Wednesday, September 30, 2020

In Memorium: Go Forth Ed and Be in Peace

Go Forth Ed and Be in Peace
September 24, 1958-
September 25, 2020
Pic taken at the Longview
Go Fourth celebration
July 3, 2017


I've been sitting here for over an hour gazing at the pictures I chose for this momentous post but the words just won't come.

Maybe if I stop trying to tap into profound and just go with straightforward.
Just the facts man.
Ed's neighbors called in a wellness check on him Monday because no one had seen him out and about all weekend.
They found his body around 1:30pm.  Coroner estimates death as Friday morning.
That was the day following his 62nd birthday.

I got the news roundabout.  
It was his sister in Southern Oregon who got the call from the Kelso, WA coroner and she gave him her two brother's numbers Darrel in Southern Oregon and Don in Kelso WA.  Darrel's wife Sara messaged me via fb messenger just before 2pm that it was urgent that I call her.  
I was still supervising Mom's lunch so I messaged that I would phone as soon as I could turn Mom's beeper over to someone else. 
That took nearly fifteen minutes to arrange which gave me enough time to connect the dots.  
It could only be bad news about someone in the family.  But Ed's mom had passed away September 2nd and no one hesitated to inform me by text.  So even if it was about his Dad or one of his siblings or their kids surely they would just message me.
So I knew before I knew that my worst nightmare had come to pass.
My blood flowed like icy-hot champagne as I took Mom's tray to the kitchen, brought her a damp cloth to clean her hands and then tracked my sister down out in the yard to tell her Mom was done with lunch and I had a message from Sarah that it was urgent that I call.
I held the home phone for what seemed forever but probably was only a minute before I started punching the numbers in as I read them off my computer screen.  My fingers fumbled and my eyes blurred tho not with tears yet just the stress.  I'm visually impaired and sometimes just a mood shift can mess with my ability to focus.
Not just my eyes either, my mind wants to go out of focus as well, which is probably due to the sensory processing issues related to autism.
Sara's first words confirmed my guess.
Joy I'm soooo sorry to have to tell you this over the phone...
Darrel got a call from the coroner...
They found Ed's body...
Neighbors...
Wellness check...
Estimated time of death early Friday.

Early Friday?  OMG. Could that mean there was something more than silly memory processing involved with that dream that woke me up two hours before my alarm Friday?
That's when the tears started and the full body tremble and chattering teeth.  I wanted to fall back into the memory of that dream right then and there but I forced myself to stay grounded until Sarah and I had each said what needed to be said.
And yet a bit longer to break the news to my sister and my mom.

Then I was free to relive it.

Just a vivid dream or a visitation?:

Something swooped up from behind.  A single strong arm gripped me around the shoulders and swung me up in the air and around into a face-to-face dancing position. The face was Ed's from circa 1985--mid twenties. 
He was smiling a full on, hold nothing back happy smile.  Displaying a mouthful of healthy teeth which he'd not had for at least three decades.
His face glowed.
No, seriously.  It was lit from within and was the source of the light that lit the landscape.
We were in a grove of trees but our heads were above all but a few of the tallest.
We wobbled in the air like a kite flown by a very young child.
I looked down at my feet and the ground that was yards below them and that's when I noticed his feet were still on the ground but blocks or miles away and the wobble was due to his trying to walk over hills and logs with legs that were long, long ribbons of taffy that were getting longer and thinner by the nanosecond.
I realized we were about to either tumble to the ground or float up into the clouds.
His joy was contagious and I felt myself surrendering to it.
I wanted more than anything to float or fly away with him.
But that delirium lasted only for a moment
Or three
Until it occurred to me that this was an undoing of all the emotional work I'd done in the last three months to unmesh my emotional thermometer from the influence of his; to learn to feel my own feelings without needing his permission, acknowledgement or approval.  
Was he always going to be able to jive talk me this easy?
Not that he was talking.  Yet I knew what he wanted.
He wanted me to join him in this ecstasy.
(This latest fantasy?)
As if to confirm that thought he put his other arm around me and gripped me in one of his signature bear hugs.
Oh how I'd been missing those hugs.  The last one was the goodbye hug after our last weekend together in mid March before our household began sheltering in place to protect my elderly mother.
I wanted to hug him back but my arms were trapped against his chest.
I wanted to snuggle my head under his chin and say
"Let's go."
But instead I pushed my elbows into his ribs and leaned back until I could meet his eyes and asked
"Have you been drinking?"
And we tumbled to the ground which felt like falling on piles of pillows on a trampoline.
We bounced and rolled apart as he let go and as I watched he morphed into a cartoon figure of a giant toddler in a giggle fit.
Whatever this is, I thought (or maybe he was thinking it into me)
"This is better than booze"
Then he winked out and the light went with him.
I opened my eyes to a window lit by pale dawn-light hours before my 9am alarm was to go off.
I never got back to sleep but I remained in a dislocated state of mind until late afternoon several hours after Mom had left for her weekend with my brother and well into another big sort and organize project. 

