We never knew our way around this place
Content to navigate blindly
The lost leading the lost
I tripped you up and picked you up
You tripped me up and picked me up
Love kept us going,
Invested efforts in the wrong direction
Never knew our way
Method to My Madness 🙂
*Inspired by Day 5 of Writers Digest PAD Challenge
So, around midnight, I started thinking, what can I do for day five? As we know, this is what my brain does at bedtime.
Slowly, a bundle of words emerged:
We never knew our way around this place, but we were content to navigate blindly, more like the lost leading the lost. I tripped you up and helped you up, you tripped me up and helped me up. Love kept us going, or pride. Invested an effort in the wrong direction. We never knew our way.
Well, not that bundle of words. It was more like a destruction of words:
sms aka whatevertheyaint 11/17
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 🙂