Taking Punches

road-sign-940644_1280Someone said something to me a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. It just pops up every now and then. I can hear the voice and everything.

I was sitting at my desk at the beginning of a long shift at work when one of my co-workers, several desks down, looked up and said: “I want to be Tammi.” I remember my surprise and the way I replayed her words to make sure I heard what I thought I heard. My clever reply, of course, was “What?”

So she said it again. “I want to be Tammi. Nothing ever seems to bother you.”

I blinked for a moment as all of my current struggles flashed before my mind’s eye. “No, you don’t. You really really don’t.”

Looking back I am still surprised at her words. I don’t know if I will ever get over the surprise. It isn’t that I have a bad life. I am actually pretty blessed. However, it is not all roses and sunshine. This person knows this. She has been there to see when life sucker punched me over and over. It has taken a while but I think I understand what she meant now. I guess I have rolled with those punches and gotten back up. That is what she was expressing envy for.

I still don’t think it is that big of a deal. I think I do a crappy job at this whole existing as a responsible adult thing. It is hard. Every day is hard. It feels like life is just one big constant fight.

I fight to wake up in the morning. I fight to get Toby to school on time. I fight to get to boxing-415394_1920.jpgwork. I fight the school when they can’t understand Toby’s Autism. I fight to pay bills, to write, to have groceries, to walk the dog, to feed the cats, to wash the laundry and the dishes…every single day is pushing against the wind. It may not seem like it on the outside. Many of these are things everyone has to do.

Simple things take so much energy. I am tired all the time. Which is why I guess I don’t react as much as others when life throws me those sucker punches. I am already fighting. It doesn’t make sense to stop just because I got decked with a harder blow than normal. That doesn’t mean I like it and that doesn’t mean I don’t loudly express my exasperation and frustration. Sometimes I throw myself a toddler style fit until I cry and have to take a nap. I am not unaffected by life’s punches. I just don’t know how to stay down for the count. I don’t wish those punches on anyone else either, because I know how much they hurt. boxing-984174_1920

(I am honestly a little afraid to post this because the universe might see it as a challenge. Please Universe, don’t see my words as a challenge. Life punches hard enough already.)

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Cookies, Coffee, and Contentment

There is something about baking cookies just because that brings me a sense of peace. It has been a tough week. My son has been sick since last Thursday. First, he had a stomach virus. That lasted Thursday and Friday. By Saturday he seemed to be over losing the contents of his stomach but he still wasn’t feeling well.

cold-1947995_1920.jpgOn Sunday he started running a fever. By the wee hours of Monday morning, the fever was up to 102 and he was laying in the floor crying because his ear hurt. He wouldn’t say much else. (Toby has ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.) Not sure what else to do and with hours until the doctor opened I took him down to the emergency room of the children’s hospital.

The doctors there were fantastic as always. They took their time with him and explained everything they were doing. He was diagnosed with an ear infection, we were given a prescription for antibiotics, and released. I continued to alternate ibuprofen and Tylenol to help with the pain and the fever.

Fast forward to this Thursday. The fever still hadn’t gone away and despite three days of antibiotics, his ear was still hurting. So we went to the doctor to follow up and found out he had both an outer and an inner ear infection. The Doc prescribed some ear drops to go along with the antibiotics. The fever is finally gone and my son is on the mend.

Friday a sweet friend gave me a tub of cookie dough he had bought to support a fundraiser. Today, with Toby feeling better and with the sun shining after a week of rain, it seemed like the perfect time to bake some cookies. I didn’t even have to tell my son I was baking. The cookies had been in the oven less than two minutes before he followed his nose into the kitchen. Now the discs of deliciousness are cooling and I have a fresh cup of coffee in hand. Soon Toby will have a glass of milk and we will sit down with a couple of chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. For this moment, life is good. cookies-933191_1920.jpg

Morning Contemplation

cupI’m writing this on a Tuesday morning before getting ready for work. I have a new coffee mug that states “Mornings are for Coffee and contemplation”.  It is actually from the Netflix show Stranger Things, but I have wanted one ever since I saw a character drinking from it. Not because of the show but because I liked the mug. I like the show too of course, though I haven’t seen the second season yet. I am waiting to watch it with my eldest child and teenagers rarely have time for moms.

