Tag: churnings (Page 4 of 9)

We Interrupt This Crankiness . . .

Look

We interrupt this crankiness because I need help:

Y’all know how horrible I am at naming, and I need a name in the worst sort of way for a woman who’s unleashed her inner Karen (Will & Grace) and Maxine (greeting card aisle), a woman who’s not afraid to sent Hyacinth a monogrammed pail. This woman didn’t just unzip, she went straight to embodiment. She’s Southern (of course), so keep that in mind. And I don’t care if it’s a real woman’s name or a noun (or even a verb) that’s catchy and fun and fits. Know what I mean?

I considered (and have used) Ethel and Blondell, but those doesn’t quite fit. So help me out. Shoot me some names. And hey, my grandmother died years ago, so nicknames are fine, too.

~~~

On another note: I’m going to BlogHer tomorrow, are you? If you are, let me know ’cause I’d love nothing better than to call you Sugar to your precious face.

at the root of this crankiness: a churning, part 1

Tangles1

i am cranky.
and i’ve tried every trick
the book to
get on the other side
of it,
but nothing works.
i’ve tried productivity,
ticking things off my
embarrassingly long
to do list.
i’ve tried buttermilk pie.
i’ve tried walking
and dancing
and an extra 15 minutes of yoga
and an extra hour of sleep.
i’ve gotten a manicure
and a pedicure,
a new haircut,
a new pocketbook.
but nothing erases
or even alleviates
this crankiness.

it’s a big ole’
tangle,
this,
and it’s gonna’ take me a while
to find my way through it
because, honestly,
lots of threads
feed this tangle.

for starters,
there’s the flight
from salt lake city.
hubbie and i had
emergency row seats
diagonally across
the aisle from
each other.
he was on the aisle in row 26
and i was across the aisle
in the aisle seat on row 27.
we could see each other,
talk to each other,
reach each other
to share the water
and magazines
and such.

when we got to our seats,
however,
a man was sitting in my seat.
“excuse me,”
i said,
“i think you’re in my seat.”

“well, this is my wife,”
he said with huge affability,
pointing to the woman seated next to him.
“so would you mind swapping seats with me?”
“where’s your seat?” i asked.
“it’s up front there. no rows of seats
in front of you. plenty of legroom.”

“but this is my husband,”
i said, pointing to andy,
“so . . . “

“okay,” he said hopping up
and moving to the seat
directly across the aisle from me.

he was mr. congeniality, this one,
quite friendly,
quite loud.

eventually came a woman who stopped
right beside him.
“excuse me,” she said,
“you’re in my seat.”

“i am?”
he said, sounding a wee bit
surprised.
“are you traveling alone?”
she said “yes” with an
understandable tone of
hesitancy in her voice.
“great!” he said.
“that’s my wife over there –
wave your hand, honey –
so would you mind swapping seats with me?”

“where’s your seat?”
the woman asked.

“it’s on the front row
of that section,” he said.

“is it an aisle seat?”

“noooo, but there’s not a
row of seats in front of you,
so you’ll have plenty of leg room.”

“is it a window seat?”

“no, it’s the center seat,
but remember: lots of legroom.”

“but what about my bag? there’s
no room in the overheads there,”
she pointed out,
“and there is here.”

“no problem.
i’ll find a place for your bag.
so what do you say?”

and with that, the woman
quietly headed for the
center seat
in the front row –
the one with
plenty of leg room
and nobody in front of her.

when he returned from finding
a place for her bag,
he looked at me and said,
“so what do you say?
wanna’ sit behind your husband?”
and when i hesitated
because being behind andy
was not nearly as convenient
as being where we currently
sat – in fact, that’s why we
chose the seat configuration
we did, he continued
“you’ll be closer to him.”

which is technically correct,
but still.
i didn’t want to move.

but what did i do?

i unbuckled my seatbelt
and moved
to the seat
behind andy
where we couldn’t share
the water nearly as easily
and we couldn’t talk without standing up
and leaning over the seat
and we couldn’t both
read the magazine article
or shop in the sky mall
catalogue.