So was that just a vivid dream representing the mental and emotional sorting out I'd been doing?  Or did Ed's spirit visit me on his way out of this world an hour or so after dawn? 

___________

I'm going to close this out with part of the last email I sent to Ed, September 2nd. I began it as my attempt to break the news of his mom's passing the previous night as his family had been unable to reach him and so reached out to me to try my avenues.  As you'll see I never did manage to tell him.  I didn't have the heart...or the courage.  I just closed the letter with a P.S. that his family were desperate to reach him.

The reason I wrote such a long preamble to the intended reveal is that I hoped to give him the sense that he didn't have to suffer this new blow alone, that he could choose to let those of us who loved him share the burden.  I wanted him to know..... well just read it:

As we enter the month of september we approach the string of dates that hold the most emotional angst for me. your birthday, my birthday, election week, our anniversary, holiday season, inauguration day, valentine's day, the last sleepover mid march.. 

my heart did not go cold for you nor burn with anger. i still care about your well being and always will. sometimes I am still struck breathless by the realization that I have no way of knowing whether you are still alive and that if you are you don't believe I have the right to know.  because either you can not or will not communicate even to keep the last promise to bring the rest of my stuff over here.  not knowing which monkey wrenches my emotions.  but the anxiety is no longer 24/7. it is not even every day.  I apparently broke my addiction to you so I am confident that what is left is the bedrock of the true love I had from the beginning

breaking the addiction was probably aided by the fact that my Mom had another stroke July 7 and everything changed here.  There is little extra time for thots about things not related to her needs.  she no longer goes to Portland for weekends.

some of the hardest moments since June 7 have been when I encounter the kinds of things I would automatically want to share with you.  this video is the latest:
 


I wish with all my heart that I could send this Native American Musical Shaman back to the side of your crib in the late fifties to play this song-prayer for you to heal whatever was broken in the innocent baby boy to cause him to grow up believing that love wasn't trustworthy and thus wasn't real.

Always holding you in Light and Love


Note: The relevance of the video is that Ed was either 1/4 or 1/8 Lakota (my memory is unclear whether it was his dad or grandfather who was half-blooded) and it was a very meaningful aspect of his identity. 


Go Forth My Sweet Indian Brave
Into That Undiscovered Country
Knowing
I Was Tickled to Be Your Joy

Read more...

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Sunday Serenity - Sads & Hugs - LOLcat Therapy - ROW80 Check-in

 

Yooz doing it alls wrong
visit and vote it up :)

So, I used to illustrate my posts with LOLcats.  Some made by others but mostly made by me.  I would spend hours on the cheezeburger.com site choosing pics and captioning them.  The antics of kittens and babies were my secret joys.  I treated them like mood medicine.  Then our Merlin crossed the rainbow bridge in 2014 and it just made me too sad to hang out there.  I just recently started dabbling on the site again and made this LOLcat for a post I had in mind but before I got that post ready, I got an email from cheezeburger.com informing me that my creation had been voted up to the front page. 

I was almost embarrassed at what a silly delight I took in that news.  But I so needed a dose of delight as for the first time in many months my mood had been tanking.  I was in the middle of trying to figure out if this was just something I needed to ride out or did I need to consult with my Rx nurse about going back on the meds.  I was pretty sure it was the former.  I was pretty sure it was partly related to all the #metoo dreck I was digging up while journaling and partly related to passing the second month-a-versary of the day I broke up with my husband and having never yet cried about it.

