Write the stories you love.

Write the stories you love.

That line comes to me often. When I hit an emotional wall, when words won’t flow, I hear those words. The stories I love, those tales that capture my taste for mystery, excitement, resolution.

And if I put my fingers to the keys, words flow. Not always making sense or useful images, but they flow. Like the tide coming in, wave by wave, so that the water line rises ever so slowly. A faint breeze stirs, tiny warmth encroaches against night cool.

Far to the east, out of sight, waves tickle the sand, teasing movement along the beach. In less time than it takes to make out the scene, lace foam decorates dampness with ripples, smiling at me. Waterline upon waterline vanishes under the next watery curl and the tide chuckles in.

Sunrise whispers into early dawn, nudging dark with filmy hints of light. A few reluctant cloud bits protest being edged away, then slide off. Light-fingers extend, tracing pathways for new sunbeams.

Drowsy bird chirps shift to full song. Leaves uncurl in the cottonwood, beginning to rustle. The mocking bird flexes his throat, his repertoire beginning with a robin’s borrowed voice .

Yellow-red sunlight saunters up and out across the horizon, spreading Day.

And I write.

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Writing is such sweet sorrow

Yeah? And what’s that mean? Besides corrupting a perfectly good line by Bill Shakespeare.

Started a new disciple recently, 15 minutes a day . During those 15 minutes, ideas, concepts, results all flowed with precision. Half way through the flowing, I got the Holy Nudge: write ‘em down.

Result?

A cohesive, realistic to do list with steps to achieve each one of those Today Tasks. One of which was to create a blog entry on what writing is for me. Crazy, I know.

Writing for me is a release, a safe place where I can tell stories from my head onto paper. Or simply explore concepts and structures I want to understand. No one else has to see them, hear them or even agree with those creations inside my own head.

The sweetness?

A good place to be myself.

The sorrow?

That I fear. But my private writing, is a laboratory for me to gut through what’s real and what’s an ephemeral creation of fear. And that work makes me stronger in me.

The craziest part is I didn’t always think I had that right. But Long Suffering Husband, he always gave me the space, encouraged the thinking. Even when he didn’t get what or where I was going mentally, he encouraged or sometimes shoved me into taking time to look deeply.

The man is Amazing.

But wait! This blog started out about me!

Aha. Now I see.

Most of what we think is about us is really about those around us and how they deal with us. The us of this world, those who observe, ponder, question, resolve then act or continue watching, we need places to do that kind of work.

‘Cause it is work. And we know it.

And I suspect, every us has someone who comes along side to help us find our own laboratory. Often a tangible human, because we are tangible and we are human. God made us that way on purpose.

‘Cause He is God and He knows what He’s doing. Ponder that for 15 minutes and see what happens.

Purpose statement: Huh?

Ever heard of a purpose statement? You know, that pithy, short sentence that reminds you the point of whatever it is you’re attempting to do? Heard a gentleman suggest we all need a purpose statement for our life, a reminder to put in front of my mind so I know when I’m off track. Or in my case, wandering through those crates in the storage building I call my mind.

Funny part is, wandering around is sometimes part of my purpose. The fun of wandering is actually finding a treasure not looking like treasure, brushing it off and discovering it’s exactly what I was looking for, while avoiding the TASK everyone else says is what You Should Be Doing.

Ah. Treasures hidden in darkness.

Kinda think an aspect of my purpose is to open painted over doors, lift sealed windows so others can find their own treasures which may not look treasurable or much less tidy results. Life gets messy.

And wandering is sometimes the only way to find the real path.

So, got a challenge for ya. In the next few days, steal a moment or two to write down your own Purpose Statement. What are you here for?

If you write, put down the words of your search. If you bake, dream the flavors of your recipe. If you build, sketch out the design of your structure.

Prepare to be surprised, scared, delighted and befuddled.

Rest? Rest!

