How I Write

Last year, at Type A Conference, I met a new friend, Sean. She’s a space-crazed Texan and I adore her for it. She and I agree on lots, except the whole “man on the moon” thing. She obviously thinks we’ve been since she knows people who say they were there. Whatever. Agree to disagree and all that!

She asked me last week to join her sharing about How I Write. She swore I only had to answer a few questions, so it seemed easy enough!

Here you go.

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1. What am I working on?

Right now, all cylinders are firing on Listen To Your Mother stuff. There are several lists of things to be done before this Saturday’s show. I’ve done more reading than writing lately, to be honest, working on this show. (REMINDER: Buy Tickets now)

My day job is super busy, being spring and all, and life feels like everything on my to do list is a bullfrog I’m trying to keep in a wheelbarrow.

2. How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

You know? I’ve never really thought about that. I guess my genre is memoir, but even that I’m not 100% sure about.

When I read other people who write about life like I do, I realize, though, that I write very short essays. I’m quick, to the point, and concise. I like a nice, neat package that has a great starting sentence and a great ending sentence. At least I try to do that. I don’t use a lot of big words, but that’s ok because I don’t use a lot of big words when I talk. It’s not that I can’t, it’s that I just don’t!

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s my life.

Why would I write about anything else? I write my truth, my story, my heart.

4. How does my writing process work?

My process is simple. I sit. I write. I hit publish.

I don’t have a complicated system. Every now and then I’ll jot some notes down while I’m driving or while I’m at work. But most of the time, when I do that, I forget the context in which it was thought of in my brain. It never comes back so now I don’t even bother writing it down unless I can write out the whole post. My best works have been done spur of the moment, with just one word floating around in my head, beating on the inside to get out.

That’s why I could never post daily on here. I can’t force myself to write something.

I write what my gut says to write.

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I was told to choose two people to carry this on. I want to know how Miranda and Leah write.

 

Drowning

Have you ever felt like you were drowning? It’s my worst fear. I would rather die in fire or from falling out of a plane that to drown. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to swim, or because I’m a Sagittarius. It’s probably because I can’t hold my breath very long and was always the first one up during Country Club Pool hold-your-breath contests.

Last night I dreamed about drowning in the Country Club Pool.

I’m pretty sure it’s because after a week of feeling like drowning, I was granted permission to “GO GENTLY WITH YOU.” (thank you, Ann)

Work is crazy. I mean, it’s Spring and I work at a wholesale nursery. It hasn’t rained in over 72 hours (a miracle) and people are itching for NEW! PRETTY! FLOWERS! AND! TREES! OMG! NOW! It’s like putting a puzzle together every day for 8 hours and you keep losing pieces and finding them and finishing the puzzle and then having a wind come by and break it all apart and having to start over.

**comes up for air**

Listen To Your Mother preparations is all-consuming in one of the best ways possible. I’ve never been a part of something so amazing. There’s so much behind the scenes stuff involved with directing/producing a live show…

And as Eminem says, “My OCD’s conking me in the head.” For me this means if everything can’t be done right and right now, I freeze and nothing gets done right or done right now. But I’m conking my OCD right back in the head. My hammer might not be as big as its is, but I’m trying.

Speaking of the show, if you’re anywhere near Atlanta, why haven’t you bought tickets? Do that. Like, NOW. The show is in less than 2 weeks. (Have you bought tickets? WHY NOT?)

**panics and comes up for air**

Did I mention life is pulling me into the riptide? Laundry piles are everywhere. Dishes are still in the sink, which I HATE more than I hate cauliflower. Dust is collecting. Pollen is adding to that dust. Homework and back-talking and sick germs never end.

We have to move at the end of June. Our lease is up and we don’t want to leave the school district but finding a rental is going to be hard and we’re not sure we want to buy right now and looking for houses that will fit all our needs is nearly impossible.

**pushes all that to the end of the to do list and comes up for air**

As I feel like I’m being pulled under, under, under, I realize that I can see the light up there. It’s bright and sends rays through the chlorinated water that burns my skin. I hear others splashing around and see that I’m getting closer to the surface. I must’ve floated to the shallow end because I can touch the ground below me, the concrete scratching my feet. My face breaks the surface of the water, and I gasp for air and feeling the sun shine on my face.

This too shall pass.

And until it does, I’ll just keep swimming – flapping my arms and coming up for air as often as I can.

Enough is Enough

Seriously. I’m tired of it.

Enough is enough.

Babies have to stop dying. Parents need to stop having to choose tiny caskets that can be picked up by one person. Have you ever seen one? Just the casket itself will give you nightmares.

I’m pissed.

I can’t believe it’s 2014 and there are still as many people burying their babies as there are. I know, if we were in the 1800′s or even 50 years ago, it would be more. But damn.

It’s not fair.

Yeah, something good will come from it. A lot of people do great things in the wake of devastating and bring-you-to-your-knees situations, but WHY DO WE STILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS?

Every time I hear of a new baby who won’t get to have a birthday party, go to kindergarten, get married, or even take his first steps, I cry. Mostly, because I can’t take it away from the person suffering the new loss. I’ve been there. I would rather take their pain than have ANYbody else in this world  have to feel those stages of grief.

And that is how I feel this Sunday morning.

Enough is enough.

Goodbye, 2013. Hello, 2014!

Goodbye, 2013. Hello, 2014!

