Monday, March 16, 2015

Thankful for being one of "Sue's girls"

     In reading a book (A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty), my mind wandered to my first friend my age who became a mother.  Then the thoughts of my friend moved on to her baby shower.  LeeAnn received a gift from Sue, and in the accompanying card dear Sue wrote, "You're the first of 'Sue's girls' to have a baby."
     And with that memory I realized something I, frankly, have been too stupid to realize until this very moment (thirty-two, never too old, ever):  All my life, most of it anyway, I've wanted to belong.  To belong.  To be a part of something special.  A huge longing.  Everyone longs for that, it's very human.  I, until this moment, didn't think, didn't realize, just didn't get it, that I was (still am as it's a part of us and that won't ever change) part of something special.  I was one of "Sue's girls."
     I guess I shouldn't feel too bad for being so dense.  Jesus' disciples witnessed him feeding 5,000 people from five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21).  Not long after (within the span of a year or two at least) Jesus wants to feed 4,000 people (Matthew 15:29-38), and his disciples panic and ask where they're to get enough food to feed all those people.  [Cue crickets chirping.]  They didn't get it.  Not until Jesus died and came back to life -- which is a pretty big thing.  I guess I shouldn't feel so bad it's taken me thirty-two years to get this.

     There were five of us that made up "Sue's girls":  Jennifer, Donna, me, Ashley and LeeAnn.  Sue was our babysitter.  It was her neighbors that gave us this moniker.
     I have, in the past, considered writing about those times, but I don't have the memory for it.  Most of the memories have faded.  I'd achieved about four pages once.  I'd written a poem, which I liked.
     It doesn't matter though that I can't accurately write about what was a large part of my childhood; (I went there from the age of two and a half to about fourteen.  I wasn't the first to come, but I was the last to leave.  In the end I was only there to catch the County bus.)  That time has marked our souls and shines, paints, sings into our lives, a part of who we are and what we bring into the world.  There were other children there, of course, through the years, it just happened that...well, I don't really know how it happened; I shouldn't pretend I do.
     I do know the memories are fun stories, but there's not really a way to describe the magic, and it is magic.  A special magic.  And I'm thankful to be one of "Sue's girls."

Me and Sue c. 1985

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Today I am thankful for fear.

To all the writers who "brag" (whine, really) about having to whittle your work down from around 150,000+ words, I kind of want to cut you with my ax (if I had an ax; if I could even lift an ax.  Fine, a spoon.)  I struggled and struggled to make it to 50,000 words with my novel and that was by the skin of my teeth.  And though I'm stepping away from the first draft of my novel before the "revising, revising, infinitum," I still worry over how I'll keep it at 50,000 or build the word count to a greater number.

I really am terrified to go back to the story.  Not just the word count, but making it not crap, as all good first drafts are.  That it will never be more, never be better, never be....I don't know.  Not great necessarily, but "something."  Reading editing helps -- books and articles -- does dispel some of the fear.

I am thankful for the fear because without it, I wouldn't know what peace feels like.  It's a figurative sword fight me and this fear and this novel.  Really a grand adventure.