I’ll have what she’s having

Nora1Fun fact: Nora Ephron and I share the same birthday.

I first experienced Ms. Ephron with her film “Heartburn” in 1986, based on her semi-autobiographical book by the same name, starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. Although, I confess, at the time, I was struck more by the credit music by Carly Simon, prompting me to buy one more of her albums just so I could listen to “Coming Around Again” again and again.

I had seen “Silkwood” with Meryl Streep and Cher (1983). Then came Nora’s “Sleepless in Seattle” (’93), “You’ve Got Mail” (’98), “Julie and Julia” (’09), and a score of others interspersed throughout those years.  But, for me, the definitive “When Harry Met Sally” (1989) is the best of her films, and is still arguably one of the most sincere and realistic films about friendships between men and women ever produced, not to mention just all-out fall-down funny and touching and real.  One of my all-time favorite movies, period.  That movie, that point in time, is when Nora Ephron really hit my radar.

But it wasn’t until mid-July last year when I finally sat down with a book by Nora.  I was trying to understand this form of writing I stumbled upon — and apparently had been doing — for over a year at that time.  The week before we left for a long-weekend trip to northern Michigan, I Googled “personal essay writers” and was hit with list upon list and more lists and “next pages” of lists.  I wanted a woman’s perspective.  So naturally, it was Nora Ephron.

I was at Barnes and Noble for over an hour in the small, hidden-in-the-back, out of the way “Essays” section (I didn’t even know there was such a section until then; did you?).

With a lot to do before the trip, I decided I’d wait to read my chosen coursework until we were “officially” on the trip.  Which means, once we get on the road or to the airport.  Mostly because at that point, there is nothing else I can do to get myself/child/partner/pets/house/car in order.  In this instance, we had decided to fly since it was just T and me; and, because in the previous five weeks, between the two of us, we had already made the driving trek to Michigan five times (various business trips intermingled with family visits), with one more to go (our summer family vacation; and no, we don’t normally get to spend so much time in our home state.  It’s just worked out that way this summer).  So with great anticipation, I cracked the spine on my primer when we arrived at our gate.

I Feel Bad About My Neck is the book I chose to begin my education.  And it was a post-doc level course.

Nora2I laughed so hard and out loud on the plane reading it, I think T was actually pretending not to know me for the entirety of the flight.

When we landed, I reluctantly put the book away for later.  We were there for reasons other than relaxation, and it wasn’t until bedtime that I had an opportunity to extract the book from my carry on.  While T finished up some work on his laptop, I lay in bed, laughing; folding over page corners for reliving later; thinking “me too!” more times than I could count; and wondering how in the world this woman had exactly the right words in exactly the right order to recount periods in her life with such exquisite perspective.

I sighed when I finished — much like after a wonderful meal that fills you, not only with food, but with gratitude that you had a seat at that particular table.

“I may as well just stop writing now,” I said to T.

“What?”

“I will never write like Nora Ephron,” I said.

“Well maybe it’s something to strive for,” he replied.

“No, you don’t understand,” I replied earnestly.  “I will never write like Nora Ephron.”

At that point, he decided to just nod vaguely in agreement and leave me pondering this slim volume of wonderment.  (He’s a wise man.)

I decided to do a little background research on my new-found teacher, and that’s when I discovered I have the same birthday as Nora Ephron.  That must be some cosmic sign she is to be my muse, right?  (Of course, there are lots of other people who were born on that day in May.  Including one of my ex’s much younger girlfriends.  Some people think I must be offended by that in some way.  Not really.  I had that birthday first.)  I was on a first-name basis with Nora by then, so it was an OMG moment for certain.  I posted it on Facebook.  I tweeted on Twitter.  I shouted it to my family (“Who?” said my teen).  Ok, I was getting carried away.  I can see that now.

But it’s NORA FREAKIN’ EPHRON!  And she’s one of the most brilliant writers ever, whether it’s for print or movies — geez, she could write directions for an oil change and it would be awesome.

Much of my life goes irrelevantly on, in spite of larger events,” she wrote.  As the song goes, “I know nothing stays the same…”

And yet she still believed strongly that “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”  Hell to the yes!

At the same time I was voraciously reading Nora’s essays, I picked up a copy of a book T’s mom had told me about regarding the history of the feminist movement.  This happened to coincide with Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the first woman to head an election ticket by a major party.  AND, guess who was quoted throughout the book?  Nora.

Nora3So how timely and apropo was my discovery of Ms. Ephron?  From needing some direction as to my writing future to commentary on women in politics, Nora came into my life at just the right time.

