Writing Challenge 101 Day 4 – The Serial Killer (Loss)

Everything I learned about being a mother I learned from my mother.  Simple, right?  Of course I learned from her.  But it’s not so simple as that.  I was the baby of the family, the introvert, the dreamer.  The nonconformist.  I lived inside my head, inside the stories I was always telling myself, understanding those stories and their characters better than I could ever understand the real world around me. My mother was just the opposite; she lived in the real world and had no use for the daydreams and fantasies of her youngest child.

I always thought this was the reason we so often clashed.  Now, however, I think we weren’t so different after all.  She had to live in a reality that I had not yet known.  She had a husband and kids and a house to run.  Groceries to buy, food to cook and endless cleaning of house and laundry.  When I grew up and had these same things come to me, I had to learn how to live outside my own reality.  There isn’t a choice when you have children. 

I have come to understand that being a mother comes from the heart and from the soul.  It is the greatest surrender any woman can make to put aside her life for 18 + years to focus on her children.  Not all mothers make this sacrifice, but my mother did.  There are no absolutes in a mother’s world, no true rights or wrongs.  Everything we do as mothers is in the Now, the eternal present. There is no past or future in mothering. Every word we choose leaves it’s input on our child forever. As a mother myself, I can now see the challenges and sacrifices that she made from both sides.  She did the best she could in the Now.  When she knew better, she did better.  What better mantra for any mother?

Somewhere in the turmoil of our relationship,  the truth of being a mother changed.  Maybe she leaned that you can’t fix your children.  Maybe she finally saw me for who I was and not who she wanted me to be.  Or maybe she just learned how to stop being a mother and start being a friend.  Time and again, she stood behind me without questions, no longer trying to fix my life, but simply being there. She learned that I didn’t need somebody to fix my problems (though I may have wanted that),  but instead I needed somebody to hear me.  I needed to know that I had value as me and not just as the person others wanted me to be.  I needed somebody who would never leave.

But there is no permanency in motherhood. Eventually mothers go away from their children, leaving behind an empty space inside that will never again be filled in the same way.  Sometimes this leaving is first mental, just as you have gone away into a world of imagination where I cannot enter, our roles switched in what seems a tragic irony of fate.  Eventually, however, it will be forever. This, too, is motherhood.  A letting go, a final freedom, the ability of a child to physically let go of their mother when the time is right and the knowledge that, in truth, motherhood never ends.  It is an endlessness that has carried women from the first moment of the world, uniting us all back to the first mother, that very first instant when a woman looked upon her face of her newborn and fell in love.

What better tribute could there be?

Writing Challenger 101 Day 3 Commit to a Writing Practice

Commitment is something of a challenge in all aspects of my life.  Much of that is reasonable, based on events that happen in anyone’s life, but other commitments, like writing, are harder to focus and understand.  Years ago I had a commitment to writing.  I wrote every day at college. My activities were going to classes, eating (never missed that one) then heading back to my off-campus apartment to spend the rest of my day and night writing. My first manuscript was retyped, back in the typewriter days, at least seven times, all seven hundred pages of it. That was, actually, how I taught myself to type.

But today, after years of life, marriage and children and schools and soccer and Boy Scouts and everything else that mushroomed up between myself and my practice, I find myself at loose ends. I feel the same burning need to write and yet I’m just so tired.  Twenty five years makes a difference and yet I feel as if it shouldn’t.

This is my time. All of these are excuses, I know, but it is so much easier to hide behind an excuse than opening oneself up to failure. And yet on Day 1 of these 30 days of writing, I challenged myself to step up and make that commitment to writing, and to myself.

The first night was a struggle.  I only got a paragraph edited but I felt like I’d won the lottery. When all the fears and dark voices rose up, I fought them back and held on.  Not long but longer than I’d been able to do for years.

