the memory burst as it gave me an opportunity to explore this side of myself. I have often thought of this place, wanting to take my kids there, my nieces and nephews, show them where my mom grew up and where her and dad met. Try and paint the picture for them. I am very attached to my roots.

Care to share any of your memory bursts?

NOTE: Round Lake is the epitome of nature. I tried to google Round Lake to get an image for you but came up with a different Round Lake. If you google-map-it ask for directions from Greenwater Lake to Round Lake. Then you will get the right one. No cottages here.) 

NOTE: I have spent hours writing this post. It has taken me about a week piddling at it every day. Not quite sure what I want to say and exploring it like crazy. These type of posts frustrate me the most. All I had to go on is this darn building and why it is so significant to me. But this memory burst allowed me to really explore my feelings and attachment to this place as well as my relationship with my mother. I still don’t feel done with it. Funny how small things are the hinges to the universe. I urge you to write even when it seems like there is nothing there. You get these bursts for a reason:)

Imprint: Chapter Two

In disbelief they peak through the open door and see her standing there. She stares at the house for a long time. Then she lays on the grass. They watch in awe, in disbelief.

“She is here.” says one female voice in a hushed relieved tone. “I can’t believe I can be so close to her. She is finally here. Do you see her Esther? Is it real?” Of course she knows it is real but feels the need for reassurance.

“You are being so serious again Nellie. We knew she was coming.” says Esther. Always so practical and calm but gives Nellie a gentle rub on the arm. She is tough and strong but could break in a second.

Esther looks back into the room behind them. Another lady sits in the background. She is on a wooden stool in the dark of the shed. A table in front of her with a lantern glowing and she stares mindlessly at it. Not saying a word but her presence is heavy and full of shadows.

“Is your mom going to come out and see her?” asks Esther confused. Nelly turns her head side to side slowly more in awe of what she watches before her than caring about her mothers mood. Esther sighs with disappointment at how Maria can be so mute all the time but especially in this moment.

The woman they watch grabs the handle of her suitcase and throws a bag over her shoulder. She is heading indoors for the evening. The show is over.

“What do we do now?” Esther says, standing behind Nellie. Her tall frame is imposing in the day let alone the night.

“We wait. We will know what to do when the time comes.”

Creeping back into the shed they drag the old door shut behind them.

Imprint: Chapter One

I stand in front of my house. It is late. A cool night breeze tostles my hair and sends shivers down my back. It feels strange to stand outside my childhood home. It is dark and empty here. I dread the emptiness all of a sudden. The air is heavy and filled with sadness. It is this space, the house, yard and air – it all feels alone. It is empty.

When I would come home as a child I without fail the porch light would be on as my guiding light. If you were not too late you may even see a glow from the kitchen window. Now abandonment lays all around. Everything is in pain. The grass calls to me, asksing how I could leave it when I loved it so. I played with it every day. The grass was my best friend. We were one. We still are. I can feel our connection. It is sad that I turned my back on it.

I’ve been thinking about this place for years. It has always been my intention to return home. I didn’t think my return home would be due to my running away from my life but here I am. I always thought I would return home to be a teacher, that I would help my community. Now I’m here hoping it will heal me. Teach me.

While it is a cool night I have this desire to feel the grass. Plus I am not looking forward to what lies behind that locked front door. It is my grass. Not because of some land ownership law but because it knows me from all the times I’ve laid on it, danced on it, rode my bike on it, slid on it in the winter or when it chased me with dew on it’s fingers.

The grass and I share some bond.  Avoiding the inevitable I lay on the grass and feel it’s coolness beneath me. It is soothing. I realize my eyes are closed. I feel silly and panic for a moment throwing my eyes open. Then I’m greeted with the stars. They surround me like warm joyful grandparents who haven’t seen their grandchild for so long. All is forgiven immediately and they are delighted I’m home. In their twinkling I can see all the times I sang to them, prayed to them, and spoke to them.

I draw my attention away from the stars and sense the yard has settled down. It’s suffering has eased. But the house looms before me. This dark cold hard structure.

I sit upon the grass and stare at it. I know I must go in. I know I have to face it. It has been unloved for so long. I’m afraid to go in and feel the feelings of emptiness all around me. The house will smell different being all closed up for years. It’s heart is broken. Can I fill it with love with just my being here?

