Tag Archives: #amwriting

Best Present Ever

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“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

My dream is to write for kids and my mom is patiently waiting for this to happen. For my birthday, she gave me the most thoughtful, inspirational gift: An adorable bird jar (pictured above) filled with quotes from children’s books. Each quote is cut out, rolled, and wrapped with a colourful ribbon. Brilliant, right?

Today, I unrolled the L.M Montgomery quote, above. Yesterday, words from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:  “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Best. Present. Ever.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All In How You Think About It

narrative-794978_1920I am a forty-year-old woman sitting in the library, writing. I alternate between daydreaming and racing to scribble down ideas before they’re lost like wisps of smoke to the wind. I feel the heft of recent life changes — specifically, my focus on writing — so intensely some days that I can’t summon any words.

But, today I think:

I am a forty-year-old woman sitting in the library, writing. How amazing is that? I’m starting from scratch, and I’m fortunate enough to be in the library nestled amongst books. I’m in the one place where anything, and everything, is possible. I am so fortunate.

Photo Credit:  https://pixabay.com/en/narrative-history-dream-tell-794978/

 

A Mostly Postless March

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I’ve had a lot of time to ponder life recently, thanks to a mild case of middle of the night insomnia. I looked it up – it’s a real thing, complete with its own abbreviation: MOTN. It’s also referred to as middle insomnia, which is the name I like best – like Middle-earth only less exciting and more annoying.

Anyway, MOTN has given me time to reflect on the absence of writing here. In the wee hours of the morning, I think: It’s not for lack of tryingI’ve just used up all of my words between work and writing classes. Then, I debate posting a recent assignment instead of attempting a new post but, somehow, that feels like cheating.

I begin to imagine that I really did use up my words — that I’d been so prolific I eliminated half my vocabulary.

What would happen if words did have an expiry date or maximum use limit?

It might be wonderful — being able to permanently delete words that irritate me. With the lights out, I would grab my favourite blanket and curl into the fetal position to prepare for battle: panties panties panties panties panties. I’d rely on my husband to bring me water when I was parched, and be my cheerleader when I wanted to give up. ‘Panties’ would be no more.

Then, I’d support my husband as he prepared for a fight of his own: titch titch titch titch titch. Okay, if I’m honest, I’d probably sabotage him. I’d tell him the wrong word limit or interrupt him with endless “emergencies” because it would be too sad for me to lose the word. I slip ‘titch’ into general conversation whenever I can because his hatred for it is most entertaining.

We may not mourn the words titch’ or ‘panties’ but the loss of  ‘I’, ‘no’, or ‘water’ would be much more significant. Would they be replaced by new words with the same meaning? How would we learn about the replacement? Would there be a warning or would we be left speechless unexpectedly?

This is how my mind works at 3 a.m.

At least I have lots of questions to add to my ideas folder – a possible story to flesh out, perhaps. So…thanks, middle insomnia.

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/congerdesign-509903/

Great TV, Grief, and Sharing Our Stories

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I’m in love with This Is Us. In love.

At the end of each episode, I’m usually muttering ‘…such a stupid show’ through tears as I bemoan having to wait another week for more.

Months ago, my sister told me about a video she’d seen online about a family losing their pet. It brought us to the topic of how much people share online, and why. The conversation has stuck with me and often gives me pause as I write. Watching This Is Us has reminded me why it’s so wonderful that people share their stories; how important it is.

After watching an episode late the other night, I curled up in bed looking through my bedroom door. I looked past the silhouette of the bookshelves to the place my two children often stand to chat as they expertly delay their bedtime. I slowly brought my focus back into my bedroom, to a shelf that holds the memory of my child that was never given the opportunity to pester me with questions instead of going to bed. The baby I’ve never been able to snap at in nighttime frustration – sending her to bed to nestle under the covers beside her twin sister.

I’ve never stood outside my girls’ bedroom, telling them to stop playing and get to sleep, while I quietly revel in their sisterly goofing around.

I wish This Is Us had been on ten years ago. Watching one of the story lines unfold so beautifully – the complexity and interplay of joy and sorrow – has reminded me how I struggled bringing only one of our daughters home from the hospital. I held the social worker’s words of advice close and searched online to find more information about what my little girl, sleeping in her swing, would feel and go through as she neared adolescence. I sought online help to figure out what I could do to fill the void my daughter would feel having lost an immense piece of herself before she could even comprehend such a loss.

I found many touching stories online but little that was specific to the loss of a twin. Through the years, I’ve written a bit about my experience but it was cathartic writing, not anything I wanted to share. I was too close to it, and didn’t want my words to be a call for sympathy.

But, I’ve arrived at a place where I feel like I am closer to knowing the answer to why I write and, more importantly, why I would want to share. This Is Us has reminded me how alone I still feel sometimes — forever bound in that stinging ether between joy and sorrow.

Grief is a taboo subject. It is rife with cliches and a deep desire from onlookers for the griever’s raw emotion to be subdued or, at the very least,  packaged in a socially acceptable box wrapped with a colourful ribbon that screams, “I’ll be okay. Go about your business. I got this.”

Grief, though, is an asshole and isn’t going anywhere. Watching Rebecca and Jack’s story helped me remember the painful moments while feeling a little less alone.

My Place of Persistence

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You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.    -Octavia Butler

This is my blanket apology for potentially pointless, grammatically challenged drivel. It’s to be applied retroactively and to all future posts.

Chasing Clever is my little space in the world to write – a place that forces some accountability –  but I make no promise of it being good, entertaining, moving or grammatically correct. One day (hopefully!) but I’m a work in progress.

I spend a lot of time staring at the ‘Publish’ button asking myself why I want to throw my words out into the world. Will they make a difference? Does it matter if they make a difference?

After a first draft I ask myself if I’d be comfortable telling a family member or friend what I’ve written. This question is usually cringe-worthy, forcing me to put the piece away for another day. I am a private person so my desire to write is often at odds with my lifelong aspiration of invisibility.

Instead of clicking on ‘Publish’ I obsessively mull over where and how my writing fits. I try to work out what my focus should be – the niche all the experts say is necessary.

But, I have no niche.

I will rarely put my thoughts into a coherent order and I’ll never use words as eloquently as I’d like to, but writing is a compulsion that I’m going to give in to for now.

Chasing Clever is my place of persistence.

You’ve been warned…