All in all, I think 2013 was pretty good. I mean, we all had our health, our sanity, food on our table, and a roof over our heads.

Last year, I chose a word of the year instead of a resolution. Grace was my word, and I’m not sure I can judge whether I fulfilled being full of grace or not, but I like to think I did exhibit more than normal simply because it was always in the back of my mind.

This year, Jason, Henry, and I have chosen our words. I’m sure you can figure out which one each of us chose.

words for 2014

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2013 held a lot of firsts and lots of favorite posts (by my standards, not anybody else’s). 

January: I had an emergency on the longest run I had done up to that point. I got stuck in a … 

February: Henry and I had a date at Waffle House.

March: I recapped my February half marathon after I processed it all.

April: I pondered the hardest part of running.

May: May saw us mark one whole decade since our Charlie was born. The words were few. The moments between his birth and that day were many.

June: I gave my husband a car for his birthday. Even though it had already been his once before.

July: Working Mom guilt set in.

August: School started. And with it came homework and tears.

September: My Grannie died. I wrote a piece and spoke at her funeral. It was a good day.

October: I became taken with a DOT worker I passed every morning and wondered what his story was.

November: I finished my second half marathon. Henry had a special experience at Disney. And he ran a race in 8:20.

December: I spent some time remembering Christmases as a child. Part 1 and Part 2 about the Door To Christmas.

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2014 stands to be a good one.

There are events on the horizon that will be exciting, challenging, and even exhilarating.

I choose to go into 2014 with these things in mind:

I will use my God-given intuition more. I will try not to second guess my gut feeling because it’s always right. I will try not to read your mind. 

I will be more aware. Of my surroundings, my feelings, my family, my life in general. 

I will run/walk/jog 500 miles this year. Period. 

I will train properly for the Princess Half/Enchanted 10k/Glass Slipper Challenge. 19.3 miles in 2 days is nothing to scoff at. 

I will raise $2000 for the Ronald McDonald House. If you’d like to help me get to that goal, please click here.

I will put on a helluva show with Miranda and the LTYM: Atlanta cast (TBD) around Mother’s Day (date also TBD). 

I will strive to live my life to the fullest, because it’s the only one I get. 

Cheers to the end of 2013 and bigger cheers to the start of 2014!

happy 2014

{Part 2}: The Door To Christmas: Story of The Christmas Room

For Part 1 of The Christmas Room story, start here.

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door

Once everything was checked out, we were given the thumbs-up to go into The Christmas Room. In spite of being in that room year in and out, the magic of the room made your brain feel all oogly woogly and for a moment you couldn’t remember where you were supposed to go or sit or what you were supposed to say and YAY IT’S CHRISTMAS WE’RE FINALLY IN!

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to go into The Christmas Room, you know that whether it’s April or July or the day after Christmas, you will long for wrapped gifts and stockings. All year, this room is dedicated to Christmas.

There are two Christmas sofas, one for each family like we’re on Family Feud. I’m not sure how or when they were covered in this epically textured red velvet fabric, but I know that they were probably the subject of thousands of conversations over the years.

christmassofa

Someone would inevitably try to squeeze into the small chair that had once been my Mama’s, noting that “I can still fit in here” for all the family to giggle at them.

littlechair

Stockings were laid out in the corners of the sofas, perfectly filled with equal amounts of goods. Dads and boys got water guns and silly string. The Moms and girls got smelly lotions and lip gloss. At some point, we all started to get lottery tickets.

And there was always the famous cash envelope that the parents immediately confiscated – I can only assume that was so we didn’t throw it away with the wrapping paper.

Gifts were passed out by two of us. Everybody waited until all the gifts were carefully (and quickly) delivered to dive in. But when all was delivered, it was game on. Paper flew, “thank you” was said quickly when eye contact was made with the giver, the next gift was grabbed to open in a hurry.

As the years went on, we realized that Grannie and Grandaddy would sit and wait before opening their own gifts, watching and taking it all in before turning their attention to the gifts from their grandchildren and daughters.

It all moved dizzyingly fast – from the opening of the door to the moment we all leaned back and sighed from exhaustion. The next thing you knew, the parents were back at the table with pecan pie and coffee while the kids were laid out in the floor in front of the TV and electric space heater watching WMAZ’s coverage of Santa’s flight across the globe.

And just as we rushed to get TO Grannie and Grandaddy’s, once we realized Santa was close to our area, we forced the parents to rush home. Bags were gathered, trunks were filled (to the brim, to be honest), cars were loaded and goodbyes were said.

Before we got to the river, my sister and I were normally asleep. In fact, we were so sound asleep we would have to be carried into the house and placed in our beds with visions of sugarplums and the magic of The Christmas Room dancing in our heads.

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The Door To Christmas is more than just that. It’s the door to memories, ones that we can all share and cherish and open the door to whenever we want.

My wish for y’all this Christmas season is that you have a door in your heart and in your mind that you are able to open and be transported to happy and beautiful memories of Christmases past. And also that you are taking the time to enjoy the memories you are making with your children and grandchildren. Those memories will stay with them forever.

I also know that this Christmas, my Grannie and Grandaddy are together, sitting on a Christmas sofa holding Charlie, waiting patiently for all gifts to be open before they open theirs. They’ll smile down and make sure we are all equally  blessed, just as they did for dozens of years before.

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