Nora would have been 76 this last birthday of ours.  But the world lost her marvelous voice in June of 2012, to stupid leukemia.  I don’t have many regrets in my life, but I do regret not having discovered this remarkable woman earlier.  I would have written a letter to her, in the most fan-girl of ways, saying all these things I’ve learned with help from her.

In retrospect, however, I do believe I came across Nora Ephron exactly when I should have.  Any sooner, I may have just chuckled and moved on.  In that time period, from when she left us to my discovering her on that bookshelf at Barnes and Noble, I have changed in so many ways — I think for the better.  Nora has given me so many master-classes in not just writing, but in how to look at the world through a different lens; finding humor in places I didn’t know I could; accepting myself fully for who I am in every way; looking back through the history of the Women’s Movement and learning things I never even guessed at growing up in the 70s.

NoraI know nothing stays the same, but it’s ok, she assures me.  Because if things don’t change, we’re actually all the worse for it.  So the changes I’ve weathered, the changes I invited, the changes I made willingly and excitedly, even the ones I didn’t — they’ve all made me who I am now, and have led me to discover my writing anew and shown me where I can fit in to the literary world.

Thank you, Nora.  I needed that.

Until next Friday, Friends.  Cheers!

drawn heart

Change happens

Carly Simon’s song “Comin’ Around Again” has special meaning to me for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s Carly Simon.  Second, it was featured in Nora Ephron’s movie “Heartburn” (NORA FREAKIN’ EPHRON).  Third, the lyrics are so much my past life.  So, so much.

Sometimes it does take the Universe seizing our life, turning it upside down, and shaking it as hard as it can to see what remains inside.  What was left for me was my son, my dog and two cats, my real friends, and my trusty old Subaru.

That was pretty much all I had left.   No bearings as my internal compass had taken quite a hit.  I had a part-time job, but that didn’t give us any health benefits.

Then everything happened that happened in between then and now.

Maybe I’m ready to tell the story now.  My son is currently at college making the beginnings of his own life, so he isn’t in any danger of reliving it with me, what we went through back then.

It seems so long ago.  It did begin a long time ago — and then my ex stretched it out even longer.  And then longer again.  It seemed like The Big Bad Awful would *never* end…. Seven years is a long time to spend in and out of courthouses and lawyers’ offices.

But I finally feel I have some distance, a buffer, from it all.  Not that time will ever really change how I look at it, nor will it soften the jagged edges.  But it can’t hurt me through the self-protecting padding — my good, true life — I’ve built around it.  I can look at it, turn it one way, then another, and examine it, and it can’t cut or burn me anymore.  It’s not a threat to me or my son anymore.  So maybe it’s time to tell this story.  I don’t know where, or how it will fall.  But it might be time.

Comin’ Around Again

Baby sneezes.
Mommy pleases.
Daddy breezes in.
So good on paper,
So romantic,
So bewildering.

I know nothing stays the same.
But if you’re willing to play the game,
It’s coming around again.
So don’t mind if I fall apart:
There’s more room in a broken heart.

Pay the grocer,
Fix the toaster,
Kiss the host goodbye.
Then you break a window,
Burn the soufflé,
Scream a lullaby.

I know nothing stays the same.
But if you’re willing to play the game,
It’s coming around again.
So don’t mind if I fall apart:
There’s more room in a broken heart.

And I believe in love —
What else can I do…
I know nothing stays the same.
But if you’re willing to play the game,
It’s coming around again.

I believe in love.
Now who knows where or when,
But it’s coming around again.

I know nothing stays the same —
But if you’re willing to play the game,
It will be coming around again…

                                       ~ Carly Simon

*Bill the Cat, “Passed Out From Life,” by Berkeley Breathed

A great agony, and other things about writing

https://i1.wp.com/www.reminddana.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/image6.jpg“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
~ Maya Angelou

Between writing from the heart, writing what’s on my mind, dreaming about writing, writing to be heard, writing writing writing writing; having an idea I want to pursue and not being near my computer or smart phone, nor pen and paper, and being set upon by madness until I can write down the idea…. that is the greatest agony for writers, truly. “Bearing the untold story” that Dr. Angelou talks about is why I started my blog.

Now, the reasons why writers hold those stories are as different as why we ultimately decide to tell those stories.  My reasons are pretty straightforward: I wanted another way to connect to the world.  I wanted to share my experiences as a kind of salve to anyone thinking they were alone because of certain feelings or circumstances (or was it the other way ’round?); and, I wanted to evoke the “me too!” reaction that always brings me joy when I am gifted with it.

