So many times in life we second guess our decisions. The what-if and should-I have syndromes.
I am sharing booth space in a show this weekend with some maker friends of mine. I am mostly bringing my barnwords stuff but also some artwork and old stuff as alot of vendors sell antiques and a lot of people buy antiques here. If you have not checked it, feel free. www.barnwords.com *shameless plug* and it is shameless, because hey. DAY 30.
I am also starting back to my real job on Monday most likely. That means no more lazy morning coffees and making my own schedule. No more extra yoga classes. No more Caramel Inferno lattes mid day or mid week. (this one involves a drive) No more hours reading WADS at many different times of the day and night. (hey perfect timing) No more winter weirdness. This has been a pretty weird winter for me. Between the 90 year old's (my mum) issues and my own issues and my husband's issues and my kids issues I have been preoccupied to say the least. I haven't made nearly as much art as I normally do in my off season. I won't let myself feel too bad about that though. No point in second guessing what I did and didn't accomplish, including commiting to a show the last two free days I have before work. I will just enjoy it and make a million dollars. yeah!
For the last few winters, I have sort of referred to them, in my mind, in some particular way, like one was the Winter of drawing my words (literally) and taking naps. One was the Winter of starting a small (real small) business called barnwords. One was the Winter of driving to the city a lot. One was the Winter of walking and Sunday fun. This winter was the Winter of expensive coffees and hospital trips and WAD squad love.
I can't wait until I have the Winter of cleaning out everything and making loads of money selling signs. Or the Winter of traveling the world.
I am changing. I am becoming less fearful and less concerned about menial things. I am making the conscious effort to stop comparing. I have no idea if keeping this 30 day commitment had anything to do with this or not, but I know it has helped me. I'm already contemplating what I can do for the whole month of April to better myself. Improve my lot in life.
I feel as if I am always struggling just a bit. Yearning for something undefinable or mysterious that is out of my reach.
If I had all the money I needed, that is- to be debt-free AND to pay all my kids' student loans off... wonder what I would do. I think I would travel. Travel might be the thing I really need.
I will no doubt think of you and your lives throughout the coming months. Hope you receive my good energy at those moments.
see ya later, writing friends. x #500wordsaday
Day 24 that's 324 but not 23 in the 312 or the 815.
Not long ago my son said "I've been seeing my favorite number everywhere!" His favorite number is 23. It made him feel like he was in the right place. He's lived in a lot of different cities in his short little 25 years. Not me. I have lived in the same state, a few different towns, but all close enough to be considered... close. I sometimes wished I had moved around more as a young unencumbered person. I am pretty comfortable here these days, but I know I could move if push came to shove. If I was young NOW though, I might do it differently.
When I graduated from high school in 1976 no one expected me to go to college. In comparison, it was ASSUMED my kids would go to college when they graduated twenty nine years (and more) later.
I attended a college fair my senior year of high school, and decided I wanted to go to a small college called Franconia in Franconia, New Hampshire. I had never been to New Hampshire. I just remember being positive this is where I wanted to go. Oh, it looked so cool. Beautiful mountains and fascinating sounding art classes. I longed to take classes called 'Studio in modernistic Art' and 'Ceramics'. 'Loom Building' Things like, 'The American reality and American thought' and 'Child Welfare, Rights and Advocacy'. A class called "Because it's there'. A class named ' Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg' ((come ON! what?)) It all just sounded amazing. My dream was abruptly ended when I learned that my father (holder of all the money) would not pay for this. He would agree to an in-state more traditional school, can we discuss this? Absolutely not.
For whatever reason, I had decided it was THIS school or none. I wasn't close to my father, in fact he didn't live with us.
So my attitude at 17 years old was.... whatever. Then I won't go. Unfortunately no one cared. But occasionally, I wonder what would have become of me, had I gone? I still have that Franconia College book somewhere. It will forever be a bittersweet reminder.
I love reading. One time, years ago some guy asked me 'so what do you DO? I mean, like, what do you like to do?' Godhelpme all I could think of to say was... I like to read. It's funny NOW but I remember agonizing over the fact that I could only think of READING as an answer. Now, of course, that would be an amazing answer.... But then. Not so much. I felt small.
I always associated reading with writing. How funny that I find myself so many years later in a WRITING GROUP with a bunch of amazingly talented writers. Life is strange, huh? also...Numbers always remind me of my fave scene from 8 Mile. x #500wordsaday
Day 19 Oh, the humor.