Then there was the fact I had been fudging on my sleep requirements big time every since Mom got home from the hospital. So until I'd tried putting that right again and finding it didn't set things back on an even keel I would not resort to putting my feelings back in a chemical straitjacket.  

The real problem was that in one way or another since infancy my feelings and I were divorced from one another.  Some of it due to the way autism made it difficult to identify emotions.  If you can't name them you can't claim them. If you don't own them they will own you.  But a great deal of it was due to the rules about emotions created by my parents' parenting style and that was all mixed up with the strictures on expressive behaviors created by the churchcult I was raised in.

I'd reached these insights in the process of journaling and was hanging on in anticipation of my weekly phone appointment with my counselor.  But then the Internet and some of the phone systems in our area went down for twelve hours Thursday and I not only lost the emotional anchor of my fifty minute phone chat with my counselor but I lost access to the ROW80 support community, missing my midweek checkin rounds because I'd been sick on Wednesday and was in the middle of prepping my checkin post Thursday morning when we lost the Inernet.

Then Thursday night during my part of Mom's bedtime routine as I was about to shut out the light and take her water bottle back to the bathroom, she started trying to say something.  'You need.....You need...You need...... Awwwwrgh!'  She said.  And repeated a version of it three more times before I asked if there was something I forgot to do as I went over in my mind : set the bed position, start the bed vibrator, supervise drink of water, speak the goodnight ritual.  Everything accounted for.  

In order to ask my question I'd taken several steps back towards her as we'd already taken her hearing aides so I couldn't just stand in the door to converse with her.  Suddenly I found my right wrist gripped by her strong left hand and my arm being pulled inexorably toward her face.

What the...

And then she said 'Hug....Hug...Hug...'  funny how her speech efforts tend to come in threes when she is struggling to get a stubborn word past the aphasia bulwark.

'Oh!'  I exclaimed.  'You need a hug!'

'No.'  she said emphatically.  'You need...You need.  You need...'

'Oh.  You think I need a hug?'

'Yes!  Yes!.  You need....hug.'

I let her pull me in and found my face pressed between her face and shoulder as she reached her left arm over my back and pulled me all the way down.  That's when my eyes first started stinging.  But I got through the rest of the lights out ritual before they did any more than shine a bit.  I got all the way back to my desk before tears started falling.and my face started feeling like melted wax.

Now the hug has become part of the lights out ritual and so has the tearing up. And melted wax face.

Until today though the associated emotions were relegated to Mom's bedtime routine and for fifteen to thirty minutes after.  But today they started up over my morning coffee and had nothing to do with thoughts about Mom or bedtime.  I think the mood came from whatever I was dreaming about when my alarm went off but I can't remember anything about it.  I also think it has happened fairly frequently of late that I wake up in a mood rooted in a dream I can't remember but usually I"m able to deflect my attention on to one of the many distracting activities--crochet, reading, research, sorting projects both virtual and physical, social media, writing, videos, video games, podcasts, audio books, music.  

The thing about that list is there are few things on it that don't depend on vision to at least get it started and with my eyes tearing up uncontrollably I can't see well enough to unlock my screens to access the aps where even the audio only activities reside.  I do have video and audio books on non-computer devices but if I don't already have a DVD, CD or talking book cassette locked and loaded and the device plugged in or otherwise set up so that I don't need my eyes to prepare it for use... Well I'm afloat on a mood sea with nothing to deflect the crashing waves.

The moodiness this morning was accompanied by restlessness and I had no safe way to discharge that.  Besides I'd woken with a deep ache in my right hip that had me limping and I was hoping that there was nothing more to it than having slept wrong on it.  If so it would dissipate if I could 'walk' it off.  But as I said there was no safe place for that.  

Except my mini-tramp.  But altho I'd finally cleared it off during the big sort while Mom was away for three weeks in July, I'd begun setting things 'out of the way' on it again within a week of her homecoming.

