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#1 of 56 Old 11-15-2004, 02:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Compulsion/ Panic drives my compulsion. Panic. Where does this anxiety come from? Why is it here? Is compulsion really just another name for "American"? Compulsion to eat, to distract, to fill this body with poisens. To escape. To escape this world. Last year was the first year that I thought this world was too much, too hard to bear. Last year was the first year when the word "optimist" dropped out of my mind as an appropriate description of myself.

Six months. For six months I desended into a hell realm I never knew before. It started on June 6. The day I came to know that Sooz jumped from the bridge above the Taos Gorge. Even though they did not find her body for five more weeks, I knew. Her delicate bird like body was found downstream weak from the aneorxia she had battled for years. Compulsion. The last time I saw her I stopped by her trailer out past the Allsups on Highway 14. She told me in all seriousness that she was down to eating one chocolate earthball per day. There was pride in her voice.

She cried that day. She said she was so happy to see me and that in the seven years she'd lived in that trailer,no friend had just dropped in as I did that day. We took a walk with Chloe and her big white dog, Arthur. We walked on the dirt road behind her place covered by a warm New Mexico sky.

Sooz and I hugged a few times that day. She told me that she loved me very much. She did not tell me that she'd gotten out of the hospital two days before for her first suicide attempt.

She was the first loss that took me to my knees.

Then, a month later, Lauren. That one will be unraveling itself in my psyche for years. Best friend on a parallel path for thirteen years. We held onto each other through birth, death and divorce. It was a slow moving path that eventually led us into each other's hearts. To each other's sweet kisses. To each other's beds. How could and when did we turn the corner that would destoy us? How could the deepest green ocean of her eyes turn from tears of the most sublime love to eyes of rage I can never/will never understand.

I know that I will never know all there is to know, but I do know that her mother's daily beatings of her as a child figure prominently into this equation. I will never stop thinking of her as a miracle.

But then, three weeks later, I got the call about my daughter's father and his suicide attempt in L.A. This must be some surreal joke. Not my life. Not reality. Swimming through a pool of clouds and ocean and dust with our six year old daughter- on my own. And then the hidden diagnosis comes to the surface. Scitzophrenia. And all the barely held together fragments of life shatter. And all the broken pieces of life finally make sense.

All my peers. The three people who I met and joined hands with the first month that I moved to Santa Fe, thirteen years ago,vanish from my life in one swift blow.

And I am left standing with a perfect child at my side, underneath fire, mountain and sky. I look past the wreckage. And I live.

Grace/

Grace descends upon me unexpectedly. Yesterday, up the mountain, Chloe fell down over and over in the first winter snow. Making snow angels and laughing. I have not seen her laugh with so much joy in a while.True/carefree/in-the moment/no thought/laughing joy. My heart brims with tears. I am so grateful to see her joy intact.

Intact after so much grief, so much loss bestowed upon her young life/large spirit. The day before her cockateil,Penny died suddenly. Teflon poisening released into the air when I cooked dinner. A hidden poisen that no one mentioned at the pet store where we got her one year ago this month.

Penny was an amazing bird, funny and quirky, always biting on our earings. She was so affectionate and never wanted to be confined to her cage. She was eating popcorn and picking between the dog's toes the day before she died.

She graced me/lying on the bed when she was dying. She was laying face down in her cage. I picked her up. Her tiny breath was still coming and going.Very shallow ,yet life was still there.

I lay down on the bed and held her limp,still body to my chest. I stroked her softly. Sending all the love in me enegetically, hoping that her life could be spared. With what must have taken a tremendous amount of energy, she moved her small sweet head and looked at me with her beaded black eyes. I looked down at her and was filled with grace. She offered me a transmission, an acknowledgement, a thank-you. A mutual sharing of life before the small breath subsided.

Grace. Where is grace to be found? I cannot deny it because I have experienced it and I know it exists. It once descended upon me on the F Train to Brooklyn when I was twenty six years old and my roomate was dying of AIDS. I know that grace cannot be sought after successfully. It hides and appears with it's own agenda and light touch.

Like in the movie, "Wings of Desire", it brings awe and relief. It brings with it an unspeakable experience of the greatness of life. And yet, it does not pay the rent. Does not necessarily change circumstances. Does not spare a life. All the things the personality longs for. And yet, when it appears, all circumstances have the possibility of being viewed from a different perspective.

Grace. My daughter's middle name. Perhaps I should have made it Joy instead. Do I wish the experience of joy for her more than grace? A difficult question for a mother to answer.

From my mother's perspective I would rather her know joy and happiness.

For myself, I would choose the depth of grace to the impermenance of happiness. But, for my little girl? In my heart of hearts, I would like her best to know simple joy. Days in sunshine. Swingsets.Picking strawberries. The clean cool taste of freedom. Playdates. Swimming lessons. Recovery from the brokenheartedness of being her father's daughter.

Norman Rockwell prints in our own Santa Fe,solar powered kind of way. Is that really what I want for my daughter, who I named Chloe Grace?

I have no idea. I do know that I want her to find her way to herself as beloved to life, to her body, to this earth. I want her to find her path, her love and her way. And I will pray for grace.

Dear Friends,

Today I was cleaning out my office and came across some freewrites that I did for myself last winter. I thought I'd post a couple of them for you to read. When I look back upon them I realize how much writing continues to heal me and how much my life continues to expand and grow as I stay close to myself and close to the page.

I so encourage you all to re-read your writing goals on a daily basis so they can really sink in. Break them down into smaller pieces if necessary and give yourself some realistic deadlines. Even if you are writing for ten minutes, three times a week, you can move forward with your work. The most important part is staying with it. And being gentle with yourself. Keep the pen moving.

As for feedback, we need to keep refining the process. Some of it was positive this week, but some of it bordered on being destructive (I know it was well-meaning). Please really refrain from placing a judgement on a person's work. For example " that was a depressing story". That is not helpful and it may make the writer self concious. Better, is a commentary that expresses specific feedback on a part of the piece. For example, "I really liked some of the vivid description you used when describing the inside of your house" or "I wanted to know more about your brother and think that you may want to elaborate that part of the story". I think it would be best from now on if people post the kind of feedback they want. For example " I am piecing together these two freewrites as the opening to a short story about my family. Are there specific parts that resonate with people? Is it too confusing? Does anyone have any suggestions for how to create a transition between the two major topics?

