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Tag Archives: writer
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4th grade writer

24 Feb

My teacher in the 4th grade was Mrs. Wheeler. A small petite woman with white hair and a raspy voice. She wore skirts that came to her knees and I always remember her fondness for plaid. One afternoon she came up and whispered in my ear that she wanted to talk with me privately. She had assembled a list of students whom she had created a special program for, it was a creative writing program. I was so honored. I couldn’t believe it. Every day at lunch while all the other children ate their Bologne sandwiches, we went to the library and wrote stories. I still loved reading and writing then, it still brought me joy.

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When I entered middle school my love of learning started to fade. I replaced it with boys, cigarettes and pot. Once I found a new love my books and poems just got old and collected dust. My grades began to fall, and school was just a meeting place, it wasn’t a place of adventure anymore. I felt tinges of sadness when my poor english class grades came in, I felt ashamed because I loved to read and write, but it was quickly replaced with my latest crush, or the next party.

I dropped out of high school in the middle of my junior year. This is a very touchy subject in my family. I don’t have any regrets but there is always a wonder. I was to enroll in community college and get my GED, nothing ever works out as planned. Instead I went to work got a job managing a big health food store, I got life lessons. I always convinced myself they were more valuable than any book could give me. Truth be told, I wanted those books, I wanted the words swirling around in my head, I wanted to have a vernacular that would make people’s heads spin.

So my story got stuck there in the middle of my junior year. My “I AM NOT SMART ENOUGH. I AM NOT SMART ENOUGH TO BE A WRITER.” I got stuck there. I was like Robin Wright Penn in “The Princess Bride,” I was in the quicksand, but I didn’t have a prince to pull me out. So there my story stayed, for years it pulled me down.

I finally got my GED went to college, of course left a year shy of getting my BA. New story takes in. I CAN NEVER FINISH ANYTHING, AND I AM NOT SMART ENOUGH. They are perfect for each other, they go well together. Like a good wine pairing.

Over the years I dabbled in finding my love of books again, finding my love of words and writing. Nothing ever truly stuck with me. 35 years old now and I have that flutter in my soul again. I am giddy with excitement again over a good book. I am stealing away moments to fill myself with words on pages that I run my fingers through, scenes where I pretend I am there, lines I wish I had written. My sister reminded me lately, “If you want to write you have to read, and read all the time.” I listened intently to those words, I took them to heart, I sewed them inside my chest where I think my heart would be. So I read, and I read. I read essay’s, books, magazines, just anything I can.

I am time traveling. I am traveling back to the early 80’s in California. I am just 5 or 6 years old. I am a great reader, I am one of the best in my 1st grade class. I love reading and I see a bright future for myself. I think privately, “I am smart. I AM SMART.”

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After reading my sister’s latest essay about the turns we take in life, the left turns and right turns, I thought about my life. Who would I be if I had taken a different turn? Would I have been a scholar? A history teacher (my major in college), An author? The owner of a multi million dollar company? Maybe, Maybe not. Maybe all the turns I took are exactly the right turns. Maybe instead of right turns I took left turns, that sounds like me, I never listen to what people tell me anyway. Maybe those left turns are the ones that will make my new-found love of writing more interesting. I most definitely lived some wild and crazy moments, maybe those are the left turns I needed to have. It never really is possible to know what, if any, of the choices we make are right or wrong, they just are.

I see the bookcase in my room in 1985 California. It is pine, completely filled to the rim with every category of book, mostly books on marine biology, another early love of mine. I sit and remember what those books smelled like and how they made my insides swirl with excitement. Here I stand now that same girl, filled with the same desire and joy to fill my soul with words and knowledge.

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Here I am ready to change the story, to make a right turn.

“I AM SMART. I DO FINISH THINGS. I AM A LOVER OF ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL.”

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Tiny Beautiful Things

18 Feb

It was so cold today. The sun was shining but the wind  and the air were bitter. My fatigue had set in deeply. My bones felt weak and the cold air felt as if my body was thrust into an ice bath. The burning that comes before your body parts eventually go numb. I drove home from teaching tonight with my seat warmer on and the heat on full blast. I had no need for music as I drove home. I was craving complete silence. I could only hear the wind as it rushed past my windows on the outside of my car.

My thoughts are heavy tonight, shackles weighing me down. I keep thinking I love what I do. I love teaching yoga. I love being a mom. I love writing my blog. I love so many things, but… I feel like I haven’t found my dharma yet. Is there some magical feeling that takes over when you know you have found your dharma? Is there a true physical feeling that comes over your body when you know you are doing the right thing in your life?

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I couldn’t stop thinking I am 35 and I still haven’t found my calling, I don’t think. Is it supposed to look a certain way? Oh I wish for the answers. I had this conversation running around inside my head driving home t through the black cold night.

I needed to clear my head so I picked up one of my new favorite books. “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed. An amazing book, written in question and answer. The questions are written to Dear Sugar( she is sort of like Dear Abby, but more fascinating). A truly brilliant read. I opened up a page and couldn’t believe what I was reading. A 26-year-old girl, a writer, had written her Dear Sugar letter about exactly what I am going through. A feeling of despair, a feeling of why hasn’t this happened yet,  a feeling of did I make the right choices in my life? There are no accidents, I opened this book up right when I meant to. I opened the book up right to that page. It was clearly calling me.

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Sugar responded to this young and despondent 26-year-old writer with beautiful prose. My soul understood exactly what she was saying, even though she wasn’t saying it to me. Sugar writes, although she herself had grandiose plans  that hadn’t come to fruition at a young age. Sugar writes, it took a plethora of things to take place before her first major piece of work. Things had to happen before it was to come out of her soul. She had a life to live, relationships to have, sentences to write that would go absolutely now where, and so on and so on.

Is this where I am now? Working on sentences that are going nowhere. Am I working on relationships that are just the building blocks for what is to be my grandiose final calling in life?

At the yoga retreat in Boston my sister asked a question to the room  full of 35 people. She asked, “what is possible for you?” I was assisting that weekend so I chose not to partake in the excercise. Now I want to answer.

It is possible for me to stay consistent. It is possible for me start something and  finish it. It is possible for me to find my calling and know it  in my soul.

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It is so easy to get wrapped up in the lives around you. The lives of your friends, your family, your neighbors. They can easily seem to have so much, to have  a sense of love and contentment in their lives, something that you easily feel is missing. It is much harder to just send those people love and turn that attention on your own soul.

I want to find my dharma and sit with it. I want my dharma to feel like a bean bag chair. I want to sit in that bean bag chair with the feeling that you can’t or don’t want to get up.

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