Sunday, May 29, 2016

What You Give You Get Back Tenfold

My novel is whispering to me again.  The characters I left off with are impatient for the story to continue while the ones on deck are downright angry at waiting for their turn to be edited.  You'd think they'd be quiet, knowing any of them could die in the rewrite.  But no, they campaign for their time in the spotlight and their chance at making their character better from the first draft.  If I enjoyed myself outdoors more I could say that the lovely spring days are what keep me from writing, but that's not it.  It's lack of discipline.  I have nothing holding me back but myself.  So this morning, while the laundry is washing and drying and doing what it's meant to do, I'm going to do the same and free my writer's mind of all this chatter.  It's time to move on to the next five chapters even without feedback from the first.  The story is in my head after all, and truly not in the hands of any helpful editors.  With that being said, if Mr. Practicle is still reading my blog, I hope he knows I'm not trying to rush him with this statement.  Just stating the facts. As I'm so prone to do which gets me so misunderstood.  People think I'm passive aggressive.  And while some may use that technique to be passive aggressive, I'm not.  I think it's all in our tone of voice, or tone of mind if you are reading.  And we forget this when our lives have become so technical instead of personal.  We talk more with our loved ones through texting and messaging now than with our voices, and tone is something heard.  Or placed over the written word.  So if a trusted friend suddenly doesn't 'sound' like themselves over a text perhaps it is your own present mood coloring the situation, and escalating it. 

I used to jump to conclusions over the internet until I understood how misunderstood a simple sentence can be in a conversation, without the sound of my voice to accompany my text.  I would much rather talk on the phone or in person, but that luxury is denied me as my best confidants and friends and loved ones are all far away from me.  And most of them prefer to text because the phone can be difficult and problematic for them.  So I try to over simplify my words online, however sometimes I get so wrapped up in the actual conversation, with an actual adult, that I forget that even my best friends might not be in the same mood I'm in and therefore might have a different tone. 

I'm sure they try to think before getting upset like I do.  But a part of me wonders if that's really true.  If anyone actually stops, and thinks, 'wait a friend would never feel this...maybe it's me?'  doubtful right?  Most of us believe we are right all the time.  For example, most of us believe we are funny, smart and good drivers.  But we can't all be funny, smart and good drivers.  So some of us must be delusional.  (I think Dennis Leary had a routine on this.  Can't remember.)  Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that I'm frequently misunderstood online.  And I think it's because most people want to expect the worst of the other guy instead of the best.  I think we're all defensive because we've had enough of trying to do things the right way and getting burned or ripped off or destroyed.  Both emotionally and financially in this world.  And so we start off on the defense.  How refreshing it must have been to live in a time where our first instinct was to help each other instead of ignoring each other.  My mom grew up in the depression and she used to speak of the road weary that would show up at their farm looking for work for a meal.  And how her father would open his home, with a wife and 15 children, (5 home at a time, so still a sizable number) and give the hobo (what they called them then) some field work, a meal, and a bath before sending him on his way.  Sometimes they even stayed in the barn for a week if there was enough work.  But the thought that this homeless person would harm them for their kindness was not the first thought.  I'm betting for them it wasn't even a second or third thought because they were Christians.  Real ones.  Not the new fangled ones now that have mega churches while the poor go hungry.  But ones that were told that what you give you get back, tenfold.

I long for a simpler time.  When you could tell the bad guys from the good guys by a look or a cut of their suit.  Or a tone in their voice.  Technology is a modern marvel, and one I'm as addicted to as the next person, but one I honestly believe will destroy us as humans. 

Cheers.  Blessed Be.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Writing and Thinking

It's been a week since Poet In My Heart has blocked me and of course, Mr. Hopeful was my only friend to understand what I was feeling and told me he was sorry for my loss.  I have others that identified with what happened because it happened to them, and somehow that makes it ok.  Just to know friends out there feels the same way I do about friendship makes that friendship even stronger.  Mr. Practicle is in an even deeper depression than Mr. Hopeful and I didn't think that was possible.  But perhaps Mr. H has more to live for.  I know my children often saved me from complete despair.  I try to treat them both with the same care my group treated me.  I listen and ask questions to get them to talk it out more.  Sometimes it works.  I think it works more with Mr. H then Mr. P but then I honestly think Mr. H wants to feel again, and I believe Mr. P has given up on anything, everything and needs professional help.  Unfortunately, he is paralyzed from getting it both physically and financially.  The good news on my side of it is that even though these men have been and hopefully will continue to be special and dear friends in my life, I have not and will not let their individual depressions bring me back to a state of feeling like life is futile.  I'm learning how to control my empathy.  But still have it enough to want to help.  So this is a good thing and makes me feel even more in control of who I am. 

I was able to rework the play I've been writing with a new main character to replace the one that Poet had said I could use.  And once I started writing the new character really took shape.  Fortunately, I had already formatted the play so editing wasn't as large a task as I'd feared.  Took most of the yesterday morning to read through and replace different dialogue and different storyline, without erasing anything from my other main characters journey which I liked.  I have one more read through this morning after my blog, to make sure there are no pesky errors from the other character's storyline, and perhaps some more funny elements will strike me.  I always think it needs more humor, but that might not be true.  I'm excited to see if all my interested parties are still interested in reading it once I reach out later.  And then I'll be sending it a mother watching her child leave home for the first time to college.  It needs to be done but its so hard to let go.

