Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Returning To Writing (I wrote this in 2007)
I've had six weeks to write 500 words in an online beginning writer’s workshop or what I have nicknamed, BWW. I deemed myself capable of creating an admirable piece of work in that big chunk of time. I envisioned at completion, a march from room to room with my head held high, waving its pages triumphantly, unashamed of the spectacle I presented. Instead, I hedged and made excuses. Guess what? I have 500 words, minus the handful of lines above, yet to gather and craft into something readable and at least a smidgen pleasing to the instructor. This final assignment is due in a few short days.
Last year, I enrolled in this same class, levitated in the first lesson and hit the ground again only after I was locked out of the website after the final lesson. I returned this year, for a second scoop of its flavorful wisdom and encouragement. The final lesson assignment faced and taunted me in the classroom yesterday. For me, writing 500 words has become easy, but writing well stretches me to my limits. Yoga poses are mundane compared to the agonizing postures my brain is often forced to assume to secure the perfect word. My final project deserves several weeks of work and I apologize for my last minute attempt to display my writing improvements. Should haves are useless, but please know that my heart is now fully set on my task.
Let me explain why I‘ve been delinquent. My daily writing habit, inspired by last year’s workshop, came to an abrupt halt when my mother died unexpectedly in June of this year. Daily writing had become as natural for me as eating and sleeping. I always shared my writing with Mom when I visited her in her assisted living facility apartment. Her eyes shone from her otherwise expressionless face; Parkinson’s disease had stolen her smile years ago.
After she died, I focused entirely on the funeral arrangements, the family gatherings, the funeral itself and dealing with the emotional components of my loss. I returned to work and life went on. June and July were turned to the backside of my calendar. I was pushed and shoved by the changes in my existence due to Mom’s death. Each day stretched endlessly long and left me feeling thinned out and unsettled. At the end of one of those days, I picked up my pen and studied it. It felt foreign but still fit in my fingers. I set the nib to paper and wrote from an altered perspective. A huge piece of my life was missing. As I wrote, I unfolded memories, shook them out and pored over them. Then I quickly refolded and stuffed them into the aching and empty places within my soul.
August packed her bags and left at the same moment September rushed in. As if on cue, when the leaves dropped to the ground, I stood up and ventured on. I knocked on the door of the online writing classroom and then stepped inside.
I’m reaching the 500 word mark and now I don’t want to stop. I’m back in my creative rhythm after a long, hard detour. Writing has regained its honored place in my world. It’s essential for me. I write when I feel lonely and small. I knit a blanket of words and wrap it around me for warmth and for the touch of its weight on my soul.
I’ve gained my happiness back by my efforts and I'm buoyant again. Here. Take the keys to my BMW but don’t touch my treasured BWW.
(To be honest with you, I confess that I don't own a BMW. I just liked the idea of owning one and it worked well in that final sentence. Writers have license to stretch the truth now and then you know. My mission is to entertain you and so it goes).