at first i was mad
because i got so upset
over a common,
not-at-all-unusual
situation.
i mean, really
only a bitch
of a bitch
would do that, right?

then i was mad
because the man
did a sucker sales
job on me,
pointing out why
it was in my best interest
to move
when actually
there was nothing in the move for me
and everything in the move for him.

eventually i got mad
because i moved.
i didn’t have to.
i could’ve said,
“no, we selected these
seats, and i’d like to stay.”
or, preferably a simple “no.”

but i didn’t.
i unbuckled my seatbelt
and moved.
even though i didn’t want to.
even though i knew i did not benefit,
regardless of what he said.
even though i knew i didn’t really have to.

so why did i?

because i still long to be liked.

and if i’d said no to this
affable, congenial man
who just wanted to sit next to his wife,
i ran the risk of being considered
a selfish, unreasonable bitch.

by people i don’t know
or might not ever see again.
i get that,
and yet . . .

///

and so i get mad at
the society
and culture
that created
such a mindset.
which is easy to do
because it’s justified
and familiar.

///

for so much of my life,
my worthiness gas depended on
how other people saw me.
especially males.
if the men liked me,
i was an absolutely
worthwhile
woman.

if women didn’t like me,
i could convince myself
and others
that they were just being
catty.

being nice is everything.

nobody wants to be around
a cranky woman,
a mean woman,
a woman who thinks only of herself.

///

but it’s time to be over that.
and that,
is one of the threads
at the root of this
crankiness.
why do i still cave
to such nonsense?
to such wrongness?

when will i
be over that?
when will that
nonsense
not even be a
speck in my
on its own
rearview mirror?

///

i don’t want to whine.
i hate whining.

///

i am cranky with
myself.
again.
always.

///

i have to be even nicer
because i’m
overweight,
as if trying to
wanting to
needing to
lose weight
isn’t bad enough.
but to feel like people
see me as
disgusting
because i’m overweight,
well shoot.
that means i have to be
even nicer
and of course i should
swap seats
and be genuinely
and thoroughly happy
to do whatever
anybody wants.

used to be because
i wore glasses,
(boys don’t make passes
at girls who wear glasses.)
but now it’s the weight.

///

i use the word “fuck”
a lot more
than i ever did before
and it’s seldom followed
by an apology,
even though (interestingly enough)
people – especially men –
still apologize to me
for saying “shit”
or even “damn”
in front of me.
as though i have
virgin ears.
and i don’t know what i think
about that.
there was a time when it
bothered me
annoyed me, actually
because i interpreted
a virgin –
even virgin ears –
mean i had not been
found desirable
and therefore
was – say it with me:
unworthy.

and as absurd as that might sound,
it’s absolutely true.

honestly, though
sometimes fuck is the only
word that will do.
and maybe
letting that word
roll over these lips
was an early step
in the process
to claim my crankiness.
the key that would
let me out of my
own prison cell.

///

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” Virginia Woolf

///

and then i read this post about
a new paradigm of being a leader
and i think:
well, huh. maybe i just want to lead
myself.

and maybe that’s enough.
of course that’s enough.
it’s all i really want to do:
lead myself out of
this ridiculous
reoccurring
conversation
and crankiness.

i know this
seeking outside
approval
and validation
and acknowledgement,
i know that basing
my worthiness
on how others see me
and what they think of me
is antiquated,
and though i’m not sure it ever
fit,
i know that the difference
is that now
i have a choice.
i can say
enough already.
or
fuck that.

and so one of the threads
of crankiness
is that i didn’t do that.
i caved.
i sold myself out.
i dishonored myself
in hopes that somebody –
doesn’t matter who –
would think me nice
and therefore
a worthy woman.
a woman
greater than all the rubies
and diamonds
in the entire world.

///

to be continued . . .

trust 30: day 3

This month, because I live for non-conformity (and to keep from having to think of something to write about) I am participating in a challenge designed to celebrate Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday. (Honestly, he doesn’t look a day over 112 to me.)

Today’s prompt:
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

Clouds

I don’t believe that differences in religious persuasions or political philosophies diminish one or magnify another.
