Five Minute Friday: Write

Welcome to med school! Today’s class will focus on the dissection of cadavers.

Except they’re not dead yet.

That’s exactly what it feels like to have you peering into my brain case every week. This is exactly what the open heart surgery sans anesthesia is likefor me. This is what writing is. Me, writhing around on the floor. Probably crying. Maybe laughing. And you get to see this.

This is probably why more people aren’t writers. Or, at least, not the kind that I am.

Yes, slice me open with any dull knife. These veins? Why, yes, They most certainly do bleed. All. Over. The. Floor.

Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to clean any of this up. And what’s even better is that is happens again and again. Rather like an episode of The Walking Dead, only without the special effects makeup.

I think I’m still too attractive to make a good zombie. Then again…

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Five Minute FridayI’m joining the flash mob of writers over at LisaJo Baker’s place, which you can find here (for today’s offering), or by clicking on the picture to the right (for the general gist). The basic idea is that you spend five minutes of writing like your hair’s on fire, generally unedited (I correct typos, WAY too OCD not to do that), on a prompt that she provides on Thursday just after ten p.m. via a tweet. Interested? Write something. Link up. Love on.

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Also: See the post BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! for details on why you won’t be able to read this blog starting next Monday.

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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

goldfish jumping out of the water Its been in the works for a couple of weeks now, but there’s no point in holding back.

I’m changing the blog to a professional site!

I actually registered my domain name, and am working with the software, and it’s a HUGE investment in time. This is definitely MUCH more complicated than I ever would have imagined. I didn’t want to keep everyone in the dark for the MONTHS it might take me to get everything just where I want it to be in my perfect-blog-world. It’s just going to take time, and I ask you for your patience. You might show up and things will look the same, or they’ll be lime green, and I’ll be busily trying to figure out how to change the background color.

What this means for you, dear reader:

If you’re a reader who subscribes to my posts via email, this probably means nothing. WordPress assures me that they will transfer your subscription over to the new site (http://aftertheecstasythelaundry.com) with, allegedly, no action on your part. This will happen next Monday, 10 February 2014. I am making every attempt to post an article that very day, so you can see for yourself what happens. I’ll be watching too!

If you’re a reader who subscribes to my blog through the “Follow” button on the top of the WordPress site, this means that you will have to subscribe “for real.” Please, do this now. Go to the sidebar, where it says “Email subscription,” and do that. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure you won’t be seeing any updates. This change will begin next Monday, 10 February 2014. I’m posting that day, so you can see for yourself. If you don’t see a post here, this is exactly why. If you don’t make this change before Monday, you’ll be out of the loop all together. I’m expecting that I’ll lose some people. I hope it’s not too many. Please, subscribe.

For all my readers: I am really hoping to make this work. I’ve made an investment in real cash money to be able to take this blog to the next level. I hope and pray you’ll accompany me. I’ve relished your comments, and I’ve grown to expect them. I don’t want to lose you now.

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2013: An Ecstatic Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Unashamed: The Finale

UnashamedIt’s been an interesting, eventful year, and I remain unashamed.

When I first became aware of the concept of picking one word for the year, instead of a passel of New Year’s Resolutions, I was immediately intrigued. I’ve never been much of a resolution keeper, anyway, but this sounded do-able. For a couple of weeks, I had struggled with what word to pick. I love words, and, well, picking just ONE of them seemed an unlikely prospect. Nevertheless, I struggled on,

As you can see from my posts here, and here, and here, I did succeed. I would never, ever, ever have guessed that the word “unashamed” would be not only interesting, but of real value to me, as I was reminded of it time and again. It carried me through a nearly soul-crushing depression, relationship traumas, an interstate move, and career upheavals.

Now the year is drawing to a close, and I’ve already been thinking, at some length, about next year’s word. I’ve narrowed it down to a few, but a couple people have asked me what process I used to determine the word. I think I can safely say that it’s not so much a series of easy steps as it is a time of reflection.

  • The word has to be deep. I can’t really speak for others, but I seriously doubt the word “groceries” would be of value to me.
  • The word has to be applicable. “Read” isn’t useful for me, because I already do it everyday. Probably to excess. It’s hardly something I need to grow in. Which is a good reminder:
  • The word has to promote growth. I already “think” too much, so I need a word that stretches me in a different direction.
  • The word should be challenging. Again, I have a tendency to “linger,” so that’s not where I’m headed.
  • The word shouldn’t be too narrow. I’ve read about a system where the idea behind choosing the word is how I want God to be working in my life. That’s really cool, but again, that’s something I probably spend a lot of time pondering anyway, so it’s not where I’m headed. Not this year.
  • The word should be able to be interpreted in a variety of ways. Again, not too narrow. But not too broad. In my internet meanderings, I ran across a couple of people who chose the word “do.” Whoa, Nelly, That’s just too much.
  • The word has to resonate. That’s really it, in a nutshell. Whatever the word is, it has to “ring” for me. It has to hit me, just right.

