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.
|Grief counseling insight spoken directly by my therapist today, reminded me that as hard as losing my dad unexpectedly may be, I need to think about the time I did get to share with him. That gratitude is so easily lost when you feel out of kilter. It seems so basic: gratitude.Whatever our being together looked like on the physical plane, at whatever point along that timeline, I can focus an appreciation for each . And everytime I remember in an attitude of gratitude, each memory -- it makes what we talked about, or listened to together that much more REAL and solid and TRUE. Does he get to have that insight and experience too? Logically, (or maybe from most people's perspectives, this is more emotion than logic) on "the flip side" I must hypothesize that the function of memory remains.
|Commitment to write as a columnist, or blogger, or poet, or other type of author, for me, is less a drive and more a gentle way of being. Thus, I can find comfort in my inability to churn out a day-to-day output. Instead, it comes in fits, and may happen annually, quarterly, manic-ly day and night...but never in a demanded, someone is lashing at my heels to force out the thoughts way -- I do not know what mechanism is actually present at those times I care to move from my own innerspace to output.
As I begin to be concerned about my eyesight, my slowing at the keyboard, and my ability to have other people read, or more importantly, pay for what I have written, it only starts to feel like a race I must take part in now. Yes, I am confronted with my own mortality in playing over these last weeks since daddy died. He passed from the physical into the next phase, like the lovely desolate satellite of our earth does; I was here for only one cycle it seems. I wanted to be that astronaut who not only walked his uncharted surface, but to care for him in that completely solitary assignment when all the best minds launch you there, but can only send you for a short trip and with few companions. I still reconcile myself and try to comfort the shaking, weeping me who discovered him lifeless -- wanting instead to be the brave explorer who not only took in all available data that had been gathered from afar, and resolutely made the trip there to that very moment, but found the Scientific method and every imagined scenario was not going to be satisfied in that voyage.
I dance around the straight forward (as I always have) because my expressing sounds more lovely in its meandering form. Better than, "I thought I would be with him to tend to the transition, and I believed I was staunch and brave to hold even a cold hand, to close his eyes in that time." Even as I write that, trying, to be descriptive and blunt, I see that it still ends with the beating heart of a poet. Am I meant to suffer? How Buddhist a thought.
I can console myself further knowing I stood firm in his having choice and his independence; forcing others at times to give his power back to him, when they were more inclined to question those who should oversee or attempt to control his few remaining pervues. That would not have suited him. I know I prefer the man I knew and could be exasperated at; some degree of sharpness, but his own brazenness, where perhaps, so many had asked that he not be that. I feel my own children did learn the blessing of gratitude at least. That you should show the gratitude even if it does not come in the flavor you'd most like every time. He was a 31 flavors...and if the tiny spoon sample was offered, you felt obligated to choose that flavor, unless you truly had a revulsive reaction to its taste, (but then, it is ice cream after all), so you continue to go back for more opportunities.
Perhaps, even in death of the physical, I still have not run out of those opportunities. As I go through papers and photos, I wonder at both the drive and the laid back way of being, and discover we did have patterns in common. So this relationship is not over, and although my whole being could not do the symbolic ritual cleaning and leading on a new path, perhaps that was not mine to do. And like I often do to myself, I move too far ahead in my planning to savor the actual moment.
I do feel I missed a moment and was instead like a spectator that was asked to move along...and maybe that is where I experienced the hurt the most on that late afternoon two months ago. Being hurried along by the sentinels of the Universe as if I was not ready. How I hate being treated like a child, but delight in remaining one.
|I received many compliments from family and friends attending the Celebration of Life for my dad this past Sunday. I feel I only did what I wanted; gave it the attention to detail that was my style. There was music and words and sharing by others. There was a location and a selection of specific people, there was a specific level of treating those who attended to a taste of who he is, what he loved. I imbued it with ritual - nothing that I drew anyone's attention to. really only I knew. His cremains were placed reverently and draped in colorful cloth on the piano that was played throughtout. I only made the pianist aware that he was placed there. And consciously, I only think two other people and myself knew his cremains were there, and receiving the glorious reverberation of that piano played so masterfully. I felt a blast of joy at one point in the music, and I know it was heightened by the seat I choose. There were little pauses and stutterings and expressions that I don't think I even heard right, the first time, but nothing bothered me. By the time we'd made it through, I had accomplished what the whole prior near-month had been about.
|When my grandmother died, (and she had only been on one day of hospice, so it is difficult to remember if that made it more or less a shock -- more, due to her only surviving one day, or less, the understanding that hospice is preparing for the death) within a few sleepless hours I was writing in tribute to her.
