Category Archives: My Thoughts

Faster Than A Healthy Walker

free writing exercise

Image courtesy of Pinterest. Click image for source info.

I’ve been writing to prompts and with agendas for so long now, I’d forgotten what it was like sit down and let my personal thoughts and observations dictate my fingers for a few minutes.

When I was in college, I took a basic intro to creative writing class. Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry was the uninspired but honest title in the course-book (Course selection back then was based on a paper catalogue and a room full of tables where you filed index cards according to your choices. Barbaric, I know.).

Our instructor had us free write for ten minutes every day, and once a week, she collected them and read them over. We weren’t graded, per se, but she made notes of ideas or structures of patterns which emerged and caught her interest. Those free-writing exercises unlocked ideas and images and stories which often became seeds from which I grew actual assignments for the course.

And don’t tell my screenwriting or playwrighting professors, but some of those free-writing pages came to life for their courses, too. So this morning, I gave myself ten minutes of not answering emails or hopping up to fetch and carry for my little boy, and I wrote. And it ended up being about running of all the things.

* * *

I came awake to the rush and whine of the recycling truck picking up the 90 gallon container at the end of our driveway–that’s not strictly true, I woke to the rush and whine of the truck and impatient and moving honk! from a driver not willing to wait in traffic for the truck to finish its work.

And then the soreness in my hips and calves burned through. I decided to start a running program yesterday, didn’t I? After more than a year of dedication to sitting on my ass in front of the blogging world, via the screen on my Mac, I asked my body to move.

Stretching I examined a little tug in my back, between my left shoulder and my spine, and a tightness in my hamstrings. Must stretch better–more?–next time.

Next time.

Apparently there’s going to be a next time. I’m mildly surprised. I’ve never liked running. I didn’t particularly like it yesterday. But these tugs, and this soreness feel good in a way. I’m not going to lie, even in my bed, which might be the most comfortable surface on earth, I am uncomfortable. The discomfort brings with it a measure of pride. You can’t tell to look at me, but I pushed myself yesterday.

A nineteen minute mile isn’t exactly impressive, but it’s less than a twenty minute mile, which is what they say you should be able to walk. So I went faster than a healthy walker.

“Maaaaaaaaaaa-maaaaaaaah!” and my son is impatient. No more wallowing in bed and self-analysis. The soreness will simply have to come with me downstairs, to see how it feels about being part of my family.

* * *

Do you ever take ten minutes for yourself and really take note of what’s going on in your mind? in the world around you? Give it a try. You might be surprised what comes of it.

Six Autumnal Words

apple picking

Image courtesy of Pinterest. Click image for source info.

Corn maze.

Apple pie.

Swamp maples.

Wednesday, Late Afternoon: Re-conjured

The earthy funk of a toddler fresh from sleep. Sweet childhood sweat, waft of wet diaper, stale breath, the last whiff of baby hairline.

Chipotle hot sauce, garlic, onions, chicken, oil, hot cast iron.

Rain and early falling leaves, thrumming on glass. The fading sky: autumnal, drab.

The rhythmic whine of the dishwasher: swom… swom… swom… swom…

Fingers flutter, hovering over the keyboard. My too long hair, falling into my field of vision.

The dog’s too long nails, milling underfoot: clackclackclack

Moist heat from the stove, sheen of sweat above my lip.

Small, grimy, perfect hands around my waist.

Writing short posts is an excellent way to flex your word choice muscles. Which word is the most clear? Poignant? Direct?

This week I want you to conjure something. An object, a person, a feeling, a color, a season- whatever you like.

This is an edit of a post from the end of last summer.

What’s Left Behind

 

Rackish Hijinks

How do you translate an inside joke from Twitter into a blog post?

You don’t. Suffice it to say I’m wearing a top today which accentuates one of my … ahem… positive attributes. And that Lori thinks my doing so may incite a riot at the quiet small town library where I am tapping on my laptop.

But it brings to mind something that John brought up this morning on his blog. I’ve done it before, written about what I like about myself, but it’s so much easier to fall back into self loathing and unhealthy behaviors that mask the symptoms.

So here again, I’m going to dig deep, to think about qualities in myself which make me happy, which give me pleasure.

I love the flutter and rush when a story tumbles out of my head and onto the page. I love the motion of my fingers on the keyboard and the flow of type across my screen, words and ideas and characters and conversations born in my imagination–all testing their wings before I set them free.

I have good hair. It’s taken me nearly all of my 34 years to figure out how to deal with it, but the struggle has paid off.

I have a truly wicked sense of humor. Most people don’t even know the half of it.

