Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Yesterday, I had a meltdown. Husband happened to be in the vicinity when it happened and was able to talk me through, as I took deep breaths and blinked my eyes--a lot. You know, the trick to keep them from pouring out like fountains?
Passion is a force of contradictory measure. It can catapult you onto a blazing trail of infinite possibility or become so over-stimulating that it stops you dead in your tracks with a dear-in-the-headlights sort if fear. And because passion comes from the soul, any work derived from this place, is considered by many to be soul work. So when dealing with such work and feeling that 100% is not being given to the cause, it can bring moments of upheaval and panic that only near-meltdowns seem to remedy or Husbands and friends and family members can encourage through. Yesterday, my Husband did so with tender-boldness.
Husband is known for being matter-of-fact. He's a cut to the chase kind of guy--he shoots from the hip so to speak. I can always count on him to offer up his opinion and I have learned to value his constructive criticism (almost). He's not one to sugar-coat just because he loves you, in fact, because he loves you so, he'll tell you the truth if he feels you'll be better off for it, even if it hurts a little.
Yesterday during my meltdown, Husband listened to my brief scenario of frustrations and demanded that I pick up the pieces. "I've seen that fire blazing under your @$$ since Tim Perrin emailed you a few months ago, and you've brought your expectations to a new level," he said. "Don't go dropping everything you have ever hoped for, now, because I've told all my friends--my wife's a writer, and we're not in this to look like idiots." Besides being called an idiot, he did a good job of knocking some sense into me in that no-B.S.-sort of-way that I love him for. And he didn't say it because his friends really care if I ever write a thing, but because he knows that to live my life fulfilled, I must write.
He also reminded me that when a fire rages, there is no denying it the oxygen to burn. Time and care are just a few of the necessities that will keep it carefully maintained and flourishing in the night, providing warmth to the soul.
I've also realized that when you're dealing with grand aspirations and the makings of dreams, life and choices appear much more fragile than before. It reminds me of the preface to 'The Alchemist' when Paulo Cohelo talks about the main reasons why people quit seeking their dreams. It's because they are afraid to lose them, he says. I don't want this fire for the written word to go out on me; I've gotta keep tending to it. And there is payoff in the work--I know I'll keep warm by the fire.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Guess I'm just feeling good today, and that's good enough for me.
You should try it.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Setting: Today/fall day/almost evening. Brooklynn and Asher playing in the backyard. I am in the kitchen listening to music and their noise while cleaning the kitchen. Sliding back door open.
Brooklynn comes into the kitchen and asks for a spoon to stir her "soup" in the backyard. She asks for one of my nice wooden spoons in the holder on the counter. I decided that my old black plastic one in the drawer will be best instead. Happily she goes on her way and I watch as she makes her way to the furthest corner of the yard to the half-deflated swimming pool. A few minutes later Asher comes into the kitchen. He opens the silverware drawer. I ask,"you want a spoon, too?" and hand him another old black plastic spoon from the drawer. He takes it from me happily and walks back outside.
Brooklynn in a loud yell/song--loud enough for the neighbors to hear:
God made everything!
In the world!
I love you!
God loves all of His children, too!
Bob the Builder, yes we can!
1-2-3 splash in the water now.
A few minutes later, Asher comes inside. I hear him shuffle in the pantry. "Asher come here," I say. He comes out with a bag of boxed raisins with wet pants, grass covered crocs, and a drippy nose. I realize it is time to bring Brooklynn in as well. I remember that I saw her fleece on the kitchen floor. "Brooklynn, time to come in." "What? Why?" she says. "Do you not have shoes on?!" "No," she says. "Get in here. And bring those spoons, please. Is that my towel? Get my towel, please." She comes in with hands full.
Brooklynn says, "Do you know why I was barefooted out there?" "No, please tell me," I say.
"Because that's how bears do it," she says. "Are you mad?"
I couldn't be mad. She is the funniest person I know.
A few minutes later:
"My shoes are outside," she says.
"They are? Where?" I say.
"They're in the pool."
"What?" I say, imagining how nasty that pool is.
I get my shoes on and grab a sweater and head for the farthest corner of the yard.
There I found them--in her soup.
The other spoon is still missing.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Tomorrow morning around five a.m., Husband will wake and get ready for his hunt. He'll gather his camo, burlap shades, his call, orange beanie, pocket knife and rifle and a steaming cup of coffee and jump into his Dodge to head for the mountains. He'll set out into the deep, lush wilderness, not far from our home, quietly listening and stalking the illusive.
It's adventures like these that have shaped the man. His loyalty to the wilderness is vast and his respect of the hunt runs deep. He feels proud to live off the land in even the slightest way. He is even prouder to feed his family.
As I have mentioned before, it's days like these that I would wish upon Husband regularly if I could. When he has the chance to escape into the woods or down to the river, something happens inside of him that penetrates. It's as if the very air is God's breath and the trees His long arms, welcoming Husband into the mystery and the beauty that He has created. Husband always returns from such days with a peace and a quiet that only an outdoorsman would know--and love.
