Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Aftermath of Writing Class

Last night, I attended the first of a ten week writing class.  I took a similar class last fall and really didn't like it - the class was themed around self-realization, "Coming Home to Self" was the title.  Instead of writing voluminously, I developed a web site.  I missed every other class, mostly because my family was having a collective nervous breakdown without me being there for one night.  It's good to be needed, but not like that.

Now my baby is older, the kids are more organized with their schoolwork, and my daughter is old enough to help with both of her brothers.  My husband also has his groove on with knowing what needs to be done.  In theory we should be able to work it out, but it was a little rough last night.  I am hopeful though.  There's no way I will be able to go to graduate school full time if I can't slip away for three hours a week without chaos taking over my home. 

I signed up for the class as a means of giving myself a little push - just a little momentum to help me focus and finish several stories I started over the last year.  I am very happy with the ideas I have and the start I made.  I am finding it very difficult to pick up partially written stories and finish them.  Or even just find them in the mess my desk has become.

When asked by the writing instructor about what kinds of writing we expect to do in class, I rambled off a long impossible list of things I want to present in 10 weeks - poems, short stories (I have three in process), a children's book, funny stories about my kids - maybe I could also add the story of my life (one woman did, so that would have been fine).  The problem is finding the time and the energy.  Forcing myself to focus on any one of these items - even just polishing the collection of poems I have written over the last year - is huge and will certainly require me to let something else in my life go. 

With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

Someone in my family is going to feel it (maybe everyone) if I make this writing project a success.  I feel guilt but I'm going to do it.  I need to decide where to start - right now I am in avoidance mode and have been writing poems all morning.  Maybe I need to just work on the poems until I can find the courage to finish the story about the trip to see my dying grandmother - I need courage - maybe a beer.  Now my urge is to write a poem entitled, "I need courage - Maybe a beer."

I need courage - maybe a beer
To force my mind
To wrap itself tightly around
The story of my dying grandmother
And the trip of seeing her
Strung out on morphine
Yelling at the chickens
She imagined seeing
On the doorknob of her room
While my sweet grandpa slowly died
Of heartache in his comfy big brown chair
Despite his conviction that they would meet again.
Why can't I get my mind to pass
Through the image I have seen
Of the shocking sadness
And helplessness that filled his soft blue eyes?
My designing mind methodically
Has sifted through the pain
To find layers in the story
To give it an easy frame,
So we don't have to touch it.
In my design I juxtaposed
The easy with the hard
To make you want to read it,
To make me able to write it,
To soften it a bit.
A great day of my life,
A random trip to beachy shores
With my older sister
I no longer know at all
Was followed by this painful day.
We chose to leave.
We went back home
While the scene played out
For one more year,
One more year of waiting
And hallucinating
In seclusion in Kentucky
(While we carried out our lives
No longer feeling their pain)
Before my grandma died.
My mind has framed it,
The sadness in my heart.
Why can't write it, finish it,
Why I am too afraid?
And too afraid of what?
She will die again right before my eyes.
Or maybe she will live
If I can hold on tight and see that day again
And tell her story lovingly
And without so much fear.
Her story is my story.
Maybe I can touch it soon,
Hold it and caress it
And give it all my love.
But not right now
It's too early for a beer.

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