Happy Mother’s Day
To all my writerly friends who are mothers.
Have a wonderful day.
May it be filled with great family time.
And end with peace and quiet.
May you find inspiration
and satisfaction along the way.
This is a test, in more ways than one. It’s finals week and I’ve completed my classes for this semester. One is satisfactory and one, not so much. However, I expect I will just have to settle for it since I can’t see going through it again as beneficial. At least I passed. A high C is not my usual standard, but I am afraid it will have to do for that particular class. The thing that brought my score down so much was the Buddhism exam. All my homework grades were fine and the other two tests were acceptable. So, I am taking a class dedicated exclusively to Buddhism n the fall.
I have two online classes this summer. One in May and another in July, then I will be driving back and forth to Bowling Green for classes on Monday/Wednesday/Friday in the fall. In the meantime, I’ll try to be more prolific at posting to the blogs and start working on my fiction writing again.
I’m also have an issue with this site. It says it can’t find the landing page. When I click the Home button, I get an error. I’ll work on fixing that tomorrow.
As part of my attempt to find a more productive writing schedule, I have moved my computer to my bedroom. I know that is not the ideal place to keep it. It has the potential to interfere with sleep patterns. However, all the experts say you should have a quiet writing space. A place where you can shut out the external world and concentrate. I don’t know how that jibes with people who write in coffee shops or sidewalk cafes. I’m not sure solitude is always necessary, but I do know that trying to write in a hub of activity wasn’t really working. My home office is in an area that doesn’t even have a door I can close. In fact, except for the dining room, it is about the most high-traffic area in the house.
So, here I sit, all alone. However, there is now another problem. Before, I could work off and on all day long even while doing other things. I used to step into the office and work for half an hour or so while the baby played in his pen in the livingroom. There was no door and it was only ten feet away. I could hear him babbling and rattling around. There was nothing within reach that could hurt him. I can’t run upstairs and leave him alone like that. If I come upstairs, he has to come too. There isn’t room up here for his playpen or his walker. The only thing he has up here to amuse him is a bouncing swing and abstract art slides on my second monitor. It works for short periods, but he’s only nine months old. He gets bored quickly.
Before, I could set the timer on the oven while fixing dinner and go write. I can’t hear the timer go off upstairs. I can set a timer on my phone, but it doesn’t work the same. In the office, it was only a few steps to the kitchen to check on things, then right back to work. Up here, it’s a major effort. If I stop to go downstairs and take something out of the oven, I’m probably not going to come right back.
This arrangement is forcing me to look at writing as a more serious occupation. Almost like a “job.” It’s never been that before. It’s always been my inclination, aggravation, predilection, paroxysm….every thing except a regular work ethic. Writing burst forth from my mind and heart incrementally, each part kind of building on the one before and all of it personal. More like a diary than anything else. Only my fiction was independent of my daily life and it had a tendency to get lost in the scramble of Facebook, website work, blogging and living.
The only time I had worked at writing in any kind of controlled way was for school. Then, someone else had chosen a topic and given me a deadline. I had been forced by the environment to accomplish the goal along a professional like path. Choosing my own topics and setting my own deadlines hasn’t been working out very well. I guess, subconsciously, I was looking for that controlled habitat when I decided to enroll in classes again. I think I had the idea that, as I made time for homework, I would be able to set aside writing time as well.
At first, I had a tendency to treat classwork like I had been doing my writing. Homework was being done at the last minute and writing not at all. It took a few weeks for me to organize myself around this new circumstance. The computer was still downstairs at the beginning of the semester and I got in the habit of doing school work incrementally as well. With the computer upstairs, that has become impossible. So, I am rewriting my editorial calendar, redoing my daily schedule. The first semester of my Religious Studies courses is almost finished and I have finally begun to find a pattern. Adjusting my mental processes and physical activities to work on a set schedule. Mostly the baby’s schedule, but a schedule nevertheless.
I work when the baby naps or after his mother gets home. Early in the morning, I check email and social media, then do little Yoga. If Baby Boy is still asleep or his mother is home, I do homework or write. Somewhere between noon and two o’clock, he’s ready for a two or three hour nap, more free time. His mother’s schedule changes from week to week, except for Monday and Wednesday. Those are her class days this semester. She gets home by 4pm. Of course, on Wednesday’s, I have to go to my own class then but, Monday evenings I write. The rest of the week, I fit things around her work schedule and the baby’s sleep schedule and the bouncy swing or I write by hand downstairs while he plays. Transcribing that onto the computer gives me an extra opportunity to edit.
