What Are You Trying to Tell Me?

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I recently woke up from a dream that was so different, so excitingly new that instead of sighing peacefully and going back to sleep hoping I’d remember it in the morning, I jumped out of bed to jot down my impressions to insure it’s survival.

My journal was on my desk, not beside my bed, so I slipped out of bed and quietly padded to my office. I flipped on the light and sat down at my desk to write. As I opened my book and picked up my pen my phone dinged. A message at this hour. Everyone knows I’m sound asleep and I haven’t touched anything to alert the all-seeing social media of my activity.

“Are you sleeping?”

A message from an online friend.

“No! I just woke up from an amazing dream and came to write it down. And here you are!”

“About what?”

The conversation went on for half an hour. I dreamed that I was talking with an old comedienne that looked a lot like my Grandma Shirley. She told me that I was really funny, hilarious, and that I should try stand up comedy, try acting. I told her I had acted in the past but was never very good at it. She begged to differ and told me she knew talent when she saw it. She took me to a party with her and there were other famous people there, actors, directors and such. She introduced me and they all confirmed that I had something. And then I woke up. I wasn’t startled awake, I was laying there content. I felt accepted, proud, self-confident. I wanted to remember that feeling. That’s why I got up to write it down.

Telling my friend about it, he suggested that I do what my dream suggested. I’ll admit that I’ve thought about it before. When I was teenager, I took plenty of acting classes and was in several high school shows, but I was too self-conscious to do it well. Acting takes complete self abandonment; going up there as if you are the center of the universe, with no thought to whether or not anyone will like it. Talent or not, you can’t see it unless you throw the robes off and stand there naked before the whole audience. I could not do it. I hid myself.

These days I wonder, would I be able to do it now? Am I self-confident enough to let go? There is a small community theater here. I could go down and audition. I went back to bed with these thoughts on my mind.

When I woke up in the morning, I was still thinking about it. I’d slept soundly knowing the dream was safe in my journal and the idea tucked away in my messages. I started my morning routine thinking I’d go back in a few hours and rethink it all. Nestled down in my spot on the couch, book in hand, I relaxed into my morning.

After a bit, I mentioned the dream to my husband who listened attentively, but as I told it something started to swirl around in my head. This dream wasn’t about acting. It’s about self-confidence. I got another cup of coffee and picked up my journal.

As the morning progressed, more ideas started to fall into place. I accosted my teenage sons as they stumbled sleepily into the livingroom. I had to talk more of this idea out and they just happened across my path as it was coming together. I don’t know what I’ll do when they move out and I lose my captive audience. Pity my poor husband!

I’ve always been a dreamer, not the pie in the sky, big ideas kind of dreamer, but I almost always dream when I sleep. I dream vivid and realistic dreams generally every night, especially when my anxiety is high. While most of the time my dreams are varied and colorful, there are a few that are recurring. They revolve around being left behind, trying to be understood, or being without help in a crisis. This dream was different and that’s what got me so excited.

This dream was encouraging and left me feeling supported and loved, pushed from beyond. And it wasn’t about acting at all. It only took that form because that was my past experience. Like I told my sons, I know not everyone believes in spiritual dream stuff and, to be honest, I don’t either, but I do believe in subconscious work. I’ve been working on some big things the past couple of years. For the past few months I’ve felt stuck and unsure how or if to proceed. This dream shook something loose in me.

A side note, but related, I haven’t thought much about my Aunt or Grandmother since they passed away years ago, but over the last couple of weeks they have come up several times. I reconnected with my Uncle and cousin, I randomly met someone he knows, my cousin posted about his mother, and then this dream with the face of my Grandma. Those two women were a big part of my life growing up, but I lost them in my early thirties. I hadn’t thought I had lost much until now. What could they teach me now about being in my forties? Those were strong, bold beautiful women. I’m feeling a need for their confidence and support. This dream is a piece of that, another reason I believe in an afterlife that touches this one.

What in the world am I talking about? I’ve been rambling on for pages! Writing! I can’t say I’ve always wanted to write or that I’ve been writing since I could read. I can’t say that I have several stories, books, or poems stored up just waiting for the right publisher to come along. I can say that I have always had something to say.

I feel like I’ve had something hidden away from me for years. Like those stories you hear about a princess raised by farmers and finds out who she really is. I’ve never felt like I fit in with the women in my mother’s family and when the women in my father’s family were alive I was too afraid of them to really embrace them. I feel like a combination of both, not quite as crazy and wild (the slightly self destructive that I thought they were) and not as timid and reserved as my mother’s family. I need to tap into the “training” of my mother and her mom; the quiet, calm, and respectable side; AND the wild, free-ranging, self-assuredness of my dad’s sister and mother.

