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Week 3/ October 18-24

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Authenticity and Surprises

Dear Writing Mama's,

Thank you again for another week of discovery.

I appreciate the efforts you all have made to be with your own selves and not to comment on each other's work. I ask you to continue this practice and allow yourselves to deepen in this exploration.

In answer to a few questions that continue to come up;
new members are always welcome. I do ask that new members go back and read all the previous weeks assignments and my original "writing tips" so that we are all moving forward with the same sense of understanding and intention. In terms of editing, it is acceptable to change spelling and grammer before you post something on this site. My purpose in saying "no editing" is not to prevent you from changing simple technical errors, but to give yourself permission to write from a connected internal place without interrupting that process to edit. In terms of more complex editing, we will have time for that in the future. But, for now I really want to support you in letting go of outcomes and put aside any need to be "productive" or finish a "piece". I want you to write, for now, for yourself. I'm asking you to trust this process. It is my experience that the more you allow yourself to write with no thought of anyone else, the more authentic a voice has the possibility of emerging.


This week, I would like you to be open to surprising yourself. Try to resist the urge to read the topics that I assign until the moment before you're ready to write on them. No planning. No thinking. Just you and the blank page. Then, ready, set, go.........

Let youself move beyond all the ideas you have about your life. There are hidden corners within us all. They are waiting for you. Allow yourself to find them.

Continue to stay true to who you are. There is no need for cleverness here. Your own voice is enough. Let that be your affirmation this week.

Write in the full knowing of who you are.

Love,
Tanya



Topics for Week 3

Write for ten-fifteen minutes on the following three topics this week:

1. Tiny hands..................

2. Birthday party.......................

3. Brown eyes.........................


Write for twenty minutes on the following two topics this week:

1. What I know now...................................

2. If I could do it again...............................

Bonus:

1.Light a candle. Sit in silence for five minutes. Let whatever thoughts come and go. Breathe. Let everything go. When the twenty minutes are up, pick up your journal and begin writing on "The most essential thing I want to say............."

2. Begin an ongoing lists of topics that you feel inspired to write on. Start the list with your passions and obsessions. Be as specific as possible.

Go Deep. Love. Accept. Breathe. Write!
post #2 of 45
Tiny hands take me to the fringe of tearful when they are in another room, not grasping a spare finger or the edge of my blouse. In the middle of a hurried day, tiny hands become flutes in the symphony of life, bringing levity to the gravity of the mundane, balancing out the negative with a warm hopeful pawing. And to look at those tiny hands gives me a smile, knowing they have the capacity to grow into any combination between the smallish frailty of mine and the strength of my husbands large, broad, tan hands. Are these my grandfather's fingernails, even? Then it's by coincidence, child; we gave you his name before you debuted these hands. Tiny hands such as these are still clean, before the freedom and wonder of toddlerhood, when I'll still let you get away with fingering spaghetti and playing cars on the bathroom floor.
When I hold your little hands now, I try not to imagine the day when you'll grasp mine any less. Your brother, at three, still clasps my hands in his as he drifts asleep. But your grasp will weaken; although not immediately I'll eventually be sickly sorry that you will even rarely hold my hand--you will have to find a reason to. It won't always be so uninhibited as it is now, when you need me as much as I need your touch.
post #3 of 45
Tiny hands, sticky with jam
cup my cheeks as she says
with such heartfelt enthusiasm
"I weally yuv you!"