Feedback is not about complimenting each other or even commenting on each other's topics. Even in a positive way. It will inhibit you. You will feel obligated to give each other approval. You don't need approval. It's already yours. You are all writers. You are all doing great. I mean it.There, now that's out of the way. Now, go on and ask each other for specific, constuctive help, if you want it. And remember, it's fine to use this forum as a safe space to keep exploring without feedback, editing etc. etc.!

On we go...................

1. Write for fifteen minutes this week on the following three topics:

Trying too hard...................

Where my heart lives....................

Secret desire....................................

2. Write a list of the twenty things that you can do that bring you joy. Post it by your desk.

3. Write one thirty minute writing on one of the following topics

Compulsion..........................

Being still.......................

January.......................

***Bonus

a. Go back and look for themes in your writing. Take two-three of your freewrites that share a similar theme and begin combining them into a full length essay, monologue or story.

b. rent "Wings of Desire" from your local video store. Watch it in bed with a bag or bowl of popcorn after your kids are asleep.

c. Be aware of your breath this week. Breathe while you write.

Above all, keep your spirits high and keep your pen moving!
Love, Tanya
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#2 of 56 Old 11-15-2004, 11:42 AM
 
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I try too hard to win approval. Yes, I am an approval seeker. I have been told so, and I've even asked myself, "Why do I seek constant validation?" "Who am I trying to please? Please!" My inner psychologist/critic (the one I became at age 9 when I started reading my grandma lu's psych books) tells me that I must have low self esteem and insecurites that stems from past abuse. Or, maybe it has something to do with the ID, Ego or super id. Or, maybe it's because I was lacking in parental guidance. who really gives a rip why? I know I try too hard to get approval. There, I said it. I care too much about what others think (those that I am trying to impress: my husband's friends, my writer's group , my self...i flashback to high school: being ashamed of my grandmother's one leg (not looking at the miracle that she is--on her way to a death and dying seminar, she injured her leg in a car accident in Alaska on black ice, the vehicle that she was in was thrown on her...), being so embarressed that I wouldn't ask her to help out with choir activities, because of my lack of backing in this area i was not chosen to participate in the show choir---no one ever said so but i know this to be true. I know it hurt her so much that I was ashamed: Ashamed of a loud car coming to pick you up, Ashamed of an absent addicted mother whose name was all over the news at a certain point in time for trafficking--thank God that our last names were different at the time.
I am reminded of Ian when we were at the Good Foods Coop. this past summer. Someone commented on my cute little baby, and I said (not to leave out Ian), "Yes, this is Tanner, he's 8 months old and this is Ian--he's 2 and half--he's been jumping..." Upon hearing this cue, Ian then proceeded to turn a flip on the hard cement floor. I winced at his approval seeking antics. He was trying too hard to get attention and surely must have hurt his head. The truth is that we inherently want to do good so that we may love ourselves. i guess that I never felt good enough. Today, i know that, "i have enough, i do enough, i am enough." (sark) and I Love my Self in spite of my approval seeking antics. I recognize that's what they are, and i go on letting go of this childish need that surely I will outgrow one of these days.
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#3 of 56 Old 11-15-2004, 02:45 PM
 
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Tanya... your writing touched me so deeply. I could feel your sense of the floor gently falling out from under you and the reassuring love you get from your daughter.

zenfulmama... I remember those days. I loved that writing. I felt like I was in your head the moment one of those "approval seeking" missions ticked you off!

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#4 of 56 Old 11-15-2004, 03:00 PM
 
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May I ask ????
Do you fine writers write on paper first and then transfer it to the computer or vice versa?
I have been doing both with the exception of what I have posted here. I started out on the computer because I wanted to capture my feelings as soon as I read the topics. nak.... if i am left too long to think about what i am going to write then i find myself not writing to heal. i just wanted to know how others aproach this if i am allowed to ask this/ if i am not than fel free to skip.
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#5 of 56 Old 11-15-2004, 07:21 PM
 
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Hi Tanya (and all) --
I agree that having the writer frame the type of feedback she is looking for would be great. That said, is it okay to post pieces that we have already worked on?

I would find feedback much more helpful on the pieces that I have reflected on, am thinking about expanding, or have already starting shaping (after the initial freewrite). Is it okay to post those pieces, or should we only be posting our (unedited) freewrites?

Thanks!!
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#6 of 56 Old 11-15-2004, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear Stacy,

Thanks for the question. Feel free to post anything that you're working on. I want you all to continue doing the freewrites and I also want you to utilize this forum in the way it best supports you.

Tanya
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#7 of 56 Old 11-15-2004, 11:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charmarty
May I ask ????
Do you fine writers write on paper first and then transfer it to the computer or vice versa?
Funny... I was just thinking that I'd better copy my posts so I have my own copy!

I've been just doing my assignments here with the exception of a poem or two that I long-handed late at night.

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#8 of 56 Old 11-15-2004, 11:45 PM
 
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People often think badly of me for the way I live my life and the people I have excluded from my life. I get a great deal of criticism for it. We don't speak to my inlaws, my mother still hasn't seen my 10 month old son and I haven't spoken to her in over a year, and I'm regularly at odds with my father.

Now that I have a child, the world seems to think that all their wrongdoings should be forgiven... "for the sake of my son" getting to know his grandparents. When I try to allude to my ongoing problems with these people I am met with the stock response that "every family has problems".

Well, I grew up with an alcoholic whore who neglected us so badly that I left her at the age of 12. Upon leaving, I threatened her that if she went to court to fight me on the issue, I'd have my half-brother removed from her care. I went to live with my father, who until that year never had the time of day or a dime to pay for me and my brother except for the occasional kidnapping between he and my mother and custody battles. The only thing that changed was the money situation. He mentally abused me for years--telling me at the age of 13 that he wanted me to have a nose job so I'd be perfect. Crying to me that he couldn't let me go out with friends because if anything ever happened to me he'd commit suicide. My mother continued to drink and ignore me (despite daily phone conversation) from 1500 miles away. We were possessions.

Then I married a man with a family that spoke highly of his intelligence, but then publicly humiliated him. They were of the opinion that he didn't need any woman--he had them to make his decisions and spend his time with...no woman would ever be good enough. Especially one who was not raised in Brooklyn and did not speak italian. I was the enemy of all enemies. Their lack of respect for my husband and my husband's lack of confidence to defend himself led to their ability to mistreat both of us until my husband finally couldn't take it anymore. To add insult to injury, not only were they incredible hipocrites, but they fabricated their own reality--making it impossible to resolve issues because they didn't exist. My husband had similar horror stories about his parents--one of whom was an alcoholic as well.

