Thursday, December 31, 2015
I wanted to wait until year’s end before thinking about what 2015 meant and set goals for 2016 and now that it is New Year’s Eve, my mind is relatively blank. This is unusual after the gush of words this past week. Am I all worded out?
My plan this morning was to list my goals for the coming year, but I realize that I should close out 2015 first. What has 2015 meant for and to me? It certainly has been a highly emotional year.
The major highlights included the trip to Florida in late January-early February, the selling of the Bradford house in June, and the finding, purchase, and move to the house in Hillsboro in late August. The settling into the home the latter four months of the year have left me feeling shaken up, turned inside-out, and thrown down. My head is still spinning. The pieces haven’t settled (picture a snow globe). I struggle to get back on my feet.
2015 has certainly been a year of letting go. That letting go started on the trip south when plans changed. I had to let go of the preconceived goals and get into my usual ability to be spontaneous. Then on Mother’s Day, an unexpected turn of events led a buyer to the Bradford house. I wanted to move, but there was always the question of whether I’d pull it off. With a buyer showing up at my door out of the blue, I let the signs fall and grabbed the opportunity.
Then came the huge task of downsizing. Talk about letting go! There were years of accumulation – of mine, plus some of my mother’s stuff. What do I get rid of? How do I let it go? Thankfully, I had help, lots of help. I could never have done it on my own. Much was given away and thrown away. It was heartbreaking, but I had to do it. I had to close down and not allow myself to feel to get it done.
Finding a new home came down to the wire. I had to be out of Bradford by the end of August and I managed to pull it off (again with lots of help and support). It wasn’t my dream house. It wasn’t where I wanted to be. And again, I had to let go. I had let go of that dream of what my perfect house would be and change the plan to what I could live with.
I moved in with boxes packed just about floor to ceiling and spread out into the yard – far too many possessions which meant more stuff had to go. It was hard. Some things tore my heart strings to put out to the curb free for the taking. I watched possessions walk away or get thrown away. I could not keep everything. I had to let them go.
It took a few months, but I began feeling better about the entire experience. I started feeling settled in my smaller home. Then came Christmas; a time of year especially difficult for me. As I sat alone on Christmas Day, there came even more letting go as I realized that situations and beliefs that I’d held onto these past years were really not valid anymore and it was time to let those go.
Wow! It feels like a lot of the old has washed away. I’m standing on the precipice of a new year and I’m not even sure where it will take me. This letting go process of 2015 has left me feeling more open and free. I face 2016 with excitement and butterflies in my stomach. After all this letting go, what will the coming year fill me with?
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Doesn’t it? Not at all -- but isn’t that how we learn? Think about it. We learn by repetition. We repeat words that our parents say to us, we learn the alphabet, arithmetic, by repeating over and over. Learning to do things well takes that over and over practice. Think about how all that repetition eventually imprints these facts into our brains. It IS how we learn.
What about other messaging? What about commercialism and product branding? We are told things over and over and over. If “they” keep saying it, it must be true, right? How often to you buy because you keep being told such and such is a good product? How often do you do things because others have said it’s the thing to do? What thoughts are your own or are they just something parodied by someone else? Think about it.
I refuse to listen to commercials. I refuse to have repeated messages branded into my brain. I refuse to have these big corporations and the media exploit me!
Take this even further. What are we being constantly told by others; others who are supposedly authority figures or leaders? (And this has all been going throughout history.) Are we believing what we are told simply because someone “better than us” is saying it? Do we believe what the say because they have a lot of others on their bandwagon?
And how often has what is being said turned out not to be the truth? How often do actual actions belie what someone said? And yet, we continually believe the words over the actions. Words printed on cartons, advertising, slogans, news, books, and more. We easily get caught up in someone’s excitement and next thing we are signing up for something we didn’t want.
Other people’s beliefs and their wanting to push their products are shoved in our faces day after day after day and if you’re listening to news or TV, it could be every fifteen minutes to half an hour we are hearing the same spiel. Remember, we learn by repetition. So what are these repeated messages telling us? Is it something you really want to hear? What about your kids hearing these messages? What is it teaching them?
Think about it. What do you really want to believe? What do you really want to buy (or buy into)?
