— The Content Castle (@ContentCastle) July 5, 2017
Where did you go, you know, the person? Not the one we see but the you inside.
Where did you go? You let them strip you of your joy, your energy, your light.
Lose who you are and you become a collage of everything and everyone else.
Feeling some sort of way that I can’t define. Is it depression? Frustration? Inertia? My writer’s brain says “caged” but that’s a bit dramatic. It’s a long story that I suppose my conscience has nudged me about before. Something has been trying to tell me something for years.
So when do you say, enough is enough? When do you just…free fall? Is there anything besides concrete down there when I jump?
The abridged version of this story is that the current circumstances aren’t working, at all. However, being the overly cautious thinker I am, I’m reluctant to just open a window and plummet. It seems impractical to starve while happy, and yet it’s crazy to make money while sacrificing one’s self, family, and sanity. Tis the world we live in. We learn to become collages.
I eventually retired from retail in 2012 due to health issues and a couple of surgeries, one of which didn’t go well. Now, because of more life changes, I find myself at yet another crossroad.
True, I’ve enjoyed the freedom of being fully present when it comes to family. And in hindsight, things happened that I don’t know if I could’ve dealt with while working full-time–serious illnesses, the death of my father, marital separation.
It baffles me that I got more writing done while working thirty to forty hours, with two small children, than I do without a binding schedule and with kids old enough to occupy themselves. I’ve enjoyed watching them grow, I’ve also missed the security of steady paychecks. I’m saying this to say that happiness doesn’t come from circumstance. Happiness is a state of mind, period. But we have to figure out who we are, what we want, and how we’ll balance our true callings with the titles society places upon us.
Who are you? Where did you go? Lose who you are and you become a collage of everything and everyone else.
In definition of “inner calling” how would you define yourself?
In terms of societal titles, name at least three that describe you.
If you’re not being true to yourself, what’s the reason?
Map out a way to get back to the real you 😉
In definition of inner calling, I’d define myself as: a writer, an empath, a peacemaker
In terms of societal titles, I’d describe myself as: a mother, an estranged spouse, an introvert who knows how to play it off when necessary
I’m not true to myself because: I’m not a fan of failure, abstract ideas, or what-ifs
And yes, I’m mapping out a way of getting back to the real me 🙂
As Soon As
- I can afford another chair, a “real” chair, preferably non-rust, indestructible, with arm rest and the option to lean back, forward, or twirl around as I deem fit.
- I land 12 hours of restorative sleep
- I create THE perfect playlist
- Fridge is fully stocked with Coke and my mouth with Hershey’s candy
- I complete to-do list. Yes, all seven days worth of must dos (except writing, of course)
- I surf websites I don’t care about
- Clear inbox(es)
- X out parts I don’t like
- Put everything back
- Decide for the umpteenth time (because I really thought I had) what to write and how to write it
- Make another list
Your turn. What are your top five excuses when preparing to write?
The following exercise is inspired by a writing prompt from, Flash 52: 52 Writing Prompts for a Year of Writing by Jamie DeBree
Richard pours tea and we raise our cups in a celebratory manner. This is our quintet—well, sextet considering Richard. Basically, it’s a group of stressed out writers looking to profit more than gas money from words.
“How’s it going? Any new ideas, progress?” Richard asks.
Sheila’s hand shoots up first. “I don’t know how I did it,” she beams, “but this week, I managed 50k in between the twins’ naps.”
Another hand goes up. 10K. 6K. More cheers and tea.
That’s me; it’s my turn. I clutch my yellow notebook to my chest. The notepad is as blank as when I opened it to its first college-ruled page, two weeks ago. How would they know if I did 50K or zero? It isn’t as though we inspect each other’s drafts, at least not during the first part of the month.
“I’m still outlining,” I say, which is neither truth nor lie.
An uncomfortable silence ensues. And then a collective murmur of well, that’s a start.
Sheila’s eyes scan the group. “I’ve been hiding something,” she says.
Let me guess, she isn’t human? She hired a ghostwriter? She hasn’t typed one alphabet but instead fibbed to make herself feel better?
As if sensing my skepticism, she plops a copy of her manuscript onto the table and then retrieves a small, plastic bag from her purse.