In all cases, my husband and I finally stood up and refused to be mistreated any more. We would no longer be the family doormats that everyone could rely on to help out the family--to fall back on--no matter what they did to us. We looked at these people and what they had done and what they continued to do with no regard to how it made us feel. They didn't care about us. We were just tools that they pulled out of the box when needed, used us and then put us away until they needed us again. And like tools, we were expected to just do what we were instructed and shut up. We saw how incredibly different we were not only from our families, but from all the people that surrounded our families. And we liked who we were--we were proud of how we lived and what we had accomplished. We felt that what these people did was far too extreme to overlook--especially in light of the fact that they intended to continue this way with no regard for how we felt. After all, our feelings never mattered to them before and life was just fine.

We are alone now. Me, my husband, my son and two dogs. We have two couples of very close friends... and then there is nothing. When you look at the world around you and see lots of families with all their problems somehow managing to peacefully coexist, one is left to wonder if maybe we are trying too hard to keep the past from affecting our future.


Any and all criticism welcome.

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#9 of 56 Old 11-16-2004, 02:05 AM
 
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Where my heart lives is in the ribcage of my daughter
in the fluttering of her eyelashes and the curls of her damp hair;
In her sleeping breath and waking smiles,
in her chubby fists and tiny toes.

My heart lives in her wide, china blue eyes and small shell like ears
that drink in the wonders of this world.
It is in her squeals of delight and songs of nonsense
that my heart finds it's rhythm and joy.

Where my heart lives is in the home of my daughter,
of my husband and of mine: We three.
It is carried in the strong arms of my daughter's father and
lost in my husband's laughter and found in his gentle kiss.

My heart lives in this house of forgiveness, of kindness,
of second chances and first loves.
It dances with abandon and sings with amazement:
Here is where my heart lives.


This is just doing the assignment. I need to practise doing assignments. I was always lousy at doing them in college. I don't mind feedback, but I'm not particularly looking for it either since this was just an 15 minute free write.........on the other hand I am trying to write more about joy without going sappy so ratings on the sap-o-meter might be helpful, just to get an idea. I happen to think it is too sappy but have no idea how to not be.........
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#10 of 56 Old 11-16-2004, 01:17 PM
 
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Trying to hard usually results in a pulled muscle of some type of injury. A broken heart, for example.

Times I have tried too hard are when I knew something would not naturally grow and happen, like if you tried to garden on a slab of rock. Why would you do that? You could, but you would have to try awfully hard, bringing in soil and compost, working in fertilizer, digging and wearing away and scraping. Wait a million years and that granite will have crumbled, adding essential minerals to the soil. Can't wait that long? Head for the green valley instead.

When you try too hard you end up spending all your time back bent over working muscles till they're sore. You may not be able to try again for a long time, until after you've recovered.

That, for me, was dating.

I tried. I worried about when he would call, how to make things work. I wondered what I could do, how I could be, in order to have that perfect bottled happiness as promised in all the commercial fairy tales, bubbling over with joy and fulfillment. There was the makeup and the music, the compromising and forcing myself into molds I was never meant to fit in. There was the shattering and breaking afterwards and having to pick up the pieces of myself.

Then I stopped trying at all. I let the reins go, I jumped down and walked on my own two feet, finding the direction that suited me and breathing effortlessly, taking great huge gulps of the clean fresh air. I let the wind flow through my tired fingers and as I walked along this desert path a form in the distance began to take shape. He was walking towards me, then beside me. And all the pieces, those shattered remnants of who I was that I still had stuffed into all my pockets, rearranged themselves to show me who I had become, and we fit so effortlessly together.

At first.

Then came the trying. We tried hard and by putting in those long hours sweating and swearing, crying and yelling we nearly broke.

We relaxed again into a free fall and after we landed felt solid and flat on the ground, him and me, we built our lives together and our home, striking the balance between trying and untrying and with only small amounts of effort we cultivated this lovegarden until two bright flowers bloomed in its center.

How to keep this balance between trying and simply feeling it flow? I can feel the days when conversation is forced, when we have to try in order to enjoy each other's company, when his trying to bend me to his shape only results in me pulling off in the other direction. When my trying to pull the loose ends together only results in them snapping back away from me like rubber bands. Again I find myself letting go and looking for the way to fall away from the chaos and find my place to just be.

I lay here waiting for him to stop trying also, so we can lay there together, picking up the pieces of our life and looking at them as treasure and putting them together at our leisure like a jigsaw puzzle in front of the fire on a cold winter day. Trying, making an effort to hurry up and finish, would ruin the whole thing. It's about relaxing and enjoying the process. We don't need to get to the end, because the end is the end. Let's just relax and enjoy what we're doing here and it will all fit back together, in time.


Any feedback would be welcome, thank you!
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#11 of 56 Old 11-16-2004, 01:21 PM
 
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violafemme... nice--for just "doing the assignment". It sounds like what I feel about my family... so it really touched me. (DS has blue eyes, too!)

lavendar... LOVED that one! It made me smile! Awesome twist on the topic!

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#12 of 56 Old 11-16-2004, 01:42 PM
 
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Oops--I have not posted my writing goals!

I began writing on a daily basis just over a year ago now, in an effort to get my creative juices flowing. I paint, and I had been wedged between motherhood and an unhealthy grudge for several years and my brush would not move across the paper. It started with reading the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, in which she recommends doing what she calls "morning pages", which are three solid pages of hand-written stream-of-consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.

Since, my pages have been a major part of a kind of spiritual journey and I have discovered the joy of writing for release. Some days it's just brain dump and chore lists and other days I wind up with part of a story or a major revelation about something particularly important at the time. Eventually, I'd like to complete a young adult novel that I have partially formed inside of me, but priority for me right now is painting.

I have been writing longhand then going back and trying to read my scribble and adding paragraph breaks as I type it into the computer. I usually just write for myself, to keep myself honest about what I am feeling, but I am enjoying sharing and having the opportunity to grow, and so I will specify when I am open to feedback.

Thank you!
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#13 of 56 Old 11-16-2004, 02:39 PM
 
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Tanya:

I see contrast between the two pieces, in the sense that the first is about giving up and falling apart, and the second is about things coming together, falling into place. A kind of an ebb and flow. The end of the first, where you are left standing with your daughter beside you, could be a good beginning to that sort of transition, I think.

