Category Archives: Writing

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

Crone wisdom and Storytelling

Crone woman with loyal sidekick

Crone with loyal sidekick

Over a year ago on June 25 I decided to go for it and write a blog about crone wisdom. In my first two posts, Hello and On Becoming a Crone, I explored the how and why on my choice of topic. However, blogging was the start of delving into to a more structured writing life. I thought if I had a blog post to put out it would force me to write which is what I thought I wanted to do. And I do want to write it’s just that being more focused on it is more work than I realized. I read somewhere that writing is 80% work and 20% fun. Before being more structured about my writing that was just a concept. Now I get that 80/20% thing on a more personal level. I had the thought in my head that it should be the other way around. But now that I’m more into it I can see that thinking up ideas, finding the right words, and endless rewriting is the bulk of writing which is the work part. Then when I’m done and I say, well, that is the best I can do at this time and its pretty OK, I feel like I accomplished something.

Anyway, after kicking around a few ideas I thought I wanted to write about what life is like during the third trimester of life from one woman’s perspective. I thought being an older woman is viewed negatively in our culture. Actually you could say being older altogether is not highly valued but for a woman it is especially looked down on. From reading different books and pursuing the internet I discovered the concept of the crone with regard to older women. At first I cringed. Crone, I thought Who the heck wants to be an old crone. Aren’t they witches? Like the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of Oz.

Blyth Danner: A crone is beautifulThen I realized that a crone is actually an older woman who has cultivated wisdom from her decades of living, learning and experiencing. That’s who I am is actually a crone minus the stereotypes. Actually, many older women born of the baby boom generation are experiencing life in the 21st century differently than women of previous generations. We/I had the benefit of the 60’s exploration, woman’s lib, and various personal exploration methods like rebirthing, transactional analysis, to name a few

So when I started my blog I called it Jazzminey Crone Chronicles suggesting that I am chronicling the life of a crone, a baby crone actually implying that I am new into cronedom which I saw as a woman past menopause living life fully, embracing life, taking care of herself psychically, emotionally and mentally, being an inspiration to the upcoming generations that being an older woman does not mean she need take up a rocker and watch life go by. That she can be in life and actually contribute to it from her place of an elder in society, a wise elder, a wise woman elder, a crone, a wise woman crone elder.

That is the place I wanted to come from when writing my blog. It wasn’t to just hand out advice and tell others the best way to live but to portray my struggles and accomplishments, excitements and disappointments, joys and sorrows and how I dealt with them. To synthesis my accumulated past experiences, learning and knowledge into a wisdom pearl, to give added depth and sense meaning to the present and share what meaning I got out of the experience through storytelling.

Taking the path of the croneI have shared 62 experiences in my first year of blogging. I started out enthusiastically blogging twice a week after which I settled into my now once a week post. I touched on many different topics that were relevant to me at the time of writing. I hope in my posts I showed that an older woman, a crone, has a rich and varied inner as well as outer life. That life is not over after 60. Sure life is different now that I’m older but I can still be physically active, learn new things, change old habits, develop new ones and even consider the possibility of a life purpose and pursue that. To me that is what a Crone is all about.

In my second post of all time I had a link to a poem. I am adding it here, shall I say, linkless, as a way of marking my first year of blogging, of chronicling my life as a crone, jazzminey crone chronicles.

Crone Wisdom

Night is the time of the Crone
After the heat of day
After the heat of youth
The coolness of the Crone comes

 Night is the time of the Crone
Cool breezes carry her wise words
Her secrets unfold in the quiet time
Echoing ancient truths

 Listening is a gift of the Crone
Seasons of living opened her ears
Pain and joy have opened her heart
Acceptance of others opened her spirit

 All Crones have wisdom to share
Some know the Goddess…some do not
Open and listen to the Crones you meet
Value their wisdom that is offered to you

 Age is not to be feared, but embraced . . .
wrinkles are not to be hated, but explored . . .
they are the map of a person’s life, carried upon their face . .
movement slows as wisdom grows . . . this is a truth of life’s later season . . .

