Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself


Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself

I open my eyes. Startled I sit up and peer over at the small old-fashioned alarm clock complete with numbers, hands and a built-in light sitting atop Mike’s night table. 6:15. I lay back down. I’m not taking care of my little 2 ½ year old grandson today which means I can write all morning. I moan and bring my hand up to my forehead. I feel groggy. My eyes hurt. I had a restless night tossing and turning. Last night I counted down from ten picturing the numbers in my mind in different colors, first blue then green, hoping to quiet my mind.

At some point I must have succeeded because I eventually feel asleep but I don’t feel refreshed this morning. Sighing I get out of bed and stumble to the computer room to turn on the computer. It takes a while for that sucker to fire up so on my way back to bed I stop and grab my phone off the charger from the living room end table. I unhook it and cradle it in the palm of my hand. I crawl back into bed. I’ll just check my email on my phone, I think, then I won’t have to do that when I go to my computer. Instead I can just sit down and start writing. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I prop up my pillows and nestle my head down. I bring up my HTC android phone and open my Google mail account. I scan through my in-box.

Farmer’s Almanac, Earth Day Special!
Amazon Deals, Pedi/Mani or Haircut deals

Thought for the Day, How to do Exactly What You Want
Ann Elizabeth-Nagle, Ann’s CD Release Concert
Deliberately Delicious, [Jazzminey Crone Chronicles] Comment: “resurging with spring”

I smile when I see the email from Ann and open it first. I read about her up coming CD release concert and I feel joy inside at her hard-earned and hard-won success. Sighing, I close that and stare at the email from Deliberately Delicious. I feel oddly numb.

Last night I just finished reading the memoir Live Through This: a mother’s memoir of runaway daughters and reclaimed love by Debra Gwartney and tossed the book on the floor when I was done. It felt unsatisfying. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I identified with the story about a single woman raising four daughters and the trouble she had with oldest two. I didn’t have four daughters but I understood dealing with out of control teenagers and feeling helpless. I was hoping to understand how things got better for her and her daughters. I didn’t’ get that understanding and was feeling let down.

I started to think of the memoir I am writing and I hope that I am not going to let readers down but how can I not think that I would. It’s not like I am the greatest writer. However, I have been writing on this memoir for over a year. I produced over 100,000 words. At times I felt the writing was going well. At others I felt it was a mess. I paid to have it reviewed. Show don’t tell is what I got. How can you show everything, I thought, the book could go on forever. After being in the dumps about the critique for a week or two, I finally decided to do something about it. I went to Amazon.com and found writing books and ordered four of them.

Showing and Telling: Learn How to Show and When to Tell for Powerful & Balanced Writing by Laurie Alberts,
The Describers Dictionary by David Grambs
The Emotional Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Up Your Novel for Success by Jeff Gerke

I also checked out from Pauline Haas Public Library the book:
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: the Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction From Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between by Lee Gutkind.

Some of those books I am reading, some I am using as a reference and some I am doing the exercises in. I think its making a difference. I reworked my memoir making a whole new folder for it called “New Version”. I am making use of more scenes and dialogue. Making it more dynamic.  At least that is what I hope.

But the question still remains and the one that rolled around in my head last night, What’s the point? There are tons of memoirs out there.  Everybody and there mother wrote or is writing a memoir.  Who cares about mine? Why bother? My voice is just one in a sea of voices all clamoring to be heard. I know, I know, I need to focus on the writing and not worry about the end result. It’s just that I am a want-it-now kind of woman so that bit of advice is hard to follow.

And now in my email is a message from Ann. Talented beautiful Ann who struggled with finding a place in her life a midst all her responsibilities for her music. But she did it. She found the time. She found her voice. She got a producer and went to Nashville, cut some tracks. I heard one and the sound is amazing. The message is uplifting. When I talked to her on the phone last night before I finished my book, she told me how Nashville is teeming with singer song writers. She didn’t say she felt like she was just one in the crowd. She just reveled in her experience. So what’s wrong with me.

Sometimes I just want to chuck it all. Wave the white flag and say, Okay, life, you win, I give up. Then I get a comment on my long dormant blog. Someone out there remembers me. Is glad I’m back. It’s bitter-sweet. I am touched by being remembered but I’m not really back. In fact my goal was to pull the plug on my blog. Stop paying for the domain, stop paying for the web service. Just yank the whole thing. Yesterday while I was walking the dogs I thought I better get to it and take care of that blog before it is automatically renewed and taken out of my hands.

