Blog started in Jan 2005: 1st entries for Write in Every Genre. Then the REAL ME begins
It Hurts When I Stop Talking
Sometime in Fall of 1998, when a visit from Dad was infrequent, and primarily at the mercy of his 88 Toyota making the 50 mile journey, I was being treated to lunch. The restaurant was my choice, I think. Sisley Italian Kitchen at the Town Center mall was somewhere my dad had not yet tried, so that was my pick. Either I was being treated to the luxury of lunch and adult conversation without my husband and 5 year old son in tow, or that's just how the moment has lodged in my memory. The more I think about it, they probably were there, but enjoying the Italian food too much to bother interrupting.
Daddy and his lady friend at the time, Anne, came up together and made a day of it with me and the family. We were eating together and talking about some of my scripts, stories, coverages, poems and other creative attempts that really were not seeing the light of day. I think I'd just finished a group reading of The Artist's Way and was in a terribly frenetic mood over my writing. I think I'd just given them an entire rundown on a speculative Star Trek script.
My Dad asked me point blank, “Why don’t you write it?? Anne agreed. It sure sounded like I wanted to write it. Why wasn't I writing seriously? It's what I'd set out to do when earning my college degree in Broadcasting many years earlier.
Heck, I should, I agreed non-verbally.
But, I didn’t.
Blogs can be wild, unpredictable storehouses of moments, tangents, creative dervishes, if you will. I'm getting a firmer handle on my creative cycle. My mental compost heap (which is a catch phrase from Natalie Goldman or Julia Cameron - I can't think which, right now) finally seems to be allowing a fairly regular seepage of by-products. That may be a gross analogy, but I give myself credit to categorize my work in raw terms. It proves that I'm not so much the procrastinating perfectionist that I once was.
Still, I always seem to need prompts and motivation. Being a self-starter is the next step. My attempt to keep up in the Write in Every Genre Contest at the beginning of the year seemed like a perfect point to launch the blog.
|I've read that Astrologically we are in Gemini under the influence of Mercury in this current moment early June 2021 (in the Northern Hemisphere). Where I live, there have also been persistent winds (and I haven't lived in this zone long enough to know if these winds are part of the Santa Anas, or a differently identified set of winds). But the last few days have been hard to keep a lid on emotional vomit episodes; meaning it just seems like we are all irritable and sniping at each other.
Because we are re-establishing a full household of all family members, this reality is not preferred. And as my spouse and I wound down the upset, I caught myself using my sometimes dark humor to have something clever to say "to end the scene" as it were. It amounted to threatening to clear emotional blockages with a desire to pour drain clean down everyone's throat to clear blockages. And as soon as I said it, figured it was right to note I didn't mean to say that out loud -- and truly did not want to be taken as threatening anyone with physical harm.
My spouse made a comment to improve the response and said I meant to say "Spiritual Draino."
Which -- genius -- I immediately told him I had to use that term, so this post had to be created right away.
The house currently does have a number of plumbing and other functionality issues. Pat on the back to all involved, we were able to resolve having a working dryer by today. Slow draining double sink with a garbage disposal and dishwasher hook up is next to address. A minor leak off the wax seal for one of the bathroom toilets a close second. These type of issues are what have me holding drain cleaner on the edge of my reasoning center.
|Robinson Crusoe on Mars, I probably have had the opportunity to see it in my pre-teen years on the local television Sunday show called, The Family Film Festival, hosted by Tom Hatton. And I am surprised to see it holding a fairly high critic rating on the Rotten Tomatoes site, given its 300 year old source material, (in name mostly), and its 1964 cinematic pedigree.
The fact that I know about the film really makes me feel old, but now I am intrigued, because it is a pairing my husband recommends as an alternate when I say I am looking for a science fiction film to pair properly with one guilty pleasure go-to, the Eighties' Louis Gossett, Jr. and Dennis Quaid vehicle, Enemy Mine. We recognize that it comes from a Seventies' novella. This is also where my husband's much more researched knowledge refutes my thought that Enemy Mine can be paired with his all-time most watched favorite film adapted from a book, The Martian. His logic is Enemy Mine is B-grade, and The Martian is not. I acquiesce knowing The Martian was Oscar nominated and eked out a Golden Globe Best Picture (comedy or musical) win in 2016.