Ever wonder about rest? I mean, what is it really? Sitting at the local coffee shop, making fun of the traffic flow that you aren’t in at the moment? Don’t deny we all do it from time to time.

But ya know, rest is not doing nothing. It’s a conscious act to cease activity, for a moment, in order to do more of what I do.

Whoa. That sounds so, so, self-aggrandizing. And fake smart. Like all those inspirational posters, meant to instill some greater sense of purpose in the work place. Truth be told, sense of purpose comes from the heart, not by looking at an enhanced photo of an iceberg. Or a jumping blue whale.

And back to the point, what is rest and how do we achieve it. Should we even try to achieve it? Funny thing about rest, God says it is a gift so important that to ignore the gift brings death.

Discussed this thing of rest with friends a few evenings ago. How it’s one of the Ten Commandments, and how in the Old Testament, violating this particular commandment had fatal consequences. Then in the New Testament, Jesus says the Sabbath, the day of rest, was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

So binge-watching every single episode of the original Magnum P.I. is good? Hmmm. Can’t really ever get those hours back. Or undo those last 20 games of Sudoku.

Not sure that’s what Jesus was talking about.

What if…and I’m just posing the question…What if it’s true the Sabbath was made for man and what if, ignoring a day of rest brought not just a judicial death sentence but a more damaging spiritual death?

How’d that look?

We need rest. And whether it’s the nine-to-five job or beating the laundry into submission while prepping dinner, as we shuffle kids to and fro, work is part of life. We need rest from work.

And yet to lay around, sit for endless hours, mind captive to whatever floats through the ether is also death. Endless tv, or hours of sitting even in an office chair damages the body, numbs the soul and dulls the brain into an inability to function. That is not setting a specific time apart as holy, sacred.

When awake, infants move all the time, constantly exploring the immediate world. Kids play with each other, talk, try new things and learn about everything. Teenagers, even the quiet ones, gravitate toward action, either in watching it or taking part. Adults spend resources on hobbies, work, plans for vacations, all the stuff of life.

All that action slows for periodic naps, sleep, quiet gazing at nothing in particular because the enjoyment of the moment, the rest for body and spirit restores us. The commandment to rest is for our good. Abusing that commandment, in too much or not enough, always leads to death.

Death of dreams, death of joy. The cessation of Life.

Life comes from the One who created Life. Resting in that awareness is true rest, which may not mean no activity. Or look like just chillin’.

So, yeah. Rest is not doing nothing. It is living life to the full, in abundance. Which is what Jesus promised. Whoda thunk it.

Organization?

Organizational, I am not.

Okay, okay, you can stop rolling your eyes. I can see that, ya know. And since you did it out loud, hear it as well. You know who you are.

As I was saying, or more exactly confessing, my organizational skills are a tad… primitive. Working on three different projects at the same time, in addition to the other parts of my life which involve people who do Not Write, means I must Get Organized. Or at least fake it until something shifts.

A friend told me how she attends a weekly staff meeting, just her and Jesus. Because she is the staff of one in her business and He does run the show. The same in my life. So, after a second or two of prayer, I decided to try it.

Made a list of really what it is I do. In the writing world, and a couple of other things that repeat in my life.

Which is:

Blog (of course, you know this)

Short stories (they keep popping up)

Books (2 published, 2 completed-not yet published)

Journal (really a book of prayer journaling for writers, will be published soon)

Bible study (personal and with others, couple of studies written but not ready)

 

Whew. Looks like a lot. Ah, not really. But I do want to keep up with them, ‘cause I do all of it. And it grows all over the floor. Might as well keep up with it.

And of course, family stuff. Grandkids and all that.

I don’t count housework. Or baking, knitting, other fun details. They fit in the corners of the other stuff.

My point is I Must Get A Handle On It All. Crazy, I know. But the crazier part is, it is working. I mean, not crazy that He does do stuff but my own follow through is not always a given.

So far, I’ve actually accomplished what we discussed on our first staff meeting. Blog entry, done. Prayer Journal entry, done. Letter writing, done. And I do have time for lunch. Hmmm. Can’t wait for tomorrow to see what happens.

