It is my experience as an artist and a teacher that writing “rights” things. ~ Julia Cameron
I promoted writing long before I realized I wanted to write. I always encouraged my high school students to write because, like Julia Cameron, I believe that writing “rights” things. There are many “things” that cause angst and depression in us all, but especially in teenagers. Their hormones are careening like a roller coaster. A friend makes a snide comment. A boyfriend breaks up with a girl right before 5th period class and she can’t stop crying. So many “tragedies” at that age. Writing usually helps.
I used to require my Spanish III students to read a one-page story about a man who wrote himself out of depression. Briefly, this is the story: This lonely, sad man decided to kill himself because he had nothing to live for. Realizing he shouldn’t kill himself without leaving a suicide note, he sat down to write. He wrote a short note. Then he decided he should add one more thing. Then another. And another. When he stopped he had several pages and he read what he had written. At that point the said, “Wow! I’m really good at this. I should be writing for the newspaper.” All thoughts of suicide went right out the window. No more depression, just enthusiasm for his future as a writer.
I learned first-hand what writing could do for me when my husband of 30 years told me he wanted a divorce. I had sporadically kept personal journals in the past, but once I got his news I became committed to writing down everything that cruised through my mind whether I thought it important or not. I have a treasury of everything that happened during those days. Our words. Our expressions. Our visits to lawyers. Our tears. You name it, I’ve got it. In the past I had held back and written only superficially about my feelings. That’s probably why I never wrote regularly in those days. I wasn’t being totally honest. Being superficial was no longer an option. My emotions were too raw. I recognized I had to be brutally honest with myself if I wanted to recover. And I very much wanted to be well and happy again.
I recently looked back at what I wrote during that time. Some of it was garbage but some of it was powerful stuff. I always labeled my entries with the day, date and hour. I was amazed when I realized how often I wrote in the wee hours. Sometimes I would write at 3:00 am, try to sleep for a while and then my next entry would be 5:15 am. No wonder my doctor reacted in alarm to my confession of sleeplessness. The point is, though, that I depended upon my writing to help me sort through what was important and what was not. I started to realize fairly soon that D was going to do his thing and there was nothing I could do about it so I had to stop whining about it. I knew that his OW had no place in my thoughts or my pages. But the most important thing I came to understand was that family and friends and faith would get me through to the sunshine again. And they have.
Today I am mostly happy and joyous and free and Life is good.
Human kindness is overflowing, And I think it’s going to rain today. ~ Randy Newman
11:45 a.m. The weather report promises showers today. I’m hoping. We need the rain and I need to stay upstairs in my sewing room and clean.
5:45 p.m. I’ve always loved rainy summer days. When I was a child I would lie in my room and read. I still do that. But today I’m in one of my organizational frenzies. This is a large room and all my fabrics and art supplies reside here. No matter how often I straighten and organize I still can’t find a thing. I’m beginning to think I need to hire a professional to come in and help me out. I have figured out that I have too much stuff and I’ve been getting rid of some of it, very slowly. The closet is fairly roomy but is not organized in a way that makes sense. So I went out and bought stacking storage bins to put in it. Of course I need more than I thought. Another trip to the store. It’s looking like a pretty good solution.
I started out writing this post in a philosophical mood. No intention of talking about cleaning and organizing. Too boring. I was actually waxing philosophical about rain. I’ve been thinking about the different effects it can have on my mood. Or does it? I started to realize today as I was moving things around that it affects my mood only if my mood is iffy to begin with. Or if it rains for days on end.
Today started with the sky looking very dark and I was wishing for one of those long, slow nourishing rains. Didn’t happen. It was very hot and sunny through the middle hours of the day. But as you can see by the photo here, a brief and fairly heavy stormy rain blew in this afternoon. I’ll take it. It wasn’t the kind of rain that encouraged me to get out and walk in it, something I love doing in the summer. I did go in the back yard after the storm and found a puddle or two for my bare feet. Didn’t find any mud to squish through my toes, though. Sweet childhood memories.
I am remembering now a few years ago when two of my granddaughters were little girls. We were living on the mountaintop then and it was raining hard but there was no lightening or thunder. (And no neighbors.) They asked if they could go outside. I told them they should take their clothes off first so we wouldn’t have to waste energy drying them. I can still remember their looks of sheer glee. It took them about two seconds to strip and hit the grass in the front yard. They are much too old and sophisticated to do that now but I hope they will always have their memories of how free they felt that summer evening at Grammy and D’s house.
My coffee table.
A few posts ago I vowed that I was getting organized. As you can see, I’m not there yet. There are areas in my house that are reasonably neat all the time. They require only dusting and vacuuming. The areas where I spend my time browsing, crocheting, puzzling, reading and watching TV are another story altogether. As you can tell by the photo I leave things on the coffee table instead of immediately putting them back where they belong. I look at this picture and wonder why I had the stapler in the den. I’m like a teenage girl who tries on every outfit in the closet and leaves it all on the floor and bed while she rushes off to school. I know better. Why don’t I do better.
My other coffee table.
OK. This one is not as bad but still I have to ask myself why are the Christmas candles and coasters still out. It’s almost Valentine’s Day for heaven’s sake!
I admit that I was spoiled for years. I had someone to clean for me once a week. Back then I would tidy up so she could do her cleaning. She became a good friend and confidante, particularly during the separation/divorce fiasco. I talked with her by phone a few nights ago. We hadn’t talked in a while. I laughed as I told her I was glad she couldn’t see my house. But I don’t really think it’s funny. It’s mostly frustrating.
Clean table. Coffee break. Yea!
The tables are clean! Those photos were just too embarrassing. Looked like a pig sty. I even got out the valentines. I can leave them out for the rest of the month. I’m giving myself a birthday party late in February. The hearts will look pretty. And I hereby declare: I love Me! If I don’t, no one else will.
My other clean coffee table.
I’m like a snail or a turtle when it comes to cleaning but eventually I get it done. Disregard snail. I prefer the turtle.
There’s no place like home–when it’s organized.
Hurray for me!