Sunday, August 02, 2020

Sunday Serenity - Power of Vulnerability - ROW80/NaNo Project

Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity,
Connection, and Courage
by Brene Brown
Between this section and the goals section there is a video of Brene Brown's TED talk on this subject and I encourage all writers/creatives to take the time to watch it.


The good news is I started journaling seriously again this week.  In time to clock in with 5K words on my Camp NaNo Project.  So I wouldn't feel like a zero for zeroing out on my 20K goal.  But I was just over there and noticed that my project, True Joy, is still showing as 'in progress'.  Apparently the new system at NaNoWriMo.org allows you to start projects anytime you want year around and set your flexible goals and have multiple projects going at once.  The catch is if you are participating in one of the annual events like classic NaNoWriMo in November or one of the two CampNaNos in April or July, you must designate so when you create the project.  I didn't check the right box in the form so I created an open-ended personal project the first week of July so I will continue to update that at least through the end of ROW80 Round 3.

The impetus for plunging back into journaling seems to have been a confluence of two events.  The first being the time I'd spent reading the journal entries from 2016 leading up to the time I stopped writing right after NaNo ended and entries from the fall of 2018 where I'd been incubating material for my plan to start blogging again.  From this reading I gained insight into why I stopped.  Why I nearly started up again.  And why I didn't take the plunge. 

The second event behind the impetus to start journaling again was listening to the Brene Brown audio course on Vulnerability which according to the blurb in the entry at goodreads.com is a bringing together of everything she learned and wrote about in her first three books.  I linked the caption above to the entry at goodreads.com because I want to encourage all writers/creatives encountering this post to go take a look and seriously consider either getting your hands on the audio and/or the books because the things she discovered that has relevance for writers/creatives is that the source of creativity is vulnerability.

The bad news is that I'm all shook up, riding an emotional roller-coaster feeling like an open wound and seriously wondering if I might need to restart the prescription mood meds again.  But according to Brene Brown that is actually the good news and what I need to do is stay the course, feel the feelings and bring them into the light of consciousness.

The events in 2016 and 2018 leading up to the lapse in my writing practice and surrounding the failed attempt to jumpstart it again were of two kinds: personal and political.  The Personal was the arrival of my husband, Ed, who'd been living apart from me in the Rogue Valley Oregon since January 2013. He'd got evicted again and moved to Longview into a tent in Mom's back yard in March of 2016.

Before this current rereading of my journal I was convinced the main reason I stopped writing was that I was spending all my free time with Ed and sharing my writing space with him. I'm sure the time, privacy and space issues were big contributors but those same factors existed during the decade we shared a tiny bedroom in his folks mobile home from 2001-2011.  And you can see from the record of my blog entries between 2004 and 2011 that I managed to fit the writing in big time.

My insight regarding the personal aspect behind my letting writing fall away is that I'd given up my personal integrity by being unwilling or unable to speak the truth I could see and unable to even be conscious of most of it.  I'm sure at some level I was aware that writing itself even in my journal would force me to see things I wasn't ready to see.  For I'd known since my late teens that that was one of the reasons I wrote: to figure out what I knew and who I was, to process information so as to make connections I was unable to make in real time.  I know now this was both autistic behavior (graphomania) and a coping mechanism I'd developed to compensate for the sensory and information overload that makes my every waking moment a cacophony of sound, image, scent, and body sensations mixed with emotions and memories triggered by them.

The truth was my marriage was extremely dysfunctional and had been from the beginning.  I can't say much more about that right now.  It's not the time or place but even if it were I'm still not clear on where the line between truth and illusion is for the entire 45 years of our relationship going back to the beginning of our high school friendship in 1975.  By the time we were engaged in 1978 I had convinced myself he was my best friend and continued to believe that right to the end of May this year.  Meanwhile all my friendships that existed before our marriage had fallen away and I'd never created any close friendships afterward.  I'd never developed any close relationships inside his family with anyone over the age of 13 and relationships inside my family were strained to the breaking point and beyond. 

This inability to establish or maintain any intimate relationships outside of that with Ed may have been partially due to the difficulty the autism imposes on social encounters but only partially.  For the most part tho other relationships became untenable for the same reason I quit writing.  I couldn't tell my truth to myself most of the time but even when I could I couldn't speak it to anyone outside our dyad and there were only certain truths safe to say inside it.  I had to censor myself carefully around his family and acquaintances including landlords, bill collectors and bosses in case what he'd told me did not jive with what he'd told them.

So by ending my relationship with Ed I gave up my only remaining 'friend' and the only person I'd been able to talk to about 90% of the topics I have a strong interest in including everything that would be considered taboo to even think about by the evangelical/fundamentalist church I was raised in and thus most of my own family.  Politics is one of those topics and in 2016 politics and every topic tangential to it became my obsession again as it had been from 2000 through 2008.  For the same reason: my fear that the very fundamentalist mindset I'd escaped from in 1996 was about to be imposed on the entire country.

When I zero in on a topic (obsess) I research as tho preparing for a term paper or dissertation: reading, watching vids, listening to podcasts, taking notes, creating bibliographies, musing and ranting in my journal.  It can't be an accident that this latest plunge into all things politics all the time began about the same time I suddenly couldn't find the time to blog or continue writing in my storyworld.  And I suspect why: I'm terrified of conflict and the whole social media sphere including the blogs just got ugly in 2016. 

One of the last pieces I worked on seriously before I jumped into this round of ROW80 was my own #MeToo stories two years ago during the Kavenaugh hearings.  I came very close to posting it here but in the end I lost courage and I'm near certain that's when I began to choke on my words.  I started adding to it and reworking it this week and the words started flowing again but I doubt I'm any closer to taking it public.  But I'm pretty sure that it will become necessary to share it somewhere, somehow with someone as part of the healing.  Because as Brene Brown points out, shame is the gremlin that prevents vulnerability and vulnerability is the only thing that makes healthy relationships possible.  And I suspect that includes the relationship with yourself.




The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life


Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020

2020 Round 3 ROW80 and July Camp NaNo Project goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Satisfactory effort
Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- Satisfactory effort
Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily Minimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream. -- Unsatisfactory
Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  --  Satisfactory effort
30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  Satisfactory
* To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged. --   Satisfactory

Personal Journaling 45 min or 1000 words whichever come first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.  --  Satisfactory




For an explanation and links to backstory see the ROW80/Camp NaNo Goals post.

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