Tiny hands
so like my own
tangled in my hair
tugging until chills run down my spine

Tiny hands clinging
to the hem of my skirt
convincing me
that there are more important things
than cooking dinner
or talking on the phone

Tiny hands
drawing endless pictures
in the steam on the shower door

Tiny hands in my own
wanting to keep them this tiny
for always
post #4 of 45

Tiny Hands

Tiny hands feel like gossamer silk when the swipe across my breast, touching me in the softest way i've ever felt.

tiny hands touch to know and squeeze nipples hard as if to say this is mine, reminding my body and me who's in control of estrogen flow.

tiny hands trust every one not to hurt them. tiny hands trust especially me.

tiny hands grow to small hands that want to hammer and saw and build, small hands that want to hold a wooden knife or a wooden gun or a baby doll.

tiny hands learn how to crawl, pull up, and hold.
tiny hands test their strength by pinching and hitting. they learn the power of "no." then one day they are looking for worms, drawing, playing with clay, and holding up three fingers with skill and determination.

tiny hands control me, shape me, scult me into the person that is me changing, molding, cutting away the ego.

mommy hands hope to let go and watch them grow to manly big hardened hands holding their tiny soft baby hands.
post #5 of 45
So if we can't peek at the topic until we're ready to write, that means I can't read this thread until I'm done...OK, I'm posting this as soon as it's done, so I don't succumb to the compulsion to twiddle it. Thanks for the challenge, Tanya!


Tiny hands ...

knead my breast, like a newborn kitten. Come on little thing, the milk is over here. See this bottle? This bottle here with this could be worse organic formula, and a few drops of breasmilk I've managed to pump. This bottle the doctor says you need in order to get to the right weight. On the bright clear morning of September 11 you lie on his scale, a glowing squirming happy baby. And he tells me you are headed for trouble. I walk past the televison screens in the lobby of his office, I barely notice the burning buildings. I have work to do. Please take this bottle the lacation consultant agreed you needed, when I hoped she'd tell me breast is best.

You took a few gulps, when you were really really hungry, and now, with ounces to go, you knead, you prod, you mouth at my breasts. I hold my arms tight against myself, telling you there's nothing here for you. I'm sorry. I rub your lip with the bottle's rigid silicone nipple, and you turn your face away, burying your nose in my breast, nipping frantically at my shirt.

Come on little thing, drink. This is the first bottle of the day and we're already behind. I've resigned myself to your needing this thing, this stuff. A mother's job is to give her baby milk. I'm doing that. By any means I can. What is all this I heard about babies who get bottles not wanting the breast. We've been at this for days, and every feeding is agony because you don't want the bottle.

Every time I mix that formula, fill or wash a bottle, I feel like I've failed you. You turn from the bottle, and after you take something from it, you spit up what seems like all of it. Especially if the supplement was mostly formula. I thought that once you got this generous bottle, you'd reject my breast. But stubborn little thing that you are, you loved nursing in those early days when things seemed so perfect, and now you don't want to give it up. And I just don't have what it would take to make it work for you. I'm sorry baby, so sorry, so sorry.

Come on little thing. Drink. No wonder I have hardly any milk. I'm losing all my vital humors in tears.


I feel like I'm done and let out a huge sigh, go join Dh for late night kitchen clean up. But I know I haven't done my full time. Kitchen all done, my fingers pull me back, you didn't give us our full time...

Tiny hands are persistent. I do everything I can to make more milk. I think she does better than the pump, but the difference still isn't enough. I'm feeling so hopeless I haven't sought any more help. But Dh says, why does it have to be one or the other. She loved to nurse. Let her back.

Tonight Dh and I laugh at how you say no how you say no to everything the swimming teacher suggests, even when he tries and tries and tries to get you to do what he thinks you should. You know what you want. Dh looked at me knowingly as we emerged from the locker room, you, the only child without a coat. You know what you need. I applaud your contrariness, it's because you said no to that bottle that we are happily nursing today. You know what you love
post #6 of 45
Brown eyes, I have.
They've gotten me many a treat.
And I wonder
oh, yes, I wonder
how many are they gonna get for you?

If indeed those are brown eyes
looking back at me.
Wide and reflecting everything they see.

Someone once told me that
I had a gift and if it's true
when you look into my eyes
what you see reflected is
you.

All of these people stopping
amidst their shopping
to gaze at you
and to smile.
What do they see?

