Tag Archives: Writing

A Conversation with Myself

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“I don’t want to adult today.”

“Why not?”

“I just don’t feel like it.”

“Well that’s not a good excuse. I don’t feel like doing a lot of things.”

“But I just don’t wanna!”

“Not good enough.”

“I want someone to take care of me today. Make me breakfast. Serve it to me. Give me big hugs all day. Do my laundry. Rub my feet.”

“Not gonna happen.”

“Hmmffff. I know.”

“Well?”

“Well what?”

“Well what are you going to do now?”

“Sit here and sulk. Stare at the blank TV screen. Not work out. Not write. Not talk to anyone. I don’t want to talk to anyone today. I don’t want to go to the grocery. I don’t want to adult today.”

“Put your big girl panties on and do it. DO IT!”

“Alright! Stop yelling at me.”

“I’m not yelling. I’m motivating.”

“Ugh.”

“Alright. I’m gonna write. I’ll get up and go to the computer.”

“Good!”

“But I don’t know what to write. I know what I want to write. But I don’t know if I should. I don’t like putting myself out there.”

“Come on. You know how it is. Any artist has to put themselves out there to share his craft or else it is wasted. And it balls up inside and has nowhere to go.”

“I know.”

“So start small. Just write. First thing that comes to mind. Who cares?”

“You’re right. Ok. I’ll put my big girl panties on. I’ll put my big girl panties on. And I’ll write about our conversation.”

“That’s good!”

“Ok I’m doing it now.”

“Great.”

“But I still don’t want to adult today.”

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Writer’s Cube

My writing muscle has kind of atrophied. Who was it that said there is no such thing as writer’s block? Was it Stephen King? Sylvia Plath? Oprah? When I first heard that I thought, “Bullshit”. But it only took me about 12 hours of off-and-on pondering to realize how freaking true it is.

It’s not that we don’t have anything to say. It’s that we have so much to say we don’t know where to begin or how to collect our thoughts. So we are incapacitated by this.

Kind of like I feel now.

I’ve had a few people encourage me to get back into writing. Because they are awesome supporters. And I have been pretty much off the grid for a while. I’ll explain the reason behind that at a later date. Maybe.

How I’ve missed typing these keys onto WordPress. But there’s so much pressure to be “perfect”. To say something that truly matters and inspires and is up to my own self-imposed standards. But what it boils down to at this point is that I just keep writing. Because when I stop it is not good.

It’s like a bubble is stuck in my throat. A block in my brain. And all I fantasize about at work is creating some form of art. I even daydream of coloring in a coloring book because at least then I would be doing something artsy. Even at the elementary level.

I even thought about writing at work. Like I used to do at every other job I ever had. Scribbled poems on the back of movie ticket paper. The outline of a story on a spare photo packet envelope. A line or two on a napkin at lunch break.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. The artist in you has to get out in some way or another. I remember writing poems at my very first job as a telemarketer in between cold calls. I even recited some of them to my stoned and bored coworkers. My fuzzy memory says they were impressed.

So here I am. Working out my writer’s muscle. I don’t want to block myself in. So maybe I’ll call it “writer’s cube”. Because at least then there is 3D space with which to create, fill, play.

writer's block

 

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Birthday Blogging

I just renewed my domain name and blog site. This means I have been WordPress blogging for a whole year. Happy first birthday Busted Flip Flops!

These flip flops have been seriously busted lately. I haven’t written all month. Certain instances and situations have occurred which have kept me away. But I was never truly away. Not in the spiritual sense anyway.

It actually feels weird to sit here and write. How I have missed it. I am feeling a little rusty like my bicycle chain. But I can still pedal. Although a little creakily at first.

There are so many things I want to write about but for now I just want to say thank you to all my readers. I have enjoyed your presence and comments and inspiration. I have enjoyed reading and connecting with my favorite bloggers and entering into this WordPress world that has so many times brought sunshine to my flippity flop walk on the rocky beach.