My father died suddenly, at age 71, just two weeks ago. In the first week, I was able to list a half dozen memories of gratitude for our shared experiences, and I also wrote and published his obituary. I think these were good pieces of writing.
Two weeks, moving into a third, though and I am worried that I am not writing the stories.
I can write the details, the facts, but no one will be moved by a litany. That makes my writing an accomplishment, but not a draw. I need to know what I can do to write with a return of emotion, joy, even anger...It's not that I am not feeling anything, I'm just stuck in not expressing fully what I am experiencing, or am I? I don't even know.
So far, the only other things I have written down are realizations:
I feel like shredded taco meat, if shredded taco meat could feel itself being that hot, drippy mess that it is
I have always been a Journalist -- Today, I wanted to note down that I feel comfortable counseling myself through the early grief in the loss of my father, due to being a life long "journal-er". And in that moment that I hesitated to add the right sounding suffix to the word, it dawned on me that "journalist" was the apt title I had been denying myself
Both of these realizations say something about my appreciation of the blog format
The rest of the grief process needs time, whether related to my writing or avoidance of writing more.
|Read a good article about recommendations from the United Nations for Carbon Emission reduction globally. Which led me to considering a much more conscious diet.
What will I eat to help humanity?
What will I teach to help humanity?
Who will I be to help humanity?
And can I grow my compassion out to animals, and not just concern for people -- I have a certain aloofness, still, even as a pet owner. I can think beyond myself to the good of other people, but I remain someone who can be practical, and in planning my best life, that practicality usually excludes even my own animals. Feeling, in their current case, I could give them up because I can barely take the best care of myself. Yet, I know there are some people who cannot manage for themselves and are beyond in love with animals and their care. If I am willing, and it seems easy to make some changes in my choices which would benefit all humanity, why does it seem like it will be hard to change who I am to make it better for (first) my own pets, then strays, and then whole other classes of animals (Which I assume is part of how people decide to become completely vegan.)
What do I really love to eat
Not just the flavor, but the experience in the taste of it, or versatility of preparation that makes it enjoyable more than one way?
Let's start a list:
Apples (crispy, can grow them or go to a grower, or made into juice or sauce...or pies)
Corn (Polenta, and on the cob, and creamed, and Corn Chex and Fritos)
pasta and noodles (usually bleached wheat flour based)
Other beloved qualities:
crispy (rice crackers, Wheat Thins)
items at two-bite size
thick smoothie texture (hummus, refried beans)
tender-chewy (coconut macaroons)
|Using my purse brick (smartphone) to send a text, or jot down a reminder, or post to my blog...brings up the joy and frustration of auto-correct. What it brings to light most consistently and clearly to me is that I use a good number of antiquated words (including the word, antiquated). And some, I think communicate very clearly to their intended recipient, so I have no plan to ditch the use of words like, bamboozled, no matter how hard that is for auto-correct to understand.
It puzzles me some to see my website note for me that it has been nearly a week since my last blog post, even though I would've bet money that it had only been a day or two. The fact that I wrote down post-like writing in the past two days accounts for it, but it does so bamboozle me to not have a correct accounting in my head. This is als a lesson for me to remember in relation to keeping tabs on my checking balance.
I have told myself that I am making sandwiches for my family for dinner -- sandwiches and fast food keep being the main means of survival in the sudden heat of Summer and my current week of doldrums. I am not trying to minimize the impact that I know chronic depression has on my family. But as I am clearly experiencing some depression now myself, I really am able to comprehend the the lack of functioning that I have only previously and stubbornly been an outside witness to. I really hope to move past this to make all the best strides I can in supporting them. All the more clear that I need to take care of myself.
|Saw the indie movie, Yesterday, for a second time last night. Of course, mashing Ed Sheeran music in with so many Beatles hits makes it sweet for the ears and body. The struggle of the main character, Jack Malik, brings it to the Everyman level needed without overcomplicating. And luckily, the movie, as a whole, doesn't fall into an assessment like the one delivered by the critical L.A. manager, describing one of Jack"s songs as, "Not so bad that I hate it, but not interesting enough for me to want to hear it again to figure why," since I know some critics wanted to pan this movie that viciously.
