Tag Archives: writing

Junkyard Blues

22 Oct

I know what I want out of life, but I’m permanently plagued by the question of how to get “there” from “here”.  Part of my problem is that my desires in life are largely abstract, (i.e., I want a sense of community where I live), but the other part is that I honestly believe I could be happy doing many, many things.  I want to write, teach writing, counsel, do pottery, sell crocheted goods, open a restaurant, teach cooking, edit, volunteer full-time, and be a mama.  When it’s time for me to buckle down and devote myself to one thing — so that I can become really good at it — I am soon distracted by another heart’s desire.  

Elliott Smith sang, “I’m a junkyard full of false-starts” and of the many lyrics I’ve related to in my life, (queue seventeen-year-old me reaching through the speakers to hug Stevie Nicks as I hear, “players only looove you when they’re playin’.“) I can relate to being a junkyard the most.  The lyric is beautifully descriptive; you can visualize the broken ideas and abandoned projects becoming decayed with rust and neglect.  

“Here’s the corroded pile of ideas for starting my own line of stationery.”

That idea failed because I don’t know computer-based design well enough.  I didn’t have a good printer.  I didn’t have a screen-printer, for sure.  I would really have loved a letterpress machine… I wanted to make something from nothing, and without investing anything, either.  

It turns out there are very few risk-free hobbies, except for writing, but even that requires an enormous installment of time.  

I know I keep writing about wanting to kickstart my life into creativity, but please bear with me.  Every time I sit at the keyboard and write I’m feeding the right desire.  

So, if sitting at the keyboard and bemoaning my inertia isn’t getting me “there”, what will?  How did you get to where you are?


Skip This Post; I’m Just Exercising

7 Oct

The temperature became warmer as we traveled into the evening.  From the Cumberland Valley into the Shenandoah the temperature increased ten degrees, even though it was four hours later in the day, and into the evening.  The warmth seemed to beckon me and say, “welcome home; have a little extra summer”.  I drove in my VW with the baby, and the HD drove behind me with Young G.  The trip took two days (potty breaks and a nursing baby) until we ended up in Charleston.


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Carving Out the Time

2 Oct

I’m writing again.  Today, right now, I certainly am, and tomorrow I hope to again, and then again the next day.  I’m feeling pushed to write from within and without myself these days, and I keep thinking of really good reasons not to.  I’m too busy, for one thing.  Young G is 3.75 years old, and the New Guy is six months old.  We just moved to a new state and I’m not finished decorating yet.  Also, I don’t really feel like I have my brain back from almost five years ago before conceiving my first-born.  This year I’ve begun to read again, though (really, truly read — and finish — books of all kinds).  I’ve read books about writing, but mostly books by really fabulous writers.  Then I was asked by a longtime friend to assist her in writing a book.  So many fabulous words getting thrown around and bounced inside my brainspace and nary a one of them coming from my fingertips. Every time I try to inspire my friend — my client — to write something I feel guilty for not taking my own advice.  

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Livin Without You

17 Aug

I was telling a story to my hairdresser today, talking about my husband.  As the facts unfolded in the form of answers to his questions, his eyes popped with intrigue hearing the tale.  It made me think about how revealing facts linearly is so different from giving pieces of picture one at a time and letting the listener put the puzzle together.  I actually think the hairdresser might have gotten a better image of who the HD really is because of the piece-by-piece story, rather than if I had started at the beginning.

Maybe that’s why I need to do with writing.  Just give a piece at a time, and let the picture come together.  It’s very organic that way.

I never know where a post is going to go when I sit down to write.  I just begin.  The ending comes naturally.

Saturday a friend of my brother’s told me I needed to write a book.  If I had a nickel…

This year might be worth writing about.  So might last year.  Or 2002.  They all added pieces.  Sometimes I feel like the only way I could tell my story would be to write it out like Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” and give the entire background of my life, and my husband’s, for three generations so that our story made sense.  Had context.

So much is out of context.  Even context itself, though, is dependent on perspective.  None of it is objective.  I guess the story only exists the way I tell it.  The way someone else would tell it is a completely different story.

Yesterday I had a fabulous day with my boy.  Young G and I went to a park, ate at Chick-fil-A, played outside, played in the bath, and had a lot of good laughs and toddler-conversation.  All day I thought, “I should get a furnished apartment for the next six months.  Forget living with family; let’s just hunker down together.” I decided we’d go to Charleston, where the HD and I lived before the Army.  There’s a wonderful church there that I missed, and it felt good to be near it.  I actually searched Craigslist.

Then night fell, and the quiet made it hard for me to rest.  I stayed up much too late waiting for sleep to overtake me.  I got up out of bed three times.  I forgot to lock one of the doors.  My father and his wife are gone for the week for work, and will be back tomorrow, so the last two nights Young G has been dependent only on me.  Not a problem, except that I just don’t do well alone.  In grad-school I lived alone and never slept well until I could hear my neighbor start his shower every morning.  I’m scared of defending myself alone in a house overnight, and terrified with a little one.

So it remains that I shall be rambling along from house to house. Never the Queen, always the subordinate.  But at least I’m at ease when I’m at rest.

In seven months my maniacal protector will return.  I never feel more safe than when I’m with my HD, because he’s psycho.  He doesn’t just swat flies, you know, he lures them in and suffocates them.  Any intruder in our home would be tortured — psychologically — by the experience.  I love this about my husband.  If you knew his story it would make sense.