                                                      http://spiralgoddess.com/CroneWisdom.html

Links on Crone Wisdom

An article on One Crone’s Wisdom
Rebirth of the Crone Archetype
A deck of 54 Wisdom of the Crone meditation cards
Elderwoman links and resources
Crone: Empowered, Wise, Self-defined
Celebrating Creative Women: Treasuring Maturity

Immersing myself in a project

Are there things in your life that you immerse yourself in, things that you can’t wait to get back to, that call for you to come back when you are away? Since I made the decision to go for my life purpose of expressing myself through writing I have been immersing myself in writing.   I have logged in many hours at my computer tapping away on the keyboard watching the words march across the screen. I am in the process of writing a book length narrative on the 30 or so years I spent dealing with some difficult issues in a therapeutic setting. Simply put I am writing about the time I spent in therapy. I am writing this therapy story as I call it because it felt like it needed to be told, needed to be cleared out to make room for more writing. Therapy was a big part of my life, made up a big part of who I am.

I spend as much time on it as I can. It is taking on a life of its own. What started out sporadic has turned fairly regular. Sometimes I think, yeah, this is what I am trying to say, this is pretty good. Then I think, sheez, it’s just a bunch of crap. What’s the point. But through it all I push myself onward. I tell myself I can’t make a judgment about it till its complete. This is quite unusual for me. Sticking to something in spite of my negative side harping on me that I’m wasting my time totally immersing myself.

Right now I am putting in every little bit of experience or information. Sometimes is just seems like one big mess. First I work on one part, then I dropped that and go onto another part, then I go back to the beginning. Next thing you know I’m sidetracked on some research. I have a file on my computer with all sorts of chapters or sections and outlines and notes.

Surprisingly enough while I am working on it I am engrossed. I look forward to the time when I can go back to it. I almost feel inpatient when I can’t be working on it. This is what I hoped for, to get so involved in writing something that I would develop momentum, a sense of purpose, where it feels like this is what I want to do, what I am supposed to be doing. This is new for me. It is a good thing yet also a bit frustrating because it seems my blog gets put on the back burner. What are your experiences with  immersing yourself in a personal project?  Is it challenging?  Rewarding?  Is it new for you like it is for me?

Finding Encouragement in the Simple Things

I have been waiting for this time in the spring with such anticipation. No, its not the return of the robin, the budding of the leaves, the tulips or daffodils or even the song of the red-wing black bird, which is nostalgic for me although I do get excited when these things first appear. For me, it is the subdivision rummage sales. The first one of the season was the Aberdeen subdivision in Menominee Falls, WI with 20+ homes participating.

The day was cool and cloudy with the threat of rain which never materialized. We parked our gray Honda fit on Aberdeen Dr to start our trek around the subdivision on foot. I hooked up Angie to her leash and we headed off looking for treasures and bargains. We just about finished our sojourn finding a few treasures when I spotted something we specifically were hoping to find.

“Mike, look, the blocks we’re looking for,” I said.

Mike walked over to me and looked down to where I pointed. There sat a plastic tote filled with big wooden old fashioned blocks. Mike haggled them down from $20 to 12. This itself made the day but was not the biggest deal

The big deal of the day was a just an idea I had in mind. We have this glass picnic table with four chairs that we kept on your enclosed porch. This year I thought I would like to bring it outside to encourage us to be in our yard more. There is a hole in the middle of the table for an umbrella which we don’t have. I thought it sure would be nice if we had an umbrella.

As we were walking up this driveway of a large suburban home looking at the assortment of treasures, I spotted this big blue/green umbrella in the middle of the driveway. The woman who was running the rummage sale was standing near by.

“How much is this umbrella?” I asked.

“You can have it for a dollar.” she said.

“A dollar. Wow.” It hardly looked used. “How big is it?” It looked kind of short to fit in my table.

“Oh, it looks like a pole is missing. Let me go get that.”

“If you find the pole. You got a deal.” I said. She did and the deal was sealed.

I brought it home and set up my table right way. It looks so inviting in our backyard with the table and our fire pit.

I am still astonished. I can’t believe I found that umbrella. I know this is pretty trivial but it is speaks to me of “ask and you shall receive” and more importantly, I can ask but then I still need to go out and do the work. I had the thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to have an umbrella” knowing that I would not buy a new one for after all we are on a limited income, which meant finding one at a rummage sale. What were the odds of finding just the right umbrella that fits our table. So, I go to the rummage sales and there it was, waiting for me but I would never have got it without putting my thought into action.

