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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Okay, I, like millions of others, make a stupid New Year’s Resolution every year, and, like most, I don’t keep it. Sometimes it’s really stupid like lose weight, exercise, eat better/less, drink less (not better!), etc. You get the picture. You probably ARE the picture – just like me!

So this year, none of that, but I do want to do something productive. So, I want to write more. To express myself in some way. To have a real web log.

Here goes: I’ll post to the blog weekly.

Now, tell me. What are your productive, contributive resolutions?

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Sunday lunch at The Writer’s Mom’s.  The three F’s:  Feast, Family, Fun.  Catch up on gossip from the last gathering; scope out the new boyfriends; kiss babies, wipe notes, and chase kids about to stick something in an eye or up a nose; celebrate passings; invite friends by for a bite, plan for future gatherings….Ah, <smiling> family….

Faye is only gathering us in once a month these days, down from an almost-every Sunday event.  She is tired, but no one has stepped up to carry on the tradition.  Henry and Nita are busy with their blended family, kids, grandkids, etc.  Kenny is busy with his motorcycle gang.  Sharon & Jim are in California.  Ron and I are the family that almost isn’t because of our independence.

I wonder about what will happen to this closeness when we no longer have Faye to draw us in, to connect us, to keep us close. I wonder if, then, one of us will “step up” to the plate (literally, the dinner plate) to protect the unity of the family? I’ve thought about having lunch here at RonaLin once a month, too — just to give everyone another chance to get together.  I just can’t think that most of the family wants to do that…the draw is Faye, at least most of it is–I confess that I’d go just about anywhere for her chicken & dressing!

Just thinking about this makes me sad….I expect that’s why all of us avoid the issue.  We can’t bear to think of the tradition being broken, of Faye not being the one who draws us all close in her loving embrace…she is our home, in every way that matters.

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Such a difference in this storm and the one on whose third anniversary it came!  Lots of rain, some storm surge, some water in buildings on the coast, some flooding.  Not the complete and total devastation of Katrina, despite our fears and anxieties.  I wonder if we will ever feel safe again when the skies darken during hurricane season?  Despite everything, people prepared, people evacuated, people saved themselves and those precious to them.  Will it happen this smoothly, this carefully orchestrated evacuation, the next time a real Katrina comes along?

For me, four days at home.  I spent most of it not working, not DO-ing a thing.  Calm, peaceful, serene, with a side of anxiety thrown in to spice it up.  I went to the library on Saturday and checked out books to entertain myself with during daylight should things be worse than predicted.  And, while Gustav sputtered and spat rain and coughed mild winds here at home, I read.  What a total joy.  At 1 a.m. this morning, i was still reading and not ready to stop, lost in the story, consumed by the lives of those characters, wondering what would happen next, playing and replaying scenes from the book in my head as I readied myself for bed.

That must be what it’s like for The Writer all the time: worrying about his people, wondering what they will or should do next, contemplating, as he says, “how to get them across the room.”  it was hard to come back to my world today, to return to work, to return to “real life.”  It’s good for me to get a taste of this — of what it must be like for Ronnie when I come in from work for lunch and want to ‘chat’ him up about my day, what he’s done, what he’s writing….How difficult it must be for him to shift gears and come up for air!  Well, what’s good for the goose….

Tonight I finish my book!

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The writer went birding Saturday morning, and, while I might have enjoyed going, too, it comes to choices: do I want to go birding (which I love to do) with my husband and our friends or do I want some time to myself. It seems this is the choice I’m faced with these days as Ronnie’s work-place has become our home. Now, I know this probably sounds like complaining, but it’s really not. I love having him home. I love knowing the creatures have a human rumbling around among them. I love knowing he will be there when I go home for lunch. I love that he is clearly so much less stressed and so much happier. AND, I miss my time alone. So sometimes I have to choose between going out and doing fun things and having that time. I guess choices are not always supposed to be easy.

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since The Writer decided to become a full-time, stay-at-home professional writer rather than a part-time, hit-or-miss non-writer. It’s been an interesting transition for us both, and a not altogether comfortable one.

There was a time that I couldn’t bear to have him be home and me not; that was a time when going to work was real work. It helps tremendously now that I have a job I really like and that is not a constant, never-ending source of stress. It has been a stretch for me not to demand that he do things for me because he is at home; his job, even at home, is to write — not to push the vacuum cleaner or mow the lawn or do all the shopping.  His job is not to lighten my load. His job is to write. It has also been frustrating to me (and somewhat scary) that we are not further down the road toward this being a supporting “business” (as in financial support), but that is coming, and I am not yet in panic-mode.