I wrote these words a couple of days ago and closed my notebook thinking it all seemed like it was an idea going nowhere, just like the thousand other times I’ve felt like I had something solid in my hands but when I looked directly at it, it turned to air.

Today, I’m in a RV park in Montpelier, Idaho, reading it over again and seeing something else. That’s a realization in and of itself. I’m reminded of a story somewhere when someone is blindfolded and writes in a trance, then goes back to read what is on the page and finds someone else’s words. It does make sense. There is a message there. And if the message is there for me, the odds are that someone else might need to hear it as well, so I keep writing.

Where am I going? That’s probably what you’re asking, and exactly what I’m asking myself. I think the point my subconscious is trying to make is that “fortune favors the bold.” I’ve never been one to self-promote. “I’m shy.” I tell people, but not in an introverted way. I’m not happier when I’m alone. While I do enjoy the pleasure of my own company, while I do love making time to sit quietly alone with my thoughts so better to write them down, I am not fueled by that. I crave regular interaction with people, as if fueled by the energy of our connections. But I am so self-conscious, worried about doing the wrong thing, offending someone with my words, not fitting in with others, that it sometimes stops me from doing the things I want to do. That’s something I am working to change and my next step is here.

I’ve been plagued with a few thoughts since I finished the big project of writing my first story. The first of which is, now that the story is down on paper, what should I do next? It’s memoir and very personal to me. I’m terrified of promoting it and then having to defend it. As I’m writing these words something just dawned on me. Maybe that story shouldn’t be the first thing I promote. I have so much more I could be writing and promoting.

I recently came across a Tim Hawkins sticker that struck me as perfect for what I really want to do here.

“Live Life. Take Notes. Tell Strangers.”

He was talking about comedy, but I think it’s so much bigger. Maybe comedy isn’t just an entertainment, maybe it’s philosophy for the light hearted. Which connects me to my dream again. I’ve always been someone who notices things. It’s probably one of the reasons I’ve always carried so much anxiety. I love to read. I love to watch, to experience. I love being among people, maybe not in front of, or leading, but quietly among them, soaking up their energy.

Throughout my life I’ve taken notes; journals and notebooks full of my thoughts and ideas, questions, and observances. When I write I rarely know where it will go, what will be the outcome of my tapping at the screen. The connections come to me while I write the same way they come to me during a conversation, spontaneously and not always fully formed. The more I write, the more I think, the more the idea takes a stronger form.

In the past, my blog posts are written on the spot. I have an idea, or want to review a book I just read, so I sit down and tap out the first words that come to mind. I immediately look back through it and post it that same hour. I’d like to change that.

As I spend my first two week vacation alone with my husband since we had kids, I’m spending a lot of time walking, driving, thinking, and talking. With no kids to care for, and an introverted husband that thoroughly enjoys his quiet time, I have had plenty of time to think, write, and rewrite. I have been using this time as a writing retreat and my intention is to build up a few articles, like this one and others, so that I can begin posting something more complete several days a week while I work on new observations to post later.

I’ve had a terrible time putting that into coherent words!

What will I write? Observations. I’ve struggled with that for a long time and with Tim Hawkin’s bumper sticker, it finally dawned on me. It’s perfectly acceptable to live life, take notes, and tell strangers. It is simple philosophy and something I enjoy and feel confident doing. Hopefully, someone out there will find my observations interesting or helpful!

Little Things

It’s the little things that make something as big as a lifetime so awesome.

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A book about the decline of civil participation from 2000, that you’d think would depress the shit out of me but doesn’t. I’ll be writing more about that later!

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A tiny rose that blooms from the decorative potted rose plant that I thought was a goner.

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And these reassuring words on the screen when I open up Word. I promised myself I would work on it every day and I am. Proof!

All is well. Keep on.

 

Books, Flowers, Cherries, and MX!

Do you keep a journal? Hand written or on the computer? I’ve done both and written about both before, but this month I did something a little different. I kept a paper journal with me at all times (even at the grocery store) and jotted things down in it as they came up. I wrote down anything that came to mind throughout the day: notes, ideas, rants, lists, quotes. I wrote about what I was doing and when, what I was feeling. I wrote sideways, messy, printed, lists, and expletives. Some of it I’d be so embarrassed if anyone else read. I tried to post a picture so you’d see how crazy it looks, but couldn’t without exposing myself to ridicule. It was amazingly cathartic though!

I’ve always kept a journal of some kind and wondered why, or if anyone else would ever read them. What if the information I wrote about could be used effectively somehow? When I have had the inclination to go back and read what I wrote, it always seemed so time consuming and pointless. But what if I did it more often? Like, what if I made a point of spending the last day of the month reviewing what I’d been doing for the last thirty days or so?

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I left myself a post-it note reminder.