Are those…poppy seeds? No, poppy seeds are smaller. And darker.
“Okay, I know certain things improve brain function, and that’s why we drink tea and meet twice a month and share our thoughts. But these babies,” she continues, grabbing a handful of the seeds and dropping them into a cup, “are like…bees to flowers, bubbles to baths, syrup to waffles. This is brain food!”
Within minutes of sipping from a teacup, she’s reciting passages of Spoon River Anthology.
“Amazing!” Richard says.
“I’ve retained four plays, three anthologies, every word of Ethan Frome and created my draft in two weeks—all with the help of these Z seeds.”
Suddenly, I’m reminded of a time I came home sporting a nose ring and red hair. Ma took one look and admonished, “If the entire class jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”
Would I? Am I seriously considering Sheila’s claim?
I imagine four to five completed novels a year, a new car, a full-tank of gas instead of the fumes I’ve driven on the majority of the day. Surely similar thoughts are running through the other’s mind.
Would you be silly enough to do it, too?
And so it begins…
Shonte Sanders aka Whatevertheyaint
* I didn’t follow the premise to a fault, but I did keep the basics as far as setting and characters. The original prompt calls for a man in his thirties, a folding table in a huge parking lot, an electric kettle, a teapot and teacups, and five women approaching. Feel free to continue to add to this piece by sharing (300 words or less) in the comments section. Ready? Let’s Go! Have fun 🙂
The home of writing award ideas and practical advice for story contest success.
this is a comfortable life,
the repeating of words
did you brush your teeth?
please pick up your shoes
the toilet’s still broken
please, pick up your shoes!
tasks and outcomes
faucet still leaking
more piles to pick up
it’s fine, really
we take on titles
our names irrelevant
with each metamorphosis
this is a satisfying life,
the repeating of words
why don’t you buy a wallet?
please fix the gazebo
the wipers are broken
seriously! pick up your shoes
brake-fluid still leaking
more hats to pile on
we take on roles
our names irrelevant
with each version
SmS aka Whatevertheyaint 9-2016
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Have an awesome December, and may 2014 be the coolest present yet.
What They Aint is a medley of
- writing prompts
- resourceful links
Additional Comments? Feel free to share below:
THE HOPE THAT LIES BEYOND
Oh, how life’s cares bound up my heart!
I faced each day with dread
My life was so devoid of joy
Held woe I could not shed
What could I do to ease this curse–
To find from pain release?
I lifted goblet to my lips
Drank full, the world to cease
And as I slept upon my bed
A dream appeared to me
It seemed that I in water swam
Then sank into the sea
And down and down my body sank
Pulled down into the deep
I felt my lungs about to burst
Prepared for final sleep
But on the bottom’s rippled sands
Were sunken ships arrayed
The ships not in sad disrepair
But stately were displayed
No rotting timber marred their hills
No mud-encrusted sterns
This not a death-bed of the deep
These ships by God ne’er spurned
This not a graveyard damp and dark–
Wrecks ravaged by petards
No ghostly sailors beyond hope
No soul from heaven barred
But proudly sails were hoisted high
Filled full by current drafts
The sight did draw from me a sigh
To see such spritely crafts
And as these vessels strained to move
To free hulls from the sands
Me thought I heard a Captain cry
“Me hardies next stop land!”
And spirit crews did then appear
Trimmed sails and manned the ropes
So lively did the sailors move
My God, it gave one hope!
Then clouds did move from overhead
And light of moon did gleam
Jeweled rays of light cut through the sea
And lit this brilliant scene
Then slowly from their watery graves
The ships began to move
Their hulls now free from sandy bar–
Untimely death reproved!
And as the vessels sailed away
In water I did rise
Then somehow walked a sun-lit beach
With life restored as prize
And gazing at the sun, amazed
I clutched myself in tears
Oh how my life had been so blessed
I’ll cherish all my years!
Then I awoke upon my bed
My fears all swept away
Oh was this dream or was this truth?
I really cannot say
And yet I’ll always carry this–
This vision of my dream
And whether true or whether false
I’m stronger so it seems
And I can see those sunken ships–
Can see them sail away
And now can face the world again!
Find joy in every day
This is such a compelling piece. I read it several times in judging and many more since then. I hope you all will find it inspirational as well.