Sunday, October 04, 2020

Sunday Serenity - Wallowing - ROW80 & NaNoWriMo Goals


Ten Years In - 1989

Ten Years Out- 2009

I began the last round with the announcement that I'd just walked away from my 41 year marriage.  This round begins with the announcement that I will be a widow instead of a divorcee.  My last post relates how I got the news and a dream encounter with Ed that woke me right in the window of time the coroner estimates time of death.  Enough to give one goosebumps.

I rejoined ROW80 last round after a several year hiatus.  I found as expected that it was invaluable in my efforts to process the grief over loosing hope in the viability of my marriage and essentially the loss of the companionship of my best friend.  One might think the last four months of grieving was a head start on what I'm faced with now but I'm not so sure.  Tho the mental and emotional sorting out I accomplished in that time may contribute to the sorting out going forward, I'm not feeling one whit better prepared for this blow just because I'd already begun the work of disconnecting myself emotionally from him to protect myself from the repercussions of his unacknowledged alcoholism.

For one thing it was a reluctant choice.  I drug myself kicking and screaming internally into that choice.  And in order to accomplish the goal I had to harden my heart some just to cope with my days.  I had to break my addiction of thinking/fretting about him 24/7 so I practiced distracting myself with projects, chores, reading, writing, crocheting, sorting and organizing stuff and binge-watching videos and social networking.  This worked for the waking hours but left me vulnerable in the moments I lay down to sleep and first woke each day.  So I implemented the practice of a meditation in which I held him in Light and Love during those times.

It seemed to be working too.  Right up until a week ago Friday morning when I woke from the dream I related in this post: In Memorium: Go Forth Ed and Be in Peace.  That shook me so deep it rocked me right back into nearly constant thought of him no matter what I tried to distract myself with.  But it was different than before.  There was none of the fretting and anxiety provoked nightmare scenarios playing out in my thoughts.  Instead I had been catapulted into the past and reliving memories of the early years.  The time when our happiness shed a light so bright it kept the looming shadows at bay until they gathered enough strength to overwhelm us.

I was frustrated with myself for loosing my grip on 'the plan' to learn to recreate my life without Ed in it.  Something I'd never tried to imagine since 1977.  I wondered if the dream Friday morning had been triggered by the extra time I spent thinking about him and composing a email in my mind that I never wrote to wish him happy birthday.  Or the Happy Birthday I dropped in fb messenger and checked several times over the rest of that day to see if he'd seen it.  He never did.  Unless he spotted it in notifications without opening chat. 

Then just after 2pm last Monday I got the news.  And everything has devolved since then.  It was slow at first.  The crying jags were brief and not too frequent.  My distraction tactics seemed to work to bring it under control.  Except at bedtime.  I didn't sleep Monday night as every attempt to pass the hypnogogic stage bounced me back out. I could not afford to let sleep deprivation get an inroad on my life again so I resorted to the crutch of Trazadone Tuesday night.  

But wary of getting addicted again I skipped it Wednesday night and again did not sleep so I took it again Thursday.  I haven't taken it all weekend because Mom has resumed her weekend visits to my brother's so I gave myself permission to wallow.  To allow myself to feel the feelings and remember the memories and spend time gazing at pictures and processing my new reality and practice holding him in Light and Love.

It was the realization of the finality that contributed to how hard this hit me. It was the final blow to the secret hope I'd been harboring even from myself.  I hadn't yet begun to believe it was really over.  And now it didn't matter whether I believed it or not.

I think in the long run it is better than repressing it all and putting on a front.  But I can't afford all these sudden crying jags and long silent weeping spells and spotty sleep while Mom is home and she is due any moment.  She'll be heading straight to bed though and I plan to be ready for bed soon after that and I will take the Trazadone. 

I came very close to passing on prepping this post but I was afraid it would lead to passing on ROW80 altogether.  I actually felt myself teetering that way in my thoughts.  A kind of 'what's the point' fatalism.  I decided that risk was too high, that I needed the symbolic power of proceeding to set my feet back on the path that gives my life meaning.  That is the only thing that will preserve the progress I've made over the past year.

Backstory highlights and high and low notes:

The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life

NaNoWriMo 2020

2020 Round 4 ROW80 and NaNo goals:

  • Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  This used to be a major challenge for me but I've got it managed since mid March.  Or at least I had until this past week.  Grief has taken a toll.
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- proven to provide a high yield return on investment as whenever I've practiced any of them it stimulates creativity, memory, and insight; lowers anxiety, and increases energy, stamina and a positive mood.
  • 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.
  • Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average
  • Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average 
  • 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.  The autism diagnosis helps explain this but doesn't let me off the hook.  If anything it makes it more important.  Plus this is preparing the ground for future promotion once I'm ready to publish
  • 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. --  It's been years since I've made clean copies of manuscripts in my portfolios and for most of the noveling writing challenges I've never printed hardcopy.  That is a lot of words to mine as between 2004 and 2015 I participated in more than one such challenge per year-- Nanowrimo, Junowrimo, Camp Nano, ROW80 and Sweating for Sven.among them.  That is a lot of novella length WIP just gathering electron dust.  A conservative estimate is over 20.  I've been wondering for sometime now if the neglect of these stories after the challenges were over is at least partly responsible for the storyworld's elusiveness over the last several years.  I'm hoping that this exercise in honoring their existence will cure my character's recent shyness.
  • 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.  This will take most of the Round as there are over 80. See Poems by Joy Renee Portal.  Another exercise in honoring old work to encourage new work.
  • Via the above mentioned Scavenger hunt: Collect everything resembling personal essay into a Scrivener file.  Either this will be added to the self-pup poetry ebook or will become the second ebook.  Or a combo of those options.
  • Personal Journaling 20 min or 500 words whichever comes 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.
  • NaNo Novel 1666 words per day on average. Am going to rebel a bit and bring back a previous NaNo WIP and rework it.  It is fitting because it's premise was rooted in the dynamics of my own marriage. I'm hoping this can be an exercise in grief processing. It's title is The Storyteller's Spouse and it was an exercise in 'unreliable narrator'.  The wife in my story is a YA novelist and the husband is a life-of-the-party natural born storyteller aka raconteur aka tall-tale-teller. I think the reason I got discouraged with the effort after that NaNo ended was because I had tried to lay all the unreliableness at the feet of the husband not realizing how much the wife's denial about the extent to which his storytelling was not confined to social gatherings put her squarely in the same camp. Older and wiser now.
  • 1 tell me a story:

    Unknown 10/06/2020 12:00 PM  

    One widow to another, I grieve with you. I lost my husband of 20 years to pancreatic cancer early in 2018. He was also my best friend.

    I miss him deeply - but in many ways, I'm happier and more peaceful now. We had a good relationship, but there were things that were always going to be issues between us.

    I hope you will come to a place where you can cherish the good in that connection and in him, and find the good, too, in your post-married life.

    Blog Directories


    Feed Buttons

    Powered By Blogger

    About This Blog

    Web Wonders

    Once Upon a Time





    70 Days of Sweat

    Yes, master.

    Epic Kindle Giveaway Jan 11-13 2012

    I Melted the Internet

      © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

    Back to TOP