I love Facebook and all my Facebook friends, but how much of those messages are just repetitions of what someone else has said or posted? (I'm just using this as an example). Yes, sometimes others can say exactly what you are feeling or thinking and this helps us not feel so alone. There are good points that we do need to be reminded of often and when in a funk, sometimes platitudes and positive sayings/words can help us climb out of our holes. (I admit I need this.)
Sometimes repetition is a very good thing. There are things I need to tell myself over and over when I have crashed and burned mentally. But I am choosing what positive things to tell myself… and I choose positive.
I believe we, as good people and a good society, need to start paying attention to what we allow to be repeated. I am sick at all the negativity in the world and to have that thrown in my face day after day, hour after hour does not help me be a better person. It just brings me down and destroys my hope for the world. There needs to be a balance between all the crap going on and hearing about more positive things being done.
And I wonder about the end messaging of bombarding us with all the negativity. Is it about control? “Believe in me and my products and I will protect you” seems to be a common subtle message. But again, what are we buying into? What freedoms and how much privacy are we given up for this so-called protection?
Think about it. This is a HUGE topic which has been going on forever and is getting worse.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
This morning I get up feeling refreshed. All the deep emotional outpouring yesterday cleared something within. I pick up my colored pens (today I am using orange and brown pens) after doing my usual morning chores and settle into journaling.
I talk about my mother a lot – if not to other people, at least with myself. I spend a lot of time on self-reflection and I analyze my thoughts and feelings. I consider why I act in such ways and contemplate the reasons behind the life choices I make. And I think and think and think.
Two words always jump out – I know – because I do know, and even though I do know, I still go through all this soul-searching. It’s what I do. It helps me figure things out and helps me understand why I do what I do. It also helps me understand life in general; not just mine, but I can see why others do what they do. (That doesn’t mean I have to like and agree with what they do, but I can understand… or I have a bit of understanding.)
So I know. I know I don’t have to feel guilty for my decisions. I know I don’t have to have regrets. I know I don’t really have to explain myself, but I do it because it helps me; and sometimes what I go through may help someone else with understanding their own lives, plus we find we are not so all alone when we share. I know what I experience, others, too go through.
I know I am not looking for someone to tell me what to do. I know my “talking” is putting words to my feeling so I can “see” my life better. I know what I want from my life and I know who I am.
I also know there are always questions and, for me, a hint of self doubt; those old self-loathing feelings sometime creeping out of the past. And even though I ask questions, a good part of the time I know the answers. Am I a good mother/grandmother? Was I a good daughter? What can I give others to return the kindness and love given me? I know who I am, so why do these questions keep coming up?
The holidays are often spent in this soul-searching, especially around the issue of family, and today it hits me – a topic I keep avoiding because, in reality, I know the answer.
Even though I know the answer, there is still part of me that… yearns… to know that I am forgiven. Yes, I know there is no need to ask. I know I am forgiven. But self-doubts tend to hover in the subconscious ready to jump out and nag. I know my mother forgives me for not being the daughter she wanted and I know she is proud of me and she loves me for who I am. I know my sons forgive me for not being the typical mother/grandmother. I know everyone forgives me for isolating myself. My kitty, Pele, of course, forgives me anything.
I also know I have to forgive myself. And because I keep doubting (well, on one hand I do and on the other, I don’t) does this mean I don’t really forgive myself for whatever it is I think I do or have done wrong?
Forgiveness… is maybe one of the biggest words of all time; that, and love.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
I spent yesterday, Christmas Day, exactly as I planned… but something shifted within me as the day went on.
I wrote the morning journal pages and blogged. I posted a Merry Christmas to all on Facebook. Then I cleaned of the table and got out the game of yap. This was my mom’s favorite and after her passing on Christmas Day 2011, the ensuing Christmas Days were spent playing as three people – as if she, my aunt, and I were playing the game just like we used to. It was my way of honoring their memory, especially my mom’s. She would like that.
However, within half an hour, or less, of playing yesterday, I was bored. I’ve never been bored playing yap before. I even talked with them about “their” plays, but for some reason, my heart wasn’t in it. This year, it felt meaningless. It didn’t feel like they were with me.
What did that mean? Does it mean that it really is time for me to let go? Ma certainly wouldn’t want me pining myself away over her memory. I certainly miss her every day of my life, but perhaps I no longer need to honor her by playing a game. The honor is in always loving her. She was my mum and there’s something special, so very special about mothers.
