Morning. Almost two hours after Julia leaves and I am getting down to the writing that I wanted to do since I opened my eyes. This morning the round of tasks, not overwhelming by any means, has induced anxiety, enough to notice. And I wonder if my anxiety can be compared to the way that Julia feels whenever she is asked to do more than two things when she is intent on something else. It appears that she cannot hold all of that—two asks and her desires—in her head and get to what she wants to do.
Alarm goes off at 7:15 and Julia does come into my bedroom to wake me up shortly afterwards. A great start to the day. I have a burning desire to start writing, immediately—something which definitely does not happen every morning. I can’t do that but I consider that there will be only a short hold on the writing.
Julia and I ate breakfast on our back porch—something she loves to do that I usually drag my feet about. Too cold, too hot, too buggy and it is morning and we need to get on with our day. But today, we woke up on time—Julia responding to the google wake up on the small speaker, something we have been working on this entire school year, something she sabotaged last week, something we had a talk about at Community Connections (a serious conversation at her program can make more of an impression than a similar talk at home), her program, and something that she encouraged me to reset (although I’ve only reset one of the three speakers she disabled—damn my holding on by my fingertips device knowledge.) lat night.
So, she woke up, did what she needed to do (although she still needs some kind of list to make sure she remembers everything. And any kind of reminder is anathema to her) and there was time to eat on the back porch.
I prepared to read a story adapted from a blog post a few months ago. It was for a very small storytelling symposium called Newton Speaks-voices of our city. It was moderately attended, there in the middle of the day on a Tuesday but nevertheless, I prepared. Everyday for a week, I read the story out loud—such is the practice of an old stutterer preparing to speak in public. I did the same when I’ve spoken in church over the past two years. Those readings were mostly done via zoom, although I did read two poems on Christmas Eve in the church building. Those readings of my own work and the work of some poets went well. I felt I could be expressive and I was not overly concerned about my speech which was not perfect, but not bad. This time, I was interested to see what I could do, how I might feel about the reading, how I judge my expression to be and my speech. Everyone was still in masks. Recently, going without masks into a few places has got me thinking about more of the implications of mask wearing. Apart from health concerns, masks hide, masks protect, masks make it hard at times to communicate which sometimes reduces the number of words spoken, ideas exchanged. Masks hide reactions and expression. And walking around the world masked can feel very safe and comfortable. I hadn’t understood that before this pandemic.
The pace of life is picking up and has been for a while although I admit to becoming aware of it long after other people who are more of the busy world. I know many people who have already gone to far away places, stayed for a month and come back with healthy looking skin and bright eyes.
This coming Sunday, I am scheduled to teach pysanky writing at my church and a friend wanting to sign up noted that there are two others events going on—a zoom Moth Story hour and an in-person music rehearsal. Wasn’t it just last week when every gathering happened in front of a computer monitor? How glorious that there are now conflicts. How glorious that travel time is now part of many plans!
But I live a small life.
On Sunday, on our way into church—we arrive an hour before services begin to go to choir practice—Julia and I noticed perfect small yellow narcissus blooming in corners around the back of the building. Without a spring garden of my own, I notice and cherish those brave little yellow blooms. I know that even though the day may be warm and sunny, there are cold days ahead. Silently, I wish the brave blooms are sheltered enough to survive another freeze.
And I wondered, had I seen blooms in this place before? I might have just before we were locked down two years ago, but what I remember from that time is only the spring flowers we saw on our Covid daily walks. I think it is probable that these little narcissus bloomed in 2020 after no one was walking into the church building and last year it was the same. I think to thank them for their perseverance and persistence, their willingness to be so beautiful even when no one was looking.
I have kept a blog for a long time. Julia came home from China in 2006, my first post on my first blog was in September, 2005. The focus has changed over the years—adoption and its fall out, diagnosis and more fall out, more diagnoses, more fall out, therapy, school programs, transplant, death, single motherhood, autism, attachment, travel with my girl, moving, transitioning, shut down, covid and all of its fall out. And through it all I’ve kept writing, not always every day or even extremely regularly, but I’ve kept at it and, dare I say, somewhat improved in saying what is in my heart as much of the time as possible.
The process of writing is essential in my existence but rarely have I studied the process or routinely subjected my work to critique, save the kind words of friends and visitors to this blog. David was the one who took the courses, got the graduate degree, taught multiple kinds of writing; and he was successful in finishing and publishing novels. I have merely and persistently written—mostly journaling since a teen with a few forays into fiction.
But now. Now. Now. With a new year. I feel the tug of what may be next.