A year (almost). A year that has had some tremendous downs and a few moderate ups: death of his dad; loss of a job (his) that paid some bills but had many downsides; struggling to get on a schedule with writing; struggling to balance full-time writing with life; both of us working to get a handle on the “business” of writing (it ain’t all just about putting words on paper!), and all of that mushed up with new demands of readers and life stuff.

I cannot say it hasn’t been challenging, but I can say it’s been very fulfilling for me to see Ronnie write: to see pages spooling out of the printer, to see things in print in newspapers, to see progress on novels, to get the Crow-Baby book/art underway, to hear the praise from those who read his work and understand the work he does to produce that.

I can say that we couldn’t have come this far without our friends and family…those people who encourage and support us, through chats in the halls, through emails, through letters, through cards, through posting comments on blogs, over lunches, over cocktails, whatever.

So, here’s my advice, and it doesn’t just apply to major life changes:

  • When it’s hard to keep going, find a friend who will encourage you — it may not even be someone you know, but take encouragement from all sources! After all, this is the secret of AA, Weight-Watchers, and every other self-help group that has lasted more than a week.
  • When you are feeling low, find someone to appreciate you, maybe not for your work but just for who you are (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), and keep those people close — you will need them again and again! And reciprocate for them as well, cause it feels almost as good to give that “stuff” as it does to get it back!
  • Remember to align your goals regularly with your partner. The unknown is too frightening for all of us. Sharing common goals makes the work easier (not to mention more focused) and causes less friction. You know where you’re going and all that’s left is negotiation on the path.

Happy trails!

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Time Management is the name of the tune.

The Writer has stepped up the pace lately with production: two columns this week; working on final edit of new novel (SPITE); work on short stories; and, of course, the endless email, research, etc. that he is compelled to do. He’s even managed to set himself up an appointment calendar which I can share, so I have some idea of what he is committing himself (and sometimes me!) to. It’s all good….

But where is the new column he’s been talking about since November? Where’s the storyboard for the children’s book on the “boards”? What’s happening with column syndication? Where are the new business cards with correct contact info? Where are the blog postings? What about . . .

Okay, I could go on and on to no avail. And sometimes I do, although I try to reserve that for his ears only! He has trouble understanding why I’m so driven; I have problems understanding what he does all day, every day! I know that what I do in my work is not nearly the same as what he does, but, really — what’s the deal about writing two pages about something I know? If I took a week to write a two-page brief, I’d have been fired decades ago and never taken back into the workforce!

So, he gets frustrated with my frustration. Does it help either of us? Hardly….but we have yet to find a way out of the downward-spiraling conversation about time, projects, what comes when, how to allocate enough time but not too much to a column, etc. HELP! My real dilemma now is not to solve that problem but more to keep the lines of communication open….how can we continue to talk about these issues, try for understanding on both sides, and generally keep our sanity…and get stuff done, too.

Honestly, if you’ve got some insight about this, please share!  Until then, I’ve got 10 things to do today on my checklist………

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Well, the big projects this week include

– finishing final edit on The Writer’s second novel, SPITE

– beginning scripting of podcast for SPITE

– reading/editing two dissertations and a proposal

– finding a way to have a shared calendar with The Writer.

Now, it seems that there are a lot of projects that would come before that last one, but we are already finding that we are developing conflicts in our life schedule as The Writer takes on more activities, engagements, etc. Working at home is one thing; leading bird tours, going to art gallery openings, etc., is an entirely different thing.

Don’t get me wrong! I want him to do these things and I think they contribute to his writing, his professionalism, and his marketability, but these activities are cutting into his writing time, meaning that time he does have at home in front of the computer becomes even more valuable, more precious. And, it means that I get even less of his attention when he is at home. So, having the shared calendar means that we each can have a daily sense of what the other is doing and how much demand we can make on him/her. And you wouldn’t think, with products like Google out there that this would be so difficult….but, somehow, it has been made into a mountain and two days later, it’s still not working! Urgggggggggggg! Frustration!

Yes, it’s true…this is as much for my benefit as his. He forgets that I’m the one with the full-time job and the part-time job (teaching/sitting on committees/student activities) in addition to the things I do as editor, researcher, etc. for him. I’m not complaining . . . I’m simply stating the facts, folks. I have to prioritize, too.

So, although I’ve been diligently working on the podcast scripts, that’s about to come to a screeching halt for the next week or two while I go into teacher mode and work on student dissertations, proposals, etc. We’ll see what the consequences are . . .

Stay tuned for on The Writer’s blog for Saturday’s new article. It will feature reader-submitted photos which are GREAT!

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