Maybe it’s about layers. Yes, there was a letting go a couple years ago when we scattered their ashes in the Merrimac River at Salisbury Beach Reservation, but I still held onto her. There has been the getting rid of possessions; a little each year, but I still held on to her. This year was a big letting go when I sold the house where she and I last lived together; a place where my heart wrenched every time I looked out the window at the flower garden I’d made for her.
This new home is another phase of the letting go process. I’ve spent the past few months getting rid of excess possessions. But mum and I ourselves have to move on and how can I do so if I am not willing to let her go? I will always honor my mother and will always love her and miss her forever. I will keep her picture nearby, but I no longer need to let the grief of her loss cripple me. I have to let her go. She needs to move on, too.
I’m still processing this. Yesterday, another Christmas of letting her go. And yet, there is more of a release and understanding. I’ve run out of words to explain this. I’m sure I’ll come up with more the next few days.
I tried to write a poem:
Holding on to Her
Her consciousness slipped away
I clung to her hand
patted her arm
wept, and held onto her
Next morning phone call
she was gone
peacefully, the voice said
broken, I held onto her
I got rid of her possessions
I did not need
in memories, I held on to her
A couple years went by
she asked to go home
I still held on to her
The house we shared sold
I moved away from sights
that brought tearful memories
struggling, I still held onto her
possessions all mine
another Christmas arrived
I fought to hold onto her
A difference sparks:
she is not here
I cling, I cry
and desperately hold on
A subtle time-space shift
a moment of release
she will always be part of me
but I no longer have to hold on
She is my mother
I will always love her
and I will miss her forever
I set her free
I love you, Mum.
---Sasha Wolfe 2015
I’m not totally happy with this poem…
Friday, December 25, 2015
My Christmas message is about wishing everyone simple peace, joy, quiet, love and happiness. It’s taking a few moments from hectic lifestyles to sit back, take deep, slow breaths, and allow calmness to permeate your entire being. Wish kindness, gentleness, and well-being to one and all. Spread joy. In my heart, I am embracing you all.
But, as it is so often, my thoughts are distracted. The pendulum in my mind swings from wanting to write about the spirit of Christmas to book, Book, BOOK and how to improve my travel writing. The traveling is not just about going on a vacation. My life is so entwined with what I call work because a lot of what I do is potential for story, book, articles, poems, and art. I can’t pull myself away from it, nor do I want to.
The biggest goal in traveling (as I’m in the throes of finishing this latest book) is not just for me, but to take you, the reader, on the trip with me. As I learn about areas visited, people I meet, and see different landscapes, vistas, and buildings, it is important to share that knowledge with you. I want you to see what I see, feel what I feel upon seeing new sites and experiencing different places. After all, if I cannot share these new discoveries, what fun is the travel? I cannot keep all this just to myself!
Yesterday afternoon was spent on one chapter, one day from last February. I am feeling like I missed something; a lacking in my descriptions. It’s hard when driving 55-70 mph to remember what is seen. Yes, I have a few photos, but…
So, this morning, I am already thinking how to describe the next trip better even though there are doubts to how I could ever afford to go on another such trip.
But wait! This is Christmas. Why am I working? Because that’s where my mind goes. Naaah, let me pull back and take the day off. Yeah, I’m sure that no matter what I do today, I’ll occasionally write down some notes. It’s what a do.
Merry Christmas, Everyone. No matter what your beliefs, I hope you all have a great day.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
I often try to describe the flashes of inspiration that flood my soul. This morning, it’s a feeling of a bunch of friends and neighbors crowding the door, ringing the bell (not that I have a doorbell), and all trying to get in the house (my mind). It’s ironic that when I get these flashes, it’s not just one train of thought.
The visitors never stay long, but they all want to talk at the same time. If I don’t pay immediate attention to them, they disappear. Uh, oh, I just had another thought… what are you all going to think about me if I admit to having a ton of voices in my head? But it’s not really voices I hear. The impressions come in words and feelings and sometimes pictures. And it comes in one huge gush lasting about an hour. It’s exciting and just like a real party. Hmmm, I’ve never looked at it this way.