I love the specific visual images, the earthball, the cooking with Teflon.

What resonates the most...the sentence regarding Lauren's green eyes and how they turned from love to anger. That one stayed with me a while! Also, the entire paragraph beginning with "Like in the movie "Wings"..." There is a lot of truth there and I can read it again and again.

The only part that was confusing was the part about grace descending upon you on the F train. Maybe if you were a bit more specific there? Maybe not, maybe I am just reaching, looking for something, anything I could possibly find for you to improve on!

Heatherdeg:

I liked how you came around to the topic at the end, just as we were getting to know you and the situation. It makes it seem like the beginning to something larger. A continuation of the healing process, perhaps?

It may just be me on my paragraph-chopping crusade (in my own work), but I think smaller paragraphs could be used to break it up a bit visually and to add more emphasis in places.

Violafemme:

On the sap-o-meter I would give it a...oh I don't know. I don't have the guts! Okay, maybe a 4? My opinion is that when writing about joy, one must avoid phrases even remotely resembling a cliche. "Squeals of delight" kind of jumped out at me in that way. Remember, just my opinion!

I really enjoyed the 12th line, with the idea of lost and found. I read it over and over.


I am open to feedback on my feedback!!
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#14 of 56 Old 11-16-2004, 07:31 PM
 
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I think this peice has its merits, but I think there is a lot I could cut out and still get my message across. I would like feedback on what to keep and what to chop. I also wonder if my transitions need work. Thanks all.



When do I cross the line between trying hard and trying too hard?
I like to garden. I work hard at it. I till the soil, by hand, my hoe moving over and over in little jabs until sweat beads under my arms and breasts in the cool spring air. I talk softly with the seeds as I place them in the soft earth. I try hard to cultivate a safe, peaceful place for living things to grow. And when my hands blister from the work or my back aches as I pull weeds from the sprouting ground I know it doesn’t matter. These small discomforts wilt when I think of the first taste of pepper, crisp and warm from the sun, or when I think of the corn kernels popping in mouth as I separate them from the cob.

There is purity and honesty in trying hard to create a garden. This honesty allows my shoulder to swing loose and free as I work. When I try hard at this work I feel I can open my heart and swallow everything around me, digesting it easily, and accepting it for what it is.

But there is a difference between trying hard and trying too hard. Of the latter I am regularly guilty. The sweetness drains from the effort when I try too hard and puddles at my feet leaving a muddy imprint of myself. When I try too hard I step over the line between the self I am and the self I want to be. I sink into a self-absorbed desire for approval.

This descent is subtle, quiet, insidious, and often disguises it self as “good intention.” This descent happens when I silence the voice from within that tells me I should say something to the woman in the grocery store who is clearly out of control with her toddler. Not wanting her angry with me, I try too hard to be invisible. This descent happens when I agree to tutor another student after school. It is disguised as “helping,” but it prevents me from fulfilling duties to my family. I try too hard when I keep my mouth shut as my in-laws deride my sister-in-law’s style of parenting, when indeed hers is my own. This descent happens when I make excuses for my husband’s misdirected anger rather than putting a stop to it. I try too hard to make him someone other than he is.

In all these inactions I’m trying to create a picture of myself that is a mere reflection. What I think others want to see rather than what truly lives inside me. I am lying. In my desire for approval I selfishly create a smooth, neat image of myself. One where I do no wrong. When I do this, I deny my true self, and the self I was intended to be. This is sad because my true self is the one that can make a true difference in the world. When I deny my true self my soul feels hollow, like a field of corn in the fall – the empty husks and stalks grating against one another. I become a tin sign advertising, colorful and three dimensional from the front, but when turned to the side flimsy-thin and twangy when rapped with a hard reality.

I want to rectify this discord between my actions and my soul. I want cultivate the soil of my soul until it is pungent and fertile with possibilities. I want to let go of my insecurities so I can be wholly in the world and try hard to allow other’s judgments without changing what my soul tells me is right.
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#15 of 56 Old 11-16-2004, 10:27 PM
 
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This was closer to 5 minutes, rather than 15, but all I had. Any comments welcome, but I am not really looking for anything specific at this point. Just enjoying the opportunity to be part of a writing group!

------------

Home to no nap but endless afternoon of more nursing and reading books together and rolling on the bed and trying to keep babies happy, too tired babies, happy, in pain teething babies, happy, feeling my stress babies, happy. The small moments granted wasted in nervousness, knowing it will not last, knowing nothing meaningful can be accomplished in this small window, this pinprick of light in the vast dark, tiny imperceptible pinprick of light threading my way through rocky boulder coast but misjudging again and getting tossed and churned in waves too treacherous again, my skill not up to the task, no calm water to practice in, but only the option to try again and be battered again.
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#16 of 56 Old 11-17-2004, 03:01 AM
 
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Quite honestly, I didn't time this piece and I don't think I should be timing my work right now. It felt really good tonight to run with my thoughts without worrying about a time frame. With the timed pieces I have been perhaps too preoccupied with the time to concentrate on the fluency...Tanya, is this okay?

Who mentioned the Writer's Way? I have been looking all over the house for that book; I lost it in our move(s). I'd been working so hard up until we packed to move cross country, getting the kinks out every morning and inching closer to a children's book manuscript. I have all the impetus in the WORLD to illustrate; maybe not to synthesize art yet but definitely enough to illustrate a worthy manuscript....hopefully, and this is my adjunct goal to capturing my son's growth on paper, I can fulfill this wish. I REALLY want to write and illustrate a children's book.

OK.

Trying too hard

You’re three months old today, Owen, and the learning curve is so step I can hardly climb it anymore, this sinus infection really has me down. There’s still no system for anchoring memories, just jotted notes here and there. Does neurosis count?
I’m staring at a picture I took of you three days ago while you were sleeping in your crib. There’s a yellow glow to the photo, nothing I could correct for with your dad’s expensive camera, but it doesn’t matter because whatever saccharin artifact I mistakenly imbue in your pictures, you still rip me apart with your innocence and honesty. I’ve been staring at this picture for about ten minutes now, as if it’s really you, even though you are in the room beside me and I could just as easily be staring at you, in the flesh, your football chest pulsing up and down, you little nymph. But I’m trying to remember a few things so I’m awake and alone with my iBook, sketching before my memory fades like last summer’s annuals that I raked up earlier today.

