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Yeah, it’s been interesting thinking about this scenario that Michael Downing has provided for us.  (And yeah, it’s kinda fun giving you a different link to Michael Downing with each post.)  Anyway, here’s the latest version of his first assignment.

(To see the actual assignment check this post)

That’s Not My Name 

As Joe lay there, I thought, “Should I have warned him?  A small heads up?”  But no, that’s not my way.  Some call me Fate, some Free Will – I guess it’s all in your stance.  Makes me no mind, I don’t step in. 

 Who knew a girl would bring Joe down?  Truth is, I may have. 

 When the door swung in and he felt no one in the room, felt the chill breeze, he did not think, “I’m done for.”  And he may not have been.  Joe’s a Free Will guy.  That’s me.  He knows is path is his choice.

 That girl – she was so like the ones who had been there with want, with need, with a hole in her gut, a hole in her arm, a plea on her lips.  And yet, she seemed not like them – like her need was so deep, it could be her time, her chance.  He’d been where she was, could show her the way. Joe could, but she chose to leave.

 Joe looked out – made a Free Will choice.  He climbed out and walked her path.

 Kris is a Fate girl.  That’s me.  I save her from blame, from guilt, from her own life.  She knew Joe would come, knew they would be close. 

 Joe caught up.  “Uh, Kris, right?  You should come back. We can help.  I can help.”

 She smiled.  Held out her arms, kissed him

 As Joe lay in the snow, he thought, “I used to dream this.”

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So, I haven’t posted in quite a while.  Work piled up, travel to see my girlfriend, the needy cats requiring lap time – oh how to get it all in!  The blessing I guess, is that this year I didn’t disappear because of SAD.  I got a wonderful light that has been like a Goddess-send.  It imitates sunlight and according to medical research, triggers chemicals that trick my body into thinking it’s summer and so I have more energy and am just happier.  Love that!

I’m taking a writing class over the next few weeks with Michael Downing, a New York Times Bestselling Author.  That feels a wee bit intimidating.  But, in previewing the books he’s asked us to read before the first class, and the writing assignment he’s given us, I think this is going to be WAY fun! 

As a matter of fact, the first writing assignment has me so excited that I may write it several times.  My girlfriend and I had lots of great conversation about it over the holiday break, looking at our first assumptions regarding the scenario, and then deliberately thinking of alternatives.  She’s quite the writer herself, so deconstructing the assignment with her really helped me think way, way, way outside the box! 

I thought it would be fun to post the work I’m doing for this class here, and invite you (whoever you are) to play along!  So, without further ado, (I actually looked up the spelling of this word and found that there is debate as to whether it’s ado or adieu,) the assignment:
There is a woman in a room.  There is a door, a window, and a chair in the room.  A man comes to the door.  He says, “We’ll be with you in a few minutes.  Don’t open the window.”  He leaves.  He returns.  The window is open.

The assignment is to write a story that begins after the man returns.  For this exercise, you can assume that readers know everything in the scenario, so you don’t have to account for that material.  Your story begins as the man returns and sees that the window is open.

The technical requirements are these:

–No more than 250 words.
–Past tense.
–Third person (limited or omniscient; the idea is simply to use the convention of a narrator who is not a character in the story)
–Use only monosyllabic words. (Really.)

Okay, sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  So now, here is what I wrote on my first go-round, before my girl and I had deconstructed the scenario:

Frank came back.  “You had to do it.  I told you not to.”

“Of course,”  She had the smile of a cat in fresh cream.  “No rules for me.”

He went to the sill.  The ground five flights down was wet and slick with oil. Drops of rain caught in his hair.

“Be hard to get free, then.”

“Don’t bet on it.” 

The sound of her breath came close.  He felt her warmth on his back, her hand at his belt.  “No Rae, I won’t play.” 

“Oh, I think you will.”  She spun him to face her, took his mouth with her lips, her length full force on him – just a lean, just a push.

When Bill came in, the sound of the rain was dull behind the glass, and Rae was in the chair, the gun snug in the small of her back.

“Where’s Frank?”

“He went out.”

So, I know, it’s debatable as to whether this is truly past tense.  But, Oh My Goddess!  I had so much fun writing it!

Tomorrow, or the next day, or just soon, I’ll post another version.  In the meantime, come play with me and post yours!