I have a feeling my writer friends in Chicago will be much faster at responding to my edits than Mr. P has been, but in his defense he has been depressed.  I'm hoping that they each will feel comfortable enough to tell me what they liked and what they didn't and what works for them and what doesn't.  I haven't been this excited about something I've written in since before my depression and Mr. Charisma,  and that in and of itself is also a good sign. 

With that thought, it's time to read through the play again. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Dissapearance of The Poet In My Heart

Last night I went in search of art and inspiration and boy did I find it.  I attended a play called Mitera.  An original work by a friend of mine here in Chicago.  I'd give you all the details so you could experience this wonderful bit of theatre but last night was closing night, so it will do you no good.  I'm happy to report that I got to see it and as a writer, it helped inspire me to dig a little deeper into some of my own experiences and not be afraid to put the truth out there.  No matter what that truth is. 
I think as writers we all try to do this, but sometimes we get bogged down by how it will be received or if it follows some imagined norm of theatre and how a play should look.  As if there were any real norms in art.  As with writing anything, be it a screenplay or play or novel, there are certain formats we should follow if we want to sell our work, but the more important part is to just get it on the page.

Which brings me to some sad news.  I must completely rewrite the play I was working on.  I'm not going to scrap it, although that might be easier.  But I have to cut one of the two main characters.  The one based on another old friend of mine, The Poet In My Heart.  I've felt very close to her for a few years again, let's say six.  But there was a one year break where we didn't talk at all when she moved and was in a destructive and toxic relationship.  She basically disappeared, both physically with the move and on the internet.  Then one day, out of the blue she started talking again.  She moved back and got away from the relationship and we got closer than ever.  But somewhere around the beginning of March, she stopped talking to me.  She stopped responding to hellos and friendly conversation openers that she used to respond to, or that she used to get my attention.  I've tried reaching out in many ways.  Asking if she's ok, since the behaviour is not her norm to me, and after looking back on our conversations I can't find any unsettled argument's or disagreements of any kind.  It's like she's reacting to a fight between us that, I don't remember being a part of.  Which worried me at first.  I tried reaching out again just last week after not trying since April, and now her picture is gone from my phone and I can't see her facebook anymore.  Like I've been blocked.  This bothers me only a little because I'm come to realize that whatever I did or didn't do, it's obviously not important enough to her for her to want to fix it.  She hasn't acted angry at me or blown up or demanded any explanations.  She just stopped being my friend.  And we were close.  We used to talk every day, and tell each other about our lives and get advice and vent.  She had given me her blessing on the play and the character based on her, but now, with no input or blessing from her on her character I can't continue the play with her a part of it.  So I must go back to the drawing board and create a new main character to interact with the character based on me. 

This may be a good thing because I wasn't as happy with it on the page as I thought I was going to be.  But the work....oh I really do hate the work of creating another character, and trying to see what dialogue can stay and what must change.  The characters arguing in my head right now are very different from her, and so my fear is that I should just scrap the whole thing and see how a new version comes out.  But I had finished it....all but the second draft and now it feels like that was a complete waste of time. 

I'm angry now at her for blocking me without any explaination as to why.  But I'm not angry at myself because I don't know what I did.  If I did anything.  And I don't have time in my life for drama like this.  So it's probably for the best.  I'd like to be able to tell her to delete what she's read of my play but I'm sure she already has.  Blocking a person in this day in age is the same thing.  I've been erased from her life.  And she'll never know that all she'd have to do is reach out and I'd welcome her back.  After finding out the story of why she's gone, of course.  I only hope she's not in any danger.  The last few times I tried to reach out that she responded to she assured me we were fine and just didn't feel well or like chatting.  Which was odd in and of itself because we talked with each other when we didn't feel like chatting with anyone else and sicknees never really stopped us before.  But I digress.

What's done is done, and what this is teaching me is that you can't control everything and can't let the things you can't control worry or bother you.  The other thing it's taught me is that if you see a loved one going through something that seems out of character, reach out to their kids, parents, anyone in their family you know to make sure that they are ok.  Sometimes people get sick and sometimes they can't talk about it.  I hope this isn't the case, but the sudden dissapearance of her facebook page has me wondering....what happed to one of my best friends?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

This Mother's Day weekend has been one of the best ones ever.  First Daughter and her boyfriend Grumpy Otter, who isn't really grumpy have come to visit me, and have been here with me since Thursday and aren't leaving until tomorrow!  I'm so happy that they could come and spend this much time with me.

