I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD-SLAPS, SPEED-BUMPS and LIGHT-BULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life, is the name of my memoir/essay collection with why I wrote what I wrote and what happened after. They were published once and as every writer knows, once is not enough.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Doors



When I am seated in a restaurant I always have to face the door.

When I was a little girl I remember a news report about a mass shooting in a restaurant. I don’t remember where or when it took place but I remember how I cried over pictures of the victims published in either Life or Look magazine. It was a horrific story, many killed, many injured. As a child I could not make sense of the tragedy. Imagining the fear and chaos and not understanding the madness of the random killings was the stuff of a nightmare for a little kid. Now it makes up adult nightmares as well.
Back then first person accounts of survivors stated that the restaurant patrons facing the door were the lucky ones; they saw the man as he entered with his gun and were able to take cover and save themselves. I always face the door, I always look up, always am aware.
I’ve researched that shooting during the 50s or 60s and I cannot find the incident anywhere. For a time I thought I was confusing the San Ysidro shooting at a McDonalds in California but I was in my thirties by then. I don’t think that was it, but it doesn’t matter. I still sit facing the door. My youngest daughter does as well. Is it because she's heard me tell this story so often or because of the times in which we live? Probably both.

What does this have to do with writing?
I sat in my rocker and tried to think of something serious to write this morning. Something of value, something which changed the way I live my life.  This is what came to mind.
When you want to write something which deviates from your norm what do you come up with?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dimmer Switch




As the years pile on I have found that it has become increasingly difficult to deal with the lights around me which are beginning to dim. The ones which have gone out, it’s hard, but the world keeps spinning and we go on. It's the fading vibrancy in friends, family and ourselves which I find so heartbreaking. 

You get to a time in your life when you appreciate the miracle that we are, and then we become shadows of our former selves. I often wonder ‘what about us’. I try to be more in-tune with the good times now because I know that one of these days it will be my turn or my husbands. 

Regarding friends and family, it seems as if I am surrounded by medical calamity. Every time I hear about another issue, an illness or operation I cringe, and wonder again, what about us. My husband and I are in pretty good shape (taping on wood as I write this) so I am thankful for every-single-day. 

For some time now I have been trying to come up with a non-preachy, less-bitchy way of writing about how grateful young folks should feel for being young, how they should appreciate the gift of time they perceive as their future. I want to express how wonderful it is to see a longer path in front than behind. I want to find the perfect words to tell them how lucky they are to be young.

My daughters have lost two young friends recently, one to a horrifically tragic act and another to a long illness. They know there are no guarantees of time, but do they, should they, think about the end of life while in the midst of life? Maybe we’re just supposed to live our lives, with bright lights, and not think about the dimmer switch. Because they have lost two of their own, they know, right along with the rest of us, life is a crap-shoot and  it’s all smoke and mirrors. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, another hour or one more minute.

For Donna E.
If we think about life as a marathon and first focus on the aches and pains of the body, during and even after the race, we wouldn’t even start to run the race. Maybe we should simply focus on putting one foot in front of the other until the last hill and final sprint, or limp, to the finish line.

Wisdom tells me that life is about the race, not the finish. Life tells me that the dimmer the light, the least likely I am to see where the road ends. I'm not sure if that's good or bad all I know is that if I can't see my feet I'll fall flat on my ass.

What does wisdom tell you?


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Writer's God-wink



For some time now I’ve been experiencing something quite strange regarding my writing. It’s odd actually and if anyone has experienced the same thing please let me know...I am not the only one.

First of all let me set this up:
Most of my writing is done in my kitchen. It’s a great room, very comfortable and for me the perfect place to write even if something is going on elsewhere in the house. Often the TV is on in the living room, either my husband is watching and dozing or he’s gone up to bed and left it on because he knows I want him to leave it on; the flat-screen is my sound-track. And, if no one is home, I’ll have it on because we have a large house which is a bit remote. To me total quiet can be unnerving at times and a comfort at others. Usually I need something to distract me from myself. Sometimes I’ll play music (new age) but when I do, the music is usually so beautiful, I find it intrusive. So here I sit, thinking, typing and writing with the subliminal sounds of the news, commercials, movies or whatever and ‘bing’ it happens.

I will be typing a word and exactly at the same time I will hear the same word spoken on the TV.

Just a few minutes ago I posted a short message on another writer’s blog and typed the word ‘fresh’. At exactly the same instant I heard the word ‘fresh’ come from the TV. It was a supermarket commercial advertising produce. This latest instance is why I am writing about this now.

Over the last few years these word-matches have happened so many times that I have replayed what I heard on the DVR, thinking that I imagined it, and damn, what I wrote is what was on the TV at the same time.

When this started I thought it was just weird but after dozens of instances I figured perhaps I was hearing the word first and then writing it. But, that was never the case. The words aren’t common either. Who uses the word ‘fresh’ often? Not me but there it was, me and TV at the same time.

More than a few times a, me and TV two and three word, phrase has popped up. When that happens I’m usually halted and overcome by the phrase-match. It’s just plain strange, cue Twilight Zone theme song.  A bit more rare, those instances really boggle my mind and always make me think something else is going on.

Let me add here that when this happens it snaps me to attention, makes me think I’m on the right track. I call them my writer’s God-winks. I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe in the message.

So I’m, asking, has this ever happened to you?