Writing


Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Typically, I have resolved nothing, which isn’t to say I didn’t think about it. I just got busy, ran out of time and suddenly the deadline passed me by. Resolving after a new year begins simply isn’t protocol and probably is against the rules.

Freed then from the burden of resolutions, I can now take my time while plotting the new year. What I need to do. What l should do. What I’d like to do. What would simply be fun to do. Why some things probably aren’t worth doing. Just really give it all a good long think.

Could take the rest of the month.

In the meantime … purging … because we have a bathroom and dining room to gut and rebuild.

And by “we”, I mean Rob. Goodness knows that during the gutting process, my hyper immune system means that all I am good for is humping drywall and other debris to the truck bed and nothing more. That work is dusty enough.

The rebuild is his territory alone and not just because he is a bit of a fuss-budget about things being just so. Between the Virgoness and the engineer-ness, there isn’t a hope that I could – even with supervision – do anything that wouldn’t make him too anxious to leave me alone with the task.

So I will be responsible for cleaning out spaces in advance and providing support aka food, drink and reminding him to take breaks, which have become my specialties. I am also first aid.

As I won’t be teaching yoga as much as I thought I would in the next weeks, I hope to instead suss out a real writing project for the year.

Yes, the year.

This writing a book in a month thing is nonsense. Mostly, you get crap.

I haven’t picked a topic.

I hear that the world could use decent porn. And no, I don’t consider 50 Shades of Shamefully Promoting the Hapless Female Who Finds True Love Through Submission to an Abusive, Stalkerish Asshole, “decent porn”.

But Rob is really much better writing erotica than I am. If he doesn’t decide to teach chemistry at the community college when he retires, I think he should write porn. We’d be rich.

Maybe I should writing a dating book for the widowed?

LMAO.

Just kidding.

No, actually I have a couple of ideas but I am keeping them to myself. In fact, aside from this blog post, I doubt highly I will be discussing my project again until a first draft is done.

One thing is certain. I am beginning my training to complete the additional hours of yoga training I want to get my 500 Hour Certification in the province. Applied. Was Accepted. Will begin courses next weekend.

It will take a while. Two years? Perhaps a bit more or a bit less. But that is resolved.

The rest? There is no rush. February is still a ways off.


Writing

A couple of wonderful women I know via my traveling Twitter are going through some tough times. They are both writers. One recently suffered a Lupus related TIA and the other has sadly suffered another setback with cancer. Despite the difficulties, they write on. The latter, a NASA physicist, has a book in progress. Her latest scans show more cancer. It’s in the bone now. I, unfortunately, know what that means for her, and she made the comment in her last blog entry that it was time for her to quit procrastinating and finish her book.

Procrastination and writing are almost synonyms. I know some folks who write to the exclusion of all but breathing, but I have never been blessed with such nose-grinding attributes. However, I have been thinking. A lot. About going back to book writing full-time.

With the yoga studio closing at the end of June and my growing disaffection for cause and current event blogging making it difficult for me to muster interest in my paying gig, thoughts turned back toward the memoir and writing “that book”. Or rather, finishing it.

I am still stymied by theme. You don’t just write a book about a section of your life for no reason even if it seems like that is precisely what memoirists do. As more than one literary agent, author and indie publisher has pointed out – an author should have a point.

What’s my point?

A happy ending is not good enough.

Well, okay, it’s pretty darn good from the personal perspective but why should anyone other than my children or Rob really care about what got he and I from A to B?

More than once, it’s been observed that ours is a compelling story and that I have, on occasion, represented it well in words.

That I can write isn’t at issue, nor is the fact that people love a good happily ever after love story. What I am still searching for is an angle. The hook. What’s my hook?

Widowers, let’s face it, are hot these days. Can’t throw a stone without hitting one in film, books, or television. There is something more compelling about a man who’s lost his spouse than there is about a woman in the same predicament. Probably because  a single woman/mom is considered so dime a dozen in North America that they practically wallpaper daily life.