I keep tilting and turning your little face
trying to get the light
right.

Oh brown, yes, brown
radiates outward
but then it
dissolves
into
is it
green?

My new name,
my new game,
all right there in you.
post #7 of 45
The birthday party meant family and friends but across two thousand alien miles there was no familiar company, except your father and I as guests. But we ordered the Italian cream cake from an authentic Italian bakery and I made sure the baker had a drawing and color palette to make the exact cake I dreamt of. A rainy day became an impromptu parade of new clothes to muddy and launder, boots to wear all by themselves with nothing else, ultimately. You pushed the pint-sized dumptruck through every puddle in the campground, tiny teeth poking through a sideways smile. Back then your hair was still before the curls, and I never dreamed you'd become even more beautiful than you were on that day. I was a sponge, swelling with details to remember and tremendous pride. You may not remember the misty walk in the John Deere parking lot, climbing assisted over slick green lacquer, or the bumpy ridges along the back of the baby alligator, or the purple-gold velveteen aura of the chintzy Italian restaurant where you ate your first plate of spaghetti, but I have in my heart a volume of emotions from that day, that I draw upon frequently when I recall the happiest times in my life.
post #8 of 45
What I know now makes me strong. What I know now empowers me. What I know now satisfies me as a woman. What I know now is I CAN GIVE BIRTH. Everyone else had their say. The baby is too big. It is not safe. Why feel the pain if you don't have to? And I had my replies. Too big for what? I believe it is safe. Pain is only part of the experience.

But beneath my confident answers I still wondered. After the lively debate, the doubters got to me. And I started to believe them. I couldn't do it. It wasn't meant for me. I was just one of those women that need intervention. I DO have big babies. Should I ignore my desire? Is it just a dream?

Weeks turned into months and I waited, waited for the answer. Wanting to be sure I could do it. Wanting to know they were wrong. Finally, a woman speaking through the phone told me, "Angie, I know you are going to have a beautiful birth." A single statement of confidence and hope that came to me as indisputable truth. That moment I knew she was right. It wasn't just a dream. No matter how this child came forth, her birth would be beautiful.

So I went back to the begining and studied the facts. My body conceived this child. My body grew this child. Inside my body alone was this child nourished, protected, and comforted. Through my body alone would this child be born.

What I know now is that she wasn't too big. What I know now is that it wasn't unsafe. What I know now is that pain preceeds unimaginable ecstasy. For the first time I see within myself a catalouge of personal strengths and am sure of my place among the legacy of my sex. What I know now is: I am a mother.
post #9 of 45
If I could do it again there is not much I would change. I would waste less time on worry, I would forgive myself more easily and I would spend less energy on anger. I would spend more time outdoors, I would learn to laugh at myself earlier, but in the doing I wouldn't change much. Each action and inaction has led me here, has paved the path to meeting you. You are more precious than my anger, than my hurt, then my mistakes, than my perfection or others' perceptions. I am here, with you, where we are suppose to be and to change the past might mean to miss this. This moment when you smile your milk drunk toothless grin and take my breath away. This moment when you take my face in your hands and shine love from your soul, this moment when you sleep curled next to me and I watch my own heart beat outside my body. I wouldn't miss this for anything. If I could do it again I would change nothing. My mistakes, my fumbles, my short sightedness, my addiction to anger and my fear of failure are all things I work to change from this moment on because I want you to see that we can triumph over our foilbles. There is too much joy in this world to waste time regretting the past. You taught me that when I looked into your eyes after four hours of unmedicated labor in the middle of a snow storm. So I continue to work on my flaws not to change the past, but make more room for joy in the future. You are in the future and each day I love you more and you bring more joy and there is only so much room, so I must let go the past. No regrets, no do overs. I hope you learn from my mistakes, but if you don't, I hope you learn that mistakes don't have to paralyze you, that love will come to find you anyway and all you have to do is open the door.

