This was a hard week. I had some major anxiety about medical tests for myself and my dad and didn’t feel 100% for most of it. Luckily, we both got some good news. I’m not out of the woods, but what they suspect I’m suffering from is a mild case. This is a huge blessing. I was very worried I had another surgery in my future.
So, this is going to be a quiet weekend for me. I have some things on my to-do list, but mainly I will be doing good things for my body and spirit. We are supposed to get a snow storm tonight and tomorrow which is also a blessing. Colorado has barely had any snow this year, and we really need it. I’m prepared to keep myself busy and warm until it clears or I have to leave for work on Monday.
I have been working a lot on non-fiction articles lately, but am also being called to write picture books again. Picture books can be fun and silly, or educational, however they also can be profound and comment on elements of our world and culture that affect us in deep, intimate ways.
I researched a bunch of picture books that were published in the last couple of years and borrowed them from the library. I love reading as reader, but also as a writer. There are so many lessons on craft on the pages of the books featured above. I have been brought to tears and covered with goosebumps with every title. There is such a captivating relationship between words and pictures that work together to create such a visceral experience.
I will be writing review posts for all of these books soon, but for now, they have been wonderful company on this quiet, reflective Saturday. I am hoping they inspire me to get more of my own words on the page.
I have spent the better part of the weekend trying to clean up the mess that is my life at the moment. That sounds more ominous than it really is. I have been drowning in school work, resumes, cover letters and laundry – I worked super hard this weekend and still have an insane amount of work to do.
Today, I finished my laundry, read for class and reorganized my room. Well…started to reorganize. I still have quite a bit to do tomorrow, but I’m glad that I put a dent in it today. I have been putting off this reorganization project for over a month and it was getting a bit out of control.
I am extremely organized in most areas of my life, but I seem to let my living area go as I try to accomplish everything else. If I worked on it in little bits every week, I wouldn’t need this reorganization. Hopefully this time I will learn my lesson.
My wip’s are also very messy at the moment. I have been flying without a net with both stories and seem to have created quite a mess. I tried to jump into the story and go with it, but I don’t think I’m a writer who can follow the story as it unfolds without any parameters. Unfortunately, I seem to have pulled at a tiny string and now the whole sweater is unraveling…
I will work hard the next couple of days to finish my big living space reorganization and then I will focus those spring cleaning energies on my manuscripts. I need to reorganize a better working outline and get on the road again with my characters.
Sometimes you have to stop, clean up and start again.
If I could enter a state of inactivity and curl up in a nest or a small cave and wait it out until Spring, I would be a happy camper.
That isn’t very realistic, but it’s nice to daydream.
In the meantime, I’m going to finish my tea and call it a night.
Sleep tight blogsville.
My university classes are officially finished for another semester. I still have a couple loose ends, but for all intents and purposes, this semester is coming to a close. This has been a hard one. It was hard for different reasons then my first semester. I’m learning that each new semester poses its own unique challenges. I’ve been lucky to have an amazing advocate on my side. She protected me and helped me feel supported when I had to stand my ground on some tough issues. And I’m thankful for the lessons she taught me.
On December 8th, I was thinking about the profound loss of John Lennon’s death. It is such a tragedy that a man who professed about peace was taken out of this life so violently. When I went to my internship on Thursday 12/9, all the teachers were a buzz. Someone had found a magazine clip full of bullets in a classroom in 2nd period the day before. The school remained on lock-down for the rest of the day while every police branch in North Eastern Colorado (including the SWAT team) searched the school. I was glad I hadn’t been there on Wednesday, but I was even more glad that no one had been hurt.
Growing up in Littleton, I know first hand about the violence guns can bring to a school. My parents live less than a mile from Columbine High School. I was a freshman in college at the time of the shooting. I have never felt so helpless as I did that April day, watching it all on the news from my dorm room. At the time, they didn’t know if other high schools were involved and I couldn’t get a hold of my mom or my brother at a neighboring high school. A friend of our family’s son was killed in the shooting and those following weeks we all lived in a surreal trance state – this kind of violence doesn’t happen in Littleton, Colorado…
Last night, I told my mom and dad what had happened at the high school on Wednesday. They were relieved that I hadn’t been there. I know they don’t like me teaching in schools with such high gang activity, but we learned from the Columbine tragedy that violence can happen anywhere. Even in sleepy Littleton. Even outside a residential building near Central Park.
I know that I will continue to teach in high-risk schools, where gun violence is a real threat. I’m passionate about teaching in urban schools and this is a risk I have to be willing to take. Because the reality is, that violence can creep into the most benign situations and you have to keep living. Pondering the “what if’s” of life only keeps you in a state of panic and that’s not really living is it?