A similar intellectual-bent Eighties film we both enjoyed is Alien Nation. But I preferred the later resulting television series on Fox to the stand-alone film. Although Mandy Patinkin's turn as Sam Francisco cannot be denied my admiration for that role in the film version. And there’s no denying the level of my admiration for all his wonderful characters portrayed throughout his acting career.
I started this blog post believing and trying to modify my thinking that as soon as you start to feel age is getting the better of you in important life functions... then the problems we see facing unsupported seniors now are what are in your very near future.
My anxiety stems from experiencing harsh realities before I am even at an age that is noted as “Senior” (and even then, it’s only for small portion of eateries). Are employers now aware that AARP starts recruiting for membership dues from the newly turned 50? Forget 60, or anything a decade from true retirement age.
The first time an employer makes you question your own tech savvy when one piece of software will replace another....
The impression you have that a majority of co-workers are younger than you, and your days as a valued employee are numbered...
That's when you need a good double-feature of mature-minded speculative fiction.
|I started a coaching experience today. One week ago, I spoke with the coach over the phone as an introduction to what personal coaching entails. I haven't joined a team, and this coach won't be taking me out for ice cream if the game goes south. This coach won't really be the one in charge, but the coach will keep me accountable to goals and declarations I have decided upon for a period of time.
I am unsure how many people have chosen to employ a coach for creative outcomes. I knew immediately once I got past the ego-based objections that each of my intended outcomes needed to steer me on a creative river. Too long (my whole life) I've been the old fashioned ferry master, solely walking the shoreline to lead my desire to write and be known as a writer. Now, I have decided to be on the ferry and at the wheel. [I'd have to research to recall the title for that job; pretty sure it was one of "Mark Twain's" early occupations -- Pilot, yes, I think that is correct term!]
How do I confirm that now is the right time? I see interesting coincidences in the timing and certain dates. My anniversary of joining this site, Writing.com, is August 26, 2003. The completion of a 12 week session with this coach falls on August 26. Now, I did not mention Writing.com in my Coaching Plan, but I find it interesting that I will have reached eighteen years casually enjoying a kind of authorly childhood on the site.
By the end of my twelve weeks, one of my outcomes is to have a short (60 page) non-fiction e-book up on Amazon. It is an ambitious project to take on, given that I have not written any of it yet. But it is the project I believe I can complete. It is an idea that has been on my mind for a sustained stretch of memory, yet, I've never taken serious action. Well that ends today. The outline and chapters will be done by tonight, and I have given myself a 536 word task for the next 55 days. The remainder of the time will be for formatting and upload to Amazon; a process I know little about.
So, much like the way my hunger for dinner is currently growing, and no one is making that happen for me, my writing project must start, because no one but me can complete it.
This is one of the main lessons in adulthood. You represent yourself. You choose the adventure. Some people may agree to join you on your quest, but the responsibility for what you want the outcome to be is all you. A coach can be helpful, since not far into the journey, you may realize a dysfunction (or a dozen) may stand in your way. Who knew some children actually care what their parents, neighbors, local sheriff, or peers think of them?
Stay tuned for updates.
|I am a long-time practitioner/follower of Julia Cameron's, Artist's Way. I appreciate her original book, The Artist's Way, most for its now iconic phrases like "crazy-maker," and "frustrated artist", plus I love the form of the lessons for their being part curriculum, part memoir. I have written three sentences and want to write three pages. I feel all my doubts. At the same time, I have embarked on a renewed commitment to myself. I am renewing my site membership here at Writing.com. I purchased a writer's bundle from a short webinar I attended last week to give me access to some tools and motivators. I have also committed to a self-improvement series over the next twelve weeks which puts everything I want to accomplish under the eyes of a coach I've hired. I had some uncertainty on the coaching, but the part I was uncertain about accepting related directly to the financial investment. Having confidence in investing in myself I do already realize is one of my reflective lessons. I have had a lifetime of "making do" with second-hand clothing and other belongings, to the point of it being second-nature that I can only seek out the used.
What can I build from that understanding of myself? The habit of buying bargain is a fixation, and I do know I have it in me to love long-lasting quality that a new item may bring. It is currently shaded somewhat by distribution difficulties and high gas costs in the country. In some categories of items, like appliances, wanting and being able to acquire what is wanted is frustrated by these global market forces. So, is the use of one's creative talents affected by inner and outer forces in the same way, and we just don't notice?