Thursday night after work I took them to my favorite English Pub and we had ciders and Fish and Chips and burgers and wonderful beers.  Friday after work we went to Buddy Guy's Legends for more wonderful cajun food and equally wonderful blues while we ate and I got to meet Coffee Girl, an integral part of their family network.  She was as nice and thoughtful as First Daughter has told me, and I'm excited for them to all be roommates.  (I'll be drinking out of the mug you gave me today!)  Yesterday we walked all over Chicago, first to see the Van Gogh Bedrooms exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, and then more food at Flat Iron Grill, then some shopping which didn't turn up any rings or dresses that First Daughter liked, but was worth the experiment.  After that, there was this play entitled Trash that Second Daughter was in and so, of course, we had to see it, and what a wonderfully funny and equally disturbing play it was.  If you're in Chicago I suggest to catch it.  One more weekend and it's gone.  After drinks and discussions on comics and writers with the cast members, we were finally exhausted on the train ride home. And I actually slept in until 8:30...."A Mother's Day miracle".  According to First Daughter. 

Today we chill.  With donuts and coffee that the kids have just run out for, and many movies and tv shows to introduce each other too, I have a feeling my mother's day will be perfectly spent relaxing in my internest and enjoying their company.  There will be drinking of mimosas and eating of takeout food.  I'm sure I'll hear from First Son and all the other kids in my life that call me ma, but having my daughter here and having her want to spend this time with me, means so much more to me than any present anyone could give me.  Although I will share with you that she did bring me a magic deck of my very own to have for when they come so we can play.  I used to play it when the game first came out but gave up in frustration in trying to afford to keep up with all the expansions and so gave my extensive collection of cards away to First Son, as he still played at the time.  Oh and she also gave me some facial girly stuff too.  But the magic cards mean a lot to me.  It's one of those things that my kids picked up from me and ran with it, like a love for film and theatre.  Or their passion for reading everything from Novels both fiction and nonfiction to plays and comics.  The rock and roll from the 70's and 80's, songs and band that will always remind them of their childhood home.  Video games in the home as they progressed from pong to Nintendo and beyond.  And food...we must not forget a love of snacking and eating good food.  The things your children pick up from you are life long habits and memories, although at the time it just seems like you are living and trying to keep your head above water.  But the memories I have of my kids and me with my mom living with us after the divorces, are some of the best memories I have of us as a family.  I miss them in my life every day, but as adults, I couldn't be more proud of the people they have become and am happy that we don't have to live together yet.  Hopefully,  I'll never become a medical burden or any burden on my kids, but if that were to happen I know we'd make it work.   Because my kids are adults I'd choose as friends, if they weren't already family.  That is my Mother's Day wish for you all.  That the children you have and raise become adults you are glad you know. 

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!  Cheers. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Staycation in Chicago, and Vacation in St. Paul

With the beginning of May, I welcome new beginnings in my life.  My vacation so far has been one of the most relaxing, fun, exciting, unexpected, romantic, and all around emotionally fulfilling one that I have had in a long time.  Half of it I spent just chilling and relaxing and trying to recover from being sick with bronchitis.  Gaming and Gotham filled my days while Doctor Who and Wheel of Time filled my nights.  It was just what the 'Doctor' ordered.

The second half of my vacation has been full of old friends and my brain feels wonderfully full of all the new information from catching up.  First to surprise me with an overnight visit was Mr. Hopeful.  My heart always loves seeing him and talking together about our lives and our dreams.  What went wrong, what is right, and how to fix the issues in our lives that we just can't talk about with everyone.  It's necessary to have old friends that know you so well they can see through the lies you tell yourself, and he is one of those friends for me.  We stayed up much too late just talking and watching movies.  Breakfast the next morning was at my favorite spot near my apartment, and while I would have loved to have him my guest for more time, it wasn't meant to be for I had a train to catch to St. Paul to visit my best friend, She of Little Combat Boots, Mr. Miah, and their three beautiful and energetically entertaining children who have grown up so much without me.  I'm too excited and happy to be here to be sad about missing a chunk of their childhood.  Pumpkin Pie is 13 now, and I couldn't be more proud how her face still lights up when she sees me and runs like she was still five to hug me.  She is the most joyous and 'punny' (like her dad) 13-year-old I've met, and very passionate about her loves and hates.  LiL G is 8 and in the words of her mother, she acts like she's 22 and that's not far off.  She's articulate and wise and has a sense of humor that rivals my children's for being both dark and funny.  And then there is Wolfy the one saw being born, who I can't believe is 6 and while he's not as vocal as his sisters, I love it when he comes quietly up to me and asks me a question or tells me he wants to show me something, with his bright eyes shining.   I got to see Pumpkin Pie's spring concert my second night here and yesterday the whole family plus another old friend I didn't expect to see played D&D.  I know, all of you that gamed with us in the past are very jealous that I got to game with Mr. Miah as DM and She of Little Combat Boots and their daughters.  Wolfy is not as interested YET.  But I have a feeling he will be in a few years.  Gaming with their kids reminded me of my own home years ago gaming with my children and friends.  Tomorrow morning I leave, sadly.  But my future might bring me back here sooner than I know.  And who am I to argue with Time or Fate about my future.  Tring to live there will drive you insane.  So I don't.  But knowing that we all wish to be near each other still is a good feeling and will comfort me when I depart.

One to making more memories today with them.