I realized that having been 'sheltering in place' since mid March I'd not been out of the house but twice since (once to retrieve my stuff from my husband's apartment and once to fetch a Joann.com order) I knew I was at as much risk as my Mom post-stroke of loosing muscle mass and joint lubrication if I didn't establish a better exercise routine.  I decided that clearing my mini-tramp off again, decluttering my desk and craft table and setting up my LOC talking book machine and my DVD/CD player within easy reach of one or more of those locations would be my project this morning.

I finished in time to spend five or so minutes swaying and gently bouncing with one hand on the wall for balance before time to fix Mom's lunch.  I discovered that there is something about that activity that is going to encourage not deflect the tears.  I had a difficult time getting Mom's tray ready.  I had to keep leaving the kitchen to go in the hallway or bathroom to wipe my eyes or face and neck and get control back.

The whole time I'm wondering.  Is this simply too long repressed sadness?  Or am I just feeling sorry for myself.  The answer is important because apparently sad is an legit human emotion and naming and claiming it is necessary for emotional health.  But 'feeling sorry for myself' well that is loaded with shaming messages.  

How is one to tell the difference?

Well it's about time to start dinner so I better post this as I won't get another chance until Mom's in bed between nine and ten.

The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life

2020 Round 3 ROW80 goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Unsatisfactory 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.  --  Above and beyond
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. --  Unsatisfactory
* 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. --   Unsatisfactory
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.  --  Unsatisfactory

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

Read more...

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Wednesday - Write By Music and ROW80 Goals

 

Medieval, Middle Ages Music


There is something about this Medieval music that is addictive.  Many moods are represented from glee to gloom and from longing to whimsy but overall I'm left with a feeling of having the cobwebs cleaned out of my head.

It is late Friday evening as I work on polishing this for posting.  I did't get started on it on Wednesday because I was unwell.  Low grade fever and all that goes with that. Since we've been shut in here since mid March that was unlikely to be any kind of virus so I'm assuming it was another flareup of my bad teeth.

I began work on thisThursday morning and was within half an hour or so from publishing when we lost internet shortly after 11am and it did not return until after 11:30 last night. Much too late to to be engaging with it again.  

Then today my morning brain fog didn't dissipate in time to work on it before it was time for Mom's lunch routine which was soon followed by dinner prep which was my turn, then sitting with Mom while she ate and then kitchen cleanup and her bedtime routine.  My sister has most of the duty in helping Mom transfer from here to there and dressing and meds and thus for both the morning getting from bed to breakfast and evening getting from recliner to bathroom to bed but I'm on call for any contingency such as fetching random items or moving the transfer chair if my sister pens herself in with it.  I'm also on for the final light's out ritual involving adjusting her bed's remote control, getting her drinks and making sure she has no more requests.

Some might think I could be using some of that waiting time I don't need to be right there with her for tasks like this or even writing but I have difficulty getting my brain switched from one task to another so I tend to put off getting started on something I need to focus on if I'm fairly sure I'm likely to be interrupted before I'm done.  This is probably related to the autism issues.  It plays havoc with the writing portion of my goals all the time.

Then there is the issue with my hearing.  Partly typical aging ears but also an autism related thing in which once I have switched my focus I have shut out the distractions and that includes 'hearing' my name called even identifying Mom's beeper and differentiating it from all the notifications coming over mine or my sister's devices all day.

By choosing to work on this after Mom is in bed I risk getting so focused on it I forget to move on to the next necessary thing and thus put my 7.5 hour sleep requirement at risk because my habit there is just a few months old against the many decades of hit and miss (mostly miss) sleep which turned my mind into an amusement park for my moods complete with roller coasters and haunted houses.

The goal rating reflected below is for the Sunday evening thru Wednesday morning time frame and reflects the aftermath of the Friday/Saturday read-a-thon and the sleep deprivation and catch-up.  Because of the thon tho my reading brain got turned on and hasn't really shut down again.  I have managed to read every day about double what I was doing before the thon using the same tactics I was using for the thon--carrying devices with ebooks and audio books around with me and using them impulsively. But I don't regret having participated as the read-a-thons are one of the few joys in my life and besides I consider reading of any kind an investment into my writing I'm confident it will pay off.

If only I could find a way to carry my writing around in my pocket like an ebook.  By 'my writing' tho I include the mental privacy I need to keep my mind focused and feeling free to engage my imagination.  A mixture of fear of interruption with fear of being observed freezes my mind.  