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nanowrimo

yep, I’m in.  And you know what that means.  Either I will drop off the face of the earth for a month or I will be posting here more often just to get away from the agony of 1667 words per day without feeling guilty.  Great program, by the way – check it out:  www.nanowrimo.org 

So yes, if I don’t write again soon, I’m thinking of you, but I haven’t made my word count, so I can’t come out to play 🙂

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house for saleA couple of years ago, I wrote a post called Leaving This Life.  It was about really examining where you are, who you are and whether or not the compromises you’ve made in your life have taken you so far from your intended path that you aren’t able to fully live as the person you know yourself to be.  It was a post full of joy and wonder, excitement and self-awareness.  It was a call to change – not just change –  intentional change.

Well, it’s been two years now, and the thing that strikes me is that while I haven’t moved as quickly as I thought I would have, I have stayed committed to bringing together my surroundings, social views, relationships and personal integrity in a way that reflects me as I understand myself in this moment.  Key words: in this moment.  I’ll get back to that. 

Being deliberate and thoughtful about what I want and need, really weeding out what I thought others wanted and needed from/around me, has been a really long process.  I know that I am a people pleaser.  What I didn’t realize is how deeply that is ingrained in me.  How I actually try to anticipate a desire and have it ready, which paints a false image of who I am.  In examining what I want, I was really torn – over and over again.  Not by anyone’s expectations or desires, but my perceptions of these things.  I really had no idea that I had so few concrete knowings of what I want.  I have many concrete knowings of what I don’t want, but it’s actually taken two years to come up with wants.  Funny how we can know another’s desire, but not our own.

Along the way, there have been distractions and derails from making forward progress, but even for those, I have to be grateful – patience isn’t my strongest suit.  So the gift of being prevented from jumping before I really, really thought is one I have to thank the Goddess for.

So, I am moving out of the suburbs.  I am not moving to a rural area as I had thought I would.  I don’t ever want to mow a lawn, shovel snow, pick a weed, maintain anything ever again.  I am moving into a city.  A small city, that is vibrant and eclectic and has reasonable rents.  It is also very pedestrian friendly.  And I am manifesting an apartment  by water and in a park.  With a washer and dryer in the apartment.  Because when I looked at myself, and my personal needs, without considering anyone else, I rediscovered some things.  Valuable things and silly things – things I like and things I want to reframe.

As I start the packing and culling process, I am amazed at the ways I have changed.  This is where I get back to that “in this moment” thing.  I have found, stored in boxes, hanging on hangers in the back of the closet, in the way back corners of the kitchen cabinets, in the titles of the books on my shelves, the vestiges of who I was in a moment and was sure would never change.  So funny! 

So, I’m intentionally trying to leave room in this process for the unexpected.  I don’t want to lock in to any one idea or belief about myself and set up my world around that.  It’s taken me 24 years to recognize and extricate myself from the box I put myself in, in my early twenties, I sure don’t want to do it again! 

Music for Today:  Changer and the Changed – Chris Williamson; Only Thing That Stays the Same – Indigo Girls; Me and Julio – Simon and Garfunkel; Follow Me – Sarah Bettens

Reading: The Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast Pillow Book – Bill Richardson

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Been thinking about that three word phrase, “I love you.”  I know someone who doesn’t use it often, because, as she says, “‘love’ is one of those meta words that can mean different things to different people.”  She prefers to go straight to the detail, the aspect of love that would inspire an ‘I love you,’ and make comment on that. 

It used to bother me.  And honestly, sometimes it still does.  I like being told that I am loved.  I’ve been looking at the whys of that, and what saying ‘I love you’ means to me.  I totally agree that it has become a catch-all phrase, and sometimes I am guilty of using it that way myself.  As I become more linguistically aware, and more intentional about what I want to convey, I have also been examining what I mean when I use the meta phrase.

My truth is that ‘I love you’ has different meanings for me in different contexts.  In order to use that phrase with someone, I need to have a clear, defining conversation about what it means in connection to them.  This is something I am learning to do, and it is something that has made me stop in my tracks on the way to saying ‘I love you.’  I think that’s a good thing.

‘I love you’ is more than just an expression of strong feeling.  It is a promise, a commitment, an acknowledgment, an appreciation, and a sharing of joy.  Beautiful, “here is my truth about you,” joy.  It has no expectation of reciprocation in any form.

