May 9, 2014
Last Mother’s Day, while I was in the trenches of new motherhood again, scrambling to adequately fulfill my newborn girl’s every need, it occurred to me that everyone has someone to thank for intentionally keeping them alive. We were all helpless babies once. We can not remember being kept alive and yet, here we are. Someone has done this for each and every one of us. An odd thought and yet a fact you’d think we’d be a little more grateful for.
Tending to a newborn is a merciless and exhausting job. They are helpless loud high maintenance sleep-stealers. If this is your own baby, clever bonding hormones are cooking in your body to guarantee you adore your child all the way to the end of earth and time and thus you’ll keep the baby well and breathing. Humanity continues because of this bonding hormone. But without the birth mother, someone else must then take on this responsibility to keep active vital signs going for the little person. That notion is staggering.
Even when you do a “bad” job of raising children, you still have to continually provide their basic needs of food, sleep, poo placement, and clothing. As a Mother, I think of myself as multitasking management. I’m in restaurant management, waste management, time management, and anger management mode at any given moment. I work this hard for free because I love my children and I know it was my choice to bring them here. But were they to become the world’s responsibility, someone else would have to take it upon themselves to keep them alive. Or not.
For Mother’s Day, I want to say out loud that I am grateful to my mother who kept me alive and out of harm’s way so I could have a chance to grow up and be a mother and know the amazing gift that children bring to your soul. I knew I wouldn’t necessarily be an Uber-Mom, but my children are both still alive and thriving. And as a mother, sometimes that is all I need to be thankful for.
Happy Mother’s Day to each and every person who ever mothered someone even just a little. Your efforts were noble. And won’t go unpunished. I mean unrewarded.
May 7, 2014
I started this blog when I admitted I was a writer, even when I wasn’t actually even actively writing. I needed to give myself a legitimate platform to owe and publish writing practice on. The ‘Why’ of my blog was for my writing. I admit that I forget that sometimes.
In 2012, while attending the Bay To Ocean Writing Conference held on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I happily discovered my writing style was personal essay. That revelation was provided by George Merrill, who taught a class session that day on the subject of personal essays. He made my conference experience memorable. And the validation gave me an extraordinary high.
A couple of years later and I recently have found myself in Doubtland. So today I attended another workshop by Mr. Merrill to bookend and remind me of what I love to do. His exuberance and genuine teaching ability are inspirational. He embodies the good story, that which connects us. The telling process is human validation.
An authentic personal essay is forged from honesty and an intimacy with yourself. The subjects may be ones you have to push yourself to reveal the truths laying under your mental rocks. The process involves an exploration and a fascination in questions we share universally. The self-revelation is inspired and our passionate exploration may lead to a place most would just avoid. As a personal essayist, I have to find my way to these uncomfortable places because that means I’m growing. Because, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Soon enough.
Stories authenticate our existence. They heal us. They reconnect us. They are exactly what other people want to hear and share when we converse. And they are a reflection of a society at a given time. Historical and necessary, one person at a time. And all the information George, who aptly referred to himself as an elder, provided has given me another round of validation I guess I needed.
Journaling and blogging as a medium were not mentioned and yet are very much a part of my personal writing experience. Through journaling I developed my voice. Because there I speak to myself without being concerned with another audience. Once that voice cemented into my style, the blog then became a place to practice purposefully. The blog format was constructed, and has been abused, as a personal storytelling platform. Yet, this is what makes it compelling. Sometimes my thoughts are spit out and published in a rough form but among the typos and the tense problems, there’s often an image nugget and human truth you can take away and place on your soul shelf. Because I’m am living in real time on my terms, in my words, here and now.
The writing of a personal essay is not an egotistical act. Because I do not write it to call attention to myself but to share an authentic thought with even just one other person without pandering and manipulation. So not an egotist, I even have a hard time asking for people to like my blog because I want people to discover me and like what I do on their terms. That detail needs some therapy though because having an audience does make me really happy. And the bigger the audience, the more I’d probably contribute. It benefits everyone.
Thank you George Merrill for you enthusiasm for your craft. I’m sending you a note and the dollar I shorted you for your book. Looking forward to reading your essays and the inspiration to keep writing until I am an elder too. Hopefully one who can inspire others half as well as you.
And thank you to my readers, to those of you who say you enjoy reading what I write, it means more than I could put proper words together to describe here now.
May 5, 2014
When I see an event like a festival, a fair, or a conference happen, I am amazed. In only a couple of days, people are organized and objects appear in such a timely way and magic happens. It’s truly a wonder and the key is the preparation and planning.
I am guilty of being a chaotic writer and artist, waiting for inspiration or time before I could or would write my blog posts. This had me cranking pieces out at inopportune times like the space after dinner and 15 minutes before bedtime. Maybe Late night or it just felt late. Although I was relieved and proud that these posts happened, I knew there was a better way to do this but I was afraid of the change. My creative habits were counterproductive.Having the baby converted me.
I gave up that life of turmoil because Fiona my One year-old requires me to be present on her schedule not mine. And I had to figure out a way to keep blogging for me. Since her birth, I have begun to bank my writing inspiration. I am stealing nap time to crank these posts out. But I’m also able to spend more time connecting with other people online in my one hour of nighttime alone time. And that is also immensely satisfying.
So I have bid my procrastinating old ways a fond farewell. Creativity in the trenches under fire no longer serves me, if it ever did. We do what we know until we chose to change it. I have graduated to big girl planning and this being ahead and scheduling stuff is actually proving to make me a better blogger and parent. My creativity has blossomed. Instead of having no ideas, I have lots. And I’m interested in pursuing all of them. I am just plain happier. I am realizing that this choice to do stuff ahead of time makes me Pro-active not Re-active. Funny to think I fought scheduling my posts for all this time.
Now if I could consistently schedule meals, I’d really kicking butt.