This fear of observation is one I've had as far back as I can remember and that is into my toddler years.  It seems I conflate having my physical self observed with having my inner self observed.  As if eyes on my face and body are the same as reading my mind.  And that is anxiety provoking on a par with being caught participating in a resistance movement inside an authoritarian regime.  

The inexplicable thing is I have clear memories of that particular anxiety at play as early as kindergarten and that was decades before I first became conscious of thoughts heretical to the church doctrines I was raised with.  When I try to pin it down the thing I zero in on is a feeling of intense shame associated with being lost in my daydreams.  Since my writing is rooted in such daydreaming that begins to explain why I have such a hard time finding the time to write under the conditions I currently contend with. Slipping into the daydream is often enough to trigger the anxiety that snaps me right back out. 


The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life

2020 Round 3 ROW80 goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Unsatisfactory 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. --  Unsatisfactory
* 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. --   Unsatisfactory
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.  --  Unsatisfactory

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

Read more...

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Sunday Serenity - Write Noise - ROW80

Surf Breaking on Sand and Rock
White Noise to Write By
or Read...or Sleep...
or Muse... 

Last Sunday's check-in was the first one this round that I got a 'satisfactory' or better on all the goals but in the process of putting together the check-in and then posting it on social media I broke the seep rule by nearly staying awake until dawn.  Then I had to cut my coffee intake by half twice in the next four days because I was running out and my Amazon subscription wasn't due until Friday.  This was a double-whammy in that I couldn't compensate for the sleep deprivation plus ended up with caffeine withdrawal headaches with fog-brain all week.

I did keep journaling though but that got intense and my mood tanked.  I'm sure it didn't help that one of the topics I was journaling was my #MeToo stories that I'd started writing in the fall of 2018 but the sleep deprivation and the caffeine withdrawal had to be part of that but it is hard to untangle how much the journaling exasperated things, intensifying the dark mood like when your tongue can't stop wiggling that rotten tooth.  With my mood spiraling down, sleep also became elusive.  It was an infinity feedback loop.

I wrote off making the Wednesday check-in post but I kept writing in my journal and did a sorta check-in directly in three social media sites.

Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon I had to put serious time into preparing my computer for a restart as it had been up without one for over a month.  The restart prep consists of checking on every open tab on every browser window and application to either complete a task, put the task with any necessary links and cues into a 2do list or choose to pass on it.  Between having so many things open and having done no restart in like five weeks at least my computer had been slow switching between windows and tabs and slow in loading new tabs and slow in completing tasks for a week already and it only got worse as I prepped for the restart.  So frustrating.

Then finally Thursday night I got a decent sleep.  

I got the restart accomplished after lunch on Friday and as soon as I was back on the desktop I prepped the post for the Friday/Saturday #ReverseReadathon sponsored by Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.  'Reverse' refers to the fact the begin time is 12 hours ahead of the usual begin time.  For Pacific Coast time that meant 5pm on Friday afternoon instead of 5am on Saturday morning as per usual.  I got the post published just in time and then I had to spend the next two hours fixing, serving and monitoring Mom's dinner followed by kitchen clean-up and then Mom's bedtime routine.  Though I got a bit of reading squeezed into odd moments during those several hours it wasn't until after 9 when Mom had light's out that I was able to have a couple hours of uninterrupted reading.

The rest of that story is on the thon post My Brain on Books.

The gist is that no writing other than the updates on Joystory and social media got done since I closed the writing aps before the restart Friday morning. Tho I'd gotten three or so hours sleep in the wee hours of Saturday morning I was past ready for sleep well before the thon ended at 5pm but had several more hours to muddle through first.  But I was crawling into bed myself as soon as Mom was settled.  It was close to ten.  I slept until 4:30am spent an hour trying to get back to sleep.  Gave up and started reading an ebook in bed until 7 when I switched to video, watching two episodes of Parenthood on my DVD player before it was time to call Mom at 9am.

Throughout that whole time I kept trying to talk myself into moving back to my desk and opening the writing aps and write while I had the huge window of time in a quiet house.  But I could not budge myself.  I felt lethargic.  I'm sure that's partly due to not having caught upon sleep yet.