I’ve learned certain things about myself, and my writing, over the last year and a half.  Writing (nearly) every day will do that to you.  So will attending a writing conference or retreat.  And it’s a mixed bag, some good observations as well as some not-so-pretty; and some that were difficult to admit, and others that surprised me.

In no particular order, what I’ve learned about myself through writing:

…as in speaking, I’m long-winded.

…I probably use the em-dash (—) far too often.

…I have a strong voice.

…I have a need to dwell on the positive.

…I can turn almost anything on its end and make it funny.

…my favorite comments from readers are the ones where they tell me they felt as though we just finished having coffee, or wine, over conversation in person.

…that I have a long way to go in being able to write a good play.Nora

…that nearly every one of my blog entries is actually a personal essay.

…that I will never write like Nora Ephron.

…that personal essays are a genre that doesn’t enjoy the same cache as novels, or poetry, or short stories.  But it should.  Because, NORA FREAKIN’ EPHRON!

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ~ Nora Ephron

A personal essay, as near as I can explain it, is about a specific point in time in the writer’s life that illustrates a timeless idea or point to the reader.  Typically written in first person (“I”), the writer is describing a personal experience, examining it, and sharing their observations about the experience in terms to relate to you, the reader.

That said, it almost seems as though essays would be dry things, and not a very interesting way to spend time reading, let alone writing.  But I disagree!  Author Ariel Levy says, “…writing an essay is like catching a wave…crafting a piece of writing around an idea you think is worthwhile — an idea you suspect is an insight — requires real audacity.  It is an act of daring.”

Wow.  I’m audacious and daring!  If I think too much on that, though, I get a little queasy, so let’s go somewhere else…

It is, indeed, like catching a wave when an idea comes along. It’s not as though it taps you on the shoulder and waits around.  Sometimes it seems as though it’s more like a ticker tape running through my head at the bottom of the screen of other more prominent thoughts, ideas, to-do lists, and images.  Once in a while, one of the “ticks” will catch my full attention as it enters my internal screen view, and everything else suddenly switches to the background as I focus on that tidbit of information.  If I’m lucky, it turns out to be fodder for an entire column — or as I’m beginning to think of them, an essay.

Occasionally, it turns out there wasn’t really anything there, but I’ll file the idea away (in writing, because heaven knows I can’t remember a damn thing unless I write it down).  It might turn into something more substantial later.

Writing these weekly essays has been a means for me to get ideas down; the ideas I want to share.  It’s also allowed me to play with them, try different things, and work in different forms.  All of this experimentation has led me to realizing the list at the beginning.  A list of some of my strengths and some of my weaknesses.  This, in turn, gives me yet another list of things to work on.

But most importantly — at this time, anyway — it allows me to see not only what I’ve done right, but also how far I’ve come.  Taking stock like this lets me see myself from a different angle…. and who doesn’t need that once in a while?

It’s my way of conducting a writing reality check.

Perhaps that is why I write, whether it’s essays, or stories; fiction or not.  I’m conducting a reality check for myself:  is this or that idea common?  Is this storyline interesting enough to share?  Does anybody want to read any of it?  Wait, what do you mean I’ll never write like Nora Ephron?

As time continues to tick along the continuum, I certainly hope I continue to evolve and that my writing does, too.  I suppose if it stops, then it’s time to move on to something else.  But I’m bearing a lot of untold stories, so I think it’s safe to say I’ll be writing for a while.

Until next Friday, Friends.  Cheers!

drawn heart

A great agony… and other things about writing

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
~ Maya Angelou

Between writing from the heart, writing what’s on my mind, dreaming about writing, writing to be heard, writing writing writing writing; having an idea I want to pursue and not being near my computer or smart phone, nor pen and paper, and being set upon by madness until I can write down the idea…. that is the greatest agony for writers, truly. “Bearing the untold story” that Dr. Angelou talks about is why I started my blog.

Now, the reasons why writers hold those stories are as different as why we ultimately decide to tell those stories.  My reasons are pretty straightforward: I wanted another way to connect to the world.  I wanted to share my experiences as a kind of salve to anyone thinking they were alone because of certain feelings or circumstances (or was it the other way ’round?); and, I wanted to evoke the “me too!” reaction that always brings me joy when I am gifted with it.

I’ve learned certain things about myself, and my writing, over the last year and a half.  Writing (nearly) every day will do that to you.  So will attending a writing conference or retreat.  And it’s a mixed bag, some good observations as well as some not-so-pretty; and some that were difficult to admit, and others that surprised me.

In no particular order, what I’ve learned about myself through writing:

…as in speaking, I’m long-winded.

…I probably use the em-dash (—) far too often.

…I have a strong voice.

…I have a need to dwell on the positive.

…I can turn almost anything on its end and make it funny.

…my favorite comments from readers are the ones where they tell me they felt as though we just finished having coffee, or wine, over conversation in person.

…that I have a long way to go in being able to write a good novel.Nora

…that nearly every one of my blog entries is actually a personal essay.

…that I will never write like Nora Ephron.

…that personal essays are a genre that doesn’t enjoy the same cache as novels, or poetry, or short stories.  But it should.  Because, NORA FREAKIN’ EPHRON!

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ~ Nora Ephron

A personal essay, as near as I can explain it, is about a specific point in time in the writer’s life that illustrates a timeless idea or point to the reader.  Typically written in first person (“I”), the writer is describing a personal experience, examining it, and sharing their observations about the experience in terms to relate to you, the reader.

That said, it almost seems as though essays would be dry things, and not a very interesting way to spend time reading, let alone writing.  But I disagree!  Author Ariel Levy says, “…writing an essay is like catching a wave…crafting a piece of writing around an idea you think is worthwhile — an idea you suspect is an insight — requires real audacity.  It is an act of daring.”

Wow.  I’m audacious and daring!  If I think too much on that, though, I get a little queasy, so let’s go somewhere else…

It is, indeed, like catching a wave when an idea comes along. It’s not as though it taps you on the shoulder and waits around.  Sometimes it seems as though it’s more like a ticker tape running through my head at the bottom of the screen of other more prominent thoughts, ideas, to-do lists, and images.  Once in a while, one of the “ticks” will catch my full attention as it enters my internal screen view, and everything else suddenly switches to the background as I focus on that tidbit of information.  If I’m lucky, it turns out to be fodder for an entire column — or as I’m beginning to think of them, an essay.

Occasionally, it turns out there wasn’t really anything there, but I’ll file the idea away (in writing, because heaven knows I can’t remember a damn thing unless I write it down).  It might turn into something more substantial later.

Writing these weekly essays has been a means for me to get ideas down; the ideas I want to share.  It’s also allowed me to play with them, try different things, and different forms.  All of this experimentation has led me to realizing the list at the beginning.  A list of some of my strengths and some of my weaknesses.  This, in turn, gives me yet another list of things to work on.

But most importantly — at this time, anyway — it allows me to see not only what I’ve done right, but also how far I’ve come.  Taking stock like this lets me see myself from a different angle…. and who doesn’t need that once in a while?

It’s my way of conducting a writing reality check.

Perhaps that is why I write, whether it’s essays, or stories; fiction or not.  I’m conducting a reality check for myself:  is this or that idea common?  Is this storyline interesting enough to share?  Does anybody want to read any of it?  Wait, what do you mean I’ll never write like Nora Ephron?

As time continues to tick along the continuum, I certainly hope I continue to evolve and that my writing does, too.  I suppose if it stops, then it’s time to move on to something else.  But I’m bearing a lot of untold stories, so I think it’s safe to say I’ll be writing for a while.

Until next Friday, Friends.  Cheers!

drawn hearta

I’ll have what she’s having

Nora1Fun fact: Nora Ephron and I share the same birthday.

I first experienced Ms. Ephron with her film “Heartburn” in 1986, based on her semi-autobiographical book by the same name, starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. Although, I confess, at the time, I was struck more by the credit music by Carly Simon, prompting me to buy one more of her albums just so I could listen to “Coming Around Again” again and again.

I had seen “Silkwood” with Meryl Streep and Cher (1983). Then came Nora’s “Sleepless in Seattle” (’93), “You’ve Got Mail” (’98), “Julie and Julia” (’09), and a score of others interspersed throughout those years.  But, for me, the definitive “When Harry Met Sally” (1989) is the best of her films, and is still arguably one of the most sincere and realistic films about friendships between men and women ever produced, not to mention just all-out fall-down funny and touching and real.  One of my all-time favorite movies, period.  That movie, that point in time, is when Nora Ephron really hit my radar.