Anyway, I am rambling about the wrong thing. What I wanted to ramble about is the tree in my neighbor’s yard. The reason I like my new mug is that it reminds me to set aside time just to be, to sip a cup of coffee or tea and look around the world instead of just rushing through it. I am trying to be better at doing that.

So, I was sitting in my favorite chair with a hot cup of coffee and my front door wide open. The only light was from the door and the windows because I  wasn’t quite ready for artificial light yet. I heard the cicadas singing and there was a light breeze rustling the flag still attached to my porch from the 4th of July. I had the passing thought that these five minutes of my morning sound like the beginning of some sort of patriotic commercial or political ad campaign. Then I notice the gentle trembling of green leaves.

My across the street neighbor has a huge tree in her front yard that squirrels delight in. The wind this morning just teased its boughs while it was bathed in early sunlight. I waxed poetically inside my head about how pleasant the morning was and how nice it was to watch the oak tree across the street, and then promptly tripped over my own thoughts. Was the tree across the street an oak? Maybe it’s a maple?

I got up from my chair and moved to the door with my coffee so I could squint at the fall-leaves-63221_640foliage, trying to make out a single leaf. The wind picked up just enough to toss a couple of yellowing small ones from a top branch. They twisted and danced as they fell to the ground, making it impossible for me to tell what they looked like. My morning contemplation has been filled with: “Is it a maple or an oak?”

I am pretty sure the tree is a oak. Maples around here aren’t usually so big. If it is a maple tree it is very old. I could just walk across the street and look but that feels too much like giving in.

Ramblings from a writer

william_cullen_bryantToday I sat down to look over a poem I wrote earlier in the week. I have sent it to a few good first readers to get different viewpoints. I have spent way more time on this one poem than I ever planned on, but then I never really planned to write it either. A line just sort of popped into my head one day, so I wrote it down and the rest followed. That’s usually how poetry works for me. Often that is the way stories work too.

I am pretty much one of those people who write by the seat of their pants. I rarely plan anything out. I think it is more fun that way, even if it is a bit chaotic. However, if I am writing non-fiction, then I do plan things more carefully. I have the ability to plot things out, I just don’t usually do it because it seems to make getting the words down harder for me. I tend to daydream quite a bit as well.

The idea that I don’t plot things out drives a few of my writer friends crazy. They always plot. I know others that never do. I mean, there is always a vague idea where the story is going. Usually.

I do have eight pages of a work in progress that just kind of popped in my head like poetry normally does. That one I have no idea where it is going. It probably won’t turn out to be anything good enough to share with the rest of the world, but it is fun to write so I am keeping up with it as sort of a writing exercise.

Anyway, my rambling point is that I have spent a lot of time working on a poem. I like this one and I want to get it right but it isn’t quite there yet. I am not sure where “there” is but I am working hard on finding it.

 

Unplanned

black and white house under thick clouds
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Take this weekend for example. I had planned to get a ton of writing done. I was going to work on this short story I want to finish and send out before the end of June. I was going also work on this other thing that looks like it might be part two of something I’ve already completed. I was also hoping to plot some of a series I’ve been planning, then write a blog post.

None of that happened. Well, this is the blog post but not the one I originally planned on. Yesterday the sky was overcast and the wind was shouting nature’s fury through the trees. Then the storm began and the power went out. No power, no internet.

It was fine at first. All the people in my neighborhood opened their curtains and doors. People stood on their porches and watched the storm rage. When it the weather cleared the power was still out, so my son and I went to visit family, run a few errands, and grab some lunch. We passed downed trees and broken limbs everywhere; evidence that the storm had been worse than I thought. Traffic lights were down and a lot of places were without power.

It took us longer than expected but we returned home by seven in the evening to a dark house. The power rarely goes off where I live so I had expected it to be repaired by the time we made it home. It wasn’t a big deal to me. We have candles and lanterns if we need to see and I have a camp stove if we needed something warm to eat. I also have a reading list that never seems to get any smaller.