Maybe this is why I struggle in physical crowds and why I don’t like real parties, ha ha. If the mental crowd in my head is a bit overwhelming, then also having actual people around is much more. I am left with a similar feeling from both examples. I want to talk to everyone, listen to everyone. I want to give each feeling, thought, idea its due, but I can’t get it all down on paper. I feel guilty because there is always someone whom I didn’t give proper attention.
How interesting this is.
It’s like when the whole family visits and I try to spend a little time with each grandchild and each parent. I want each person to get individual attention, but always, after they leave, I’m left thinking, “Oh I didn’t talk to so and so,” and I feel bad. Or when I cover an event for the newspaper and there are many people and things going on. I come away to write the story and realize I’ve missed something or did not talk to someone important.
This is what happens when, for that hour in the morning, my mind is open to that flood of artistic inspiration. It all gushes in at once. Ah, a time limit, that hour, and again, similar to attending events or visiting with friends and family. Time is always an issue.
So this morning, Christmas Eve, these thoughts come pounding at my door and I have a party of creative inspiration in my mind. I scramble to write here and write in my journal while ideas pop up from conversations held yesterday or something read.
I do have to admit that I find this exciting and a challenge as I try to record as much information as I can while also trying to let the brain run free with the incoming thoughts. No wonder I can’t stay focused on one project, ha ha, but I practice this. I let my mind be open to possibility and what joy this gives me.
I am happy. I may be physically alone, but there is a party in my head and I enjoy dancing and singing with inspiration and thoughts and ideas of creativity.
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone. I hope you can do what you enjoy!
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
I’ve spent the past couple of days working on the book, but once more I am stuck. I made a table in Word to help me track information thinking I could open the file on the Mac and update as I go along while writing the chapters in Word on my laptop. Nope, doesn’t work that way. I can edit material already on the table, but I can’t add new items.
I also need to decide if this chart is a waste of time. It isn’t something that will be published in the book. It’s only a reference for me. I so easily get hung up on some of these piddly issues that it holds me back from getting any real writing done.
I wanted to add a “Sasha’s Star Rating” to this book to rate the places I stayed and the various sites visited. I’m struggling with this a bit, too. Do I call it a star rating even though I’m not printing actual stars? I think it would be something people would understand.
I swear half of yesterday was wasted. Yesterday, I also re-went through chapters 1-9 and now I’m going to go through them again because I’m not happy with some of what I changed. Early this morning I edited the introduction… again. (How many times does that make?)
I can’t really complain, though. Each bit of work I do is getting towards the end and each time I go and re-edit, I’m making it better. Part of the work includes differentiating front matter from end matter. For those of you who don’t know, front matter is the beginning parts of the book like copyright page, dedication, introduction, and such before the body of the story. The end or back matter goes after the main part of the book. So what part is pertinent for the beginning? What does the reader need to know up front? Oh, if it was so easy to answer.
Still, I’m excited about plugging away at it. I’ll get there… eventually.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Happy, as defined by Mirriam-Webster: “feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life situation, etc.; showing or causing feelings of pleasure and enjoyment; pleased or glad about a particular situation, event, etc.”
The question was asked of me yesterday as we talked about whether we thought our parents were happy. I’ve been thinking about my mom, as I do especially this time of year, and I wondered if she was a happy person on the inside. We had a unique relationship, she and I, but I wonder now how well I really knew her. My mother was never one to talk about her true feelings whereas I am blabbering all over the place. Oh, she let her displeasure show when she was totally unhappy. I know there were many times when she was happy. But do I see her as a happy person? No.
I look back now at her life. Oh, she was happy when others were around. She was happy doing particular things like playing games, bottle hunting, coin finding at the beach, and spending time with family. But deep inside, I don’t see her as a happy person. It was like she needed other people and things to make her happy. When she was alone, she was miserable… I think. But do I really know for sure?
“Dad wasn’t happy, either,” Don said.
I think back about him. That’s true, too. I’d never thought of that. Is it just because we don’t look at our parents that way when we are young? My parents certainly did not talk about their feelings to us kids. My mom and I would talk when I was older, but she held back even then, I know she did. She held secrets. Dad must have held secrets. (After all, he talked less than Ma). Was it to protect us?
“Can anyone ever be truly happy?” Don asked as we continued to talk about our lives.