I do believe it’s arrogant to try to impose belief systems on one another.

I don’t believe prayer is a stage or a confessional.
I do believe being a prayer is better than any spoken prayer I’ve ever had to sit through.

I don’t believe patriarchy has served anybody well.
I do believe it’s time for the feminine to rise up,
and be recognized,
and honored,
and celebrated.
to be embraced
and embodied.

I don’t believe women must become sacrificial lambs before their children to be a good mother.
I do believe it’s time to rip that page from the rulebook.

I don’t believe power is synonymous with power over.
I do believe I’m snatching my power out from under you right about now.

I don’t believe that traditional education has nearly enough respect and encouragement for independent, original thoughts.
I do believe that at its worst, traditional education creates drones (and I also believe we have a gracious plenty of those already.)

I don’t believe we possess a finite amount of creativity.
I do believe trying to use your creativity all up is the best way to grow more.

Because I don’t believe that every member of my family nods their head in agreement everything I put forth (here and otherwise),
I do believe that they sometimes entertain fantasies of having me rendered mute in a witness protection program.

so there

Unfurling

Today my to do list is not my best friend.
Usually I actually enjoy the structure
my to do list affords,
lines through completed items
testament to my
worthiness.

But not today.

I’m tired.
Tired to the bone, I tell you.
Which is no small wonder
given all the
huge things
I’ve checked off
My List
since February.

But still that one pesky
committee member
chides me about
all I still have to do,
(which means that I haven’t
earned any down time)
and how I can’t write
or sit
or read,
how I can’t slow down
until
I’ve wrestled that to do list
into a daily structure
of doable proportion.

That is my ultimate plan,
it’s true.

And it’s also true
that my husband
treks down the mountain
to work every day
at a job he doesn’t
especially like.
But I wonder how long
I must pay penance for him.
I wonder how long
I must bear this guilt
that I can’t even articulate.
I wonder if I’ll ever
really be rid of the notion
that worthiness is
directly proportional
to the size of a paycheck,
rendering everything I do
invisible
and of no consequence.

Writing is no carrot,
I say today.
I don’t shout it
and there’s no gnashing of teeth
or clenched fists as props.
I just simply say:
Writing is my blood.
And while it’s true
that my one word –
one itty bitty word
to wrap my ink around,
something that would tell you instantly
who I am
and
what I am about
is still elusive,
today I’m just too tired
to fret about it.

So I’m having myself an
At Will Day.
I nap
At Will.
I read
At Will.
I sit by the falls
or eat
or have a Smirnoff’s Ice (grape)
At Will.
Most importantly:
I write
At Will.

Yes, that is my
to do list for today.
And hear me on this:
I’ll do things
At Will
in spite of the
committee members who may attempt
to guilt me into submission
because today’s submission
is defined by another
committee member.
And since I seem to be on a roll,
I’m hereby officially
and publicly
nominating Her
to chair this committee that is Jeanne.

So there.

blank

sand

Today I am blank.
Not as fill-in-the but
just blank.
Blank.
I need an umbrella
Something to hang my interests under
A cause
A central theme
I crave a word.
A single itty bitty word
that tells you
who i am
and what i am about.

If i had
my word,
I am creative enough
to twist
and turn,
to wrap any story
and any experience
and even any question
right around it.

I would make clothes
out of that word.
My house would
utter that word
in every nook and niche.
That word would bloom
in my garden.
It would trample weeds
and sing me awake in the morning.
That word
would be my jungle gym
and my ticklebug.

But I haven’t a word.
Not a single word.

Sigh.

Maybe tomorrow
Or the next day.

proof

familyarchives2

i am surrounded,
almost to the point of suffocation, really,
with boxes of family history and herstory.
photos out the wazoo.
birth certificates
death certificates
marriage certificates.
family documents,
legal documents
all carefully organized
and stored in archival quality boxes,
these papers
that prove somebody existed,
but not that they lived.

Painting

Moon

“I can see your brush strokes,”
he harumphed
this man who wanted me to pay
his people to repaint what I’d just finished painting.

More and more
I am showing my brush strokes.
And when I’m using metallic paint,
yes,
the strokes will show.

