ROW80

August 22nd Check-in Writing again

As I had hoped in the last check-in, I have been able to write about some of the stress and problems I have faced recently. I am still using my fountain pens and writing paper rather than the computer; something about the tactile feel of the words pouring out with the ink is more cathartic. Also, I am following the earlier suggestions that I change my writing place and get up earlier.  I go out on my front porch to write.  The mornings are crisp, even while the days heat up later.

My brother emailed me on Saturday to tell me that his oncologist found a mass in his remaining lung.  My family does not talk about anything that might reek of emotions, so it is not surprising that he would choose to email rather than call.  I haven’t delved completely into my reactions to my brother’s illness.  I shrink from it as from a hot stove.  When his cancer was first diagnosed, I fell apart.  I could barely function.  I must find a way to grieve without shutting down again.  I feel guilty talking about grieving, as my brother hasn’t even had a biopsy yet, but I never worked through the first time he was sick.

I called my father Sunday night to check on him, especially as he would have heard my brother’s news as well.  The call became rather surreal, with my father becoming rather emotional. My mother is entirely lost to us through Alzheimer’s, but Sunday night was the first time he didn’t try to cover up for her, to pretend that she wasn’t responding because she was busy.  My father described how lonely and disconnected he feels, how starved for conversation, which really touched me. I shared with him my loneliness for an adult voice when I was home with my toddler sons, how I dragooned the postman to spend just a little time with me by offering a cool glass of water, a bit of shadetree. He thanked me for understanding him and not chastising him, again in a surreal role reversal.

I don’t seem to be able to do much but write about the pain that has threaded through the generations; my father losing his brother to an impaired driver; my siblings reacting in our different ways to our wounded parents, turning inward and wounding ourselves or outward and attacking the others; my children and nieces and nephews all finding their parents odd and unconnected to their siblings, still following the decorous steps of avoidance taught us so early and so well.

I feel guilty for mining these experiences, yet they are the stuff of my writing.  I use  the way I saw my father change during the phone call announcing my uncle’s death, the light dimming, flickering, folding in on itself. I sketch the lines of dismissive, bullying enemies from my siblings’ dismissal of me, familiar as the ache of long-healed broken bones on a crisp December evening.  I mine the cost of breaking with convention, of being perceived as uselessly, stubbornly, educated in a world that values beauty, even though it makes my eyes burn with repressed tears.

So, I’m writing through the pain and the guilt, and hope that something useful will come of it, if only self-awareness. I fell down on sponsorship duties Sunday and have yet to reply to comments, but I will do so in the next day or so. The past few days have borne out my own rendition of the verse, “The truth shall set you free,” to which I have always added, “but first it will make you miserable.”  I plan to hammer the pain and truth into words.

Welcome new followers: Louise,  Chris,  Cate, and Courtney.

I’d also like to shout out to Natalie Hartford, whose moving stories about the loss of her mother-in-law to an impaired driver burrowed into me until I could work through the loss of my uncle.

As always, please give your support and encouragement to the other ROWers.  The blog hop linky isn’t up yet, but I can refer you to the main site’s blog. Go have a look. If you write, you might find this supportive community interesting. If you don’t write, you will find some lovely people, great blogs and wonderful books.

 

 

ROW80

August 19th Slow Renewal

First, I want to thank everyone who offered suggestions, commiserated with me, and shared their own stories of feeling the summer blahs. It did help to hear from all of you. A chat with a dear friend of mine also helped, as she has seen my ups-and-downs for several years now.

Several suggestions were made to switch up the writing scene, notably by Shah and Laura. Michael gave a great suggestion to get up early, which I had let slide this summer.  I finally dug out my fountain pens (I know, but whatever works, right?), and pulled out the paper.  It has been slow going, but it is going.

I had to work yesterday. I planned on being in for four hours, but it ended up being more like seven.  I didn’t get anything earth-shattering done, but it was good to spend the time filing, recycling, organizing. I know I will miss the time off, but it seemed to help to clear away some of the cobwebs as well.

Jennette Marie Powell had a post on burn-out that sounded all too familiar to me.  She linked to Louise Behiel’s post,  which really made me sit up straight in the chair.  Everything in my life has changed in the past six months:  cross-country move, new job, sons coming back home, this new wonderful writer that I’ve unearthed from the clay of the old life, problems with parents’ and mother-in-law, health problems with my birth family and in my own family.  I took a test that Louise linked to, and nearly pegged the chart, and that is just the day job.

The topper for today was to read Jenny Hansen’s post on grief.  I just seem to be reading things that slap me in the face lately.  I often say I’m too busy for grief, but I have been fooling myself. I said on Wednesday that maybe I’m not hungry enough to be a writer.  I don’t have the answer to that yet, but I do feel the pull of writing. This time I can’t shelve it again the way I did for so many years.  I need it. The past couple of weeks have been full of family problems, revelations, bad health, and not very bright futures.  Although I want to hide from all the pain, it is best that I face it and write through it.

I don’t have much to offer, but I am writing it all–the bad, the ugly, the hurtful, the sad.  I have no idea what I will do with it all, but I can’t keep it in.  Some of it may show up on the blog, some of it may not.  I have been heartened by the friendship offered me here, so I doubt I will go completely dark.  All of you are welcome to come poke me if I do.

I have gained many followers in the past couple of weeks. Welcome to LightningPen; Vergielyn  ; HCMFMovement  ; TheBetterManProject  ; Dianne  ; and EbookWorldMag

Finally, please give your support and encouragement to the other ROWers who can be found here.