So this photo is remarkable to me. It’s like stock photography and if I were to see another child in the exact same photo I might not pay particular attention, but it’s really you and you’re growing up entirely too fast. Before I can say Taxes this February you will have in all likelihood outgrown these newborn gums and begun to replace them with tiny agents of destruction, your teeth, but no sooner than having lost these chunky three month thighs and certainly your other anchoring newborn feature, shown in this photograph: the ape-ish pose they call the Moro reflex, where you frown and reach for that invisible chopper handlebar in the sky, like a deranged biker coming off an acid trip. This picture is so classic, I think I’ll enlarge it with the photograph we took of your brother while aboard the passenger train when he was twelve days old and sleeping in his infant carrier: he, too, was frowning and groping for that imaginary handlebar in the sky. This would make a great diptych for our living room. Heck, to make a triptych all we'd need is a picture of your dad, lunging up out of bed at three in the morning screaming, AAIAH! WHERE’S THE BABY? WHERE’S THE BABY?! as he so often does.

I’m trying hard, really hard, to hold onto these progressions as they slip away from me, but I keep tripping along the sway to tie a shoelace or shop for a piece of quilt binding, or just dart out for groceries at 11pm. There’s truly a lot of time available, but I need an assistance to help me focus on what’s really most important. The quilt, for God’s sake, can wait. In fact, you won’t even care about it until you are my age and expecting your first child. And your brother's shoelace dilemma-cum-pant alteration-cum-other random request is alltogether normal and expected from his three year-old phase of development, but I KNOW I can balance his needs and yours without too much distraction, yet I fall victim to distraction each time, and in my mind one of you suffers. Of course, the groceries can’t wait and I can’t even dream of hiring a professional shopper. But the internet buddies and the Special Winter Clearance and eBay and email can all wait until you’re asleep, certainly AFTER I am able to first take a picture of your being asleep, before you’re grown and out the door and (God forbid, already!) sleeping in another woman’s home. If all I’m able to do is spend a half hour each night talking to you, talking to cute little snapshots of you (so I won’t disturb your precious sleep, GOD I could drool on you so easily and wake you up) then I might be an inch closer to satisfaction. Still, the exhaustion from worrying about this is creeping me out, and in the moments when I’m not staring at you sleeping, or preoccupied with you while awake, I’m staring into the future when All I’ll have left is, likely, a broken heart and SO MUCH FREE TIME. So you’ll have to forgive me again, tomorrow, if I’m drowsy and drooling and if I forget to rinse my mouth out with Listerine for you. It’s just that I’ve been up again, gawking in admiration in one breath and worrying in the next whether I’ll ever write enough to save my memory. It’s just that I’m so in love with you and I’m trying my best, or at least doing the very best I know how.
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#17 of 56 Old 11-17-2004, 03:04 AM
 
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northport, you were able to condense my similar feelings into an elegant 5-minute piece (sorry, is that too much judgement?). Thank you for sharing. I felt restless with you in reading it.
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#18 of 56 Old 11-17-2004, 01:11 PM
 
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note: I didn't know what I was going to write about till my pen hit the paper. I certainly didn't expect to be so literal!


When people ask where I'm from I'm never quite sure what to way. I spent fourteen years surrounded by vineyards, a bunch more after that in the Nevada sage, and have been now in Oregon for eight. Nine? My heart has come along with me, always slow to follow, with every move I've made with the exception of that four-year span in Vegas. My heart never did live in Vegas.

I can now claim that my heart lives right here inside my body and stretching beyond its boundaries to fill Portland and I am left feeling expansive and joyous, emotions which must be borrowed or stolen from someone else, because of the newshoe way that they fit my soul. I cherish her and it would take a team of horses, fantastic beasts not real horses because they would never be strong enough, I mean those wretched black fanged things with their manes flying wild eyes glinting and teeth bared, those things, to drag me from here.

I have never in my life wanted so much simply to stay put right where I am, never had such a love for home and certainly never expected this love to blossom here. It was meant to be a temporary city stay for the small town girl I used to be. Now I am in love. My breath leaves me as I stand on the bridge looking out over her river and comes back when I walk through the Japanese garden, a walking meditation, the earth is embracing me and I am at its heart.

I pull myself closer into myself and fleetingly wonder what the rest of the world is doing. I look at the gray sky covering my world like a blanket, this gray sky and I have this love-hate relationship. It is a mirror reflecting my moods right down back at me, crying on me, begging me to own up to what I am feeling until I either stretch my arms up to it or hide inside the shell of my raincoat.

I am rooted here. I have put out runners. I have never had so many friends, so many people I care about, so many I trust, and I have never been so comfortable being myself. One step to the outside of the city, green turns to a dusty red and I find myself lost, withered, and craving home again where my front door nestled behind buddleia and fuchsia, beside fern and bamboo, beckons me home again.


I polished this one a bit more than usual and am definitely open to feedback on it--thank you!
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#19 of 56 Old 11-17-2004, 07:43 PM
 
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Two lovers coming together in passion.... She holds on tight to the rail of the bed, feeling her body become one with her Other. The feelings of sweet desire rush through them, two bodies pounding together like the waves of the sea rolling onto the sands of the beach, thrusting back and forth, in perfect sync. Her body is trembling with surreal extacy. Though it is not just because he is inside her. This feeling is new to her. She looks out the window up towards the sky, her heart and soul for the universe to grab hold of. This feeling takes her and her Other on a journey like no other.

Soon she feels the room get brighter, even though it's during moonlight hours. She looks around and notices that there is a soft, pure light eminenating off everything in the lovers presence. She startes to feel light. Then like in a dream, her body floats above the passion. She is not scared. She feels joy, and the purest love ever felt by another human. The lovers instantaniously feel in unison that they are not alone in this moment. The world is open to them. Right then and there the awareness of the entire world being connected, a force mankind knows about but since coming to the days of earth, have forgotten. Beautiful colors come together and circle the room, and with one single moment, cirlced the bodies of the lovers to tie them into one forever. And in a second, gone.

The woman and her Other, her lover, her husband, lay in each others arms feeling a complete that was new and still not even able to be described in todays day. They are in awe, and wonderment. Then, they looked into each others eyes, falling more in love with every glance, thier minds not knowing yet what thier souls do.