It has been an okay time—this week or two. Julia has settled into school. A few hard days now and again, a few challenges with the iPad and social media. Those challenges have been ongoing for more than a year and, even though I am so tired of them, I admit that they have calmed from gale force wind storms to the occasional drizzle. School is mostly left to school. I continue to be grateful that she is a high needs learner who is in the school building 5 days a week and that most of the school work is done either during the 90 minute class periods or support resource/support time. At home, she continues to draw every day, she practices her cello, we do almost weekly baking that is now packed up in individual bags and sent to school. Thank you’s to teachers and staff—right now, it feels like the only way to teach Julia gratitude. Julia does chores or what I call Family Work—still needing reminders but usually only once or twice on any given day. She is getting better about marking the allowance chart when she does qualifying activities and work. All these things—bringing baked stuff into school, family work, daily cello and drawing—are what she can learn during this time. She has academic classes in school but I don’t expect much from them. Not that teachers and staff are not working their butts off—they are— but I don’t know how much biology or art history are going to go into Julia brain this year. I do not see her as “available” for learning.
Morning before 8.I’ve gotten up, dressed, set up breakfast, taken out garbage cans, said hello to the guy across the street who is returning from food shopping—Ah, the wonder of senior hours.I wish I had opened a window last night to wake up to the birds.There is a lot of bird song this morning; the street, this tiny enclave, is quiet.Julia is still asleep—classes begin at 10, so no need to rush her up.I have my fresh, hot coffee and I put myself on the front porch to tap on this machine of see what comes to life.
It has been another challenging week although the challenges have been different.Julia did most of her school work, with even a bit of help from me; however, we’ve had trouble getting her linked into the zoom calls.I’ve asked the school IT for help—re-boot and reinstall—and then no way to connect.I was enormously frustrated yesterday.No way to get in, no way to get immediate help for class after class.Reboot and reinstall.I am almost sure it is my fault.I am probably doing some part of the set up wrong which makes me feel quite inadequate especially when I manage to sit Julia in front of her chrome book for class after class and she is utterly frustrated when it fails to connect. I wonder why I am not willing to just give her a pass, give us both a pass, duck out of school and go for a walk. Continue reading →
Public Service Announcement: “Regularly used in text messages or online, the word/ letter /phrase /term, “K” really only means one thing: Fuck You. The use of a “K” should be reserved for very selective moments of frustration or annoyance, otherwise it sends the wrong impression.” Read more here.
Am I the last person in the cyber world to know this??Perhaps. I can definitely think of specific people who have used this with me.If they meant it in any other way but a casual “okay,” I was clueless. I think of myself as a relatively savvy-for-an-old-lady online participant—I do wonder where people get their gifs from and so quickly after I message them.My older daughter has promised to show me.But this, K stuff is perplexing.Who told who and when and why did they leave me out? Continue reading →
So far I’ve written many, many words for 8 days straight for NaNaWriMo.I would not vouch for the quality of most of them, but this is about getting words on the page and not fine literature or even hack pulp.This month of writing is more about putting something of mine on the front burner which I have not done for a long while.Arguably, a good deal of the last year, moving and settling into Newton, has been about me, but Julia is usually in the front burner pot.
For this month, I’m intending to add 50,000 words to a very old project that already has almost that number of words devoted to it.It is an ambitious idea but it is a good time to try to do it.Even after 4 months, I don’t have many connections here.Community building is slow but sure, and I have time and energy to take on a solitary project.I have two kinds of online support and I can go to the occasional write-in at my local library.I spent October preparing an outline, reestablishing my meditation practice which has been slipping, applying myself at the gym and cooking large amounts of freezable foods.I was going strong until last week. Continue reading →
I open my eyes this morning knowing what I want to write about today.Purpose. Considering that it has been weeks since I woke up wanted to write anything, I resolve to jump out of bed, leave everything, save the making of coffee, for later and start tapping at my keyboard.
However, before I sit and open the laptop, there is the cat to let in and feed, fans to move from bedrooms to kitchen and living room, the mouse trap in the kitchen cabinet to check (before Julia gets up) and the coffee to make with a few fleeting thoughts given to whether the papaya on the countertop is ripe.Another few thoughts go to whether I text Cheshire before or after I write. Julia gets up and immediately turns on the tv and gets on her iPad.She grabs a pop tart (unfrosted to ease my mother guilt) and says, good morning. I wrestle for more than a moment with the urge to engage with her and begin the enriching work of the day. Shouldn’t that be my sole purpose— To spend every waking moment purposely and actively engaged in Julia’s growth and maturity? Continue reading →