My son, however, thought the apocalypse had come. The battery in his game console was almost dead and so was his phone. He couldn’t turn on the tv or his computer and we had to use a tap light to see in the bathroom. I told him to read a book. He pouted for a bit but finally started a series he received for Christmas.

The power was back on by 10PM but it was kind of nice to unplug from technology for a bit. I managed to read three books and my son focused on something that wasn’t Minecraft for a few hours. So, even though things didn’t go as planned and I didn’t get the writing done that I wanted, it was still a pretty good day. (The power went off for a while today too but only for a few hours.)

The month for lightbulbs

I know, long time no post. I did mention back in August (I think) that I wouldn’t be posting
as often because of school and such. Life is still as crazy and busy as ever. However, I thought I would take a moment to let everyone know what I am working on. It is for school but I think it will have added benefits by the time I am done.

I didn’t come to that conclusion by myself, mind you. It took a comment from one of my classmates to make me see the potential. Thanks again Emily.

lights-1088141_640“…You could add links to your possible ideas and rough drafts so others can get an idea of your writing style and interests!”  I read this will drinking coffee
and the thoughts exploded in my brain like Christmas lights coming to life. I’ve had some complaints here and there that I don’t write enough about my writing. There are several reasons for that.

One is because I often use this blog to empty my brain of all the other things that get in the way when I try to write. It is my freedom space. All of those thoughts or ideas that have to go some place usually go here, with exceptions of course. This blog is me talking to myself in a crowded room. Yet, no one looks at me funny because if you are reading this you came here to see me talk to myself.

Now I have to create a new blog for school. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I mean I 6a00d8341c630a53ef013488af5745970c-800wihave this one, amazontwitter, a facebook page, and I have a web page. I don’t update those anywhere near often enough. Why would I want to add one more to the mix? Why would I want to do all of that work for just a grade?

Then Emily commented on my post in our discussion area, (I am going to MTSU online) and it was like the scene from Dead mc2_robinwilliamsPoet’s Society when Robin Williams stands on his desk to gain a different point of view. My eyes were opened to the possibilities. I have needed a place to stash links to things I find online that I want to revisit. I am focusing on History and Literature at school, which is pretty much regular life for a grade and a bit more structured.

(I seriously should get my kids to guest post aboutIMG_20160409_144243004 how many museums and historical sites I drag them to and the documentaries we watch.)

So, coming soon: Back Stories: History in Fiction. It will be on blog spot because I like to spread myself around like that and it is something new to poke at. I will post a link here when I get it up and running.

 

Bathroom Epiphanies

If I ever get the chance to design a dream home, I will have a moisture proof bathroom-759473_1280cabinets installed. They will all be within easy reach of the sink, the bathtub and shower, and the toilet. Within these cabinets will be a variety of writing implements and paper or voice recording devices. This way I will be able to record all of the epiphanies I get while in that room of the house.

kitchen-1416383_1280

 

A special drawer will also be installed in the kitchen, near the sink, for the same purpose. I am guessing my epiphanies must need water to bloom. ( I am a Pisces after all.)

 

Today I was brushing my teeth when I realized I have been trying to tell the wrong story for years. I thought I was writing my own thing, but as I pondered all the wonderful authors that I’ve enjoyed and reflected on how many favorites have crossed the rainbow bridge, I came to the conclusion I have been writing to fill a hole.

 

to-write-1706661_1280The characters are mine. The ideas are mine. However, there has always been something missing. Sometimes I have managed to grasp just a spark of whatever it is, but often it disappears. I want that magic I experienced reading my favorite authors and to obtain it I have been unconsciously attempting to mimic them. Like a kid in her father’s shoes, I’ve been tramping around trying to be like those I admire.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is how we learn. However, there comes a point where you have to wear your own shoes.

whats-your-storyI thought I knew my writing style. I thought I knew my voice. Now I know that I should take a closer look and maybe focus on those sparks of magic that were my own voice shining through.