The Tale of the Sometimes Always Writer

Flannery O'ConnorI am a writer. I have always been a writer. Okay, so maybe when I was first born and not yet able to hold a pencil and all that literal shit, I was NOT a writer. But in my body, in my spirit, I have always been a writer.

Notice I didn’t say brain. Writing isn’t in the brain. Grammar, spelling, punctuation – that’s in the brain. Writing is somewhere else. It is ethereal.

When I was on deployment I always kept the pictures of my family put away. Tucked into my Bible is where they stayed. I didn’t pin them up, tape them to my bunk or inside my locker. I hid them. In order to remain sane so far away from them, I couldn’t look at those pictures unprepared. I had to be ready for it. Otherwise, it would throw me into a spiral of whatever that ache is that you get when you can’t put your hands on your children or kiss the forehead of your beloved. A person can’t live like that.

Such is the danger of a writer. You can’t always go there. Well, put a better way – I haven’t always been able to go there.
Private Thoughts

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say ~ Flannery O’Connor

And I am not always prepared to know what I think. There are some moments, days, periods of life that are just not appropriate for in-depth contemplation. Sometimes after the spouse is adored, kids are nurtured, career is clocked, food is served, teeth are brushed, I am grateful to maybe have enough energy to fold the laundry, and, if it is a particularly great day, have enough left in the tank to carry on an adult conversation with a girlfriend who has been seriously neglected. To add an in-depth conversation with myself? Yeah, no.

I am not afraid of my truthSo, no writing.

As a point of explanation, that entire “not prepared to know what I think” paragraph had to be paused, rewritten, edited for content as there is too much left to say and analyze between the spaces and commas. I don’t have time for that.

In addition to not having time, I don’t have the inclination. I have a hard time with private writing. I heard somewhere that George Washington said, “Never write down anything you don’t want the whole world to read.” I don’t care enough to google the authenticity of that citation. The point is I believe the sentiment.

Therefore, I rarely write what I can’t publish. I don’t trust it. That being true, there is a ton of stuff in my brain that will never find the page. While necessary, the downside of that is periods of time where I just will not write. It is just too much to figure out the best way to balance authenticity with tact, honesty with privacy, truth with rant.

I am a universe of secretsIt’s a conundrum really. Which I suppose is only fitting. When I described myself as a conundrum in my skin to my husband, he reflected for the briefest of moments and agreed with a huge smile.

His response was enlighting for me. One, it affirmed what I thought and verified that I was not over thinking myself and on the track to being more comfortable. Two, most importantly, the smile gave me courage to embrace that odd cattywampus juxtaposition of self that so often feels…well…unknowable.

So maybe I will just have to write about it…

Last First Birthday

So, I am well aware that anything can happen – but for all practical purposes, we have celebrated our last first birthday.

We all knew it was coming and it was a whole lot of fun. The kids fed the ducks, fished a little bit, rode in the golf cart and blew bubbles.They ate too much and played too hard. Presents were opened and toys assembled. People socialized and some caught up a bit with those they hadn’t seen in a while. It was a great day.

Funny how the best of days still leave you with a sense of longing. I guess knowing that you will never get that cake face back, knowing that we have already accomplished a lot of firsts – Christmas, Halloween, Love Day – those firsts are over.

I realize I have a good many firsts to still look forward to. I am thankful to have such a full life with a full house.

Funny the variety of emotions that accompany being a mom…

Monday Morning Musing

The shoes post was received warmly over the weekend.  Mostly because my Em’ is so darn cute. But also because I think it resonates with most parents.

If we had one pair of shoes to give our children, what kind would they be and why? If you have multiple children, would they be the same type of shoe, or different? If you don’t have children, what kind of shoes do you want for that person closest to you?

I am so curious to know…

Blog Freeze

The feeling. How do I describe it? You know when it is really hot outside and you say to yourself, “Self, let’s go get an ice cream.” So, you go get the biggest ice cream you can
find because, after all, it’s hot outside. The guy dipping the ice cream has this way of doing it that makes you want to grab the cone and the scoop and do it yourself. He is taking FOREVER! By the time you get it, the sweet treat is melting all over itself and you hurry to lick it all up before it sticks up your hand. So, you take the big bite and then BAM! Brain Freeze! 