Once Mom was up and having her morning routines with my sister, I did move back to my desk but not to write.  I spent the entire time until lunch switching back and forth between my ebooks and watching That Girl on Amazon Prime.  Had started from the beginning while Mom was in the hospital last month and am now in the middle of season 3.  I usually watch one to three episodes per day and usually no more than two in a row.  But today I watched 7 and at least once it was three in a row.  I feel like a bowl of mush.  Tho one that is well jiggled by laughter.

There is a strong element of nostalgia in watching That Girl.  And not because I remember the episodes from when they aired.  We didn't have a TV at the time and it was more than a decade after their original air dates that I encounter some of them in syndication.  Where the nostalgia is coming from is the stage sets--the clothing and accessories, appliances, furniture, architecture, vehicle models, billboards, toys and games and so forth and so on. All of it from the era that I was in elementary and middle school.

I'm not going to call this mindless vegging as I feel it working on me on at least two levels.  It is helping to fill in the culture knowledge gaps created by my fundamentalist upbringing that discouraged if not forbid most of the stuff depicted in the stories as well as watching TV.  And because I am a visual thinker and visual stimuli will often unlock memories for me, seeing the things I listed above is triggering a lot of memories.  Most of them neutral if not good and that is helping me by reminding me that those good times and even those neutral times were just as real and just as meaningful in making me who I am today as those moments of trauma. 


The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life

2020 Round 3 ROW80 goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Unsatisfactory 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. --  Unsatisfactory
* 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. --   Unsatisfactory
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.  --  Unsatisfactory

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

Read more...

Friday, August 07, 2020

My Brain on Books XXVI (#reversereadathon)

I am reading for The Office of Letters and Lights the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo today as I love what they are doing for literacy with their Young Writer's Programs and because I've participated in NaNo every year since 2004.  I have been blessed to have it in my life and would like to give something back if only kudos and link love.  I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading and writing and story in kids. 

This post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones. I may be posting some updates on Twitter @Joystory and the Joystory fb fanpage. But this is where I do anything more than a line or two.  Including mini-challenges that don't require a separate post..   









5:55 - Wrap Up: I got to read again for the last fifteen minutes but it wasn't enough time to finish 100 Days. So typical of me. I sometime handle a dozen books or more during a thon but almost never start and finish the same book inside the 24 hours so I seldom get to enter a title in the database.  This time I handled only two.  The Oates which I started weeks ago and did not finish and the 100 Days which I finished half an hour too late. But overall it was a good thon.  Got a good solid six or eight hours of dedicated reading and a whole lot of scattered minutes of reading.  And I spent a couple hours at least leaving social media updates and comments on the hub blog before I had to go to bed last night.

3:33PM - Just told it's time to fix Mom's lunch.  Probably won't get back to reading before 5.  And with only 10% of 100 Days of Sunlight left too.  Came soooo close to having a start/finish inside the 24 hours so I won't be able to enter it in the database. 
100 Days of Sunlight
by Abbie Emmons


1:22PM - Too bad I didn't follow the plan I laid out in my last update.  If I'd gone straight to bed and straight to sleep by 2AM I may have been ready to stay awake after Mom beeped for help before 6AM.  It was nearly 6:30 before my sister finished dealing with the rash that has been harassing her since the hospital stay.  It had seemed to be a reaction to the meds they put her on--the blood thinner and/or the statin--but they took her off them over three weeks ago now and tho the rash is much better and no longer a 24/7 issue it still flares now and then.

I was wide awake by the time all was quiet in the room again and I was sorely tempted to just go make my coffee and get back to reading.  But I'd gotten less than two hours of sleep and I knew it would be irresponsible of me to try to make it through the day without at least a couple more.  So I made myself lay there until I got sleepy again and it seemed like forever.  Then when my alarm for waking Mom at 9 went off I was groggy and completely unready to be awake.  Though I never went back to sleep again after that it took me a good hour to get my eyes and mind focused enough to read.  That would have been a good time to switch to audio but I was stubborn.