So cheers to this first birthday! Let us raise a glass. Savor the sweetness of the written word and let it permeate a moment and blossom into its full-bodied flavor. And walk along side me for another year, busted flip flop to busted Croc (or your footwear of choice).

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A Paint Stick and a Dream

On the heels of Maya Angelou’s death my son’s fourth grade class put on a poetry tea. It wasn’t planned this way. They just happened to transpire in the same week.

I’ve never been to a poetry tea. I’ve been to poetry slams, where upon entering everyone is given a paint stick. Instead of clapping or snapping (never really understood that one) you slam the paint stick on the desk in click-clack applause.

When my son told me weeks ago they were beginning to study poetry at school I was elated. Finally something I could get excited about. Common Core math is all he seems to bring home and talk about (and fail). I don’t do math. I took remedial math in college because my ACT math score was so low. I used to stab my math book with a pencil on homework nights in middle school. One year I snuck my worn math book home on the last day of school, placed it in the dry creek bed behind our house, and set it on fire.

But poetry? I wrote my first poem sometime during elementary school. I’m sure my mom still has it as she has much of my early schoolwork, artwork, and report cards archived.

I continued to write poetry into high school. Became the editor of the writer’s group. Won an English award for outstanding achievement. Wrote more poetry in college. Went to more poetry slams. Acquired more paint sticks.

My mom even kept one of my poetry slam paint sticks. And brought it to the tea. My son was intrigued. But asked me to please not slam it.

My mom even kept one of my poetry slam paint sticks. And brought it to the tea. My son was intrigued. But asked me to please not slam it.

It was a dream of mine to become the next great American poet or author. To make money and gain notoriety from what I loved and seemed born to do. That dream among wanting to become a famous actress, a CIA agent, and at one time an astronaut. Now I hate being in front of a camera. Don’t like guns. Haven’t flown in six years. But this writing and poetry thing? Yeah, it stuck.

Maya Angelou’s first book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published when she was in her early forties. You don’t have to be young to be an accomplished writer. And you don’t have to be accomplished to write. We do it because we have to.

I don’t know what my son will end up being passionate about. Right now he wants to become a firefighter. Or create story lines for video games. I don’t care if he doesn’t get math. Because I get that. Would I love if he were to get into poetry? Sure. But he will do what is in his heart to do. And yesterday at the poetry tea I was very proud of him. For an afternoon we shared a common dream. To express our thoughts from heart to paper to audience and have at least someone moved.

Here is his original poem he recited to two classrooms filled with nervous students and tea-drinking parents:

Beach Poem

Clearwater beach
sunset
not too hot
excited
sand, water and shells
grainy, soft and wet
the sand and flowing water
crashing waves and the birds
singing
running in the sand and
watching the sun go down
watermelon and salt water
tired and ready to go home.

 

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” ―Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

 

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Enter Title Here

I’ll be honest. I have no idea what to write. My writer’s guilt is trying to bury me in its heavy sand. I’m supposed to go out with the girls tonight but won’t feel I’m owed that unless I get something out there. To you. My dear readers.

My arm is sore from a beautiful tattoo I got yesterday. It’s a tatt of a quill pen. Now what kind of writer would I be if in the week I got this work of reflective art on my body I did not at least spend some time with my quill pen of 2014– my computer’s keyboard? All the crumbs from protein bars and peanuts have been wiped away from it. I know I shouldn’t eat at my desk but it has become a nice little habit. One more minute spent at the keyboard is one more possible word written, read, or commented on.

Why is it that some weeks the words flow like water coming out of the bathtub spout, while other weeks there isn’t an even annoying drip? Does my brain need rebooting? Am I too focused on life’s dramas? Some of both?

