Stolen Moments and Seemingly Quotidian Details

I am deep into the trenches right now. The baby is eight months old, the big girl four-and-a-half. It’s winter. I don’t leave the house much. I don’t get much sleep. There is no time for reflection, considered thought, planning my writing life. But I am writing. 250 words a day. Whatever comes out. It doesn’t mean anything, doesn’t add up to anything. Not yet anyway. But here’s some from last week.

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The hot breath of a teething baby. That smell, what is it? Raw, iron-ish, but not bloody. Metallic, vital. It makes me want to put my face right up next to hers, kiss her repeatedly while breathing in that life force. Four new teeth at once! I tell her she is doing a really good job.

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One girl’s erratic thoughts while writing.

Creativity is a little shit.

Why doesn’t it show up like a food craving? When I want salty or sweet my gut instinct is always right. I know exactly when I need a hot tea with a warm chocolate chip cookie versus an iced tea with some hummus and chips. Writing should be that simple. But it’s distant and changes its mind. Creativity appears as a vague awareness, similar to nausea – the kind that makes you wonder if you need to eat or can’t eat. It’s unsettling and inconsistent.

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What a Viewing of RBG Reinforced About Writing

RBG, the documentary on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, debuted in American theaters early last month, and I finally saw it this week. With a new friend. A new writer friend who is also a woman.

There are some unspoken rules for new friends. You generally don’t let them know how crazy your family is. You definitely don’t let them know if you’re a bit crazy yourself. It’s like dating. You may not want to cry in front of them. You bring your A-game, just as you would on the first few dates of a romantic relationship. I broke that seal a bit early when this friend messaged to confirm that we would be seeing the film that afternoon. “YESSSS. This is my first day having childcare after 10 days of not having the help. I am so ready.” New friends on our best behavior or not, she knew me a bit better after that.

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The life cycle of a submission

At the beginning of this year I mentioned in a post that I had recently submitted something to a literary journal after an unplanned break in writing:

Brevity, a journal and website I thoroughly enjoy, was seeking submissions for an upcoming episode of their podcast. They were looking for ‘One-Minute Memoir episodes,’ pieces up to 150 words (on paper) and up to one minute (recording time). On the day submissions closed, I pulled something together and sent it off with an hour to spare.

As someone very new to submitting my work, it was an amusing ride on an unfamiliar roller-coaster and an embarrassing peek into the ego of a writer. What follows is a play by play of my experience with two recent submission from beginning to end.

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Am I too old?

I have been asking this question for a couple days. It’s not an actual question, because as soon as the words are out of my mouth/brain, I’ve already decided the obvious answer is “Yes.” Always.

So, it is really less a question and more a statement: I am too old. I struggle to write just a blog post. I am approaching 44 full years on this planet. I left a professional writing job (if you can call it that) 20 years ago. Maybe this ship has sailed.

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7 Reviews of Janelle Hanchett’s “I’m Just Happy To Be Here”

None of us would be writing this blog or much of anything else if we hadn’t found Janelle Hanchett’s blog, Renegade Mothering, and then taken her online writing class together. And we couldn’t be more excited to tell you how her new book, I’m Just Happy To Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering, is changing our lives once again. If you don’t run out and buy this book after reading these reviews, you are clearly a heartless robot. Janelle, we love you, you jerk face.

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Ecstatic Observer

Shift perspective to the perspective of a 5 year old. The perspective of a perceptive 5 year old who knows how to fly. Not like a superhero. No fist punching through the air. More like floating. 2-3 feet off the ground, max. 5 year old forced perspective on high alert.
Shift perspective.

Pink flamingos bending into pink flowers, popping out of dull drippy fog.
Shadows sharp at a particular time of year, month, day, hour, minute, second.

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So What Am I?

I know you are, you said you are, so what am I?

We used to chant this to each other at primary school, whenever someone called us a rude name.

You’re stupid!

I know you are, you said you are, so what am I?

A stupid dick!

I know you are, you said you are, so what am I?

Shut up, you’re a mean, stupid dick!

I know you are, you said you are, so what am I?

Our child-size lizard brains exploded with frustration at answering a direct question, only to have it turned back on us over and over again. We fumed. Smoke billowed out of our ears; we danced on the spot with rage. We didn’t know about logical fallacies. We thought if we could just come up with the ultimate insult, we could smote our opponent. They would be felled by the devastating completeness of their new epithet. But it was always served back.

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Abandonment and Annihilation

A little less than a year ago I ditched my book. I’d been writing it for almost three years at that point and had revised at least 4 times, re-mapped the storyline, gotten rid of an entire main character.

And then I felt overwhelmed. I decided that I had zero business writing a novel and needed to work on my actual skills before I jumped off that cliff. The plan was that I would write and revise a collection of short stories and try to submit them for publication.

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Unlocking From the Inside: A 30 Day Writing Challenge

I’m in the tail end of another 30 day writing challenge with this group I now refer to as my infrastructure. I’ve participated in these challenges in the past and enjoyed the camaraderie, focus and once had publishing success as a result. I don’t always hit my word count and sometimes miss a day, but I think about the writing in a more obsessive way, which I embrace.

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