Writing Life

I called a friend out of the blue today. I updated her on the weirdness that is my life. People showing up, others moving away, the strange, the wild, the fantastical. Every one, a true story, replayed for my friend.

She commented, you always have so much going on.

I reflected, not by choice. But, doesn’t she? doesn’t everyone?

Maybe the way we talk about our lives is the way we write stories.

Her stories are gentle, calm, always well paced. Her imagination is vast, but her writing is serene, as if you were reading a swan.

My stories are varied. One day I’m writing about someone finding a gold tooth and the next I’m writing about Poe’s hauntings. Mine work at different paces. They surf from one side of the galaxy to the next. My readers are sometimes intrigued, sometimes put off. They like the story of a girl falling in love with a dog, but not the story of a girl talking to mirrors.

One reader wrote, “Who is Noreen Lace?” He’d read Eddy, then ordered How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.

I guess this is me. There’s a lot going on. Remember what they used to say about the quiet ones? Still waters run deep. I’m not very quiet, not very still. I am the river that rushes around the corner and is calmed by the expanse. In some places, I’m deep enough to fall in and drown and, in others, I’m skimming over rocks, just slick enough to pass.

I can’t contain it. I can’t limit it. I can’t label it. And I won’t.

I like ’em short

I’ve been reading and writing novel length works lately. I belong to a few online book groups and people are always posting great reviews of this book or that. Sometimes I pick them up, sometimes I like them. It’s hard for me to find that book that hits the sweet spot – the perfect mix of good writing and a good story.

I love the exceptional use of language. That’s a talent.

In my literature and writing classes, I use Best American Short Stories. I chanced upon an old copy the other day. I read half of the first story and felt engaged, awakened!

Picking up the book of short stories immediately energized me with ideas for short fiction.

The joy of reading a short story happens because they’re tight, no nonsense needed, straight to the point, well written and excellently executed niblets of fiction.

The joy of writing a short story is the challenge. The point, the characters, the setting all expertly set up in concise wording in a small period of time. The use of language is easier to control, the beauty and rhythm easier to accomplish.

I once belonged to a short story group. It was so gratifying to read the short fiction. If you didn’t like what someone chose, you could still read the ten or twenty pages and talk about it. It’s not 300 pages of silently cursing your book group.

So… I’m going to recommend some books of short fiction. Of course, I recommend the Best American Short Story Series. Wonderful writing by newbies and scholars alike!

And mine: But also – I’m a huge fan of Jo Rousseau and Ron Terranova.

Jo Rousseau and Ron Terranova also have websites/blog. Stop by and check them out!

Where do you write?

I stumbled upon an article about writing space that I wanted to share.

I used to write, quite successfully, at my dining room table. I love the early morning light that comes through the window, not too bright until right after lunch – sometimes, I’m still writing and I have to draw the blinds.

From my dining room table, I can also view of what happens in front of my house. It’s minimal distraction. But just distracting enough for when I need to look up from any painfully blank pages. A neighbor walking a dog. A child riding a bike. My neighbor searching through the recycling bin.

I have a cafe style table. Far too big for my little space. A little taller than average. But it works when I get tired of sitting, I can stand.

The chair got hard to sit on. Back pain. Hip pain. The minimal cushion became even more minimal after so many days and hours and years sitting there.

I’ve thought about getting a little table. A table built for two – me and my computer – and set it right near the window – even closer than I am now. But would it be big enough for my tea? my snack? my stack of junk mail?

I changed my writing space to a proper desk. Big. Wooden. Dark. A drawer filled with paper, pens, stapler, and the like – whatever I might need. A nearby printer. A proper chair.

Yet, reading this article, I realized I’m nowhere near as productive as I used to be.

Starting tomorrow – it’s back to my table!

Where do you write?

Recharge, Recover, Release.

Recharge, Recover, Release

There are all kinds of tired. Some of which I sleep well, some of which I do not.

Sometimes I’m physically tired. I worked out. I hiked. I did enough manual labor to make my body exhausted. I sleep well on these nights.

There’s mentally tired. My brain wore out from working facts and figures into some sort of rhythmic sense in my world. Sometimes, on these nights, I do not sleep well. I’m disturbed, wondering if it formed into a smooth shape of being.

Then there’s emotionally tired. Dealing with people – angry, upset, unhappy, or even large groups of chaotic masses wear me out. I do not sleep well on these nights. I toss and turn, trying to work out the ugly aura left around me.

But – I never get any of those types of tired from writing. Writing is recharging, recovering, releasing. I let go of the day, the facts and figures, the angry masses, the physical exhaustion, and I’m able to create something that is life giving, soul soothing, and has meaning.

Writing is a way of living free from outside infections.

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Similar Topics:

Create to Relieve Pain

The Healing Power of Story

Healing Through Writing

The Haunting Effects of Childhood

I have refrained for the most part from talking about my family here or on social media. Family issues are a little taboo to talk about in public. Some people let it all hang out, others post angry messages and complaints, others take revenge by posting private messages or other things in regards to the family member with whom they are upset.

We’ve probably all had to deal with this at one point or another given social media and the desire for attention that it brings.

But if I am putting myself out there and trying to be as authentic as possible, I have to tell you I have family issues that go for miles and miles and miles. Books have not been written because no one would read anything so long and repetitive.

The very reason I seek joy and serenity these days is because my childhood was filled with incredible chaos. I back away from anyone who has a flair for dramatics that involve unpredictable antics. I will never go back and relive those days.

The problem most people face is repeating patterns because there is comfort in the familiar, even if it’s crazy.

But not for me. I start shaking. I get ill. I can not handle the chaos or the craziness.

The very sad thing is that some of my family members have not broken those patterns. Many people I knew from childhood passed too young. Some have chosen a path of chemical denial. Many have served time for their errors. Some continue those behaviors.

I got out. And I am thankful for that every day.

When one gets out, however, there is always an effort to drag them back in, drag them back down.

When I was young, considering college, considering change, one of my mother’s friends said, “Sounds like someone thinks she’s better than us.”

That wasn’t it. I wasn’t better than them. I just wanted more or maybe something different.

There are times I have experienced backlash. Harassing phone calls and text messages, threats and name calling – I continue to try to back away, block, lose those from my past who want to drag me down with them.

It’s been 30 years and 3000 miles. The past doesn’t want to let me go. The past, or those in it, are angry that they’ve been left behind in a misery of their own making.

ghost1

Change is hard. Change is scary. It needs to be continually worked. Some people are not up to the task, they don’t know where to begin, so they lash out at those who somehow found a way.

While my childhood most likely inspired my desire to write, and the chaos does lend fodder for writing, the craziness haunts. It’s a ghost whose touch, long and unyielding, chills me still.

Someday, there will be a book.