RSS Feed

Paralysis

The day yawns ahead of me

each tick of the clock tightening the jaws a smidge more.

So much to do.

I sit, paralyzed, not knowing where to start.

The knot in my stomach twists.

The First Day

It’s the first day of gun season, and Husband’s alarm sounds at an early hour.  He is up and out the door quickly to drive to the next county to hunt on his dad’s property.

I sigh and roll out of bed, too.

In the distance, I hear a gun shot.

My running partner is out of town, and I’m not sure I want to brave the first cold weather of the season without her.  At the same time, I don’t want to be a wimp.

I pull on my running tights, my sweatshirt, my shoes, my gloves, and my ear warmers, and I hit the road.  The sunrise is at my right shoulder, and diamonds sparkle in the frosty grass.

I inhale the cold air and watch the breath clouds form in front of my face.  Up the road, past the fancy newer houses, toward the older farm homes.  I glance over toward the sun, and there he is.

A buck, just lying in someone’s yard.

Not dead, but very much alive.

Not hiding from a marksman’s eye.

Not poised, ready to spring away at the slightest sound.

Just lying on the ground, legs tucked under him, enjoying the scenery.

I slow down, and we watch each other as I jog past.  Then I stop, cross the road for a closer look, and still he lies there, his two small antlers pointing toward each other.

Is he injured? I wonder.  Why does my presence not spook him?  I see no signs of distress, no wounds.  He is bright-eyed and alert.

A sneaky little sucker, I decide.  If he’s in someone’s yard, he’s far less likely to be shot.  If he’s out of the woods, then… well, he may think he’s out of the woods.

It’s the only time I’ve witnessed the convergence of the literal and figurative meanings of an idiom.

Finally, he stands, but makes no move toward the trees.

Deer also seem to have marked hunting season on their calendars.

I leave the wily buck and continue my run.  Over the next few miles, I hear more gunshots.

Husband isn’t the only one scoping out dinner.

May it be a worthy contest between the hunter and the deer.

Connecting

I was never the popular girl.  There was a time in middle school when I ran around with five friends:  Amy, Lori, Leeanna, Kristi, and Missy.  But Amy was my best friend. (Except for the times when Leeanna was my best friend.)  Five was always the maximum, and even then, I felt more comfortable with one or two.  Never would you find me happily interacting with dozens of people.

Throughout high school and college, my friend groups swelled and receded, as I assume is part of life.  And never have I thrived on being the center of attention, on being surrounded by people.  Give me my little circle of friends.  Give me one or two individuals with whom I connect.  That’s all I want.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram (and yes, WordPress) — these technologies make it easier to “connect” with a much larger group of people.  Maybe even people I’ve never met and never will meet in real life.  (Hi, strangers!)  Is this connecting?

I’m spending my weekend at a writing conference, and quite a few of the writers (novelists, poets, writers of memoir) have talked about the importance of connecting with others online.  And I get that.  In our modern culture, with so many people attached to their phones and tablets, this is what is expected.  You can’t expect to sell a book (especially a memoir) if no one knows who you are.  You can’t have an audience if you don’t write in a format that an audience wants.  If you don’t write to connect, then why are you writing?

But I like being invisible sometimes.  I don’t wanna put myself out there for the whole world to see.  After all, it’s not real connection, these social media “friendships.”

And yet.

Maybe it is a method that introverts like me (who, if given the opportunity, would stay in my house for weeks on end, meeting with no one) can expand horizons and connect with others while avoiding the overstimulation of people in my face.  Maybe it is a way I can reach out and have a larger impact on my world than I would if I simply remained the hermit I like to be.  Maybe social media serve as a bridge for me to cross the divide between isolation and community.

Even that is uncomfortable for me, and besides that, I don’t really know how I feel about it.

Please comment if you have a thought about this topic.  Maybe you’ll help me figure it out.

Even still

I’m not sure you ever totally get over it.  You become accustomed to it.  You accept it.  You may become content with it.  But perhaps you never truly get over it.

When my friends were pregnant, I wished I could experience that.  The feel of life inside me was something I would never know.  When my friends had infants, I longed for sweet baby cuddles.  The 2:00 a.m. feeding was something I would never experience.  When my friends had toddlers, I wanted to laugh at the funny ways a little one pronounced words, or experience the happiness of watching them figure out the world.  And I did, sometimes, with their children.  But it was always from afar.