“I’m happy!” was my immediate response. I took him by surprise. I don’t come across as being happy. “It’s not about a laughing and joking kind of happy,” I explained because that is not me. That is not my definition of happy.
I consider myself a happy person on the inside. I make being happy a conscious choice. Yes, there are many times I am not happy. There is the grief and loneliness, the issues with self-exile as I live my solitary life to devote to writing and art, the frustrating life issues that need to be handled, and such. Inside I choose to be a mostly-happy person, but there are days when I am ornery and sometimes I just go with it and celebrate that orneriness. I use these times to explore the hows and whys and what makes my mind work the way it does. (This is an exciting journey in itself, like charting an unknown course. It’s almost like exploring the unhappy parts of my life makes me happy because it is giving me understanding of myself.) And, in spite of even this, I see myself as a happy-inside person.
I think about what makes me happy. Happy for me is not the party world. It’s not the adrenaline excitement experiences. Happy for me is an inner feeling of content. It’s living the life I want. (I don’t know if, when I was young, I could have made that statement because when you have to work jobs you don’t like to make ends meet… then again, happiness is a state of mind, an attitude. It took me a long time to understand this.)
Happy, for me, is seeing the beauty around me. (I adapted a Native American saying of “Walk in beauty every day.”) Happiness is being able to look out the window at nature, birds, critters, etc. It’s having great conversations with family and friends. It’s being caught up in creativity or when ideas gush forth from a bubbling fountain and I try to write them all down – it’s like chasing butterflies and dragonflies to get them to stay still long enough to take pictures.
Happiness is burying myself at home for a few days as I’m caught up in the latest writing endeavor (or book). It’s having the opportunity to travel, even if only a day trip, and visiting places and learning about the history of the area. It’s getting out a drawing board and supplies and putting shapes and pictures to a blank slate.
Is happiness about a perfect life? No, there is no such thing as a perfect life. I say, “I’m perfect at being imperfect.” Happiness is a state of mind, an attitude, a choice. I choose to be happy! And on those days when things are not going so well I will try to find a way to make good from that.
We all make choices in how we live our lives. Our parents chose how to live their lives. I can’t live with any regret. There wasn’t anything I could have done that would have made a different. I am choosing to live a happy life. Yes, it has taken a lifetime to get here, but I am satisfied.
What makes you happy?
Friday, December 18, 2015
This morning I was journaling about being alone on Christmas Day to play my mother’s favorite game. I set up three sets as if she, my aunt and her twin Margaret, and I are playing and I take turns playing for the three of us. This is my way of honoring them; especially my mother, and I’ve done this for the past years since her passing on Christmas Day 2011.
Yet, even though I look forward to doing this, there is still part of me that feels lonely about spending Christmas alone. I insist on doing it this way and I am stubborn about it! On this, I am not willing to give in.
So, while writing about this in my journal, I also got into how Ma always seemed to need people around her to make her happy. Did this mean she was an unhappy person on the inside, that she needed others’ attention and company to make her feel worthwhile? Is this why I am so adamant about my solitude?
How unhappy was my mother? Was she? I know Don and I were her life, along with her twin and brother. And of course, this wasn’t anything she would ever discuss… these types of things were secrets, not to be talked about. (Again, is this one of the reasons why I spend so much time researching emotions and the whys behind them?)
Did my mother only define herself by who was around her? Did she need us to make her feel like she was somebody? Did she feel useless when she was alone? Maybe this is why I feel the need to define myself and acknowledge that I am OK alone as well as when I am with others.
I may be sad and in tears while writing about this, but I also find it very interesting. Is there a part of me deep down that knows my mother was in those places of sadness when she was alone? Of course, as a child, I wouldn’t know that, but now… is that why it is so important to me to play “her” game and insist on my solitude? There is that part of me that feels I need to prove to others that I am OK being alone, that I need solitude – and I do – but it must be balanced with the company of family and good friends.
So, once more I get a bit of understanding, a little snigget of wisdom, in this journey of humanness.
There’s something about the love of one’s mother… I miss her so much!
Thursday, December 17, 2015
My best friend and sister-artist-in-soul and I can talk hours about life and creativity. Yet we are total opposites in how we view some things.
Nan is totally linear. She has that mathematical mind that expects everything to be in place, to be planned out, and followed to a T. She is minimalist and everything needs to be organized, neat, and orderly. She plans her year ahead and likes a precise, laid-out path. Nan focuses on a set plan and will follow it to its exact end.