I will make some bread. The smell of it will wake the house up. It will warm it. The footsteps will ground it again. When I sit down to eat the house will feel settled. It needs someone to live in it again.

I grab the key that I placed in my pocket. The one I touched a hundred times on my bus ride down. Touching it made what I was doing real. I couldn’t believe I was actually running away and going home.

I unlatch the storm door and swing it wide open to hook it on the little peg resting on the east side of the house.  What a strange, yet simple, everyday thing for one to do.  We only used our storm door occasionally in the summer unhooking it to protect our homemade plywood door from a storm that pelted at it. During the winter we used the storm door all the time not hooking it to the east wall until spring. The fact that we hardly ever did this makes me wonder how I remember to do it at all.

The strangest memory hits me as I place the hook in the ring.

I am running to the door to see if the boy was ready to come out and be in the sprinkler. My nieces and nephew were here and two of my sisters. We had all changed into our bathing suits behind a blanket on the clothesline at the back of the yard. Why hasn’t this boy come out from his change area behind the storm door. I run over to the door to see if he is almost done but I’m not careful enough. I run past the bit of door he was using as shelter and see he’s naked. I see his boy-bits and I am frozen. I’ve never seen boy-bits before. I knew there was a difference between boys and girls because we were often separated and we kind of liked different things. I had no idea that this was something I would see.

I stand forzen hold for a while. It feels like minutes and he quickly lifts up his swimming trunks and starts to get dressed all the while covering himself. He seems scared or nervous. I runaway confused. He follows shortly afterward and we both pretend it never happened but later I would tell Melinda.

Now I insert the key into my lock. I need to shake and jostle things just into place. I feel a click and then the door is loose from the lock that has held it captive to the world outside.

The door squeaks open a few inches and my nervousness is in full swing. What if there is a skunk sleeping on my bed or mice scurring all about? Shit! Why am I coming home in the dark?

I have nowhere to go. I must go in further. Using my cell phone as my flashlight I creep into the porch opening the kitchen door. I listen for the sound of little critter feet moving. Nothing. I don’t smell skunk in the air. I step over the threshold gently.

There is no power. There is no water. Planning to run away at the last minute, late at night, is now making me wonder if this was the best decision. I bring my bags to the bedroom and pulled back the covers on the bed that has been made for a decade. I shine my light on the sheets and see nothing crawling around. I don’t undress, crawling under the blankets hoping to just fall asleep. I need to distract myself from the fact that something might crawl around in the darkness while I sleep. I fill my mind with memories of sharing this room with my sisters and sleep comes fast to me and I would expect.

Imprint: An Introduction

When I was going though my bout of burnout I really wanted to get away from my husband. I fantasized about going back home, to my childhood home, even though the walls are covered with black mould and there is no power or water hooked up.  It seemed like the only place I could go that would be affordable. Actually, it was calling to me. I have always wanted to return home. I hope someday I can or that I grow out of this desire. Nothing worse than wanting something and not working your way there. Or maybe I am and just don’t know it.

Well, as a side to this I have been wanting to write a story about my grandmothers for a really long time. It was the first memoir I ever wanted to write. I discovered an entry in my journal when I was in Grade Eleven that I really hoped I could tell their life story someday. Over the years I have found only a little bit of information on them.  My research has come up empty cause many people that new them are now gone or are vague in what they say.

Piecing together what I know, with a lot of creativity, I started a little story about a year ago about an alternative life path I could have taken during my burnout phase. I have called it Imprint. The story begins with me running away to Rose Valley but my reasons for running back home will be fictional and I don’t know what they are yet. My grandmothers spirits are in the back shed ready to help me on my journey. All the while through the story you will see how their lives have imprinted on me, how their life experiences have been passed down through the generations, how they help me heal and move forward with whatever it is I need to move forward on.

I am pondering the idea of running the story differently. Instead of their spirits being in the back shed I may intertwine our three lives going on at once and you can see how their stories have imprinted on my life. I intentionally started writing this as a screenplay. Maybe someday it still can be one.

Grandma Luneng

My paternal Grandmother, Grandma Luneng

My maternal Grandmother - Grandma Vance

My maternal Grandmother – Grandma Vance

I had the itch to do some writing in it but told myself not to cause I was working on This Old House. Well I gave in. I had to write out my thoughts. The next post will hold Chapter One.