Friday, August 27, 2010

Two Fish

A post about kids going off to college, 2012 and a small miracle that happened to me today - Click here to read it

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Disclaimer

It is incredibly hard to write memoir. First there is that business with factuality - and the risk that, these days, an author could find herself sitting happily on Oprah's couch and the next minute be torn into a million little pieces.

Then, there’s the way that life keeps coming at you, doesn’t come neatly - beginning, middle and end - all organized by chapter. It’s chaotic and messy.

You have to figure it out: What order should I put the chaos into? Which chapter comes first? And all of that is craft and all of that is challenging but it isn’t the hard part. What makes writing a memoir like ripping your cuticles out with your teeth is this: Every time you sit down to write it, there’s your life, staring at you from the page.All of your mistakes, your avoidance, your incongruence, your lies, your posturing - to relive and all, if it's properly written, in vivid detail.

The thing is, by the time you’ve written it down, ironed out the awkward phrasing and inelegant prose, life has moved on - and you with it. And now, returning to the memoir for one more round of editing, you can see how very full of crap you were; and you fear that if you put this book out there, your life may just show you that you still are, but in a bigger and more public way.

Memoirs should come with a disclaimer, right on the cover, embossed in bright yellow or solid gold ink: This was once true for me but I have learned a lot while writing it and I know now that it’s all more self-indulgent nonsense.

Which leads us to the biggest challenge of all: The still and quiet place that arrives after the sorting and considering and re-drafting and shredding of your masterpiece - the place where suddenly, the helium of the task dissolves and you are left, deflated and pathetic on the end of a string of something that was once so promising.

It sneaks up - a deep peace that is somehow coupled with a desperate ennui, leaving you completely fulfilled and also, strangely empty. Depleted, arms heavy, you wake up from the dream you've been dreaming for a year or two or five and find yourself sitting before a stack of 400 pages of almost-finished copy - and have to decide: Can I go on?

Can I abandon the soul-drenching, thrilling journey of writing this and begin to sell it? Can I, after stacking themes and plot lines into place, when I feel so full of wisdom, set down this fascination with my own life and family and enter the world of agents, publishers and author's platforms?

- and THAT, oh, best beloved, THAT is what separates the author from the non-author, the dreamer from the doer, the wheat from the chaff. At least I think it is... as I find myself there.

Today, as I return to this work - and imagine wrestling it into a 'book proposal' - this priceless thing that I made, line by line, brushstroke by painful brushstroke. Can it ever be fit back into the box? Can this universe of joys and sorrows be brought down to concise chapter summaries? And can I, when I feel now so wide and special and 'solved" be the one to do it?

I don't know. But after two years (maybe three) I trust the process. I trust that I will figure it out - and maybe, I'll even enjoy it.

I trust that some day soon, I will wake up writing like my hair is on fire and my belly bursting to express the pure joy streaming from every cell of my body onto the page again.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The possibility...

The possibility that the universe might be just a little bit in love with you, too.

New post on my website: Click here to read (and to watch my first video - Yikes!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Write. Pray. Hope.

This post is my tribute to Elizabeth Gilbert (after a dark night of envy and despair over her success)
I moved it to my new website where I hope you will visit it by clicking on this link: Write, Pray, Hope.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Last night: 3:00 a.m.

Since I was awake, I thought I'd just go check my email... and Twitter... and Facebook. And there, I found a link about Crop Circles.

And that led me down the rabbit hole, as such middle-of-the-night words often do, when we are open to the dream world, and the imagery that seems to flow more easily in darkness.

Down I went...
Crop Circles
Symbols
Sacred Geometry
Archetypes
Joseph Campbell
The Golden Ratio
Leonardo
Chartres

I crawled back up into the dark night and had a dream... of course.

I was preparing for a new endeavor - all the plans had been made, I had only to submit to two medical screenings. I passed the first test. All I needed now was the blood typing. The nurse attempted to stick my finger, a huge needle came out and I pulled my hand away. "I will do it myself," I offered, chewing at the pad of my forefinger. I drew a little blood, but not enough. She handed me a lancet - in it's little sterile envelope. I opened it and was about to cut when...

"Excuse me," a little voice said. I turned and found, standing behind me, six children. The oldest, a little girl with great big eyes, who looked to be about 7, spoke. "Can you tell us how to find 29-I?" she asked.

"Is that your room?" I asked - we were in a huge resort center (the dream now informed me) and the blood test was being conducted in its pharmacy.

The girl - and her little brother, the second oldest, nodded solemnly. "I'll take you there," I said. I led them to the hallway and told them to wait. I'd be right back. Just wanted to get Max.

But I couldn't find him. Leaving the children, trying not to forget them, I started searching. I came into the stands of a huge outdoor stadium - ancient and crumbling, the levels were made of concrete. People were sitting around, waiting for something. One of Max's teachers intercepted me. "We told Max that his father is dying," he told me. "Just thought you should know that he knows."

"His father is dying?" I asked. "I didn't know... "
"Heat stroke," the teacher explained. "He fell asleep in the car and the heat shield didn't work."

I turned, ran up the stairs, searching. Where is Max? Where is Katie?

I found Katie snuggled into my husband's arms. "Here you are," I said. "Have you heard?" He nodded. Katie's face was tear-stained. She pressed her cheek to Matthew's chest.

I was so glad he was there to comfort us. I tried to take it in. The children's father was dying. My heart began to ache and burn. Where was Max?

Then, "I have to take the children to their room," I remembered."Will you come with me?" Matthew nodded, transferring Katie to my arms, he walked behind us.

We found Max by cell phone. He was weeping. At the pharmacy, the children were huddled against the wall. Waiting. Max arrived. We began to lead the children to their room. I still hadn't done my blood test, I realized.

The children followed behind us. I carried Katie. Max, age 10, walked solemnly beside me, Matthew held his arm around me. I rested my head on his shoulder.

"I miss him so," I began to cry, turning into Matthew's arms.

As I woke up, I realized: How can Matthew be here, comforting me? He is in the hospital, dying.