My life is filled with humor. Not everyday certainly, but some days a lot of what happens to me can be seen as somewhat humorous. This is a good thing. Come to think of it, a lot of your (serious subjects) posts in WAD have really funny things in them. Even stories about unfortunate things like spending twenty dollars on french fries can have a humorous side. Which makes me believe that it's healthy to see the funny stuff and also makes me realize what is funny to one is not always funny to another.
I might have a warped sense of humor. I don't really know. Farts and poop and swearing and people slipping and falling down are NOT necessarily funny to me, but sometimes the story surrounding them is quite funny. Sometimes when people try to be funny, they're not at all funny to me.
I haven't been to a comedy club in years and years (sorry, Carolyn) but I remember laughing so hard at Zanies when I was in my twenties. I often do not laugh at what everyone else finds hilarious though. Humor is really personal and individual which must make being a comedian really hard. We laugh a lot in my immediate family, because having kids automatically makes things fairly funny.
Karl Pilkington makes me laugh. 'The Moaning of Life' is just hilarious to me. There is a sort of rude songwriter who is quite clever named Bo Burnham that I found funny a few years ago. Some of the political SNL stuff is damn funny. But none of you may think those guys are funny at all. Some subjects are NEVER funny to me. But the daily life things can definitely be seen through an amusing viewpoint.
My son is taking Chinese lessons since he is in China. He has a lovely new friend named Tang Tang whom he shared his phone with to record a voice message on WeChat to me, when the two of them were having a fun moment, and we all laughed hysterically at it. Why? I don't even know... but it was funny!
Work places have often been a source of uncontrolled laughter for me. People you work with and work situations can be super entertaining. My friend Shelley and I built a friendship completely from laughing at our workplace (it was years ago) and I don't believe anyone would think our time there was as funny as we did. I have no idea why this happens.
(I was going to stop there, and use my rollover but I saw the word count was 420. which reminded me of something funny. and I don't even smoke pot.) I never knew about 420. My kids enlightened me. It was a funny thing when Ian and I finally arrived at our hotel at about 2 AM after some really funny and NOT funny things happened to us, about 6 years ago and our room number was... 420. I hope to never stop laughing at my life. x #500wordsaday
Day 16 the big screen
Got a million things to do and what am I doing? WAD stuff.
Sleep is the most coveted thing (well, besides getting shit done, drinking good coffees and feeling better) in my world these days. I've never been an excellent sleeper. Throughout my adult years, I've struggled with the peaks and valleys of GOOD sleep. Many years ago the hubby and I decided to sleep in separate rooms which helped a lot, because I challenge anyone to find a louder sleeper/snorer than he. Then throughout my youngest's high school years I feel like I never slept. He was.... challenging (love you, Ian!) Then menopausal insomnia. Then regular life insomnia. Then worry about the world insomnia.(current) And of course, I have to pee after I do fall asleep. Cuz I'm old.
I'm so envious of people who say 'as soon as my head hits the pillow...I'm out!'. As soon as my head hits the pillow....the big screen in my head turns on. Every single conversation and story and scene from my day (week? month?) starts to replay. I'll admit I've come up with some pretty good observations and resolutions during these times...however I'd still rather be sleeping. I love my bed. I love my down comforter. I love the quiet. and I'd love to sleep a solid 8 some day. Something to strive for I suppose.
Getting shit done is my nemesis these days. (love that word) and I am determined to finish some important demanding things before April first, when I am back to work. I am a procrastinator by nature. I've actually tried to change that, but for reasons unknown I am not successful. I almost typed 'I cant' instead of 'Im not succesful' but that's just not real. I can. It's not as if Im trying to build a house or become a pro basketball player or something I really CAN'T do. I feel overwhelmed with stuff I've got to do and so I do nothing. Nothing, being WAD stuff or whatnot, but TODAY I am changing this. You heard it here, friends. I am making my list as soon as I post this. Feel free to ask me how I'm progressing in the days to come (i.e. Hey Lois, are your taxes filed? Did you take Garth's tax stuff to H and R? Have you consolidated the loans? Have you looked at the cheap flights for June?* <that one I will prob do, since I enjoy booking trips.) and by the way, why do I not know any accountants? I need an accountant friend. I've done our taxes for years and I always wonder if we could get more (or any, some years like last year) money back if I took it somewhere.
