The Stories We Tell

20150421_193254I have so many things I want to write about, including spring cleaning. I am stubbornly waiting until the weather actually turns spring-like so that I can open the windows and actually call it spring cleaning. Today we are due to get some hail, (yes, hail!)so I continue to walk across my sticky kitchen floor and watch the dust balls grow.

I also want to write about the time I wrote an article on assignment for a magazine. It was about a vision quest in suburbia. Talk about an oxymoron. I remembered the assignment while driving home from writing group last week, after discussing freelance writing. Oh, and there was that, I thought. I’d forgotten about it. And now I want to write about it because it was so bizarre that I have to dust it off and churn the experience into a new story.

And I want to write about writer’s block and how Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, rescues many writers from this misery. She reminds us, when words become as elusive as water in the dessert, to not call it laziness. Call it fear.

Thank you, Julia Cameron, for reminding us of this when we are blocked. We are not losers! she is telling us.  We are cowards. Believe it or not, this really does help.

I want to write about these things and more, and I will, but I am currently preoccupied with the Moth open mic story telling. I first wrote about my Moth Story Slam adventure in an earlier post here:  https://musingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/the-moth-story-slam-live-storytelling/

Happily, I sold my winning Moth story to an online magazine and am now working on lengthening it a bit, at the editor’s request. They will own exclusive rights for six months, and after that  I can do what I want with it-submit to other publications, blog, etc.

I am still waiting on the date for the Moth Grand Slam where I will compete with ten other story tellers. I think it will be over the summer and I can hardly wait!

In the meantime, I plan to perform again this week at another story slam just for practice, so I am preparing for that, right down to picking out my mothfit

A mothfit is what I now call the outfit I wear to these things.  A small detail, I know, but I reason that it requires at least a little thought.  It should be authentic, and not pretentious. Comfortable, but not frumpy.  Chic, but not shabby.

So after this week, with the story revisions and the Moth Story Slam behind me , I will be free to focus on other writing again.

And it would be great if this coincided with spring making her grand entrance.  Because for me, bogged down by winter’s layers- of clothing, cold, and grime- are dichotomous with writing freely and moving forward, lightly.

Here in New England, we are going to appreciate spring like a blocked writer appreciates fresh words.

When that time comes, I will throw open my windows. I will wipe away any dirt and excess, and clear the way for the sunshine and the muse to come through, light and warming. Because this simplifying thing, it really does work.

Some February highlights

We have so much snow in Massachusetts right now-many feet of snow and more on the way.

I was happy my husband was not traveling for the last couple snow falls; though I now know that I can snow blow my way out of the driveway, I don’t particularly want to make a habit of it-or like my father-in-law used to be fond of saying, “I don’t want to make a career of it”. Plus my husband shovels our little dog a pathway to the woods and he shovels the front walkway and even clears off the grill in case we want to run out onto the deck and throw some food on there for dinner (I don’t, but he might).

But the other day, just before my husband was able to get the dog’s pathway cleared for the third time that day, I decided to let him out into the driveway which was already clear (or as clear as it could be when it is still snowing like crazy). I had my indoor clogs on and didn’t bother putting boots on because my plan was to stand in the garage while the dog ran into the driveway to do his business.

But he got a little more adventurous than usual and trotted right out of our driveway and into the street. It was getting dark out. I was terrified a plow would run him over (plows were coming through our neighborhood at an impressive frequency). I ran back into the house to grab his leash and throw my boots on so that I could go retrieve him.

As I was running full speed across the kitchen tile floor, I slipped and went down with a force that took my breath away. At the sound of my loud crash, my husband came running to find me lying on the tile floor holding my knee (which turned out only to be badly bruised). Still very panicked that our dog was loose and in danger, I urged my husband to find him asap.

Once I convinced him that I was not in need of immediate medical attention, despite still being on the floor with no immediate plans of getting up, he was on his way to save Max from the plow. When he got to the garage door, our dog was standing there, covered in snow and wagging his stub of a tail, as much as a stub wags. There’s no place like home.

Note to self: Put boots on before bringing dog out with leash even when it looks as though an eighteen inch tall dog can’t possibly venture out into three feet of snow.

Despite the snow and the frigid temperatures (which has greatly impacted Boston), we went into the city to the Moth Story Slam this week.  This is an open mic format, sponsored by WBUR. I love the combination of literature and the human condition that is storytelling.

We had a little walk between where we parked our car and where we ate and then another walk to the story slam and back to the car afterwards. To say it was cold is an understatement, but it was worth it because it was great fun.

I entered a story and it went very well and I can hardly wait to do it again. My husband, ever my biggest supporter, told me that he thought just getting up there and doing it without fainting would be impressive (it’s not as if I do this sort of thing every day). And then we lowered the bar even more and decided that even if I faint, he could simply come get me off the stage and he’d still be impressed that I tried.

But alas, it went much better than that and so I was thrilled. Plus I was left knowing what I wanted to do to make it better for next time.  The winners from each slam get to compete against each other at the grand slam later in the year. I’m not typically a competitive person, but I really want to win one of the story slams. Just sayin’.

And I really love the in-and-out of this; the quiet, reflective writing time, contrasted with the time of bringing it out into the world through voice.

Another February highlight that I look forward to is my youngest daughter’s birthday; it happens to fall over the long weekend when she will be home from college. I’ve planned a surprise outing that I’m excited about and both of her sisters will be able to partake. I can’t write what it is in case she finds time, in the midst of her busy social and academic schedule, to read her mother’s blog. One never knows.

20150127_161044I refuse to count the days until spring, because last year there really was no spring to speak of. We had winter, winter, and more winter. Then summer. So March 20th is really just an arbitrary date; we could have snow! We could have cold temperatures! And sure, we could have spring. But I’m just not going to count on it. It’s sort of like a pregnancy due date. We can estimate, but it happens when it happens.

Instead, I will trudge through the snow and the slush and the freezing temperatures when I have to, to get where I am going, and be thankful that I can do this, bruised knee and all.