And men make tragic figures whereas women are just victims. Who loves a victim?

No one.

But, getting back to my pondering. I have been. I even have the makings of a plan. The universe knows I have a book.

I don’t want to look back and wonder what it would have been like had I just gone ahead and done it. Published. I don’t want to regret it from a standpoint of having run out of time. The image of poor old Ulysses S. Grant banging out his memories in the last cancer ravaged months of his life to save his family from poverty has always struck me as the saddest way to leave life, desperate and down-trodden and in despair.

I’ve spent the last four years learning to write. Well. It’s time to do something with all the free words I’ve given away in the pursuit of my voice.


Parker Duofold pens from a 1920s magazine adve...

Image via Wikipedia

“None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try” – Mark Twain

 

There was a small article on fountain pens on page 194 of the September 2006 issue of Oprah Magazine. I saved it because it reminded me of my late husband. Will loved pens. In general he hated shopping unless it was for a new pen or Pittsburgh Steelers paraphernalia. He would tease me about my Target addiction and only reluctantly would he actually accompany me, but he rarely left there without a new pen.

 

He didn’t write much in his line of work. Mainly he took orders and filled out inventory files, but he insisted on having a good pen with which to do these things. Before his illness took its vicious hold of him, he had printer perfect block letter penmanship, and his cursive was small and impossibly neat. He would leave yellow post-it notes for me on the kitchen table with short utilitarian messages and “I Love You’s” whenever he left the house and knew I would get home before he could get back.

 

But he did write once upon a time. There are three or four pieces of lined notebook paper with poems he wrote when he was just starting college that I have saved. They reflect a rough time in his life. A good friend of his had just committed suicide and the younger brother of one of his close friends had killed himself around the same time as well. The poems are dark and painful. He shared them with me one day not long after we were married. He had been to his mom’s to clean out his old room and discovered them in an notebook. He had wanted to throw them away. He didn’t think they were very good, and they reminded him of the day when he had almost committed suicide himself. I convinced him to save them. I am not yet sure if I am glad I did. I don’t know much about that time of his life beyond what he told me. But right now I am not able to throw away anything I come across that he wrote.

 

I even saved a letter that former girlfriend wrote him a few months before we were married. She was a foreign exchange student he met in high school and their correspondence spanned about 7 or eight years. He stopped writing to her after we became a couple. Not because I asked him to but because he considered her a chapter in his life that was closed. She wrote a few more times before she reappeared about two months before our wedding expecting him to be free to pick up their on/off more romantic on his side than hers relationship. I think something about seeing she and I together made him finally realize that he had been used. I don’t know what she thought. The letter represents another time in his life I don’t know much about either. I realize now that there were a lot of things about him I didn’t know.

 

Periodically Will would initiate a shopping trip strictly for the purpose of acquiring new pens. He would normally purchase several at a time because as a route salesman he knew that they would eventually be left at a stop, lost in the seat of the truck, or drop from his pocket as he loaded and unloaded his cube van. I still have his favorite one. It’s maroon and black and though it doesn’t work very well anymore, I can’t throw it away. Like the poems and that stupid letter from the spoiled little Dutch girl.

 

Our daughter seems to have inherited his love of writing utensils though she loves mechanical pencils just as much as she loves pens. Will didn’t like pencils at all. He even balanced his checkbook in ink. We are forever collecting pencils and pens now. Her favorites tend to be girly with sparkles and feathers. It never ceases to amaze me how much she is like him when she never really knew the man that I fell in love with. He was long gone by the time she was born. She only ever knew her father as a sick man. Confused. Frail. And then wheelchair and bed-bound. Finally unable to talk, see, feed himself. “Daddy never talks to me,” she would say when I asked her if she would like to visit him in the nursing home where he spent over a year of the last fifteen months of his life.

 

The pen I saved is one she uses sometimes though often she will decline to use it because “that’s Daddy’s.” It’s funny the little things that pull up memories you forgot you even remembered. Articles in Oprah, god would he have laughed about that, and fountain pens.