New Project Jitters

Been working on a new project for the past few weeks and it’s always lurking in the back of my mind. Even random quotations jump into focus, then blur into murky threads, if I don’t get them written down fast enough.

Like today.

There I am innocently knitting, creating a fun thing for a friend (who for the record did ask for it) when a quote from a cryptogram came to mind. It’s a great quote, planting an image, an idea, a struggle in the morass of my brain, when BLAM, another unrelated concept slips in, smacks me between the frontal lobes.

And just as quickly, dissolves into some gray goo. Leaving no bread crumbs to follow, no scent to suggest a direction, no taste to remember What Was That Thought?!

Is it because I’m in the middle of writing a new thing I’ve never done before? Could be. All the insecurities of new territories mess with my head, so it could be that. Or fear. Or my own brand of nutty creative spasm.

That I do like, because then I don’t have to do anything with it. And I am nothing if not always evading what I don’t have to do. ‘Cause all the stuff I want to do won’t go away until I Do It.

Motivational posters give me hives so I make fun of them. A lot.

Wacky enough, the new project gets into that area. Every time it starts to get pompous, I rewrite and write to rewrite.

Writing is serious good stuff but taking myself too serious is not good stuff. Which, now that I think about it, may be the reason, that thought melted before I had the chance to trap it.

Ah, ha. One more item off the to-do list. Someone mention lunch?

Ideas Pop Up

Funny how ideas pop up, like dandelions in the middle of a new mown lawn. They are all over the place. Each one valuable, useful and full of promise. And just as pesky.

Odd phrases rise, fade and jump out to startle me awake. The blankets are still nestled around me, lazy filaments of sleep catch at eyelids but I am awake.

At 3 a.m.?

Yep. And the ideas continue to waft across to-do lists, sniggering at my attempts to hunt each one down, dig it up and use it or toss it.

Heard the thought that good ideas float on the wind, teasing and tempting every writer. Some of them take root, producing short stories, novels, articles, editorials, movies and television shows.

The rest?

They serve as compost for the next dry time, seeds buried in the mire of undone possibles. So, today, in another valiant attempt to capture this stuff before it gets way on the wind, I’m writing words.

LongSufferingHusband says programming is like that, or it was for him before retirement. He’d wake up in the middle of night with code sifting through his mind. Sometimes it made sense, sometimes not. But it was code.

This time, for me, it produced a blog post. Later today, got a hunch, it’s part of a short story. Not big enough scope for book-length. Yet.

Change. Aaaauuuuggghhhh!

Especially email addresses. Double Aaaauuuugggghhh.

That vague sense of impending shifts started a few months back. Both Long Suffering Husband and I poked at the idea of changing email addresses. Twenty some years is long ago and far away in tech universe but all our stuff was connected to the old address. I could send attachments, locate contacts, use group mailing lists, do all my business stuff at a keystroke.

But we both ‘felt a disturbance in the force’ kinda. How long would that old address actually work? What if the platform, gasp, updated? And really, what does that mean anyway? I still think of a platform as a wooden structure with support beams, nails assembled for someone or something to stand above eye level. A place to speak from. Now, it’s a mythological abstract you can’t physically touch. But it shifts and business as usual, doesn’t.

Ewww.

Embarking on the trek into getting contact lists reset, contacting each and everyone in our world to let them know Our Email Address Has Changed.

When it’s done and I relearn how to do all the stuff I knew how to do with the old system, in the new way, I will celebrate and stop rolling my eyes. Okay, I won’t really stop rolling my eyes but the comfort levels of how to do anything will be better.

Notice all that future tense stuff? ‘Cause right now, I’m TENSE.

Change? What Change?

Oh, yeah, that change.

Ewww.

Next blog post, I promise, no whining. Well, not as much or on the same topic or maybe even in the same universe. But don’t hold your breath. It requires change, you know. And we all know how that works.