Day Two hadn’t been done yet.  I worked a 12 hours shift and knew there would be no writing after. I come home mentally exhausted so nothing gets down on 12 hour days.  Day Three is here.  Day Four I plan to work on later because I have a picture that goes with my post.  

I know I haven’t adhered to the constraints of this day’s challenge, but more than just writing for 15 minutes, I needed to sort out where this commitment is heading.  My goal is to get back to where I was before – editing or writing at least five pages a day – every day.

I have to get back to where I was.  I have too many stories inside my head still, too many voices crying to be let free.  I owe it to myself to let them free and I own it to them to let myself be who I was meant to be.

What is holding you back from your writing and how do you hope this 30 Day Challenge will change that?

Writing Challenge – Stream of Consciousness Day 1

Writing Challenge – Stream of Consciousness Day 1

The first day of the Writing 101 Challenge is upon me. And the second day of June. Last night I was so excited about the beginning of June. I was gonna start writing every day, editing on my manuscript, because I so want this to be my life. I really, really, really, really, want this to be my life. I can’t imagine not having these characters, and their worlds, in my head. I remember once I was watching an interview with Anne Rice and she said something about all the characters in her head. I was like “WOW! It’s not just me???” So what is the difference between myself and Ms Rice? Is it that she has the courage to write every day, to listen to the voices of the characters instead of the voice in her head telling her her writing is crap. Who would want to read that crap? Obviously, millions.

When I was in High School, I read ‘Interview with a Vampire.’ My mother was furious! She didn’t approve of *those* kind of books. To my High School-self, however, this book was just about perfect. It was the first book that I’d ever read where the vampire wasn’t a monster out to destroy everyone and everything around him. Reading that book made me realize that even *monsters* could be sympathetic hero. Or anti-heros, if you wish.

I know this is rambling but that’s the challenge – start writing no matter what comes into your head – or fingers – and keep it up for 20 minutes. I wish I had just a fraction of Ms Rice’s courage, or the courage of any of the writer’s I admire. Part of me wants to believe that they don’t suffer this lack of confidence, this fear of failure, but I know they probably do. Don’t all humans suffer this in one form or another?

So I told myself I would start on the first of June. That was the day I was going to be the writer I was meant to be. Of course, that was the same thing I told myself January 1st of every year for the past… forever…. and then February… March… April….. Get the drift?

So how do I change that chain of fear? How do I really REALLY change?

I’ve written on this blog about being a writer, trying to figure out this very question. How do I begin? How do I take that half-step into a new world?

Last night, I got home and just stared at the computer, afraid even to pull the next chapter up. Part of the problem was that I’d just worked a 12 hour shift. I can forgive myself that. I was too mentally exhausted to do anything but stare into the distance.

Tonight, however, what will I do? Working an 8 hour shift today so I should get things done. I know the truth of this. The more you do, the more you can do. So the more writing I do, the more writing I can do. Great! Let’s just get the writing started.

And I know most of you are going to say, just shut up and write because, in the end, this is a solitary profession. No one can share the thoughts in my head, just as no one can share my exact reality, or the worlds inside my head, like I can.

So, with this, I…(darn not the required 20 minutes yet! LOL!) continue to write. Can’t sign off yet as much as I might wish to do so. Writing means writing through the pain, even if the pain is really just imaginary and in my own head. Isn’t that where most of our pain is? I don’t mean the real physical pain of wounds or broken bones or any other number of other physical ailments. I’m talking about the pain over how successful or horrible our lives seem to be; how we think other people see us; if we are worthy of love.

Today will be the day. No matter how much it hurts, how loud the voices scream and cry and threaten, today is the day to be a writer. Today is the day to be fully me!

Wish me luck that when I get home, the sun is still shining, my kitties are quiet, the boys have done the chores assigned so I don’t walk into the wreak of a home…..

But more than that, wish me the courage to face that dark voice inside even if the clouds cover the sun, the kitties are wild and nothing whatsoever has been done…….