What put me on this path was picking up 100 Days of Sunlight again after I got in bed.  I thought another chapter or two wouldn't hurt and I had been so sleepy just twenty minutes earlier.  Ha.  Next thing I knew it was after 3am and I kept on reading.  I was on a path to skipping sleep altogether.  But at 3:30am I got the gapes so bad I couldn't stop yawning and when I yawn I can't see plus it tears up my eyes so I still can't see between the yawns.  So I gave up.

100 Days of Sunlight is the book I've been reading all morning and I suspect I will be staying with it until I'm done and I'm only 64% after more than four hours of reading it so even if I didn't have duties related to Mom I probably can't finish before 5.  At some point well before then I will have to stop reading to fix Mom's lunch and sit with her while she eats.  When that will be is hard to know because Saturday is her shower day and usually she is already half done with that by now but today is off kilter because of the histamine my sister gave her for the itching before dawn that has made her groggy all day.  My sister has just got her started on the shower routine.

1:44AM - I got to spend a sublime two hours with Night, Sleep, Death, the Stars.  Then, needing a change of pace as I did not want to carry the mood of this story into my dreams.  I needed a buffer so I switched to 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons, a YA coming of age,  Two chapters in and my eyes began to close.  I need to take advantage of that as if I fight through it as was once my habit I will reach moment of revival and likely sail thru until dawn.  But I have to be well rested and alert by 9am when Mom's wake-up routine begins.  And I would have no opportunity to nap again before 9pm.  I'm hoping I'll wake around dawn which will give me a chance to read for a couple more hours before time to wake Mom but it will have to happen without the help of an alarm as I sleep in the same room as Mom.

10:44PM - After Mom's lights out I chose to spend a few minutes updating on social media and then visit the Dewey Hub and left several comments.  An hour went like that.  Now I'm about to do as I planned and submerge myself in the Oates novel for at least an hour.  Two would be even better.

Night, Sleep, Death, the Stars
by Joyce Carol Oates

9:00PM - I've been reading Night. Sleep. Death. the Stars by Joyce Carol Oates sporadically since 5PM.  There were a number of duties related to Mom, the dinner hour and kitchen cleanup that took me away from it and most of those times were not conducive to audio reading either.  But according to the progress bar on the Libby ap I've advance 7% which puts me at 57% on the book which I've already been reading for over three weeks.  This isn't the way I prefer to read fiction.  I prefer to read novels in long gulps that allow me to get lost in the story.  But I did manage to get one session with it today that was around an hour long so that allowed me to get sucked in enough I was unwilling to switch to a NF for the spotty episodes.  This is a quintessential Joyce Carol Oates.  It is eerie the way it seems ripped out of the current headlines even though it's publication date was scheduled months if not over a year before the events precipitated by the George Floyd murder and the ensuing protests.  

The story is centered around the family, wife and five adult children, left behind by a wealthy business man and ex-mayor who died of complications created by a brutal beating and tazering by two policemen who'd taken exception to his having pulled over on the Expressway to object to the beating and tazering they were subjecting a brown-skinned man to.  A wife whose lost her identity and siblings whose rivalries suppurate in the rage of grief.  In the raw pain of the abandonment of their father they abandon each other by various means from willfully misunderstanding the other's coping methods as person affronts to actually withdrawal and avoiding their company.  I sense it is shaping up into a tragedy of a King Lear proportion.

Just got the call that Mom is ready for our lights out routine.  After that I'm free to get lost in the story again.  

5:00PM - I will be reading every moment I can snatch but may not get to update here or social media before Mom is in bed after 9pm.  Mom came home from the hospital post stroke 3 weeks ago today and has not regained enough mobility yet to spend the weekend with my brother's family as has been her habit which left me free for most read-a-thon weekends since I moved in in 2013.

The reverse thon start time is a mite awkward for me due to it being smack in the middle of dinner prep and then there is feeding Mom followed by her bedtime routine.

But I will snatch moments to read.  My books for this time-frame, including the two listed in the Intro Meme, are on a smartphone sans SIM card via Overdrive's Libby ap that I keep in my vest pocket.  I also have the option of dozens of audio books via library of congress BARD for the print disabled loaded onto 5 separate android devices with 2 full battery backups.