Busted Flip Flops. My solace. My respite. My breath of fresh air. My busted little home away from sometimes busted little home. I have to dust off the crabwebs. Shovel out the sand. Fill it with a sea of words to keep it alive and satiated. Keep me alive and satiated.

my tatt

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NaNoNoMo

So November 1st was the kick-off of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where writers come together virtually and in coffee houses and wherever else to start, pick-up, or finish a novel.  The goal is to have 50,000 words by November 30th.  Well I knew going in there was no way in hell I would ever be able to meet that goal.  I may be a dreamer but I’m also a realist when it comes to knowing my own strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was in grade school.  Short stories began to formulate in my repertoire soon after.  I was the queen of scribbling it all down on a piece of notebook paper in one fury of creative inspiration/explosion.  Even though I dreamed of being the next great American author I did not have the patience, focus, or commitment to sit down and hammer out pages and pages of a coherent novel.  And re-writes?  Forget it.  When I was done I was done.

The trip that started it all.

The trip that started it all.

I wrote for a community newspaper for a few years and even wrote and self-published a children’s book.  All of these endeavors I am very proud of.  But I’ve always been in awe of those that can write an entire novel.  This has been on my bucket list since I was fifteen and actually started a novel after a life-altering trip to Italy.  I started the thing three times and haven’t touched it in ten years.

Flash-forward to my late thirties and yet another life-altering experience leads me to start another novel.  This time I was for real.  Got an editor and everything.  I was scared of the process of writing dialogue.  Didn’t think it was my thing.  But after my editor told me to visualize the scene in my mind like a movie, I ended up being ok at it.  So I worked on it, some days for hours, some days for ten minutes.  Some days I didn’t sit at the computer at all.  This went on for a year and I had nine chapters and a few later scenes diligently hammered onto Word.  I was compelled to tell this story and I thought about it on my bike rides, while brushing my teeth, and in my nightly dreams.

What HAVE you been typing all this time?

What HAVE you been typing all this time?

Then I took a month or so hiatus when the dreams became disturbing.  I started this blog, which was another writing venture I’d desired for a while.  And wow have I been enjoying it– the writing, the thinking about the writing, the reading and connecting with other bloggers, the taking of photographs and editing them for my posts, the feedback from friends and strangers, the laugh-out-loud moments and those that grab the heart and twist it.  I can’t believe it took me this long to discover this incredible, unfastened world.

But the poor little novel sat untouched, wondering why it was being neglected.  Then came NaNoWriMo and I decided that was a sign to get it back out again.  November 1st came and even though I didn’t get to the computer until 9pm I finished one chapter and started another.  Yay!  I was back in the novel-writing game again.  Each day I took time, no matter how hectic it was around the house, to sit and work on my novel.  I did what was suggested:  I didn’t go over and over what I’d written like usual.  I just wrote.  I didn’t think about perfection or even bang my head on the desk.  I just wrote.  I thought, “I’m gonna do this.  I’m gonna write every single day of this month no matter what.”  Well then came day seven.

Even God took a day of rest on day seven.  In my defense I had the opportunity to spend the day with a dear, old friend.  By the time I got back home and had dinner with my family I was exhausted.  I figured skipping one day was no big deal.  But then I’ve skipped every day since then.  In my defense I have written 3,353 words including this post on this blog during that time.  I had some posts I really wanted to write and publish.  The novel was already starting to feel like work.  It was drudgery and it wasn’t calling to me.  I figured why push it just to get some sort of a word count or because I think I have to do this lest the gods of NaNoWriMo shake their heads in disapproval.  I didn’t want to go crazy like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  All Work

So here it is, almost the middle of the month.  But I am not giving up!  Hell, I might even write some in my novel this afternoon.  I’m just being honest about my journey and I don’t feel bad about it.  NaNoWriMo got me started on it again– got me over that hump.  I do love the story I’m now struggling a bit to tell.  Perhaps one day I’ll even revisit that Italian tale.  My short pieces are a speed boat; my novel a slow-chugging ship.  Either way, I get to look out and see golden sunsets over a tranquil sea, with a crew of passengers sharing the voyage with me. Sunset Voyage

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