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…

Boots, Malware, Schnitzel, and Monarchs (weird, huh?)

I keep getting this stupid little bug in my browser. It changes my homescreen, my search engine, and randomly opens weird ass tabs with stuff I never looked for, asked for, or searched for. It is irritating.

But everything has a purpose I think. And trying to get to this blog today (and too tired to remove the little bug from the browser), the little bug decided that, while I thought I wanted to actually GO to the blog, what I REALLY wanted was to search Bing for the blog.

Whatever. It’s one more click and I am too tired to give a shit.

And this is the way my little neglected blog showed up on Bing.

Bing results

And I just couldn’t help but be overwhelmed.

Jerry MaguireUnderstand I don’t expect you to follow all of this. I haven’t been on a run in a good many days. I haven’t been to the gym in 5. My brain isn’t the most organized and functional places right now.

But this is also not the 2am, bad pizza, Jerry Maguire epiphany either. Okay, maybe it is – except I have had a full night’s sleep (as relatively as that can be called with 4 children), and a cup of coffee. So, there’s that.

This was not the post I sat down to write. If it was, you would be watching this awesome clip.

Ok, you can watch it anyway – but we will have to come back to it’s point at a later date.

I really wanted to write something this morning – mostly because I haven’t written anything in weeks.

That’s a bullshit reason to do anything, really.

The truth is I really wanted to write what I wanted to write this morning and not some warped version of what I thought I was supposed to write.

It’s why I can’t make money at it. Why my freelancing gigs never work out. Why I have felt the need to reinvent, segment, redesign my online writing space too many times to count anymore.

I just want to write what I want to write.

Sometimes it is about me whether you think it is or isn’t…and some times it

Just. Isn’t. About. Me.

Sometimes it is about you whether you catch that fact or not – and sometimes, it

Just. Isn’t. About. You.

And sometimes there is more to the story and irregardless of schools of thought on internet transparency or openness, my southern upbringing trumps social media guidelines. Tacky is still tacky – virtual or not – and I won’t have it.

And sometimes the story is edited because it just makes for a better damn story. I mean seriously, who wants to read the normal version of how pancakes get made? Or the full conversation between children? No one. Just tell the story as it mostly happened.

And at the end of the day, I just want to write what I want to write. And this search screen, as crazy as it sounds, insisted that I do just that.

The woman in those images works hard, loves life, and has made some pretty positive changes to become a better person.

That woman has a lot of love, a beautiful family full of wonderful children.

That woman has no idea why in the hell a picture of a boot showed up – could it be any more out of place? But, as fate would happen, this woman does have moments of feeling totally and completely wrong for the situation.

And then there is my cute little facebook page. As you are probably aware, when you create a facebook page, you have to choose a page category (i.e. book, music, person). Within that, there are subcategories (i.e. musician, author, politician). And there, at the end of my little search blurb, is my choice – monarch. There is a whole post brewing about that decision. Until then, feel free to speculate.

And then there is the blog link – Tan Toes, Strong Woman. How I thought long and hard over a way to succinctly attempt to describe myself. Have you ever attempted to break yourself down to a bumper sticker? Not part of yourself, not the family, or job, or hobby, or spiritual side of yourself – but your whole self? You should try it…it is very enlightening.

As you can see from the blurb, the tagline I created for my blog is “Life, Love, Faith, Family, Fitness, Fun.” I guess I could have added doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles and wrapped it up with brown paper and a few of my other favorite things.

But don’t you love how in the link, in the big blue letters, the main thing stays the main thing? I haven’t written very often on that blog because, well honestly, I just haven’t felt very healthy. I don’t particularly feel very fit. The whole of it has lost a bit of it fun. And who wants to read about that?

Moreover, doesn’t a detraction from that render the blog “off topic?” Is it a bait and switch for the readers there? I thought so. I didn’t write.

But like the boot, sometimes the out of place is completely appropriate.

And like the monarch, I am the freaking “Queen Bee.” (New readers stick around – that’s a joke more than a bitch statement, I promise. Seriously, I can provide references! While I am feeling a bit bitchy, and there is a tinge of that there, really, you were really just supposed to laugh just then.)

Then, to cap the whole thing off, the rest of the link blurb proves without a doubt that my blog has been infected by some type of malware, which I totally obliterated so that the search would revert back to it’s appropriate Knockaround Guys, 500 self.

Knockaround Guys Search (Sorry, I gotta post that again…indulge me).

And that’s okay too…malware…as is my blog, so should I be. A constant evolution of righting the ship and taking on water. Bailing and sinking. Healing and hurting. Growing and wilting. It is all part and parcel of the beautifully scandalous journey that we take.

And if Jerry Maguire and I wanna write about it in a totally “holy shit” kinda way, then, it is what it is.

Loves.

No Demons, Just Interesting Spirits

DD mousepad

My new mousepad for my new job 🙂

Dear Readers,

Forgive me for I have failed to write. It has been 2 months since my last blog post. I am sure you will understand or maybe not have noticed at all. I certainly noticed.

So I set out this morning (again) to write something (again) and I found it hard to be really inspired to write about anything (again). However, when The Dude walked in to grab a cup of joe, I must have looked like I could write something.

“You must be writing.”

“No, I would like to be writing.”

“Oh, well you look like you are writing. You have this inspired look on your face.”

“No such luck,” I explain. “I haven’t been inspired in months.”