*My youngest is graduating in June and for the first time since 2009, I will have no one in college. I love college graduations, seriously love them, so it will be bittersweet as well as a huge relief. Plus it looks like all my kids will be there for it, so how good is that? x #500wordsaday Looks like I'm continuing on.
Day 11. stories.
I bet most of us like reading. I mean, writers read. It's natural. Not that I am referring to myself as a writer...but I AM writing 500 words a day....
So what are y'all reading? I just finished an alright book and am looking for a great one. I have an ongoing list of course...and 5 or 6 to-be-reads, but I love new titles from others. So please. Post below! Do it.
Have you read 'Geek Love' by Katherine Dunn? It's so weird and wonderful. A fictional story but the whole time I read it I was thinking it was real. All about how this bizarre freak-show couple concocted mixtures of horrendous combinations of drugs and chemicals to produce freak-show offspring. I thought of this story today but I don't know exactly why. That's a great thing about good stories- you think about them. I've gotten some fabulous lines from your writings, my 500 friends. Today -Fear ruins everything good. Isn't that true? Why is fear so prevalent in our every day lives anyway? I should clarify- I'm not talking about real fear for our lives fear, but the disabling type of fear of the future fear. Fear of commitment fear. Fear of the unknown outcome fear. These days I'm just goin for it whenever I can.
Blah blah blah. I don't have a cool story today or even a cohesive one, obviously.
I want to go visit my son who is living and working in Shanghai. Mostly, I miss him terribly because we always hung out when he was here (which wasn't that often in the last few years) He has been to tons of foreign countries and lived in NY (went to college there) as well as Chicago and London. He's a nomad but not like a homeless wanderer. He's a hard working (read: ridiculous student loan debt) wonder. I have reaped the benefits of seeing places I may not have seen because he was there. But China. I'm somewhat fearful to go but I have no concrete reason. Thats the fear I'm talking about. He hasnt settled anywhere yet, (as in like proudly decorating an apartment) for more than a few months since college. Such a different life than mine! I've lived in this old house for 29 years now and I don't even LOVE the town I live in. Go figure.
I sometimes paint words and phrases on old barn wood. People pay me for them. It's pretty cool. I love words. You would think I might know some other languages...but I don't. I often draw words in my journals. When I was young I associated colors with days of the week. It's Saturday today and Saturday is a lovely blueish green day.
I need to be productive today because I have so much I have neglected lately. I dislike the nagging feeling in my brain of chores I am behind on. Not chores like regular cleaning, but like.... taxes. Why oh why do I put things off? Also why do we still change the clocks? I hate the time change thing. So pointless. I like my lightness in the morning, thank you. ok. thats my story today. x #500wordsaday
I didn't always love reading short stories. I felt that when they were good, I was always left wanting more. (but what happened?)
Then somewhere along the way, I read a book of them by Lorrie Moore, I think, and I decided I loved them. I devoured short collections constantly. Nowdays I still read them and find them to be amazing and entertaining. That is what it is like in this group, a lot of the time.
I have determined that a LOT of you writers are around my children's ages. That makes it even better. I love young people. Life today in your twenties and thirties is different from what my own was, mostly due to technology (and wonderful/horrible things like life with phone.) It is really fabulous that we can google literally anything, find our way literally anywhere, become somewhat knowledgable on any subject at the type of a keypad. I am glad that I lived without this luxury AND live with it, because it's fabulous to know both worlds. Babies/kids now will never have lived without this tech-life. I feel lucky to have grown up with encyclopedia britannica (those impossibly huge books) as my google. Having to wear a watch if we needed to get home on time. I also love the internet's ease and the phone IS my watch. I like e-mail. And I still send letters to people. (want one?? Message me your address and I will send you real mail:) So I feel lucky to enjoy both worlds!
A few years ago we tried to get my (then about 85) mother to learn to use a cell phone."You know, in case you're outside or you fall and can't get to your phone which sits on the desk.'' It was even FREE, provided to senior citizens, a simple flip type phone with large numbers... She just could not do it. My son, my sister and myself all tried with her..."look how easy- just press 1 and you can call me...press 2 and you can call her"... nope. the cell phone was sent back (it's free, mom you don't HAVE to return it) but she wasnt having it. Is it generational or stubbornness?
