“Look”…It’s a Challenge

English: A Fairy Tale by Dorothy M.Wheeler

This was driving me sufficiently crazy enough that I had to go take a “look”.  Not too long ago, I remember seeing this on another blog about a blogger looking for the word “look” in her work.  I was convinced I don’t use the word anywhere in my writing, so I didn’t even bother to go “look”.  Don’t remember which blog now, but it so happened it has cropped up again.  I’ve been challenged by Discovery to find the word look in my writing and decided I would see what I could find(yes, I resisted the temptation to use “look” again…well almost…ha, ha). 🙂

Here are a few paragraphs from my writing :

I never looked like I’d been hurt or harmed on the outside, but inside my heart I hurt so much.  I had really gotten pretty good through the years at putting on a happy face and starting each day anew.  If anyone asked how I was doing or how everything was going, then I was one of those sweet southern gals that would always say, “Everything’s fine”, “Everything’s okay”, or “It’s good.”

Most of my life, I guess I have lived in a pretend fairy tale, where dust was swept under the rug.  Through all my talking to my therapist and others during the trying times, part of me just wanted someone, anyone to understand.  I didn’t want sympathy or someone to say I was right, so I don’t know for sure why that was so important to me.  I just wanted someone to get it.  Really, no one except for those of us who lived in it could ever truly understand.

Sometimes in writing this or in talking about the things which happened in my marriage, I feel a bit like a horrible person, like I’m being condemning or nothing was good in our lives.  There was a lot of good for so long, even though there were some not so good parts intermingled, guess that’s what makes it hurt worse sometimes.  The magic looking glass cracked and there was no repair.  Dreams spilled forth and were lost.  Never to be recovered.

I won’t make anyone insane by nominating this time.  Sorry, but here is the challenge if you dare :

The Challenge: The “Look” Challenge is for bloggers who are also writers. It is a way to let others sneak a peek at your work. Here’s how it works. You search your manuscript for the word “look” and copy the surrounding paragraphs into a post to let other bloggers read. Then you tag five blogger/writers to invite them to the challenge.

Come on, could be fun???….

Advertisements

Super Sweet Blogger Award

A super thank you to Vikki of The View Outside blog for nominating me for the Super Sweet Blogger Award!  🙂

20121010-093833.jpg

Here are the sweet questions I get to answer, than pass along the award :

1. Cookies or cake? Either as long as there is chocolate involved…

2. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate…as in question #1…easy choice… 🙂

3. What is your favorite sweet treat? No Bake Chocolate Drop Cookies…almost more like a candy…yummm.  My recipe and a photo of my daughter licking the spoon after a batch we made.  It’s over at my other blog.

4. When do you crave sweet things most? Mostly when stressed…then it’s a must have…if chocolate didn’t melt so easy, I’d keep an emergency stash in my purse…

5. If you had a sweet nickname what would it be?  Sweetie…simple & sweet…just the way I like it…

Now to nominate 5 sweet bloggers (hard to choose just 5) :

linneann

Cookiemomma’s blog

The Doodle House

be kind rewrite

The (Writer’s) Waiting Room

Related articles

“Unlocking the Words”

* This was a piece inspired by one of the prompts on Inspiration Monday over at the blog Be Kind Rewrite.  The prompt I partook of was — “used words”.  Pop over and get inspired to write something.*

Skeleton Keys IMG_0774

Skeleton Keys IMG_0774 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

Rosemary sat cross legged on her bed and swept her long brown hair behind her.  She placed a pillow in her lap, then opened her journal upon it.  She turned to a blank page and began writing.  Writing had become one of her most treasured past times.

Rather than speak, she used words written on paper to express herself.  Of course, she dared not let anyone read the words.  She only wrote when she was sure no one was around.  The words were hers and she finally had power over her words.  She had a secret hiding place for her journals, so no one would be able to read her words.

She had tired of talking long ago.  It had been a couple of years since her lips had uttered words aloud.  Being condemned every time you open your mouth can have that effect.  Her husband had even told her once she could have opinions as long as she didn’t express them.  Of course, he had lightly said he was joking, but she knew him.  She got so used to swallowing her words, she just stopped talking one day.