That’s as close as I can get. I have Blog Freeze. I have jumped head long into a world where I know little more than how to type. I was fairly certain that being able to put nouns and verbs together in a semi intelligent way and the desire to write would be enough. So, I took a big bite. Now, here I am, holding my head even though I know I just have to wait it out. So I will type about whatever, surf wherever, and read whoever until the pain and swelling subsides. Then one day, when the dust settles, I can only hope the chaos will be beautiful and the new road an adventure.

Azaleas

There is magic associated with springtime in the south. It is called Azalea. These beautiful flowers dot the bush unassumingly. They behave like beautiful young girls who pretend to be coy. They have perfected the art of modesty while all the while being completely aware of the spectacle they create. 

In hours just before the sun begins its journey to regain its throne, powerful in the Southern sky, the azaleas sleep. The crickets sing the lullaby and the mosquitoes have not yet been forced to hide from the heat of the day. The dew begins to collect lightly on the leaves. A gentle cleansing for the fair maidens by the attending servants. As the sun warms the ground, the blooms begin to do their dance. They pretend to be shy. It looks as if they never want to open, self conscious of what they will look like when exposed. But it is the game that the sun and the Azaleas often play.

They are like teenagers who have just discovered the opposite sex and have begun their flirtation with desire. The flowers pretend to protest and the sun pretends to be convinced. So the courting continues. Eventually, and with great deliberation, the blooms open and the squares downtown burst forth with color. The variety of the sight proves that the rainbow is not the only spectacular natural creation.

They sit there, gliding in the wind, proud of themselves. They know what sparks they provide. They are the backdrop for the historical tour. They are the vision out the window at work that reminds of a simpler time.  They are the special something that makes the picnic with your lover special. They are the reason you chose to say your vows and kiss the bride outdoors.

Azaleas are the roses of the south and they guard their title with fierceness. The blossoms appear to be modest in their brilliance but are boisterous in their display. Do not let the subtleness fool you, for they are cunning. They are jealous little beauties and will not settle for anything other than center stage. Without regret or remorse – and with complete intention – they will steal your heart. If you encounter them on vacation, they will be the first thing you mention when you return home. If you have grown up around the flower, they will cast that spell that ensures they are what you miss when away.

They smile and preen. Anxious to be for you whatever you want them to be. The one beautiful thing in your day that makes you smile. Their effort is tireless. And they always try harder if they have been picked by the hands of a child. It is as if the pudginess in the young fingers provides a second life for the flower off the bush. They find the ability to make the color brighter, the smell sweeter and the enchantment deeper.

You would think that the flower would be devastated. Plucked from the root of life and thus condemned to wilt and die prematurely. One would think that such a proud flower would balk at the displacement. That it would be in revolt in spite of itself and wither to dust immediately rather than endure a slower, less graceful death. But the azaleas glow and rise to an occasion that they have waited for since the beginning of the blossom. Like an adolescent girl that has just been chosen for her first dance. They know they will soon be in the place that makes all their efforts worth while. They have begun the portion of the journey that takes them to that coveted spot. The spot of adoration and appreciation that only a child can provide.

The fat fingers hold tight to the stem and pull and tug till the blossom gives way. The child squeals with delight and places the flower delicately to his nose to feel the tickle of the soft petals. The smell is sweet and the child will not realize for quite some years that this smell has infected him for the rest of his life. The child’s only concern right now is the destination. With an energy reserved only for children, he dashes towards the house as fast as his small legs will carry him.

“Momma, Momma, Momma!” he shouts as he throws open the screen door with one hand and an outstretched flower in the other. The azalea knows the moment of glory is near. Momma looks down and sees the gift. The child’s wide eyes look up, searching with anticipation for what he is sure will happen next. Momma smiles with her whole face, gently accepts the token and kisses the child on his round, sweaty face. The child’s mission is successfully completed. With one movement and full of satisfaction, he is off again to resume his exploration of the southern outdoors. Momma turns around and places the azalea in that spot. The one spot that all flowers long to find. The place of unconditional love, admiration, and devotion. That stained glass vase in his Momma’s kitchen window.