 

Setting Goals

Setting goals is a learning process for me. I’m pretty good at the outset, not so hot at the follow-up. For all my whining about artificial constructs, cultural expectations and the tyranny of the urgent, turns out I need a form to follow, a deadline to meet and consequences faced.

Bored yet?

Me too.

Gonna blame the weather for it. Winter—not my favorite season. Still, turns out I need down time, confined and confirmed to finish some projects. Not a cold wind aficionado nor a wet, cloudy day person. Those days drive me inside, huddled into fleecy blankets with the space heater full blast. Accompanied by a hot cup of tea, coffee, apple cider. Fingerless gloves of course and wool socks.

Ahhh. Even writing this makes me feel warmer.

Let’s see, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Goal setting.

Ahem.

The need for goals. And how to set them.  That sends a chill down my spine. And up my nose. But I do it because if I don’t, chaos ensues. Left to my own inclination, those ideas in my head would be only in my head, books unwritten, dreams drifting away on spring breezes. Today, I am fulfilling the goal of a blog post written every week. And a new section of a concept laid out daily.

Sounds crazy, huh?

Except the blog post gives me space to open the trunk in my head, delight in one of the old cardboard file boxes, get lost in there for a bit, playing find-the-point-before-I-lose-it. And the section thing? Attempting something I’ve never done before. New territory not on my map at all. Much like trying figure out how to spell words the internal dictionary can’t decipher.

The really fun part? A sense of accomplishment sneaks around the corner of my brain, twinkling at me, then running off to the deeper parts of my character, giggling. Silly writer, tricking me into Getting Things Done.

Crazy. The things you learn when you do housework.

Crazy.

The things you learn when you do housework. And the things you wished you learned before you started. Two very different things.

The thing I learned? That dish liquid must be very strong. I cleaned my oven for the first time in a while. It’s self cleaning but last time I did that cycle, we burned out one of the heating elements. That’s part of one of those things I wished I knew before I started cleaning.

So, still have the oven and it still works, just not as efficiently. And until last Saturday, still grimy. Got an idea off Pinterest to use dish liquid. Turns out if I pour dish liquid on burned on stuff, leave it to soak for about 30 minutes, a lot of the baked on yuck comes off. With a good bit of help of course, but it does work. So, not a total Pinterest fail.

Now the oven is mostly clean and next time I will pour dish liquid on the burned parts, soak and then clean.

The other thing I wished I knew before I started? That my hips, shoulders and thighs are not 35 anymore. Sore in lots of places that I didn’t know I had. Today much better.

And tomorrow will be even better, ‘cause I don’t have to clean the oven again for awhile. I promise, no house hold hints from me. Merely a few house hold rants from time to time.

Oh, and I did get the second book out on  Amazon. Now have MotherLove and Kiss’N’Kill on Kindle and paper. Currently working on a writer’s prayer journal, to be followed by a collection of short stories.

Not really sure what to call the shorts but I do know what the cover will look like. It will have a big bowl of popcorn, a bottle of wine and two pink fuzzy house shoes. As if I’m reading, eating popcorn and drinking wine. Sounds like a lovely evening of fun.

There are lots of good/bad things to be discussed. Like if YouTube is a curse or a blessing. I think both cause I’ve been able to catch up on Nero Wolfe, lots of British mysteries and loads of yarn things. Not really sure if my LSH is as happy with YouTube as I am but he tolerates it.

All this does go under the Things You Learn when you do stuff and the Things You Wished You knew before you Began it. most of my life goes that way. The next project to be tackles will be getting my website corrected on the content stuff. And I’m not much into how to Promote ThySelf so to Sell Thy Books.  Oh, boy. As in, not yah but must do.

I sort of rank that stuff as less fun than scrubbing floors. At least with floors, my intelligence will not be insulted by electronic stuff that is supposed to be ‘intuitive’ whatever that means. Ah, me. Enough whining for now.