Time's up.

It's scary to write into space, where you know someone else will read your words, but you'll never know who or if it will make sense to them. It's a brave thing ya'll are doing. Thanks for letting me join.
post #10 of 45
Brown eyes are looking into mine through a veil of golden ringlets, frizzy from jumping on the bed. The eyebrows, riased, are his father's, but not nearly so much as his eyes. While my husband's eyes can look into and through me, these brown eyes are still searching but are too preoccupied with discovery to inquire more of me. After all, doesn't he know everything he needs to know about me? His father might never quit probing my soul for indiscrepencies, these young eyes are barely on the cusp of mistrust; we've trained him otherwise for three years now. In his eyes, and in truth, we would never betray him. So he can try and ascertain what I am thinking, right now as he balances on the edge of the king sized bed, puffing the golden strands away from his eyes, those deep red river eyes, that shine like winter water pooled atop a rusty well. But the curious glistening is so charming and distracting that I easily lose my authority and smile, gaze a little into these beauties that I've created, into the soul of an entirely new little man, and sigh to myself in defeat. Charmed, as usual, by their nonchalant warmth.
post #11 of 45
Tiny hands forever
Crossed upon his chest
A little boy once bursting
And now is lain to rest.
Be still my hungry memory
Be calm my smashing blood
For now the lid is leveled
My eyes take in the wood.
God, steel my resolution
Steal this ice pick from my self
My hands slide down the craftsmanship
My soul slides down to hell.
Beneath this pretty glory box
Sleeps one small lifeless heart
Four short years of beauty
Then from breath – ripped apart

Sorry, that was really morbid, but it just sort of came to me that way.
post #12 of 45

Tiny Hands

tiny hands
that will one day grow big
tiny hand
reaches up to my lips
for a kiss
well she nurses
tiny hands
that used to smell
like baby
tiny hands
that now smell like dirt
adventure, curiosity
tiny hands
that hold a spoon
put on shoes
try to put a key in a lock
tiny hands
that i will hold forever
will someday be the size
of my big hands
post #13 of 45

Brown Eyes

I knew this girl once
she had huge brown eyes like a deers
She wrote fluffy poetry, wore thrift store clothes
and had a slightly troubled look about her
we had the same haircut and once we kissed
We were really good together
my earthiness grounded her
and she helped me to see the clouds
it's sort of funny that
she has earth colored eyes
well mine are the color of the sky.

I haven't seen her in awhile
I hear she lives near me
I'm hoping to run into her
in the bread aisle
at the supermarket down the street.


ok I'd just like to say it was very hard not to edit this. because it's going places.
post #14 of 45
Brown eyes, just like mine stare back at me in one of the few pictures I have of my birth father. Yet they are not familiar to me and I don't know them. I have no memory of looking into them. I try my hardest to remember but the memory escapes me. You were never a father at all so I don't really even know what you are to me. sperm donor? I wish I knew what made you left and why I had to find out when I was 7 while my mom was getting a bank loan that my Dad (my step dad) was not my birth dad. what a crushing blow. I was sure for years that it was my fault. why else would a father leave? I must have been a horrible baby. I'm sure there's much more to the story than I know but how could you leave a little baby? your daughter? are there others? were you a parent to them or did you get up & leave your wife? I wonder if you think of me. especially around my birthdays. do you remember the day I was born? what I looked like? how I felt in your arms? did you ever love me? Birthdays really get me now. especially since having a child of my own. I wonder about you and where you might be, what your life is like. if you remember. Thankfully I have not thought of you on the most special days of my life like my wedding and birth of my son. I don't have any idea why. there's a void there anyway so what would the point be? I wonder what your family is like now and where you might be. do your eyes still look like mine? I used to fantasize about showing up on your doorstep as a teen and surprising your family, if there even is one. when I was 10 I was at a flea market with my mom and grandma and we ran into some relative from your side of family. mom rushed me out and I never knew until years later. I really do try not to think of you much, but every once in awhile the thoughts creep in. maybe you are dead. you might as well be, as you are dead to me.
post #15 of 45
I continue to change names to Dh and Dd. I originally typed this as an email to myself while I had some spare time at work, and somehow the stars got inserted.