Me, I am spontaneous. I will move to the moment and I work almost totally on inspiration. My mind does not narrow to a specific focus which means I am distracted easily. I can have a myriad of thoughts gushing through me at once and I will bounce from one project to another on a whim.
Nan and I discuss our differences and from that we learn more about each other and ourselves.
Yesterday we talked about the year coming to an end and how 2015 has been unlike the past few years art-wise. For me, most of my creative endeavors were put on hold due to the selling of the Bradford house and finding and moving to the new house in Hillsborough, the subsequent settling in and renovating to Sasha-fy it. I only put art work in a couple of places this year and I knew sales were going to be practically nil.
Nan’s year was a turnabout for her, too, as the two galleries from which she sold most of her paintings closed. She struggled to find alternative places with little results and she is feeling deflated by the lack of sales. She gets her inspiration to create from having her other paintings sell and move to a new forever home. No sales or too few sales are totally demoralizing for her.
And so, this year comes to a close. I always look forward to a new year to be refreshed and to start a clean slate. However, this year as I look towards 2016, the picture in my mind does not contain any images. It usually shows an open door to the New Year with flashes of scenes moving by… the possibilities of things that could be. At least it did in past years.
Right now, while there is color and images around the outside of the door, looking through the door into the New Year, I see nothing but white, foggy light. I squint trying to see an image, any type of picture, but there is nothing. Maybe I’m looking too early. After all, it isn’t New Year’s Day yet.
This is not a need to panic. Perhaps it’s just a hiatus, a resting period before the New Year. I know in my heart that something will come. The universe will provide. This is an opening to possibility and without set plans, anything is possible in 2016. How exciting is that!
I share my vision with Nan. Again, because of her linear, mathematical mind, she struggles with waiting for possibility to happen. She wants that concrete picture. She demands plans and precise steps. She’s more of a “make something happen” while I tend to “wait for something to happen.”
It’s very interesting sharing our ideas, visions, and looking at the way two different people think and believe. That doesn’t make one wrong or right. It’s all about other points of views. The sharing can also spark the flame that could put pictures in that open door. I am content to sit back and wait for possibility to happen. (And in the meantime, I can always find lots to do.)
Thursday, December 10, 2015
The past three Christmas seasons have been very emotional as everything about the Bradford house reminded me of my mother. Yes, I miss her every day and some days I still cry. I have her picture placed so she is always with me. I miss her so much!
But moving to the new home has lessened some of the pain, the sad memories. I will still spend Christmas alone with her, playing her favorite game. I am actually looking forward to it. However, this new home has a different feel… or maybe I just feel more ready to continue moving on.
Years ago I went a bit overboard with decorating. That became less so in later years, then after her passing, hardly anything as grief was too encompassing during the season (she had passed away on Christmas Day). In having to downsize to move here, I got rid of all of the decorations that had been saved throughout the years. Some went before I left Bradford, then another two full boxes after moving here.
I did keep a wreath, my little, foot-tall, lighted, purple tree, and a couple of purple and pink ornaments. I realize I got rid of some of the items I meant to save as some of what I kept actually had prices on them from the estate sale.
Now that I have neighbors and can see nightly Christmas lights, I am feeling more inspired again. My little lighted tree isn’t enough and the blue balls hanging on the old wreath do not go with the red-trimmed house.
I don’t know if I want to purchase new decorations after throwing away and giving away so much. However, I feel the need for color, for brightness, for happiness. I need to bring in happy.
I can’t feel guilty about what I discarded because what worked in other homes would not work here, so perhaps I do need to go new. And I don’t need a lot… never again too much.
It seems that not only a physical move has made a big change in my life, but I am moving in other ways, too, as even how I look at my art is evolving. It happens. So maybe if I run out today to pay my taxes, I can reward myself by stopping to purchase something Christmasy to further brighten my new home. What do you think?
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
I am back in book mode. I went to sleep last night thinking about the book and I wake this morning with the writing on my mind. All I want to do is work on the book. Tomorrow is breakfast day with fellow artists and I’m tempted to not go because I want to write. But I have errands that need to be tended to and I can’t put them off.