Love Letters!

23 May

Who gets love letters anymore?  I suppose those of you married to some ineffectual poet who pens you a couplet in lieu of repairing broken hinges may get a floral litany of prose at least quarterly, but those of us married to left-brainers are usually lucky to get pre-written sentiments dedicated to us.  My husband’s love language is seldom language at all.  For instance, my husband never eats or drinks anything without offering me some or asking if he can get me something.

So I repeat, who gets love letters anymore?
This is the first blessing I can count this year: seeing my husband’s love for me in pen-and-ink.  A tactile, permanent record.  Our love immortalized.

Also, by exercising the “I love you” muscles to find new ways of saying it, I’m watching a progression of love-letter strength.  Writing begets writing.

First I read through each of his letters, of course, one-by-one as I received them.  Actually, the first read was rather quick, almost a scan, like I was confirming it contained nothing unexpected.  They have all been without surprises, though, so after an hour or two I return to the letter and read it with a smile.

Now I read them through again, sometimes at night before going to sleep.  That love which they’re full of is such familiar love.  I can hear his voice, and see his face as I read the words.  I can feel his warmth, as if cuddling me and whispering these thoughts.  Even more, though, I know the heart that all the words are coming from.  Suddenly, the simplest sentence brings me nearer to him.

Now I look closer, past the words.  I study his pen strokes, and handwriting.  He has some of the most indistinguishable “r”s I’ve ever seen!  There are no edits, or words scratched out.  He thought about each sentence before writing it.  I watch his thoughts progress, starting with external love, like the smell of my hair, and ending with soul-deep love, like our purpose together as a family.

I know these letters will become soft and worn from all the re-reading.   Folding and unfolding.  Eventually the feeling of the very paper in my hands will be comforting.  Our time together – the letters and mine – will form a bond between us, so that I develop affection for the physical letters themselves.   My letters will become like old friends, and I will have memories of all the times they have brought me peace and comfort.  They’ll be my pieces of Him, in the same way I lovingly read the Scripture.

There aren’t many blessings of Love in War, but as this distance strips away the foolish selfishness we get caught up in, I see there are a few.  I knew our love was iron-clad from the beginning, but there is great blessing in having a love grow stronger.


23 Sep

Transparency doesn’t work for me out here.  I spend every minute of my life as transparent as oil-soaked paper, thanks to my tell-all eyes, and that’s enough, thank you.  Out here in the world of blogs, though, I need a different type of transparency: the ability to speak my mind without being identified.

I know *you* know who I am, but be discreet, for once in your life. I’m kidding.

I used to blog my heart out, and say, “fuck” a lot.  Maybe I don’t curse as much as used to, but I should be able to swear whenever it arises, right?  Everything is edited for content for fear of incrimination, culpability, and litigious exes.  Our mothers read our Facebook status and our husbands follow our Tweets and every Mama I’ve met offers me parenting advice on the “Family Blog”.  The incidences of cyber stalking increase with every export of new pictures from iPhoto.  I’m aware of the lurkers.  Or –rather — I assume their presence because I know how I am prone to do so, as well. Continue reading


8 Apr

I cannot write.  I can’t think of a single thing worth writing about.  At least, nothing that is longer than a Facebook status update.

First I’m gonna make it, then I’m gonna break it till it falls apart.  Hating all the faking, I’m shaking while you’re breaking my brittle heart.

Young G is napping and I think about sleeping, but shouldn’t I do productive things while he sleeps? There is laundry to do right now. Wash, dry, fold, put away.  I also have a pot of beans to freeze.  “A bag of beans produces about 7 cups of cooked beans.”  This is one of the ways I work to save us money.  I feel like we earn so much, but at the end of the month there’s never anything left.  Because it all goes into savings.  Hundreds of dollars a month is put into savings and IRAs.  Every time HD groans about taking money out of savings we have to say, “that what it’s there for!”

We need to buy my plane ticket home.  I’m not looking forward to flying with an infant, because I’ll be going alone, and probably coming back alone, too.  The HD got his ticket through the Army since part of the trip will be at a conference.  He’s getting to go to more than one conference this year, too.  One is for forensics, and he’ll be gone over his birthday.  His thirtieth birthday! My boy’s growing up. The forensics course is special for the HD because he’s on a select team of forensic dentists here.  Then, over Memorial Day he’ll be in DC at a conference he was nominated for to represent junior medical officers to the joint chiefs, or something.  Finally, in July he’s going to New Orleans for another conference he received a nomination for to represent the Army at large.

None of these conferences include me.  I’m disappointed.  Part of the fun is getting to travel with your husband and stay at fancy hotels and swim in pools.  I’ve done that once, and it was great.  But now it’s too far to fly.  What about the baby? It’s not like we could go out in  the evenings.  It’s just easier if I stay here.  I’m scared that this is the beginning of Diminished Me.  Once the notorious socialite, now the unshowered mom who is freezing beans.

So I think maybe I’ll write more.  I’ve got to stop thinking I’m writing for an audience.  Audiences stifle me, I talk best when I talk to myself, or if I’m talking to you, of course.  Then, just as I think I’ll write more, I think of something else to do… Read a book! Crochet some little things! Start a home business! Find new friends!

There aren’t enough hours in the day to do things and I have no idea how to prioritize things on a list when they all have the same priority.  Nothing is really important when Young G is asleep.  He has what he needs, and nothing else matters.