Brown eyes...

...touched my soul. I looked into the face of the young man. I saw kindness. The eyes spoke. I'm going to be your husband. Yes, I felt. I didn't say it, I didn't hear it, I just knew.
*
What was this place? A temple, but not ours. My father is here somewhere, in a cluster of men.*This man*shouldn't be looking at me, he shouldn't be talking to me. But he is going to be my husband.
*
He gives me a paper with square boxes on it, graph paper, and a pencil. He tells me his name. It rings through my body. Write my name, he says. I put a letter in each box. Remember, he says.
*
He is finely dressed. He carries an air of privilige. He is his mother's pride and joy. He stands tall, and his carriage is that of a man, but his face is that of a boy.
*
He is younger than I am. This does not matter. No, he is much younger than I am. A lot. Young enough to be my son. That's who he is, I misunderstood. He is my son from another life.
*
We are in another place. We are alone. We shouldn't be. I am not your son. He looks all the way into me. Remember. He puts his hands to my face and kisses me. I am your husband. I feel my heart and my body respond. Yes.
*
I am myself, but I am not me. I am looking at her life, through my eyes. He is talking to me, so that I can understand her. Her life starts to wash through me. Small currents, and then I am riding a turbulent ocean. He wears contact lenses. They didn't have contact lenses back then.
*
Dd is rolling*around the bed. Other side, mama. Dh's brilliant blue eyes are open, a silent good morning. The first time I looked into his eyes, I knew they were my place. But that first time I saw him, I was sure they were brown.
*
I had a dream, I said, all about her, with many exclamation points. Were you her husband? No, he said, but I think I know who was. Brown eyes with contact lenses. The contact lenses were an intentional*hint. I sighed. I knew he was right before I even asked the question.
*
Other side.
*
Monday morning. Rounds in five minutes. The pockets of the white coat are as empty as I can keep them, and still the collar digs into my neck and shoulders.
*
I can hardly hear anything above the din of the nurses station, but I do hear the whisper in my head that always says, when can I lie down in bed and sleep, when will this year be over? My beeper is already going crazy and I head for the phone instead of my team.
*
I'm on the phone, the beeper is going again. I feel burning in my back. Two white lights on me. Whose eyes are those? Receiver to my ear, still talking, I turn. A new guy in a crisp, unstained white coat. Broad shoulders, square jaw, dark hair. Staring at me without apology. Heavy rimmed glasses hide whether he is attractive or not. Brown eyes just barely asking permission*to go on consuming me. One of the new medical students.
*
*
*
I dismiss him with an abrupt turn of my body back to the phone.
post #16 of 45
Tiny hands
tiny feet
tiny breath
tiny beats