Yesterday was another afternoon spent on the book. One of my problems is that I keep going back and rereading and re-editing previous chapters. I remember things to add. Annette advised, “Get the book written and go back to do the editing later!” I’m taking (or trying to) her suggestion to heart. My new mantra is “Get the book written.”
The funny thing is, is that’s how I write poetry. When the words are flowing, I don’t stop to edit, I just write. Later I go back and fix it up. Maybe I do need to do this with the book even though it’s a much more massive manuscript. If I keep spending time going back over what was already done, I’ll never get to the end.
I’ve got to stop worrying about what I’m going to do with all the pictures. I took some amazing photos on the trip and very few will be able to go into the book. I had this same dilemma with “Two Cold for Alligators” which was about the 2013 trip. I still have those pictures sitting in limbo. Maybe I could eventually do a picture book of each trip, but for now, I have to concentrate on the writing of the current book.
I’ve managed to work on the project two days in a row. It’s hard to keep straight writing while referring to the daily journal I wrote at the time and photos taken. My thoughts get interrupted by ideas to add to charts or lists I am also making. Questions pop up about how to do this or what other information I could add. I look up sites on the web to add historical facts on places I visited. This isn’t straight forward writing. Other factors are involved.
I am consumed by the desire to get this book written. I worked on it on Nov. 2, but that day was mostly trying to catch up to where I left off. The last day previously I worked on it was April 6. The project had been put aside with the house selling, new house purchase, and the stressful move. Now, I’m in the grip of creativity and I want to stick with it. How can I ever go on another trip if I can’t get this one written up?
And I do want to travel again. I enjoyed it so much! I loved the driving, seeing the entire countryside I travelled through, and being able to go or stay as I pleased. Just thinking about it brings excitement and writing about the journey and viewing the photos taken along the way make me want to do more.
(I just have to figure out how I will afford to.)
Monday, December 7, 2015
This past week mornings are consumed by the fires of creativity and two poems erupted from the torrent of words rushing through me. It dawned on me that I can relate these creative outbursts to weather and natural phenomena.
A flash ignition quickly
burns through my mind
in an uncontrollable wildfire
of words and thoughts
I can’t write or type fast enough
my brain can’t catch it all
as the combustion of thought
narrows in focus
to roar through me
with intense heat
The firestorm flares
fueled by its own storm-force
I grab at the flames
trying to capture
essence so profound
that my brain
can’t contain the heat
But the movement is too fast
and won’t wait
for my slow mind
to process what I’m seeing
and my slower hand
to record what I witness
For these few moments
my entire being
by the gale-force words
I am scorched
by the hot gases
and the fear
that I can’t get
it all down
Thoughts roar through me
one after another
light bulbs flash
eager to get it
onto the page
to keep it all contained
the fuel and I
my brain gasps
a cool wind
blows through my soul
I can now rest
---Sasha Wolfe 2015
The poems are fresh and new and I could write one every morning. I even have the idea to do another poetry book with accompanying pictures geared to the topic of creativity. I certainly have written enough poems on the subject throughout the years to be their own book.
out of the clouds
slams me into the ground
with the force
of a tornado
rip my soul to shreds
as the debris of words and ideas
crash against my walls
I have to capture them
I have to put it all together
I have to make them understandable
I struggle to hold together
keep my house
from falling apart
as the whirling forces
strip me bare
Destruction and creativity
turn, spin, flip me upside down
then dissipate into the void
leaving me flattened
on the floor
But oh the joy!
From the chaos
comes the awe
I am rewarded
with another bit
that leaves me
refreshed and renewed
---Sasha Wolfe, 2015
Then another exciting bit is I’ve finally decided on a path for my memoirs… yeah, like I need another project. But at least I have an idea. I’ve been wanting to put together a memoir for years, but I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to go about it. Oh, I am not explaining this well. My goal is not your normal life-story type of deal… and that’s all I’m going to say at this point.
However, there are many other things trying to grab my attention. I have articles to write, editing to do, and the community calendar to put together, and other assignments for the InterTown Record. I’m still settling in at the new house. There are the two books that are already in various stages and if I want to do any more traveling, I need to get that one book finished before I can take on another travel-writing project.
My brain is so intensely on fire for most of the day that it eventually shuts down. All I can do is crawl to the living room and become a couch potato until bedtime.