It would not be for months later, after five years of trying too hard to make a family of thier own, and finally giving up for the time being for the medical science to find out a cause, that these two lovers would meet the others in that room with them that glorious night. The couple looking deeply into the eyes of thier two beautiful perfect newborn daughters. The ones who were born to them that night a families soul was formed.
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#20 of 56 Old 11-17-2004, 09:25 PM
 
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To the other writers~
I love what you all have wrote, and again feel very fortunate to be in a group with such talent. I do not feel like I know enough (nothing at all really)to give you feedback. I fear that it would be deconstructive instead of the positive I mean for it to be. I am learning from those that do give feedback and hope to one day contribute to this group that way as well.


The story I wrote above is a true story about the conception of my twin daughters.
I had to write it as "she" instead of *I* so that I could have the courage to share it with everyone. I am kind of a shy sort! Let ,e tell you though that I am just vibrating! Hitting that send button was a huge rush! I realize it is a risky piece and with that said, I do have some ?'s.

Do you think I conveyed the fact that it was about trying too hard to concieve in the end?

Also, what do you think about using the reference to my dh as her Other? I meant it to be the other half of her,as well as her significant other. nak now.......

any and all other oponions are more than welcome.anything that pops to mind.
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#21 of 56 Old 11-17-2004, 11:24 PM
 
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charmarty... I didn't think you conveyed that you were TRYING to conceive, just that you HAPPENED to conceive on a night of passion! And I like the "Other" because honestly, it removes the husband-wife from it... especially cool in the beginning when this could be nothing more than an act of passion between two people of any gender for no reason at all.

JMO!

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#22 of 56 Old 11-17-2004, 11:39 PM
 
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Odd that I am the most intelligent person everyone knows--when they need advice. Or the strongest person everyone knows--when they need help. I'm the person they run to... and the person they scoff, scorn and dismiss when my work is finished.

My husband told me once that I was their fruit tree. A tree that they picked from and nourished themselves on, but didn't maintain; and that in the end, they'd curse the tree for being diseased when it no longer produced for them. And for his family, he was that same tree. We were two peas in a pod: our family's rocks and at the same time, their doormats.

Bit by bit, I cut them off. It took years... and one by one, I had just had enough. I couldn't do it any more. I needed nourishing. I needed advice. I needed. And nobody was there but my husband. It was enough for me. Bit by bit, my husband did the same... both of us trying to work it through and meeting with the resistance of change. Both of us breaking through the mold we'd been cast into and alienating all of the people closest to us as a result. They didn't want us to be strong. They relied on our love that allowed them to draw upon our resources at will without having to say thank you, or having to return that love.

I'm not sorry. Neither of us has any regrets. But in that moment before I fall off to sleep, I often wish that it could be different and I know that it cannot. I often wish I knew that my husband didn't miss them--that he felt as strongly as I did. In that moment before I go to sleep, I hold him close and pray to God that my son and I will be enough for him... forever.


Happy to take criticism. I realize that this is a recurring theme this week for me and this may not really come across as desire, but it is. Bad family week!

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#23 of 56 Old 11-18-2004, 01:35 AM
 
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That is what I thought when i re read it. That the title and then the story that followed left a reader going what does this have to do with trying too hard?
It does though, the whole story, but I noticed the time and I tried to cut it off. The point I was trying to make was even when we think we are doing our best by trying so hard, it's those times out of the blue where things really do happen becuase the universe has that planned for you.
I will try to think of an alternative and things to remove from it.

I also want to share with you, that I am in exactly the same boat as you and your dh are with your families and I can totally relate to everythign you have written about it. I think you described the feelings that stem from these types of situations very well. And here It's hard going through that!
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#24 of 56 Old 11-18-2004, 02:43 AM
 
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I am trying too hard to be a writer, to come up with something profound to say. The problem is that I am not a writer or at least I wasn't before. Maybe this is the new me, the writer me, the words and letters me.

The old me was a musician, a violist actually, and a violinist before that. I always wanted to be a vocalist thought. The problem was that when they found out you played an instrument you never got to sing; your voice was always filtered through the object, the instrument you made speak through your body but not your voice. Take it the next step forward, at conservatory where your whole identity becomes your instrument it superceeds even your gender. "She's a violist"; end of description. You are your instrument, your audition, your seat in the orchestra. Sometimes the human suffix was dropped and he became "a wind" or "a brass" or "a string". It was nerve wracking to be a string: a tightly wound piece of cat gut. To be only the gracious curves of a pine box and the tension of the steel wound strings was a stressful place to be. You'd think it would be enough to make anyone snap. But anyone didn't snap: I did. I just felt I should be so much more than a sight reading score or a perfectly timed double stop but I could never find the voice to say so. I could only find the apologetic sounds of regret for not being perfect, for not practising enough, for not being as good as I should.

But that was from a life when I was trying to hard to be a viola. Now I am trying to hard to be a writer, one that won't bore you to tears like an out of tune etude. I am trying to find my voice independent of my box, of my strings and my past. I am trying to find words that make music..........

END ASSIGNMENT. I like the assignments, I like the time limits. They make me feel safe for now. They provide structure for my chaos and give me space at the same time. This is all because i don't actually HAVE to do them. If they were real assignments with grades and red pens, I'd never do them and then ask for an extension at the end........I don't mind red pens, especially on the assignments so feedback is welcome, not sure what kind of feed back I'm looking for though. Maybe let me know which piece grabs your attention deserves some more polish. Am I redundant? Too cliche? My real test will be if I ever post anything that's not an assignment. That takes more courage then I have right now.
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#25 of 56 Old 11-18-2004, 02:44 AM
 
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Trying too hard...

I was trying too hard and it was making for some tough days. When I was myself, I was the new resident they said seemed like she'd been in the OR for five years.When I felt the shadow of my reputation, or at least what I imagined to be my reputation, and tried too hard to get from under it, I was too self conscious to be at my best.

I was in the position of my dreams, a resident in my first choice spot, a prestigious program in my specialty-to-be. I'd survived internship and now I was on my way to finally finding some satisfaction in this career that seemed to take me, more than I took it. The last week of my internship I was heady with senioritis when I got a call from my future residency director inviting me to a meeting.

This is a story I was ashamed of for years. I told no one.

The residency director, the man who'd offered me my new world put me into the same chair where I was when he decided I was worthy of a spot in his program. His face was stern and he went through few formalities before announcing he was going to read a letter from my internship director. All accolades. Great brains, great work, great team spirit. I was wondering why I was there.