He considers this thought for a moment and says something very interesting – especially since he has not yet has his first cup of coffee.

“That’s probably not a bad thing. When you write, you are usually exercising some demon of some kind, sorting through something jacked up in your brain. Maybe it’s ok that you have to try a little harder to get it out. Some of my favorite articles have been those you had to power through.”

I thought about that through my next cup of coffee and some Facebook scrolling. The truth is, he is right – but only partly.

Jedi Emily

My Jedi protector…this is most assuredly a post 🙂

I do write for nearly the same reason that I run – it feels good in an amazingly painful way. It is hard. Not everyone can do it. It takes practice and dedication. You have to be somewhat consistent.  All these things wrap up into an activity that feeds my appreciation of my own strength and ability. It keeps my mind right. It makes me feel capable. It helps me to be a better person.

It also tends to be very personal, so I tend to be a bit guarded. I am fairly extroverted (I know, you are shocked). To write about the deepest things requires pulling back the veil. While I may not mind this so much for myself, not everyone in my circle would appreciate that. I am hugely respectful of that.

So, pen does not go to paper, as it were, and I leave those things unpublished.

I am not trying to hide, present a white washed front, or create a superficial image – I am simply trying to be respectful. Besides, if an action meant to exercise demons actually reinforces its power, then what was really the point?

I also am not really good at writing (or running) in pieces. This plays hell with my new schedule. If I can’t lace up shoes and run for an hour, or log in and write for an hour, then I really don’t understand the point. I have a hard time accepting the face that 200 words here, 150 word there will eventually produce the post. I am trying to do better.

The truth is there has been a ton of stuff to write about and sort through.

Delirium confirmation

Yes, I agreed to attempt this…February 2014…83 days

  • I have a new job. And when I say new, I mean NEW. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it has been a real game changer.
  • I have modified my diet and it is not going as well as I would have hoped – I am still searching for balance.
  • I have signed up for a 24 hour race in an attempt to get the ever coveted ultra marathon runner belt buckle. For a multitude of reasons I am scared shitless. I have 83 days to figure it out.
  • My oldest Little is getting a class ring, and college mailers, and ideas about the future.
  • I have modified my training plan and it most assuredly has its pros and its cons. Again, it is about balance. (I am still using the word “plan” very loosely).

So, I will consider different ways to do different things. And maybe I will write about. No, I will write about it because that is what writers do. But maybe it won’t take 2 months.

100 miles...24 hours

100 miles…24 hours

 

 

Sunday Set Up, Going Big, and “Turn Around Tuesday”

My MySpace Profile Picture. Seriously.

So I bought a book…and it is a good one. And I debated whether or not to even share it with you. Not because of you, but more because of me. The title is very, very telling. And sometimes being very telling is a bit scary. But I jump ahead of myself. Let me do this in order and I will be as quick as I can…

I started blogging on MySpace. Yes, MySpace. Then on April 3, 2007, I started a little newsletter called “Turn Around Tuesday.” Later that same year, I converted aprilgroves.com from a static, then traditional site, to WordPress. (Don’t bother going there….it will just bring you back here.)

I love to write.

I also love to pay the bills.

But don’t get worried and fly away. I am not morphing all our conversations in “ShamWow” dailies. Stay with me.

In July 2007, I moved the little newsletter to Constant Contact. One of the best decisions I ever made, by the way. Here is the text from that Turn Around Tuesday.

“The highest courage is to dare to appear to be what one is”
– John Lancaster Spalding
Bishop (1840-1916)

Transparency. In today’s world, this item is becoming more and more important. With the soaring popularity of Web 2.0 interactions such as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn, it is possible for people to become whom ever they choose – and we would be none the wiser.

It can be tempting to assume a persona that is not truly our own. Many times, we feel under equipped, over shadowed, and unappreciated. In order to move around these feelings, our voice becomes unauthentic.

However, this manner of practice seldom works and never lasts long. The good news is, you don’t need it all. Your family, friends, associates, and clients deal with you because they trust and depend on you. This is a huge responsibility and requires dedication and hard work. Don’t make it harder by attempting to upkeep a facade.

The uniqueness of ourselves is the thing that makes us wonderful. The display of that is a step on the road to greatness!

41AX4HYVGOL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_I still believe that. So I am telling you about the book I bought.

As many of you know, I have a day job that I love. I also moonlight as a writer. I love that as well. I would like to do more of it. I am doing more of it. I hope you will hang out with me and let me know what you think.

So, back to the book. Create You Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino talks about leveraging blogs, networks, and your life to become a more successful writer. Even as long as I have been involved in writing and blogging, this book has me looking at it different.

So, we are going big and not even thinking about going home. But remember, no “ShamWow”. Seriously. And I need your help.

tumblr_m2qf8vUiqT1rttse6o1_400I am doing a few things…

  • Many of the product links will be affiliate. That will not change my honesty. If you think something I bought will work for you, please consider clicking through here.
  • I am hoping to guest blog on other sites and you will soon see some guests here. If there is somebody you would like to see in the TTSW feed, let me know!
  • I am relaunching Turn Around Tuesday. We will see how that fits into my current life. It may get a name and/or format change. Who knows? But your feedback is appreciated.
  • There is a giveaway this week!! Hoping to do more of those too!

And I am certain there is more stuff going on…but quite frankly, that is enough for this one thought. I need a long run now (but that will have to wait for my trip to the chiropractor!)

 

**PhotoCredit

BroTips
Diana Daley