The Hunt of 2006
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wordstock was awesome! I attended classes all day Saturday and Sunday and wasn't bored one bit. Husband was out of town last weekend, so I was a little hesitant to run off and be gone for two full-days, but things worked out great and the kids had great fun with their sitters, including my Mom who was in town from Utah. The kids love their Nana.
The classes I took were great. Here is a quick run-down on a few of them:
I took a class on the nuts and bolts of the freelance writing industry from Laurie Sandell who currently writes for Glamour. She was wonderful, funny, extremely down-to-earth and had tons of wisdom for all of us wanting to break into the freelance market. The main advice she gave was to KNOW YOUR MARKET!
I had the opportunity to learn how to balance the writing life with everyday life from a woman who truly knows what it's all about. Carol Cassela author of the new novel, Oxygen, is a nurse and mother of two sets of twins who were born fifteen months apart. If she can write books with all that going on, I'm golden.
Maria Semple said this in her workshop on how to write a great story, "Don't think of yourself as a story teller. View yourself as a story beholder." She also said, "have confidence in yourself, observation and experience. Be careful of the crisis in feeling not interesting or of worth for anyone else to read."
The last class that I attended was called Fire & Ink: Activist Writing taught by Frances Payne Alder. I wasn't sure of all this class would entail when I signed up, but was interested as I have a heart for students who deal with school bullying. I have to admit, that when I saw Alder before class wearing her tie-die head wrap I had to talk myself into staying. It's not that I have any qualms with the likes of hippies or the activist-minded, but it was the fact that I didn't enter that room in the mood to roar, and I had a strange feeling that I was about to be challenged.
So when Alder asked that each of us introduce ourselves and tell a little about our "cause" for social activism I began to feel extremely anxious. Quite a few heartfelt causes were shared, but the one that will stay with me was spoken by a little seven year old girl named Grace. Her mom had brought her to this class so she could learn how to become a social activist for the issue of the lack of school funding in schools today. She spoke bravely several times and was the only class member who read her writing to the others. She wrote far better than I would have expected a seven year old to write, and it was eye-opening to watch such a young mind be stirred into action.
It turned out that there wasn't enough time for all of us to speak, so I was happy to keep my jumbled mess of thoughts to myself and observe. It also turned out that Alder didn't expect any of us to roar, which I was very happy about. That class was the perfect ending to a great weekend. I was provoked to look beyond myself and my writing and see a glimpse of the greater cause. Alder says activist writing is a form of critical inquiry and an act of social responsibility." She asked, "What is the cost of what is written and what is not written?" That was enough to make me stir.
Overall, this last weekend I learned:
Friday, October 9, 2009
This weekend I am attending two full-days of workshops for writers at Portland's book and literary festival--Wordstock. Tomorrow, I'll be learning about how to become a successful freelance writer, tips on writing a memoir that sells, how to market myself and manuscript to publishers, how not to lose my family or mind while writing a book, and will even meet with editors from the Ooligan Press.
Monday, October 5, 2009
- Get my long distance running back in the neighborhood to be able to run another half-marathon.
- Incorporate flaxseed into my daily diet.
- Buy a juicer already--cleanse??
- Do a couple layouts for Asher's poor baby album.
- Get Family pictures taken by Jenn
- Visit my Alma Mater.
- Make an Advent Calendar for Christmas like my cute sis-in-law Brittany
Any plans for you?
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The cabin is a cozy little place with kites adorning the walls, a stove to warm fingers and toes, and usually 1-4 outdoors men hustling about getting ready for the next clam dig or crab fishing trip. During the evenings, we usually snuggle in for a movie or spend the night entertaining each other with jokes and stories.
Saturday, Husband, father-in-law & my uncle-in-law took to the seas in their fishing boat to catch us some crab and they did not disappoint! They returned home with 36 MONSTER CRABS! Let's just say our dinner was nothing short of a feast. Since the catch, we've made some Divine Crab Pizza and some good old crab cakes. Mmm.
Sunday, we headed for the beach to enjoy one of the last 70 degree afternoons of the year here in the NW. With sand in our toes we ran. jumped. yelled. laughed. played. chased. searched. stared. listened. breathed.
Thomas Moore writes,
"There is nothing neutral about the soul. It is the seat and the source of
life. Either we respond to what the soul presents in its fantasies and desires,
or we suffer from this neglect of ourselves. The power of the soul can hurl a
person into ecstasy or into depression. It can be creative or destructive,
gentle or aggressive. Power incubates within the soul and then makes its
influential move into life as the expression of soul. If there is no
soulfulness, then there is no true power, and if there is no power, then there
can be no true soulfulness." pp.129
Around this time, I remember sitting in a booth at Sherry's Restaurant across from my girlfriend, Emily dissecting my sadness and the hopelessness that I was feeling. That night we drank coffee into the wee hours of the morning and she listened as I attempted to strategize an easier course for myself. The struggle proved to run deeper than what a few cups of joe and some good conversation could fix, insomuch that its stubbornness followed me into college, visiting me at often in-opportune times. Although much of my depression had subsided by this time, I was still encountering rough waters. After each hit, I wanted to believe that the storm had settled indefinitely, but just as the ocean conjures, stormy seas would meet me again in clouds of questions and painful crashing waves.