For some, it’s a bid for attention, a contract, a binder, and a softener of blows (“I love you, but…)  In other words, it is conditional and part of a power grab.  At its mildest, it’s a statement of insecurity (“Do you love me too?”)  At it’s most damaging, it is coercion, a non-consensual expectation of ways of relating.

I saved this blog entry to drafts because I didn’t have time to finish it, and recently told my lover about it.  It led to a really deep conversation about what we mean with ‘I love you.’  It was caring, and sweet, and unpacked baggage, and was really, really clear. 

One of the interesting things we discovered is how often ‘I love you’ means, ‘I’m grateful’ and ‘thank you.’ May we always be so lucky as to be blessed with appreciation and gratitude for each other first and foremost.  lifetimes

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When children are little, they go through a stage where they can only have one friend.  The best friend.  The only friend.  And they want that friend to have only them.  Inevitably, the one friend makes another friend.  For the original friend, it can be devastating.  They aren’t willing or able to share and anger and hurt ensue.  Later, we learn that there is room for all friends.  That no one person can be the only friend.  It’s not healthy.

As adults, however, society has trained us to believe that this is the way of lovers.  To find one and only one.  That person has to be the sole partner, and if they turn out not to be, if it turns out that we are not the entire reason for their being, anger and hurt ensue.  I could go into the whole patriarchal reasoning behind single partners, having to do with ensuring that the offspring actually belong to the particular male that chose the woman, but that’s really another post.  What I’m more interested in is the delineation we keep between friends and lovers.  When you’re my friend, there’s more than enough love to go around.  I can have lots of friends on many levels.  I can have all sides of me fulfilled by my myriad friendships.  But when it comes to lovers, I have to choose one.  If I find myself physically attracted to another, I must fight it, or be seen as betraying my first lover.  I don’t get it.

It took me awhile to really examine my beliefs around lovers and what fit me most, and then even longer to put it into practice.  It took some experimenting and some tweaking, but I’ve been living my truths for some time now and every day, I feel so good, so happy, so blessed that I can’t believe I am in the societal minority! 

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in love, commitment, and happily ever after – I just believe that a person can do it with more than one partner at a time.  And right now, I’m living that blessed life, with two fabulous people with whom I share a committment to be together, as friends and as lovers for at least this lifetime.  Today I am grateful.  Today I am blessed.  And today I am humbled by it all.

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Fool me once…

Bless my child’s heart.  Keep a lookout for his safety.  Let him have enough food and shelter in a storm.  But not at my house.  Never again at my house.

There is such a mixed feeling involved in relationships that are abusive.  More than that, when the abuser is your own child, there is guilt, shame, responsibility, anger, helplessness, even this weird sense of sympathy and a need to justify why your child had to do what they did – make it understandable or something.

My son has been homeless since last Christmas, when I had to have him leave my home for stealing from me.  He’s been back twice when he needed a place to sleep.  The first time, we had had 8 inches of rain and I did feel so bad for him.  It’s so hard for a mother.  I never know where he is, and unless he posts on Facebook, I don’t even know if he is okay.  So when he called, after almost three months, I was so grateful that I let him in.  Evidently, so he could case the joint.

I should have known better.  My son does not have a good track record in my world.  He has stolen from me for the past five years.  We go on and off; he appears to hit bottom, comes to me for help, starts to make progress toward where he wants to be, then something happens and it all falls apart within days.  And in those days, my stuff goes missing. 

It makes me feel like a callous, unfeeling mother that I cannot allow him in my home ever again.  Not, at least, without tangible changes in his world.  But I am so tired of feeling victimized.  I think I’ve learned finally, at last, that where he is right now is not in a place where he can even consider others.  He is so desperate to fill  his own needs.  (Okay, this is me trying to justify where he is.)  The truth of the matter is that in this moment, the child I raised and tried to instill a deeper truth and sense of purpose in, that I love with my whole heart, is a thief.  And he doesn’t care who he steals from.  And I have to somehow let him go, with love and compassion, but even minimal support must end.

How will I get through this?  It’s not so much the gone stuff, it’s the deliberate saying ‘no’ to his infrequent requests for help.  It’s having all this love that spills out just for him that cannot be manifested in the normal ways we show people we love them.  It’s the pain of crying every night that your child is so lost and you are so helpless.  I can’t even offer him shelter in a storm. 

And it’s always that unanswerable question – why?

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