Tag Archive for freedom

Writing Retreat

beachwriting2Through planning and packing for a group beach holiday, Gale was both large-and-in-charge and a nelly nervous wreck.  Even in the overstuffed minivan, out of the driveway and on the interstate, she remained anxiously edgy until our gang was far enough away to make it completely idiotic to turn back.

However, like the eye of a storm, the calm was only temporary as the excitement of arriving and unpacking led her to explode when she discovered an item had been left behind.  Time for our tactical maneuvers: fire up the ice-filled cocktail blender to counteract her verbal tirade; pour a chilled one for her as a booby trap; then escape to the safety of the surf.

Getaways are intended to be good for our spirits.  We all need time away from work, demands, relations, to-do lists, pressures, bad news, and you-name-it, yet sometimes we take those issues, even the folks attached to them, along with us.  Even if we love every part of our daily lives, we still need to relax and recharge to bring a new perspective and life-affirming peace.

Take your writing with you when you go.  It can serve as both a vent to release frustrations and a path to inner calm.  Settle your external turmoil by exchanging your hurricane-force whirlwind for writing’s gentle breezes.  Allow yourself to listen compassionately to those internal blurts that attempt to sabotage your happy writing, and let them go as you focus your practice on the comforting messages wafting to shore.

Just as ideal destinations change according to season and mood, so can what you choose to write. Splashing in a fictional stream of consciousness, playing with prompts discovered in your new surroundings, or strolling the sands of your mind’s thought waves can all be centering and energizing.

And when you get away, remember that whatever you forgot to take is most likely available where you are going. . .or, perhaps, you might not need it anyway.  Sure, take care to pack the basics; for me, that’s my laptop, sunscreen, bathing suit and hat.  The key word for me is ‘essential.’

That’s what I realized as I wrote under an umbrella during mid-week wearing the only bathing suit I’d worn of the four I brought.  As the gulls squawked overhead, I wrote about how lugging a suitcase of clothing and three pairs of shoes beyond my flip flops was silly.  I also wrote about how much fun Gale could be, but only in small doses, and that another week-long trip with her wasn’t in my best interest.

Retreat, I wrote, isn’t about fleeing the enemy, but surrounding myself with positive energy and empowering habits.  Like frolicking in the breakers, beachcombing for treasures, and playing with good friends, I am centered, renewed and delighted through writing, a reliable retreat wherever I am.

Affirm:  At home or away, my writing is always a good journey, an easy-to-get-to destination that renews my spirit.

Disclaimer:  It’s true; writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences.  However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.

Spring Forward

jonquilsNature sprouts.

People go outside their homes, put on shorts, take off shirts, dig in dirt, jump in water, and feel gleeful in the renewed warmth.

After being cooped up, personal media shifts to in-person.  They look over fences, tender a wave, and greet on the street.  Maybe, just maybe, after their sequestration by winter weather, their eager attitude forces phrases from their mouths that they might not have let fly before.  Then, many stop cold, suddenly frozen in doubt.

Does the first flower of spring stop to assess the sunshine?  It just feels the warmth and grows toward it.  Does the grass quiver with the thought of the oncoming lawnmower, or rise high to the sky?  And does the Robin ponder long where to dig for the worm, or does the bird land and begin pecking?

Spring, the season of rebirth, signals Earth’s abundance, an unfolding of natural expression.

Do you feel inspired to shed fears, dig deeper, risk new relationships, and let more of your true self out?

Thaw and sprout.  Feel free as you reflect honestly with even just one someone new in a face2face relationship.


Closet Writing Sanctuary

closetwriter“When I get really stressed, about to boil over, I head toward my closet.”

Totally serious and willing to share, my friend, a woman I’d known since our teenage years, went on.

“You’ve seen my closet, right?  You saw the chair?”

Nope, just a big walk-in closet in a big house seriously packed with lots of clothes.

“I go in and sit in the dark so no one can find me.  It’s childlike, going in and hiding.   Soon, I’ll turn on the light, grab a stashed legal pad, and start writing.

Why do you do this?

“I don’t want to be mean to people.  If I hide, I can mellow out and deal with more stuff, like I’ve always done, without losing it.”