Some people don’t like seeing the strokes.
Some people find the visible strokes
offensive or uncomfortable,
preferring an all-concealing, even coating.

Shoot, sometimes I don’t even like the strokes.
When I was sweet,
when I was a nice girl,
when I blended in
and caused no trouble
and agreed appropriately
and stroked and cajoled
and said only things I knew would be
accepted – occasionally even lauded,
when I couldn’t even tell you what I
wanted or needed or was even all about,
well, truth be known: that was easier for me, too.
I knew the rules,
the parameters.
I know how to play that game
and it became so second nature to me
that I didn’t have to think about it.

It was,
in what now seems
a warped sort of way,
comfortable.

///

But let me be clear:
The days when I remake myself
into an image you find pleasing
is over.
Done.
History.
If you find my words offensive,
if you don’t agree with me,
if you don’t like seeing
brush strokes,
there’s a solution that’s easy, simple:
Don’t read.
Don’t look.
Don’t listen.

Move on.

Instead of contacting me
and asking that I remove a post,
instead of contacting her
and demanding that she take down her words,
hide.
Defriend.
Unfollow.
Stroll another lane of the internet.
It’s
just
that
simple.

///

I spent a lifetime
contorting myself into images
they would find pleasing.
Then I spent another lifetime,
telling my daughter to do the very same thing.
Why?
Because I wanted her to be safe.

And now I know:
Safety is not found in becoming
somebody other than who you are.

///

As for those brush strokes . . .

It is no longer okay
to say
“This offends me, so I want you to remove it.”
It is, however, perfectly okay to say
“This offends me, so I will
read elsewhere.”

It’s easy, once you get the hang of it:
Don’t like a particular stage show?
Don’t buy a ticket.

Don’t like a certain kind of music?
Change the dial.

Don’t like a particular television show?
Watch something else.

Just so you know.

churning

2011 tantigle totem

my mother
and my grandmother
and her mother before her
churned.
up and down
down and up
they’d send the paddle,
until the sweetness rose to the top . . .

my beloved friend and writing partner
julie daley
has posted some remarkable
things on her blog,
but the past few weeks,
she’s really outdone herself
with her posts on oppression
and silence.

this is a conversation i’ve
longed to be a part of.

this is a conversation
i’ve loathed being a part of.

///

the day julie posted silences one,
my dream:
i was part of the underground railway
there was a passionate quickening
throughout the dream,
a full-body smile.
i sat at an uncluttered table
way up high
and wrote and wrote and wrote.
then i wrote some more.
the words spilled out
and rained down
and it was good.
it was so good.

wait.
i’m a southerner.
i can’t say
“underground railway”.

///

the morning after a phone lunch
with my beloved angela,
i can’t
for the life of me
remember
if she said she’s
a conservative
or
a liberal.

and that makes me smile all over.

///

oh, i want to sit in this circle
i really, really do
but
i don’t know how to talk.

if i say “you”
i’m preaching.
if I say “i”
i’m egocentric,
stuck-up,
self-centered,
calloused,
unfeeling
navel-gazer.

or worse.

when i went to graduate school,
i knew
in the way the feminine me knows
things unspoken
and unseen
that i should buy some
birkenstocks
and wear either
long, flowing skirts
or camo pants
from the army/navy surplus store.

i’ve tried awfully hard
to be a good friend
in the ethers
just like i did at graduate school
hoping that once you got to know me,
you’d like me.
hoping that when the differences
inevitably appear,
our union would be
strong enough
safe enough
to have space enough
to survive the differences.
you, my digital tribe, have been my tour guide,
taking me to places
i’d never have been able to go
on my own.
you’ve shown me different
ways of being,
and that enriches my life
immeasurably.

///

yes, i’m from the south.
fluent in english and southern, i say.
i love being a southerner
i loathe feeling like i should apologize for it.

///

does
victim
equate
with
oppressed?

maybe
it’s only a
semantic
mixup.

maybe
i
haven’t
really been
oppressed.
maybe
i
should
excuse
myself
from this
table.

i don’t want to be
oppressed
any more than i
want to be
an oppressor.