Then came the second paragraph. But she is a problem...unpredictable behavior...not necessarily suited to the position...I don't remember the specifics but that was the jist. It was a warning to my new director, of a dark side I didn't know I had. I had no response. I was told that I would still start the residency program but that I was being warned, and I would be closely watched. I walked on wobbly legs out of his office and grabbed a train back downtown to talk to the internship director.

He was also my department chairman. His setup was more cozy. A chair next to his desk. The last time I sat there it was to say that if they insisted on making me work under the supervision of a certain resident ---, I'd sooner quit the program. I said I was apalled that they were letting him finish the year before they tossed him off to another unsuspecting program, with a promised good letter of recommendation according to the rumors. Because everyone knew he was a walking death squad. The most public incident was the year before in the emergency room, when was giving drugs for a hypertensive crisis and the patient died under his hands. I wanted to be switched to another service, where I could continue my tenure there a good distance away from this person.

That time he, promised the resident would be closely supervised by an attending who would be available to me day or night. Now, he spoke in fatherly tones, but his eyes were blank and cold. Who was I to ask questions? It's a good thing you're leaving here in a week, because if you'd been planning to stay on here I'd have never renewed your contract. He lifted my file right from his desk, and read a performance evaluation. It described a change in my once admirable energy level. That one was from the month I started inderal for frequent migraines, and I felt like I was walking through muddy water. He waved another sheet. Excellent work but erratic behavior. I think she is depressed, probably to a psychotic degree.

The author was the cardiologist who was the attending assigned to supervise --- when I had to work with him. The month they all murdured Billy Williams. And I was a witness.

This director talking to me now was the one I'd called in the middle of the night, to say, --- is standing at the bedside and here's what he's doing and the nurses just keep bringing him more, he won't stop, and he's going to kill this patient. It was he who gave me a verbal pat on my little head with a now now, I'm sure he's not, we'll talk about it after I make rounds in the morning if you want, and hung up on me. I called him, because the cardiologist who was supposed to be keeping an extra watch on the problem resident, who was supposed to be immediately available, had only a message with the answering service that he was gone for the weekend, with no coverage, when I called him first.

This is an attempt to discredit me, and not a very good one. Look at the holes: Excellent work but psychotic? Impossible to do both. He's a cardiologist, who is he to diagnose depression? And if he was really so worried, why didn't he see that I got care instead of leaving me for the rest of the year? I ask to see the other evaluations, confident in doing so because a friend of mine used to serve on the evaluation committee, and he told me I was regularly described as outstanding. The director answered with an admonishment to be grateful I had a residency spot to go to. Implied were the words, for now.

He spoke in a hushed monotone, not the way I was when I marched down to the CCU conference room, where he was finishing rounds, when I stormed in saying, did you hear that code they called awhile ago? That was they patient I told you about last night. The one --- was trying to kill. You know what, now he's dead and you as good as killed him too. I stopped only to take a breath before I shouted that I was going to call 60 Minutes, or the New York Times, and keep calling until I got someone who would make public the story of the hospital that murdured a patient.

A few weeks into my residency program, I was invited to a dinner in the honor of a visiting faculty member. My hair was freed from the cap and I discarded my scrubs for an elegant sweater and skirt. I sat at the table set with white linen and china, and sparkling crystal. I was seated beside the department chairman. With my fork I went poking at squab, while being plied with a different glass of wine for every course, by my chairman.

He died several years ago, and I've never encountered anyone else like him..It was the end of a grand era in that place when he retired. I stared at the tiny drumsticks of the squab I never ate, wanting to blurt out, the letter isn't true, you know, something happened. He poured another glass of wine and encouraged me to take a sip. It's a 1966 Pinot Chardonnay Dubleegibberishsichnoir. This fine wine is wasted on me, I tell him. They all taste like gasoline..then I quickly want to make it clear it's not like I really know what gasoline would taste like.

He holds the wine toward me and smiles warmly. So Ivy League formally professorial, yet I know that he is really seeing me when he looks my way. I know his daughter is a medical student and she fights with depression.

When I came back from my tirade in the CCU, I thrust a piece of paper at --- when he was sitting doing the paperwork after the code. This is his mother's phone number. She was just discharged from the private service last week. YOU call her and tell her you killed her son!

--- got up and walked past me. I stood at the nurses station and stared at the paper left in my hand. I dialed Mrs. Flowers' number. I knew her well by name if not by face; I'd spent many hours checking potassium levels as her blood pressure medications were adjusted. I have vague recall of a dainty black woman with knobby knuckles.

I aplogized for my news, she heaved a weighty sigh. “That boy. Always so troubled. On the street, drinking and drinking and drinking. I always knew he'd meet an early end.” She requested no details, and before I could think of offering, she issued a gracious thanks and hung up. It was that easy. That's why no one cared what was happening. Just an alcoholic destined for early death, one way or the other. So what if our machine of a system moved things along with intravenous injections of too much Valium for what --- claimed was the fever and delerium and seizures of DT's but what the pathologist said was really pneumonia turned to meningitis. I guess that's why I never called in the reporters, I couldn't bear to look at someone else who didn't care.

From the resignation in her voice, I could tell that Mrs. Flowers didn't think she could have done a thing to change the outcome. What does someone do when they feel they can't reach their child?

Do what they can for someone else's child, maybe hoping that karma will send someone who can make a difference, to theirs...


The chairman is very tall. He puts the wine down at my place, and hunches down close to me. All the chatter around us, the performing visiting professor, the shmoozers, the brown nosers, the waiters, the clinking utensils, become frozen in time. He whispers, “I know the letter isn't true. Come talk to me in my office.”

I tasted the wine and winced. Our laughter joined the din of the room.



I enter his office with it's windows looking down on the skyline downtown. His desk is bigger than my bathroom, and he's in a leather throne. He's pulls out the letter. I start to talk. He interrupts and raises the letter. “This isn't about you.”

I'm amazed he doesn't need to hear it, he has that much faith in me, but he knows I need to tell something. I thought a lot about what I was going to say, and I said as much as I could of what happened, in as few words as possible. I also need for him to hear my fear. That no matter what he may see in me, no matter what I make of myself in the program, the letter will color the opinion of anyone who has need to see my file, for decades to come.

He never took his eyes from mine, while he crumpled the letter and tossed it in the garbage. He closed my file atop his desk.

Did I ever worry that he pulled it out and returned it to my file as soon as I walked out.

Never.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
This is quite a bit worked on but not terribly polished.

I started this as the 15 minute exercise. My plan was to tell the story that led to my personal predicament. But by the time 15 minutes were over, I'd still told only the part about how my life was affected.