Ah, I am feeling the fatigue already.... It is another component I will have to battle if I do plan on recommitting to a daily writing practice. A voice telling me, reminding and insisting: your back hurts in this chair, and you're a lousy, slow typist...this will take forever. What you have written is certainly sufficient -- no one will be reading it anyway, right?
And the second wave: You are unemployed and barely have an updated resume, there's a project you should work on before all this. Editing you're good at...go edit that and email it to a few places. You like gambling. Money in that bank account is only shrinking. If you keep at this, the bank will start charging you fees for no longer having direct deposit. Go call those cheats...go set up an online account. Might as well resign up to do surveys and earn gift cards, at least then you could go shopping!
Since experiencing the year of global pandemic (so many new experiences), even the things I once enjoyed are less driving. This may be depression. But, on the other hand, the silly giddiness of enjoying shopping, or of sitting to watch new episode on a network TV series -- even those dependable dopemine-hits seem silly.
|I have become ambivalent whether I will share this with the people involved, so I thought I might have some satisfaction if I posted it as a documentation of my experience.
Written May 20, 2021
It is my hope that this letter will be carefully considered. As the full board expresses their wishes for the future expansion of the agency in a new funding year, and those wishes become the directives followed by staff, try to invite and listen to that staff, and welcome manageable transformation.
As far back as September, I recognize that we have a misalignment in communication. I no longer recall the exact point the boss and I, alone, were discussing over the phone, but suddenly she is saying to me, “I can’t believe you said that!” To which I had to reply, “I don’t know what you heard me say?” I felt frightened, as we worked on personal understanding as well as a need for workflow expectations for a solid hour.
Something from that interaction carries over into my mid-October (and only) performance review. In the summary written by the agency's Executive Director it is noted in her words, that (employee) had misgivings about taking on the duty of Reassurance Calls. In my memory, I endured another frightening phone interaction and had the duty taken from me. The statement in my performance review only justifies her actions from her perspective, but is not the truth.
There are more slights, humiliations related to task disappearance, and points in time when I am disregarded. A particular one, I accept now as a naïve mistake by someone with power over me – The full discourse of which is within an email conversation the program manager, office administrator, and I shared in March within my new supervisor’s first week. I suffered that weekend in the unknowing headspace of what they each considered “a simple request,” sent via a Friday email. I do not have access to that email conversation now, and I effectively feel I made the proper teaching moment. But it is important for you to be aware of and train current and future employees to know appropriate requests and inappropriate requests about federally protected civil rights and having a “medical condition” documented for one’s employment file.
The point at which I am thoroughly floored is being handed a written reprimand on Friday April 23rd after my direct supervisor, for the last five weeks, has cleared the room of other staff. I react to two things immediately, that it first references February 17 as a formal reprimand, and that in describing the interaction on April 20th, there are statements in quotes, which are stated to be my words with the supporting claim that two other people heard the same. It says nothing about the manner in which she continued to berate me on April 20th. I made no disrespectful comments, and she was the one who continued to loudly hammer me about how I must comply immediately and do it without further question.
So, as I am signing the document on the 23rd -- At this point, I get it, she can say anything, and I am powerless. There are no witnesses, and I am not given a copy that day. I am told to leave for the day, and when I object, simply because I’d rather get back to working, the program manager tells me that the Executive Director said I might be upset and authorized correcting the clock out so I’m completing the full day.
On the day the Executive Director provides me the termination documents just two and a half weeks later, I communicate calmly and questioningly -- I’m not recalling at all what incident “last week” she is referring to as she starts out.
When the Executive Director hands me the termination document, I don’t respond outwardly to the use of the word “altercation” twice used to describe May 6 and May 7 – but, absolutely, an incorrect term.
Demoralized, devalued, completely exhausted by the battle to be genuinely heard – these are my takeaways from these under-a-microscope interactions that became increasingly intense once I was invited back into the main office.
I’m an intelligent person, and it seems to me that no one is acknowledging my psyche under the degrading effects of micro-managing. As an example, being unable to respond with a question or clarifying statement to one’s supervisor without having her cc every perceived insubordinate comment to the Executive Director.