I think, when the chips are down and the stakes are high, I am a good friend. Sometimes I let my friendships slip in the day-to-day, and I’m working on being more present in that way. But if you need me, and you call or I find out? I. am. there. Sometimes it’s only via phone or email or whatever (damned geography!), but I’m there.

I sometimes come across as snarky and sarcastic, and my job makes me hideously grumpy, but at the core, I am an optimist–a believer in love and luck and happiness–and I have an enormous excess of love in my heart.

And of course, to paraphrase the Daniel of Bridget Jones fame, my tits look great in this top.

 

Re-embracing Accountability

At Daddy Runs A Lot Today!

Every once in a while, a commenter drops out of the sky and not too long after, you’re lucky enough to call him a friend. John is funny, wickedly inappropriate, and has way too much energy. That we can talk musical theater in addition? Well… somebody grab my smelling salts.

So, when he asked me to guest post, I actually started writing almost immediately. I knew exactly what I wanted to say over at The Adventures of Daddy Runs A Lot.

So, click on over, and while you’re there, stick around to read.

Polestar Lesson

“In the meantime, Alice got up and washed her face and ate porridge fir breakfast. She went to school and came home and did her homework.
And pretty soon she was grown up.”
Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

For the most part, this is how it goes. Growing up comes on slowly. But certain events, like a polestar, anchor us in growing up.

When I was twenty-one, I did a terrible thing. I betrayed a friendship. The details aren’t my story to tell, but the damage done opened a Pandora’s box of self-examination. When I look back, I can see the weeks that followed as a kind of fixing of my character.

I learned to live with myself.

I had to get up every morning with the knowledge of what I’d done. I had to face people who knew me, who trusted me, who knew what had happened, and wonder: could they continue to trust me after what I’d done?

I had to tread a stage upon which I no longer played the same role. For an insecure girl, a good girl, a responsible girl, a loyal girl to be suddenly re-cast as a Judas? I was never much of an actress.

The act of sitting down to lunch in the cafeteria required me to dig deep into reserves of courage I didn’t know I had. Accusatory eyes, bewildered expressions, and perhaps the worst, a secret–people knew something awful had happened, but they were left to speculate as to what.

I remember driving with a good friend, one far enough removed form the situation that she gave me some much needed perspective, and in the way of the friends you most need, a dash of humor. She cut right through self-pity and the social mores of our insular little world and let me explain what wires had gotten crossed inside me–what had allowed me stray from what was a solid moral compass.

And then she did something that, at the time, seemed miraculous: she understood. She got it and it didn’t change how she viewed me.

I was not a Judas any more than I was a saint. I was human, flawed, and sometimes stupendously foolish.

And I found that this thing I’d done? Didn’t define me.

What defined me was how I handled myself in its aftermath.

Some Thoughts on This Winter’s Snowfall

Ridiculous amounts of snow fall: Small Boy declares Snow "Best Thing Ever!"

 

Legos replace Snow as "Best Thing Ever," as white stuff continues to fall: "Snow again?"

Fat Little Bird says, "Who cares about snow? Keep the sunflower seeds coming, lady!"

 

 

Brushing with Hot Water

I was falling asleep last night thinking about how I accidentally used hot water to brush my teeth, and how I actually kind of liked it, and why does no one do that? Or do they?

I have a little notebook and pen on my bedside table where I write things down in the middle of the night, sometimes in the dark, and I was trying to reach for it, to remember my hot water and Crest Tartar Protection musings, but I was too paralyzed by exhaustion to do more than think about it. When I woke up this morning, it was open, and scrawled across it in loose, loopy letters was this phrase: love him hate snoring.

I have been sleep-writing.

I have been sleep-writing deep, meaningful truths.

My son, on the other hand, is dreaming of Disney/Pixar movies, and the injustices of not being allowed control of the remote control. He woke up, sobbing, very early this morning.

“I wanna turn off that show!” Sob, weep, gasp.

I scramble down the hall and into his room, shivering in my skivs and cami, and curl up in his twin bed, wiping tears off his cheeks.

“Did you have a bad dream, baby?”

“No! I was watching my Mater show on the TV and I wanna turn it off.”

He got Mater’s Tall Tales for Christmas, and we watched it in the van, on the way home from my parents house. Three days ago. He has never watched it in the house.

Is it wrong that I kind of wanted to laugh at him?

I didn’t. I just wanted to.

Clearly, the dream stayed with him, though, because as I type, he’s recreating Rescue Squad Mater on the kitchen island with his die-cast Cars cars.

Still in his pajamas. Because it’s our last day of vacation. And we have errands to run and meals to cook for the coming week.

I should finish my tea and go brush my teeth.

With hot water.