John Lennon’s beautiful voice has been in my head on repeat this week and I can’t help but wonder what other amazing lessons he could have taught us, had he not been silenced. For now, I can revel in the music he did leave us, image a better world, and be a being of peace and love.
It was sweltering hot today. I met a friend for lunch and we noticed that a Pinkberry had opened in the same shopping center. We decided it would be a nice way to cool down. So did everyone else in the Metro area, so we decided to skip it. I ended up spending an hour or so at Barnes and Noble and getting a refreshing Green Tea Frapachino instead.
This weekend didn’t really happen like I planned, but I got my homework done and last night I had a huge break through with The Lost. I have been writing daily again these last two weeks and that has been a break through in/of its self, but I’ve been searching for my original outline to focus the second half of the book. I found the outline on Saturday, yet it didn’t offer any of the plot enlightenment that I was needing. On Saturday night I watched two new babies and after they went to sleep, I finished my homework faster than I expected. With an hour and a half left before the parents came home, I started to work out the bugs and re-outline the rest of the book. Like a woman on fire, I wrote with a fever I hadn’t experienced in a long time with this project. Ten pages later, I feel like I found my inner compass again and I’m ready to head back into the proverbial woods.
I also got into a spat with my mom tonight. We’ve been doing so well lately. I’ve been really trying not get defensive about things or be too sensitive, but tonight I just couldn’t keep it in. I hate fighting with her, but we’re both so stubborn. She thinks she needs to tell me specific, obvious things and it succeeds in making me feel small, stupid and ready to explode. I realized tonight that her need to point out the obvious in the situation tells me on a sub-conscious level that I’m not capable of handling my own life – even the simplest of tasks.
As an artist, hell even as a human being, I struggle with the confidence to believe I am competent and skilled. It hit me like a ton of bricks tonight that this same boxed-in feeling that my mom elicits in these fights, is the same infuriating and suffocating box I inhabit when I allow my inner critic to silence my creativity before it even can come to the page.
I don’t want to blame my mom for this because I’m not a victim. Now that I’ve made this connection, I can consciously choose to believe this lie about myself or believe the truth – that I am capable of living my life and making my art without the approval or input of my mother or any one else. The irony of it all is how obvious this connection should have been, but it took the same exhausting heated argument I’ve had a million times with my mom to see it. Maybe I did need her to point it out to me – this time.
I finished my super difficult special education law class on Monday and I’m glad to be half-way done with my other summer school class. The second class is an integrated Science/Social studies class. I am really enjoying parts of the class. However, we meet from 9 – 4:30 twice a week and the quick turn around of a whole semester in a month makes it a little intense. Summer school will be over in two weeks, then I’ll a week at most to rest before my internship starts again.
I’ve been connecting to The Lost on a new level lately, especially in the past week. I’ve written a different amount everyday, but I’ve written something every day. That hasn’t happened in a while. After three days my protagonist came out to play. I was worried that she was gone because her voice had been hard to grasp for months and months. Ken, had a very distinctive view of the world and I thought I had lost her. I hadn’t met her at the page for months. I hadn’t held up my end of the bargain. I had abandoned her, like so many others. Yet…she came back to me and I won’t let her go again until her story is told.
Even though it’s only been a couple of days, I feel much more grounded. Julia Cameron said that she could do everything else in her life better, if she had put in her daily dose. I finally understand what she means.
I’ve also been getting my ducks in line for the 2nd season of TCC. The clouds are clearing that have obscured my view recently… big things have suddenly opened up and I’m excited to get my hands dirty in the trenches again.
I went to the midnight showing of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice with my dad yesterday and I’m definitely turning into a pumpkin…time for bed boys and girls. Sweet dreams.
It’s the fourth of July and it has cooled down a bit here in Denver. Yesterday it was crazy hot, but today is supposed to be quite pleasant. My dad and brother are going to a baseball game and with my mom’s recent back surgery, I don’t know what we’ll be doing. All I care about is seeing some fireworks. I’d like to go buy some sparklers too – if I can still get some this late.
The fourth of July was always one of my favorite holidays. We would go to Crested Butte every year and it was one of the highlights of my summer. Now that I’m an adult, it never seems to live up to my expectations about the days passed and how much fun I used to have. Fireworks do still make me feel like a child. I can’t help but stare in amazement with my mouth open wide, trying to take it all in.
I have so much school work to get done today, but fireworks tonight would be a nice reward for being responsible and finishing my homework.
Happy Birthday America! 234 looks good on ya!