From my perspective, I worked hard for this agency, the people it serves, and the community members we invite to also be a part of making positive changes. I also know I was making personal improvements in relating as requested, and my months of obedient and fruitful actions end up meaning so little.
The main courtesy I was seeking in this employment was acknowledgment, with compassion, of the free expression and questioning that is my temperament, and shockingly missing, perhaps some reflective questioning about my well-being, if anyone is reporting that I am out of line. Instead, the final weeks were confidence-crushing.
I was brought to tears on May 7th, only my direct supervisor and the administrator, acting as a witness, were subjected to that. Did our Executive Director get that in written employee statements? Faced with my tears, the two of them say, I’m a good employee, and that they don’t want me to give up; so, I do not. What a hollow gesture to make me feel better. I shouldn’t be hard on them, it did ultimately fall to the boss’ choice.
I feel this is my piece. It all needs to be said. I pray the team truly becomes a team. There’s much to overcome, and I wish the agency good fortune, really.
|Ergh. Too long since writing inspired me to get out of bed before work. If only lax muscles would inspire me in the same way to suddenly want to exercise regularly?
So, the real topic: Writing when scheduled to.
When I started my new job 3 months ago, I was asked to set annual goals, (with what I deemed little guidance), and within that document I set a monthly list of social media/blog post topics that I would write on. Then I never referred back to the list. It is 2020 after all...It seems unsurprising that the support I set up from myself, even though it seemed forced, and I was resisting the necessity to plan , or at least to set the plan down in paper to be used against me later (yes, I can admit to myself, this is a perception, and only temporary).
I do remember October was intended to be about Emergency Preparedness. Because, well, October is the month for that; I have had a lifetime of that being drilled into me. It makes me wonder at just how hit-n-miss marketing and PSAs really can be...I cannot explain why I can remember a PSA from the mid-Seventies asking you to write to Pueblo, Colorado for a consumer protection guide, yet I'm sure not everyone, even everyone in Californiia, is not as knee-jerk reactive to the knowledge that October is earthquake (and other disasters Preparedness month.
Most of my posts, instead have been inspired by tips from "The Depression Project," BECAUSE, I guess, I want people to be prepared for how to cope with depression -- I see it -- we all need support. I know most of the topics I picked were space-fillers, and it's better...I mean, the writing is usually better, if you are actually inspired.
So, this morning I was thinking about my parents. My dad, who passed in mid-August 2019, and even my mom, still with us... I was thinking of them together, in the context of how they influenced and inspired me -- how I have been and continue to be supported by their actions. And in the context of caretaking, how I have both been asked and not asked to have that role in my families lives. [There's the family I started, and the family I was a product of. What was in the Divine's "mind" when setting up this progression of life "connection capsules"? Do the mountain-top gurus have an answer on that area as yet?
I specifically remember being asked to be my grandmother's caregiver, or at least steward in her house so she could age in place with dignity after Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (cancer) surgery and treatment leading to clinical trial, and somewhere in there, rest from the labors of the world (at least a little bit...as much as she could tolerate). That is kinda the focus of the last year or so of one's life -- tolerating (sometimes a lot).
An aside... have both "a lot" and "even though" always been separated? I really always want to mash their parts together. I just don't know if I'm jealous that other words or phrases get to transform and become normal usage in ones lifetime, while others persistently stay stubbornly troublesome. OK, well really, I do not know if they have been, what I will call, "solid words" before, and I am being forced to put the space in, of if they are only my desire to have as solids? (Aside done).
Where was I? Ah, adoration of the caregiving role in its unknown solid and space induced forms... The outside assignment, "Please take care of Grandma," or "Please house Grandpa for awhile," and the duty (in my estimation self-imposed or intrinsic), but still leading to a more full-bodied response, where I easily relate (I say to myself, "Self: My dad set up his living arrangement for himself nicely, (as in, thought-out) but its isolated and I'm the one closest to him; he really needs more happening in his life, and in his care, because truthfully it is so apparent that he is self-neglecting his health...but there is independence to consider, and I highly value that for him." And even though you do some of the talking and caring that should take place between a father and an oldest daughter, the grand plans never solve the equation. Choices, in this case, his personal choices, or at leas, his body's ability to cope with the choices still end in death.