tiny ears
tiny nose
tiny fingers
tiny toes

tiny veins
tiny eyes
tiny tears
tiny thighs

tiny smiles
tiny sighs
tiny pouts
tiny cries

tiny love
tiny joy
tiny wonder
tiny boy
post #17 of 45
tiny hands

reaching out in the night

sweet baby smell

soft chins and cheeks

snuggled in our cocoon

whispering in your ear

how perfect you are

sweet sleepy smiles on your lips

this is all there is

the light in your eyes

when I wake

sustains me.
post #18 of 45
Brown eyes that look at me. Knowing what I'm thinking. Thinking what are you thinking? I don't get you. You don't seem happy. I thought you were happy but you are acting moody.
I thought EW's eyes would be brown. Nope, they have remained hazel. Like mine. Everyone says you look so much like your father. But when I look at you I see my eyes looking back at me.
Brown eyes. Little cups of coffee with a dash of cream. Just the way I like my coffee. Coffee that I love so much. That I'm addicted to. That is probably bad for me and makes me breakout. I look forward to my morning cup in the evenings. The ritual of grinding the beans. Starting the water. Letting it steep. The aroma of the coffee. So rich and unique. The first sip is my favorite part. Often I try it before it's cool enough burning my tongue for the first taste.
I quit drinking coffee when I was pregnant. At three months postpartum I had a small taste and slowly reintroduced it into my routine.
The coffee helps motivate me to get out of bed in the morning with the baby. As the days are getting shorter, you continue to get up at the same crack of dawn time. It is dark out when we crawl out of bed. By sunrise I've generally had my first cup. Which is more like two or three cups depending on the size of the mug I grab. I meet those brown eyes in the kitchen and recieve the look of "you've had quite a bit already haven't you?".

edited for spelling. I couldn't help myself.
post #19 of 45
Birthday party. Who's birthday is it anyway? Is it mine? I never really have birthday parties. My birthday is the day after Christmas. People are usually too worn out from the holidays to do much. Worn out and spent out. That is the tune of many a present I recieved growing up. A combo present. Just what I wanted. I can tell you put a lot of thought into this and that you relish the day of my birth.
I also share this special day with my mother. Which is a unique thing, I know. I do cherish the fact that we get to share this day. Growing up and having to share your special day with mom is not as exciting. If people were not already wiped out from the most overbearing holiday all ready, they really had a hard time buying two presents. One for you and one for your mom.
So I have the christmas/birthday combo and the you and your mom combo.
Another downfall about my birthday was that it never fell on a school day. I could bring cupcakes into class weeks before the actual date. That, however, took the fun out of it. Almost like celebrating my birthday in June. Which would also, by the way, not fall on a school day.
These days I care less about the presents. People also know in advance how much I detest the combo gift anyway. Instead my birthday is a wash of holiday get togethers. Since our family has grown up and expanded, Chirstmas is sometimes celebrated on the 26th. Luckily, I have matured and do not look forward to each passing year as enthusiatically.
My mother and I have grown accustomed to our fate. We both know that is not about the spotlight, fame or glory. I love the fact that she tells me that I was her best birthday present, ever.

edited for typos :>
post #20 of 45
Okay, here's one more since the babe is asleep and I'm awake.

If I could do it again I wouldn't look at the assignment until I was really ready to write. I had several fabulous ideas of what I wouldn't do the second time around and now I'm blank.
If I could do it again I would go to bed earlier. I would stay up later. I would take better care of your teeth. I would make sure I always took my multivitamin.
If I could do it again I would not have had sex with as many people. It wasn't any better and I didn't feel more experienced. I just felt more exposed and sometimes used.
If I could do it again I would have remembered to ask for your placenta. Your birth didn't happen in the safety and cozy confines of our home. I often feel if I had your placenta we could have given it a home in the ground. Not let it be burned with all the other babies placentas. Besides, I wanted to see it. I've seen lots of placentas and they are all different. I bet you had a big fat healthy one. The kind where the veins and the artery intertwined to form a beautiful and strong ringlet.
If I could do it again I would write more about what you did each day. Someone asked me what you liked to do at six months and I couldn't remember. How will I remember when you are ten or twenty? Will my memories be just a blur of drool and poopy diapers?
If I could do it again I would drink more water. I get so busy during the day I sometimes don't drink until I feel completely dehydrated and my lips are beginning to crack.
If I could do it again I would have never inhaled that first cigarette. It just began a lifetime struggle of quitting smoking and resisting the urge to just have one puff once I had quit.
If I could do it again I would have continued to do lots of yoga. That was such a good way to focus and relax. As I write, I realize that I can continue to do lots of yoga. I can drink more water. Take my multivitamin. Write down daily events and even take better care of your teeth. Some things are past and can not be changed. Others are just waiting for me to take hold.
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