When did you start?

“I started 15 or 20 years ago.  I hit a level of ‘I can’t deal with things.’ Everybody calls me.  They think I can handle anything and will fix their problems. I started writing my whole life, wrote until my hand cramped.”

She explained as she moved forward, particular incidents surfaced that needed attention. One example was about a family issue, something said that made her feel like a bad mother, something I can attest is far from her nature.

“It was 20 years later, but writing allowed me to let it go.  It had hurt my feelings, but it wasn’t true.  When I put it on paper, I could see it and not take it personally.  It was just how it was said to me.”

How often do you read your writing?

“Sometimes I read it pretty quickly.  Sometimes I never do.  There’s no rhyme or reason.”

So are all the pads in your closet?

“They are in drawers under underwear, hidden in other closets, in filing cabinets, stuck behind things.”

Has anyone every found them and read them?

“My husband found something I’d wrote and read it.  I didn’t feel betrayed because my writing is honest.  It’s how I felt and who I am, plus I never hide anything from him.”

Do you ever destroy them?

“I’ve shredded some after a few days when I didn’t like the way they sounded.  Then I rewrote them more clearly.  The letters to people I never send.  I talk to them or let it go.”

She doesn’t call her writing journaling.  It’s more of a diary, but there’s many of them, none with lock and key.

What if you died and your writing was left behind?

“I wouldn’t care if they were read because there’s not anything bad, just actual things that happened and how I felt about it.  Sometimes I look at it and think ‘this is so stupid’ or ‘I should be in the looney bin for keeping this in my mind so long.’”

We laughed, an expression common to our relationship.

Is your writing sometimes a prayer?

“Probably sometimes, some of them maybe.  Sometimes it’s a way to let go of my anger and forgive.”

Then outfitted with peace through writing, her wise coping mechanism, she reemerges and connects, in the same way she did with me.

Disclaimer —  It’s true: writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences.  However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.

The Year Of The Writer

Runner“I’ll revise the first chapter just once more, polish it up, then I’ll head into the next chapter,” she said with the bravado of certain finality.

I tilted my head and inhaled deeply.  “Consider accepting the win and moving on.”

“What win?  Why?” she asked, scrunching up her face.

“Because you have a strong foundation with the characters, plot, setting, and tone.  Go on to the next part.”  I sipped some tea.  “Discover a little and feel the movement.  Play.”

“I kinda want to get this chapter right—“

“It is right,” I interjected.  “And know that when you move forward through the other chapters, the story’s nuances will reveal themselves to you while you aren’t studying your work, but breathing along with your writing.”

Writers put so much pressure on themselves to get that first chapter, or even that first sentence, absolutely perfect before continuing the journey.  Witnessing this is like watching a sprinter leap forward at the starter pistol, then abruptly stop and return to the blocks to try and get the first step better while the race finishes down the stretch.

This is also how many of us look at the new year — as the fresh beginning, as the new first chapter, as the ultra-important opening line.  We make resolutions to do this or that, and they are mighty heavy packs to run with, pacts the vast majority of us drop within a few weeks or even a few days.

In 2013, release the pressure and feel the freedom.  Love your creative self.  Enjoy the levels of process to get from beginning to end successfully and the successive laps as you breathe into your writing.  Yes, there will be practice runs, lots of them.  There will be spills and tumbles.  And there will be adjustments through revision and editing, but by taking the steps at a good clip, embracing the grace of change, accepting the powerful lessons from missteps and the beauty of surprise, the story will smooth itself out, and you will run a fine race as a writer.

If writing is a desire in your heart, resolve to write, whether for yourself or an audience, whether formally or frivolously.  Whatever you write – thoughts and secret admissions in a journal, essays for a memoir, scenes for a screenplay or novel, a newsletter feature, song lyrics, poems of love, lust or loss, scribbles in notebooks or notes on napkins — feel the win every time you lay down the words.  Celebrate every single one this glorious new year and keep moving forward.  And make this the year of you, the writer.

Writer’s Affirmation:  I claim each day as a fresh opportunity for creative exploration.  Because I write, I can call myself ‘a writer.’  I feel good with every word I write, and I build upon this positive feeling by returning to write more.