When my kids were little, I consciously made a decision to not be my mother. Of course, she sometimes made an appearance when I least expected it...but I was almost always aware of it. I wanted a different relationship with my kids than I had with my mum. I think she did the best she knew how to at the time. She was not abusive. But the negative attitude and the berating was not something I wanted to pass on to them. I was raised with the general idea that children were deserving of no respect based on the fact that they were children. I seriously disagree with that concept. My kids have taught me a lot. At least as much as I taught them and maybe more and I love that technology allows us to remain in touch so often, even from the other side of the world! What a perfect feeling it was to witness my kids surpassing my accomplishments and certainly my expectations! Nothing better. x #500wordsaday
Day 9 Today
I'm kinda tired of writing. Do I stop at 9 or muddle through with something I don't like and try to keep going? I originally commited to 15....half of the project requirement, so if I stop at 8....that's half of the half! I do realize that one of the purposes behind this challenge is to challenge. However, I am tired of being challenged.
Today I saw some very good friends who comprise a group we call Makers. The Makers are 6 of us who sell art of some sort. We are many leveled, one of us supports herself exclusively this way, and the rest of us do other things as well. We all met one another through various avenues. Only one of them I have known for a very long time. We were friends when we were 10 years old, then didn't see each other for ages. Reconnected through art. All the rest of us met fairly recently but we have become quite close and their friendships are very important to me. Friends are so crucial to my life. Isn't it interesting to think about why we are drawn to some people and become friends? I am absolutely sure I wrote about this subject -friendships- in another 500 words time. Maybe last year.
Have ANY of you seen the Punchdrunk production called 'Sleep No More'? It is in NY and also in Shanghai currently. It is technically a dance production. It is something called immersive theater, in which the audience members follow the cast around throughout the production which is set in an old 5 or 6 floor hotel called The McKittrick (NY) and have limited (strange) interaction. It's pretty amazing. People called superfans see the show over and over and over. They never tire of it because it is different every night in a sense. Plus they are obsessed. I'm not obsessed with much.
Right now I feel I am obsessed with reading these essays, but I can't think of anything else I am obsessed with.
I actually love seeing live theater and dance. It is something I have enjoyed forever. I need to make time to do that more.
Today it snowed a little. Exactly one week ago I was in sleeveless sunshine.
Soon I will be back to the regular nine to five. (which is 7:30 to 4,5 or 6.) and I won't be spending hours reading posts so I shall enjoy it while I am here.
That's as close as I'm getting to 500. But I don't even think the point is "500"...I think it's the spending time writing so I'm good for another one and I sometimes go over anyway. I opt to use the rollover plan.
Day 8. I'm still here!
A lot of people in this group are involved in the yoga world, Ive observed. Yoga is quite an interesting and wonderful thing. I came to know yoga late in life, only about four years ago. I've seen quite an array of variation and inequality in it. I always assumed yoga was yoga. How wrong that assumption would be! As in everything, there are great and horrible yoga classes/instructors...and everything in between. I'm lucky to have found one that is so right for me. Sometimes when there is a sub or I attend a different class, this is reaffirmed. I think one of the (many) reasons I love it so much is the mental part, the way my brain will work and connecting the thoughts to the body.
Someone wrote (amazingly) today about body image and loving their body. I really love that because for years I didn't love my body. (Who did?? no one did!) Females in our culture are forever having controversy, dialog and disgust especially with all the comparison and competition, self-enforced naturally, and although I never suffered through eating disorders, many of the people I knew did.
I was just quite dissatisfied with my self. Fast forward to now. Today I am so happy to HAVE a body that works. for the most part. (now see- why did I add "for the most part"?) It works! It fucking works wonderfully.
Coming to know yoga really has helped me accept and appreciate what I have here under this head. I could lament the fact that it took me sooooooo long and I 'wasted' years loathing how I 'looked' or my inflexibility but that's a bit of wasted time. So instead I am grateful. Really grateful that today I appreciate what this not-perfect-by-any- commercial- standard body can do.
Today it is so windy, more than normal-windy. This wind is a force! I'm distracted by hearing the porch door being blown open and slamming. It's a hassle to try and walk in it, even. It tried to blow my little car out of my lane this morning! But it's sunny!
I'm reminded of how much stronger nature is than us. Isn't it fascinating how our minds work? ^That bit about today's weather just thrown in with a post about life changing yoga. It's all connected, though. That's another thing I like about what yoga gives to me. Everything is sort of linked. The weather around us, our past, our present, our future, this group of writers, the coffee that's delicious, the cat acting weird (is it the wind??), the friendships, the funny stuff, the fact that I bought oreos today, the art I need to complete....and on and on and on. It is all part of the same thing! What a world. x #500wordsaday
Day 7. go on out.