actually, what I really, really, really want
is to help women.
but that feels so
condescending.
that feels so
privileged.
that feels so
oppressive.

i want to
support women.

i want to stand
arm in arm with women
without
comparison
without
judgment.

comparison
trips us up,
keeps us from moving forward.
comparison
is a tool of a system
that builds and maintains the
safe (for the system) and suffocating (for us)
divide and conquer scenario.

we’re women.
we’re alike,
and we’re different.

imagine us
walking on the lush green fields
we were told not to step foot on.
that’s where i want to be,
not sitting at
an assigned seat
at an assigned table
in an assigned room,
poking at each other
with forks.
the field is
open
and expansive
and green
and lush
and the moist earth
feels solid and supportive
of our bare feet.
natural.
we smile there
we chortle
we revel.

the tables are
separated into rooms.
with angles
and walls – thick, insulated, impermeable walls.
the tables are
constructed,
and designed to keep us
small
and insulated
and from being able to
hear and see each other.

///

don’t you oppress
when you
dismiss
my experience,
my stories?

///

is it
acceptable
fashionable, even
to be oppressed?

do some people
grow comfortable
in the oppressed seat?

it is
oppression
when I walk into the room
wearing pink
or blue
or anything but black or camo,
wearing lipstick
and nail polish
carrying my
new iphone4
and my ipad
and you
judge me
as
the oppressor
or
as one who
has nothing
of worth
to contribute
to the conversation?

isn’t judgment
a form of oppression?
it sure feels like it.

///

doesn’t cattiness
and don’t cat fights
feel like tools
the system uses
to keep us distracted
and in our place?

///

can we really
talk about oppression
without the conversation
degenerating into
comparisons
and
blame?

///

i have been
oppressed
by
judgments
stereotypes
comparisons
class warfare
religion
an abusive male
and
governments.

but

is this really about
proving that my oppression
is worse/bigger/more obnoxious than yours?
is this really about
earning a totebag
or a badge
or a yard sign?

///

i do not like writing this
i do not like thinking this
i do not like feeling this.
this is not my native language.

///

what if
we lay our measuring swords
down on the table
not pointed at
any other person
yet
within reach
for when we need to
cut through
the bullshit
or
carve an
opening
into
a new way
of being.

what if
we listen
i mean
deeply listen
to each other’s
stories of
oppression?
could it be
that the
comparisons
and judgments
are the first
steps out of silence –
like stumbling
when we flick on the lightswitch
in a room that’s
been dark
for eons?

could it be
that the
comparisons
and judgments
are
testament
to
wanting to be
seen –
really, truly, deeply
seen?

what if
every woman
felt
not pitied
or trivialized
or commoditized
or devalued
or invisible
or dismissed
but
validated
and worthy
and seen?
how would that change
her?
how would that change
us?
how would that change
the world?

what if
bearing witness
is the salve
for the soul,
the balm
that’s needed
to
heal us
through
and across
and over
and into?

could it really be that simple?

do i seriously
think that just
listening
can make
profound
changes?

well,
yes.
yes, i do.

when women
feel safe enough
to be honest
with themselves
and others,
they gain
confidence
and
assurance.
and when women feel
strong enough
and safe enough
to live
from a position
of confidence and assurance,
things will never
be the same.

i mean, shoot,
why should the oppressors
be the only ones
living
confidently
and with assurance?

///

i’m nail-biting angry
at the oppression
heaped on women.
i’m nail-biting angry
from others
and
at the oppression
i’ve heaped
upon my self.

///

when i wrote my thesis,
i used all female
pronouns
and it was
positively
liberating.

liberating.
hmmmm.
is that the opposite
of victimhood?
the goal
for ending
oppression?

sovereignty
is the word
i carry in my
heart’s pocket,
you know.
i read
Reading Lolita in Tehran
years ago
and it still lingers
in the dark
crevices,
the passion pockets.
i long to
go forth
and liberate
women
who are completely
covered
save for their eyes.
women
who are not allowed
to read
or congregate.