No one, including her mother, had been able to get her to talk again.  Speaking simply hurt her heart too much.  She had felt sure no one truly listened to her anyway and her spoken words had always failed to protect her.  The words just ceased to flow as they had no purpose.

The door to her room opened silently and in strode a tall man.  He was dressed in faded jeans, long sleeve buttoned down shirt, and cowboy hat.  She knew he was there by the sound of his boots on the wooden floor.  She remembered the sound.  She stopped writing and looked up with a smile on her face.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he took his hat off and somberly said, “I’m sorry, he’s passed.”  Tears silently began to fall from her eyes.  He embraced her and she cried more.  She cried not only for his passing, which she hoped would give him peace he had never had on earth.  She cried as well, or maybe more so, because she was free.  The man stood and turned to leave.  A single plea escaped her lips, “Stay”.

Memoir Writing…Completion to Resources for Writing Your Memoir

I’ve finished doing a self-edit of my memoir.  I did it on a copy I had printed out and forgot page numbers…whoops…yes, those could be important.  🙂 After going back and fixing a few things I found, I have officially printed out my first good copy of my memoir.  It is done.  Feels good to say that for more than one reason.

My memoir is done because I feel the story is done being told.  Though I know I said I wasn’t worried about word count, and I’m not, I think it’s still neat to know it ended up 32, 317 words.  It is 94 pages long, but 98 if the extra pages are included.  The extras are a dedication page, resource page, and a couple of pages of poetry.

My Memoir

My Memoir

My Memoir

My Memoir

The next step, and I am taking baby steps, is to turn my baby lose cautiously.  I need to let a few other people read it to get some feedback.  I know I sound like I’m obsessing a bit calling it my baby, but it is.  This is the first book I’ve ever written and the story is a part of me.

The best thing about being done and the story being written is this wonderful feeling of release.  There is a freedom in having some of my most painful experiences in life out of me and into words.  For me it’s actually been easier to find the written words than it would have been trying to speak them.

We all have stories in us and I would highly recommend writing a memoir to anyone.  I think it can especially be part of the healing process if there is something difficult you are dealing with in your life.  Reading memoirs written by others is a good place to get started learning about writing stories from life.  Here are a few other books and a blog I’ve found helpful as I’ve learned more about memoir writing :

Open Link Night Poem

* Here is a poem created for Open Link Night-Week 66 over at dVerse Poets Pub.  It’s what came to mind when I read the part about life not being fair sometimes. This is a poem about secondary infertility.  I struggled with it painfully for years, but have come to more peace and understanding.  I wish I could say complete peace.

Zinnias in Bloom

Zinnias in Bloom

Womb Once Blessed

Prayers sent to heaven
Whispered in the winds
Begging to be blessed again
Her womb once cradled
Her body once gave birth
Her breasts once nourished
God’s blessings of a girl
Treasured daughter, her only one
Time passes, longing remains
Hoping for a daughter or a son
Fallow womb, painful heart
Begging to be blessed again
If not Your will, then I pray,
Send understanding in its stead

“Getting Out of the Cold”

* This was a piece inspired by one of the prompts on Inspiration Monday over at the blog Be Kind Rewrite.  Pop over and get inspired to write something.*

It was a cold day.  She was glad she had thrown on a sweater before rushing out of the house.  It was the last thing she grabbed before slamming the door behind her.  She kept walking and rapidly her legs took her to her favorite spot.  She liked the park this time of year.  There was no one around.  It was beautiful with the wide array of brightly colored leaves all on the ground.

She sat on a swing and began lightly rocking herself back and forth.  Her tears began to fall.  She dabbed at her eyes with the sleeve of her sweater, hoping to stop the inevitable flow.  How did she wind up in this mess?  She tried so hard and wanted so little out of life.  The more she thought, the harder her tears flowed.  She just wanted something to be simple in life.

She thought of the close family and friends she knew.  Most of them all had lives riddled with relationship disasters.  There were divorces, deaths of spouses, and anybody left together was miserable.  Most of the women she knew were in abusive relationships.  Why was love this hard?  Her fingers gently pressed her cheek.  It was still a little sore.  She knew later he would apologize, but how long would it last this time?

“I can’t stand the cold any longer”, she suddenly said aloud.  She jumped up from the swing and walked towards her car.  It wasn’t just a need for physical warmth, but it was a need for the emotional warmth from another person she craved.  She just wanted someone to be nice.  A little kindness could go a long way.  It was something she hadn’t had for quite some time.

She didn’t know where she would go or what it would take, but she knew things couldn’t continue to be the same.  She was tired of the cold.  She didn’t want the warmth in her heart to turn as cold as the day.  She needed and deserved love.  She lightly rubbed her belly.  It wasn’t just herself she needed to make life better for anymore.

Swinging

Swinging (Photo credit: clvrmnky)

“Going Home Again”

* I’m usually a creative non-fiction or poetry kind of gal, but here is a short piece I wrote. Just thought I’d share. Any suggestions or comments are more than welcome.*

Kyle walked rapidly towards the gate.  Holding his airline ticket in one hand and his carry on bag with his lap top in the other.  He just barely made it.  He sat down in the aisle seat, took a deep breath and let it out.  It felt good to finally be able to relax for a moment and catch his breath.  He had gone straight from a meeting as the company’s head web designer, hopped in a taxi, and straight to the airport.

He was on his way home to rural North Carolina to see his mother.  He would miss some things from the city, but he was so looking forward to being back home.  The small house where he had grown up as a boy.  The brief moment of happiness was slightly sullied as he thought about why he was going.  He and his sister had been discussing placing mother in a nursing home as her health was declining and there was no one nearby to help her.  He didn’t blame his sister.  She lived further away than he did and was busy trying to raise two young children.  She was lucky if she could get a shower herself some days.  No other options and he couldn’t do it as he had a overloaded work load now that he had got the promotion.  It was just one of those sad facts.

The plane landed a few hours later.  After picking up his luggage he headed to look for Mr. Sullivan.  He was a farmer down the road from his mother, an old family friend, who had offered to come pick him up from the airport and take him home.  He remembered spending a few summers working on Mr. Sullivan’s farm as a teenager.  Farming was sure hard work, especially in the hot North Carolina summers, but Mr. Sullivan was a good fair man and his wife sure could make some delicious fresh lemonade.  He had been so sorry to hear she had passed last year.

He quickly spotted Mr. Sullivan.  He really hadn’t changed much, just a little older, and was still wearing those same denim bib coveralls.  They shook hands and headed to the beat up old light blue pickup truck with farm use tags.  After tossing his luggage in the back of the pickup, they started the half hour drive towards home.  It passed quickly as they caught up on the present and talked of days past.  He enjoyed again seeing fields of green grass with cows lazily grazing.  Once they passed the dilapidated tobacco barn with the kudzu running rampant, he knew they were almost there.

He told Mr. Sullivan thanks for the lift and headed inside to see his mother.  He briefly glanced at the little white house.  It had fallen into a state of disrepair since his father had passed.  The white paint was flaking in spots and the porch steps were slightly bowed from time.  His mother’s garden was in bloom with a rainbow of color.  She loved tending to her flowers, especially her roses, but it had become more difficult as evidenced by the overgrowth of weeds creeping through in places they had never been allowed before.  He would see if he couldn’t tend to the garden some while he was down.

The screen door creaked as he opened it and before he could knock, his mother opened the door.  She told him, “Oh Kyle, come on in.  I’ve missed you so.”  He bent down a little to give his mother a big hug.  She took him to the kitchen and gave him a plate with fried chicken, navy beans, and collards.  In between bites the two of them caught up on lost time.  Being there with his mother was like he never left.  She was still his mother, strong in spirit, though a little bent with time and a bit slower moving these days.

In those moments he realized he couldn’t even bring himself to ask his mother what he had come for.  She had always given her all to her children and family.  His mother deserved better and somehow he would make it work.  He could take his saved up vacation time off from work till he figured up a plan.  Who knew, maybe he could start up the home business he had always dreamed of.  He knew it was his time to give back a little.  He knew he was home where he belonged once again.