Writing is my creative outlet, Look out!

8 Nov

The good thing is that I write all the time, every day at least a little bit.

I read somewhere that people who write should NEVER pay attention to the reaction of their own families to their work. Just write and let the others be damned!

However, I have been guilty of this for the last 8 years. It paralyzed my writing when my family reacted with embarrassment about my book Ahead of the Curve.  One of my daughters was so mortified I could not even discuss it in her presence. I could not mention the fact of writing. Ever.

I really was sad and concerned and ‘stopped in my tracks’ by the fact that it upset her so much. Writing seemed like this evil thing that I must quit to save my family embarrassment. That was wrong.

Sometimes I think of myself as such a ‘slow learner’.  And though my family accuses me of being a contrarian, there are many instances where I have simply changed what I wanted to do because of my family. It is true that sometimes I react contrarily to some suggestion or event. Certainly, my first reaction to any doctors diagnosis is: Let me check on that and do it my way! or even “Hell no!” (when some physician prescribes drugs for things that can be corrected with lifestyle changes.)

Where my family is concerned, their happiness comes before my own in most cases. This maternal effacing of self seems pretty normal to me. Yet, my children are middle-aged and it is time they learned to deal with my natural desire to live my own life. Though I am far from free technically, because I am living with my 99 year old mother, my time is sometimes my own. In those hours, I write. Originally I did it to save my sanity. Now, it is because the creative juices awakened with a vengeance and will not be put back to sleep.

It was a terrible mistake to let my children influence me in a way that stopped the creative outlet that I crave the most.  I will not make the same mistake twice.

So, kids, LOOK OUT! Mama is writing again and she is not stopping for anybody!!!

 

Moving is Momentous!

29 Oct

I began to move a couple of weeks ago, but this is an unusual type of move and so it is taking a lot longer than normal. Perhaps I should mention that I have lived in this house for 9 years and I love it here. I love the area, I love the house, and I wish I could stay.
However my mother is 99 years old. She will reach the age of 100 in less than 4 months. She is healthy. She is basically happy. But her friends have mostly all died. This is really sad for her. And she is lonely. Of course she is becoming frail as well, so she needs much more help than before. She stopped driving herself when she was 93. She has a man who drives for her and does other heavy lifting about the place. Her cook has been with her for 40 years. Mother lives in the same house she and my father bought before I was born. Now she has 24/7 caregivers and it is best if there is someone there to keep tabs on all these helpful people.
No one else in the family was able to do it. So one day I decided that in keeping with the Serenity Prayer, there is nothing I can do to “Change” my mother and her living arrangements. However, I can change my own attitude and my place of residence. I found that I had the courage to do it. So my move to Washington DC is nearly complete. Compressing my long life into one room and some extra closets requires some very serious downsizing. My children have helped me manage this by taking most of my things off my hands. It is very flattering to know that they want my things, that they like my things and will take good care of them. When I go into one of their houses and see my favorite paintings, rugs, silver, and furniture it warms my heart. It makes me feel right at home.
Really, it is fun to see each house displaying various aspects of my personality and preferences from my vacated house/home. It is sort of like multiplying my own design ideas and seeing them mutate in marvelous ways. That part is great. What is difficult is sorting through files, going through photo albums and scrapbooks. Most of them have never been culled. Many of the boxes of files have followed me from house to house and office to office without actually being sorted in years. And so many need to be shredded, deleted, gone. But they MUST be gone through because there are actually some important documents among the detritus.
I am almost done now. After many bags of trash and trips to second hand stores, the rest is going to be carted off by others. I will be free. I will be unencumbered by things. Really only my books and a reduced amount of clothes and my 2 small dogs are going with me to Mother’s house. My computers will be reduced down to a laptop and my iPad and a bunch of flash drives! My new life calls and now I have space for it to arrive.

Fall 2017 A Time of Change

23 Oct

Sometimes we suddenly know what to do next. Solutions just come down to us as a message from outside ourselves. Some might say it is divine, others simply point to inspiration from our own inner selves. It really does not matter. The point is to follow when the directions are given.

Lately this happened to me as I swam peacefully doing “lengths” all alone one morning. I have been torn lately by my desire to be in my house in Charlottesville Virginia and by the necessity of being in Washington DC with my charming and healthy 99 year old mother. Her friends are mostly gone and she is lonely. What a dilemma! No matter in which place I found myself there was always a pull to be in the other location.

Then that September morning as I swam, it suddenly came to me. The Serenity Prayer which I first heard at a High School assembly, popped into my mind. I am sure you know it:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The sentiments involved in that prayer have guided me over and over in my life but sometimes, I need a little push. That is what I got that day in the cool, gentle water, under a clear blue sky. A thunderbolt of an idea that has sent me on a difficult path. I understood that I cannot do anything about my aging mother and her need for entertainment and management of her help. That is out of my hands. But what I can do is stop being divided in my attention. It is entirely in my power to give up my house in Charlottesville and move permanently to live full time with Mother in Washington DC.

As I write this, I am in Charlottesville moving out of my house to live in Washington DC.  But I got sick last week when I first came down here.  REALLY SICK. I am sure it was psychological because it is wrenching to move and to give away my things.

Deciding to divest myself of my things was a big decision which I did not consider for much more than an instant. I just knew immediately that it was the right thing to do.

I am making space, making space in my life for whatever is coming next. As I keep telling friends and family, it is very liberating.  But of course there is a huge sense of loss of a former self and a host of memories associated with each object, each piece of furniture, each set of china, each lamp, painting and rug and every piece of silver….So, even if I am completely happy about the move and about giving these possessions away….There is still an emotional wrench.

So I got sick.  Now my health has improved and though there is still a lingering cough and congestion.  Because I could not go back to Mother’s house with that horrible cold/flu I have stayed in Charlottesville all week.  So I am almost finished with my moving out. What a sense of satisfaction I shall have at the end. I am almost there!