I’m down to about five words. I’m getting closer. One thing I’m excited about this year is working with Ali Edwards and her ideas here. I’m still thinking. You think, too. In no way should this be a constraining idea, where if you don’t get it by New Year’s, you’re out of the loop. Nonsense.

This is what happens

Depression Era FamilyThis is what happens when you throw your lot in with a madman. This is what happens when you give yourself away to an idea that is not ready to be born, barely formed enough to be recognizable as a coherent thought. This is what happens when you’re lying on the ground in a dirty dress, with your hair falling in your face and your breath knocked out of you so that you’re gasping.

Gasping. And grasping. Grasping at the straws of belief. The belief that you thought would give you a foundation and a shelter from the storm. This is what happens… This is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket, when you decide on a truth. This is what happens when the truth turns into nothing more substantial that a burned out building.

Building. Building what you thought was a dream world, but it turns into a nightmare. A nightmare that you wake from, screaming and panting. This is what happens when the nightmare is real and you don’t know what to do or where to go anymore. This is what happens when truth turns into a lie and all you want to do is lie.

Lie. Everything was a lie. This is what happens when you’re afraid to admit to yourself that you were wrong again. This is what happens when you allow yourself to be duped. This is what happens when he leaves in the night with the car and the rent money and you’re stuck with unpaid utilities and five hungry kids and nothing to eat in the house but half a summer sausage and a bottle of Jack Daniels. This is what happened when you try.

Try. But fail.

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Amity and SorrowI wrote this after finishing another chapter in a fabulous book, Amity & Sorrow (by Peggy Riley, published by Little, Brown & Co., 2013). I was inspired by the book, and this is not a direct reflection of the plot, though it has similarities. It just up and flowed out, and I couldn’t stop writing. I wish all writing was this easy.

When it’s not helping

Antique Tool BoxI wanted to get better. And conventional wisdom told me that writing in my diary every day would help, but it was actually making me worse.

I had been journaling for over thirty years. (That’s a lot of paper and ink.)

I had periods where  I wrote more often
And periods where I wrote less.

I was writing several times a week, on average. During the years I spent in LaGrange, though, I was writing almost every day. (That’s even more paper and ink.) I would get up every morning, and just grab the pen and go.

On and on.
Pages and pages.
Ranting and raving.
Raving and ranting.

Then I just quit.

I realized I was having a problem. I had gotten into a rut of writing about my depression and how I was feeling. While that was supposed to be a good thing, it was slowly killing me.

I would start off every day

thinking about how miserable I was.
And then I would write about it.
Writing about it made me even more miserable,
which, in turn, got me to thinking about miserable things
and how miserable I was.
Which I then, dutifully, wrote about. Every. Single. Day.

Not helpful.

So I just quit. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. I had these…”feelings.” What was I supposed to do with them? I couldn’t call someone and just vent. Not at 5:30 in the morning. It took about a month. I’m not saying I got all better, but I think it was very helpful for me to just step away from it and think about something else.

I had to get away from

the rut of always focusing on the negative…
what was dreadful about my life…
why I hated everything.

Daily journaling was definitely useful for a while, and it’s a tool I recommend.

But it had gotten to be the only tool in the toolbox.

When you’re faced with a screw, a hammer isn’t the tool you need.

Five Minute Friday: Write

Letter writing girlIt sounds like a TV show, but it’s not. “So You Think You Can Write?”

It’s the sound of the voice in my head. The voice that tries to silence me, but and, more  that not, succeeds.

Shut up. Just shut up.

I’m writing now, as fast as I can. I’m writing like my hair is on fire. I’m writing for my life. I’m writing down the bones. I’m writing like it’s a sacred path, like it’s an act of worship, like I can’t stop,

And I don’t want to. It’s something in me, and it’s in you and it’s in everyone. I don’t want to silence it.

You can’t stop me, as much as you try. I’ve let you shut me up, but now it’s your turn, you nasty voice. You editorial nightmare. You bad thing. I’m not the bad thing, you are. You can’t stop me, you won’t stop me, and I’m not letting you stop me. Not any more. I’m going to write. I am writing. I am a writer.

I. Am. A. Writer.

It’s going to happen every day now. It’s going to happen. Every. Single. Day.

And you can’t stop me. No one can stop me. No one.

Especially not me. Because I’m really the only person who can stop my writing. Me. My own worst enemy.

But not any more.

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What’s Five Minute Friday?

A blog-prompt project dreamt up by LisaJo Baker, which you can read about here. The basic idea is that you spend five minutes of writing, generally unedited (I correct typos, WAY too OCD not to do that), on a prompt that she provides just after ten p.m. via a tweet, then spread the word, and link up. Interested? Join up. Enjoy a delightful assortment by clicking on the picture to the right.