 

As time passed, the pain certainly lessened.  There would be days, then weeks, then entire months when I didn’t really think about it.  We worked on our house, got dogs, then rabbits.  I found a job I love.  We moved out to the country and got chickens, a tractor, and the sweetest cat in the world.  I started graduate school.  We designed a house plan and began working toward building.

sunrise

My friends have pre-teens and teenagers now.  There are athletic events to attend, homework to help with, dreams to watch unfold.  I’ll never be a soccer mom.   I’ll never go on a college visit.

Our niece and her husband have a two-year-old daughter.  Our nephew and his wife are expecting a boy in the spring.  It is sweet to watch them experience these things, but as always, I watch from afar.

My life is good.  It is full.  It is blessed.

But there is a small emptiness, even still.

Twenty thousand

I had planned to spend the summer writing.  Writing and playing and enjoying the outdoors.  And I did some of that, but I also worked.  I was on hiring committees for two positions at my school, plus I agreed to develop a new teacher induction program.  (The first was volunteer, the second was paid… or at least it’s supposed to be.  I’ve not received any money for it yet.)

Anyway, all that really ate into my summer.  And I didn’t blog, didn’t work on my novel, didn’t spend time every day writing the way I’d planned and hoped to do.

Then, suddenly, the summer was gone.  School began.

And school was crazy.  There are many reasons — not the least of which is that I didn’t have a mental break from it all summer long — but the point is that I did not start the year well.  My awesome assistant principal had to talk me off the proverbial ledge more than once.

But now, the air is crisp with Octoberness.  The leaves are just beginning to think about changing colors.  Walnuts litter the ground, the chickens are going to bed early and sleeping late in the mornings, and Fall Break is here.

A few weeks ago, I was wailing to the husband about something.  The paperwork I had to do, or the essays I needed to grade, or how stressed out some of my students were making me.  And he said, “You’ve got to get away from here for Fall Break.”

So this Friday after school, I hopped into my packed car and made the drive to my parents’ house.  I promised myself that I would spend time writing.  I’d mostly work on my novel, but if there was time, I’d blog, start a short story that is in my head, and work on a one-sheet (kind of like a flyer about myself and my writing) that I’ll take to the writing conference I will be attending later this month.

I’m happy to say that my novel is now over 20,000 words long.

It’s still a bit disorganized (I didn’t write it in chronological order, but rather just as scenes came to me), and there are parts missing still, but wow.  Twenty thousand words.  That’s exciting to me.

While a long three months slipped away between the last time I really worked on my writing to now, I am hopeful that I’ll be able to keep working steadily from now on.  Sure, life happens, but writing makes life better.

Novel Update 5/26/16

Posted on

Thirty-one pages.

Questions about the plot.  The plot of the short story I started with seems to be taking a backseat to what I intended to be a subplot.  Perhaps the subplot should become the main plot.  Or maybe I should spend more time working on the main plot so it takes precedence again.

I was recently worried that my main character did not change, but I figured out what she needs to learn.  I was also concerned that she was too perfect — that I didn’t put in any unlikable qualities, which is unrealistic — but I think that I found her flaw (which is also the thing she needs to change.)  I would like to come up with at least one more flaw, I think, but I’m not sure what that will be.

I’ve written a lot of scenes, but they are not yet flowing together as a story.  I am hoping to get on the right track with that this summer.

School’s Out!

Posted on

The weather’s hot, the grass is growing, and teachers around the city are beginning to relax.

Yesterday was my last day of school for the year.  Hooray!  I have approximately 10 weeks to sleep late, go to the bathroom any time I want/need (without waiting for passing periods), eat when I’m hungry (rather than only at 12 noon), and do those things I’ve been putting off.

So maybe you’ll see more blog posts from me.  Things have been happening on the homestead — animals born, others butchered, progress on the house-building, fruit ripening.  But I also have a lot to do this summer.  I agreed to develop an orientation program for new teachers at our school, and I need to write curriculum for the second year of my two-year honors class.  There are home chores — cleaning the chicken coop and the rabbit barn, putting a cover on the pool and taking down the fence, reorganizing the guest room closet.  I picked the first strawberries today, and there will be raspberries and blackberries ripening soon.  There are little green cherries and little green peaches on our trees.  Then the rest of the garden will start to be ready to harvest.

I want to write, knit, and draw up plans for a tree house / writing studio.

There is a lot of stuff to cram into 10 weeks.

I hope to make the most of the time.