Decided to write this morning because I could not have told you how long ago I had written into the blog, and a straight forward message of the story is to move ahead in life, using your gifts, no matter what. Seeing that four months had gone by since my last post, I can recall that some significant things have kept me from here: I styled a 4 week course then ran it in May, Was taking time off work to assist my dad while his health and mobility were compromised. Tried sorting through some collections to sell, but much coming up rubbish, and not getting steady help to minimize in case we had to initiate any move, since the rent keeps outstripping the income. And finally, facing the family's loss of mom's second husband recently at 89 years old.
So, yeah, quite a first half of the year.
And what works in screenplays as well as in songwriting? Starting the action in the middle of the narrative. It's what Speilberg and Lucas famously presented time after time. And I realize it is even part of the genius of Lennon and McCartney songs. Consider these openers:"Help, I need somebody."
|"...may your gravity by lightened by grace."
a line from poem, Equilibrium by John O'Donohue
Feels like a day to write. Rather than strictly denying myself a thing during Lent, I have watched my reactions to turning away from that thing, or more broadly, any "added" thing that I notice has me obsessively desiring or planning the acquisition of it. I chose a particularly hard one this year: bread. I also thought about denying myself (Starbucks) coffee for 40 days. I am not even a Catholic adherent -- I simply wanted to have a spiritual experience via the historically Catholic practice. In the first 15 days, I can report that I dutifully keep a journal of what mental struggles come, if they manifest at all.
I did not truly go gluten-free. Balancing my emotions and the safety of my family in having to deal with my emotions is the prime consideration. My body, in the way it operates, needs carbs. But the elimination of bread makes my choices and the planning of meals more conscious. I have easily turned away some pan dulce offered by a co-worker, and feel accomplished in lumping muffins and donuts into the defined restriction column that is my bread.
I also confess that I have not been entirely successful in just these first seventeen days of abstaining. My first blatant break took place this week since I was using up a sourdough loaf in preparing the family's evening meal. I at least consider it was worth the utilitarian joy of cheating with a quality product, rather than debasing myself for some second-rate, preservative-laden and/ or flavorless indulgence from a convenience store. It, or the offering today, is very likely the reason my mind has been pushed to write in the blog today. The company is providing pizza, and that is what I will accept today for lunch. (There might also be good salad).
I chose, in advance, to accept bread if it is offered. To spend the time begging off, in my opinion, speaks from ego or the aggrandizement of willpower to another, and is as bad a practice. It is counter to the peace and poise I am trying to gain.
So, still, I feel my experiment goes well. I feel balanced rather than aggrieved. I have a practiced ability to silently reflect what goes through my mind. Having this quality of equilibrium, considering my divine essence in the experience of human want, is this not how the desert wandering of Jesus magnified his purpose, at least as the story goes? During the season of Lent, and entering into the sacred mysteries of Easter, I appreciate this life --accentuated by my conscious application of spiritual and scientific inquiry about what it is.
|Ideas are abandoned quicky, sometimes for me within a week. Mindset is not. I need to think about what part of my usually supportive and peaceful mindset hinders me in this area.
Submitting a resume for a new job usually hits this trap. Despite how excited I may get about a job description, the fact that I do not have a resume worked out for a particular leap -- requiring me to rewrite it -- that work stops me, I guess.
My spouse told me he had a bad dream yesterday -- finding himself homeless and alone. I know he did not read my last blog post. But huh?
|This morning, in the normal 2 hour commute, I experienced the "new cruelty" moving from one transit agency to the other. My local line has plush, reclinable seats, (and more importantly, run a heater), while the express through the city, the long-standing MTA of the area has thinly upholstered metal seats with no heating being run. And because I slid into a window seat, the cold siding of the bus wall was also registering just how cold the difference was. Only because the morning temperatures have been frosty has this difference been that noticeable.
I am not even sure if the MTA buses have heat.
I equated it in my mind to the classic metal ice tray of my grandmother's, possibly great-grandmother's era. with its manual leverage for freeing the frozen assenblage.