The start time is also the end time tomorrow and that means it ends right at the start of the busiest four hours of our day here and thus I can't just put my book down and sleep as I can when it ends at 5am.  In fact I'll have to be not only awake but alert and on duty for another four to five hours after end of thon.  So I can't skip sleep entirely between 9pm tonight and 9am Saturday morning.  I may not insist on the regulation 7.5hrs in my ROW80 goals for this round but I should get more than four and six would be better.

4:44PM - Intro Meme:

1)What fine part of the world are you reading from today? And what time is it where you are?
Longview, Washington USA situated in the V formed by the Cowlitz and Columbia Rivers.  On the north side of the majestic Columbia River across from Raineer, Oregon approximately 50 miles from the coast and 25 miles from Portland, Oregon as the crow flies but drives about double that.

At my Mom's house.  The house I lived in from age 18 to 21 (or 1975-78) and again since January 2013.  See earliest posts under the label Lifequake for explanation.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

For Fiction: Night. Sleep. Death. the Stars by Joyce Carol Oates
For Non Fiction: Writing as a Path to Awakening by Albert Flynn DeSilver

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

spicy hot chocolate with a little piece of very dark chocolate

4) Do you have a #reversereadathon plan of attack?

This thon day marks 3 weeks since we brought Mom home from the hospital post stroke. So my plan is: Be flexible and be OK with not reading every minute of the thon.  Be OK with having to get some sleep as Mom's needs come first.

also to follow advice i give to thon newbies and vets alike: 

Stay hydrated!

Get up and move once an hour.  You can read while you pace you know.  i like to stand on my mini-tramp with a ebook or audio book to encourage bloodflow in my legs and brain.

Blink.  Seriously.  Dry eyeballs can't see.  And the hands rubbing them can't hold books

5) Are you doing the readathon solo or with others?

i'm solo for the most part but I may read aloud to Mom for a bit or listen to an audio book with her while feeding her meals.

Ode to Dewey
by Joy Renee
We Miss You Dewey




Read more...

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.

Read more...

Thursday, July 30, 2020

According to the Measure of Thy Desire -- ROW80/Camp NaNo

dat is a big bad wuntz


In yesterday's post I shared a classic poem that had given me the insight that defeat is not always, if ever, something to be despondent over or even unwelcome because there is always a lesson to be learned from it and sometimes that lesson may be trying to show you that you are striving for the wrong thing. 

In the last check-in I'd settled on the insight that maybe all that unraveling needed by my WIPs was showing me that loving the process was just as important if not more so than the finished product.  Combining those two insights led me to remember how much I love wordplay of all kinds and how it would often prime the pump and thinking along those lines I remembered how much I used to love to make LOLcats; especially those that touched on the themes of reading and writing and fiber art which I used to illustrate my posts with.  I started avoiding the site where i made them after loosing our Merlin

So I headed over to explore thinking I might try to create a new one for this post but then I found this one in the collection of my past efforts whose theme resonated with the themes from the last several posts so well I didn't think I could do any better in the time I have tonight. 

Tying it all together: Defeats must not defeat you nor be feared or perceived as punishment as often they are reminders to reassess our expectations in light of a change in our resources maybe with an eye to adjust our goals, motives and investment. 

But sometimes it can be a matter of changing how we name all of these elements which is related to how we perceive them.  Sometimes the goals we delineate are not in sync with our actual desire. 

Desire will always be boss even when it is not a conscious desire.  Which could explain some of those defeats as desire takes off on tangents committing sabotage of well laid plans.  If that desire is of the ego then it is not likely to serve either the Work or the Self and the Self must assert its ownership of Desire in full consciousness and rename the goals in that light.  Naming is the power of ownership as every toddler learns.

I haven't quite worked it all out yet how all this relates to my own dilemma but I have an inkling that it has to do with the subtitle of my blog: Story is my joy.

The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life


Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020

2020 Round 3 ROW80 and July Camp NaNo 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.  --  Unsatisfactory




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

Read more...

Blog Directories

Saysher.com

Sitemeter

Feed Buttons

About This Blog

Web Wonders

Once Upon a Time

alt

alt

alt

alt

70 Days of Sweat

Yes, master.

Epic Kindle Giveaway Jan 11-13 2012

I Melted the Internet

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP