Monthly Archives: May 2009

My Writing Journey

 

Journey“Every great and original writer, in proportion as he is great or original, must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished.”
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I started my writing journey when I was very young. My mother told me I doodled on everything when I was small. Receiving notebooks, journals, books, and pens as gifts has always been exciting for me. I can’t wait to get home and start filling them up with the ideas and scenes in my head. I carry journals with me everywhere. And I must admit, I can waste away hours at a bookstore….sometimes half of my day is absorbed in a bookstore sipping on a latte. It’s an extreme pleasure of mine, books and writing.

I write everything down. From grocery lists to one liners that catch my eye, everything goes into a notebook. Sometimes I write nonsense things down like names I like, or colors. If it tickles my inner muse, it gets recorded. Period.

Naturally, this means I call myself a writer. I do this not just because I have been published in magazines and literary journals, but because writing keeps me sane. Lord Byron said it best, “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” 

I write whenever I can. In the early morning, at my son’s nap time, and late into the evening (if I can stay up that late). I don’t always plan what I’m going to write, or what direction I want my stories or articles to go in. I have poetry yearning to be published and short stories that scream for a book’s binding. Nameless characters and pretty places that long to be lived in. 

I am called to write by neurological tendencies. I don’t know how else to express myself. What I do know is that Byron, Poe, Nabokov and I would have been fantastic friends. I’m in love with their writing styles and word choice. I try like hell to learn from them daily. I don’t want to mimic them or their writing abilities, but I do want to become as versed as they were. Sometimes when I read their works, I have to stop and literally savior and marinate in their style. There’s a pull from somewhere inside me that refuses to allow me to go on unless I digest their depictions. I try to understand why their writing flows so freely and melodious, then I attempt to create the same in my writing.

Like Coleridge states in the above quote, every writer must create their own voice. How do you want your readers to perceive you, how do you want them to remember you? Some may disagree with me, but I don’t believe that great writers are made, I believe they’re born. Either you know how to write or you don’t. Taking English as my major in college, didn’t make me a writer, nor did it teach me how to write. It made me a better writer. You see, I was already a writer going into it. Putting words down on a page so that they grab a reader’s attention and make them want to read more, was something I had been doing for years prior to enrolling in college. It’s the same reason why those that have a knack for concoctions chose chemistry and the sciences as their major.  It’s something that they are already good at and they want to hone in their strengths.

As a writer, you create your own voice. And it’s this personal voice that comes through in ones writing regardless if you are allowing it to or not. It owns you, you don’t own it

For anyone that is truly a writer at their core, you have to write or you crumble. 

Please share your writing journey, I’d love to get lost in your world for a moment.

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The Strength of a Mother

Tired“Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate.” — Charlotte Gray

Since becoming a mother, the above quote rings true with me, and with lots of mothers I’m sure. I was a lot colder, unforgiving, proud, and stubborn as a person before becoming a mother. A crying child had almost no affect on me. Any mother, aside from my own, wasn’t interesting to me. I didn’t want to hear their problems, or screaming children, or the amount of long hours that they put into their day. Quite simply, I wasn’t interested because I didn’t understand them. I didn’t understand what it took to be a mom. And therefore, their trials and tribulations didn’t hold my attention.

I can pinpoint when not only my attitude towards mothers changed, but also when my compassion for a mother came to the forefront. It was when I found out I was going to become a mother myself. To say that my life changed when reading the pregnancy test would be an understatement. Seeing two lines on a stick meant that I was going to become someone’s world. Their ENTIRE world. I would be responsible for this person in every way. Every move I made would be analyzed by someone. 

During the nine months of my pregnancy, I became instantly aware that I was much more emotional. I cared so much more for strangers’ children. I would see other moms out with their kids and if  I witnessed a bruised knee, tears welled up in my eyes. The rush of these new emotions scared me, I’m not going to lie. If I was this emotional being pregnant, I couldn’t even imagine where my tears would gather once I delivered my child.

The day came, however, when I did deliver my son. I cried the whole day. This being my first pregnancy and delivery, you can imagine that I was scared…and that too is an understatement. I cried because I was scared, because I didn’t know what to expect, and because I knew there was no going back. This was it. I was about to deliver life. A life that I made from scratch. From his eyebrows to his toenails. I made a human being inside me. Amazing. I still can’t really believe I did it…or that it’s done daily by women everywhere. The whole “two cells turn into a child” thing still baffles me. 

Once I settled into the daily routine of being a mother, although it’s anything BUT routine, I noticed that I was still emotional about children, especially infants. They’re so utterly helpless and dependant on their caregiver that anytime I heard about a child abuse story or an abandoned infant, it just about stopped me dead in my tracks. I cried, I said “how could anyone hurt a child”, it bothered me immensely and still does. 

I have grown more compassionate to children and mothers. I now understand what a mother’s job is all about, how hard it is to be a mom, how grueling and at the same time rewarding the process is. I feel for moms and children everyday. My tears and I have become friends instead of strangers now because I am so emotional since becoming a mother.

What Charlotte Gray says in the above quote is 100% true. Once you become a mother to your own child, you are now a mother to everyone’s child. And until you experience motherhood firsthand, you will never be able to understand the bond that forges between a mother and child. It’s so intense and so unwavering, that to describe it as unbreakable is even an understatement.

It’s so much more than that. It’s spiritual, metaphysical, and down right otherworldly. There are no words to depict the love between a mother and child. To say there’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for my son doesn’t even begin to bring the statement to life. I would kill, lie, cheat, and steal for my son in any way that I needed to. I am a normal person in every day life, but make me have to flex my mothering and I, like all moms, become supernatural. 

We can take on the world and anything that is thrown at us. We are the strongest and most important women in the world. We are mothers to every child. And I firmly believe that there is nothing in this world that can rise above that. 

Please, share your comments and stories. Hearing what other parents have to say is empowering to all mothers.

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Color Therapy

colorful

 

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand ways”    -Oscar Wilde-

 

Color. Think of it as you will…a color on a paint brush, a flower, a shirt, a candle, a picture, whatever comes to your mind first when you think of color.

I like how Wilde points out that color in it rawest form can mean more to one person than the Mona Lisa means to the world. Just a dot of red on a blank canvas can have infinite meaning to someone.

I’m sure for those of you that are artists, either you’ve heard that quote before or you’re familiar with the way virginized color can excite the senses. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know the results of color studies say that green is calming and whatnot. But its never dawned on me to really study a color when it isn’t attached to an object or a meaning. 

I normally allow color to take me on a renewal journey. When I need inspiration I turn to color. Whether it be that I go outside, or I go to the park, sometimes even a museum. I allow for the colors to mix with my senses and my writing instincts look to grab a pen. 

If I’ve had a stressful day, I’ll relax on my couch and light purple candles, because for me, I find purple to be calming. 

I guess that’s what Wilde is getting at. Different colors mean different things to different people. Share your story…what color invokes your senses?

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Are You A Morning Or Night Person?

Night and Day

Question of the day: Are you a morning or night person?

I’ve been both. Allow me to explain.

Before becoming a mother, I lived life in the second shift. I was a complete night owl. While I was never much for the bar and club scene, I worked the second shift, went to the gym at night, and reserved the dark for my writing and editing.

I had a second shift job for many years. I would get out of work anywhere between 9 or 10 p.m., then I would head over to the gym and workout till 11 or 12.  I would go home, shower, and be up until 3 a.m. easily. I would sleep until noon or so, sometimes later, then I would get ready for work and do it all over again. I had no problems with the night, and I was really productive in the wee hours of the morning.

Once I became a mother, that all changed obviously. Staying up till 3 a.m. was totally out of the question. So, naturally, I adapted. I started going to bed early…really early. It took me some time to realize that trying to get work done with a child at home was damn near impossible. Being the analyzer that I am, I said “how can I make this work?” I needed to be able to be a good mother to my son as well as a good writer/editor to my clients. Both are equally important, and I needed to find a middle ground. So I did just that. I started setting my alarm earlier and earlier to be up before my son. One day it was one hour earlier, enough time for me to make a pot of coffee and THOROUGHLY enjoy it. The next few days it was a couple of hours earlier. I did this until I realized that getting up around 5:30 – 6:00 a.m. worked the best for me. It gave me a good, solid start on my day, my work, my schedule, my clients, my writing, and my editing. Oh…and some time to sip my coffee slowly…that’s super important.

Quiet simply, I adapted. I found what not only worked best for my son and myself, but also what worked best for my clients.

Please share your thoughts. I’d love to learn some of your early bird or night owl techniques.

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Boy or Girl?

Boy or Girl?If you could choose the sex of your baby, would you choose a boy or a girl?

Considering I have only one child and he’s the most handsome little boy you will ever meet, I can only speak from my experiences raising a boy. I’d like to be honest with you from the get go. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted a daughter. I felt that I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy. For starters I was a girl, so that gave me a one up already on raising one. And secondly, I really wanted the mother – daughter bond that I have with my mother.

Needless to say, that when I found out I was having a boy, I wasn’t so happy. I know…terrible thing to say. But it’s the truth, and I see no reason to lie. My family members were thrilled with whatever the sex because the baby was healthy. And my son’s father was ecstatic because the last thing he wanted to do was raise a little girl. He’s a man’s man. He enjoys getting dirty, skinned knees and elbows, changing his own oil, and riding dirt bikes into the wee hours. For him, a son would be perfect.

But for me…it was the other way around. I wanted the little princess to dress up, to have tea parties with, to build a bear with, and shop for the latest shoes. I wanted to make a miniture me. There I said it.

She would have long, straight, brown hair with huge chestnut brown eyes. Eyelashes that stretched for miles, and a personality that would make even Madonna get on her knees and pray. She was going to be a leader no doubt. The next J.K. Rowling when it came down to creating and writing a magical world. Even Cinderella would envy her. That was the little girl I planned on having.

Instead, however, I pushed out a seven pound boy. He cried for twenty minutes straight. The nurses were laughing at his cute set of lungs. When I looked into my son’s eyes, it was then I realized that I had a boy for a reason. What that exact reason is, boils down to science, I know. But metaphysically speaking, I believe I had a son to ground me. 

Someone had to knock the perfect little girl image from my foresight. I had to come down to reality. No one has the perfect child. And it’s impossible to mold them into one parents…in case you were wondering. I took one look at this angelic child and it was clear that I had worried over raising a son for nothing.  It didn’t matter the sex of my child. I was a mother to the most important person ever. No one in this world mattered to me more than my child. Boy or girl…I was a mother and it felt wonderful. 

Maybe my little girl will come one day, who knows. And I know that I have a mountain in front of me trying to raise a man. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. When my son calls me mommy and runs into my arms, that’s a feeling that can’t be described. I’ve tried to put it into words, and I can’t. 

And hey…I take my son shopping with me. He just prefers to take along a few Matchbox cars rather than a Barbie. No biggie.

Please share your mothering stories, whether you’re raising a boy, girl, or both. I’d love to hear your side.

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Mothering: Like Your Mom?

Mother and ChildWhile I was cruising the internet, I came across a parenting blog that asked the question, “Will you be the kind of mother your mother was or will you be different?” I allowed my eyes to linger on the question for a few minutes, let the ideas roll around inside my head, then immediately decided I needed to blog about my response. 

I know this question can go many ways, and there is possibility for a huge debate/discussion on the topic. So it may be beneficial to break this question up into a few blog posts, but we’ll see based on the responses.

My relationship with my mother is a close-knit one. We get along great, always have. She gave me everything I could ever want growing up, allowed me to find myself when I was going through my teenage years, and later when I became a mother, she is the best grandmother I (and my son) could ever ask for. So for me to answer the “what kind of mother will I be” question, my answer is simple: I hope to be exactly the kind of mother my mother was. 

Now that I have sat and dwelled on my answer, if I replay instances in my head dealing with my son, I can see that I reacted like my mother did when I was small. Why did I do that? Because I couldn’t help it really. I am a product of her mothering. Naturally, when I chose the role as mother, my instincts leaned towards mothering like my mother did. I had no one else in my life to learn how to mother from except for my mother.

Those of you that are not close to your mothers will probably try to mother the exact opposite than the way you were mothered. Although I’m certain that if you look at the way you mother, there will be similarities somewhere. 

Please share your thoughts and experiences on how you mother.

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What’s Your Favorite Book?

A ReaderWhat’s your favorite book?

Seems like an easy question to answer don’t you think? Try it. Be honest. There’s a LOT of books out there and no one has read them all. So how can you be sure that’s your favorite book? A-ha…I just made it a hard question to answer didn’t I? Maybe not.

In any case, allow me to tell you my answer to the question. My favorite book is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.  If you haven’t yet read Lolita, then I highly recommend the book. Sure, its theme maybe a little taboo, but there’s no denying the book is genius really.

Before you can understand and enjoy Lolita, I think it’s prudent that you learn about the author himself, and try to see why and how a man could write such a genius novel. If you’ve ever read anything by the author, it’s easy to see that he has a way with words. For starters, he was fluent in three languages. He was an avid chess player. He wrote everything in longhand. He couldn’t type and therefore dismissed typewriters. (I think that having to write everything out is therapeutic to a writer and I too still use longhand to record articles, journal entries, and things of the like.) He taught English at ivy leagues such as Wellesley and Cornell. Nabokov was also a lepidopterist and worked at a zoologist museum at Harvard.

Lolita was published in 1955, banned from Paris from 1956-1958, and never fully published in the U.K. or America until 1958. Since its publication, Lolita remains one of the most controversial novels of the 20th century. Simply fascinating as far as I’m concerned.

Lolita is one of those books that requires you to think. When you read it for the first couple of times, have a dictionary by your side. Regardless of where you were educated or how many graduate degrees you have, your going to need a collegiate dictionary. Period. However, please don’t let this deter you from reading and enjoying the book. It simply means the book is meant to be savored and digested, not just skimmed.

The word choice and sentence structure is amazing. Words rhyme, phrases unite and link back, and alliteration lingers on the tongue long after you’ve moved past the passage. I would have loved to meet Nabokov to see if he talked as mellifluously as he wrote. I’d love to be able to write like him.

Some authors simply have a way with words. The fact that he was fluent in three foreign languages had a lot to do with the way he delivered his depictions I’m sure. Like Edgar Allan Poe sometimes did, Nabokov would create brand new words simply to fit into his writing if he couldn’t find one he liked. 

If you haven’t read Lolita, I encourage you to buy a copy. Don’t bother borrowing it from the library. Buy it. It’s really THAT good of a novel that you’ll want to reread it several times and even allow it a home on your bookshelf. 

What’s your favorite book? Please share, I’d be delighted to know.

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