but
who am i
to liberate them
just because
i see that as oppression?
isn’t that arrogance?
isn’t that judgmental?
isn’t that what religions
and
governments
do –
impose their belief systems,
their political systems
on others?

why don’t i just wait
till they ask?

because
not everybody
has my phone number.

///

3/4/2011

i resist looking at privilege
because
i have authority issues.
serious authority issues.
looking at privilege
feels like something
i am forced to do
if i want to be
considered a good girl
if i want to get that bright, shiny A.

my authority issues are so damn big
and dense
that i resist
discussion of privilege.
oh, don’t get me wrong:
i’ve got it.
privilege, i mean.
yep, i’m privileged all right.

“uncle”.

i’m also a woman who was
molested as a child
by a man who worked for my dad.
right there in the shop
in front of all the other men.
“doesn’t it feel good?”
he asked in a way that let me know
i was supposed to say yes.
convincingly.

as a teenager, i was in an abusive relationship
where i heard on a daily basis
“you are so ugly and so stupid,
who else but me would go out with you?”
along with a plentiful assortment
of other punches,
both physical, verbal, and emotional.

as a young adult, i was raped at a party
in front of all the other couples
who watched quietly,
none of them saying anything.
once it was over, the
music started again,
conversations resumed
and it was as though
nothing had ever happened.

///

3/9/2011

i can’t stop crying.
i don’t have time
for such luxuries,
that pesky part of me says,
but the rising jeanne says
bunk.
i don’t have time not to cry.

so the tears
that have been held back
and squished down
and told “no”
gush forth.
and every tear –
every single tear –
has a different woman’s story on it.

this could take a while,
so i’m using handkerchiefs
that have been handed down
to me
and handkerchiefs
purchased in antique shops
because
they’re softer
and stronger
and experienced.

the qualities of mud

JHCToddler1

as a little girl, i loved dressing up in frilly socks and ruffled panties and petticoats that made my skirts stick out like a tabletop. i liked patent leather shoes and dancing in the grocery store and creating private nests for myself where i could get away from it all and create. one thing i did not like was getting dirty. dirt just did not interest me at all . . . which for some reason, disturbed my mother to the point that one day as i sat quietly working on a new book, she picked my 5-year-old self up, carried me outside, and sat me down – ruffles, lace, petticoat and all – in the middle of the biggest mud puddle she could find. she still loves to tell that story, and i declare she sounds embarrassed that i didn’t like to get dirty and smugly satisfied when she gets to the part about unceremoniously plopping me down in the mud. i can just see her wiping her hands and laughing as she walked back to the house to watch me from the window.

now i may not have liked mud then (and i still don’t like to get stuff under my fingernails, so i’ll not be making mudpies any time soon), but in some ways, mud is kinda’ growing on me. not that i want to spend time in a mud puddle, mind you, but i do like holding clay in my hands and shaping it into something or other. and i love not having a clue what i’m going to write but picking up the pen anyway and just watching the words spill out on the page.

my precious friend and writing partner julie daley (jewels, i call her with very, very good reason) recently asked me a most excellent question: what does writing from the feminine look like to me? that question captivated me for days, and the mud story kept tugging at my sleeve pointing out that writing from the feminine can sometimes be muddy. muddy in the sense that i don’t always know where i’m going when i start to write. it’s not always clear, and there’s not always an outcome – intended, expected, or otherwise. when i write from the feminine self, i write from (including myself, my vulnerabilities, my feelings) instead of about (reporting, answering the 5 questions of who, when, where, what, and why).

when i write from the feminine, it’s more about process than product, and quite often, i don’t even know what i have till i get to the end and can see patterns and threads and word crumbs. when writing from the feminine, i write from the body, and often there’s a lot of space in what i write – space enough to crawl into and get comfortable while things incubate. writing from the feminine, it’s more about following than questioning, intuition than the cognitive. writing from the feminine uses dreams, metaphors, and imagery, relying on intuition and an inner knowing that can’t always be explained (nor does it need to be, actually) more than giving ink to what others think and write and theorize.

. . . as i sit here writing this, my resident owl serenades me under the glorious full moon, and i swear she’s urging me on, telling me that writing from the feminine is natural and needed and even necessary . . .

