Sunday, April 25, 2010

Falling back in time

There are things that will suddenly throw me back in time. A certain scent, maybe the feel of the weather that morning, maybe seeing something I haven't stumble upon for a while, all these things play at my subconscious. Maybe it's that, after a bit more than a year of so many changes, I am now looking at the anniversary of these events. Some were small at the time, but have become important; some were important at that moment and remain that way. Some were pieces of a larger puzzle that is still coming together.

It's not deja vu. No, these are actual memories, coming back to remind me. There is no vagueness about what I am feeling when this rush of emotional memory comes over me. It is there, so very real. My mind is throwing me around in time, pushing me towards the past for a short while.

I both love and somewhat dread these moments. I feel these moments so deeply, I may even gasp. When I feel those emotions, my mind adds to the memory, once I have allowed it to enter. ("Wasn't it colder that night?" it whispers. "No, that happened one street over," it may remind me.) Many of these memories are good things, but they're also reminders that I've moved on. There may be reminders in my path, but I am still going forward.

Do you get these moments? Are you ever overwhelmed by memory? I think have had more lately because of all of the changes this past year. When you live in the same place for six years, you can't remember when it was that certain moments occurred: was it a year ago? Four? There have been many springs, many falls, it's hard to remember which holiday it was. But last year at this time, I was living somewhere else (although in the same neighborhood). It's still fairly close, still clear. My life was at a different place. And when I walk to work these days, past the places I've been passing this year, spring in the air again, the sun rising earlier and earlier, I get this rush of the feelings from last year. They're good but I remember wondering, what's up ahead? How will the story turn out? Will everything be alright?

Everything is alright. The story is still unfolding. The path ahead looks amazing, but it will probably be even better than I could imagine. Isn't that just the best?!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Close your eyes

I'm not so tough. I like to think I am. I like to think that I am self-contained, that I don't need to know what you think. But I do care, probably more than I should. I am thinking about this as I prepare to send some of my writing off in a competition. I will be judged. No, I remind myself, this bit of writing will be judged. I will still be me; I will be fine. But the writing, yes, will be read and evaluated.

I have been surrounded by so much support. I am so thankful for that. I wouldn't have even gotten to this point without the encouragement and positive thoughts. This is a gift and I know it. I treasure it.

But I am fearing the "thanks for playing" letter. Or, even worse, the silence. (Oh, I hate the silence. "Did you read it?" I wonder. Is it so bad you want to pretend it's not even there? I try not to think that.) Maybe you've been busy (I hope.) Maybe someone decided to submit an old Salinger story that he wrote with Updike back in the day. Yeah, that must be it; no way to compete with that.

I need to be brave and just do it. I am amazed by those who submit all the time. Those who take their words and put it out there: here you go; tell me what you think. That is a place I am not at just yet. But I am here: ready to close my eyes and jump.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The blank page

I suppose that it's not really a page nor is it truly blank. After all, there's all these formatting tools, the buttons that allow one to publish, to delete, to start over. (Don't we wish we had these for all parts of our lives? Wouldn't those be useful tools? But that's not what today's post is about.) Today I am thinking about writing. What I need to do to get those words on the paper (or the electrons rearranged in cyberspace, as it were.)

Clearly, I am not the most dedicated blogger. I have had periods that I've forced myself to write in the blog, which has been good for me, but lately I am blogging when I feel the need and/or desire. Sometimes it's just a matter of having the time and a subject at hand, so I go at it. I do feel like I'm ignoring the blog somewhat these days. That isn't to say I haven't been writing. In fact, I've been writing more than ever these past few months. Just not here. I've been keeping a journal, writing letters and notes, writing fiction even. And let's not forget that I get my paycheck from being a writer.

I read this today: "It is so easy to be virtuous, to be perfect, upon paper." It's from the book I'm reading for book club ("Deerbrook"). Frankly, I find that to be the opposite. Perfection on paper is so difficult. The words can be arranged in so many ways, and, even if you think you may have it right, then they can be interpretted so many more ways, ways the writer never intended. ("When I said that I love chocolate pudding, this didn't mean that I didn't like the pie that was served at dinner last night!") And virtue, well, I'm not even sure how that can be put on paper and not in the mind of the reader. Can a writer really defend her own virtue if the reader doesn't believe in it?

I find I struggle with the starting of any document. I might have a bit of an idea but sometimes it's hard to determine the best way to get to it. Do I jump right in or do I let it unfold? How long do I leave the reader hanging, wondering what the point of all of this could be? Sometimes I don't even have an idea, just an itch to write. Sometimes I just have to dive in and hope the words flow and come together and make something.

Finishing is difficult as well. Not so much with the blog posts, but with other things. Does it need another edit? Do I need to expand here? Do I go on too long over here? Is this story making any sense to another but me? No, seriously, I probably need to edit it again. Well, maybe it's over-edited now. How do you know?

Writing still scares me and thrills me. I feel like it's a new room that I'm still exploring. I want to get better at it, I want to develop my voice. I want to be ready to fill the blank page.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I went to a concert the other night. It was an excellent concert in a lovely venue: not boring at all. But, as it happens these days, I made an observation that makes me feel like I should have my grey hair up in a bun, one hand on my cane, the other cletched in a fist as a shake it, hollering, "These kids todays! Get off of my lawn!" Because, seriously, can't you put away the phone for the three hours during a concert?

Seriously, why all the texting at a concert?

When I was a kid, we didn't have all these fancy devices to keep in touch with everyone constantly. When we went to a concert, we kind of had to pay attention to the guys on stage and/or the people we came with. That was it. You were stuck with those choices, not that this was a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with waiting until the next day to call your best friend and tell her all about the awesome concert you saw last night. Why must you tell someone right that very minute you are at a concert? Are we tweeting the concert? Does your immediate opinion matter that much? And, please, if you must text, please, please turn off your screen light, because those flashes of light are just damn annoying.

And maybe it's none of my business, but when there is a very clear announcement informing you that photography is not allowed, and then, the minute the lights come down, there is a row of folks in front of you lifting their cell phones and snapping away, why don't the ushers do anything aout it? It just annoys the crap out of me. You're in Row Z! Seriously, if you need a picture of the band playing, there are hundreds of them on-line, most much closer and better quality than you could every hope to get. Just put the phone away and enjoy yourself for a few minutes.