Here’s the truth. I haven’t written in my blog because I think I need to be uplifting and inspiring. That is what I said I was to do. Most times, I don’t feel uplifting and inspiring. Far from it. If I try to write something up lifting it would be forced and it would show. I just can’t do it. I am left with nothing to say. I told myself I am not writing because I need to spend the time on my memoir. That’s partly true but not the whole of it. The truth is I am struggling with my choice in choosing to write.

By the way, after I checked my mail from my bed in hopes of saving more time for writing I played mahjong on my phone for at least 45 minutes. The only reason I stopped was because the dogs wanted to go out. Some mornings I am playing for an hour or more. Valuable time I could spend writing but I piss away. It’s not the blog that’s keeping me from writing my memoir its my distractions, my resistance.

And where am I with ditching my blog. In limbo. Just in limbo.

So here is a blog post. It is not uplifting. It is not inspiring. It is just me plugging along. It is just me for some reason writing a blog post. Be it good, bad or indifferent.

And for a bit of uplifting, which I am in dire need of,  here is another one of my photos with a message from myself to myself to help get me through.

IMG_3468

Advertisements

15 responses to “Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself

  1. Hi Janice, Whether you believe it or not this is a great post. Real and honest about your journey as an author. Yes, I said author! I wonder if writers only write when they are “uplifted.” Then it would seem to me that a significant aspect of their lives would be missing.
    Don’t know if I could take only the “uplifting.” I say write from your heart, write from what is calling you. Not that I am a great writer – to be giving “advice.” I value writing that is heart and soul…. Love, Cathy

    • Hey, Cathy, I hear ya about not just writing when a person feels uplifting BUT (now you know that was coming didn’t you. The but was just screaming to come out, so here it is…) But I don’t want to be whining either. I am afraid coming from my heart would be whining and feeling sorry for myself. 😛 However I see the value in what you are saying. I do want to write from my heart. That was my point. I didn’t like what was in there. Anyway, Thank you for your support, your encouragement and love, Janice

  2. Cathy got it right-write from the heart. And Janice, my dear sweet wife
    you’re a good woman with a good heart!

    • Aw, come on Mike, I said leave a comment not gush all over the place. Now who is going to clean up this sticky mess! 🙂
      I know you love me. I feel the same.

  3. Dear Janice,
    I think I caught the same bug you have! I just spent my first year of retirement doing exactly what I wanted which was to calm down, relax and renew. I thought I would be really energized after a year of this, but guess what, I’m not. There are a couple of things that I have been waiting “until I had time” to do. But, I like you, get side-tracked and distracted all the time. I’m feeling like I must not be able to prioritize and discipline myself to a schedule of time to do these things. I seem to have a lot of resistance. I think that I have figured out that there is some fear involved. Why should I fear doing something I have waited for and wanted to do for so long? Well, there are a few reasons: 1) What if I end up not liking it? 2) What if I am no good at it? 3) What if I am not satisfied by doing it? 4) Do I care enough about doing this for myself? 5) Why am I not being disciplined – which I have been very good at doing most of my life? So…a conclusion I came to is perhaps I’m not healed and rested enough to get into this kind of groove. Maybe I should just “go with the flow” for awhile longer and not put pressure on myself. There are certainly enough things that I NEED to do before going off on a merry little creative journey. Ultimately it is coming down to what will satisfy my soul right now? What is the yearning in my heart? Go for it in whatever way serves myself in the best way at this time with what I have. Practice more living mindfully and being in the present – be quiet and listen! I think I’ll go take a nap…..
    Love you,
    Pam 🙂

    • Pam, I hope your nap left you well rested. Recently I read this book called The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. He has an interesting approach to creativity and resistance. He says that Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repressing force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work. Resistance is internal, insidious, implacable, impersonal, infallible, universal, never sleeps, plays for keeps, is fueled by fear, only opposes in one direction, most powerful at the finish line and recruits allies. In other words it is a powerful force to be reckoned with. So, dear Pam your dealing with resistance means you are setting out to do something close to your heart. Something your soul/higher self yearns for. You are on the right track. And resistance is your rival. According to Pressfield to combat resistance you need to act like you are a professional at whatever you are doing. To be a pro you must be patient, seek order, demystify your craft or work, act in the face of fear, accept no excuses, play it as it lays, dedicate self to mastering technique, not hesitate to ask for help, not take success or failure personally, endure adversity, validate yourself, recognize your limitations, reinvent yourself. That is a synopsis. The book is small and can be read in one sitting. Each thing I stated about resistance and being pro he elaborates on briefly. If your interested you can find it on amazon.com

      In the mean time know that you are dealing with resistance, that insidious force. And by the way, thank you for helping remember this little book and his ideas. I used this book to help me write my 100 thousand words. Now I need to remember it to refine my work.