Am I depressed? I don't really know. I read about a lot of conditions...depression being just one of them and I wonder.... Is that my problem? I don't know. It seems as though my life goes through these ebbs and flows of emotions and states and I always just thought it was "normal" as in, everyone has that. Is anyone just content...as in comfortable and fulfilled and not anxious about what is around the corner? Is that why self-medication is so popular, because we're not?
When I was a little girl I played outdoors a LOT. It was what we did. I am from that generation (you've all heard it, Im sure) that was turned loose on bikes, roller skates, skateboards or our feet after breakfast on summer mornings, and returned home either for food or at dark. No worries. Weird to think about now, but not even a THING to think about then. (why? I wonder) So we had many, possibly dangerous adventures outside. In nature. I believe this is what formed my love of the natural world. I still think being outdoors is a great thing. I wish everyone had the opportunity to freely explore fields and woods and streams as children.( Re-reading that makes me sound like such a 58 year old hippie...) but honestly, what feels better than fresh air or sunshine or water or breezes? People often say life was easier then...simpler. I don't necessarily agree that it was easier OR simpler, just different sets of problems. Weren't people depressed? Weren't they still unhappy and unsatisfied? I think they must have been. I remember as a teenager going to a beautiful wooded area just to be. Away from other people I hated that day. Was that a self-medication?
Of course I did drugs (ugggh more than I like to think about between ages 18-23ish) but I don't know exactly why I did them, other than my friends did them. Could something as simple as being outdoors actually help people to feel good, to feel right ?
I am aware of chemical imbalances (and I have no problem with people who have found relief with pharmaceutical remedy.) I just wonder about the simplicity of being in nature and how it makes you feel good. I guess there's the issue of "no free time" as well. I know people who will say 'I dont have any TIME to take a walk in nature...I've got this huge job/client/deadline and I'm tired as hell and my babies need me and my kid(spouse-animal-whatever) wants to eat and I dont even have a MINUTE to myself..." I don't know what to say to that but if we placed a high value on the self-medicating of a walk in the woods (on the beach-whatever) wouldn't we make a bit of time for that? I just think maybe being outside is more important than ever in this time where it seems unimportant.
So. Am I depressed?? Eh, who knows. x #500wordsaday
Day 1. Getting old.
I've been thinking a lot about aging. The aging process. The natural evolution that we all go through. I am 58 years old, and when I was young I thought 58 was pretty damn old. Now I have friends who are in their 60s and they seem as if they're 30. My mum is 90. She says she wants to die and be done with it all. I get that, but of course it's not my call. She's apparently still got some livin' in her because after this last stroke and her current stint in the rehab hospital....she appears stronger than before. I've written about this and other problems related to this recently and frankly, I'm tired of hearing my own thoughts about it. But I will say I hope I live just long enough.
My life is more than half over! I've got to get moving here. I've still got lots to do before the end. When do I think I'm gonna do it?
My kids are grown. My time is now. I still feel pretty young in my head. I wonder how much different I actually am (in my brain) now than I was at 30. I'm smarter... but am I really any different? Think how frustrating it is to be 90 (or whatever) and want to do the same enjoyable things you used to, but your body denies you. A hike, a movie...a dinner in the city, a ballet. A yoga class. A weekend trip to NY. It seems unfair that you would still have the same brain/wants but be in no physical way able to do them. It seems like you should just want to nap or walk a few feet to the mailbox...perhaps read a large-print book. Because you could do those things. But life can be cruel. And so I am consciously making the effort to not put off the things I want to do. At 58 (and young! At heart!) I can do most anything I want. Tomorrow I am flying to L.A. to visit my youngest. It was a spontaneous decision born of a text from him a month ago, saying he missed me and wished I was there. I only have a couple days...but who cares? Adventure is my drug of choice these days. The snow is flurrying in cold gray illinois and its been a particularly difficult February. And I'm sure not getting any younger.
As for 500 words a day, I am surprised that I am doing this go round with the challenge. I will be irritated if I don't finish it ... I have enjoyed it in the past though. Like Kirk, I have never regretted writing. But I may limit my expectations to 15 days this time with the option to add the remaining 15 if possible. Giving myself a little out, there. x #500wordsaday