you know how when cars get stuck, little flecks of mud go everywhere as the tires spin their way forward and out (“out” if all goes according to plan, anyway)? when writing from the feminine jeanne, little flecks (and sometimes big flecks, too) get slung out, often without segues or outlines or even capital letters. there’s seldom a nice, tidy, linear structure, and often as not, there’s not even an

it’s my party

. . . and i’ll fly if i want to.

fairygodmother.png

change of plans, my #reverb10 friends. after today’s weekly check-in with my writing partner, julie daley (always a party), i was just plain tickled, giddy, bubbling over. so today’s tip (from @shauna: What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.) comes with a story:

i’m still hung over from the times when all my selves show up. which is, coincidentally, usually at the party on the page – you know, the one happening whenever i sit down to write . . .

there’s good girl who makes me dizzy in her constant frothy motion making sure everybody’s glass is at least half full (if not brimming) and that the spotlight shines on Everybody Else (though never so much that they glisten, mind you). she says she doesn’t want to take up too much space, professes the last thing she wants to do is be a bother, and tries to make herself believe that all she really, really, really wants to do is make Everybody Else comfortable. good girl knows – she flat-out knows – that the secret to good writing is to never use i, me, mine or any other personal reference.

there’s down-to-business girl who spends gazoodles of prep time making outlines and clearing the desk and making sure there’s ample ink. before arriving, she passes out treats to the dog and cats, gets a load of laundry on to wash, and cleans every single toilet. again. it’s all she can do to keep from charting the arrival and departure times of the party guests and documenting leftovers for future reference.

trophy girl wants Everybody to love every single word . . . and beg for more.

martyr girl nails herself to the cross at least three times a day. her to do list is so voluminous, she spends her best creativity justifying 15 (measly) minutes of writing time.

reticent girl entertains herself by listening in on conversations and wishing she had something blazingly new and noticeably worthwhile to add to the conversation. she vows right then and there to read more – to smarten herself up before writing another word. (i mean, really. who does she think she is?) fortunately for her, she has an ipad and can stop right then and order a hefty supply of books from knowledgeable authors. it’s a quick, easy, and (actually enjoyable, if expensive) penance.

there’s mischievous girl who fantasizes about, well, i can’t really tell you that. not yet anyway.

obedient girl came because she said she would. and actually, now that it’s feeling more like a party, she’s not showing up as much any more. which makes the other guests just about as happy as it makes her.

then there’s wannabe girl who lives in a lush, colorful, vibrant landscape where it’s Very Much okay to blurt things out without worrying-up a single wrinkle from fretting about how to defend them. wannabe girl chokes on statistics, numbers confuse her, and she stalls out on facts wondering why such silly hand-me-down things matter so much to other people when they just seem to get in her way. she is fluent in JustBecause and speaks it with an accent that’s prone to change three times in a single short sentence. and just so you know, JustBecause isn’t only spoken, it’s the language of action, too. wannabe girl writes books JustBecause. she dances JustBecause. she wears what she wants to – you guessed it – JustBecause. wannabe girl can fill a minute with eggs of laughter AND tears that sparkle so you want to take them to the jeweler and have them mounted. there are even things she does NOT do JustBecause . . . and it all makes perfect sense to wannabe girl.

if you want to know the truth, wannabe girl has a standing invitation, and when she shows up, she is always – and i mean always – the ravishing guest of honor.

~~~::~~~::~~~::~~~::~~~::~~~::~~~

today’s tip: make every prompt a party and delight in who (or what) shows up on the page. if you’re delighted, we’ll be delighted, too.

you know how it goes: every day i post a tip, a suggestion you might find useful in juicing every single succulent drop out of this month-long experience. some of the tips are things i learned over the past year; some are answers to questions reverbers have asked me privately; some are things i just pull out of thin air.

at the end of each day (or roughly thereabouts), the tip will be folded into the comprehensive list, a.k.a. the marrow. and hey, if a tip sparks another idea, i’d sure appreciate it if you’d drop me a note in the comments section so i can sprinkle it out to others. and do some sprinkling of your own: point others to the marrow in case there’s something there they can use.

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