I first wanted to tell it as sort of a medical horror story. But I wanted it to be something for Dd to read when she is older, about a event that haunted me in many ways, for a long time, and, on a bigger scale, dealing with being powerless, and dealing with shame.

I ended up telling two stories here because I went back and wove the hospital story into the personal story. I flip back and forth through time, as I have often done in these exercises. I don't happen to consider time to be fixed, so it makes sense to me.

?????I wonder how it strikes a reader though, as I move through time and verb tenses.

???? Also, I never come out and say, the letter was created in order to discredit me because of what I knew and could spill at any time. I think the story should convey that for the reader to figure out, without me spelling it out. Does this come through clearly?
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#26 of 56 Old 11-18-2004, 02:45 AM
 
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Oh charmarty, so sorry to bring everyone down after your gorgeous post!
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#27 of 56 Old 11-18-2004, 03:04 AM
 
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mommadance,

Maybe in the transition you could start with what happens when you try too hard in the garden and then segway into the rest, it would be more rather then less but it might read a bit more smoothly. Maybe cut out a bit from what the garden is like when you are just trying hard and find a line to describe what might happen to your garden if you try too hard. I think the second to the last paragrah is very good and I identify much more than I'd care to admit! I wouldn't cut anything from that one. I'm not sure that knowing you talk to your seeds added anything for me (but I am not a gardener), so you might could cut that line and not lose anything. I'm reluctant to say anything more about chopping...........I may not be the best person for feedback on that count.
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#28 of 56 Old 11-18-2004, 03:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious

???? Also, I never come out and say, the letter was created in order to discredit me because of what I knew and could spill at any time. I think the story should convey that for the reader to figure out, without me spelling it out. Does this come through clearly?
I think it does!!!! And please, you have absolutely nothing to be sorry for!


I have added a couple of words in the last paragraph to help clear my message. Let me know if it helped please. Thank you.
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#29 of 56 Old 11-18-2004, 11:10 PM
 
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Here is a freewrite... I did a tiny bit of cleaning it up. I think I might want to expand this one later on. Any feedback on tone and what's funny (or not quite) would be helpful. Thanks!

Secret desire
Nothing comes. I guess the secret is that I have no desire. And let me explain what I mean by desire.

I used to think that parents were some sorry set of people who lost all their desire for a “normal” life… and in some ways, now that I’m on the other side, I see it’s true. But not in the way I used to think. The secret is that for me, it’s not really a loss at all. Before I start to sound like one of those people who is trying to make mothers out there “feel guilty” for not approaching motherhood with Betty Crocker-like cheer… I just mean, as much as I sometimes wish for my d@mn kid to give me the tiniest bit of space, please! I don’t actually think, “Oh, I wish I could go back to like it was before.” Sure, it’d be nice to go to the movies. Speaking of desire, it’d be nice to have sex with my husband. It would be even better if I had a sex drive (thanks, breastfeeding!). It would be nice to eat something without having to get on the floor and let my toddler put his hands in it and “help” me eat it. I’d like to wear clean clothes -- just think! I used to manage this one every day! I’d like to have an uninterrupted conversation… I guess you get the idea. There are things I miss. But are they “my loss”?

I’m not dying for these things. Have I been liberated from these desires? Or have I been beaten down into submission? It’s a pretty close call, don’tcha think?

It’s just not that wanting these things is futile (totally, utterly so), but I don’t really honestly want them that much. They’re sort of like passing fancies, vague notions of a dreamlike maybe, a not-really-listening reply of, “Hm… That’s nice, dear.”

Or maybe it’s that the cost of getting them doesn’t make sense to me anymore. In the middle of the DVD if the baby starts crying, I go upstairs and nurse him. I’m tired, too, so I fall asleep. Rarely will I feel like, “But I just HAVE to see the rest of that movie.” I will admit there are a few that I would make the effort to finish watching, but the rest? I am sure you’re as familiar as I with the Hollywood Movie Machine, so I don’t have to belabor this point.

Having this kid has given me the ability to choose the easy-street –- sometimes things are just too hard with a kid to make it worth it. Helplessly plead with your infant to stop crying so you can buy groceries? Or grab what you can and get the hell out? You decide! Try to corral your toddler in a fancy restaurant AND have a conversation with friends, or order take-out and eat on the floor? You choose!

So it’s not quite the sorry state I had thought pre-kid. It’s more like having this kid has kicked the “what matters meter” into hyper mode. It’s much clearer to me what matters now -- from a stronger sense of service (to the world, to others, to myself, and family) to the color and number of son’s bowel movements. Does it really matter that there are rice cakes (and banana, and raisins) scattered all over the floor, if it is what gave me just a few minutes of uninterrupted time to write this?

To say that becoming a parent changes your perspective is a cliché and a weak one at that. It’s more like it rips your eyes out and puts in a new pair: these ones are awake (in the Buddha sense and in the not-enough-sleep sense).

© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
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#30 of 56 Old 11-18-2004, 11:19 PM
 
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Another freewrite. I cleaned this one up a bit, too. I doubt I would really expand it, since it's pretty sappy and cliche. But I had fun writing it, working with the words.

Not really looking for feedback, but if you feel compelled to let me know what struck you or what was too abstract or clunky, please do. Thanks!

Where my heart lives
My heart lives in my chest, in that nether-chamber of dark wet, pulsating its tune through me.

My heart lives inside me, bathed in blood, housed in muscle; my heart, it beats and beats.

My heart is soft and small, a quivering and injured animal: at my mercy, quietly guiding me in compassion.

My heart is a tadpole of a thing, jiggedly-jaggedly propelling itself about, splashing in the first waters of earth, setting upon its evolution to the beyond.

My heart’s perfect metronome of time is marred by a limp and whoosh; the mechanics of love exposed, a crack.

My heart is huge, an amorphous blob, gelatinous and undefined, hungry and soft.

My heart is an invisible and delicate netting, dusted and shaped with life; an unwitting witness, and participant, in life. This life. All life.

My heart is the sky, its expanse filled with stars. My heart is the ocean, its powerful drum beating the rhythm of all dance. My heart is the wind, its essence set free, dispersed in plenty. My heart is the earth, its center an insistent, white hot core.

My heart is a gooey organ, a meaty muscle, a machinated conductor, a waterworks plant.

What is the condition of my heart? What is the condition of my life? Ask me the condition of my heart and the answer will tell you the condition of my life.

© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
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