So I did! And as I sat there thumbing through the journal, I picked up a pink pen and made a few comments and pulled a few ideas out to blog about over the next month. I filed the ideas away in a “drafts” file to use as writing prompts later.

It was fascinating.  I wish I could graph my emotional roller coaster for all to see. But then maybe someone would have me committed. It’s enough for me to notice that I do tend to be a little all over the place.

Another recurring theme was “stop eating like we’ll run out of food if I don’t” and a bit of loneliness. I tend to swing from “hermit” to “why won’t anyone come to play with me” fairly regularly. I’d like to be ok with being alone sometimes.

Funny though, in this house, it’s very hard to be alone. There’s always someone doing something, talking, watching tv, playing a game, nearby, but I get lonely for…not really sure what? Connection? Recognition? Novelty? That leads me to believe that it’s just a mood, a cloud over my usually sunny sky. I’ll watch it float by and out of my life.

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I started a new book last week, “A Student of History” by Nina Revoyr. It’s a novel and I finished it this morning. I’ll post about that another time.

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This kid is very proud of his cherry tree. He came back from Germany with big ideas about fruit trees and has been working on this one and an apple tree. The apple didn’t fruit, much to our dismay, but the cherry is doing well. He also has a olive tree that he’s hoping will do well in his care. He loves those trees!

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And then there’s this one. He raced at Glen Helen this weekend but left early because he just wasn’t feeling it. He’s having a bit of trouble finding his “thing.” You know, the thing that drives you, the thing that you have fun doing with your friends after work or school? It used to be motocross, but he’s starting to think maybe he should look somewhere else. He can do it with our support but as an adult, he’s not sure. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and risky and he doesn’t think he’ll be able to keep doing it. So he’s searching, which is hard on a kid. Hell, it’s hard on everyone. Here I am still searching…by writing all this out and hoping someone will find something useful in it. I know I do.

And then there this week’s flowers! The yellows are out in full force! Enjoy!

Adjustments

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Not only am I considering myself “self-employed” from now on, I’m adding “writer” as my @.

That’s me. “Self-employed @ writer.”

Have I made any money at it? Nope.

Do I have a blog with thousands of followers? Nope.

Have I been published by anyone but myself? Nope.

Does it matter? Nope.

An artist is an artist, even when no one buys his art.

I’m a writer because I write.

I’m also keeping office hours. Everyone has to go to work somewhere. And the best way to get work done is to schedule time to sit and do that work.

I’ve messed around with my schedule before and it seems my best thinking work gets done in the morning, before noon. I seem to be able to will myself to clean the bathroom or run the vacuum even when I’m tired, but I just cannot do any real creating if I’m physically tired.

My office hours at this time are between 8 am and 10am, sometimes longer if I’m on a roll. I’m not allowed to do anything else during these hours because I’m “at work.” And just like when I worked for someone else, I may not always be productive, but I am at work so I can’t be playing on Facebook or watering the yard at that time of the day.

Let’s see how this goes!

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Oh, wait…I was going to sign off and then remembered another change in the planning of my week. Pictured above is my April. Notice how many boxes are filled in!

Next week is a “5th week” in the month, a week that is half one month and half another. From now on I’m declaring that week a “Mom-cation!” I will not be planning anything during those weeks; no lunch dates with friends, no hiking meet-ups, nothing. I can help those that live within this house if they need it but I’m not making any plans. I’ll be home…all week…hopefully getting more done, whatever that turns out to be: writing, reading, housework, projects. I already have the next one blocked off on the calendar in July!

What’s Your Thing?

Do you have a passion for something? Something that you do really well? Something that you think about constantly? A thing that you live to do?

I’ve grown up hearing people ask about that. At every stage of my life I’ve heard people on tv, writing articles and books, and now podcasters and social media gurus, droning on about finding your niche, your passion, your thing that sets you apart. “That’s where you’ll fit in perfectly! If you can make a career out of it, you’ll be the happiest person!”

So, what’s mine? Reading my blog, scrolling through my social media feeds, looking around my house, you probably wouldn’t be able to guess it. I’ve always felt a bit uninspired on the “passion” front.

When I was a kid, getting some friends and playing was the goal. When I was a teen, I focused on, well, honestly, getting any boy to chase me. And then I kind of fell into theater work, sets and stages, lights. I went to work in that field and did well. Then I got married and had some kids and raised them. I have things I like to do. I can sew a bit, knit, make soap. I read a lot. I love to read. I’m not a big people person, but I do like people watching. I like to go out and do things, but generally I’d rather do it anonymously with my favorite person or two.

But today, it hit me.

I have a passion for being in this world among the people I love. It’s simple really. I am truly passionate about being, that’s it. And that’s what I write about. When I find something interesting, I write about it. When I find something that works for me, I write about it. When I’m confused, angry, or frustrated, I write about that too.

What’s your passion?