      Love to you Pam and here’s to face down resistance,

      Janice

  4. Dear Janice,

    It’s funny how often you and I seem to be dealing with the same thing at the same time. I was halfway through recording this CD and stopped to rewrite my songs after learning something similar. I was told, “In the verses, show us. In the chorus, tell us what it means. In the bridge, give us additional perspective.” It was hard work rewriting those songs, but now I love them!

    It’s scary to put myself out there. Some of my songs aren’t pretty. Sometimes the subject matter is tough. All I know is that I feel compelled to write and to share it, so I do. I love my songs, but will other people? I don’t have any control over that… And I don’t have any control over whether they will come to my shows. I haven’t shared this before, but I have a really hard time sending out email invitations because I fear the rejection and the no response at all. I procrastinate terribly.

    I also love it when you write from your heart. That’s what I relate to the most. There’s a saying, “It’s our weakness, not our strength, that binds us together.” I think that’s true.

    And thanks for sharing your photo with the “I Believe in Myself” message. It’s beautiful.

    I believe in you 🙂

    Love you,
    Ann

    • Wow, you stopped recording to do a rewrite. That is inspiring. I mean, of course, it’s hard work and maybe a bit discouraging but that you had the determination to do what needed to be done. I mean you didn’t give up. Sometimes I think “giving up” is my middle name. Something I struggle with. Send a little discouragement my way and I’m down for the count. That is why your determination is inspiring to me. Thank you so much for sharing that.

      I understand the part about it being scary putting yourself out there. Do you ever question yourself as to why? I do that all the time. When I get scared I go why am I doing this? I love your songs though. All of them. Even the not so pretty one’s which by the way, in my opinion, could be labeled depth, thought provoking yet at the same time uplifting and inspiring in the hey-someone-understands-that kind of way. There may be just one person out there in the dark thinking that its to much feeling and “he” doesn’t want to be in therapy however that may be the point. “He” is running from feelings. Feelings are what make humans humans, you know? As hard as they are to face. Listen to me talk. I run from my feelings way to much.

      I feel your fear and the courage it takes to send out your emails. Selling yourself is part of your job as a singer/songwriter and you are doing it. Hip hip hooray for you.

      Thank you for believing in me. Now all I gotta do is believe in myself.

      Love ya back,
      Janice

      I guess I couldn’t write an uplifting post but I can gush all over with a reply. I’m a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. 🙂 So much so that I have a hard time unwrapping my mystery wrapped riddle enigma. Tee hee, smirk and grin

  5. Dear Janice –
    Thank you so much for your wise words to my comment. I will definitely read the book you mentioned.
    I also meant to say that I was so happy to see a new blog from you. You are an inspiration and joy. I honor and respect the words from your heart. I am so grateful for your sharing.
    Love,
    Pam

    • Your welcome, I’m glad you think they’re wise, the words I mean. But they are not entirely mine. Most of them are from Pressfield. I hope you get a chance to read his book because it is an interesting way to look at resistance. Your whole relationship with resistance could change.

      I love it when what I write gets someone to think about stuff and your comment implied that is just what happened with you. Awareness is the first step to any type of change. Even if it is just an awareness that Hey, I would like something to change but don’t know what. You know what I mean?

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and hanging in there with me.

      Love,
      Janice

  6. I know I haven’t walked this way for a long, long time. Became a granny in December and playing the role to the hilt. That’s why I’ve not been getting the time to read as much as I want to. And then, I’ve got a little addicted to facebook. Lots of my schoolfriends and cousins and other friends out there. So the time just slips by after I log in. Don’t tell me you’ve put your blogging on hold. I hope it is only because you’re giving your time to your memoirs. I love your writing Janice. It comes straight from your heart. It is honest and that is what strikes a chord in the reader. Hugs.

    • Your words touch me. I have been devoting my writing to my memoirs. However, I am wondering if I can devote some time to this blog. Like you I get distracted with facebook or facebook games or a myriad of other things. It is so wonderful that you stopped by. It brings my heart joy.

  7. Haven’t been writing anything here? Just stopped by to check and was disappointed.:-(

  8. Wow, cool of you to stop by. It’s funny I can up with idea to write and then I thought ahhhh. Maybe it is synchronicity. I’m thinking, your hearing, you stop by, I nod and go Hmmmmmm. You know what I’m going to do it. I’m going to come back to my blog. I can hear the tiny pin drop in the vast void.

  9. Cool! Just get on with it before you change your mind again.:-)

Click here to comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s