But it wasn’t until mid-July this year when I finally sat down with a book by Nora.  I was trying to understand this form of writing I stumbled upon — and apparently have been doing — for over a year.  The week before we left for a long-weekend trip to northern Michigan, I Googled “personal essay writers” and was hit with list upon list and more lists and “next pages” of lists.  I wanted a woman’s perspective.  So naturally, it was Nora Ephron.

I was at Barnes and Noble for over an hour in the small, hidden-in-the-back, out of the way “Essays” section (I didn’t even know there was such a section until then; did you?).

With a lot to do before the trip, I decided I’d wait to read my chosen coursework until we were “officially” on the trip.  Which means, once we get on the road or to the airport.  Mostly because at that point, there is nothing else I can do to get myself/child/partner/pets/house/car in order.  In this instance, we had decided to fly since it was just T and me; and, because in the previous five weeks, between the two of us, we had already made the driving trek to Michigan five times (various business trips intermingled with family visits), with one more to go (our summer family vacation; and no, we don’t normally get to spend so much time in our home state.  It’s just worked out that way this summer).  So with great anticipation, I cracked the spine on my primer when we arrived at our gate.

I Feel Bad About My Neck is the book I chose to begin my education.  And it was a post-doc level course.

Nora2I laughed so hard and out loud on the plane reading it, I think T was actually pretending not to know me for the entirety of the flight.

When we landed, I reluctantly put the book away for later.  We were there for reasons other than relaxation, and it wasn’t until bedtime that I had an opportunity to extract the book from my carry on.  While T finished up some work on his laptop, I lay in bed, laughing; folding over page corners for reliving later; thinking “me too!” more times than I could count; and wondering how in the world this woman had exactly the right words in exactly the right order to recount periods in her life with such exquisite perspective.

I sighed when I finished — much like after a wonderful meal that fills you, not only with food, but with gratitude that you had a seat at that particular table.

“I may as well just stop writing now,” I said to T.

“What?”

“I will never write like Nora Ephron,” I said.

“Well maybe it’s something to strive for,” he replied.

“No, you don’t understand,” I replied earnestly.  “I will never write like Nora Ephron.”

At that point, he decided to just nod vaguely in agreement and leave me pondering this slim volume of wonderment.  (He’s a wise man.)

I decided to do a little background research on my new-found teacher, and that’s when I discovered I have the same birthday as Nora Ephron.  That must be some cosmic sign she is to be my muse, right?  (Of course, there are lots of other people who were born on that day in May.  Including one of my ex’s much younger girlfriends.  Some people think I must be offended by that in some way.  Not really.  I had that birthday first.)  I was on a first-name basis with Nora by then, so it was an OMG moment for certain.  I posted it on Facebook.  I tweeted on Twitter.  I shouted it to my family (“Who?” said my teen).  Ok, I was getting carried away.  I can see that now.

But it’s NORA FREAKIN’ EPHRON!  And she’s one of the most brilliant writers ever, whether it’s for print or movies — geez, she could write directions for an oil change and it would be awesome.

Much of my life goes irrelevantly on, in spite of larger events,” she wrote.  As the song goes, “I know nothing stays the same…”

And yet she still believed strongly that “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”  Hell to the yes!

At the same time I was voraciously reading Nora’s essays, I picked up a copy of a book T’s mom had told me about regarding the history of the feminist movement.  This happened to coincide with Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the first woman to head an election ticket by a major party.  AND, guess who was quoted throughout the book?  Nora.

Nora3So how timely and apropo was my discovery of Ms. Ephron?  From needing some direction as to my writing future to commentary on women in politics, Nora came into my life at just the right time.

Nora would have been 75 this last birthday of ours.  But the world lost her marvelous voice in June of 2012, to stupid leukemia.  I don’t have many regrets in my life, but I do regret not having discovered this remarkable woman earlier.  I would have written a letter to her, in the most fan-girl of ways, saying all these things I’ve learned with help from her.

In retrospect, however, I do believe I came across Nora Ephron exactly when I should have.  Any sooner, I may have just chuckled and moved on.  In that time period, from when she left us to my discovering her on that bookshelf at Barnes and Noble, I have changed in so many ways — I think for the better.  Nora has given me so many master-classes in not just writing, but in how to look at the world through a different lens; finding humor in places I didn’t know I could; accepting myself fully for who I am in every way; looking back through the history of the Women’s Movement and learning things I never even guessed at growing up in the 70s.

NoraI know nothing stays the same, but it’s ok, she assures me.  Because if things don’t change, we’re actually all the worse for it.  So the changes I’ve weathered, the changes I invited, the changes I made willingly and excitedly, even the ones I didn’t — they’ve all made me who I am now, and have led me to discover my writing anew and shown me where I can fit in to the literary world.