A little at a time, I am adjusting. The move has forced me to plan and to concentrate. I can now, at times, shut my door and ignore activity in the rest of the house. I have managed to post three days this week. I can’t exactly say I’m back yet, but I am on my way.
Love is a very flexible word. It can be a noun or a verb, as casual as “I love milk with my cherry pie,” and as serious as “I will love you forever.” Love can be as innocent as a baby’s joyful smile or as passionate as a honeymoon weekend. It can grow stronger with care or die of neglect. Love can be joyful or sad, it can be passionate or tough. We can demonstrate it with a touch, the tone of our voice, a smile or a tear. Love can be shown with words or with acts.
The kinds of love are just as varied:
Tomorrow is the first of February, the month of love, and the West Kentucky Photography Club will be searching for love all month long. That’s their challenge for this month. Take pictures of love. Sometimes showing their own love for someone or something. At other times, showing the love of others for them or for each other. Have a happy Valentine’s Day all month long.
It’s that time again. Every year we torture ourselves with looking back at the old year. Reliving the challenges and grading ourselves on how well we handled them….or how poorly. Actually, I start long before the new year.
I watch myself in the beginning as I write up my list and I think…hmmm….that’s not going to last. You’re going to be “starting over” every week on that idea.
I know I am setting myself up to fail, but I go ahead and do it anyway. Because I firmly believe that we must grow or we will die. Stagnation is deadly. So, I plan to grow. I set goals that I know in advance will be difficult. I accept the fact that it won’t be easy and I may not totally succeed. I expect to be continually starting over all year long. That’s why my mantra is “You haven’t failed until you stop trying.”
So, once again, I am laying out a plan for the new year. Looking at my goals for the last one and deciding whether I need to revise them or keep on trying, because I can’t really say I completely achieved any of them. However, I can say I’ve progressed on most fronts. I, also, achieved things that weren’t really on the agenda, things that I’m pleased about.
I grew, just not exactly the way I had planned. You know that cliche about, “Man makes plans and God laughs?” I am one of the most amusing people God knows. But, I’m not starting to decay, just yet. He’s still having fun with me. So, we’ll play another round.
Here I am, Lord. Making plans. Just don’t get the idea that I think I’m in control. I know I’m not. I know there will be hitches and halts along the way. I promise to listen for your whispers.
So, I am in the process of trying to revise my calendars, both the agenda and the editorial. Taking off things that are not a real priority, moving things around that I KNOW I should find a way to accomplish, making room for the tasks that the “still small voice” in my heart is asking me to continue working on and the new one He has suggested.
It’s early yet since I don’t have my acceptance letter but, since it really just looks like a case of waiting on paperwork, here’s my first public announcement: I am registering at WKU for their BA degree in Religious Studies. It’s not just about Christianity, it also provides an introduction to most of the world’s major religions. I have long been a promoter of the fact that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all worship the same God. All three religions are built on the same foundation. They are simply using different floor plans. Now I feel called to delve into the synergy to be found between the three as well as others.
Many of the required courses are offered online or at the Owensboro Community College campus, which is less than an hour from me. However, it will be necessary at times to drive (90 miles each way) back and forth to the main campus at Bowling Green. Working this into my already busy schedule will be a challenge, but I’ve managed it before and I’m sure I can again.
In fact, I am thinking the added pressure may force me to prioritize my time more efficiently and result in getting more done instead of less. As it is now, I always have that feeling in the back of my head that there are no REAL deadlines, so I can procrastinate as much as I want. Perhaps creating a more structured environment will force me to concentrate on getting things done.
To begin with, I plan to only take one or two classes a semester. It’s not like there is any urgency to complete the course and I have no plans to use the information for anything more than my own satisfaction and spiritual growth. What God plans is not clear as yet. I am sure it will be revealed eventually.
Friday Fictioneers has been cruising around the ether just fine without my participation. I must apologize to Rochelle for my abandonment. It wasn’t personal, it wasn’t even intentional. It was just an over extended scheduling problem. It probably isn’t fixed. It may never be fixed. Still, I do love flash fiction and The Friday Fictioneers was where I first learned the joy of writing short pieces, so I will try to make it by as often as possible.
This week’s photo is at the left. I am meditating on it. I know the rules say I should have looked for it on Wednesday (I was busy running around with visiting family.), written a rough draft on Thursday (I was driving for eight hours.), and posted the story this morning. So, like usual, I am going to be late to the party.
I’m thinking this prompt, like most of them lately, doesn’t lend itself to my usual plot line. I must find my way out of the box before I can begin. Or, maybe, find a way to turn the box inside out and make it fit.
“I’ll be back”….or….”I shall return,” depending on your generation. Later Dude….dudette? Hmmm. I need to think on this one for a while.