This reminds me of what Ester and Jerry Hicks write about in their books on the Law of Attraction. They say that when I desire something it is already there. I wished for the umbrella. The “broader Non-physical, Source Energy, Inner Being” part of me becomes the vibrational equivalent of what I am asking and is waiting for me to catch up. In other words waiting for me to put my wish into some sort of action, going to the rummage sales. I could have not put forth the effort. I could have said, “Ah, it’s cloudy and cold, it may rain, I’ll just stay home.” In which case, I wouldn’t have found the umbrella.

This seemingly trivial experience to me is an expression of hope. I can get what I want but I need to go out there and do the work. Applying this to my life purpose, which according to my finger prints profile is to master creativity, I realize I can do it. I can live my life purpose if I do the work, which in my case is writing. Writing from my heart with my own creative, individualistic style. Writing and never giving up. Writing with a strong sense of self acceptance. I can do all this and catch up to the “broader Non-physical, Source Energy, Inner Being” who is already living with the flow of life purpose.

By looking at life’s simple mundane experiences and applying deeper meaning one can find motivation, hope and encouragement. I hope that your days bring you just such experiences.
123RF Stock Photo

Good Friends are like stars

Good friends are like stars, you don't always see them but you know they are always there.

Today I don’t know what to write for my blog. If I should go light or serious. I already wrote two posts about spring. Should I write about the sun, the moon the stars? A movie? A book? I am at a loss. I am feeling dried up with nothing left to say.

I sit at my little rummage-sale-find task chair staring at the blank document on my computer screen. Finally, I do a little free writing hoping something will surface. Nothing does. I play a game of Mahjong. (It’s a way I sneak in games without having solitaire on my computer. I know I am flirting with danger but sometimes I just need that distraction.) I get up and wander back to the living room, talk with Mike a bit only to come back to the computer and sit down to stare at the blinking cursor. I must think of something. I can’t let this blog die. I open my email and see “New comment on your post “Foolishness means Aliveness” in my in box.

I sigh and smile. I feel a weight lift. Wow, a comment on my last post. It is from Linda a woman who I met in 2004 at WomenHeart’s weekend Symposium on women and heart disease at the Mayo Clinic. We were both from Wisconsin. We both had heart surgeries. We were around the same age. We connected right off and are still friends.

I have to admit I’m not an easy person to get to know. When I first meet a future friend, we form an intimate bond immediately. We will sit and tell each other our most private thoughts and feelings. Then as time goes on, I sort of back off. Apparently, I do instant closeness well but the long-term is hard for me to sustain. Fear is probably at the root. Fear of being rejected, no doubt. Whatever the reason, there it is. But once a few years pass and the friend is still hanging in there with me despite my strangeness, I am not as difficult. At least I hope not. Anyway, Linda is one of those friends.

A couple of years ago we both moved away from Wisconsin when our husbands retired. Mike and I to the north in Minnesota. Linda and her husband to the south in South Carolina. We haven’t really seen each other since but we do talk on the phone and its as if there isn’t a distance between us.

So, when I see that Linda read my blog and posted a comment I felt that I was being given a gift. A nudge from the universe not to give up. I pick up the phone to call her right away.

“I was just reading your blog and posted something,” she said.

“I know” I said. “That is why I’m calling. Your commenting on my blog came at the right time. I was feeling discouraged.”

“I like to read your blog. You should have been an author. Maybe you can be an author when you grow up.” We laugh. We are both in our sixties and we share the same passion of wanting to do something with our lives.

But seriously her words soothed me. I want to be able to write so others get something out of it and it means so much to me when my friends share with me their feelings about my writing. Unfortunately, I will respond with their kind words by trying to brush them off or change the subject. I don’t do compliments well either. You could say I’m a work in progress, still…

I am glad for my friends and their encouragement. For listening to me when I tell them my fears and doubts. For hanging in there with me when I must seem distant and strange. As Linda was saying to me on the phone, its with the connections of friendships that help us live a long and healthy life.

Thank you to Linda and all my friends. And to whoever is reading this blog may all your friendships be just as rewarding. Please, feel free to share a friendship story.