Thank you, Nora.  I needed that.

 

Until next Friday, Friends.  Cheers!

drawn heart

 

 

A great agony… and other things about writing

image“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
~ Maya Angelou

Between writing from the heart, writing what’s on my mind, dreaming about writing, writing to be heard, writing writing writing writing; having an idea I want to pursue and not being near my computer or smart phone, nor pen and paper, and being set upon by madness until I can write down the idea…. that is the greatest agony for writers, truly. “Bearing the untold story” that Dr. Angelou talks about is why I started my blog.

Now, the reasons why writers hold those stories are as different as why we ultimately decide to tell those stories.  My reasons are pretty straightforward: I wanted another way to connect to the world.  I wanted to share my experiences as a kind of salve to anyone thinking they were alone because of certain feelings or circumstances (or was it the other way ’round?); and, I wanted to evoke the “me too!” reaction that always brings me joy when I am gifted with it.

I’ve learned certain things about myself, and my writing, over the last year and a half.  Writing (nearly) every day will do that to you.  So will attending a writing conference or retreat.  And it’s a mixed bag, some good observations as well as some not-so-pretty; and some that were difficult to admit, and others that surprised me.

In no particular order, what I’ve learned about myself through writing:

…as in speaking, I’m long-winded.

…I probably use the em-dash (—) far too often.

…I have a strong voice.

…I have a need to dwell on the positive.

…I can turn almost anything on its end and make it funny.

…my favorite comments from readers are the ones where they tell me they felt as though we just finished having coffee, or wine, over conversation in person.

…that I have a long way to go in being able to write a good novel.Nora

…that nearly every one of my blog entries is actually a personal essay.

…that I will never write like Nora Ephron.

…that personal essays are a genre that doesn’t enjoy the same cache as novels, or poetry, or short stories.  But it should.  Because, NORA FREAKIN’ EPHRON!

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ~ Nora Ephron

A personal essay, as near as I can explain it, is about a specific point in time in the writer’s life that illustrates a timeless idea or point to the reader.  Typically written in first person (“I”), the writer is describing a personal experience, examining it, and sharing their observations about the experience in terms to relate to you, the reader.

That said, it almost seems as though essays would be dry things, and not a very interesting way to spend time reading, let alone writing.  But I disagree!  Author Ariel Levy says, “…writing an essay is like catching a wave…crafting a piece of writing around an idea you think is worthwhile — an idea you suspect is an insight — requires real audacity.  It is an act of daring.”

Wow.  I’m audacious and daring!  If I think too much on that, though, I get a little queasy, so let’s go somewhere else…

It is, indeed, like catching a wave when an idea comes along. It’s not as though it taps you on the shoulder and waits around.  Sometimes it seems as though it’s more like a ticker tape running through my head at the bottom of the screen of other more prominent thoughts, ideas, to-do lists, and images.  Once in a while, one of the “ticks” will catch my full attention as it enters my internal screen view, and everything else suddenly switches to the background as I focus on that tidbit of information.  If I’m lucky, it turns out to be fodder for an entire column — or as I’m beginning to think of them, an essay.

Occasionally, it turns out there wasn’t really anything there, but I’ll file the idea away (in writing, because heaven knows I can’t remember a damn thing unless I write it down).  It might turn into something more substantial later.

Writing these weekly essays has been a means for me to get ideas down; the ideas I want to share.  It’s also allowed me to play with them, try different things, and different forms.  All of this experimentation has led me to realizing the list at the beginning.  A list of some of my strengths and some of my weaknesses.  This, in turn, gives me yet another list of things to work on.

But most importantly — at this time, anyway — it allows me to see not only what I’ve done right, but also how far I’ve come.  Taking stock like this lets me see myself from a different angle…. and who doesn’t need that once in a while?

It’s my way of conducting a writing reality check.

Perhaps that is why I write, whether it’s essays, or stories; fiction or not.  I’m conducting a reality check for myself:  is this or that idea common?  Is this storyline interesting enough to share?  Does anybody want to read any of it?  Wait, what do you mean I’ll never write like Nora Ephron?

As time continues to tick along the continuum, I certainly hope I continue to evolve and that my writing does, too.  I suppose if it stops, then it’s time to move on to something else.  But I’m bearing a lot of untold stories, so I think it’s safe to say I’ll be writing for a while.

Until next Friday, Friends.  Cheers!

drawn heart