And what does my playing this over here in my head (and via my personal blog) have to do with what I write in a blog or post on social media to keep isolated seniors or those who care for them sane in 2020? Maybe just the recognition that there are always going to be choices. And regardless of how well or how badly the attempts to provide caring solutions go off, death can, and at some point, will be the result. Is that too nihilistic? It might be just nihilistic enough, right. I mean it is the truth. And we do not talk about it enough.
But, for the general public, I agree, I do not want to fill 2020 with truth as much as I want it to be heavily lined with coping. Coping is important, because minutes and hours are important. Coping allows those moments to still be possible. Not coping, or resisting the basic care that folks can manage to push out during the overload of a pandemic results in wasted moments.
I am now living a life of moments and hours and days, and this year, 2020, stands out in contrast to the usual experience of what a year is templated to be. Pop culture flashes strung together by a movie studio or two's line up of New Releases, it has not been. Normally, I would've enjoyed that type of year, since it had become what I was most used to. Just like how I might have spent this year, and more years, piecing together ways to keep dad fed and happy and maybe healthy -- but I sure do not know how I might have coped if I'd had to force that template onto 2020.
I have heard many people say it, and I have concurred -- my loved one wouldn't have tolerated this pandemic, this year. And if I'm honest with myself, I wouldn't have tolerated very well a year spent sharing this experience. Like agreeing to cover certain topics on a calendar schedule, without the freedom to be inspired, and moved to write about something, a fixed schedule for writing guidance is pretty intolerable.
|Sometimes it's the long drives, already "autopiloted" into my eyes/brain, extremities including maybe, the ears(?), that help me turn around the perception of a situation. Also helps my creativity. I can get awfully wound-up, and the long, beautiful drive between north Santa Barbara County and L.A. usually has a good chance of allowing my brass clockwork in the head to have a bit more bounce to their coil.
I had to remark recently after completing the most recent trip, that a person whom I'm still really getting to know, and whom I'm sure never intentionally means to wind me up, has many of the attributes of the "Director" which improvisational skit performer, Colin Mockery often poses as in a portion of the Show, "Whose Line Is it Anyway?" Just momentarily framing that person in that satirical flurry of change makes my worries melt for the moment.
|Should I be concerned when a new job (even with less hours than I used to work and commute) totally disrupts the creative output? I don't thinkso, because there's no complete stoppage of creative output, I have simply forgotten to post it in this specific venue.
September is suicide prevention month. Practice self-care too. https://partnersincaring.org/think-about-the-next-day-it-doesnt-need-to-be-perfe...
|A life slice -- Thought this morning I should write a short story (recollection or fiction not sure yet) about what I remember about turning nine. I have a niece turning nine this month. In mulling my own childhood over, I knew tht I wanted to recall the birthday party attended by my entire 4th grade class (I was out several months of school due to a surgery). The large Magnolia trees in the park across from our house...I'm pretty sure my mom must've supplied a pinata. The other thing I recall was all the at-home study I had to do on the explorers (de Gama, Columbus and such).
Details of that year not as clear as even earlier...when we lived in San Pedro: I have so much memory of the exact structure of the stairwell for the Apt we lived in. since it was two or three sets of stairs, which my mom had to help me up (leg braces and/or full leg casts on a three year old -- imagine that!
|NextStage, Story Number..., and What it is -- Why it is important labels are three interrelated ideas Iam puttting down this morning. Suddenly it is like 10 weeks of lockdown layered by a week of local curfews have appeared in the form of these ideas. Not so much working for someone or "getting a job" "side hustle" but creating my lifeswork based on all the things I have ever remembered / valued. I am certain that it has crystallized now after a mind space of three and a half hours with little need for conversation, while being focused on trying to make it home by curfew on June 2nd.
Everything from my enjoyment of the space program (viewing the live televised record of U.S. spaceflight; stages of rockets) being referenced in the name, NextStage. To the distinction that I am the family member responsible for numbering Mom's recollections in the form of, "Story Number ... (unearned, I think) at Mom's recent (February 2020) retirement.
; although, I am now seeing a way to utilize that as a website / business in making custom archival labels for family items that need to get passed on into the greater world, but not have their stories forgotten.